New Neil Young video: Already Great

Video: Neil Young + Promise of The Real – “Already Great”

Neil Young + Promise of The Real – Already Great (Official Music Video)

From The Visitor, out now on Reprise.

Seems somewhat appropriate to celebrate Boxing Day with Neil Young.

I’m Canadian by the way
And I love the U.S.A.

Good old Neil. Hasn’t stressed too much about refining his lyrics in a couple decades, has he? That’s okay because the sentiment is righteous and so are the guitars. Willie Nelson’s kid’s band seems to have reinvigorated Neil and inspired him to dig back into his ragged glory.

This sounds like a band. The harmonies in the chorus are straight up CSNY 1974. The chanting, later on, unfortunately, is a little more Greendale or Living with War.

I still wish Neil would spend a little more time on the craftsmanship of his songwriting, but that’s never gonna happen, so at least he’s giving us gnarly guitar tones. Which is more than you can say for most people of his generation.

Neil Young: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Regrettes video: All I Want for Christmas

Video: The Regrettes – “All I Want For Christmas is You”

The Regrettes – All I Want For Christmas (Live Video)

The absolute best part of this godawful year of 2017 for me was discovering the Regrettes. I’ve tried not to gush too much about them on here because I don’t want to come across as a weird old man losing his shit over a bunch of teenagers, but people who know me in real life know that’s pretty much exactly what I am.

Feel Your Feelings, Fool became my default lawn-mowing album this summer, and it stayed in the headphones to become my leaf-blowing album this fall. These very exclusive dadrock titles are awarded to only one or two entries per year. Previous winners included Fear Fun in 2012 and Muchacho in 2013. It’s getting more and more rare to give a full album repeated listens lately, but doing so can reveal hidden charms of songs you might have wanted to skip over at first.

Very few records warrant multiple close listens but this Regrettes album does. Frontwoman Lydia Night wrote and recorded these songs when she was 15 years old, and that’s insane. The songs are well written. The lyrics are smart. The arrangements are interesting. The harmonies are pretty. The production is cool. The attitude is badass. Night just turned 17.

So anyway, that’s my latest obsession. The Regrettes. And here they are covering the best song Mariah Carey ever recorded, and the best holiday song written since “Last Christmas.” Ho ho ho.

Merry Christmas, everybody. Let’s hope the new year brings us all together.

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

Continue reading New Regrettes video: All I Want for Christmas

New Hanson video: Finally It’s Christmas

Video: HANSON – “Finally It’s Christmas”

HANSON – Finally It's Christmas (Official Music Video)

From Finally It’s Christmas, out now on S-Curve Records.

The good old Hanson brothers. Twenty years after the irresistible “MMMBop” broke through and made the Oklahoma teens superstars, they’ve still managed to stick around. Remember the concept of one-hit wonders? Does that even exist today? What about “15 minutes of fame”? Nobody drops off the face of the earth anymore. Once you achieve a certain level of fame in the post-monoculture world, you’re apparently always going to be around.

In the case of Hanson, I’m glad they’re here. They’ve always treated their success with a kind of good-natured bemusement, seemingly aware of the silliness of the hysteria of their peak. They were nice boys and now they seem like nice thirty-somethings. (Yes, even little Zak is 32 now…which might be a little too old to be thrashing around a spray-painted Kurt Cobain bedroom like he does in this video.)

The other thing that has always differentiated Hanson from their prefab 90s peers is their songwriting abilities and an ear for a super catchy power pop hook. This Christmas song showcases everything that has always made them so charming.

One of the things I love about Christmas music is the formula. It’s like a “Phineas and Ferb” episode: you know the rules, but what makes it interesting is to see how they work them in. Will there be jingle bells in this song? Yes, yes there will.

If you had asked me in 1997 if I’d be listening to and thinking about a new Hanson song in 2017, I’d have scoffed. No matter how talented and charismatic those kids seemed to be, I would have assumed that the industry would just chew them up and spit them out.

Then again, who would have guessed that Donny and Marie Osmond would be still have careers in showbiz?

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

Continue reading New Hanson video: Finally It’s Christmas

New Devil in a Woodpile video: The Pagans Had It Right

Video: Devil in a Woodpile – “The Pagans Had It Right”

Devil in a Woodpile "The Pagans Had It Right" (Official Music Video)

From Bloodshot Records’ 13 Days of Xmas, out now on Bloodshot.

If you’ve spent any time at the Hideout in Chicago over the past twenty years, you’re familiar with Devil in a Woodpile. They epitomize what’s great (and sometimes sad) about the Bloodshot Records roster. These D/I/Y bands have all found their niche and they all do their thing really well inside the ecosystem of their area, but never seem like they’re trying very hard to break through to a wider audience. That’s fine, of course. Especially if you’re the type of fan who likes to see their favorite bands in bars that hold a hundred people and sell $2 PBRs. (I count myself as one of these types of fans.)

