Video: Sincere Engineer – “Shattering”
From Rhombithian, out now on Red Scare.
The last time we saw Deanna Belos of Chicago’s Sincere Engineer, she was passed out on her bathroom floor. This time she’s sinking to the bottom of a lake like an empty bottle.
I’m gonna jump in Lake Michigan
And swim out as far as I can
And you should come with me
She told Consequence of Sound that the song was “inspired by a friend telling me a story about how he used to swim out to the middle of a lake when he was a kid. He’d swim out so far and get so tired that he’d scare himself.”
Sincere Engineer: twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.
As I seem to be on the macabre musical beat, I received an email from a friend of mine who recently saw John Sebastian. (She lives in a small college town in Iowa, so they have some non-arena-filling musicians coming to their burg.)
Some of you may be unfamiliar—so you think—with John Sebastian. He’s the guy who performed “Welcome Back,” the theme song for “Welcome Back, Kotter” (which I guarantee is now an ear worm for many of you.)
Now you know who he is.
Some of you will be familiar with “Summer in the City,” the song that’s pulled out for its driving beat, especially when it is hot outside (“back of my neck gettin’ dirty and gritty”). That was Sebastian in The Lovin’ Spoonful, which also had regrettable compositions including “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice.” Seriously, it as saccharine as its title. But back in the ‘60s, not all was Janis stomping.
Sebastian played harmonica on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Déjà Vu. (Apparently pre-Young, he was asked to be part of the band. What line would musical history have taken had he gone that route?)
And some of you will know that Sebastian played harmonica on The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues.” In addition to Morrison Hotel, Sebastian’s harmonica work appears on several songs on the In Concert recording.
Morrison, of course, is dead. Sebastian isn’t. He’s 73.
My friend wrote that he “is a very good guitar player and a GREAT harmonica player. However his voice is gone.”
Continue reading Questions. One Answer.
Video: Spoon – “Do I Have to Talk You Into It”
From Hot Thoughts, out now on Matador.
A classic Spoon jam with a manic Photoshop tutorial? You can’t say the band doesn’t know their audience. I imagine boutique design studios all over the country cranking this jam during the interview sessions where they whiteboard out desired career paths and sip kombucha from wooden cups.
Spoon: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.
Video: Charly Bliss – “Scare U”
From Guppy, out now on Barsuk Records.
Happy Halloween! Here’s a spooky video wherein the kids from Charly Bliss recreate their favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, “Doublemeat Palace.” Eva Hendricks told W magazine that she and her boyfriend, Toby Goodshank, made the props themselves.
The song’s not actually scary at all. Unless you’re afraid of pop hooks. Or possible euphemisms regarding elves…
Forced fun, ill at ease
All I eat is bread and cheese
Pink elf, bleed the sheets
I wanna talk about it, but I don’t know what I mean
Be safe trick or treating out there, kids. You never know who’s going to try to grind you up into hamburger!
Charly Bliss: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.
Continue reading New Charly Bliss video: Scare U
Video: Blitzen Trapper – “Wild and Reckless”
From Wild and Reckless, due November 3 on LidKerCow.
Sounds like Blitzen Trapper is going for a Bruce Springsteen vibe with “Wild and Reckless,” the second single and title track from their upcoming self-released album. Like a lot of Blitzen Trapper jams, this one takes a bunch of cliches and twists them into something that makes you forget how tired they are on their own.
“I originally based ‘Wild and Reckless’ on a family member who eloped at a very young age to Reno. It also has shades of Bonnie and Clyde, but really it’s about the vanity of nostalgia – thinking the past somehow trumps the present, that there were better days somewhere back there,” frontman Eric Earley told Rolling Stone. “Rock and roll being one of the most notorious vehicles for nostalgia, it always seems fitting to toss guitar riffs smack dab in the middle of two lovers in bad straits.”
After a few albums on Sub Pop and a couple on Vagrant, they’re back to releasing stuff on their own label, LidKerCow.
Blitzen Trapper: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.
Continue reading New Blitzen Trapper video: Wild and Reckless
Video: Screaming Females – “Glass House”
From All At Once, due February 23 on Don Giovanni Records.
