Grammy, 2022

When I first told Henry Melrose that I was writing for a site named “Glorious Noise,” he looked at me with the proverbial—and in his case, actual—raised eyebrow.

“I didn’t take you as being ostensibly religious,” he said.

“What?”

And he quickly rattled off:

“Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps.”– Chronicles-1 15:28

And he said, [It is] not the voice of [them that] shout for mastery, neither [is it] the voice of [them that] cry for being overcome: [but] the noise of [them that] sing do I hear.”– Exodus 32:18

Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.”– Psalms 33:3

To the chief Musician, A Song [or] Psalm. Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands”– Psalms 66:1

And several more.

“Glorious,” he remarked. “From the old French, glorie, as in ‘splendor of God or Christ, praise offered to God.’”

Evidently sitting in that Audi A5 all day on stakeouts gives him a lot of time for reading.

“Hey, listen to this,” he said, and increased the volume of the 755-W Bang & Olufsen sound system. “’A Beautiful Noise,’” he yelled over the pianos. “Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile. It is nominated for the 2022 Grammy Song of the Year.”

I started thinking about the Grammys.

Continue reading Grammy, 2022

New Claud video: Tommy

Video: Claud – “Tommy”

Claud - Tommy (Official Visualizer)

Single out now on Saddest Factory.

I like Claud. I like sad songs. “Tommy” is a heartbreaker about barely-requited love.

I’m a party in the Village you make fun of with your friends
But you show up time and time and time again.

Super Monster was the first full length album released by Phoebe Bridgers’ Saddest Factory imprint. That was back in February and this is Claud’s first new song since then. No new album announcement yet, but there’s a headlining tour coming to a city (or Ferndale) near you in 2022.

New Mediocre: Mattress Bitch

Video: Mediocre – “Mattress Bitch”

Mediocre - "Mattress Bitch"

Directed by Keely Martin and Piper Torrison. Single out now on Dangerbird.

I got my flu shot and covid booster last night. At the pharmacy while I was waiting my turn there was a family with a five-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl getting their first dose. The little boy was nervous. His big sister agreed to go first. She was a boss and didn’t even cry. She told her brother to pinch his leg to distract himself. It worked. He took it like a champ and got a sticker and some candy. After his ordeal I heard him say to himself, “Safer and closer to normal.”

/ / /

Piper Torrison and Keely Martin formed Mediocre in high school, and “Mattress Bitch” is their third single on Dangerbird Records’ Microdose series.

Martin told Audiofemme, “I wanted to make it like, kinda funny, and I was trying not to think too hard about it when I was writing it, but of course when you look back, you’re like oh, there is deeper meaning to this. I do think that it is a sad song in a way, and vulnerable, but hidden behind that humor – which is very much a common thing that I tend to do, or anyone else does when they’re confronting a something or someone but they don’t want to reveal too much about their feelings. Compensating with humor, just that general experience of making yourself small and forgetting your worth, I feel like that’s very relevant to anyone’s experience.”

/ / /

When it was my turn to get my shots the kids were still there waiting out their 15 minutes. I pinched my leg to distract myself and I barely felt the pokes. I got my sticker and some candy. And now hopefully we’re all a little safer and closer to normal.

Gone and Not Forgotten

The headline read “Marshall Tucker Band Announces 50th Anniversary Tour” and although I have a depth of knowledge of that band that is approximately that of a sheet of paper, I read on, where I found, “‘Our special songs, guided by the lyrics of Toy Caldwell, have given us a deep emotional connection with our fans and friends,’” said founding MTB member Doug Gray. “‘We love you all and can’t wait to see you on the road in 2022.’”

Which made me wonder about that reference “founding MTB member.”

The band, which was organized in 1972 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, currently has one original member: Doug Gray, lead vocalist.

The aforementioned Toy Caldwell was lead guitarist, steel guitarist and vocalist. He also wrote all of the songs that appear on the band’s first, self-titled album, which was released in 1973. It includes “Can’t You See,” which arguably is one of the band’s biggest hits, or at least is one of the more recognizable tracks.

