Category Archives: Shorties

Help fund a new documentary about Creem Magazine

There’s only a couple weeks to go to fund Boy Howdy! The Story of CREEM Magazine, a new documentary by filmmaker Scott Crawford about the world’s only rock and roll magazine.

This looks like a pretty cool project. It’s being produced by Creem founder Barry Kramer’s son, J.J. Kramer, whose dad died when he was four.

Kramer has been embroiled in the sad resurrection and fizzle of Creem online since he invested in “Creem Media Inc.” in 2006 after photographer Robert Matheu and his shady cousin Jason Turner licensed the Creem brand in a deal that gave them an option to buy the magazine’s intellectual property rights five years later. They ended up getting it for $70,000, according to court documents. That deal resulted in a coffee table book but little else. In fact after the book was published, the Creem brand fell into a sour mess of “litigation and bad feelings.”

Creem Media, Inc. has been defunct since 2011. Its former web site is a sad content farm and there’s something new calling itself Creem Magazine that just makes me want to punch myself in the face. So good job, everybody.

This documentary is apparently the only hope we have in keeping the real CREEM memory alive. Go fund it!

Free Download of New Wilco Song Available

Celebrating one year since the surprise release of their last album, Star Wars, Wilco has posted a new song free for the taking—just give ‘em an email.

Wilco – Locator

If you like the somewhat stutter rhythm and cryptic lyrics of the band’s recent work then you’ll dig this song plenty.

Remember these guys?

Watch This Bro Get His Funk On

It’s the summer festival season, which is my favorite time of year. For someone who has an arbitrary limit of both ticket price and venue capacity, I have an enduring love of festivals. Mostly because an outdoor festival is devoid of most of the shit I hate at music shows: I can avoid the crowds if I want to by skirting the edges and sitting in the trees, I get lots of variety in the acts for the price, I fucking LOVE falafel and cheap beer, and there’s the fresh air.

One thing I don’t like about festivals is the preening and pretense you sometimes encounter, just like at an indoor show. You know the dudes who walk around shirtless and waxed and the gals wearing high-waisted cutoffs cut so high you can see their ears? Yeah…that.

And so I was genuinely delighted to stumble across this clip of a bro getting down to some Uptown Funk. It’s a display of pure, uninhibited joy. And he doesn’t even seem wasted!

Seeing this kid get down in the middle of T in the Park lets me know everything is going to be just fine. And I hope to see some of this unbridled funk at Wildwood Music Festival this weekend.

Related: Wildwood Music Fest 2015 Recap

New Courtney Barnett video: Elevator Operator

YouTube: Courtney Barnett – “Elevator Operator”

Courtney Barnett – Elevator Operator

She’s the best. More than a year after the release of Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit Courtney Barnett releases a star-studded video for “Elevator Operator.” Glad to see she’s doing well enough to invest in a high production video.

I’m too much of an old square to recognize very many of the cameos in this but I caught Sleater Kinney and Jeff Tweedy. How many do you know?

Previously: Pedestrian at Best.

New Of Montreal video: It’s Different For Girls

YouTube: Of Montreal – “It’s Different For Girls”

of Montreal – it's different for girls [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Innocence Reaches is due August 12, 2016 on Polyvinyl. “It’s Different For Girls” sounds like Kevin Barnes is back to embracing electro-disco pop again, so that’s fun. But it’s also serious if you listen to the lyrics: “It’s different for girls. From when they are children they’re depersonalized, aggressively objectified.” And yet it’s still playful and silly. “They don’t spit on the street, they don’t piss on the seat.” Dude’s clearly never been to a music fest where girls hover over the porta-potty with uncontrollable aim…

Continue reading New Of Montreal video: It’s Different For Girls

Watch a newly digitized Elliott Smith video: Coming Up Roses

Vimeo: Elliott Smith – “Coming Up Roses” (raw play back take)

This is wonderful. Ross Harris recently transferred the original 16mm negative from his 1995 video for Elliott Smith’s “Coming Up Roses” and this is the entire play back take. Harris says, “I was overcome with emotion watching the tenderness in which Elliott gently prompts Raul the back up singer when he is supposed to chime in with the harmony. The few moments that Elliott drops the music video facade and lets that shy smile his friends knew so well are precious to me.”

Look for a profile on Ross Harris and his work with Elliott Smith in an upcoming issue of Monster Children.

Via Sweet Adeline.

Continue reading Watch a newly digitized Elliott Smith video: Coming Up Roses

The Oral History of Walk This Way

Stop what you’re doing and read this Washington Post piece: The inside story of when Run-DMC met Aerosmith and changed music forever by Geoff Edgers. It’s as amazing as you could hope for. Even if you don’t have time to read the whole thing right now, at least watch 4-minute collection of unreleased MTV News footage from the recording studio on that day.

I love the fact that DMC’s first reaction to listening to the lyrics was: “Hell no, this ain’t going to happen. This is hillbilly gibberish, country-bumpkin bullshit.” Glad he changed his mind!

I remember loving the video as a kid, and then one day I was at my cousin’s house watching MTV. He was three years older and by 1986 was a heavy metal stoner. His reaction to the video surprised me. “They ruined a perfectly good song.” I had never heard the original. When I finally did, I was let down. The Run-DMC version is way better.

