Wednesday, January 24, 2024

People's Park & Jack Kerouac's Grave

In recent days, I have visited two iconic sites associated with the Sixties: People's Park in Berkeley and Jack Kerouac's grave in Lowell, Massachusetts. 

People's Park has been a symbol of resistance for over 50 years. In December 2023, the University of California brought in shipping containers to block public access to the Park.


People's Park Shipping Container Wall: Video

Saturday, January 13, 2024 BEST MUSIC OF 2024 (So Far)

BEST MUSIC OF 2024 (So Far) (UPDATED: February 24, 2024)

BEST SINGLES (Click on song titles to link their YouTube videos)

Adrianne Lenker. "Sadness As A Gift" & "Fool". Cool solo efforts from Big Thief's singer.

Buck Meek. "Cuero Dudes" & "Beauty Opens Door". Outtakes from Big Thief's guitarist's cool solo album.

Caroline Polachek. "Butterfly Net" (feat Weyes Blood). 

Charles Moothart. "One Wish" & "Roll". Ty Segall collaborator's solo album rocks a lot!

Dry Cleaning.  "Sit Down Meal"

Faye Webster. "Lego Ring" (feat Lil Yachty). 

J Mascis. "Right Behind You" & "Can't Believe We're Here". New, forthcoming album from Dinosaur Jr. vet indie rocker is fantastic! His recent cover of Phoebe Bridgers' "Motion Sickness" is cool too...

Kim Gordon. "Bye Bye". & "I'm A Man". Sonic Youth? Team Kim here.

Kneecap. "Sick In The Head". Can't get these Belfast bilingual rappers out of my head.

Ride. "Peace Sign". Vet Shoegazers return in a slow blaze of something resembling glory.

Ty Segall. "My Best Friend" & "Eggman" & "Void"

The Vaccines. "Discount De Kooning (Last One Standing)". New album is bright and fun.

Waxahatchee. "Bored" "Right Back To It" (feat MJ Lenderman of Wednesday). MJ "Jake" Lenderman is suddenly everywhere and not a moment too soon. The new Waxahatchee album promises to send her even further into the stratosphere.

Yard Act. "We Make Hits" & "When The Laughter Stops"


Sleater-Kinney. Little Rope. Your girlfriends are back and we're gonna be in trouble...

The Vaccines. Pick-Up Full Of Pink Carnations.

Gruff Rhys. Sadness Sets Me Free.

Ty Segall. Three Bells. One of the best hard rockers out there today.

J. Mascis. What We Do Now. Nice solo effort from Dinosaur Jr. vet indie rocker.

Paul McCartney & Wings. Band on the Run (Underdubbed Mixes)Macca's 1973 classic seen (or more precisely, heard) in a new light.

Brittany HowardWhat Now. Alabama Shakes frontwoman's second solo album explores a contemporary versions of classic 70s soul and funk. She said her next album might be a tribute to the metal she listened to as a teen.

Gary Clark. JPEG RAW Sampler. Great blues guitarist, equally at home with funk, soul, pop, and rock.

Can. Ege Bamyasi (1972) & Live in Paris 1973Damo Suzuki, the Japanese signer of the German band Can, passed away recently, providing the perfect opportunity to give classic Can a play. 

Idles. Tangk. A triumph from one of England's top newish hard rock bands.

Grandaddy. Blu Wav.

Laura Jane Grace. Hole In My Head. No compromise.

MGMT. Loss Of Life.

Mary Timony. Untame The Tiger. Loved her in Wild Flag with Carrie Brownstein. She's great here too.

 Highly Anticipated Forthcoming Releases

Yard Act. Where's My Utopia? [Island] March 1, 2024.

Mannequin Pussy. I Got Heaven [Epitaph] March 1. 2024.

Fontaines DC, Massive Attack, Young Fathers. Ceasefire EP (Vinyl Only). [Battle Box] See Bandcamp. March 1, 2024.

The Libertines. All Quiet on the Eastern Esplanade [Casablanca/Republic] March 8, 2024.

Charles Moothart. Black Holes Don't Choke. [Into The Red]. March 8, 2024. Ty Segall bandmate's cool new solo album.

Kim Gordon. The Collective. [Matador] March 8, 2024.

Peter Garrett. The True North. [Sony] March 15, 2024. Solo effort for Midnight Oil's frontman, a unique and energetic Australian activist and singer.

The Dandy Warhols. Rockmaker [Sunset Blvd.] March 15, 2024.

Waxahatchee. Tiger’s Blood. [Anti-] March 22, 2024. The first single is "Right Back To It" feat MJ Lenderman (of Wednesday) on guitar and harmony vocals.

