All posts by Jake Brown

New Naomi Alligator video: Anywhere Else

Video: Naomi Alligator – “Anywhere Else”

Naomi Alligator - "Anywhere Else" (Official Music Video)

From Concession Stand Girl, out October 29 on Carpark.

Another adorable folkie ballad from Naomi Alligator.

Come to me you’re always finding ways to fall asleep
While I am wide awake
Maybe you will keep me on a cloud where you could blow advice
In the front of my face
But then you’ll get a bird’s eye view
Of all the lovers that you once you knew
Yes all the lovers that I hate
Maybe I should go to sleep with you instead of thinking of them
When it’s so late.

Heavy sentiment but delivered with a light touch.

“I made this video on a rainy summer day,” says Corrinne James. “It serves as a farewell letter to my life in Virginia. A week after I finished shooting the video, I moved to California. While I was editing and looking back on clips to include, I kept returning to the funny and loving moments I captured of my family before I left.”

Naomi Alligator: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Le Ren video: May Hard Times Pass Us By

Video: Le Ren – “May Hard Times Pass Us By”

Le Ren - May Hard Times Pass Us By (Official Video)

Directed by Ali Vanderkruyk. From Leftovers, out October 15 on Secretly Canadian.

Oh man, another sweet and charming song from Le Ren. This time, Lauren Spear’s reassuring voice lilts over fingerpicked guitar and strummed banjo. I’m catching vibes of Neil Young’s Hitchhiker era.

When the world is grey and our bodies old
When the forger’s fire grows ashen-cold
When the years drag on and yet pass us by
I’ll be there in hard times.

That line about the years dragging on is something we can probably all relate to lately.

Spears says, “This song is really close to my heart. It was written for someone as we worked through a turbulent time in our relationship.”

New Courtney Barnett video: Write A List Of Things To Look Forward To

Video: Courtney Barnett – “Write A List Of Things To Look Forward To”

Courtney Barnett - Write A List Of Things To Look Forward To (Official Video)

Directed by Christina Xing. From Things Take Time, Take Time, due Nov 12 on Mom+Pop.

Wow, this is the most poppy song Courtney Barnett has released in a while! I love her tossed-off slacker drawl, but it’s fun to hear her do something more upbeat. And who doesn’t love twin-guitar harmonies?

Of course the lyrics are still dark, but that’s okay.

Sit beside me, watch the world burn,
We’ll never learn we don’t deserve nice things.
And we’ll scream, self-righteously,
We did our best but what does that even mean?

I wonder if this video will inspire anybody to send some mail to a friend. Hope so.

Barnett says, “I found a deeper communication with people in my life – deeper conversations. And a new level of gratitude for friendships that had been there for so long that I had maybe taken for granted.”

Don’t take your friendships for granted, people. Send your friends some mail!

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

New Wet Leg video: Wet Dream

Video: Wet Leg – “Wet Dream”

Wet Leg - Wet Dream (Official Video)

Directed by Wet Leg. Single out now on Domino.

New favorite band alert!

This is Wet Leg’s second single. I missed the first one but apparently it got a lot of attention in the U.K. when it was released on Domino in June. That one was called “Chaise Longue” and it’s awesome and features amazing deadpan lyrics like, “Hey you in the front row, are you coming backstage after the show? Because I’ve got a chaise longue in my dressing room and a pack of warm beer that we can consume.” Awesome, right?

Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers are from the Isle Wight and have been friends for almost a decade, according to an NME profile. The NME, never known to do much fact checking, says Teasdale learned to play guitar during quarantine but there is plenty of youtube evidence that she was playing guitar long before the SARS-CoV-2 virus was detected in Wuhan. Regardless, while locked down together the duo honed what we now know as the Wet Leg sound. They “wanted to have more fun than every other single band”. By the sounds of the two songs they’ve released so far, it seems like they are accomplishing that mission.

“Wet Dream” is not as silly as “Chaise Longue” but it’s equally memorable and far more melodic. Standout lyrics include:

• “You said, ‘Baby do you want to come home with me? I’ve got Buffalo 66 on DVD.'”

• “What makes you think you’re good enough to think about me when you’re touching yourself?”

• “You climb onto the bonnet and you’re licking the windscreen. I’ve never seen anything so obscene. It’s enough to make a girl blush.”

Can’t wait to hear what comes next. Count me in.

Continue reading New Wet Leg video: Wet Dream

New Dean Wareham video: Cashing In

Video: Dean Wareham – “Cashing In”

Dean Wareham: "Cashing In" (official video)

Directed by Leanna Kaiser. From I Have Nothing to Say to the Mayor of L.A., due October 15 on Double Feature.

Examples of indie rockers aging gracefully are few and far between. I suppose it helps to be graceful as a young person. Can you even imagine Dean Wareham ever spazzing out?

I used to think we were on the brink
I could just watch my fortunes grow
I used to think our ship was coming in
I’m not selling out, I’m cashing in.

It’s rare that music that is this pleasant to listen to is still interesting and engaging. Wareham proves you don’t have to be aggressive or obnoxious to be captivating.

“Musically I was inspired by Michael Rother’s great, late-’70s instrumental guitar records,” Wareham says. “And also by Peter Hook; I played the new ‘Hooky 6-string bass’ I bought last year, it’s a big part of that early New Order sound.”

Dude, if you’re going for that early New Order sound you should be playing that bass way higher up on the neck though!

Dean Wareham: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Regrettes video: Monday

Video: The Regrettes – “Monday”

The Regrettes - Monday (Official Music Video)

Directed by Dillon Dowdell. Single out now.

