24
Jul

It’s Friday: Watch Elbow’s Uplifting “Lost Worker Bee” Video

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Today all-time faves Elbow have released a new EP entitled Lost Worker Bee, consisting of four new songs all based upon their home town of Manchester.

About the EP, band-leader Guy Garvey had this to say:

“[E]lbow are involved in various solo projects and collaborative endeavours for the next few months and we just felt we really wanted to get ‘something’ away to tide fans over until the next album. We’ve always loved the EP as a format and we’ve enjoyed making this one so much I wouldn’t be surprised if there was another before long. All the songs on this EP are set in Manchester city centre. Manchester’s symbol has been the worker bee for hundreds of years and the lead track is about finding love far away from home. Far from being just a stop gap this is one of our proudest releases.”

To help present, the band has released the heartwarming video for the title-track.  Check it out below.  We love everything about it and the song (Garvey’s usual fine lyrics and vocals, the horns, the added electronic bits–everything).   Here’s hoping Garvey has found/finds his queen.  In the throes of summer, we admit we’ve become lost worker bees ourselves.  Excuse us while we take a stroll.

23
Jul

Check Out Girlpool and “Chinatown” In Particular

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We’ve been nervous for tomorrow and for today (as the song goes), and have lapsed into roaming around wjo;e plotting, plundering and placating (not necessarily in that order).  While doing so, we happened upon Philadelphia’s buzz-worthy Girlpool and their charming song Chinatown, which you can listen/watch immediately below.  On Chinatown, Girlpool manages to sound (to our ears) like a Belly-crossed-with-Buellton variation on Yo La Tengo’s cover of Daniel Johnston’s Speeding Motorcycle (if you know what we mean–the latter can be listened to at bottom).  Despite all of these references, Girlpool manages to make Chinatown their own.  If you like what you hear (and who doesn’t?), check out Girlpool’s Ideal World below Chinatown.

Girlpool’s debut album, Before The World Was Big, was released last month via Wichita Recordings.

22
Jul

Watch/Listen to Kurt Vile’s Groovin New “Pretty Pimpin” Off Impendin New Album

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Former War On Drugs member, Kurt Vile, is back soon with new album b’lieve I’m goin down, his follow-up to 2013’s critically-acclaimed breakout album Wakin on a Pretty Daze (OK, we’ll play along with the dropped-apostrophe thin’)Vile has now released the first track, Pretty Pimpin, from the new album, and it’s a groove-jangly number that worms its way deep into your psyche after a couple listens.  The standard melancholic gloss from Vile is gratis.  We love the Skynyrd-meets-Elliott-Smith sound and groove to the whole affair.  Bodes very well for the new album (track list at bottom).

Check out the intriguing LA-centric video below.  You can pre-order the new album HERE.

Tracklist:

1. Pretty Pimpin’
2. I’m an Outlaw
3. Dust Bunnies
4. That’s Life, tho (almost hate to say)
5. Wheelhouse
6. Life Like This
7. All in a Daze Work
8. Lost my Head there
9. Stand Inside
10. Bad Omens
11. Kidding Around
12. Wild Imagination

19
Jul

M’Eaux Claires Music Festival: Watch Sufjan Stevens (and Horde of Horns) Perform “Dead Jazz” Version Of “Come On! Feel the Illinoise!”

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Last night at Justin Vernon’s Eaux Claires Music Festival, mixed into his setlist (see below), Sufjan Stevens and a horde of horns (the “No BS Brass Band“) performed a phantasmagorical version of Come On! Feel The Illinoise!    Mid-song, Stevens introduced a synthesizer interlude he dubbed “Dead Jazz” by saying that his “whole career has led to this moment.”  Check out the fan video below.

Death With Dignity
Should Have Known Better
Vesuvius
All of Me Wants All of You
Casimir Pulaski Day
The Dress Looks Nice on You
For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti
(with Bryce Dessner)
Fourth of July
(with Bryce Dessner)
No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross
Carrie & Lowell
Come On! Feel the Illinoise!
(With No BS Brass Band and Bryan Devendorf)
Chicago
(With No BS Brass Band and Bryan Devendorf)
Blue Bucket of Gold

18
Jul

Oh To Be In Eaux Claires: Watch The Now-Prophetic “Apartment Story” Video By The National

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Photo by: David Szymanski

As we write, the dream-festival is going on in Eaux Claires, Wisconsin.  As reported here ad nauseum, Justin Vernon is putting on the Eaux Claires Music Festival this weekend and it features the most Lefort-centric lineup and confab we’ve ever heard of.  Bon Iver, The National, Sufjan Stevens, Spoon, Field Report, Sylvan Esso…are but a portion of the lineup.  Dang.  Word has come in of last night’s set by The National (with Sufjan Stevens, Justin Vernon and others in support), and it literally hurts our souls to have missed it.

