25
Aug

Meet Moses Sumney–Rising Star and Vocoder-Slayer

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Those who know us chapter-and-verse know we are vocoder-averse. Same as it ever was. Only a couple of artists have been able to overcome that soul-sucking machine and, with evidence released today, one of them is rising star Moses Sumney.  Sumney has been turning ears with his sensational, yet measured, vocals and guitar playing, while gaining notoriety through contributions to cuts by the likes of James Blake, Andrew Bird, Hundred Waters, Mocky, etc.

Today Sumney has released his tour-de-vocoder via a new Allie Avital-directed video for song Worth It. You’ll hear that there can be beauty in that vocoder beast. Afterwards check out Sumney’s quintessential Everlasting Sigh (lyrics at bottom) with its Sufjan-Does-Broadway motif and Sumney’s scintillating vocals. Totally worth it.

People: a star is being born.

Everlasting Sigh:

“Sighing on the embers of a fire
That must be allowed to die
The bed of coal, it must run cold in time
But your body heat brings life

Crying in a river running dry
Made your eyes a clouded sky
But if you’re a god
Made from a God
Made from a god
Let your whispered word be divine
If vultures can be soul birds, let it die
Leaning on the everlasting sigh

Creator, you create monstrous men
From the ink that clots your pen
Running on a sentence that must end
So your bones can rise again

If vultures can be soul birds, let it die
Leaning on the everlasting sigh”

24
Aug

Watch Official Video for IAN SWEET’s Gripping Song “#23”

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There’s a whole lotta great music being spawned by alums of the Berklee College of Music (great new-ish artists Tei Shi and Laney Jones among them).  Add to that list the band IAN SWEET, which features Berklee-alum Jillian Medford.  IAN SWEET is soon to release (on Sept. 9th) their debut album Shapeshifter on Sub Pop-affiliated label Hardly Art, and you can pre-order it HERE.

The new album sprang from a dark six-month period for Medford, the lowlights of which were panic attacks and depression. To get a feel for the allure of the band, check out their song and video entitled #23 below. The song references the comparative-comfort provided by everyday-TV (“Lately I’ve been feelin’ kinda lonely/Turn on that History Channel/VHS about the mummies/It keeps me company) and her social anxieties (“‘I Believe I Can Fly’/ That was my song at karaoke last night/ I feel like Jordan in my Jordans/ Except I stand in place and ignore him/ I’ll stand right here for another year.'”).  We love Medford’s crackling vocals, the jangle-fuzz math guitar and varied tempos on #23. Hole meets Pinback with a twist? Regardless, this is sweet new music, as is the album’s captivating Coney Island ride-choreography.  We can’t wait for the album!

23
Aug

Support the “Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund” by Buying Sharon Van Etten’s Orlando Homage “Not Myself”

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Photo by Miche Williams

One of our favorite artists, Sharon Van Etten, has released a new song, Not Myself , in memory of the lost lives in Orlando and in support of the work of the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. While on hiatus from the road and while writing new songs, Van Etten has been graciously performing benefit shows (most recently for the Big Sur Soberanes Fire Relief Fund) and writing scores (for new film Strange Weather).

We love everything about this new song, but especially (as usual) Van Etten’s ever-evocative vocals.

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You can read Van Etten’s statement below and visit Bandcamp for an exclusive conversation about the song.  Proceeds from the track will be donated to the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund.  Go there.  Now.

I was home with my parents in New Jersey when I heard of the shooting at the nightclub in Florida. Hate, violence, and intolerance has always upset me, but I haven’t been this overwhelmed with sadness and disbelief in a long time. The victims were only trying to be themselves and be comfortable and safe in their surroundings. That safety was violated out of fear and with a gun.  

I originally wanted to raise money for the victims and their families, but I knew the issue was bigger than this. I wrote “Not Myself” for the victims of this horrific event, but I chose to support the research and awareness work of Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund: a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.  

In the memory of those trying to be safe and be themselves, I hope we can all come together to help prevent another massacre like this and end gun violence. 

Sincerely,
Sharon Van Etten”

16
Aug

Watch Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals’ Tour de Tiny Desk Concert on NPR

Tiny Desk Concert with Anderson .Paak

It’s been a scant two weeks since we had the good fortune to witness Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals take Ventura by storm. Since then .Paak has been percolating round the country in support of his phenomenal Malibu album. Yesterday .Paak & The Free Nationals made their way to NPR’s Tiny Desk and killed softly. In contrast to the high-decibel and manic energy levels at the Ventura Theater, .Paak and band sat in at the Tiny Desk and gave a tour de force of jazzed up R&B/hip-hop. Watch below as .Paak subtly slays on drums, while guitarist Jose Rios and bassist Kelsey Gonzalez layer on perfectly as they open with lifting single Come Down and then segue into shimmering Curtis Mayfield/K-Dot sounds before closing with (the interestingly-requested) brash older-track Suede. Watch below to get a feel for .Paak’s proficiency and power.  Don’t you miss him next time he comes to town. He’s out to take your ears prisoner.

