New Deerhunter video: Death in Midsummer

Video: Deerhunter – “Death in Midsummer”

Deerhunter – Death in Midsummer (Official Video)

From Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared, due January 18 on 4AD.

You’d never guess by the happy little harpsichord riff that this song is a meditation on the futility of existence.

They were in hills
They were in factories
They are in graves now
They were in debt to themselves
And what is it made of now?

So it goes.

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

New Laura Jane Grace video: Apocalypse Now (and Later)

Video: Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers “Apocalypse Now (& Later)”

Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers "Apocalypse Now (& Later)" (Official Music Video)

Directed by Emily Esperanza. From Bought to Rot, out now on Blooshot.

This sounds like the jangly college rock I loved in the early 90s. The Devouring Mothers include Against Me! drummer Atom Willard and Marc Jacob Hudson, who recorded 2016’s Shape Shift with Me, but this sounds liberated from the expectations of another Against Me! album.

Grace told Rolling Stone, “My approach musically to the record was that I wanted it to feel like a mixtape. Like OK, you’ve got this Nirvana-like song, you’ve got a Cure song. It was musically freeing, in that way, to just be playing whatever was coming to me as I was writing and not having to think about it.”

There’s nothing that can hold me back
Don’t have “happy ever after”, just have “here and now”
On the Samhain of our souls, watch the world burn in fire
The bliss of your kiss in the apocalypse
On top of the world, at the end of the world, with you

I like the idea that it’s still possible to find happiness when the world around you is going to hell. It’s important to be able to “walk away from the hate” we all carry.

Laura Jane Grace: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Johnny Marr video: Spiral Cities

Video: Johnny Marr – “Spiral Cities”

Johnny Marr – Spiral Cities – Official Music Video [HD]

Directed by Mat Bancroft and Johnny Marr. Single is out now on New Voodoo with new b-side “Spectral Eyes.”

Brian: I’m not the Messiah!

Arthur: I say you are, Lord, and I should know, I’ve followed a few!

Crowd: Hail, Messiah!

Brian: I’m not the Messiah! Will you please listen?! I’m not the Messiah, do you understand?! Honestly!

Woman: Only the true Messiah denies his divinity!

Brian: What?! Well, what sort of chance does that give me?! All right, I am the Messiah!

Crowd: He is! He is the Messiah!

Brian: Now, fuck off!

[Silence]

Arthur: How shall we fuck off, oh Lord?

Brian: Oh, just go away! Leave me alone!

–Monty Python’s The Life of Brian

That was basically Johnny Marr in the 80s. As one of the two leaders of a band so proudly anti-hero, it’s interesting (and even a bit fun) to see Marr step out, and into the role of front man in his solo years. Clearly healthy living does him well as he looks like he was frozen in time in 1996, and this song sounds like it was too. It’s a catchy little piece of Britpop with an appropriately vanity video to accompany it.

Jake has said that Johnny Marr needs a foil to really tap into his brilliance, and that’s probably true. So while you may not find anything revelatory in this new single, it is a nice little jam and maybe a slight reminder of a time before Brexit when England was proud, but not belligerent. Maybe Johnny Marr just needs a new messiah? Maybe we all do?

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

50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 22

Rolling Stone issue #22 had a cover date of November 23, 1968. 32 pages, plus an eight-page insert section. 35 cents. Cover photo of John Lennon and Yoko Ono by John Lennon.

On the magazine’s one-year anniversary, this is the issue that pushed Rolling Stone into the mainstream public consciousness. It featured John and Yoko’s bare butts on the cover and on the inside, in a special insert, it featured their full frontal nudity in a two-page pull-out poster. The photo would be featured on the album cover of Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins, released on November 11, 1968.

This issue was printed on October 30th for newsstand sales until November 23rd. It’s easy to forget how hectic this era was, but remember that the Beatles’ White Album wouldn’t be released until November 25 in the United States. When this issue hit the newsstands John was still legally married to Cynthia; their divorce would be finalized on November 8.

According to Joe Hagan’s Sticky Fingers, “Wenner led Lennon to believe that [publishing these photos] would save his newspaper from financial ruin, and Lennon liked being the savior. […] The impact on Rolling Stone‘s fortunes was immediate: The ‘Two Virgins’ cover made national news and doubled Winner’s sales.”

