Tag Archives: Sub Pop

New Weyes Blood: Hearts Aglow

Video: Weyes Blood – “Hearts Aglow”

Directed by Neelam Khan Vela. From And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, out now on Sub Pop.

Last year’s “Grapevine” ended up being one of my favorite songs of 2022 and now there’s a new video to promote Weyes Blood’s “In Holy Flux Tour” which will keep Natalie Mering and co. on the road through November. The video is something of a tour diary of the previous run of shows in Europe and North America.

I’d give anything to hang
I’ve been without friends
Oh I’ve just been working
For years and I stopped having fun.

I imagine that’s a sentiment that a lot of us can connect with. It’s been a weird bunch of years, hasn’t it? But there’s no question that all of our lives could be greatly improved if we incorporated more capes into a wardrobes.

Weyes Blood: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Lael Neale: White T-Shirt

Video: Lael Neale – “White T-Shirt”

Directed by Lael Neale. Single out now on Sub Pop.

Lael Neale is known for her Omnichord recordings but I prefer her guitar songs. Not to be a rockist or a luddite or anything but I feel like a little more soul comes through when a human creates the rhythm as opposed to a machine. Just me? Probably. I’m fine with that.

This was recorded during the Star Eaters Delight sessions, the album she released this spring. Producer Guy Blakeslee says, “‘White T-Shirt’ dates back a number of years to when I used to follow Lael around LA to all of her barely publicized performances. The song never ceased to silence the chatter in the room. There was nothing I could add to this performance, it’s a raw gem that stands alone and cuts through the noise.”

It is a raw gem. It’s one of those evocative but enigmatic songs that makes you want to listen to it over and over again, trying to figure it out, each time getting closer but never quite unwrapping its mysteries.

You drew a knife
You killed a clock for killing time
I killed another bottle of wine.

Coincidentally, the video was released just as the National Cherry Festival was kicking off in Traverse City. Not sure if it’s cherry season in Virginia where Neale is from, but Michigan cherries are the best. Had she shot this video with Michigan cherries it wouldn’t have ended up so compelling because she wouldn’t have wanted waste them like that — she would’ve just scarfed them all down.

Lael Neale: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Mudhoney: Little Dogs

Video: Mudhoney – “Little Dogs”

Directed by Eleanor Petry. From Plastic Eternity, out now on Sub Pop.

It’s Iggy Pop’s birthday today so it seems appropriate to share the latest Mudhoney single wherein Mark Arm and his pals imagine what it would sound like if the birthday boy loved pomeranians and miniature dachshunds as much as he loves his funny cockatoo Biggy.

Mudhoney’s currently on tour in Australia and they’ll be rolling through North America in the fall.

Continue reading New Mudhoney: Little Dogs

New Bully: Days Move Slow

Video: Bully – “Days Move Slow”

Directed by Alex Ross Perry. From Lucky For You, out June 2 on Sub Pop.

Aw, the new song was written after Alicia Bognanno’s dog died. She says, “As someone who has spent the majority of my life feeling agonizingly misunderstood, there is no greater gift than experiencing true unconditional love and acceptance. I waited my whole life for the bond and irreplaceable companionship I had with Mezzi. She was my best friend and my only constant through some of the most pivotal moments and phases of my life. I was a stranger to the level of love I now know exists because of Mezzi. Love you forever; I’m lucky for you.”

“Mezzi was my best friend,” she explains. “She made me feel safe and empowered, she showed me that I was worth loving and never judged me or viewed me as a let down. I always felt accepted, understood and so much less alone. Mezzi was living, breathing proof that I was worthy of being loved.”

I’ve had four dogs in my life. My first dog, Boo, was a blue standard poodle I got for my ninth birthday. She was great. She was my pal. She got sick after I went away to college and my mom and I had to put her down when I was home over a break. At the vet, I remember her lying on the metal table as we were hugging her and saying our goodbyes. She started pushing me away with her strong legs as if she didn’t want me to be next to her. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t want me by her side. Then her bowels abruptly exploded diarrhea all over me, head to toe, and I realized in her last moments she was trying to protect me from getting showered in shit. She was a very good dog.

