"We all inhabit this small planet...", JFK, June 10, 1963. ThisSmallPlanet is about life and culture, most often about music but also politics, nature, travel, and history. 'New Music Today' and 'Cool, New Music' feature the latest playlists and links to new music streams and downloads, selected music articles from our favorite sites, and original writing, photos, and videos.
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):
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 Sniffers. Comfort 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 OlsenSong 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.
BachelorDoomin' Sun. Cool collaboration between Jay Som and Palehound.
Eddie Vedder, Glen Hansard, Cat Power, Olivia Vedder. Flag Day (Original Movie Soundtrack). Strong songs, even as stand alones without the movie. Eddie's daughter Olivia is a welcome addition.
Ezra Furman. Sex 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.
GarbageNo Gods No Masters. Great new album, listening also to the 2017 single "No Horses".
Hand Habits. Fun 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!
IceageSeek Shelter. Worth a listen. They are evolving before our eyes. Cool, acoustic versions of three songs on the deluxe edition.
Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, and Jon Randall. Marfa Tapes. Songs sang around a roaring campfire. Magical.
Jackson BrowneDownhill 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 Marr. Fever 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 Gonzalez. Local Valley. Highly recommended.Nice folk sound. This Swede of Argentinian descent sings in three languages, including English.
Julien BakerLittle 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.
Manchester OrchestraThe Million Masks Of God. Great variety of different styles.
Marianne Faithfull (withWarren Ellis)She Walks In Beauty.
Matt Sweeney & Bonnie "Prince" BillySuperwolves. Album of the Year!
Mdou MoctarAfrique 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.
Paul WellerFat 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 ofepic, a new bonus disc contains fantastic covers byFiona Apple("Love More") andCourtney 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.
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.
Waxahatchee Saint Cloud +3. It's a re-release of Katie Crutchfield's excellent 2020 albumSaint 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.
Cut All the Wires: 2009-2011
ARCHIVAL: BEST OF 2021
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 theimmortal bluesman(1898 - 1959).
Bob Dylan1970. Features studio takes withGeorge Harrison
Bob Dylan & The Grateful Dead. Honky Tonk Lagoon (Live Bootleg, July 19, 1987, Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon).
Crosby, Stills, Nash & YoungDeja Vu (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
David BowieThe 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.
John LennonPlastic 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 Coltrane. Concert In Japan and Love Supreme Live in Seattle
Johnny Cash.Bear's Sonic Journals: Live At The Carousel Ballroom, April 24, 1968
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. "House Of The Rising Sun" (1964 Electric version) Classic tune, best known from versions by Lead Belly, Dave 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.
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. Hamerkop) is 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).
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.
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.