It happens in every election cycle: Some candidate tries to co-opt a popular song to punctuate a message in a rally or other live event, only to raise the ire of the artists who created the song. It usually happens to Republicans, because…well…they suck. And really, who can they turn to? Ted Nugent?
This week, Republican presidential nominee and human bag of spoiled Orange Julius sludge, Donald Trump took heat from the Rolling Stones, Queen and George Harrison’s estate for playing their music during live events. It seems nobody wants to be associated with the Donald though the Internet is having a field day with suggestions.
And I have my own: TOMMY CASH – WINALOTO
The lyrics are a mish mash of bravado and materialistic non sequitur, just like a Trump speech! Delivered by flamboyant Estonian rapper, Tommy Cash, you can’t look away from the video…even though you know it’s bad for you. Watch all the way through, and then tell me you didn’t watch it again.
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.
I’ve recently taken to posting confessions on Facebook. Nothing too salacious or embarrassing, just acknowledgements that may be unexpected to my legion of followers. Things like my arbitrary cap on concerts: $50 ticket, no venues larger than 1500. The reasoning behind this cap is a topic for another post, but I’d like to use this opportunity to make another confession:
I’m bored with Wilco.
Given my own personal history with the band and GLONO’s long trail of coverage, this is not easy for me to write. And I want to be clear that I am very happy the band is as successful as they are now—and that’s not some lame qualifier before I launch into a scathing criticism (which I won’t). I really am quite happy that a band from Chicago, who I’ve followed from its earliest days, and who represents everything great in independent music, is successful. We don’t have enough of those success stories. And I love several songs on every album they’ve put out.
But I haven’t loved a whole album since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
I think about this a lot and while there are a number of factors, it basically boils down to two things:
I want more songs from Jeff Tweedy—not soundscapes or word play, I want songs. I want structure and melodies and harmonies and stories. The bits I have liked from recent albums all fit this mold.
Simple production. A couple mics, acoustic instruments and capable hands behind the desk. Put a guy like David Rawlings, T-Bone Burnett or even Jack White in the producer role and I’m in.
This isn’t a pipe dream; this could happen. John Mellencamp did it on No Better Than This using a 1955 Ampex portable recording machine and only one microphone. Hell, Uncle Tupelo did something similar on March 17 -20, 1992. And more recently, Wilco recorded an NPR Tiny Desk concert that sounds exactly what I am talking about.
I know I sound like the old man yelling about how great the old days were on this, but I only do it because I care. So please, Wilco: won’t you do an old fan a solid and sit down in front of a couple mics and just play some songs? I promise to shut up for a couple years.
I am generally torn when it comes to my favorite defunct bands reforming. Sure, I am as easily swayed by nostalgia as the next guy, if not more so. But I am also keenly sensitive to the concepts of legacy and expectation, and we all know what can happen to the former if you miss the latter.
And so it’s with cautious optimism that I’ve been waiting for the return of The Likely Lads. The Libertines have been maybe my favorite band of the last 15 years. They personified so much of what I love about music: Punk attitude with smart lyrics and even smarter melodies, all wrapped up in a dream of Albion.
Today marks the beginning of the test with the release of a new video and song, “Gunga Din,” which is somewhat appropriate in the context of the relationship between Peter Doherty and Carl Barat. The Rudyard Kipling poem of the same name is about an English soldier in colonial India and his water carrier, who eventually sacrifices his own life to save the soldier…despite abuse. Without getting too analytical about it, let’s just say the two have had swings of abuse and intense love over the years that seems to have returned to a place of genuine appreciation, respect and brotherly affection.
The video finds our heroes stumbling and sweating their way through crowded streets in what I am guessing is Thailand, where the band wrote most of the new album as Doherty was completing a stint in rehab.
The 12-track record will be titled Anthems For Doomed Youth and comes out on September 4. Info on the various version is available on the band’s website.
The connection between music and memories is as fundamental as that between heart and soul. We write songs about things we’ve done and people we’ve loved and those songs remind us that we are human. To be robbed of either is heartbreaking, to be robbed of both is tragic.
Glen Campbell has been frank about his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He announced his affliction in 2011 and embarked on a farewell tour—one that he had to take while he still could. If you love songs but aren’t familiar with Campbell’s work then you are missing some of the 20th century’s most endearing music. The towering shadow of his career is summarized in just the opening paragraph of his Wikipedia entry:
Campbell has released more than 70 albums. He has sold 45 million records and accumulated 12 RIAA Gold albums, 4 Platinum albums and 1 Double-Platinum album. He has placed a total of 80 different songs on either the Billboard Country Chart, the Billboard Hot 100, or the Adult Contemporary Chart, 29 in the Top 10 of which 9 peaked at number one on at least one of those charts.
And now he has one more song and album. His 78 years are reflected in this video, his last.
If you’ve seen A Hard Day’s Night then you know George was definitely the coolest Beatle. If you’ve seen any clip of him you know it. And so it’s fitting that we celebrate George Harrison Week with Conan O’Brien and a cast of friends, family and admirers.
Beck Kicks it off with “Wah Wah” and the influence of All Things Must Pass on Beck’s sound become so obvious now.
Next is George’s old pal, Paul Simon with a tasty cover of “Here Comes the Sun.”
Guess what other flavor of rock isn’t dead, Gene Simmons? Garage Rock! Yes, there are lots of bands out there banging away on rough guitar riffs and smashface drum parts. I like Toronto’s Pet Sun, made up of a gang of high school pals who just can’t let go of the rock.
The band’s first official release is out on September 27 and includes this gloriously bizarre video for the single, “Feel Like I’m Going Away.”
While we all loved KISS as kids we also now know Gene Simmons is an unbearable blowhard and apparently a dipshit too. How else do we explain his claim that rock and roll is dead? Maybe if you never go to clubs or talk to people who pay attention to independent music or have no access to the Internet or record stores or…
Not only is rock and roll still very much alive but classic rock (Simmons’ own genre) is chuggling along just fine too. Exhibit A: Handsome Jack
Heavy, fuzzy, muddy guitar tones sloppily bump up against a wheezy Hammond organ and leave you with the distinct feeling of dudes in jean vests slowly lumbering around the floor while their cougars prowl the perimeter. No pretense, no skinny pants, no Swatches to be seen. This is your dad’s rock and roll. And your dad was cooler than you.
Watch Conor Oberst tool around the Nonesuch Records offices in a bad wig in his latest video from Upside Down Mountain. He reads the Bible, pounds a bottle of water, and trims his wig. The video is a little goofy, but the song is good: a character study of a classic fuckup. We all know the type. “Washed up, bitter, broken, busted / backstabbed everyone he trusted.”
It’s a sequel to the “Zigzagging Toward the Light” video, which was released back in May and concluded with a promise to be continued. Both were directed by David Altobelli.
My original forays into freak folk started with Hasil Adkins, who defies genre assignment but personifies the spirit of this strangest of musical styles and really put me on a path of weirdness. Charles Manson’s famous demos ended up on mix tapes and further piqued my curiosity. Charlie’s a wicked man, make no mistake. But there’s something very tender about his demos and “Look at Your Game Girl” is a bona fide cult classic.
Enter: Morgan Geer and his ongoing odyssey, Drunken Prayer. I’ve seen various incarnations of this project from the solo crooner to the neo-Vegas stage show to the psycho freakout mountain holler. Geer covers a lot of ground, and most of it via the ditch.
“Heigh-Ho Nobody Home” is a tasty sampling of his home-style witch’s brew. Geer is DYI all day long and his House of Morgan video series applies his own warped sense to sound and vision. Dig in and sop it up.