14
Sep

During National Suicide Prevention Week, Watch Heartwarming “Skyline” Video from Broken Social Scene

These times seem to be taking an inordinate toll on folks. There seems to be more depression and anxiety in our society than we can ever recall. But maybe it’s also that people are being more honest and letting others know their issues. Let’s hope so. Coincidentally, it’s National Suicide Prevention Week. If you’re struggling (or know someone who’s struggling) with depression/anxiety and want to get help or you want to find out how you can help/donate to the effort to prevent suicide, please go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website HERE.

Related to this, great Canadian band Broken Social Scene has today released a new music video for our former Song of the Week, Skyline, off of their outstanding recent album Hug of Thunder. The video was directed by leader Kevin Drew in which co-founding band member Brendan Canning and photographer Dimitri Karakostas seek the means for “momentary survival” in this day and age. It turns out you may only need peanut butter, a close friend and a good group of friends, a mouthguard, a skateboard, and to hangout with the band Foreigner (please, can we not and instead hang with the far more talented BSS?). Regardless, the video is heartwarming and presents a great message. Check it out below.

Broken Social Scene begins its North American tour tomorrow, and you can check out the dates HERE.

13
Sep

Watch Official Video for Acoustic “Powderfinger” from Neil Young’s Superb Archival “Hitchhiker” Release

Like many, we’ve been life-long Neil Young fans. From Buffalo Springfield, to CSN&Y, to all the solo albums (we’ll take On The Beach if we have to take but one to that Desert Island), to all the collaborations, to all the cathartic concerts at the Santa Barbara Bowl, the Bridge School Benefit Concerts and elsewhere, we’ve lived a happy musical lifetime with Young. His best-of-all-time bona fides are unchallenged.

After recording a harrowing hat-trick of nonpareil albums (On The Beach, Tonight’s The Night and Zuma), on August 11, 1976, Young recorded a solo acoustic album entitled Hitchhiker in a single session with his producer David Briggs at Malibu’s Indigo Ranch Studios.  That album never made the light of day (though most of its songs appeared elsewhere) until September 8th when Young released it. Among its treasures are acoustic versions of Pocohantas, Campaigner, Ride My Llama, The Old Country Waltz and the powerful Powderfinger.

Best remembered as a rock-anthem featured on the Rust Never Sleeps album, the acoustic version of Powderfinger found on Hitchhiker is a tremendous distillation of the song’s anti-gun/war/violence theme. To aid in our understanding of the lyrics (after all these years and debates), Young has today released a superb, sepia-toned, watercolor video that provides a straightforward narrative for the song (see lyrics at bottom). We love the solo acoustic performance, Young’s vocals and the video. It all adds up to everything. Check the video below, followed by the electric version and the song’s lyrics at bottom.

And go buy/stream Hitchhiker HERE.

Powderfinger:

“Look out, Mama, there’s a white boat coming up the river
With a big red beacon, and a flag, and a man on the rail
I think you’d better call John
Because it don’t look like they’re here to deliver the mail
And it’s less than a mile away
I hope they didn’t come to stay
It’s got numbers on the side and a gun
And it’s making big waves

Daddy’s gone, my brother’s out hunting in the mountains
Big John’s been drinking since the river took Emmy-Lou
So the Powers That Be left me here to do the thinkin’
And I just turned twenty-two
I was wondering what to do
And the closer they got
The more those feelings grew

Daddy’s rifle in my hand felt reassuring
He told me, Red means run, son, numbers add up to nothing
But when the first shot hit the docks I saw it coming
Raised my rifle to my eye
Never stopped to wonder why
Then I saw black
And my face splashed in the sky

Shelter me from the powder and the finger
Cover me with the thought that pulled the trigger
Think of me as one you’d never figured
Would fade away so young
With so much left undone
Remember me to my love
I know I’ll miss her”

11
Sep

The Great Songs: Prefab Sprout’s “When Love Breaks Down”

“Oh my, oh my, have you seen the weather? The sweet September rain.”

You might think that all we’ve been listening to is The National’s new album Sleep Well Beast, and you’d be mostly right. But other great music has wafted through. There’s both new (Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile’s Over Everything single, Dave Rawlings Machine’s new album Poor David’s Almanack, the Mynabirds’ new Be Here Now album, the recent Grizzly Bear album, etc.) and old high-quality sounds on the air.

