Month: November 2014

Catching Up On The Week (Nov. 28 Edition)

Some #longreads as you awaken from the Thanksgiving food coma…

We’re going to put the spotlight on Seattle this weekend, since we have multiple articles discussing the city’s place in music history.  First, Seattle Weekly talks to Bruce Pavitt, co-founder of the now-legendary independent label Sub Pop.  Next, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a profile of Dave Grohl as the Emerald City episode of his Sonic Highways is set to air.  And finally, Kim Thayil of Soundgarden talks to Loudwire about the band’s new rarities release Echo of Miles.

Seattle, though often grey, is still pretty.

Seattle, though often grey, is still pretty.

We’ve been enjoying the latest album from TV on the Radio these past couple of weeks, and before we unveil our official review on Tuesday, read up on the making of the new album with profiles in both the New York Times and Consequence of Sound.

The Atlantic has an article about how the internet helped spark a revival of interest in Nick Drake, far more than he had enjoyed in his brief life and career.  While we mentioned the seminal Volkswagen ad in our “Pink Moon” Covered feature, this piece helps fill in some additional interesting details.

In the past we’ve looked at different aspects of the streaming debate, mainly focusing our attention on Spotify and their payout model.  East Bay Ray of the Dead Kennedys sheds some insight on another service we’ve neglected, YouTube, showing how the company pays even less to artists than its competitors.

Though he’s mainly known for the off-center comedic empire he’s built with partner Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim has had a successful side-gig as a director of music videos.  The AV Club interviews Eric for its Random Reels feature, and he sheds insights on such videos as the frightening “We Are Water” video he did for HEALTH (and cited in our Scariest Videos list) as well as the weirdly gorgeous “Wishes” video from Beach House.

And finally, Pitchfork has multiple articles worth checking out this weekend.  Be sure to read this pleasant interview with Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, then check out this analysis of the importance of Top 40 radio and the significance of different genre stations.  And finally, proving that the publication actually has a sense of humor, here’s “The Most Crucial And Yet Totally Overlooked Releases of 2014 and a Pre-Emptive Guide to 2015.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, from everyone here at Rust Is Just Right!  We’ll celebrate this holiday the same way we do all the others–with way too much food and indie rock!

That’s the second time there was a collaboration between The National and Bob’s Burgers, and since that’s the better video it’s grabbing the top spot.  But we’re feeling generous, so we’ll share the band’s cover of an original song from the show, giving the holiday all the necessary gravitas it deserves.

Sing these songs with your family, and you’re sure to have a wonderful day!

The Airing of Grievances: Guns N’ Roses – “November Rain”

My first exposure to Guns N’ Roses* (and let’s be honest, “exposure” is the correct term to use when discussing GNR) was the music video for “November Rain”.  Originally, I only saw bits and pieces of the video from the various countdowns and clip shows that made up a large portion of MTV’s programming of the mid-90’s, though interspersed in that footage may have been their performance that one time when Elton John joined them for some reason.  Sure, there’s a strong likelihood that I probably saw a movie trailer that was backed by the strains of “Welcome to the Jungle”, but it never registered with me, so my first association with Guns N’ Roses wasn’t that they were dangerous hard-rockers, but overwrought balladeers.  I say that with the kindest intent possible, because as ridiculous as everything associated with “November Rain” is, I will admit that as a piece of music it still holds up–its movements are well-constructed, it actually generates some passion in the listener, and Slash’s guitar solos are damn good.

But man, that music video…

The saddest moment of my childhood was not when I found out the truth about Santa Claus, but when I realized that nobody could hear Slash’s epic guitar solo outside that church in the desert.  Of course I realize no one would actually hear it because there’s no audience out there in the desert, but it’s the fact that Slash’s guitar isn’t plugged into anything that rammed the message home.  And considering the noise from the helicopter swooping all around to capture that iconic scene, I doubt Slash could even hear himself as he poured his heart out into that solo.  NOBODY CAN HEAR HIS PAIN TRANSMITTED THROUGH THE PURE MAJESTY OF MUSIC!