Screaming Females sound spooky in a Black Sabbath kind of way, don’t you think? Marissa Paternoster’s voice is intense and her guitar is as heavy as it gets.
She described her inspiration for the song to Rolling Stone: “Our shrinking world [is] crushed under a deluge of information, constant contact and social media sludge. It has narrowed my connection to reality in a way that I find rather upsetting.”
It is upsetting!
Screaming Females: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.
Video: Sondre Lerche – “Siamese Twin”
From Pleasure, originally released in March on PLZ and being reissued November 10 on Analog Spark.
This is the fourth video the Norwegian wunderkind has released from his ninth studio album. You can watch the three previous videos below. They all share a theme of Sondre exploring his softer, sensual side while the music is either harsh and dissonant or ultra 80s synthpop. Not sure what’s going on with that but he definitely seems to be making a statement. Maybe a comment on his former teen heartthrob status? Or a post-divorce, personal Men’s Liberation movement? Or maybe he just likes wearing delicate slip-dresses and wrassling with fellas in their underwear. Who knows?
Sondre Lerche has always shared a certain je ne sais quoi (and occasionally a stage) with Elvis Costello, and these genre explorations and self re-inventions seems to fit with that.
He’s also releasing a Black Friday Record Store Day exclusive called Solo Pleasure, featuring a solo performance of the Pleasure album, recorded live to analog tape. So if this new stuff is too freaky and bloopy for you, he’s throwing you a bone.
Sondre Lerche: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.
Continue reading New Sondre Lerche video: Siamese Twin
Video: Estrons – “Glasgow Kisses”
From the Strobe Lights/Glasgow Kisses single, out now.
I can’t remember where I first heard this song, but I’m glad I did because it kicks ass.
I found their website and they say, “We wrote [“Glasgow Kisses”] to celebrate the sweet bitterness of our adolescence and adult lives. Be proud of your experiences – who knows what they’re good for.”
They’re Welsh and they remind me of the mid-90s when bands like Elastica, Republica, and Lush were proving that the U.K. was a hotbed for a breed of women who were way harder and cooler than their Britpop countrymen. Or so it seemed to me at the time.
Estrons: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.
Continue reading New Estrons video: Glasgow Kisses
Video: Morrissey – “Spent the Day in Bed”
From Low In High School, out November 17 on BMG.
It’s super easy to hate Morrissey. I get it. He says and does a lot of stuff that’s impossible to defend. He applauds Brexit, he cancels tour after tour, he makes you sit through a half hour of YouTube videos before he arrives on stage. And yet…I’ve loved him so long I can’t stop now.
And most people don’t really get his sense of humor. He’s a funny dude. And he’s always aimed his meanest sarcasm at himself. Self-deprecating doesn’t begin to describe it. More like self-lacerating. And it’s hilarious.
“I spent the day in bed; I’m not my type, but I love my bed.” That’s funny. Reminds me of the Tom Waits spiel about taking yourself out on a date, coming home and putting some smooth music on the radio, and by 2:30 in the morning you’ve ended up taking advantage of yourself. Morrissey is more concise.
And you certainly can’t argue with his recommendation to “Stop watching the news.” We’re all burning out on outrage these days and it’s not doing any of us any good to have 24-7 exposure to awful news. Just check in on What The Fuck Just Happened Today? once in a while and keep on keeping on.
As the man says, there’s nothing wrong with being good to yourself.
Morrissey: fb, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.
Video: Marika Hackman – “Time’s Been Reckless”
From I’m Not Your Man, out now on Sub Pop.
Even though I liked Nirvana as much as anybody who was young in the 90s (including Ivanka Trump!), I used to say that I hated every single band they influenced. I would have been more than willing to lop off that entire branch of the rock and roll family tree.
But that’s changing.
There seem to be a bunch of new bands, lots of them fronted by badass grrrls, who are reigniting the torch that Kurt Cobain snuffed out in 1994, and doing a bangup job of it. Marika Hackman doesn’t really sound that much like Nirvana but her eyes remind me of Kurt and she sounds like the 90s for sure. And she’s on Sub Pop!
I spent my 20s in the 90s and while most of that decade sucked (AIDS, extra large clothes, Deadeye Dick), there were some good things too, and Marika Hackman embodies all of them in this video.
Marika Hackman: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.