Photo: Mia Mala McDonald
One of our (other) Best New Artists of 2014 was Melbourne, Australia’s Courtney Barnett. Barnett is a singer-songwriter, guitar virtuoso, visual artist and label owner whose prior release The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas was a joy on many levels. Now comes the news that the gifted Barnett is releasing her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit on March 24th, 2015 via Mom + Pop Music. According to the label’s press release: “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit chronicles several years in the life of Courtney Barnett, mixing witty, often hilarious, occasionally heartbreaking observations with devastating self-assessment.”
The first single from the new album, Pedestrian at Best, was released today with the accompanying video which you can check out below. The song and video feature Barnett’s self-deprecating style with “incisively indecisive lyrics, crammed with internal rhymes, and inside jokes.” While not as immediately catchy as her prior Avant Gardener (one of our Best Songs of 2014), Pedestrian at Best is growing on us and bodes well for the new album for this likable Aussie. You can pre-order it, amongst other places, HERE.
Fueled by the crunch of guitars and the loose groove of the rhythm section, Barnett’s songs are wild and wooly and wordy, her lyrics plainspoken and delivered like she’s making them up on the spot. Barnett and her band – which includes Dan Luscombe on guitar and the surprisingly nimble rhythm section of Bones Sloane on bass and Dave Mudie on drums – recorded the album at Head Gap Studio in Melbourne during the fall of 2014. “We’d start midday and work until quite early in the morning,” she says. “Of course, half the time is sitting around waiting for the engineer to get a mic into place or something like that.” The band used the downtime to take these songs apart and put them back together again. Nothing was taken on faith; every note and every word was parsed. The songs may not sound tightly coiled, but they are carefully and exactingly structured. Her lyrics may ramble, but each word is carefully chosen. “My songs follow me as a normal human with normal emotions,” she explains, “so there are great highs and great lows. They span everything in my life.”
Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
01. Elevator Operator
02. Pedestrian at Best
03. An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in NYC)
04. Small Poppies
06. Aqua Profunda!
07. Dead Fox
08. Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party
09. Debbie Downer
10. Kim’s Caravan
11. Boxing Day Blues
One of our favorite musical discoveries last year was one of the Best New Artists of 2014, Tei Shi. Watch below as Tei Shi and band give scintillating, spare deliveries of songs Nevermind the End and See Me up at a Vermont ski lodge in front of a roaring fireplace and a resulting sedate crowd. Superb sounds in an intimate setting from an artist with a great future ahead. You can order her superb Saudade EP, including the first song below, at the Turntable Kitchen HERE.
Apologies all, but we’re running a bit behind. To begin the catch-up, the great Belle & Sebastian are back with their first album in five years, Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance. The ensemble has been making the media rounds, and Stuart Murdoch and crew recently appeared on Conan to render a beguiling version of ace new single, Nobody’s Empire, off the new album. Check it out below and particularly Murdoch’s nailing of the song’s spirited vocals.
The band began its world tour this past Monday in New Zealand. They will perform in the US starting in March. If you missed their minimal US dates during the last tour in 2013, don’t miss them this time. Their show at the Santa Barbara Bowl was a joy to behold and one of the best of 2013.
Check out the tour dates below the performance.