Frankie was my firstborn. She was a red and brown miniature dachshund and she was feisty but sweet. Frankie slept in my belly every night for 18 1/2 years. When she was a couple years old we got her a friend. Georgia was black and tan and was the strangest dog I’ve ever known. She was an angel. She didn’t bark once until she was seven years old. She would eat one kibble at a time and after eating she would lick a spot on the rug for a half an hour. George was terrified of hardwood, tile and linoleum, and would have to ramp herself up to get from one rug to another by spinning in circles. After my son was born, Frank had no use for him but George loved him and stayed right next to him until she got sick and we had to put her down. My son cried, “Now all I’ve got left is a useless dog.” It was true. By that point Frank was a shell of herself. Deaf, blind, no teeth, clearly suffering from dementia and various other ailments. I realize now that keeping her alive for those last couple of years was a selfish act on my part. But I held onto her until the last possible moment, and I still miss her.

Now we’ve got Birdie and she’s quite possibly the greatest dog ever. She was a puppy mill rescue and she’s super needy and suffers from extreme separation anxiety. All she wants to do is be with us and please us. She is the most loving, affectionate animal I have ever known. She’s ten now. And I’ve told her she needs to live forever because I’m not going to be able to handle it when she dies.

New Naima Bock video: Lines

Video: Naima Bock – “Lines”

Directed by Kit Harwood. Stand-alone single out now on Sub Pop.

Huh. Naima Bock released her debut album, Giant Palm, on Sub Pop last year and I completely missed it. If “Lines” is any indication, I’m going to have to go back and correct that. She’s got the classic folky vibe that I can’t get enough of.

Bock says, “Lines is about what we do to each other, some call the dance of intimacy, exchanges. What we are given, carry with us, then subsequently pass on to others- good and bad. How the recipient is often undeserving of the negative side of this reality. It’s about trying to dodge blame and the loneliness of guilt. It’s about the irony of impermanence and unhealthy patterns coexisting; ‘nothing stays’ but ‘nothings changed’. The idea of change I had grown accustomed to but the reality that some things won’t change until you actively work on them is something new to me, preferring to adopt a slightly lazy attitude and misunderstanding the saying ‘all passes’. Sometimes it doesn’t pass quickly enough. It’s also a song about anger, and the familiarity of not knowing where to put it.”

Naima Bock: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Mudhoney video: Almost Everything

Video: Mudhoney – “Almost Everything”

Directed by Arturo Baston. From Plastic Eternity, out April 7 on Sub Pop.

Whoa is this dance music? Madchester by way of Seattle? Cool.

Grunge was never my thing. Always seemed a little too macho and dick-swinging, and the sludgy guitar tones sometimes veered too close to metal which was definitely not my thing. But I saw Mudhoney’s Mark Arm singing with what was left of the MC5 in 2004 and he totally won me over. I’ve since gone back and listened to Mudhoney with the MC5 in mind and I get it now.

Arm says this new song “was originally known as ‘Gopal.’ It had been sitting in the recording device at our practice space for years and we avoided erasing it because we always loved its swinging Escalator groove.”

Translation for non-rocksnobs: Sam Gopal’s Escalator is the only album by Lemmy Kilmister’s pre-Hawkwind/pre-Motorhead band, released in 1969 on Stable Records. And yeah, it kind of sounds like this (but without the Madchester drums).

Continue reading New Mudhoney video: Almost Everything

New Quasi video: Nowheresville

Video: Quasi – “Nowheresville”

From Breaking the Balls of History, out February 10 on Sub Pop.

I feel like if I had a gorilla suit I’d wear it everywhere. Which is pretty much what the gorilla does in Quasi’s latest video. I hope I’m not spoiling anybody’s experience by suggesting it’s not a real gorilla. But yeah. Gorilla suits are always funny.

Quasi is such a great band. Jane Weiss’ drumming is as gnarly as ever on this one and Sam Coomes’ guitar and keyboard tones are even gnarlier.

Here they come now thoughts and prayers
Thoughts and prayers won’t get you there
But I guess they do make a pretty pair.

Weiss, the most powerful drummer alive today, whose day job is being a locations manager for feature films and television, says, “I put my Locations chops to good use and felt like a real DP filming from the tail gate of the minivan. Great times.”


Continue reading New Quasi video: Nowheresville

New Weyes Blood video: Grapevine

Video: Weyes Blood – “Grapevine”

Directed by Rick Farin and Claire Farin. From And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow, out now on Sub Pop.

