As far as we can discern, the past few weeks have been amongst the slowest in the history of music. There have been glimmers (such as yesterday’s Song of the Week from Warpaint and Mocky’s new songs), but heavens to mergatroid! To keep the ball and stone rollin’ and to throw back a bit, check out below The Rolling Stones’ official video for their tongue-in-cheek, countrified Far Away Eyes off of their superb 1978 album Some Girls. From disco to reggae to country to rock, Some Girls had it all. Watch below as the hilarity ensues amongst the band members. The song’s lyrics are at bottom.
“I was driving home early Sunday morning through Bakersfield
Listening to gospel music on the colored radio station
And the preacher said “you know you always have the
Lord by your side.”
And I was so pleased to be informed of this that I ran
Twenty red lights in his honor
Thank you Jesus, thank you lord.
I had an arrangement to meet a girl, and I was kind of late
And I thought by the time I got there shed be off
Shed be off with the nearest truck driver she could find
Much to my surprise, there she was sittin’ in the corner
A little bleary, worse for wear and tear
Was a girl with far away eyes
So if you’re down on your luck
And you cant harmonize
Find a girl with far away
And if you’re downright disgusted
And life ain’t worth a dime
Get a girl with far away eyes
Well the preacher kept right on saying that all I had to do was send
Ten dollars to the church of the sacred bleeding heart of jesus
Located somewhere in Los Angeles, California
And next week they’d say my prayer on the radio
And all my dreams would come true
So I did, the next week, I got a prayer with a girl
Well, you know what kind of eyes she got
So if you’re down on your luck
I know you all sympathize
Find a girl with far away eyes
And if you’re downright disgusted
And life ain’t worth a dime
Get a girl with far away eyes”
Warpaint’s sophomore, eponymously-titled album was one of last year’s gems, and we’ve been anxiously awaiting subsequent sounds since.
Thankfully the female quartet has returned with an outstanding new track entitled No Way Out (Redux) (which this superb live band has played live before). We love everything about the song–the reverberant opening, the ghosted harmonies, the constant and layered build, the chorus yelps, the tasteful, Factory-esque guitar-play, the martial drumming from 1:25 on, the shimmering outro–everything! Go ahead–put it on repeat. And disappear completely. It’s early, but let’s just call it now: it’s our Song of the Week.
Meanwhile, Warpaint plays in LA this Saturday and will thereafter head out on a European tour next month.
This is starting to be a habit. Just last week, while in a Feist-induced haze, we stumbled upon producer/performer Mocky and his ethereal song Howling At The Moon. Now comes another new song, The Fortress, off of his new acoustic-based EP Living Time: The Moxtape Vol. II. The Fortress features the ivory-flourishes of revered pianist/composer Chilly Gonzales (along with Molly Rodger on viola and Jordan Katz on trumpet/trombone). Turns out that Mocky started playing music with Feist in Berlin in the mid-2000s in what he has dubbed the “pre-D.M.” period there, and the new EP and his next album (this summer’s Key Change) offer reconsidered respites from the current electro-assault on the masses. Amen, Mocky, we’re all ears.
Just listen below to the jazzy-flow of The Fortress, which opens brilliantly in the key of Brian Wilson before segueing into a soothing R&B motif, all the while perfectly embellished and accented by the deft playing of Gonzales, Katz and Jordan (in addition to Mocky himself). It’s been on repeat all day in Chez Lefort. Bravo!
Speaking of Feist, after The Fortress check out her drumming and vocals on the Brazilian-esque Instrumental Life. Sweet sounds from this entourage. Listen to and download the entire EP at bottom, all of which bodes incredibly well for Key Change.
And finally, here’s hoping that the combination of Mocky, Feist and Chilly Gonzales (frequent Feist-collaborator) results in some new music from Ms. Feist. Let it be so.
Photo by Dalton Blanco
One of the best live rock bands extant, Built To Spill, will on April 21st release a new album entitled Untethered Moon, their first in five years. Today the band released the album’s first single, the fantastic Living Zoo. The song opens with classic BTS chord progressions, but when the vocals hit it segues into a more shimmering sound that reminds somewhat of Guided By Voices, Nada Surf and a bit of Modest Mouse. In short: we love it! Check it out below. The song bodes very well for Untethered Moon.
