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New Christian Lee Hutson video: Talk

Video: Christian Lee Hutson -- “Talk”

Christian Lee Hutson - "Talk"

Directed by Han-Su Kim. From Beginners, due May 29 on Anti-.

As a global pandemic threatens to kill off an entire generation of old people, what better timing for Christian Lee Hutson to release some literal dad rock?

I’m pretty busy
So please forgive me
If I forget to
Not forgive you

I see a lot of my friends struggling to deal with their parents as they get old and weird and their souls are corrupted by talk radio and Fox News. Our folks left us with a lot of their baggage and it hardly seems fair for them to keep piling it on, decade after decade.

I will no longer grieve you
when I have to see you
it’s no use denying
you belong to the dying
And I couldn’t care less
Life’s just a real slow death
Yep, that’s what I was taught

But ultimately Hutson admits, “Okay, so I care a lot.” They’re old. They’ll be dead soon enough. Cut them some slack and try to make the best of the time you have with them. Right?

It won’t be long before our kids think of us that way, if they don’t already. Hopefully they’ll be kind to us and overlook our inevitable, impending kookiness. It’s as tough to be a good parent as it is to be a good kid.

Christian Lee Hutson: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Christian Lee Hutson video: Lose This Number

Video: Christian Lee Hutson -- “Lose This Number”

Christian Lee Hutson - "Lose This Number"

Directed by Zoe Donahoe and Adam Sputh. From Beginners, due May 29 on Anti.

Wow. So Christian Lee Hutson’s “Northsiders” blew my mind when I first heard it last year. It’s one of those rare songs that feels as if it’s been written directly for you. Like, dude, were you reading my journals from college?

That single appeared as a one-off, but a year later it looks like he has been picked up by Anti- Records, who will be releasing his debut album in May. Beginners was produced by Phoebe Bridgers.

Unlike “Northsiders,” the new single is not specifically about my teenage life, but it’s still haunting and very real. “I think ‘Lose This Number’ is about someone fixating on the past, wishing they could go back and change things,” says Hutson.

Bobby helped me track you down cause
I just saw your name in the paper
You said, “Of course that reminded you of me
Don’t you know that’s how a name works?”

That’s funny. But it gets more serious immediately.

I know you don’t have to forgive me
Hell, you probably shouldn’t
I got scared and I took off
I wanted to try but I couldn’t

Hutson’s gift is the ability to disguise poetic heaviness in conversational lyrics and straightforward, unembellished delivery. I can’t wait to hear the rest of his album.

Christian Lee Hutson: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Mavis Staples video: We Get By

Video: Mavis Staples -- “We Get By” (ft. Ben Harper)

Mavis Staples - "We Get By" (feat. Ben Harper)

From We Get By, due May 24 on Anti.

Mavis Staples is a great American hero. I want her to adopt me so she can be my kid’s grandma. She is the absolute best.

“We Get By” is the title track from her new album featuring songs written and produced by musician and skater Ben Harper.

Mavis’ optimism is inspiring. If Mavis Staples can still believe that things are going to get better, who the fuck am I to sit around moping and grumping about the sorry state of the world? “It’s what I love to do,” she says in the intro to this video. “To sing a song that’s going to help somebody, to sing a song that’s going to bring somebody closer.”

Thank you, Mavis. Your songs do help. And your Vans are super dope, too!

Mavis Staples: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Cass McCombs video: Sleeping Volcanoes

Video: Cass McCombs -- “Sleeping Volcanoes”

Cass McCombs - "Sleeping Volcanoes"

From Tip of the Sphere, out now on Anti-.

Man, what a great song. It’s not easy to write serious music that still has elements of whimsy and surprise, especially when you’re maybe mired in the daily drama overload of life in Americ-a-lago.

The video for “Sleeping Volcanoes” is just as strange and engaging as the song itself. The one take-away I get, and it’s a lesson I should never forget for even a moment, is that we need to get out in the woods more. All of us. As often as possible.

Cass McCombs: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Neko Case video: Last Lion of Albion

Video: Neko Case -- “Last Lion of Albion”

Neko Case - "Last Lion of Albion"

Directed by Laura Plansker. From Hell-On, out now on Anti.

After releasing a couple of short little one-minute spots (“Hell-On”, “Bad Luck” and “Curse of the I-5 Corridor”), Neko Case has finally released a full-length video from her latest album, Hell-On. I originally thought these shorts were teasers for real videos, but Case insisted that these were the whole thing: “They are commercials for commercials.”

“Last Lion of Albion” features our eponymous hero roaming the earth and gazing at the heavens.

Last lion of Albion
They’ll use you for centuries to come
They’ll steal your patents for the sun
And you’ll feel extinction
When you see your face on their money

Case told Spin: “It’s just one of those things that when you’re somewhere and you’re looking at a flag, you’re thinking, How did that image get on that flag? There’s a lot of lions associated with England, and yet lions are completely extinct in England. It makes you feel sad inside, and then you realize how every culture everywhere has that, and I was just kind of meditating on that thought.”

