Category Archives: Shorties

New Father John Misty video: God’s Favorite Customer

Video: Father John Misty – “God’s Favorite Customer”

Father John Misty – "God's Favorite Customer" [Official Music Video]

Directed by Emma Tillman. From God’s Favorite Customer, out now on Sub Pop.

Another bummer from Papa John Misery.

I’m out here testing the maxim
That all good things have to stop
The bar closes at 5
But the big man is just opening shop

Once again, Tillman’s voice sounds great and the song is pretty but the lyrics are lamenting a period when he was “all bug-eyed and babbling” and separated from the woman he loves. Or, as it’s stated in the press release, “being caught between the vertigo of heartbreak and the manic throes of freedom.”

Of course, he’s reflecting on that experience with disgust. Which is not fun. Why does Tillman fear fun now? He might as well drop the “Misty” persona and resume recording as “J. Tillman” if he’s going to be this humorless and self-lacerating…

Maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe the “Misty” thing has peaked anyway. Look at his first-week sales history:

Fear Fun: 4,000 sold (May 2012)
Honeybear: 28,000 sold (February 2015)
Pure Comedy: 33,000 pure album sales (35,000 equivalent album units) (April 2017)
Customer: 19,000 sold (22,000 equivalent album units) (June 2018)

Maybe he’s overdue to gobble up some mushrooms, climb a tree, and contemplate the absurdity of his life again. It worked last time. Stop being so serious. Time to drown old Neil down on the beach one more time.

Father John Misty: web, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Number One Records: I Like It

Video: Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin – “I Like It”

Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin – I Like It [Official Music Video]

Directed by Eif Rivera. From Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy, out now on Atlantic.

“I Like It” is the first fun number one since Camila Cabello’s “Havana” back in January. (I guess “Nice For What” was upbeat, but Drake is so whiny that I can’t consider him fun.)

Cardi just makes you happy.

They call me Cardi Bardi, banging body
Spicy mami, hot tamale
Hotter than a Somali, fur coat, Ferrari
Hop out the stu’, jump in the coupe
Big Dipper on top of the roof

That’s fun!

Plus she samples “I Like It Like That” by Bronx boogaloo pianist Pete Rodriguez, so it’s got that funky 1967 Latin hook. I don’t know anything about Bad Bunny and J Balvin but all my favorite pop hits since we’ve been doing this series have had some Latino flavor, so I welcome and encourage our neighbors to the south to take over our pop charts entirely.

“I Like It” sold 44,000 downloads and had 37.5 million U.S. streams in the week ending June 28, and 80 million in radio audience in the week ending July 1.

Cardi B: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading Number One Records: I Like It

New Tomberlin video: Seventeen

Video: Tomberlin – “Seventeen”

Tomberlin – Seventeen

Directed by Zach Xanders. From At Weddings, due August 10 on Saddle Creek.

You always say that I look so tough
But it’s because I’m tough

Sarah Beth Tomberlin is a 23 year old songwriter from Kentucky who records for Saddle Creek. Her dad’s a strict Baptist pastor. She was homeschooled. One of the first secular albums she owned was Bright Eyes’ I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning. And now she writes her own lovely acoustic songs about love and connection.

She told the Fader: “The whole point of music is to be honest with people and tell stories and bridge a gap that maybe shouldn’t be there. No matter where you stand religiously or politically or socially, people interact with all sorts of art. I’m based in Louisville now, but I wasn’t when I was writing the stuff. I kind of just felt like, There’s no way this will ever get to anybody. I’m not a part of a scene. I’m not in Brooklyn or Philly or Chicago. I was just doing music for myself. I legitimately never thought a lot of these songs would come out. I was doing it to become a better writer and to process my experience.”

At Weddings was originally released last year on Joyful Noise as part of their 2017 White Label series limited to 500 hand-numbered vinyl copies. Saddle Creek is giving it a wider release and adding three brand new songs.

“Seventeen” is one of those new songs (along with “A Video Game” and “I’m Not Scared”), and it’s really good.

Tomberlin: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Tomberlin video: Seventeen

The Music of Money

Somehow along the way I missed that “iHeartMedia, Inc., the parent company of iHeartCommunications, Inc., . . . one of the leading global media, entertainment and data companies,” “filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division” last March 14. The Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings portion of the business—essentially the billboard part of things, and I don’t mean Billboard as in publication but “billboard” as those eyesores—wasn’t part of the filing.

When the filing was announced, Bob Pittman, iHeart chairman and CEO stated in a news release, “We have transformed a traditional broadcast radio company into a true 21st century multi-platform, data-driven, digitally-focused media and entertainment powerhouse with unparalleled reach, products and services now available on more than 200 platforms, and the iHeartRadio master brand that ties together our almost 850 radio stations, our digital platform, our live events, and our 129 million social followers.”

