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Today see’s the release of San Franciscan songwriter Shana Falana’s second album, Here Comes The Wave. The album is a series of dark pop anthems, many of which were written during a burst of productivity the best part of a decade ago that accompanied her recovery from what Shana describes as, “drug-related financial ruin.”

Ahead of the release this week, Shana has shared the album’s sublime highlight, Cool Kids. A burst of daylight in an album of gritty darkness, Cool Kids is a message to her younger self, and young people everywhere, to embrace who they are and be themselves in the face of peer pressure and self-doubt. Musically it’s huge, a wall of pounding drums, multi-layered vocals and driving, bassy rumble. A euphoric reminder that being anyone else’s idea of cool isn’t being yourself, as Shana puts it, “the cool kids are the ones you forgot.”


Here Comes The Wave is out today via Team Love Records.


Anyone hoping the combination of one-time Akron residents Dan Auerbach and Chrissy Hynde collaborating on the first Pretenders album in eight years that would result in a raw, rustbelt Black Keys meets Iggy Pop explosion, may be disappointed. That doesn’t make this ballad heavy set substandard, but it does seem like a missed opportunity.

First off, this is “the Pretenders” in name only; other than Hynde, no one on it has been or probably will be a Pretender. Even though the Nashville backing musicians are talented veterans (two on loan from Auerbach’s Arcs side project) and there are plenty of echoes of what Hynde created with the Pretenders, releasing the project under that name, as opposed to the solo album it was initially intended as, is somewhat misleading.

But for those who feel that anything Hynde records is going to have the Pretenders stamp, at least philosophically, this dozen song album finds her in fine, typically swaggering form. The few rockers such as the opening title track where she recounts the pleasures of being “Alone” with her usual brass-in-pocket sneer, along with the pounding “Mystery Achievement” drums of “Gotta Wait” and the bluesy “Chord Lord” make it clear Hynde hasn’t lost her sassy strut.

Still, it’s the ballads that dominate. While songs such as the lovely acoustic finger-picked “Blue Eyed Sky,” the heartfelt and reflective “The Man You Are” and the bittersweet piano lilt of “Death is Not Enough” with its surf twang guitar are beautifully crafted and sung with Hynde’s husky, immediately distinctive purr, perhaps a few more taut, tightrope walking, tough talking rockers would solidify the Auerbach connection. And the less said about the closing single “Holy Commotion” with its commercial leaning synths and chilly, overly stilted playing, the better.

Thankfully, the quality of “Roadie Man,” about … well, roadies, with its soulful and insistent groove, the dreamy “Let’s Get Lost” (perhaps the closest Hynde gets to a full throated love song here), and the pissed off, flinty “I Hate Myself” (“I hate my requisite phony destruction”) with its dark ’60s vibe that, as its title implies, takes a hard look in the mirror as the singer repeats the title about two dozen times, show Hynde has maintained her quality control. These songs glow and grow on you and, with vocals that were recorded in a quick 48 hours, maintain the edge the best Pretenders music always displayed.

Alone won’t go down as a great Pretenders disc up there with Learning to Crawl or the magnificent debut, but it’s no embarrassment either. Despite the lack of rockers, Hynde hasn’t mellowed even if her music has. OK, so there isn’t a cohesive Pretenders band anymore; over 35 years into her career, Chrisse Hynde remains a powerful and iconic presence. We should be thankful she’s still at it and recording music as impressive and distinctive as Alone.


Matthew Sweet had been kicking around for almost a decade before he finally got his break with 1991’s album “Girlfriend”. From the start, he was attracted to the poppy side of college rock. It just took him a few albums to refine the perfect sound before he laid down on his breakthrough record.

Before Girlfriend or, more specifically, its title track made Sweet a modern-rock radio regular, he was part of the exploding Athens scene of the early ’80s as a member of Oh-OK, which included Micheal Stipe‘s sister Lynda. By the end of the decade he was a solo artist with two albums to his name. But it’s Girlfriend — which came out on October. 22nd, 1991 that finally clicked with music fans.

By ’90s industry standards, Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend” performed well. It peaked at number one on the Heatseekers chart in 1992, The title track made it to number four of the Modern Rock chart, while the album’s sublime lead track, “Divine Intervention,” was a number 23 Modern Rock hit—and, quite frankly, deserved better.

