Dwight Howard Was Only Player To Attend The NBA’s DJ Event In Orlando Bubble

Dwight Howard Was Only Player To Attend The NBA’s DJ Event In Orlando Bubble

| July 13, 2020 – 9:29 am

CREDIT: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Right now, the players of all the different NBA teams are starting to get used to life in the “bubble” — the mostly-quarantined Orlando area where they’ll supposedly play out the rest of the 2019-2020 season in arenas empty of fans. All the players are living at three hotels in Disney World, and the NBA has promised various amenities to the players who have opted not to stay home during quarantine. The NBA players are getting access to barbers, pool tables, lawn games, movies, and video games. They’re also getting DJ parties. The first of those DJ parties wasn’t hugely popular.

According to SB Nation, Miami’s DJ Nasty, co-producer of songs like DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts” and “All I Do Is Win,” played a DJ set for NBA players at the Grand Destino on Saturday night. Apparently, exactly one players showed up for the festivities: Los Angeles Lakers backup center and notorious goofball Dwight Howard. On Sunday, Howard’s teammate Anthony Davis told reporters, “To be quite honest, the first time I heard of the DJ thing was today. Dwight told me he was the only one there. Quite frankly, a lot of guys just didn’t know about it.” He was laughing when he said it.

On Instagram Live, Howard posted a video of himself walking around a depressing-looking hotel nightclub, fully staffed but otherwise totally empty. He ordered a Cancun Colada. When someone in his Instagram comments asks why he’s not wearing a mask, Howard said, “I’m around nobody.”

Dwight is at the Coronado Springs pool party solo…but they got him right with a “Cancun Colada” slushie🍹🏝😎 pic.twitter.com/MBYaoyK37k

— NBA Bubble Life (@NBABubbleLife) July 12, 2020

Great seeing my brother @DwightHoward aka Superman
Yesterday DJing inside The NBA Bubble…
Still a real one!#WholeNewGame #NBA #NBA2020 pic.twitter.com/T5c6NzE1V4

— DJ Nasty (@DJNastyNBM) July 12, 2020

The NBA bubble! It’s fantastic!

Hovvdy – “Runner”

Hovvdy – “Runner”

| July 13, 2020 – 10:12 am

Austin indie-pop duo Hovvdy released their very good new album Heavy Lifter back in October. And now they’re back with a new single, “Runner,” recorded over the course of a week at producer Andrew Sarlo’s Los Angeles studio.

“‘Runner’ draws from warm memories of my childhood in Dallas; the spirit of running around as a kid with an amount of freedom that would probably be considered unsafe nowadays,” says Hovvdy’s Charlie Martin. “Also, it unpacks the dynamic of an absent parent who nonetheless gives good advice. We need both positive and negative influences to have a balanced approach to life I think.”

As is par for the course with this band, the song itself is extremely pretty, all languid guitar strums and understated synth flickers over a shuffling drum loop. “You say take your time/ Don’t give it away, don’t give it up,” Martin sings. “Call me runner/ Someday I’ll come up.” Listen below.

Yo La Tengo – “James and Ira demonstrate mysticism and some confusion holds”

Yo La Tengo – “James and Ira demonstrate mysticism and some confusion holds”

| July 13, 2020 – 10:13 am

Yo La Tengo’s And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out turned 20 earlier this year. Good album, right? The indie rock luminaries are still at it. In 2018, they put out their most recent full-length, There’s A Riot Going On and they’ve been keeping busy since then with their annual Hanukkah shows and even a song about Hanukkah.

Today, the band is sharing a new piece called “James and Ira demonstrate mysticism and some confusion holds,” which was recorded in the group’s rehearsal space. The band’s Ira Kaplan explains:

If you’ve spent any time hanging out with us at our rehearsal space in Hoboken — that pretty much covers none of you — you’ve heard us playing formlessly (he said, trying to sidestep the word “improvising”). Most of the songs we’ve written in the last 25 years have begun that way, but often we do it for no other reason than to push away the outside world.

In late April, with the outside world weighing on everybody, we determined that the three of us could assemble in Hoboken without disobeying the rules laid out by Governor Murphy, and resumed . . . “practicing” hardly describes it, because we’ve done no practicing per se, and anyway what would we be practicing for . . . playing. James set up one microphone in the middle of the room in case we stumbled on something useful for the future. Instead we decided to release something we did right now.

— Ira

Listen to it below.

“James and Ira demonstrate mysticism and some confusion holds” is out now via Matador.

Billboard Changes Bundle Counts Towards Chart Placement

Billboard Changes Bundle Counts Towards Chart Placement

| July 13, 2020 – 9:46 pm

Billboard has once more changed their rules about chart placement. As music consumption and distribution constantly evolve, so do our metrics of counting what music sales amount to. In recent times, two major factors have shifted how we tally music sales: streaming, and bundling practices. In November, Billboard altered their rules about how merch bundles would be counted. And now, they’ve updated the rules again.

Billboard explained its previous changes with a new take: “In an acknowledgement that those measures have fallen short of the intended goal of accurately reflecting consumer intent — has decided to eliminate the practice of counting albums bundled with merchandise and concert tickets on its album and song charts altogether.”

Naturally, there have been a ton of methods to game the charts system over the decades, the bundle method only being the most recent one. Basically, Billboard’s new rules forbid bundling an album as a freebie with all the other stuff. An added stipulation is that physical albums that are bundled with digital downloads will no longer be counted as digital sales — only when the physical item is shipped will it count towards Billboard’s official tallies. Billboard has not announced the start date of their new rules.

Bundles have been a major factor in the charts in recent years. Virtually every legacy artist who can sell concert tickets has leveraged fans’ interest in seeing them live into higher chart placement on the Billboard 200 and other album charts by bundling album sales with tickets, from indie rockers like Arcade Fire to pop stars like Lady Gaga. (One notable exception was the Black Keys, who made a point of not doing it.) Travis Scott famously sent Astroworld back to #1 months after its initial release by selling downloads of the album as part of a new round of merch bundles Cyber Monday. Bundling strategies devolved to the point that DJ Khaled attempted to bundle his album with energy drinks last year, a promotion Billboard refused to count toward his sales figures, much to Khaled’s chagrin.

Bundles have also impacted the Hot 100 singles chart; most recently 6ix9ine and Nicki Minaj’s “TROLLZ” debuted at #1 largely due to unusually high sales figures fueled by a number of merch bundles in each artist’s webstore; the song plummeted to #34 in its second week.

The Number Ones: David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”

The Number Ones: David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”

| July 13, 2020 – 8:52 am

In The Number Ones, I’m reviewing every single #1 single in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, starting with the chart’s beginning, in 1958, and working my way up into the present.

***

David Bowie – “Let’s Dance”

HIT #1: May 21, 1983

STAYED AT #1: 1 week

In the ’80s, most of the baby boomer rock stars who’d come up in past decades were still trying to make versions of the bluesy rock that came naturally to them. They were doing what they could to keep up, feathering their hair and piling on the synths, but most of them were fundamentally unwilling to change the basic contours of their styles. David Bowie was different. There’s something beautifully perverse about Bowie coming back from a long period in the chart wilderness, hitting #1 with a single where he asks us to “dance the blues” to a song that — even with Stevie Ray Vaughan soloing all over it — sounds absolutely nothing like any conventional notion of “the blues.” But then, willful perversity was the David Bowie brand.

David Bowie’s second American #1 single came nearly eight years after his first, but it’s strikingly similar in both form and content. In 1975, Bowie shook off the glam-rock trappings of his immediate past and dove into American soul and club music, scoring a smash with the funky, sidelong banger “Fame.” In 1983, Bowie shook off the zonked-out ambient art-rock trappings of his immediate past and dove into American soul and club music, hitting #1 with another funky, sidelong banger. America, it seems, was only really into David Bowie when he was offering up his own takes on Black American dance music.

In the years between “Fame” and “Let’s Dance,” David Bowie only managed to get one single into the American top 10: 1975’s similarly funky “Golden Years,” the immediate follow-up to “Fame.” (“Golden Years” peaked at #10; it’s a 10.) But then, Bowie didn’t seem especially invested in the American pop charts. He had other things in mind. Over the next few years, Bowie starred in films: The Man Who Fell To Earth, The Hunger, Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. He played the Elephant Man on Broadway. He produced the best Iggy Pop album. (He’d already produced the third-best Stooges album.) He sang a Christmas song with Bing Crosby on TV, and that song became a UK hit. He publicly flirted with fascism, and then he apologized for publicly flirting with fascism. He snorted vast, dangerous quantities of cocaine, and then he managed to kick that habit without dying.

More importantly, Bowie went on an aesthetic journey that had very little to do with pop music. First on 1976’s Station To Station and then on the triptych of Berlin albums that followed, Bowie got into noise and ambience and texture. Those albums are all justly revered as classics today, but they’re not pop music — or, if they are, they’re warped and distressed and thoroughly personal forms of pop music. While Bowie was off on this vision quest, things were happening. Bowie’s music never stopped selling in the UK, and during the twin earthquakes of punk and new wave, Bowie remained a kind of mass cult hero — the one idol that the younger generations were determined not to kill.

When Bowie turned his attention toward new wave on the 1980 album Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), the UK responded enthusiastically, sending his “Space Oddity” sequel “Ashes To Ashes” to #1. In the US, things were tougher. Even with the mighty 1981 Queen collaboration “Under Pressure,” another UK chart-topper, Bowie only got as high as #29 in the US. (“Under Pressure” will eventually appear in this column in sampled form.) But when Bowie figured out how to update the plastic soul of his Young Americans days, young Americans listened.

It was a perfect convergence. Bowie met Chic’s Nile Rodgers at a New York after-hours nightclub in 1982. At the time, Chic were still going, but they were no longer a commercially relevant enterprise. Rodgers, however, had reinvented himself as a songwriter and producer, and he’d helped give Diana Ross a grand comeback with “Upside Down.” Just as Bowie’s new-romantic descendants were taking over MTV and attempting to discover funk, Bowie himself got together with a master of the form and made an album of spidery new-wave dance music that remains one of his finest pop statements.

Bowie invited Rodgers to his house in Switzerland, and the first song that they worked on together was “Let’s Dance,” the title track from Bowie’s 1983 album. Bowie played an early version of the song for Rodgers on an acoustic guitar and told Rodgers that he thought it was a hit. Rodgers was baffled; he later called that early attempt a “folk song.” So Rodgers reworked the song completely, switching up its key and transforming it into a high-stepping club music.

Working together with a group of musicians in New York at the end of 1982, Bowie and Rodgers put together a demo version that, heard today, sounds a whole lot like Chic. (Bowie didn’t tell Tony Visconti, his regular producer, that he was working with Rodgers; Visconti only found out after Bowie and Rodgers been in the studio together for weeks. Visconti didn’t work with Bowie again for decades afterwards.)

Rodgers didn’t want Bowie to get sucked into the anti-disco backlash, so he reworked that demo again, making it chunkier and simpler. Bowie, meanwhile, got in touch with Stevie Ray Vaughan, a Texan blues guitarist who’d blown him away at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1982. Vaughan didn’t know anything about Bowie’s music, but he liked the guy, so he came in to play solos over a bunch of the songs on Let’s Dance. On the title track, Vaughan impressed Rodgers by mostly staying out of the way of the groove, keeping his solo firmly on-beat. Rodgers put his massive drum sound all over the final version of “Let’s Dance,” and Robert Aaron, a member of James Chance’s contortions, added discordant saxophone blats. I don’t know how the end result hangs together so well, but it really does.

“Let’s Dance” is some kind of miracle. The groove is slightly off-kilter, but it’s massive, too. Rodgers plays his echoing guitar upstrokes while a gigantic and goofy bassline murmurs beneath him. Bowie’s lyrics are an invitation to dance, but he declaims them in his most stentorian baritone. He make sure to hit his silliest, most overwritten lyrics hard — “the serious moonlight,” “tremble like a floowwwaaaah” — so that they sound meaningful. In the middle of it all, there are sudden moments — the “if you say run, I’ll run with you” parts — where the beat drops away to make room for triumphant heart-bursting melody. The song expertly walks the line between tension and release, between groove and transcendence.

The full eight-minute album version is spectacular, with its digital breakdown and its nattering congas and its screaming horns and its total dedication to the groove. But even in its trimmed-down single version, “Let’s Dance” takes all the things that Bowie’s younger peers were doing and blows them all the way out. Bowie and Rogers were an odd-couple combination in the best way, and they came together to make a slick, unlikely little epic.

