A new non-album single produced by Ryan Adams sounds a lot more polished than their earlier stuff. Is that a good thing? Or is their producer’s outspoken love of Creed rubbing off on them? A little of both perhaps.
Arrow de Wilde says, “This song to me shows a loss of innocence and the dramatic yet sometimes bitter ‘Hollywood ending’ to a first love. Everyone has to go through different Hollywood endings in their own lives, whether they’re good or bad. Sometimes it’s The Wizard Of Oz and you wake up from a crazy nightmare dream and you’re fine, or sometimes it’s Carnival of Souls where you’ve been dead all along.”
That’s some heavy wisdom from a 19 year old.
Director Gilbert Trejo says of the video: “Arrow and I almost started sowing the seeds for this video when we first met…one of the first things we bonded over was our shared love for old Hollywood… not ‘old Hollywood’ like Golden age 1940’s Cary Grant and movie stars Hollywood, but old Hollywood like, our parents’ generations and Weetzie Bat’s version… washed out hotels, and restaurants like TOI on sunset. We bonded over freeways and 1920’s apartments covered in Christmas lights. The Hollywood we both got dragged around felt magical at a young age. Freaks like my aunt Vicky, and Arrow’s uncle Jimmy (who stars as the spirit of Hollywood in the video)… John Doe and Exene’s Hollywood meets Tommy Lee and Bobby Brown’s. When we got the go ahead to make the Hollywood Ending video, we knew exactly what type of imagery we wanted to convey. We got to bring our own favorite disappearing neighborhood back to life.”
The real star of the video, though, is guitarist Henri Cash’s Nudie suits.
Directed by Gilbert Trejo. From Starcrawler, out now on Rough Trade Records.
The kids in Starcrawler still seem like a bunch of delinquent teenagers, and therein lies their charm. Who knows what they’re like in real life, but they clearly get a kick out of dabbling in the macabre.
Arrow de Wilde told Vulture that “Chicken Woman” is about “a Chinatown fixture who pushes her poultry in a shopping cart to the nearby slaughterhouse.”
The video, however, is a fun little homage to Charles Manson and how to have a good time on a desert ranch. Tar, feathers, chains, cages, dolls, and knives all play important roles.
Be careful out there when you’re picking up hitchhikers, gang!
I hate L.A. I hate what the city does to the people who move there. I hate the type of people who choose to move there. I hate Los Angeles’ clichéd idea of “rock and roll” with all the dudes with tattoos and eyeliner and spiky black hair. You know exactly what I mean. It’s gross.
It’s always been gross. If you think this Harvey Weinstein business is anything new, then you should look into Louis B. Mayer and the shit that was perpetrated on the likes of Shirley Temple and Judy Garland. Read The Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West.
But maybe if you grow up there it’s different. Starcrawler doesn’t look like the cliché. They look like a bunch of delinquent teenagers. The band formed in 2015 when 18-year-old lead vocalist Arrow de Wilde met guitarist Henri Cash at their Echo Park high school. Their debut album was recorded by Ryan Adams on analog tape at his Pax-Am studio in Hollywood.
This video was directed by Arrow’s mom, Autumn de Wilde.
It’s rare for anybody to be able to get away with imitating Iggy Pop and not look like a complete doofus. Arrow de Wilde pulls it off pretty well in this video, directed by her mom Autumn. If you read liner notes and photo credits, you probably recognize the name Autumn de Wilde from her work with Elliott Smith, Fiona Apple, Spoon, et al.
The video is a blast. Two minutes of post-adolescent mayhem. Arrow de Wilde has said, “We like to pretend like it’s a metaphor for standing out, but it’s kind of just about ants.”
Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis says, “If you thought rock and roll was moribund, had lost its sense of fun and performance and primal power – it just means you haven’t seen Starcrawler yet.” It’s his job to say stuff like that, but I can see where he’s coming from.
