Friday, December 17, 2021

President Obama Releases His Best Loved Music of 2021 List

We knew former U.S. President Obama had eclectic musical tastes. 

We were pleasantly surprised that it contained several artists prominently featured on our Best Music of 2021 including Parquet Courts, Courtney Barnett, Wye Oak, and Mdou Moctar.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Andrew Bird and Iron & Wine: "Outside Problems Tour 2022" Info + Videos

We found two charming videos recently filmed in the great outdoors with Andrew Bird and Iron & Wine (AKA Sam Beam). Now they announced a new tour for next summer. Definitely worth checking out. Check out these videos:

Iron & Wine w/Andrew Bird: "Upward Over The Mountain" & "Call It Dreaming":

                Andrew Bird with Iron & Wine: "Manifest" & "Fixed Positions":

Two videos I shot at an Iron & Wine show in Portland, Oregon in 2011:


Friday, November 26, 2021

Cool, New Song: "St. Vitamin" from Chilli Jesson (ex- Palma Violets)


The Palma Violets made quite a splash in England and beyond a few years ago. The dual singers Samuel Fryer (guitar) and Chilli Jesson (bass) often shared a microphone and were compared to The Libertines' Pete Doherty and Carl Barat.

Alas, they split up. Sam is now in Gently Tender (possibly the worst name for a rock band ever), and Chilli is now launching a solo career. "St. Vitamin" is his first solo single. I have to say, it rocks much more than Sam's recent tepid offerings.

Best of luck to Chilli in his new endeavors!

Here's some Palma Violets videos I shot (sorry the club was so dark) in Portland in 2013, starting with their catchy first single, "Best of Friends", NME's Song of the Year (2012):

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Cool, New Music: Best Indie Rock Music of 2021 & December 2021 Playlist

Bob Dylan's first day recording his first album at Columbia Studios, New York City, November 20, 1961




TOP SONG OF THE YEAR: Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen "Like I Used To"


  1. The Black Keys Delta Kream
  2. Courtney BarnettThings Take Time, Take Time. 
  3. Garbage No Gods No Masters. 
  4. Matt Sweeney & Bonnie "Prince" Billy Superwolves. 
  5. Mdou Moctar Afrique Victime. 
  6. Parquet CourtsSympathy For Life. 
  7. George HarrisonAll Things Must Pass (Super Deluxe Boxset)
  8. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. Raise The Roof. 
  9. St. Vincent. Daddy's Home. 
  10. The Beatles. Let It Be (Super Deluxe edition, accompanies Peter Jackson film Get Back):


Angel Olsen Song Of The Lark And Other Far Memories.

Bachelor Doomin' Sun. 

Dinosaur Jr. Sweep It Into Space. 

Jackson Browne Downhill From Everywhere. 

Johnny MarrFever Dreams, Parts I - Il.

Jose GonzalezLocal Valley. 

Lord Huron Long Lost.  

Son Volt Electro Melodier. 

Ty Segall Harmonizer.

Various Artists. I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute To The Velvet Underground And Nico feat Sharon Van Etten, Kurt Vile, King Princess, Courtney Barnett, Iggy Pop & Matt Sweeney, Fontaines D.C., et al.

STORY OF THE YEAR 2021 Calls For Boycott Against COVID Deniers Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Morrissey, and Joe Rogan. Ready to put Dave Chappelle on the boycott list too for his transphobic and bigoted "jokes".


Aimee Mann. Queens of The Summer Hotel. These songs, by this master singer-songwriter, were originally composed to be the soundtrack of a proposed Broadway version of Girl, Interrupted.

Amyl And The SniffersComfort To Me. Lively Aussie punk rock. Music to wake up to. Singer Amy Taylor's voice cuts through the bullshit with such authority it's almost frightening. Check out the song "Guided By Angels".

Angel Olsen Song Of The Lark And Other Far Memories. A three-disc boxset containing her last two albums and a bonus disc of rarities. She also released Aisles, a great collection of covers.

Bachelor Doomin' Sun. Cool collaboration between Jay Som and Palehound.

Bartees StrangeLive At Studio 4.

Billy Bragg. The Million Things That Never Happened. Love this guy.

