50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 7

Issue #7 had a cover date of March 9, 1968. 24 pages. 25 cents. This is the final issue with no real “cover of the Rolling Stone” as we know it. These first seven issues were formatted like a regular newspaper with an “above the fold” area containing the logo and a bunch of content: a photo, a headline, and the first few paragraphs of an article or two. Below the fold would be another article or two…or three. Jann Wenner was cramming as much stuff as he could get into those 24 pages.

Full-page ads: Spirit by Spirit on Ode Records, Rotary Connection by the Rotary Connection on Cadet/Concept, History of Rhythm and Blues on Atlantic, Something Else by the Kinks on Reprise, Young Brigham by Ramblin’ Jack Elliott on Reprise, and The 5000 Spirits Or The Layers Of The Onion by the Incredible String Band on Elektra. Plus one for the Billboard Bookshelf, a selection of books “for the musically-minded.”

Record reviews: Something Else by the Kinks on Reprise by James Pomeroy, Young Brigham by Jack Elliott on Reprise by Barry Gifford, Lofty Fake Anagram by The Gary Burton Quartet on RCA (no byline; i.e., Wenner), The Songs of Leonard Cohen by Leonard Cohen on Columbia by Arthur Schmidt, and Mass in F Minor by the Electric Prunes on Reprise by Jim Miller.

Features: Two-page Jimi Hendrix spread by Jann Wenner and photographer Baron Wolman, The Rolling Stone Interview with Ravi Shankar by Sue Clark, and a front page feature about the Jefferson Airplane’s quest for independence. Plus stories about the Charlatans, Albert King, the Maharishi (“He’s Ayn Rand with a Beard”), and filmmaker Bruce Conner.

Continue reading 50 Years Ago in Rolling Stone: Issue 7

New Juliana Hatfield video: Physical

Video: Juliana Hatfield – “Physical”

Juliana Hatfield – Physical (Official Video)

Directed by David Doobinin. From Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia-Newton John, out April 13 on American Laundromat.

Woo hoo, this is the second video Juliana Hatfield has released for her tribute to Olivia-Newton John.

Hatfield released a statement to Stereogum:

Olivia Newton-John’s lusty “Physical” is a groovy, bouncy song, but my take on it is darker, more aggro, because I don’t think of lust as fun or funny; I think it’s dangerous and disruptive and mostly unwelcome. So that is my interpretation of “Physical”: the human condition is a bummer, and desire a frustrating impediment to serenity.

I can see her point. But even so, even Hatfield’s downer attitude can’t prevent her version from being fun and groovy. ONJ agrees. She tweeted, “Very flattered that Juliana recorded this cd of my music! Great job!!”

I also like Hatfield’s purple suit in the video, a sly nod to Newtown-Johns’ tights in the original video. (See below.)

Juliana Hatfield: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Juliana Hatfield video: Physical

New Superchunk video: Cloud of Hate

Video: Superchunk – “Cloud of Hate”

Superchunk – Cloud of Hate (Official Music Video)

Directed by Taiyo Kimura. From What a Time to Be Alive, out now on Merge Records.

For someone in their forties there isn’t any music more life affirming than Superchunk. They make you feel alive. They open up the possibilities of what it means to be a grownup. You don’t have to be old and lame. You don’t have to get complacent and conservative. Yeah, I’m working. But I’m not working for you!

Last time I saw Superchunk was almost eight years ago. And in a lot of ways it’s a completely different world now.

You have a dream, a bloody nightmare
For every human that’s not you
You scare the kids, I hope you die scared
Of all the kids that know the truth

As grownups who give a shit, we have no choice but to put our faith in the kids that know the truth. Granted, that’s not all the kids. Exit polls suggest that ~37% of 18-29 year olds voted for our orange fuhrer in 2016. More than one out of three kids are still dipshits. Cloud of hate, float me away.

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

New Skating Polly video: Queen For A Day

Video: Skating Polly – “Queen For A Day” ft. Exene Cervenka

Skating Polly – Queen For A Day feat. Exene Cervenka (Official Video)

Directed by Dave Smith. From The Make It All Show, out May 4 on El Camino.

This is the band that worked with Nina Gordon and Louise Post from Veruca Salt on their New Trick EP last year. For this new song, they’re working with Exene Cervenka of X.

Kelli Mayo told NPR, “The lyrics for this song came from a conversation we had backstage with Exene about the old game show Queen for a Day. The premise of the show was that women with tragic stories (sick children, dead husbands, poverty, etc) would compete against each other for applause from the audience. The winner would get a washing machine or whatever household prize they asked for and be crowned Queen for a Day. Months after this conversation Exene sent me lyrics in a text and we wrote the song around them. She’s singing on the second and third choruses too. We wanted the video to emulate the old show, but also look like it was directed by John Waters.”

Mission accomplished, I guess, although the drummer looks like he should be in Cheap Trick in the 80s instead of whatever mid-60s vibe the girls are shooting for. But whatever. Who cares? The song rocks.

Skating Polly: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Skating Polly video: Queen For A Day

New Willie Nelson video: Last Man Standing

Video: Willie Nelson – “Last Man Standing”

Willie Nelson – Last Man Standing

From Last Man Standing, out April 27 on Sony Legacy.

Willie’s getting old, man! He somehow seemed to stay looking about 40 years old from 1979 to some time in the early 2000s, but dang. Those years have caught up to him. For the record he’s almost 85 and he’s doing a whole lot better than Kirk Douglas. But the grim reaper is knocking on Willie’s door and he knows it.

It’s gettin’ hard to watch my pals check out
Cuts like a wore out knife
One thing I learned about runnin’ the road
Is “forever” don’t apply to life
Waylon and Ray and Merle and old Norro
Lived just as fast as me
I still got a lotta good friends left
And I wonder who the next will be

Let him know you appreciate him while you’ve still got time. As I said after I read his biography by Joe Nick Patoski, Willie is as close to the Buddha as this country is every going to produce.

