Watch Another Fantastic Radiohead Set–I-Days Festival Milan 6/16/17

The altruistic Radiohead is being incredibly generous and intermittently posting high-quality videos of their concerts. In addition to their prior release of their Coachella show, the band has now released their phenomenal show (that setlist!!–check at bottom) at the I-Days Festival near Milan on June 16th.  Check it out below in all its glory. As hard as it is to imagine after attending their show at the Santa Barbara Bowl, this is a band that is still evolving and improving. Just check out Myxomatosis below to see what we’re talking about. Incredible! Added bonus: watch Thom Yorke speak Italian.


Desert Island Disk
Ful Stop
15 Step
The National Anthem
All I Need
Pyramid Song
Everything in Its Right Place
Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
The Numbers
Exit Music (for a Film)
Paranoid Android

First Encore:

2 + 2 = 5
Fake Plastic Trees

Second Encore:

Lotus Flower
Karma Police


Review: Planetarium Brings New Life to Songs Among the Dead at Hollywood Forever Cemetery (7/20)

Artwork by Tad Wagner*

Never has the phrase “the music really came alive live” been more apropos than among the dead at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery last night when Planetarium (Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and James McAlister) imbued serious new life into their serious songs. If we’re being honest, the Planetarium album is not a light or uncomplicated affair (even for students/fans of classical music–Ed.: guilty), and its seriousness can, at times, gravely hold down the celestial affair. On this tour, however, Planetarium has smartly stripped out some of the instrumental segments and classical-arrangements, and added energetic tempos and playing, leaving a set that is more song-oriented and enthralling (but without losing any of the dynamism or complexities of the album).

Though Planetarium added two violinists and four horns (the “chamber players”) to their show, it was really the performances of the four main members that breathed new life into the songs. Stevens is always fantastic live, with his vocal gymnastics, instrumental/electronics/autotune acumen, storytelling and genuineness with his audience. Just as impressive was The National’s Bryce Dessner who stepped out of the album’s shadows and let his guitar playing shine, with complex runs, fierce strumming and impassioned stage-presence (Dessner also became only the third guitar player we’ve seen successfully employ a bow on his guitar–the other two being mere slouches Jimmy Page during the ’75 Zeppelin tour and Jonny Greenwood during Radiohead’s 2008 tour). In addition to his arrangements, Nico Muhly led well from his keyboard, adding compelling piano, organ and electronica flourishes. Finally, James McAlister added stentorian percussion ranging from his knock-ya-down kick-drum to subtly-complex tom and cymbal embellishments. Together, they seriously enlivened the proceedings and surroundings.

Highlights from the set were opener Neptune, Jupiter, a shining Sun, a powerfully-kinetic Saturn, the all-important Earth and the “hit,” Mercury. Planetarium would return for their encore to perform two poignant, celestial-themed sing-alongs to the dead. First was the seminal Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which was sung/autotuned superbly by Sufjan to Judy Garland (pictured behind the stage) who is now buried at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  And they closed the show with a chill-inducing, powerful performance of David Bowie’s Space Oddity.  ‘Twas a perfect ending to a great show.

Their show at the hallowed Hollywood Forever Cemetery was one of only four performances worldwide in support of their album. They close out their tour tonight in Oakland at the Fox Theater. Be there!

*Tad Wagner is a gifted artist, illustrator, letterer, musician and all-around great human who provides concert review artwork for the The Lefort Report.


Phoebe Bridgers Announces Upcoming Debut Album–Watch Moving “Motion Sickness” Lyric Video

Incredibly promising artist Phoebe Bridgers’ Smoke Signals remains our Best Song of 2017 (So Far). High praise given the superb music released this year by the likes of Broken Social Scene, Feist, The National and a host of other stalwarts.  Bridgers has now announced that her debut album will be entitled Stranger In The Alps and will be released in September on Dead Oceans. Bridgers also released new song Motion Sickness, and it is another well-wrought winner about a losing proposition. Check out this beauty below (lyrics at bottom).  You can pre-order Stranger In The Alps HERE.