Rodgers has said that Bowie’s lyrics are bittersweet — a metaphorical picture of people weaving lies together and trying to will away sadness. The video certainly seems more complicated than what the lyrics might suggest on paper. Director David Mallet shot the clip in the Australian outback, telling a story about a young Aboriginal couple who find a pair of red shoes, learn to dance suddenly, and find themselves sucked into a shallow capitalistic system. (The couple in the film came from an Australian dance company, and the other locals in that bar were making fun of them when they tried to dance. Mallet edited the locals’ mock dancing into the video.)

Bowie was trying to make a statement with that video — about racism, about capitalism, about the ways that cultures interact with each other. It’s a weird and messy video, and it’s probably mostly remembered for Bowie looking extremely sweaty and sexy in close-up and for Bowie miming out Vaughan’s guitar solo at the end. (Vaughan was justifiably furious about this.)

If Bowie was trying to make a larger point with “Let’s Dance,” the single or the video, then he may not have been entirely successful. But if “Let’s Dance” is just David Bowie singing about dancing, it’s still David Bowie singing about dancing — emerging from the aesthete zone of his Berlin era and making something just as weird that still successfully goes for the American pop jugular. Decades later, I’m still so happy it exists.

After Let’s Dance, Bowie tried to hang onto global pop stardom for a few more years, making increasingly dodgy ’80s records that didn’t hold a candle to “Let’s Dance.” Bowie scored a few more American top-10 hits, but he ended that run in 1985, when he and Mick Jagger came out with their famously maligned version of Martha And The Vandellas’ “Dancing In The Street.” (Bowie and Jagger’s version of “Dancing In The Street” peaked at #7; it’s a 3. Martha And The Vandellas’ 1964 original peaked at #2; it’s a 9.)

Bowie came to detest the pop music that he made after Let’s Dance; he later said that it was his nadir. In the ’90s, Bowie went through a few resets, and he emerged as a globally beloved artistic hero, a position that he held for the rest of his life. When Bowie died of liver cancer early in 2016, a few days after his 69th birthday, he wasn’t remembered as someone who’d had a few big American hits in the ’70s and the ’80s. He was known as a titan, as one of the most pivotal figures in pop-music history. “Fame” and “Let’s Dance,” Bowie’s two big moments on the American charts, were brief, and they almost count as footnotes in a legendary career. But like so many other things that Bowie did, those two moments were transcendent.

GRADE: 10/10

BONUS BEATS: Here’s a really, really good video of Tina Turner and David Bowie singing Chris Montez’s 1962 single “Let’s Dance” and Bowie’s own “Let’s Dance” together at a Turner show in Birmingham in 1985:

(Chris Montez’s “Let’s Dance” peaked at #4. It’s a 7. Tina Turner will appear in this column before long.)

BONUS BONUS BEATS: On Puff Daddy’s 1997 single “Been Around The World,” Puff, Mase, and the Notorious B.I.G. rapped over a sample of “Let’s Dance.” Here’s the song’s maximalist and ridiculous 10-minute action-movie video:

(“Been Around The World” peaked at #2. It’s a 5. Puff and Biggie will eventually appear in this column. Mase will be in the column, too, but only as a guest rapper. As lead artist, Mase’s highest-charting single is 1997’s “Feel So Good,” which peaked at #5. It’s an 8. Jennifer Lopez and Wyclef Jean, both of whom are in the “Been Around The World” video, will also appear in this column — though Wyclef, like Mase, will only appear as a guest rapper.)

BONUS BONUS BONUS BEATS: Here’s the “Let’s Dance” cover that jittery British post-punkers the Futureheads released in 2006:

BONUS BONUS BONUS BONUS BEATS: Craig David sang over a “Let’s Dance” sample on his 2007 single “Hot Stuff (Let’s Dance),” a top-10 hit in the UK. Here’s the video:

(In the UK, Craig David has multiple #1 hits. In the US, though, David’s highest-charting single is 2000’s “7 Days,” which peaked at #10. It’s a 7.)

BONUS BONUS BONUS BONUS BONUS BEATS: Here’s a grainy video of Prince and Nile Rodgers playing “Let’s Dance” together at the Essence Festival in 2014:

(Prince’s first moment in this column is coming up pretty soon.)

THE 10S: Prince’s eternally slinky lust-crisis anthem “Little Red Corvette” — the man’s first top-10 single — peaked at #6 behind “Let’s Dance.” A song like that should be in jail ’cause it’s on verge of being obscene. It’s a 10.


The Go! Team – “Cookie Scene”

The Go! Team – “Cookie Scene”

| July 13, 2020 – 9:18 am

The Go! Team released their last album, Semicircle, at the very beginning of 2018. They’re back with a new single today called “Cookie Scene” — the YouTube description says it features vocals from Detroit rapper, singer, and songwriter IndigoYaj. It’s bouncy and infectious, playful and breezy.

“The stripped back swinging percussion of ‘Iko Iko’ by the Dixie Cups and the loud crunchy shaker in Salt-n-Pepa’s ‘Push It’ were both inspirations,” the group’s Ian Parton said in a press release. “And I’ve always loved the way Bollywood or William Onyeabor songs would have random laser beams and electro toms popping up. I wanted to mix the street corner with the intergalactic, to take Detroit to outer space.”

Check it out below.

“Cookie Scene” is out now. It’ll be included on a 7″ via Memphis Industries that will be released in September.

Bill Callahan – “35”

Bill Callahan – “35”

| July 13, 2020 – 9:22 am

A couple weeks ago, Bill Callahan announced a new album, Gold Record — it’s out in September — and he also announced that he’d be releasing a new song from it every Monday until it comes out. So far we’ve gotten “Pigeons,” which landed on top of our best songs list when it came out, and “Another Song.” Today we get the third track from Gold Record, “35.”

It’s crackling and twangy, as Callahan starts by lamenting the lack of recognition he sees in the stories that he reads (“It’s nice to know that my life had been lived before/ But I can’t see myself in the books that I read anymore”) and then takes off down a dusty road filled with the moon and celestial navigation. “The fact of the sun comes, the fiction of the moon/ The moon can make a false love feel true/ It can make me still wanting you,” he sings.

Listen below.

Gold Record is out 9/4 on Drag City.

New Merch For Our Save Stereogum Crowdfunding Campaign

New Merch For Our Save Stereogum Crowdfunding Campaign

| July 13, 2020 – 9:57 am

As you hopefully heard (or deduced from the emergency red banner at the top of this page) as a newly independent media company Stereogum is seeking your financial help to weather this dismal ad climate and keep the site alive while we complete a much-needed overhaul.

Thanks to everyone who has already supported our crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo! Over 7,000 copies of our exclusive, all-new ‘00s covers comp Save Stereogum have been claimed along with 2,500 of our first t-shirts in 14 years.

Our “Backstage” merch bundles sold out immediately, so by popular demand today we’re adding some new perks for donors in this final month of the campaign. We’ve added (1) a zip hoodie, enamel pin set, and sticker set bundle, and (2) a new, standalone t-shirt (in multiple colors and sizes S-3XL) you can snag without the comp for a cheaper price. Let’s keep up the momentum to ensure Stereogum stays around for a long time or at least until the next Wrens album.

VVIP

The “VVIP” perk is a bundle containing:

  • A midweight, zippered Independent Trading Co. hooded sweatshirt in heather gunmetal grey featuring another thrilling new design of our name. It’s a 8.5 oz poly/cotton blend.
  • A set of 3 high-quality hard enamel pins. Each is 1.25″ wide.
  • A set of 6 different stickers.
  • And you also get the Zoom virtual launch party from the VIP tier along with the Save Stereogum album download.

PIT

And the “PIT” perk is for those of you who have been asking to buy a standalone t-shirt. It features a vintage-style variation of our new design (seen on the hoodie) and the shirt comes in 3 colors (heather navy, maroon, black) and 6 sizes (S-3XL).

Note: this shirt DOES NOT come with the album. You can order the ‘Save Stereogum’ comp separately if you’d like. Unfortunately due to limitations with the platform, we cannot combine shipping with a previously placed order.

And of course you can still grab the previously announced t-shirt/album combo, register for our Zoom album launch party/concert (216 people and counting), or order up your own custom ‘The Number Ones’ column (6 claimed so far!).

It’s all at SaveStereogum.com now. An announcement about additional artists on the covers comp is coming soon!

No Joy – “Four”

No Joy – “Four”

| July 13, 2020 – 9:57 am

No Joy are gearing up for the release of Motherhood, their first new album in five years. They’ve already shared early singles “Birthmark” and “Nothing Will Hurt.” And today they’re back with “Four,” which starts out with droning electric guitar, morphs into a chilled-out ’90s trip-hop throwback, and then closes out with a full-on explosion of guitar-squall heaviness.

Director Jodi Heartz’s music video spotlights indigenous makeup artist Ashley Diabo, and the band are encouraging fans to donate to Canadian Roots Exchange, Native Women’s Association Of Canada, True North Aid, and Unist’ot’en Camp. Watch and listen below.

Motherhood is out 8/21 on Joyful Noise/Hand Drawn Dracula. Pre-order it here.

Kanye West – “DONDA”

Kanye West – “DONDA”

| July 13, 2020 – 10:07 am

CREDIT: Vince Bucci/Getty Images

Kanye West has shared a new song, “DONDA,” a tribute to his mother who passed away in 2007 at the age of 58. He posted it on his Twitter account last night on what would have been her birthday.

The two-minute track is mostly made up of Donda West reciting the lyrics from KRS-One’s “Sound Of Da Police” before Kanye comes in with a verse. “Mama, I need you to tuck me in/ I done made some mistakes and they rubbed it in,” he raps. “I know you and grandma had enough of them/ Why I gotta be so stubborn then/ I’m doin’ this one for y’all/ So we can end racism once and for all.”

Last week, West gave a long interview in which he disavowed Donald Trump, expressed anti-vaccine views, and continued to talk about his supposed presidential platform. A week before that, he put out a new song, “Wash Us In The Blood,” featuring Travis Scott.

Hear “DONDA” below.

Watch Nick Cave’s Trailer For His Solo-Piano Concert Film Idiot Prayer

Watch Nick Cave’s Trailer For His Solo-Piano Concert Film Idiot Prayer

| July 13, 2020 – 10:20 am

Most quarantine-era livestream concerts have been relatively shambolic affairs, with musicians playing acoustic guitars in their living rooms. Nick Cave is doing things differently. In June, cave recorded Idiot Prayer, a video of himself playing solo-piano pieces, at Alexandra Palace, a London venue that opened in 1875. Next week, Cave will broadcast Idiot Prayer as a livestream event.

Cave says that the idea for Idiot Prayer evolved from his recent Q&A tours: “I loved playing deconstructed versions of my songs at these shows, distilling them to their essential forms — with an emphasis on the delivery of the words. I felt I was rediscovering the songs all over again, and started to think about going into a studio and recording these reimagined versions at some stage — whenever I could find the time.” With the Bad Seeds’ touring plans cancelled during the pandemic, Cave instead figured out a way that he could showcase his own past songs in that solo-piano format, working with Alexandra Palace to make it a safe short-term filming location.

Cave says that he sees Idiot Prayer as the third film in a concert-film trilogy that also includes 20,000 Days On Earth and One More Time With Feeling. Today, he’s shared the trailer, where he slowly walks through Alexandra Palace to a huge, ornate empty room with a grand piano at its center. On the soundtrack, Cave recites a poem about Elvis. Watch it below.

The Idiot Prayer livestream goes down 7/23. You can get your ticket here.

Talib Kweli Says Madlib-Produced Black Star Reunion Won’t Come Out, Announces New Patreon-Funded Album

Talib Kweli Says Madlib-Produced Black Star Reunion Won’t Come Out, Announces New Patreon-Funded Album

| July 13, 2020 – 11:00 am

CREDIT: NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

22 years, the young Brooklyn rappers Talib Kweli and Mos Def (now Yasiin Bey) teamed up to release the classic debut album Mos Def And Talib Kweli Are Black Star. They still haven’t followed it up. In recent years, Kweli and Bey have been working as a team again; they did a surprise reunion, for instance, at a Robert Glasper show in 2018. Last year, Kweli claimed that he and Bey had recorded an entire new album, produced by Madlib. But now, Kweli says that the album is done but that he’s washing his hands of it.

