November, 2011 Archives

25
Nov

Light Friday–Still in Thanksgiving

by Lefort in Music

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Let the shoppers darken the day-after.  We’re still leavened by the light of thanksgiving.  Craig Finn (of faves, The Hold Steady) captures it well in his song, One Single Saviour, as performed earlier this year on Minnesota Public Radio.  Check it out below, followed by the lyrics.  Thankfully, Finn will soon be making his way around the US solo (well, without the Hold Steady backing) in support of his impending new solo album,  “Clear Heart Full Eyes” on Vagrant Records.  After One Single Saviour, check out the first track (Honolulu Blues) released by Finn of the new album and then its lyrics.

“One single savior
One way to be right
I said one simple prayer towards the darkness
I took two steps into the light
Your soul left my body
Your sight left my eyes
I turned my back on the business
I quit picking up shipments
Pretty sure we’re all gonna die

And the road, it keeps bringing me
All the things we want and need
We don’t really want them anymore

So your lay your head down on my ribs
Listen to the life I’ve lived
Listen to the love I have to give to you
Dance a little closer, let me rescue you

One single savior
Some friend on the phone
One for the road, one for the team
Too tired to get up, too broke to stay home
One simple devotion
One way to get right
I pulled the shades on the sunshine
Now it’s just me time
I’m pretty sure we’re all gonna die

On the highway up ahead of us
Are all the things we wanted but
Nothing really matters anymore

So pull a chair up to the bed
Put your hands up to my neck
Put my mouth up to your broken wing
Listen to the songs that I sing

Listen to the songs that I sing
Under my breath
As I die a peaceful death
These are all the songs that really got to me

You and me both
As we wait in joyful hope
Deliver us Lord from our anxiety
As we wait in joyful hope
As we wait in joyful hope
As we wait in joyful hope
as we wait in joyful hope”

Craig Finn – Honolulu Blues by Vagrant Records

Honolulu Blues

“A man darkened our doorway. He said he’s here to share the good news. He had a smile straight from the movies. But when I looked down at his shoes. There were holes and they showed his toes. The right was left. The black was brown. And later on in the garage I couldn’t find my chainsaw. In the distance I heard trees just falling down.

I was underneath the city. I was riding around on trains. Fell asleep before Nassau Ave. And I ended up in Maine. There were big tall trees and rocky coastline. And the waves came in so wild. But for all the natural beauty there were still so many kids that were asking me for something that could help them to get high.

We’re all good. We’re all bad. We’re euphoric and we’re sad. We roll the rock away and check the tomb. We’re awake and we’re aware that we’re confused and cold and scared. And the cross reminds us that He died for me and you. Woke up in the ocean with the Honolulu Blues.

Joan Didion and Graham Greene. Said roughly the same thing. You bring your Jesus to the jungle. Try to teach people to sing All the hymns that you love because you learned them as a kid and they make perfect sense to you. There’s a point in time when thousands die. And you’ve got to maybe think that maybe Jesus isn’t getting through.

We’re freezing in the forest. There’s no wood to heat the house. We took axes to the furniture. We pulled the floorboards out. There’s animals scratching at the door. And they know we’re gonna die. There were big tall trees and rocky coastline. And the waves came in so wild.

We’re all wild. We’re all free. We’re all back from Tennessee. With the souvenirs to prove that we were there. We’re flying around in planes. We’re riding around in trains. Searching out those panoramic views. Woke up in the ocean with the Honolulu Blues.

We’re all good. We’re all bad. We’re euphoric and we’re sad. We roll the rock away and check the tomb. We’re awake and we’re alarmed at the scars scratched in your arm. The cross reminds us that He died for me and you. Woke up in Oahu with the Honolulu Blues.”

24
Nov

Sharon Van Etten–New Album in New Year

by Lefort in Music

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Sharon Van Etten, one of the best new songstresses to appear recently on the scene in America or anywhere, has announced she will release a new album, “Tramp,” (on Jagjaguwar) to follow up her stunning “epic” album, a couple of songs of which you can check out HERE.  Check out the first song sampling off the new album, Serpents, via Pitchfork.  The new album was recorded with The National’s Aaron Dessner, with a stellar cast of Brooklyn-centric musicians (Bryce Dessner, The Walkmen’s Matt Barrick, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, and Doveman’s Thomas Bartlett).

