New Titus Andronicus video: Number One (In New York)

Video: Titus Andronicus – “Number One (In New York)”


From A Productive Cough, out March 2 on Merge.

There’s a thin line between pretense and ambition and anybody shooting for the latter risks ending up with the former instead. I mean, how many 10-minute epics can one band record?

Then again, no score and seven years ago Titus Andronicus proved with “A More Perfect Union” that overambition can yield damn fine results. And here they are, at it again, with another big statement. This time, instead of referencing the Civil War, Billy Bragg, and Bruce Springsteen, our bearded hero Patrick Stickles tackles the inward struggle of coping with life in the age of our orange fuhrer.

I know, that doesn’t sound very enticing. But neither did the idea of a concept album about Abraham Lincoln and escaping New Jersey and…girls and stuff, but The Monitor was pretty fucking awesome.

Stickles is like a rock and roll combination of Walt Whitman with Rakim. Look at this verse and then think back to that “Rapping, deconstructed” video everybody was passing around a couple years ago:

The villains have taken their vengeance
I regret to say they’ve collected the evidence
Repent and pretend every entrance is open to tenants with references
Declare myself president of the emptiness, say I’m Rembrandt of dancing on the precipice
Eleven years in and trying to stay relevant
But based on what’s left of the remnants of my intestines
I would guess I’ve ingested the medicine

Those are some dense-ass lyrics for indie rock! Might not be your cup of tea, but you gotta respect it.

Titus Andronicus: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Titus Andronicus video: Number One (In New York)

New First Aid Kit video: Fireworks

Video: First Aid Kit – “Fireworks”

First Aid Kit – Fireworks

From Ruins, out January 19 on Columbia.

First Aid Kit is back again, this time putting those sibling harmonies into a promtastic re-imagination of the 1980s. As someone who attended high school formal dances in those years, I can attest to the verisimilitude of the overall vibe of this video.

Sure, you can point out certain anachronisms. Klara and Johanna’s hairstyles, for example, are from opposite ends of the decade. And the “I want to believe” poster is inspired by the “X Files” which debuted in 1993, and there weren’t any teenagers left in America with feathered hair in 1993.

But still, so much of this video feels absolutely correct. Especially the slow dancing, swaying back and forth with the girl’s hands on the boy’s shoulders and the boy’s hands on the girl’s hips. I don’t know if that’s still how kids slowdance today, but that’s totally how we did it back in the day.

We, however, were never abducted by aliens.

First Aid Kit: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Belle and Sebastian video: I’ll Be Your Pilot

Video: Belle and Sebastian – “I’ll Be Your Pilot”

Belle and Sebastian – I'll Be Your Pilot

From How To Solve Our Human Problems EP 2, out January 19 on Matador.

If you’re a Belle and Sebastian fan who is concerned that the band has gotten a little too disco-y lately, this new song ought to reassure you. Acoustic guitars and an oboe take the spotlight in this amazingly sweet lullaby from a parent to their kid.

It’s tough to become a grown up
Put it off while you can
I tell you that when you land
In the real world, it’s like quicksand

That’s true. John Cougar once said to hang on to 16 as long as you can, and he wasn’t wrong about that either. Changes come around real soon.

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

Continue reading New Belle and Sebastian video: I’ll Be Your Pilot

2017 Soundscan Data: Total Music Sales and Consumption

So it looks like fewer and fewer people care about owning their music. This is the first year that I didn’t buy a single new release on compact disc (although I picked up a few deluxe reissues on CD). I bought a bunch of vinyl including Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy, the Mountain Goats’ Goths, Jason Isbell’s The Nashville Sound, Neil Young’s Hitchhiker, and the Replacements’ Live at Maxwell’s.

But most of the new stuff I listened to this year was streamed including tons of miscellaneous singles as well as new albums by Spoon, Conor Oberst, Aimee Mann, Strand of Oaks, Diet Cig, Lorde, Micah Schnabel, Tristen, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, St. Vincent, Last Leaves, Taylor Swift, and my absolute favorite album of the year: Feel Your Feelings, Fool by the Regrettes. I’ll pick that stuff up on vinyl if I see a deal, but I’m in no hurry. Patience is a virtue, after all.