As HipHop N More reports, Kweli addressed the Black Star situation in a since-deleted Instagram post last week:

I’m tired of being silent about this. I tried my best y’all. Flew around the globe. Paid for this out of pocket. All for the culture. I’m a fan of Black Star too. I want to see this come out as bad as y’all do, or more. But people who never made a beat, never wrote a rhyme in they life got they fingers in the pie and are being disrespectful to what me and my brothers built. It’s in Gods hands now. I’m on to other things, life is too short to be disrespected by culture vultures. Maybe y’all will get to hear this album after I’m gone.

Today, Kweli, who also hosts the People’s Party podcast, has detailed the other things that he’s on to now. Kweli is currently making a new solo album called Cultural Currency, which is being offered as an exclusive to those who subscribe to his Patreon. In a press release, Kweli says:

I am considered an underground rapper. My lyrics critique the status quo. On paper, I was not supposed to be a successful artist. I succeeded in spite of the odds because I was always able to go around the industry and connect with my fans directly. When the music industry told me no, I built an industry around myself. Working with Patreon is the next step in this evolution. Patreon was created by artists for artists. I am proud to be born who I am, but my chosen tribe consists of artists and people who love art. Sharing my art on Patreon allows me to connect with my tribe in amazing and innovative ways.

The plan is for Kweli to drop a new song every month for a year, and he’s offering further incentives at his Patreon page.

The 10 Best Krill Songs

The 10 Best Krill Songs

| July 13, 2020 – 11:14 am

CREDIT: Stephanie Griffin

Krill, Krill, Krill forever! If someone you know was super into the Boston strain of indie rock that came up in the 2010s, you have probably had this refrain shouted at you, most likely brought on by a long bout of listening to Krill, a band that developed a cultishly devoted following before they broke up in 2015. For a brief period of time there, Krill represented all that was good in the world, music that made you feel better by being about all of the things that make you feel infinitely worse.

They were never particularly popular outside of certain DIY circles, but within those circles they might as well have been the Beatles. Those that latched onto their music found something to celebrate. The evangelical nature of their fanbase was a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, the cult of Krill’s chant of “Krill forever” derived from the opening and closing tracks of their sophomore album, Lucky Leaves, the band’s tongue-in-cheek way of canonizing themselves that actually worked.

Krill are intrinsically tied to Boston — and by extension Exploding In Sound, the label that gave all of these Boston bands a chance — though their roots are from outside Chicago. As the story goes, the band started playing together the morning after a house show, a basement improvisation that would spawn a group that would last for five years and three albums. “We’re just boring people doing hard work,” the band’s leader Jonah Furman once said in an interview. “It’s kind of liberating to know there’s not some huge end goal. We’re never going to get consistent checks.” Indeed they did not, though the legacy they left behind is impactful.

Theirs is a story of small house shows and passionate crowds. They played their first show in the summer of 2010, at the underground Boston haunt Whitehaus, and in 2012 they released their debut album, Alam No Hris, with a lo-fi sound that’s as inscrutable as its title. They followed up Alam No Hris with Lucky Leaves the next year, which refined their scuzzy and driving hooks. They almost broke up around this time, when founding drummer Luke Pyenson left the band, but found a new drummer and continued on, establishing Krill as something of a Boston success story, a group who put in the work by virtue of being embedded in the scene they were coming up in. They had a goofy social media presence and energizing live shows, performances in DIY spaces where you could feel the dedication and admiration of the crowd feeding into itself.

They fueled that energy into the raucous Steve Hears Pile In Malden And Bursts Into Tears, which came out in 2014, and their story ends somewhat abruptly with 2015’s A Distant Fist Unclenching. The album presented a fully-realized Krill, their songs muscular and well-produced and surgically constructed. But a few months after it was released, they announced that they were breaking up, wanting to go out on top rather than chase diminishing returns. A series of farewell shows followed for the Krill acolytes to lay the band to rest. Krill never stayed broken up for very long — they’d reunite basically once a year like clockwork, and they released a posthumous EP in 2016 — but the band was no longer a going concern.

Krill songs were catchy and sloppy and cathartic, Furman’s distinctive yowl rising out of the muck to mythologize the frustrations of being young and insecure. They were smart and perceptive. Furman wrote with a surrealist bent, his heightened reality of ordinary events and existential crises made you feel like whatever you were going through mattered. He pulled from Kafka and Dostoyevsky and created an ethos and language that was progressive and inclusive. “If you were having a good time when everyone else was suffering,” he wails in one of their songs. “Then you were the oppressor.” Their songs were serious and self-effacing at the same time; they were a band that was trying not to be disaffected when everything around you is screaming for you to give up.

“It was very much about ethics and morality,” Furman said when asked to sum up Krill’s narrative in a recent interview. “One’s moral responsibilities to oneself and to other people and trying to be in conversation with other ethical art or moral art. I think it was a lot about duty and a lot about responsibility.”

Krill songs were also about personal politics. Furman wrote hooks about how not to be the shittiest person in the room, about how to channel your own anxieties into something productive or at least not destructive. Their songs were often about how to be a better person, a better friend, a better member of society, all while going through your own shit. They laid out internal contradictions in their music, interrogated themselves and their emotions and their place in the world. They often came up empty, but that search for answers was life-affirming and invigorating for anyone who listened.

Last week, the Krill lineup as it existed when they broke up — Furman, Aaron Ratoff, and Ian Becker — announced their first album under a new name, Knot. With the name change and the addition of a new member, guitarist Joe DeManuelle-Hall, the Knot era represents a new chapter for the group and an official close to Krill, at least for now. As a way to memorialize Krill and welcome in Knot, we decided to take a dive into Krill’s 10 best songs.

10. “Self-Hate Will Be The Death Of Youth Culture” (from Alam No Hris, 2012)

Krill had a way of packaging big ideas into one-liners, hooks that are fun to sing along to but that will also keep you up at night. “Self-Hate Will Be The Death Of Youth Culture” is one of those. There are barely any other discernible lyrics in the song, but the constant repetition of that phrase gets you thinking: about how shame and self-deprecation can lead to a general feeling of powerlessness, how that might then lead to depression and, indeed, self-hatred. If we didn’t feel so bad about ourselves all of the time, maybe we wouldn’t be so prone to isolating ourselves? Krill don’t offer up any solutions on this song, just a general banging-about feeling as the band echoes off empty walls, wiry and insistent and gloriously messy.


9. “Phantom” (from A Distant Fist Unclenching, 2015)

“Phantom” builds to a tense conclusion in which Furman tries to find himself in this universe and keeps failing. “What is the proper orientation of myself to my non-self? What is the proper orientation of my non-self to me?” he wails. “What is the proper orientation of the world to my non-self? What is the proper orientation of the world to me?” That attempt to find some moral compass is the drive of a lot of Krill songs, and nowhere has it been so elegantly rendered as it is on the opening track of A Distant Fist Unclenching.

It comes after five minutes of build-up, one of the band’s most accomplished slow-burns, filled with little hints that the world is not adding up to what it should. Depression is personified as a lingering ghost, an odor from a forgotten glass of milk in a microwave. “The phantom keeps on coming/ And the phantom won’t relent,” Furman sings. “And from the kitchen there rises/ An unblinking, awful scent.” Nothing you can do will wipe out the smell.


8. “Never A Joke” (from Lucky Leaves, 2013)

Krill were often very funny, both online and in their songs, but they made a point to not punch down. They went so far as to make a song about it. “Never A Joke” sounds greasy and tangled, uncomfortable and itching to move on. Furman’s voice modulates up and down as the band tumble over themselves; he sings of over-caffeinated late nights and feeling like a loser.

Feeling like a loser often results in wanting to make others feel like losers, and Furman is well aware of when he stoops down to that level. “When I said I hated you, you didn’t call at all and that made me feel so low,” he sings, his voice ping-ponging back and forth. “I was just joking, but I know it’s never a joke to make someone feel zero.” That last phrase is turned into a mantra, a way to remember to make sure you never make someone feel as bad as you might feel about yourself.


7. “Fresh Pond” (from Steve Hears Pile In Malden And Bursts Into Tears, 2014)

The geography of Boston often plays a big part in Krill’s discography, especially on their Steve Hears Pile In Malden And Bursts Into Tears EP. Malden, a town just outside the Boston city limits; “Fresh Pond,” the neighborhood of a movie theater that becomes a potential respite in this song. Furman asks the listener if they want to go see a movie, to watch something on a screen other than the passing of people down in the street below.

“When I go home/ I stare out the window/ But all I see sometimes/ Is the window pane,” Furman sings, pleading and a little pathetic. “You claim that I’m not turd/ How could I just take your word? When all that feels real sometimes is my own shame?” Calling back to another great song on the same EP, “Turd,” “Fresh Pond” is one of Krill’s most intricate compositions, a swirl of guitars that leads to a twitchy breakdown and then a calming relief. It’s hypnotic and comforting, an outlier in a discography that so often prefers the anxious. Life slows down for a moment in the darkness of a room, even as the world keeps moving.


6. “Tiger” (from A Distant Fist Unclenching, 2015)

“Tiger” is an ambitious song, a kaleidoscope of shifting perspectives and coiled tension that unspools over seven minutes. It alternates between balmy looseness and bugged-out noise, and Furman sounds disaffected, singing of unavoidable everyday catastrophes. The focal point is a villager who was mauled by a hungry tiger. “The tragedy is/ The villager was well-liked,” Furman sings, his voice curling inward.

Bad things happen to good people; fate dictates our endings but we don’t know why. “In the distance, there is a fist unclenching,” he sings. “To hand down the judgement/ But withhold the sentence.” “Tiger” makes death feel inevitable, the natural order of the world playing out as it’s supposed to. It’s complicated and undulating but also quite simple, a giant exhale at the end of a long day as you prepare for the drudgery of the next.


5. “Steve Hears Pile In Malden And Bursts Into Tears” (from Steve Hears Pile In Malden And Bursts Into Tears, 2014)

Steve Hears Pile In Malden And Bursts Into Tears is a love letter to Pile, the Boston band that served as both Krill’s forebears and contemporaries. The whole EP is the remnant of an abandoned concept album about Steve, a Pile fan who gradually comes to the conclusion that he’s not a real person and is actually just a character in a Pile song. The EP’s opening title track takes off at a gallop, Furman singing from his character’s POV and comparing himself to his favorite band. “Did you hear the latest Pile album?/ Not a stinker on it/ I feel like I’ve never done anything good,” Furman’s voice curdles, like he’ll never live up to his inspirations.

The whole song’s an adrenaline hit, the band going for broke and playing scrawled, melodic punk. At the end of it, the imagined Steve emails Rick Maguire, the leader of Pile, and asks if he’ll play a show with him. Maguire’s busy, though, and Furman turns that inaccessibility into another way to fall deeper into admiration for this band. “That’s cool, man/ Busy is a good problem to have,” he shouts, his voice howling into the distance. “That’s cool, man/ I’ll catch you laaater.”


4. “Purity Of Heart” (from Lucky Leaves, 2013)

On “Purity Of Heart,” Furman engages in philosophical discussions with the nature around him. He has conversations with the trees, the grass, some twigs, and imagines them also trying to just be content with what they are and struggling to do so. It’s sincere and soul-searching, a rambling and fantastical search for meaning conceived of on a nice long walk. “Do you ever try to just think one thought? To think it all straight and think it a lot?” Furman asks. “Think it all through and see where you get/ And when you arrive, just think it again.”

That’s a lot to package up in a jittery rock song, and none of it is necessarily apparent on first listen — “Purity Of Heart” is one of Krill’s most immediately likable tracks, a squall of noisy guitars and upward energy — but it’s something you can’t help but think about the more you listen, a way to make you more attuned to the world around you and search for purity in the littlest things.


3. “Brain Problem” (from A Distant Fist Unclenching , 2015)

Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. A lot of mental health problems are just chemistry, an unlucky combination handed down at birth or brought on by uncontrollable factors that can, theoretically, be altered. There are a lot of drugs for this. But the worst part about feeling bad, acting like an asshole, or not caring about someone or something that you should care about is figuring out whether it’s your specific brain juice that’s making you act like that or whether it’s just, well, you.

“Brian Problem” is Krill’s fiery and furious song about their frustration with chemical imbalances. Furman is sardonic on it, leery of his own mind. “When I was 16, I realized I had always had a brain problem,” he sings. “I wanted to drop dead right then and there/ I want to live forever/ And I can’t believe I made it to 23 without a scratch on me,” the rest of the band cavorting and crackling around him.

