New Sincere Engineer video: Ceramic Tile

Video: Sincere Engineer – “Ceramic Tile”

CERAMIC TILE – Sincere Engineer [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

From Rhombithian, out October 20 on Red Scare.

Ceramic tile in the bathroom
You make me dizzy on this drunken afternoon
But you’re cold against my face
When I lie down on top of you

We’ve all been there. Sometimes the bathroom floor feels so cool and comforting and it’s the only thing that can stop the throbbing.

Deanna Belos, under the stage name Sincere Engineer, has gained a following as a solo acoustic punk kid prior to recording her debut album. She told Noisey, “It was [producer] Matt [Jordan]’s idea to make it with a full band. I was thinking the album would be more of a Sundowner acoustic vibe but he wanted it to feel more like the Lawrence Arms’ Oh! Calcutta!, which is like the best album of time.”

“Ceramic Tile” sounds promising. Belos has a clever way with words (“I welcome forehead kisses from the floor…”) and she has a tough, sincere voice. Plus, she looks like the girls I knew in college in the 90s; makes me feel like I’ve already met her. Alternate reality Belos is super cool and lives off campus and sneaks her dog into the dorm while we all listen to Neil Young and take turns playing Maelstrom.

Sincere Engineer: twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Leonard Cohen video: Leaving the Table

Video: Leonard Cohen – “Leaving the Table”

Leonard Cohen – Leaving the Table

From You Want It Darker, out now on Columbia Records.

I should’ve gone and seen Leonard Cohen when he started touring again in 2008. A dear friend of mine saw him at the Chicago Theatre in 2009 and wept when Cohen, a 75 year old man, fell down to his knees during an emotional part of a song. I immediately regretted whatever stupid excuse I had for not going. And I’ve regretted it even more since he died last year, the day before the election. What a shitty couple of years it’s been.

I first heard Leonard Cohen on a tape that a girl in Scotland made for me when I spent a semester abroad. A Nick Drake mix on one side, and The Best of Leonard Cohen on the flip. She liked guys to put their cigarette butts out on her skin, and she lost interest in me pretty quickly after she realized I wasn’t into that. I hope she’s okay. That was over 25 years ago and I still worry about her a little whenever I hear those songs.

Leonard Cohen was a gentleman. And he knew how to make a graceful exit.

I don’t need a reason
For what I became
I’ve got these excuses
They’re tired and they’re lame
I don’t need a pardon
There’s no one left to blame
I’m leaving the table
I’m out of the game

The world is a worse place without him. His biographer Sylvie Simmons told a story about going to his little house to interview him and he offered her a popsicle. That casual, generous elegance sums him up to me. We should all hand out popsicles to visitors.

Leonard Cohen: web, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Kurt and Courtney share Continental Breakfast

Video: Courtney Barnett + Kurt Vile – “Continental Breakfast”

Courtney Barnett + Kurt Vile – Continental Breakfast (Official Video)

From Lotta Sea Lice, out October 13 on Matador Records.

As if these two couldn’t get more lovable, now we get to see Courtney and Kurt goofing around their homes with their families, separated by thousands of miles of ocean, but bonded in joie de vivre.

“Continental Breakfast” may sound slapdash but don’t let the effortlessness fool you. Barnett and Vile know exactly what they’re doing, and they do it perfectly. Their intercontinental collaboration reminds us all how fun it can be to hang out with pals and to make new friends, even ones who live a world away. We have a lot more in common than what divides us.

And if Kurt and Courtney succeed in spreading more smiles to the sullen world of indie rock, who can argue with that?

Kurt & Courtney: web, amazon, apple, spotify.

Continue reading Kurt and Courtney share Continental Breakfast

New Coathangers video: Perfume

Video: The Coathangers – “Perfume” (Alternate Version)

The Coathangers – Perfume (Alternate Version)

From Nosebleed Weekend, out now on Suicide Squeeze.

Another cool song from Atlanta’s garage girl group, the Coathangers. “Summer stole the perfume from my eye.” I don’t know what that means but it sounds good. Float on!

