18
Nov

It’s Been Elbow Week: Watch Elbow Wow on CBS This Morning; Brief Review of Elbow’s Magnificent Show at Wiltern Theater

It’s been a big Elbow week at Chez Lefort. First this magnificently-talented band put out a sonorous Beatles cover and performed a great set on KCRW.

And today the band appeared on CBS This Morning and gave lush performances of Magnificent (She Says) and All Disco off the Best Album of 2017 contender Little Fictions, along with fan-favorite rocker Grounds For Divorce.  Check ’em out below in all their stellar-sounding magnificence! At bottom is an interview with Guy Garvey and Pete Turner in which Garvey recounts receiving a laudatory email from Sir Paul McCartney regarding Magnificent (She Says). If it’s good enough for Paul McCartney, it’s good enough for you and me!

Today’s CBS performances follow on the heals of their superb U.S.-tour-ending show at the Wiltern Theater in LA on Thursday. Just as they had in 2014 at the Wiltern, the band was phenomenal throughout the show, thankfully matched by an adoring sing-along crowd. Once again it was a perfect match of band and venue, and the mutual affection was palpable. Guy Garvey is one of the more charismatic and gifted singers extant, and had the crowd in the palm of his ever-outstretched hand. With a wink and a nod, and queries to the balcony, he made all feel involved and at home. The superb band members Craig Potter (keyboard, piano, backing vocals), Mark Potter (guitar, backing vocals), Pete Turner (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Alex Reeves (drums), were on serious form throughout and were fleshed out superbly with the addition of two sylvan string players/back-up singers.

Highlights from their set included the fantastic new songs Magnificent (She Says), All Disco, and Little Fictions, along with older stalwarts including MirrorballLippy Kids, My Sad Captains, New York Morning and (of course) the set-closing One Day Like This. The band closed out the night with a raucous, floor-shaking romp with Grounds For Divorce. Our only complaint was that the sound in the pit was very muddled, in stark contrast to the crystal-clear sound on CBS This Morning.

The Wiltern setlist is at bottom. If they come your way in the future, recall that “we only pass this way once” and don’t miss ’em.

Wiltern Setlist:

Any Day Now
The Bones of You
Fly Boy Blue / Lunette
Head For Supplies
Magnificent (She Says)
Mirrorball
Station Approach
All Disco
The Birds
My Sad Captains
New York Morning
Little Fictions
Kindling
One Day Like This

Encore:
Lippy Kids
Grounds for Divorce

Photos by LA Music Scene

16
Nov

Elbow Covers Beatles “Golden Slumber” and Performs on KCRW–Closing U.S. Tour Tonight at the Wiltern in LA

The marvelous Mancunian band Elbow is closing out its U.S. tour tonight at the Wiltern Theater in LA. Tickets are still available!

Whilst making their way to the Wiltern, the band yesterday performed songs for KCRW (two songs can be watched below) and today released a velveteen cover of the Beatles’ Golden Slumber. The latter is taken from a UK John Lewis store holiday advertisement and features not-scary monster Moz as directed by Michael Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). For those wanting to hear the track unsullied by monster noises, check the second video below.

In addition to releasing one of the Best Albums of 2017, Little Fictions, the band will on 11/24 release a compilation album entitled The Best Of  (which will include the Golden Slumbers cover). See the full tracklisting at bottom.

You can pre-order the album HERE.

TRACKLISTING
1. Grounds for Divorce
2. Magnificent (She Says)
3. Lippy Kids
4. One Day Like This
5. The Bones of You
6. My Sad Captains
7. Leaders of the Free World
8. Mirrorball
9. Fugitive Motel
10. New York Morning
11. Great Expectations
12. The Birds
13. Scattered Black and Whites
Bonus Track
14. Golden SlumbersDisc 2

DELUXE ALBUM ONLY
1. Any Day Now
2. Fly Boy Blue / Lunette
3. Weather to Fly
4. Station Approach
5. Switching Off
6. Little Fictions
7. This Blue World
8. Kindling (Fickle Flame) featuring John Grant
9. Newborn
10. Puncture Repair
11. The Night Will Always Win
12. Starlings
13. The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver
14. Dear Friends

