Directed by Simon Taylor. From Low Key, out December 2 on Schnitzel.
Two great tastes that taste great together: skate videos and Brendan Benson music. And why not? Skateboarding is not a crime.
Benson told Rolling Stone that “Ain’t No Good” was recorded during the sessions for his previous album, Dear Life, but abandoned because he was “never convinced it was a viable song.” But eventually, “I got a completely different feeling from it. The verses then came. I listen to a lot of rap these days, so I think that influenced my phrasing and delivery. Coupled with this almost ‘barbershop’ refrain…it sprung to life for me.” If that description sounds concerning, don’t worry. Musicians have no idea how to talk about their own stuff. It doesn’t sound like hip hop or barbershop. It sounds like Brendan Benson music. Which is great.
I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of Low Key. It was recorded in isolation during lockdown so Benson is playing everything himself. In addition to seven new originals, it also covers one of the greatest songs of all time: Gerry Rafferty’s underrated classic “Right Down the Line.” Benson told Maximum Volume the cover was suggested by a friend: “She’s always been saying I should do that song. I don’t normally pay attention when people say that stuff. But then I happened to hear it one day and I said, ‘Dang. This is good.’” He’s right. It is.
Directed by Shayne Ehman. From Atlas Vending, out now on Sub Pop.
How great are skateboarding videos? I could watch this stuff for hours.
Here, skaters Jojo Johnson and Sara Smith convert a snow-filled pool in Thunder Bay, Ontario into a perfect bowl while Canadian punk rockers METZ holler about the overwhelming stream of bad news that we are all constantly being bombarded with.
I turn it off, I drown it out, it’s never ending
The tension in the air hits every day
The prefab pull, the sugar pill, ugly and aging
It’s coming faster each and every day
Director Shayne Ehman says, “I hope the winter skateboarding footage carries with it some of the love we have for skateboarding. I hope it contains a spirit of perseverance and the will to make it happen. Come wind, ice, or stormy weather, we shovel snow, we torch frost, we skate.”
Shot and Edited by Cole Becker. From Berkeley’s On Fire, due February 15 on Fueled By Ramen.
I saw these guys last year at Riot Fest and they were great. One brother is a goofball singer, the other one plays guitar without a shirt. It’s a funny dynamic but it works because their songs are clever and catchy. My favorite song is “Drive North,” in which they admit how much hate Los Angeles (they’re from Oakland).
This new song is a story about domestic violence, so that’s a bummer. But the video features skateboarder Cher Strauberry doing crazy tricks, so that makes up for it.
They’re on tour this spring with the Regrettes and Beach Goons so check them out if they come to your town.