25
May

Listen to Feist’s Heartfelt Cover of “Flamenco” For Gord Downie of The Tragically Hip

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We’ve been anxiously awaiting new music from Feist.  But not like this.

It was disclosed yesterday on The Tragically Hip’s website that their frontman, Gord Downie, has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Despite that very sad news, Downie and the band will go out on one last tour of Canada this summer, despite the diagnosis. “This feels like the right thing to do now, for Gord, and for all of us … So we’re going to dig deep and try to make this our best tour yet.” The tour (dates can be seen HERE) will coincide with the release of the band’s latest album, Man Machine Poem.

Today, Feist posted the home-recorded cover of The Tragically Hip’s song Flamenco with the following tribute: “For Gord. We’ll all be there this summer to see you bring out the new songs with your singular guts and panache…. and the golden oldies that are so golden. All my respect, admiration and love, Leslie.”

The song and cover are beauty and the ache in Feist’s voice is palpable.  We wish miraculous remission for Downie and nothing but peace.  We won’t let it it diminish our super capacity to love.

25
May

Last Night In Paris: Watch Radiohead Perform “Karma Police” in Paris and Entire Audience Serenading Après

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We’ve been getting giddy geeking on the setlists for Radiohead’s opening tour dates (in addition to the incredible new(ish) songs, My Iron Lung, There There, 2+2=5, Airbag, Street Spirit, etc.) And then we saw Bryan Dessner’s (The National) posting (see at bottom) of last night’s Paris audience serenading the band off the stage after a stellar performance of Karma Police (see setlist below). Without further adieu, watch the full song and serenade (at the 4:28 mark) below via fan video.  The second video is merely a version taken closer to the stage (but sans serenade).  There will be beauty in song. We can’t wait till the next time we can catch the co-best-band (with The National) on the planet.

Setlist 5/24 Paris:

Burn the Witch
Daydreaming
Decks Dark
Desert Island Disk
Ful Stop
Airbag
Talk Show Host
Climbing Up the Walls
Morning Mr. Magpie
Nude
Identikit
The Numbers
Lotus Flower
The National Anthem
Reckoner
Idioteque
Everything in Its Right Place

Encore:
Give Up the Ghost
Bloom
Present Tense
2 + 2 = 5
Play Video
There There

Encore 2:
Bodysnatchers
Karma Police

5000 French people singing beautifully for Thom

A video posted by Bryce Dessner (@brycedessner) on

Radiohead last night in Paris. Unbelievable. #idioteque

A video posted by Bryce Dessner (@brycedessner) on

23
May

Watch Courtney Barnett Striking Out for Nirvana on Saturday Night Live

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We’ve adored Australia’s Courtney Barnett for seeming eons now (proudly, we were early-adopters on MLK Day in 2014). On Saturday she had arguably her highest profile outing to date, appearing as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. Watch below to get a feel for Ms. Barnett’s rockier side (in addition to her stellar balladry, such as on Depreston, one of the top songs of all of 2015).

First up on our agenda is Pedestrian at Best on which Barnett strikes out for Nirvana, and then amplifies the effect with her Cobain-esque growls from the 3:15 mark on. Superb stuff. She also performed the rollicking, comedic Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to the Party. Both songs are off her critically-acclaimed 2015 album Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. Barnett is the real deal, and she remains one of the brighter new lyrical lights on the scene (worthwhile lyrics to both songs at bottom).

Pedestrian At Best:

“I love you, I hate you, I’m on the fence, it all depends
Whether I’m up or down, I’m on the mend, transcending all reality
I like you, despise you, admire you
What are we gonna do when everything all falls through?
I must confess, I’ve made a mess of what should be a small success
But I digress, at least I’ve tried my very best, I guess
This, that, the other, why even bother?
It won’t be with me on my deathbed, but I’ll still be in your head

Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you
Tell me I’m exceptional, I promise to exploit you
Give me all your money, and I’ll make some origami, honey
I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny

My internal monologue is saturated analog
It’s scratched and drifting, I’ve become attached to the idea
It’s all a shifting dream, bittersweet philosophy
I’ve got no idea how I even got here
I’m resentful, I’m having an existential time crisis
Want bliss, daylight savings won’t fix this mess
Under-worked and over-sexed, I must express my disinterest
The rats are back inside my head, what would Freud have said?

Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you
Tell me I’m exceptional, I promise to exploit you
Give me all your money, and I’ll make some origami, honey
I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny

I wanna wash out my head with turpentine, cyanide
I dislike this internal diatribe when I try to catch your eye
I hate seeing you cry in the kitchen
I don’t know why it affects me like this when you’re not even mine to consider
Erroneous, harmonious, I’m hardly sanctimonious
Dirty clothes, I suppose we all outgrow ourselves
I’m a fake, I’m a phoney, I’m awake, I’m alone
I’m homely, I’m a Scorpio

Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you
Tell me I’m exceptional, I promise to exploit you
Give me all your money, and I’ll make some origami, honey
I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny
Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you
Tell me I’m exceptional, I promise to exploit you
Give me all your money, and I’ll make some origami, honey
I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny”

Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party:

“You always get what you want
And you don’t even try
Your friends hate it when its always going your way
But I’m glad that you’ve got luck on your side
You’re saying definitely maybe
I’m saying probably no
You say “You sleep when you’re dead,” I’m scared I’ll die in my sleep
I guess that’s not a bad way to go

I wanna go out but I wanna stay home
I wanna go out but I wanna stay home

Why are you so eager to please?
I wear my heart on my sleeve
Gets harder in the winter, gotta be a fake or shiver
It takes a great deal out of me
Yes I like hearing your stories
But I’ve heard them all before
I’d rather stay in bed with the rain over my head
Than have to pick my brain up off of the floor

I wanna go out but I wanna stay home
I wanna go out but I wanna stay home”

23
May

Watch John Fullbright and Chris Thile Pay Proper Tribute to Merle Haggard on Prairie Home Companion

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We ain’t over it yet. We had missed this beautiful duet by John Fullbright and Chris Thile on Prairie Home Companion in honor of the late, great Merle Haggard.  Watch below as the duo affectingly cover Haggard’s Sometimes I Dream. Fullbright’s vocal is its rustically-evocative self, and Thile skips the pyrotechnics to match the mood on mandolin (watch his merciful and touching solo at 2:35).  Well played all around.

As the song goes, “There’s no magic way for me to get over you.” Indeed. RIP Merle Haggard.

Sometimes I Dream

“There’s no magic way for me to get over you
There’s not much I can say, not a thing left to do
Seldom I laugh and seldom I ever cry
But there’s times when I drink too much and times when I lie

Sometimes I hate myself and wish I could scream
Sometimes I give up on love but sometimes I dream

Sometimes I dream looking out through my window
Speeding through the night in a long limousine
There’s a curse on my heart and I’ll never love again
Forever a lonely man but sometimes I dream

Sometimes I dream looking out through my window
Speeding through the night in a long limousine
There’s a curse on my heart and I’ll never love again
Forever a lonely man but sometimes I dream”

22
May

On Sunday: Watch Andrew Bird Perform “Capsized” and “Roma Fade” on KCRW

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Regrets, we’ve had a few more. We’ve never managed to catch the gifted singer-songwriter Andrew Bird live and couldn’t connect this go-’round either. To stave off any similar regrets watch the multi-talented Bird and great band on KCRW perform Capsized, a great break-up song off his recent album Are You Serious. This is an inspired version that sounds less like Bill Withers than the recorded version.

About the song (lyrics below), Bird wrote, “I wrote a version of the song 15 years ago but certain lines came following a breakup years ago where I kind of walked out of our apartment and wasn’t coming back. It was a Saturday night in Chicago. It was a strange time. I just felt like I had a target on my head.” And about the Jesus verse, Bird wrote, “‘Jesus Is A Dyin’ Bed-Maker‘ is a spiritual song from the 20’s by Charley Patton (listen at bottom). I was really struck by that line. A lot of those old spirituals have somewhat cryptic or violent imagery to it. The line is meant to be comforting, but it’s saying death is your only comfort. So it’s a pretty sorry attempt at comfort, I guess.”

While we’re at it, check out the additional KCRW performance of the driving, pizzicato Roma Fade (a song about meeting his wife and partially inspired by a drive on the 5 from LA to San Francisco–who does that? Stay on the 101!).

Go pick up Are You Serious HERE.  Bird will kick off another leg of his tour at Bumbershoot in early September.  Check out all the dates HERE.  No mo’ Cali, however.