In an editorial in the next issue Wenner would declare, “The point is this: Print a famous foreskin and the world will beat a path to your door.”

So the issue was a success and Wenner loved the ensuing controversy.

* * *

Features: “The Rolling Stone Interview with John Lennon” by Jonathan Cott; “The Goose That Laid The Golden Rock” (no byline); “Cream” by John Burks; “Big Brother and the Holding Company” by Tony Glover.

News: John and Yoko Busted and Naked; Awards for Excellence in Advertising; Family Dog Dance Permit Revoked; Ringo A Star; Cass Blows Las Vegas Gig, Now in the Hospital; Rolling Stone A Year Old; The New Beatles: ‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’; Tony Barrow Leaves; The Sound of Money, or what’s in a Label; Motown wins Ruffin contract suit.

Columns: Ralph J. Gleason’s Perspectives (“The Rediscovery of the Blues”); Thomas Albright’s Visuals (“The Kustom Kar Show”); John Grissim, Jr.’s Books (Bound for Glory by Woodie Guthry); “Under Ground TV” by Tom Phillips; Random Notes on Mick Jagger, Tiny Tim, Paul McCartney, Lou Adler, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Miles, the Fugs, and Terry Reid.

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 22

New video from The Good, The Bad & The Queen: Gun To The Head

Video: The Good, The Bad & The Queen – “Gun To The Head”

The Good, The Bad & The Queen – Gun To The Head (Official)

From Merrie Land, out now on Studio 13.

It’s been eleven years since the last album from The Good, The Bad & The Queen, the band featuring members of The Clash, Blur, The Verve and Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat (which is also the name of Allen’s autobiography). And man…what an eleven years it’s been.

Just as America is struggling in the Trump years with questions of patriotism vs. nationalism and democracy vs. authoritarianism, the United Kingdom is facing a very public break up with the European Union that would make Pete Davidson cringe. The Good, The Bad & The Queen explores the very question of what it is to be English in this modern world and the answers are anything but easy.

“Gun to the Head” sees a return for the creepy ventriloquist dummy who reintroduced us to the band in the lead-off video for “Merrie Land” (after the jump). If the the truth comes from the mouths of babes, what can we expect from a dummy? It turns out that it’s maudlin carnival music and a  hard dose of reality.

I was a dedicated follower of Oasis back when Albarn was warring with the Gallaghers in the 90s, but have really taken to the bookish pop sensibilities he’s brought to pop music. The first album from The Good, The Bad & The Queen is still in frequent rotation around my house and if the first two singles represent the album, then I’ll be listening intently to the continuation of the story. And taking notes…

The Good, The Bad & The Queen: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New video from The Good, The Bad & The Queen: Gun To The Head

New Margo Price video: All American Made

Video: Margo Price – “All American Made”

Margo Price – "All American Made" (Official Video)

Directed by Kimberly Stuckwisch. From All American Made, out now on Third Man Records.

This is a powerful song. Consumerism disguised as patriotism and the twisted reality of the source of many of our problems.

I have been all over but I can’t help feeling stuck
Something in my bloodline or something in my gut
Says go to California in a rusted pickup truck
That’s all American made

Price said, “We actually wrote that song during the Obama administration, but it really altered meaning for me on the day Trump was elected. That song embodies the good and the bad in the ugly in this country. America is so beautiful to me, but it’s in a really hard spot right now. I feel like I was one of the first and only country artists to speak out so openly against Trump, and I had a lot of people tell me I shouldn’t be giving my opinion, but as far as I’m concerned, there’s not a lot of doubt about the difference between right and wrong.”

Margo Price: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Goshen Electric Co video: Ring The Bell

Video: Goshen Electric Co. – “Ring The Bell”

Goshen Electric Co. – Ring The Bell (Official Video)

Single out now on Secretly Canadian.

Here’s the b-side of the single that Strand of Oak’s Tim Showalter recorded with the members of Magnolia Electric Co (Mike Benner, Jason Evans Groth, Mikey Kapinus, Mark Rice, Peter Schreiner).