I’m apparently not alone. Music sales are down down down. But streaming is way up and if you accept the industry’s argument that 1,500 streams is equivalent to one album sale then things are about the same as they were in the early- to mid-90s, before the brief, turn-of-the-century bubble. So maybe all’s well. Who knows?

Seems like only yesterday that we were all celebrating the certain death of the major label system, but just like everything else about the early internet age, we were overly optimistic and grossly naive about the resilience of corporate America. So it goes. Anyway, here’s the data…

Total U.S. Album sales (physical + digital in millions)

Total Album Sales (physical + digital albums)

2017: 169.15 million
2016: 205.5 million
2015: 241.39 million
2014: 257.02 million
2013: 289.41 million
2012: 315.96 million
2011: 330.57 million
2010: 326.15 million
2009: 373.9 million
2008: 428.4 million
2007: 500.5 million
2006: 588.2 million
2005: 618.9 million
2004: 666.7 million
2003: 667.9 million
2002: 693.1 million
2001: 762.8 million
2000: 785 million
1999: 754.8 million
1998: 712.5 million
1997: 651.8 million
1996: 616.6 million
1995: 616.4 million (I’ve heard the figure is 616,957,000)
1994: 614.7 million (I’ve heard the figure is 615,266,000)
1993: ~573 million (1994 was 7.4% increase over 1993)

Continue reading 2017 Soundscan Data: Total Music Sales and Consumption

New Hot Date video: MN Goddess

Video: Hot Date – “MN Goddess”

MN Goddess – by Hot Date – From the "Spaces" EP

From Spaces, out January 19 on Bandcamp.

Hot Date is a Saint Paul, Minnesota duo featuring Nora O’Brien on vocals and Eric Carranza on everything else. “MN Goddess” is an airy song about a certain type of midwestern woman (“if you’ve seen one you know what I mean”). While the video was shot in the summer, the song has wintery chill.

She doesn’t dress like all those ladies
That you see in magazines
Still when the north wind claws around us
She’ll be doing alright by me

Those of us in the Upper Midwest are very familiar with the north wind. Especially this time of year.

And of course Hot Date sells its own line of well-designed Minnesota Goddess merch.

Hot Date: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Johnny Marr and Maxine Peake video: The Priest

Video: Johnny Marr and Maxine Peake – “The Priest”

The Priest – Johnny Marr and Maxine Peake

This is a cool spoken word piece about living on the streets of Edinburgh based on Joe Gallagher’s diaries that were published in The Big Issue under the pseudonym James Campbell.

“Arite there pal, what you doin’ here?”
“Tryin to sleep.”
“I’ve missed ma train n ma pals huv all fucked off n uv got naewhere tae kip… You homeless then?” he asks.
“You look oot ay it,” he says. “Are ye kitted up?”
“No, I am just very tired and it’s after two in the morning.”
“I hud a bit o’ coke earlier on.”

Oh for fuck’s sake. It’s gonna be a long night.

Johnny Marr provides the instrumentation, Maxine Peake narrates, and Molly Windsor stars in the video that was shot in Manchester. Johnny Marr’s third solo album is due in the spring.

Johnny Marr: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Phoebe Bridgers video: Would You Rather ft. Conor Oberst

Video: Phoebe Bridgers – “Would You Rather” (ft. Conor Oberst)

Phoebe Bridgers – Would You Rather (Official Video)

From Stranger In The Alps, out now on Dead Oceans.

Playing “would you rather”
When it comes to fire
You always say that you’d prefer to drown

You were still in the ambulance
When the cop suggested
You’re the one who tried to burn it down

Whoa! That’s a self-contained short story right there.

It might sound like just a simple, pretty, acoustic duet there’s a lot going on in here.

Bridgers told The Fader that she wrote the song about her brother Jackson, who directed the video and said:

“I wanted to represent the almost telepathic bond between siblings that Phoebe and Conor sing about with televisions because sitting in front of the TV was one of the main places we bonded as kids, second only to long road trips. This song beautifully shows that knowing someone means knowing all of their darkest and most gruesome childhood fears and nightmares, but friendship and time can turn those negative emotions into something useful. As we get older and grow as artists, I’m glad this friendship can manifest itself in new ways, even as the nightmares and fantasies of our childhood fade away.”

