July, 2013 Archives


Watch Junip on KEXP

by Lefort in Music

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Watch Official Video For Volcano Choir’s (with Justin Vernon) Song “Byegone”

by Lefort in Music

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We were teased earlier with a trailer from the impending new album Repave from Volcano Choir (Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and musical pals), and then the audio of Volcano Choir’s song Byegone.  Now comes the band’s official video for the song.  Check it out below.  We love this song, and hope Repave is paved throughout with songs of this caliber.


Watch Belle & Sebastian Perform at Pitchfork Music Festival

by Lefort in Music

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We’re still aglow recalling Belle & Sebastian’s bellissimo show last week at the Santa Barbara Bowl. To help revive that memory (or, horrors, if you missed the show) check out the big Belle band below performing I’m a Cuckoo and Stars Of Track and Field (swoon) at the Pitchfork Music Festival.


Watch Broken Social Scene Perform Unreleased Song “Where’s Your Heart, Where’s Your Mind?”

by Lefort in Music

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Turns out that one of our favorite bands, Broken Social Scene, is (thankfully) suffering from a bit of hiatus interruptus.  The band mothballed itself indefinitely in 2011, much to the dismay of their ardent fans (including yours truly).  But last month BSS both headlined the Field Trip Arts & Crafts Music Festival and appeared on the Jimmy Fallon Show, all in celebration of the tenth anniversary of their label Arts & Crafts.  And now (via Consequence of Sound) BSS has released the video below of its live-performance of unreleased song Where’s Your Heart, Where’s Your Mind?.  Amongst other things, we like the renewed aggression and guitar play on the song, and hope for more interruptions by Broken Social Scene.


Listen to Ry Cooder & Corridas Famosos perform “Lord Tell Me Why” Off of New Album “Live In San Francisco”

by Lefort in Music

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Back on August 31 and September 1 of 2011, national treasure Ry Cooder and his band Corridas Famosos played two shows at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. By all accounts, they were two of the best shows of the year (please, no more rubbing in the fact that we missed it!).  The upshot is that the shows were recorded, and on September 10th Nonesuch will release the resulting album Live in San Francisco.  The Corridos Famosos band includes son Joachim Cooder on drums; Robert Francis on bass; vocalists Terry Evans, Arnold McCuller, and Juliette Commagere; Flaco Jimenez on accordion; and the ten-piece Mexican brass band La Banda Juvenil. Listen below to Cooder & Corridas Famosas perform Cooder’s own Lord Tell Me Why off the album.  More great sounds and another relevant message from Ry Cooder.


Watch Elvis Costello & The Roots’ New Video “Walk Us Uptown” From New “Wise Up Ghost” Album

by Lefort in Music

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One of our most highly anticipated album releases of the year is a collaboration of two of our favorites, Elvis Costello and The Roots, on their collective new album entitled Wise Up Ghost (to be released on September 17th).  The first sampling has now been released in the form of a lyric video for the astonishingly great album-opener Walk Us Uptown.  It’s not surprising that we love everything about the song, which takes both artists back to their roots, if you will.  There’s a dash of funk-soul-brother, a dash of Brit-ska organ and some scratch reggae-guitar from Questlove and The Roots.  And there are Costello’s angrily political and well-penned lyrics sung with his trademark sneer that cauterized his early albums.  Cross-fires and cross-currents-ies.  Indeed.  If the song below is any indication, Wise Up Ghost will be one of the Best Albums of 2013.  In other Roots news, the band is scheduled to work next with the Reverend Al Green on his next album.  Can we hear an “Amen”?!


Way Back Down in Dixie: Watch Little Feat, Emmylou Harris and Bonnie Raitt Perform “Dixie Chicken”

by Lefort in Music

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We grew up on the phenomenal music of Little Feat, the southern funk-rock-boogie extraordinaires led by Lowell George, guitar-genius Paul Barrere and Santa Barbara County’s own Billy Payne.  Many a summertime was filled with the music of Little Feat and any or all of their first seven, all-time albums, not least of which was Feats Don’t Fail Me (which you can listen to in its entirety below).  Check out below a great live vignette of the band performing one of their greats, Dixie Chicken, on Burt Sugarman’s The Midnight Special in1977, with a young Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt and Jesse Winchester.  Too dang good.  They were one of the best live bands we have ever witnessed, having caught them repeatedly in the ’70s in ole, vaunted Robertson Gym (UCSB) and elsewhere in Santa Barbara County.

After Dixie Chicken, listen to Feats Don’t Fail Me Now.  Every song is a masterpiece of rock, funk, soul, fusion, prog and everything in between or combined.  Here’s the album’s tracklist so you can play along at home:

1. Rock And Roll Doctor
2. Oh Atlanta
3. Skin It Back
4. Down The Road
5. Spanish Moon
6. Feats Don’t Fail Me Now
7. The Fan
8. Medley : Cold Cold Cold/Tripe Face Boogie


Where Poetry and Music Meet — Levon Helm and Tracy K. Smith

by Lefort in Music

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Image: Levon Helm

The late, great Levon Helm of The Band inspired many, including poets. Read below Tracy K. Smith’s poem Alternate Take: Levon Helm, and then watch what Smith meant about Levon in the last stanza of the poem.  Helm passed away 15 months ago and is still sorely missed. RIP Levon.

