16
Nov

A Must-Watch: the Tiny Desk Concert of Boygenius (Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus)

The “super-group” Boygenius recently released its debut recording (listen HERE and buy it HERE). Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus have combined in an ensemble that may be greater than its great parts. A fantastic introduction to the group can be found below when they performed recently at NPR’s Tiny Desk.

This may not be Friday fare for everyone (perhaps on Sunday mornings coming down or on I don’t like Mondays?), but when you’re ready to wade into some deeper and well-wrought (albeit melancholy) songwriting waters as exhibited in the touching ensemble performance below, there will be rewards.

Watch below as Boygenius performs Souvenir, Me & My Dog, and Ketchum, ID off of their EP.

Boygenius is currently on tour and will be in Cali at the end of this month. Get your tickets HERE.

26
Oct

Suss (Another) Superior Thom Yorke Song from Suspiria Soundtrack and Watch Performance

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We previously raved about Thom Yorke’s song Suspirium off of the just-released-today Suspiria film soundtrack that combines an instrumental score with songs and interludes in a double-album. The album is out now on XL Recordings and you can pick it up HERE.

Yorke has now released Unmade, another outstanding twinkling/tinkling piano-based sorrow-bender from the soundtrack. The song’s composition is more complex than on first blush, and the lyrics (see at bottom) and vocals completely take you over.  Yorke continues to show that he remains at the top of the songwriting game. Bravo!  To add to the beautiful recorded version below, afterwards watch Yorke’s  hauntingly enthralling performance of Unmade in BBC Radio 6 Music’s Maida Vale studios on solo piano.  Wow.

“Come under my wings, little bird
Come under my wings, little bird
Come under my wings

Unmade, unmade
I swear that there’s nothing up my sleeves
And then back again
I swear there’s nothing
Unmade

There’s no faces
Won’t grow back again
Broken pieces
Unmade

I swear there’s nothing
Won’t grow back again
I swear there’s nothing
Come under my wings
Come under my wings
Come under my wings
Under my wings
We’re unmade”

18
Oct

Miya Folick Wears Her Redress Well in New Song “Thingamajig” Off Impending Debut Album

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We’ve raved about Miya Folick since first encountering her music in 2015. Since then Folick has gone on to thrash and feather and frolic among disparate modes and sounds, including some agro-punkish forays. Folick’s most recent release, single Thingamajig, can be heard below and is from her highly anticipated debut album Premonitions on Terrible Records/Interscope. Thingamajig is a stunningly beautiful song that can stop you in your tracks and cause you to forgive and labor in love. We’re sorry, but we love this song.

Folick explains, “The first song on my album is called THINGAMAJIG. It’s about realizing you were wrong, apologizing, and relinquishing control. It feels pretty relevant right now, so I’m putting it out…. I know that I have people I need to say sorry to. I think most people do. I think some people have bigger apologies to make than others. I want to hear you say you’re sorry.”

Check out the song below and lyrics after. In particular, we love this couplet: “I am smiling wide, I’m the reason the sky is blue.” We have loved artists’ use of the “I am” aggrandizement, and Folick’s is another to add to the likes of The National (“I’m a festival, I’m a parade”). Thinking big thoughts.

You can listen to three other songs from Premonitions and pre-order it HERE.

Folick kicks off a worldwide tour at LA’s vaunted Troubadour this Monday, October 22nd.  Get tickets HERE.

“All the hands I’ve made
Grow in time
Feel my light
Your plastic bones are mine

If you want to be angry
I don’t mind. I’ll let you go
If you want to be angry
I don’t mind. I’ll leave you alone

I am sorry
I know I am wrong

So take it all
I want to be out of control
So take it all
I want to be out of control

I am smiling wide
I’m the reason the sky is blue
Careful design
Was poured into me and poured into you

If you want to be angry
I don’t mind. I’ll let you go
If you want to be angry
I don’t mind. I’ll leave you alone

I am sorry
I know I am wrong

So take it all
I want to be out of control
So take it all
I want to be out of control

Only you know what to do now
Only you know what to do
Only you know what to do now
Only you know what to do”

2
Oct

Watch The National Perform “Dark Side of the Gym” (with Dancers) on The Tonight Show

Last night ever-busy The National performed on The Tonight Show. We were wondering what/how they would play that would transfer well to the TV studio and format. We imagined lead-singer Matt Berninger’s possible trademark singalong with the studio audience or some special accompanying singers such as Phoebe Bridgers, Cat Power or possibly Sharon Van Etten (more about her later today). What we didn’t imagine is that the band would engage two dancers to gracefully lace their endearing Sleep Well Beast song Dark Side of the Gym.