On Serpent we hear a more dense sound to go with the usual Van Etten harrow.  Check it out below.

Sharon Van EttenSerpents

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Sharon_Van_Etten_-_Serpents.mp3|titles=Sharon_Van_Etten_-_Serpents]

Van Etten will also tour in support of the new album starting in February as set forth below.  And check out Tramp’s song list below the tour dates.

Sharon Van Etten 2012 Tour Dates:

02/10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s *
02/11 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat *
02/12 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle *
02/14 – Columbus, OH @ Wexner Center *
02/15 – Newport, KY @ Southgate House *
02/17 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall *
02/18 – Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center *
02/21 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace *
02/22 – Montreal, QC @ Il Motore *
02/23 – Boston, MA @ Paradise *
02/24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg *
02/25 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *
03/20 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Avalon #
03/21 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent #

03/23 – Portland, OR @ Aladdin Theater #
03/24 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret #
03/25 – Seattle, WA @ The Neptune
03/27 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The State Room #
03/28 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater #
03/31 – St. Louis, MO @ Luminary Center for the Arts #
04/01 – Bloomington, IN @ Rhino’s #

* = w/ Shearwater
# = w/ The War on Drugs

Tramp:
1. Warsaw
2. Give Out
3. Serpents
4. Kevin’s
5. Leonard
6. In Line
7. All I Can
8. We Are Fine
9. Magic Chords
10. Ask
11. I’m Wrong
12. Joke or a Lie

24
Nov

Laura Marling Joins Ryan Adams On “Oh My Sweet Carolina” at Abbey Road

by Lefort in Music

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Laura Marling joined Ryan Adams last night on British Channel 4′s Live From Abbey Road show. Marling’s joinder makes sense given Adams’ recent praise for Marling and her album, “I Speak Because I Can,” from 2010.

Check out the duo performing one of Adams’ finest songs, Oh My Sweet Carolina.  The music saunters in at :56 and on the chorus we hear Marling channel Emmylou Harris’s original harmony vocal with some added inflection and feeling.  One senses each is honored.  Beauty.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ix9g-yW7sCo&feature=player_embedded

23
Nov

Merge Records–Free Winter Sampler

by Lefort in Music

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Merge Records is generously offering up its free Winter Sampler Download HERE.

As listed below, the Merge sampler consists of some of the best music put out this year (in particular the Buckner, Mountain Goats, and Friedberger offerings).  Check ’em out.

Hospitality – “Betty Wang”
Richard Buckner – “Traitor”
Lambchop – “Gone Tomorrow”
Crooked Fingers – “Bad Blood”
Superchunk – “Driveway to Driveway”
The Mountain Goats – “Estate Sale Sign”
Eleanor Friedberger – “My Mistakes”
Imperial Teen – “Runaway”
Archers of Loaf – “Harnessed In Slums”
Wild Flag – “Romance”
Stephin Merritt – “Rot in the Sun”
The Rosebuds – “Go Ahead”

And while you’re over there streaming/downloading, check out the Christmas offerings of She & Him and Julian Koster (as to the latter, it is finally what we’ve all been waiting for: O Holy Night performed on saw–we are now ready for the rapture).

22
Nov

M83 Kills on Jimmy Fallon Show

by Lefort in Music

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Fab French band, M83, stopped in on the Jimmy Fallon Show last night and killed on a performance of their great new song, Midnight City, off their tres grand new album, “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” (a double album). Check out the digitalis, the harmonies, and then the arresting analog sax solo (reminding of Destroyer’s great sound on this year’s phenomenal “Kaputt” album).  Fallon was wowed, as were we.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that they’ll be alighting in a nearby venue in the near future.