Belle and Sebastian 2015 Tour Dates:
01/26 – Auckland, NZ @ Laneway Festival
01/28 – Brisbane, AU @ Tivoli
01/29 – Sydney, AU @ Enmore Theatre
01/31 – Sydney, AU @ Taronga Zoo
02/01 – Melbourne, AU @ Palais Theatre
02/03 – Perth, AU @ Astor Theatre
02/10 – Hong Kong @ World Arena
02/12 – Seoul, KR @ AX Club
02/14 – Singapore @ Fort Canning
02/16 – Taipei, TW @ Hostess Club
02/19 – Bangkok, TW @ GMM Live House
02/21 – Tokyo, JP @ Hostess Club
03/30 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
04/01 – Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
04/02 – Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
04/03 – Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
04/04 – Madison, WI @ Overture Hall
04/07 – Seattle, WA @ Paramount Ballroom *
04/08 – Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre *
04/09 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater *
04/11 – Indio, CA @ Coachella Music Festival
04/12 – Berkeley, CA @ Greek Theatre *^
04/14 – Davis, CA @ Mondavi Center *
04/17 – San Diego, CA @ The North Park Theatre
04/18 – Indio, CA @ Coachella Music Festival
05/03 – Wales, UK @ St. David’s
05/04 – Bristol, UK @ Colston Hall
05/05 – Portsmouth, UK @ Guildhall
05/07 – Cambridge, UK @ Corn Exchange
05/08 – Norwich, UK @ Open
05/10 – Birmingham, UK @ Symphony Hall
05/11 – London, UK @ Westminster Central Hall
05/12 – London, UK @ Westminster Central Hall
05/14 – Manchester, UK @ Albert Hall
05/16 – Newcastle, UK @ City Hall
05/18 – Buxton, UK @ Opera House
05/19 – Leeds, UK @ City Hall
05/22 – Glasgow, UK @ Hydro Arena
05/24 – Liverpool, UK @ Sound City
05/27-30 – Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound
06/09 – Upper Darby, PA @ Tower Theartre
06/10 – New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall ^
06/11 – Washington, DC @ Echostage
06/12-13 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music Festival
06/14 – Columbus, OH @ LC Pavilion
06/17 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre
06/18 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theatre
07/02 – Keflavik, IS @ ATP Iceland
08/11-15 – Oslo, NO @ Oya Festival
08/13-15 – Goteborg, SE @ Way Out West Festival
08/14-16 – Helsinki, FI @ Flow Festival
* = w/ Perfume Genius
^ = w/ Real Estate
Tomorrow Night: “Convergence” Art Exhibit Featuring Collaboration by Rob Machado and Sage Vaughn at the Flood Magazine Gallery in LA
By D. Lefort
When we started this petite Report nearly five years ago we had aspirations to cover the entire oceanfront (if you will) of culture. Music was a given, but we aspired to cover literature, poetry, movies, photography, art, etc. Well, we can all dream. With renewed resolutions for 2015, and for something completely different, if you are in or near Los Angeles please be advised of tomorrow night’s one-night only exhibit entitled Convergence. Convergence is an exhibit featuring surfboard and photography artwork from professional surfer/musician Rob Machado and from Sage Vaughn. Convergence will be on display this Thursday, January 29, 2015, at the Flood Magazine Gallery (at 5810 West Third Street, Los Angeles) from 7-10pm.
The exhibit features 10 limited edition surfboards and eight large scale photographs. Proceeds from Convergence will benefit the Rob Machado Foundation, a clean water filling stations project, which encourages youth at California elementary and high schools to use reusable water bottles in hopes of eradicating sales of single/use plastic bottles.
About the collaboration, Machado says:
“I met Sage through a mutual friend while surfing and his passion for riding waves and creativity is contagious. Collaborating with my surfboards designs and photos as his canvas has been so inspiring. I’m honored that he wants to support my foundation’s efforts by dedicating his time and incredible talent. We’re excited to share the outcome with everyone.”
Sage Vaughn is a Los Angeles based painter and illustrator who is best known for his wildlife series depicting colorful butterflies, owls and sparrows in otherwise melancholic city scenes. Vaughn has had widely acclaimed solo shows in New York, Geneva, London and Los Angeles.
To broaden your horizons and support a good cause, get down to the Flood Magazine Gallery tomorrow night and check out Convergence.
One of our favorite discoveries of 2014 was Tobias Jesso, Jr. and his skillful piano-based balladry, but especially his song Hollywood. This week Jesso released the song How Could You Babe (is he lamenting or trying to woo the other question-mark-in-titles averse artist, Sharon Van Etten?) and official video. Check out the video for How Could You Babe below, set in swimming pools, at the beach, etc. We love the vocal reach at 3:37. Feelin’ it. Jesso’s debut album, Goon will be released on March 17th. Jesso will also head out in March on a North American mini-tour, including stops at the Echo in LA and Brick+Mortar in San Francisco in early April. Check out those dates at bottom.
3/22/15 Sun Toronto, ON – The Drake
3/24/15 Tue Washington, DC – Sixth & I
3/25/15 Wed Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
3/26/15 Thu New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
3/27/15 Fri Brooklyn, NY – Baby’s All Right
3/28/15 Sat Boston, MA – Middle East Upstairs
3/30/15 Mon Vancouver, BC – Electric Owl
3/31/15 Tue Seattle, WA – Barboza
4/1/15 Wed Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
4/3/15 Fri San Francisco, CA – Brick + Mortar
4/4/15 Sat Los Angeles, CA – The Echo (early show)
The Decemberists Week and media-maraud continued last night on Jimmel Kimmel Live. Just to mix it up, the band created and sang some ditties consisting solely of choice YouTube commentary. Check it out at bottom. Up first though is their rousing version of Make You Better off their fantastic new album, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, released this past Tuesday. That same day their hometown of Portland proclaimed the day Decemberists Day. And yesterday they appeared on KCRW before gracing the Jimmy Kimmel Live stage. Deserved attention this week for The Decemberists, who delivered in style.
