New Emily Frembgen: Fentanyl

Video: Emily Frembgen – “Fentanyl”

Directed by Clare O’Kane. From No Hard Feelings, coming soon. Single out now on Don Giovanni.

I wonder how many songs we’re going to get about covid-induced alienation? This one by Brooklyn alt-country songwriter Emily Frembgen is a good one.

Two years of doing nothing makes everybody crazy
and I’ve never spent so much time in bed
and every time I see somebody I’d rather be alone
and when I’m alone I go through everything that we said.

My only issue with this song is that Frembgen, like a lot of people, pronounces “fentanyl” to rhyme with wall and call. It’s fentaNYL, like nil, not fentaNALL. Oh well. I know it’s a losing battle and a dumb hill to die on, but hey, the pandemic has made me grouchy. Aw who am I fooling? I was grouchy way before SARS-CoV-2 showed up and changed the world.

Emily Frembgen: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Jesus And Mary Chain: jamcod

Video: The Jesus And Mary Chain – “jamcod”

Directed by Ben Unwin. From Glasgow Eyes, out March 8 on Fuzz Club.

There’s something about blasting the Jesus And Mary Chain that just makes you feel cool. Even after forty years these Scottish brothers still manage to make everybody else seem tame. Their DGAF attitude reverberates out of the speakers along with the distorted guitars. They’re just cool.

Breaking up and then falling down and my heart beats much too slow
Best notify the other brother there’s no place to go.

Jim Reid says, “Our creative approach is remarkably the same as it was in 1984, just hit the studio and see what happens. We went in with a bunch of songs and let it take its course. There are no rules, you just do whatever it takes. And there’s a telepathy there — we are those weird not-quite twins that finish each other’s sentences.”

The title of this new single reminds me of my freshman year of college when I attended a NORML event and the overly serious guy leading the meeting pointed out that throughout history nobody has ever died from a cannabis overdose, and that it would require smoking 1,500 pounds of marijuana within 15 minutes to induce a lethal response. Some long-haired joker in the back of the room raised his hand and said, “I propose we test that theory.”

You may not be able to physically OD on JAMC but it’s sure fun to try.

The Jesus And Mary Chain: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Grandaddy: Cabin in My Mind

Video: Grandaddy – “Cabin in My Mind”

Directed by Aaron Beckum. From Blu Wav, out February 16 on Dangerbird.

Jason Lytle says, “A while back I was traveling with a friend, doing some shows and just riffing, and he came up with this phrase ‘Cabin in My Mind.’ It made so much sense to me and had so many things just within the title itself: shutting off and just, like, going inward. It’s fun to imagine literally a cabin inside your mind. ‘I’m out of here, see ya, guys’ and you walk in the front door, shut the door, and disappear for a while. It was perfect like an old country song where the title says everything. I remembered the phrase, and it was easy for me to pick it up and just make it work.”

This is the second single from the upcoming Grandaddy album and — just like “Watercooler” — it also features pedal steel, which is new for Grandaddy but sounds like a perfect fit, like it should have been there all along.

The album title Blu Wav is meant to be a mash-up of “bluegrass” and “new wave.” That’s pretty funny but it’s not particularly descriptive…at least not of these first two songs. But that’s alright. They sound good!

Grandaddy: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Grandaddy: Cabin in My Mind

New Kate Clover: No More Romance

Video: Kate Clover – “No More Romance”

Directed by Ambar Navarro. Single out now via SongVest.

Listening to this song it should come as no surprise to learn that Kate Clover just wrapped up a tour opening for the Hives. Clever, catchy, kitschy, poppy punk rock. What more do you want?

Clover says the song is about “being real and vulnerable to a significant other for the first time—feeling like the illusion of romance will disappear if you present your true self. To me, that’s when things become romantic, because you’re opening up. It’s about embracing yourself in all forms. I wrote this in a moment of insecurity and letting the anxiety loop play in my mind. We all feel that way at some point. The adrenaline you feel from anxiety can be powerful. I wrangled it into a song instead of allowing it to take over.”

Glad she did! The song is great!

Kate Clover: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Of Ukes and Fakes (?)

According to The Theory of Everything Else: A Voyage Into the World of the Weird by Dan Schreiber—yes, the lengths we go to find things that may be of some moderate interest—when the remaining Beatles were producing “Free As a Bird”:

“. . .it was suggested that what they should do is add some ukulele music at the end.”

While the ukulele is generally associated with Hawaiian music thanks to the support of King Kalakaua, the last king and second-to-last monarch of Hawaii (following his death in San Francisco in 1891 he was succeeded by Princess Lydia Kamakaeha, who became Queen Liliuokalani, who was deposed in 1893 in a coup that included support of the U.S. military), it was invented in Portugal, but like a staple of Hawaiian breakfasts—Portuguese sausage—the musical creation of what was once a major seafaring nation established itself there as deeply and as thoroughly as the meat concoction.

But I digress.

Schreiber goes on to write that the Beatles decided to do something at the end that they’d done on earlier recordings (e.g., “Revolution 9”) when they were fully the Beatles: adding backmasking to the track. Backmasking is the method in which something is recorded backward and then, when played forward, reveals a message.


