Video: Mac McCaughan – “Circling Around”
From The Sound of Yourself, due September 24 on Merge.
Isn’t Mac McCaughan’s voice comforting? The Superchunk frontman always makes me feel better.
I often think about his December 2016 single, “Happy New Year (Prince Can’t Die Again)” and how we naively hoped it might not be as bad as we feared. But it was. It was worse. And it’s not getting much better. Not any time soon anyway. But hey, at least Prince can’t die again.
“Circling Around” feels like acceptance that we’re going to be stuck in this loop for a while.
X’s in the carpet of where I walked a path through to the floor
Kinda looks like a target but I’m not getting my hopes up anymore.
Mac says, “Here’s a song for wherever you’re wearing out a path & thinking your thoughts.”
Continue reading New Mac McCaughan: Circling Around
Video: Dean Wareham – “The Past Is Our Plaything”
Directed by Alexandra Cabral. From I Have Nothing to Say to the Mayor of L.A., due October 15 on Double Feature.
This upcoming album contains the first new songs Wareham has written in almost seven years. Why so long? Wareham jokes, “Maybe it’s just too sunny in L.A.”
Tonight I am playing my 335 while gazing at your photograph
We’re living inside a beautiful dream
A winter where memory sleeps.
Wareham says, “‘The Past Is Our Plaything’ was recorded at a studio on Stinson Beach, just north of San Francisco, in November 2020. The song sorta grew out of observations by Julian Barnes in my favorite book last year — The Man In the Red Coat — about a collection of dandies, drug addicts, artists and writers in belle epoque France and England.”
Video: Bad Bad Hats – “Walkman”
From Walkman, due September 17 on Don Giovanni.
Bad Bad Hats are a trio from Minneapolis but you’d be forgiven for assuming they’re from New Zealand. They’ve got that laid back, stripped-down, classic indie pop vibe. Some people might call it “lo-fi” even though it’s not.
I hope you play this on your walkman, baby
Sun in your eyes and your hair long, baby.
Guitarist/singer Kerry Alexander says the song is “about having a feeling so strong for someone that whenever you’re falling in love, it brings you back to being with that person. This song was just a voice memo when we went into the studio and the direction it took was a pleasant surprise. It ended up being one of our favorite songs on the album.”
Their previous single was called “Detroit Basketball” so now I think they might be my new favorite band.
Continue reading New Bad Bad Hats: Walkman
Video: Tim Easton – “Speed Limit”
From You Don’t Really Know Me, out now on Black Mesa.
Fifteen years ago, we featured Tim Easton in one of our first “GLONO Video” collaborations with Whiskey Bender Productions. This was a series we ran that featured interviews and performances from a variety of touring musicians including Dirty Pretty Things, The Chamber Strings, Jesse Malin, Centromatic, our beloved Two Cow Garage, and many, many others. We pivoted to video, ha ha, 10+ years before it was the cool thing to do. Like most things GLONO, we were a dollar short and a decade early. So it goes.
In the 15 years since we made that video, Easton has continued to release albums and You Don’t Really Know Me is his first for Black Mesa Records.
Easton says, “In some ways, it’s a recovery album. Not only recovery from a vice, but also recovery from a divorce and a destructive, rambling life of self-centered gratification. It’s a peaceful, positive, loving album — an album about personal revolution.”
This kind of earnest rock and roll played by grownups may not be the most fashionable type of music out there right now, but that doesn’t make it any less compelling.
Stuck in the middle of a losing game,
I was just about to hang my hat.
Just because I got out of the rain
doesn’t mean I won’t still get wet.
Easton describes “Speed Limit” as “a healing song that is played with a lot of energy to remind you to slow down.”
Video: Lizzo – “Rumors” (ft. Cardi B)
Directed by Tanu Muino. Single out now.
I missed out on Lizzo’s first wave. I’ll admit it wasn’t until I saw her appearance on that Dave Letterman Netflix show that I realized how great she was. Since then, of course, like any decent human being, I play “Juice” every time more than one person is gathered together and drinks are consumed.
Not sure if “Rumors” rises to that level of impressiveness, but not much does. Cardi is as spicy as ever and once again proves herself impossible to deny.
My favorite bit is where Lizzo says, “This shit from my soul, yeah / Black people made rock and roll, yeah.” Because it’s true. In the video she sings this line next to giant vase featuring a figure that looks like Sister Rosetta Tharpe dressed like a Greek goddess (i.e., toga, no pants).
Of the 29 pre-Elvis songs on my chronological history of rock and roll playlist that I obsessed over for most of this summer, 22 of them are by Black people. Five of those are by Black women. And the seven songs by hillbillies are all influenced by Black people. So claiming that “Black people made rock and roll” is factually accurate and indisputable.
So yeah, Lizzo rules.
Video: Le Ren – “Dyan”
Directed by Ali Vanderkruyk. From Leftovers, out October 15 on Secretly Canadian.
Heard about this via Jeff Tweedy’s newsletter, where he described it as “Such a sweet tribute.” And he requested “More songs about loving our Moms, please!” I agree.
“Dyan” is a pretty, lilting, sweet little song. There’s nothing not to love about it. Its melody reminds me of a birdsong. Like, an idealized birdsong, not the real kind that wakes you up at 6am when you sleep with the windows open.
