All posts by Jake Brown

New Skullcrusher video: Song For Nick Drake

Video: Skullcrusher – “Song For Nick Drake”

Skullcrusher - Song For Nick Drake (Official Video)

Single out now on Secretly Canadian.

I love it when a band’s name is in total contrast to the band’s sound. Would you guess that a band called Skullcrusher would sing a gentle tribute to one of the gentlest English folk singers, a genre that’s already about as gentle as it gets?

I walked home alone
With your song in my head
Finally understanding something
In what you said.

Skullcrusher is the nom de guerre of Helen Ballentine, who says her song “recalls moments in my life that are viscerally intertwined with [Nick Drake’s] music, specifically times spent walking & taking the train. The song is really my homage to music and the times I felt most immersed in it.”

I’ve told this story before but whenever I hear Nick Drake I think of a girl in Scotland who I met on my semester abroad. She made me a tape with The Best of Leonard Cohen on one side and a homemade collection of Nick Drake songs on the flip. (This was years before the “Pink Moon” Volkswagen commercial.) She was smart and funny and pretty but troubled, and the exoticness of my Americanism only kept her interest for a short time. But I’ll always be grateful that she introduced me to those two artists.

Skullcrusher: insta, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New M. Ward video: Violets For Your Furs

Video: M. Ward – “Violets For Your Furs”

M. Ward - "Violets For Your Furs"

Directed by Holly Andres. From Think Of Spring, out now on Anti-.

M. Ward has always been an interesting interpreter of older material. Solo and as half of She and Him, Ward has sprinkled in covers of classics and standards throughout his career. So it shouldn’t be that big of a surprise that he’s doing a tribute to Billie Holiday. It’s a little quirky to cover 1958’s Lady in Satin album in its entirety, but why not?

At the end of her career Holiday wanted to record a “pretty album, something delicate” so she enlisted easy listening bandleader Ray Ellis to arrange songs to match her voice that by this point had been damaged by years of substance abuse. Ward forgoes orchestration altogether and sticks to vocals and guitar. And, not surprisingly, it’s lovely.

He talked to Rolling Stone about what drew him to this album: “I heard Lady in Satin at a shopping mall. I had no idea what it was. Her voice sounded like distorted electric guitar paired with these really beautiful string arrangements. It was like something I’d never heard. The whole experience was kind of like a dream. […] I’ve been arranging these songs for 10 years, recording them for a couple of years. I was experimenting with different tunings to get the songs right for my voice. I was just trying my best to take my favorite elements of Ray Ellis’ arrangements and it took a lot of time.”

Anyone expecting Rod Stewart-style songbook schmaltz will be disappointed.

Proceeds from the album go to PLUS1 for Black Lives.

Continue reading New M. Ward video: Violets For Your Furs

New Julia Stone ft. Matt Berninger: We All Have

Video: Julia Stone – “We All Have” (ft. Matt Berninger)

Julia Stone - We All Have Feat. Matt Berninger (Official Music Video)

Directed by Gabriel Gasparinatos. From Sixty Summers, due April 16.

Wow, this video, shot in Tasmania, has an unexpected twist! Julia Stone is no stranger to big budget music videos; a previous video featured Danny Glover and Susan Sarandon.

It’s a cool song, too, with an uplifting message of hope.

Every moment will pass in a moment
And everything that you need will be open
Leave it alone now, just need time

It’s easy to read “quarantine” into everything these days, but I’ll take hope wherever I can find it.

The upcoming album was co-produced by Stone, Doveman (Thomas Bartlett), and St. Vincent (Annie Clark).

Continue reading New Julia Stone ft. Matt Berninger: We All Have

Twenty Years Ago Today… Well, Tomorrow

On February 6, 2021, Glorious Noise will have been online for twenty years. Twenty!

I’m trying to remember what life was like twenty years ago. 2001. So long ago. The world wide web was still pretty new. You could buy used records for a buck or two. Good stuff, too, in good condition!

No smart phones. How did we coordinate anything? How did we know where we were going? I guess a lot of times we didn’t know. We just stumbled around until we found what we were looking for.

We’ve seen a lot of changes over these twenty years. The music industry, especially. With everybody streaming now, we’re finally hooked into that “celestial jukebox” that filesharing originally had us thinking about back then. Pretty much. There’s still tons of stuff that’s not available on streaming services.

