New Years Pop Up Old Fellas New Music

This week’s Promo

This week, we are getting out our blog early so you can read up on the bands we will be playing. Again, we will try to live stream through Mixcloud using OBS software this time – last week, the live stream dropped all the time so I am hoping this will work better. Here is the link to use if you want to hear and see the broadcast – https://www.mixcloud.com/live/paul-mcguire3/

here are our selections for this week – some of this year’s best songs

Kiwi Jr – Only Here For a haircut
Jenna Esposito – The Other Side of Forever  – Guardian
Quivers – Gutters of Love
Olivia Rodrigo – Good 4 U – Guardian – Best music of 2021  # 6
Wet Leg – Too Late Now

Low – Days Like These – Pitchfork # 3

James Clark institute – Little Powder Keg
Mitski:  Working for the Knife – Pitchfork # 7
Silk Sonic – leave the Door Open

Kiwi Jr – Only Here For a haircut


Kiwi Jr.
 is a Toronto-based band.  This is the third song from the album “Cooler Returns” that has been featured on this podcast twice already.  Released in Jan. 2021, this hasn’t left  Bob’s turntable since he bought the album.

   

More info on Kiwi Jr here from their website

Jenna Esposito – The Other Side of Forever

I thought this was a great song, but when you read the incredible story below from the Guardian, I think you will agree we needed to include this one.

The best songs of 2021 … that you haven’t heard

It’s the heartbreak and hopefulness of a turbulent 2021 from the mind of a songwriter who knows them all too well. Ernie Rossi, owner of century-old gift and music shop E Rossi and Company in New York City’s Little Italy, was sidelined by health problems after reopening following the long city-mandated shutdown. Margaret, his wife of 51 years, knew the neighborhood icon might not stay afloat if doors closed once again and solely took over duties with the couple’s best friend, Freddy. Then this past spring, both Margaret and Freddy caught and died of Covid-19. In the wake of their consecutive deaths, Rossi wrote The Other Side of Forever, a heartfelt tribute to the bond the trio shared and the immense loss he feels. Recorded by the New York indie artist Jenna Esposito, the earworm ballad with a momentous opening and climatic finale was produced in the Italian folk style the store was known for being a chief importer of nearly 100 years ago. And today, Rossi is continuing his fight to stay in business.

Rob LeDonne

Quivers

Quivers – Gutters of Love

This Australian band via Tasmania are an absolute delight.  We had to be satisfied in listening to this album on Spotify as it is darned near impossible to snag a physical copy unless one is willing to pay a ridiculous price.  The NME calls “Gutters of Love” an instant classic.

From NME

As the 2010s drew to a close, Quivers found themselves on the ascent. They’d established a new lineup, and permanently relocated to Melbourne from their native Tasmania. They’d released two acclaimed singles, ‘You’re Not Always On My Mind’ and ‘When It Breaks’, which balanced a summery jangle-pop exterior and melancholic inner turmoil. American broadcasters NPR and KEXP co-signed their music, while at home they crossed a rare divide by getting played on both Double and triple j.

Olivia Rodrigo – Good 4 U

This is another one from the Guardian. I hadn’t heard of Olivia Rodrigo, and this really isn’t my type of music, but this is a really great song. So, why not. More from The Guardian below. They rated her album Sour the 8th best album of the year.

Having essayed one end of heartbreak with the piano lament Drivers License, Rodrigo’s mood swung like a wrecking ball towards this equally massive hit (between them, they spent 14 weeks at UK No 1). From its sarcastic title downwards, Good 4 U’s recrimination has the kind of bitterness that softens with age and only a teenage palate can truly appreciate, as Rodrigo rages against her blithely happy ex. The ways the chords shift through different shades of hurt is riveting, as is Rodrigo’s delivery, as if writing in a journal with the nib piercing the paper. BBT

Released in January, Drivers License sprang (almost) out of nowhere like a heaved sob. Four days later, it broke Spotify records for the most single-day streams (Christmas songs exempted). The next day, it broke that record again. After 10 weeks at No 1 in the US and nine in the UK, it has been streamed 1.9bn times. Next Tuesday, the California-born songwriter makes her live debut at the Brits; the following weekend, she does Saturday Night Live; a week later she releases her debut album, Sour, a grippingly well written – all by her – collection of balladry, pop-punk, bitter diatribes and euphoric taunts that dwells on this romantic treachery. Even in an era when virality powers pop, Rodrigo’s is a fast rise.

