YouTube: Beck – “Wow”
Three months after Beck released the song, he’s finally made a video for it. “Wow” is easily the most fun Beck song I’ve heard since “Hell Yes,” which came out over a decade ago. And he’s apparently “putting finishing touches” on his forthcoming album on Capitol Records with co-producer Greg Kurstin. Hard to believe it’ll be his 13th studio album.
I can clearly remember the first time I saw the “Loser” video, cracking up that they let a slacker like that on MTV. He was like a better-looking, California version of me and all my dopey pals. And by the time I heard “Beercan” I was a fan. My goodness!
I still wish Beck would hook back up with Karl/Carl Stephenson, who co-wrote and produced all the best songs on Mellow Gold, recorded the brilliant Forest for the Trees album, had a nervous breakdown, and dropped out of sight. Could potentially be cool. Or terrible. Who knows? And whatever happened to the Dust Brothers? Now I’m just rambling…
Continue reading New Beck video: Wow
I maintain a playlist called Golden that pulls together a bunch of songs that give me fall shivers and nostalgic heartstring tugs. There’s loads of Beck’s Sea Change, Kurt Vile’s Walking on a Pretty Day, Steve Gunn’s Sundowner, Elliott Smith, Damien Jurado, Lord Huron, and now…Chris Staples.
Staples’ new album, Golden Age, shares more in common with those songs and that feeling than its title. There’s a type of sadness, without being maudlin. And maybe that’s to be expected. After a rough patch where Staples was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes that resulted in pancreas failure, a bike accident that required surgery, and the dissolution of a long-term relationship, Chris Staples is afforded some sad bastard time.
But that’s what’s great about this record: it’s not sad bastard music. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me some of that. But Staples’ album maintains a bit of pop bounce with lovely melodies and simple production. It’s been described as a “subtle” record, which I guess is as good anything I would come up to describe the production. Because subtlety implies hidden complexity, and this record has that in spades.
Give a listen to lead off track “Relatively Permanent” and tell me you aren’t ready to sit down with Chris, have a beer, and talk about where you grew up.
Continue reading Chris Staples – Golden Age
If you’ve seen A Hard Day’s Night then you know George was definitely the coolest Beatle. If you’ve seen any clip of him you know it. And so it’s fitting that we celebrate George Harrison Week with Conan O’Brien and a cast of friends, family and admirers.
Beck Kicks it off with “Wah Wah” and the influence of All Things Must Pass on Beck’s sound become so obvious now.
Next is George’s old pal, Paul Simon with a tasty cover of “Here Comes the Sun.”
Contrast that with this version of the George Harrison and Paul Simon playing it together in 1976 and you can FEEL the years wash over you.
Continue reading All the Videos From CONAN’s George Harrison Week
Video: Record Club: Skip Spence "Dixie Peach Promenade"
Another one from Beck‘s latest “Record Club” project where he and his musical pals are covering Skip Spence’s Oar (previously). This one has Tweedy on vocals.
Beck: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki
Wilco: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki
Skip Spence: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki
Video: Record Club: Skip Spence “Broken Heart”
I did a quick search of the archives and I’m surprised to see we haven’t covered Beck‘s “Record Club” project at all. It’s a cool idea where a bunch of musicians get together and cover an entire album in one day. Beck then releases the songs on his web site and Vimeo channel. He’s already done The Velvet Underground and Nico (ft. Nigel Godrich, Giovanni Ribisi) and Songs of Leonard Cohen (ft. MGMT, Devendra Banhart), and now he’s halfway through Skip Spence‘s Oar (ft. Wilco, Feist, Jamie Liddell).
“Broken Heart” features a duet with Jeff Tweedy and Leslie Feist, and it’s really nice. A few more of my favorites from this installment after the jump…
Continue reading Jeff Tweedy, Feist, Beck cover Skip Spence
MP3: Beck – “Harry Partch”
Good old Beck has released this new song, a ten minute long tribute to the avant-garde composer loved by Tom Waits and other musicians who like to bang on shit. Beck’s jam uses Partch’s “43 tone scale” and it sounds more adventurous and crazy than anything he’s done since 1993.
watch your back
and stack your hack
your mailman is punching back
your train goes click click clack
Beck: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki
Beck has started a new thing on his website called Irrelevant Topics that features “conversations between musicians, artists, writers, etc. on various subjects, without promotional pretext or editorial direction.” To kick it off, he offers “Tom Waits x Beck Hansen : Pt. 1,” and it’s a great read. Talking about songs disappearing over the years:
BH: There’s sort of a planned obsolescence or something. That’s just part of it.