Capsized:

“Now when you wake up
Night’s falling someone is by your side
Pull it together, darling you’re not alone

But when you break up
Sky’s falling, no one is on your side
Spoon dirty laundry, darling you’re all alone

And when you wake up, another sunrise
Another break up, this ship is capsized
And when you wake up, another sunrise
Another break up, this ship is capsized

Just keep your lamp on

Now he’s a dyin’ bed maker
He’s a dyin’ bed maker Jesus gonna make my…
It’s a holy ghost, holy ghost religion
It’s a holy ghost religion Jesus gonna make my…

And when you wake up, another sunrise
Another break up, this ship is capsized
And when you wake up, another sunrise
Another break up, this ship is capsized

And when you wake up
Night’s falling, someone is by your side
Pull it together, darling you’re not alone

But when you break up
Sky’s falling, no one is on your side
Spoon dirty laundry, darling you’re all alone
Spoon dirty laundry, darling you’re all alone
Spoon dirty laundry, darling you’re all alone

And when you wake up, another sunrise
Another break up, this ship is capsized”

21
May

The Best of Friday’s TV Music: Watch Wolf Parade Back and Parading On Colbert Last Night

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As previously reported, after disappearing following their 2010 album Expo 86Wolf Parade has thankfully rejoined and surprised with the announcement of new EP 4 and tour.  Watch below as the quartet made efficient use of their time on the Colbert Show and raged through a medley of C’est La Vie Way and Floating World off the new EP, first featuring Spencer Krug and then Dan Boeckner.  It’s great to have this talented band back and firing on all four cylinders.  Check the tour dates after the video and get your tickets HERE.

Wolf Parade 2016 Tour Dates:
05/21 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
05/24 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
05/25 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
05/26 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
05/27 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
05/28 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
06/09 – Brooklyn, NY @ Northside Festival
06/14 – London, UK @ Scala
06/15 – London, UK @ Scala
06/16 – Helsinki, FI @ Tavastia
06/17-19 – Hilvarenbeek, NL @ Best Kept Secret Festival
06/17-19 – Aarhus, DK @ NorthSide Festival
06/17-19 – Westmeath, IE @ Body&Soul
07/07-10 – Halifax, NS @ Gridlock Festival
07/08 – Des Moines, IA @ 80/35 Festival
07/16 – Ottawa, ON @ Ottawa Bluesfest
07/22-24 – Oro-Medonte, ON @ WayHome Music & Arts Festival
07/29 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre
07/30-31 – Montreal, QC @ Osheaga Festival
08/05-06 – Happy Vally, OR @ Pickathon Music Festival
08/07 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre
08/08 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre
08/27 – Los Angeles, CA @ FYF Fest
09/02-04 – Denver, CO @ Riot Fest Denver

20
May

Kick Off Your Weekend With Laney Jones and The Spirits’ Exuberant and Über-Catchy Song “Allston (Dance Around)”

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We have recently been smitten with the music of Florida-born, Berklee College of Music-educated Laney Jones (and The Spirits).  We will shortly have a full review of their fantastic latest album (eponymously-titled; cover art above).  But in the meantime check out their song Allston (Dance Around) and its official video below. The song is catchier than SARS. As you can imagine, the album has a broader and more varied pallet than this dance around (you can pick it up HERE). For now, however, bring on the weekend and dance around with Allston (Dance Around)! If there was any justice in this world, this song would be a massive hit.

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As seen above, Jones and The Spirits will be out on tour shortly and headed to California in July for the High Sierra Music Festival, and will hopefully add some other Cali dates. Don’t miss ’em.  You can get tickets HERE.

19
May

New Okkervil River Album “Away” Coming–Listen to Elegiac New Song “Okkervil River R.I.P.”

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One of our all-time favorite “indie artists,” Okkervil River, will release a new album entitled Away in September on ATO.  Per leader Will Sheff’s press release, the album embodies a traumatic, transitional period for Sheff, which entailed the loss of his grandfather and various band member changes. “I wrote the songs during a confusing time of transition in my personal and professional life and recorded them quickly with a brand new group of musicians,” said Sheff.  Sheff continues: “2013-2015 has been a strange time for me. I lost some connections in a music industry that was visibly falling apart. Some members of the Okkervil River backing band left, moving on to family life or to their own projects. I spent a good deal of time sitting in hospice with my grandfather, who was my idol, while he died. I didn’t know where I belonged. Eventually, I realized I was writing a death story for a part of my life that had, buried inside of it, a path I could follow that might let me go somewhere new.”

The album will consist of nine songs (listed below) that were apparently written over a three-day, fever-dream period at an empty house in the Catskills and subsequently recorded in a Long Island studio. Sheff was assisted by the likes of Marissa Nadler, composer/arranger Nathan Thatcher, former Okkervil River (and now Shearwater) member Jonathan Meiburg, and classical troupe yMusic.

To get a feel, check out the elegiac and emotion-filled album-opening track Okkervil River R.I.P. below. It’s a fantastic, form-fitting song that builds and flies away during its nearly seven-minutes, and bodes incredibly well for the new album. “They had some great songs, must have been a great time so long ago.” Thankfully, those times aren’t over for Okkervil River.

Okkervil River will kick off a tour on June 30th in Austin, TX, in support of (and ahead of) the new album.  Check the dates below.