Video: Run-DMC – “Walk This Way” ft. Aerosmith

RUN-DMC – Walk This Way

Audio: Aerosmith – “Walk This Way”

Aerosmith – Walk This Way (Audio)

New Libertines video: You’re My Waterloo

Video: The Libertines – “You’re My Waterloo”

The Libertines – You're My Waterloo

The Libs have released a video for the latest single off their reunion album Anthems for Doomed Youth. Pete handles lead vocals on this ballad, but he and his band mates do not appear in the video.

Continue reading New Libertines video: You’re My Waterloo

Live: Tav Falco at the Tip Top Deluxe

What year was it? Must’ve been 93, right? My senior year of college, because Amy and Sarah were already living down there. I still can’t believe we found them. It was Mardi Gras and me and my ridiculous friends drove from Kalamazoo to New Orleans with one phone number and no real plan. Nobody answered the first several times we called and we were all shitfaced on Bourbon Street when we decided we’d try one more payphone before crashing in the car. Thankfully, Sarah answered and gave us their address so we could sleep on the floor. The next morning the girls introduced us to their pals from the Royal Pendletons and we all went to the Zulu Parade together. Later (much later) we ended up in Uptown at a funky little club called Muddy Waters. The headliner was Tav Falco and his glorious Panther Burns. The last thing I remember was “It’s Only Make Believe.” There are photos of me passed out in the back seat of the Pendletons’ Ford Fairlane.

That was a long time ago. But that trip changed my life. I’ve learned a lot more about the history of rock and roll since I was a dopey college kid, and now I appreciate how lucky we were to get to experience that. So when I found out that Tav Falco would be playing a show in my hometown I knew I had to go. And to make it even more irresistible, Mike fucking Watt is now a touring member of the Panther Burns! Watt is a hero. For his ethics and his spiel as well as his mighty musicianship. And last night at the Tip Top Deluxe I got to stand six feet away from him as he worked his bass. And man oh man, what a sight that is!

It might seem like a weird fit, Watt playing in a rockabilly band, but neither Watt nor Falco should be pigeonholed so simply. They’re both far more complex than that. And yet it was pretty crazy to see Watt in a suit playing a violin bass when the band came on to “Green Onions.” But he was awesome.

Tav Falco was not happy with the sound system at the Tip Top. Poor Cliff (or was it Clyde?) the soundman got an earful from the stage. There was horrible feedback and apparently never enough vocals in the monitors. Despite that, Falco was never less than a captivating performer. He is a Southern gentleman and an elegant dancer. He is a survivor of the fucked up 70s Memphis art/music scene that included Alex Chilton, William Eggleston, Jim Dickinson, et al. In fact, the original Panther Burns were a collaboration with Chilton.

The set was mostly pulled from the new album, Command Performance. Lots of great songs, including one that featured a psychedelic Mike Watt bass solo. I was a little disappointed not to hear my faves like “Girl After Girl” and of course “It’s Only Make Believe” but when a guy’s been making music since 1979 you can’t expect to hear everything.

Grand Rapids is a funny little city and the Tip Top is a funny little bar. It’s in the middle of a rundown residential area on the city’s west side, and it feels like you’re hanging out in somebody’s rec room. The stage is a six-inch riser in the corner of the room with barely enough square footage to contain Falco, Watt, drummer Toby Dammit, guitarist Mario Monterosso, and keyboard player Francesco D’Agnolo. I saw Wayne Hancock here a few years ago. Still it felt like a coup for this venue to be able to book a Panther Burns show, and when they first announced this tour back in August, Grand Rapids was the only stop above the Mason-Dixon line. (They ultimately added Detroit and Chicago dates.)

After the set, I was sure to thank Falco for coming to Grand Rapids and he sold me his new CD for $20. Seems like a lot but he signed it for me. I always feel a little awkward approaching musicians after a show. The band had stepped off the little stage and scattered into seats at tables around the club. I know that some touring folks don’t like shaking hands for fear of catching cold on the road, so I asked Mike Watt if I could have a handshake or a hug. He immediately shook my hand and I leaned in to thank him for playing a great set, but as I did he stood up to give me a hug and I accidentally knocked his glasses right off his face! I felt terrible but he was nice about it.

Continue reading Live: Tav Falco at the Tip Top Deluxe

New Willie Nelson and Kacey Musgraves video: Are You Sure?

Video: Kacey Musgraves – “Are You Sure?” (ft. Willie Nelson)

Kacey Musgraves – Are You Sure ft. Willie Nelson

Is there anything prettier in the whole wide world than Willie Nelson’s guitar tone? No, I don’t think there is.

“Are You Sure?” is a “hidden track” on Musgraves’ latest album, Pageant Material. I suppose the uncommerciality of making a video for a hidden track is pretty much “on-brand” for this outsider country singer, but she’s gotta follow her arrow wherever it goes, right? No matter what, she’s got a great voice and the song is awesome and ragged old Willie is just a bonus.

Here’s Willie’s original from his 1965 album, Country Willie: His Own Songs.

Willie Nelson – Are You Sure (With Lyrics)

Country Willie - His Own Songs