Willie Nelson: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Janelle Monae video: Make Me Feel

Video: Janelle Monáe – “Make Me Feel”

Janelle Monáe – Make Me Feel [Official Music Video]

Directed by Alan Ferguson. From Dirty Computer, out April 27 on Bad Boy/Atlantic.

It takes about a minute and a half before the guitar kicks in on this jam, but once it does…oh boy! Have you been missing Prince? I sure have. But as soon as “Make Me Feel” got to the chorus, it was like a familiar wave of pleasure washed over me. It’s so good. The only thing that could make it better would be an extended remix that just goes into a super long guitar solo and dance party at the end of the original version.

There is speculation that Prince had been working with Monae on her new album before he died in 2016. Who knows? No matter what, “Make Me Feel” is a better tribute to his Purple Badness than a dopey inflatable guitar.

Thanks to Bill Werde for turning me on to this jam.

Janelle Monae: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Janelle Monae video: Make Me Feel

New Iron and Wine video: Bitter Truth

Video: Iron & Wine – “Bitter Truth”

Iron & Wine – Bitter Truth [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

Directed by Hannah Welever. From Beast Epic, out now on Sub Pop.

Man, if my middle school student activities coordinator had booked Iron & Wine to play my formal dance I’d have been pissed! Can you imagine the heckling? Although it’s funny to think about Sam Beam covering “What I Like about You” and “Careless Whisper.” Actually, I bet he’d do a pretty good “Careless Whisper.” Or maybe not. Anyway…

“Bitter Truth,” as the title suggests, is my favorite kind of breakup song: bitter. Or as the chorus calls it, “getting even in a song.”

I kept reading hidden meanings
You would rage how I was wrong
That life was too short, and you’d stayed too long

Let’s be honest, we were strongest
Until I let you drag me down
I was sorry then, I’m not now

Relationships are complicated. And that’s true whether you’re a middle aged man or a middle school tween.

Director Hannah Welever told Billboard: “I think there’s something really poetic about how we deal with our emotions at different ages. Using the song as a backbone, we were able to revisit this window of time full of excitement and wonder, and compare it to a more pragmatic present-day self. Relationships evolve and shift constantly and I find that to be such a ubiquitous, human characteristic I find in Sam’s music.”

Iron and Wine: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Tristen video: Partyin’ is Such Sweet Sorrow

Video: Tristen – “Partyin’ is Such Sweet Sorrow”

Tristen – Partyin' is Such Sweet Sorrow

From Sneaker Waves, out now on Modern Outsider Records.

Tristen’s Sneaker Waves was one of my favorite albums from last year, so I was surprised and disappointed that it didn’t even crack the top 100 of the Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll. No idea why she’s been overlooked critically and underrated, because her songs are great.

“Partyin’ is Such Sweet Sorrow” is a perfect example of that. It’s catchy folk-rock with smart lyrics. What’s not to love?

Saturnine queen
My heart is hollow
I just got in
My time is borrowed
Love me now
And I won’t remember tomorrow
Cause partyin’ is such sweet sorrow

It’s written from the perspective of a guy. Tristen writes, “For the video, I found a rugged, drunken lover boy with great hair, to lip sync my song while the voice was still mine. Because I’m thinking, I am a woman writing, singing as a male character about his relationship with women. How often does that happen?

Not often enough!

If that “lover boy” didn’t actually get wasted while filming this video then the dude deserves an Oscar or an Emmy because it’s the most accurate depiction of drunken wobbliness I’ve ever seen on screen. And the bit at the end where he stumbles sideways across the street? Bellissimo! Bravo.

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

New Handsome Family video: Weightless Again

Video: The Handsome Family: “Weightless Again”

"weightless Again" by The Handsome Family fromThrough the Trees

From Through the Trees, released twenty years ago on Carrot Top Records.

This is a new video made for an old song. “Weightless Again” is the song that originally turned me on to the Handsome Family. Rennie Sparks describes it as “Maybe our most American song: it’s about suicide, drug addiction, deforestation and Moby Dick as well as the great angst that only comes from the lack of real cream for coffee.”

It’s one of those songs that just socks you in the gut.

Remember the first time we slept together
You said it felt like when you learned to float
This is why people OD on pills and jump from the Golden Gate Bridge
Anything to feel weightless again

Once you hear something like that, you’re going to follow that band to the ends of the earth. At least I am.

And now Through The Trees is turning 20 and, to celebrate, Loose Music is releasing a deluxe edition on March 9 featuring heavyweight sky blue vinyl and an exclusive bonus CD, comprised of 15 tracks of “demos, session tracks, live performances, and bickering,” alongside the story behind Through The Trees, written by Rennie Sparks.

Can’t wait!

The Handsome Family: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Courtney Barnett video: Nameless, Faceless

Video: Courtney Barnett – “Nameless, Faceless”

Courtney Barnett – Nameless, Faceless

Animated by Lucy Dyson. From Tell Me How You Really Feel, out on May 18 on Milk, Marathon Artists and Mom+Pop.

Courtney Barnett is such a badass. In “Nameless, Faceless” she directly links dudes who troll on social media with the snowflakes who kill women for laughing at them.

Don’t you have anything better to do?
I wish that someone would hug you
Must be lonely
Being angry
Feeling over-looked.

It’s the same bruised ego bullshit, and men need to man up and be better human beings. I realize the first reaction is to get defensive when you get called out for bad behavior, but we’ve all gotta work on that. Let’s all try to be a lot cooler.

Courtney Barnett: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Rock and roll can change your life.