Motion Sickness:

“I hate you for what you did
and I miss you like a little kid
I faked it every time but that’s alright
I can hardly feel anything
I hardly feel anything at all

You gave me fifteen hundred
to see your hypnotherapist
I only went one time
you let it slide
fell on hard times a year ago
was hoping you would let it go and you did

I have emotional motion sickness
somebody roll the windows down
There are no words in the English language
I could scream to drown you out

I’m on the outside looking through
You’re throwing rocks around your room
and while you’re bleeding on your back in the glass
I’ll be glad that I made it out
and sorry that it all went down like it did

I have emotional motion sickness
somebody roll the windows down
There are no words in the English language
I could scream to drown you out

And why do you sing with an English accent
I guess it’s too late to change it now
You know I’m never gonna let you have it
but I will try to drown you out

You said when you met me you were bored
You said when you met me you were bored
And you you were in a band when I was born

I have emotional motion sickness
I try to stay clean and live without
and I want to know what would happen
If I surrender to the sound

Surrender to the sound”


Watch Planetarium Perform “Mercury” Last Night on Colbert’s Late Show

As warned, supergroup Planetarium performed last night on Colbert’s Late Show. Watch below as Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, James McAlister and winsomely supporting horn trio and dueling violins perform the magnificent Mercury off the group’s superb new album. Planetarium performs in Brooklyn tonight, LA on Thursday (Hollywood Forever Cemetery) and Oakland on Friday. That’s it! Tickets are still available for the Hollywood Forever Cemetery show and you can get them HERE. Don’t miss this opportunity to catch Planetarium live, which (given its members’ demanding schedules) may come along about as often as Hale-Bopp.

Planetarium is out on 4AD, and you can order the album HERE


Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and James McAlister Perform on Colbert Tonight–Watch New Video for “Neptune”

We’ve written repeatedly about Sufjan Stevens’ stellar (if you will) project Planetarium with Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and James McAlister. Tonight you can see what all the hubbub’s about when the group performs on Colbert’s Late Show. In addition, the group today released a new lyric video for celestial song Neptune (lyrics at bottom). Check it out below.

The ensemble is performing a total of four Planetarium shows worldwide (see below), including this Thursday (July 20th) at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Tickets are still available so be there!

7-10 Paris, France – Philharmonie de Paris
7-18 Brooklyn, NY – Prospect Park
7-20 Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Forever Cemetery
7-21 Oakland, CA – Fox Theater

Planetarium is out on 4AD, and you can order it HERE


“What’s right and what’s wrong?
Don’t you hold me too lightly to words
As I’ve rounded them off to the nearest of ten
For I gathered your body in envious capture in envious thought

Oh forgive me, oh gods or forgive me in fortune
Forgive me in feeling it out for myself
As I ought to have feelings for something as great as thou art

Some great white rose of youth
Your pleasure gives of my own heart
Generous portions wisely
Breaks of my own heart
I felt the arm’s length while I’ve gone on my own way

Conserve me, strange waters
Come and obey me, strange waters
Have it your own way

So if you won’t hold me, I have no objections
So if you won’t please me
I make no commands
So if you don’t trust me, it’s best if I drown”


Watch Underappreciated Vocalist Damon Albarn and Mura Masa Perform “Blu” on La Blogothèque

Mura Masa is Brit producer Alex Crossan, and for his just-released debut album he’s managed to corral a group of guests, including the ridiculously talented Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz, etc.). While his songwriting, instrumental, arrangement, and production talents are oft-praised, Albarn doesn’t get enough credit for his singular, nuanced vocals. To hear what we’re saying, watch Albarn’s understated but deeply-felt vocal on the Mura Masa song Blu, as captured live by La Blogothèque. After some gibberish, the song actually starts at 1:45. Proof positive that Albarn could even sing Rod McKuen and make him sound interesting.


Watch Feist’s “Century” Video

Yesterday Feist achieved a fantastic hat-trick: her phenomenal Pleasure album was selected for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize Short List; her mega-hit album The Reminder observed its 10th anniversary; and she released the official video for her cataclysmic, yet-hopeful song-of-love Century.

The video depicts Feist and another femme each leading gangs grappling with each other beneath an overpass. Our favorite portion is at 3:13 when the actors break up the fight and instead turn to each other and pantomime the lyrics: “Someone who will lead you to someone, who will lead you to someone, who will lead you to the one, at the end of the century.” Sweetness. Afterwards Jarvis Cocker (Pulp) delivers his arithmetical monologue from the song.

Check it out below.


Watch Niia Digging Deep on KCRW Today–Catch Her On Her Birthday at the Hammer Tomorrow

We were just minding our own business combing through the hairy musical machine when we came upon LA-based singer and pianist Niia performing with full band on KCRW from this morning. Check out below her seductively-sad song Sideline on which Niia slays on vocals and rides the emotion-laden song hard (replete with eye-dab at the end?). Afterwards, watch her two other compelling KCRW performances of Last Night in Los Feliz and Body (you can listen/watch the whole KRCW set HERE). Niia’s jazz-pop debut album I was released earlier this year and continues to garner critical acclaim. You can buy/stream it HERE. We love what we saw and heard on KCRW today.

