Reaching Into the Backwaters: Watch Phosphorescent Cover Dylan’s “Tomorrow Is a Long Time”


Most of the year, the musical Niagara Falls flies by full-flow.  We all shakily extend our cups into the roaring sound-cavalcade and pull out what we can.  But we miss so much, only to find it later downstream in the lazier river.  It’s in this Thanksgiving season that the waters slow somewhat.  Thankfully.  Given the slowing and current events, now seems as good a time as any to pull this one up from January of this year.  The world is again Dylan-agog following the outstanding release of the updated Basement Tapes box sets (guilty as charged: we can’t stop listening to the poor-man’s version, the two-disc Basement Tapes Raw distillation).  And one of our favorites, Phosphorescent, just rolled through Los Angeles and wowed the cognoscenti once again (missed it–more regrets).  Combining the two, watch as Phosphorescent (leader Matthew Houck solo) covers Dylan’s Tomorrow Is A Long Time for WNRN.  It’s a faithful rendering, but aided immeasurably by Houck’s world-weary vocals.  Phosphorescent is known for their outstanding covers (Vampire Weekend’s Ya Hey, Jesse Colter’s Storms Never Last, and Randy Newman’s Days of Heaven to name a few).  This one fits nicely into Phosphorescent’s covers quiver.  Happy Thanksgiving y’all!


Another Vantage: Enter Esmé Patterson’s World With Her Official Video for “The Glow”


We’d been hearing repeated raves from reliable sources about the alt-country band Shakey Graves, but were gravely shaken not to immediately connect with them upon listening.  Over time, however, a few of their songs finally sank in to our ears.  What we came to realize, though, was that it was their songs that included collaborator Esmé Patterson that were really making their mark on us.  Her strong vocals and harmonies featured on songs/performances such as the ensemble’s Big Time Nashville Star and Dearly Departed (which you can watch/listen to way below) drew us in more than the comparatively straight-forward deliveries by the core band to which she had been added.

The more we delved into Ms. Patterson (formerly of Paperbird), the better we grasped the reasons for her allure.  She’s a whip-smart singer-songwriter who can write, sing and play in all fields, at times sounding like Neko Case and at others like Joni Mitchell.  Last week Patterson impressed further when she released the official video for The Glow (off her critically-acclaimed recent album Woman To Woman).  In so doing she has added acting to her considerable list of skills.  Watch below as Patterson gives a convincing, nuanced performance on screen of the song, which tells Caroline No’s story from Caroline’s perspective (all the songs off the new album tell the woman’s side of the story found in famous songs by The Beatles, Leadbelly, The Band and Townes Van Zandt in addition to the Beach Boys).  Check the video out below, and then check out the lyrics to Caroline No to connect “the glow.”

Afterwards, listen to Patterson’s three-song Tedx Talks session for some more Woman To Woman samples, followed by the referenced Shakey Graves songs at bottom.

Keep your eyes and ears out for Esmé Patterson.

Caroline No:

“Where did your long hair go
Where is the girl I used to know
How could you lose that happy glow
Oh, Caroline no

Who took that look away
I remember how you used to say
You’d never change, but that’s not true
Oh, Caroline you

Break my heart
I want to go and cry
It’s so sad to watch a sweet thing die
Oh, Caroline why

Could I ever find in you again
Things that made me love you so much then
Could we ever bring ‘em back once they have gone
Oh, Caroline no”

TedX Talks Session:

With Shakey Graves:

On Conan Performing Dearly Departed:

Performing Big Time Nashville Star:


On Sunday: Listen to Tobias Jesso Jr.’s Telling “Hollywood”


Reminding somewhat of the great Warren Zevon and early Billy Joel (read, pre-sellout) in subject matter, piano and romantic gestalt, check out Vancouver’s Tobias Jesso Jr.’s affecting ballad HollywoodCheck out Jesso’s soundly-resigned vocals that segue into the perfect horn dishevelment outro.  Beauty.

We’ll have more on Jesso later, but in the meantime enjoy this beauty below.


Watch TV On The Radio Perform “Happy Idiot” on Letterman Show

screen-shot-TVOR Letterman

It’s been a long dang time (2006) since the first time we caught TV on the Radio at Soho in Santa Barbara on their tour in support of their second album, Return to Cookie Mountain.  Last night the band appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman last night to perform a raucous version of their song Happy Idiot off of their new, critically-acclaimed, fifth album Seeds.  Check it out below.


