New Spoon

New single from Everything Hits At Once: The Best of Spoon, coming July 26th.

Check it, yo.

Replacements At A Turning Point

Here’s a great 32-year-old article from SPIN’s archives, from around the time that I was getting into them. (Yes, I was late to the party and had to work my way back through the Twin/Tone albums.) The band had just parted ways with manager Pete Jesperson, fired lead guitarist Bob Stinson, and released one of their best albums, Pleased To Meet Me. Recorded right here in Memphis!

“When we started,” [Westerberg] says, pausing to sip from a midmorning Schmidt, “we definitely had a fear of success. We had a fear of everything. We were all very paranoid, and I think that goes hand in hand with the excessive drinking thing. We’d get drunk because we were basically scared shitless, and that snowballed into image. Now we’re a little more assured of what we’re doing. We’re not positive which way we’re going, but we think we know what mistakes lie ahead, and we’re trying to sidestep ‘em.”

Full article here.

Any Good Thing They Ever Sold They Stole

New Titus Andronicus, from the album An Obelisk. Out today!

They’re taking an old religion, fitting it with a different name
Now we’re cutting our own incisions and inserting their hurting pain
It’s another innocent victim shivering in the frigid cold
They’re making a dirty fortune selling something that’s barely working
An inferior version of rock and roll
Or whatever else ever has touched your soul
Call it what you will — there’s a billion of them they sold
They’re taking credit that they’re not earning
Any good thing they ever sold they stole

Oh yeah

They’re making a television different than the old one was
A limited deluxe edition, it’s a superior version of
Of the previous week’s installment, but ain’t it all the same? (Pretty much)
Yet I comfort myself at night with transmission by satellite
It’s like a good enough facsimile of real love
I guess I got a habit same as everyone else does
We’re all banging down doors, trying to grab that stuff
But we never should have left it up to the judge
That passed the bill that illegalized us
They illegalized us

Oh yeah

The inferior version, it isn’t really rock and roll
It’s but a shallow imitation — it doesn’t really get ya goin’
And there ain’t no good explanation why it’s flying off the shelves
It’s a sorry situation — entire world’s going to hell
But I in no way blame myself
Though I helped those bastards to sell that inferior version we love so well
An inferior version of rock and roll
An inferior version of rock and roll
They’re making a dirty fortune off an inferior version of rock and roll

Whoa yeah

Ill Communication Is 25

This is worth a look.

‘Still Ill: 25 Years of the Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication’ features Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz diving deep into the making of the band’s epic 1994 album – and, arguably, one of their high points as artists and generational touchstones. The 15-minute documentary tracks the Beastie Boys’ rejuvenation in the years after the release of 1989’s Paul’s Boutique – now considered a masterpiece but at the time a commercial flop – first with 1992’s Check Your Head and ultimately with Ill Communication, which produced the epic single and music video “Sabotage” and returned them to playing arenas.

Featuring interviews with Diamond and Horovitz from this March in Austin, Texas — as well as new interviews with keyboardist Mark “Money Mark” Nishita and producer Mario Caldato and rarely-seen 1990s footage of the band – Still Ill focuses heavily on late Beastie Boy Adam “MCA” Yauch and his contributions to Ill Communication. Through footage and the words of his friends, the documentary captures Yauch’s journey into activism, which would blossom with the Tibetan Freedom Concerts later in the decade, as well as his famous denunciation of misogyny in hip-hop on the single “Sure Shot”: “I want to say a little something that’s long overdue / The disrespect to women has got to be through / To all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends / I want to offer my love and respect to the end.”

Smells Like … Vindication

Just one more reason to hate this fey twat. From The Guardian (“Bigmouth strikes again and again: why Morrissey fans feel so betrayed“)

These days, however, Morrissey prefers a different kind of onstage provocation. During a recent performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (and at a number of live shows in New York), the former Smiths singer sported a For Britain badge. For those unfamiliar with it, For Britain is a far-right political party. Even Nigel Farage believes it is made up of “Nazis and racists”.

To see Morrissey embrace the far right so openly was shocking. But was it surprising? Ever since the early 90s, he has flirted with the far right and fascist imagery – wrapping himself up in the union jack, writing a song called The National Front Disco, making inflammatory comments about immigration.

Yet in the last year there has been little doubt about his views. He has claimed Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, “cannot talk properly”, and declared “Even Tesco wouldn’t employ Diane Abbott,” – the Cambridge-educated shadow home secretary and Britain’s most prominent black MP. He has described the media’s treatment of the racist Tommy Robinson as “shocking”. And he has explicitly promoted For Britain on his Morrissey Central website: “There is only one British political party that can safeguard our security.” The party’s leader, Anne Marie Waters, posted a video online thanking Morrissey for his support.

Full story here.

Remember This Money-Grubbing Asshole?

This was televangelist Robert Tilton’s usual spiel, swindling every last penny from poor folks who were at the end of the proverbial rope. What a piece of shit.

And I’m sure you’re all familiar with this series of videos in which some video-editing genius used Tilton’s ridiculous facial expressions, pauses, and verbal tics to hilarious effect.

But I had not seen this video. This is another kind of genius. Anyway, enjoy or don’t.

What’s The Deal With That Song?

It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever. Somehow, this song manages to be both. I’ve heard “Werewolves of London” on the radio most of my life without ever giving it much thought – until today.

You might know that this was the first single off Excitable Boy, Zevon’s third solo album. You might even know that it stayed in the Billboard Top 40 for a month, reaching number 21 on the Hot 100 in May of 1978. But did you know Mick Fleetwood and John McVie are playing on it? Wikipedia, where you at?

The song began as a joke by Phil Everly (of The Everly Brothers) to Zevon in 1975, three years before the recording sessions for Excitable Boy. Everly had watched a television broadcast of the 1935 film Werewolf of London and “suggested to Zevon that he adapt the title for a song and dance craze.” Zevon, LeRoy Marinel and Waddy Wachtel played with the idea and wrote the song in about 15 minutes, all contributing lyrics that were transcribed by Zevon’s then-wife Crystal. The song is in the key of G major, with a three-chord progression that runs throughout. However, none of them took the song seriously.

Not long after, Jackson Browne saw the lyrics and thought it had potential, so he started playing “Werewolves” live. (T-Bone Burnett also played it on the first leg of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review in 1975.) Zevon thought about putting it on his second solo album in 1976, but for some reason, decided against it.

According to Wachtel, “Werewolves of London” was “the hardest song to get down in the studio I’ve ever worked on.” They tried at least seven different configurations of musicians in the recording studio before being satisfied with McVie and Fleetwood’s contributions. The protracted studio time and musicians’ fees led to the song eating up most of the album’s budget.

Zevon later said of the song, “I don’t know why that became such a hit. We didn’t think it was suitable to be played on the radio. It didn’t become an albatross. It’s better that I bring something to mind than nothing. I still think it’s funny.” He also described “Werewolves of London” as a novelty song, “[but] not a novelty the way, say, Steve Martin’s ‘King Tut’ is a novelty.”

This Be The Verse

By Philip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

This poem was my introduction to Larkin. I don’t agree with the last two lines, but holy fucking shit, I’ve never agreed with anything more for the rest of it.