The Decemberists are back with a vengeance. On Tuesday they released their fantastic new album What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World. That same day the Mayor of Portland declared the day “Decemberists Day” in their hometown. Yesterday the onslaught continued when the band graced KCRW with a superlative live session. Watch below first as the band deftly renders a track, Make You Better, from the new album. And if you have the time, further below is the entire 45-minute session. Outstanding stuff from one of our favorite bands!
Though we loved ‘em back in the day, we were a bit skeptical when it was announced that Sleater-Kinney would regroup and release a new album entitled No Cities to Love (their first album in 10 years). In the interim a lot of water and a lot of Portlandia has passed under the proverbial bridge. Shows how wrong you can be. The new album is garnering justified critical acclaim and the members have recently attacked the late night musical studios with aplomb. To see what all the fuss is about, check out below their performance on the Letterman Show of the comparatively-pop song A New Wave followed by last night’s performance of the more dissonant (perhaps inventive) Surface Envy on Conan. We love everything about these performances, but especially Carrie Brownstein’s inventive lead-guitar and her stage antics (including kicks and windmills), Janet Weiss’s always-superb drumming/vocals, and Corin Tucker’s vocals on Surface Envy. Check ‘em out below and pick up the new album.
Further, check out their impending tour dates HERE.
Today Modest Mouse released its official video for new song Coyotes, the second song (on the heels of fiery single Lampshades On Fire) to be heard off of the band’s impending new album Strangers To Ourselves. Check it out below in all its ambling-coyote beauty. Oddly, the band’s official video features a coyote. The band’s fans’ site Interstate 8 advises: “The video is inspired by the true story of a coyote that rode Portland’s MAX light rail train in 2002,” the same incident that inspired Sleater-Kinney’s “Light Rail Coyote.” Check it out below.
A few months after the fantastic first single (Every Age) and video off his impending new Vestiges & Claws album (due out on Mute on February 17th), Jose Gonzalez is back with another uplifting new song Leaf Off/The Cave. Below you can watch Gonzalez’s performance of the song this past weekend with an eight-piece band and a 27-person choir. Listen to the studio version after. We once again love the deft propulsion and build of the song, all in support of much-needed encouragement for the listener. Go forth, encouraged!
Gonzalez will kick off his North American tour in support of the new album on April 6th. Check out the dates at bottom. You can get tickets HERE.
José González Complete 2015 Tour
18 – Madrid – La Riviera
19 – Lisbon – CCB
20 – Barcelona – L’Auditori
2 – Berlin – Heimathaften
4 – Prague - Lucerna Music Bar
5 – Vienna – Ottakringer Brauerei
6 – Munich – Muffathalle
7 – Zurich – Kaufleuten
8 – Frankfurt – Mousonturm
9 – Amsterdam – Melkweg Oude Saal
10 – Paris – Cabaret Sauvage
11 – London – Scala
13 – Coventry – Warwick Arts Centre
14 – Manchester – Academy 2
16 – Brussels – Cirque Royal
17 – Hamburg – Uebel & Gefarlich
6 – Philadelphia – Union Transfer
7 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
10 – New York – Webster Hall
11 – Boston – Paradise – SOLD OUT
12 – Montreal – Corona Theatre
13 – Toronto – Phoenix Concert Theatre
14 – Chicago – Lincoln Hall – SOLD OUT
15 – Chicago – Lincoln Hall – SOLD OUT
16 – Minneapolis – Cedar Cultural Center
18 – Madison – Majestic Theatre
21 – Englewood – Gothic Theatre
22 – Salt Lake City – The Depot
24 – Portland – Wonder Ballroom
25 – Vancouver – Imperial – SOLD OUT
27 – San Francisco – Bimbo’s 365 Club – SOLD OUT
28 – San Francisco – Bimbo’s 365 Club – SOLD OUT
29 – Los Angeles – The Regent – SOLD OUT
30 – Los Angeles – The Regent