We were particularly hurt to learn that we missed The National (see above picture) performing one of our all-time favorite songs, the rarely-performed Apartment Story off of their breakout album Boxer.  So off we went down that rabbit-hole this morning, rediscovering the prophetic official video for Apartment Story.  The video is ostensibly of the band merely performing at a wedding.  But in retrospect, the video can be seen as imagining/predicting the band’s slowly-evolved popularity and takeover of the music world with their incessantly perfect songs and deliveries.  As with the music audience back in the day, the wedding attendees initially sit yammering inattentively while the band delivers their stunning song in the background.  But at 2:01 we see the attendees gradually coming to attention and getting sucked into the song and band, with their gazes, toe-tapping (like my father) and finger-drumming.  And then they’re all in (including Matt Berninger’s wife, Carin Besser, at 2:21 and his Mistaken For Strangers’ brother Tom Berninger at 2:09).  And so it has gone for The National since the video was released in 2007.

We don’t know a more-deserving band.  Bravo boys!

17
Jul

Love Song of the Week/Summer: “Let It Grow” by Maximum Balloon (ft. Karen O and Tunde Adebimpe)

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Producer/musician Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio) has had a solo project entitled Maximum Balloon since 2010’s album debut.  Maximum Balloon (on Federal Prism) is now back with a phenomenal new love song and an avowed album.

This lovely song, Let It Grow, may end up joining the wedding-song pantheon. It features the crystalline vocals of sultry Karen O and TV On The Radio’s stentorian Tunde Adebimpe doing what they do best.  Listen below.  It just floats over you while Sitek continues to baste on the shimmering sounds to the song’s end.  Like a Maximum Balloon ought to.  ‘Tis lovely.  The lyrics are at bottom.

Let It Grow:

“I don’t wanna need another one
Cause I only ever really feel like me
When I’m with you

I don’t wanna need another one
Cause I only ever wanna be myself
When I’m with you

I don’t wanna see another one
Cause I only ever wanna look one way
And that’s at you

I don’t wanna hear another word
Cause I’m only gonna feel one way
If I can’t stay with you

From a tree a forest grows
It could turn into anything
It’s ok to let it grow
Let it grow into everything

I don’t want to be the one who goes and fades and fades away
I don’t wanna be
Don’t want to be another memory

Gonna bring the heat when the winters come and ease the pain
Gonna bring the sun
Rise and set with you everyday

From a tree a forest grows
It could turn into anything
It’s ok to let it grow
Let it grow into everything

Look outside at what’s become
No we’re not tired
We can try for eternity

Look outside at what’s become
No we’re not tired
We can try for eternity

From a tree a forest grows
It could turn into anything
It’s ok to let it grow
Let it grow into everything

I wanna be the one you love
I just had to let it grow”

17
Jul

It’s Friday And I’m In Love: Watch Yo La Tengo’s Video for Their Take on The Cure’s Song

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Yo La Tengo has always had a winning way with cover songs.  Their 1990 album Fakebook remains one of the finest cover albums ever recorded (their take on Daniel Johnston’s Speeding Motorcycle the perfect example). 15 years later, Yo La Tengo will next month release another covers/originals album entitled Stuff Like That There (via Matador Records).  See the tracklist at bottom (Sun Ra, huh?).  This week the band released their sweetly-ominous video for their cover of the Cure’s favorite, Friday I’m in Love.  YLT’s version is a decidedly scaled-down acoustic framing, and we love it.  We’re not exactly sure what to make of the video, however, which would have you believe that Georgia Hubley’s singing of the song possibly results in the earth being attacked by exploding pink hearts.  It’s a great cover, but….  Check it out below.

You can pre-order Stuff Like That There HERE.

Stuff Like That There Tracklist:
01. My Heart’s Not in It (Darlene McCrea)
02. Rickety
03. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (Hank Williams)
04. All Your Secrets (remake of track from Popular Songs)
05. The Ballad of Red Buckets (remake of track from Electr-o-pura)
06. Friday I’m in Love (The Cure)
07. Before We Stopped to Think (Great Plains)
08. Butchie’s Tune (The Lovin’ Spoonful)
09. Automatic Doom (Special Pillow)
10. Awhileaway
11. I Can Feel the Ice Melting (The Parliaments)
12. Naples (Antietam)
13. Deeper Into Movies (remake of track from I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One)
14. Somebody’s in Love (The Cosmic Rays with Le Sun Ra and Arkestra)

16
Jul

Watch Destroyer’s Official Video for “Girl In A Sling” From Impending “Poison Season” Album

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It’s been a long wait since Destroyer’s masterful, synth-disco album Kaputt (No. 3 on our Best Albums of 2011).  But at long last the wait is over with next month’s release of Poison Season (tracklist at bottom).  We’ve already heard the guitar-sax, Springsteen-esque-but-completely-Destroyer Dream Lover (listen at bottom), and now leader Dan Bejar has released a counter-point ballad entitled Girl In A Sling on Merge Records.  It’s a beauty that will destroy you and destruction never sounded this good.