He borrows language from 12-step programs: “So god grant me strength to know what is a brain problem and what is juuuuuust me,” he sings, adopting a jokey drawl borrowed from sitcoms. It’s a deflection tactic but also an admittance that, as he sings, “the problem comes and goes with the weather.” “Brain Problem” is an acknowledgement that sometimes our greatest flaws are immovable, that sometimes bad moods are out of our control but that doesn’t let us off the hook for not trying to be better.


2. “Infinite Power” (from Lucky Leaves, 2013)

The best songs make us feel bigger than ourselves. “Infinite Power” does that, takes hold of the rare few minutes when everything feels great and turns them into an armor. It’s a moment of faux bravado, of course, a place in your head you can escape to when it all gets to be too much, but Furman’s cockiness at the beginning of the song is infectious. “How can I be humble having learned of my infinite power?” he asks. “Why should I be quiet when everything else keeps on screaming?”

The song gives yourself permission to be as sad or as happy as you need to be. In its first half, it’s triumphant and effervescent, but the band switches gears toward the end, launches into a line that’s been shouted along to at Krill shows since they first started playing it. “If you wanna feel like a failure, that’s your right!” Furman repeats the phrase ad nauseam. His voice twists and groans and mangles and screams until you can almost taste blood. To have a whole room shouting that back at you, justifying and celebrating feeling low while choosing to feel high, is power on a near-infinite scale.


1. “Solitaire” (from Alam No Hris, 2012)

“Solitaire” is a song about being alone, and it’s joyous and distressed, frustrated and freed. Furman is heartbroken from a breakup, or at least he wants to feel like he’s heartbroken. He’s singing about the song as he’s writing it, immortalizing fleeting feelings in a piece of art that will live on for eternity. “These three minutes/ Well, these are just a distraction/ Just a momentary lapse in form,” he sings. “Dumb garage rock for some stupid girl I don’t miss/ A face floating in nothingness.”

Furman is excoriating, beating himself up over even pretending to care. He calls himself a “weakness doofus champion,” a phrase that has probably looked nice on a tattoo. His voice is punctuated by echoing coos and the song’s sloppy, driving momentum, all leading to a line that once again incites group singalongs: “I could be in a bad mood/ Every day all day,” he sings, petulant and bratty. But there is one thing keeping his head above water: music. “Put on some Arthur Russell, see how fast I change,” he follows. “It’s embarrassing.” “Solitaire” captures that feeling of jamming out alone in your room and forgetting all your problems by being that song you can jam out alone to.

“Solitaire” has a place in Krill’s own mythology, too. It was the last song performed at their “final” show. They were joined by Frankie Cosmos’ Greta Kline, who covered the song in its early days and always remained a supporter in Krill’s orbit. It’s easy to sing “Solitaire” and replace Russell’s name and add in the name of any musician that gets you through the day. Hell, you could add in Krill. Krill became the music that can help us feel better about ourselves, or at least meet us on the same level of sadness. Put on some Krill and see how fast you change. It’s embarrassing.

Listen to the playlist on Spotify.

Stream Soul Blind’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1

Stream Soul Blind’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1

| July 13, 2020 – 11:26 am

In recent years, a lot of bands who come from the hardcore world have been embracing the fuzzed-out sounds of ’90s alt-rock radio. Higher Power, Drug Church, Fiddlehead, Culture Abuse, Narrow Head, and Gouge Away all embody that trend to some extent, and Soul Blind fit right in there. Soul Blind come from the same Hudson Valley, New York hardcore scene that birthed bands like Mindforce and All Out War, but Soul Blind don’t make hardcore. Instead, their sound is a dreamy fuzz-pedal trudge that exists somewhere on the continuum between grunge and shoegaze.

Soul Blind have been self-releasing music since 2018, and they’ve claimed bands like Hum, Failure, and Deftones as influences. Their music can be heavy, and it can sometimes show flashes of the hardcore that’s deep in its DNA. But the emphasis is more on seasick melody and gooey guitar dynamics. It’s a sound that never really goes out of style, and they’re good at making it.

Thus far, Soul Blind haven’t released an album. Instead, their recorded output is limited to a couple of self-released 2018 EPs and a 2019 promo. But today, the band has compiled all of its recorded material onto a new record called Greatest Hits Vol. 1. It plays together surprisingly cohesively, as if they always meant for the album to hang together like this. And since this is a band who cares deeply about things like guitar tone, the self-released music doesn’t sound small or lo-fi. It’s the kind of thing that you’ll probably be into if you like ’90s alt-rock — and if you are reading this website, you probably like ’90s alt-rock at least a little bit. Stream it below.

Greatest Hits Vol. 1 is out now on Trip Machine Laboratories.

Moses Sumney – “Monumental”

Moses Sumney – “Monumental”

| July 13, 2020 – 12:28 pm

Just a few months ago, Moses Sumney released a remarkable new album, græ. The album had some stunning video components, most of them helmed by Sumney himself, and he’s extending that visual flair to a new ad campaign for the fashion designer Thom Browne. In a video for the campaign that Sumney directed, he puts himself on a pedestal and shows off his chiseled physique. In making the video, Sumney had a lot of questions on his mind, which he laid out in a statement:

What does it mean to pose statuesque on top of a marble podium, at a time when statues across the world — long-standing symbols of white supremacy — are literally being toppled? What does it mean to appropriate the Greco-Roman statue, a long-standing placeholder of white male virility and beauty, and replace it with my black body? A body that has historically been disregarded as far less beautiful and in more recent years, objectified? What does it mean to objectify myself?

To accompany the video, he recorded his own version of the “Olympic Hymn,” which was composed by Spyridon Samaras and has Greek lyrics by poet Kostis Palamas. His take on it is called “Monumental,” and Sumney sings the translated English version of the song, and gives the track his characteristic operatic splendor.

Check it out below.

Bob Mould – “Forecast Of Rain”

Bob Mould – “Forecast Of Rain”

| July 13, 2020 – 2:19 pm

Here in New York City, it’s been raining a whole lot lately. So it works out that Bob Mould has chosen to release his new “Forecast Of Rain,” the second single from the former Hüsker Dü/Sugar frontman’s upcoming album Blue Hearts, today. Lead single “American Crisis” made our 5 Best Songs Of The Week list when it came out, and “Forecast Of Rain” is also quite good.

“As a child, my mother took me to Sunday Mass. I’ve written many songs around religion. In the 2000s, I went back to the Catholic Church for three years – but I did not find my place,” Mould wrote in a statement. “I recognize the importance of religion for those who believe: the worship, the rituals, the community; loving thy neighbor, following commandments, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. In short, be nice to people, help however you can, and don’t steal stuff.” He continued:

But right now, I’m having a hard time understanding how certain religious sectarians can support the behavior of those who occupy the People’s House. How can you endorse their disregard for truth? How can you tolerate the incessant vindictiveness? How can you stand by your man while people are teargassed to clear a path to the Lord’s House?

I’m not good at quoting scripture, but I can manage two words: Jesus wept.

Listen to it below.

Blue Hearts is out 9/25 on Merge.

Juice WRLD’s Posthumous Album Is Haunting And Bittersweet

Juice WRLD’s Posthumous Album Is Haunting And Bittersweet

| July 13, 2020 – 5:00 pm

The last track on Juice WRLD’s new album is a 30-second spoken-word snippet called “Juice WRLD Speaks From Heaven.” This is an unsettling title because Juice WRLD is dead. The superstar sing-rapper born Jarad Higgins passed away last December, just days after his 21st birthday, from an accidental overdose of oxycodone and codeine. So when he announces, at the end of his posthumous album, “I’m on Instagram Live from Heaven,” it’s devastating and surreal, like being visited by a ghost. “I made it y’all, I’m up here, I’m boolin’,” Juice continues. “Haha, I love y’all to death. How can I ask for better fans or supporters? For sure, I love all y’all to death, 999, forever.” He then sings one of his more memorable lyrics: “The party never ends!”

This epilogue is not an actual dispatch from beyond — it’s excerpted from a June 2019 Instagram Live broadcast with SoundCloud rap producer DJ Scheme — but the effect is haunting all the same. It’s one of many such moments on Legends Never Die, an album consumed with anxiety, depression, and creeping death. Again and again, Juice refers to his own imminent demise. Sometimes he sounds resigned to it. Sometimes he sounds resolved to overcome it. Sometimes he even encourages his listeners that whatever they’re going through, they can make it to the other side. None of this is new material for Juice WRLD; virtually everything he released in his two years of fame was consumed with the same ideas. Now that he’s gone, though, the constant references to his mortality add up to a deeply eerie experience. The album hits hard, not least of all because it finds Juice at the peak of his powers, fully stepping into his role as a generation-defining pop star. Much more so than last week’s posthumous Pop Smoke album, it does justice to the essence of an artist who died when they were just getting started.

Juice WRLD broke through with 2018’s “Lucid Dreams,” which narrowly missed the #1 spot and remains his biggest chart hit. The track hybridized SoundCloud rap with Warped Tour pop-punk and emo to unsettlingly catchy effect: “I still see your shadows in my room,” he sang through Auto-Tune, couching seething bile toward an ex in an appealingly fluid melody. “Can’t take back the love that I gave you.” My colleague Tom Breihan once called it “an oddly pretty song about taking pills and contemplating your own death, all because some girl did you wrong” while summing up Juice’s debut Goodbye & Good Riddance as an album “about feeling romantically dejected or about doing whatever drugs you can find so that you feel numb rather than romantically dejected.” Less than two years later, in the wake of Juice’s untimely death, Tom acknowledged that he’d been coming around on this guy; maybe Juice WRLD’s music was rapidly evolving, but also “maybe I just caught up to something that millions of American teenagers had figured out long before.”

For many of us a bit older than Juice WRLD’s youthful fan base, it was convenient to write him off as a SoundCloud rap bogeyman, to mock him for sadboi song titles like “HeMotions” and raise moral concerns about his attitude toward women while being more lenient toward toxic lyrics from artists we found more aesthetically pleasing. But last year’s Death Race For Love complicated that caricature. Lyrically, his tone was (mostly) less vicious and vindictive. Musically, he was stepping out in a dozen directions and pulling them off, showing off adeptness with both hooks and bars atop an impressive range of production. Meanwhile Juice was jumping on tracks with artists outside his original milieu, from BTS to Ellie Goulding, and sounding completely at home. Like Tom, I was too stuck in my own biases to properly recognize it at first, but the guy was becoming an icon in real time, reflecting back millions of people’s struggles with drugs, mental health and, yes, heartbreak too.

On Legends Never Die, Juice has moved beyond blaming his problems on women, but he’s still coping with those same problems in the same ways. In another spoken interlude that introduces the new album, he explains, “You know my relationship is good, I got money, but there’s still other issues to talk about other than heartbreak. You’ve got anxiety, you’ve got substance abuse, you’ve got, you know, and there’s a lot of issues in the world to talk about.” That’s a generous interpretation of a collection with such single-minded focus. It’s difficult to identify a moment on the album when Juice WRLD is rapping about anything but anxiety and substance abuse. “Takin’ medicine to fix all of the damage/ My anxiety the size of a planet,” he sings over moody chords and emo guitar arpeggios on “Righteous,” one of Legends Never Die’s catchiest and most unsettling songs. Within the same track he laments “We may die this evening” while grasping at optimism in the face of doom: “When it’s my time, I’ll know/ Never seen a hell so cold/ Yeah, we’ll make it out, I’ll know/ We’ll run right through the flames, let’s go.”

From start to finish, Juice remains fixated on that dangerous dance between drugs and depression. On “Wishing Well,” a pop-minded vision of pop-punk trap, he howls, “Let’s be for real/ If it wasn’t for the pills, I wouldn’t be here/ But if I keep taking these pills, I won’t be here.” Within a minute of name-checking Lauryn Hill, he paraphrases Marilyn Manson: “I stopped takin’ the drugs, and now the drugs take me.” What’s remarkable is how many ways he’s able to verbalize these same concepts, how many musical backdrops he can graft into his signature sound. With its boisterous drum programming and darting lead guitar, the Trippie Redd duet “Tell Me U Luv Me” could almost pass for Afrobeats. “Come & Go,” one of two collabs with Marshmello, is practically a post-EDM jock jam, full of crunchy power chords and thunderous beat drops. Whether joining forces with Halsey for the string-laden ballad “Life’s A Mess,” flexing about his demons over gorgeous booming blips on “Conversations,” playing the foil to Polo G’s bluesy gangster rap on “Hate The Other Side,” or going full blink-182 on grand finale “Man Of The Year,” he sounds completely natural and in his element.

