Category Archives: Shorties

New Christian Lee Hutson video: Talk

Video: Christian Lee Hutson -- “Talk”

Christian Lee Hutson - "Talk"

Directed by Han-Su Kim. From Beginners, due May 29 on Anti-.

As a global pandemic threatens to kill off an entire generation of old people, what better timing for Christian Lee Hutson to release some literal dad rock?

I’m pretty busy
So please forgive me
If I forget to
Not forgive you

I see a lot of my friends struggling to deal with their parents as they get old and weird and their souls are corrupted by talk radio and Fox News. Our folks left us with a lot of their baggage and it hardly seems fair for them to keep piling it on, decade after decade.

I will no longer grieve you
when I have to see you
it’s no use denying
you belong to the dying
And I couldn’t care less
Life’s just a real slow death
Yep, that’s what I was taught

But ultimately Hutson admits, “Okay, so I care a lot.” They’re old. They’ll be dead soon enough. Cut them some slack and try to make the best of the time you have with them. Right?

It won’t be long before our kids think of us that way, if they don’t already. Hopefully they’ll be kind to us and overlook our inevitable, impending kookiness. It’s as tough to be a good parent as it is to be a good kid.

Christian Lee Hutson: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Rentals video: Invasion Night

Video: The Rentals -- “Invasion Night”

The Rentals - Invasion Night {Official Music Video}

Directed by American Primitive. From Q36.

What are you going to do after an alien invasion wipes out the entire population, leaving only you and a new pal? Wander around, drive some cars, take a boat ride.

The video is beautifully shot by American Primitive’s Jacob Mendel and Travis Keller. Keller, who you will remember as the founder of Buddyhead, said, “The themes are isolation and the end of the world… should be pretty relatable to everyone this week.”

But, you and I, we didn’t die; we’re still alive
Just waiting for the world to end (is this the end?)

That’s the question we’ve all been asking lately.

This latest version of the Rentals features Matt Sharp along with Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Ronnie Vannucci, the drummer from the Killers. They’ve been trickling out singles and videos every couple of weeks since November, and the double album is due in June.

The Rentals: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Slow Song

When you’re sheltering in place, you begin to roll through the past. . . .

In 1982 I moved from Detroit to Rockford, Illinois, to take a job at what now might be considered a start-up, although in its case, it was an organization that was about developing ideas, not software. The move itself seemed like a good idea at the time. More or less.

For those who are not familiar with Rockford, it is “at the top in Illinois,” as the slogan had it, essentially in the middle of the state and about 20 miles south of the border with Wisconsin. It is also about 90 miles northwest of Chicago.

At that point in time the city was in flux, as it had been a town that had a lot of companies involved in making manufacturing equipment and accessories and the like, and that business was on a serious decline. The U.S. had entered a recession in July 1981 that is clawed its way out of by November 1982, and all of that clawing left a lot of companies, big and small, not unscathed. Some terminally.

Rockford is the home of Cheap Trick. And on occasion, when my wife, dog and I strolled along the Rock River in what was then the lovely Sinnissippi Park (it may still be lovely, but it has been a long time), we’d seen Rick Nielsen and his family enjoying the surroundings. What’s more, during the Christmas season in ’82 Robin Zander performed an evening of madrigals at the Coronado Performing Arts Center, and brought out his high school music teacher, as it was something of a tribute to her. Oh, and before the evening was complete, the other three members of the band came out and played as hard as they would have had they still been in high school. (Remember: this was post-Budokan. They were playing to the home town with a fervor that would have made Japanese girls faint.)

///

“Rockford? Rockford! How can you lose with a name like Rockford?”
—Warren Zevon, Rockford MetroCentre, February 4, 1983

Although there were some memorable concerts (e.g., King Crimson at Alpine Valley) during my time there, what continues to musically resonate is hearing on the Northern Illinois University radio station the opening chords of Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out.” There was a brightness and freshness that cut through the funk that sometimes comes when you move to a place that you think is going to be all sunshine and roses and turns out to be, at times, partly cloudy and dandelions gone to seed.

And “We are young but getting old before our time” nailed it.

Continue reading Slow Song

New Norah Jones and Jeff Tweedy video: I’m Alive

Video: Norah Jones -- “I’m Alive” (ft. Jeff Tweedy)

Norah Jones - I'm Alive

From Pick Me Up Off the Floor, due May 8 on Blue Note.

