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Buckingham Out; Ringo Pissed

Fleetwood Mac has apparently given Lindsey Buckingham his walking papers, which is only metaphorically true as Buckingham has reportedly recently sold one of his homes in Brentwood for about $20-million and anyone who has that kind of money doesn’t walk anywhere unless (1) a red carpet is involved or (2) it has something to do with the latest cardio program and it requires a personal trainer.

And realize that while McDonalds’ may have trouble selling Big Macs (which accounts for its recent size-variant offerings of that saucy delicacy), Fleetwood Mac evidentially is sufficiently fungible to get a list of venues as long as your arm for its upcoming tour. Oddly enough, the Big Mac and Fleetwood Mac were both formed in 1967.

It seems that the other members of the band have hired Mike Campbell late of the late Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Neil Finn of the best band that will unfairly be remembered as a one-hit wonder, Crowded House.

This has to make Buckingham feel fairly good, as it takes two to replace him. (One assumes, however, that if Campbell and Finn were “hired,” they’re going to be getting a salary, not cubic feet of cash, so the rest of the band members will make out very well, thank you.)

But here is when Ringo gets pissed.

For the past too-many years, Ringo has been touring with the All-Starr Band. (Another good reason why he changed his surname, as “All-Starkey Band” sounds like something Stormy Daniels would be in.)

Ringo’s M.O. has been to hire musicians who have had “hits” but are past their prime, such that he can use them to play their hits so as to minimize the need for an entire set to be based on his meagre catalog. People like Gary Brooker (Procol Harum), Simon Kirke (Bad Company), Colin Hay (Men at Work), Graham Gouldman (10cc). Actually, this is the proverbial double-win because Ringo gets talent and they get to play at venues where corndogs aren’t (necessarily) being sold.

But now there’s Fleetwood Mac vying for talent, hiring musicians like Campbell and Finn.

One can only imagine Ringo dropping one digit from his peace sign when talking with Fleetwood and McVie.

Continue reading Buckingham Out; Ringo Pissed

The Rolling Stones and Existence

“Do the Rolling Stones still exist?”

That, I’m afraid, was my reaction when I read about the band’s apparent continuation of its “No Filter” tour, which will start up again next month with 11 dates in Europe.

Now I know that Jagger, Richards, Watts, and Wood are still alive, so it wasn’t an issue of the band ceasing to exist because a key member died. (One could make the argument, perhaps, that the band really stopped being what it once was when Brian Jones died in a swimming pool 49 years ago.) But it struck me that there is a visible absence of the Stones in the context that they were once part and parcel of popular culture as delivered in various forms, not just in the pages of something like Rolling Stone: they made music, they made news, they were there, out in the public, and people, like it or not, knew it. Given that they are still touring, given that the 11 dates are a continuation of a tour that they were on last fall, means that they are no less public.

But are they?

In keeping up with the characters, we have:

• Mick—Sir Mick—age 74 with a one-year-old child whom he had with his 31-year-old girlfriend. He has seemingly become an item for the gossip pages, sort of like Frank Sinatra in his heyday.

• Keith—who is still working hard everywhere, most recently performing at the second-annual Love Rocks NYC concert at the Beacon Theater.

• Ronnie—who recently announced that he is free of lung cancer. (Although he looked awfully cool back in the day with his rooster-shag haircut and a smoke dangling from his lips as he made magnificent sounds come out of his guitar (most of us would have a difficult time smoking and playing at all), his cancer is a cautionary tale, more telling that the warnings on cigarette packs.)

• Charlie—who told The Guardian in February “It wouldn’t bother me if the Rolling Stones said that’s it. . .enough.”

Enough.

Continue reading The Rolling Stones and Existence

New Quasar Wut-Wut video: Jezebel’s Arm

Video: Quasar Wut-Wut – “Jezebel’s Arm”

Quasar Wut-Wut – Jezebel's Arm (Official)

From Digesting Mirror, due July 2018.

Back in 2004, flush with revenue from the burgeoning online advertising market, we here at Glorious Noise had more money than we knew what to do with. Cans of Pabst were only $2 at the Long Room on Tuesdays after all. So what’s a fairly young music website to do with all that cash? Pay its contributors?

Pshaw! We started a record label!

Our first release was the new album by our friends in Quasar Wut-Wut. The first time the guys played Taro Sound for me, I immediately knew we had to start a label to release it. It was so good, so dense, so unlike anything else going on at the time. These dudes were like mad scientists, tinkering away in their rehearsal studio, coming up with the perfect sounds. A little White Album here, a sprinkle of Pixies dust there… They’re notorious for laboring over tones for years. Literally.