We’re talking about a quirky classic monumental power-pop record that almost didn’t find its way to listeners. Prior to Girlfriend, Sweet was less than an unknown commodity, he was a liability, with a pair of glossy, nondescript late-’80s albums that tanked commercially and critically. The vibe surrounding Sweet was so toxic that Zoo Entertainment, the now-defunct BMG affiliate that finally took a chance on Girlfriend, pretty much spun the thing as Sweet’s debut. His band made up of Lou Reed’s sidemen Richard Quine and Fred Maher, along with a couple of New York City punk vets, Television’s Richard Lloyd and Richard Hell and the Voidoid’s Ivan Julian provide the backbone of the record.
And for good reason: It sounds like nothing that came before—from Sweet or anyone else. Its edgy, honest beauty set the tone for a string of great albums, including Girlfriend’s underrated 1993 follow-up, Altered Beast, 1995’s 100% Fun and 1999’s Phil Spector-inspired masterpiece, In Reverse.

In the months prior to Girlfriend’s October 1991 release, a devoted cadre of industry people embraced the album—dubiously titled Nothing Lasts at the time making it their personal mission to ensure its survival. One of those fans was veteran music scribe Bud Scoppa, who was working A&R for Zoo when a cassette arrived in the mail from his New York counterpart, Scott Byron. Scoppa’s stellar liner notes for the 2006 Girlfriend Legacy reissue are required reading for any Sweet fan. They’re so good, in fact, that we found no point in reinventing the wheel here.

Legacy Recordings just released a vinyl edition of Goodfriend (Another Take On “Girlfriend”), featuring home demos, session outtakes and live performances. Think of it as an unruly companion piece to the original, which was reissued on 180-gram vinyl at its intended 12-song length in 2014.

Describing Girlfriend as one of the best power-pop LPs ever may be accurate, but it’s also selling the album short. After all, what purist in the form would allow the late Robert Quine to run roughshod over his pristine melodies and multipart harmonies—and, in the process, deliver some of the Richard Hell And The Voidoids guitarist’s most wrenchingly inspired work?

Matthew Sweet: I got married when I was really young—19—and we were married for six years. By 1989, we’d moved out to Princeton, N.J., from New York City, so we could rent a whole house. It was awesome for me because I could do music without bothering anyone. The house was built in 1780, right on the edge of the Princeton Battlefield. I’d ride my bike in the backwoods all through there. But my wife at the time was restless. She felt like there was something she wanted to do. So she got some money from her dad and moved back to New York—got an apartment there. We hadn’t really broken up, exactly, although we weren’t getting along. It wasn’t, like, a positive thing.

Ric Menck (drums): Matthew and I toured to promote his previous album, Earth—just the two of us in his Honda, opening for ’Til Tuesday. We listened every day to my cassette of Full Moon Fever, and we loved how unadorned by technology it sounded.

Sweet: I set up drums in the main living room, and I started playing them on my demos. I sent those to (manager) Russell Carter, and he said, “It reminds me of Crazy Horse and Neil Young.” And I said, “I know, my voice is really high and weird.” And he’s like, “No, the vibe of it.” He sent me a bunch of Crazy Horse stuff, and I was like, “Fuck, now I understand what he’s saying.”

Menck: Matthew was recording demos at his house, and I visited him at several points during that time. He was really getting into Neil Young, and he had an abiding love for the Beatles especially Abbey Road. As we drove around Princeton in his little Honda station wagon, he told me he wanted to make an album that sounded really organic.

Lloyd Cole (guitar): Matthew would write very quickly—sometimes two or three songs a day, where I would take a week. He’s never been the most disciplined guy in that respect, and that’s kind of endearing.

Sweet: Having my marriage end was something I tried so hard not to do. We tried to make it work; we went into marriage counseling. But we were like kids. In the end, it was me who said I wanted to get divorced, even though she was the one who left. By that point, she was sort of desperate to stay together. All my life, I thought I was a good guy. But when you have to be the one who says it’s over, I had to accept that there was no way to be the good guy. It was a thing where I went, “Wow, I’m really tainted.” You know, original sin or something—like, “Now I get it: I’m good and bad, and there will be times in my life when the right thing to do isn’t being good.”

Cole: My main claim to fame is on the song “Girlfriend.” Matthew kept talking about “good friend.” He’d just been recently separated from his wife, and I don’t think he wanted to address the issue straight-on and say “girlfriend.” And I said, “For God’s sake, just call it ‘Girlfriend.’”