Phoebe Bridgers: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

The 21 Best Songs of 2017

Happy New Year!

End of year lists are fun. This is better than that. No it’s not. Etc.

We shared almost 200 songs in 2017. Most of those are really good or else we wouldn’t have posted them, right? But these are the 21 that we keep going back to and can’t get enough of.

Why 21? It’s a good amount of music. Less than 80 minutes, which is about how much you could cram onto a CD-R or a little less than what you could fit onto 90 minute tape. It’s digestible.

Our list might not be as diverse and worldly as some you might come across, but these songs all share our point of view. We love guitars, smart lyrics, and bad attitudes. Rock and roll.

These aren’t ranked in order but instead they’re sequenced for listenability. We had to kick it off with the Breeders (good morning!), but after that it pretty much goes from mellow to banging. Of course, feel free to shuffle it up if that’s how you roll. Go nuts. Enjoy.

We hope you like it and we plan on sharing even more songs next year. 5 x 52 = 260, right? That’s the plan anyway.

21 Best Songs of 2017 on Spotify

Continue reading The 21 Best Songs of 2017

Wrapping up a lousy year: 2017

A lot of people died this year. This happens every year, and we’re all gonna die someday, of course, but it’s still a drag that we’re no longer inhabiting the same plane of existence as Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. We also lost Glen Campbell, Tom Petty, Walter Becker, Grant Hart, Clyde the Funky Drummer Stubblefield, Charles Bradley, J. Geils, Malcolm Young and his brother George, Tommy Keene, Maggie Roche, Gregg Allman, David Cassidy, Mel Tillis, Don Williams, Jim Nabors, Chris Cornell, Al Jarreau, Pat DiNizio, Prodigy, Chester Bennington, Charlie Murphy, Joanie Cunningham, Benson, Batman, Judge Wapner, Roger Moore, Jerry Lewis, Chuck Barris, Hugh Hefner, Don Rickles, Mary Tyler Moore, Harry Dean Stanton, Martin Landau, Dick Gregory, Jonathan Demme, Sam Shepard, Kevin Garcia (Grandaddy), Frank Deford, and Jake Lamotta.

Phew. That’s a lot. Rest in peace.

We also lost a common definition of reality, and although it had been on its deathbed for a while, it was still a little shocking when it finally kicked the bucket. I remember getting wasted with pals in the early 90s and bullshitting about memetics and alternate realities and it’s very weird to see it all come true. Or, maybe not “true” since truth no longer exists, but whatever. Oh well. Never mind.

One good thing that happened in 2017 is that Glorious Noise started posting new content regularly again for the first time since 2011. Shortly after our 16th anniversary online in February we committed to posting something new every weekday. Did you notice?

It’s been fun. I’ve listened to a lot of new music that I might have skipped over had we not set that goal. There’s tons of new stuff released every week and some of it is actually good! It’s become our mission to find the good stuff and share it with you.

There are plenty of sites that post every new press release that hits their inbox. Glorious Noise does not do that. We listen to stuff and if it’s boring or if it sucks we ignore it. Just like you should. Unless it’s noteworthy or hilariously bad or we think we should warn you about its suckiness. We will filter out the crap.

We are not an algorithm. We are a few dudes with dayjobs and strong opinions who tend to gravitate toward guitar music with something to say. You can trust us.

In fact, we’ve been compiling the songs we’ve posted about this year into a massive playlist which you can stream for yourself to decide if our taste jibes with your own. Dig it. And have a happy new year.

Continue reading Wrapping up a lousy year: 2017

New Jonathan Wilson video: Over the Midnight

Video: Jonathan Wilson – “Over the Midnight”

Jonathan Wilson – "Over the Midnight" [Official Music Video]

From Rare Birds, out March 2 on Bella Union.

What’s Jonathan Wilson been smoking? Is this supposed to be trippy? Looks like he’s embracing his prog side visually while musically going for the same slick vibe that made the War on Drugs album so unconvincing.

I don’t know about this. Maybe it’ll grow on me…

Jonathan Wilson: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Rock and roll can change your life.