June, 2014 Archives
by Lefort in Music
Hurray for the Riff Raff’s critically-acclaimed album Small Town Heroes has been on repeat at Chez Lefort ever since we became fixated on their song St. Roch Blues in the wake of Isla Vista (or, pick-a-town in our “gun-try”). Watch below as singer-songwriter Alynda Lee Segarra and band first perform (from last year on KEXP) The Body Electric, Segarra’s rending response to the murder ballad traditions. In the album’s notes, it is dedicated to the Indian woman gang-raped in 2012, Damini, making a recent link between violence and women, and the murder ballads’ crimes-of-passion themes. (As a footnote the song’s title derives from Damini’s translation–“lightning.”) Superb.
After, watch HftRR’s full performance a few days ago at KEXP in which they perform Blue Ridge Mountain, Levon’s Dream (Helm of course), End Of The Line and Everybody Knows. This is a seriously soulful artist on the scene.
by Lefort in Music
Much loved newcomers Sylvan Esso have recently released their super debut album. Proving that in addition to writing their own great tunes, they’ve got their fingers on the pulse of other upstart artists, Sylvan Esso have released their cover of Porches’ (who released their first album, Slow Dance Of The Cosmos, last year) song The Cosmos. Listen below as Sylvan Esso covers it and the listen to the superb original below it. Sylvan Esso’s is a more-refined, electro-augmented version, but the original rends. We love both. Check ’em out below.
by Lefort in Music
The Jamaicans say: “dem dat knows it, feels it.” Such is the case with the grinding and killing new song, Rent I Pay, from Spoon (who we first saw live when they opened for Guided By Voices in 1996). We throw up the words above only to show that you will feel this song so much more than its printed lyrics and sheet music. You can read the lyrics above, but if that’s all you do, you might miss the underlying payment and pain that simmers within. Specific lines do ring true such as “Out amongst the stars and stones, every kinda fortune gets old.” But this gritty rocker is more about the feel. Spoon feels it, and is set to release its new album They Want My Soul on August 5th via Loma Vista, their new label.
by Lefort in Music
We’ve been fans of Guided By Voices since the day we first heard their breakthrough, Desert Island album Bee Thousand in 1994. And then we caught GBV live in April 1995 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco while they were out on the Alien Lanes tour. We’ve been hopeless devotees of the band ever since (though we will admit to wilting somewhat under the weight and girth of GBV’s and leader Robert Pollard’s prolific recorded output). In 1995, they powered and swaggered through a lo-fi, anthem-riddled setlist while hammering big bottles of booze and chain-smoking away. Straight outta Dayton. The band (Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell and Greg Demos at the core) had the crowd completely enamored with Pollard’s high-kicks, leaps, and Daltrey-esque mic-swings, Mitch Mitchell’s guitar-windmilling and chain-smoking, bassist Greg Demos’ outfits and plowing bass, and 33 songs (all between 60 and 120 seconds long). It was so powerful a performance that it caused us to forget until recently that Elliot Smith(!) was one of the openers that night. The next year in 1996 at the GAMH, Spoon opened for GBV, on the Under The Bushes Under The Stars tour, and the band solidified its rightful place in our top live-bands-of-all-time echelon.
Fast forward through partial and complete breakups (in 2004), solo albums, and label-squabbles to their 2010 reunion and the band releasing six (!) new albums in the last 2-1/2 years. Having not seen them since 1996, when we heard the band was at last headed to California and a show at the Fonda Theater last Friday the 13th, we couldn’t wait to catch ’em again. In short, at the Fonda GBV once again restored our faith in rock ‘n roll and powered through 48 songs (like almost every night of this tour–see the setlist at bottom).
Thankfully, in many ways not much has changed since those San Francisco shows. Yes, the band’s members have aged over those 20 years, but at the Fonda Pollard still had the high-kicks, leaps, stage-spits and mic-twirls, Mitchell still chain-smoked throughout while hitting the Cuervo bottles and beers hard with Pollard, Greg Demos (with his signature attire and heart-attack-level effort) and Kevin March passionately played and mouthed the words to the songs as if they were their own, and Tobin Sprout still added his seriously underrated guitar, songs and vocals to the mix. What has changed these days is the band’s generation-spanning, mosh-happy audience. There were tons of twentysomethings to mix with back-in-the-day fans and mosh and sing at the top of their lungs. It was a joyous, heartwarming atmosphere.