That said, Slash’s “silence” definitely isn’t the only problem with the video–only Axl Rose could come up with a music video with a budget over a million dollars that runs for over nine minutes and have a narrative that leaves the audience confused as to what exactly happened, and not in a good way.  We can allow that the band uses a good portion of the video to show the fabulous orchestra that they hired for the song, flute and all, and we’re willing to accept the fact that for the sake of narrative this was a romance built to last since the bride-to-be could hang out and smoke cigarettes at a dive bar with the rest of the band (easily one of the strongest foundations a couple can have for their relationship).  We can even appreciate Stephanie Seymour’s wonderfully tacky wedding dress and the subtle nods to the various personalities of the other band members, like the fact that Slash forgot where he put the wedding ring but good thing Duff McKagan is there to save the day.  Still, everybody wants to know 1) Why the hell did that guy dive right into the wedding cake? and 2) What the hell happened to Stephanie Seymour?**  That’s what happens when you cram two acts of the narrative into the last 45 seconds of a video.  You end up asking questions like “Does Stephanie Seymour melt in the rain because she’s a witch?” and “Did these fuckers just pull the ‘this was all a dream’ trick?”

It’s easy to see that this video was the clearest example of the various symptoms that would plague the band for the rest of their career, and was but a microcosm of the ridiculous excess that would plague the enduring debacle that was Chinese Democracy.  Still, this song and video is a definite highlight when this time of year comes along, no matter how ridiculous and nonsensical the entire enterprise is.

Story Time: About ten years ago, when I was on break from college, I was hanging out at my friend’s house, and joining us was his girlfriend at the time.  She was a massive Guns N’ Roses  fan, and was extremely excited to see the video playing on my friend’s TV.  I took the opportunity to mention my various grievances with the video, namely the fact NOBODY CAN HEAR SLASH’S AMAZING GUITAR SOLO and the small fact that the entire video makes absolutely no sense.  This besmirchment of the good name of Guns N’ Roses was too much for her to handle, so she threatened me with eviction from the premises if I said anything else (note: if you recall, this was in fact not her home, but my friend’s).  So I shut up for a good two minutes, before I air-drummed one of those slow fills and sang “Bum Ba-da-dum Bum!”  Despite the fact that I was showing my appreciation for the music emanating from the television speakers, this was TOO MUCH for the woman, and I was yelled at until I left the house.

I don’t think I ever saw her again, and my friend broke up with her not long after this incident.  That’s how you end a story, Axl.

*It bugs the hell out of me that they write their name with the apostrophe after the ‘N’, but what are you going to do?

**Let’s take a second to acknowledge how well Stephanie Seymour has held up over the years as opposed to the trainwreck that Axl became.  Well done, Mrs. Seymour.

Deerhoof, Live at the Doug Fir

It is difficult to capture what makes Deerhoof such a unique and amazing live experience with mere words.  They combine the explosive anarchy of punk with the precise timing and sophisticated musicality of jazz, topping off the combination with the innocently sweet vocals of Satomi Matsuzaki, and it can be a lot to take in at once for the novice.  The effect is a spectacle that is unmatched in music today, and the crowd at the Doug Fir on Thursday night had a blast seeing it live at the best venue in Portland.

A view of the band in the intimate confines of the Doug Fir

A view of the band in the intimate confines of the Doug Fir

The band kicked off their set with a run of songs from their latest album, La Isla Bonita; I often have trouble distinguishing a good portion of their catalog, but was able to pick out the early single “Paradise Girls” and the fiery “Exit Only”, which received a hearty applause.  Though the record was only released a few weeks ago, it seemed that most people in the audience were already familiar with its songs–either that, or they did a really good job of faking like they knew what was going on.  Deerhoof kept the energy up throughout their performance, with Greg Saunier’s insane drumming a definite highlight.  Saunier is able to come up with a variety of sounds and textures using a fairly rudimentary kit, and no matter what insanity was going on around him melodically, the audience could tether themselves to his intricate rhythms to keep bouncing around in perfect time.

