awfully fine videos from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s & 00s

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ft. the beatles, aretha franklin, neil young, dr. dre, serge gainsbourg, duke ellington, the kinks, jimi hendrix, pavement, the clash, smog, the smiths, al green, the rolling stones, cat power, dusty springfield, yo la tengo, antony, wilco, elvis, talking heads, elliott smith, r.e.m., ray charles, otis redding, the monochrome set, randy newman, the cure, gillian welch, queen, stevie wonder & more

"mtv makes me want to smoke crack." -beck

see the archives & a random post

"i just happen to be here, and it's okay." -caetano veloso

"sing a simple song but keep the swing strong." -de la soul

"think straight, keep a clean plate." -joanna newsom

"keep a clean nose, watch the plain-clothes." -bob dylan

"keep your feet warm, but keep your clothes on." -harry nilsson

"it took me about three or four weeks to toilet train my cat, nightlife. most of the time is spent moving the box very gradually to the bathroom." -charles mingus

"think about something else. was art tatum talented?" -shoot the piano player

"she had a chihuahua named carlos that had some kind of skin disease and was totally blind." -tom waits

"he had a huge room with nothing in it except this huge vast hammond organ, right next door to the police." -david bowie

"he's got a mind like a sewer, and a heart like a fridge" -elvis costello

"you can't hold the hand of a rock 'n' roll man." -joni mitchell

"lou's jukebox spun for love and many other things, too – beauty, pain, history, courage, mystery" -laurie anderson

"hey there, hey now, well, you can make a pacemaker blink, easy thing, make a man's heart go bibbity boom. -john cale

"i’ve still got things inside me, sad things, happy things, that people don’t know about." -loretta lynn

"to try to maximize the relationship of listening to a record through promotion is like experiencing driving a car by reading about stimulus programs." -bonnie 'prince' billy

"after cheesecake with all of your friends and family, who's gonna front the bill? me... say you want to take first-class trips, well i want to work those first-class hips. yes i do." -r. kelly

"too much cheesecake too soon! old money's better than new" -roxy music

"my mother used to tell me about vibrations. to think that invisible feelings, invisible vibrations existed scared me to death." -brian wilson

"i could even find it in my heart to love mike love." -belle & sebastian

"i'm going to boogie my scruples away." -lowell george

"i'm a lunatic, and you are so super cool." - george jones

"i'm an idiot for you." -iggy pop

"i'm good and i'm bad and i'm happy and i'm sad and i'm lazy" -willie nelson

"i drive a rolls-royce, cause it's good for my voice." -t.rex

"i mean every letter in the words in the sentences of my quotes." -lil' wayne

"lyrics choochoo from my mouth like locomotion." - pato banton

"i'm dealing in rock and roll. i'm not a bonafide human being." -phil spector

"phil approached me with a bottle of kosher red wine in one hand and a .45 in the other, put his arm around my shoulder and shoved the revolver into my neck and said, 'leonard, i love you.' i said, 'i hope you do, phil.'" -leonard cohen

"they’d whisper at each other and look at phil and whisper at each other. finally this lady, tanked, comes over to phil and says, 'alright, sonny, what’s your problem?' and he said, 'premature ejaculation, what’s yours?'" -tom wolfe

"i bite my nails and if that fails i go get myself stoned, but when i do i think of you and head myself back home." -gram parsons

"i would say groucho marx, to name one thing, and willie mays, and the second movement of the jupiter symphony, and louis armstrong’s recording of potatohead blues, swedish movies, naturally. sentimental education by flaubert, marlon brando, frank sinatra, those incredible apples and pears by cézanne, the crabs at sam wo’s, tracy’s face." -woody allen

"where have you been all my life?" -emmylou harris, to my brother tommy

brian eno songs that will make good book titles for my 10-volume memoir, in order: here he comes, baby's on fire, golden hours, brutal ardour, taking tiger mountain, events in dense fog, through hollow lands, some of them are old, everything merges with the night, dead finks don’t talk

ry cooder albums that every man should own: into the purple valley, boomer's story, paradise and lunch

"really, we don't want people twiddling their goatees over our stuff." -radiohead

thelonious monk's middle name: sphere

#1 song on the white album (tie): long long long, happiness is a warm gun

"the only word is love." -john lennon

"i love songs about horses, railroads, land, judgment day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. and mother. and god." -johnny cash

"the moon is clear, the sky is bright, i'm happy as the horse's shite." -the pogues

"i hope that you all out there, young, old, tall, short, fat or thin, quick or slow, no matter what kind or color or shape or person you are, if you like to make music, why, go ahead.” -pete seeger

"chuck berry isn't merely the greatest of the rock and rollers, or rather, there's nothing mere about it. say rather that unless we can somehow recycle the concept of the great artist so that it supports chuck berry as well as it does marcel proust, we might as well trash it." -robert christgau

mashable says about us: "expect the unexpected with this awesome gem. groovy." and 33 1/3: "nice to have someone steer me in a worthwhile direction"

download albums, see album covers, photos, posters, quotes & 'staches

the olden days: 2008 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2009 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2010 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2011 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2012 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d. 2013 j. f. m. a. m. j. j. a. s. o. n. d.