Video director David Galloway has this to say about the video:

“Bejar sings a lot about cities and girls and injury, sometimes all at the same time. Sometimes they are the same thing, as surreal novelists would have us believe. Besides, people like to see Dan sing — which he doesn’t do a lot of in this video, but he does do a little bit. We wanted to make a video that dealt with central Destroyer themes: to some, Destroyer is a lech; to some, he is an arsonist; to some, he is a savior. To me, he is the consummate comedian, but he resists that role. So we decided to go the opposite way and make something sad, something tragic, something that fits the new record. The adage “comedy equals tragedy plus time” is attributed to Carol Burnett’s mum. Or it might have been Steve Allen. Either way, I always want Dan to do physical comedy, but he resists. He’s a natural, though. He’s the Pacific Northwest’s Buster Keaton, and I hope one day to share that with the world. One day. For now, though, there’s just this sadness. This poison season.”

In support, Destroyer will head out in September on a world tour.  Check the new songs below.

Poison Season Tracklist:
01. Times Square, Poison Season
02. Dream Lover
03. Forces From Above
04. Hell
05. The River
06. Girl in a Sling
07. Times Square
08. Archer on the Beach
09. Midnight Meet the Rain
10. Solace’s Bride
11. Bangkok
12. Sun in the Sky
13. Times Square, Poison Season II

15
Jul

Check Out The “Noirwave” of Petite Noir Via “Down” Video

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The half-Congolese, half-Angolan, Cape Town-residing Yannick Ilunga, aka “Petite Noir” will release new album La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful on 9/11 on Domino. The album was recorded at Box Ten Studios in London with Oli Bayston (Boxed In) and Leon Brichard (Ibibio).  A press release advises that the album is “named after a revered Congolese film of the same name…[and r]epresents the first full expression of what Ilunga calls ‘Noirwave’, which is more of a concept than a specific sound. Inspired by innovators like Mos Def and legends Fela Kuti and Tabu Ley, Noirwave encompasses a ‘new African aesthetic’, plain and simple. ‘I think for me, it’s just the story their music tells and the sense of freedom. It’s about seeing the positive in dark times’ said Ilunga.”  As an introduction, check out below the video for vibrant song Down, which was filmed in Lubumbashi, Congo. We love everything about it.

You can pre-order the album HERE.

14
Jul

Review: An Evening With Miguel at Intimate Sonos Studios

By Dylan Lefort

Coming off playing a show in Hollywood for Sean Comb’s new TV network early Monday, it seemed like rising neo-R&B artist Miguel might have grabbed some “coffee” before coming on stage last night at the intimate Sonos Studio.  The crowd was similarly jacked that Pandora and Sonos had invited them into the smallest venue of Miguel’s impending world tour.

After hitting the stage, Miguel went wire-to-wire during his hour-long set with barely a pause.  Backed by bass, guitar and electric drum, the LA-born and raised R&B crooner moved fluidly through his hit-filled show.  In closing with the Grammy-winning Adorn off his previous album, Kaleidoscope Dreams, and adding the radio-friendly version of his ode to roasted seed-pods, Coffee (In The Morning), off his critically-acclaimed and chart-topping new album, Wildheart, Miguel gave the crowd the hits this night.  He also got the 200 people in attendance fired up with a medley of Rae Sremmurd’s No Type mashed with Sure Thing.

The one extended break he took he spent talking about growing up in LA, being “normal,” and how people can lose themselves living around the flash of LA.

““I was kind of down and I was having a really weird moment, having challenges creatively and on a personal note, and I realized normality is such a subjective thing,” he said. “Everyone has their own idea of what normal is based on their circumstances and their experiences. And it was in that moment that I realized that we really can free ourselves from worrying about other people’s perceptions of us if we just take the time to figure out what the **** we stand for, what we believe in, what we’re willing to sacrifice, what we’re not willing to sacrifice.”

Miguel, naturally, then launched into the beginning of What’s Normal Anyway accapella. “Too proper for the black kids/ Too black for the Mexicans,” the song begins.  The son of an African-American mom and Mexican-American father born and raised in San Pedro, Miguel wowed the heavily female crowd with both his impressive vocal skills as well as his stage presence: dancing, spinning and writhing till his white shirt was soaked through with sweat.  He also took a selfie with one particularly enthusiastic girl in the front row and really seemed to be loving his time on stage, dancing and laughing with his band members and getting the audience to two-step along to a chorus.

As mentioned, Miguel ended with Adorn and left Sonos Studio with a little inspiring message for the crowd: “The truth is, whenever you’re doing something that’s unconventional, you’re bound to face adversity. But I can tell you, you stick to your guns, and you believe deeper, transcend all of the programming, life is beautiful. So stay well. Live your passion. Live your truth.”

And the truth is: Miguel was beautiful live.

All photos by Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images for Pandora