New Beths video: Uptown Girl

Video: The Beths – “Uptown Girl”

The Beths – "Uptown Girl" (official music video)

From Future Me Hates Me, out now on Carpark.

This is not a cover of the 1983 Billy Joel classic off An Innocent Man, but that’s okay. The Beths have released almost as many singles from their album Future Me Hates Me as old BJ released from his. And while the Beths haven’t managed to dent the mainstream pop charts yet, it would be hard to argue that it’s any fault of their songcraft.

I will go out tonight
I’m gonna drink the whole town dry
Put poison in my wine
And hope that you’re the one who dies

Elizabeth Stokes told Under the Radar that “Uptown Girl” is “basically about self-destructive behavior, when you’re angry at someone or you feel like somebody’s wronged you and your mode of revenge is to fuck yourself up. It’s very flawed logic but it seems to make sense at the time. It’s kinda that, it’s what that song is about. At the time all of my friend’s were going through weird shit so it was also building on their experiences as well.”

If there was justice in the world, Stokes would already be getting tired of her high class toys and all her presents from her uptown boys.

The Beths: bandcamp, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Cass McCombs video: Sleeping Volcanoes

Video: Cass McCombs – “Sleeping Volcanoes”

Cass McCombs – "Sleeping Volcanoes"

From Tip of the Sphere, out now on Anti-.

Man, what a great song. It’s not easy to write serious music that still has elements of whimsy and surprise, especially when you’re maybe mired in the daily drama overload of life in Americ-a-lago.

The video for “Sleeping Volcanoes” is just as strange and engaging as the song itself. The one take-away I get, and it’s a lesson I should never forget for even a moment, is that we need to get out in the woods more. All of us. As often as possible.

Cass McCombs: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 28

Rolling Stone issue #28 had a cover date of March 1, 1969. 32 pages. 35 cents. Cover photo of Kenji “Julie” Sawada of the Japanese band Julie and the Tigers.

Features: “Japanese Rock” by Max E. Lash; “The Hollywood Hillbillies: What’s Old Is New” by Jerry Hopkins; “Antonioni” by Gene Youngblood; “Van Morrison” by Greil Marcus; “Holiday in Germany” by Richard Brautigan.

News: “Rev. Robert Wilkins: A Song Confusion on Stones Album” by Tony Glover; “Joe Cocker: ‘U.S.’s Only Culture is Black'” by Ritchie Yorke; “Rock Dominates ’68 Golden LPs”; “Columbia’s Bid Bags Johnny Winter”; “A Dictatorship Clamps Down”; “Tiny Tim’s Triumphant Two-Week Tour”; “Jack Bruce and His Friends LP”; “Beck, Tull, Others At Newport Festival”; “Genitalia Slips Quietly Under the Counter” by Jerry Hopkins; “Hairdresser Jailed-Fake Aretha Show”; “New Cohen LP; ‘Songs from a Room'”; “Phil Spector Recording New LP; Releasing Old LP”; “Electric Circus’ ‘2001’ Renovation”; “Church Resurrects Trips Festival”; “A True-Life Pop Marriage”; “A Tough Month To be a Head.” And Random Notes on Ravi Shankar, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Donovan, Elvis Presley, Cass Elliott, the Monkees, and Patty Page.

Columns: Perspectives by Ralph J. Gleason (“Songs Would Do More than Books”); Visuals by Thomas Albright (“Zap Snatch & Crumb”); Books by Steve Russell (on The World of Rock by John Gabree, The Beatles Book by Edward E. Davis, and Rock and Other Four Letter Words by J. Merks).

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 28

New Vampire Weekend video: Harmony Hall

Video: Vampire Weekend – “Harmony Hall”

Vampire Weekend – Harmony Hall (Official Video)

Directed By Emmett Malloy. From Father of the Bride, due later this year on Sony. Single out now.

You’ve probably already heard this song, right? Vampire Weekend’s major label debut has been on microwave rotation on all my preset satellite radio stations since it dropped about a month ago. In fact, it’s #1 on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs chart for the week dated March 2. It’s also #18 on regular old Alternative Songs (not Adult) and #12 on the Rock Airplay chart, receiving 4.9 million radio impressions. So I guess it’s a legit hit.

Good for them.

