All posts by Jake Brown

New Starcrawler video: Goodtime Girl

Video: Starcrawler – “Goodtime Girl”

Starcrawler - Goodtime Girl (Official Music Video)

Directed by Gilbert Trejo. From the Dark Nights: Death Metal soundtrack.

Why do edgy people hate eyebrows? What’s up with that? And why do people without eyebrows look so scary and alien? Is it, like, because if somebody doesn’t care about keeping rain and sweat out of their eyes, what could they possibly care about at all? Nothing. Nothing at all. Sociopaths, clearly.

Anyway, this new Starcrawler video features Danny Trejo and David Hasselhoff and a bunch of other Hollywood dudes. It was directed by Trejo’s kid who clearly knows some people. It’s got a sort of “Beat It” by way of Marilyn Manson vibe. Be sure to stick around for the post-credits scene where Trejo and Hasselhoff wonder what they’re doing there.

Mama always said I’d be someone’s queen
Someone to hold me tight, so I can rest in peace
I’ll be your little darling, wait and see
Close your eyes, count to three.

“Goodtime Girl” appears on the soundtrack to Dark Nights: Death Metal, which is a series of comic books. Which apparently have soundtracks now? So nerds have something to listen to while they read? I don’t know.

Starcrawler’s Arrow de Wilde says, “I want a girl who might normally feel like she’s awkward or insecure to put her headphones on and feel like she can accomplish anything.” The song is about “realizing your power and taking complete control of that. I wish I had a song like this when I was in middle or high school. If I did I may have been a lot more confident with myself at the time.”

Right on.

New Torres: Thirstier

Video: TORRES – “Thirstier”

TORRES - Thirstier (Official Video)

From Thirstier, out July 30 on Merge.

New songs from Mackenzie Scott are always welcome and it’s been fun to see her evolve from her quieter, moodier 4AD material into this dynamic new Merge era. Her videos are always interesting in the way they present domestic carnality in unexpected ways. This new video for the title track of her upcoming album is no exception.

Our hero frolics at the shore while her love interest sits naked on the branch of a tree with her back to us, toes in the beach grass. Torres videos are sensual without being vulgar. I’m sure a clever point could be made about the male gaze, but I’ll leave that to smarter people.

Keep me in your fantasies
Baby, even though you live with me
The more I look, the more I see
As long as I’m around, I’ll be lookin’ for a nerve to hit
The more of you I drink, the thirstier I get.

When adults in long-term relationships talk about sex it tends to be either boring or gross. Unless it’s in a Torres song.

New Ben Kweller video: Just for Kids

Video: Ben Kweller – “Just for Kids”

Ben Kweller - Just for Kids (Official Video)

Directed by Carrick Moore Gerety. From Circuit Boredom, out now on his own label, Noise Company.

The passing of time is something else, isn’t it? It blows my mind to think that Ben Kweller was just a 20-year-old kid when he released Sha Sha. Now he’s 40. I guess you wouldn’t know it from listening to his voice. He still sounds like the kid who sang about watching “Planet of the Apes” on tv.

Hip to hip until the sunrise
When we kiss we close our eyes
See the world for what it is
Falling in love ain’t just for kids

Right on.

Kweller’s sixth album, Circuit Boredom, was finally released on January 1, almost two years after he first announced it with the single “Heart Attack Kid.” So in case you hadn’t heard, it’s out.

New Courtney Barnett: Rae Street

Video: Courtney Barnett – “Rae Street”

Courtney Barnett - Rae Street (Official Video)

Directed by W.A.M. Bleakley. From Things Take Time, Take Time, due Nov 12 on Mom+Pop.

How did you spend your pandemic? Get anything productive done? Courtney Barnett spent hers writing and recording a new album.

She told Rolling Stone all about it. Instead of calling up her live bandmates to the studio, she and producer Stella Mozgawa played everything themselves utilizing the same lo-fi drum machines that Barnett had used on her demos: “It’s pretty much just us. It feels so alive to me, like it’s all happening at once.”

Barnett told Rolling Stone that lead single “Rae Street” started off as a writing exercise. “One day I made a list of all the phrases that I could remember my parents saying.” If that’s the case, her parents were pretty intense.

Shine those shoes and mow those lawns
Let’s get back to normal.
Lay it all on the table, you seem so stable
But you’re just hanging on.

Whoa.

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

New Sincere Engineer: Recluse In The Making

Video: Sincere Engineer – “Recluse In The Making”

Sincere Engineer - Recluse In The Making (Official Music Video)

From Bless My Psyche, out September 10 on Hopeless.

I tend to hate animated videos. Just seems like the musicians couldn’t be bothered to show up and participate. I know that’s not always the case. Sincere Engineer’s Deanna Belos made this one herself.

“This was one of the music video ideas that I thought of during the year of the pandemic that I could execute by myself. I played The Sims a bunch as a kid. I had to stop when I got older and felt a weird sadness about it--spending my real life playing a game that is a computer simulation of my life. It’s still fun, though. I let myself play it guilt-free to make this video, because I could call it work, ha ha!”

It features a Sims-y Deanna Belos hanging out in her Sims-y apartment being sad, meeting up with her Sims-y band, and then going out and dancing the Macarena at a Sims-y club. What more could you want in a music video? Not much.

To this taxi driver I’m more honest
Than I ever was to my therapist.
I told him I’m in love with you,
One year, three months before you knew.

Belos says the song is “about struggling to make life in those few hours after work—motivation fleeting like the sunlight. It’s sort of a reminder to myself to push through the exhaustion and get up and go out. I’m only cheating myself out of precious life time if I don’t.”

Which, of course, is probably something we can all relate to.

Sincere Engineer: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Dressy Bessy: I’m Still Here

Video: Dressy Bessy – “I’m Still Here”

Dressy Bessy - "I'm Still Here" (Official Music Video)

Single out now.

