Category Archives: Videos

Drunken Prayer - Heigh-HO Nobody Home

Drunken Prayer – Heigh-Ho Nobody Home

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.

Drunken Prayer on Fluff and Gravy Records

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 1.17.48 PM

The Growlers – Good Advice

Some friends in the know have been trying to turn me onto The Growlers for a while. And really, why have I not been listening? I trust my friends, especially when it comes to music recommendations. Well, I finally got around to it and because I consider you, our readers, friends I implore you to not repeat my mistakes.

This is our music. It’s a bit druggy, a bit psych, a lot cool.

Listen now. Get your shit together. It’s good advice.

And then dig this awesome video:

North American Tour Dates:
09/05 – Denver, CO – Hi Dive
09/06 – Denver, CO – Hi Dive
09/08 – Lawrence, KS – Bottleneck
09/09 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
09/10 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
09/11 – Ann Arbor, MI – Blind Pig
09/12 – Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace
09/13 – Montreal, QC – Il Motore
09/14 – Allston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
09/17 – Providence, RI – Columbus Theatre
09/18 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
09/19 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
09/20 – Washington, DC – Black Cat Mainstage
09/22 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl
09/23 – Nashville, TN – Exit In
09/24 – Memphis, TN – Hi Tone Cafe
09/25 – Dallas, TX – Dada
09/26 – Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s Upstairs
09/27 – Austin, TX – Scoot Inn
10/10 – Victoria, BC – Upstairs Cabaret
10/11 – Vancouver, BC – The Rickshaw
10/15 – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
10/16 – Spokane, WA – The Bartlett
10/17 – Portland, OR – Alhambra Theatre
10/18-19 – San Francisco, CA – Treasure Island Festival
10/25 – Orange County, CA – BEACH GOTH III at The Observatory

War on Drugs - Under The Pressure

Spend 9 minutes tripping out with the War On Drugs

Video: The War on Drugs – “Under The Pressure”

My pal Jeff busts my chops because I like short songs. Pop songs. I don’t like extraneous filler. Get in and get out.

But I also like Funkadelic. Sometimes a song needs to stretch out to get its point across. I wouldn’t cut a minute out of “Sister Ray,” for example. Same with “Like a Hurricane.”

This song, I’m not so sure. When I suggested that the last three minutes don’t add anything to this song except length, good old Jeff pointed out that “They give you time to reflect.” Which is fair enough. Reflect away.

Future Islands

Future Islands and the Cult of Samuel T. Herring

Let me start by saying that I am not even sure I like this band. That’s not to say that I am trying to get a pass on them. I might like them, I might not. Whether I do is not the point. It’s that I can’t figure it out yet I will excitedly watch any late night TV performance of Future Islands—a statement I cannot make about bands I love.

Obviously, the focus of my semi-obsession is on the singer, Samuel T. Herring. I haven’t read anything about him or the history of the band so let’s run with some of my assumptions:

  • He’s clearly the guy pushing the band forward. He’s the guy who has been pestering people about his band to the point where they are now regularly on national TV. The rest of the band seems to be barely paying attention. The bassist thought the band broke up 15 years ago, but here they are.
  • His awkward, intense dancing is unnerving and fascinating.  He OWNs this dance. Nobody else can match him. Nobody. Mick Jagger and Bruno Mars are weak fakers just walking through some moves. Samuel T. Herring is the real deal.
  • Kinda memorable melodies and disco beats aren’t really enough these days so Samuel T. Herring goes full Cookie Monster to cut through the clutter. That takes some real balls.
  • Samuel T. Herring can and will do Monty Python impressions for hours on end as long as someone—anyone—is still paying attention.

Continue reading

Ray Sawyer

Dr. Hook confirms everything you want to believe about the 70s

Okkervil River’s Will Sheff posted a fantastic essay on his “very-favorite-ever cinematic document of a rock and roll band” which happens to be “a 10-dollar import DVD of Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show doing a live-for-German-TV performance sometime in 1974.”