Sweet: At the time, I tried to explain that none of it was exactly autobiographical—that everything could be looked at in a couple different ways. “You Don’t Love Me” might be a song my wife was singing to me—you know what I mean? But I felt those feelings, and so I was working that out in a song. Whereas something like “I’ve Been Waiting” was really like a brand-new, untouched fantasy of how it could be great to fall in love or whatever.

Fred Maher (producer, drums, guitar): Matthew originally wanted to record at his house in Princeton, and we planned it out. But he got cold feet a few months before recording was to start; he was nervous about upsetting neighbors. I suggested Axis Studios in New York City, since it would be as cramped and difficult a place to make a rock record as his small house.

Sweet: Fred and I had met on my first record (Inside) and worked a lot together on the second one. We were already buddies for a long time, so it was kind of coming together. Even (Television guitarist) Richard (Lloyd) and Bob (Quine) played with me before Girlfriend. I met Richard during my time with the Golden Palominos, when he filled in for Jody Harris. There was no way to learn the whole set, and we had to do these rehearsals with him, and I just felt so bad because it was so impossible. But Richard was really nice to me and told me he liked my songs. So we started to become friendly.

Menck: Prior to making the album, Matthew, Richard and I went through a few of the songs at a rehearsal space near the studio. We warmed up by playing Television’s “See No Evil,” and Richard yelled at me when I acted too much like a geeky fan.

Cole: The rough demos were nowhere near as extreme as what’s on the album. Jim Rondinelli deserves a lot of credit for that. He and Matthew gelled really well.

Jim Rondinelli (engineer): The sound of Girlfriend really goes back to lengthy conversations I had with Matthew. We talked about it for months before we actually did anything. When I heard Earth, I loved the songs, but there was a dissonance between the slickness and the precision of the production and Matthew’s voice.

Maher: Matthew didn’t want to use any of the technology available at the time. So we decided we’d make the entire record on 24-track tape. Parts were mercilessly bounced together, with no way back.

Rondinelli: I worked with Fred and Matthew to establish an entirely different framework for his voice, and that meant not drowning him in reverb or studio processing, not burying his voice but making it loud and clear in the front of the track, framing his voice with his primary weapon for attack, the electric guitars, and making sure those guitars were raw power and unadorned. I mean, good God, we had Richard Lloyd and Robert Quine, and Matthew’s rhythm-guitar playing is so incredibly concise.

Menck: My drum tracks were completed in one or two sessions. Matthew played rhythm guitar, and I played along. Very simple and straightforward, which was a change for Matthew, whose previous album was made with programmed drums. It took one or two takes to complete each track.

Rondinelli: We established rules at the start: It would be all live instruments; it would be all Höfner Beatle bass. The Höfner has this big, heavy bottom that stays nicely out of the way of the guitars, so we could really compartmentalize and separate the instruments. That left Matthew’s voice and the guitars front and center. By having the drums loud but dry, there’s always some ambience in the room where the music is being played. We didn’t want to soften the impact of Fred and Ric’s drumming by washing it in reverb. Really, we wanted to take everything that was done on the first record and do exactly the opposite.

Menck: Axis was in a high-rise building surrounded by other highrises. At one point, I looked out the window to see a very pretty woman undressing. She was the inspiration behind my playing on “Divine Intervention.” The drum track for that was definitely completed in one take.

Sweet: People see what they want in “Divine Intervention.” If they’re religious, they might think, “Awesome. That’s when God comes.” But I was saying that he’s not. I was coming out as an atheist, in a way. Christianity has great things about it. Jesus is totally cool, and I live by those morals. I don’t do anything that’s really un-Christian—and most atheists probably don’t. We put the whole album in [the precursor to] ProTools, which was so novel back then. The intro to “Divine Intervention” was something we turned backward—then you hear Richard playing a lick.

Rondinelli: We’d complete the basic rhythm tracks for the album, and Matthew would take a long weekend and go back to Princeton. He’d come back with these unbelievably layered and complex guitar and vocal arrangements. Then he’d sing additional vocals, and we’d add the guitar tracks. It was really a fun way to work.

Sweet: It’s a typical studio thing, but we made comps of our favorite guitar bits. So Richard and Bob didn’t have to do anything but play what they felt—and that’s why it worked so great.

