Directed by Greg Hunt. From Wanderer, out now on Domino.
Chan Marshall is back with another single from Wanderer. “Horizon” can be seen as something of a Mother’s Day message, all about the power of the close family unit. Even when — or maybe especially when — you’re not all together.
Mother, I wanna hold your hand
Father, I need you to be a man
Sister, if there’s any help in me, I’m always on my way
Take care of your family, everybody. Even when — or maybe especially when — they’re driving you crazy. They’re not going to be around forever.
Cat Power - Woman (feat. Lana Del Rey) (Official Video)
Directed by Greg Hunt. From Wanderer, due October 5 on Domino Record Co.
Chan Marshall is a badass. This is her first new music since 2012’s Sun and it was worth the wait. “Woman” features everything we love about Cat Power: spooky instrumentation, moody vocals, intimidating lyrics.
The doctor said I was better than ever
Man, you should have seen me
Doctor said I was not my past
He said I was finally free
What more could you ask for? Backing vocals by Lana Del Rey? You got it!
Always and always and always ascending
The Shepard misleads so you think you’re transcending
A Shepard tone, according to Wikipedia, is a sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves, creating the auditory illusion of a tone that continually ascends in pitch, yet which ultimately seems to get no higher.
Acoustic covers of pop songs, on the other hand, can strip away the glossy production to reveal the solid bones of the songwriting underneath. I still like Travis’ earnest cover of “Baby One More Time” which made me realize how sad that song really is (“my loneliness is killing me”).
This Rihanna cover is somewhere in between. It’s not jokey at all, but it doesn’t really shed any additional light on the original. It sounds cool, and Alison Mosshart’s voice is smoky and menacing as ever. Which is good enough for an acoustic b-side.
“When do I quit?” Mark E. Smith asks listeners repeatedly during “Chino,” one of nine new offerings housed together for Your Future Our Clutter, the band’s first album in two years. The joke is that two years in between Fall albums is like an eternity. It was time well spent, and even Smith knows he’s delivered something special this time with his unmatched cynicism declaring it to be “a showcase of raw talent” a few minutes into the first track.
The concern is that M.E.S. is beginning to contemplate life after the Fall, but the optimist in me would counter that while Y.F.O.C. gives cryptic hints of finish lines, mortality, and growing old, it’s also an album where there’s a vibrancy to the production and the band is clearly on a roll as there aren’t any disruptions to the lineup since the last record, Imperial Wax Solvent.
Alex Turner is feeling aeronautically randy in the latest Arctic Monkeys single. “Coax me out, my love / And have a spin of my propeller.” Psst, I don’t think he’s talking about an actual propeller—I think he’s talking about his dingaling.
Paste magazine asks the musical question, Is Indie Dead? It’s well worth reading, although the first page—with all its Nietzsche references and comparing “indie” to “God”—is a bit of a struggle…especially with our collective “tl;dr” attitude. But there are lots of insightful comments from folks like Kill Rock Stars founder Slim Moon, Sleater-Kinney‘s Carrie Brownstein, Sebadoh‘s Lou Barlow, and the actual guy who put Nick Drake‘s “Pink Moon” in that 2000 VW commercial.
Michael Azzerad, author of Our Band Could Be Your Life, breaks it down:
“The term ‘indie’ originally referred to labels which had no connection whatsoever to the major labels,” Azerrad says. “That used to be a meaningful distinction, because the underground wanted nothing to do with corporate America. Obviously, things have changed.” What’s changed is this: In addition to direct relationships like Sub Pop’s with Warner, most of the labels now widely considered to be “indie” powerhouses—like Domino, Merge and Matador—are distributed by the Alternative Distribution Alliance, majority-owned by Warner. This means that acts like Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, St. Vincent, Spoon, Arcade Fire and others noted as the seminal “indie” acts of our time are not actually “indie” at all. (Even Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, the eponymous label founded by the band that became famous in 2005 for having no label, is distributed by the ADA.) Azerrad distinguishes these artists as part of a broader genre of “indie rock,” defined as a “genre which takes as its antecedents the truly indie rock of preceding generations,” he says. “It has nothing to do with the fiscal status of the label on which it is released. It should really be called ‘indie-influenced rock.'” The designation “indie” he reserves for artists making music on labels that remain wholly independent.
These days, most people don’t make that same distinction, perhaps because they don’t share Azerrad’s interest in semantics or his knowledge of history.
That’s hardcore. Maybe too hardcore. I agree with Brownstein who thinks that “the artistic and business decisions of the Matadors and the Sub Pops speak for themselves.” I’d throw Merge into there too, regardless who distributes their records. At least as long as they’re not more than 49% owned by a major label…right?
Tomato, tomahto. Indie, schmindie. Does it even matter? As long as the music is good, does anybody even care? Short anwer: yes.
The video was directed by Jack Kubizne and stars Christian Gravino as the Boy, Mianarei A.G. Poole as the Girl, Lindsey Flexner as the Man in Overalls, and Jake as Ant Man. Plus various dogs, chickens, and turtles. I bet the parents of those kids had to spend a couple weeks teaching them that it’s not okay to dump paint on the rug and throw eggs at the walls.
We posted the audio stream a couple weeks ago, but here’s the official video for “Crying Lightning,” the single from Humbug, due August 25 on Domino. They’re apparently refugee zombies now…or something.