We often think we can do him justice with our mealy-mouthed words. And then we throw up our hands ’cause nobody can do Leonard Cohen justice. At the age of 80, suffice it to say that his music has moved us deeply since ’67. A scant 47 years of musical intelligentsia. Shows how old you can be. Now comes his new album Popular Problems. The song below confirms his virulence at that age. Long live Leonard Cohen! Smacks of Tom Waits and a few gifted angels. Long live Leonard Cohen!
Londoner Tom Vek has ventured in and out of our musical consciousness for years, but we have never paid proper attention to him. Well, to quote Vek (from the song below): “Nobody’s perfect!” We hereby repent after catching smatterings of his great new album Luck and his recent performances on the multimedia circuits. To get a feel for his punkier side, check out he and his mates’ performance below on KCRW of Sherman (Animals In The Jungle). It’s somewhere between the Fall’s Mark E. Smith and Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, and we’re all in in that musical jungle. Superb stuff from Tom Vek. We’ve had it on repeat all day. It’ll take ya back and lift you up. We’ll have more about this deserving artist shortly. You can listen to the rest of the KCRW set HERE.
Jessie Ware Releases New Album “Tough Love”–Check Out New Songs Including Impressive “Say You Love Me”
We’ve been fans of Jessie Ware since she released her sophisto-pop debut album Devotion in 2012. Ware is back now with new sophomore album Tough Love.
While not perfectly in our musical wheelhouse (and less subtle and pop-subversive than Devotion), we hereby laud Ware for Tough Love’s adding some more respectability to the pop genre. This is pure pop for now people. One of the most impressive songs off the new album is Say You Love Me. When we first heard the song , we’ll admit we clicked off at about the 30-second mark. Shows how wrong you can be. Had we waited it out, we would have heard a pop masterpiece take flight somewhere between Ware’s stirring and sophisticated vocals, a sumptuous bridge and the addition of a full choir. Check the song’s official video out below. Afterwards, check out and Kind of…Sometimes…Maybe (helped on by Miguel) and Want Your Feeling (co-written by the multitalented Dev Hynes of Blood Orange) as performed live at the Barbican.
If you like your pop big and lush, go pick up Jessie Ware’s Tough Love.
At Long Last Jamie T. Returns–Watch Performances of Songs From Fantastic New Album “Carry On The Grudge”
For the last four-plus years, we and the rest of his ardent fans sat by and waited for one of our all-time favorites, Jamie T., to work through his personal slings and demons, and return to stage and studio. Finally, Jamie T(reays) is back and has delivered one of the Best Albums of 2014, Carry On The Grudge (0n Epitaph Records in the US).
Jamie T. (from Wimbledon–“T” as in tennis? We kid.) effectively disappeared in 2010 after delivering two of our favorite albums of the last decade, 2007’s Panic Prevention and 2009’s Kings & Queens. When those albums were released we were head over heels for the unique, shambolic-but-effective mix of punk, ska, rap, and dub to go with clever, motormouthed tales of misbehaving mates, drinks, drugs, and death, all replete with stirring character studies. It was a heady mix that helped us fill a massive void in the post-Clash, post-Strummer era (watch below as he channels Strummer through his left leg). We were astounded when Jamie T. never made much headway with American music fans, but then again we’re constantly amazed by the moments of blindness.
Here’s to hoping that Carry On The Grudge changes all that. The album carries a more mature vernacular filled with personal loss and lived-in-stories to go with a mostly-slowed and more-sung delivery (though to be fair, he exhibited the same before on favorite Emily’s Heart). Predictably, some of the most affecting tracks are the slower numbers such as the stirring Don’t You Find, They Told Me It Rained (with its ending homage to Madness, amongst others), Limits Lie, Love Is Only a Heartbeat Away, Murder of Crows and Turn On The Light. One thing that hasn’t changed is Jamie’s way with melodies, which here uniformly rival those of his mentor, Damon Albarn (the highest possible praise from these quarters). Thankfully, there are plenty of uptempo tracks to balance matters, including the rambunctious Zombie, the self-immolating Peter, the decidedly nostalgic (Clash-esque with Tom Tom Club overtones) Trouble and Rabbit Hole. Let’s face facts: there’s not a bad song on this album, and quite to the contrary. We can’t stop listening to the ravishing Carry On the Grudge. Go get it HERE.
Coincidentally, Jamie T. recently appeared on Later with Jools Holland, and after viewing the performances we were all-in on Jamie T. and in quest of catching him live. Watch below as Jamie and his superb band (the drummer!) slay Peter and They Told Me it Rained (unfortunately, their riveting performance of Zombie remains un-viewable in the US thanks to ongoing bizarre BBC policies–hey, it was ONLY a Tea Party ya teabaggers!). We had forgotten that in addition to all of the foregoing accolades, Jamie is a virulent calist to boot. After the Jools performances, watch a few more vignettes of this fine artist (including Zombie and Don’t You Find–and at bottom watch the song sung by 6,000 fans at the Reading Festival). Most of his European tour is sold out or getting there, but he is coming to the US to play a whopping five (5!) shows and, bizarrely, tickets still remain. One such show is at the Roxy in LA on December 3rd. Whatever you do, don’t you miss it. Get your tickets for the tour (including Australia) HERE and HERE for the Roxy. If you don’t, you’ll carry on the grudge forever.