True confession: without any judgment of the good souls who love and engage in the art-form, dance is easily our least favorite genre. We’re not the best “dancers” (slow or otherwise). And we don’t generally appreciate others dancing and especially anything even remotely in the “interpretive dance” realm. So when we heard about our favorite American band performing with dancers on The Tonight Show, we were prepared for copious eye-rolling and embarrassment on our and others’ parts. But as you can see below, Justin Peck (New York City Ballet resident choreographer) and former Miami City Ballet principal dancer Patricia Delgado, added graceful, inventive dancing that coalesced perfectly with the song. Bravo!

In the meantime, the best live American band did what they do best (in, for them, a more contemplative and nuanced performance).

Check it out below.

5
Sep

Check Out Thom Yorke’s Exemplary New Song “Suspirium” from “Suspiria” Remake Soundtrack

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By many accounts the 1977 film Suspiria directed by Dario Argento was a “horror classic.” Whatever. Unlike many, we don’t “do” horror movies because: life. Plenty of day-to-day horrors without adding more.

Nonetheless, now comes director Luca Guadagnino’s new reimagining of Suspiria featuring a Thom Yorke soundtrack that combines an instrumental score with songs and interludes in a double-album. XL Recordings will release Yorke’s soundtrack on October 26th.

Yorke has released the first song entitled Suspirium from the soundtrack via the video below featuring animated dancing. Suspirium is quintessential Yorke piano-balladry, featuring his other-worldly vocals and his enigmatic, dystopian-doublespeak lyrics (at bottom). In short: beauty abounds. Hopefully the placement in the film will provide contextual insights into the lyrics.

You can pre-order the Suspiria soundtrack HERE.

“This is a waltz thinking about our body
What they mean for our salvation
Only the clothes that we stand up in
Just the ground on which we stand
Is the darkness ours to take?
Bathed in lightning, bathed in heat

All is well, as long as we keep spinning
Here now, desert on a wall
Only old songs and laughter we hear
I’m forgiven always and never been true

When I arrive you come and find me
In a crowd you want around
All the road signs black with silence
Now tomorrow’s at peace”

31
Aug

Check Out Great New Songs/Videos from Debut Album of Big Red Machine (Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner)

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Virtually everything that the members of Bon Iver and The National touch turns to musical gold. Both those bands are, for us, at the top of the indie-rock realms. And when their members step out and collaborate with others, more magic ensues. Whether via Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon’s varied productions or his collaborations in Volcano Choir or Sean Carey’s soaring solo recordings, or via The National’s Matt Berninger’s El Vy project or the Dessner Twins’ various projects and productions, these members consistently create fecund musical fields and savory song harvests. Vernon’s and Aaron Dessner’s new project Big Red Machine is yet another example.

Ramping up a collaboration that began eons ago (via the Big Red Machine song included in the Dark Was The Night fundraiser) Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner have today released The Big Red Machine’s debut album that once again inflames the ineffable (with inevitable f-ables). Vernon and Dessner have repeatedly collaborated before. They founded the Eaux Claires Festival and recently developed (with Bryce Dessner) a new music/artist platform dubbed PEOPLE, which seeks to further artistic collaboration. Now comes Big Red Machine. And we’re all in.

The album reflects both Bon Iver’s and The National’s recent entreaties to electronica, but still features Vernon’s affecting, post-Expressionist lyrics, guitar plenitude and melodies befitting of both bands. The luminous list of participants is similarly impressive: Bryce Dessner, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, the unjustly unsung Lisa Hannigan, fulgent Phoebe Bridgers, the earth-eclipsing harmonists The Staves, and This is the Kit’s Kate Stables.

To match the release of their eponymous album, Big Red Machine has delivered videos for three of our favorite songs off the album: Forest Green, Gratitude and the comparatively folkified I Won’t Run From It.  Forest Green is a particular highlight, with its emotionally propelling bass-line and Vernon’s enigmatic lyrics that can’t help but tug the heartstrings. Who doesn’t want to give or receive more time? The inventive videos were directed by Eric Timothy Carlson and Aaron Anderson.

You can pick up the album HERE. Or stream it HERE.

25
Jul

Listen: Iron & Wine Releases Sublime “What Hurts Worse” Song From New EP

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Last year Iron & Wine released one of our favorites and Best Albums of 2017 with its Grammy-nominated album Beast Epic. We loved it on first listen, but the album continued to grow on us with months and months of repeated listens, sewing many ear-seeds and bearing bushels of musical fruit the longer we listened. Such are the songs of Sam Beam. Why just last week we marveled at Beast Epic‘s resiliency. People: the album comes highly recommended. And give it lots of time to gestate.