Set List:

Come Down
Heart Don’t Stand A Chance
Put Me Thru
Suede

 

15
Aug

Watch Chance The Rapper Give Telling Performance of “Summer Friends” On GMA

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What a long, strange trip it’s been for Chance The Rapper. As evidence that the Chicago phenom is blowing up everywhere (thanks Mom!), Chance made his daytime TV debut this morning on Good Morning America. Following on the heals of his appearances this weekend at Justin Vernon’s Eaux Claires Music Festival, Chance and pals Francis Starlite (Francis and the Lights) and Peter Cottontale (The Social Experiment) evidently teleported overnight to appear on GMA this morning. Watch below as Chance and the gang give a stellar performance of Summer Friends (replete with Vernon-esque vocals from Starlite; lyrics at bottom) off his critically-acclaimed monster “mixtape” Coloring Book.  You can also check out Chance’s superb interview on the show HERE. As expected, he comes off very well.

Summer Friends:

“Oh, oh, oh, incredible
My lord is incredible
I believe…

Socks on concrete, jolly rancher kids
I was talking back and now I gotta stay at grandma’s crib
Bunch of tank top, nappy headed bike-stealing Chatham boys
None of my brothers ain’t had no dad
None of my brothers ain’t have no choice
JJ, Mikey, Lil Derek and them
79th street was America then
Ice cream truck and the beauty supply
Blockbuster movies and Harold’s again
We still catching lightning bugs
When the plague hit the backyard
Had to come in at dark cause the big shawtys act hard
Okay now, day camp at Grand Crossing
First day, homey shooting
Summer school get to losing students
But the CPD getting new recruitment
Our summer don’t, our summer
Our summer don’t get no shine no more
Our summer die, our summer time don’t got no time no more

(You’re my friend)
Summer friends don’t stay
Summer friends don’t stay around
Summer friends, summer friends
Summer friends don’t stay
Summer friends don’t stay, hey
Stay around here

Oh I used to kill ’em with the long hair
Momma hair salon doing perms out the armchair
Dad was working late, he treat the crib like it’s a timeshare
I would mow some lawns
Fold my ones like a lawn chair, huh, huh!
Now I’m the same way, over time all the time, every night, hey
Ready my blessing, now I’m ready how I wait
Never let a friendship get in my way
Never let a blog get in my way
Make the whole song do whatever I say
79, 79, 79, place
79, 79, 79, place
Some of my homegirls got lost in the paperwork
They was good friends but I faked the flirt
Cause if it ain’t work, can’t make it work
It’s been a minute since I called on a friend
Screwed up and messed all my friends
All my friends, all my…

Stick around
Summer friends, summer…
You’re my friend…
Summer friends don’t stick around
Stick around
And some of us…
79, 79, 79, hey
79, 79, 79, hey
79, 79, 79, hey, hey, hey
You’re my friend
79, 79, 79, hey, 79
So put your head on my shoulder
Citywide, citywide, citywide, hey
Citywide, citywide, citywide, hey
Citywide, citywide, citywide, hey
Citywide, citywide, citywide, hey
Citywide, citywide, citywide
Citywide, citywide, citywide
Citywide, citywide, citywide
Citywide, citywide, citywide
Citywide, citywide, citywide….
I will wait around for you
I will wait around for you
So lay your head on my table
Lay your head on my table

May the Lord give your journey mercy
May you be successful, grant you favor
And bring you back safely, I love you

When I was so young before I could remember
I would always treat my gang like family members
Even when I changed, I never changed up
I always bring my friends, my friends, my friends, my friends up
When I was so young before I could remember
I would always treat my gang like family members
Even when I changed, I never changed up
I always bring my friends, my friends, my friends, my friends up”

13
Aug

At Long Last, Listen to New Songs from Bon Iver–New Album Coming

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Though it’s only been five years, it seems forever ago that Bon Iver’s eponymously-titled last album was released. Through hiatus and horridness, Bon Iver fans have waited patiently for the other side and new music from the band. That wait is thankfully over. In a flurry of activity yesterday, Bon Iver announced the impending release of their next album (curiously entitled 22, A Million–stunning cover art above), performed the new album in its entirety last night at Justin Vernon’s Eaux Claires Musical Festival (listen to, more than watch, the video at bottom-wow!), and released two scintillating lyric videos for new songs, 22 (OVER S∞∞N) and 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⊠ ⊠ .  Predictably, we love everything about both new songs, and especially the added glitchin’ effects. Concerns about the new work are immediately dispelled by the opening lyric, “It might be over soon.” The beautiful heaviness continues. Lots to digest and the juices are stewing. Bring on 22, A Million!

