max abelson's super groovy music video spectacular

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


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


"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 going to boogie my scruples away." -lowell george


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


"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


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


"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"


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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. 2014 j. f.


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#925: gal costa - baby (1969)

caetano veloso’s baby is the simplest of all the baby-based love songs, and gal costa’s version beats out the ronettes’ baby, i love you, the beatles’ baby’s in black, the louvin brothers’ my baby’s gone, joanna newsom’s baby birch, lefty frizzell’s my baby’s just like money, roy orbison’s dream baby, the ronettes’ be my baby, bob dylan’s it’s all over now baby blue, and, by just a hair, both aretha franklin’s (sweet sweet baby) since you’ve been gone and baby i love you for history’s best titularly infantile love song, in that exact order.

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#765: silver jews - random rules (1998)

one reason that i didn’t post a music video on tuesday or wednesday is that i’ve been very busy in the newsroom, and another is that i’ve been very busy worrying about my records. my bookcase has been so full of them that you can’t really pull one out or put it back in afterward without messing a whole row up, and that makes me very upset. the other night my dad tried to look at randy newman’s 12 songs and it was a fiasco. i wish that were a joke, but it isn’t.

there hasn’t even been room at all for some random albums, like bonnie “prince” billy’s lie down in the light, which my ex-girlfriend got me, and the silver jews’ american water, from the ex-girlfriend before that one. they’re random only because i don’t buy recent music on vinyl for myself, though of course i always appreciate it as a gift, like when in november my non-ex-girlfriend leon got me joanna newsom’s huge and perfect have one on me.

so imagine my feelings this saturday night: i was walking down my block on the way to dinner, wearing a tie for no reason, when i saw a medium-sized bookcase that looked reasonably clean and exceedingly suitable for solving all these terrible overflow problems. if you don’t believe those problems are real, or that i don’t really take them seriously, here are five posts about albums i got at my favorite record store, and here are nine posts with eight personal album photos and one of a cassette.

so, of course, i did what any reasonable but concerned person in a tie on his way to saturday night dinner would do. i picked up the bookcase, moved it 30 feet, gave my keys to a passerby, who opened up the door to my building so that i could haul in the bookcase, carried it up five flights of stairs, put the bonnie “prince” billy, silver jews, and joanna newsom albums inside it, and went on my way to dinner. since then i’ve been thinking very carefully and at great length about which records will be moved in with them over from the first bookcase.

no, i haven’t! none of this is true, it was lifted off a men’s room wall and from a description i heard once of what nick hornby’s writing’s like. or was it?

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#710: roy orbison - dream baby (1965, singer concert hall, the netherlands)

ten at least slightly music related things that brought me great joy in 2010:

10. finding footage of roy orbison’s 1965 dutch concert online (just look at what the great spectacled one did to those poor dutch teenagers)

9. seeing aretha’s hat for the first time

8. finally getting around to ordering david bowie’s early 70s singles

7. sharing that photograph of leonard cohen and his honey

6. meeting mr. van dyke parks, his holiness

5. hearing my colleague zeke turner sing or at least kind of talk-hum aloud a line from every song on the marvelettes’ perfect playboy

4. telling ric ocasek outside of old town about liking weezer’s blue album

3. interviewing poor old crooner carly simon in bed about ken starr

2. finally finding something that married my two things closest to my heart, footage of spinning newspapers and the pogues

1. falling in love with joanna newsom’s have one on me, the best album of the year by such a wide margin that anyone who even hints otherwise is either a liar or an exceptionally obsequious member of kanye west’s entourage

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i turned 26 years old at somewhere around 10:33 this morning! i’m feeling really swell, especially because i now have joanna newsom’s have one on me on vinyl to listen to while thinking about the old tick-tock of time. i already knew it was the best album of the year, but, jeez, it’s shimmering all over the place. get it for someone you love this holiday season, friends. and if mac rebennack is reading this, a very happy fellow nov. 21 birthday to you, doctor!

i turned 26 years old at somewhere around 10:33 this morning! i’m feeling really swell, especially because i now have joanna newsom’s have one on me on vinyl to listen to while thinking about the old tick-tock of time. i already knew it was the best album of the year, but, jeez, it’s shimmering all over the place. get it for someone you love this holiday season, friends. and if mac rebennack is reading this, a very happy fellow nov. 21 birthday to you, doctor!

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matthew nedbalsky was kind enough to let me use his pretty shot of very pretty joanna newsom tuning her harp before last night’s exceedingly pretty show at town hall for my observer review. all in all, a good day for prettiness. thank you, matthew.

matthew nedbalsky was kind enough to let me use his pretty shot of very pretty joanna newsom tuning her harp before last night’s exceedingly pretty show at town hall for my observer review. all in all, a good day for prettiness. thank you, matthew.

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#551: joanna newsom - soft as chalk (on late night with jimmy fallon, 2010)

it took a while for the wonderful singer and harpist joanna newsom to start her sold-out show at town hall last night. lou reed slumped in an aisle seat, looking unamused. he puckered his lips absentmindedly and stared straight ahead. he sat one row behind ms. newsom’s companion, andy samberg, and his friends from saturday night live, who seemed much happier. antony hegarty, mr. reed’s sometimes collaborator, said a quiet and rickety hello to a fan near the door.