Rondinelli: It’s funny. There’s only one spot on the album where two people are actually playing together in real time, and that’s Matthew and Lloyd on “Thought I Knew You.” Fred, wisely, wanted to pull the swing section out of the demo version of “Girlfriend,” which gave it a life on radio it probably wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Cole: Matthew was obsessed with Winona Ryder—especially in that Heathers film. I said to him, “You’re singing a song about Winona Ryder, and ‘Winona’ is a great title for a song—so just do it.”

Rondinelli: My favorite song to record was “Winona,” because there’s so much Greg Leisz and Quine on that song. Greg is something else. He does an incredible lap-steel part that’s an answer line to the vocals in “Girlfriend.”

Sweet: I went to see Jules Shear play. We were outside the venue afterward, and he introduced me to Greg. They were in a group together called the Funky Kings. I’m like, “Hey, so do you know the Sneaky Pete (Kleinow) kind of steel playing?” And he was like, “I love all that stuff.” So I asked him to play on the record. It was that simple.

Rondinelli: The first time Richard came in, his tracks were so exciting that I remember popping out of my chair when I heard them. With Quine, we’d have him play top to bottom on a song five times, and we’d go back afterward and compose a highlights track. I don’t think there’s one spot on the finished album where Bob played a continuous track. The most amazing thing is that Dennis Taylor, the guitarist who plays with Matthew now, learned all this stuff that no human being had ever played before.

Menck: An abiding memory of the sessions was hanging out with Bob Quine in the lounge. He was a passionate music fan who loved to talk about songs and records. Bob could be a little cantankerous, but when he started talking about music, he really softened up. I’ll forever treasure our discussion about the Velvet Underground. He loved them so much.

Rondinelli: Bob would get something going in the first couple of takes, and then he’d get really down on himself and go through this incredible self-loathing. On the fourth or fifth take, all this additional fire and anger would come out, and he’d take it out on his instrument. Then he’d be emotionally and physically exhausted.

Sweet: The album was originally called Nothing Lasts, and we had to go through hoops to get Tuesday Weld to let us use her photo on the cover. Then somebody from the legal department called her and asked, “Is it OK that it’s called Nothing Lasts?” Well, it wasn’t.

Cole: A terrible name for an album. So he changed it to Girlfriend.

Rondinelli: The sound of the needle at the end of the record—that groove in the middle—was done by Alan Friedman, a programmer who was a fixture at Axis Studios.

Sweet: I just kept adding extra songs, because I was having so much fun in the studio, and it was just such a joy to hear what we made it sound like by adding everybody’s thing. I kept cramming them in, and I was so enamored by what we were doing that I wished I could put it all in there. I’m pretty sure it was me who came up with the idea of putting the three extra tracks all the way out. Then, if you accidentally left your CD player on and you were playing it really loud, they’d come on and be really loud. It makes me laugh now because that supposes a lot of things. But I figured if that happens a few times, it’s awesome. So we put in this long gap after the first 12 songs. I probably wanted to put three minutes, but I was talked down to something more like 40 seconds.

Rondinelli: We made Girlfriend for A&M, and they dropped it. God knows, every label in New York heard that album. We were all working that album, and Karen Glauber at HITS magazine was a huge supporter.

Karen Glauber (president of HITS magazine): I met Matthew when he was in the Athens, Ga., band Buzz Of Delight and worked closely with him as the director of new music marketing at A&M, which was the label for his second solo album, Earth. I left A&M in 1990, and I was absolutely insistent that (Zoo founder) Lou Maglia sign him, the label that employed many of my friends—and fellow avid Matthew fans.

Scott Byron (former East Coast A&R director for Zoo Entertainment): Zoo was a new company at the time and didn’t have a set process for getting things signed. The first thing I had to do was convince the head of A&R that it was a worthwhile project. Then I had to convince Lou. We had a verbal agreement, and Lou just sort of pulled the plug one day. I had to call Matthew and say, “It looks like it’s not going to happen.” Then, Bud Scoppa was cranking the album in his office one day, and Lou walked in and said, “What’s that you’re listening to?” And Bud said, “Matthew Sweet. You nixed it a few weeks ago.” Then Lou went back to his office and changed his mind.

Sweet: At the time, “Girlfriend” wasn’t an important song to me. It was just kind of a ditty. But if you were an artist at that time trying to sign to a label, they always used the track that’s nothing like you as the single. It was actually my manager, Russell, who became obsessed that it could be on rock radio. And he really trumpeted that all through the thing.

