Coming to America–Check Out Australia’s Middle Kids And Their Stellar New Song “Never Start”

Australia has over the years given the world some of our best music, and especially indie/punk rock. We grew up with venerable upstarts such as The Saints, Radio Birdman, The Go-Betweens, The Church, Birthday Party (Nick Cave), Crowded House, and Paul Kelly, and on and on, most recently becoming enamored by Angus & Julia Stone, Allo Darlin’, and the uber-talented Courtney Barnett. Now joining these ranks are the Sydney trio Middle Kids (featuring another left-handed guitarist–to match Barnett–and gifted vocalist, Hannah Joy). We became aware of them via their ridiculously addicting songs Edge of Town and Your Love (both featured on many Best Songs of 2016 lists). Check out the official video at bottom for Edge of Town and go HERE and HERE for rousing live versions of b0th songs.

The band has now released the official video for the stellar Never Start, which will be included in their upcoming EP (which you can pre-order HERE) on Domino Records. You can just feel it: these Kids have legs!

Middle Kids are headed out on a new tour, which will bring them to the US.  They play the Barboza in Seattle on February 21st and The Echo on February 25th, and we can’t wait! Check out the dates and get tickets HERE.


Listen to New Title Track “Hot Thoughts” From Imminent New Spoon Album

Longtime Lefort-faves, Spoon, have today released the molten title track, Hot Thoughts, from their new album that will be released on Matador Records on March 17th.  Check it out below. While much of the song is fantastic familiar territory, producer Dave Fridmann has added electronic embellishments, new layers and some vocals dub-treatment. It’s another Spoon tour de force. Afterwards check out a live performance of another new song, I Ain’t The One, which was featured on Showtime show Shameless in December. Hot Thoughts bodes incredibly well for the new album, which you can pre-order HERE.


Watch Flaming Lips Perform “The Castle” on Tonight Show

Earlier this week the flamboyant Flaming Lips performed new song The Castle on the Tonight Show. The band was a comparatively demure while performing the new song off of their new album Oczy Mlody, which was released yesterday. Leader Wayne Coyne was nonetheless was a bit bedazzled while singing the devastating ode to a female friend who took her own life (lyrics at bottom). It’s a beauty performed perfectly by the ensemble. Enjoy.

About the song, Wayne Coyne has said:

“An embarrassingly pure little song.. Ha.. I say embarrassing because as I wrote it (just a couple of lines, that didn’t end up in the song, and the one chorus line “and the castle can never be rebuilt again.. No way..” I was truly sad and I was singing and writing about this sad sad situation (a friend of ours had committed suicide) and felt like I was doing what a songwriter should do.. be real and let it flow.. Ha.. But the next day when I listened to it.. I thought it was really boring and approached the song as being about the person (who had killed themselves) instead of it (the song) being about me.. So yeah.. I’m embarrassed about that part.. But I think songs work like that.. They let you get something out.. And I think this delicate whimsical song really came to life as soon as I sang (into my phone .. It was the only recording device I had in that moment) the very first lines.. ‘Her eyes were butterflies her smile was a rainbow’.. I still heard it (the song) as being very very sad and so, to me, because I was convinced of its power (the power of this sadness.. which, I think, was just me being still sad about the real life situation) it allowed me to sing these utterly silly romantic lyrics as a way of masking something horrible and brutal and fucked up and unspeakable.”

Go HERE to pick up the new album.

“Her eyes were butterflies
Her smile was a rainbow
Her hair was sunbeam waves
Shining ’round like a halo
Her face was a fairy tale
That has a poison apple
Her skull was a mighty moat
Her brain was the castle

And the castle gets mistaken for a ship that’s floating in the clouds
And the castle is brighter than a thousand Christmas trees
And the castle can never be rebuilt again
No way

One day a strange storm rolled in
While she was riding on her dragon
The mushrooms and the bumblebees
Told the flowers how it happened
She was lost in the invisible war
Fighting in the battle
Her love is still buried there
In the ruins of the castle

And the castle oscillates to the beating heart of her mind
And the castle is taller than the Northern Lights
And the castle can never be rebuilt again
No way

And the castle can never be rebuilt again
No way
And the castle can never be rebuilt again
No way

No way
No way
(No way)
No way, no way
No way”


Heads Up: Starry Nites Festival to Be Held at Live Oak Campground on March 18th and 19th

Just announced is the Starry Nites Festival (affiliated with Coachella) to be held over the hill at Live Oak Campground. Check out the lineup above (including Lefort faves Teenage Fanclub, Cat Power, etc.).  Tickets are on sale now for SNF, including camping passes, and you can go HERE to get tickets


Watch Most of R.E.M. Perform “Superman” Last Night at the 40 Watt in Athens, GA

It’s the time of year that we should be preparing to leave to Todos Santos for Peter Buck’s previously-annual Todos Santos Music Festival. Buck and his wife (TSMF founders), however, have elected to put the Festival on hiatus this year, which has left us reeling after having attended last year’s phenomenal festivities. Oh well.