That’s why it’s been 14 years without a proper followup to Taro Sound. Part of why, anyway. Things like puppet shows, weddings, houses, building out a recording studio, kids, and Buster Keaton have also played a role in the delay. And besides, it’s not like it’s Chinese Democracy or anything…that took fifteen years!

And yet here we are. Long after Glorious Noise Records went belly up, a new Quasar Wut-Wut album is on its way. I’ve heard Digesting Mirror, and it’s well worth the wait. If you’ve been lucky enough to have seen the band in one of their rare live appearances in the past several years, you’ve likely heard some of these songs already. The studio versions will blow you away.

The band is currently putting together a release show for Chicago in July. You may recall the USO circa 1916 themed show for Taro Sound at the Hideout. While it’s still early in development, the direction is moving from the wartime entertainment of the Taro Sound release towards a post-WWI Dadaist exhibition. Something like a variety show with multiple film-loop projections, cult leaders, and celibate dancing ladies…

As the details get firmed up, we’ll be sure to let you know. Until then, enjoy “Jezebel’s Arm.”

Quasar Wut-Wut: web, bandcamp, fb, amazon, apple, spotify.

Continue reading New Quasar Wut-Wut video: Jezebel’s Arm

New Automne video: Soeurs de Coeur

Video: Automne – “Sœurs de cœur”

Sœurs de cœur – Automne

Directed by Joséphine Lajeat. From the Automne EP, due March 23.

Paris has style. I mean, come on. Look at this video. Who has house parties where everybody is so elegant and chic? Not in a trendy or pretentious or stuffy way, but just totally stylish. Wine, pistachios, tarot cards, chaises longues, cigarettes… So damn cool.

Full disclosure: Autumne’s guitarist, Perry Leopard, is a friend. I’ve hung out with him in divy little bars in outer arrondissements far off the tourist track. We’ve listened to his pals play blues and jazz to an audience of a dozen locals drinking 1664s. We also went and saw the remains of the MC5 together at the Élysée Montmartre. Perry’s a great guy, an Alabama native who’s called Paris home for many years, and a fine connoisseur of rock and roll.

And now, he’s involved in a new project with classically trained Parisian cellist Automne Lajeat. They’ve been woodshedding and playing gigs together for about a year along with drummer Thomas Gromb and guitarist David Haddad. They’re planning on recording a full-length album to be released early next year.

My français is très rusty so Perry helped translate the lyrics for me. The chorus (“à mes potes, à mes copines, à mes sanguines, à mes sœurs de cœur”) roughly means “to my homies, to my blood sisters.” And “sanguines” has a double entendre: a “sanguin” is someone who easily gets carried away.

“Sœurs de cœur” is a celebration of friendship, and the video features our women friends, who are poets, theater technicians, photographers, musicians, and painters. The director, Joséphine Lajeat, is Automne’s younger sister, and she and her director of photography, Joanna Cognard, have been a movie-making team for a while. They made Automne’s previous videos for “Lovecrafter” (words are a Patti Smith poem) and “Nedjma.” Their most recent film of their own is a short called Pouce, in which Automne and I have bit parts.

Even if you can’t understand the words, you get the feel of what Automne is singing about. She sounds brave and defiant. The song is arranged beautifully: subtle but dramatic with brooding cello and gnarly guitars and spooky background vocals, building up to the climax: “Aux optimistes, aux féministes!”

Automne: web, facebook, youtube.

Continue reading New Automne video: Soeurs de Coeur

Playlist: History of British Rock (Sire Records, 1976)

I had this cassette in high school. I can’t remember exactly where or why I bought it, but my guess is that it probably came from the Columbia House tape club. Or maybe I bought it at the mall because it had a rare Beatles song on it.

It’s a weird compilation. Released by Sire Records in 1976, it’s not arranged chronologically but it spans from the first single by a British group to reach the American Top 20 (“Silver Threads and Golden Needles” by the Springfields, 1962) through Beatlemania and psychedelia all the way to 1971’s earthy noodlefest, “Layla.”

There’s nothing by the Rolling Stones, the Who, Herman’s Hermits, Hollies, Small Faces, Zombies, Them, Moody Blues, Pretty Things, Spencer Davis Group, or the Yardbirds, and the Beatles song is a goofy throwaway recorded in Hamburg before they had a record deal. Some of the songs never even charted on this side of the pond at all (“Black Magic Woman” by Fleetwood Mac, “Massachusetts” by the Bee Gees). So it’s just a strange listen. But it was my introduction to most of these songs, and to be honest, I haven’t heard many of them since I left home for college.

