New Morrissey video: Back on the Chain Gang

Video: Morrissey – “Back on the Chain Gang”

Morrissey – Back on the Chain Gang (Official Video)

Single out November 23. Also on upcoming double-vinyl reissue of Low in High School.

I’m something of a Morrissey apologist but this is not a great cover. Moz’s clunky guitar player doesn’t nail the fluidity of the Pretenders’ original lead guitar line. That part was created by Rockpile’s Billy Bremner, who Chrissie Hynde and producer Chris Thomas brought into the studio a month after James Honeyman-Scott died of a drug overdose. I had always assumed it was Honeyman-Scott playing on this single, but nope.

It still boggles my mind that Morrissey is so faithful to his thoroughly mediocre backing musicians. He’s stuck by guitarists Boz Boorer and Jesse Tobias since 1991 and 2005, respectfully. Those guys might not be able to play Bremner’s lead guitar part properly, but I can think of somebody who could

So it goes.

Morrissey told Rolling Stone: “I think the original can safely be counted as a pop classic, and as always with the Pretenders, of the brain as well as the loins. Chrissie is always ready to do something before anyone expects it, and for me that’s a well-developed artist. Chrissie is one of my longest and enduring friendships. I don’t have many. Chrissie is the funniest person in the world, yet she has absolutely no sense of humor. We have been in many absurd situations – all her fault, of course. I know she’d marry me tomorrow, but she’s already had 11 husbands and she’s always being spotted digging in the garden at midnight.”

And that’s why I still love this guy. On his curious decision to pose with a guitar he explained, “I wanted people to see that I can play as well as Jeff Beck. I wanted them to, but they never will!”

Classic Moz. I still wish he, Noel Gallagher, and Russell Brand would be the judges for a singing competition. It would be the greatest television experience of all time.

Continue reading New Morrissey video: Back on the Chain Gang

New Sharon Van Etten video: Comeback Kid

Video: Sharon Van Etten – “Comeback Kid”

Sharon Van Etten – Comeback Kid

Directed by Jonathan William Turner. From Remind Me Tomorrow, due January 18 on Jagjaguwar.

Growing up is weird. There comes a point where you barely recognize the person you used to be. It’s easy to be dismissive of your former self’s personality and character by claiming immaturity. But if you think back, it didn’t feel that way at the time. You were a fully formed human being as a teenager. But as you get older you change. Experiences and education affect the way you think and feel about things. And age wreaks havoc on your physical appearance. You’re different than you used to be. Are you the same person? Sure, partially. But not 100%. And that’s weird, isn’t it?

Haven’t we all dreamed of going back in time and having a conversation with our 16-year-old self?

Sharon Van Etten gets this.

Come back, kid!
Let me look at you!

She says, “As the lyrics for ‘Comeback Kid’ unfolded, I realized I was talking about many selves: the kid, the adult, the sibling, the friend, the neighbor. I imagined a projector streaming over me of memories, unclear if they are mine or someone else’s, confronted by the disorientation of time and perspective. Jonathan William Turner helped me to convey these struggles of self, forgiveness, and living in the now.”

She told NPR, “Believe it or not, ‘Comeback Kid’ started off as a piano ballad. My homage to Bruce Springsteen, talking about formative years. It is talking about my young adult years, when I returned home in my early 20s after having an early crisis. My family took me in with open arms, nursed me back to health. I tried to explain all the complicated relationships with returning home and the many selves you face, the kid that never goes away, but strives to be the independent adult. I feel like this song encompasses my influences from past and present, as well as represents a moment in time that changed my life and helped me move on to be who I am today. It is complex and sometimes hard to face, but I face it and I’m stronger now. And as I look at my son, I hope he knows he can always turn to me, too.”

The director says, “The visuals draw from Sharon’s personal archive of photos and videos as the narrative of the song looks back on her past. The elements are then reactivated by an undercurrent of abstract animations. These sequences are also used to frame and obscure her performance, suggesting the fractured identity of someone looking at their past, but also confidently facing the future. Sharon is both audience and projectionist of her memories.”