22
Nov

Elbow Performs “Grounds for Divorce” on Studio Q

by Lefort in Music

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The elevating English band, Elbow, recently performed on CBC’s Studio Q sessions.   Studio Q just today released video of the band performing a stripped down version of their great song, Grounds For Divorce.  Compare a full-electrified version of this song from this year’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival HERE.

22
Nov

Ryan Adams Performs His Great “Come Pick Me Up” on KCRW

by Lefort in Music

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Ryan Adams showed up at KCRW and performed on their Morning Becomes Eclectic show.   Check out Adams and band perform his great chestnut, Come Pick Me Up.  And go over to KCRW and watch the full session HERE.   Nevermind the bollocks or bleeps–it’s the “Clean” version.

21
Nov

Kathleen Edwards Performs “Sidecar” for TLOBF Sessions

by Lefort in Music

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Kathleen Edwards showed up on The Line of Best Fit’s Sessions (“encroached her”? nice!) for an exclusive performance (on a jogging path on the banks of the Thames in London) of her new song, Sidecar, off of her new album (co-produced with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon) arriving in the new year.  Watch out for Edwards next year, coming to a jogging path near you.

21
Nov

Florence and the Machine on Saturday Night Live

by Lefort in Music

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Shy and retiring (yeah, right) Florence and her mega-Machine (backup choir, strings, harp, you name it) appeared on SNL on Saturday.  In case you missed it, check out Shake it Out and No Light, No Light below courtesy of The Audio Perv.  Girl

Shake It Out:

“Regrets collect like old friends
here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way.

And all of the ghouls come out to play
Then every demon wants his pound of flesh
but I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn.

And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way

I’m always dragging that horse around
All of these questions, such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
‘Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn.

Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out uh-oh
Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out uh-oh
And it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back
so shake him off uh-oh

And I am done with my graceless heart
so tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
‘Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn.

Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out uh-oh
Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out uh-oh
And it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back
so shake him off uh-oh

And you tried to dance with the devil on your back
Given half the chance, would I take any of it back?
It’s a fine romance but it’s left me so undone
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my rope
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat
‘Cause looking for heaven found a devil in me
Looking for heaven found a devil in me
But why the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me?

Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out uh-oh
Shake it out, shake it out
Shake it out, shake it out uh-oh
And it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back
so shake him off uh-oh”

No Light, No Light:

20
Nov

Graham Nash and David Crosby–Two Lost Masterpieces

by Lefort in Music

A couple of weeks ago David Crosby and Graham Nash showed up on The Letterman Show to perform their older song, Taken At All, which you can check out way below.  For us, however, the performance served primarily as a reminder of the great sounds these two musicians have made solo, together, and with fellow musical denizens, Stephen Stills and Neil Young. Their music was the scintillating soundtrack to our formative years, and we can’t let it go.  We’ve covered Stephen Stills and Manassas in the past, and are still assessing if we will ever be able to give a fitting tribute to the all-timer, Neil Young (who for us sits atop a mountain of musicians).  For now, we give you Graham Nash and David Crosby.

Whether as CSN&Y, CS&N, the duo Crosby & Nash, or solo, a generous portion of our juvenile years were spent listening in to these fine musicians and their vocalisimmos.  We have a particular soft spot for two masterful albums that seem to have slipped through the seams in the musical pantheon.  We hold Graham Nash’sSongs for Beginners” and the eponymously entitled, “David Crosby/Graham Nash” albums in the highest regard.  If you haven’t heard or haven’t recently listened in, they merit your ears.

Following the initial break-up of CSNY, Graham Nash decided to go it alone and in 1971 put out his first solo album, “Songs for Beginners.”  Thematically the album bears signs of the turbulent political and personal state of Nash in the aftermath of Nash’s traumatic (duh!) breakup with Joni Mitchell.  Graham Nash has given us a seeming millennium of great, melodic music, first in the Hollies and then in CSN&Y.  But what many forget is the particularly prolific period between 1971 and 1972 when Nash put out this first solo album and then consorted with Crosby for their first album together as a duo.  Nash’s songs on these two albums are witness to his pop-song savvy, his authentic emotional lyrics, and his political activism, and all of which boast his tenor lead vocals and harmonies.