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

New Belle and Sebastian video: We Were Beautiful

Video: Belle and Sebastian – “We Were Beautiful”

Belle and Sebastian – We Were Beautiful

Single available now on Matador.

If you haven’t been paying attention to Belle and Sebastian for a while you might not know that they’ve been messing around with dance music lately. In 2014 they released the disco homage “The Party Line” as a preview single for Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, and it’s retained its position on my playlist of “songs to improve moods on long car rides” (along with “Uptown Funk” and “Get Lucky”) since then.

“We Were Beautiful” is more melancholy than “The Party Line” but it features the Glaswegian approximation of the “Funky Drummer” beat, so that’s pretty cool. It also has pedal steel and a mariachi trumpet! Far out.

Lyrically, it’s sad and nostalgic like all the best Belle and Sebastian songs.

We were beautiful before this went down
We were beautiful before the years came and turned it upside down
We were beautiful before we got wise

Stuart Murdoch creates a perfect little snapshot of a world “where the women are oblique and the boys are paper thin, ragged beards upon their chin.” It shares a similar perspective to the The’s “Jealous of Youth” with the narrator reminiscing of days with “nothing on except our boots” and being “intimate around the waist.”

So what is it that “went down” to ruin everything? Life, man. Wisdom makes you old and haggard. Sorry to spoil it for you, kids, but it’s the truth. Use sunscreen and take care of your teeth. The passing of time and all of its crimes is making me sad again.

Belle and Sebastian: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Belle and Sebastian video: We Were Beautiful

Number One Records: Bodak Yellow

Video: Cardi B – “Bodak Yellow”

Cardi B – Bodak Yellow [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO]

Poor Tay-Tay. She only spent three weeks at No. 1 with “Look What You Made Me Do” despite her best efforts at gaming the system.

Newcomer Cardi B kicks T-Swizz out of the top spot with “Bodak Yellow,” a profane jam about how tough and rich and hard-working she is. If you’re wondering why this is a big deal, Chris Molanphy breaks down the drama and Kristin Corry explains why it matters.

Essentially, it’s a David vs. Goliath story where David is an “Instagram celeb turned reality-show luminary turned rapper.” 2017, people. Hell of a time to be alive.

But “Bodak Yellow” is pretty fun. My favorite line is “I just arrove in a Rolls / I just came up in a Wraith.” I like arrove as the past tense of to arrive. Like drove is the past tense of to drive. Makes sense. Sounds good. Add it to the OED.

The song is a reference to “No Flockin” by Kodak Black. And in fact Dieuson Octave (Black’s given name) has a songwriter’s credit on “Bodak Yellow.”

Billboard‘s Gary Trust points out that Cardi B is the first solo female rapper to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart since Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” in 1998. She’s also “only the fifth female rapper ever to lead the Hot 100 at all.” That seems crazy.

“Bodak” had 46.4 million U.S. streams and 56,000 downloads in the week ending Sept. 21, and it had 62 million all-format audience radio impressions in the week ending Sept. 24.

Cardi B: twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading Number One Records: Bodak Yellow

New Amy O video: Lavender Night

Video: Amy O – “Lavender Night”

Amy O – Lavender Night (Official Video)

From Elastic, out now on Winspear.

“Lavender Night” starts off with a badass little riff and the harmonies remind me of Bananarama’s cover of “Venus.” Is that nuts? Anyway, it’s a cool song, and if you’re into dreamy vocals and muscular guitars you should check it out.

Amy says: “I wrote it after a little scare I had at the doctor with a mysterious lump. It’s about the constant (and often invisible) line of fragility that we walk upon in life, learning how to follow trails of light throughout difficult circumstances, and resisting the black hole-like vacuum of negative thought patterns.”

Amy O: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify.

New Neil Young video: Powderfinger

Video: Neil Young – “Powderfinger”

Neil Young – Powderfinger (video created by Black Balloon)

From Hitchhiker, out now on Reprise Records.

Hitchhiker is an incredible album, and I’m frankly shocked that Neil Young has let it out into the world. In Shakey, Jimmy McDonough revealed that Neil would sometimes hold back the “best” version of a song because it was “too real.” I could argue that these are the best versions of all these songs, and — recorded in one session in 1976 — this recording is as real as it gets. This is peak Neil.