Despite that downer, our spirits have been newly-lifted. Last night The (Augmented) Minus 5 performed at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia. The Minus 5 were one of the highlights of last year’s TSMF, with core members Scott McCaughey and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, augmented by R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, Steve Wynn, Linda Pitmon and others, performing awe-inspiring sets and sitting in perfectly on many of the other bands’ sets (Mike Mills was the MVP of the Festival). Last night at the 40 Watt The Minus 5, joined by Mills and retired R.E.M. drummer Bill Barry, and the gifted ensemble performed a raucously righteous cover of The Clique’s 1969 song Superman (which was included on R.E.M’s seminal Life’s Rich Pageant album).

Check it out below. And if you ever get a chance to see these superb musicians performing together (whether as The Minus 5, The Baseball Project, or in other configurations), don’t ya miss it. They are seriously gifted connoisseurs and curators of rock ‘n roll.

And here’s to the Todos Santos Music Festival’s return in 2018!


Check Out Phoebe Bridgers’ Fantastic New Song “Smoke Signals”

We’ve been hearing word from the new-female-singers cognoscenti that Phoebe Bridgers was another new phenom to check out (and to add to the talented quiver of Julien Baker, Torres, Alyeska, Miya Folick, Laney Jones, etc.). But then we got distracted. No more.

Check out Phoebe Bridgers’ exquisite new song Smoke Signals below. We know Bridgers has been hanging with the right people. Ryan Adams has produced her and compared her to Bob Dylan, and she’s been opening on tour for Conor Oberst (who also, hmmm…wrote his own stellar Smoke Signals song). But none of that prepared us for the depth and subtlety of Smoke Signals.

Bridgers apparently wrote Smoke Signals in a cabin last spring (“Bon Printemps“?). We love everything about the song, including the single-note vibrato guitar that introduces the swelling strings, but especially its lyrical incisions (see lyrics at bottom). The following stanza, with its poesy and double- and triple- entendres, is our favorite of the year so far:

“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”

We’ve read the tea leaves and now the smoke signals, and now its your turn to turn your attention to the rising Phoebe Bridgers.

You can check out more of her superb songs HERE.

Smoke Signals:

“I went with you up to
the place you grew up in
we spent a week in the cold
Just long enough to
“Walden” it with you
Any longer, it would have got old

Singing “Ace of Spades” from when Lemmy died
But nothing’s changed
LA’s all right
Sleeping in my bed again and getting in my head
And then walk around the reservoir.

You, you must have been looking for me.
Sending smoke signals
Pelicans circling
Burning trash out on the beach

One of your eyes is always half-shut
Something happened when you were a kid
I didn’t know you then
And I’ll never understand
why it feels like I did

“How Soon Is Now” in an ‘80s sedan
You slept inside of it because your dad
Lived in a campground in the back of a van
You said that song will creep you out until you’re dead

And you must have been looking for me.
Sending smoke signals
Pelicans circling
Burning trash out on the beach

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.

And you, you must have been looking for me.
Sending smoke signals
Pelicans circling
Burning trash out on the beach

I buried a hatchet
It’s coming up lavender
The future’s unwritten
The past is a corridor
I’m at the exit looking back through the hall
You are anonymous
I am a concrete wall.”


Watch Dirty Projectors’ Official Video for New Song “Little Bubble”

On the heals of the devastatingly perfect song Keep Your NameDirty Projectors’ David Longstreth has put out another luscious new pop/R&B song entitled Little Bubble. Adding to the allure here is the song’s sumptuous official video below. Listen/watch as Longstreth’s falsetto soars over the Utah Salt Flats and other sublime environs while contemplating a technological infusion. The lyrics ain’t exactly uplifting (see below video), but the video serves to dull the pain.