While that sounds all-good, the statement went on to say, “The agreement we announced today is a significant accomplishment, as it allows us to definitively address the more than $20 billion in debt that has burdened our capital structure.”

Yes, 21st century. Multi-platform. Data-driven. Digitally focused. Social followers.

And $20-billion in debt.

Continue reading The Music of Money

New Paul McCartney video: Come On To Me

Video: Paul McCartney – “Come On To Me”

Paul McCartney – 'Come On To Me (Lyric Video)'

From Egypt Station, due September 7 on Capitol Records.

Ram is by far and away my favorite solo McCartney album. The notoriously perfectionist ex-Beatle’s second album is loose, goofy and–dare I say it?–fun! The screaming, utter nonsense of “Monkberry Moon Delight” and the adolescent knuckleheadedness of “Smile Away” gave Macca an outlet for one of the reasons we all loved him in the first place: he’s entertaining!

But just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it’s throw-away. The Beatles made an astonishing career out of bringing artistry to pop music. And so it’s cool to hear a bit of that fun in Paul’s new double A-side single, Come On To Me/I Don’t Know.

Who doesn’t love the jaunt of “Come On To Me” with some choppy guitars, a bouncy beat and lyrics about meeting girls!? Unlike Mick Jagger’s struggle to make lechery from a 70+ year old man (or any man, for that matter) acceptable in the 2010s, Paul has always been “The Cute One,” and this is a cute song with more than a few nods to his hi-hi-highs in Wings.

Paul McCartney: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Paul McCartney video: Come On To Me

New Tracyanne and Danny video: It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts

Video: Tracyanne & Danny – “It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts”

Tracyanne & Danny – It Can't Be Love Unless It Hurts (Official Music Video)

Directed by Ed Dougherty. From Tracyanne & Danny, out now on Merge Records.

Spooky!

Director Ed Dougherty says, “One of my obsessions is The Amityville Horror. Most people don’t know it was proven to be a hoax, but it was, and the story of how they pulled it off is way more interesting to me than any haunted house story. We made this with a four-person crew in Scotland, with all of us wearing many hats, and three of us appearing in the video as actors.”

“It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts” is another pretty song and a funny video from Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell and her pal Danny Coughlan.

Previously: New Tracyanne and Danny video: Alabama

Tracyanne and Danny: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Number One Records: Sad!

Audio: XXXTentacion – “Sad!”

XXXTENTACION – SAD!

From ?, out now on Bad Vibes Forever.

Like probably a lot of middle-aged white people, the first I ever heard of XXXTentacion was when Spotify banned him from its corporate playlists along with R. Kelly. I read “The Real Story of South Florida Rapper XXXTentacion” before I heard any of his music. And after reading that, I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to listen to it. XXXTentacion was a violent and abusive guy.

Then on June 18 he was shot dead in an apparent robbery. He was 20 years old.

And now he has reached the top spot on the Hot 100 singles chart. And he’s got four more songs in the Top 40.

Christopher Weingarten in Rolling Stone explains how unique XXX’s story is in the history of popular music. This kid came from nowhere, with no label support, and made a huge impact. Weingarten compares him to Darby Crash of the Germs and says it’s as if “tiny indie Slash Records somehow got ‘Lexicon Devil’ to the Top 40.” For those of us who grew up in the MTV era, it’s unimaginable.

“Sad!” is still the only XXXTentacion song I’ve listened to. And it’s weird. Is this hip hop? He’s singing. It’s melodic. And depressing. And manipulative (“You decide, if you’re ever gonna, let me know / Suicide, if you ever try to let go”). It doesn’t surprise me at all that teenagers love it. And boy, do they. “Sad!” had 48.9 million U.S. streams and 26,000 downloads sold in the week ending June 21, with only 2.9 million in airplay audience in the week ending June 24.

XXXTentacion: web, soundcloud, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading Number One Records: Sad!

New St. Vincent video: Fast Slow Disco

Video: St. Vincent – “Fast Slow Disco”

St. Vincent – Fast Slow Disco (Music Video)

Directed by Zev Deans. Remix out now. The original “Slow Disco” is available on MASSEDUCTION.

“Don’t it beat a slow dance to death?” I love that line. “A slow dance to death” is a pretty apt metaphor for the mundane experience of adulthood. We’re all racing toward death, some more slowly than others. Who wins? What changes do we need to make to get more out of life?

But that line also works as a commentary on the remix itself. It’s way more fun to bug out to a banger than to sway in place to a slow jam. Isn’t this version a lot better than the original version? Yes, it beats it to death.