I recently finished reading the big Weyes Blood profile by Margaret Talbot in the New Yorker. (I like to do the deal where you sign up for a six-week print subscription for like $6 and then spend the next six months reading those six issues.) Before reading that I didn’t know anything about Natalie Mering and I’d only heard a song or two. Must not have been in the right headspace because my first impression was it just sounded like boring Fleetwood Mac album filler. But the article inspired me to want to go back and listen closer. Mering is clearly a super interesting person with lots of ideas about music, nostalgia, and sounds. If her voice reminds you of Karen Carpenter, don’t forget that there was always a darkness and a sense of doom underlying those pretty melodies and dopey lyrics.

I haven’t had yet had a chance to dive too deeply into the message of “Grapevine” because I’m so knocked out by the sound of it. The tone of the opening acoustic guitar and bass is so warm and perfect that I find myself starting the track over and over so I can hear it again. It’s almost a minute before any percussion comes in and when it does it’ll blow your mind. Just listen. It’s worth it. (Make sure you turn up the volume. After I initially wrote this I listened to it in the car at “normal” volume and the experience was not the same.)

Weyes Blood: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Quasi video: Queen of Ears

Video: Quasi – “Queen of Ears”

Directed by Patrick Stanton. From Breaking the Balls of History, out February 10 on Sub Pop.

A tibial plateau fracture is no fucking joke. It’s not like a regular broken bone where you just get it set, wear a cast for a few weeks, and then you’re good. Nope, a TPF typically requires multiple surgeries and months or years of rehab, and even after all of that you may never be the same again. Many people never regain full range of motion and some people are unable to walk at all.

Back in August 2019, the month after she announced she was leaving Sleater-Kinney, powerhouse drummer Janet Weiss was in a bad car accident that broke her left collar bone and her right tibia. At the time she thought her recovery would take “about 12 weeks.” They tell you that in the hospital so you don’t lose hope. In reality, those first 12 to 16 weeks are the time you’re required to stay off the broken leg completely. Put no weight on it at all so the bone can begin to heal. No walking. Completely non-weightbearing. You’d be surprised how quickly muscles atrophy when you don’t use them. After three months, you basically need to learn to walk again. It’s not easy. It’s super painful. And it takes a long time.

Two years after the accident, in August 2021 Weiss considered herself “about 80% back.” Her strength and balance were still “a work in progress” as well as her coordination and stamina. Nevertheless she was practicing daily and was “thrilled to be gaining the ability to translate the explosive drum parts [she] hear[s] in [her] head to the kit.”

And now, a little more than a year after that, we get to hear the outcome of all her hard work. It’s great to see her back in action. Weiss and her Quasi compatriot Sam Coomes recorded Breaking the Balls of History in five days. It’s their tenth album so they know what they’re doing. “When you’re younger and in a band, you make records because that’s what you do,” Coomes said. “But this time, the whole thing felt purposeful in a way that was unique to the circumstances.”

Life is short and sometimes it sucks. We should all be grateful that artists like Janet Weiss and Sam Coomes are putting in the effort to make all our lives a little better.

We first covered Quasi 21 years ago: Love, American Style by Kristy Eldredge.

New Father John Misty video: Buddy’s Rendezvous

Video: Father John Misty – “Buddy’s Rendezvous”

Directed by Emma Elizabeth Tillman. From Chloë and The Next 20th Century, out now on Sub Pop.

Has Emma Elizabeth Tillman directed a video for her spouse before? They co-directed the one for “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” but that’s a throwaway that they made “on an iPad on [their] wedding anniversary” while eating pancakes. This one’s considerably more ambitious.

The director says, “‘Buddy’s Rendezvous’ is a world unto itself. It is a place out of time. My dream for the video is that it would surrender itself to the power of the song. An unnamed man (played by Craig Stark), fresh out of jail and down on his luck makes his way across the fractured landscape of Los Angeles to meet his daughter (played by Arrow De Wilde). All the while he is beset by memories of a more innocent time. Despite her hesitance, his daughter and her boyfriend (played by Gilbert Trejo) agree to meet her father and find moments of sadness and sparks of tenderness in the connection made. Although the video and the song can be considered love letters to Los Angeles, the themes are universal. Disappointments, regrets, forgiveness, tenderness, perseverance, and love. The incredible performances by Arrow, Craig, Gilbert, and David Haley all coalesce to bring this vision to life. Cinematography by James Wall on 16mm evokes the down and out feeling of LA, merging past and present.”

I don’t think they need that “old-timey film spool” filter that everybody uses these days to signify authenticity. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty song about a dad hoping to catch up with his kid, and the video is effective.

Father John Misty: web, bandcamp, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Continue reading New Father John Misty video: Buddy’s Rendezvous