Greg Saunier bringing a halt to the set to deliver a trademark rambling talk to the audience

Greg Saunier bringing a halt to the set to deliver a trademark rambling talk to the audience

Deerhoof has a fairly extensive (and consistent) discography at this point in their career, and their setlist reflected that–though La Isla Bonita was represented with numerous selections, the band also selected songs from several of their other releases from this past decade.  A boisterous version of “The Perfect Me” from Friend Opportunity was a personal highlight, which despite the lack of keyboards lost none of its charm; another great moment was when Greg and Satomi traded instruments for a song, though it was preceded by Satomi passing around handmade Deerhoof stickers from a devoted fan while using her newly-acquired drumsticks as chopsticks.  Guitarists John Dieterich and Ed Rodriguez traded angular and complex guitar parts all night, and Satomi was a constant delight whether she was playing her bass or dancing around with a jam block; her moves varied widely from specific hand gestures that were reminiscent of hula in their apparent hidden meaning to recreating ninja moves with various bouncing kicks.

The show’s encore included a song featuring opener Busdriver, whose incredible delivery and innovative beats made for a compelling opening set in and of itself, but his lightning-quick rapping over a Deerhoof track probably inspired more than a few fans to wonder what a full-length collaboration would sound like.  The finale was the pleasantly ridiculous “Come See the Duck”, and that pretty much summed up the whole night in a nutshell.  Deerhoof is not for everyone, but for those that are willing to step outside of their normal comfort zone, they are as good a live experience as you can find.

Over the Weekend (Nov. 24 Edition)

Some videos and other fun as you prepare for the big holiday this week…

This weekend marked the twentieth anniversary of Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy album, and there were retrospectives from both Billboard and Stereogum.  Both do a great job of talking about how the album was a turning point for the band, and how though it’s a respected effort, it’s still underrated.  I was inspired by these pieces to listen to the remastered version of the album that was released a couple of years ago, and it adds a whole new level to the record.

Our favorite new music video comes courtesy of hometown heroes Red Fang, which should be no surprise, considering their track record of great videos.  This time for “Crows In Swine” they prove that their brilliance extends even into the realm of animation.

We previously shared the lyric video for the new song from The Decemberists, and now we can link to the official music video for “Make You Better”.  It features Nick Offerman guest-starring as the host of a lost television show from the 70’s, with The Decemberists providing a goofy performance.

Rolling Stone has been publishing a ton of Foo Fighters-related material, and one of the coolest pieces they’ve done is a list of various cameos that Dave Grohl has done for various albums and performances.

Last week Sebadoh stopped by the AV Club for their Undercover series, and they performed Rush’s “Limelight”.  Personally, I feel that the band balances between taking it seriously and having fun with it, but half of my enjoyment may have been due to the various Rush fans in the comments getting offended by Lou Barlow’s ridiculous vocals.

TV on the Radio hit the Late Show with David Letterman last week to perform “Happy Idiot”, and it’s obvious that as the band hits the road in support of Seeds this is going to be a definite highlight of their set.

Speaking of late night performances, Cold War Kids went on Conan to play “All This Could Be Yours” and delivered a passionate performance of their latest single.

Before there was The Shins there was Flake Music, and Sub Pop is reissuing the only record of the predecessor band.  NPR has it up for streaming for your pleasure.  Elsewhere on their site, be sure to check out this video talking about the special way in which musicians’ brains work.