Away Songlist:

1 Okkervil River R.I.P.
2 Call Yourself Renee
3 The Industry
4 Comes Indiana Through The Smoke
5 Judey On A Street
6 She Would Look For Me
7 Mary On A Wave
8 Frontman In Heaven
9 Days Spent Floating (In The Halfbetween)

Okkervil River Tour Dates:

06-30 Austin, TX – Stubb’s Bar-B-Q %
07-01 Dallas, TX – The Bomb Factory %
07-02 Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall %
07-03 San Antonio, TX – Aztec Theater in San Antonio %
07-14 Portland, ME – Port City Music Hall
07-15 Portsmouth, NH – 3S Artspace
07-16 Hudson, NY – Club Helsinki
07-17 Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
07-20 Brooklyn, NY – National Sawdust
09-14 Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair *
09-15 Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair *
09-16 Montreal, QC – Theatre Fairmount
09-19 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club *
09-20 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle *
09-21 Atlanta, GA – Terminal West at King Plow Arts Center *
09-23 Memphis, TN – 1884 Lounge *
09-24 New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks *
09-30 Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom *
10-01 Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up Tavern *
10-04 Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
10-05 San Francisco, CA – The Independent
10-07 Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom *
10-08 Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre *
10-10 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge *
10-11 Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater *
10-13 Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Café *
10-14 Chicago, IL – Metro #
10-15 Ferndale, MI – The Magic Bag ^
10-16 Millvale, PA – Mr. Small’s Theatre ^
10-18 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer ^
10-30 Oslo, Norway – Parkteatret
10-31 Gothenburg, Sweden – Pustervik
11-02 Stockholm, Sweden – Debaser Strand
11-03 Copenhagen, Denmark – Vega
11-04 Weissenhauser Strand, Germany – Rolling Stone Weekender
11-05 Amsterdam, Holland – Paradiso Nord
11-07 Paris, France – Petit Bain
11-08 Brussels, Belgium – Botanique Rotonde
11-10 London, England – Islington Assembly Hall
11-11 Bristol, England – Thekla
11-12 Manchester, England – Gorilla
11-13 Glasgow, Scotland – Stereo

* with Landlady
# with Lip Talk
^ with Landlady & Lip Talk
% with Shovels & Rope, Matt Vasquez, and Girl In A Coma

18
May

A Perfect May-Gray Soundtrack–Stream Mark Kozelek’s New Piano-Laden Covers Album “Mark Kozelek Sings Favorites”

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On March 27th, Mark Kozelek (Sun Kil Moon, Red House Painters) will release a new, piano-laden covers album entitled Mark Kozelek Sings Favorites. The ever-controversial Kozelek is one of our all-time favorite singer-songwriters and he’s always evinced a way with covers, and this album (and its cover art above) perfectly matches the May-Gray vantage outside our windows.

Mark Kozelek Sings Favorites is piano-heavy and includes stellar accompaniment by Will OldhamLow’s Mimi Parker, Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, and Faith No More’s Mike Patton, among others. Included are eclectic songs penned by the likes of Bowie, Mancini and Mercer, 10cc, Waylon Jennings, Sondheim and Modest Mouse.

If you have a short amount of time, don’t miss Kozelek’s cover of Modest Mouse’s Float On with its ghosted, Gregorian-chant background vocals.  It’s a beauty with the following Kozelek-relevant line: “I ran my mouth off a bit too much, ah what did I say?”  Superb stuff from the arguably-misunderstood Kozelek.

To stream it, go HERE and then go to Caldo Verde Records HERE to pre-order it.  The song list is below.

Mark Kozelek Sings Favorites Song List:
1. Send in the Clowns
2. Moon River
3. Win
4. I’m Not in Love
5. Amanda
6. O Holy Night
7. Main Street
8. Somewhere Over the Rainbow
9. Get Along Home Cindy
10. Another Day
11. Float On
12. Something Stupid

13
May

Get Up Off Of That Couch: Watch Gallant’s Ferocious Television Debut on Fallon Show

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When Gallant opened for Sufjan Stevens on Stevens’ tour late last year, the cognoscenti noted his impassioned delivery and fearless, glass-shattering vocals.  Wednesday night (Christopher) Gallant further proved his worth by making his television debut on the Fallon Show and performed his single Weight in Gold off of his critically-acclaimed studio album Ology released last month.

Watch below as Gallant comes off the couch in a big way and takes the stage (and standing-ovation audience) by storm. Fallon introduced Gallant as “the next big thing in R&B,” and we couldn’t agree more. There is no falseness in the power of Gallant’s falsetto.  Bravo!