Many of these modes will still repel listeners who can’t stomach popular music at its most garish. Like peers from Post Malone to the late Lil Peep, two other acts my brain had to acclimate to over time, Juice WRLD was the kind of magnetic figure who pulls listeners into his orbit rather than cater to prevailing notions of high art and good taste. To Pimp A Butterfly this is not. At 55 minutes it’s one of the breezier 21-track rap albums you’ll encounter, but no matter how many subtle or overt stylistic shifts he pulls off, there’s a limit to how many times Juice can linger on the same subjects without sometimes wearing thin. And when he does finally pivot to joy on “Man Of The Year,” raising a codeine toast to himself and declaring, “I know my lyrics saved you,” it’s grating enough to make me long for more wallowing. Still, a sizable portion of his audience would surely confirm that Juice’s music was a life raft in dark times.

Near the end of Legends Never Die, another interlude presents audio segments from before and after Juice WRLD’s death, expressions of approval from stars like Travis Scott and Eminem compiled into a testament to Juice’s legacy. Young Thug begins the segment by comparing Juice to “2006 to 2009 Lil Wayne.” G Herbo ends it by proclaiming, “What Juice was to our generation, bro, and the impact he had on us is what Biggie did for New York, for real. Like, I really think he had that Biggie, Pac effect.” These are sentiments I would have deemed extremely suspect when Juice WRLD was on the rise, but in hindsight it’s impossible to deny how prolific he was in his brief spotlight moment and what an important role he played in defining the current sound of hip-hop. I hope I would have recognized him as a legend if he was still living.

CREDIT: Joseph Okpako/WireImage

CHART WATCH

Pop Smoke becomes only the fourth rapper with a posthumous #1 album this week, topping the Billboard 200 with debut LP Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon with 251,000 equivalent album units and 59,000 in sales. Per Billboard, it’s the sixth best one-week total of the year (behind the Weeknd, BTS, Lil Uzi Vert, Eminem, and Lady Gaga), and its 190,000 in streaming equivalent albums — which amount to 268.44 million track streams — are the fourth best of 2020 (behind the first two weeks of Uzi’s Eternal Atake and the debut week of Drake’s Dark Lane Demo Tapes). Among rappers, only the Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, and XXXTentacion have topped the chart with a posthumous release.

With 102,000 units and 32,000 in sales, the Hamilton original cast recording shoots up to a new peak of #2 thanks to a filmed live performance of the play debuting on Disney+. It’s the highest chart position for a Broadway cast recording since Hair spent 13 weeks at #1 in 1969. Hamilton previously peaked at #3 in the wake of the 2016 Tony Awards, which at the time tied it with The Book Of Mormon for the highest Broadway album peak since Hair. The rest of this week’s top 10 comprises longstanding hits from Lil Baby, DaBaby, Post Malone, the Weeknd, Harry Styles, Polo G, Lil Uzi Vert, and Lil Durk.

Over on the Hot 100 singles chart, things are mostly the same. DaBaby and Roddy Ricch’s “Rockstar” rules the chart for a fifth nonconsecutive week, followed by the Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” at #2, Jack Harlow’s “What’s Poppin” at #3, Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé’s “Savage” at #4, and SAINt JHN’s “Roses” at #5. The biggest song from the Pop Smoke album, the Lil Baby/DaBaby collab “For The Night,” debuts at #6. Per Billboard, it’s Pop’s first top-10 hit, the fifth for Lil Baby, and the fourth for DaBaby. Harry Styles’ “Watermelon Sugar” reaches a new #7 peak, and the top 10 is rounded out by Lil Mosey’s “Blueberry Faygo,” Doja Cat’s “Say So,” and Justin Bieber and Quavo’s “Intentions.”

POP FIVE

Katy Perry – “Smile”
This is good and also sounds completely out of date. But if Katy Perry is no longer trying to make cutting-edge pop music, she might as well be serving up something like Mark Ronson remixing Graduation-era Kanye production. (In reality “Smile” has a zillion songwriters and was produced by the trio of Oligee, Abraham, and G Koop.)

Tainy & J Balvin – “Agua”
As expected, this is a perfectly competent reggaeton track, but it’s pretty funny that J Balvin’s song from the Spongebob movie is less cartoonish than what he was doing with Bad Bunny.

Zara Larsson – “Love Me Land”
Zara Larrson is not messing around! Can someone show this to the TikTok children because I’d really like “Love Me Land” to become a hit.

Becky G – “My Man”
Come for the mariachi-reggaeton echo-chamber, stay for the fighting-game rom-com music video.

James Bay – “Chew On My Heart”
I prefer the O.C. soundtrack retromania of Bay’s prior album to this Hozier-goes-disco sound, but “Chew On My Heart” is growing on me.


NEWS IN BRIEF

  • Lil Nas X teased a new song, “Call Me By Your Name.” [Twitter]
  • Justin Timberlake made an Instagram post calling for the removal of Confederate monuments. [Instagram]
  • Paramore apologized for selling a fan-designed BLM benefit poster that reimagined their Riot! album cover with the names of police brutality victims. [Alt Press]
  • Jada Pinkett-Smith confirmed she had a romantic relationship with August Alsina while separated from Will Smith. [Vulture]
  • Katy Perry on Kanye West’s presidential ambitions: “I think we have seen and learned from experience that when we don’t have pros in position, that it can get a little wild.” [YouTube]
  • Mariah Carey’s memoir, The Meaning Of Mariah Carey, will be released by Andy Cohen Books in September. [Twitter]
  • In Nashville’s first major concert in almost four months, Brad Paisley played one of Live Nation’s socially distanced drive-in shows over the weekend. [Tennessean]
  • Bebe Rexha is delaying her album release until “the world is in a better place.” [Twitter]
  • Louis Tomlinson announced he’s leaving Simon Cowell’s record label Syco Music. [Twitter]
  • Billie Eilish will make an appearance on the new 12-episode podcast An Oral History Of The Office. [EW]
  • The Academy says the new Hamilton movie will not be eligible for Oscars because it’s a filmed version of the stage play, and not a feature-length film. So Lin-Manuel Miranda will have a wait a little longer for his EGOT. [Vanity Fair]
  • Here’s Halsey’s new ice cream commercial. [YouTube]
  • And here’s Halsey new hand tattoo in tribute to the late Juice WRLD. [Instagram]
  • Speaking of Juice WRLD, Yellowcard’s lawsuit against his estate is back on. [Rock Feed]
  • Diplo and Noah Cyrus released a video for “On Mine.” [YouTube]
  • Harry Styles has a “sleep story” available on the Calm app. [Standard]
  • Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, and Trace Adkins will play a drive-in concert event on 7/25. [USA Today]
  • Charlie Puth released a video for “Girlfriend.” [YouTube]
  • Wrabel and Kesha teamed up on new song “Since I Was Young.” [YouTube]

HOLD ON, WE’RE GOING HOME

you can have your space, cowboy pic.twitter.com/2mxRluGSIH

— Natalie Weiner (@natalieweiner) July 10, 2020

Fairport Convention’s Judy Dyble Dead At 71

Fairport Convention’s Judy Dyble Dead At 71

| July 12, 2020 – 5:49 pm

CREDIT: Michael Putland/Getty Images

The English musician Judy Dyble has died at 71 as a result of a long-term illness, the BBC reports. Dyble was a founding member of the British folk band Fairport Convention and sang on their debut album in 1968, but parted ways with them the following year.

She went on to perform with Giles, Giles And Fripp (an early King Crimson project) and Trader Horne (with Jackie McAuley), but she left music in 1973 for a few decades, working as a librarian and helping to run her husband’s tape duplicating service.

After appearing at some festivals with Fairport Convention at the turn of the millennium, she embarked on a solo career and released a long string of understated folk albums, most recently 2018’s Earth Is Sleeping. She was gearing up to release a new album with Big Big Train frontman David Longdon later this year. In 2016, she self-published an autobiography called An Accidental Musician.



Great White Address Backlash Over Concert With No Masks Or Social Distancing

Great White Address Backlash Over Concert With No Masks Or Social Distancing

| July 12, 2020 – 6:18 pm

On Thursday night, the band Great White performed at an outdoor show in North Dakota that had no coronavirus precautions in place. The performance, naturally, drew attention and criticism. The band have now addressed the performance in a new statement to Billboard.

“We have had the luxury of hindsight and we would like to apologize to those who disagree with our decision to fulfill our contractual agreement,” it reads. “The Promoter and staff were nothing but professional and assured us of the safety precautions. Our intent was simply to perform our gig, outside, in a welcoming, small town.”

Here’s the full statement:

We understand that there are some people who are upset that we performed this show, during this trying time. We assure you that we worked with the Promoter. North Dakota’s government recommends masks be worn, however, we are not in a position to enforce the laws. We have had the luxury of hindsight and we would like to apologize to those who disagree with our decision to fulfill our contractual agreement. The Promoter and staff were nothing but professional and assured us of the safety precautions. Our intent was simply to perform our gig, outside, in a welcoming, small town. We value the health and safety of each and every one of our fans, as well as our American and global community. We are far from perfect.

The band’s appearance in North Dakota had apparently been planned prior to the pandemic as part of the town of Dickinson’s First On First performance series. “We do not have restrictions, believe it or not,” event coordinator April Getz told The Dickinson Press before the show. “It’s one of those things where if people feel comfortable coming down and mixing and mingling, that’s their personal choice. We’re leaving it up to everybody that chooses to attend.”

It’s worth noting that Jack Russell, the former singer of Great White who now performs as Jack Russell’s Great White and was not at the Great White show on Thursday night, has been vocal about the need to wear masks and staying distanced. “There’s no need to be out [in public places]. People don’t take it seriously — they don’t take the virus seriously. It’s sad,” he said in a recent interview.

Hamilton Becomes The Highest Charting Cast Recording Album Since 1969

Hamilton Becomes The Highest Charting Cast Recording Album Since 1969

| July 12, 2020 – 6:45 pm

Hamilton is very popular. We know this. And Hamilton is becoming only more popular (and sparking up more conversations) since the recorded version of the musical arrived on Disney+ earlier this month. Billboard has just released its latest album chart and the Hamilton cast recording has shot up to the #2 spot, a new peak for the album. The album had 102,000 equivalent album units this week; 32,000 of those were in album sales. That’s up 294% and 592% respectively from what it clocked the previous week when it was #14 on the chart.

The new peak breaks and challenges quite a few Billboard records. It’s now the highest-charting cast recording since 1969, when Hair spent 13 weeks at #1. Previously, it had been tied with The Book Of Mormon at a #3 peak, which Hamilton reached in 2016 right after the Tony Awards where it won in 11 categories, including Best Musical.

The Hamilton cast recording has spent 250 consecutive weeks on the chart, second only to The Phantom Of The Opera recording, which had 331 weeks on the list between 1990 and 1996. It’s climb to #2 represents the slowest climb to the top two ever without falling off the chart — it’s spent every week since it was released almost 5 years ago somewhere on there.

Hamilton is among a group of only six cast recordings that have sold over 32,000 copies in a single week since electronic tracking began in 1991. (Hamilton has done this six times now; this is just its latest.) The five other recordings are: The Book Of Mormon, Rent, The Phantom Of The Opera and then the Phantom Highlights edition, and Springsteen On Broadway. In total, the Hamilton cast recording has sold 1.97 million copies.

Hamilton was beat out for the top spot on the charts by Pop Smoke’s posthumous release Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon, which debuted with 251,000 equivalent album units, making for the sixth-biggest week of any album in 2020. In #3 is Lil Baby’s My Turn, which fell from #1, followed by DaBaby’s Blame It On Baby and Post Malone’s Hollywood Bleeding. A full rundown of the top 10 is here.

Phoebe Bridgers Heads To The Cyber Goth Prom In Outer Space On Zack Fox’s New Show RELEASED!

Phoebe Bridgers Heads To The Cyber Goth Prom In Outer Space On Zack Fox’s New Show RELEASED!

| July 12, 2020 – 7:30 pm

Phoebe Bridgers is the first guest star on a new Twitch show called RELEASED!, which is hosted by comedian and rapper Zack Fox. The show, which will air once a month, is being billed as “an interactive live performance narrative adventure” and will feature a different musical guest every episode that will lead Fox on a journey through a semi-animated world.

In this first episode, Bridgers is asking Fox for help “to make it to the Cyber Goth Prom in Outer Space,” or so it says in a press release. In between the narrative bits, she is performing songs from her new album, Punisher, which was released a few weeks back.