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#1066: bob dylan, van dyke parks & ry cooder - do re mi (woody guthrie) (2009)

today i discovered that my hero ry cooder, who plays guitar like ed ruscha paints gas stations, julia child roasts chicken, jackie robinson catches flyballs and agnes martin draws lines — beautifully — just joined twitter. what has he written about so far? a hand-painted sign on a truck, los angeles drag racing in the 1950s, ufos, singers, mexican pointy boots, a drink called rye cooder, flaco jimenez, trees and the late beto quintanilla, of course. i’m grateful that i can read him on a website, just like i’m grateful that i can listen to the beautiful, ancient, clear, loving music he’s made about true lovehard times and bad menoften played while wearing really bad hawaiian shirts. i love his weird, wobbly voice, but most of all i love him playing with other people, like ali farka toure, or randy newman, and, above, playing woody guthrie’s best song about california with two other american heroes, bob dylan and van dyke parks. you’ll find mr. dyke parks on twitter, too, writing about birds, forgiveness, allen toussaint, and decent people. 

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#1053: bill callahan (ft. thor harris) - sycamore (2007, live)

who would’ve thought that one single living human being could speak wiser words than the lyrics of bill callahan’s sycamore? "there’s sap in the trees if you tap them"? always. "love in the wild and fight in the gym." for sure. “the bottle gives birth to the cup” doesn’t make as much sense to me as “you won’t get hurt if you just keep your hands up.” and no advice in the song is fine as the title-inspiring “stand tall like sycamores.” then there’s “all you want to do is be the fire part of fire,” which makes me want to own a time machine so i could go back and replace my ralph wiggum quote in my senior year high school yearbook: “when i grow up, i want to be a principal or a caterpillar. i love you, principal skinner.”

but you know what? the long haired man who plays drums for bill callahan, not to mention swans, is named thor harris, and you can see him brushing his brushes beautifully to the beat up above. thor’s got advice that’s almost even better, especially because it will help you pinch some pennies: how to live like a king for very little has some excellent pointers on cigarettes, japanese cars, the produce section, bicycles, reproduction, thrift stores, fixing things, tailoring, cooperation, junkies and credit cards. to be honest i don’t agree with every last pointer (like the dostoevsky dig), but if you read them all while listening to bill c.’s tips you’ll be a better woman or man.

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#1048: grimes - oblivion (2012)

who wants to help me write my upcoming doorstopper anthology? it’s called bros. i’ve been kind of working on its wall street chapters over the years and am finally ready to expand into essential subjects including paul ryan’s 2012 vice presidential candidacy, the n’est-ce pas cadillac elr poolside advertisement, tucker max’s complete body of work, the boston red sox’s late-season “chicken and beer" 2011 collapse, recordings i’ve made of customers waiting anxiously on the lines outside manhattan’s fifth avenue abercrombie and fitch, and the fantastic frat dancing in grimes’ oblivion video: claire boucher or emily kai bock, if for some odd reason you’re reading this, you’re invited to contribute.

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#1032: dwight yoakam - wheels (live, 2005)

of course the world sometimes feels like a vast wasteland of chaos and misery that’s spiraling ever quicker toward the infinite nothingness we all will one day call home. and yet there are such beautiful things too! here’s a video with so many of them in one place: dwight yoakam's perfect pikeville kentucky pipes, a nudie cohn nudie suit, the worthy nonprofit map international, and gram parson’s palatial, gilded, sinful songwriting. keep it in your heart for a while. 

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#1023: gustavo dudamel & the simon bolivar youth orchestra of venezuela -  josé pablo moncayo’s huapango (royal albert hall, 2007)

when i’m king of the world i’ll pipe this little beauty into all office break rooms, elevators, hospitals, cafes, houses of worship, dentist waiting rooms, prisons, rare book stores, talk radio stations, couture fashion houses, diamond districts, sporting events, dumps, malls, subways, law offices, plastic surgery consultancies, tattoo parlors, city halls, group homes, crematoriums, nursery schools, superintendents offices, hollywood mansions, volunteer fire houses, a.a. meetings, weather stations, public beach bathrooms, restaurant kitchens, drug dens, diner booths, car garages, homeless shelters, submarines, rockets, caves, tankers, animal lairs, brothels, convents, orphanages, bedrooms, bathrooms, dances, masonic temples, stadiums, gyms, massage parlors, psychic storefronts, state legislatures, chess tournaments, state parks, banks, outpatient clinics, labs, museums, airports, libraries, factories, department stores, farms, expos, state fairs, political rallies, gun ranges, crime scenes, galas, historical recreations, yoga retreats and newsrooms, and they will like it.

dudamel clip via local hero van dyke parks

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#1015: elliott smith & jon brion - waterloo sunset (cover #2) (2000)

death to false metal.