Catching Up On The Week (Nov. 21 Edition)

Some #longreads and other time-wasters as you prepare for the holiday…

I highly recommend reading this speech from Steve Albini on the state of the music industry.  Albini does a great job of explaining the economics of the old way the record industry used to run and how it has changed with shifting technology, and also how alternatives to the normal practices of the record industry developed.  I still think there are still some issues for artists as the way we consume music evolves, but Albini’s take is certainly worth taking into consideration.

It can be tough for neophytes to wade their way through the early history of punk rock, but the AV Club has provided a handy primer on one of the most important scenes in their Primer on Dischord Records.  Some may have a passing familiarity with Minor Threat and Fugazi, but there was a lot more to the DC scene, and giving mentions to bands like Nation of Ulysses and Q and Not U is definitely worthwhile.

Were you curious about the story behind the song “Footloose”?  No?  Well, read on anyway, because bassist Nathan East provides the story, and he’s worked with everyone.

Stereogum has a list of “26 Essential Songs From The NYC Rock Resurgence”, probably to coincide with the release of the new TV on the Radio album, or maybe just because they felt like it this week.   We’ll link to it because it’s extensive and it has some good songs on it, so why not.

Second Look: …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Worlds Apart

Due to our special theme week, we didn’t have the chance to mention another new release we were eager to hear that happened to come out the same day last week.  The latest album from …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, IX, came out here in the US last Monday, but considering it had been released in various forms weeks earlier, it was easy for it to get lost in the mix, even for people that listen to Trail of Dead as much as the Foo Fighters.  We’re still processing IX (in many ways the album it most resembles is Tao of the Dead, but we’re not ready to give a verdict beyond that initial comparison), but we decided to use this opportunity to defend their most unfairly-maligned album, Worlds Apart.

Like many fans, I first encountered …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead during their Source Tags & Codes days, and to this day that album still stands out as one of the landmark indie rock records of the 2000’s.   I remember catching the premiere of “Another Morning Stoner” and being transfixed by their relentless yet melodic approach, with their catchy cyclical, arpeggiated guitar lines tied to an ever-rumbling drum pattern punctuated by insistent snare hits and rolls, as the emotional intensity of the vocals increased with every verse.  At a time when rock music had become stagnant from a creative perspective, it was a revelation to see a band with this much energy and ambition creating a complete “album”, with shifting moods and repeating motifs that added up to a brilliant whole.

I wasn’t the only one enraptured by Source Tags & Codes, as it ended up at the top of numerous best-of lists for 2002, and it set expectations sky-high for their follow-up.  Due to my living situation at the time (attending college in the middle of nowhere), I remember having to make arrangements for purchasing Worlds Apart as soon as possible, either borrowing a car or pre-ordering it online, although I think the preparations were probably rendered moot since we likely received advanced copies at the radio station.  No matter how it was procured, the important point is that as soon as I played the album, it instantly proved to be a worthy successor to Source Tags & Codes and became one of my favorites.  The ringing guitars and pounding drums of their earlier work were again both there in spades, but Worlds Apart was aided by crisper production and greater dynamic contrast; individual parts came in with greater clarity, and the band used its increased budget effectively with their expert layering of additional instruments (namely strings, piano, and extra percussion) to create added depth to their sound, as well as utilizing keener ear towards balancing the extremes in volume.  Aside from these technical advancements, there were still plenty of great hooks and memorable melodies throughout the record, from the explosive “Will You Smile Again” to the anthemic “The Rest Will Follow” to the strident “Caterwaul”.  I’ve found myself singing that one in particular for days on end.

Since I had established and reinforced my own opinion of the album through several repeated listens, I was surprised to learn that Worlds Apart received extremely mixed reviews.  There were some that agreed with my assessment, that the band’s output had matched its ambition and that the music supported such a grand artistic statement, but there were others that felt that despite the herculean effort the results fell short.  Then there was a third category that utterly trashed the album, though several of their reasons ultimately rang hollow–I can understand if you felt that the record was a little over-the-top or too bombastic, but to claim that it was a sell-out record when there were no obvious singles or that it was confused when everything flowed perfectly together seems more like anticipating the backlash than engaging the work on its own merits.  We all have different tastes, but these criticisms seemed out-of-place with what I was hearing.