You can watch a livestream of the first episode starting at 5PM EST below.

Atlanta Rapper Marlo Dead

Atlanta Rapper Marlo Dead

| July 12, 2020 – 1:24 pm

CREDIT: Paras Griffin/Getty Images

The Atlanta rapper Marlo, born Rudolph Johnson, was found shot dead in a vehicle this weekend, as NBC News reports. The car was discovered on I-285 near the Benjamin E. Mays Drive overpass on Saturday night. “At this time, investigators believe the victim was the intended target of the gunfire and they are working to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting,” an official told TMZ. Johnson was reportedly 27, though the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office told NBC that he was 30.

Marlo signed to Quality Control Music in 2017 and put out a project with Lil Baby called 2 The Hard Way that same year. He followed that up with two 2018 projects, 9th Ward God and The Real 1. His most recent project, 1st & 3rd, came out in February and featured guest appearances from Future, Gucci Mane, Young Thug, Gunna, Young Dolph, Black Youngsta, Moneybagg Yo, and Lil Baby.

News of Marlo’s death surfaced through social media posts early Sunday morning. An Instagram post from Lil Yachty said that the two of them had recently collaborated on a song that has yet to be released.

Marlo is survived by four children.


Great White Play Show With No COVID-19 Precautions 17 Years After 100 Fans Died In Their Concert Fire

Great White Play Show With No COVID-19 Precautions 17 Years After 100 Fans Died In Their Concert Fire

| July 11, 2020 – 8:40 pm

In 2003, a nightclub fire broke out at the beginning of Great White’s set at the Station in Rhode Island. Sparked by a pyrotechnics display set off by their tour manager, the blaze ended up killing 100 people, including the band’s guitarist Ty Longley, and badly injuring over 100 more. And now, Great White are out here playing shows with no masks or social distancing requirements.

Blabbermouth reports that Great White played an outdoor show in Dickinson, North Dakota on Thursday as part of First On First: Dickinson Summer Nights. “We do not have restrictions, believe it or not, we don’t have any,” April Getz, an event coordinator for the concert series, told The Dickinson Press. “It’s one of those things where if people feel comfortable coming down and mixing and mingling, that’s their personal choice. We’re leaving it up to everybody that chooses to attend.”

Jack Russell, the former singer of Great White who current performs as Jack Russell’s Great White, blasted people who don’t wear masks in a recent interview with Austria’s Mulatschag. “There’s no need to be out [in public places]. People don’t take it seriously — they don’t take the virus seriously. It’s sad,” he said. “People just don’t think. They come down to the beach down here and they wanna pretend like [the virus] doesn’t exist. Well, that’s fine. If you wanna get sick, that’s great. But put your mask on for me, because I’ve got my mask on.”

Parachutes Turns 20

Parachutes Turns 20

| July 10, 2020 – 11:15 am

Raise your hand if you remember when Coldplay were the new Travis. Before the U2-for-millennials arena rock, the Grey’s Anatomy tearjerker power ballads, the old-timey military fatigues, the full-fledged mainstream pop immersion, the exceedingly grand and often facepalm-worthy gestures, the Hollywood marriage and “conscious uncoupling,” the superstar rappers squabbling over who asked for a guest feature first — before Coldplay became the Coldplay we know today — they were part of a wave of edgeless English blokes imagining what might’ve happened if Thom Yorke had never discovered Warp Records and instead decided to just keep remaking “High And Dry.” This was the era of Starsailor and Stereophonics and Doves and Elbow and Turin Brakes and Badly Drawn Boy, a post-Britpop scene in which Coldplay were firmly entrenched. And then Chris Martin went walking down the beach, Coldplay got bigger than the rest of those “stool rock” acts combined, and the band that made Parachutes ceased to exist.

It was good while it lasted. Not that I’d disparage what came after, at least not most of it. I love Viva La Vida and Everyday Life and “The Scientist” and “Magic” and, yes, even “Fix You.” Despite some obvious missteps and a meek-yet-painfully-extra disposition that led some listeners to dismiss them as insufferable sops, I tend to believe Coldplay are underrated on the whole. But their debut album, released 20 years ago today, has a homespun charm the band has never since managed.

Coldplay couldn’t have made another album as pastoral as Parachutes if they’d tried. Martin, now one of the most famous people in the world, would have to return to the headspace of the unassuming Exeter kid fresh out of uni, steeped in quarter-life melancholy yet optimistic enough to bookend his album with assertions that “we live in a beautiful world” and “everything’s not lost.” Bandmates Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion — with whom Martin had linked up while studying ancient Greek and Latin at University College London, first under godawful names like Pectoralz and Starfish — would have to unlearn everything they know about radio-friendly sparkle and stadium-sized bombast. Ironically given its title, there’s a down-to-earth quality to the band’s first album. It sounds like the work of regular people, like four guys excited to rock the local pub even as they nurse more grandiose ambitions.

“Subterranean Homesick Alien” is as appropriate a Radiohead reference point as anything on The Bends. Parachutes sounds like both a drive through the English countryside and a walk home from the bar, contemplative and personal, metropolitan college kids’ idea of casual rustic splendor. Acoustic guitars and piano abound, often ambling ahead at easygoing tempos, occasionally shot heavenward by one of Buckland’s electric riffs. The album’s baseline is slow jams like “Sparks” and “We Never Change,” deep moods fit for breakups and budding crushes alike. Even some of the hardest rocking songs, like the paranoid, 007-inspired “Spies” and the “Hey Jude”-style sing-along finale “Everything’s Not Lost,” descend into shadows at times. “High Speed” is a misleading title for a track on which waves of guitar drift by like tumbleweeds, and even the brisk opening volley “Don’t Panic” communicates the tender intimacy of Nick Drake.

Despite the sighing coffeeshop feel, Coldplay had already figured out how to go big. With a voice like Martin’s, so richly textured and capable of scaling such great heights, how could they not? Reviewers from Pitchfork to Rolling Stone picked up traces of Dave Matthews’ growl (you can hear it on the interlude “Parachutes,” a close cousin to DMB’s “Satellite”) and Jeff Buckley’s wail (you can’t miss it on “Shiver,” which could almost slide onto the Grace tracklist without anyone noticing). Martin was mostly serving up big-picture platitudes and banal personal drama, the sort of things that, speaking from personal experience, strike a young songwriter as profound when they’ve never had to worry about poverty, sexism, racism, et al. The man sings about living in a bubble more than once here. Yet his voice is a force of nature that can imbue the most benign lyrics with devastating power, so Coldplay were well-equipped to ramp up the drama when they so chose.

They did so at the core of Parachutes, on a pair of songs that established their anthem-slinger bona fides. On “Yellow,” the single that broke them in America, they spun magic out of little more than a simple acoustic chord progression, some romantic nonsense about the stars, and Buckland’s majestic string bends. It is a blank canvas on which to project whatever sentimental vibes you wish, as vast and glittering as the nighttime sky. Less expansive but even more powerful is “Trouble,” a bleary piano ballad about longing to soar so high again but being too weighed down by regret. “Oh, I never meant to cause you trouble!” Martin cries out, his voice coursing with genuine ache. “Oh, I never meant to do you wrong!” Accented by Martin’s wistful piano riff, Buckland’s weeping guitar, and Berryman’s subtly masterful bass notes, it all coalesced into one of history’s great breakup songs.

Perhaps at some point these past two decades you’ve listened back on “Trouble” and felt like Martin was singing to you, apologizing for whatever Coldplay did to sour you. “We never change, do we?” he sang near the end of Parachutes, a notion he and his bandmates would prove wrong almost immediately. The band many of us fell in love with through this album has morphed several times over since the year 2000, winning over millions of newcomers in the process, carving out a polarizing reputation. I don’t personally begrudge those changes, but I do treasure the memory of that fleeting moment when Coldplay were just one of a legion of young British rock bands stretching for the heavens, doing their damndest to shine for you.

Coldplay Unveil Alternate Take Of “Yellow” Video For Parachutes’ 20th Anniversary

Coldplay Unveil Alternate Take Of “Yellow” Video For Parachutes’ 20th Anniversary

| July 11, 2020 – 3:51 pm

Coldplay’s debut album Parachutes just turned 20 yesterday. And to commemorate the annivesary, the band has shared footage from the never-before-seen first take of the music video for their breakthrough single “Yellow.”

“There were tons of extras in this version. But it rained all day so we sent them home at 4PM,” explains Coldplay’s creative director Phil Harvey. “Chris grabbed the cameraman and said ‘let’s just walk down the beach.’ Woked out well in the end!”

Watch and compare the first take to the final version below.

@coldplay

Take 1 of the Yellow video (never seen before) ##Coldplay ##Parachutes

♬ original sound – coldplay

Lady A Explains Why Co-Existence With Country Band Will Not Work: “Lady Antebellum Has Erased Me From Every Platform”

Lady A Explains Why Co-Existence With Country Band Will Not Work: “Lady Antebellum Has Erased Me From Every Platform”

| July 11, 2020 – 4:32 pm

After changing their name to Lady A for racial sensitivity reasons, the pop-country trio formerly known as Lady Antebellum then decided to sue a blues singer also named Lady A over their right to use the name. The lawsuit, filed in Tennessee court this week, claims that the band registered the Lady A trademark years ago and that Anita White, the 61-year-old Black woman who has performed under the name Lady A for decades, made an “exorbitant monetary demand” of $10 million in exchange for shared use of the name.

Lady A the singer responded to the lawsuit with interviews in Vulture and Rolling Stone, explaining that she was going to spend half of the $10 million on rebranding and the rest would be donated to racial justice organizations. “If you want to be an advocate or an ally, you help those who you’re oppressing,” she said. “And that might require you to give up something because I am not going to be erased.” And now, Billboard repoorts, she’s released a lengthy, detailed statement explaining her position.

“It has already been demonstrated why co-existence will simply not work,” White writes. “My fans used to be able to listen to my music on streaming services; now they struggle to find me. Due to Lady Antebellum’s massive rebranding efforts, Lady Antebellum has erased me from every platform. Lady Antebellum has used their wealth and influence to intimidate and bully me into submission without offering any real recompense for appropriating my name.” Read her full statement below.

I first heard about Lady Antebellum’s planned name change after they went public on June 11, 2020, at which point I was shocked and taken aback. During initial calls with the members of the band — Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood — I hoped that we could reach an agreement that left both sides whole. Lady Antebellum understood that their use of “Antebellum” was offensive and that their adoption of Lady A harms me, as I have been using the name professionally for over 30 years.

Though they recognized their impact, Lady Antebellum has not been receptive to my proposals for correcting their infringement, unfortunately. It has already been demonstrated why co-existence will simply not work. My fans used to be able to listen to my music on streaming services; now they struggle to find me. Due to Lady Antebellum’s massive rebranding efforts, Lady Antebellum has erased me from every platform. Lady Antebellum has used their wealth and influence to intimidate and bully me into submission without offering any real recompense for appropriating my name. It is now clear that their apologies, friendly texts, and playing on my love of God were just insincere gestures aimed at quieting me. Well, I will not be quiet any longer.

After being called out for taking my name, Lady Antebellum and their team of publicists and attorneys are doing what many folks of privilege do when asked to cease and desist bad behavior. Hillary, Charles, and Dave are attempting to change the narrative by minimizing my voice and belittling my experience as an artist — as if having a lot of money gives them permission to tread on my rights. I have worked too long and too hard to just give my name away.

The band’s decision to change their name to Lady A follows the trend of many other groups and organizations working to distance themselves from racism in the wake of the uprisings in this post-George Floyd world. Someone finally told them — or perhaps they knew all along and didn’t care until now — that their name reminds Black folks of just how much was taken from us in the past: our lives, freedom, languages, families, and, yes, our names. It is absurd that Lady Antebellum has chosen to show its commitment to racial equality by taking the name of a Black woman, particularly in this time when we are reminded every day to “Say Her Name.” It is one more demonstration of what continues to be taken away from us in the present. Given the way that Hillary, Charles, and Dave have treated me, I am not surprised that they used the name Lady Antebellum for so long or that their cure is to adopt a name that is only less overtly racist. The A in their name stands for Antebellum and always will. If they are truly committed to racial equality, why do they want to maintain that association, especially when it means making a public, intentional stand to disregard me and my rights?