This comp is a distillation of the four-volume Sire Records series of historical releases issued between 1974 and 1975: History Of British Rock, Vols 1-3 plus Roots of British Rock. Seymour Stein created an ambitious program of double LP packages chronicling rock music’s history. Each original volume contained 28 songs with lots of cool photos and liner notes by Greg Shaw. So my tape was clearly a cheapo knockoff of the original set with no photos or notes. And Sire kept the crappy version in print. Weird!

It’s hard to imagine now, but at the time most of these recordings were otherwise out of print and generally unavailable to the public. Stein told Billboard in 1975: “It is our feeling that rock does need to be available in some sort of historical context for today’s market.” He noticed that jazz and blues “have virtually everything ever recorded available on some sort of collection” and he wanted to do the same for rock and roll.

His plan didn’t last very long. Within a couple years Sire refocused on new music like the Ramones and Talking Heads. This type of historical release would be taken over — and perfected — by Rhino Records.

In fact, shortly after I rescued this tape from the budget bin, Rhino started releasing its nine-disc collection, The British Invasion: The History of British Rock, which seems to have been inspired by the Sire series, by then out of print. The Rhino box was compiled by Harold Bronson and contained 180 British songs that charted in the States. That’s a cool project and all, but my dumb tape was enough for me.

So I recreated it for you to stream…

Continue reading Playlist: History of British Rock (Sire Records, 1976)

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 5

Issue #5 had a cover date of February 10, 1968. 24 pages. 25 cents.

This was the issue when Rolling Stone started giving away roach clips to new subscribers. (“Act now before this offer is made illegal.”) You can scoff, but for its entire first year the Stone remained a DIY organization, run by Wenner and a handful of cohorts. The only real grownup in the group was Ralph Gleason.

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 5

Hey What’s Up? Glorious Noise Is 17

Time flies. Seventeen years? Crazy. GLONO is the same age as the lead singer of my favorite band. There are kids in bands today who weren’t even born when we started this. That blows my mind.

I remember turning 17 the summer before my senior year of high school. John Cougar had told us to “hold on to 16 as long as you can” and I took that advice seriously. But that was almost 30 years ago. That blows my mind too.

Over the past year we’ve been trying to publish something every weekday, which has required seeking out a lot of new music. That’s been rewarding for me, personally. Too many grownups get stuck in the rut of feeling like there’s nothing good being made anymore. As if music peaked your senior year of high school. When you were 17. The same age as this website.

That’s baloney. Of course it is, but the older I get the more I realize that you have to consciously and actively look for good stuff. It doesn’t just fall in your lap like it used to when you were always hanging out with friends and listening to records together and going to bars and shows all the time. It’s work now to find new music.

Is it worth the effort? Yeah, for sure. It’s awesome. We’ve found tons of great new songs by artists I’d never heard before, and many of them happen to be young women. There’s still plenty of old dudes kicking out the jams (and GLONO will always love classic rock), but most of the exciting new music is being made by girls. (Neil Portnow’s a moron.) Look back at the past year’s worth of songs we’ve covered and you’ll see that about half are from bands fronted by women. And way more than half if we’re talking about brand new bands. So that’s cool.

But I get why my fellow grownups don’t want to put in the effort. That’s fine. I am happy to listen to 80s music and drink wine while our kids play videogames in the basement. That’s fun too.

On the other hand, if you want to be exposed to some good new music, we’re here for you. At Glorious Noise we work hard so you don’t have to. Like Scrubber Bubbles. Tune in, and we’ll turn you on to good music.

And if all goes well, we’ll be doing this for another 17 years. I hope I’m still digging new music in my sixties. I have no doubt that kids will still be picking up guitars and playing rock and roll. The only questions are: Will my ears still work, and if so, will they still be open to hearing new sounds?

We’ll see…

Continue reading Hey What’s Up? Glorious Noise Is 17

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Jann Wenner, Beatles Fanboy

I’ve been reading Sticky Fingers, Joe Hagan’s new Jann Wenner biography and it’s really fascinating. One of the things that has surprised me was how DIY those first several issues of Rolling Stone were. It really was a bunch of volunteers hustling to pull those 24 pages together. Granted, some of those volunteers might not have realized they were volunteering until they never got paid, but still. DIY.

It’s also interesting to read how provincial toward San Francisco bands Wenner was, balanced only by his fanaticism toward the Beatles and the Stones. Looking back at those early issues it’s not surprising that many of the ads were local. Television station KQED took out full page ads. So did Bill Graham, promoting shows at the Fillmore.