It’s interesting timing, because just a couple months ago GLONO co-founder Derek Phillips, who I call Phil, turned me on to the glory that is video footage of Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show from the 70s. I knew “Cover of Rolling Stone” from classic rock radio, but didn’t know anything else and had certainly never seen them live.

Seeing this video blew my mind. Will Sheff put a lot of thought into his essay, but what we’re presenting below are our first reactions to experiencing this crazy, wasted party that was a live Dr. Hook show.

Session Start (Jake:Phil): Thu Nov 29 13:08:45 2012
[13:08] Phil: Hey
[13:09] Jake: yo
[13:10] Phil: You see that crazy shit I posted to the GLONO FB?
[13:10] Jake: no
[13:10] Phil: Dude
[13:10] Phil: Take a break and watch it
[13:10] Jake: the dr hook video?
[13:10] Phil: yes
[13:11] Phil: it is awesome
[13:11] Jake: watching now
[13:11] Jake: those guys are wasted
[13:11] Phil: big time
[13:11] Jake: not in tune at all
[13:11] Phil: Oh no
[13:12] Phil: I mean, why tune up? You’re only on TV
[13:12] Jake: i didn’t realize that’s what dr hook looks like
[13:12] Phil: Looked
[13:12] Phil: past tense, by a long shot
[13:12] Jake: wow
[13:12] Phil: oh yeah
[13:12] Phil: keep watching
[13:12] Jake: the shirt thing!
[13:13] Jake: eyepatch!?!!!
[13:13] Phil: hahahaha
[13:13] Phil: I know. It’s crazy
[13:13] Jake: who’s george?
[13:13] Jake: he’s hairy.
[13:13] Jake: i can practically smell them from here
[13:14] Jake: the eyepatch guy’s dance moves are COLOSSAL
[13:14] Jake: he is the coolest guy i’ve ever seen
[13:14] Jake: wait. that SOLO?
[13:14] Jake: WHAT?
[13:15] Jake: these guys are not sober
[13:15] Phil: I don’t think so either!
[13:15] Jake: OMG
[13:15] Phil: I think they’ve been drinking!
[13:15] Jake: this is the greatest performance i’ve ever seen
[13:15] Phil: you’re welcome.
[13:16] Jake: holy crap
[13:16] Phil: I had to make sure you saw it
[13:16] Jake: this confirms everything i thought was true about the 70s
[13:16] Jake: but only had photo evidence
[13:16] Jake: like from goose lake
[13:16] Jake: or the grand river raft race
[13:18] Phil: When you have a minute go YouTube Willie’s 4th of July picnic videos
[13:18] Phil: more of the same
[13:18] Phil: pure awesome
[13:19] Jake: reading dr hook’s wiki page now
[13:20] Phil: dude has lived
[13:20] Phil: and his album with Dan Auerbach is tight
[13:20] Phil: …and I am not a fan of Dr. Hook’s music normally
[13:23] Jake: dude that’s dr john
[13:23] Jake: different doctor
[13:24] Phil: Oh ho!
[13:25] Phil: Yes, I meant Dr. John, not Dr. Hook
[13:25] Phil: but what do I know about any of this?
[13:25] Phil: I have multiple work conversations going on
[13:25] Phil: I don’t know who I am
[13:25] Phil: where am I?
[13:25] Phil: I am as drunk as those dudes
[13:25] Jake: i want to know what kind of show that dr hook song was filmed for
[13:26] Jake: because if that got played on TV, that makes the 70s even better
[13:26] Phil: right
[13:28] Jake: holy cow. more:

[13:28] Jake: sounds like hasil adkins
[13:29] Phil: I would like to get loaded and watch these videos with Father John Misty
[13:29] Jake: YES
[13:29] Phil: he is my current hero
[13:29] Jake: i was thinking that when i saw the dance moves
[13:30] Jake: i hope he tours with phosphorescent and jonathan wilson
[13:30] Jake: wouldn’t that be a tour?
[13:30] Phil: oh fuck, that would be awesome
[13:30] Jake: i’d follow them around like the dead
[13:30] Phil: hahahaha
[13:30] Phil: “I am going on hiatus. See you guys in three months”
[13:30] Jake: dig the drummer’s t-shirt
[13:31] Jake: i swear these dudes regularly hung out on the brownshoe [My dad's boat when I was a kid. - ed.]
[13:31] Phil: hahaha
[13:31] Phil: Dude, that’s John C. Reilly on drums!
[13:31] Jake: ha
[13:31] Jake: i have found my new favorite band
[13:31] Phil: these dudes were fucking LIVING it, man
[13:31] Jake: people loved the 50s in the 70s
[13:31] Phil: look at them!
[13:32] Jake: sweating balls
[13:32] Phil: they sure did
[13:32] Jake: i love the ragged harmonies though
[13:32] Phil: I know nothing about Dr. Hook
[13:33] Phil: I need to fix that
[13:33] Jake: srsly
[13:33] Jake: new favorite band!
[13:33] Phil: no joke
[13:33] Jake: unreal
[13:33] Phil: Portland is all about tribute shows right now. I could pitch this easily
[13:33] Phil: The rare occasions I do hang out now is with dudes who look like this
[13:33] Jake: looks like that whole don kirshner show is on youtube
[13:34] Phil: bad ass
[13:34] Jake:
[13:34] Jake: there goes my productivity
[13:34] Phil: uh oh:

[13:35] Jake: oops. turning that off immediately
[13:35] Phil: the video is pretty awesome
[13:35] Jake: watching rollin’ in my sweet baby’s arms from 76
[13:35] Jake: in HD
[13:35] Phil: link
[13:35] Jake:

[13:37] Jake: i wish we still had don kirshner’s rock concert
[13:37] Phil: this band must have been a riot on the road
[13:37] Phil: can you imagine?
[13:37] Jake: i can
[13:37] Phil: I know this dude named Matt who tours as The Don of Division street who looks just like that dude without the patch
[13:38] Jake: i have a new favorite band
[13:38] Phil: no shit
[13:39] Phil: one of the things I’ll miss the most about Portland is The Hoot, which is a party once a month on this farm in SE Portland
[13:39] Phil: looks and sounds a lot like this
[13:39] Jake: another 50s cover:

[13:40] Jake: these dudes are actually good, soulful singers
[13:40] Phil: This concert is incredible
[13:40] Jake: they’re just insane
[13:40] Phil: WTF?!?!? How have we missed this band?
[13:40] Phil: until now?
[13:40] Jake: this is exactly what is missing from indie rock
[13:40] Phil: No shit, this is exactly what The Hoot is like
[13:41] Phil: not as drunk or high, but this vibe and look
[13:41] Jake: these dudes clearly love each other too
[13:41] Jake: i bet their records sound terrible
[13:43] Jake: looks like this is the first song from the kirshner concert:

[13:43] Jake: sounds like a beegees ballad
[13:44] Jake: wtf?
[13:44] Phil: I am just catching up on Only 16
[13:45] Jake: srsly this song could be on the soundtrack for grease
[13:45] Phil: hahaha
[13:45] Jake: and now that bearded non eyepatch singer is reminding me of bobier
[13:45] Jake: which is creeping me out a little
[13:45] Jake: i think i’m coming down…
[13:48] Phil: “Sexy Eyes” is Dr. Hook
[13:48] Phil: I had no idea
[13:48] Jake: what is that?
[13:48] Phil: Oh you’ll know it:

[13:48] Jake: DISCO SUCKS
[13:49] Phil: This is more like it:

[13:49] Jake: man, they must’ve disappointed a lot of people
[13:49] Jake: starting out that great and crazy
[13:50] Jake: and ending up disco
[13:50] Phil: everyone was finding coke together, man
[13:50] Phil: Holy shit, watch the yodel song I just sent
[13:50] Phil: they have a BEZ
[13:50] Phil: crazy hill dancing
[13:50] Jake: amazing
[13:51] Phil: good lord
[13:51] Jake: that dancer is my hero
[13:51] Jake: omg
[13:51] Phil: is this not amazing?
[13:51] Jake: this is fantastic
[13:51] Jake: his “butt dance”
[13:52] Phil: complete insanity
[13:52] Phil: OK, I think Dr. Hook and The Medicine Show is the era
[13:52] Jake: yes
[13:52] Jake: seems to be
[13:53] Jake: although this kirshner show is 76
[13:53] Jake: which seems to be post-medicine show
[13:53] Phil: still buzzing
[13:53] Jake: yes
[13:53] Phil: craziness
[13:53] Jake: shel silverstein wrote their first album
[13:53] Phil: what?
[13:54] Jake: and some of the second, incl cover of the rolling stone
[13:54] Phil: crazy time
[13:54] Jake:
[13:55] Jake: they’ve got a 1975 live album: Bankrupt [It's actually a studio album. - ed.]
[13:55] Jake: i bet that’s the one to get
[13:55] Jake: i don’t normally like live albums
[13:55] Jake: but with these guys, i bet that’s the winner
[13:56] Jake: they have a song (written by silverstein) called looking for pussy
[13:59] Jake: ok i’m streaming their album sloppy seconds now
[14:00] Phil: I am listening to Essential Dr. Hook & Medicine Show on Spotify
[14:00] Jake: i might switch to that one
[14:01] Jake: ha
[14:01] Jake: that amg review confirms what we feared
[14:02] Jake: “ramshackle, Shel Silverstein-singing, goofy bar-band hippies”
[14:02] Jake: yes please
[14:03] Phil: more of that!
[14:04] Jake: cover of the rolling stone is pretty perfect though
[14:05] Phil: yes
[14:05] Jake: it needs to go on a mix immediately before or after the doobies’ “black water”
[14:05] Phil: right!
[14:06] Jake: someone needs to sample that “aww beatutiful” at the very end of that song.
[14:06] Jake: (if they haven’t already)
[14:06] Jake: sylvia’s mother kinda sucks.
[14:08] Phil: it does
[14:08] Jake: i bet sab would love it
[14:08] Phil: of course
[14:10] Jake: this band is weird
[14:11] Jake: i don’t understand how bobby keys is NOT in this band though
[14:12] Jake: how did they NOT have a sax player at all?
[14:13] Jake: too many lame ballads
[14:14] Phil: yeah, more party music
[14:15] Jake: hilarious: mog shows similar artists as three dog night, ozark mt daredevils, leo sayer, olivia newton john, status quo, rod stewart, and harry nilsson
[14:16] Phil: jesus…
[14:17] Jake: i’m switching to something in mog called alive in america
[14:17] Jake: by its tracklist, i’m guessing it’s 1976 ish
[14:17] Phil: There was a really interesting article I can’t find anymore about Amazon’s recommendation machine and one of the lead developers said, “It’s more about what’s NOT recommended than what is.”
[14:18] Jake: it’s just not as good without the video
[14:18] Phil: Dude cited The White Album as an example. On the surface, The White Album would be a great recommendation for huge numbers of music fans. But he says everyone who wants the White Album has it
[14:19] Jake: huh
[14:19] Phil: something like that
[14:19] Phil: I want a live Dr. Hook album from that era
[14:20] Phil: or just a great audio file from the Kirshner show
[14:20] Phil: I’ll take that and be happy
[14:20] Jake: someone should sell the complete don kirshner rock concert series on bluray
[14:20] Phil: mos def
[14:20] Jake: i wish licensing wasn’t such a pain
[14:21] Phil: yeah
[14:21] Jake: i wish copyright would expire after a decent amount of time
[14:21] Phil: like it used to
[14:22] Phil: BRB

Olivia Newton-John Travolta - This Christmas

John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – This Christmas

Olivia Newton-John Travolta - This ChristmasJohn Travolta & Olivia Newton-JohnThis Christmas (Universal)

The pairing is complete nostalgia. There is no other reason that John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John are together for a Christmas album aside from the fact that they were both cast together in a small little movie musical called Grease over thirty years ago.