Rondinelli: I don’t want to downplay the record, because it’s really a testament to Matthew’s genius. But there was a bit of lucky timing to it, as well. Every radio station that programmed Nevermind had to very quickly find songs with loud guitars that they could play in its wake.

Maher: Girlfriend has aged well because we didn’t allow ourselves to use any modern recording techniques. We stuck to our guns. Ultimately—and possibly most importantly—it was made at a time when the record company let us do our thing. Matthew had a vision, and I defended it—brutally at times.

Glauber: Girlfriend is a perfect album. The songwriting and musicianship is unparalleled—most notably “Girlfriend,” “I’ve Been Waiting” and, my absolute favorite, “You Don’t Love Me.” The contrast of Matthew’s voice and the frenetic, angular playing of the guitarists elevated the songs to another dimension. Fred and Matthew’s production combines the energy of the late-’70s CBGB scene with the gorgeous harmonies of the Beach Boys and the Byrds.

Sweet: When I’m doing music, it’s kind of like throwing pottery on the wheel and just losing my mind. This thing comes from somewhere else. It’s almost like it’s not from me, but I know what to do once it starts coming. But what’s cool is that somehow I had an instinct on how to put those songs together, where it seemed to have worked so well.

People will ask me if I’m sick of playing the Girlfriend stuff, and I’ll be like, “No, I’m just happy someone likes something I did.” It’s a gift to me that it means so much to people—that it wears so well for them.

Rondinelli: It’s one of the greatest divorce records ever made.


When Chas Chandler discovered Jimi Hendrix in New York in June 1966, the Animals‘ bassist was so impressed by Hendrix’s performance of “Hey Joe.” Chandler brought Hendrix to London that September to record the American rock standard as a demo to secure a recording contract. October. 23rd, 1966 would mark Hendrix’s first day of recording at London’s De Lane Lea studios as a member of the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

The session would yield the first instrumental tracks of “Hey Joe,” one of the most memorable songs of their debut LP, “Are You Experienced”.
Once they’d arrived in London, Chandler recruited guitarist Noel Redding, who would play bass, and drummer Mitch Mitchell to back Hendrix. Short of cash for extended studio time, Chandler rehearsed with Hendrix at his new London apartment.
“When I started with Jimi, we were sharing the flat and doing all of our work there,” Chandler recalled The flat was Jimi’s rehearsal room. That was such an advantage. When we took the Experience into rehearsals, Jimi had already developed the song to the point where he could indicate the chord sequences and tempo to Mitch and I would work with Noel about the bass parts. Then everything would come together.”
Chandler chose De Lane Lea studios because the Animals had recorded their big hit “House of the Rising Sun” there. But problems cropped up at that first session.
“When Jimi first came to London, his visa had been restricted,” said Chandler. “I had received an extension, one that carried us through the date I had scheduled for us to record ‘Hey Joe.’ The day we were recording ‘Hey Joe,’ I had gone over to the immigration office in the morning to get some papers completed for a three-month extension of his passport. It took so long that I came straight from immigration to De Lane Lea Studio’s.
“Right after we started, Jimi threw a tantrum because I wouldn’t let him play his guitar loud enough in the studio. It was a stupid argument over sheer volume. He was playing through a Marshall twin stack and it was so loud in the studio that we were picking up various rattles and noises. He said, ‘If I can’t play as loud as I want, I might as well go back to New York.’”
“‘Hey Joe’ is a very difficult song to do right and it took forever,” Redding recalled in his autobiography Are You Experienced. “The Marshalls were too much for the mikes and Chas and Jimi rowed over the recording volume. That ‘loud,’ full, live sound was nearly impossible to obtain (especially for the bass) without the distortion, which funnily enough became part of our sound. No limiters, compressors or noise reduction units yet.”
“In my pocket I had his passport and immigration papers,” continued Chandler. “I took them out, threw them down on the console, and said, ‘Well, here you go. Piss off.’ He looked at them, started laughing, and said, ‘All right, you called my bluff!’ and that was it.”
During the two-hour session, was all Chandler could afford, the Experience laid down the preliminary backing tracks for “Hey Joe.” Hendrix’s lead vocal and backing vocals by the Breakaways, a group of female session singers, (Jean Hawker, Margot Newman, and Vicki Brown)were recorded later. The finished demo, however, did not immediately impress record companies.
“Chas tried to interest Decca Records,” wrote Redding. “No luck. But then they’d turned the Beatles down, too.” The song was released in the UK on the Polydor label in a one-single deal. Hendrix then signed to the Track label, which was set up by Kit Lambert, producer for The Who. Dick Rowe of Decca Records turned down Hendrix for a deal, unimpressed with both “Hey Joe” and “Stone Free.”
“Hey Joe” would become a Top 10 hit single in the U.K. before it was released in the U.S. in 1967 as part of the Are You Experienced album.