Adrianne Lenker. Bright Future [4AD] March 22, 2024. Big Thief singer's solo album.

Ride. Interplay. [Wichita Recordings] March 29, 2024. Shoegaze is making a comeback.

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Thursday, January 4, 2024

New June Carter Documentary Explores Carter Family Musical Legacy & Her Partnership with Johnny Cash

There's a new documentary June about June Carter debuting on Paramount+ on January 16. It explores the Carter Family's musical legacy & June's extraordinary partnership with Johnny Cash. (Note: "The Carter Family" in this context, does not refer to Jay Z and Beyonce.)

Some people forget June's legacy as a comic and singer, carrying on her family's traditions. and the fact that she wrote "Ring of Fire".

My father took me to see June Carter, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Maybelle Carter, et al perform at The Allentown Fair on August 13, 1971. I'd been a fan of 1969's "A Boy Named Sue", Cash's novelty hit of the Shel Silverstein classic, and somehow convinced my father to take me to the show. We bought a candy car in hopes of getting a golden ticket, the prize being a cache of Johnny Cash records. I was disappointed I didn't win but was enthralled by the show. 

Years later I saw Johnny Cash & June Carter perform again in Pennsylvania. This time, young punk rockers danced in the grass next to redneck tailgaters.


Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Sunday, November 12, 2023

boygenius on Saturday Night Live (feat Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus & Julien Baker): "Not Strong Enough" & "Satanist"



Not Strong Enough
Black hole opened in the kitchenEvery clock's a different timeIt would only take the energy to fix itI don't know why I am
The way I am, not strong enough to be your manI try, I can't stop staring at the ceiling fan andSpinning out about things that haven't happenedBreathing in and out
Drag racing through the canyonSinging "Boys Don't Cry"Do you see us getting scraped up off the pavement?I don't know why I am
The way I am, not strong enough to be your manI lie, I am just lowering your expectationsHalf a mind that keeps the other second guessingClose my eyes and count
Always an angel, never a godAlways an angel, never a godAlways an angel, never a godAlways an angel, never a god
Always an angel, never a godAlways an angel, never a godAlways an angel, never a godAlways an angel, never a god
Always an angel, never a godAlways an angel, never a godAlways an angel, never a godAlways an angel, never a god
I don't know why I am the way I amThere's something in the static, I think I've been having revelationsComin' to, in the front seat, nearly emptySkip the exit to our old street and go home
Go home alone


Will you be a satanist with me?Mortgage off your soul to buy your dreamVacation home in FloridaThe collateral, the devil's repossessin' from meTryin' to score some off-brand ecstasy
Will you be an anarchist with me?Sleep in cars and kill the bourgeoisieAt least until you find out what a fake I amSpray paint my initials on an ATMI burn my cash and smash my old TV
Will you be a nihilist with me?If nothin' matters, man, that's a reliefSolomon had a point when he wrote EcclesiastesIf nothing can be known, then stupidity is holyIf the void becomes a bore, we'll treat ourselves to some self-belief
You wonder if you can even be seenFrom so far awayA slow pull, a seismic driftLeanin' over the edge of the continent
It's so hard to come backYou hang on until it dragsYou under, you underYou under, you under

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Fontaines D.C. Live on KCRW with Chilli Jesson (ex-Palma Violets) On Bass


Ireland's Fontaines D.C. just finished a U.S. tour opening up for Arctic Monkeys.

Pleasantly surprised to see they added Chilli Jesson, formerly of Palma Violets, on bass to their touring band (he also provides vocals).

The band stopped by KCRW and played a few songs:

0:00-4:28 Nabokov 4:29-8:44 Roman Holiday 8:45-13:22 Big Shot 13:23-17:34 Jackie Down the Line 17:35-22:21 I Love You

Fontaines D.C. lead singer Grian Chatten also released a mellow solo album this year that we considered one of the year's best releases.

                                  Grian solo doing "Fairlies" on Later...With Jools Holland:

                                               Grian Chatten: "All Of The People":

Chilli Jesson performing his song "Best Of Friends" with Palma Violets at KEXP in 2013:

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Lift Us Up Where We Belong: Buffy Sainte-Marie Revealed as a Deep Fake. She's Italian, Not Cree, As She Long Claimed

UPDATED: December 10, 2023

 We were shocked to find out that Buffy Sainte-Marie, one of the most beloved Native American artists of our time, actually has no indigenous heritage whatsoever. Her father was the son of Italian immigrants and her mother English. She claimed she was born on a Cree reservation in Canada and raised by a white couple in Massachusetts who adopted her. In fact, they were her birth parents.