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#985: kool a.d. - dum diary (2012)

according to the producer amaze 88, he was in an overly-fancy san francisco studio eating chinese food when kool a.d. happened to start rapping: “when he came out of the booth we all had a wow face on. it was a first take on both of our parts and i felt blessed to be apart of it. i still do. he texted me a few days later about doing a shorter version. he felt like it was a little too long. i emphatically said “if you feel like it is then i’ll record another one half the time than the original. but personally i think what you did was bananas and people are gonna flip when they hear this. it’s classic material period. how many times do you hear someone going off like that for ten minutes? never.” kool a.d. for secretary of state! victor vazquez for poet laureate! greedhead is the new young money! amaze 88 is the prefuse 73 of san fransisco rap booths, and the wow face is the name of my new rap magazine.

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#935: the wowz - sometimes i feel life (2008)

the press page for the wowz doesn’t list any reviews since 2006, the year i graduated from college, even though live videos of their sad, lovely, bent, acidic (in both ways) love songs prove they’ve been around longer and have taken at least one trip to rural norway. and if that’s true, i don’t know why the dirty projectors, the other sad and bent band from the early century at yale, gets to make albums about mountains and grapefruits and orcas with bjork while sometimes i feel life stays off the million mix tapes it belongs on. if someone can get the harlem shakes together again i’ll ask the women’s center for a wowz-shakes double bill—brings a tear to the eye even thinking about it.

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#881: bill callahan - riding for the feeling (2011)

ladies and gentlemen… boys and girls… divorcés and divorcées… cuckolds and orphans! this is the super groovy spectacular's music video of the year.

it’s the famous twist ending that really grabbed the jurors’ heart.

mr. callahan is a two-time winner tonight: the piano part on the same album’s closer, one fine morning, is taking home the renowned thing of the year award, obviously.

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#871: antony and the johnsons - thank you for your love (2010)

for reasons that are currently too complex to discuss i didn’t listen to all of antony and the johnson’s the crying light and swanlights, and for that matter somehow didn’t open my copy of robert penn warren’s all the king’s men, until this past week. the albums are like the kid a and amnesiac of decaying forests and fluttered eyelashes and empty bedsheets and throbbing clarinets. and so far all the king’s men is better than both randy newman’s good old boys and a.j. leibling’s the earl of louisiana, which is unlikely and immense. i am grateful for them.

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#851: beyonce - countdown (2011)

there’s a certain feisty counting song whose music video became very famous despite resembling an old navy ad directed by obsessive compulsives who subscribe to tones, the complimentary quarterly newsletter from the pantone swatches company. this is the heaven to that hell: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 beats 1-2-3-4.

this video can grin just as wide, except when it scowls. it takes the inspired sections of the periodically annoyingly cute schoolyard antics of tune-yards’ bizness or even maybe the decemberists’ 16 military wives before it, tangling them up with the demented shimmying grins of single ladies.

but, above all, it nods to what many informed r&b music videos scholars consider the crowing achievement of the form—say its name and it appears.

update: see also the awl’s dave bry on countdown's tom petty (!) connection.

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#848: radiohead - dollars and cents (2001)

radiohead songs, in chronological order, that would make for good celebratory headlines in tomorrow’s papers for radiohead’s rumored #occupywallstreet concert: million dollar question, the trickster, karma police, lucky, how i made my millions, the national anthem, optimistic, knives out, dollars and cents, hail to the thief (an album title, but it counts), we suck young blood, a wolf at the door, house of cards and little by little.

radiohead songs that would make for good condescending headlines: you never wash up after yourself, (nice dream), sulk, street spirit (fade out) and paranoid android.

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#832: gza & wavves - liquid swords (2011)

wavves playing with 1995’s most interesting rapper and later getting “walked out by security because of screaming girl fans!” in summer of 2011 is the new wavves playing with 2007’s most interesting r&b producer and publicly insulting the new york observer in summer of 2010. remember summer ‘10? mem-o-ries.

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#821: amy winehouse - back to black interview (2005)

"it’s the same as the last one. it’s about things going wrong. we did the most horrible things that people who love each other could do. i think it was a case of, we met too young, we weren’t prepared for the way we felt about each other. it was too much. it was too intense. i got myself into a real dark place."

amy winehouse is dead at age 27*

*there is a wikipedia page about this phenomenon

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