This is the song that started it all for Hendrix. After being discharged from the US Army in 1962, he worked as a backing musician for The Isley Brothers and Little Richard, and in 1966 performed under the name Jimmy James in the group Jimmy James and the Blue Flames. Hendrix introduced “Hey Joe” to the band and added it to their setlist. During a show at the Greenwich Village club Cafe Wha?, Chas Chandler of The Animals was in the audience, and he knew instantly that Hendrix was the man to record the song.

It is unclear who wrote this song. Many people believe it was written by Chester Powers (aka Dino Valenti of Quicksilver Messenger Service), but Hendrix himself – and also The Leaves – attribute it to William (Bobby) Roberts. No one has been able to copyright it, so the song is considered “traditional,” meaning anyone can record it without paying royalties.

Kevin Devine is a master storyteller, an independent singer/songwriter from Brooklyn, NY. He plays alone, with his Goddamn Band, and as a member of Bad Books. he imbues his ninth album “Instigator” – from the biting power-pop of “Both Ways” and “No Why” to the angular, Nirvana-esque “Guard Your Gates” & gorgeously finger-picked “No One Says You Have To” with intricate details and often-uncomfortable truths. Their meanings are personal, but their themes are universal. It’s a skill that makes both his albums and his live show so alluring: Even when Devine’s writing about the world at large, he’s pointing a mirror back at himself. And it’s there on “No History,” a string of personal vignettes centered on the September 11th, 2001 attacks. It’s a song made much more meaningful by both the din of the 2016 presidential election and current global climate.


It’s been a couple years since Slothrust’s debut, “Of Course You Do”. That grungy instant classic made them a band to follow an put in my must see lists, the band’s latest release is looking to repeat or better that offering. “Everyone Else” improves in almost every conceivable way .

Leah Wellbaum’s guitar sounds better, the lyrics are better, the overall sound of the album is more cohesive and accessible literally every part of Everyone Else seems to be prepared in order to launch the band into the mainstream. That’s a shame and a blessing for music fans. Most of what gets written and talked about amongst blogs, and the major publications, follows the trend ie sounds like etc etc, So if you’re down for something new Slothrust is going to be the band to check out.  It’s been a long wait for something new from the band, as Wellbaum kept busy with other pursuits. A couple singles have already been released to get you excited. None of them are my favorite from the record, but of the ones out there for you to hear now, I have to say “Like A Child Hiding Behind Your Tombstone”


October 27th Everyone Else will be available for all to hear.

Weld - neil young and crazy horse.jpg

In the late ’80s, Neil Young re-embraced distortion. He cut “Rockin’ in the Free World.” He teamed up with Crazy Horse for 1990’s album Ragged Glory  And then he and his Crazy friends hit the road in the winter of 1991, for what Young termed the “Smell the Horse” tour, which was documented on the Arc-Weld album.

These were loud, noisy shows, a commitment that ran even to the support acts, Sonic Youth and Social Distortion, both of whom Neil had hand picked for that purpose. Extended, tangled performances were akin to the electric music captured on the “Live Rust” album more than a decade earlier. But Young with Crazy Horse  bassist Billy Talbot, drummer Ralph Molina plus guitarist/keyboardist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro weren’t trying to relive the past so much as they were inspired to the present. Apparently, the band watched CNN reports from the first Gulf War every night before taking the stage.

“It blew my head off during that tour,” Young said about the war in Iraq in Johnny Rogen’s Zero to Sixty: A Critical Biography. “When we were playing that stuff, it was intense. It was real. I could see people dying in my mind. I could see bombs falling, buildings collapsing on families.”