Watch Mariachi El Bronx on KCRW Perform “Wildfires”


On a dream weekend earlier this month, we caught up with the nonpareil Mariachi El Bronx as they toured through California.  And MEB delivered one of the most riveting, driving live deliveries we have heard from a band in quite some time. The flipside to the alter-ego punk band side of this melange is a soulful, authentico band that serves up lock-step, soul-infused mariachi music, with hard-driving percussion, riveting vocals and a committed gestalt, which will not quit. Con mucho brio! To get a sample of what you missed, check out their performance for KCRW below.  So dang good. Don’t you miss them, next time they come around.  Whatever you do.


Watch The New Basement Tapes Perform on Jimmy Kimmel Show Last Night


As we’ve now written repeatedly, The New Basement Tapes, featuring Elvis Costello, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Mumford & Sons’ Marcus Mumford, Dawes’ Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith and The Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Rhiannon Giddens , were brought together by T-Bone Burnett to add music to unfinished lyrics of Bob Dylan’s, from circa Basement Tapes.  Hence the group’s name.

The group has now released its album Lost On The River. Last night, they were on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where Jim James led them through a sterling version of Nothing To It, and Giddens and the boys absolutely annihilated Duncan & Jimmy in a web-exclusive.  Check ‘em both out below.  Superb work from this supergroup!


Listen to Another Great New Song from Vaults: “Mend This Love”


As mentioned before, two new acts, Brit-pop band Vaults and Brooklyn’s Tei Shi, strike an emotional chord within us much harder and deeper than other acts in the pop genre.  Vaults’ song Poison is a perfect example.  Vaults has just released another new track Mend This Love.   Check it out below.  Once again, there are no unnecessary histrionics (so de rigueur these days).  Instead there’s  perfectly spare instrumentation to accentuate an affecting ode to an irredeemable love.  Singer Blythe Pepino and Vaults deliver again with aplomb.

Vaults’ Vultures EP is out December 1st on Virgin/EMI.


Listen to New Elvis Perkins’ Song From Impending Album “I Aubade”


After two stunning releases in the aughts, New York songwriter Elvis Perkins somewhat disappeared for five years.  Now Perkins has announced a new album via his own MIR imprint, I Aubade.

As a preview of the LP, check out below (via Stereogum) the first single therefrom, Hogus Pogus.  The track evinces a sunnier outlook than we’ve predominantly perceived previously from Perkins.  To get a feel for the less sunny (and for good reason) go HERE to hear one of the all-time greats, Perkins’ beyond-sorrow song Ash Wednesday.

Perkins has this to say about the new album:

“Here lies my third Long-Playing collection of songs. The vast majority of what can be heard is the product of my own placement of microphone to source in the period between February 2012 & December 2013. My previous releases had for the most part been made with steady players in studios and overheard by engineers and producers, so this was for me both a novel approach and a return to the 4-tracking solitary self of my early 20′s.

“I recorded and edited mostly at home {middle new york}, sometimes with others and at their places {hudson, dallas, los angeles}, in american hotels and for a spell in a ‘Wilderness’ {im}mobile home happenstantially catching radio waves {ojai}. Ultimately it is a record full of waves and of changes.”


For Record Store Day: First Aid Kit Releases Their Cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “America”


Record Store Day’s Black Friday approaches on November 28th.  In support, Swedish sisters First Aid Kit will release a special 10” with Simon and Garfunkel’s epic song America.  The duo has now released a self-produced music video (watch below) which tracks their tours across the U.S and adds vintage film of the country.  The 10” release will also feature a previously unreleased track, Brother.

Afterwards, watch from 2012 as First Aid Kit honored Paul Simon (who watches approvingly in the audience) by covering the same song at the 2012 Polaris Music Awards.  Showing that they can kill it live under pressure and in front of one of their idols, this performance is one of our all-time favorites.


Watch New Belle & Sebastian Video for “The Party Line” Off Impending Album


Someone once sang “Put on your red shoes and dance the blues.”  Well, the great Brit-pop group Belle & Sebastian have just done that by releasing the first video for their lead single, The Party Line, off of their impending new album Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance.  We love this track with its synthesizer-flavored dance motifs.  The video is a historical vignette of people dancing/partying over the ages, but with the usual embedded melancholy we’ve come to expect from this band.  The video was directed by LeBlanc + Cudmore.  Check it out below.  We can’t wait for the new album.