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"

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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.

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#1034: bill callahan - heaven help the child (2012, mickey newbury cover)

like anybody else i like music videos that look like they were found in rotting film spools in locked chests in buster keaton’s basement. and, how could i not, i also like bill callahan’s lonesome baritone, all bog and burble, some brawn and blood, a bit of bile at the bottom, one booger on top, no bauble, no buttermilk, no bologna. all marrow, no mayo. 

most of all i love songs that start off slow and pretty, then build up with a low, coiled rumble, threatening to go somewhere up high and fast, and the wait gives you that same awful trouble somewhere between your gullet and bowels, just like you get from the roar of a widebody commercial jet’s engine accelerating on some runway before takeoff. but up it goes! into melody and rhythm, rhythm and verve, verve and harmony, dazzle, light, love, all the good things. so i like this, so much, and i hope you do, too.

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from friedrich kunath’s sometimes i wish we were an eagle, the second most beautiful thing from 2009 with that name, though they’re only separated in the rankings by the width of like a thin fallen feather.

from friedrich kunath’s sometimes i wish we were an eagle, the second most beautiful thing from 2009 with that name, though they’re only separated in the rankings by the width of like a thin fallen feather.

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#1017: bill callahan (smog): feather by feather, cold blooded old times, river guard and interview (2002, chicago wgn news)

"the cd is getting some great reviews: the chicago reader calls it intimidating and irresistible. do you agree with that! do you find yourself intimidating and irresistible?”

"just intimidating."

"yeah, i’m pretty intimidated right now bill, i’ve got to tell you."

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smog - I break horses by chiranne

#916: smog - i break horses (1999)

bill callahan writes obituary-bleak songs and sings them, sometimes under the name smog, in the best american baritone since johnny cash’s. it is an insult to describe his music as wooden, but his best songs will remind you of old trees that were here before your family, will last longer, and don’t care about who happens to be around at the moment. except even branches are doomed in smog songs: tired birds fill them up and then blacken skies. 

but what’s terrifying about his music isn’t morose lyrics or even minor chords. it’s the same thing that scares joan didion’s new readers every year: a wise person so disappointed in the most special people and the dearest things. wisdom? doesn’t exist! romance? ha. the cosmos? no, bill callahan has dived into the muck. his widow flirts with the mourners at his funeral. strangers’ living rooms are warmer. his watch is off. he feels you riding on his back. you.

that means you may have heard bonnie “prince” billy’s no more workhorse blues and thought to yourself that under no circumstances could you ever hear an american born as a william but releasing music under an obscure-sounding pseudonym sing a more upsetting equine-themed love song. then you hear i break horses and you weep.

but, reader, don’t worry: sometimes the weather lifts, and today bill callahan released a heaven hep the child cover. rejoice.

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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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#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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#39: bonnie “prince” billy - no more workhorse blues (2004)

the only appropriate thing to do on the day after valentine’s is to listen to will oldham, the hugely balding and massively mustachioed kentucky singer that sometimes goes by bonnie “prince” billy.

the man has a bottle of bad bourbon where his broken heart used to be; he makes the kind of existential country music (“many times we’ve been out drinking/ many times we’ve shared our thoughts/ but did you ever notice the kind of thoughts I got?”) that makes johnny cash look like a smiley lightweight. (in fact, mr. cash covered “i see a darkness” before he died.)

no more workhorse blues is one my favorite will oldham songs, mostly because of the ending, but this harmony korine video is one my least favorite things of all time, mostly because of the editing.

is there anything scarier than being told that will oldham is our favorite horse? yes, and it’s these lyrics: “i am a rich man/ i am a very rich man/ i have good pants on/ stitched and stitched/ i am in stitches/ i am laughing at you.” whoa.

update: that’s smog at the end, right?

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