You can read a well-wrought, revealing piece by Trever Hagen (a long-time friend of Vernon’s) about the new album HERE.

The album will be released on Jagjaguwar on September 30th and you can pre-order it HERE.

22, A Million Tracklist:

1. 22 (OVER S∞∞N)
2. 10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄
3. 715 – CR∑∑KS
4. 33 “GOD”
5. 29 #Strafford APTS
6. 666 ʇ
7. 21 M◊◊N WATER
8. 8 (circle)
9. ____45_____
10. 00000 Million

5
Aug

Listen to Another Outstanding Song from Highly-Anticipated “I Had A Dream That You Were Mine” Album from Hamilton Leithauser + Rotsam

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Two weeks ago Hamilton Leithauser (The Walkmen) and Rostam Batmanglij (Vampire Weekend) gave the world a taste of their impending collaborative album I Had A Dream That You Were Mine when they released their superb song A 1000 Times.  Today Hamilton Leithauser + Rotsam have released another new song entitled In A Black Out.  It’s another stunner that only increases our already-heightened anticipation for the new album. Leithauser’s vocals are once again completely-captivating, this time in a more soaring-and-soothing motif. With the classical guitar and choral singers, the music reminds heavily of early Leonard Cohen (circa his seminal 1967 Songs album–listen to Teachers and The Stranger Song at very bottom).  [Ed.: After writing of the Cohen influence, we discovered Leithauser has said this about the song:  “I’ve listened to Leonard Cohen since I was a teenager. I’ve tried so many times over the years to do that kind of thing actually, and “In a Black Out”—that’s a song that I wrote mostly for The Walkmen record Heaven, but I could never get the part sounding good where I was playing. It sort of didn’t make much sense in Walkmen anyhow.” So there!]

Check this beauty out below and afterwards check out the album’s tracklist, followed by the song’s lyrics.

Tracklist:

01 “A 1000 Times”
02 “Sick As A Dog”
03 “Rough Going (I Don’t Let Up)”
04 “In A Black Out”
05 “Peaceful Morning”
06 “When The Truth Is…”
07 “You Ain’t That Young Kid”
08 “The Bride’s Dad”
09 “The Morning Stars”
10 “1959” (Feat. Angel Deradoorian)

In A Black Out:

“I live in a nameless town
No need to wander around
I live in a nameless town
Black out

Many friends have said goodbye
paraded out in one proud lie
I say they’ve all just lost their minds

Midnight where we used to dance
Underneath the ugly halogen lamps
How it all went away so fast
Black out

Went away for the year
When the time comes
On and on the years
From here to the end
Of the Earth
Washing, no way

I will live with myself
When you come home I’d lift you up
And there’s only the troubles
Black out

Now you’re sleeping in the back
of the speeding yellow cat
Raucous goodbye to all of that”

2
Aug

Anderson .Paak Held A Triumphant “Homecoming” Last Night In Ventura

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Having grown up in Oxnard, Anderson .Paak came “home” to Ventura with his Free Nationals in support last night, and regaled his family, friends and the souled-out throng with the most energetic, musical and enlivening set we’ve seen in 2016.  After playing catch-up, we’ve quickly become huge fans of .Paak and have been anxiously awaiting this concert. Thankfully .Paak did not disappoint. After some majestic miscues and irrational “policy” choices by the Ventura Theater (seriously people, we’ve got to talk) .Paak came out and immediately made good by unleashing a musical storm to stoke and then quench the audience’s fire for his music.

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Flowing seamlessly from the opening hip-hop sequence to R&B, rock and jazz elements, and back again, .Paak & The Free Nationals lived up to the worldwide, bubblin’ acclaim.  As most know by now .Paak is a gifted drummer who vacillates frequently between microphone and drum-kit during his kinetic sets that feature the full-band aplomb of the Free Nationals. We are all-in on the trend in hip-hop shows towards more musicians and less loops, and this particular band of brothers is the real deal.