Last month British sister-group The Staves released Blood I Bled, the title track of a new EP produced by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver, Volcano Choir, etc.). Now comes their official video for the song. Check out again the fantastic, Feist-meets-Joni-Mitchell musical gestalt while watching the inspirational video set in India. This song’s a builder!
We’ve been trying desperately to attend the The New Pornographers’ show tonight at the Wiltern Theater in LA, all to no avail and all fail. To salve our wounds, we’ve had on repeat last night’s performance on Conan by the band of Dancehall Domine off of their fantastic recent album Brill Bruisers. Watch below as the band, but especially A.C. Newman, Neko Case and the talented Kathryn Calder sing the song with a vengeance (once again, where is Dan Bejar? Oh wait, there he is today on KCRW. So it’s a nighttime thing? Or are Case and Bejar in fact the same person? Or can they not be seen on the same stage together? Tongues will wag). While you’re at it, check out the band’s recently released Official Video for Dancehall Domine. The members of this band are nothing if not hilarious (and musically talented).
Afterwards watch the band’s always-superb delivery on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic this morning of the oustanding title track from the new album.
Finally at bottom, watch their stunningly great recent performances (of Brill Bruisers, Dancehall Domine, Fantasy Fools and Spidyrfor) on KEXP. Wow!
As mentioned previously, Damien Rice has a new album coming out (his first in eight years) entitled My Favourite Faded Fantasy (due November 10th on Warner Bros Records). The first single off the album is I Don’t Want to Change You, and Rice has today released the official video for the song. As seen below, the visual backdrop is a tremendously tranquil lake/mountain/pier setup. All is moody peace in the video until the 1:59 mark, when Rice breaks out into some spastic dance moves and then lays out into the lake. We can’t tell if this is a great vignette of Rice dancing-in-tongues or a hilariously spiteful spoof of Thom Yorke’s dance videos. Given Rice’s normal seriousness, we’ll go with dancing-in-tongues. Regardless, it’s a sound song and video.
Rice is out on tour now in the US in support of the impending album (unfortunately having to curtail a recent concert after six songs due to an ear infection), and you can check the entire schedule HERE.
Neil Young has frankly been getting on our last nerve. While he is one of our all-time favorite artists, his ridiculously high-priced recent tours, PONO-grandstanding, and (horrors) divorce of long-loved wife Pegi (for Daryl Hannah?), have taken a toll on our admiration. Thankfully, Young showed up on The Colbert Report last night and took in stride some hilarious slings and arrows from Stephen Colbert. And so some of the Young-love has been restored. Neil is out promoting his new book, Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars, along with new album Storytone (out November 4th), and new digital music player (dubbed “Toblerone” by Colbert). After a hilarious interview (see at bottom), the two performed Young’s new single Who’s Gonna Stand Up? (And Save The Earth). Watch below as Colbert provides the politically-incorrect, humorous counterpart to Young. We love the intro by Young of “Neil Young and Crazy Host.” Check out the performance and interview below.
Hmmm…how to follow-up our “recent discovery” of Glass Animals and Tei Shi? OK, we got this. Check out below the Glass Animals’ track Holiest on which the two artists collaborate. The song features new fave Tei Shi on vocals, which are once again far more riveting/convincing/incisive than the standard fare. Two names for the future: Glass Animals and Tei Shi.
Earlier this year, FKA Twigs began to take over the electronic pop world. Now comes Tei Shi to give FKA Twigs a run for her money for Queen of 2014 Electro-Pop. We’d been sifting Tei Shi semaphores for a while, but this past week she unleashed her latest single, Bassically, which is basically impossible to ignore. Bassically is the follow-up to last year’s EP, Saudade, and wormed into and took over our jukebox completely this week. Tei Shi is Colombian artist Valerie Teicher who now resides in Brooklyn. While hyper-catchy, her songs (aided by fellow Berklee School of Music alum producer Luca Buccellati) have a density, sophistication and depth not often found in such great supply in the genre. Let Bassically take you over below. It’s out now via Mom + Pop label Mermaid Avenue. After you get hooked on Bassically, check out two of our other favorites of the artist, Nevermind The End and M&Ms. If you want to stake a discovery claim, you best start dropping her name yesterday ’cause she’s gonna be huge.
And, why not, at bottom check out the superb, ethereal remix of Nevermind The End by the trending remixologist Saint Pepsi.