The nasty images and violent news spurned the singer-guitarist to play some of his roughest material from the new record along with enshrined tunes about death and genocide such as “Powderfinger” and “Cortez the Killer.” He and Crazy Horse also debuted a version of Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” accompanied by the sound of a blaring air raid sirens  and gunfire. Weld consists of rock and roll songs by Young and Crazy Horse, duplicating seven songs that had appeared on either “Rust Never Sleeps” Or “Live Rust” from twelve years earlier. It also echoes those albums as Young, in both cases having spent most of a previous decade pursuing different musical avenues, returned to straightforward rock and roll via the acclaimed Ragged Glory album with Crazy Horse, then celebrating that return with an accompanying multi-disc live document and concert film.

After coming off the road, Neil Young assembled recordings from the shows to document the four-month tour in the form of a double-live album. The concerts had been loud enough, but Young did further damage to his hearing while mixing the live record, which he would give the appropriately metallic title of Weld.

“I made Harvest Moon[after Weld] because I didn’t want to hear any loud sounds,” he said in 1995. “I still have a little bit of tinnitus but fortunately now I’m not as sensitive to loud sounds as I was for a year after the mixing of Weld.”

But Weld wasn’t the only thing Young was putting together in the summer of 1991. In addition to the live album, he began playing with fragments of concert sounds, weaving together layers of guitar distortion, drums, crowd noise, lyric fragments and stage chatter into an abrasive collage.

The experimental record, to be titled Arc, evolved in a 1987 film project called Muddy Track, for which Young recorded beginnings and endings of live performances and edited them together. He showed the piece to Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, who encouraged the rock legend to attempt a similar treatment with the professional recordings from the current tour.

Young came away with a one-track, 35-minute album that featured snippets of him singing “Like a Hurricane” and “Love and Only Love” (which repeat, almost like a refrain), as well as squealing feedback and low-end rumbling that was a ringer for constant explosions. Many would compare it to Lou Reeds Metal Machine Music.

“It’s new-age metal,” Young said in April 1992. “That’s what I would call it because you can listen to it really quiet. It’s soothing… It’s a generic rock ’n’ roll sound; it has no identity. It’s the tone, the metal tone. It’s like being inside a giant milkshake blender. It’s another dimension. Most bands’ beat defines who they are. There is no beat on Arc.”

In a limited release, Young packaged his conventional live album with Arc, which he called “more art and expression than anything I’ve done in a long time.” Via Reprise, he released 25,000 of the three-disc set, Arc-Weld, on October. 22nd, 1991. He ended up putting out the records separately, as well. (A VHS concert video was released too, although it has gone out of print.) Fans and critics reacted positively to the intensity of the performances on Weld while regarding Arc as, at best, something of a curiosity.

Although Neil Young would take a short hiatus from loud music following the release of Arc-Weld, he wouldn’t stay away for long. As the “godfather of grunge,” he’d soon team up with Grunge rockers Pearl Jam and reconvene with Crazy Horse multiple times throughout the ’90s.

1. “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” – 0:00
2. “Crime in the City” – 5:42
3. “Blowin’ in the Wind” (Bob Dylan) – 12:14
4. “Welfare Mothers” – 19:04
5. “Love to Burn” – 26:08
6. “Cinnamon Girl” – 36:06
7. “Mansion on the Hill” – 40:54
8. “F*!#in‘ Up” – 47:08

Of course the second cd is mandatory listen after the first one

1. “Cortez the Killer” – 0:00
2. “Powderfinger” – 9:46
3. “Love and Only Love” – 15:42
4. “Rockin’ in the Free World” – 25:03
5. “Like a Hurricane” – 34:23
6. “Farmer John” (Don Harris, Dewey Terry) – 48:25
7. “Tonight’s the Night” – 53:24
8. “Roll Another Number” – 1:02:05


cloud nothings new album

When you are known for your rough, lo-fi recordings, it is always a bit of a risk to polish things up. rightly or wrongly, is associated with lo-fi and the diehards tend to cry “sellout!” when bands veer away from the ethos. Personally, I reckon that’s a load of hogwash. Presumably, Dylan Baldi of Cloud Nothings is in complete agreement. His latest track with his band Cloud Nothings ‘Modern Act’, taken from upcoming fifth album Life Without Sound, is a crisp, brisk piece of melodic rock that sees the 25 year old explore a smoother and glossier aesthetic. Drawing on some archetypes of pop punk, but enclosed in a more subtle package, the track is a boisterous, slightly melancholic track that culminates in shouts of, “I want a life / That’s all I need lately / I am alive / But all alone.”