Though to this day I continue to listen to Worlds Apart on a regular basis, the band appears to have distanced itself from the album, with only “Will You Smile Again” and “Caterwaul” making regular appearances on setlists (which is a much better fate than what befell So Divided, which the band has apparently deemed unworthy of performance).  And while Trail of Dead’s newer albums seem to focus on one aspect at a time (the overly-serious and histrionic The Century of Self, the energetic if shapeless Lost Songs, with Tao of the Dead a workable compromise between the two), it’s a shame that their work which best marries their epic tendencies with their raw emotions goes unrecognized at best or needlessly scorned at worst, as its fiercest critics are the loudest and insist on repeating its supposed failings years after the fact.

But I ask you to take a listen to Worlds Apart with fresh ears, because it has aged better than you might expect.  Let your stereo explode with those big guitar lines, pound your head along with the multiple drumsets driving the beat, and get wrapped up in even the interstitial music (“To Russia My Homeland”, the end of “A Classic Arts Showcase”) which both maintains a connection between the songs and helps delineate their existence as well.  Get lost in the grandiose “All White”/”The Best” one-two punch, sway with the ballad “The Summer of ’91”, or kick your heels to the biting and irreverent title track–the band’s got everything covered.  If that doesn’t satisfy you, I don’t know what will; but at least I’ll feel better knowing that you gave this album another shot.

Death From Above 1979, Live at the Crystal Ballroom

For a couple of hours last night, I felt both 14 and 40 simultaneously.  It’s the kind of feeling you can only get when you’re watching a favorite band from your younger and more vulnerable years thrash away at an otherwise-unbearable volume.  Sure, the body can take the abuse of the unruly masses for only a couple of songs these days, but it doesn’t compare to the euphoria of a fucking great performance.

Easily the high point of that lineup

Easily the high point of that lineup

I had been waiting ten years for this show, and I was not going to be content observing the proceedings from a safe spot in the middle of the crowd.  I was one of the few people to give these guys radio play back when You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine first came out, and since then I had desperately wanted to see DFA1979’s furious intensity translated into a live setting.  Instead, due to mostly just bad luck, I had to be content during that long wait to merely play their album hundreds of times or attempting to track down whatever live footage I could find (like their brilliant performance on Conan).  A couple of years later, Sebastien and Jesse broke up, and it seemed like any chance to see the duo live was lost to history.  Of course, we all know now that the band reunited a few years ago, but still I wasn’t any closer to seeing these guys.  There was the initial insistence on playing far-flung festivals that I had no intention of attending, but even when circumstances conspired to put us in the same city at the same time, it wasn’t enough–I was there the year that they surprised SXSW with their reunification, but due to my outdated phone I heard the confirmation hours after their tiny venue had already overfilled well past capacity, and had to be content to learn the details secondhand the next day.  So yeah, I was going to through caution and good sense out the window and get as close as possible, the terrors of the pit be damned.

As soon as the opening piano chords of “Turn It Out” were triggered, the crowd began to lose its (collective) mind as their anticipation reached a fever pitch.  When the drums and bass finally kicked in, all hell broke loose and any chance that I had of being in control of my own movements went out the window, at least for the rest of the song; I found myself tossed from the far left of the stage all the way to the central barrier dividing All-Ages from Boozers with no idea how I got there, though I was jumping up and down to the beat the whole time.  “Right On, Frankenstein” brought a similar pattern of events, but when a shoelace came undone, I decided that it was best to make a break off to the side and fix the issue for safety’s sake.  And as a result of the wisdom that can only come with age, I took the opportunity to camp out at the side for the rest of the show, getting all the benefit of being close to the stage with much less wear and tear on the body.