Tomorrow is apparently Niia’s birthday (unless it was today?) and she is performing for free at the Hammer Museum in Westwood as a part of the KCRW Summer Nights Series (see more info HERE). Happy Birthday to Niia! Go ‘dere people!


Check Out/Stream Waxahatchee’s New Album “Out In The Storm”

We’ve been fans of Waxahatchee and its leader Katie Crutchfield for years. This Friday Waxahatchee will release its new album Out In The Storm on Merge. In addition to being produced by gifted producer John Agnello (Okkervil River, Kurt Vile, Hop Along, Alyeska, Buffalo Tom, The Hold Steady, etc.), Crutchfield is joined on the album by her twin sister Allison Crutchfield and a full band. Evidently, at Agnello’s suggestion the band recorded most of the music live to enhance their sound and verve compared to past releases. We hear it.

Up until now Waxahatchee has only shared the simmering new songs Never Been Wrong and Silver (listen below). There’s no revolutionary music here; just great songwriting and powerful delivery by the ensemble, all as enhanced by the Crutchfields’ harmonies and Agnello’s clean production.

Now you can stream the whole album at NPR. Enjoy!

The band will venture out on a big tour in July, so catch them if you can (dates below the videos).

Jul 14 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
Jul 15 Brooklyn, NY – Warsaw
Jul 18 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
Jul 19 Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
Jul 20 Madison, WI – High Noon
Jul 21 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock
Jul 24 Seattle, WA – Neptune
Jul 25 Vancouver, BC – Imperial
Jul 26 Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
Jul 28 San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Jul 29 Los Angeles, CA – The Regent
Aug 01 Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
Aug 02 Santa Fe, NM – Meow Wolf
Aug 04 Dallas, TX – Club Dada
Aug 05 Austin, TX – The Mohawk
Aug 06 Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall
Aug 07 New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jack’s
Aug 09 Birmingham, AL – Saturn
Aug 10 Athens, GA – Athens Pop Fest
Aug 11 Atlanta, GA – Terminal West
Aug 12 Raleigh, NC – North Carolina Museum of Art w/ Superchunk & Ex Hex
Aug 13 Asheville, NC – Grey Eagle
Aug 14 Nashville, TN – Third Man Records
Aug 15 Columbus, OH – Park Street Saloon
Aug 16 Detroit, MI – El Club
Aug 17 Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace
Aug 18 Montreal, QC – Fairmount Theater
Aug 19 Boston, MA – Royale
Sep 01 Gdansk, PL – Soundrive Festival
Sep 03 North Dorset, UK – End of the Road Festival
Sep 04 London, UK – The Garage
Sep 05 Manchester, UK – The Deaf Institute
Sep 06 Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
Sep 07 Brighton, UK – Komedia
Sep 08 Heer, BE – Deep in the Woods
Sep 11 Paris, FR – Le Batofar
Sep 12 Lyon, FR – Le Periscope
Sep 13 Düdingen, CH – Bad Bonn
Sep 14 Zürich, CH – Rote Fabrik
Sep 15 Capri, IT – Mattatoio
Sep 16 Milano, IT – Biko
Sep 17 Munich, DE – Milla
Sep 18 Ljubljana, SI – Gala Hala
Sep 19 Vienna, AT – Arena
Sep 20 Prague, CZ – Klub 007
Sep 22 Schorndorf, DE – Manufaktur
Sep 23 Hamburg, DE – Reeperbahn Festival
Sep 24 Lund, SE – Mejerit
Sep 25 Göteborg, SE – Pustervik
Sep 26 Stockholm, SE – Obaren
Sep 27 Copenhagen, DK – Vega
Sep 28 Berlin, DE – Musik & Frieden
Sep 29 Groningen, NL – Vera
Oct 01 Amsterdam, NL – Bitterzoet


Watch Radiohead’s Second-Weekend Coachella Concert

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It’s no secret. Radiohead is the best live band on the planet (apologies The National, Elbow, Broken Social Scene and other deservers). We experienced their synchronous onslaught first hand in April at the Santa Barbara Bowl (about that setlist…) and caught captivating interweb vignettes from Coachella and Glastonbury.

Radiohead is now back in the video business and this morning provided another opportunity to witness their 2017 greatness. Watch below their full set from the second weekend of Coachella (not that sound-down first weekend set). Check it out in all its glory below (now there’s a setlist! see at bottom). And anybody doubting the worth of Ed O’Brien should check out his performance on the encore-closing Idiotique. Dang.


Desert Island Disk
Ful Stop
15 Step
All I Need
Pyramid Song
Everything in Its Right Place
My Iron Lung
The Gloaming
I Might Be Wrong
Exit Music (for a Film)

No Surprises
Paranoid Android
Fake Plastic Trees
Lotus Flower