Video: Pixies – “Catfish Kate”
Video created by Neirin Best and Lianne Pierce. From Beneath the Eyrie, due September 13.
It’s easy for music snobs to scoff when a band gets back together years after splitting up and has the audacity to release new music. Especially if they don’t have all the original members. How dare they! How crass! They’re diminishing their legacy!
But really, who the hell are we to tell somebody how they can or cannot make a living? What kind of privileged bourgeois bullshit is that? Charles Thompson has every right to don his Black Francis persona and make Pixies music with or without the participation of Kim Deal or the approval of a bunch of pin-headed geeks furiously typing into their phones.
I’ll admit I would have never gone out and bought a ticket to see the new incarnation of this band when they recently opened up for Weezer on tour. But a pal had an extra ticket and I tagged along and I’m really happy I did.
Not only is going out with your friends and seeing live music a life-affirming thing to do in general, but seeing the Pixies in concert reminded me that Joey Santiago is one of my favorite guitar players and Dave Lovering is a hell of a drummer and Black Francis has written some of the greatest songs of all time. Of course you’re going to miss Kim Deal’s incomparable voice and chug chug chug bass, but the new girl gets the job done. They sound good. They are good.
And “Catfish Kate” is a good Pixies song. Sure, you keep waiting for Santiago to go nuts and it’s disappointing that he never does, but hey, it’s a creepy song about woman getting abducted by a catfish. What more do you want from the Pixies in 2019?
Pixies: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.
Video: Frankie Cosmos – “Wannago”
Directed by Robert Kolodny. From Close it Quietly, September 6 on Sub Pop.
The video is a little distracting but the song has everything you want from this band: sad melodies, earnest vocals, delicate harmonies, and shimmery guitars.
Greta Kline says, “Wannago is an older song that I thought would never come out. Every time we ever tried to arrange it we gave up or lied that we would come back to it later. It felt too hard, and I found some of the lyrics embarrassing. Then Alex encouraged us to give it another shot because he really loved the demo. We ended up all working together to turn this into a song that feels sparkly and distinct; and it’s really fun to play. I’ve accepted the cheesier lyrics as part of the youthful glow of the song, it feels very wide-eyed and is purely about love, distance, and life.”
Frankie Cosmos: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.
Video: Ben Kweller – “Carelesss”
Directed by Steve Hanft.
Ben Kweller is a grownup now but he remembers how it feels to be a kid. And as a back-to-school gift for all the little freaks out there, he offers a new song with a message of hope and perseverance.
I’m the girl in zebra tights dressed in black
I know who I am so get the fuck off of my back
The kids at school just think I’m just a sheep inside
Herein lies the great divide
Kweller says, “This song goes out to the 3,000,000 kids bullied every year in the USA. It’s a middle finger to the bullies who judge and it’s a shot in the arm to the victims. If you’re heading back to school this month, or if you’re out of school and still struggling in any way, trying to fit in, I want you to know that you don’t have to fit in. You can walk your own beautiful path and hold your head up high.”
Kweller’s been in this business since he was just a kid. He was only 15 when major labels fought a bidding war to sign his band Radish. His solo debut Sha Sha from 2002 is still one of my favorite albums of that era. And he’s continued to put out solid rock and roll ever since.
Ben Kweller: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.
Rolling Stone issue #40 had a cover date of August 23, 1969. 40 pages. 35 cents. Cover photo of Jerry Garcia by Baron Wolman.
Features: “The Grateful Dead” by Michael Lydon; “James Taylor on Apple: ‘The Same Old Craperoo'” by Jerry Hopkins; “The Dope Story” by Joe Pilati; “Newport 1969” by Jan Hodenfield; “The Doors in Mexico” by Jerry Hopkins.
News: TV Discovers the Music Scene; “Felix Finally Gets His Own” by Ben Fong-Torres; Woodstock Festival Is On the Run; Pop Comes Back To Miami; Airplane Puts RCA Up Against Wall; The Sound of One Side Negotiating; Country Joe Is Fixin’ to live; “All along the Hash Trails” by Samy H. Abboud; A Sky Pilot in San Francisco; James Brown at City Hall; John and Yoko’s Wonderwall; “Us Dope Crisis: Who’s Holding?” by Ben Fong-Torres and Geoffrey Link; Leary Busted in LSD Death Case; Dylan Booked for Isle of Wight; Aretha: Troubles In Motor City; “Faith Plays Soft At NY Debut” by Jan Hodenfield. And Random Notes on Jimi Hendrix, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Lothar and the Hand People, Expo 70, Eric Burdon, the Plaster Casters, and Ronald Reagan.
Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 40
The summer of 2019 has been filled with inner turmoil and a return to a depressive state that I haven’t felt in some time. I immediately retreated into a pattern of cleansing abstinence, a trick that I learned in my younger days when I was stronger and able to fool myself that the experience of depression somehow shaped a man, preparing him for more battles of the mind in the future.
But I’m older now. And with each passing year the folly of life becomes more apparent, along with the realization that I’m past the halfway mark. This is the downhill, the point where you begin to pick up steam, only to realize that the caliper brakes have become corroded over time. Life will end in an abrupt crash and not from a slow and steady reduction of speed that affords you the time to reflect on and repair those things you should have addressed before cresting the hill. In other words, I may have become too old and weak to keep fighting depression like this.