The Black Keys Delta KreamA big hit. It features the magnificent Kenny Brown, from R.L. Burnside's band, on slide. Will shine a bright light on electric country blues.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Nathan Salsburg, Max Porter Three Feral Pieces (3-song EP). Nice.

Corey Harris. The Insurrection Blues. Great new old blues.

Courtney Barnett. Things Take Time, Take Time. Love it. Love her.

Dinosaur Jr. Sweep It Into Space - 90s indie rockers drop a new album that's really good!

The Dodos. Grizzley Peak. Solid new album.

Dry Cleaning New Long Leg. From the UK, a new exciting band. The first single from the album is "Scratchcard Lanyard". Here's a set they did in Seattle for KEXP.

Eddie Vedder, Glen Hansard, Cat Power, Olivia VedderFlag Day (Original Movie Soundtrack). Strong songs, even as stand alones without the movie. Eddie's daughter Olivia is a welcome addition.

Ezra FurmanSex Education (Songs from Season 3). Glad to see the talented trans artist find a home doing music for the Netflix show Sex Education.

Femi Kuti & Made Kuti Legacy - Fela Kuti's son Femi and Femi's son Made collaborate on this new exciting album that sounds as if it were already well within the Fela canon.

Garbage No Gods No Masters. Great new album, listening also to the 2017 single "No Horses".

Hand HabitsFun House. Heard her do Tom Petty's "Walls" with Angel Olsen and wanted to check her out. She's pretty good!

Herb Albert. Catch The Wind. Loved this lonely trumpeter as a kid. In our house, his 8-tracks played on, infinitely. He also co-founded A&M Records and, at the tender age of 86, he's back with a new album. Great!

Iceage Seek Shelter. Worth a listen. They are evolving before our eyes. Cool, acoustic versions of three songs on the deluxe edition.

Idles. Crawler.

Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, and Jon Randall. Marfa Tapes. Songs sang around a roaring campfire. Magical.

Jackson Browne Downhill From Everywhere. Very strong album from this veteran artist.

Jarvis Cocker. Chansons D'ennui Tip-Top. French language companion album to the new Wes Anderson film The French Dispatch:

Johnny MarrFever Dreams, Parts I - IV. Part I is out now, Part II on December 17. Part III is out in January. Part IV is out February 25, 2022. A cool single from Part II is out now: "Sensory Street".

Jose GonzalezLocal Valley. Highly recommended. Nice folk sound. This Swede of Argentinian descent sings in three languages, including English.

Julien Baker Little Oblivions. I know her from her work with Phoebe Bridgers in boygenius. She's great.

Lana Del Rey. Chemtrails Over The Country Club and Blue Bannisters. Two very strong albums this year.

Lindsey Buckingham. Lindsey Buckingham. Strong effort by the fired guitarist from Fleetwood Mac. Predict the band will invite him back in 2022.

Liz Phair Soberish. 90s indie rocker returns with very strong album.

Lord Huron Long Lost.  Feat the song "Time's Blur"

Los Lobos. Native Sons. An album of cool covers, inc. "For What It's Worth"

Manchester Orchestra The Million Masks Of God. Great variety of different styles.

Marianne Faithfull (with Warren Ellis) She Walks In Beauty. 

Matt Sweeney & Bonnie "Prince" Billy Superwolves. Album of the Year! 

Mdou Moctar Afrique Victime. Incredible psychedelic/folk guitar from Niger, featured on the new Superwolves album from Matt Sweeney & Bonnie "Prince" Billy as well as being one of the stand-out guitarists on Music from Saharan Cellphones.

Modest Mouse The Golden Casket.

Parquet CourtsSympathy For Life. Best new album by America's best indie band.

Patti Smith. Live at Electric Lady.

Paul Weller Fat Pop (Volume 1)(Deluxe 3-disc Version)

Richard Ashcroft. Acoustic Hymns, Vol. 1. Acoustic re-workings of his hits, with strings, most notably "Bittersweet Symphony", especially since Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have waived their "rights" to the song

Richard Thompson Serpent's Tears. A new 6-song EP now available on Bandcamp.

Ringo Starr. Zoom In.

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. Raise The Roof. Follow-up to Raising Sand, the 2007 Grammy winner.

Shame. Drunk Tank Pink. Heavy British band. Deluxe edition features demos of several of the songs.

