Tag Archives: Drag City

New Bill Callahan and Bonnie Prince Billy video: Deacon Blues

Video: Bill Callahan & Bonnie “Prince” Billy – “Deacon Blues (ft. Bill MacKay)

Bill Callahan & Bonnie Prince Billy "Deacon Blues (feat. Bill MacKay)" (Official Music Video)

Directed by Michael Tully. Single out now on Drag City.

It’s easy to hate Steely Dan when you’re an angry young person. The music is slick and perfect and the lyrics are mean and condescending. It sounds so adult. None of that reckless teenage abandon that makes rock and roll fun and exciting.

But you know what eventually changes your perspective? The Cuervo Gold and the fine Colombian…

These days I can’t even imagine not loving the Dan. Walter Becker and Donald Fagan are hilarious, and that’s something I didn’t pick up on when I was a kid. I even respect Michael McDonald now, which is something I never would’ve believed I’d admit. And it’s not some silly ironic enjoyment of “yacht rock.” They sound great. What’s not to love?

Clearly Bill Callahan and Bonnie “Prince” Billy feel the same way. Here, they take on Becker and Fagan’s tale of a suburban loser who wishes he was a hip jazz cat with a cool nickname, and it’s beautiful.

They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues

Callahan’s broken baritone embodies the character of the narrator perfectly. In the original version Fagan makes you smirk at the guy’s chutzpa, but Callahan makes you feel genuinely sorry for him. What more could you ask for?

Bill Callahan: web, twitter, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Bill Callahan and Bonnie Prince Billy video: Deacon Blues

New Bonnie Prince Billy video: This is Far From Over

Video: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – “This is Far From Over”

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy "This is Far From Over" (Official Music Video)

From I Made A Place, out January 31 on Drag City.

Middle age is tough. It’s hard to keep a good attitude when you see your body and the world falling apart. Our bonnie prince, who just turned 50 last week, understands this but offers hope:

Though half of life is gone for good
And we haven’t acted as we should
You feel it in your heart of wood
That this is far from over

Will Oldham knows there’s even hope in the world’s inevitable apocalypse:

Don’t worry if all life is gone
The rocks and sea will still roll on
And new wild creatures will be born
As this is far from over

That’s right, folks. We might be well on our way to rendering our planet uninhabitable, but guess what: Earth doesn’t care. It will carry on long after all of the humans, plants, and animals are killed off. And then it will start over. Or not. It will continue to orbit the sun, happy finally to be rid of all the monsters who have been torturing it for the past 250 years.

The video offers an optimistic vision of an alternate reality, where folks can be free from the horrors of humanity and commune with nature. A life at sea. Yo ho ho.

“This Is Far From Over” features and was edited by Captain Olivia O Wyatt. She just completed a solo transpacific crossing from San Diego to Hawaii on her 34 ft. boat, Juniper. The voyage lasted 23 days and was chronicled on her blog Wilderness of Waves. From Hawaii, she will sail around the world to destinations guided by humpback whale migration patterns. As Olivia traverses the sea, she is creating an ethnographic film exploring the mystery of humpback whale songs from the perspective of indigenous communities who revere them as deities.

Sail on, sister. Sail on.

Bonnie Prince Billy: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Eerie Wanda video: Cars and Parties (Edith Frost cover)

Video: Eerie Wanda – “Cars and Parties” [Edith Frost cover]

Eerie Wanda - Cars and Parties [Edith Frost cover] (Official Video)

Single out now on Joyful Noise.

Eerie Wanda is the project of Dutch/Croatian songwriter Marina Tadic. She has released two albums on Joyful Noise and now released a home recorded cover of this classic Edith Frost song of displacement from 2001’s Wonder Wonder.

Everyone I know reminds me
Of someone down in Texas
And every strip mall on the highway
Reminds me of my home

Tadic says, “I discovered her music earlier this year and fell in love with it. I made it together with Adam Harding and Kramer. We hope it brightens your days.”

It definitely does!