Built to Spill will head out on tour soon in support, including mid-April dates in San Luis Obispo (at SLO Brew) and at Soho in Santa Barbara, while also performing at some falderal dubbed, er, “Corpchella“? Check out the band’s tour dates and get tickets HERE.
The Academy Awards Aftermath: Recalling Elliott Smith While Listening to Andy Schauf’s “You’re Out Wasting”
While we watched the Academy Awards last night, we couldn’t help longing for one of those rare moments when musical magic happens at the Oscars. Common and John Legend’s righteous performance of Glory (from Selma) was one such moment (followed by their eloquent and appropriate acceptance speeches). Thinking back to other such moments, Elliott Smith’s highly-unlikely, but luminous, 1998 nomination and performance of his song Miss Misery during the ceremony definitely qualifies. Check it out at bottom.
The confluence of the Awards ceremony and later listening to Andy Schauf’s new album, The Bearer of Bad News (on Portland’s arts-consortium/label Tender Loving Empire), couldn’t help but lead us back into the vaults to look for Smith’s Oscar moment. One immediately harkens back to Smith when listening to Saskatchewan’s Schauf, but especially on the well-crafted song You’re Out Wasting off the new album. Schauf’s vocals, lyrics and production all pay proper homage to Smith.
Despite the similarities, Schauf’s songs are so well-done and ardently delivered that we can’t help but be drawn in. Check out You’re Out Wasting below, followed by the official video for another fine track off the album, I’m Not Falling Asleep. Schauf’s album was written over four years and recorded in his parent’s basement (on a hill?), and Shauf played nearly every instrument thereon. If you like what you hear (and we do indeed), go HERE and buy the vinyl/digital versions of The Bearer of Bad News. Schauf is out on tour and will play LA’s Bardot on March 30th before flitting off to Europe. Catch him if you can.
So you think you’ve heard it all? Ya haven’t. Like you, we’ve let another one slip by unapprehended–South-East London’s Kate Tempest. Since finally catching wind of Tempest we’ve been tornadoes for her music and wordplay. We should have known when the nominees for last year’s Mercury Prize were announced. Tempest was deservedly nominated for her debut album Everybody Down. She evidently began as a rapper, toured the spoken word circuit for and then began writing plays in 2012. Her work includes music, poetry (she won the Ted Hughes Prize), plays and will debut her first novel in 2016. In short, she’s a bit good with words.
To get a feel check out her videos and songs below. We were first drawn to her by her spoken-word performance of Renegade, which you should not miss at bottom. First up below is The Beigeness, one of the catchiest songs on her debut album, with it’s addictive “chorus” as follows:
“Them things you don’t show, I can see
Them things you don’t say, speak to me
Them things you hide and hide and know from grandma
We ain’t sighting
Them things that warn you, let them be
That thing you bleed for, leave
All life is forward you will see
It needs you to need it.”
After, check out the recently-released and similarly-addicting Bad Place For A Good Time, which bodes incredibly well for Tempest’s future recordings. After, check out Lonely Daze. And then close out for now with the spoken-word Renegade. This is just the tip of the Tempest, whose future is bright.
Tempest will traipse over to the States in March for a few shows, one of which is March 14th (a hallowed date) at The Echo in LA. Be there with tix HERE.
Desperation Dictates: Listen Again to Feist Cover Peter Gabriel’s “Don’t Give Up” and Listen Anew to Mocky’s “Howling At The Moon”
Our desperation to hear even one scintilla of new music from one of our a favorite artists, Feist, drove us deep down the rabbit hole today. All it took was a post by Ms. Feist announcing “Work. w @mockyrecordings“ (picture above), and we were sent slithering around in search on the interweb. While no new Feist was unearthed (surprise), we did re-discover Feist’s fine Mocky-produced (with MORRI$) cover of Peter Gabriel’s great, great song Don’t Give Up. You see, a few years ago, Peter Gabriel and a host of artists played tit-for-tat by covering each others’ songs on two separate albums. On the album And I’ll Scratch Yours, Feist, Mocky and crew returned the favor with Don’t Give Up. Check it out below.
