Old Quasar Wut-Wut video: Wünderbra

Video: Quasar Wut-Wut – “Wünderbra”

Quasar Wut-Wut – Wünderbra (Official)

From Jalopy (self-released, 1998).

Ahead of the upcoming release of their new album, Digesting Mirror, Quasar Wut-Wut is “rolling out a few confections old and new.”

The band says, “This is a remastered HD version of our first music video off the 1998 stone-cold classic Jalopy. That album is so good you might want to skip over listening to it and just take our word for it. But the video is HOT. […] We think the video still holds up really well and it’s fun to compare to our new video for ‘Jezebel’s Arm’ so you can understand the devastating effects of aging on the human body and mind.”

Quasar frontman Matt Schwarz and bassist Jordan Frank made it while attending film school in Michigan twenty years ago with friends Russ Merkow, Winston Stromberg, and Craig Silverstein. “They blew off other classes to make this and nearly failed out, so we hope you’re happy.”

We are.

The band has promised us that Digesting Mirror will come out this summer. Let’s hold them to it!

Quasar Wut-Wut: web, bandcamp, fb, amazon, apple, spotify.

New Lindsay Lou video: Satellite

Video: Lindsay Lou – “Satellite”

Lindsay Lou – Satellite

From Southland, out now.

Lindsay Lou Rilko and her band the Flatbellys started in Michigan playing traditional bluegrass. They’ve relocated to Nashville and expanded their sound, but they called their previous album Ionia (as in the Michigan town) and they still come up north to make their videos.

Rilko talked to The Root about filming the video around Navy Pier in Chicago: “We walked out on the sandy trails to the water’s edge, and they placed us in a large circle on the beach. One of the camera crew members ran around the circle just behind the frame of the main camera, which was at the center of the circle, so we could hear the album track and play along with it.”

The great thing about bluegrass musicians — especially when they’re not playing bluegrass — is that they’re really good. Tight harmonies, interesting solos, intricate instrumental interplay. “Satellite” has all that and more.

Lindsay Lou: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Gorillaz video: Humility

Video: Gorillaz – “Humility”

Gorillaz – Humility (Official Video)

From The Now Now, due June 29 on Parlophone/WMG.

It’s June, y’all. Officially unofficially summer, which means the race for Summer Jam is on! Gorillaz submit their entry with a breezy number and video with shots of the band’s animated characters roller skating, playing chess and menacing basketball players along Venice Beach. Jack Black shows up because…why not?

“Humility” featuring George Benson is the lead off single from the new album THE NOW NOW, the sixth studio album from the virtual band created in 1998 by musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett.

In other Damon Albarn news, the singer told Zane Lowe on his Beats 1 show that a new album from his other project with the Clash’s Paul Simonon, the Verve’s Simon Tong, and drummer Tony Allen is also completed. This will be the second album from The Good, The Bad and the Queen, following on the band’s 2007 debut that was produced by Dangermouse and was on heavy rotation in my house for what seemed like a decade…and I guess probably was.

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

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New Regrettes video: Helpless

Video: The Regrettes – “Helpless”

"Helpless" by The Regrettes

Single available now.

I might be the last person on the planet who is completely unfamiliar with the Hamilton musical. I read the Ron Chernow book, but I dunno. Seemed like a corny concept to me. But what do I know? Apparently everybody thinks it’s awesome.

This is the only Hamilton song I’ve actually heard, and it sounds like a poppy love song. I guess I was expecting it to sound more like Schoolhouse Rock. Huh.

Also, this appears to be the first Regrettes release recorded since drummer Maxx Morando left the group. Not sure who the new guy is but he sounds fine. They’re still my favorite band.

The Regrettes: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Father John Misty video: Please Don’t Die

Video: Father John Misty – “Please Don’t Die”

Father John Misty – "Please Don't Die" [Official Music Video]

Directed by Chris Hopewell. From God’s Favorite Customer, out today on Sub Pop.