Help does not just walk up to you, I could have told you that
I’m not an idiot

Jason Molina’s lyrics have a way of just punching you in the gut. It was bad enough when he was alive, but since we know how the story ends they’re even more heartbreaking.

I am thankful I had the chance to see Magnolia in concert a couple of times back in the day. The first show I saw was at the Abbey Pub in 2006 and I clearly remember thinking that this guy was feeling things too deeply for his own good. Molina was good-natured and charming but as soon as he started singing you could feel his pain. His guitar playing was equally expressive.

Showalter’s tribute is a worthy celebration of Molina’s craft. It doesn’t make the loss hurt any less, but it helps us remember how lucky we were to have him in our world, however briefly.

Magnolia Electric Co.: amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Goshen Electric Co video: Ring The Bell

New Mitski video: Washing Machine Heart

Video: Mitski – “Washing Machine Heart”

Mitski – Washing Machine Heart

Directed by Zia Anger. From Be The Cowboy, out now on Dead Oceans.

Mitski gets down with a statue, a silent film star, and her own bad self in the video for “Washing Machine Heart.”

Toss your dirty shoes in my washing machine heart
Baby, bang it up inside

I don’t know how much laundry experience you have, but washing machines don’t tend to bang stuff around that much. Even heavy stuff like shoes just kind of get plastered to the side in the spin cycle. It’s the dryer, of course, that really makes a racket when you put shoes in it. But “my dryer heart” sounds terrible and could be confusing. So, you know, poetic license.

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

New Monnone Alone video: Cut Knuckle

Video: Monnone Alone – “Cut Knuckle”

Monnone Alone 'Cut Knuckle' [official video]

Directed by Lehmann B. Smith. From Summer of the Mosquito, out in 2019 on Lost and Lonesome.

Mark Monnone has been releasing stuff as Monnone Alone since his former band the Lucksmiths broke up. Last year he collaborated with a couple former Luckies as Last Leaves, but now it looks like he’s back to his solo project.

Monnone is the guy who wrote one of the Lucksmiths’ most beloved songs, “T-Shirt Weather,” and he brings that jangly sensibility to this new song as well.

The video features a ridiculous trip down a storm water drainage tunnel.

Monnone says, “I asked Lehmann to make me a video for our song ‘Cut Knuckle’ and unbelievably he said yes. He also said that I’d be bound in rope for an entire day and who could say no to that? One thing that struck me, as well as the close attention he paid to setting up the storyboard and other pre-production things, was Lehmann’s complete disregard for workplace safety and the continual threat to human life.”

Well done!

We interviewed Mark Monnone way back in 2002: Perfect in the Summertime: Lucksmiths Interview by Helen Wilson.

Monnone Alone: bandcamp, fb, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Number One Records: Thank U, Next

Lyric Video: Ariana Grande – “Thank U, Next”

Ariana Grande – thank u, next (lyric video)

Directed by Chris Shelley. Single out now on Republic/UMG.

Ariana Grande’s breakup jam debuted at #1 on the Hot 100 with 55.5 million U.S. streams and 81,000 downloads sold in the week ending Nov. 8 and 11.3 million in all-format radio audience in the week ending Nov. 11.

In the Hot 100’s sixty-year history, only 31 other songs have debuted at #1. It had never happened at all until 1995 when Billboard changed its calculation.

Not sure if anybody’s noticed but Ariana Grande has a really grating, terrible, nasal voice. It’s painful to listen to. But at least she’s not unwilling to kiss and tell and to name names, which makes the song far more entertaining than it would be had she opted to be coy.

Thought I’d end up with Sean but he wasn’t a match
Wrote some songs about Ricky, now I listen and laugh
Even almost got married and for Pete, I’m so thankful
Wish I could say, “Thank you” to Malcolm ’cause he was an angel

If you don’t follow TMZ you might not catch that she’s explicitly referring to rapper Big Sean, backup dancer Ricky Alvarez, SNL goofball Pete Davidson, and dead rapper Mac Miller. Tabloid gossip drama reaches #1! What a time to be alive.

Continue reading Number One Records: Thank U, Next

Rock and roll can change your life.