Craig Finn – God In Chicago

craig_finn_sq.jpgCraig Finn has cut a swath through beer-soaked halls–playing on six-inch risers often never higher than six feet–for the last twenty odd years of his career with the band, The Hold Steady.

Course he’s had his solo work too. Equally impressive to be sure. And no, his music isn’t quite as dour as his photo. At least, not all of it. Shit, there’s a lot to unpack in his lyrics…

I’m not the only lazy music fan who’s been likening his rambling story-telling song lyrics to a modern Raymond Carver weened on Springsteen and Black Flag with a guitar. He’s consistent and reliable and undoubtedly an incredible amount of thought and care in each turn of phrase as evidenced by the narrative film with collaborator, Kris Merc on his latest contribution, “God In Chicago.”

Okay, well, see, it’s a story about a guy and a girl and drug deal/road trip.

But with Finn, it’s always more.

He’s a master of subtext, and his subtext is all in the gut.

Check out the video on The Nowness:

https://www.nowness.com/story/craig-finn-god-in-chicago-kris-merc

Finn is playing with Japandroids this Sat. March 11 at the Music Box in San Diego.

Angel Olsen – Shut Up, No Seriously, Shut Up and Listen to This Song Right Now!

Angel Olsen’s new record and third full LP, My Woman, has pushed through the noise to the top of the pile. It’s so good I want to drown in every reverb drenched guitar note. This has been an excellent year for music and My Woman will probably make a few dozen top tens.

Algiers “Black Eunuch” – Video Single

These talented Atlanta cats are poised to drop their self-titled on Matador.

Definitely worthy of more than a cursory listen.

Can’t wait to hear the full LP.

Is Algiers a reference to Old Bull Lee’s LA. home? Or the the capital city of Algeria?

There’s some voodoo in this tune.

Keep an ear open for the ghost of Joan Vollmer.

Spectres – Where Flies Sleep

“Sleep is an uncompromising interruption of the theft of time from us by capitalism.”Jonathan Crary

Anxiety abounds in this tense and compressed new track from Bristol UK shoe-wave band, Spectres.

They made NME’s album of the week and it’s about time to commend the lads for their diligent and provocative sound. For a band that has been anchored to an island, hopefully, the extra attention will garner a tour. Maybe, if the black supermoon aligns, a tour US will follow and they can anoint us all with layers of fuzz, suburban ennui and melancholy for an atrophied diaspora of guitar-centric music.

Mega Yay! Sharon Van Etten “I Don’t Want to Let You Down”

Suffice to say Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There bubbled by brains for the better half of 2014.

Late in 2014 I picked up Strand of Oaks Heal, on the title track, Showalter name checks Van Etten my headphones on And I listend to Van Etten Sing You gotta give out, give up…”

Van Etten has a voice that seeps. Fills in the seams.

The way her voice wraps around words or, trying to explain Are We There to a friend when playing the “No Bad Songs” game in that irritating dancing-about-architecture explanation of music that is so subjective and personal I thought, man, even though I’ve only recently discovered Van Etten I feel like I’ve been listening to her my whole life.

Okay, enough with the exposition. Here’s a new track she released. Oh, and if you haven’t seen her and Shearwater’s performance of the Petty/Nicks “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” do yourself a favor and consult the oracle.

Vietcong “Continental Shelf”

Counting the days until this Calgary band makes the gradually warming drive south to San Diego for their performance at the Soda Bar.

In the meantime, I’ve got this charming Dario Argento-worship music video for their song “Continental Shelf” to keep me guessing.