Now comes good news: Sam Beam and pals (Joe Adamik, Jim Becker, Rob Burger and Teddy Rankin-Parker) will on 8/21 release a follow-up EP entitled Weed Garden on Sub Pop on August 21st. The band’s press release indicates that Weed Garden features six songs written during the Beast Epic phase that weren’t completed until coming to fruition now. Based on the first song below, the wowing What Hurts Worse (lyrics at bottom), the new release is definitely a part of Beast Epic and yet furthers Iron & Wine’s stunningly good discography. Listen to What Hurts Worse below in all its melodious, well-coiffed beauty.

Weed Garden is now available for preorder on CD/LP (limited amber versions)/DL/CS on Sub Pop HERE.

Finally check out (below the video) the tour dates (including Cali in late September) of the band’s world tour this fall.

Weed Garden
Tracklisting:

1.    What Hurts Worse
2.    Waves of Galveston
3.    Last of Your Rock ‘n’ Roll Heroes
4.    Milkweed
5.    Autumn Town Leaves
6.    Talking to Fog

Iron & Wine Tour Dates:

Sep. 21 – Kansas City, MO – Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland*
Sep. 22 – Denver, CO – Paramount Theatre*
Sep. 23 – Salt Lake City, UT – Capitol Theatre*
Sep. 24 – Boise, ID – Revolution Center*
Sep. 26 – Eureka, CA – Arkley Center for the Performing Arts*
Sep. 27 – Sacramento, CA – Crest Theatre*
Sep. 28 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues*
Sep. 29 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre*
Sep. 30 – Sante Fe, NM – Lensic Performing Arts Center*
Oct. 2 – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom*
Oct. 3 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant^
Oct. 4 – Milwaukee, WI – The Pabst Theater*
Oct. 5 – Bloomington, IL – Castle Theatre*
Oct. 6 – Columbus, OH – Southern Theatre*
Nov. 2 – Ann Arbor, MI – Michigan Theater**
Nov. 3 – Toronto, ON – Queen Elizabeth Theatre**
Nov. 4 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre**
Nov. 6 – Portland, ME – State Theatre**
Nov. 7 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount**
Nov. 8 – Glenside, PA – Keswick Theatre**
Nov. 9 – Norfolk, VA – NorVa**
Nov. 10 – Raleigh, NC – Meymandi Concert Hall**
Nov. 12 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium**
Nov. 14 – Augusta, GA – Miller Theater**
Nov. 15 – Tampa, FL – Tampa Theatre**
Nov. 16 – Atlanta, GA – Buckhead Theatre**
Nov. 17 – Memphis, TN – Orpheum Theatre**

*w/ Erin Rae
** w/ Ohmme
^ w/ Carl Broemel

What Hurts Worse:

“Let’s forget whatever we lost
Rolling around in the weeds
Finding ourselves broken
Looking for light on the floor
Let’s become the lovers we want
Banging our heads in the fog
Flowers will close and open
Life going by like we care
One day is whatever we make (whatever we make)
From pieces off the side of a road (whatever we make)
Walked on our map of what hurts
What hurts worse

Let’s become the lovers we need
Who knew we’d be needing so much
We keep finding ourselves broken
Tossed in the yard with the bones
And let’s forget whatever we know
Knowing all too little, too late
Laying down in our own horizon
Letting that water hit home

Let’s become the lovers we want
(Let’s become the lovers we want)
Let’s become the lovers we need
(Let’s become the lovers we need)
Let’s become the lovers we want
(Let’s become the lovers we want)
Let’s become the lovers we need
(Let’s become the lovers we need)”

13
Jul

The Best Songs of 2018 (So Far)

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Tomorrow is Quatorze Juillet (Bastille Day), which for us marks the end of the first half of the year. And it provides the perfect excuse to ensnare you with our Best Songs of 2018 (so far). Check all the songs out above. You will find the list dominated by songs from Damned Devotion a career-best album from the sensational Joan As Police Woman. Damned Devotion will undoubtedly be near or at the top of our Best Albums of 2018 list at year’s end. Joining Damned Devotion will doubtlessly be this year’s albums from Australia’s nascent Middle Kids (Lost Friends) and from the always-reliable Okkervil River (In The Rainbow Rain). Each is well-represented in our Best Songs of 2018.  You will also find multiple songs from the exceptional Janelle Monae, Leon Bridges, Kendrick Lamar (via the stellar Black Panther soundtrack), the seminal Stephen Malkmus (and the Jicks), Neko Case, Car Seat Headrest, The Decemberists and the welcome return of Wye Oak. Finally, you will find phenomenal newcomers Snail Mail, Saba, Stella Donnelly, Miya Folick and Rainbow Kitten Surprise. As you will hear, it’s been a great first half of the year for songs. Let’s hope the year finishes just as strong.