While announcing our tenth anniversary in 2011, we went on hiatus for a while. That was ten years ago now. There were a lot of reasons for it, but we needed a break. At the time, I wasn’t totally sure if we would come back. But we did and we’ve kept it going ever since. Looking back, 2013-2016 were pretty slow, averaging just 35 posts a year. That’s as dead as we got. But in 2017 and 2018 we recommitted and posted something new every weekday. We’ve grown a little lazier since then, but the goal is still to find as much good stuff to share as we can.

And that’s what we’re going to continue to do.

This is typically the time of year I ask myself what’s the point of doing this at all. I still don’t have a very good answer. I look around at other dads and they keep themselves busy with golf and…I don’t even really know. I still like to listen to music and I still get excited when I hear something new that’s good. And when that happens I want to tell people about it.

So here we are. Twenty years later. Doing it ourselves. For no good reason. A labor of love.

Let’s all hope this year is better than last year. Maybe we’ll get to experience live music again before 2022. I hope so. I miss going to shows. Yelling at bands. Drinking beers with pals. Buying t-shirts from the merch table. It’s been a really long time.

I can’t wait until we’re all vaccinated and we can kick off the Roaring Twenties for real. Until then, hang in there.

Previous birthdays: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.

Continue reading Twenty Years Ago Today… Well, Tomorrow

New Lost Horizons ft. Marissa Nadler: Marie

Video: Lost Horizons – “Marie” (ft. Marissa Nadler)

Lost Horizons feat. Marissa Nadler - Marie (Official Video)

From In Quiet Moments, due February 26 on Bella Union.

Lost Horizons is Simon Raymonde from Cocteau Twins and Richie Thomas from Dif Juz. Old school 4AD. They use guest vocalists and go for that dreamy, gauzy This Mortal Coil thing. Bostonian Marissa Nadler sang on “Winter’s Approaching” from their 2017 debut, and now she’s back again for more.

In a statement Raymonde said, “I don’t think there was ever a second I wasn’t going to find a song for Marissa to sing on the new lp. So much cool stuff came out of our last collaborations on Ojalá, indeed I think we ended up recording four songs from the original idea of doing one! Marissa is a really great and generous collaborator as she really throws herself in deep, and commits to it fully.”

Nadler added, “It was a dream to collaborate with Simon and Ritchie for Lost Horizons again. ‘Marie’ is an aquatic reverie about this title character entering different dimensions. Maybe we’re all feeling a little submerged, watching the time. This stream of consciousness song came from listening to the track that Simon sent, and birthed this hypnagogic hallucination of a story.”

Raymonde discussed recording the track: “The initial music that Richie and I improvised in our basement studio in Brighton was a bit messy and we didn’t use a click or anything to keep tempo so fixing anything later was a lost cause, but it is such a cool piece that I loved creating (I think I put 4 maybe 5 bass parts on with my old trusty Fender VI string bass guitar!) that even when it’s kinda falling apart during that instrumental section near the end, I still love it.”

We love it when things kinda fall apart. Kinda falling apart is our aesthetic. It’s essentially the definition of glorious noise.

Lost Horizons: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Sincere Engineer: Tourniquet

Video: Sincere Engineer – “Tourniquet”

Sincere Engineer - Tourniquet (Official Music Video)

Directed by Nolan J. Downs. Single out now on Hopeless.

How great is this band?

It’s winter again and there’s cracks in my skin.
Nothing stops the bleeding.

I recommend Kiehl’s ultimate strength hand salve. It works great. At least for the literal cracks in your skin. There’s probably not a product you can purchase at the Nordstrom building on Michigan Avenue that will help with the metaphorical cracks in your skin.

I can’t wait until all this pandemic bullshit is over so I can go see Sincere Engineer play live again. In the meantime, I’ll be listening to this song on repeat.

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

New Jordi: Escape Route

Video: Jordi – “Escape Route”

Jordi - Escape Route

Directed by Jordan Radnoti. Single out now on Dangerbird.

Oh brother, just what the world needs: another reason to feel like a big loser.

What had you accomplished when you were 17? When I was that age I couldn’t even make myself a grilled cheese sandwich. High school senior Jordan Radnoti, on the other hand, has just recorded and released her debut single for Dangerbird Records. She plays every instrument on it. So yeah.

Before busting out as “Jordi” she had previously played drums for the band Unicorns at Heart who released a couple singles on Dangerbird last year. And according to google she’s also a hockey goalie and a cross-country runner. Plus, she drums like Dave Grohl and sings with an English accent. Well-rounded kid!