Sharon Van Etten: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Gerard Way video: Baby You’re A Haunted House

Video: Gerard Way – “Baby You’re A Haunted House”

Gerard Way – Baby You're A Haunted House [Official Lyric Video]

Directed by Claire Marie Vogel. Single out now on Reprise.

I didn’t realize that this was the guy from My Chemical Romance until after I heard it. I just knew that Claire Marie Vogel (who has worked with my favorite band the Regrettes) directed the video. It’s a good dumb garage song with crunchy guitars that sound like early Weezer and lyrics that fit the season.


Gerard Way: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Jessica Pratt video: This Time Around

Video: Jessica Pratt – “This Time Around”

Jessica Pratt – This Time Around (Official Video)

Directed by Laura-Lynn Petrick. From Quiet Signs, due February 8 on Mexican Summer and City Slang.

Jessica Pratt’s voice sounds like it’s coming out of a stranger’s car stopped next to you at a red light. The windows are down and the sun is shining bright. It’s hot.

“This Time Around” could be an outtake from a lost Nick Drake session. Or a Herman’s Hermits demo. It’s got that Swinging Sixties London hangover vibe. Pratt even kinda looks like she could be Brian Jones’ granddaughter…

I don’t wanna try no longer your songbird singing the darkest hour of the night
I don’t wanna find that I’ve been marching under the crueler side of the fight
It makes me want to cry

Jessica Pratt: bandcamp, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Dandy Warhols video: Forever

Video: The Dandy Warhols – “Forever”

The Dandy Warhols – "Forever" (Official)

Directed by Jacob Pander. Single available now. From Dine Alone, due in 2019 on Dine Alone.

The Dandy Warhols play a group of spooky apparitions who sign away their souls to a corporate conglomerate. It’s not abundantly clear why these rich, young executives would offer a contract to a bunch of haggard old ghosts, but that’s show biz I guess.

Maybe it’s a play on the fact that the Dandies will be celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary as a band with a tour of Europe next year. #old!

Seems like only yesterday I saw the video for “Boys Better” on 120 Minutes. In retrospect, that video sums up everything fun about the 90s, a time when major labels were willing to invest in nurturing creative talent and when smart, cool girls enjoyed playing the tambourine topless.

The Dandy Warhols: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 20

Rolling Stone issue #20 had a cover date of October 26, 1968. 32 pages. 35 cents. Cover photo of the Beatles.

Features: “Books: The Beatles Authorized Biography” by Jann Wenner; “The Rolling Stone Interview with Cass Elliot” by Jerry Hopkins; “Doors, Airplane in Middle Earth” by Jonathan Cott; “San Francisco Going Strong In Spite of Bad-Mouthing” by Ben Fong-Torres; “Ray Charles in London” by Max Jones.

News: Los Angeles Near Clubless: Kaleidoscope Kollapses; Bill Graham Forms Talent-Booking Firm: ‘Millard Agency’; Bob Dylan Beats Elvis In British Pop Poll; New Beatles Double Album Due on November 16; Ex-Beatle Best Wins Playboy Libel Suit; Brian Jones Fined in Dope Case – But No Jail; Sly Stone’s Bum Trip to London.

Columns: Jon Landau on Albert King. Random Notes (bits on Rick Danko’s car accident; Nicky Hopkins; Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield; a mention of a new group “featuring Stephen Stills perhaps accompanied by David Crosby, Graham Nash of the Hollies and maybe Eric Clapton”; the Turtles “I hope that today’s so-called hip audience will see that these cats are truly hip”; the Who; Aretha Franklin; Joan Baez; Johnny Cash). No Thomas Albright “Visuals” column this time, but he’ll be back in issue 22 and will continue to contribute to the magazine until 1972. Ralph J. Gleason will also be back in issue 22 with a new “Perspectives” column.

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 20

New Kinski video: Guest Girl Vocalist

Video: Kinski – “Guest Girl Vocalist”

Kinski – Guest Girl Vocalist (Official Music Video)

Directed by Will Watts. From Accustomed To Your Face, out now on Kill Rock Stars.