In case you were wondering, Dressy Bessy is still here.

I’m probably gonna be your girlfriend
I’m proper gonna rock your world.

“I’m Still Here” is the first we’ve heard of the E6 band since 2019’s Fast Faster Disaster on Yep Roc, and it encapsulates all the handclappy spunkiness that first attracted us to the band with 2005’s Electrified.

Shake it like Suzi Quatro!

Let’s go.

Dressy Bessy: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Tristen video: Cool Blue

Video: Tristen – “Cool Blue”

Tristen - "Cool Blue" (Official Music Video)

Animation by Jimmy Teru Murakami (1967). From Aquatic Flowers, out now on Mama Bird.

Maybe it’s something about the animated video, but this reminds me of my favorite Schoolhouse Rock songs. Tristen’s voice evokes the sweetness of Blossom Dearie, the conversationalism of Lynn Ahrens, and the soulfulness of Essra Mohawk.

And what a happy sounding hopeless song about a grumpy dude who refuses to accept emotions!

Totally sober, cold and unfeeling
He shudders when I start revealing
My weakness, and when I need him
He’d rather hide away.

Sounds like an ass.

By the way, this whole album is really good and you should check it out for sure.

New Liz Phair video: The Game

Video: Liz Phair – “The Game”

Liz Phair - The Game (Official Music Video)

Directed by Angela Kohler. From Soberish, out now.

Liz Phair is back with a new Brad Wood-produced album that’s she’s been calling her “first proper, thought-through, totally crafted album since Whitechocolatespaceegg.” That sounds like a load of horseshit to me.

She’s dismissing Liz Phair (2003), Somebody’s Miracle (2005), and Funstyle (2010). Of those three, Somebody’s Miracle is the least interesting but it was mostly recorded at the Village Recorder with producer John Alagia; to say it wasn’t “thought-through” or “totally crafted” is revisionist baloney.

Not to mention that Whitechocolatespaceegg was recorded in five different studios with three different producers. And Brad Wood only produced five of the album’s 16 songs. But whatever. The narrative is that Soberish is a return to form and maybe it is. It sounds good and that’s what really matters.

“The Game” doesn’t sound like anything on Exile in Guyville or Whip-Smart but, like a lot of the material on Soberish, it shares some DNA with Whitechocolatespaceegg. “Polyester Bride” specifically.

If you’re hoping for a sonic sequel to Exile and Whip-Smart, you’re going to be disappointed in Soberish. “Sheridan Road” is stripped down and emotionally raw, the title track features Wood’s classic dry, natural drum crack, and there are a couple of songs that feature Casey Rice on guitar, but overall it’s got its own identity. Phair’s unique song structures are set against lots of programmed beats and pretty guitars. It sounds more grown up. More thought-through and crafted.

But as we can see in the video for “The Game,” even almost 30 years after she stepped into the Rainbo photobooth for the cover of Exile, Liz Phair is still rebellious enough to slip the slightest hint of an areola into the shot. And why not? Don’t be a prude.

Continue reading New Liz Phair video: The Game

New Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen: Like I Used To

Video: Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen – “Like I Used To”

Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen - Like I Used To (Official Video)

Directed by Kimberly Stuckwisch. Single out now on Jagjaguwar.

Phil Spector is dead. Long live the Wall of Sound.

Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen are no strangers to large-scale, cinematic soundscapes that connect emotionally. It makes sense that they would collaborate. And the results do not disappoint.

Sleepin’ in late like I used to
Crossing my fingers like I used to
Waiting inside like I used to
Avoiding big crowds like I used to.

It’s easy to read everything these days in light of quarantines and pandemics, or maybe — just maybe — isolation and fear and longing have always ripe subjects for lyrics. Anyway, hopefully someday sooner than later we’ll all be getting back to doing things a little more like we used to.

Sharon Van Etten: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Dee Snider: I Gotta Rock (Again)

Video: Dee Snider – “I Gotta Rock (Again)”

DEE SNIDER - I Gotta Rock (Again) (Official Video) | Napalm Records

Directed by Paul McGuire. From Leave A Scar, due July 30 on Napalm.

I am a little hesitant to post this because I add every song I put up on GLONO to a playlist that I listen to fairly regularly, and well…I’m not convinced that I’m ever going to want to listen to this again. I wish it was good. I really wanted it to be good. But man, it’s just not.

I like Dee Snider. He seems like a great guy. I saw him at Riot Fest a few years ago and it was a really fun set in the middle of a hot, sunny day.

I’ve sort of felt bad ever since I tweeted a nasty comment about his cover of “Cabaret” and he actually RT-ed it. “You can’t please everyone! lol!” Made me question the whole practice of tagging celebrities. Like, do you really want them to see this? Why are you posting mean stuff at all? Choose the targets of your vitriol carefully. Don’t be a dick.

Because Twisted Sister changed my life. I’ve told this story before, but one day when I was 12 or 13 my mom asked me to make my bed or do my homework or something like that, and I started thrashing around my room screaming “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” My mom had earlier seen me watching that video on MTV and did not approve. At all. Convinced that my defiance was a direct result of my access to deviance like that (garbage in, garbage out), she called up the cable company and told them she no longer wanted MTV in her house. Much to my horror, the cable company disconnected that one channel. It wasn’t even just scrambled, like HBO. Nope channel “I (22)” was blacked out. All the way. I wanted my MTV but it was gone.

Thirty years later, I experienced one of the greatest parenting moments of my life when I introduced my 9 year old son to the “I Wanna Rock” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” videos. They’re still great and I’m happy to report they still have the same effect on kids today as they did back then. Pure, unadulterated joy.

I wanted this new song to provide even a fraction of that joy. But it doesn’t.