Tag Archives: Merge

New Escape-ism video: Nothing Personal

Video: Escape-ism – “Nothing Personal”

Escape-ism - Nothing Personal (Official Music Video)

Directed by Alexandra Cabral. From The Lost Record, out September 7 on Merge.

Ian Svenonius is prolific. It was only November when he introduced the world to his new project, Escape-ism. And now there’s a second album coming due in September. “Nothing Personal” continues with Introduction‘s minimalist soul.

The video features Svenonius scowling and snarling and flanked by Los Angeles artist Ariana Papademetropoulos and Black Lips saxophonist Zumi Rosow.

Only ten months after he provided us with an Introduction to Escape-ism, mythic rock ’n’ roll provocateur / theorist / revolutionary Ian Svenonius is back as Escape-ism with The Lost Record, a classic destined to bewitch the minds, hearts, and dancing shoes of any rock ’n’ roll fan who happens to discover it, for as long as such creatures exist. Without the high-octane hype machine of the mind-control minstrels who hypnotize the hapless through the mass media, The Lost Record is bound for inevitable obscurity, but—with its timeless tunes, poignant message, and innovative sound—rediscovery and immortal status is equally assured! The Lost Record, being what it is, has enormous selling potential. Music enthusiasts will be thrilled to be the ones clever and kind enough to have rescued this platter from oblivion.

Recorded in four different studios—Gaucho in Los Angeles, Flat Black in Iowa, Tonal Park in Takoma Park, MD, and at Club Blasé in DC—the record is the culmination of humanity’s attempt at something poignant, perverse, and poetically imperfect.

Escape-ism: bandcamp, fb, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Tracyanne and Danny video: It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts

Video: Tracyanne & Danny – “It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts”

Tracyanne & Danny - It Can't Be Love Unless It Hurts (Official Music Video)

Directed by Ed Dougherty. From Tracyanne & Danny, out now on Merge Records.


Director Ed Dougherty says, “One of my obsessions is The Amityville Horror. Most people don’t know it was proven to be a hoax, but it was, and the story of how they pulled it off is way more interesting to me than any haunted house story. We made this with a four-person crew in Scotland, with all of us wearing many hats, and three of us appearing in the video as actors.”

“It Can’t Be Love Unless It Hurts” is another pretty song and a funny video from Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell and her pal Danny Coughlan.

Previously: New Tracyanne and Danny video: Alabama

Tracyanne and Danny: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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.

New Wye Oak video: It Was Not Natural

Video: Wye Oak – “It Was Not Natural”

Wye Oak - It Was Not Natural (Official Music Video)

Directed by Dan Huiting. From The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs, out now on Merge Records.

There’s a photo of a Datsun 240-Z tucked into the corner of the mirror on the vanity in this video. My mom had that car when I was a toddler. In 1976 she upgraded to the 280-Z and that’s the car I remember from my entire childhood. Parents today talk about how we never had car seats when we were kids; well I didn’t even have a seat! The Z was a two-seater and I just rolled around in the hatchback. It was awesome!

My mom gave that car to me after college and I shamefully drove it into the ground. I eventually sold it and bought a Toyota Corolla, which, looking back, is disgraceful.

Jenn Wasner told Drowned in Sound: “This is a story about finding an object of uncertain origin whilst walking through the woods. Or, if you’d rather: it’s about exploring the space between the things that we are socialized to believe about ourselves, and the actual truth of our natures, for better and for worse. And it’s about learning how to push the limits of the systems we’ve put in place to help ourselves make sense of chaos.”

My foot uncovers
What my heart wishes is a treasure
Seemingly foreign
But somehow still it is familiar
It could be amber
It could be animal or antler

Sometimes we don’t recognize what a treasure something is until it’s gone.

Wye Oak: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Superchunk video: Erasure

Video: Superchunk – “Erasure”

Superchunk - Erasure (Official Music Video)

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

“Erasure” features backing vocals from Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield and The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt, and it’s another punch in the gut from Superchunk.

Hate so graceless and so cavalier
We don’t just disappear
Shifting shapes you’re just an auctioneer
But we’re still here

Mac McCaughan says: “The song ‘Erasure’ is about the desire and attempt, on the part of the old white men currently running this country, to erase the experience, history, and existence of entire groups of people who don’t look or think like them. They want a straight white America which does not and has never existed, but they hope to make it so. When director Whitey McConnaughy heard the song and started thinking about video ideas, he heard another angle, which is also a theme of our album: Given today’s anxiety-inducing, creeping authoritarianism, how do we get through each day when we feel like we’re losing our minds?”

For real. How do we get through each day? The last couple of years have been absolutely brutal to anybody who pays attention and gives a shit. I’m not sure Superchunk has an answer, but listening to loud, defiant music seems to help for a little while…

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

New Tracyanne and Danny video: Alabama

Video: Tracyanne & Danny – “Alabama”

Tracyanne & Danny - Alabama (Official Music Video)

From Tracyanne & Danny, out May 25 on Merge.