"sorry," ms. newsom said when she took the stage. "i was just talking to a guy who said i was awesome."

the last time she had a new york city show as big as this, she played with the brooklyn philharmonic at bam in february 2008. those songs were from her hugely sumptuous and lush last album, ys, and they were ocean-sized thanks to arrangements from van dyke parks, the beach boys colleague: “violins, voices, the harp, horns and harmonies shook and bent and swelled together until everything bulged and burst,” the observer wrote then, “and bubbled up again.”

last night she brought only a quintet, who played pared-down arrangements of her new album, have one on me, which is downright modest compared to the last one. after one song alone on the harp, she was joined by her new album’s arranger, ryan francesconi, who plays electric guitar, banjo, and a bulgarian tambura (which sounds annoying, but it isn’t), plus a drummer, two violins, and a trombonist.

it’s the difference between a forest and a garden. but the economy was lovely. the violins waltzed with the swirls of harp. melodies popped up, twisted around, crouched down, and started again. tempos swayed forward, hung back, and hurled ahead. momentarily thumps of drums sounded like approaching armies. an electric guitar sprang out on baby birch and let out dixie twangs on soft as chalk.

it would be easy to miss the old lushness, considering that have one on me is a two-hour, three-cd album, but it’s easier to be swept along by those surprises, ms. newsom’s skyscraper falsetto, and her technicolor harp. the village voice's rob harvilla, in fact, would prefer to hear her alone.

the guitarist kevin barker opened the show with a set of very easygoing, very mid-tempo, very lukewarm music. his bassist wore a watch and chain on his vest, and actually seemed to check the time at one point. the drummer played the triangle: he had very long hair that looked well-conditioned. so did mr. barker. together they made music that would be good to listen to in an armchair in socks.

ms. newsom, even without a philharmonic behind her, makes music for seafaring, blossoms, spacewalks, and first kisses. [from the new york observer]

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#85: smog - rock bottom riser (2005)

the only bad thing about bill callahan is that he records as “smog,” as opposed to just using his god given name. smog is a smug name. but everything else is grand: he sings in the most unassuming and honest baritone since johnny cash, he dates women like cat power and joanna newsom, he writes songs that are silky and shattering and ancient.

songs like rock bottom riser slither into your head and chest and fingertips. i guess it’s a little too murky and wintery to be a love song; it’s more like hipster dustbowl music. those family tree lyrics are devastating, almost too devastating—i like it better when the brushy background drumroll turns into a thwack, and the song lifts from the bottom of the water up to the sun.

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#16: joanna newsom - clam, crab, cockle, cowrie (2007)

last night i saw one of the most ecstatic, lovely shows of my life. this is what i wrote for the new york observer:

The hummingbird-voiced harpist Joanna Newsom played the first of two shows with the Brooklyn Philharmonic at BAM last night, and it wasn’t cutesy or quirky or kitschy.

It was glorious.

But four years ago, when she was 22 years and two months old, Ms. Newsom’s debut, The Milk Eyed Mender, an album of squeaky folk yarns about bridges, balloons, beans, books, peaches and plums, came awfully close to irritating. Here, the whimsical top-of-her-range squeals (“But ships! are fallible, I say/ And the naut!ical, like all things, fades”) were gone, and her soprano and harp glistened together.

Her album Ys, a five-song epic named for a flooded mythical city, was huge and pristine onstage: violins, voices, the harp, horns and harmonies shook and bent and swelled together until everything bulged and burst, and bubbled up again.

Whimsey is out, grandeur is in. The orchestra, arranged by the pop maestro Van Dyke Parks (he collaborated with Brian Wilson, produced Ry Cooder’s debut, and once declined to join the Byrds), has turned Ms. Newsom’s music around. She now sounds less like Joni Mitchell and more like Duke Ellington.

And, oh, did the beautiful Brooklyn audience like it. There were three standing ovations from the swooning young crowd. In the span of five rows, Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers sat with Andy Samberg (rumored to be dating Ms. Newsom); David Byrne was dressed in white with a yellow helmet, and was that Francis Ford Coppola filling out a BAM questionnaire alone?

The orchestra left for the second half, when her band—a drummer and a violinist who both sang, plus a banjo player that sometimes switched to a tambura—played old songs and two new ones. It was even prettier: “Inflammatory Writ,” the most irritating song on Milk Eyed Mender, had a honky-tonk lull; “Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie” became a Tom Waits-worthy lullaby.

Even the banter was good. In the second set, the barefoot drummer held up an Obama shirt: “He has a more liberal voting record, more progressive, than Kucinich, even!” Ms. Newsom said. “My friend Jamie went to Nevada. We really love Barack Obama.”

“If anyone wants to talk,” the drummer said, “if you’re leaning in the other direction, just give me 30 seconds. I went door to door in Iowa!”

The world tour for Ys, backed by different local orchestras, ends tonight at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House.

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