I’ve liked this band since the first time I heard “Oxford Comma” and I’ve been following them ever since. It’s hard to believe that was over eleven years ago, but as Ezra Koenig knows, we can’t let the low click of the ticking clock bother us too much. It’s been almost six years since Modern Vampires of the City, so there are high expectations for the follow up.

When Rostam Batmanglij quit the band in 2016 to go solo, I was worried about the effect his absence would have on their future. Batmanglij produced and arranged the previous albums and was a seemingly irreplaceable part of the Vampire Weekend sound. Turns out he came back for “Additional Production” on the new single. So that’s cool.

“Harmony Hall” works well as a re-introduction. It’s got those vaguely “African” sounding guitars, clever, collegiate lyrics (“the stone walls of Harmony Hall bear witness”), and the recycling of a punch line from a song from the previous album (“I don’t wanna live like this but I don’t wanna die” from “Finger Back”). Still sounds like Vampire Weekend.

The piano sounds like early 90s UK rave pop (if that’s a thing). I spent a semester in Scotland in 1991 and all the dance music at the student union had that same piano in it. I appreciate that Vampire Weekend keeps finding new ways to remind me of being in college.

Vampire Weekend: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Vampire Weekend video: Harmony Hall

New Charly Bliss video: Capacity

Video: Charly Bliss – “Capacity”

Charly Bliss – Capacity [Official Music Video]

Directed by Michelle Zauner. From Young Enough, due May 10 on Barsuk.

Look at Eva Hendricks all glammed up and looking like Stassi from “Vanderpump Rules.” Bankrobber chic!

The new song doesn’t have anything to do with the video, unless we’re talking about our personal bank of energy…and how trying too hard to please other people is like robbing yourself of…I dunno.

But it’s still a good message. Cut yourself some slack.

I was raised an east coast witch like
doing nothing’s sacrilegious,
triple overtime ambitious.
Sometimes nothing is delicious.

I miss the crunchy guitars from Guppy. Hope there’s more guitars on the upcoming Young Enough than on this single. We’ll see. Still fun though.

Charly Bliss: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Daystar video: Buttons and Brass

Video: Daystar – “Buttons and Brass”

Daystar – Buttons and Brass

Directed by Matt Schulte. From The Complete Recordings, out soon.

My fellow GLONO founder Derek Phillips and I have been pals for over thirty years. Throughout these decades he’s always been in bands. Almost too many to count. But because I am a collector and an amateur archivist (a/k/a hoarder), I can count them: thirteen. Wednesday’s Children, the Holy Moly Revival, Siamese Beetle, the Silence, Leslie, Silver, the Vantrells, the Overtones, Moline Dorr, the Blue Ribbon Brothers, Riviera, the Dirty Lawfords, and now Daystar.

I’ve followed each of these bands over the years, and I’m excited about Daystar. They’re a real rock and roll band!

Daystar was formed in Portland with Joel Roth, Nick Foltz, and Kelly Simmons, and their debut album, The Complete Recordings, is coming this summer. They shared its first single, “Right at Home,” based on the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, back in October.

“Buttons and Brass” is based on more innocent shenanigans: teenagers with nothing to do except goof on each other.

Hanging out, ’cause nothing’s doing
It’s all about somebody else
Push away and Dewey’s stewing
Crying out about broken belts

There were lots of high school weekends when parents were out of town, sitting around somebody’s kitchen table, playing Quarters with Milwaukee’s Best and Doritos. Sink three in a row and you get to make up a rule. Top 3 Quarters rules, in order: 1. Can’t say “drink/drank/drunk,” 2. Gotta call everybody Dave, and 3. Before you consume, you have to stand up, grab your junk and say, “I have a very tiny penis.” Good clean fun.

That level of social awkwardness is carried into the video, shot at Fluff & Gravy Records in Portland and directed by Matt Schulte, wherein our hero repeatedly tries and fails to make the scene. That’s alright, homie, there’s always Quarters.

Daystar: web, fb, bandcamp.

2018 Soundscan Data: Total Music Sales and Streams

I’d been holding off on releasing this post until Billboard published Ed Christman’s year-end wrap-up online, but it looks like it’s going to be print-only. So go out and buy the magazine if you want Ed’s perspective on these numbers.