In his memoir Super Deluxe, Neil wrote:

I spent the night there [Indigo Ranch Studios] with David [Briggs] and recorded nine solo acoustic songs, completing a tape I called Hitchhiker.

It was a complete piece, although I was pretty stony on it, and you can hear it in my performances. Dean Stockwell, my friend and a great actor who I later worked on Human Highway as a co-director, was with us that night, sitting in the room with me as I laid down all the songs in a row, pausing only for weed, beer, or coke. Briggs was in the control room, mixing live on his favorite console.

In a recent radio interview, Neil explains why it wasn’t released at the time:

Back then when we played this record for business folks, the reaction was that it was not a real record, but a collection of demos. I was advised to record the songs with a band, but the Hitchhicker versions are the true originals, recorded earlier than any versions you may have ever heard, and I always knew the original album would find its place and surface. That time is now.

I can’t imagine that there’s anything left in the archives as great as this, but I would love to be surprised. So bring it on, Neil! The time is now!

Neil Young: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Riot Fest 2017: No Dicks on the Dancefloor

Riot Fest once again proved itself to be the music fest for grownups. Grownups in black t-shirts.

While all the other big festivals rotate the same dozen headliners, it’s great that Riot Fest has retained its punk rock focus. Maybe not as strictly as during its first several years as a multi-venue festival, but most of the performers still fall somewhere along the punk rock spectrum. And even the ones who don’t play distorted guitars could be said to have a punk rock attitude. Gotta respect that.

Riot Fest sometimes gets accused of cashing in on nostalgia. Sure, a lot of the bands peaked 20 or 30 years ago (or more). But the fact that they’re still around and kicking ass is a testament not only to their survival but to our own. We should all hope we age as gracefully as the most of these artists (Al Jourgensen excepted).

Headliners this year were Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, and a reunited Jawbreaker, playing their first full show in 21 years (other than a couple warm up gigs around San Francisco last month). The headliners get the big font on the poster, but fest diehards know that the undercard is always where the action is.

It was hot and sunny when we got to the park on Friday. You never know what you’re going to get in September in Chicago, but you can usually count on at least some rain. The line to get in was down the block and security was being thorough. I heard one guy complaining that they had opened his cardboard cigarette case the wrong way and wrecked it. A woman behind me was worried she was going to miss X, who she had last seen in 1983 with the Replacements opening up for them! Don’t worry, she made it in with time to spare.

Continue reading Riot Fest 2017: No Dicks on the Dancefloor

New Black Lips video: Crystal Night

Video: Black Lips – “Crystal Night”

Black Lips – Crystal Night (official video)

From Satan’s graffiti or God’s art? out now on Vice Records. Produced by Sean Lennon.

Weird. It’s a dopey 50s love song pastiche, and also…it’s set during the event that kicked off the Holocaust, Kristallnacht. In the video, our protagonist gets kicked out of the prom by security (in brown shirts, of course) for spiking the punch. Ultimately, he’s thrown in the trunk of a BMW and driven away. If this is a reference to the historical “Night of Broken Glass” in 1938 when thousands of Jewish businesses, homes, and synagogues were ransacked and destroyed by nazis, it’s pretty tasteless. Tens of thousands of Jews were arrested within 24 hours and the Black Lips are joking about emptying your flask into the punch bowl?

We never said goodbye
Now you’re sent to die
On crystal night

It’d be pretty easy to argue that the Lips are trivializing the horrific pogrom against Jews for the sake of a goofy little ditty. And I’m guessing they might suggest that it’s only rock and roll and we should all lighten up. Part of what I love about this band is their snottiness and general DGAF attitude, so this is not necessarily “off brand” for them. (I suppose they did something similar with Hurricane Katrina ten years ago.) But this is pretty fucking odd.

Black Lips: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Video: Black Lips – “O Katrina!”

Black Lips – Katrina – Vice Records

From Good Bad Not Evil, on Vice Records, 2007.