Caldwell’s younger brother Tommy had also been an original member of MTB.

Toy left the band and released an album in 1992, “The Toy Caldwell Band.” In 1993 he was found dead in his home, from cardiac arrest.

Brother Tommy had died in 1980 in a car accident.

One other original MTB member, George McCorkle, who played rhythm guitar, left the band in 1984 and died of cancer in 2007.

There are two other founding members: Jerry Eubanks (keyboards, flute), who left the band in 1996; Paul Riddle (drums) who left in 1983.

It seems that through the years there have been approximately 30 members of MTB.

And Doug Gray continues.

Continue reading Gone and Not Forgotten

New Courtney Barnett video: If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight

Video: Courtney Barnett – “If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight”

Courtney Barnett - If I Don't Hear From You Tonight [Official Video]

Directed by Claire Marie Vogel. From Things Take Time, Take Time, out now on Mom+Pop.

You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs. Courtney Barnett sees it isn’t so.

“I think my stance in the past was like, ‘There’s so many love songs and they don’t mean anything,’ but there’s something really special about zooming in on a moment and capturing it,” Barnett says. “‘If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight’ comes from the state of where my head was at — trying to communicate honestly instead of keeping [my feelings] guarded.”

What’s wrong with that?

And it’s so quiet outside
With this curfew lullaby
Is now an okay time to
Tell you that I like you?

It isn’t silly at all.

Courtney Barnett: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Jack White video: Taking Me Back

Video: Jack White – “Taking Me Back”

Jack White – Taking Me Back (Official Video)

Directed by Jack White. From Fear Of The Dawn, due April 8 on Third Man.

Lego-man hair aside, Jack White usually has pretty good taste. He’s built his entire empire on the fact with his various Third Man enterprises. From the record label, to the store front, to his design studio, to his return to the day job with upholstery, Jack White has put his three-headed stamp on some pretty cool shit.

So it’s a little odd to hear what sounds like every Guitar Center’s sales guy’s worst nightmare of a song belching out as the first single of a promised two-album run. This song has everything: Big riffs, squelchy tones, freaky tremolo and keyboard banks from 1996. [End: Stefan skit]

Just the same, I’m looking forward to hearing more from Detroit’s estranged son. With two albums boasting 23 track between them, there’s bound to be some gems in among the rough cuts.

Fear of the Dawn is due out on April 8, 2022 with Entering Heaven Alive following on July 22.

Clapton & the Rhetoric of COVID

Here’s the lede from a story published last week in The Washington Post:

“The Trump administration repeatedly interfered with efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year to issue warnings and guidance about the evolving coronavirus pandemic, six current and former health officials told congressional investigators in recent interviews.”

The objective, no doubt, was to minimize the horrendous potential—and we now realize, actual—consequences of the COVID-19 virus on the population. All of the happy talk about how great, fantastic, unbelievable, and otherwise amazing everything was coming from the administration, including the president himself, was bullshit.

The virus would just go away, was the claim. Warm weather would do it. Summer would do it. Internal bleach would do it. Don’t worry. Live your lives. Do what you’ve always done. It would be happy days before you’d know it.

Regardless of behavior. Masks? Nonsense. Staying at home? Why? Teach kids remotely? Crazy.

Continue reading Clapton & the Rhetoric of COVID

New Christian Lee Hutson video: Strawberry Lemonade

Video: Christian Lee Hutson – “Strawberry Lemonade”

Christian Lee Hutson - "Strawberry Lemonade"

Directed by Waley Wang. Single out now on Anti-.

Woo hoo, new Christian Lee Hutson! His 2020 album Beginners was one of the highlights of a miserable year.

Warning! This video might make you barf if you have issues with merry-go-rounds…

While many of the best songs on Beginners featured straightforward narratives, “Strawberry Lemonade” is more impressionistic. But even if it’s impossible to decipher a literal meaning out of the lyrics, you can definitely feel what Hutson is putting across.