Songs for Beginners featured many fine musicians such as David Crosby (who that same year released his seminal solo album, “If I Could Only Remember My Name“), Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Dave Mason, David Lindley, Rita Coolidge and Neil Young (under the Joe Yankee pseudonym), and some of the best songs from the early ’70s.  Check out some of our faves below. First is Military Madness, which is particularly fitting 40 years later (check the lyrics below the song), particularly as compared with the “hit” political song off the album, Chicago, which we’ll leave off.  Military Madness features Rita Coolidge’s background vocals and Dave Mason‘s stellar electric guitar.  Next up is the confessional Simple Man (via a phenomenal, “ancient” live performance accompanied by Crosby).  Then check out Better Days (with its McCartney-esque feel and flourishes), I Used To Be A King (an obvious ode to Joni with supreme pedal-steel guitar from Jerry Garcia), and There’s Only One (with Rita Coolidge on piano and Clydie King and choral crew on backing vocals).

“In an upstairs room in Blackpool
By the side of a northern sea
The army had my father
And my mother was having me
Military Madness was killing my country
Solitary Sadness comes over me

After the school was over and I moved
To the other side
I found a different country but I never
Lost my pride
Military Madness was killing the country
Solitary sadness creeps over me

And after the wars are over
And the body count is finally filed
I hope that The Man discovers
What’s driving the people wild
Military madness is killing your country
So much sadness, between you and me
War, War, War, War, War, War”

Following the release of their solo albums, Nash and Crosby then collaborated on their “David Crosby/Graham Nash” album, which was released in 1972.  The album’s and these musicians’ many gifts still (knowingly or unknowingly) influence manifold musicians of our current music scene.  Once again this album featured backing from Dave Mason and members of The Grateful Dead (Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann) and The Section (Craig Doerge, Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar, Leland Sklar, and Russell Kunkel), the members of which dominated the California music studios at the time. The songs on the album confirm/extend Nash’s pop songwriting abilities (including the album’s hit, the well known ode to the US Immigration Service, Immigration Man), and Crosby’s complicated and introspective compositions that explored mood via augmentation and diminishment.  All of the songs on this fine album are delivered with the duo’s usual complicated vocal arrangements and heavenly harmonies.  The commercial success of this album eclipsed their two solo albums.

Though the entire album shines, check out favorites from the album.  First check out Nash’s Southbound Train, featuring an elegiac pedal steel guitar solo from Jerry Garcia.

Crosby & Nash–Southbound Train

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/01-Southbound-Train.mp3|titles=01 Southbound Train]

Then compare and contrast the two musicians’ stylings by checking out Crosby’s Page 43 (possibly Crosby’s finest song, vocals and lyrics–“The river can be hot or cold, and you should dive right into it, else you’ll find it’s passed you by; Pass it around one more time, I think I’ll have a swallow of wine, life is fine even with the ups and downs, and you should have a sip of it, else you’ll find it’s passed you by”) and Where Will I Be (Dear Fleet Foxes:  Listen in at 2:27 and hear that which you can attempt to copy, but will never attain).

Crosby & Nash–Where Will I Be

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/05-Where-Will-I-Be_-LP-Version.mp3|titles=05 Where Will I Be_ (LP Version)]

Crosby & Nash–Page 43

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/06-Page-43.mp3|titles=06 Page 43]

Then we return to two Nash compositions, Stranger’s Room (with its French Horns and fine lyrics–“Where do I go from here, help me, I wish I could disappear and go away, from the knowing, that you’ve known me far too long, when I find a different tune, I guess I’ll sing a different song”) and Girl to Be On My Mind (with its sorrowful search for still-lost love–haunted even two years later by Joni Mitchell).

Crosby & Nash–Stranger’s Room

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/04-Strangers-Room.mp3|titles=04 Strangers Room]

Crosby & Nash–Girl to Be On Mind

[audio:http://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/09-Girl-To-Be-On-My-Mind.mp3|titles=09 Girl To Be On My Mind]

And just for fun, check out The Hollies and Nash performing their biggest US hit, Bus Stop.