Lady A is my identity — and it has been since 1987. I want to be able to freely use my brand that I spent decades building. I do not want to part with it. It is particularly painful to me, as a Black woman, to lose my name in THIS time and place so Lady Antebellum can use it as shorthand to celebrate a time and place connected to and very heavily reliant upon slavery. I asked for $5 million to compensate me for this loss, and to help me rebuild under a new name. I also asked that they donate $5 million to a charity so that we could work together to promote racial equality. It was my impression from our communications that this would appeal to Hillary, Charles, and Dave. I guess I was wrong.

Their refusal to come to an agreement that would be respectful of my work and my rights, however, has given me the clarity and the drive to not back down. Black lives, names, experiences, work, art – they all matter. Fellow independent artists have reached out to me to share their stories of name feuds that they lost because they were on the opposite side of big money and privilege. Not only will I not be one of them, but I am hopeful that this fight for what is rightfully mine will help those damaged by this type of bullying and erasure in the past, and that it will prevent it from happening in the future. I will not allow Lady Antebellum to obliterate me and my career so they can look “woke” to their fans.

The Number Ones: Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”

The Number Ones: Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”

| July 10, 2020 – 8:45 am

In The Number Ones, I’m reviewing every single #1 single in the history of the Billboard Hot 100, starting with the chart’s beginning, in 1958, and working my way up into the present.

***

Michael Jackson – “Beat It”

HIT #1: April 30, 1983

STAYED AT #1: 3 weeks

Write a song like “My Sharona.” That was the assignment. Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson both wanted Jackson’s Thriller album to appeal to the widest audience possible. Jackson had flirted with disco on 1979’s Off The Wall, his previous album, and Jackson and Jones were worried that Thriller could get pulled into the anti-disco backlash that had wiped the genre out of the charts by 1982. So Quincy Jones told Michael Jackson to write a rock song. This was a bit of an issue, since Michael Jackson wasn’t remotely interested in rock music.

Quincy Jones could’ve presumably gotten any number of people to write a rock song for Michael Jackson. More than half of the songs on Thriller come from outside songwriters, and I’m willing to bet that the Knack’s Doug Fieger would’ve taken Jones’ call. But Jones wanted Jackson to write the song. The song that Jackson wrote wasn’t anything like “My Sharona.” Instead, Jackson came up with a sort of alternate-universe version of the genre, a rock song as written by a great musician who didn’t listen to rock songs.

In interviews after Thriller conquered the world, Jackson said that he wanted “Beat It” to be “the type of song that I would buy if I were to buy a rock song.” The implication here is that Jackson would not buy a rock song. “Beat It” has a big, nasty riff and a chest-puffed-out strut, and it’s also got that famous Eddie Van Halen guitar solo. Rock stations played “Beat It,” at least enough to get the single up to #14 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart. But “Beat It” still sounds more like a Michael Jackson song than anything else. Nobody was going to mistake this thing for 38 Special — or, for that matter, for “My Sharona.”

If “Beat It” recalls any previous chart-topper, it’s Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger,” another song that recognizes just how slick a heavy riff can be. “Beat It,” like “Eye Of The Tiger” before it, is more about beat and texture than arena-rock dynamics. Jackson and Jones played around with their big riff until it fit right alongside panting push-pull syncopation, elaborately rendered synth-tones, and cinematic sound effects. They made the song sound like a movie.

“Beat It” has one of the all-time great song intros: Seven ominous, echoing synth notes that sounded like gothic-cathedral bell clangs. Keyboardist Tom Bahler, who’d previously written Jackson’s Off The Wall ballad “She’s Out Of My Life,” played those notes on a fancy new digital synth called the Synclavier II, and he’d taken the notes directly from The Incredible Sounds Of Synclavier II, a demo record that had come out in 1981. Bahler later said that he wanted to change the notes, to come up with something original, but Jackson liked the way that intro sounded too much. Jackson was right. That intro is hard.

But where the intro is cold and unforgiving, “Beat It” does something almost subversive. In “Beat It,” Jackson wrote a tough-sounding song that’s specifically and intentionally about the value of not being tough. Jackson’s lyrics are directed at a kid who’s being chased out of town by a local gang. The kid wants to stand up to them, to fight back, and Jackson warns him, again and again, that he should just get out: “Don’t wanna see no blood, don’t be a macho man.” If the kid tries to fight back, Jackson knows exactly what’ll happen: “They’ll kick you, and they’ll beat you, and they’ll tell you it’s fair.” Jackson wants the kid to escape unscathed. He knows it’s not fair, and his message is that fairness doesn’t matter. Stay alive. Do what you can.

Jackson brings the same vocal paranoia that he’d brought to “Billie Jean,” the song that “Beat It” came close to replacing at #1. He makes his voice hard and percussive, throwing it against the track. Sometimes, the voice becomes part of the beat itself — the echoing “beat it” bit after the chorus, the tiny grunts and yips and breaths. On the outro, Jackson uses the hell out of the hee-hee yelp that would quickly become his trademark. But Jackson always stays delicate and vulnerable. He’s angry, but he’s also terrified — the same emotions that he showed on “Billie Jean.”

The “Beat It” guitar solo is a crucial part of the song’s legend and of its crossover appeal. At the time, Eddie Van Halen was pioneering the art of wheedly and baroque metal guitar pyrotechnics. Quincy Jones, who was friends with Van Halen’s producer, called Van Halen up and asked him to contribute. Van Halen thought it was a prank call at first, but he agreed readily enough. The rest of Van Halen’s band was out of town, so he figured he wouldn’t get any shit from them. At first, Van Halen was uncredited; he liked the idea that nobody would know it was him. Van Halen rearranged the song to put his solo right in the middle, and he did it all for free, as a favor to Jackson.

The solo is a short one, but it’s busy and vivid and violent and memorable. It rips right through the song. Soon enough, that solo started to launch urban legends of its own. That knocking sound just before the solo was, according to some, a drunk Van Halen bashing the studio door, demanding to be let in. It was really just Jackson banging on a drum case. A year later, after “Beat It” had won the Record Of The Year Grammy, Eddie Van Halen joined the Jacksons at one of the dates on their Victory tour and shredded his way through “Beat It.” (Van Halen will eventually appear in this column.)

But Van Halen is really only on “Beat It” for about 20 seconds. The person playing the riff is a previous Number Ones artist, Toto’s Steve Lukather. In fact, three members of Toto play on “Beat It”; keyboardist Steve Porcaro and drummer Jeff Porcaro are in there, too. “Beat It” is harder than any Toto song I could name, and you can’t really tell it’s them. But you can still tell that the musicians on “Beat It” are pros. Maybe that’s why I can’t get as excited about “Beat It” as I do about “Billie Jean.” There’s something just a little bit flat and mechanistic about that riff. The song never quite sounds as explosive and dangerous as it could’ve been if that riff had been just a little louder or more frenetic.

It almost seems ridiculous to talk about “Beat It” simply as a song, since the video is so important and iconic. It’s basically impossible not to think of the video when you hear the song. The “Beat It” video cost something on the level of $200,000, which made it, at the time, by far the biggest-budgeted music video in history. CBS Records refused to finance it, so Jackson paid for the video himself. Originally, “Billie Jean” director Steve Barron was going to direct it, but Barron’s idea was for “Beat It” to take place on a ship full of white slaves, with Michael Jackson as the slavemaster. Even in the coke-sozzled early MTV days, that wasn’t going to fly. Instead, Jackson brought in Bob Giraldi, who’d never directed a music video but who’d made a TV commercial that Jackson liked. A year later, Giraldi directed Jackson’s Pepsi commercials, including the one where Jackson’s hair caught on fire.

You shouldn’t need me to describe the “Beat It” video. It’s part of our shared folklore: These two extremely ’80s street gangs getting ready to fight, Jackson coming in to make the peace between them, everyone suddenly breaking out into a choreographed dance routine. Nobody had ever done a full, elaborate musical number as a video before, even though it seems like the most obvious thing in the world in retrospect. Choreographer Michael Peters, the guy with the mustache in the video, had already won a Tony for doing Dreamgirls on Broadway the previous year. Giraldi says that Jackson insisted on getting real LA gang members, Crips and Bloods, to appear in the video alongside the professional dancers who do the actual choreography, and that they all stopped scuffling with each other long enough to watch those dancers move.

Giraldi says that the knife fight in the “Beat It” video isn’t based on the one in West Side Story, that he’d heard about real knife fights like that while growing up in New Jersey. But Jackson was a huge fan of musicals, and he reportedly watched West Side Story all the time. I’ve always wondered about that knife fight. Like: How is that supposed to work? What if you’re the guy who ends up holding the knife in your left hand? Doesn’t that give the other guy an unfair advantage? Also, did Michael Peters, the choreographer, intentionally put a hand motion that looked like jerking off into the video for a song called “Beat It”?

The mere fact that I’m asking these questions should tell you that the “Beat It” video is the sort of thing you watch a million times, that sticks in your head. Jackson himself is spectacular n the video. He’s both fragile and intense, and he moves like light. Certain images of Jackson in the video — striking poses in the hallway, kicking his leg over the pool table, stepping in between the two gang leaders — immediately became part of MTV’s iconography. With “Billie Jean,” Jackson forced his way onto MTV. With “Beat It,” he absolutely conquered the network.

After “Beat It,” Jackson released four more Thriller tracks as singles. All of them made it into the top 10. None of them got as far as #1. But Jackson was at the peak of his culture-dominating powers. We will see a whole lot more of him in this column.

GRADE: 9/10

BONUS BEATS: In 1984, “Weird Al” Yankovic, with Jackson’s blessing, released his “Beat It” parody “Eat It.” Rich Derringer, singer of “Hang On Sloopy” and producer of “Frankenstein,” replicated the Eddie Van Halen guitar solo. With the minor masterpiece of a video, Yankovic did everything he could to copy and lampoon the “Beat It” video. (Bob Giraldi on “Eat It,” as quoted in Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum’s I Want My MTV: “I hated that ‘Weird Al’ video. It made fun of something serious and valuable to me. I felt it was a put-down.”) “Eat It” became a huge hit for Yankovic, peaking at #12 and carving out Yankovic’s place in popular culture. Here’s the “Eat It” video:

(“Weird Al” Yankovic’s highest-charting single, 2006’s “White & Nerdy,” peaked at #9. It’s a 7.)

BONUS BONUS BEATS: Here’s “Beat It” soundtracking the moment in 1989’s Back To The Future Part II where Marty McFly walks into the futuristic-nostalgic Cafe ’80s:

BONUS BONUS BONUS BEATS: Here’s Moby’s fun 1992 techno remix of “Beat It”:

(Moby’s highest-charting single, the 2000 Gwen Stefani collab “South Side,” peaked at #14.)

BONUS BONUS BONUS BONUS BEATS: Here’s “Beat It” soundtracking the Ben Stiller/Owen Wilson supermodel walk-off in the basically-perfect 2001 film Zoolander:

(Walk-off judge David Bowie has already been in this column once, and he’ll be in the column again very soon.)

BONUS BONUS BONUS BONUS BONUS BEATS: Fall Out Boy’s 2008 cover of “Beat It,” with John Mayer doing the Eddie Van Halen shredding, peaked at #19. Here’s their video for it:

(Fall Out Boy’s highest-charting single, 2007’s “This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race” peaked at #2. It’s a 4. John Mayer’s highest-charting single, 2007’s “Say,” peaked at #12.)

Massive Attack Release Politically-Minded New EP Eutopia, Featuring Algiers, Saul Williams, & Young Fathers

Massive Attack Release Politically-Minded New EP Eutopia, Featuring Algiers, Saul Williams, & Young Fathers

| July 10, 2020 – 9:16 am

This morning, long-reigning trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack released a new three-song EP called Eutopia, which the group explicitly conceptualized as a political piece of work about the immediate necessity of global systemic change. The music here is intended to be a vehicle for certain messages, and it’s impossible to strip the sounds away from the ideas that those songs are putting forward. Essentially, Massive Attack have made backing tracks that will hopefully convince people to listen to three people who have important things to discuss. They’ve provided a forum for Christiana Figueres, author of the UN Paris Climate Agreement, for Professor Gabriel Zucman, advocate of an American wealth tax, and for Professor Guy Standing, one of the proponents behind the idea of universal basic income.

Eutopia, which was inspired by Thomas More’s foundational book Utopia, is all about the idea of planning a more just and sustainable world. Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja has brought in some collaborators to help make those sonic landscapes: Soulful Atlanta post-punkers Algiers, veteran spoken-word poet Saul Williams, and Scottish rap experimenters Young Fathers. All three artists collaborate with Del Naja on essentially staying out of the way, clearing the way for these people to give short lectures on the massive importance of their projects to the greater world.