Alternate Take: Levon Helm
by Tracy K. Smith

“I’ve been beating my head all day long on the same six lines,
Snapped off and whittled to nothing like the nub of a pencil
Chewed up and smoothed over, yellow paint flecking my teeth.

And this whole time a hot wind’s been swatting down my door,
Spat from his mouth and landing smack against my ear.
All day pounding the devil out of six lines and coming up dry

While he drives donuts through my mind’s back woods with that
Dirt-road voice of his, kicking up gravel like a runaway Buick.
He asks Should I come in with that back beat, and whatever those

Six lines were bothered by skitters off like water in hot grease.
Come in with your lips stretched tight and that pig-eyed grin,
Bass mallet socking it to the drum. Lay it down like you know

You know how, shoulders hiked nice and high, chin tipped back,
So the song has to climb its way out like a man from a mine.”


Listen to Stornoway’s Daytrotter Session

by Lefort in Music

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At the year’s mid-point, Stornoway’s Tales From Terra Firma remains amongst the Best Albums of 2013.  Our opinion was solidified when we caught their show in May at the Bootleg Theater in LA.  To get another good feel for the band, check out Daytrotter’s session with Stornoway HERE.  Daytrotter has thankfully pushed the band’s vocals to the forefront of the mix, thus spotlighting one of the band’s best attributes.  If you’re limited on time, click on The Ones We Hurt The Most, one of the Best Songs of 2013.


Review, Photos and Videos: Belle & Sebastian Lovefest at the Santa Barbara Bowl 10/17/13

by Lefort in Music


All photos: Greg Lawler

Scotland’s Belle & Sebastian brought their amiable big band to the Santa Barbara Bowl last night and gave the modest, but ardent, crowd one of the most entertaining and heartwarming shows of the year.  From the moment they walked onstage it was a lovefest between band and audience.  For many, given the band’s scant crossings of the Pond, it was the first time seeing them live.  While the band’s setlist was not a strict “Greatest Hits,” Belle & Sebastian did manage to hummingbird from one melodious album to the next from their deep discography, sampling many of their dulcet songs along the way.  The 13-piece band, led by singer-songwriter-dancer Stuart Murdoch and other core members Stevie Jackson, Chris Geddes, Richard Colburn, Sarah Martin, Mick Cooke and Bobby Kildea (further embellished with a savory string quartet and heavenly horns by Mick Crooke), was in fine fettle throughout despite some of the crew and equipment apparently having a difficult time making it from Austin to Santa Barbara in time for the show.  All’s well that ends well.

StewEntrada (2)

Belle & Sebastian opened with instrumental trollop, Judy is a Dick Slap, before segueing to crowd-pleasing I’m a Cuckoo, which set the crowd off into a night of dancing and crowd-singing.


Leader Stuart Murdoch engaged in heartwarming interaction with the crowd throughout the show, at one point requesting a fan apply mascara to him (during Lord Anthony, natch).  At another point, Murdoch invited a fan up to act as audience cue-card girl.  He also made a song-long foray into the Bowl audience, taking a tightrope walk along the Bowl’s stone wall while high-fiving fans and giving hugs to some wheelchaired fans along the way.  The interactive lovefest was capped off when the band invited 40 or so fans up stage to dance during favorite Boy With the Arab Strap (watch the video way below) and then invited them to stick around for Legal Man (during which some of the olders felt vindicated when Murdoch admonished the young dancers to “put down your phones”), before capping matters off by kicking B&S-emblazoned beachballs into the crowd.  In addition to a songwriting acumen that makes him the British-equivalent of Burt Bacharach, Murdoch is a gregariously engaging and empathetic leader in a live setting.


Though clearly the centerpoint, the show didn’t focus solely onMurdoch, as sidekick/guitarist Stevie Jackson took over lead vocals on To Be Myself Completely, and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Martin took a scintillatingly sonorous turn on I Can See Your Future.  After the Boy With The Arab Strap/Legal Man dance-fest, the band went on to close out their set with much-loved Judy and the Dream of Horses before returning for a short encore comprised solely of their hallmark song, the crowd-sing favorite Get Me Away from Here, I’m Dying.  Other song highlights of the show included The Stars of Track and Field (dedicated to Wimbledon-winner Andy Murray earlier in their tour), If You’re Feeling Sinister, and Piazza, New York Catcher (with its San Francisco touchstone references).


At show’s end, the Santa Barbara Bowl and its audience had an unmistakably warm glow about it (having nothing to do with the skunks Murdoch kept smelling).  While we were sad to see their set end, there are murmurings that the band will soon return to the studio to begin work on a new album, it’s first since 2o10.  We look forward, then, to the band returning to California near-term to give its audience continued contentment and joy.  Long live Belle & Sebastian!


Check out more photos from the show below, a video of the band performing Le Pastie De La Bourgeoisie, the fan-dance video, and the setlist.
















Judy Is a Dick Slap
I’m a Cuckoo
Le Pastie De La Bourgeoisie
The Stars of Track and Field
Dirty Dream Number Two
To Be Myself Completely
Lord Anthony
If She Wants Me
Piazza, New York Catcher
I Can Your Future
If You’re Feeling Sinister
Your Cover’s Blown
I Don’t Love Anyone
The Boy with the Arab Strap
Legal Man
Judy and the Dream of Horses

Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying

All photos: Greg Lawler