Speaking of old, our ears perked up this morning while listening to the incredible, underrated Brit-band Prefab Sprout and their stellar song When Love Breaks Down. Following recent, crazy California weather (last night the Santa Barbara Channel saw lightning, thunder and rain usually only seen in the tropics–see pictures above), the following lines from that great song took us aback:

“Oh my, oh my, have you seen the weather
The sweet September rain
Rain on me like no other
Until I drown, until I drown.”

When Love Breaks Down (lyrics at bottom) is but one of many seminal 80s-Brit-pop songs on Prefab Sprout’s revered and highly-recommended album Two Wheels GoodTwo Wheels Good is a great introduction to the complicated-pop of Prefab Sprout and their powerful discography. Check ’em out.

While on the subject of weather, for those in the Caribbean and southern United States suffering from the recent hurricanes, our thoughts and prayers are with you. Go HERE to receive good guidance as to how you can best donate for those in need.

Photos above (top to bottom) by Mike Eliason/Noozhawk; Sophia Dentzel/Noozhawk; and Anneka Purcell/KEYT3.

When Love Breaks Down

“My love and I, we work well together
But often we’re apart
Absence makes the heart lose weight, yeah
Till love breaks down, love breaks down

Oh my, oh my, have you seen the weather
The sweet september rain
Rain on me like no other
Until I drown, until I drown

When love breaks down
The things you do
To stop the truth from hurting you
When love breaks down
The lies we tell
They only serve to fool ourselves
When love breaks down
The things you do
To stop the truth from hurting you
When love breaks down
When love breaks down

My love and I, we are boxing clever
She’ll never crowd me out
Fall be free as old confetti
And paint the town, paint the town

When love breaks down
The things you do
To stop the truth from hurting you
When love breaks down
The lies we tell
They only serve to fool ourselves
When love breaks down
The things you do
To stop the truth from hurting you
When love breaks down
The lies we tell
They only serve to fool ourselves
When love breaks down
The things you do
To stop the truth from hurting you
When love breaks down
You join the wrecks
Who leave their hearts for easy sex
When love breaks down
When love breaks down”

10
Sep

National-ization Week Continues–Watch The National Perform Four Songs From “Sleep Well Beast” on CBS This Morning

The National were everywhere this past week in support of their just-released album Sleep Well Beast. They performed the entire album live for NPR, performed Day I Die on Colbert, and most recently four songs on CBS This Morning. Watch below as the band performs those songs live on CBS This Morning, presented in the album’s order below. The System Sleeps In Total Darkness is one of the best songs they’ve ever released, and live it is both nuanced (those background, Brian Wilson-influenced vocals) and incendiary (Aaron Dessner’s ravaging guitar solo, Matt Berninger’s vocal fervor, and Bryan Devendorf’s drumming–wow!).

Pick up the critically-acclaimed Sleep Well Beast HERE or buy/stream it HERE.

8
Sep

Watch The National Perform “Day I Die” Live on Colbert Show–“Sleep Well Beast” Album Released Today

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The National showed up on Colbert’s Late Show last night to perform their impressive new song Day I Die (off of new album Sleep Well Beast, which was just released today). We’ve been digesting the new album for a while and can happily say (full review, soon come) that the band does not disappoint.

Check out the very lively Day I Die performance below, which features guitar hooks aplenty delivered by an enlarged band, including a posse of percussionists and regular touring members Benjamin Lanz and Kyle Resnick, along with Arone Dyer (of Buke and Gase) who adds vocals on the new album. Check it out and go buy/stream Sleep Well Beast HERE. Day I Die’s lyrics are at bottom.

Day I Die:

I don’t need you. I don’t need you.
Besides I barely ever see you anymore,
and when I do it feels like you’re only halfway there.
Young mothers love me, even ghosts of girlfriends
call from Cleveland—they will meet me
any time and anywhere.

The day I die, day I die, where will we be?
The day I die, day I die, where will we be?

Don’t do this, I don’t do this to you.
And don’t expect me to enjoy it.
Because I really don’t have the courage not to turn the volume up
inside my ears. For years I used to put my head inside
the speakers in the hallway
when you’d get too high and talk forever.

The day I die, day I die, where will we be?
The day I die, day I die, where will we be?
The day I die, day I die, where will we be?
The day I die, day I die, where will we be?

I get little punchy with the vodka just like my great uncle Valentine Jester did
when he had to deal with those people like you who made no goddam common sense.
I’d rather walk all the way home right now than to spend one more second in this place.
I’m exactly like you Valentine. Just come outside and leave with me.

