Category Archives: Shorties

New Lana Del Rey video: Mariners Apartment Complex

Video: Lana Del Rey – “Mariners Apartment Complex”

Lana Del Rey – Mariners Apartment Complex

Single out now on Interscope.

Like a lot of grumpy dudes I was initially put off by Lana Del Rey because of some atavistic ideas about authenticity. I was swayed by the bullshit narrative that she was just an opportunistic phony.

A couple things helped me change my perspective. First was an interview she did with VH1’s Mark Graham where she came across as a totally normal girl. The best part is where she’s laughing off not being invited to play Coachella (“I just stand there and sing…”) and Graham replies, “Totally their loss,” and she giggles and replies, “Aww thanks Grambo,” addressing him by his online handle (@unclegrambo).

The second thing was an article in Spin by Jessica Hopper that forced me to re-evaluate a lot of my ingrained attitudes about women in music, “selling out,” indie vs. pop, etc.

The issue with Lana Del Rey is not whether she is some corporate test-tubed ingénue, but why we are unwilling to believe that she is animated by her own passion and ambition — and why that makes a hot girl so unattractive.

Why indeed? That attitude is outdated and uncool. So, thankfully, now I’ve come around to the idea that passionate and ambitious hot girls are super attractive! Seriously though. Authenticity in music is a dumb thing to get worked up about. Especially from guys (like me) who love the White Stripes and the Ramones and the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.

So anyway, new Lana Del Rey!

They mistook my kindness for weakness
I fucked up, I know that, but Jesus
Can’t a girl just do the best she can?

Whoa. That’s what it all comes down to, isn’t it? That’s a heavy duty lyric.

Although “Mariners Apartment Complex” was co-written with Jack Antonoff you can tell she’s pals with Jonathan Wilson and Josh Tillman. It’s got that stony Los Angeles canyon vibe.

Still don’t love how she randomly lapses into baby talk vocals, but I guess that’s her thing so whatever. You do you, Lana Del Rey!

Lana Del Rey: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Lana Del Rey video: Mariners Apartment Complex

New Bandicoots video: Shady Lane

Video: The Bandicoots – “Shady Lane”

The Bandicoots – Shady Lane (Official Video)

Video by Austin Blackmore. Single out now.

You know what they say about the 70s: If you remember them, you weren’t there. Well, this Hamilton, Ontario quartet was definitely not there and I’m not sure what they think the 70s where all about, but this ain’t it, despite the ridiculous story they tell in the press release accompanying this song.

What The Bandicoots do know how to do is write a clever pop song. Maybe they got their vision of the 70s via The Arctic Monkeys, who have also dabbled a bit in the fashion, if not the music, of that decade? Because “Shady Lane” could easily be an outtake or companion piece to one their early story-songs like “Mardy Bum” or “Fake Tales of San Francisco.”

I look forward to hearing more from these guys and would be happy to help them discover the 70s with a marathon viewing of Dennis Hopper’s The American Dreamer and a rack of Harvey Wallbangers.

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

New Alice Merton video: Why So Serious

Video: Alice Merton – “Why So Serious”

Alice Merton – Why So Serious (Official Video)

From Mint, due January 18, 2019. Single out now.

I like Alice Merton. In an interview with Billboard she talked about how labels and radio people tried to get her to change her sound, but she stubbornly refused and pitched directly to blogs and Spotify and the labels and radio eventually came around.

Try to learn to let go of all those things that tie you down
Get rid of it, the voice inside that tells me that
I’m scared, yeah, scared as shit
But I wanna let go of it now

When she posted this song on Instagram she said, “I sometimes need to remind myself to take a step back from everything and look at the big picture…which is pretty nice if you ask me.”

Optimism is a hard sell these days. But I guess it’s refreshing that someone’s trying to find the bright side.

Alice Merton: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 17

Rolling Stone issue #17 had a cover date of September 14, 1968. 24 pages. 35 cents. Cover illustration by Rick Griffin.

Features: The Rolling Stone Interview with Pete Townshend by Jann Wenner; Eric Burdon: ‘I Got Changes to Go Through, That’s All’ by Jerry Hopkins; “The Eggman Wears White” by Jonathan Cott (about John and Yoko’s latest art projects).

News: “Apples is Closed; Beatles Give It All Away Free” (on the closing of the Apple Boutique); “Doors Concert Starts Riot in Long Island”; “Raelettes Leave Ray [Charles]”; Newport Pop Festival; Kaleidoscope Club in Los Angeles; International Essener Song Tage festival in Germany; “Airplane and Doors Fly to Europe.”