It was all kind of a blur at the beginning

It was all kind of a blur at the beginning

With the physical terror no longer a concern, I was able to focus more clearly on the music.  The band placed an emphasis on the new material, playing all or nearly-all of The Physical World, and the crowd displayed a remarkable amount of enthusiasm considering the album was only released two months ago.  Sebastien and Jesse played their parts brilliantly, as they were effortlessly able to recreate the sounds of the album, and showing that the years of touring experience have served them well.  When the band dipped into their early songs, the audience found an extra gear and responded in an even more frenzied manner–during the climax of “Little Girl” one fan was able to launch himself completely above the crowd, as if shot from a cannon, to the delight/terror of those around him.  It was also fun to see the duo take the opportunity to stretch certain sections out and play around with the structure of the old songs, breathing new life into decade-old material.

A safer angle

A safer angle

The Crystal Ballroom can be a fickle place to play for a lot of bands, with its wonky acoustics and expansive layout, but Death From Above 1979 was able to keep the feel of a punk club; all elements (bass, keyboards, drums, and vocals) came through with great clarity, and the band tried to keep all sections of the audience involved.  Sebastien was surprised to see a balcony way in the back, opining that those people decided to sit so far back “just to get a look down the shirts of the audience below”; he also expressed bemusement at the strict separation as required by the OLCC, a sentiment with which we share.  The stage show was modest, with their trademark logo being the sole decoration and a line of white strobe lights being the main effect, but this minimalism served them well when they expertly deployed a sudden shift to red lights during the chorus of “White Is Red.”  But the coolest effect was probably the cheapest one possible–during the final song of the encore, Sebastien emptied a bottle of water onto his drumset before launching into the coda of “The Physical World”, and the effect of seeing the water splash high into the air during that brilliant finale was mesmerizing.  Hundreds of cameraphones went up to capture that moment, but it felt better just to experience the moment on its own.  So, sorry I have no actual footage of this–you’ll just have to see it for yourself when Death From Above stops by your town.

Covered: “Thirteen”

Covered is a feature where we examine the merits of various cover songs, debating whether or not they capture the spirit and intent of the original, if the cover adds anything new, and whether or not it perhaps surpasses the original.  If we fail on those counts, at the very least we may expose you to different versions of great songs you hadn’t heard before.

Fans of the forever-underrated Big Star were thrilled with the recent release of Live in Memphis, which captures a semi-reunited version of the group performing a homecoming show back during the early 90’s.  While it is somewhat of a disappointment that bassist Andy Hummel and guitarist/singer Chris Bell were not a part of the tour, it’s still a wonder to hear the majority of the band’s impeccable catalog in a live setting competently captured (and it’s especially moving to hear Alex and Jody cover Bell’s gorgeous “I Am the Cosmos” and dedicated to their deceased friend).  Still, despite many of the high points of the album (personally I loved how high Jody Stephens’s drums were in the mix, and the use of reverb to really bring out his integral contributions to many of the band’s best songs), many of the reviews can’t help but reveal the disappointment at finding out that the delicate favorite “Thirteen” didn’t make the cut.

“Thirteen” is universally beloved for its touching depiction of early teenage love.  The initial scene of the first verse perfectly captures the innocence of that time, when the biggest concerns were a partner to walk home from school and whether that special someone would accept your invitation to that week’s dance.  The second verse is memorable as well, with its generational standoff over music and the comfort that allies find in their shared love (“Rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay/come inside where it’s okay”).  And the final verse offers both a view that exaggerates the situation (“Would you be an outlaw for my love?”) and also diminishes the stakes (“If it’s so, well let me know; if it’s no, well, I can go.”).  The lyrics are accompanied by some of the most beautifully recorded acoustic guitars ever, a trademark of the entire #1 Record album.  Alex Chilton carefully picks a classic folk chord progression, mainly alternating between G and C chords, but also brilliantly involving the relevant minor chords as well to bridge the main sections.  The guitar solo, in all of its simplistic glory, is also a perfect example of how modesty should be a path taken more often; a couple of precisely selected notes and a graceful little run can be all you need to add the necessary flourish to a song.