Well I suppose the title of this song is a rather important affirmation in these times of social distancing, self-quarantine and isolation. I hope you, too, are alive and will remain so for as long as reasonably appropriate.

This is a weird thing to be going through, and there have been times over the past couple of weeks where not even listening to music has worked to calm the fear and loathing that rises from my depths of my guts every time I think about how our orange fuhrer and his Republican enablers have botched the response to this crisis. It’s maddening.

But what can you do? Stay home, laugh at memes, and try to comfort those around you. Try not to take out your anger on the undeserving. Watch “Tiger King” and marvel at the wonders of the universe. We are all just blips in the timeline. This too shall pass.

And in the meantime find some joy in this new song by Ravi Shankar’s daughter, recorded with Jeff and Spencer Tweedy at the Wilco Loft.

Just sit and wait, don’t move
Just hesitate
You can hope and pray
You can moan
Maybe things will change.

Things will change. They always do.

Norah Jones: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

What Will You Do When It Is Over?

After a friend read my piece on seeing the Rolling Stones on the band’s now-no-longer-forthcoming No Filter tour, she admitted to me that she had tickets for the show in Detroit. The explanation was simple. She’d never seen the band. She knew that if she didn’t act now she’d not be likely to ever see the band. (An issue on their side, not hers.)

Clearly, a sensible approach. After all, there are lots of things that people go see because they are Important Things. The Grand Canyon. The Liberty Bell. The Empire State Building. The sorts of things that one might check off the proverbial bucket list. Things that are interesting. Impressive. Or just there.

But here we are, in the midst of a situation wherein we are not going to see the seniors, the hole, the broken clanger, or King Kong’s perch. The list may still exist. The things in question still exist. But for now they are outside of our ken because we are all inside.

We are not going to be going to clubs and bars to hear music because those clubs and bars are closed.

And given the razor-thin margins that places like those operate on, when we are able to go back they might not be there for us to go back to.

What’s more, if we think about musicians that performed in those venues, economics are brutal and so they’re going to be in a tougher place than the one they were in before the virus—and that previous one was not in the least bit easy. Many of those people are going to have to give up on their barely paying gigs to try to get another day job.

Music is changed. Perhaps, but let’s hope otherwise, irreparably. Sure, the big acts will be able to coast for a while on the revenues they’ve accumulated, but even they are largely making it only on touring, and to the extend that the tours are on hold, that’s a problem that they may face, as well.
There is another consideration.

Once the stay-at-home advisories are lifted, once we can go back to routines, will we?

Will you shake a stranger’s hand? Will you give an acquaintance a hug?

Will you go to a small crowded club or a large crowded stadium, where the social distancing is a matter of inches rather than six feet?

Or will you decide that it is not worth the risk?

Continue reading What Will You Do When It Is Over?

New Phoebe Bridgers video: Garden Song

Video: Phoebe Bridgers -- “Garden Song”

Phoebe Bridgers - Garden Song (Official Video)

Directed by Jackson Bridgers. Single out now on Dead Oceans.

Phoebe Bridgers is the best. I’m a sucker for sad sack dad rock, and Bridgers isn’t exactly that, but she ticks all the boxes that make me love Elliott Smith, Wilco, and Phosphorescent so much. Her 2017 album, Stranger in the Alps, has been in heavy rotation on CarPlay in my Subaru since she released the video for “Killer” and I realized how amazing she was.

Since then she’s released collaborations with boygenius (with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker) and Better Oblivion Community Center (with Conor Oberst) and sang a song with the guy from the National (which I meant to share but never got to it…it’s pretty good!). She also produced an album by Christian Lee Hutson and the two songs that have been released from that so far are both amazing.

So yeah, I’ve been excited to hear new solo material and “Garden Song” is a tasty appetizer.

And when I grow up I’m gonna look up
From my phone and see my life

Can’t wait to hear more!

Also: DO BONGS.

Phoebe Bridgers: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Phoebe Bridgers video: Garden Song

New of Montreal video: Get God’s Attention By Being An Atheist

Video: of Montreal -- “Get God’s Attention By Being An Atheist”

of Montreal - Get God’s Attention By Being An Atheist [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Directed by Christina Schneider. From UR FUN, out now on Polyvinyl.