For 2018 Billboard changed the way it calculates streaming equivalent albums. From 2014 through 2017 they counted 1,500 streams as equal to one “album consumption unit.” The idea was that the average payout per stream was $0.005 so 1,500 of those added up to $7.50, i.e., the wholesale price of an album.

This year they’re complicating things by separating paid from ad-supported streaming, with paid subscription audio streams equating 1,250 streams to 1 album unit and ad-supported equating 3,750 streams to 1 album. So it makes it difficult to compare 2018 to the years before…

This also makes you wonder about how much revenue streaming is truly generating. Does anybody really believe that YouTube pays out $7.50 for 3,750 streams of a song? I don’t.

So I’m no longer reporting total music “consumption.” It’s a bullshit metric that doesn’t really mean anything. The industry can manipulate the numbers to tell whatever story they want to tell. Sales and streams, that’s all we really know.

Another complicating factor is that 2018 was a 53-week year, so when Billboard shows volume comparisons to the previous year they use a corresponding 53-week period. This makes me a little nervous about some of the old data we’ve reported, since we sometimes have used the prior year’s numbers. We continue to update this as new information becomes available throughout the year as we try to fill in any holes or correct any mistakes, so if you see any inaccuracies or anything weird please don’t hesitate to let us know.

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

Total Album Sales (physical + digital albums)

2018: 141 million
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 2018 Soundscan Data: Total Music Sales and Streams

New Alex Lahey video: Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Video: Alex Lahey – “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself”

Alex Lahey – Don't Be so Hard on Yourself

Directed by Callum Preston. From The Best Of Luck Club, out May 17 on Dead Oceans.

Australian Alex Lahey writes smart pop songs and makes funny videos. And in the first single from her new album, she’s got an important message for all the overachievers out there.

You haven’t had a day off in weeks
Your voice is shaking when you speak
It might not be my place to help
But don’t be so hard on yourself

Self-care, people. When things get stressful it’s more important than ever to find a way to take it easy. Even if that includes whipping out a ripping sax solo!

Alex Lahey: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Luther Russell – Medium Cool

We get a lot of press material at GLONO. Like…a LOT. Back in the days before press kits went digital, Jake and I would get hollered at by the postal workers where our PO Box was in Chicago because they’d have to haul out all these overflow bins full of CDs, band photos and one-sheets. I am embarrassed to say we had to just dump a lot of that stuff. [I sold a ton of them on half.com – Jake.] We simply didn’t have the capacity to get through it all. Especially the really cliched press releases.

My least favorite press release trope is where someone tries to describe a band as “If [Well known, well respected artist A] and [Well respected, but somewhat obscure artist B] got together in [Exotic locale, hip town, or fictional setting] and had a love baby!”

I get it, it’s hard to come up with creative ways to describe a sound that will still resonate with the reader–it’s kinda the whole point of this site. But sometimes, I just wish they’d be straight and say, “Yeah, these guys sound like Badfinger.” I guarantee I would listen to that record.

And so I’ll tell it to you straight: This new Luther Russell album sounds like Big Star. It does. And I fucking love it. And why shouldn’t he have a bit of a Big Star thing going on? We all LOVE Big Star and Russell currently collaborates with Jody Stephens in Those Pretty Wrongs.

Continue reading Luther Russell – Medium Cool

New Andrew Bird video: Sisyphus

Video: Andrew Bird – “Sisyphus”

Andrew Bird – "Sisyphus" (Official Music Video)

Directed by Matthew Daniel Siskin. From My Finest Work Yet, out March 22 on Loma Vista.

You know the story of Sisyphus: the Greek king condemned to to roll a big boulder up a mountain for eternity. As soon as he gets close to the top, it rolls back down.

Sound familiar? Sounds a lot like the whole goddamn world in 2019, doesn’t it? Feels like we’re all doomed to repeat the same mindless bullshit over and over, and the moment it seems like things might be getting better, we gotta start all over again.

Hopeful people say that the arc of the moral universe is long, and it bends toward justice.

Whatever gets you through the night, but it’s getting harder and harder to believe it.

History forgets the moderates
For those who sit
Recalcitrant and taciturn
You know I’d rather turn and burn than scale this edifice

Bird says the song “is about being addicted to your own suffering and the moral consequences of letting the rock roll.”

Keep pushing, people. It’s all we can do I guess.

Andrew Bird: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Rock and roll can change your life.