Watch Conor Oberst, Taylor Goldsmith and First Aid Kit Perform “Lua”


Conor Oberst has written some of the best songs of his generation.  Amongst the touchstones is his ever-affecting and oft-performed Lua.  Watch below a recent live version captured by Cardinal Sessions at the Haldern Pop Festival in which Oberst is supported superbly by Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith on guitar and the First Aid Kit sisters.  We’ve seen Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings perform the song with Oberst several times (always bringing down the house and a filling up some eyes), but this version is similarly winning.  Watch as Goldsmith does his own fine take on Rawlings’-esque inflections and First Aid Kit adds a pop/tart touch to the vocals.  Superb.

If you like what you hear, you might want to show up at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco on Friday, October 3rd when Oberst will curate a stage featuring Goldsmith’s Dawes, Sharon Van Etten (if anyone was ever meant to sing Lua, it’s SVE), Waxahatchee, The Good Life and Jonathan Wilson.

Oberst is out on tour now with Dawes and the dates can be found HERE.


Who Is This Miley Cyrus? Watch Mates of State Two-Up Miley


We haven’t heard from one of our favorite pop duos, Mates of State, since their much-hailed 2011 album Mountaintops.  But yesterday, “in honor of giving up twerking” (according to their label, Barsuk), the married duo released a superb, tongue-in-cheek (s0 to speak) cover of Miley Cyrus’s song We Can’t Stop, all as recorded live in their living room.  Watch below as the duo’s harmonies once again mesh well (and they toss in a snippet from Frozen at the 3:11 mark).  Love it.  We hope the duo also has a new album in the works, but for now they just announced adding a series of tour dates, which you can find HERE.


In Harmony News: Watch The Staves Sing “In the Long Run”–Working on New Justin Vernon-Produced Album


We have written repeatedly about the English sister-group The Staves.  Like many we have been anxiously awaiting the group’s second album, which is being produced by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon.  After a hiatus, The Staves appear to be back in Wisconsin (we assume with Vernon–see the capture below) working on the album anew.  We’ll hope for its release near-term.  In the meantime, KDHX has just released a harmonic vignette of the sistren last year performing In The Long Run (off of their debut album).  Check it out below.   Beauty.



Watch Spoon Perform “I Just Don’t Understand” with Dale Watson at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on 8/8


Regrets, we’ve had a few more. At the end of our recently declared Spoon Week (the first week in August in honor of the release of their fantastic new album, They Want My Soul), Spoon played at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  We tried our best to make it, but the stars and spoons just would not align that night.  This morning the band thankfully highlighted a fan video of one of the songs from that set, I Just Don’t Understand, with opener Dale Watson aiding and abetting on vocals and guitar.  Check it out below, and while you’re at it, check out our favorite song, Inside Out, and the grinding Do You, all off the new album.  We won’t miss ‘em the next time they come around.

Photo by Debi Del Grande


Watch Toad The Wet Sprocket’s Official (Santa Barbara-Centric) Video for “California Wasted”


Toad the Wet Sprocket’s most recent album, New Constellation, is their first independent release since their first album way back when.  Yesterday (via Paste) the band released their first music video in 17 years for their song California Wasted off that album.  The video by Matthew Ward is a paean to Santa Barbara (aka California) and our failure to notice/appreciate that which surrounds us.  A great reminder.  To further help you avoid/notice, check out the video below (featuring, amongst other things, the Presidio, Alice Keck Park Park, and Jeff Shelton’s Vera Cruz House).  And then venture outside without your device and see what awaits.

Toad is currently out out on tour, and you can see the dates and check out the song’s lyrics below the video.  We’ll admit:  life is oft-times wasted on us.

Toad the Wet Sprocket Tour Dates:

27 – Wellfleet, Mass. @ Beachcomber
28 – Hartford, Conn. @ Infinity Hall
29 – Norwalk, Conn. @ Norwalk Concert Hall
30 – Newburyport, Mass. @ Riverfront Music Festival
11 – Solvang @ Solvang Festival Theater
8 – Solana Beach @ Belly Up Tavern
14 – Las Vegas @ Brooklyn Bowl Vegas
15 – San Juan Capistrano @ Coach House
20 – Kansas City @ Uptown Theater
21 – Wichita @ Orpheum Theatre
22 – Denver @ Ogden Theatre
23 – Aspen @ Wheeler Opera House
29 – Los Angeles @ The Fonda Theatre

California Wasted:

“No time, where did the time go?
What was I thinking?
No compass, no maps
No sail on the mast
And this boat is sinking
We’re going down

There’s too much in my head right now
I’ve got no way to slow it down
And no one’s gonna pull me out
But I still make the same mistakes
California’s wasted on me

I’ll stare at the sun
Let the fire fill my eyes
See nothing but light
An endless day
To banish the night
I could set this right

But there’s too much in my head right now
I’ve got no way to slow it down
And no one’s gonna pull me out
But I still make the same mistakes
California’s wasted on me

On the line where the ocean meets the sky
I’ve been hoping I could see a sign,
Hoping I could see a sign

There’s too much in my head right now
I’ve got no way to slow it down
And no one’s gonna pull me out
And I still make the same mistakes
California’s wasted on me
I still make the same mistakes
I’m wasted out in California

I’m too much in my head right now
California’s wasted on me”


Watch/Listen to New Songs From Angus & Julia Stone’s New Rick Rubin-Produced Album


We first became fans of siblings Angus & Julia Stone after they released their subtly infectious album Down The Way in 2010 and its jet-fueled song Big Jet Plane, which was one of our Best Songs of 2010.  We have only heard smatterings from them until this month when they released their eponymous new Rick Rubin-produced album on American Recordings.  Evidently, Rubin had to coax the siblings back into the studio to record.  Thankfully, Rubin was successful on several fronts.  The album, which has already attained Number 1 status in their native Australia and in France, is now available HERE, HERE, HERE and elsewhere.