Let’s just get high enough to see our problems.
Let’s just get high enough to see our father’s houses.

The day I die, day I die, where will we be?
The day I die, day I die, where will we be?
The day I die, day I die, where will we be?
The day I die, day I die, where will we be?

6
Sep

Listen to The National Perform Entire New Album “Sleep Well Beast” Live for NPR–Performing on Colbert Show Tomorrow (Thursday) Night

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Here comes The Nationalization of 2017. The National will release their great new album Sleep Well Beast on Friday of this week on 4AD. As lead-up to the album’s release, the band yesterday performed the entirety of Sleep Well Best live in Philadelphia for WXPN’s World Cafe and NPR Music. Go check out the impressive performances HERE while you can.

As you will hear, many of the new album’s songs benefit from their enhanced live treatment. The album’s best song, The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness, is taken to even greater heights live with the added harmony vocals of Arone Dyer (Buke and Gase) and the even-more ferocious guitar solo (which reminds of Jeff “Skunk” Baxter’s searing guitar solos for Steely Dan on their first two albums, Can’t Buy a Thrill and Countdown to Ecstacy–our highest praise possible). The desultory Walk It Back finishes with an unexpected flourish live. Berninger appropriately attacks the vocal on Turtleneck, and I’ll Still Destroy You accomplishes its aim with its dynamics and the dueling guitars in the latter part of the song. Dark Side of the Gym remains one of our favorites and benefits from its scaled-down sound here. And for good measure the NPR set ends with a few songs “from 10 years ago.” Fake Empire and Terrible Love close with a devastating one-two punch.

The band will also appear on the Colbert Show tomorrow (Thursday) night so set your DVRs.

Bring on Sleep Well Beast.

29
Aug

The National Releases “Day I Die”– the 4th Song from Impending Album “Sleep Well Beast”

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On September 8th long-time faves The National will release their new album Sleep Well Best on 4AD. We’ve already heard/seen the first three songs: The System Only Dreams in Total DarknessGuilty Party, and CCarin at the Liquor Store (seriously, that “dead John Cheever” bit–huh?).

Now the band has released the fourth song off the album, Day I Die, via the song’s official video. The video was directed by Casey Reas who had this to say about the video in a press release: “Graham MacIndoe captured 18 time-lapse photo series during rehearsals at Le Centquatre in June 2017 in Paris. Hours of rehearsal are compressed into a few minutes. Over 5,000 of these photographs were brought together to create the final video. I wrote custom software to collage multiple photographs together and to compile them into videos. A flickering color layer abstracted from broadcast television signals augments the black and white footage. The images are played back at 12fps, near the threshold of the persistence of vision.”

Check the video out below. Day I Die is classic The National, replete with references to “great uncle Valentine Jester,” who may or may not be someone’s re-imagined great uncle or a pseudonym therefor, and how does uncle relate to the departed daughter Val Jester who appeared on Alligator. Mere conjecture about a jester’s Jester. The song’s lyrics are at bottom.

For those wanting to get a better feel for the new songs performed live, on September 5th World Cafe and NPR Music will host a First Listen Live performance which can be streamed HERE.

The band will venture out on in September on a nearly sold-out worldwide tour. The band announced today that a “Sunday matinee” (huh? how can that be for this band who performs best in total darkness) has been added at the Greek Theater in Berkeley on October 15th.  Tickets on sale for the latter this Thursday.

You can pre-order Sleep Well Beast HERE.

Day I Die

“I don’t need you. I don’t need you.
Besides I barely ever see you anymore,
and when I do it feels like you’re only halfway there.
Young mothers love me, even ghosts of girlfriends
call from Cleveland—they will meet me
any time and anywhere.

The day I die, day I die, where will we be?
The day I die, day I die, where will we be?

Don’t do this, I don’t do this to you.
And don’t expect me to enjoy it.
Because I really don’t have the courage not to turn the volume up
inside my ears. For years I used to put my head inside
the speakers in the hallway
when you’d get too high and talk forever.

The day I die, day I die, where will we be?
The day I die, day I die, where will we be?
The day I die, day I die, where will we be?
The day I die, day I die, where will we be?

I get a little punchy with the vodka just like my great uncle Valentine Jester did
when he had to deal with those people like you who made no goddam common sense.
I’d rather walk all the way home right now than to spend one more second in this place.
I’m exactly like you Valentine. Just come outside and leave with me.