Any time someone brings up Edith Frost it brightens our day. It’s been almost 15 years since Frost released her last album, It’s a Game, on Chicago’s Drag City Records. Other than an annual holiday song she hasn’t released much music since then (except for a brief, ill-fated collaboration with noted douchebag David Obuchowski called Distant Correspondent).

Hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer. Back in July, Frost suggested that she would be “going to Chicago to record in about 2 months,” but then in October she admitted, “My Chicago plans are delayed, or rather still haven’t gelled, got too many busy people involved.” So cross your fingers and wish her luck in pulling it all together.

It’s very exciting to imagine actually getting a new Edith Frost album!

Eerie Wanda: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Eerie Wanda video: Cars and Parties (Edith Frost cover)

New Bonnie Prince Billy video: At The Back of the Pit

Video: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – “At The Back of the Pit”

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy "At The Back of the Pit" (Official Music Video)

Directed by Jacob Forman. From I Made A Place, due November 15 on Drag City and Palace Records.

Heck yeah! The fact that the world is doomed isn’t going to bring down our Bonnie Prince, no sirree. He’s already gearing up for the post-apocalypse with a jangly Cosmic American jam that wouldn’t sound out of place on The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark.

When we hear the frogs again we’ll be set to raise our heads
And it won’t matter then if the rest of the world is dead.
Yes between you and me we’ve got a re-population kit
The world will rise again from the back of the pit.

And there’s a new album on the way, too, the first new collection of Will Oldham originals since 2011’s Wolfroy Goes To Town. Oldham says, “In recent years, the whole world of recorded music, in the way that such music is conceived, perceived, recorded, released and distributed, has been atomized. I tried holding my breath, waiting for the storm to pass, but this storm is here to stay and its devastation is our new landscape. What else is a person to do except what he knows and feels, which for me is making records built out of songs intended for the intimate listening experiences of wonderful strangers who share something spiritually and musically? I started working on these songs thinking that there was no way I was going to finish them and record and release them. This was a constructive frame-of-mind that protected the songs until this frightening moment when we let go of them and give them to you.”

We’ll take them from here!

Bonnie Prince Billy: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Purple Mountains video: Darkness and Cold

Video: Purple Mountains – “Darkness and Cold”

Purple Mountains "Darkness and Cold" (Official Music Video)

From Purple Mountains, due July 12 on Drag City.

Somewhere deep within the GLONO archives are boxes and boxes of VHS tapes. Throughout much of our teens and all of our 20s, Jake had a video camera and for long periods during those years, he seemed to video everything. Sometimes it was events in our lives, like graduations or birthday parties. Sometimes it was us being creative by making music videos of ourselves singing to The Charlatans. Sometimes--and this was a LOT of the time--it was just us sitting around his mom’s house or driving our friend Pat’s convertible (called The Soft Machine, natch) around our home town. Once, we climbed the fence surrounding an abandoned drive-in movie theater and Jake climbed to the very top of the giant outdoor screen. We did this a lot. We were bored in the midwest and a little infatuated with ourselves. It was cool and unique. It was before we all had a camera in our pockets. It was before selfie culture.

I think David Berman also has a bunch of these boxes in his basement. I think this video might be from one of the boxes way in the back. The tape holding the top closed is getting brittle and has pulled up a little from the surface of the two flaps holding the box closed. I wonder if he ever makes stop-action videos with his old Star Wars figures? We should compare notes.

Purple Mountains: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Ty Segall video: Taste

Video: Ty Segall – “Taste”

Ty Segall "Taste" (Official Music Video)

Directed by Joshua Erkman. From First Taste, due August 2 on Drag City.

Ty Segall wants your shit and he is willing to murder you for it. We live in a sick society and are being programmed on a daily basis to feed our sickness. Never one for subtlety, Ty Segall goes on a real-life, one-man Grand Theft Auto joyride of destruction to accumulate as much bling as he can so he can take home the big prize. “What’s the big prize,” you say? More shit.

He can’t help it, we can’t help it. We’ve literally elected a golden calf to lead our country with game-show rules. Virtual-reality is higher definition than reality-reality. We’re starving while drowning in bits and bites.

UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT, B, A, START.

Ty Segall: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Purple Mountains video: All My Happiness is Gone

Video: Purple Mountains – “All My Happiness is Gone”

Purple Mountains "All My Happiness is Gone" (Official Music Video)

Film by Brent Stewart and Matt Boyd. From Purple Mountains, due July 12 on Drag City. Single out now.

Jeez, has it really been ten years since David Berman pulled the plug on the Silver Jews? I guess it has. Wow.

Well he’s back and just as twisted as ever. The fact that one of the greatest lyricists in rock and roll spends the first two minutes of his public reintroduction strumming and humming wordlessly is quite a trick. I was fooled on first listen.

Spoiler: Once the song kicks in it’s as good as anything he’s ever done. Over a melody as poppy as “I Melt with You” by Modern English, Berman explores the idea of aging in a world where “the fear’s so strong it leaves you gasping.”

Friends are warmer than gold when you’re old
And keeping them is harder than you might suppose
Lately, I tend to make strangers wherever I go
Some of them were once people I was happy to know

As a fellow sufferer of the middle-aged-white-guy blues I can vouch for the accuracy of this sentiment.

Purple Mountains: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Bonnie Prince Billy video: Blueberry Jam

Video: Will Oldham – “Blueberry Jam”

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy-"Blueberry Jam" (Official Music Video)

Directed by Tim Morton. Single digitally out now on Drag City.

We rarely--like…never--just copy and paste shit from a press release. I mean, what would the point be? A press release is background info; just something to start the story and maybe provide a quote. But this passage we just got from Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s camp is just too good to not share:

Bonny Billy and Lady Billy were living on the rim of the active volcano Kilauea (way back in January, when Halema’uma’u was still a lava lake). They woke one morning to the news that a ballistic missile attack was underway, coupled with the advisory that they should “take immediate shelter” (?!). Thirty minutes later, the warning was rescinded, but not before some serious synapse paths were re-mapped. What could they do with such a soul-jostling? Fortunately, they had friends. Friends who had supplied them with THC-laced chocolate covered blueberries. Bonny sat down and scribbled out a paean to these blueberries, to all blueberries, then closed his notebook and that was that. A couple of weeks later, a call came from Chris Garcia, of the legal weed boutique Hi Fidelity in Berkeley. He wanted to open his shop in style, and thought that maybe a collab with the ‘Prince’ would help. Bonny re-opened the notebook and cranked out a jammer, a fruit-filled jammer to end all fruit-filled endeavors. He brought the song to Nashville where, under the guidance of dear friend and colleague David “Fergie” Ferguson, the song was brought to mouth-watering life. Also on hand to make dreams into reality were guitarist Matt Sweeney and drummer Pete Townsend. Back in Kentucky, Tim Morton conceived and executed the video clip that makes us, all of us, smile.

It would be easy to laugh this off as a gag…a lark. That’s what happens with absurdism. But just as Tina Fey told us to eat more sheet cake, there’s a logic and a purpose in acknowledging that we’re living in madness…with madness. Also, blueberries fucking rule.

Bonnie Prince Billy: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Joanna Newsom, sometimes I love you

Joanna Newsom - Have One On MeJoanna NewsomHave One On Me (Drag City)

“So I thought I hated her, like, but, then, I didn’t,” sounds like a line from the mumblecore film “The Puffy Chair” or a line from that new (and cringe-worthy) show “How To Make It In America.” Lucky for you it’s neither of those mediocre twenty-something productions but something far more superior: my inner-twenty-something-dialogue. Now who wants to be the water boy for the mumblecore flick I’m making called “Joanna Newsom, I’m pretty sure I’ve decided I love you,” shooting this upcoming fall?

Experiencing her third major release and ambitious two-hour long album Have One On Me, I finally came to a decision: her music is one-part beautiful, one-part one part jarring and confusing, and two-parts cinematic. And the sum of its parts is one wild ride, most of which I like being on.

Continue reading Joanna Newsom, sometimes I love you