One activist called her a "Pretendian" - a Pretend Indian.

Here's her birth certificate, showing she was born in Massachusetts, not Canada:

Buffy has said several times that she had no birth certificate and didn't know her birthday or who her birth parents were. Yet she did have a birth certificate that indicated her birth day and the names of her parents. When Buffy married Jack Nietzsche, she signed documents acknowledging she was born in Massachusetts in 1941 to the Santamaria family. Buffy once claimed her birth certificate and other official documents had been destroyed in a fire but there was no record of such a fire. One expert said this was a red flag regarding ethnic appropriation - shifting narratives. Also Buffy claimed at various times to be Algonquin, Micmac, and Cree. An expert pointed out that the three groups live far away from each other and no one could be part of all three groups.

                                          The CBC video report on Buffy:

Statement from the Indigenous Women's Collective:

                                               From the New York Times:

                            New York Times: Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Indigenous Parentage Is Questioned

                                                     The first Indigenous Oscar winner?

Buffy wrote the melody for the song that became "(Lift Us) Up Where We Belong", a big hit and a 1983 Oscar winner for best song in "An Officer and a Gentleman". 

She shared the award with lyricist Will Jennings and composer Jack Nitzsche (Buffy's husband at the time). Nitzsche was well-known as a lunatic. Finding that she apparently willingly married him tells us something about her as well. By the way, when she married Nitzsche, she signed a document acknowledging that she was born in Massachusetts and that the parents that raised her were her birth parents.

Buffy was said to be the first indigenous person to win an Oscar. Actually that honor belongs to Wes Studi and New Zealand's Taika Waititi. Wes Studi, a Cherokee, received an Academy Honorary Award Oscar in 2019. Waititi, whose father was Maori, won a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for 2019's Jojo Rabbit

                                                                     Wes Studi

                                                                  Taika Waititi

In 1964, Buffy released "Universal Soldier", one of the best protest songs of the 1960s. It's been covered by numerous artists including Donovan, Glen Campbell, Bob Dylan, Chumbawamba, and Jake Bugg. This alone proves she had talent, begging the question, wasn't her talent enough? Did she have to embellish her personal history and deceive us for all these years? Couldn't she have just been a talented singer who supported indigenous causes without having to be Native American herself?

In the military, it's called "stolen valor", claiming military honors you did not earn for personal gain.  "Pretendians", "Ethnic theft" or "ethnic fraud" is what some people call it, and sadly it's not as rare as you'd think.

In the 1960s, singer Peter La Farge claimed to be Native American and wrote a moving song about Native American Ira Hayes, who helped raise the American flag at Iwo Jima, but fell into severe alcoholism after the war and died prematurely. Johnny Cash recorded the song and championed La Farge. But La Farge had no indigenous background whatsoever.


"The Ballad of Ira Hayes"

Buffy Sainte-Marie on "The Johnny Cash Show" in 1969

Perhaps the most famous Pretendian (Pretend Indian) of all-time is Sacheen Littlefeather, who declined Marlon Brando's 1973 Oscar at his request and made a speech in favor of indigenous rights, in full Indian costume. It was later discovered that she was not Native American at all.

Sacheen Littlefeather was a Native American icon. Her sisters say she was an ethnic fraud

UPDATE: Forgot about Iron Eyes Cody, who played Native American characters in over 200 movies and TV shows, including opposite John Wayne and most famously as the Crying Indian in the 1970s era anti-littering PSA.

Iron Eyes Cody insisted he was Native American. In fact he was the son of Sicilian immigrants.

Some of these people represented Native culture well but their essential dishonesty overshadows any good they did. Artists must be honest. If we can't trust them, they can't listen to them. And we need artists to narrate the unknown and the unknowable. We can't afford for them to be liars and cultural thieves.

It really begs the question: Wasn't it good enough for Buffy to say she was a folk singer who cared about Native people and wanted to champion their cause? Did she have to falsely claim she was Native herself?

