Category Archives: Shorties

New Regrettes video: What Am I Gonna Do Today

Video: The Regrettes -- “What Am I Gonna Do Today”

The Regrettes "What Am I Gonna Do Today" (Official Music Video)

Shot by the Regrettes. Edited by Claire Marie Vogel. Single out now on Warner.

The Regrettes are back with a new single to help you make it through another day at home. On Instagram, the band describes it as “a song we recorded ourselves remotely in quarantine and we hope it brings you as much joy as making it did for us.”

both of us are always waitin
for a time with nothin in our way
both of us anticipatin
for a day that can turn into tomorrow
without sayin goodbye.

Well, the wait is over! All the days are turning into tomorrow lately without a lot of difference from one to the next. But that’s alright. Listen how good a band can sound, recording themselves at home. Pretty soon we’re all going to realize that there’s no point in ever leaving the house again!

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

Virtuosity

Rei Toei is the title character of William Gibson’s Idoru. “She”* is an artificial intelligence-based hologram, a pop performer. When looked at by an individual, she adapts to that person’s taste in J-pop. When she performs in concert, the performance is predicated on the group’s consensus of what they think she should be.

While Rei is a synthetic performer, there have been, during the past few years, a number of biologically dead performers—Tupac, Roy Orbison, Ronnie James Dio, Frank Zappa, Whitney Houston, etc.—who have “performed” in digital renditions. And reading the reviews of these shows leads me to believe that this is something that is well accepted among the fans of the deceased.

Why is it that people find it fascinating to see a “performance” by someone who is in absolutely no condition to perform? Would it be just as engaging for them to watch, say, a movie of said performer rather than a hologram? Back in the early days of movies there were often orchestras who played the soundtrack live. (In 1981 I had the opportunity to watch Abel Gance’s reconstructed Napoleon (filmed in 1927) at the Fox Theater in Detroit with a score written by Carmine Coppola; Francis Ford’s American Zoetrope was behind the showing of the 3.5-hour film in venues across the country, which probably had a little something to do with why dad wrote the music; and it may be interesting to know that Francis was born in Detroit when dad was a musician with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra: the middle name comes from Henry Ford, for whom the hospital Francis was born in is named.) Now there need be nothing but speakers, projectors and a sufficiently robust GPU-based processor.

Is the digital performance better, say, than a cover band version of the performer(s)? Wikipedia has 24 pages of Beatles tribute bands and there is a disclaimer on the entry: “This list may not reflect recent changes.” Odds are there aren’t fewer people who are pretending but more. Could many of them, however, go away, were there to be some sort of licensing deal with the estates of John and George and the existing Ringo and Paul by companies like Base Hologram or Eyellusion?

As we are all under various stages of lockdowns, as concert venues are closed and not likely to be reopening anytime soon, might people start strapping on the HoloLens2 headset and watch their favorite performers?

Continue reading Virtuosity

New Exbats video: Ghost in the Record Store

Video: The Exbats -- “Ghost in the Record Store”

The Exbats - Ghost in the Record Store

Song for Record Store Day, April 18, 2020 released on invisible vinyl, limited edition of zero, for sale nowhere.

Are you missing shopping for inessential things like vinyl? Sad that Record Store Day has been postponed (or whatever it is they’re doing with it)? Well, just remember that some shops are haunted!

At night you might hear a quiet song
You sense his moves but the lights aren’t on
It’s just that friend and he’s still right there
Filling orders in his underwear!

Too bad you won’t be able to pick this one up on invisible vinyl. I’d line up over night for the chance to score one of these babies in its limited edition of zero! Rock and roll!

The Exbats: bandcamp, insta, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Run The Jewels video: Ooh LA LA

Video: Run The Jewels -- “Ooh LA LA” (ft. Greg Nice & DJ Premier)

Run The Jewels "Ooh LA LA" feat. Greg Nice & DJ Premier (Official Music Video)

Directed by Brian & Vanessa Beletic. From RTJ4. Single out now.

There’s nothing like a Run the Jewels song to make you feel better about the world and give you hope for the future! So glad these guys are back right when we need them most.

And it looks they got this video made in just the nick of time!

We shot this video only a few weeks before the pandemic hit with no clue as to what the future held. The fact that we got the chance to do it is damn near miraculous in hindsight.

In conceptualizing the video with our friends Brian and Vanessa Beletic we imagined the world on the day that the age old struggle of class was finally over. A day that humanity, empathy and community were victorious over the forces that would separate us based on arbitrary systems created by man.

This video is a fantasy of waking up on a day that there is no monetary system, no dividing line, no false construct to tell our fellow man that they are less or more than anyone else. Not that people are without but that the whole meaning of money has vanished. That we have somehow solved our self created caste system and can now start fresh with love, hope and celebration. It’s a dream of humanity’s V-DAY… and the party we know would pop off.

Love, RTJ

All hail Run the Jewels, the pride of this great republic!