It’s fun when Kevin Barnes turns up the guitars. For the past couple of decades he has gone back and forth between making disco beats in his bedroom, and getting down with a full band. Sounds like of Montreal is a badass glam rock band now. Which is awesome.

Barnes told Songfacts, “It’s a cheeky song playing with these different ideas of whether or not you can have blind faith or whether you need to antagonize God into believing in you. We’re always worried about us believing in God, but it’s more important that God believes in you. So it’s playing off that idea, and also with the carpe diem chants in the choruses it’s about not being afraid of life: not letting society or conventionality prevent you from exploring your psyche, exploring your sexuality, exploring all levels of your human experience.”

We don’t wanna be safe, we want experience, we want it louder
It’s crushing our ears, we don’t give a fuck, we want it louder
Loud enough to destroy the talismans of our depressions
We don’t wanna be safe, we want experience, we want it louder

Turn it up!

Of Montreal: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Lauran Hibberd video: Bang Bang Bang

Video: Lauran Hibberd -- “Bang Bang Bang”

Lauran Hibberd - Bang Bang Bang

Single out now.

I’m a sucker for a catchy pop song with crunchy guitars and a sassy attitude.

“’Bang Bang Bang’ is my favorite song of mine of date, and after writing songs about wanting a sugar daddy and being a hoochie, I feel like this has to be a great achievement,” Hibberd told Billboard. “It’s my ‘Crash’ by the Primitives, my ode to the ’90s teenager and the soundtrack to every mistake I’ve ever made and how I can laugh at that now. Shout out to Brian Jonestown Massacre for heavily influencing the second verse.”

We used to try and catch the first light
I would drive all night, woke in paradise
You used to wipe my name on windscreens
And play Jonestown on repeat…

Gotta love that the kids are rocking out to the Primitive and BJM. I remember getting into the Primitives because Morrissey wore a “Stop Killing Me” t-shirt in a photo in the NME or somewhere. That’s how we found out about new bands back in the days before the internet!

Lauran Hibberd: web, sc, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Lauran Hibberd video: Bang Bang Bang

New Shovels and Rope video: Mississippi Nuthin’

Video: Shovels & Rope -- “Mississippi Nuthin'”

Shovels & Rope - Mississippi Nuthin' (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Directed by Marke Johnson. From By Blood, out now on Dualtone.

The video is funny but the song is sad as its narrator deals with feelings of jealousy of a friend who has left them behind.

Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent say, “This song is about a frustrated guy who feels like he deserves more out of life than he’s been given. He was a star in high school and now he’s a regular Joe in the workforce who’s convinced he’s better than his current situation and that he’s about to break out and hit it big with one of his genius ideas.”

We watched you on TV at the recovery
The sound was good but you’re always looking down
Don’t take this personally
But man if that was me
I’d make more eye contact with the camera
And kinda work the crowd

If you live long enough, you’ll probably end up on both sides of this situation at different times in your life. Try to be gracious when you’re doing well and not too bitter when your friends are doing better than you. Ambition is healthy, competetiveness can be gross.

Shovels & Rope: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Via rs.

Continue reading New Shovels and Rope video: Mississippi Nuthin’

New Waxahatchee video: Lilacs

Video: Waxahatchee -- “Lilacs”

Waxahatchee - Lilacs (Official Video)

Directed by Ashley Connor. From Saint Cloud, out March 27 on Merge.

There’s something about the interplay of the guitars on this that reminds me of “Some Kind of Love” by the Velvet Underground. Which is always a good thing.

If I’m a broken record, write it in the dust babe
I’ll fill myself back up like I used to do
And if my bones are made of delicate sugar
I won’t end up anywhere good without you.

Katie Crutchfield talked to Rolling Stone about writing the song. “I was just in a bad mood. Through all of my personal growth and the path that I’ve been on, you have these days where you slip back into bad behavior and patterns of thought. When I wrote that chorus, I was like, ‘All right, we’re going to make this a little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel.’”

She also recommends watering your flowers with Topo Chico: “Lilacs have a longer lifespan if they drink soda water.”

Good tip!

Waxahatchee: web, twitter, amazon, wiki.

Continue reading New Waxahatchee video: Lilacs