14
Nov

S. Carey (Bon Iver) To Release New Album “Hundred Acres”–Listen to Gilded Song “Fool’s Gold”

We’ve been singing the praises of the songs and recordings of S. Carey (the gifted multi-instrumentalist/songwriter cohort of Justin Vernon in Bon Iver) since his fantastic first solo album in 2010. More recently, Carey released new song Brassy Sun and alluded to a new solo album in 2018. And today Carey has revealed that he will release new album Hundred Acres on Jagjaguwar on February 23rd.  To whet the appetite, Carey has released the affecting song Fool’s Gold, which you can listen to below. Fool’s Gold was evidently the rare song birthed by Carey on guitar (rather than his usual keyboard approach). Says Carey, “This song is what started the whole record . . . everything came out of it and the vibe it created.” As you will hear on Fool’s Gold (lyrics at bottom) Carey is scary-skilled at sculpting songs centered around evocative incantations.

Fool’s Gold bodes incredibly well for Hundred Acres, which features his longtime collaborators Zach Hanson, Ben Lester, and Jeremy Boettcher, along with Rob Moose (yMusic), Casey Foubert (Sufjan Stevens) and Sophie Payten (Gordi).

Bring on Hundred Acres! You can pre-order the album HERE.

Fool’s Gold:

“No one came to take you
How could you leave?
Wrapped you in white paper
Then sent you downstream

Found your mama in the basement in the cold
What does heaven know ’bout fool’s gold?
Oh

There are nights I see you
In big sister’s hazy life
She’ll be looking out for you
Underneath the Sand Fire skies

Found your mama in the basement in the cold
What does heaven know ’bout fool’s gold?
Oh

Found your mama in the basement in the cold
What does heaven know ’bout fool’s gold?
Oh”

10
Nov

Watch The National Celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of “Boxer” Last Night By Performing The Album In Its Entirety in Brussels

Last night in Brussels, Belgium, The National commemorated the 10th Anniversary of the release of their all-time, seminal album Boxer by performing it sequentially in its entirety (“for the first time” according to Matt Berninger) on the last night of their current European tour. Check out fan videos for all of the songs (well, we cheated and tossed in a full version of Squalor Victoria from another recent show and Apartment Story from their recent Oslo concert). Oh those magnificent horns! Enjoy!

6
Nov

The Elbow Invasion is Upon U.S.–Watch Band Perform “Maginficent (She Says)” and “One Day Like This” on Tonight Show

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All-time great Manchester band and repeat Glastonbury Festival-headliner(!!) Elbow is currently touring the U.S. Having caught them live twice (first in 2011 and then in 2014), we can’t scream loud enough that this band is a must-see live! Leader Guy Garvey’s (Peter Gabriel-esque) voice and lyrics are alone worth the price of admission, but the other members are consummate players that meld perfectly on stage to, without-exception, deliver powerful, moving concerts.

To get a feel, watch their recent performances on The Tonight Show. First, check out recent song Magnificent (She Says) off of their (of course) magnificent 2017 album Little Fictions. Afterwards, watch the band perform their ebullient, uplifting, fan-favorite anthem One Day Like This. Tickets are (inexplicably) still available for next week’s Fox Theater show in Oakland, The Observatory show in Santa Ana, and the Wiltern Theater show in LA. Elbow must be scratching their heads and asking “what the the hell do we have to do America?” You can pick up tickets for their US and European tours HERE. Don’t mess this up.

4
Nov

It’s That Time–Listen to Lisa Hannigan’s “Fall” From 2016’s Superb “At Fall” Album

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True confession: we had Lisa Hannigan’s stellar 2016 album At Swim cued up last year to praise to pieces. And then we fell apart and lost the thread, only to put it back together again and put the album on again this week. And it’s been on repeat ever since. Highly recommended if you’ve not partaken. The video below for song Fall is as good an introduction as you need, but much of the Aaron Dessner-produced album soars and floats in a wondrous way. Hannigan’s affecting songs somewhat resemble Joanna Newsom at times, minus some of Newsom’s (winsome) vocal tics and thorny complexities. Check out the official video for Fall (lyrics at bottom) followed by an enchanting solo acoustic version by Hannigan. Oh how the woman can sing.