Run The Jewels: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

A Hamburger Today: The Wimpy Approach to Tickets

One of the cartoon characters that has pretty much disappeared from the scene is Popeye the Sailor Man, the bizarrely configured individual with forearms the size of barrels and upper arms the size of twigs. He gained strength from eating spinach, not of the variety that most people might be familiar with from salads (which often had a warm bacon dressing, canceling any of the nutritional benefits), but from a can that he would crush in the middle such that it popped out of the top for quick consumption. Popeye needed the strength to take on his rival, Bluto, or Brutus, which at some point was claimed to be a set of twins, who typically was kidnapping Olive Oyl, Popeye’s girlfriend. Not even a 1980 Robert Altman movie starring Robin Williams (Popeye) and Shelley Duvall (Olive Oyl) with a screenplay by Jules Feiffer music by Harry Nilsson could save the strip.

At this point you are probably wondering whether you’ve accidentally stumbled onto some comic-book related website or that GloNo has transformed during this time of working from home.

Well, not exactly.

There is another Popeye Universe character that has recently come to mind: Wimpy. Apparently his full name is J. Wellington Wimpy. Something of a ne’er-do-well who seemingly came from a place of higher station and has fallen to a lower one. And who has become a con.

Wimpy’s catch phrase is: “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

And you know that Tuesday never comes, even if it is Monday.

Even with states “opening up,” the likelihood that there will be concerts of any size anytime soon is slimmer than Olive Oyl.

Yet there are companies including Ticketmaster and AEG have sold tickets for concerts, and seem to be having a refund policy that would be familiar to Wimpy. You can get your money back on Tuesday.
Part of the approach is that a concert must be officially canceled or new dates have to be set for the show before a refund is considered.

Continue reading A Hamburger Today: The Wimpy Approach to Tickets

The Mountain Goats – Songs for Pierre Chuvin

Video: The Mountain Goats -- “Until Olympius Returns”

the Mountain Goats - Until Olympius Returns

From Songs for Pierre Chuvin, out now on Merge.

It’s hard not to feel doomed these days. Democracy, empathy, our general welfare: all of these things have been eroding away for the past few years. Longer, of course, but the erosion has ramped up lately like the rising waters of Lake Michigan eating away the shoreline.

Maybe it was inevitable. It’s probably irreversible.

This pandemic and the response to it might be the final nail in the coffin. Will our culture survive?

Our temples are record stores, independent book shops, and small restaurants. Our ceremonies are sweating with strangers in dark clubs with live music. Will any of that even exist in a couple years?

I hope so. We’ll see. Or maybe we won’t.

Do you think the fourth and fifth century pagans throughout the Roman Empire thought about stuff like that while the Christian mobs and Roman armies were systematically wiping them off the face of the earth?

On Songs for Pierre Chuvin, John Darnielle goes back in time to an era that’s hardly recognizable anymore: the 1990s. It was a time when dudes sat on the living room floor and recorded earnest songs about ancient esoterica into boomboxes. They dubbed copies of their cassettes and passed them around to their friends, who dubbed copies and passed them around to their friends, who picked out their favorite songs and compiled them onto mixtapes to impress pals and woo women. The world was physical and the exchange of these artifacts took place in dorm rooms and shitty apartments, face-to-face or delivered to mailboxes.

I first became aware of the Mountain Goats at the tail end of this era. All Hail West Texas was the last album that John Darnielle recorded on his Panasonic RX-FT500 portable cassette player. Since then Mountain Goats albums have gotten gradually more sophisticated, recording in professional studios, adding a bass player, then a drummer, eventually even a saxophone. Darnielle’s compositions have matured as well, as has his musicianship, and several recent recordings feature Darnielle on piano instead of guitar. 2017’s Goths features no guitar at all. It’s jazzy.

Continue reading The Mountain Goats -- Songs for Pierre Chuvin

The Crying of Lot 205

Friday, April 10, was the 50th anniversary of the breakup of The Beatles, so what better day than that to buy stuff?

Specifically, Beatles’ stuff.

Let’s face it, there hasn’t been a whole lot of interest in the actual music being put out by the two remaining people who had been part of the band, so that’s not driving a whole lot of revenue for anyone.

So a wide array of things that were associated with the once Fab Four were put up for auction at Julien’s Auctions.

In case you are wondering, that business is not operated by John Lennon’s son: he’s Julian. According to the folks at Julien’s, it is “the world record-breaking auction house to the stars.”

(And as we have a bit of time on our collective hands as we shelter at home, let’s think about that “auction house to the stars” claim for a moment. Also according to the firm, it “received its second placement in the Guinness Book of World Records for the sale of the world’s most expensive dress ever sold at auction, the Marilyn Monroe ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’ dress which sold for $4.81 million.” That happened in 2016. Ms. Monroe sang that song to John F. Kennedy in 1962. Ms. Monroe died that same year. So one of the claims to fame of the “auction house to the stars” has no benefit to the star in question, as both the star and the person to whom her slinky vocal stylings were directed have both been dead for more than 50 years. In addition to which, in terms of the auction that we will be looking at in a moment—honest, I will get out of this parenthetical remark soon—again, two of the stars are no longer with us, as John Lennon died in 1980 and George Harrison in 2001, so again, how are they going to benefit from the auction? In case you’re wondering about the first placement in the Guinness Book of World Records, that occurred in 2009, when it auctioned off a white glove that had been worn by Michael Jackson, “making it the most expensive glove ever sold at auction.” Jackson died in 2009. It isn’t clear whether the glove sold before or after his passing. And the whole notion of a glove being owned by him is not worth thinking about too hard, or at all, for that matter.)