TW: Yeah and we have every generation making a whole bunch of new ones. Even though the generation before says, “What’s wrong with these tunes? We’ve got plenty of good tunes lying around here. What are you making new songs for? We’ve got cool songs about everything you’re writing about. We’ve got plenty of songs about girls.” “No, no. That’s all right, Dad. We’re doing something else, something cooler over here. You go ahead.” And the dad says, “Do you know Jimmy DURANTE? Have you ever heard of Jimmy Durante?”
Looking forward to Pt. 2, and upcoming interviews.
MP3s: (courtesy of Anti-)
• Tom Waits – “Hold On”
• Tom Waits – “Alice”
• Tom Waits – “Another Man's Vine”
• Tom Waits – “How's It Gonna' End”
• Tom Waits – “Road to Peace”
• Tom Waits – “You Can Never Hold Back Spring”
• Tom Waits – “Bottom of the World”
In celebration of Record Store Day, Warner Brothers (via imprints, etc.) is releasing limited number vinyl pressings from Wilco, Sonic Youth, Beck and others.
Warner Brothers has already announced a complete slate of Wilco reissues from A.M. through Summerteeth, all 180-gram RTI pressings with CD included (just like Sky Blue Sky, Ghost Is Born and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) and now Pitchfork breaks the news about 7-inches from Sonic Youth, Beck and Jay Reatard, plus another previously-unreleased Pavement live LP.
More at the Fork.
Our G-Rap homeboy Angry John Sellers asks Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne some Tough Questions for Spin magazine. Hilarity ensues.
On annoying other bands with gratuitous confetti:
We recently did a festival in Mexico…and fucking Nine Inch Nails and Stone Temple Pilots were worried about our confetti getting on their little guitar setups. And I’m just like, “Who gives a fuck?”
On the 2002 tour where the Lips were the warm-up and the band for Beck Hansen:
I was purposely doing an Ali/Frazier kind of thing. There was so much work going into playing not just our set, but also his [as Beck’s backing band]. At the end of the day, you’ve got to have some fucking fun. He was not very much fun to be around because he’s all just, you know, overwhelmed with being famous and being cool or whatever. So I started fucking with him. And everybody was in on it! There would be moments where you thought he was in on it, too. And then he’d go talk to someone, and they’d set his mind on some other thing, and he’d be really hurt by it. It would be as though me and you were joking about something. And then five minutes later, suddenly you didn’t realize that it was a joke.
Good old Wayne. You can’t help but want him to babysit your kids.
Bonus: Sellers’ interview with Ice Cube is great, too.
Beck – Modern Guilt (Interscope)
Let’s be clear: Odelay was a LONG time ago. While he’s managed to remain on the charts, the last huge crossover “hit” Beck had was in 1996 with “Where It’s At” and that was twelve years ago. The sooner we all get over that fact, the more we’ll be able to enjoy his work since.
Modern Guilt comes with a bit of baggage. After his last album, The Information, was met with a collective yawn, many of Beck’s fans are wondering if he’s lost his groove. The announcement that Mr. Hansen would team with producer of the moment, Danger Mouse, piqued a lot of interest and had people wondering if that meant another hit was in the works. Well, I suppose that depends on what you mean by a “hit.”
There isn’t a song on this album that will match the radio friendliness and pop finesse of the songs that put Beck on the map. You won’t find a sing along chorus like “Loser” or “Where It’s At” nor will you find an all out funk down as we heard on 1999’s Midnight Vultures. Looking for the Summer Jam of 2008? You’re unlikely to hear one of these new songs on Q101.
So, what will you find?
Continue reading Beck – Modern Guilt