Of course, in the context of the song, it’s pretty clear that the death in question is the end of a relationship.

there’s blood in my ears
and a fool in the mirror
and the bay of mistakes
couldn’t get any clearer

Annie Clark told Pitchfork that it’s about “how the life you’re actually living and the life that you should be living are running parallel, and how one haunts the other.”

And in a recent Beats 1 interview she credits Taylor Swift for inspiring the remix: “I don’t want to start a weird rumour or anything, but I swear to God, you know because Jack Antonoff’s bros with Taylor Swift because they work together a lot, and I feel like Taylor was like, ‘You should make this a pop song.’ I know that she wholeheartedly supported that idea and I think the genesis of the idea was her.”

The video features our hero grinding around a sweaty club with a bunch of hunky bears. And nobody’s ghosting anyone on this dance floor.

St. Vincent: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New St. Vincent video: Fast Slow Disco

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 12

Rolling Stone issue #12 had a cover date of June 22, 1968. 24 pages. 35 cents.

Features: “Dylan’s Basement Tape Should Be Released” by Jann Wenner; “A Special Report: Inside the Los Angeles Scene” by Jerry Hopkins (recently deceased); “Jagger Plans To Tour Again; New Stones Album Ready” by Bob Dawbarn; Ralph J. Gleason on Willie Mae Thornton; Ben Fong-Torres on Gordon Lightfoot; “Beatles Dump the Maharishi” by Our Correspondent.

News: Stones Announce New Single, Jagger Makes Acting Debut; Byrds Do the Country Thing; Fugs Celebrate Decency Week; KMPX Strikers Find a New Home; Buffalo Springfield Goes to Pasture; A Starting Film with Jimi Hendrix.

Columns: Perspectives by Ralph J. Gleason (“A Power To Change the World”); Visuals by Thomas Albright (“A Mind-Blown, Chaplinesque Mouse”); “John J. Rock” has some label news, a bitchy comment about the Rome Festival, and commentary about new songs from the Beatles (“‘Across the Universe,’ a Beatle song recorded at the same time as ‘Lady Madonna,’ was planned for release on an all-star Charity LP, but will probably not be released after all.”) and the Stones (“‘Jumping Jack Flash,’ a return to the riffs of ‘Route 66.'”).

Reviews: Lumpy Gravy by Frank Zappa on Verve (by Jim Miller); The Twain Shall Meet by Eric Burdon and the Animals on MGM (no byline); Pure Cotton by the James Cotton Blues Band on Verve Forecast (by Barry Gifford); Children of the Future by Steve Miller Band on Capitol (by Jann Wenner).

Notable Correspondence: Lenny Kaye (New York City) defends the honor of the Ronettes and the Shangri-Las; Bob Christgau (Secular Music, Esquire Magazine) defends Moby Grape.

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 12

New Neil and Liam Finn Video: Back to Life

Video: Neil & Liam Finn – “Back To Life”

Neil & Liam Finn – Back To Life (Official Video)

Directed by Sam Kristofski. From Lightsleeper, out August 24 on Lester Records.

Eros was the Greek god who became Cupid when the Greeks gave way to the Romans. You probably associate one—or both—with the tag “the god of Love,” based primarily on the Valentine’s Day cards that you surreptitiously delivered to your secret someones in elementary school.

However, the real subtitle for Eros is “the god of Desire,” which is something wholly separate from—though it sometimes intersects with—Love, and which probably explains why the winged boy is typically shown—as in the video for Neil and Liam Finn’s “Back to Life”—with a bow and arrow. To borrow the title of a Kip Hanrahan album: Desire Develops an Edge. And the edge of Desire is arrow-sharp.

The video is shot as a pantomime which, coincidentally enough, goes back to the ancient Romans, even though in this execution (like many in this genre) it appears as a variant of a silent movie from the dawn of the motion picture age, when there were no voices, just dialog cards. “The more we sing, the less we have to say,” the duo, well, sing.

“Back to Life” is a retelling of the story of Orpheus and his wife, Eurydice. In the original telling (in which Neil wasn’t on piano and Liam on fake lyre), Eurydice died and went to the Underworld. Orpheus followed her there and by performing for Hades was able to convince the god of the Underworld to allow Eurydice to return to life, to return to the surface. Hades allowed this but made one stipulation: Orpheus was to go first and Eurydice was to follow. “Don’t look back,” Orpheus was told in no uncertain terms.

And we know how that plays out.

Chances are, the sweet harmonizing voices of Finn père et fils are such that they, too, could make the chthonic journey and bring back the light.

Neil and Liam Finn: web, twitter (Neil), twitter (Liam), amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.