To get a feel for the new album, check out below the recently premiered video for their driving/loping single A Heartbreak, followed by an outstanding live performance of Heart Beats Slow (replete with perfect, sibling-abetted harmonies), and finally the breezy Grizzly Bear audio track.  All three superb songs can be found on the new album.

Angus & Julia Stone are currently on a worldwide tour that will bring them to North America next month.  Check the dates at bottom.

10/06 – House of Blues – San Diego, CA
10/07 – The Regent – Los Angeles, CA – SOLD OUT
10/08 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA – SOLD OUT
10/10 – Vogue Theatre – Vancouver, BC
10/11 – Aladdin Theater – Portland, OR
10/12 – Neumos – Seattle, WA
10/14 – Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
10/15 – Gothic Theatre – Englewood, CO
10/17 – Majestic Theatre – Madison, WI
10/18 – Cedar Cultural Center – Minneapolis, MN
10/19 – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
10/21 – Opera House – Toronto, ON
10/22 – Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre – Montreal, QC – SOLD OUT
10/23 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
10/25 – Sixth & I Historic Synagogue – Washington, DC
10/27 – Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY – SOLD OUT
10/28 – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY – SOLD OUT
10/29 – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA


Watch Kate Bush Documentary


Kate Bush is a uniquely talented artist and a seminal influence in modern music.  She has given us some of the best songs of her generation, including Running Up That Hill, The Man With The Child in His Eyes, and her Peter Gabriel-collaboration Don’t Give Up.  The BBC recently produced a captivating hour-long documentary (Running Up That Hill) on Ms. Bush in which various heavy hitters of rock sing the praise of the singer.  In addition there’s great vintage footage of various influencers on Bush including David Bowie.  Check it out below while you can.


Watch Lloyd Cole and Joan Wassner in Gramercy Arms’ “Beautiful Disguise” Video


Gramercy Arms is an ever-changing group of musicians led by songwriter/producer Dave Derby.  To give you a feel for the mutable ensemble, on their new album The Seasons of Love the participants included a who’s-who of indie pop-rock such as Joan Wasser (Joan As Police Woman), Tanya Donelly (Belly, Throwing Muses), Matthew Caws (Nada Surf), Kendall Meade (Sparklehorse), Claudia Gonson (Magnetic Fields), Doug Gillard (Guided By Voices), Erin Moran (A Girl Called Eddy), Renee LoBue (Elk City), Kay Hanley (Letters To Cleo) and others, which may in part explain why the album took five (!) years to finish.

We admit to just now getting to know the power-pop of Gramercy Arms, but if the official video and song Beautiful Disguise below is any indication, we will soon be in a long-term relationship.  It doesn’t hurt that the song/video features one of our favorite singer-songwriters Lloyd Cole, and the talented Joan Wasser.  Check it out below.


Watch Official Video for King Creosote’s “Something To Believe In” Off New Album


We have been fans of Scotland’s King Creosote (Kenny Andersen) since we first heard his heart-rending song Bats In The Attic (one of our Best Songs of 2011).  This discovery was followed closely by our unearthing of King Creosote’s sterling collaborations with electronic maestro Jon Hopkins (including the fantastic official video for their song Bubble).

And then we didn’t hear from King (KC) until we espied the official video below for his beauteous new song Something To Believe In off the film-related album From Scotland With Love, that was released in June (our apologies).  KC created the soundtrack for a film of the same name “about” Scotland that was made for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.  The film explores the history of Scotland, consisting only of archival footage with no commentary or narration, and was broadcast on the BBC in June.

The new album was written by KC and produced by David McAulay, with help from Paul Savage, and recorded with KC’s band–Derek O’Neill (keyboards), Andy Robinson (drums), Pete Mcleod (bass), and Kevin Brolly (clarinet) — as well as an additional string section (arranged by cellist Pete Harvey), and a choir of backing vocalists.

After watching the sumptuous Something To Believe In, check out the official video for the comparatively uptempo For One Night Only, also off of the new album.  Another well-wrought gem.

When you’re done, go over and pick up the album on Domino Records HERE.


Watch Bahamas Perform New Songs from New Album–Coming to Santa Barbara Bowl on 8/31


Crafty Canadian outfit Bahamas has been notably silent, so we were happy to learn that they have a new album pending entitled Bahamas Is Afie (self-explanatory since the multifaceted Afie Jurvanen is the heart and soul of the “band”) on Brushfire Records.  If you haven’t heard Bahamas, do yourselves a huge favor (particularly all you “boomers”–we guarantee you will love this album or your money back from what you paid to read this). You can currently stream the new album over at Spin HERE.

In conjunction with the new album, Central Coasters  will again have the chance to catch Bahamas in Santa Barbara when they open for label mate Jack Johnson at the Santa Barbara Bowl on August 31st (all you JJ fans–get to the Bowl early and catch this great opener).  We last caught Bahamas at Soho in SB in 2012 where they put on a fantastic show.  While Bahamas shines on record (and the new album is their best yet), where they really excel is live.  Jurvanen is an outstanding guitar-player and singer (vocally somewhere on a spectrum between M. Ward, Ron Sexsmith and the late, great Jesse Winchester, but with Afie’s own inflections and emphases).

To see what we’re talking about, check out their superb performances recently for KCRW below.  And at bottom check out Afie Jurvanen’s superb acoustic lead guitar-play for Exclaim!

To order Bahamas is Afie and see their tour dates, go HERE.