Liner Notes (October 16th, 2021)


This week’s newsletter looks at the new music I checked out this week (Kacy Hill, Coldplay, Knocked Loose, This Wild Life, Blackstarkids), as well as some old favorites I returned to or decided to give another shot (ManDancing, Turnover, Bad Luck., Citizen). And then there are some quick hits on a few first impressions (Snail Mail, Jim Lindberg, American Teeth) and a reevaluation of Taking Back Sunday after all these years. We’re jam-packed this week, and I still find some time to touch on some other media as well. As always, there’s a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week, and this week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.

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Review: Counting Crows – Recovering the Satellites

Few trends scream “nineties” more loudly than the “rebellion against fame” album. Nirvana made In Utero. Pearl Jam made Vitalogy. R.E.M. made Monster. Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine a rock band ever becoming famous enough in the mainstream to then justify the creation of a “rebellion against fame” album. For awhile there, though, making this type of album—usually a louder, more abrasive follow-up to a cleaner, more tasteful, massively successful predecessor—was a rock ‘n’ roll rite of passage. Few bands ever steered into the skid quite as much as Counting Crows did on Recovering the Satellites.

It’s difficult, from the vantage point of 2021’s pop music status quo, to describe how absolutely massive Counting Crows were in the mid-90s. The band’s debut, 1993’s August & Everything After, is certified seven-times platinum in the United States and has sold well north of 10 million copies worldwide. The flagship single, “Mr. Jones,” made it to number 2 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 chart. Ironically, “Mr. Jones” was a song about wanting to be famous; to be “big, big stars.” “When I look at the television I wanna see me/Staring right back at me,” frontman Adam Duritz sang in the song.

Be careful what you wish for, Adam.

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Lorde and David Byrne Interview Each Other

Rolling Stone

Lorde and David Byrne interviewed each other for Rolling Stone:

Byrne: I don’t mind. I’ve learned the hard way that you do have to play some of the hits for the audience.

Lorde: Did you use to not play them?

Byrne: Just one tour [in 1989]. I started working with a very large Latin band, and there were a few older songs that I could work in there, but a lot of them didn’t fit that musical style, so I was doing 80 percent new stuff that the audience had never heard. That’s something in our business that always puzzles me. It’s not like a movie, where you’re not expected to do that scene that you did: “The one before that we really liked. Can you just repeat that again?”

Lorde: True, that’s a funny way of thinking about that.

Byrne: But it’s also true that music has a different thing. Music is repeatable that way and can move people again.