The Drivers License singer reflects on turning her first big breakup into the year’s biggest hit – and how songwriting saved her from the anxieties of being a Disney star

My second source for the best music comes from Pitchfork Magazine. I chose their #3 and #7 choices – both great songs by artists that are new to me.

By Pitchfork

December 6, 2021

In another trying year, many of the best songs—from “Like I Used To” to “Pick Up Your Feelings” to “Hard Drive” to “Good Days”—were about picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and trying again. These tracks gave us a shoulder to cry on, but also, crucially, a kick in the pants when we needed it most. They were the soundtrack to our 2021, and we have a feeling we’ll keep turning to them in better times yet to come. These are the 100 best songs of the year.

Wet Leg

Wet Leg – Too Late Now . 

Old Fellas featured Wet Leg’s catchy “Chaise Lounge” a while back which is one of four single releases in their small but impressive output.  An album released is anticipated for spring 2022 so listening to the last single release “ Too Late Now” will have to do until then.  Great bathrobes! 

Low – Days Like These

Alan Sparhawk spirals through a series of escalating horrors as he offers a summary of his mindset over the past five years: “Holy crap, this guy’s going to be our president. Oh crap, he’s our president. Wow, things have been horrible for a long time, and it’s getting worse. What, we’re sick? We’re all going to die now?” Eventually, the Low singer and guitarist shifts from a cartoonish hysteria into a gruff acceptance as he makes a broader point about American life in 2021 as well as his band’s combustible new album, HEY WHAT. “Look at where we are,” he says, zooming to the present tense. “We’re still looking in each other’s eyes and going, What the hell?”

Along with his bandmate and wife, Mimi Parker, Sparhawk has long found inspiration in this type of unlikely perseverance. Nearly three decades into their career, and on their 13th album, Low are making their strangest, strongest, and most fearless music to date. On HEY WHAT, the duo is once again joined by producer BJ Burton, known for his work with Bon Iver and Charli XCX, who helped them explore abrasive digital effects and alien vocal manipulation on 2018’s Double Negative. The new album presents these abstract textures with even more intensity, as Sparhawk and Parker’s gorgeous harmonies pierce through a vertiginous landscape of glitches and static that may make you wonder if your speakers are imploding while you listen.

“Days Like These” is a song in the form of an eclipse: the first half made of blinding light, the second an uncanny, disembodied stillness. Singing into a static blur that sounds like wind noise on video, or like someone’s sawing through the tape, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker describe a vast and subtle longing, a desire for a kind of transcendence not found on Earth. “Know that I would do anything,” they cry, their fried-out vocals taking on the call-and-response pattern of a hymn. But in this strange, desaturated grief, there’s no action to take. Even the song doesn’t end, really; it just stretches out, twinkling in the distance, a lone satellite pressing on toward the edge of space. –Anna Gaca

James Clark Institute

James Clark institute – Little Powder Keg

To quote The Pursuit of Happiness’ Moe Berg, ““James takes the power pop traditions of The Beatles, Jellyfish and Split Enz and combines them with the high IQ lyrics of Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson. The result makes him one of Canada’s greatest unsung songwriters”

Also, here’s great version of the Badfinger classic “Baby Blue”

Mitski: “Working for the Knife”  #7

The saying goes that if you do what you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Mitski would like to have a word on that. After a long and grueling world tour supporting her breakthrough album Be the Cowboy, the singer took time off in 2019, saying she needed a break from the “constant churn” of performance. “Working for the Knife” is her brooding, melancholic first major single back from this respite, and acts as an incisive warning about how much of our identity we give to our life’s greatest undertakings, and who we’re giving it up for. The song unfolds as a balancing act of vulnerability and expectation, of altruistic self-expression and the vanity of wanting to be seen, or even adored. There’s some humor to it all; forlorn, she recognizes that the world never stops turning, and that it’s fine to lie to ourselves if it helps pass the time. It’s a one-act play of existential malaise and a sardonic anthem for those who can’t help but seek out the spotlight. –Puja Patel

Pitchfork  

Silk Sonic

Silk Sonic – Leave the Door Open

Silk Sonic is an R&B superduo composed of singer Bruno Mars and rapper and singer Anderson .Paak. The duo released its debut single, “Leave the Door Open”, in March 2021, and its debut album, An Evening with Silk Sonic, in November 2021.  This song veers close to a parody of 70’s soul but it’s just too good to be considered so. 