“Escape Route” was written when she was 15, and she told American Songwriter, “It’s escaping from your own problems and your own fear that you create inside of your head, which I do a lot and I feel like I tend to overthink things a lot.” Right on.

New Charlie Hickey: Ten Feet Tall ft. Phoebe Bridgers

Video: Charlie Hickey – “Ten Feet Tall” (ft. Phoebe Bridgers)

Ten Feet Tall (Official Video)

Directed by Zoe Donahoe and Adam Sputh. From the Count the Stairs EP, due February 26. Single out now.

The kids are alright.

Charlie Hickey is 21. And he’s been writing songs since grade school. The story goes that he impressed Phoebe Bridgers when he was 13 by covering one of her songs. Eventually she introduced him to her drummer/ex-boyfriend Marshall Vore who collaborated with Hickey and produced his upcoming EP. It’s all about who you know, I guess, but it doesn’t hurt to write good songs and be able to perform them so effortlessly.

He went to college for a year before he dropped out to focus on his music, but it sounds like he was there long enough to capture the essence of the whole experience: “There’s not a problem here that can’t be solved with liquor, stickers, and strawberry Boone’s.”

Hickey describes how “Ten Feet Tall” came about:

“I was going to school at the time and was feeling quite alienated in this little world where everybody was instantly partying with their brand new best friends and fun came so naturally. I found solace in Marshall’s studio on the weekends. This was our first proper attempt at writing together and we were writing something really horrible. We were both kind of delirious and Marshall started singing the verse melody for the song as a joke, making fun of what we had been trying to write. But when I heard it, I said to him, ‘Wait, that’s the song that we’ve been trying to write.’ After that, we wrote the rest that night and recorded it the next day.”

And that’s all it takes!

The video makes me nostalgic. It was so much fun to be young and bored and goofy, hanging out with your crew and doing nothing, cracking each other up. Looking for excitement and never finding it.

Charlie Hickey: web, insta, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Charlie Hickey: Ten Feet Tall ft. Phoebe Bridgers

New L.A. Witch video: Motorcycle Boy

Video: L.A. Witch – “Motorcycle Boy”

L.A. Witch - Motorcycle Boy (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

Directed by Ambar Navarro. From Play With Fire, out now on Suicide Squeeze.

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

Really though, to suggest that L.A. Witch cops the Phil Spector sound is lazy. Just because they use a lot of reverb? Come on. If anything, L.A. Witch has more of a George “Shadow” Morton sound. He’s the guy who wrote and produced the Shangri-Las and later worked with Vanilla Fudge and the New York Dolls.

Girl group harmonies, spooky guitars, and lyrics about bad boys on motorcycles? Check, check, check.

Sade Sanchez says, “The song is inspired by Moto Boys like Mickey Rourke, Marlon Brando, and Steve McQueen, so of course we took a lot of inspiration from our favorite biker movies like The Wild One, Rumble Fish, On any Sunday, Easy Rider, Hells Angeles ’69 and The Girl on a Motorcycle. I had worked with (director) Ambar Navarro and Max [Flick, director of photography] on another project and loved their other work, so we wanted to work with them on this. They definitely did their homework and came up with a cool story line. I got to feature my bike that I’d been rebuilding during the pandemic. It was nice to shoot a video where you get to do two of your favorite things, riding motorcycles and play guitar.”

The video looks great. Vroom vroom!

New Weezer: All My Favorite Songs

Video: Weezer – “All My Favorite Songs”

Weezer - All My Favorite Songs (Official Video)

Directed by Colin Read. From OK Human, due January 29 on Atlantic.

Goddamn Weezer, just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

“We used our instruments to connect to the 1960’s and 1970’s and, with the orchestra, back to the 18th and 19th centuries. We had no click track or loops or hi-tech sounds. Not even an electric guitar.”

I am a total sucker for gimmicks like that. The funny thing is, despite whatever constraints they put on themselves, “All My Favorite Songs” ends up sounding just like Weezer. I didn’t even notice there weren’t any electric guitars. Wait, is that even true? Not even bass? The band has electric instruments in the video for sure, but that doesn’t mean anything. I can’t be sure. Can you?

But the video is great. A charming indictment of our always-online, never-putting-our-phones-down culture. We’re probably all overdue for a device detox. Who am I kidding? Never going to happen. But it’s nice to imagine a world where we all lived in the present instead of letting our monkey brains swing from thought to thought, moment to moment, restless and uncontrollable.

OK Human is out this Friday. Van Weezer, the album first announced back in September 2019, has been pushed back to May 7, 2021.