Sharon Van Etten epic Ten. Celebrating the tenth anniversary of epic, a new bonus disc contains fantastic covers by Fiona Apple ("Love More") and Courtney Barnett & Vagabon ("Don't Do It")

Shelby Lynne. The Servant. Great covers of some great classics.

The Shivas. Feels So Good // Feels So Bad. Retro stoney blissed-out bliss.

Sleater-Kinney Path Of Wellness
Son Volt Electro Melodier 

St. Vincent. Daddy's Home. Very cool 70s retro sounds. St. Vincent's Annie Clark also released the soundtrack for her new mockumentary The Nowhere Inn with Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney, Portlandia) in 2021.

Steve Earle J.T. - Steve Earle's tribute to the songs of his late son, singer/songwriter Justin Townes Earle, who passed away recently from an overdose caused by fentanyl-tainted cocaine.

Strand Of Oaks. In Heaven. Pay attention to Strand Of Oaks!

Ty Segall. Harmonizer

Valerie June. The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers


Various Artists. I’ll Be Your Mirror: A Tribute To The Velvet Underground And Nico. Last project of the late, great producer extraordinaire Hal Willner, features some of today's biggest indie stars re-making the first Velvets/Nico album (AKA "The Andy Warhol Banana Cover Album") including Sharon Van Etten ("Femme Fatale"), Kurt Vile ("Run, Run, Run"), King Princess ("There She Goes Again"), Courtney Barnett ("I'll Be Your Mirror"), Iggy Pop & Matt Sweeney ("European Son"), and Fontaines D.C. ("The Black Angel's Death Song"). It coincides with the cool, new film The Velvet Underground: A Documentary Film By Todd Haynes and its cool, new soundtrack, featuring many of the Velvet songs from the film, as well as a few pieces by artists that inspired them. 

Wavves. Hideaway. Great comeback album.

Waxahatchee Saint Cloud +3. It's a re-release of Katie Crutchfield's excellent 2020 album Saint Cloud, with three previously unreleased covers as bonus tracks: "Fruits of My Labor" (Lucinda Williams), "Light Of A Clear Blue Morning" (Dolly Parton), and "Streets of Philadelphia" (Bruce Springsteen). The original album is great, if you haven't heard it, and the three covers are just perfect.

The Weather Station. All Of It Was Mine

Wolf Alice. Blue Weekend.

Wye Oak. 

Cut All the Wires: 2009-2011


The Beatles. Let It Be (5-Disc Super Deluxe). Accompanied by the three-part Peter Jackson film Get Back. Beatles fans, in recent years, have gladly greeted expanded versions of Sgt. Pepper's, The White Album, Abbey Road, and now Let It Be. We've also seen great collections of 1970-era solo works by John and George this year (see below), as well as new albums from both Paul and Ringo. Amazing.

Bob Dylan. Springtime in New York: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 16 / 1980-1985 (5-Disc Super Deluxe Edition). Some considered this one of Dylan's worst periods, but there are some gems here, like "Blind Wille McTell", Dylan's tribute to the immortal bluesman (1898 - 1959).

Bob Dylan 1970. Features studio takes with George Harrison

Bob Dylan & The Grateful DeadHonky Tonk Lagoon (Live Bootleg, July 19, 1987, Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon).

Can Live In Stuttgart 1975. Live recording by 70s German cult band.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Deja Vu (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)

David Bowie The Width Of A Circle (Two "companion discs" for the 2020 edition of The Man Who Sold The World, collecting Bowie's other recordings from 1970)

David Bowie. "Mother" and "Tryin' To Get To Heaven". Recently released covers of John Lennon and Bob Dylan by the late, great Thin White Duke. I was reminded of a 2001 Bowie cover of The Who's "Pictures of Lilly" that was really great.

The Doors. Critique 1969. Recorded for a PBS TV show in 1969.

Elton John. Regimental Sgt. Zippo. A psychedelic Beatlesque 1968 would-be debut for Elton, shelved at the time and unheard until now, It's a hoot. Elton hadn't found his Southern accent yet, but this early glimpse of the Bernie/Elton writing partnership is fascinating.

