New Jess Williamson video: Wild Rain

Video: Jess Williamson – “Wild Rain”

Jess Williamson – Wild Rain [Official Video]

Directed by Eli Welbourne. From Cosmic Wink, out now on Mexican Summer.

This is a dreamy slow burner from Jess Williamson whose previous video “I See The White” was moody and impressive. “Wild Rain” is driven by a tremoloed electric piano and Williamson’s sleepy vocals.

You say there’s two women
Living inside of me
And one’s doubt and desire
And she’s our enemy

Williamson says, “I recorded this song at first with just me singing and playing it on an acoustic guitar. We thought it was going to be a scratch vocal so we didn’t mic everything the ‘correct’ way…I like the way it sounds. It’s a little bit lazy. There is this remnant of my acoustic guitar bleeding from my headphones into the vocal track, you can hear it the most at the beginning of the song. But we liked that too! A happy accident. It became the perfect rhythmic element to anchor the beginning of the song. It reminds me of rain. We wanted to have a moment of the heavens breaking open midway through and ushering us into another realm. So we started building off just my voice and the memory of an acoustic guitar, layering synths and more vocals. This is probably my favorite song on the album and it’s the first song I wrote for Cosmic Wink.”

Director Eli Welbourne says, “The video in essence is supposed to be a living interpretive scrapbook that catalogs Jess’ train of thought visually in tandem with the song as she questions herself and previous relations she had. The song discusses a duality within her and I wanted to represent that in a collage where she is visually split in two, undergoes psychedelic transformations, and the center of the screen becomes a stage for other visual elements to dance.”

Jess Williamson: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Matt Costa video: I Remember It Well #2

Video: Matt Costa – “I Remember It Well #2”

Matt Costa – I Remember It Well #2

Directed by Pamela Littky. From Santa Rosa Fangs, out now on Dangerbird.

I like Matt Costa. His 2006 album, Songs We Sing, has been in heavy rotation in the family car since my son was toddler. The song “Sunshine” taught my little guy about harmonizing, or at least that was the first time he noticed how cool it sounds when “another person starts singing like that.”

Before I had a kid I imagined how I would subconsciously shape him into being a cool person by exposing him exclusively to an approved playlist of important music. By the time he was three he would be familiar with Elvis Presley’s Sun sessions and the complete discography of the Beatles. I had it all mapped out.

Well, a funny thing happens when you have a kid: they develop their own personality complete with their own taste. I hadn’t seen that coming. Combine that with exposure to “unapproved” music via babysitters and all of a sudden you’ve got a toddler turning his uptight dad on to the joys of Lady Gaga and Taio Cruz. There’s nothing funnier (to a nanny) than teaching a tiny little boy all the words to “Party in the USA.”

And somewhere around that same time period we discovered Matt Costa’s Songs We Sing. A lot of what Costa has done since then has more of a power pop feel, but this new song is a return to the pretty, acoustic, finger-picked sound that I like best. My kid is 11 now and has very little interest in any of the music (or anything else) that I think is cool, but I’m going to play this for him to see what he thinks.

Matt Costa: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New H.C. McEntire video: Baby’s Got the Blues

Video: H.C. McEntire – “Baby’s Got the Blues”

H.C. McEntire – Baby's Got the Blues (Official Music Video)

Directed by Jared Hogan. From Lionheart, out now on Merge.

I would imagine that H.C. McEntire gets tired of comparisons to Lucinda Williams. But whatever. If you dig Williams’ literary sensuality and soulful vocals, you’re probably going to appreciate McEntire.

Give me a dog in a fight
Call it off or call it God
Call it anything you like
Do you see it in my eyes?

Director Jared Hogan said, “In talking with Heather, we knew that we wanted this video to touch on universal wounds of depression and suffering, but established in a more poetic narrative. We also knew we wanted family and community to play an integral role. All of the subjects in the video are connected to Heather’s life in one way or another, and that was very important to us. The song strikes this beautiful balance between darkness and hope, and we wanted the video to do the same.”

In times of darkness, there’s nothing we need more than some hope.