Starcrawler is recording their debut album with Ryan Adams, which is kind of a bummer, because he’ll probably try to make them sound like Creed or Corey Hart. Oh well. This single, produced by Steven McDonald of Redd Kross, sounds good though, and it’s getting released on “blood-spattered” seven-inch vinyl later this month. Gnarly.
Blessed with a remarkable story, Mystery Jets seem like a band that you’d want to sign immediately after reading their bio before you’ve heard a note of their demo tape.
The backdrop features a boy with spina bifida, growing up in London with a caring father hell-bent on helping his son find a hobby that takes his mind away from the physical ailment while not being limited by it either. The son, Blaine Harrison, soon discovered that music was much more than a hobby; it became a passion. To facilitate this, his father helped with filling in the open slots until he eventually became a permanent member.
I’ve known for a while that the Beggars Group has its shit together. This might be “inside baseball” but as the publisher of an online music zine, I’ve been very impressed with how their publicity department deals with us. Each release from their four labels (Matador, 4AD, XL, and Rough Trade) is promoted with a free, easily shareable MP3, and review copies are distributed far more simply than any other label. It is no coincidence that we review more stuff from Beggars than from other labels; they make it easier for us, and we’re kinda lazy—sometimes too lazy to even send an email requesting a promo.
“You read the industry is 60 per cent of the size it was ten years ago. But that 40 per cent that has gone is almost entirely the cream at the top. Records that sold two million now sell 500,000 – that’s where that’s gone. At the same time it’s easier to sell those slightly smaller levels.
“What’s called pejoratively ‘the new middle class’ is someone like, say, Calexico or Midlake, who can sell 100,000 plus records every time they put out a record; they can play to 3-4,000 people in 30 or 40 cities around the world. And they can make a pretty good living out of that, doing what they love doing, and can do it on their own terms, and that’s fantastic. We’ve got a bunch of bands like that, they’re not necessarily seeking stardom or riches. That’s incredibly healthy.”
You just don’t expect to read quotes like that from a music exec. It’s refreshing. Mills has lots of insightful opinions on a variety of topics, and he makes a shitload of sense. He wants his artists (and his labels) to get paid, but acknowledges that “some of our best purchasers are also pirates.” It’s a complex world we’ve got here, but this guy reminds us that it’s a great time to be a smart independent label.
For their second full-length, the Morning Benders enlist the help of Chris Taylor (Grizzly Bear) to help manage the blinking lights with frontman Christopher Chu, turning Big Echo into a meticulously crafted pop gem.
Sure, there are moments of Taylor’s influence, but they’re restrained, allowing Chu to assert his influence (after all, Morning Benders did begin as Chu’s solo project) which is a very wise choice as he possesses a strong sense of melody and a very deep concentration with arrangements.
Big Echo is more than just another fine entry in the overflowing talent pool that is the Northwest Indie Pop scene; it may be the first example of that gene pool heading east to mix their Beach Boys lovin’ harmonies with the lysergic eating ways of the Northeast Neo psychedelic weirdos.
I can’t begin to tell you how wonderfully beautiful Elizabeth Fraser‘s voice is; you simply must hear it for yourself. Her work with the Cocteau Twins in the ’80s stood out as something intriguing, and it remains so today on the sheer merits of Fraser’s genetic instrument.
The Cocteau Twins were more than a band-they were a couple. And the moment that Fraser and Robin Guthrie ended their relationship was the moment that the Cocteau Twins ended spiritually. Sure, the band carried on for a few years after the couple split, but it was merely contractual obligations that kept the Cocteau Twins active.
There’s a cruel irony whenever Electronic musicians strive to bring a sense of the natural to their work—one tends to contemplate why they just didn’t pick up a stringed instrument instead of a synthesizer.
Lately, there have been enormous strides in the Electronic genre to manipulate those sounds of nature into the cold precision of the silicone that’s fueling their muse. And Pantha Du Prince must surely be near the top of that effort, letting the landscapes of his surroundings begin each track of Black Noise before it dissolves into textural beats, expressive chimes, and sophisticated arrangements.