George HarrisonAll Things Must Pass (Super Deluxe Boxset). Fantastic! See also, from 2019: Fans and Friends of George Harrison & Monty Python in L.A. Celebrate "Life of Brian" Anniversary

John Lennon Plastic Ono Band (The Ultimate Collection). Lennon's first solo album feat "Working Class Hero". Great extra material, alternate versions, outtakes, jam sessions, demos....

Joe Strummer Assembly. Nice to hear The Clash's Joe Strummer again in this retrospective from the late George Harrison's Dark Horse label. Great versions of "I Fought The Law" and "Junco Partner". Tim Armstrong (Operation Ivy, Rancid) befriended Strummer and released his final albums with The Mescaleros on Hellcat records. Another Strummer compilation, Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros: The Hellcat Years, contains selections from those albums, as well as tracks from the Acton concert, recorded a month and a half before Joe's untimely death. In addition to many of Joe's best-known songs, the Acton show included three numbers with Mick Jones on guitar, the first time the former Clash bandmates had played together for some time.

John ColtraneConcert In Japan and Love Supreme Live in Seattle

Johnny Cash. Bear's Sonic Journals: Live At The Carousel Ballroom, April 24, 1968

Michael Bloomfield. The Gospel Truth. The late, great rocker, best known for playing guitar with Paul Butterfield and Bob Dylan (on "Like A Rolling Stone") is amazing here.

Prince Welcome To America (July 30). Lost album to be released for the first time. Also,The Truth was released this year. This stripped down release accompanied Prince's 1998 triple album Crystal Ball.

T. Rex Star King

The Who The Who Sell Out (1967)(5-Disc Super Deluxe version). "I Can See For Miles", "Pictures of Lilly", and so much more. David Bowie also recorded "Pictures of Lilly".


Angel Olson"Gloria" (Laura Branigan cover) and "Safety Dance" from the covers album Aisles.

Angel Olsen & Hand Habits "Walls" (Tom Petty cover)

Ashley Shadow & Bonnie "Prince" Billy"Don't Slow Me Down" 

Big Thief "Off You" (The Breeders cover). From the tribute to legendary British indie label 4AD who gave us The Pixies and much more: Bills & Aches & Blues (40 Years of 4AD). Also enjoyed very much the recent solo album(s) from Big Thief's Adrianne Lenker.

Big Thief"Change" is from the double album coming out in 2022 from this Philly group to watch. "Time Escaping" sounds very different from their other songs. Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You (Feb 11/4AD), is going to put Big Thief over the top as a major rock band worth listening to.

Bob Dylan. "Too Late" (Band Version)

Bob Dylan"House Of The Rising Sun" (1964 Electric version) Classic tune, best known from versions by Lead BellyDave Van Ronk, Bob Dylan, & The Animals. In 1964, African-American Producer Tom Wilson ("Like A Rolling Stone") took a 1961 solo acoustic outtake from Dylan's debut album and added an electric band to it, in response to The Animals' full-band version of "House" being a huge hit. This version wasn't officially released until 1995's Highway 61 Interactive CD-ROM, but Wilson tried a similar technique of taking an acoustic folk song and adding a rock backing track (i.e. "folk rock") on "The Sound Of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel in 1965 (it was a number one hit in January of 1966). Dylan was intrigued by "folk rock" and saw his "Mr. Tambourine Man" go to number one with a folk rock version by The Byrds in 1965.

Bobby Gillespie & Jehnny Beth "Remember We Were Lovers"

Bonnie "Prince" Billy & Nathan Salsburg. "Stagger Lee"

Bonnie "Prince" Billy & Matt Sweeney. "Stay On My Shore" (Joan Shelley cover)

Bonnie "Prince" Billy (one of my favorite artists) and his pal Bill Callahan (who's also pretty good) released a whole slew of excellent covers periodically throughout the pandemic. Scout Niblett's "Kidnapped By Neptune" (feat. Hamerkopis their latest cover. The singles are to be collected as Blind Date Party. Here's three of the best: Bill and Billy doing "Deacon Blues" (Steely Dan), "The Wild Kindness" (by the late great David Berman of The Silver Jews), and "OD'd in Denver" (Hank Williams, Jr. --- I don't like him either... but... this song is awesome... especially this version).

Brittany Howard "Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher" (Jackie Wilson cover). Inspiring.