You’ll remember Tracyanne Campbell from Camera Obscura. Twelve years ago she sang, “Let’s Get Out Of This Country.” Assuming she was referring to her native Scotland, it looks like she finally made it out because now she’s singing about Alabama with Danny Coughlan from Crybaby.

It’s always kinda odd when foreigners try to introduce you to an obscure little country called the United States of America. U2’s Rattle and Hum probably ruined the idea for everybody. But this song is pretty, and I can never get enough pedal steel in my life.

Plus, Merge says “Alabama” is “a reflection on the life of her late friend and bandmate Carey Lander.” Lander died in 2015 from bone cancer.

Now nothing will be easy, nothing’s going to be as much fun
Cause I miss you by the night time, I miss you when the daytime’s begun
I couldn’t hope for a better soul
When I’m an old lady I’ll still miss you like crazy — oh!

It’s a lovely tribute.

Tracyanne and Danny: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Tracyanne and Danny video: Alabama

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 Titus Andronicus video: Above the Bodega (Local Business)

Video: Titus Andronicus – “Above the Bodega (Local Business)”


From A Productive Cough, out March 2 on Merge.

I can keep a secret from my mama, I can keep a secret from my pa
I keep myself out of trouble, stay one step ahead of the law
And I can keep it from my neighbors – it ain’t like they even care
But I can’t keep a secret from the guy at the store downstairs

Sounds like Titus Andronicus might be making their Exile on Main Street, with all the horns, soulful background vocals, and lowdown lyrics.

Patrick Stickles says, “The first floor of the apartment building in which I live is occupied by a deli-grocery, to which I give my patronage several times a day. As a result, I have developed a particular understanding with the staff there which I have not so far heard articulated in song. Thusly, I took it upon myself to write the ‘ultimate’ song explicating the bodega clerk-patron relationship. More and more, we are defined by the things which we consume, and those who facilitate that consumption may glimpse a more truthful view of ourselves than the carefully curated image we share with our loved ones. No one knows the depths of my vice better than they who oversee the transactions which make it possible—in this way, the deli clerk knows me better than my own mother.”

Shoop shoop sha la la!

Titus Andronicus: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New H.C. McEntire video: Quartz in the Valley

Video: H.C. McEntire – “Quartz in the Valley”

H.C. McEntire - Quartz in the Valley (Official Music Video)

From Lionheart, out now on Merge.

This is a cool country song from the frontwoman of Mount Moriah on her first solo album.

McEntire talked to The Grey Estates about the origin of the song:

“Quartz in the Valley” was the first song Kathleen Hanna and I worked on together. […] She said, “Listen to Wanda Jackson. Get inspired.” When Kathleen and I began collaborating, I was personally in a dark place, a lost place, and this song was how I started digging out. I don’t want to give too much away, to define the narrative exclusively; but I will say it began in a very raw, scrupulous way.

One day, I got out of bed at dawn, pulled on my overalls, and walked down to the river. I dug white quartz from the river banks, wheeled them up the hill, barrow after barrow, in a fever. The earth was giving me quartz for free, and I just had to find them. They had been waiting for me, all those years, to pry them out and set them free.

Fellow North Carolinian Alexis Bravos directed the video and said, “The video for ‘Quartz in the Valley’ is an intensely personal view into Heather’s world. I wanted to express the magical feeling of being there, watching her perform in her space which features Lou, the wonder dog.”

Can you feel it in your bones?

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

New Titus Andronicus video: Number One (In New York)

Video: Titus Andronicus – “Number One (In New York)”


From A Productive Cough, out March 2 on Merge.

There’s a thin line between pretense and ambition and anybody shooting for the latter risks ending up with the former instead. I mean, how many 10-minute epics can one band record?

Then again, no score and seven years ago Titus Andronicus proved with “A More Perfect Union” that overambition can yield damn fine results. And here they are, at it again, with another big statement. This time, instead of referencing the Civil War, Billy Bragg, and Bruce Springsteen, our bearded hero Patrick Stickles tackles the inward struggle of coping with life in the age of our orange fuhrer.

I know, that doesn’t sound very enticing. But neither did the idea of a concept album about Abraham Lincoln and escaping New Jersey and…girls and stuff, but The Monitor was pretty fucking awesome.

Stickles is like a rock and roll combination of Walt Whitman with Rakim. Look at this verse and then think back to that “Rapping, deconstructed” video everybody was passing around a couple years ago:

The villains have taken their vengeance
I regret to say they’ve collected the evidence
Repent and pretend every entrance is open to tenants with references
Declare myself president of the emptiness, say I’m Rembrandt of dancing on the precipice
Eleven years in and trying to stay relevant
But based on what’s left of the remnants of my intestines
I would guess I’ve ingested the medicine

Those are some dense-ass lyrics for indie rock! Might not be your cup of tea, but you gotta respect it.

Titus Andronicus: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Titus Andronicus video: Number One (In New York)