P.S. What a great song!
UNIVERSAL SOLDIER by Buffy Sainte-Marie
He's five-foot-two and he's six-feet-fourHe fights with missiles and with spearsHe's all of 31 and he's only 17Been a soldier for a thousand years
He'a a Catholic, a Hindu, an Atheist, a JainA Buddhist, and a Baptist, and a JewAnd he knows he shouldn't killAnd he knows he always willKill you for me, my friend, and me for you
And he's fighting for CanadaHe's fighting for FranceHe's fighting for the U.S.AAnd he's fighting for the RussiansAnd he's fighting for JapanAnd he thinks we'll put an end to war this way
And he's fighting for DemocracyHe's fighting for the RedsHe says it's for the peace of allHe's the one who must decideWho's to live and who's to dieAnd he never sees the writing on the wall
But without himHow would Hitler have condemned them at Dachau?Without him Caesar would have stood aloneHe's the one who gives his body as a weapon of the warAnd without him all this killing can't go on
He's the Universal Soldier and he really is to blameHis orders come from far away no moreThey come from here and there and you and meAnd brothers, can't you see?This is not the way we put the end to war

Speaking of indigenous artists, here are two who are of actual native heritage, poet John Trudell and guitar god Jesse Ed Davis, who aren't as well known as they should be. This song, "Rich Man's War" (above), was written and recorded in 1986, but it could have been written this week about this week. The mark of a great artist. They speak simultaneously of their time and the times to come.


               The four nominees for the International Emmy for Arts Programming:

Statement from Buffy, November 2023:

I want to begin by thanking the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the honour. As one of the most prestigious awards in the global entertainment industry, it is a true recognition of the outstanding team who worked on my story – the true story of my life.

I’ve always believed it takes rain and sunshine to bring a rainbow. This great honour does indeed come after the rain – as I continue to absorb and process the recent attack on my character, life and legacy. It’s a deep wound to my inner child, but as an 82-year-old now, I’m strong – and these allegations do not shake me.

Now it is time for me to shine a light on the truth, my truth.

I have never lied about my identity. The more I’ve known, the more I’ve pieced together a sense of self from what information has been available to me.

What I know about my Indigenous ancestry I learned from my growing up mother, who was of Mi’kmaq heritage, and my own research later in life. My mother told me that I was adopted and that I was Native, but there was no documentation as was common for Indigenous children at the time.

When I grew up, I was adopted into a Cree family by Emile Piapot (son of Chief Piapot, Treaty 4 Adhesion signatory), and Clara Starblanket Piapot (daughter of Chief Starblanket, Treaty 4 signatory), in accordance with Cree law and customs. They were kind, loving, and proud to claim me as their own. I love my Piapot family and am so lucky to have them in my life.

I have always struggled to answer questions about who I am. For decades, I tried to find my birth parents and information about my background. Through that research what became clear, and what I’ve always been honest about: I don’t know where I’m from or who my birth parents are, and I will never know. Which is why, to be questioned in this way is painful, both for me, and for my two families I love so dearly.

My Indigenous identity is rooted in a deep connection to a community which has had a profound role in shaping my life and my work. For my entire life, I have championed Indigenous, and Native American causes when nobody else would, or had the platform to do so. I am proud to have been able to travel the world, sharing Indigenous stories. I have always tried to bridge gaps between communities and educate people to live in love and kindness.

This is my truth. And while there are many things I do not know; I have been proud to share my story – as I know it – throughout my life.

The attack on my character is full of mistakes and omissions. While I will not stoop to respond to every false allegation, I feel it is important to clarify two things.

First, the central proof used to question my identity is a story fabricated by my abuser and repeated by two members of my estranged family I don’t even know. This has been incredibly re-traumatizing for me and unfair to all involved. It hurts me deeply to discover that my estranged family grew up scared of me and thinking these lies because of a letter I sent intended to protect me from further abuse from my brother. I want to be clear, I do not blame them. They, of course, want to believe their father. I have evidence I was sexually abused by my brother, but I can’t tolerate discomforting his children even more. I wish them only the best and hope they move forward from this and find peace, as I am trying to do.

The second is my “birth certificate”. As many Indigenous people know, and the National Sixties Scoop Healing Foundation of Canada has stated, it was common for birth certificates of Indian children to be “created” by western governments after they were adopted or taken away from their families. So it was quite shocking to me to hear a city clerk say she had 100% confidence in its authenticity. I have never known if my birth certificate was real. I have used it because it was the only document I’ve had my whole life. I’ve heard from countless people with similar stories – who do not know where they are from and feel victimized by these allegations and one-sided reporting as I do.

Most importantly, this is my life – I am not a piece of paper. I am a product of both my families and all my experiences in this world.

If you are a pure-blood documented something, I’m glad for you. It’s awesome and beautiful to hear you speak your lineage, history and genealogy. But even if your documentation says you’re racially pure, you might miss the point. Being an “Indian” has little to do with sperm tracking and colonial record keeping: It has to do with community, culture, knowledge, teachings, who claims you, who you love, who loves you, and who’s your family.

With respect and love,

Buffy Sainte-Marie


Acting chief of Piapot calls for DNA test

Buffy Sainte-Marie's claims of Cree ancestry and birth on Sask. First Nation removed from her website