Back to the auction of the Beatles’ related materials.

Continue reading The Crying of Lot 205

New Courtney Marie Andrews video: Burlap String

Video: Courtney Marie Andrews -- “Burlap String”

Courtney Marie Andrews - "Burlap String" (Official Video)

Directed by V Haddad. From Old Flowers, due June 5 on Fat Possum.

Courtney Marie Andrews has an amazing voice. I discovered her strictly on the strength of her 2018 album cover, which is still one of my all-time faves. That’s an admittedly goofy reason to check out a record, but in this case it totally worked out. May Your Kindness Remain is as great as its artwork.

Andrews has a new album coming out in June, and this one is all about heartbreak.

Some days are good, some are bad
Some days I want what we had
Some days I talk myself into a lie.

The video is a tribute to a community of musicians in Bisbee, Arizona, where Andrews would visit as a teenager, including a couple named Derrick and Amy Ross who performed as Nowhere Man And A Whiskey Girl. Andrews says they “became my DIY musician mentors, being fifteen years older than me, and showing me it was possible to pay rent off of playing music. I adored them, and we did lots of shows together throughout my early twenties.” Tragically, they both died in 2013. “Losing them was a devastating blow. They were a large part of the Arizonan community. I still go back to Bisbee often, as it’s where my heart belongs in many ways.”

Andrews shot her new video on Young Blood Hill, a place “littered with catholic influenced memorials, shrines and crosses,” including the memorial of her friends. “By the end of the video, I am placing flowers on Derrick and Amy’s memorial, as a way of reckoning with their loss and each loss we grieve throughout our lifetime. Though this song was written for one of the great loves of my own lifetime, I wish to place flowers on heartbreak’s memorial as well.”

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

Continue reading New Courtney Marie Andrews video: Burlap String

New Warlocks video: Dear Son

Video: The Warlocks -- “Dear Son”

The Warlocks - "Dear Son" (Official Music Video)

Directed by Vicente Cordero. From The Chain, out now on Cleopatra.

It’s been 17 years since Bobby Hecksher’s psychedelic Warlocks first blew our mind with The Phoenix Album. I still rank “Shake the Dope Out” and “The Dope Feels Good” as two of the best songs of that whole turn of the century “garage” rock scene. Seeing them at the first Chicago-based Lollapalooza in the middle of the day was a highlight of the whole weekend. And Johnny Loftus’ review of a 2002 Double Door show is one of my favorite things we’ve ever published.

And now the Warlocks are back with a brand new concept album about “two star-crossed lovers who commit a bank heist together.”

Hecksher recently talked to the Big Takeover: “In the video, we see them commit the crime and get caught. The Warlocks are playing to the fictional movie as if scoring it or writing music to it as it’s happening. Our male lead Rocky (played by Tygh Runyan) influences our female lead Diamond (played by Leslie Gladney) by fear to do the crime and her lawyers plead this. She’s loosely a Patty Hearst-type character and gets off. Rocky gets a public defender and the book is thrown at him.”

Right on. Bonnie and Clyde it up!

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

New Phoebe Bridgers video: Kyoto

Video: Phoebe Bridgers -- “Kyoto”

Phoebe Bridgers - Kyoto (Official Video)

Directed by Nina Ljeti. From Punisher, out June 19 on Dead Oceans.

It’s got to be so hard being a musician right now with no way to tour to make any money. How do you even promote an upcoming release if you can’t assemble a crew and make a video?

Well, as we’re seeing, artists are getting creative and doing it themselves, working from home like the rest of us.

In Phoebe Bridgers’ new video, she gallivants around Japan without leaving the comfort of her jammies. Dead Oceans says the original plan was to shoot the video on location, but who needs that hassle when you’ve got a green screen and some old Godzilla footage? Plus, you know, the whole global pandemic situation…

The only evidence of potential social distancing violations is a little hiccup with the person holding the fan who accidentally gets into the shot. They’re fired!

Day off in Kyoto, got bored at the temple
Looked around at the 7-11.
The band took the speed train, went to the arcade
I wanted to go but I didn’t.

Bridgers says, “This song is about impostor syndrome. About being in Japan for the first time, somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, and playing my music to people who want to hear it, feeling like I’m living someone else’s life. I dissociate when bad things happen to me, but also when good things happen. It can feel like I’m performing what I think I’m supposed to be like. I wrote this one as a ballad first, but at that point I was so sick of recording slow songs, it turned into this.”

We love your ballads, Phoebe Bridgers, but this is good too!

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

Continue reading New Phoebe Bridgers video: Kyoto