Grease has flourished since its first run on charm alone. How else can you explain the impossible plot of an Australian immigrant–who is hot off an innocent summer fling with a local gearhead–as she navigates the social landscape of high school with a collective of sexually active girls, headed by a 34-year old Stockard Channing?

As the main characters in the film, Olivia and Travolta aren’t particularly compatible on screen and their voices don’t blend together all that notably during their duets. Regardless, they have managed to become the biggest selling duet in pop history and their presence in Grease completes the film’s campy homage to 50s B-movies, giving all of that aforementioned improbability a free pass.

How these characters have managed to ride Greased Lightening up through the skies and endured for so long is pretty remarkable, so the idea of them returning together to perform Christmas music isn’t completely out of the realm. Unfortunately, when one doesn’t properly attend to the execution of such a reunion, what you get is a record that’s more acknowledged for its weird aftertaste than musical flavor.

I won’t even mention the cover, because it’d be like bitching about how Kraft Macaroni and Cheese tastes nothing like a homemade batch of the gooey comfort food. This is truth in advertising, and the only thing that would make the cover of This Christmas more awesome is if Travolta sported a cheesy seasonal sweater.

As hard as it is to be polite about the cover art, I simply cannot get away from all of the tabloid overtones when Travolta takes over the resistant role of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” We’re all accustomed to Olivia’s occasional glimpses as the sexual aggressor (Shake Shack, anyone?), but to hear Danny Zuko put up a fight to Sandy’s advances thirty years after the fact makes for a perfect hushed whisper of “Beard!”

There are other laugh-out-loud moments within This Christmas that are much less juvenile, but equally surreal. Like the part during “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” when Barbara Streisand pops in for a verse for absolutely no reason at all.

Speaking of guest cameos, there are tons of ‘em. From another brake-slamming appearance (this time with James Taylor on “Deck The Halls”) to a not-so-subtle nod to the Scientology folks with some ivory-tickling from Chick Corea, John and Olivia bring a whole slew of friends to join in their Christmas spirit and it’s as sincere as you pretending to think the gag gift you get at work during your department’s holiday party is funny.

There’s octogenarian Tony Bennett who drops in for “Winter Wonderland,” if you count having your verses recorded at a completely different studio during a completely different session as “dropping in.”

ONJ brings out longtime musical partner John Farrar for the record’s lone original track “I Think You Might Like It.” Farrar was responsible for many of Olivia’s biggest hits, and he served as both the writer and producer for “You’re The One That I Want,” the hit single that propelled the pair into the record books.

Farrar’s latest tune is being called the sequel to that Grease classic, and it’s hard to dispute that claim since it follows nearly the same chord progression under the guise of some light country swag.

Clearly, I’m not the man who should be reviewing This Christmas because I’m overflowing with cynicism at every turn.

So I ask my wife, who often fills the house with a bit of Christmas singing of her own during the holidays, to offer her opinion of the pairing. Suddenly, I find her singing along with This Christmas, causing me to consider that maybe it is my jaded outlook that’s causing me to be so dismissive of this holiday collection.

When I ask her if This Christmas has caused her spontaneous outburst of seasonal caroling, she admitted that it wasn’t the quality of the songs that prompted her singing, but just the familiarity of the material.

Indeed, the selection doesn’t stray far from the obligatory set list that every holiday record seems to cull from. Case in point: ONJ has now selected “Silent Night” for every Christmas album she has released.

This Christmas is the perfect holiday record for anyone who has been waiting since Two Of A Kind for the return of John Travolta and Olivia Newton John. Beyond that, This Christmas is another run-of-the-mill collection of uninspired holiday classics featuring a bunch of questionable guest appearances and two longstanding friends who can’t seem to get away from those hallowed halls of Rydell High.