 You can hear all our music right here on Spotify

Old Fellas New Music Episode 14 Notes

the artists for this weeksome of

Music for Week 14

Quivers- You Are Not Always on My Mind

Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen – Like I Used To

Coal Porters – The Day the Last Ramone Died

Bleachers – Chinatown 

Goon Sax – A Few Times Too Many

Japanese Breakfast – Paprika

Lambchop – A Chef’s Kiss

Mdou Moctar – Chismiten

James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg – Reel Around the Fountain

Our show on Mixcloud

Episode 14. You can find all our episodes here
And here is our ever-growing Spotify Playlist

Quivers- You Are Not Always on My Mind

The Quivers performing some pop perfection:

Quivers – You’re Not Always On My Mind (Live on KEXP)

Sharon Van Etten and Angel OlsenLike I Used To

I have to start with another fun quote from the Guardian

“I strongly believe that if Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen teamed up to sing anything up to and including Las Ketchup it would be a moment so emotional we’d all emerge three minutes later with dewy eyes and a strong urge to become better people. So you can imagine what they’ve done with this swirling eddy of a song. Exhaustingly amazing.”

Guardian

Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen – Like I Used To (Official Video)

This is another artist(s) that seem to be really popular in the UK, but I have never heard them here. Not that this is any measure of note. But everything I read about this new single is really positive and the video is pretty good too. Last word goes to Pitchfork:

Their first collaborative single, “Like I Used To,” lives up to its potential, plays to their strengths, and still manages to pack a surprise.

Pitchfork

The Coal Porters

The Coal Porters was a long time Sid Griffin led band.  Sid  in the 80’s was in the band the Long Ryders .  This is a cut from their 1984 debut ep . 

The Long Ryders – 10-5-60

2016 brought the Coal Porters tribute to the Ramones, The Day the Last Ramone Died”   

The Coal Porters – The Day the Last Ramone Died (Official Video)

The “1234” used in the lyrics is of course reference to how many Ramones song began.  

 The “Gabba Gabba Hey”  references  Tod Browing’s 1932  disturbing horror classic, “Freaks” 

Freaks (1932) – Gooba Gabba Gooba Gobble

 Sid is also an accomplished author. 


Bleachers

Bleachers is an American indie pop act based in New York City. It is the official stage name of songwriter and record producer Jack Antonoff, who is also part of the bands Steel Train, Fun, and Red Hearse. Bleachers’ pop music is heavily influenced by the late ’80s, early ’90s and the high school-based films of John Hughes while still using modern production techniques. Their first single, “I Wanna Get Better“, was released February 18, 2014.

Panned on The Guardian with song – Stop Making This Hurt

The world’s premier Springsteen tribute act is back with producer extraordinaire Jack Antonoff channelling the Boss into a skittery break-up song. It feels as if it’s trying to say one thing and do another, with the gang vocals attempting to build to euphoria, but coming off a bit like a bunch of lads worse for wear on the train after a match.

Instead, we featured the song Chinatown  and there are several Youtube videos of this song, all with Bruce Springsteen. This is the one I liked

Bleachers – Chinatown (BLEACHERS ON THE ROOF live at electric lady) ft. Bruce Springsteen

How did Jack Antonoff get Bruce Springsteen to play on this song? You will have to listen to the broadcast to get Bob’s reasoning which makes lots of sense.

Another great song, but outside our timeline is Roller Coaster

Bleachers – Rollercoaster

Their upcoming album including Chinatown and Stop Making This Hurt will be Take The Sadness Out of Saturday Night.


Goon Sax

The Goon Sax are indie pop trio from Brisbane, Australia. Formed in 2013, the band consists of Riley Jones, Louis Forster and James Harrison.

The Goon Sax – A few times too many

I think Robert Christgau, (the “ Dean of US Rock criticism “) hits the nail on the head,  

The Goon Sax

  • Up for Anything [Chapter Music, 2016] A-
  • We’re Not Talking [Wichita Recordings, 2018] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Up for Anything [Chapter Music, 2016]
My brilliant wife heard Go-Betweens in this high school band well before I learned that Robert Forster’s son Louis was a cofounder or that they were “driven” by a female drummer or even that they were Australian. Nah, I told her, though I liked them fine–too crude. And indeed, they’re cruder than even the earliest Go-Betweens, who were a university band after all, and somewhat static at their worst. Usually, however, they’re charming at least. When Louis fantasizes about a “Boyfriend” or James Harrison hates the “Telephone,” it just accentuates the specifically adolescent angst they pin down so much more candidly and affectingly than any other high school band that comes to mind. “If you don’t want to hold my sweaty hands / I completely understand”? Pretty mature, in its way. A-