Today, Wilco released the rarities box set Alpha Mike Foxtrot, and for many who pick it up it will be the first time that they’ll hear their cover of “Thirteen” (among many other tracks–it’s nearly 80 songs across four discs, many of them previously unreleased).  I managed to randomly find a copy of their single “Outtasite (Outta Mind) a couple of years ago which included this cover, so even though I haven’t gotten a chance to plow through the rest of the box set, I can at least comment on this track in particular.  Wilco is careful not to overwhelm the tender ballad, but they also are able to add a couple of subtle touches that make it sound like a regular part of the Wilco catalog.  The graceful backing piano, the more deliberately strummed rhythm guitar, and a gorgeous lap steel lead guitar all give extra color to the song, and make the song sound like a folk or old country standard.  And Jeff Tweedy’s distinctive warble helps bring out some of the pathos inherent in the song, though Tweedy is a good enough musician to not overindulge in this regard, letting the melody and words speak for themselves.

I would be derelict in my duty if I also didn’t share Elliott Smith’s hauntingly beautiful version of the song.  As one may expect, “Thirteen” is a natural fit for Elliott, as it allows him to use his well-honed style of gentle finger-picked acoustic guitar and his delicately yearning vocals to great effect.   The result is a more mournful and melancholic reaction to this tale of nostalgia, and allows one to reflect the story through a different lens.  You can find a more polished version (with more precisely picked guitar and vocals a bit higher in the mix) on the rarities collection New Moon, but this particular video was a pleasant surprise, as Elliott’s emotions really shine in the performance.

Not only is “Thirteen” a great song in and of itself, inspiring several other cover versions, but you can hear its direct influence on songs like “We’re Going To Be Friends” by The White Stripes.  It’s proof that even the seemingly simplest songs and ideas can have an undeniable influence and far-reaching impact.  It’s also evidence that Big Star was a really, really great band.

Over the Weekend (Nov. 17 Edition)

New videos and other fun stuff to get your mind off the biting cold that has descended upon us…

Deerhoof recently came out with a new album (La Isla Bonita) that we’ve unfortunately neglected to cover.  That’s likely to change, since they’re coming to Portland’s Doug Fir Lounge on Thursday, but hopefully we can make up for it by sharing their latest music video.  “Exit Only” features actor Michael Shannon interrogating himself and engaging in all sorts of crazy behavior–in other words, what it’s probably like hanging around Michael Shannon on a regular basis.

Kendrick Lamar gave a thrilling performance on the Saturday Night Live stage this past weekend and I highly recommend watching it.  If you were disappointed by the initial single “i” (those ranks do not include myself, but I know the buzz was lacking when it first was leaked), then you definitely need to see it done live.

It’s been our duty to keep informing you about Radiohead drummer Philip Selway’s solo career, and as such, we’re sharing the fantastic, mind-bending video he did for “Around Again” from Weatherhouse.

It reminds me of another fantastic recent music video that we didn’t share when it first came out, but we’ll rectify that immediately.  “Inside Out” from clipping. also uses the concept of following a protagonist’s circular journey around the camera, except this time the character’s face is used to illustrate particular lyrics.  Pretty cool.

Death From Above 1979 would have to be among the last bands that you would imagine sitting down for an acoustic set, but they recently stopped by for such a performance thanks to 102.9 the Buzz in Nashville.  Not only did they perform “Crystal Ball”, “White Is Red”, and “Trainwreck 1979” off their fantastic new album, The Physical World, but they also sat down for an amusing interview, covering such things as proposed alternate band names and how much they listen to Nine Inch Nails and Queens of the Stone Age.

And finally, leave it to The Onion to cut to the chase when it comes to the standard indie rock career cycle.