Blue Smoke, due out May 20, 2014, is Dolly Parton‘s 42nd studio album. Sit back and let that sink in, y’all. It’s vintage Dolly Parton, in the sense that it might not break any new ground, sonically, but yet contains multitudes. No matter which Dolly Parton you like – sassy, sexy, silly, sweet, or bent on saving you – there is something here for you. My Favorites: Unlikely Angel and From Here to the Moon and Back (with Willie Nelson) On the other side of the I Will Always Love You coin is this song about a love that arrives late and unexpectedly, after all hope had been thought lost. The chorus has wormed it’s way into my brain and refused to leave. I suspect it will become the go-to wedding song for people who never expected to be able to be married either at all or ever again. From Here To the Moon and Back, which she shares with Willie Nelson (and originally appeared on To All The Girls . . . (2013), wherein he sang duets with some of the finest ladies in country music today) is probably also destined to be a popular wedding song. This is … Continue reading
Cry, from Imaginary Enemy by The Used: Because Bert McCracken writes the best break-up songs and then performs them looking like he just left a pint of Haagen-Daz melting in his Blanket Nest of Pain. Also because I am seeing them tonight, along with Taking Back Sunday, Sleepwave and tonightalive., and it’s the last real pit I’ll be in for a while. If not forever.
The Gentlemen Thieves are: Ken Taylor (Vocals/Guitar), David Huzyk (Guitar/Vocals), Dylan Ramstead (Bass/Vocals) and Thomas Lesnick (Drums) and they are from Toronto, Canada. This is the video for Don’t Worry, from their upcoming record Uncertainties and it is a one-take home movie lyric video. What it lacks in polish it makes up for in creativity and weird basement-dwelling aliens who seem to be having a rave. NB: Persons with delicate sensibilities, brace yourselves/glance away for a second when the camera starts to move away from the bathroom sink.
This week’s Friday Night Jam is Twigs, by Oldtwig, a beatmaker, composer, and landscape architect (!) from Paris. It is from Through Hills, which is his first record. It’s a mellow, soothing number, and the video is a visual celebration of spring triumphing over winter. I picked it to share today because a) it’s lovely, b) I feel like this week, not even to mention this winter, has been hard for everyone and we could all use a reminder that the trees will grow new branches and flowers will bloom again some day and c) the combination of animation and live action, especially Rachel Brooker‘s joyful, encouraging dancing, is both surprising and awesome. Oldtwig – Twigs from Phonosaurus on Vimeo.
It is not every day you see a music video which successfully makes pointed, sly commentary on what constitutes a “sexy” (or, arguably, “shocking”) video and the gross and ridiculous ways women’s bodies are used in music videos by utilizing a potpourri of visual touchstones that encompass Titanic, Star Wars, Ghost and the videos for George Michael’s Faith, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines and Jennifer Lopez’s I Luh Ya Papi. And those are just the super obvious ones that I caught in the two times I watched it. But FAIRCHILD, from the Gold Coast, Australia, have pulled it off. Plus the song at the heart of it all, Burning Feet, from the EP of the same name, is a charming pop confection. Here are some of their upcoming shows, if you’d like to go and appreciate them in person: April 12th – Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast (Gold Coast Suns AFL Match) April 26th – The Loft, Gold Coast (Oneway Street Unofficial AFTER Party) May 6th – Baltic Avenue, Toronto (Canadian Music Week) May 10th – Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (Canadian Music Week) May 12th – Cake Shop, New York May 14th – Rendezvous, Seattle May 16th – Silverlake Lounge, Los Angeles Hard … Continue reading
This video, for I Am Dust from Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) by Gary Numan, was made using a Tachyons + video glitch synth in combination with a HI-8 camera and a CRT television to simulate grainy VHS-style images, and no computer post-production was used. (VHS: those tapes we all used back in the pre-DVD pre-DVR dark ages, when the enjoyment of a significant chunk of popular entertainment depended on the continued strength and resiliance of fickle, degenerating magnetic tape and VCRs we had to set by hand and then hope no-one changed the channel while we were out. We also had to fix mangled cassettes with our pens and carry our CIRCUS magazines home from Tower Records uphill both ways in the snow.) Anyway. It’s a good song, grimy and aggressive and shimmering with industrial menace.
Kurt Cobain has been dead 20 years. My feelings about this are quite similar to how I felt when I received the news of his passing, which was stunned disbelief, followed by great sadness. I was 19, and in college. It was a beautiful spring day. That’s what stands out, in my memory: the dew on the bright green grass, the chill in the air despite the warmth of the sun, the silence of a campus just waking up from winter. People are still hearing Nirvana for the first time every day. But they are not hearing it quite as we did, the actual first time, when everything else on the radio sounded like Mötley Crüe. Smells Like Teen Spirit is the song that got so popular Nirvana (or at least Kurt Cobain) found it embarrassing; that kind of success was, of course, the exact opposite of what they intended to do. But if I had to come up with one song that encapsulated the feeling of leaving high school, leaving suburbia, trying to figure out what living in the (bigger) world meant, it’s this one. Even now, even 20 years on, it’s exhilarating listening to him launch into the … Continue reading
All but one of the songs on Abandoned City, the latest release from master of the prepared piano1 Hauschka (Volker Bertelmann), were composed in a 10 day period following the birth of his first son. The result is a collection of tunes bursting with life and movement and packed with complex rhythms. This is perhaps ironic, given that all of the songs are named for and/or inspired by by abandoned cities. Or, I should say, cities abandoned by humans; wind and waves and sun and sand and the creatures of the earth have asserted their dominion instead.2 The one song not named for a specific city is Who Lived Here. It is the most mellow track, and while it is specifically inspired by abandoned desert towns, it both evokes and reflects the combination of curiosity and dread felt by anyone, anywhere who comes across places that humans once lived, but have since fled. All of the tracks are strong, and picking favorites is hard, but I did particularly like Pripyat (creepy and menacing, like a haunted house), Bakerville (rollicks like an old-time saloon) and Sanzhi Pod City (sounds like the thrill of the discovery of the otherworldly feels). As an … Continue reading
In honor of David Lamb, of Brown Bird, taken much too soon by leukemia. According to their Facebook there will be a celebration of David’s life on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 in Providence, Rhode Island. Details: Location: Columbus Theatre in Providence, RI Cost: Free and open to the public. Performing: Joe Fletcher, Death Vessel, Alec K Redfearn and Last Good Tooth. Time: Doors will open at 7:30pm, and the event will start at 8:30.
This is the video for Arctic Shark, from Held in Splendor by Quilt. I’m not quite sure if I’m missing their visual metaphor scheme or if there just isn’t one, but it has been a long day and a long week and now it’s raining, so I’m totally willing to chill out in their sunny, warm-looking picnic area while they sing a sweet comfortable song and parade random objects past me.