An extra star has been added for this release as all proceeds from the sale of This Christmas go to the artist’s charitable foundations.

Video: John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John – “I Think You Might Like It”

Cat Power - Sun

Cat Power – Sun

Cat PowerSun (Matador)

The story goes that when Chan Marshall set off to begin the follow up to the very hard to follow up The Greatest, she presented her progress to a friend. She could tell that the new material didn’t grab her friend in quite the manner that she hoped, and after some additional probing, the friend declared that the new songs sounded pretty much like any other Car Power song.

And Chan Marshall was tired of sounding like the “old” Cat Power.

More power to her–pun intended–as the process of avoiding stagnation has given rock and roll some of its best moments.

It has also given it some of its worst, and the risk for epic failure gets greater when artists begin to incorporate other styles and genres that are way beyond their limits. For example: Bob Mould may be a fine dj on the weekends, but that doesn’t mean he makes a mean EDM record.

More to the point, it doesn’t mean that I want to hear a Bob Mould EDM album either. I want my musical heroes to be brave enough to listen to that bit of self-doubt in their heads that says, “Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this.”

Chan Marshall shouldn’t be making records like Sun, plain and simple. That’s my opinion, and it comes from the same one that thinks The Greatest was a risky album on its own. It, and to a lesser extent Jukebox, positioned Chan into promising new direction. Instead, she has now squandered that promise into a half-baked record of songs that seem to insinuate that the recording session for Sun was nothing more than one big distraction.

There are beats, rhythms, vocoders, beeps, and other creations that seem to be the result of a shopping spree in the electronics area of Guitar Center. There’s no rhyme or reason to when and why these sounds are introduced in a song, so you’re left to assume that shit just kept getting added on until Chan finally had the empathy to say “Stick a fork in it. It’s done.”

The nonsense starts early. The opener, “Cherokee,” gradually brings the listeners into Chan’s left turn, starting with a shimmering guitar before the manufactured beats make their entrance.

And you know what? It’s ok for a moment. When Chan mutters “Never knew love like this,” she sounds like she’s on the other end of a dial-up internet connection. Big beats come in and things get a little shaky, but again, Marshall hides it with a great chorus of repeated “Marry me to the sky,” bringing a bit of a lyrical connection with the song title.

Then, at exactly 3:05 into “Cherokee,” the sound of a fucking hawk or some other bird comes in. Immediately, I was like “What the fuck was that?!”

I quickly rewound and discovered the truth, and it was at that moment that I decided that I didn’t like the new Cat Power album.

The title track is just an overloaded mess of processed vocals and I’ve even started to lose interest into the briefly infectious lead-off single, “Ruin.”

My wife, who owns quite a large collection of Glee product, declares “3, 6, 9” as “strangely good” while it only makes me say, “I see what you did there!” What Marshall comes up with is a hooky bit of prose that repeats ad infinitum.

The darker moments are the best, and they will be the only moments that I’ll end up leaving in my playlist after this review posts. “Always On My Own” and “Human Being” are harrowing tales, but it’s “Manhattan” that serves as the best interpretation of Marshall’s desire to be different.

With it’s cheesy drum machine and simple, four-step piano phrase, Marshall double-tracks her voice with an emotive lead over her trademarked low-end mumble. “Don’t look at the moon tonight,” she warns “It will never be Manhattan.”

How can I stay mad at a line like that? I can’t, but I can leave off a good chunk of Sun and wonder if this is the work of a woman who’s heart isn’t in it anymore. Because Sun sounds more like an obligation, if you ask me, with each and every electronic addition seemingly introduced to cover up the fact that the album has very little heart behind it.

It is a record that began with a notion that it needed to be different, when it should have been looked at as a record that needed to be better than The Greatest.

Video: Cat Power – “Cherokee”

MP3: Cat Power – “Ruin”