“. . .the message they ended up using was a snippet of Lennon saying, ‘Turned out nice again.’ This turned out to be a perfect line to put over the ukelele as it was the catchphrase of musician and ukulele player George Formby.”

And now cue the “dun-dun-dun” sound of something that is about to be shockingly revealed.

After backmasking the phrase, when it was played back

“. . .it didn’t produce a garbled sentence as expected. Instead, what everyone heard was the voice of John Lennon, though a backward record, saying the words ‘Made by John Lennon.’”


Continue reading Of Ukes and Fakes (?)

New National: Laugh Track (ft. Phoebe Bridgers)

Video: The National – “Laugh Track” (ft. Phoebe Bridgers)

Directed and animated by Bernard Derriman. From Laugh Track, out now on 4AD.

I often think about the tweet where a guy went to see the National in concert: “The singer asked ‘how’s everyone doing tonight?’ and the guy next to me shouted ‘I’m getting a divorce’.”

That’s still funny.

Losing my momentum, losing my mind
Not enough to mention, not enough time
I can’t even say what it’s about
All I am is shreds of doubt.

Sure, the National is the embodiment of sad sack dad rock. But apparently the kids dig ’em. And why not? As Phoebe Bridgers recently told Amanda Petrusich in the New Yorker, “Something middle-aged men and teen-age girls have in common is the act of finding yourself, and being kind of self-conscious. Maybe some beliefs that you’ve held on to for a long time are finally being shed. The teen-age girl in me is obsessed with the National, and feels very spoken to and seen by them, maybe for the exact same reasons that they speak to middle-aged men.”

So there.

The National: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Mantra of the Cosmos: X (Wot You Sayin?)

Video: Mantra of The Cosmos – “X (Wot You Sayin?)”

Directed by Olli Ryder. Single out now.

If you’re like me, you probably find yourself pretty regularly wondering, “Goddamn–I wonder what Shaun Ryder is up to?” Well, he’s still twisting melons and he’s brought Bez along too.

The Happy Mondays frontman has teamed up with Bez (Happy Mondays, exercise guru), Andy Bell (Ride, Oasis) and Zak Starkey (Oasis, The Who, Ringo offspring) to cook up a brew of “psychedelic poetry” mixed with latter-day House grooves. With two singles out to date and a spot performing at Glasto, it’s unclear how far they’ll take this ride but sound is what you’d expect–satisfyingly so!

Just don’t call it a super group, ’cause that’s for fucking wankers.

Mantra Of The Cosmos: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Orb: Living In Recycled Times

Video: The Orb – “Living In Recycled Times”

From Prism, out now on Cooking Vinyl.

The last time we featured a new Orb song on here a few years ago, I told you about listening to “Little Fluffy Clouds” on repeat in the 90s. It had a profound effect on me. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the type of headspace that fosters those kinds of epiphanies, but that’s alright. Their stuff always sounds good.

This song’s been out for a while and they’ve got a new album, SETI, due February of next year that promises “acoustic instruments and nostalgic samples” and “glacial-paced melodies, Nyabinghi percussion, mandolin, and acoustic guitar.” So that should be interesting.

On the Potential Problems of AI & Music or “Avast, Me Hearties!”

Universal Music Group recently filed some comments to the U.S. Copyright Office as part of “Artificial Intelligence and Copyright: Notice and Request for Public Comment.”

“Some” is something of an understatement, as it runs 99 pages.

However, this is not entirely surprising, as the company presents itself:

“UMG owns the most extensive catalog of recordings in the industry, covering the last hundred years of many of the world’s most popular artists.”

If we go back 100 years, to 1923, it is notable that one of the most popular songs of the day was “Yes! We Have No Bananas,” which portended a potassium deficiency among those doing the Charleston.

Continuing in its modesty, the filing goes on to point out:

“Collectively, UMG owns or controls a catalog of sound recordings and musical compositions of incalculable artistic, cultural, and economic value.”

One wonders whether that last adjective isn’t the one that they would have liked to have used exclusively but then realized that the U.S. Copyright Office is part of the Library of Congress and so artistic and cultural value have more currency there.

Continue reading On the Potential Problems of AI & Music or “Avast, Me Hearties!”

New Mary Timony: Dominoes

Video: Mary Timony – “Dominoes”

Directed by Dr. Cat. From Untame the Tiger, out February 23 on Merge.

It’s a little embarrassing to use the phrase “guitar hero” but if there is such a thing Mary Timony is it. With Helium, Autoclave, Wild Flag, Ex Hex, and as a solo artist, she has created a distinctive and inventive guitar sound. And like, literally, she was Snail Mail’s Lindsey Jordan’s guitar instructor, so yeah: guitar hero.

Untame the Tiger will be her fifth solo album and her first since 2007’s The Shapes We Make on Kill Rock Stars.

“This song was almost not on the record,” says Timony. “We needed one last song, and I found a demo of it I had forgotten about at the last minute.”

Good thing. It rules.

Mary Timony: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Mary Timony: Dominoes

Rock and roll can change your life.