“All our running is a crawl
And burns for us right through the fall.”

Fall:

Hide your horses, hold your tongue
Hang the rich and spare the young
Who drain the spirits from the jars
Hop the fences, steal the cars
Run on fumes and from the north
And burn for us right through the fall

All the ladies call your name
Brush your hair like it could be tamed
Hitch their dresses past the knees
Spilling to the floor like ease
They swing the bridges one and more
And burn for us right through the fall

All our running ahead, all our running ahead
All our running ahead, all our running ahead

And we’ll seize the captain’s wheel
A mutiny we’ve come to feel
When their aiming’s gone from view
With everything we thought to do
Oh, the devil won’t have me
I wonder who will, I wonder who will
All our running is a crawl
And burns for us right through the fall

All our running ahead, all our running ahead
All our running ahead, all our running ahead
All our running, all our running
All our running, all our running

2
Nov

Watch Daniel Johnston and Famous Friends Perform on KCRW–Performing Tonight at the Orpheum in LA

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People love their ultra-polished music (guilty, at times). But oft-times its the un-polished portion that punctually pierces our musical hearts. This morning the gifted and famously “troubled” singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston appeared on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic with his famous friends Mike Watt (bass), Ben Lee (acoustic guitar, vocals), Guy Blakesee (electric guitar, vocals), Maria Taylor (piano/keys, vocals), Joey Waronker (drums), Lucius (Jess Wolfe & Holly Laessig on vocals), and the Silver Lake Chorus (Heather Ogilvy, Kel Pritchard, Jen Daking, Erin Rye, Miles Hartfelder, Nicholas Pasqua, Ben Fordham, Sam Breslin, and Michael Wells). This uber-talented ensemble will perform with Johnston tonight at the Orpheum in LA.

While the entire MBE set was phenomenally captivating to listen to (listen HERE), it wasn’t until we watched the visuals in the videos below that we really got a sense for what is going on here, which in a (overused) word is: magic. Watch ’em and weep. Step out into the light and rejoice! Wow!

In what is being dubbed as the “Final Tour” by Johnston, more West Coast tour dates can be found HERE.  Don’t ya miss it.

31
Oct

Tom Waits For Everyone and A World Without Walls–Check Out Waits-Infused Piano-Player At Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel

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We interrupt this string of “Strong-Young-Female-Artists” to bring you the following public-service message: to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Britain’s takeover of Palestine, the inimitable Hall of Famer Tom Waits recorded an instrumental take on his forlorn and pensive song Innocent When You Dream to play on a player-piano in the lobby of the oft-imitated artist Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel. The Walled Off Hotel is physically adjacent to the wall that separates Israel and Palestine. To find out more about the Walled Off Hotel and its’ raison d’etre, there are good answers to be found HERE.  Asked why he would put a hotel at this location, Banksy aptly reminds: “This place is the centre of the universe – every time God comes to earth it seems to happen near.” Keep on praying for a world without walls.

Go HERE to watch/hear Wait’s player-piano version of Innocent When You Dream.

25
Oct

Alyeska Is A Musical Force For the Future–Check Out Our Favorite Track “Ribs and Greens” Off Stellar “Crush” EP

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We have been fans of LA-based band Alyeska since early January 2016. Simply put, singer-songwriter-guitar-player Alaska Reid is one of the best new female musical artists on the scene. In addition to being a stentorian guitar player, Reid writes sterling melodies and affecting lyrics, and possesses one of the most nuanced voices in all of indie rock. In our interview with Reid for this article, she cited Joni Mitchell (her alternate-tunings in particular) as one of her guitar-player influences (together with J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. and her uncle P.W. Long of 90s band Mule). But you can also hear Joni’s effect (her mezzo-soprano inflections and vibrato) in Reid’s alluring vocals (aided by Reid’s classical and jazz vocal training). Combining Reid’s teeming talents (she’s also whip-smart and driven) with the other band members (original member Ben Spear on drums and, most-recently, multi-instrumentalist Wolf Woodcock) results in a powerful, artful ensemble. And on this year’s superb Crush EP the band (sans-Wolf) was produced by perfectly-matched producer John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile, Phosphorescent, Hop Along, Alvvays, etc.). The result, in Crush’s tracks and other songs, is a musical tour de force.