People grow up. People change. That includes songwriters. And bands.

It’s no surprise that someone like Lydia Night who was capable of writing sophisticated, well-crafted songs at 15 years old would eventually set her sights higher than the sassy world of Los Angeles punk that she entered via School of Rock and the Donnas.

Five years after the Regrettes grabbed our attention with their girl group inspired power pop, they’re ditching the “power” and going straight pop. And Night doesn’t care what old dudes like me think of it. “For ages, I was worried about proving something to the 50-year-old dads at the back of the room,” she told the NME. “But here we are, finally growing up.” Fair enough.

The fact that she nailed me so perfectly is a little disturbing. I am literally a 50-year-old dad. When I go to a show, I can often be found at the back of the room. And I am always disappointed when scrappy bands I love take a more mainstream turn. That’s my deal. I know it’s problematic to project my own garbage onto the artists I listen to, but that’s what I do. The silly thing about it is I actually like pop music. One of the things this site was founded on twenty years ago was sticking up for Britney Spears. So why do I feel personally offended when an artist changes their sound to something more widely palatable?

It probably has something to do with the fact that I came of age in the 90s when it was absolutely anathema to seem like you were trying too hard. Or to seem like you cared. About anything. This aloofness was always a bullshit pose. Always. It was designed to mask deep insecurity and fear of failure. So phony. But here we are. All these years later. A 50-year-old dad with all the same hangups I had as a 20-year-old dork.

Anyway…

“Monday” is a good, perfectly arranged pop song. It’s got a chorus that says, “Gotta get the fuck out of L.A.” so that’s a plus. The Regrettes are still good. They’re just different.

The Regrettes: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Riot Fest 2021: Be Safe Out There

So this is what it’s like attending a big music festival during a global pandemic, huh? Cool.

Big thanks to the 385,000 guinea pigs who attended Lollapalooza this year and proved that you can go to a huge, multi-day outdoor party without becoming part of a superspreader event…as long as you are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test result.

I’ll admit that I had been dubious that Riot Fest was going to happen this year, especially after seeing those photos of the tightly packed, maskless hordes in Grant Park. But health officials only found 203 cases connected to Lollapa. Nothing unexpected. So yay!

That good news did not prevent several bands on the original lineup from pulling out of Riot Fest including My Chemical Romance, Nine Inch Nails, Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, PUP, Holy Fawn, White Lung, Skating Polly, Faith No More, and Mr. Bungle. You might think that losing several big-name headliners and support groups would tank a music festival.

But Riot Fest is scrappy. And agile!

They were able to add a bunch of replacements at the last minute. It’s hard to imagine a corporately owned event being this quick on its feet, but independent Riot Fest can get shit done. They added Skipknot, Flaming Lips, Rise Against, Anthrax, Body Count, Pinegrove, Envy on the Coast, Action/Adventure, and Clockworks. Not only that but they tacked on a bonus Thursday with Morrissey, Patti Smith, Alkaline Trio, Joyce Manor, WDRL, and Kristeen Young.

Continue reading Riot Fest 2021: Be Safe Out There

New Snail Mail video: Valentine

Video: Snail Mail – “Valentine”

Snail Mail - "Valentine" (Official Music Video)

Directed by Josh Coll. From Valentine, out November 5 on Matador.

Remember Snail Mail? The last time we heard from Lindsey Jordan she was a teenager from Baltimore who had taken guitar lessons from Mary Timony. Back then, Timony said that Jordan “was already a really great guitar player before we started meeting.” But Jordan pointed out that Timony “definitely helped me learn to shred.”

There’s not really any shredding, per se, on the new single “Valentine” but that’s okay. It’s got plenty of cool guitar and desperate, heartbroken lyrics.

So why’d you wanna erase me, darling valentine?
You always know where to find me when you change your mind.

And the video is a period drama gorefest, which is always fun.

Jordan says, “Watching a few perverse images in my head metamorphose into this gorgeous storyline and eventually into a tangible visual was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. We connected over a mutual interest in the intersection between terror and devastating beauty.”

New Bad Bad Hats video: Milky Way

Video: Bad Bad Hats – “Milky Way”

Bad Bad Hats - Milky Way (Official Music Video)

From Walkman, out now on Don Giovanni.

Does a funny video get you anywhere these days? I don’t know but I hope so!

When our hero shows up for a speed dating session and accidentally ends up judging an Elvis impersonator audition, hilarity ensues. Of course it does. But that wouldn’t be worth three minutes of your attention if the song wasn’t good. And it is!

Yeah, you throw out half a Milky Way
Cause everything’s too sweet to you these days.

And you might be surprised at how good of an Elvis impression songwriter Kerry Alexander does. She’s got the snarl. Kinda.

Bad Bad Hats: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Courtney Barnett video: Before You Gotta Go

Video: Courtney Barnett – “Before You Gotta Go”

Courtney Barnett - Before You Gotta Go (Official Video)

Director by Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore. From Things Take Time, Take Time, due November 12 on Mom+Pop.

Does anybody else do post-millennial slacker style better than Courtney Barnett? She’s so laid back, she might tip over. And yet she’s still groovy. And clever. It’s a combination that works great: Calming and hypnotic without being boring.

Don’t you know I’m not your enemy, maybe let’s cut out caffeine.
Tomorrow’s too late to reminisce, call me when you get this.

Barnett says, “This video was filmed in Titirangi, Tatarata, Taiorahi and Waitakere in Tamaki Makaurau, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and at various locations on the beautiful lands of the Wathaurong/Wadawurrung, Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin nation around Victoria, Australia. I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands and pay respect to Elders past and present.”

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