Everything is an accident
God’s truth is elastic
We sent a man to the moon and back again
Strapped into a trash can.

Hutson says, “’Strawberry Lemonade’ is a series of vignettes about memory, letting go and holding on. I remember talking to a friend, around the time that I wrote it, about the relentless repackaging of 1960’s culture; so some of that ended up in there. […] I want people to feel like it’s okay: we’re all here fucking up all the time; we’re all just learning and living, and it’s going to be all right. I don’t even know if I fully believe that, but it’s the voice I always wished I had in my life.”

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

New Cat Power video: Pa Pa Power

Video: Cat Power – “Pa Pa Power”

Cat Power - Pa Pa Power (Official Video)

From Covers, out 14 on Domino.

Nobody covers a song like Chan Marshall. And she knows it. Covers will be the third Cat Power collection of cover songs after The Covers Record (2000) and Jukebox (2008). Having two albums in your discography named The Covers Record and Covers may suggest a lack of creativity or imagination, but the originality of the performances and the eclecticism of the song selections more than make up for it.

This time around she’s taking on a tune by an Oscar-nominated actor’s side project band. “Pa Pa Power” was originally written by Ryan Gosling and his pal Zach Shields and recorded with a children’s choir. As laughable as this concept sounds in theory, it received good reviews and is actually pretty cool sounding. Way better than Johnny Depp’s band.

Marshall says: “I started playing this solo in 2012 (originally more dissonant and trance-y), when the Occupy Wall street protests were going on. Occupy was bunkering down and saying, ‘This shit’s fucking fucked up.’ And helping citizens be a voice in their local government. They got a lot of good things done, but the American media killed the movement. I felt like this song was relative to that. The American media has always penalized any sort of social progressiveness and is always the first to express conservative rhetoric against something that is beneficial to the nation. I’d open with this song on the 2013 China tour. ‘Burn the streets, burn the cars.’”

Continue reading New Cat Power video: Pa Pa Power

New Spiritualized video: Always Together With You

Video: Spiritualized – “Always Together With You”

Spiritualized - Always Together With You (Official Music Video)

Directed by J. Spaceman. From Everything Was Beautiful, due February 25 on Fat Possum.

Did I ever tell you the story about how I discovered Spacemen 3? I was in college and a pal and I drove to visit our friend Russ at the University of Chicago. This was before navigation systems and we got lost somewhere on the south side of Chicago. We found a payphone and asked Russ how to get there and when he found out where we were he told us to immediately get back in the car and drive. Looking back now that I’ve lived there, I wonder where we were exactly and whether or not we were in any danger at all, or if Russ was just messing with us. Anyway, we had a great time and he took us to a bunch of great record stores and I ended up buying the Frank Sinatra 4-CD Reprise box and — on Russ’ strong recommendation — The Perfect Prescription on vinyl.

Later, we went to a “funny hat” party with a bunch of University of Chicago smarties and drank enough Bacardi to level an elephant and then Russ introduced us to Harold’s Chicken where we each ordered a half-white with everything on everything and took it back to his dorm room. Harold’s is messy business so we took off our shirts and sat on his floor and ended up covered in barbecue sauce and hot sauce while Russ put on some records. The only song I remember is “Ghost Of Owls” by Starship Beer, but that left a lifelong impression.

When I eventually made it back home and busted out my new record I wasn’t sure what to expect. Thankfully, it didn’t sound anything like Starship Beer. Psychedelic, droney, zonked, dangerous, it sounded like nothing else I was aware of. I caught some Velvet Underground influences, but at that time all I knew was what was on The Best of: Words and Music of Lou Reed. So yeah The Perfect Prescription blew my mind.

And now here we are thirty years later and Jason Pierce is still making psychedelic music and it’s still blowing my mind. So thanks for the tip, Russ!

Spiritualized: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Rock and roll can change your life.