We’re Not Talking [Wichita Recordings, 2018]
Although Louis Forster takes fewer leads on this young threesomes’s smoother and trickier follow-up, their unpretentious affect, plain guitar, and flat groove still recall the early years of his dad’s Go-Betweens. True, Louis reports that he’s barely heard them. But I doubt de facto frontman James Harrison was so cautious, and can imagine drummer Riley Jones learning that Lindy Morrison never stepped up to the mike and deciding she’d better: “I don’t want distance / When distance always seems to be the thing / That comes and hurts us.” In any case, a university art band they’re not. Instead they’re still reflecting on adolescence with a humility and concentration that hurts. No one’s calling but they’re not picking up the phone. Passing your bus stop hurts even though they know you need time to yourself. Come to think on it, they “never knew what love meant” anyway. Yet already mortality impends in the form of “piles of books I’ll never read / And a list of things I’ll never be.” Twelve songs in half an hour that say more than they pretend and plenty they may only intuit. A-

Robert Christgau

Comparisons to the Go- Betweens are unavoidable.  Here’s a neat little 5 minute bio  with Louis Forster’s dad Robert.  

The Go-Betweens: The 80s band that never conquered the world – BBC Newsnight

Japanese Breakfast – Paprika

This is the second act that Bob and I were both planning to feature for this show. Here are some selected quotes from Exclaim Magazine.

“When the world divides into two people / Those who have felt pain and those who have yet to,” Michelle Zauner sings during the aching ballad “Posing in Bondage.” It’s clear that she falls into the former camp, but Jubilee, her third album as Japanese Breakfast, dances the pain away. Whether it’s the fashionable funk of “Be Sweet” and “Slide Tackle,” the stately Beirut horns of “Paprika,” or the honeyed pop classicism of “Kokomo, IN” and “Tactics,” Jubilee is always tinged with melancholy but never defeated by it.

I couldn’t find a good version of Paprika on Youtube so instead here is her performance on the Tonight Show with Be Sweet from the same album.

Alex Hudson – Exclaim Magazine

Japanese Breakfast: Be Sweet | The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

# 20 0n Exclaim!’s 31 Best Albums of 2021 So Far

Japanese Breakfast is an indie rock band headed by Korean-American musician, director, and author Michelle Zauner (born March 29, 1989). The band released its first studio album Psychopomp (2016) on Yellow K Records, followed by Soft Sounds from Another Planet (2017) and Jubilee (2021) on Dead Oceans.

Zauner released her debut book, Crying in H Mart: A Memoir, via Alfred A. Knopf in 2021. The book is planned to be adapted into a feature film by Orion Pictures, with Zauner providing the soundtrack.


Lambchop –  A Chef’s Kiss

Lambchop – A Chef’s Kiss (Official Lyric Video)

Here is an interview with Lambchop’s head guy Kurt Wagner explaining the lp “Showtunes”

Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner: “I was looking for something less structured, something I hadn’t done before” – Interview by Steven Johnson

On the background to new album Showtunes, converting guitar into piano sounds, continuing to embrace technology and broadening his range of collaboratorsLambchop's Kurt Wagner

Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner (Photo: Angelina Castillo)

As frontman of Lambchop for the best part of the last 30 years, Kurt Wagner has pursued a long, satisfying musical journey where developments within the band’s sound have been gradual and considered. Yet, there have also been discreet nods to different genres along the way, pleasing embellishments and expansions to their core alt-country aesthetic. New album Showtunes provides another stylistic detour of sorts, building on the fresh direction put in place on 2019’s This (Is What I Wanted To Tell You) and 2016’s FLOTUS as Wagner takes indirect inspiration from showtunes, American standards from the first half of the 20th century.

These aren’t covers or close appropriations however, but rather typically impressionistic pieces that bring together Wagner’s songwriting strengths and his broader interest in musical experimentation. Given the sense of progression that has defined Lambchop’s recent releases it feels oddly apt that when we catch up with Wagner to talk about the album, the conversation begins on a travel-related note. “I’m out here in Las Vegas visiting my in-laws at the moment. We haven’t seen them in quite a while, so we just drove on out here. It feels weird to actually travel. I haven’t been on an interstate for over a year. It feels like things are transitioning with the pandemic. Having driven across the country, it feels like we’re on the cusp of a lot of people getting out and about.”

more here


Mdou Moctar – Chismiten

I read a few articles about this amazing musician from Niger the first one from Pitchfork. Their new album is listed as on of the top 6 you need to be listening to right now.