And while you’re at it, after Don’t Give Up check out a recent new track from LA-based producer/songwriter Mocky (Dominic Salole) of his ethereal new song, Howling At The Moon (from his impending LIVING TIME : The Moxtape Vol 2. recording). Howling At The Moon is a languid, spectral beauty in its own right and has us on high-alert for additional musical semaphores from Mocky.
One of the Best Songs of 2014 came from one of the Best New Artists of 2014, Tei Shi. Shi put out a powerful pop masterpiece in her track Bassically. Since then Tei Shi has been busy touring and building, while collaborating with others (Glass Animals, Shy Girls, etc.). Now comes the great news that Shi will release new five-song EP Verde (track list at bottom) on April 14th on Mermaid Avenue. Bassically is included and you can listen to it below. To add to the Verde news, the first official remix of Bassically, care of British electronic duo HONNE, has been released and you can listen to it below the original.
1. Can’t Be Sure
3. See Me
4. Go Slow
5. Get It
As mentioned previously, Sufjan Stevens will release in March his new album entitled Carrie & Lowell. Today Stevens released a harrowing vignette from the impending album. Check out new track No Shade In The Shadow Of The Cross. Many will welcome the return of “the old Sufjan sound.” Hopefully they’ll embrace again a questioning, mournful soul who’s not afraid to drop an f-bomb when faced with the loss of a parent (in this case, Stevens’ mother). We love everything about the song. The song’s lyrics follow at bottom.
“Now that I fell into your arms
My only lover
Give out to give in
I search for the capsule I lost
Drag me to hell
In the valley of The Dalles
Like my mother
Give wings to a stone
It’s only the shadow of a cross
I slept on my back
In the shade of the meadowlark
Like a champion
Get drunk to get laid
I take one more hit when you depart
I’ll drive that stake through the center of my heart
Inhaling its fire
I’m chasing the dragon too far
There’s blood on that blade
Fuck me, I’m falling apart
Like Casper the ghost
There’s no shade in the shadow of the cross”
We’ve been enamored with troubadour Sam Baker ever since we first laid our ears on his superb 2013 Say Grace album, which found its way to No. 11 in our Top 15 Albums of 2013. Baker mines a deep vein of storytelling songs featuring finely-crafted lyrics. It’s a vein that’s been worked so well by similarly-slanted predecessors such as John Prine, Townes Van Zandt and Tom Waits. Sam Baker easily fits into their good company.
For another good sample of this gifted songwriter, check out the performance below (from Boulder’s laudable eTown) of his telling song Odessa. In addition to telling a heart-breaking story of a wasted life, Odessa deftly melds in Stephen Foster’s song Hard Times. The song is off Baker’s highly-regarded 2007 album Pretty World. Do yourselves a favor and give Sam Baker more of your listening time. The song’s worthy lyrics follow at bottom.
“He was an Odessa boy with a daddy in the money
He played for mojo back in the boom
Drove a Corvette
Took what he wanted
People learned to give him lots of room
Well he never learned to work
But that never really mattered
Cause the dark crude flowed
The wild oats scattered
Dark crude flowed
He fought, he flattered
And he got what he wanted
It was the only thing that mattered
Well life was easy
The big jacks pumped
Pulling cash from the permian field
Cabinets full of high-grade scotch
Garage full of high-speed steel
Then he killed a girl when he rolled the Corvette
Daddy’s money made her lawyers go away
His mother bought vodka with all that cash
She kind of knew
Yeah she kind of knew
Well he’s an old man now
lives on his dead Daddy’s place
Never took a wife
He’s gonna die without a trace
See he loved the girl who was penned in the ‘vette
He talks to her everyday
Her face was blood and diamonds
He remembers her that way.
There’s a pale droopy maiden who toiled her life away
With a worn heart, whose better days are o’er.
Though her voice it would be merry, ’tis sighin’ all the day,
Oh, hard times, come again no more.”