Local record stores advertised too, including one called “Music 5 is Alive” at 887 Market Street, who in issue #4 boasted a “Special Price on the New Beatles LP.” Although their ad doesn’t specify the price it does include a psychedelic illustration that I’d never seen before.*

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Jann Wenner, Beatles Fanboy

2017 Soundscan Data: Total Music Sales and Consumption

So it looks like fewer and fewer people care about owning their music. This is the first year that I didn’t buy a single new release on compact disc (although I picked up a few deluxe reissues on CD). I bought a bunch of vinyl including Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy, the Mountain Goats’ Goths, Jason Isbell’s The Nashville Sound, Neil Young’s Hitchhiker, and the Replacements’ Live at Maxwell’s.

But most of the new stuff I listened to this year was streamed including tons of miscellaneous singles as well as new albums by Spoon, Conor Oberst, Aimee Mann, Strand of Oaks, Diet Cig, Lorde, Micah Schnabel, Tristen, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, St. Vincent, Last Leaves, Taylor Swift, and my absolute favorite album of the year: Feel Your Feelings, Fool by the Regrettes. I’ll pick that stuff up on vinyl if I see a deal, but I’m in no hurry. Patience is a virtue, after all.

I’m apparently not alone. Music sales are down down down. But streaming is way up and if you accept the industry’s argument that 1,500 streams is equivalent to one album sale then things are about the same as they were in the early- to mid-90s, before the brief, turn-of-the-century bubble. So maybe all’s well. Who knows?

Seems like only yesterday that we were all celebrating the certain death of the major label system, but just like everything else about the early internet age, we were overly optimistic and grossly naive about the resilience of corporate America. So it goes. Anyway, here’s the data…

Total U.S. Album sales (physical + digital in millions)

Total Album Sales (physical + digital albums)

2017: 169.15 million
2016: 205.5 million
2015: 241.39 million
2014: 257.02 million
2013: 289.41 million
2012: 315.96 million
2011: 330.57 million
2010: 326.15 million
2009: 373.9 million
2008: 428.4 million
2007: 500.5 million
2006: 588.2 million
2005: 618.9 million
2004: 666.7 million
2003: 667.9 million
2002: 693.1 million
2001: 762.8 million
2000: 785 million
1999: 754.8 million
1998: 712.5 million
1997: 651.8 million
1996: 616.6 million
1995: 616.4 million (I’ve heard the figure is 616,957,000)
1994: 614.7 million (I’ve heard the figure is 615,266,000)
1993: ~573 million (1994 was 7.4% increase over 1993)

Continue reading 2017 Soundscan Data: Total Music Sales and Consumption

Wrapping up a lousy year: 2017

A lot of people died this year. This happens every year, and we’re all gonna die someday, of course, but it’s still a drag that we’re no longer inhabiting the same plane of existence as Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. We also lost Glen Campbell, Tom Petty, Walter Becker, Grant Hart, Clyde the Funky Drummer Stubblefield, Charles Bradley, J. Geils, Malcolm Young and his brother George, Tommy Keene, Maggie Roche, Gregg Allman, David Cassidy, Mel Tillis, Don Williams, Jim Nabors, Chris Cornell, Al Jarreau, Pat DiNizio, Prodigy, Chester Bennington, Charlie Murphy, Joanie Cunningham, Benson, Batman, Judge Wapner, Roger Moore, Jerry Lewis, Chuck Barris, Hugh Hefner, Don Rickles, Mary Tyler Moore, Harry Dean Stanton, Martin Landau, Dick Gregory, Jonathan Demme, Sam Shepard, Kevin Garcia (Grandaddy), Frank Deford, and Jake Lamotta.

Phew. That’s a lot. Rest in peace.

We also lost a common definition of reality, and although it had been on its deathbed for a while, it was still a little shocking when it finally kicked the bucket. I remember getting wasted with pals in the early 90s and bullshitting about memetics and alternate realities and it’s very weird to see it all come true. Or, maybe not “true” since truth no longer exists, but whatever. Oh well. Never mind.

One good thing that happened in 2017 is that Glorious Noise started posting new content regularly again for the first time since 2011. Shortly after our 16th anniversary online in February we committed to posting something new every weekday. Did you notice?

It’s been fun. I’ve listened to a lot of new music that I might have skipped over had we not set that goal. There’s tons of new stuff released every week and some of it is actually good! It’s become our mission to find the good stuff and share it with you.

There are plenty of sites that post every new press release that hits their inbox. Glorious Noise does not do that. We listen to stuff and if it’s boring or if it sucks we ignore it. Just like you should. Unless it’s noteworthy or hilariously bad or we think we should warn you about its suckiness. We will filter out the crap.

We are not an algorithm. We are a few dudes with dayjobs and strong opinions who tend to gravitate toward guitar music with something to say. You can trust us.

In fact, we’ve been compiling the songs we’ve posted about this year into a massive playlist which you can stream for yourself to decide if our taste jibes with your own. Dig it. And have a happy new year.

Continue reading Wrapping up a lousy year: 2017