“Generally, it seems like my work has been about finding my place in the world,” Baldi says of the new record. “But there was a point in which I realised that you can be missing something important in your life, a part you didn’t realise you were missing until it’s there – hence the title. This record is like my version of new age music,”he adds. “It’s supposed to be inspiring.”


“Modern Act” is taken from Cloud Nothings‘ forthcoming album “Life Without Sound.” Out January 27th, 2017 on Carpark Records.

Cory Hanson: The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo (DC663)

Cory Hanson’s solo debut is one of the things happening that allows us to think that the final generations of this burning and chaotic sphere will indeed offer some of the finest young things that history will ever  Cory is of course the singer from the band Wand, whose solo album you’ve doubtlessly been clamoring for all these  well at least since the last Wand album, when you lay ears on , it’ll all become clear. Cory‘s songs stand in stark contrast to the all-or-everything hive-mind of Wand, and the austere nature of the arrangement Cory on acoustic, with sparing rhythmic accompaniment and a careful use of string quartet – lends weight to the straightforward narratives wove into the songs. Tales of apartments being torn apart; walking in nature; escape from a sealed bag; people fornicating and drowning as mom floats in space

Terrible things are happening here – but dry-eyed Cory details savagery and seeming non-sequitur with compassion and perseverence, as the strings color the space around the songs him with inflections from phases of pop music, all of which evokes the mission style of his homeland, the sunny (yet-shadowy) south of California. The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo is a profound departure from the world of Wand, and, fully-formed, it takes its place in the firmament of orchestrally-lit pop albums, it’s earth-bound issues allowed to take flight as music.


On November 11th, people of all nations who require some kind of healing are free to welcome The Unborn Capitalist From Limbo into their quietest places.

For many attendees, Bob Dylan’s opening set for the Rolling Stones on the Friday was the show most likely to skip (evidently, as quite a few seats remained empty throughout). That may sound preposterous to anyone who hasn’t caught him in the last decade or so, but those with experience know that his voice has diminished mostly to a low growl, he doesn’t pick up the guitar much (he didn’t once this weekend, either singing hands-free or manning the organ) and he won’t allow videographers to display a clear shot of his face , effectively distancing himself from a massive audience like Desert Trip’s 75,000 per day.

But those who slept on it should be feeling some deep regret. Not only because it was one of his better performances in recent years – his enunciation felt intentionally clearer and stronger, even managing a couple legitimately pretty croons on “Tangled Up in Blue” – but also because it was his second appearance since receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature the day before. The latter fact alone made it one of the most important gigs of his 57-year (!) career, and therefore as historically significant on its own as the entire Desert Trip affair.

Dylan – recently awarded the Nobel Prize of Literature – performed “Like A Rolling Stone” for the first time in nearly three years. The performance of the Highway 61 Revisited track also came before the Rolling Stones themselves took the stage at the Indio, California mega-fest.

Dylan last performed “Like a Rolling Stone” at a November 2013 gig in Rome, Italy. After spending this summer touring in support of his recent pair of Sinatra-indebted LPs with set lists that heavily leaned on Dylan’s 2010s recordings Dylan has dipped back into his Sixties catalog for the Desert Trip shows,

Yet Dylan never overtly acknowledged the honor throughout his 2-hour greatest hits run, which kicked off with a field full of sweet-smelling smoke signals (with set opener “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”) and saw the 75-year-old slipping in a few rock star moves and jams mid-set (some Robert Plant-esque mic stand lifts on “Love Sick” and Elvis-inspired hip wiggles during outlaw-toned organ-guitar riff duels with axeman Charlie Sexton). Notable, however, was the alternate encore: instead of the epic “Masters of War,” which capped Weekend 1, we got the iconic “Like a Rolling Stone” followed by the Cy Coleman/Jospeh McCarthy-penned Sinatra classic “Why Try to Change Me Now.”

It was the latter ballad that resonated the most poignantly. It’s a slow-burner, and perhaps the antithesis of what most of these diehard classic rock fans might’ve favored for a closer. But as he sang the final chorus echoing the tune’s title  – genuinely sweet and clear – it felt like a rebuke to all the naysayers: Sure, Dylan has made some adjustments to his songs’ styles as he and his voice have aged, but his poetry and its impact remain timeless, with or without a Nobel nod.