Columns: Visuals by Thomas Albright (“One Panel Is Worth a Thousand Balloons”); no Perspectives by Ralph J. Gleason and nothing by Jon Landau. In fact we won’t see another Gleason byline until issue 22 in November. Joe Hagan’s Sticky Fingers tells us: “In September 1968, Gleason tendered his resignation as vice president of Straight Arrow, saying he felt ‘seriously exploited’ by Wenner, who had only paid him $35 since Rolling Stone began” (page 119).

Landau, however, will be back in the next issue.

The fact that Thomas Albright’s column was given the cover treatment shows that Wenner still hadn’t quite figured out the commercial value of that placement. I also find it odd that while almost none of Gleason’s and few of Landau’s columns are available on the rollingstone.com site today, almost all of Albright’s early columns are. What’s up with that?

This issue marks the first appearance of “Random Notes” which still exists today. It replaced Wenner’s “John J. Rock” column, which ran from issue 8 through issue 15, as the place for music industry gossip, rumors and PR leaks. This inaugural “Random Notes” has items about Dylan, Zappa, Cream, Buddy Guy, and news of the upcoming Beatles single: “Hey Judge” [sic, ha ha] b/w “Revolution.”

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 17

New First Aid Kit video: Rebel Heart

Video: First Aid Kit – “Rebel Heart”

First Aid Kit – Rebel Heart (Official Video)

Directed by Mats Udd. From Ruins, out now on Columbia.

Spooky! It’s great to see First Aid Kit embrace their essential witchiness in their culty new video for “Rebel Heart.”

They discussed the song with Consequence of Sound:

We stayed in California for five weeks to write new material for Ruins. During this trip we went out to Joshua Tree. We rented a gorgeous dome house that was very isolated. When we wrote this song we’d been playing around with these old occult themed board games, tarot cards and an ouija board that was in the house. There was a storm outside, it was late at night. We could see the starry sky very clearly. We were overcome by this haunting feeling of being only the two of us alone in a house in the middle of the desert. This was during a quite tumultuous time of heartbreak and emotional disorientation. This song came to us in the midst of all of that.

The ending of “Rebel Heart” begged to be epic, we wanted to take the listener on a journey. Recording it in the studio with Tucker Martine was incredible. We didn’t really know what do with the song at first, but as soon as Glenn Kotche played that drum pattern in the second verse we knew this was going to be the album opener. It just felt so cinematic and powerful.

The song is indeed epic, cinematic, and powerful. And the video will creep you out…in the best way.

First Aid Kit: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Willie Nelson video: One for My Baby

Video: Willie Nelson – “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)”

Willie Nelson – One for My Baby (And One More for the Road) (Official Music Video)

From My Way, out September 14 on Sony Legacy.

Another one from Willie’s tribute to Frank Sinatra. “One for My Baby” is a classic Johnny Mercer lyric set to a complex Harold tune, originally written for the 1943 Fred Astaire film, The Sky’s the Limit. The scene in which it appears features my all-time favorite dance routine as Astaire drunkenly trashes the hotel bar.

Frank owns it though. Of course he does. It’s the perfect sad sack, drunken, breakup song, which all real Sinatra fans prefer to his ring-a-ding-ding happy songs.

Willie’s version is fine. Mickey Raphael’s distinctive harmonica makes it sound like Willie but the orchestration is a little too generic and snoozeworthy. The strings obscure what otherwise distinguishes this arrangement: Willie’s guitar flourishes and some tasteful pedal steel. It would be much better without the lush stuff.

But hey, Willie’s a legend and can do whatever he wants.

Willie Nelson: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Willie Nelson video: One for My Baby

New Courtney Marie Andrews video: Heart and Mind

Video: Courtney Marie Andrews – “Heart and Mind”

Courtney Marie Andrews – Heart and Mind

Single out now on Fat Possum.

Dear sister, my tears are for you
I know this life can be so cruel and unkind
But when you’re feeling weak,
Know your power is in your heart and your mind

This is a previously unreleased song, written after the election in 2016 and performed live since at least February of 2017, but not included on her most recent album, May Your Kindness Remain. It’s powerful.

“Back in November, only two days or so after the election, this song hit me like a brick at a Love’s Truck Stop. I pulled over, and wrote it in 10 minutes. That’s how some songs are delivered, fully formed, and you must write them when they come. For the first time in my womanhood, I felt powerless, because the man who was supposed to rule our country made some very shocking and hurtful comments about women. It reminded me of all the times I, or someone close to me, had been harassed, sexually abused, cat-called, or body shamed. The song is intended to empower, and to conquer our demons. It is a statement, not a plead or a question. We ARE more than bodies. We are strong, intelligent, capable humans, with our own opinions and thoughts. It’s a song that I desperately needed as a reminder, and a song that I hope serves as a reminder to women who feel powerless.” – Courtney Marie Andrews

The video features old footage from home movies, and its effect is heartbreaking. To think that all of these smiling, innocent kids in these family videos will inevitably have their souls crushed by the cruel, cruel world is almost too much to bear.