Neko Case: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Marc Ribot and Tom Waits video: Bella Ciao

Video: Marc Ribot -- “Bella Ciao (Goodbye Beautiful)” (ft. Tom Waits)

Marc Ribot - "Bella Ciao (Goodbye Beautiful)" (feat. Tom Waits)

Directed by Jem Cohen. From Songs Of Resistance 1942 -- 2018, out now on Anti.

It’s always news when Tom Waits does anything. Especially when he records a version of an old anti-fascist resistance anthem from the Italian Civil War.

One fine morning I woke up early
Find the fascist at my door
Oh, partigiano, please take me with you
Bella ciao, bella ciao, goodbye beautiful

This comes from a new collection of protest songs from guitarist Marc Ribot, who recruited a bunch of singers (including Steve Earle, Tift Merritt, Syd Straw, and Meshell Ndegeocello) to voice historical songs and a few originals.

Explaining “Bella Ciao” Ribot says, “Mussolini’s voodoo economics led Italy into a generation of poverty and a senseless war with hundreds of thousands of Italian casualties—including over 30 thousand Partisans. This song tells the story of one of them. At a tender moment when he or she is saying goodbye to her lover (Bella Ciao=goodbye, beautiful) and trying to imagine what it means to fight for freedom. I played Tom a bunch of the tunes and he immediately bonded with that one. “Of course, he brings a certain gravitas to everything he does—my Italian friends say he sounds exactly like an old ‘partigiano’ (resistance fighter)!”

Portions of the album’s proceeds will be donated to The Indivisible Project, an organization that helps individuals resist the Trump agenda via grassroots movements in their local communities.

Tom Waits: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Marc Ribot: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Mavis Staples video: If All I Was Was Black

Video: Mavis Staples -- “If All I Was Was Black”

Mavis Staples - "If All I Was Was Black"

From If All I Was Was Black, out now on Anti.

Mavis Staples is 78 years old and she’s been singing professionally for 70 of those. Thank about that. She’s been getting paid to sing since before most Baby Boomers were even born. She’s a national treasure. This is the title track to her third album produced by Jeff Tweedy.

Director Zac Manuel told Rolling Stone, “The intent of this video is to highlight black excellence, and to provoke and encourage a larger public appreciation of the labor – physical and emotional – the people of color often are expected to bear. Using the symbolism of the ‘monument,’ a contemporary point of debate, I hope to steer conversation toward the acknowledgment of actual greatness; by replacing a negative and reinforcing a positive, this video will alter the image of who we often see immortalized in our country’s history.”

If it was up to me, I’d just replace every statue in America, confederate or otherwise, with a statue of Mavis Staples. Oh, mercy.

Mavis Staples: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Tom Waits Video: Hell Broke Luce

Video: Tom Waits – “Hell Broke Luce”

After some intriguing teaser images, Tom Waits has released his a new video for a song from his 2011 album Bad As Me a day earlier than expected. Directed By Matt Mahurin. Still no word on a tour to promote the album.

As a bonus, here’s a couple of videos from Waits’ recent forays in late night television last month.

Video: Tom Waits – Jimmy Fallon interview

Video: Tom Waits – “Raised Right Man” (live on Jimmy Fallon)

Video: Tom Waits – David Letterman interview

Video: Tom Waits – “Chicago” (live on David Letterman)

Watch Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy: Only The Lord Knows

Video: Mavis Staples & Jeff Tweedy – "Only The Lord Knows"

This is the other Jeff Tweedy original, in addition to the title track, on Mavis Staples’ new album, You Are Not Alone. So good.

Mavis Staples: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Mavis Staples – Wrote A Song For Everyone

Video: Mavis Staples + Jeff Tweedy – “Wrote A Song For Everyone” Acoustic

This is one of my favorite CCR songs. Shoot, it’s one of my favorite songs, period. The way John Fogerty’s lyrics tackle hugely complex subjects and make them personal, while acknowledging his inability to communicate with the person he loves, is heavy and perfect. It’s no wonder Jeff Tweedy picked up on this song: it essentially encapsulates the entire theme of his own masterpiece, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. What took Wilco a whole album to say, “Wrote a Song for Everyone” does in under five minutes. Even if you can write songs that connect with thousands of people, it’s still tough to be honest with the people you love.

Saw the people standin’ thousand years in chains.

Somebody said it’s different now, look it’s just the same.

Pharoahs spin the message, round and round the truth.

They could have saved a million people, how can I tell you?

There are only two songs written by white folks that take on the subject of slavery and handle it in an effective way. This one and Bob Dylan‘s “Blind Willie McTell.” I hope Tweedy gets Ms. Staples to do that one on their next collaboration. You Are Not Alone is due September 14 on Anti.

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