Category Archives: video

Serengeti’s defense of Bartman: Don’t Blame Steve

I’m a long-suffering Cubs fan – there is no other kind – and I can still remember watching Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, the surreal feeling that my Cubbies were (repeat after me) five outs away from going to the World Series and then the utter despair when it all unraveled after some guy named Steve Bartman inserted his name into their miserable history.

Or maybe it wasn’t Bartman. Did the hand of fate that reached into the sky and interfere with that foul ball with one out in the top of the eighth inning come from Kenny Dennis? Almost nine years later, Serengeti’s alter ego has come clean in “Don’t Blame Steve,” a track off the new Kenny Dennis EP.

We’ve already seen Chicago superfan Kenny Dennis dis Shaq, but here he’s taking on 100-plus years of futility. Leave Bartman alone. Dennis instead points the finger at a long list of former players that will make Cubs fans both nostalgic and nauseated (and it shows Serengeti’s encyclopedic knowledge of Cubs lore): “Blame Assenmacher, blame Jeff Pico, blame Damon Berryhill, blame Lloyd McClendon … ”

I’ve never been one to blame Bartman (the Cubs still could have won Game 7), but the controversy will live on forever, and the irrational vitriol was documented nicely in Catching Hell, part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. Time (and perhaps a World Series title for the Cubs) will heal Bartman’s wounds, in the same way the relationship between Bill Buckner and Red Sox fans was eventually repaired. And like the Baseball Project revisiting history in their sympathetic song “Buckner’s Bolero,” Serengeti is equally forgiving of Bartman.

Maybe Kenny Dennis’ mustache is to blame. We’ll never know.

Retribution Gospel Choir: The Revolution EP

I somehow totally missed this: Retribution Gospel Choir, the rockier side project of Low’s Alan Sparhawk, released a new EP as a free download last month. On Tuesday, Sub Pop birthed a physical release of The Revoltuion EP in 7-inch format – the first new music from the band since the 2010 album 2.

Cough up your email address below to get the four-song, 10-minute EP for free.



The band also released a video for “The Stone (Revolution!),” all full of hand claps and marching-band bass drums.

Retribution Gospel Choir: Workin’ Hard (video)
Retribution Gospel Choir: Hide It Away

Miniature Tigers: mural time lapse video

I have yet to be able to sit down with Mia Pharaoh, the new album from Miniature Tigers, who are in town tonight at Crescent Ballroom headlining the Modern Art Tour.

The show’s promoter, Psyko Steve, commissioned Tucson artist Joe Pagac to paint a mural on downtown arts venue Eye Lounge at First Friday. It was a collaboration with Tigers frontman Charlie Brand to help promote the album and show.

Check the time lapse video of its creation above, set to the new Miniature Tigers song “Afternoons with David Hockney.”

New Miniature Tigers: Female Doctor (plus album release date, tracklisting)
Miniature Tigers: Dark Tower on Yours

Nada Surf: When I Was Young (video)


It’s sorta strange to think of Nada Surf frontman Matthew Caws as an elder statesman of the indie-rock game, even with that vibrant voice. But here he is in his 40s, a little gray around the edges and performing live in oxford shirts and sport coats.

Nobody could blame him for surrendering to nostalgia, as he does a few times on the new album, The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy, and especially on the wistful lead single, “When I Was Young.” The video takes a pretty literal approach to the song, following a mop-haired kid’s sentimental romp through the city. It’s trademark Nada Surf — sweet and sincere with a hint of aching melancholy.

Meanwhile, the band played a record release show on Jan. 24 at Bowery Ballroom in New York. You can watch the hour-plus concert over at YouTube or see a performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at Stereogum.

Wilco meets Popeye: Dawned On Me (video)


Everything is coming up Wilco lately.

There’s nothing quite like a 2 1/2-hour set — stuffed with a catalog-spanning 26 tracks (check the pie chart!) — to gently remind you of the greatness that exists in my Wilco collection. Since Saturday’s show at Gammage Auditorium, I’ve gone on a little Wilco bender, from watching the band’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert in October to falling in love with Summerteeth all over again. (Their newest rendition of “Via Chicago,” which morphs from hushed acoustic stillness to a chaotic blur of drumming/noise behind it, was startling and spectacular.)

On Wednesday, the band released its first video since 1999 — an animated take for “Dawned On Me,” starring Popeye and friends. Naturally, frontman Jeff Tweedy has his sights set on Olive Oyl. It’s a fun, if not totally senseless, collaboration, and you can poke around for more.