As mentioned above, after first floating on their song Medicine River, we next gave glowing reviews to Alyeska’s exceptional EverGlow. And then earlier this year, the band released the eight-song Crush EP, with its Tilt-A-Whirl ear-worms and other guitar-strong songs such as the Replacements-inspired Motel State of Mind and Sister Buckskin. But the song that immediately collard [sic] us was the opener Ribs and Greens. We remain surprised that it hasn’t been singled out by other critics. So here we go.

The song begins with Reid strumming in the key of Creedence/Marshall Tucker before her distinctive vocal and harmonies take over and take you back to her home in Montana. Asked about the song’s lyrics, Reid told us the imagery came to her as she walked around her hometown, wistfully gauging the reflection of Christmas lights in windows and considering the changes observed in friends as contrasted with the static, rosy images held in her head. Reid also told us that the song’s incantatory lines “I remember when ‘meant-to-be’ became coincidence” sings for both the dashed illusions of a broken relationship and of life itself. Regardless, it captures well life’s intermittent lost lusters. A bubble bursts and you float away. Musically, Reid says the song is a composite of compiled riffs, as complemented mid-song by a guitar-jig lick she attributes to the country-influence of her uncle P.W. And we hear Agnello’s production hand, like when he trickles in treacly triangle-like touches. In sum, the song endearingly taps into our (and your) nostalgic yearnings for places and people left behind. And musically it moves us on down the line. Listen to Ribs and Greens below. We dare you not to to punch the “Repeat” button.

Asked about future plans, Reid says there are new songs in the works and, though she wouldn’t say with whom or when, the band’s manifold options are currently being explored.  We expect an ever-glowing horizon and ever-growing future for Alyeska and the tremendously talented Reid. Check them out!

Ribs And Greens:

Ribs and Greens:

“I remember when, “meant to be,”
became coincidence.
It set me free
But you still scream through your teeth.
We were just kids who ate our ribs and greens

And now you, and all your friends,
just try to stay clean.
They try to stay, they try to stay.

And it was lonely that night
in the company of the Christmas lights.
In a feeling like a dream,
I saw you through the door screen.
Turned your eyes to look at me
and all I saw was what they were meant to be.
No, no worth to me, worth to me.

I remember when, “meant to be,” became coincidence.
I remember when, “meant to be,” became coincidence.
Oh I remember, I remember, I remember.
Oh, I remember, I remember, I remember, I remember.”

Above photo by Lee Bedrouni

23
Oct

Phoebe Bridgers Releases Stunning Debut Album “Strangers In The Alps”

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As 2017 broke, Phoebe Bridgers broke out her brilliantly-semaphoric song Smoke Signals, and our obsession with Bridgers’ music broke wide-open.  In July Bridgers bared her mesmerizing Motion Sickness, a well-wrought winner about a losing proposition.  And at long last her debut album Strangers In The Alps has been released to critical acclaim. And we can’t resist that bandwagon. On the new album, Bridgers has picked out heart-string melodies that are counter-balanced by vocal restraint. But Bridgers’ lyrics are the highlight of the show (see examples below), evincing incision amidst minimalist modulations. It’s a winning formula, coupled with subtle production values (thanks to 

Check out below recent videos for two of Bridgers’ songs below. And afterwards, check some examples of her fine poesy.

Inspirational Verses:

“I want to live at the Holiday Inn, where somebody else makes the bed,
We’ll watch TV while the lights on the street put all the stars to death,
It’s been on my mind since Bowie died, just checking out to hide from life,
And all of our problems, I’m gonna solve ’em, with you riding shot-gun, speeding, ’cause fuck the cops”

“Jesus Christ, I feel blue all the time/ And that’s just how I feel/ Always have, and I always will.”

“Walking Scott Street, feeling like a stranger
With an open heart, open container
I’ve got a stack of mail and a tall can
It’s a shower beer it’s a payment plan”

“But I can’t sleep next to a body
Even harmless in death
Plus I’m pretty sure I’d miss you
Faking sleep to count your breath”

“I hope you kiss my rotten head
And pull the plug
Know that I’ve burned every playlist
And given all my love”