Video: The Black Lips – “Can’t Hold On”
From Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art?, produced by Sean Ono Lennon and out now on Vice Records.
I love these guys. They all look like movie bullies from different decades. It’s a great look. And now they’ve added a saxophone player which is pretty cool. The sax reveals how much the Black Lips have in common with pre-Beatles rock and roll bands like the Sonics, and I hadn’t caught that vibe with them before. Dig it.
Black Lips: web, twitter, fb, amazon, wiki.
Video: DJ Khaled – “I’m the One” ft. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne
Okay I’ll admit when I started this “Number One Records” series I didn’t expect to be writing a new update every damn week. I mean, looking over the past couple years of number ones, there were only about a dozen per year. But this is the third week in a row with a brand new song at the top of the chart.
Whatever. Buy the ticket, take the ride.
I’ve never heard of DJ Khaled, but I like the idea that he wants to “celebrate life, success, and our blessings.” That’s a positive message, right? Khaled’s blessings apparently include half-naked ladies on horseback, product placement deals with Beats earbuds, and a roster of pals that include Justin Bieber and one of the guys from Migos. #blessed
No surprise, Chance’s verse is the best thing this song has going for it. Hip hop is weird in 2017. How can anybody take themselves seriously if they’re hanging out with Biebs? Maybe he’s a swell fellow. But I don’t know, man. I mean, honestly. Look at that hair.
Billboard points out that “I’m the One” is only the 28th song to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100. It was released April 28 and received 53.9 million U.S. streams and 171,000 downloads sold in the week ending May 4. On the radio it chalked up “35 million in all-format airplay audience in the week ending May 7.” And it’s the 1,064th No. 1 in the history of the Hot 100.
Continue reading Number One Records: I’m the One
Video: Waxahatchee – “Silver”
From Out In The Storm, due July 14 on Merge.
Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield’s says “Silver” is “about self-examination and the different shapes that takes, good and bad. I wanted it to be abstract and poetic, but I also wanted to align it with the other songs on the album, since they’re all so connected lyrically.” But who cares what the lyrics are about when the guitars sound this good? This is a badass song.
Waxahatchee: web, twitter, fb, amazon, wiki.
I have a place where dreams are born
And time is never planned
It’s not on any chart
You must find it in your heart
It was 1972. My hair was long, my waist was thin and I had dark(ish) circles under my eyes from too many weekend nights spent drinking in a dive bar with my friends, smoking too many Kools. I was in a band. I ran what was the school’s “underground” newspaper.
And I had a tremendous crush on a cheerleader. Yes, read the previous paragraph again and put the previous statement into context.
Of course, were that just it, what I had imagined was my Hamlet-like charm (“sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought”) would have managed that difference in our outlooks.
But there were a couple of other factors that seem, even in retrospect, to be somewhat insurmountable. Sally (1) had a boyfriend who was a year older and, yes, an athlete who didn’t care for me in the least bit for I represented everything that was pretty much anathema to him and (2) her father was the superintendent of schools and the newspaper I was putting out was causing all manner of organizational upset within the administration’s offices.
So I needed a plan. A plan that would get me in her good graces. Get her to realize that her boyfriend was a boor and that her father could just deal with it. Get her to have even a sliver of the feeling that I had for her for me.
And my plan included Todd Rundgren.
Continue reading If Music Be the Food of Love, Get Off the Stage
Video: Father John Misty – “Total Entertainment Forever”
If you’ve been a bit concerned that Papa John Murphy has abandoned his sense of humor, this new video might cheer you up. It’s pretty funny.
Sure, the lyrics are still a little heavy handed. As Doreen St. Felix mentions in her spot-on review of Pure Comedy, Misty often comes across as a “precocious teenage misanthrope.” Indeed, someone’s been told too many times they’re beyond their years.
But he’s still funny. In a snide, prickish way. He’s an asshole, of course, but he’s funny. We’ve all known that guy. He impresses rubes and wannabes by talking about big concepts and scoffs at the trivialities of the less enlightened. 25 years ago he would’ve had a “kill your television” bumper sticker on his car. Today he’s all about unplugging the internet.
Continue reading New Father John Misty video: Total Entertainment Forever
Video: Blondie – “Long Time”
Johnny Loftus featured “Long Time” on Frontier Justice 3/25/17 and here’s what he had to say about it:
Debbie Harry has never stopped being cooler than everyone, and “Long Time” is the new proof. Written with Dev Hynes of Blood Orange and feeding on the genetic material of “Heart of Glass,” it’s one of the lead tracks from Pollinator, out May 5, which will also feature collabs with Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio), Johnny Marr, Sia, and the homie Charli XCX.