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.Paak opened frenetically with the un-released Bubblin’, then brought out the band for raging diss-tracks Milk N’ Honey and Drugs. One of the highlights of the evening followed with The Season/Carry Me, with its hometown references to strawberry season, the PCH and Chumash, and the crowd singing along in unison. .Paak would go on to perform a perfect mix of songs from his latest album Malibu (one of the Best of 2016and older album Venice, but also from collaborations with Kaytranada (Glowed-Up) and as a part of duo NXWorries (Suede). New or old songs, .Paak and band delivered them with ferocious and infectious delight. The Ventura crowd was in sync all night, whether in mosh, funk or hip-hop mode (despite the sub-par Ventura Theater sound–that’s two or three strikes, depending on how you’re counting), and left hoarse from singing along and completely sated.

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Towards the end of his set, .Paak fittingly brought out family and friends to help him celebrate his triumphant homecoming, but also made sure that the larger crowd felt apart of the celebration. .Paak then closed out the night with his fitting struggle-to-riches anthem, The Dreamer (“Don’t stop now, keep dreaming”). There is no doubt about it: there is a lot to celebrate in .Paak’s music and live shows. Don’t you miss him next time he comes ’round–you can check out dates remaining on his tour HERE.

Photos by Hannah Lefort

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31
Jul

On Sunday: Listen to Jamila Woods’ “Holy” and “Way Up” Off Supreme New Album “HEAVN”

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There’s a new light on the R&B/Hip-Hop scene, and her name is Jamila Woods.  Straight outta Chicago and part of the ever-burgeoning association of Chance the Rapper affiliates putting out fantastic music, Woods is not afraid to to tell (how it is and of her personal struggles) on her supreme debut album HEAVN.  But with that oh-so-good darkness also comes great light. To get a feel, check out below Woods’ uplifting Holy and Way Up (lyrics at bottom).  Knowing that you’ll like what you hear, go HERE to listen to more of Woods’ great album HEAVN.

We’ll have more about this exciting new artist.  In the meantime, enjoy!

Holy:

“Give me today my daily bread
Help me to walk alone ahead
Though I walk through the darkest valley I will fear no love
Oh my smile my mind reassure me I don’t need no one

Woke up this morning with my mind set on loving me
With my mind set on loving me
Woke up this morning with my mind set on loving me
With my mind set on loving me
I’m not lonely, I’m alone
And I’m holy by my own
I’m not lonely, I’m alone
And I’m holy by my own

Yay, the bad days may come
The lover may leave
The winter may not
Hey, the map of your palms
The tempo of your beat
You’re all that you got

Though I walk through the darkest valley I will fear no love
Oh my smile my mind reassure me I don’t need no one

My cup is full, what I got is enough
Nobody completes, don’t mess with my stuff
My cup is full, what I got is enough
Nobody completes, don’t mess with my love
Surely, surely, surely, surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
Shall follow me
Shall follow me”

Way Up:

“I’m an alien from inner space
They can’t read my mind all in my face
No one knows I’d rather spend my days alone on my pillow

I don’t care what they say
I’ve been waiting for so long
Call me by my name
They keep telling me I’m wrong
We are not the same
I don’t belong here
I don’t belong here
I’m feeling high
My money’s gone
Can’t find my home
I wanna go
To my own private planet I’ve been dreaming of
Little moon in my head I be moving on
Up and away
Up and away

Just cos I’m born here
Don’t mean I’m from here
I’m ready to run
And rocket to sun
I’m way up
I’m way up

Just cos I’m born here
Don’t mean I’m from here
I’m ready to run
And rocket to sun
I’m way up
I’m way up

I’m an alien from inner space
They can’t read my mind all in my face
No one knows I’d rather spend my days alone on my pillow

Earth’s getting old
So color me gone
I’m ready to run
And rocket to sun
And it ain’t so bad
So don’t look so sad
Just cos I’m born here
Don’t mean I’m from here

Just cos I’m born here
Don’t mean I’m from here
I’m ready to run
And rocket to sun
I’m way up
I’m way up

Just cos I’m born here
Don’t mean I’m from here
I’m ready to run
And rocket to sun
I’m way up
I’m way up”

29
Jul

Watch The National Debut New Song with Annie Clark (St. Vincent) in LA Last Night

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We’ve been anxiously awaiting The National’s upcoming new album, and the band has been gingerly revealing its new songs at its live shows. As the opening song of their encore last night in LA the band brought out wunder-woman Annie Clark (St. Vincent) to perform the tentatively-titled Prom Song 13th Century (Frankie & Johnny).  The band performed six new songs (see setlist below) from the highly-anticipated album. Watch the video below on which Matt Berninger and Clark duet on the languorous beauty, even dancing together at the end.  As you can see below from Clark’s lyric sheet, it’s yet another song featuring the phrase “anonymous castrati.”

As an added highlight last night, The War On Drugs leader Adam Granduciel accompanied the band on guitar on a couple songs (on new song The Day I Die and on Terrible Love).

Natl Setlist Annie

Anonymous Castrati