22
Jun

Check Out Laura Marling’s Compelling New “LUMP” Collab with Mike Lindsay

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We were called away for a while, but are now back. While we were away, LUMP, the new collaboration between Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay ( Tunng and Throws) began emitting desirable sounds and objects, ultimately releasing their eponymous debut album on June 1st via Dead Oceans. As we’re sure you’re aware, Marling has had a deep and successful solo career and discography. But based on her earlier band roles (in particular as a member of the now-defunkt Noah and the Whale) and now in LUMP, this band structure may comprise Marling’s best mode.

What initially caught our attention was LUMP’s phenomenal first single, Curse Of The Contemporary, from the album and its mesmerizing official video. Check the official video below and then their fantastic live performance of the song on Later with Jools Holland. We are suckers for any California-centric lyrics, but coupled with the song’s musical motifs, the song is highly addictive. The song’s lyrics are at bottom. Great stuff!

Next check out two other great tracks off the album. Late To The Flight is the album’s opening track. It opens with electronic atmospherics before Marling’s finger-picked guitar joins the “crooner in crisis.” Listen below. Afterwards check out the darkly infectious May I Be The Light. We love its “new libidinal concepts” and Joni-esque bridge.

You can order or stream the album HERE.

LUMP Tracklist:
1. Late To The Flight
2. May I Be The Light
3. Rolling Thunder
4. Curse Of The Contemporary
5. Hand Hold Hero
6. Shake Your Shelter
7. LUMP is a Product (credits)

Curse of the Contemporary

“If you should be bored in California
I’m sure not the first to warn you
Don’t read in too much to all the signs and turns
Keep your wits about you
and your mind freedom

If you should be bored in California
I’m sure I’m not the last to warn ya
The natives scaled the mountains for the promise of the sea
But deemed the land unworthy of them evidently

We salute the sun because
When the day is done
We can’t believe what we’ve become
Something else to prey upon
Evidently it’s just another vanity
Another something to believe
The curse of the contemporary

We salute the sun because
When the day is done
We can’t believe what we’ve become
Something else to prey upon
Evidently it’s just another vanity
Another something to believe
The curse of the contemporary

If you should be bored in California
I’m sure not the first to warn ya
Don’t read in too much to all the signs and turns
Keep your wits about you and your mind freedom

If you should be bored in California
I’m sure I’m not the last to warn ya
The natives scaled the mountains for the promise of the sea
But deemed the land unworthy of them evidently

We salute the sun because
When the day is done
We can’t believe what we’ve become
Something else to prey upon
Evidently it’s just another vanity
Another something to believe
The curse of the contemporary

We salute the sun because
When the day is done
We can’t believe what we’ve become
Something else to prey upon
Eidently it’s just another vanity
Another something to believe
The curse of the contemporary”

18
May

Watch Courtney Barnett and Band Ragin’ on The Tonight Show

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A week ago, we caught Courtney Barnett in full flight at the intimate Pico Union Project. Last night, in advance of today’s release of her new album Tell Me How You Really Feel, Barnett and blazing band set The Tonight Show afire with their raging performance of Nameless, Faceless off the new album (lyrics at bottom). Watch below. We particularly loved the mix, with the vocals mixed way up and highlighting the band’s harmonies. And of course Courtney’s guitar playing was perfect throughout. Brava!

You can order/stream the fantastic new album HERE.

Nameless, faceless

Don’t you have anything better to do
I wish that someone would hug you
Must be lonely
Being angry
Feeling over-looked.
You sit alone at home in the darkness
With all the pent-up rage that you harness
I’m real sorry
Bout whatever happened to you

I wanna walk through the park in the dark
Men are scared that women will laugh at them
I wanna walk through the park in the dark
Women are scared that men will kill them
I hold my keys
Between my fingers

He said “I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup
And spit out better words than you”
But you didn’t
Man you’re kidding yourself if you think
The world revolves around you
Yknow you got lots to give
N so many options
I’m real sorry
Bout whatever happened to you

I wanna walk through the park in the dark
Men are scared that women will laugh at them
I wanna walk through the park in the dark
Women are scared that men will kill them

I hold my keys
Between my fingers
Go on tell me
You’re just kidding
He said, she said
Nameless, faceless