H.C. McEntire: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Number One Records: Psycho

Video: Post Malone – “Psycho” ft. Ty Dolla $ign

Post Malone – Psycho ft. Ty Dolla $ign

Directed by James DeFina. From Beerbongs & Bentleys, out now on Republic/UMG.

What kind of dorkus malorkus gets a tattoo of a neck beard? Why, that would be Post Malone, the guy with the number one song in America right now. I don’t get it.

Last year, when we started this series to cover the songs that reach the top of the Billboard singles chart, I expected to be turned on to some weird new pop songs that I’m rarely otherwise exposed to. But instead it’s mostly been a bunch of Ed Sheeran and lame, mumbly hip hop. There have been exceptions, of course, like Kendrick, Cardi, and Camila, but overall it’s been super disappointing.

I dunno, friends. It’s starting to seem like maybe we can’t trust the American public to have very good taste…

Nevertheless, “Pycho” sold 37,000 downloads and had 30.3 million U.S. streams in the week ending June 7 and 98.2 million in radio audience in the week ending June 10. That might not seem like a lot but it’s enough to get to #1 on the Hot 100.

Post Malone: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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Rose City ‘Til I Die

By the time this publishes I should be barreling down the road in a van packed with my wife, my son, three dogs, a cat and two of my most cherished guitars. We’ll be heading east, away from a city we love more than we could have even imagined when we moved here almost ten years ago. It’s a necessary move and one that brings its own level of excitement and opportunities, but one that breaks our hearts just the same.

I arrived in Portland, Oregon on December 5, 2008, just weeks before the biggest snowstorm to hit the city in 40 years. After a decade in Chicago, we were ready for a change but also ready for an adventure. So I found a job and five weeks later we packed up out two year old son, two cats, a crazy dog and my one most cherished guitar and headed west. The thing I like to tell people about Portland is that it lives up to the hype. What I don’t tell people is that the hype is killing some of the things that make Portland one of the truly most original and magical places I’ve ever been. But that’s the thing about change: it happens. And still, Portland amazes me in its creativity, its generosity, and yes…its weirdness.

Being a sometimes musician my entire adult life, I was excited to check out the scene in a city that was already well known as a creative hub. I couldn’t have anticipated what that scene would actually mean to our lives here. Yes, I’ve always had musician friends, but I have never had a community as tight-knit and supportive as what we found here. We found a monthly gathering of friends who get together and jam, and pass dishes around, and contribute to the community beer cooler and celebrate the spirit of simply being friends. Sometimes swelling to more than a hundred people, I never once saw a dispute, let alone a fight or aggression. I’ve also never received so many hugs. We all had our kids there and our dogs. It was incredible. I have a long-form piece I’ve been mulling for two years but if you want to get a taste of what The Hoot is and was, please read this post by my friend and everyone’s favorite Philly, Phil Favorite.

The curse of moving around is that it means you’re always leaving people you love. It was hard for me to leave my hometown for Chicago. And then it was hard to leave Chicago for Portland. And now it’s miserable to leave Portland. So why are we doing it? The truth is that it’s because for nine and a half years we’ve been missing people back in the midwest as much as we’ll now be missing our friends in Portland. And so we go.

Continue reading Rose City ‘Til I Die

New Beths video: Future Me Hates Me

Video: The Beths – “Future Me Hates Me”

The Beths – "Future Me Hates Me" (official music video)

Directed by Christopher Stratton. From Future Me Hates Me, out August 10 on Carpark.

What’s up with Australasia? Why do New Zealand and Australia generate such clever guitar-based pop music?

Future heartbreak, future headaches
Wide-eyed nights late lying awake
With future cold shakes from stupid mistakes
Future me hates me for

The Beths’ Elizabeth Stokes says, “There’s a lot of sad sincerity in the lyrics that relies on the music having a light heart and sense of humor to keep it from being too earnest. That’s another New Zealand thing. We’re putting our hearts on our sleeves—and then apologizing for it.”

Maybe that’s what it is. But that doesn’t explain how they come up with such catchy hooks. I guess it will remain a mystery along with kiwi birds and three-eyed lizards.

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

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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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