Setlist for Wilco at Gammage Auditorium, Jan. 21, 2012:
One Sunday Morning
Art of Almost
I Might
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
One Wing
Bull Black Nova
(Was I) In Your Dreams
Black Moon
Impossible Germany
I’ll Fight
Hotel Arizona
Jesus, Etc.
Born Alone
Capitol City
Handshake Drugs
I’m Always In Love
Dawned on Me
Shot in the Arm


Via Chicago
Whole Love
Box Full of Letters
California Stars
Heavy Metal Drummer
I’m The Man Who Loves You

Portugal. The Man: So American (video)

Portugal. The Man

I’m still taking inventory on 2011, though I’m not committed to posting a year-end favorite albums list – something I also didn’t do last year, and at this point, does anybody really care?

I think it’s fair to say that Portugal. The Man’s In The Mountain In The Cloud would land in my mythical Top 10, an album that I came to late in the year (despite its mid-summer release) and dominated my listening habits in the final months of ’11. In no time at all, as if by osmosis, I would hear my wife humming Portugal tunes out of nowhere.

In truth, I had listened to In the Mountain not long after it was released. But like so many albums, I first spun it while I was working and it was doomed to fade into the background lest it fracture my focus. Then the band played the song “So American” on Conan in September, and it wasn’t long before I hopped back on the wagon.

I loved the 2007 album Church Mouth, so it wasn’t a stretch to think I’d like this one. Turns out, I really liked it. “So American” ended up on the year-end mix CD I make – a post on that process soon, I think – and it’s one of the songs that’s generated a lot of positive feedback from friends.

I’d never stopped to think about the Elton John-like influence on this song (and most of the album) until my wife said something (she’s really the one who should be blogging here). And it’s a comment that’s been repeated a couple times by friends.

So in the better-late-than-never department, here’s the video (released in October) for “So American,” with the guys in the band flaunting their pale bods (to be fair, they are from Alaska) bro-ing down at the beach and a campfire.

Coincidentally enough, after typing out this post on Sunday night, the band announced dates Monday morning for the Jagermeister Music Tour, including an April 6 stop at Crescent Ballroom. A limited number of tickets, with waived fees in some cases, can be purchased through the band here.

And here they are performing an acoustic version of the song:

Mayer Hawthorne: Dreaming (video)


Looking back, is there anything more terrifying than The Rock-afire Explosion, the animatronic house band from Showbiz Pizza Place back in the day?

I had heard about the documentary that was made about the band and a man’s nostalgic quest to purchase his very own Rock-afire Explosion. And now Mayer Hawthorne’s new video for the song “Dreaming” has reminded me to add the movie to our Netflix queue.

Nostalgia was a key theme to Hawthorne’s video for the song “A Long Time,” also off his new album How Do You Do. For “Dreaming,” Hawthorne takes two girls on a pizza date before joining Rock-afire on stage.

It never dawned on me as a child, but why the hell is there a cheerleader in the band?

Telekinesis: Country Lane (video)


It’s hard to believe, but the time for year-end list making is upon us (unless, like me, you sort of, um, just didn’t make one last year). In some ways, these lists feel a lot like the NCAA Tournament – we’re swayed by what’s fresh in our minds. Who has been most impressive most recently? Albums in the first quarter tend to be forgotten as we fawn over the next Greatest Album of This Week.

I hope that line of thinking doesn’t keep Telekinesis’ 12 Desperate Straight Lines from garnering much-deserved attention.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence then that a new video for the song “Country Lane” arrived on Monday, serving as a conveniently timed reminder of Michael Benjamin Lerner’s power-pop prowess. Using clips from the road and scrapbook-inspired animation, the video looks more like a tour documentary showing just how glamorous life as an indie rock star can be.

Meat Puppets, Telekinesis, more cover Nirvana on Nevermind tribute album
Telekinesis: Please Ask For Help (video)
Q&A with Michael Benjamin Lerner of Telekinesis
Telekinesis: Car Crash
Telekinesis: Parallel Seismic Conspiracies EP

DJ Shadow: Border Crossing (video)


“Border Crossing” – off his new album The Less You Know, The Better – is DJ Shadow’s entry into the immigration debate, with Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 law the obvious inspiration.

The song’s aggro metal riff certainly suggests Rage Against the Machine-like political fury, but the sepia-toned, seizure-inducing visuals complete the picture for the instrumental’s theme.

I definitely applaud DJ Shadow for taking a stand (Sheriff Joe Arpaio should be tied to a chair and forced to watch this video on loop). That said, I don’t see Shadow’s name on the list of Sound Strike artists boycotting Arizona, so I certainly hope he’d feel compelled to come to our state to perform and help educate the masses.