My summer of discontent began as a manifestation of personal doubt, professional tribulations and a natural self-loathing that comes from recognizing there’s very little on this planet that requires my involvement. Of course, America’s current political climate only added to the mix, providing an endless brickwall of sonic garbage for both ears, left ‘n right. The words “I want to die where the presidency died!” have become more than just a hipster reference about some drug-fueled indie-rock poet’s bad night, it became a clever suicide note that more people could consider leaving.
Around the same time, I began to think about David Berman. I’d like to believe that it was more than just a passing coincidence–after all, he’d been “retired” and out of the public eye for a decade and I’d heard no hint of his planned return. It was more about, “I wonder how he’s doing,” picturing him disheveled with too-big spectacles, lounging in a chair smoking and reading a book. I never met the man, but I projected enough to think that he resembled an old college roommate of mine, also a depressive sort. It’s amazing how we all seem to find each other with our sad fuck pheromones.
That’s part of it, I guess; the idea that if we all just channel the remaining light we have left that somehow we’ll have enough clarity to make it through the dark times. Then you learn that someone has fallen off and you realize the limitations of your mind’s own illumination.
Continue reading The Suffering Subsides: On the Death of David Berman
Rolling Stone issue #39 had a cover date of August 9, 1969. 40 pages. 35 cents. Cover photo of Brian Jones by Jim Marshall.
Features: “Brian Jones: Sympathy for the Devil”; “Brian Jones Obituary” by Greil Marcus; “The Wild: Things” by Eric Ehrmann; “Ronnie Hawkins” by Ritchie Yorke; “Doug Kershaw” by Patrick Thomas; “Fuzz Against Junk: The Saga of the Narcotics Brigade, Installment Seven” by Akbar Del Piombo.
News: “Kesey: Unzipping for the Summer Solstice” by Ken Kesey; “Rock Too Much For Newport”; “Liberation” by John Burks; “Brand-New Weapon: Japanese Sing-In” by Michael Berger; “Los Angeles Apple Polished Off”; “Berkeley Barb On Strike”; “Werber Innocent in Big Dope Bust”; “Crosby, Stills and Nash Add Young”; “A Tidal Wave in The Wild West” by Ben Fong-Torres; “Dylan & the Band’s Edwardsville Skyline”; “Toronto: Nothing But a Groove” by Ritchie Yorke; “Festivals”; “Cash Owes Govt. 82 Grand”; “Two More Join The Squad.” And Random Notes on Canned Heat. Lucky Whip, Atlanta pop festival, Steve Miller, The Wit and Humor of Richard Nixon, Ralph Nader, Jack Bruce, and Franco Zeffirelli.
Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 39
Video: The Highwomen – “Redesigning Women”
Directed by Elizabeth Olmstead. From The Highwomen, due September 6 on Low Country Sound/Elektra.
The Highwomen are Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris, and Amanda Shires. And they’re telling it like it is.
Full-time living on a half-time schedule
Always trying to make everybody feel special
Learning when to brake and when to hit the pedal
Working hard to look good ’til we die
Brandi Carlile told Apple Music, it’s “a song about women in 360 degrees. All of our attributes, all of our flaws. It’s a celebration of everything about us that makes us funny and powerful and who we are.”
The video features cameos from Tanya Tucker and Wynonna Judd and other badass country women.
It seems like it’s got to be getting harder for mainstream country radio programmers to continue to refuse to play songs by female artists as Kacey Musgraves sweeps the Grammys and women “steal the show” at the Newport Folk Festival (which, by the way, was curated by Highwoman Brandi Carlile).
Misogyny runs deep, but it’s exciting to see strong women taking it on and facing it down. Sock it to the man!
The Highwomen: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.
Continue reading New Highwomen video: Redesigning Women
Video: SWMRS – “Lose Lose Lose”
From Berkeley’s On Fire, out now on Fueled By Ramen.
Well it’s hard to argue with a sentiment like this:
2019 is a fucking disaster
Dear Vladimir Putin, stop fucking up my shit
‘Cause I know I can fuck it up faster
So it goes.
SWMRS: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.
Video: ShitKid – “Grown-ups are KiDS!”
Video by Erik Pousette. From [DETENTION], out now on PNKSLM.
There are no guns or chickens in the latest video by our favorite Swedish troublemakers, but it’s still pretty good.
All of the grownups
Yeah think they know what’s best for me
Oh but they don’t
According to numerous posts on social media, SkitKid was kicked off their upcoming U.S. tour with the Melvins. Not a lot of details. Only explanation is “for being too bad ass” and that “we were also looking forward to it! But we will come over headlining next year for sure.”
ShitKid: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.
Video: Andrew Bird – “Olympians”
Directed by Matthew Daniel Siskin. From My Finest Work Yet, out now on Loma Vista.
Andrew Bird is having way more fun in his new video than the lyrics of the song might suggest.
Why don’t you come to bed
Instead of stumbling into the light
Of medicine cabinets?
Shaking out pills left and right
Looks like it was “take your kid to work” day on the set. Good times.
Andrew Bird: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.