And now Blondie has made a video for the song featuring Harry as a taxi driver with more style and panache than anybody on the scene. They played at the local high school auditorium a few years ago and now I wish I would’ve gone. New Wave doesn’t seem like a genre that would lend itself to geriatrics, but I’ll be damned if Blondie doesn’t pull it off!
Continue reading New Blondie video: Long Time
Video: Bruno Mars – “That’s What I Like”
We’ve got a new #1 song, America. Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.” only stayed at the top spot for a single week. He’s all good though because DAMN. is still the number one album for the second week in a row.
Bruno Mars reached the top of the Hot 100 with “That’s What I Like” for chart date May 13. It’s his seventh #1. And it’s a pretty good song. You have to be a bit of a dick if you aren’t at least partially charmed by Bruno Mars.
“That’s What I Like” might not be as hook-laden as last year’s “24K Magic” and it’s not even close to as irresistible as his 2014 collaboration with Mark Ronson, “Uptown Funk.” But honestly, what is?
Billboard points out that this is “the 1,063rd No. 1 in the Hot 100’s history” dating back to August 4, 1958 when the magazine fully integrated the best-selling and most-played pop singles. The chart now also includes downloads and streams.
Continue reading Number One Records: Bruno Mars — That’s What I Like
Video: The Handsome Family – “King of Dust”
Jeez, I stop paying attention for a minute and when I open my eyes the Handsome Family has released four more videos from their latest album, Unseen, released last September. I guess it’s been nine months since they shared the video for “Gold”, and after that they’ve cranked out quirky, homegrown videos for “Back in My Day,” “Tiny Tina,” “The Red Door,” and now “King of Dust”.
I’m so happy these guys are still together and still putting out great music.
Continue reading A bunch of new Handsome Family videos
I’ll be brief.
I have to be.
Otherwise you’ll stop reading. Perhaps you already have.
A doctoral student at The Ohio State University, Hubert Léveillé Gauvin, has done a study (pdf, press release) on 303 U.S. top-10 singles from 1986 to 2015. He looked at five parameters: number of words in title, main tempo, time before the voice enters, time before the title is mentioned, and self-focus in lyrical content.
Léveillé Gauvin has determined that popular songs today get right to the point. Titles are short. And they’re mentioned in the song post-haste.
What’s more, whereas musical intros that were part and parcel of songs on the Big ’80s—which, on average, were greater than 20 seconds in duration—are gone. Now it’s a five-second intro and the lyrics begin.
And the tempo has accelerated, too, by about eight percent.
It seems music streaming is one of the causes.
As Léveillé Gauvin told a writer for OSU, “It’s survival-of-the-fittest: Songs that manage to grab and sustain listeners’ attention get played and others get skipped. There’s always another song. If people can skip so easily and at no cost, you have to do something to grab their attention.”
This has taken about 45 seconds to read.
Every New Years Eve The Parson Red Heads cover a different album and invite friends to do the same, creating a night where everyone dresses up like someone else to listen to bands playing someone else’s songs. These kinds of tributes are very popular in Portland, which is odd given the huge amount of talent and original music coming out of this city. But I guess it’s also a fun way for some of these bands to wear their influences (or at least their interests) on their sleeves.
Those influences linger just below the surface in the band’s new single, “Coming Down” from their upcoming fourth studio album, Blurred Harmony. According to their press release, the new album is “the overdriven jangle of Teenage Fanclub and Big Star power-pop, the skewed psychedelics of the Paisley Underground, the bittersweet energy of New Zealand’s ‘Dunedin Sound’ movement, and the muted twang of Cosmic Americana, all crammed into 44 minutes.” All of which is true, but mixed up into a stew of its own.
Singer-songwriter Evan Way describes the track as “a song about anxiety, about how life and all it’s mania can start to make you feel like you’re losing it, and how in those moments the people that you love can sort of ground you and bring you back to reality and that sense of safety.”
Blurred Harmony is out on June 9 from Fluff & Gravy Records.
Video: The Parson Redheads – “To the Sky” (Live on OPB)
Parson Red Heads: web, twitter, fb, amazon, wiki.
*This article has been edited to correct the title of their album and the night they host their covers show.