Kinski has been around for twenty years making noisy, mostly instrumental art rock. Much of it sounds like the middle part of an early Black Sabbath song. This cheekily titled single features bassist Lucy Atkinson on the mic and takes care of business in under two minutes. Their guitar tones will still rip your face off, so beware.

Kinski: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Jon Spencer video: I Got The Hits

Video: Jon Spencer – “I Got The Hits”

Jon Spencer – I Got The Hits

Directed by Alex Italics. From Spencer Sings the Hits, due November 2 on In The Red Records.

I love bands with a little attitude. I mean, this is rock and roll, man! There is NO room for pussy footin’. One of the things that first drew me to Jon Spencer was that he called his band the Blues Explosion and commanded you to “take a whiff of my pant leg, baby.” That’s ludicrous and audacious and just the thing we need!

As Spencer says in the video, “I got it all, baby!” But hits are not among them, not if we think of them in terms of record sales and cultural impact. No, guys like Ed Sheeran have hits, and God bless him for them. But Jon Spencer doesn’t give a shit about that. He’ll look you dead in the eye and tell you he’s got the hits! And by God, you better believe him or you’ll be taking more than a whiff of his pant leg!

Jon Spencer: twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Didi video: Haru

Video: didi – “Haru”

didi – Haru (Damnably 2018)

Directed by Alex Blocher. From Like Memory Foam, due November 23 on Damnably.

There’s a lot to like about this song. Not the least of which is that one of its hooks bears a resemblance to one of the hooks of Liz Phair’s “Johnny Sunshine.”

And beware: the chorus is going to get stuck in your head. Didi’s Meg Zakany told Stereogum, “I was singing oo’s in the chorus until Leslie [Shimizu] told me they sounded like ‘haru,’ which serendipitously means ‘spring’ in Japanese.”

I also like how the band got its name:

Her name is Dorothy Sugawara-Shimizu. She is both Leslie’s grandmother and our inspiration. Dorothy, or Didi, as her grandchildren call her, was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, in the 1920s. Until quite recently, Didi kept most of her history to herself, not wanting to burden anyone with the information, and telling them “I didn’t really think my story was that different from anyone else. Everyone has their story.” But Didi’s story is different. She was taken from her home in Seattle at the age of 13. She was put into an internment camp in Idaho for 2 years. She was treated as an illegal alien and faced her teenage years in a windstorm of adversity. But the reason we chose to honor her is not solely because of the struggle she faced, but is so that her story and the story of every woman will be told. We want her to know that her life and her story matter, and that we will be telling it for as long as we can. We want her to know that her quiet strength has given us inspiration to be loud. And we need her to know that she will be remembered and immortalized in our music.

Right on. Be loud!

Didi: bandcamp, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Ticketstubs: Marilyn Manson in Grand Rapids, 1999

I miss having a friend with access to a corporate luxury box at the local arena. It’s the perfect way to see artists you don’t care about enough to pay for your own tickets. [DP disagrees. -ed.]

I know this sounds gross, but stick with me.

Back in the late 90s I had a good friend who was the pop and candy buyer for a large regional grocery store chain. Coca Cola had a box at the newly opened Van Andel Arena and my friend could get us in to pretty much any concert that came around.

We were in our twenties and like all members of Generation X we were very concerned about selling out. Especially now that we had decent jobs that paid pretty well. So when we got into the box my friend was adamant about refusing to allow the sales reps to talk business. That way we could maintain our punk rock integrity despite the fact that we were sitting in a luxury suite in a venue named after the co-founder of America’s greatest pyramid scheme. The only interaction I remember having with the Coke dudes was them offering us drinks and pizza.

We were subverting the capitalist system from within. We were sticking it to the Man! (We were young and silly.)

But we saw some good shows from that box (Tom Petty, Cher) and some mediocre ones (Aerosmith). The only time I really wanted to go to something but couldn’t was Britney Spears; the pervy old salesmen and executives didn’t have any spare tickets for that one.

But the best was when my friend would request seats to shows the sales reps absolutely would have never attended for any other reason than to nurture their relationship with a big client. And that’s how I got to see Marilyn Manson.

Continue reading Ticketstubs: Marilyn Manson in Grand Rapids, 1999

Rock and roll can change your life.