The Late Movies: Violent Femmes' First Album Turns 29

Violent Femmes album coverIn my neverending quest to make you feel old, I have news: the eponymous Violent Femmes album (also known as "the best Violent Femmes album") turns 29 years old this month. Originally released in April of 1983, Violent Femmes featured an irresistible mix of teen angst and catchy pop, recorded with a super-minimalist set of instruments (drummer Victor DeLorenzo often played just one drum -- a snare -- rather than a full kit). Now, Readers of a Certain Age, let's run down these tracks. Be honest, how many of those can you sing along to? If you're like me, the answer is "every damn one of 'em."

"Blister in the Sun"

The canonical Femmes track, this live performance features a hella mullet on bassist Brian Ritchie. See also: this version live in London, 1984.

"Kiss Off"

A crowd-pleaser, complete with crazed stares by Gordon Gano: "I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record." See also: this cover by Arcade Fire.

"Please Do Not Go"

The Femmes started busking early on (hence the acoustic instruments and minimal drums); about a minute into this clip, we see a killer live busking performance of "Please Do Not Go" in New York. Sadly, the clip cuts off before the song is over, so I've included a more recent live performance.

"Add It Up"

From London, October 1984. Content warning: there is a naughty word in this one.

"Confessions"

Live in Madrid, April 2, 1985. This one goes a little psychobilly freakout towards the end. Note that on the original album, this song finished Side A.

"Prove My Love"

Live on The Old Grey Whistle Test. The first little bit is intentionally silent, apparently. "Third verse, same as the first!"

"Promise"

"Please ignore my vacant stares." Live in Ontario, 1991.

"To the Kill"

From the same show in Ontario. Ritchie's mullet is still in fine form.

"Gone Daddy Gone"

For this one, I think the official music video is the way to go. "When I see you, eyes will turn blue. When I see you, a thousand eyes turning blue."

"Good Feeling"

What a way to close a record.

But Wait, There's More

If you liked those, I encourage you to check out "American Music," my favorite non-first-album Femmes track. What's your favorite?

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iStock
Your Library Has a Free Music Service That You Probably Didn't Know About
iStock
iStock

Did you know that you can download free music from your local library? Music that you can keep. That's right: not borrow, keep.

It's all possible thanks to a service called Freegal (a portmanteau of free and legal), which gives patrons of participating libraries access to 15 million songs from 40,000 labels, notably including the Sony Music Entertainment catalog. All you need is a library card.

Here's how it works: You can download a few songs a week, and, in many areas, enjoy several hours of streaming, too (the precise number of songs and hours of streaming varies by library). Once you download MP3 files, they're yours. You're free to put them on iTunes, your iPhone, your tablet, and more. You don't have to return them and they don't expire. The counter resets on Mondays at 12:01 a.m. Central Time, so if you hit your limit, you won't have long to wait before you get more downloads. And Freegal has some great stuff: A quick scan of the front page reveals music from Beyoncé, Michael Jackson, Cardi B, Simon & Garfunkel, Childish Gambino, The Avett Brothers, Lykke Li, and Sara Bareilles.

Freegal has been around since 2010 and is offered at libraries worldwide. In the U.S., that includes the New York Public Library, Queens Library, Los Angeles Public Library, West Chicago Public Library, Houston Public Library, and more. In the past few years, libraries have debuted some other amazing free digital services, from classic films streaming on Kanopy to audiobooks and e-books available to borrow on SimplyE and OverDrive. But the thing that's so exciting about Freegal is that you can keep the MP3 files, unlike services that limit you to borrowing.

Freegal's site is easy to navigate: You can browse playlists and make your own, check out the most popular tunes, and save songs to your wishlist for when you get more credits. In the old days, music fans would check out CDs from the library and upload them onto their computers before returning them. But Freegal eliminates the need to go to your local branch, check out an album, and bring it back when you're done.

Freegal app
Freegal

To find out if your local library has Freegal, go to freegalmusic.com and click login, then search for your area. It's important to note: Your library's contract might not have both streaming and downloading privileges. You can use Freegal on the web or as an app available on the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon. Of course, the service doesn't have everything. And sometimes, when it does have an artist, it will only have a few of their most popular albums. But if you frequently buy music on iTunes or elsewhere, checking Freegal first may save you a bit of money.

If you don't yet have a library card, Freegal is just one more reason why you should get one ASAP.

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Rick Diamond, Getty Images
An Anthology Series Based on Dolly Parton's Songs Is Coming to Netflix
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Though she may be best known for her music career, Dolly Parton is a Hollywood powerhouse. In addition to starring in more than a few contemporary classics, from 9 to 5 to Steel Magnolias, she's also been partly responsible for some of your favorite TV series. As part owner of Sandollar Entertainment, a film and television production company, she's been a silent figure behind shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now, the queen of country music is preparing to return to the small screen once again—this time on Netflix.

The beloved singer is partnering with Warner Bros. Television to produce an anthology series for Netflix, Engadget reports. Set to debut in 2019, each of the eight episodes will have a theme based on a song by Parton, who will serve as executive producer and singer-songwriter in addition to appearing in the series.

"As a songwriter, I have always enjoyed telling stories through my music," Parton said in a statement. "I am thrilled to be bringing some of my favorite songs to life with Netflix. We hope our show will inspire and entertain families and folks of all generations, and I want to thank the good folks at Netflix and Warner Bros. TV for their incredible support."

The list of songs hasn’t yet been released, but I Will Always Love You, Jolene, and The Bargain Store are among Parton’s greatest hits.

Parton previously worked with Warner Bros. to produce the made-for-television movies Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors (2015) and Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love (2016). She has also nearly finished the music for the upcoming film Dumplin'—based on a novel by Julie Murphy and starring Jennifer Aniston—and the soundtrack will be released via Dolly Records and Sony Music Nashville, according to Parton’s website.

[h/t Engadget]

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