Let’s just get high enough to see our problems.
Let’s just get high enough to see our father’s houses.

The day I die, day I die, where will we be?
The day I die, day I die, where will we be?
The day I die, day I die, where will we be?
The day I die, day I die, where will we be?”

 

28
Aug

Destroyer Discloses New Album–Watch Lyric Video for Foreboding New Song “Sky’s Grey”

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Fantastic Canadian band Destroyer has announced it will release new album ken on October 20th on Merge Records.  News of a new Destroyer album is cause enough for celebration, but the relative quickness of its release also puts to rest concern that leader (and raison d’être) Dan Bejar will be taking more and more time between each new album to set things right. Reversing a trend that has seen three and four-year gaps between albums, ken will be released a scant two years since the fantastic Poison Season alighted.

To give a feel for the new album, Destroyer has released the lyric video below for their beautiful, but foreboding new song Sky’s Grey. We will have to see about the overall tenor of the album, but Sky’s Grey can’t help but remind us of the phenomenal (and phenomenally-underappreciated-by-Americans) Brit band Prefab Sprout. To our ears Sky’s Grey is somewhat an amalgam of Prefab Sprout’s quintessential Two Wheels Good album (listen to tracks at bottom). While Destroyer’s outstanding album Kaputt seemed an homage to Steely Dan/Bryan Ferry and Poison Season seemed dedicated to Bowie/Springsteen, Sky’s Grey may reveal that Bejar reveres Prefab Sprout. Check it out below and compare to the Prefab Sprout samples at bottom.

Sky’s Grey strikes us as foreboding commentary about the current American administration and its “base”: “Bombs in the city, plays in the sticks,” and “Come one, come all, dear young revolutionary capitalists, the groom’s in the gutter, the bride just pissed herself, I’ve been working on the new Oliver Twist.” Regardless, the song plays well to the base in our environs.

Bejar explains the inspiration for the album’s title:

“Sometime last year, I discovered that the original name for ‘The Wild Ones’ (one of the great English-language ballads of the last 100 years or so) was ‘Ken’. I had an epiphany, I was physically struck by this information. In an attempt to hold on to this feeling, I decided to lift the original title of that song and use it for my own purposes. It’s unclear to me what that purpose is, or what the connection is. I was not thinking about Suede when making this record. I was thinking about the last few years of the Thatcher era. Those were the years when music first really came at me like a sickness, I had it bad. Maybe ‘The Wild Ones’ speaks to that feeling, probably why Suede made no sense in America. I think ‘ken’ also means ‘to know.’”

You can pre-order ken HERE.

24
Aug

Listen to Evocative New Song “Brassy Sun” By S. Carey (Bon Iver)

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S. Carey is the gifted multi-instrumentalist/songwriter cohort of Justin Vernon in Bon Iver. We have been Carey fans since his fantastic first solo album in 2010. Since then Carey has ever-added to the Bon Iver largesse while releasing his own superb recordings, including 2015’s Supermoon EP and his much-lauded 2014 album Range Of Light.

Carey has now released new song Brassy Sun, which he recorded for Will Arnett’s series Flaked on Netflix. In contrast to the TV series’ comedy, Brassy Sun is a song sung blue that is contemplative and questioning and framed in a rending melody. We hear echoes of Vernon, the Dessner Twins and Sufjan Stevens wrapped up in one. We love everything about it, but especially the harmonies on the “Where have I been?” refrain. We look forward to next year’s forecasted solo album.  Listen to Brassy Sun below.

21
Aug

Watch Iron & Wine Winningly Perform New Songs and Old on CBS This Morning

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This coming Friday Iron & Wine will release its highly-anticipated new album, Beast Epic, on Sub Pop Record. On Saturday the band (leader Sam Beam on vocals/guitar, Sebastian Steinberg on bass, Teddy Rankin-Parker on cello and two fantastic female backup vocalists on percussion and keys) performed three stellar songs on CBS This Morning. The performances and songs on the upcoming album lend further support for our belief Sam Beam is one of our best songwriters, performers and lyricists of all time.

Watch below as the band gives pristine performances of the eloquent Call It Dreaming and Thomas County Law off Beast Epic, followed by 2002 deep cut Call Your Boys. You can pick up the unbeastly Beast Epic HERE.

Iron & Wine will head out on tour this weekend in support of Beast Epic, eventually making their way to California in October. Check out the dates and get tickets HERE.