Bloodshot excels in compilations. Their kids music collections are the least annoying kids music collections released outside of Smithsonian Folkways. And it’s looks like they’re doing the same thing with holiday comps.

Devil in a Woodpile: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Devil in a Woodpile video: The Pagans Had It Right

New Sia video: Santa’s Coming For Us

Video: Sia – “Santa’s Coming For Us”

Sia – Santa's Coming For Us

From Everyday Is Christmas, out now on Atlantic.

Who doesn’t love the Fonz? Seriously, every time I see Henry Winkler in anything, my heart is filled with joy. He has such a jolly aura that he exudes happiness. And what more could you ask for in a video for a Christmas song?

Confession: I like Christmas music. I look forward to hearing “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee and “Jingle Bell Rock” by Bobby Helms. “Little St. Nick” is one of my favorite Beach Boys songs. I don’t have much use for new covers of the classics but I love the originals.

And I appreciate that artists still write and record new Christmas songs. It might seem like a crass cash-in on people’s holiday cheer, but I dunno. It’s fun. And festive. Loosen up, people. Drink some eggnog and get in the spirit.

I don’t know much about Sia other than she’s mysterious and weird on “Saturday Night Live” but this is a fine new Christmas song. And the video stars J.B. Smoove, Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Henry Winkler, Susan Lucci, Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, and Caleb McLaughlin. Ho ho ho.

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

Continue reading New Sia video: Santa’s Coming For Us

New Franz Ferdinand video: Always Ascending

Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Always Ascending”

Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending (Official Video)

From Always Ascending, out February 9 on Domino Record Co.

Always and always and always ascending
The Shepard misleads so you think you’re transcending

A Shepard tone, according to Wikipedia, is a sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves, creating the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher.

You hear it?

Whoa.

Franz Ferdinand: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New L.A. Witch video: Drive Your Car

Video: L.A. Witch – “Drive Your Car”

L.A. Witch – Drive Your Car (Official Video)

From L.A. Witch, out now on Suicide Squeeze.

I’ll drive your car
I promise I won’t go far
For you

Badass.

L.A. Witch: twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Number One Records: Perfect

Audio: Ed Sheeran – “Perfect” (Duet with Beyoncé)

Ed Sheeran – Perfect Duet (with Beyoncé) [Official Audio]

After eight weeks in the top spot of Billboard’s Hot 100, Post Malone’s terrible song “Rockstar” (ft. 21 Savage) has finally been dethroned by gnomey little Ed Sheeran and her royal highness Beyonce.

“Perfect” sold 181,000 downloads and 34.9 million streams in the week ending Dec. 7, with 102 million all-format radio audience impressions in the week ending Dec. 10.

It’s a pleasant enough ditty. Pretty acoustic guitar with Sheeran’s doughy vocals coming through so earnestly. When Queen Bey comes in, you wonder what she’s doing hanging out with a wimp like that. But what can you do? It’s pretty. A silly love song. You’d think that people would have had enough of them, but apparently it isn’t so.

This is guaranteed to be played at countless weddings for the foreseeable future. And why not? It’s completely inoffensive and expresses a very nice, loving sentiment in a format designed to appeal to as many human beings as possible. As much as I want to hate Ed Sheeran’s saccharine corn, I can’t. You’d have to be a real grouch to come up with the energy to actively hate this.

For insightful commentary on why this song is No. 1, read Chris Molanphy’s column in Slate.

Continue reading Number One Records: Perfect

New Kyle Craft video: The Rager

Video: Kyle Craft – “The Rager”

Kyle Craft – The Rager [OFFICIAL VIDEO]

From Full Circle Nightmare, out February 2 on Sub Pop.

Wow. This is really good. Way more Americana than anything I’d expect from Sub Pop. If you dig Heartbreaker — and who doesn’t? — you should check out this song for sure.

I don’t know much about Kyle Craft other than what it says in the press release, but I’m going to start paying attention.

Craft says, “My friend Alyssa portrays a tragic heroine who is delivering what will be her last performance. As she takes the stage, the audience is totally indifferent to her presence. In the song, she’s human; however, in the video, she represents something more. A beautiful idea, rock ‘n’ roll, our country, something dying… whatever it is you want that idea to be, that’s the character she plays here.”

Kyle Craft: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Blondie video: Doom or Destiny ft. Joan Jett

Video: Blondie – “Doom or Destiny”

Blondie – Doom or Destiny (Official Video)

From Pollinator, out now on BMG.

Debbie Harry and Joan Jett are not amused by the state of the world. But that doesn’t prevent them from making fun of the news in our current political idiocracy.

Blondie’s Chris Stein told Rolling Stone, “Politics have become the new pop culture phenomena, but it seems the current landscape of music videos has so little to do with true protest or some kind of social message. It can be truthful, but irreverent, fun and funny.”

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

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