Our bodies are far apart but I feel her in the air
If I could look into the centre of the sun well I think I’d see her there.
When we were little my cousin told me that if you stare at the sun for long enough, you see God. I’ve never verified this theory, but apparently when Le Ren does it she sees her mom.
Note: She spells it “centre” because she’s from Montreal. I’m guessing that’s also why she pronounces Lauren as “Le Ren.”
The old home movie audio at the end of the video is adorable. Her mother is introducing the brand new baby sister to her sibling: “Her name is Sierra Lauren Spear but you can call her Le Ren.” It’s so sweet I want her mom to adopt me!
Video: Cash and Skye – “No More Candy”
Directed by Gilbert Trejo. Single out now on Third Man.
They’re from Los Angeles but don’t hold that against them. You can’t help where you’re born.
Third Man describes the Cash and Skye origin story: “In 2017, two teenage high school lovebirds who bonded over a love of classic country and rock n roll decided to write and record their own songs for the fun of it.” They are Henri Cash of Starcrawler and Sophia Skye, daughter of the bass player in Rilo Kiley and this is their first single.
Cash says, “I feel like a lot of people in their early 20s try really hard to act ‘all grown up’ or too cool and it sucks. ‘No More Candy’ is about our love for candy and fun.”
It does suck when kids don’t appreciate their youth, but that’s not what this song is about. “No More Candy” is about being far away from the person you love.
My brain can’t process these feelings
My heart can’t even break a beat
This life’s been stung by a bag of bees
That’s keeping you from me.
Those may not be the most coherent lyrics but you feel what they mean.
Video: The Vaccines – “Alone Star”
Directed by Santiago Arriaga and Mariana Arriaga. From Back In Love City, due September 10.
This is a pretty cool song, but the video is great. A bored couple checks into a dreary motel where a magic vending machine transforms the drab and depressing world into an ecstatic disco party. Perhaps a metaphor for what we were all hoping the Covid vaccines would be? I mean, the band is called the Vaccines after all.
Justin Young says, “We wanted the ‘Alone Star’ video to be one of hope, capturing the moment when you realise all is not lost. Anyone that has driven through the desert to Las Vegas will know about the roadside casinos that start popping up and lighting the freeways as you arrive into Nevada. This motel is exactly the same sort of institution, existing in the shadows of Love City where feelings of all kinds can be found if you look hard enough. Mexico is one of our favourite places in the world and an intensely characterful place, literally metres away from where we recorded this song, so it felt like the perfect location for our protagonists to find what they were looking for…”
Remember just a few months ago when we all thought that once we were fully vaccinated we’d be able to start living life again, going to shows, and hanging out with sweaty strangers? If there’s one thing the past couple of years has shown us, it’s that optimism is very rarely warranted.
Had they released this single six months ago they probably would’ve gotten a lot more random google referrals as desperately hopeful people searched for available vaccines. And this video would’ve made a much bigger impact. Unfortunately, now it’s just a reminder of how naive we were to think that the world wasn’t completely doomed.
Video: Sincere Engineer – “Coming In Last”
From Bless My Psyche, out September 10 on Hopeless.
This is the sixth single released ahead of Bless My Psyche‘s September 10 release. That’s out of eleven songs on the album! Can we expect a video for every song? I hope so!
“Coming In Last” uses shitty Chicago traffic as a metaphor for feeling like you’re not getting anywhere in life.
Will I ever get there?
How the hell did I make it this far?
I never know where I’m going
but I got a million miles on my car.
Sincere Engineer is going out on tour with a bunch of bands I don’t care about, but hopefully they’ll do a headlining club tour soon and hit up some tertiary markets. I’d love to see them at the Pyramid Scheme.
Video: Aimee Mann – “Suicide Is Murder”
Directed by Puloma Basu & Rob Hatch-Miller. From Queens of the Summer Hotel, out November 5 on SuperEgo.
Aimee Mann’s Mental Illness was one of the best albums of 2017, and it appears she’s been sticking to its general theme since then. She started working on this new batch of songs in 2018 for a stage adaptation of the book Girl, Interrupted, and although that never happened, she got an album’s worth of material out of the project.
I never read the book but I saw the Winona Ryder movie and I remember liking it. Can’t remember much about it other than Angelina Jolie’s breakthrough role as a nymphomaniac or chronic masturbator or whatever they locked women up for in the sixties. Looking at the track listing of Queens of the Summer Hotel, I can’t find any titles that jog my memory but that’s okay.
“Suicide Is Murder” is a piano ballad with lyrics that treat a serious subject in a somewhat flippant manner.
Motive’s a must
Shame and self-loathing a plus
Tickets for under the bus.
The bridge, on the other hand, contains the kicker.
But beware ’cause anyone who knew you
Will be cursed and part of them will also die
There’s no end to the asking of the question: Why?
Mann says, “I started to write this song because I’ve known people who committed suicide and friends who’ve had loved ones die from suicide. I think the phrase ‘suicide is murder’ took on a meaning for me as it’s the worst thing to have to deal with in the aftermath. It’s just terrible. Because every person who knows the person who committed suicide will blame themselves in some way for not noticing or stepping in or doing something. They’ll till the end of their days, say, ‘was there something I could have done?’”
Continue reading New Aimee Mann: Suicide Is Murder