In a tribute to Joe Strummer and The Clash, Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt got together at The Grammy Awards in 2003 to perform The Clash’s “London Calling.” Pete Thomas joined them on drums and No Doubt’s Tony Kanal is also there playing bass. It’s a pretty incredible performance.
It also created the inevitable flame war in the YouTube comments, with some youngsters taking shots at “dad rock” some punk fans expressing outrage that traditional rockers like Springsteen would cover The Clash. More knowledgeable fans then pointed out that Joe Strummer always admired Bruce, and once said, “Bruce is great. If you don’t agree with that, you’re a pretentious martian.”
They may have had a leg up on getting a record deal thanks to their parents – they’re the daughters of producer Tony Berg and Elvis Costello drummer Pete Thomas, and their original bassist calls producer Mitchell Froom daddy – but there will be no cries of nepotism when people hear their new single “He’s Not a Boy.” Hooking up with white-hot ’60s revivalist Mark Ronson, the Like have turned in one killer slice of ’60s pop, and shot a gorgeous black-and-white video to go with it.
The guys in the crowd look like the Strokes doing their best Beatles impression (for all I know, those are the Strokes), and the girls, well, that ’60s mod look is catnip for me. Lead singer Elizabeth “Z” Berg and keyboardist Annie Monroe in particular make me gooey. Isn’t it funny how girls are actually sexier when they show less skin? I’m personally burned out on the whole ‘stripper teen’ thing. This clip is a sight for sore eyes, on a number of levels.
When I posted the latest simple-but-awesome video from OK Go to my Facebook page, a friend joked, “No hot tubs? Bitches and hos? Gold chains/teeth? Money being thrown in the air?”
Truth be told, it’s hard to believe that all of those hip hop video cliches still exist. The money they’re throwing? Not real. Hot tub? Only if you want to contract hepatitis. The women? Well, most of them are ho’s, if that one woman’s tell-all book about her life as a video vixen is to be believed. Either way, none of those clips stand apart from the others, and if your video doesn’t stand apart, then odds are your song won’t, either.
OK Go clearly knows this, because they have made a game out of constructing music videos that are easy on the eyes – in that they don’t include a million jump cuts – yet impossibly complex. Their last clip, the Rube Goldberg puzzle “This Too Shall Pass,” set the bar impossibly high, but damned if “End Love” doesn’t rise to the challenge. Using the stop-motion photography that Zbigniew Rybczyński made famous in his clip for the Art of Noise’s “Close (To the Edit),” OK Go shoot a clip that appears to be taking place in real time…really lengthy real time, like 24 hours. And then, just to be cute, they include a couple of super slo-mo shots and at least one shot at normal speed. And check out the goose that follows them everywhere.
Neil Hannon is, for all intents and purposes, my boy. The sublimely literate frontman (only man, really) for ork-pop darlings the Divine Comedy, Hannon has been applying his acerbic wit to instantly memorable pop songs for almost 20 years. They actually sounded like R.E.M. when they first started. That’s just hilarious to me now.
After collaborating with Pugwash’s Thomas Walsh for last year’s Duckworth Lewis Method (my album of 2009 by a country mile), Hannon has donned the DC hat once again, and “At the Indie Disco,” the first single from the Divine Comedy’s new album Bang Goes the Knighthood, is as Hannonesque as they come. Funny bits name-checking bands from Blur to the Wannadies, combined with spot-on observations about the club culture (spending the night staring at each other’s feet while dancing), make for one of Hannon’s funniest songs yet. But will they play it at the indie disco? Let’s hope they have enough of a sense of humor about it to oblige.