Massive Attack have conceived Eutopia as an audio-visual project, so all three tracks have videos from Mario Klingemann, who worked with the filmmaker Adam Curtis to make visuals for Massive Attack’s recent Mezzanine anniversary shows. The group recorded the tracks remotely, during quarantine. Check out all three of those videos below.



In a press release, Massive Attack have this to say:

Lockdown exposed the best aspects and worst flaws of humanity. That period of uncertainty and anxiety forced us to meditate on the obvious need to change the damaging systems we live by.  By working with three experts, we’ve created a sonic and visual dialogue around these global, structural issues; taking the form of climate emergency, tax haven extraction and Universal Basic Income.

The spirit of this EP, its elements and ideas have nothing to do with naïve notions of an ideal, perfect world, and everything to do with the urgent & practical need to build something better. In this sense, Eutopia is the opposite of spelling mistake.

Premature Evaluation: My Morning Jacket The Waterfall II

Premature Evaluation: My Morning Jacket The Waterfall II

| July 10, 2020 – 9:20 am

The first new My Morning Jacket song you’ll hear in almost half a decade is about paralysis. The first words you’ll hear Jim James sing are “I’ve been wrong for so long/ Risking my life for the sake of the song.” It’s strikingly out of character — no matter the sadness that could run across MMJ’s catalog, James has almost always seemed like the type of man who believes in the sacred, healing capacity of music above all else. He continues: “Just spinning my wheels/ Gotta find a way out… a way out of here.” By the end he switches to a resolution — “Done spinning my wheels” — but the tone of the song never shifts. It’s a deeply pretty exhale, but one haunted by dead ends and defeats. The first new My Morning Jacket song you’ll hear in almost half a decade might make you wonder just why it’s been that long, and whether they want to be back at all — or at least where The Waterfall II finds them.

“Spinning My Wheels” is the key to unlocking My Morning Jacket’s new album in more ways than one. In its sentiments about being “hypnotized from doing the same old thing,” there’s some suggestion of why MMJ may have gone so long without releasing new music. But it was also the song that led to The Waterfall II eventually, finally, coming out. In the early days of quarantine, James was walking around with his music on shuffle, and he stumbled into “Spinning My Wheels.” It compelled him to revisit the other material left over from the sessions that led to their last album, 2015’s original Waterfall. So in a way, The Waterfall II is both a long-awaited follow-up and an accidental quarantine album beamed in from another time.

There were rumblings about this album, or some other companion to The Waterfall, basically all the way back to the first Waterfall’s release. In interviews over the years, James would talk about the overabundance of music from those sessions, an inspiring creative passage on the other side of great personal turmoil. There was supposedly a sister album that was dancier, or more electronic-leaning. (Now, upon the revelation of The Waterfall II, we know that the band once toyed with the idea of a triple album before settling on two parts, and it’d appear that other Waterfall iteration is still shelved, or never came together.) He discussed the idea of following up The Waterfall quickly with this second half, which obviously didn’t happen. As the years went on and no new MMJ album seemed on the horizon, James would alternate between saying he’d moved on from that old Waterfall material for the time being and mentioning that it was basically ready to be released, just in need of mastering.

It’s not as if MMJ were silent all this time. They toured behind The Waterfall. They took time for solo endeavors or other projects, like when everyone but James — guitarist Carl Broemel, bassist Tom Blankenship, keyboardist Bo Koster, and drummer Patrick Hallahan — backed up Strand Of Oaks for last year’s Eraserland. James began churning out solo albums. Two new MMJ tracks, “Magic Bullet” and “The First Time,” came out in 2016 — they were part of that Waterfall era, and they’ve now found a permanent home on The Waterfall II. Last year, the band played a handful of shows commemorating the 20th anniversary of their debut The Tennessee Fire; a couple years before that they reissued It Still Moves. There was no big exile or absence. And yet, there was a strange lack of perceivable motion towards the next chapter of MMJ. And now, after all that time, they returned out of nowhere with a surprise release picking up a story first began in 2015.

All the circumstances behind The Waterfall II make it a bit of an oddity. A handful of songs we previously knew, and the fact that it originates from sessions for another album inevitably sets it up as some kind of B-sides throat-clearing, perhaps a very belated cap on one story before the band would begin telling another. But it’s presented as not just a lost album but also a new album — and it does very much play as one, unified work. You can hear all the ways in which it’s an extension of The Waterfall, but you can also listen to it as its own complete entity. It has threads and throughlines from across MMJ’s career, and it’s also unlike any of their other albums.

For one thing, there’s “Spinning My Wheels” again: My Morning Jacket have never begun an album the way they do here. They have had slow-burn introductions, like the way At Dawn’s title track conjuring leads right into the one-two punch of “Lowdown” and “The Way That He Sings,” or the sinister ascension of Circuital’s “Victory Dance.” But their albums always feel like these new, wondrous worlds, and their openers fittingly like the curtains rising on those worlds. “Spinning My Wheels” has no sweeping build, no cathartic climax. It’s a quiet, ruminative song throughout, so much that the eventual “Done spinning my wheels” sounds as much like a wary hope issued from the headspace of the rest of the song as it does any kind of conclusion. Thematically and sonically, it foreshadows what’s to come.

My Morning Jacket have never released an album that’s as consistently mellow and subdued as The Waterfall II. In its 10 tracks, there are still plenty of detours and explorations. The tear-stained ’60s pop bounce of “Still Thinkin” suddenly bleeds out into one of those trademark melted MMJ instrumental codas. “Climbing The Ladder,” which sticks one of the most straight-up country-rock guitar licks in MMJ’s catalog onto a disco thump, is the exact kind of lark you find on the second discs of double albums. But even the moments the band gets closest to a rocker are strange, bleary things. “Magic Bullet” addresses gun violence above a robo-funk prowl that feels like an eerier descendent of stuff like “Holdin’ On To Black Metal.” “Wasted” alludes to misspent time over a big ’70s rock arrangement that almost seems as if it exists purely to lurch into its scraggly four minute jam that, more than any lyrics, conveys the sort of chemical distraction that might’ve yielded that misspent time.

Front to back, The Waterfall II leans far more into the quieter sides of MMJ’s personality — perhaps at times suggesting a lived-in continuation of the AM Gold soft rock that’s been a bigger part of MMJ’s DNA since Evil Urges. “Spinning My Wheels” sets the stage, and balladry takes many forms from there: “Still Thinkin” answered by another lament in “Beautiful Love (Wasn’t Enough),” the extremely catchy but gentle highway rambler “Run It,” another acoustic number in “Welcome Home.” Even in its best moments — the patient spiral of the stunning “Feel You,” which features that classic guitar interplay between James and Broemel, or the transfixing and shimmery finale “The First Time” — The Waterfall II remains meditative, searching. There’s always that quality to My Morning Jacket’s music, a yearning seeking to be sated by imagining some vivid new horizon. But there are less eruptions than quiet storms here, less anthemic purges than music that feels like someone letting the tendrils of loss and years curl idly through the air.

The Waterfall II, naturally, arose from the same events that inspired The Waterfall all those years ago. When the latter was coming out, every article fixated on how it was a darker MMJ album; James had recovered from an injury and gone through a major breakup. The title wasn’t just some hippie reference to the transformative beauty of nature, but the idea that life is a waterfall that keeps pushing you down until you learn to let currents wash over you. James was weathered, talking about how years of traveling had taken their toll. It was not a positive album, but it still gazed towards the stars, tracks such as “Like A River” or the album’s trio of psychedelic, parenthetically-titled epics trying to abandon earthly pain by looking back up to the cosmos for transcendence.

At its core, there was a brooding and a bitterness to The Waterfall not so frequently glimpsed in MMJ’s music. In comparison, The Waterfall II is another part of the same process, a more somber and reflective look back on the same wreckage. And it’s perhaps more explicitly a breakup album, with almost every song referencing love withering in some form or another — much of it, seemingly, because of the decisions we make about how to spend our lives otherwise or the erosion of time. From “Spinning My Wheels” to “Climbing The Ladder” (“Still climbing the ladder/ Still paying my dues/ Don’t wanna be headed anywhere though/ Except back to you”) to “Feel You” (“Make time to waste time to feel time… Reaching out between the worlds/ To feel you”), James appears to attribute the death of romance to the obligations of his life otherwise. In “Beautiful Love,” he places the blame on himself, addressing an ex-partner and their generosity by asking, “Why is my bitter heart so demanding?”

All of this ends where it began. “The First Time,” in a sense, feels like an overdue denouement to the entire Waterfall saga. While “Only Memories Remain” was a long, mournful acknowledgement of the death of things, sifting through the ashes, “The First Time” is a celestial call back to the spark of beginnings, of new stories. It’s a gorgeous, engrossing sigh at the end of both albums. “We live on learning from the past/ And I know those feelings… that never seem to last/ But can we put it on again?/ And have it feel as special/ As it did back then?” James asks. Then, at the conclusion of the Waterfall’s second half, there’s one more question: “I wonder where the time went?”

It’s a strange question to ponder as a My Morning Jacket fan in 2020. In the context of these albums, there’s all kinds of stuff about getting older and wear and tear and what we’ve lost in exchange for other things; there’s reckoning with what bargains were worth it. “Where all the time went” could mean a lot of things, perhaps about James’ own life. But then, to a listener, it’s like a lost signal from half a decade ago that only seems to suggest some kind of depletion and world-weariness creeping into the transporting sounds My Morning Jacket have always tried to give people over the years.

That runs into the context in which we’re hearing The Waterfall II, which is as My Morning Jacket’s first album in five years. If it were just that — say, if the band waited another couple years before releasing another album — maybe this would sound deflating to some listeners. An often restrained album, fixated with what went wrong and the years that slipped through our fingers. Now, after all this time, it’s been brought into the world of a global pandemic that has given us all a whole lot of time to sit at home and relitigate our own pasts. Depending on how you approach it, The Waterfall II might feel like a hard-earned sense of peace, the final last word on a chapter in one’s life. Or thanks to its delayed arrival, maybe it will feel all the more weighed down by time — another five months (or years) spent spinning your wheels.

There is of course, that one other way in which The Waterfall II is an oddity — the idea that whether it is a sequel or a once-lost completion of a double album, it is picking up a story from long ago, out of nowhere. Some fans will hear each differently. Waterfall II might have less obvious highs than Waterfall, but it might be more consistent throughout; The Waterfall might have allowed MMJ to go in more directions, but The Waterfall II is a rare and surprising moment in their career where they’ve mostly settled into one sound and mood for a sustained amount of time. This could be the dusty comedown Part Two, or it could be the attempt to find more contentment than the rawer, gaping wounds that still cut across The Waterfall.

Yet no matter how you frame The Waterfall II for yourself, it’s a beautiful and unexpected curiosity — existing not as an add-on or in response to The Waterfall, but suggesting that we’re just now getting to hear the whole conversation between two very different yet completely intertwined works. Throughout, this is music of goodbyes. Now, all this time later, maybe this is the last one — and it’s finally time to start anew.

The Waterfall II is out now on ATO.

Stream Gillian Welch & David Rawlings’ New Covers Album All The Good Times

Stream Gillian Welch & David Rawlings’ New Covers Album All The Good Times

| July 10, 2020 – 9:30 am

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings have released a new covers album today called All The Good Times. The musical partners recorded it at home on a reel-to-reel tape recorder and it includes covers of tracks by Bob Dylan, John Prine, Elizabeth Cotten, Norman Blake, Arlie Duff, and more.

They did their own arrangements of the traditional songs “Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss,” “Poor Ellen Smith,” and “All The Good Times Are Past And Gone,” and they recorded a cover of “Jackson,” Jerry Leiber and Billy Wheeler-written song made famous by Johnny and June Carter Cash.

Welch released a new song, “Happy Mother’s Day,” for Mother’s Day a couple months back. Welch and Rawlings wrote a new track for the Coen brothers movie The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs and performed it at the Oscars last year. Welch’s last proper album was 2011’s The Harrow & The Harvest.

A statement from Rawlings:

TO OUR FRIENDS AND FANS, for reasons better discussed in the history books, in the Spring of 2020 Gillian and I dusted off an old tape machine and did some home recording. Sometimes we bumped the microphone, sometimes the tape ran out, but in the end we captured performances of some songs we love. Five are first takes and five took a little more doing, but they all helped pass the time and held our interest in playback enough that we wanted to share them with you. We sincerely hope that you enjoy “ALL THE GOOD TIMES.”

Listen to All The Good Times below.