Video: INXS, Need You Tonight

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In honor of Michael Hutchence, who left us much too soon, and 17 years ago today: the video for Need You Tonight, by INXS, one that I watched every time it came up on MTV – which was a lot – and showcases him (them) at his finest. And, also, okay, yes, I totally had a middle-school crush on Michael Hutchence, fueled by this song, and this video. It was specific, but yet also somehow abstract; I was, I think, daydreaming of someone sidling up to me and informing me I was his kind. If that someone was as smoking hot as Michael Hutchence, all the better.

A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: Militia Vox

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It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. For anyone who missed it earlier this month, Militia Vox recently released an all-covers album called Bait. On it she takes aim – with amazing results – at a number of hard rock icons, including Ozzy Osbourne. This is her take on PJ Harvey’s Rid Of Me: And now, I will turn the floor over … Continue reading

frnkiero andthe cellabration, stomachaches

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I touched on this briefly back in August, but: Frank Iero (Death Spells, Leathermouth, My Chemical Romance) and his new band (frnkiero andthe cellabration) have recently released a record, called Stomachaches. My feelings, the short version: It’s awesome and I love it. I return to it when I am feeling abraded by life, and wish to use Iero’s voice as a honey-and-gravel blanket. Or when I want to shuffle dance on street corners. Whatever you may have thought of My Chem: if you like vigorous punk rock with fuzzy accents and the occasional delicate melody, give this a shot. My feelings, the long version: I’ve been listening to this and Gerard Way’s Hesitant Alien as point-counterpoint, and while I like what Gerard Way has been up to – more on that later – Iero’s work is more musically interesting to me. I find I’m re-listening to songs not only because they feel like they fall directly into a pre-cut groove in my head and heart but because I’m actively trying to track what he’s doing with feedback and drums and/or listen more closely to the lyrics. Basically, I’m super into the way he’s playing with elements of dissonance in the … Continue reading

Video: Heart-Ships, Undress Me To The Bone

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The last time we checked in with Heart-Ships was last October, and since then they’ve released a bunch of new music including a full-length record called Foil (YAY!) and split up (NOT YAY, MASSIVE :(). I listened to Foil late last night, and on the whole it is breathtaking. But there are a few songs that sank their claws into me. One of them was Undress Me To The Bone, which I present here in video form, because they did a “garden session” and sang it acoustic and it sounds like a diamond being wrenched out of them by force. This is the album version, which is worth listening to for the contrast: the lament sounds almost like an anthem. Also strong: Nadine, Heart of a Wrestler and We Were Quick to Bang The Drum.

A Good Read A Good Listen and A Good Drink: Benjamin Durazzo

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It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. Crisp, solid, mellow, at times a little jazzy: these are the beats of Benjamin Durazzo. His signature move is playing two MPCs at once. Here he is with Waterbed: A couple of months ago he was out on tour with AF the Naysayer and so I got to quiz him about his favorite book, record … Continue reading

Video: Buffalo Sunn, Ocean

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Ocean, by Buffalo Sunn (formerly Sweet Jane): because y’all may have noticed this blog can be kind of . . . water themed, sometimes. I like the sea. Beach towns in winter are some of my favorite places; I love Coney Island all year ’round. By and large, if you need me and I am not where I usually am, you will find me by the seaside. Salt water and sea air: it’s good for whatever ails you. And this song expresses that feeling perfectly. The video is . . . kind of puzzling and claustrophobic – poking their YouTube channel implies we may we walking in mid-story – so the ocean, when it finally appears, is something of a relief.

Covers of Note: Strangers, Stay

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So here is a story I have to tell you about Stay by Shakespeare’s Sister: The first time I heard it I was in the Arizona desert with my youth group, about three-fourths of the way through a week-long mission trip. We were out driving around looking at rocks, or something, I don’t remember, but it had been a long week. Tempers were fraying. Teeth were being firmly clenched. Required daily notes of affirmation to each other (yes, really) were becoming more difficult to compose. But we had the radio on, a) because it was 1992 and b) I think choosing one tape or CD to listen to might have been the last straw for all of us, and – this song came on: It was like someone had kicked down the door to a sex dungeon and it was full of fresh air. I didn’t quite understand what all was going on in there, but it surely was better than a car full of my seething peers. I bought their CD as soon as I got home (as well as a Patty Smyth CD; I was looking for Patti Smith and missed) and had that song on repeat for … Continue reading

Father John Misty, Bored In the USA

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Father John Misty (Josh Tillman), formerly of Fleet Foxes, started his solo career two years ago with Fear Fun. With it he positioned himself as a kind of post-modern Hunter S. Thompson, writing a doomed love story while high on mushrooms, self-loathing and irony. He publicly mocked critics who panned it, and audiences at his shows were often left wondering whether they were in on the joke, or just the punchline. I liked it – I still do – but I also once described it as “Pavarotti singing nursery rhymes.” Now, after a period of reflection and reconstruction – he put out a perfume, came unscrewed, got married, and pulled himself together, more or less in that order – he’s back with his second record, to be called I Love You, Honeybear, due out in February 2015. Exterior signs suggest his puckish nature is undimmed at the core; the link text for his tour schedule is “I’m Coming to Your Town/Bring Your iPhone” and his Twitter reads like horse_ebooks: Your Mom really was awesome if she packed Gushers in your lunchbox. Don't forget to send good luck messages to your favorite Olympians! — AIKIKO – FJM (@fatherjohnmisty) January 22, 2014 … Continue reading