Courtney Marie Andrews: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Courtney Marie Andrews video: Heart and Mind

New Sylvie Simmons video: Hard Act to Follow

Video: Sylvie Simmons – “Hard Act to Follow”

Sylvie Simmons, Hard Act to Follow, from "Juliet, Naked" soundtrack

From Sylvie, released in 2014 on Light In the Attic Records.

Sylvie Simmons is one of my favorite music journalists. I’ve been reading her stuff in Mojo for over a decade. She almost singlehandedly made me despise Lou Reed after reading her 2005 interview with him.

It’s rare for a rock critic to cross over to the other side and make decent music. Have you ever heard any of the songs Lester Bangs recorded? Not great. But “Hard Act to Follow” succeeds because it doesn’t sound like it’s trying too hard. Simple strummed ukulele and direct vocals that sound honest and comforting. This song came out a few years ago but it was just featured in the new Nicky Hornby movie, “Juliet, Naked” so Simmons made a video for it.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a big downtown movie theatre to see a new movie called “Juliet Naked.” It’s a romantic comedy based on a book by Nick Hornby, a former rock critic, directed by Jesse Peretz, a former rock musician (remember the Lemonheads?) and featuring a soundtrack that includes songs by Marianne Faithfull, Chrissie Hynde, Robyn Hitchcock, M.Ward… and me!

I sat watching the movie and listening hard, because I didn’t know what scene it was going to be in, but after a while I got into the story and forgot all about my song. Then, during a scene shot in the Tate Modern in London, one of my favourite places in the world, suddenly out of the giant speakers there I was, singing “Hard Act to Follow.” I almost jumped out of my seat.

So to celebrate my song getting its first major movie role, I decided to make it its own little film, working with San Francisco video maker, Carlos Forster.

It’s really good!

Sylvie Simmons: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Sylvie Simmons video: Hard Act to Follow

New Regrettes video: Red Light

Video: The Regrettes – “Red Light”

The Regrettes – Red Light

Directed by Morgan Higby Night. From the Attention Seeker EP, out now on Warner Bros.

It’s great that this song has finally been given a (semi-) official video, but the circumstances for releasing it are kind of a bummer. Bass player Sage Chavis has left the band.

Chavis explained her departure on instagram: “I have grown and learned so much but I must continue to push myself to grow and, for me, that means making room for that growth.”

This comes just four months after drummer Maxx Morando left the band. Not sure what’s going on here, but I’m hoping the shakeup doesn’t affect their sound too much. That debut album, Feel Your Feelings Fool!, is front-to-back a great rock and roll listening experience. Who knows how much replacing the rhythm section will change the vibe? I fear change in general, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, so we’ll have to wait and find out.

The “behind the scenes” video was shot by Lydia’s dad/tour manager, Morgan Higby Night.

Here’s a BTS video I cut for Red Light last year but I didn’t get the proper clearances from the clubs so it was never released by WBR. Seemed like a good day to post as the Regrettes say farewell to the wonderful Sage Chavis who’s departing touring life as Maxx had a few months ago. Tour managing this group of amazing humans was one of the great honors of my life. Excited for the next phase of The Regrettes with their fantastic drummer (and human) Drew and their secret new bass player/bad ass human on the way ;D

love – Lydia’s dad

Looking forward for 2019 to hear the new album…

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

Number One Records: In My Feelings

Video: Drake – “In My Feelings”

Drake – In My Feelings

Directed by Karena Evans. From Scorpion, out now on Young Money/Cash Money/Republic Records.

Drake’s “In My Feelings” has been #1 since the week ending July 12, and I’ve been trying to ignore it this whole time. But this week marks eight weeks in the top spot of the Hot 100, so I guess it’s time to accept it.

Starting to wonder if maybe my dislike of Drake is irrational… I have never liked singy hip hop. I came up with hardcore. I’ve always believed, as Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly so eloquently stated in 1992, that “R&B-rap is bullcrap.” I didn’t even like “Regulate” back in the day. This seems completely arbitrary and ridiculous at this point. Nevertheless, implicit biases are hard to shake.

Is “In My Feelings” a good song? I don’t know. It’s a good meme. And it’s better than Post Malone, right? But it’s been the number one song in America all summer, so I suppose it’s earned closer scrutiny. I’ve listened to it a bunch of times in a row now, and it’s catchy for sure. I dig the video. Is that what New Orleans is like now? I haven’t been there since before Katrina.

But yeah, Drake. This is pop music in 2018. He’s led the Hot 100 for a 27 weeks this year in total, so this is what we’ve got. Love it or lump it.

Continue reading Number One Records: In My Feelings