In which our hero descends into the depths of depravity, desolation, and self-destruction only to be ultimately rescued by his angelic wife. The end.

One more cryptic message thinking that I might end it
Oh God, you must have woken up to me saying that it’s all too much
I’ll take it easy with the morbid stuff

Please do. Somebody take away this guy’s piano. We’ve had enough piano ballads. More like Elton John Misty. (I just made that up and I was super proud of myself until I googled it and realized a bunch of people on twitter have already thought of it. Oh well.)

Father John Misty: web, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Riot Fest: The Music Fest for Grownups

It’s not easy being a grownup music fan. And the older you get, the harder (and weirder) it becomes. Your peers (i.e., your neighbors and your kids’ friends’ parents) can’t even pretend to understand why you’d choose to stand outside in the dirt for three days and listen to bands nobody’s ever heard of. And it is impossible to justify. I love music fests, and yet even the greatest sets I’ve experienced would’ve been way better in a dark club or theater.

So what’s a middle-aged music fan to do? (Actually, let’s not say “middle-aged.” Let’s say “mid-century modern.”)

Here’s what: go to Riot Fest. They book a lot of bands that prominently feature guitars. That might seem quaint or old-fashioned, but if that’s your thing then Riot Fest is pretty much the only game in town.

Yesterday, they announced the “first wave” of the 2018 lineup. There’s a ton of good stuff. I’m especially excited to see Beck, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Jerry Lee Lewis, Liz Phair, Cat Power, Johnny Marr, Superchunk, Speedy Ortiz, Bully, and the Bombpops, but there’s way more that I’m interested in checking out.

One disappointing thing: by my count only 14 of the 82 acts announced so far (17%) are fronted by women. That’s worse than both Lollapalooza (38 of 183; 21%) and Coachella (56 of 166; 33%). Seems like they could do better than that these days when all of the most exciting new guitar music is being made by girls. Maybe next year…

Continue reading Riot Fest: The Music Fest for Grownups

New Alice Merton video: Lash Out

Video: Alice Merton – “Lash Out”

Alice Merton – Lash Out (Official Video)

From the No Roots EP, out now on Mom+Pop.

I first heard Alice Merton on satellite radio in the car last fall. “No Roots” has a super catchy, minimalist bass intro and a funky little guitar part that hooked me immediately. I considered posting it here back then, but I balked when I realized the video had been up since January 9, 2017. We typically don’t care much about release dates and don’t have any of the blog world’s “firsties” impulses, but we try to post relatively new stuff, and nine months is a long time.

I assumed I’d just missed it. But “No Roots” was a genuine sleeper hit, the kind you don’t see a lot anymore. She released it in Europe at the end of 2016, it hit the Alternative charts in September 2017, and peaked at #84 on the Hot 100 on April 14, 2018.

And now she’s got a new single. “Lash Out” is driven by a groovy guitar line that reminds me a bit of Wire. She shot a big budget video that features light sabers, choreography, and stomping cars. Plus, she looks like Agent Scully. What’s not to love?

Alice Merton: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Dawes video: Living In The Future

Video: Dawes – “Living In The Future”

Dawes – Living In The Future (Official Video)

Directed by Grant James. From Passwords, due June 22 on HUB Records.

Dawes is back with their sixth studio album. If you include their two live albums, Dawes has released eight albums in nine years. Productive dudes.

They’ve been courting the jam band circuit for a while now even though their music isn’t particularly jammy. They still work well within the confines of normal pop song structure. Then again Taylor Goldsmith is notorious for making “guitar guy” faces while he solos, so maybe that’s why the jam scene embraces them.

After 2011’s Nothing Is Wrong, Dawes parted ways with ATO Records and have self-released their stuff on their own HUB Records ever since. It’s cool that they’ve figured out a way to continue making music for a living in the current environment. It’s gotta be tough for a band at this level to keep on keeping on.