Brittany Howard. "Stay High" (Childish Gambino version)

Car Seat Headrest. "Substitute" (The Who cover)

Cassandra Jenkins"American Spirits"

Chris Cornell. "You Never Knew My Mind" (Johnny Cash cover). From Forever Words.

Courtney Barnett"Smile Real Nice" (The Theme From "Harriet The Spy"). Catchiest song in the world.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young "Ivory Tower" (out-take)

Donovan "I Am The Shaman"

Foals"Wake Me Up"

Garbage "The Men Who Rule The World" from their new album No Gods No Masters (June 11)

George Harrison"Cosmic Empire" (All Things Must Pass outtake from forthcoming boxset)

Jack White. "Taking Me Back (Gently)"

King Princess. "Fell In Love With A Girl" (White Stripes cover)

Juvenile. “Vax That Thang Up” (ft. Mannie Fresh & Mia X) BLK presents a remake of "Back That Thang Up" for the COVID era.

The Linda Lindas "Racist Sexist Boy". Teen girls of color rock out against racism & sexism.

Mark Lanegan"Dust Pneumonia Blues" (Woody Guthrie cover from tribute album Home In This World)

Manchester Orchestra "Keel Timing" from the forthcoming album The Million Masks of God (April 30th). We've already heard another single from the album, "Bed Head", and now there's an acoustic version of it on YouTube.

Mick Jagger & Dave Grohl "Easy Sleazy". Mick did a quarantine song with Dave Grohl. Not bad.

Muna & Phoebe Bridgers. "Silk Chiffon" Live on Corden

Norah Jones. "Black Hole Sun" (live Soundgarden cover)

Paul McCartney. "Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey". Whimsical 1971 song. McCartney at his weirdest.

Paul McCartney & Phoebe Bridgers. "Seize The Day" Paul McCartney (Beatles, Wings) recently released a surprisingly strong album called McCartney III. For a new companion release, McCartney III Imagined, McCartney invited friends to do versions of his new songs, and one of the best is this one from Phoebe Bridgers.

Phoebe Bridgers"That Funny Feeling". A Bo Burnham cover and benefit for Texas pro-choice groups.

Phoebe Bridgers. "Nothing Else Matters" (Metallica cover)

Prince "Welcome 2 America" (recorded in 2010, released in 2021). Now more than ever.

Benedict Cumberbatch voiced "Quilloughby", 
(a parody of Morrissey of The Smiths) on The SimpsonsBrilliant.

Sharon Van Etten "Let Go"/"Some Things Last A Long Time" Two songs, the first an original, and the second a Daniel Johnston cover, from the soundtrack of the documentary Feels Good Man.

Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen "Like I Used To" (also see Jeff Tweedy's cover)

Soccer Mommy "Kissing In The Rain" from the Dark Nights Death Metal soundtrack, which also includes a Manchester Orchestra song "Never Ending".

Soccer Mommy "Wide Open Spaces" (The Chicks cover)

Son Volt. "Living In The USA" & "Reverie". Jay Farrar (Uncle Tupelo) shines on the new Son Volt release.

Spiritualized. "Always Together With You". New album Everything Was Beautiful coming that you can pre-order/pre-save here. It's out on Fat Possum on February 25, 2022.

St. Vincent "The Melting Of The Sun"A new twist from the guitarist/singer/writer Annie Clark. I haven't liked most of her new stuff, but I like this. She also performed this song on Saturday Night Live on April 3, 2021.

Strand Of Oaks"Galacticana" 

Tim Heidecker. "Dark Days". Actor/comedian/singer, this Allentown native can do no wrong.

Vagabon (feat Courtney Barnett"Reason To Believe" (Tim Hardin cover) 

Weyes Blood. "Sad Eyed Lady of The Lowlands" (Bob Dylan cover)

Cool, New Music: December 2021


Chilli Jesson"St. Vitamin". Former Palma Violets bassist/singer steps into a solo career. Great sign of things to come from the first single.


Wolfmother. Rock Out.

Terry RileyArchangels.

Richard Dawson & Circle. Henki.

StingThe Bridge.

Leon BridgesGold Diggers Sound.

DionStomping Ground.

Christy MooreFlying Into Destiny.

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss. Raise The Roof.

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