Little Bubble:

About the break of day
Here we lay, arm in arm
And cradled by the dawn

How did you sleep?
What did you dream of?
Can you still remember our world in the key of love?
The amount of light that we both know
Or the shadow descending from above

We had our own little bubble
For a while
We had our own little bubble
For a while

There’s no one else here
I’m alone in the cold
October light hits like a black hole
Growling greatness

Sentry of emptiness
It’s not enough, whatever I dreamed of
Dreams are dumb and meaningless
Like the days they refract
But are dull, empty and sad
I wanna sleep with no dreams
I want to be dead

We had our own little bubble
For a while
We had our own little bubble
For a while

We didn’t know one way or other
For a while
We had our own little bubble
For a while”


Rainy Day Music: Listen to Julien Baker’s New “Funeral Pyre” Single On Matador Records

Julien Baker first alighted in our jukebox in 2015 with her tremulous confessional, Sprained Ankle. Baker has since been rightfully lauded for her spellbinding, soul-bearing songs delivered in earnest. Now comes the good news that Baker has signed with the smart Matador Records folks and released a stellar new 7-inch single. Perhaps the Matador influence can be heard on the distortion closing to the song. Regardless, it’s worthy addition this young artist’s commendable discography. Check it out below (superb lyrics at bottom).

Baker ruminated on Funeral Pyre for NPR in a recent interview as follows:

“Obviously, drinking gasoline incurs bodily harm on you, but also, being an accessory to that kind of behavior and having to decide — it incurs harm upon you, too. And then, are you responsible for permitting that? If you stay, are you responsible for permitting it? And if you leave, are you responsible for not intervening? If you intervene, are you out of your bounds? Everything about the song is figuring out how you should act in your level of responsibility for your own health and to others in the dynamic of a relationship, which is a difficult lesson to learn. I feel like I would have put myself into an unfavorable or unhealthy position for this person and maybe recognizing from an outside perspective that that destructivism is a more healthy thing to do than to stay in it for the sort of, romantic, admirable belief that subjecting yourself to this kind of sacrificial, fatuous love would be more of the right thing to do.”

You can go pre-order the re-release of the Sprained Ankle album or Funeral Pyre song on Matador HERE.

“I wake up with the same pain every night,
Digging a hatchet in my left side,
Clearing my chest of something to burn,
Ash for a decorative urn you keep on your mantelpiece;
Like a trophy for everything
That withers eventually…

Call me a coward, but I’m too scared to leave,
’cause I want you to be the last thing I see.
Call me a coward, but I’m too scared to leave,
Watched you pouring lighter fluid out onto the leaves

And I would’ve loved you with the dying fire
let you smother me down to the embers…
Frostbite turning my limbs as black as cinder of funeral pyre

And I would have stayed if you asked me to
Stood outside till my lips turn blue
I wouldn’t have blamed you
For leaving me there on the porch while you drank gasoline
’cause it’s what you needed so bad

And it’s true.
It’s nothing that we… could.. do”


Listen to Elbow’s Great New “All Disco” Song Off Impending New Album “Little Fictions”

Ask and it shall be done. Something like that. We’re doubling our Elbows today. After complaining earlier today about Americans being shut out of the listening party for Elbow’s new All Disco song, All Disco has now been made available for listening in the US. We didn’t know we had that kind of pull. Check the song out below in all its anthemic, sonorous glory. This song ain’t no disco, this ain’t no fooling around.

Bandleader Guy Garvey recently gave the following explanation for the song’s title:

“I remember this phrase from Black Francis from the Pixies. I interviewed him for a radio show 10 years ago in Lynchburg, Tennessee. I was to talking to him about between him being Black Francis and Frank Black and all these different incarnations. I said ‘with all these different styles of music, where are you going next?’ He said something along the lines of ‘you have punk rock, you have rock, you have blues, you have soul, it’s all disco.’ And I just love that attitude, from one of the most influential people – particularly to me. For him to have this attitude of ‘put everything into it, invest everything into it, but remember it’s not everything. I think that’s a really good way to do it. He’s not having any money but he gave us a really good chorus there.’”

You can pre-order the band’s impending album, Little Fictions HERE.


While Waiting For Elbow’s New “All Disco” Song, Watch “Magnificent (She Says)” Video–New “Little Fictions” Album Coming

We went looking for Elbow’s new song All Disco released today by the band, but found (infuriatingly) that the band or its affiliates have not made the song available in the United States (must be a Trump thing; but please, Brexit?). Fortunately, we found instead the band’s official video for the superb Magnificent (She Says) off of the band’s impending album Little Fictions. You can check the video out below. According to the band’s press release, the video is “a nod to the album title” and “using Ron Fricke’s legendary ‘Baraka’ as a point of reference, filmmaker Joe Connor has created a spellbinding film to provide visual accompaniment to what he sees as the song’s ‘beautiful portrait of what it feels to be human.'” The video was filmed in five locations across Myanmar. Check it out below to catch the magnificent (we says) beauty therein.

You can pre-order Little Fictions HERE.