I’m happy to hear that they reunited with producer Jonathan Wilson who recorded their first two (and two best) albums. Wilson said, “I wanted to record them live and capture that magic that you can only get recording a real fucking band, that lives together and breathes together as a unit. There aren’t too many of those left, but I think we captured it.” Right on.

It’s that constant paranoia
It’s the final fire drill
And if you won’t sing the anthem
They’ll go find someone else who will
They’re cracking down

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

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Listen: JTL FM – This Summer

Spotify: JTL FM: This Summer

Look, those white linen dungarees you bought in a frustrated, which way is up moment back in the deepest, darkest depths of winter are not going to wear themselves. The breeze won’t catch the light tick of their fabric, and you’ll never savor the aroma of Impossible Burgers grilling as you sip a Stiegl Radler with Hendrick’s over ice and catch someone’s eye across the side yard in the fading light of a warm June evening. This will never happen if you don’t let it. It’s key, in these clown show times, that you take a sloppy, mirthful bite out of your warm weather weekend, and watch the soy leghemoglobin drip down the bun and soak into your pant leg. Because woo! My god, you look good today.

Camila Cabello’s “OMG” could be a contender for the vaunted “Song of the Summer” perch; after all, it was designed and built to seize that gauntlet. In the same way, “Fuego,” from 2018 Eurovision finalist Eleni Foureira, feels purpose-built for elation. Or as the peanut gallery in the GLONO break room put it, “‘Fuego’ takes place in that moment when someone on a rope swing lets go and splashes into the cool water of the secret lake out by the armory, only that instant is stretched out for the entire summer.”

After a round of powerful live shows in support of 2016’s Puberty 2, Mitski has returned with “Geyser,” from her forthcoming fifth full-length. Grace, grab, yearn, riff: this track has everything a hot summer night spent on the roof of a garage needs. Savory new material abounds in the set, from Mitski to the welcome return of Madrid’s own Hinds (“Finally Floating”), the heady grooves of J-Cole’s “KOD,” and “Black Walls (Minimal Oxygen)” from Chromatics, house band at the Bang Bang Bar in Twin Peaks, Wash. And don’t forget to pack your glitter cannon, because Rita Ora is out here writing songs about her ex Cara Delevigne, and her pals Cardi B, Charli XCX, and Bebe Rexha were happy to roll through. Roll J’s, love kush.

What is Summer without throwbacks? May, June, July, and August 2001 called, and they are STILL kickin’ it to “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” from Eve and Gwen. If sixties bossa nova goes better with your cocktail, please take a seat on the patio and tune in Nara Leão’s effortless “Chegança.” And don’t forget about the funky pulse of 1970’s Lagos, Nigeria, either. How could you? Not while the Ify Jerry Krusade is around, you won’t.

Music sounds better in the summer. Laughs are louder, food is better, and white linen never looked so good. So roll your windows down and listen as the Jeep next to you bumps the new Ariana, or Migos and Drake, or Rich the Kid. Swoon to Miguel singing en español. Because like Leon Bridges says, “If It Feels Good (Then It Must Be).”

Continue reading Listen: JTL FM – This Summer

New Wimps video: Giant Brain

Video: Wimps – “Giant Brain”

Wimps – Giant Brain (official music video)

Directed by Mary Stone-Francois. From Garbage People, out July 13 on Kill Rock Stars.

Like Elon Musk and Matt Sharp my first computer was a Commodore Vic 20. I never learned to do very much with that thing but it was a cool toy and it was fun to be a kid during the initial wave of home computing. Back then I couldn’t have imagined what kind of power we’d carry around in our pockets and take completely for granted today.

I remember reading Wired magazine around the turn of the century when they had the “Japanese Schoolgirl Watch” column that talked about how all the cool kids were using their mobile phones nonstop to listen to music, communicate with their friends via text messaging, shop online, etc. Oh how I laughed at those silly little girls! Wasting all their time staring at their stupid phones! And now look at me. Look at us all! What have we become?

Seattle’s Wimps know what’s going on. They’re building a giant brain.

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

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Rock and roll can change your life.