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

and the website for my journalism is right this way...

my email & twitter

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.

make a tumblr!

Creative Commons License

#1040: johnny burnette - you’re sixteen (1960)

i was reading my hero robert christgau’s lovely and true and impressively straight-faced tribute to the late lou reed. its mention of “the doomed guitarist robert quine” brought me to his old voidoids bandmate richard hell writing a tribute to quine after his 2008 death, which led me to a man named jeremy tepper’s houndblog website, and its remarkable essay about quine and drugs, art garfunkel’s hairtrigger temper, girlfriends and accurate handwriting analysis, the c.i.a., greed and cruelty, misery and death, friends, fentanyl, lofts, chinese dinners, passing out into thanksgiving plates, typing, wives, hell, and, most important of any of these things, records and rock and roll.

it’s one of the most ferocious things i’ve read about music in a good long time, and i recommend it warmly.

the story refers to some things i know about and some things i didn’t, like the johnny burnette trio, whose lead man brought us this incredibly creepy and memorable love letter to a teenager. its oily come-ons are straight from beck’s neon-colored vulture funk, but somehow with all these chipper eisenhower-era white people clapping along wearing wide peachy grins, nodding at the nice young pompadoured star and his margarine string section, it’s hard to notice the glib statutory strangeness.

but nothing is stranger than the ringo starr sixteen from a tv special called ringo, which you should watch too, after reading mr. tepper.

Comments (View)
the 12 best american writers, of all time, in order: 
(1) randy newman (2) janet malcolm (3) philip roth (4) flannery o’connor (5) john swartzwelder (6) raymond carver (7) robert caro (8) robert christgau (9) james brown (10) david foster wallace (11) ernest hemingway (12) benjamin franklin

the 12 best american writers, of all time, in order

(1) randy newman (2) janet malcolm (3) philip roth (4) flannery o’connor (5) john swartzwelder (6) raymond carver (7) robert caro (8) robert christgau (9) james brown (10) david foster wallace (11) ernest hemingway (12) benjamin franklin

Comments (View)

#656: chuck berry - you can’t catch me (1956)

"but 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 altogether… like whitman, berry is excessive because he is totally immersed in america—the america of melville and the edsel, burlesque and installment-plan funerals, pemmican and pomade. unlike whitman, though, he doesn’t quite permit you to take him seriously—he can’t really think it’s pronounced a la carty, can he? he is a little surreal.”

- robert christgau going hogwild in 1976, marking the u.s. bicentennial with class.

Comments (View)

#457: prince - dirty mind (1980)

none of the smart and beautiful things robert christgau has written about popular music matches the last line of his review of prince’s second album: “mick jagger should fold up his penis and go home.” prince was a young man with a mouth made out of velvet, a nose that knew a good perfume’s top base notes, an ear for james brown, and a trench coat that looked good even when paired with a bikini and stockings (but no shirt). his mustache should be in a museum.

Comments (View)

#410: echo and the bunnymen - seven seas (1985)

penguin costumes, giant portraits of humphrey bogart, iffy lyrics (“stab a sorry heart/ with your favourite finger”), cardboard goldfish, a mid-80s british pop melody that’s prettier and less bombastic than u2, plus bad wigs make a good combination. robert christgau once sniffed that the most likable things about echo and the bunnymen’s singer were his crumpled shirts and skin problems, which was all wrong: it was his waistline, his accent, and the way his hair was mussed just so.

Comments (View)

#395: violent femmes - american music (1991)

for a band of shlubby, depressive milwaukee guys most famous for a folk-punk ditty about masturbation, the violent femmes are awfully good. not only is american music a catchy song about catchy songs, but it seamlessly and accurately condenses popular culture into proms, drugs and loneliness—plus, better yet, its video was shot by the man who made baby’s got back and love shack.

Comments (View)

#181: george harrison - blow away (1979)

just after lennon’s assassination, robert christgau (who writes about music the way hemingway wrote about alcoholic couples who loathed each other and went on safaris and drank gin, which is to say that christgau writes so tightly that everything you ever wanted to know about an album will be explained in three sentences or less) said in the village voice: “why is it always bobby kennedy or john lennon? why isn’t it richard nixon or paul mccartney?” he got in a lot of trouble.

if george harrison had read that, even though christgau was basically right, i’m sure he would have said, “oh guys let’s not say anything nasty, let’s go make a music video with awesome mirror video effects and a giant orange bird with funny arms, and maybe a big plastic dove too, and maybe me in a sweet suit on top of a huge dog? i have a happy melody that’ll be perfect for a huge happy dog.”

my point is that george harrison is awesome.

Comments (View)
what are we to think of a band whose best song is based on albert camus’s “the stranger,” a book that was holy writ for collegiate existentialists before robert smith was even born? robert christgau, writing on the cure’s debut (and killing an arab)
Comments (View)
neil turns into a salmon while masturbating in front of the fireplace robert christgau (reviewing neil young’s american stars ‘n’ bars)
Comments (View)

#14: roxy music - virginia plain (1972)

in 1972, bryan ferry got behind a microphone on top of the pops wearing a sparkly sequented blouse, backed by brian eno in leopard print and gold gloves. just like that, glam became cool.

and then 49 seconds into roxy music’s debut, the band thwacks to a halt. “baby jane’s in acapulco,” mr. ferry squeeks, “and we are flying down to rio.” (be sure to catch the little jazz-hand wiggle there.) that would be the hippest line in roxy music history, if it weren’t for: “midnight blue casino floors/ dance the cha-cha through till sunrise/ open up exclusive doors. oh wow!”

and did you know the critic robert christgau once called brian eno “a balding, long-haired eunuch lookalike”? i like when he looks up here and smiles at the saxophone/oboe player in the green alien suit. it’s so touching.

Comments (View)