Some notes about who he is:

  • Mahamadou Souleymane,[1][2] known professionally as Mdou Moctar (also M.dou Mouktar; born c. 1986[3][1] or 1984[1]) is a Tuareg songwriter and musician based in Agadez, Niger, and is one of the first musicians to perform modern electronic adaptations of Tuareg guitar music.[4][5] He first became famous through a trading network of cellphones and memory cards in West Africa.[6]
  • Mdou Moctar is a popular wedding performer and sings about Islam, education, love, and peace in Tamasheq.[7][8][9] He plays a left-handed Fender Stratocaster guitar in a takamba and assouf style.

A little from the Pitchfork article:

If it were up to Mdou Moctar, the fiery, psychedelic rock music that has made him one of the most respected guitarists working today would be kept far away from professional recording studios. “With all due respect to all engineers,” the Tuareg virtuoso recently confessed to Reverb, “I find it much too square.” Late last year, the Nigerien musician gathered his bandmates outside a friend’s house in Niamey to test out material from Afrique Victime in a more comfortable environment. In the open air, the quartet quickly attracted an audience: adults dancing, children air-drumming, and others just watching in awe as Moctar’s songs ascended and burst in the desert sky like fireworks. As Sam Sodomsky writes in his Best New Music review: “You get the sense that when the lights go down and he looks out at his audience, he doesn’t just see his community: He sees the future.”

6 New Albums You Should Listen to Now: Mdou Moctar, CHAI, Erika de Casier, and More

and more from the Guardian

From the Guardian

‘We are modern slaves’: Mdou Moctar, the Hendrix of the Sahara

Kim Willsher

His first guitar was made from wood and bicycle parts and his first songs were shared via Bluetooth in the desert. But the Niger musician has become international – and is taking aim at France

How do you even dream of making music when your family and religious leaders disapprove, when you live at the edge of the Sahara desert, and you cannot afford an instrument?

It helps that the Tuareg musician Mdou Moctar, from Niger, is not easily discouraged. Unable to acquire a guitar, he made one out of a piece of wood with brake wires from an old bicycle for strings, and taught himself to play in secret. “I was from a religious family and music was not welcome, but I would go and listen to local musicians and dream of being like them,” the 32-year-old singer-songwriter says over the phone while on tour in the US.

“My parents didn’t have the means to buy me an instrument and wouldn’t have done so. To them, becoming a musician would mean I was a delinquent, a terrible person drinking beer and taking drugs. I never told them I wanted to play the guitar, I didn’t dare. So I made one.”

The next challenge was reaching an audience. Moctar, born in the village of Abalak in the Azawagh desert of northern Niger, began playing at weddings, singing in Tamasheq, the Tuareg language. His first album Anar – composed for a lost love – was recorded in Nigeria in 2008: it introduced Moctar’s simple, raw guitar sound and haunting lyrics, a style known locally as “assouf”, a word that does not easily translate, but evokes desert blues. Anar wasn’t officially released; instead, it spread across the continent via Bluetooth swaps between mobile phone data cards.

Mdou Moctar – Full Performance (Live on KEXP)

Mdou Moctar – Full Performance (Live on KEXP)

Mdou Moctar immediately stands out as one of the most innovative artists in contemporary Saharan music. His unconventional interpretations of Tuareg guitar and have pushed him to the forefront of a crowded scene. Mdou shreds with a relentless and frenetic energy that puts his contemporaries to shame.

(Bandcamp)


James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg – Reel Around the Fountain

James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg are an instrumental duo who play original compositions and a stunning diverse set of cover songs.  Who would think of covering The Smith’s, “Reel Around the Fountain”?

Reel Around the Fountain – James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg

Here’s the original version juxtaposed to scenes from the film, “Atonement.”  I guess both song and film have fountains?

The Smiths – Reel Around The Fountain

Nathan Salsburg is also the Curator of the Alan Lomax Archive at the Association for Cultural Equity. This is the website.  It is definitely worth diving into.

I mentioned Brador in passing.  In celebration of June 24th, here is a stubby of Brador!