As for the music itself, in the first third of the set GBV rightfully concentrated on their two most recent albums, last year’s fantastic Motivational Jumpsuit and the impressive, just-released Cool Planet. Pollard urged the crowd to really jump onto the new songs cause “they’re big hits!” And he isn’t wrong. Many of the songs from their last four albums should, in a better world, be “big hits,” such as the well-delivered Littlest League Possible, Pan Swimmer, Planet Score, Vote For Me Dummy, Xeno Pariah and Record Level Love (minor squabble: where were two of the best new songs Islands (She Talks in Rainbows) and Save The Company?). As great as the new songs are, it took the old “hits” to fully-ignite the age-spanning crowd. And ignite they did on Buzzards and Dreadful Crows and Gold Star For Robot Boy, though there wasn’t a complete crowd-conflagration until the band fired up fan-favorite Tractor Rape Chain. The singalong stimulants during the set were Teenage FBI, Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory, I Am a Scientist, Game of Pricks, Motor Away and night-closer A Salty Salute. Other highlights were several spare ballads (14 Cheerleader Coldfront) on which Pollard and Sprout supplied their surprisingly deft harmony vocals.
Throughout the night Pollard was effusive about LA (“this great city”), and flipped, caught and handed out multiple beers to the audience from his magic bucket while calling the generation-spanning crowd “kids.” Pollard also assayed the band’s early albums and provided his (many) opinions on various record labels (Matador the only one that received Pollard-praise and went unscathed). By night’s end Pollard might have slurred a word or two, but it didn’t affect his singing, stage antics or high-kicks.
Regardless, the show was yet another phenomenal showing from this never-say-die band. Make sure you pick up their recent albums HERE and catch them the next time they come to town (they remaining dates of their tour are listed below the setlist).
Long live Guided By Voices!
Hat of Flames
Alex and the Omegas
Buzzards and Dreadful Crows
A Bird with No Name
Wished I Was a Giant
Littlest League Possible
Gold Star for Robot Boy
Vote for Me Dummy
Record Level Love
Table at Fool’s Tooth
Tractor Rape Chain
The Challenge Is Much More
He Rises! Our Union Bellboy
All American Boy
You Get Every Game
Males of Wormwood Mars
Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory
I Am A Scientist
Game of Pricks
How I Met My Mother
Shocker in Gloomtown
Unleashed! The Large Hearted Boy
Second Encore (Pollard: “If it’s OK with you, how about we just skip that leaving the stage and coming back for the third encore part?”):
A Good Flying Bird
14 Cheerleader Coldfront
Smothered in Hugs
Quality of Armor
A Salty Salute
6.20.14 Madison, WI – Barrymore Theatre *
6.21.14 Chicago, IL – Green Music Festival
6.22.14 Minneapolis, MN – Rock The Garden @ Walker Arts Center &
7.10.14 New Haven, CT – Toad’s Place@
7.11.14 New York, NY – Irving Plaza #
7.12.14 Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club #
8.22.14 Huntington, NY – Paramount Theater %
8.23.14 Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony %
11.7.14 – 11.9.14 Austin, TX – Fun Fun Fun Fest
* with Bobby Bare, Jr.
& with Spoon & Kurt Vile
# with Crystal Stilts
@ with Speedy Ortiz
% with Boogarins
Color photos: courtesy of Bill Cuttler
by Lefort in Music
David Letterman finished the week strong in the music realm. On Wednesday Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit showed up in support of their newly-released album Stay Gold (produced by Bright Eyes producer Mike Mogis) and performed their outstanding new song My Silver Lining. Listen as these gold-embossed gals sing like the angels (so much so that Letterman advised the sisters that he is moving to Stockholm and “would be happy to run errands”).
And then last night Letterman had on the incomparably talented Janelle Monáe. With the World Cup starting yesterday, Monáe’s performance was timed to coincide with her Pepsi-sponsored, World Cup-themed take on Bowie’s Heroes. Monáe’s good-footed performance is, as always, a gigantic joy to behold.
Bring on that World Cup!
Watch Courtney Barnett Perform Songs and Cover Lou Reed (with Billy Bragg) on WFUV, RocKwiz and Nowness
by Lefort in Music
As mentioned repeatedly on these pages, we are huge fans of Melbourne’s upstart artist Courtney Barnett. Her staccato delivery of deadpan, well-wrought lyrics is a refreshing change borne of Lou Reed/Velvets/Dylan/Pavement influences (in other words: the best there is). All the while during her current tour, we’ve been receiving rave reviews from afar of Ms. Barnett’s and her band’s sets as openers for Phosphorescent. If you’ve missed any of those dates, all remaining tour dates are listed below. Get ‘ye there.
To give you a feel for what you’ve/we’ve been missing, WFUV has today released two rousing performances by Barnett and trio performing tracks David and Avant Gardener (sorry for the multiple vantages of the latter, but it bears repeating) off of her fantastic The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas. Check ’em out below.
Afterwards, watch as Barnett and the illustrious Billy Bragg perform Velvet Underground’s/Lou Reed’s Sunday Morning on the awesome Aussie TV show, RocKwiz. And finally at bottom, watch Barnett’s Nowness/Yours Truly session (get the picture? barn and Barnett?) where she performs Ode to Odetta and scrabbles regarding Los Angeles appearing to be one big movie set. Yeah. So?
Courtney Barnett is a bright new talent on the scene, and with any justice she will take over the world’s airwaves. Elle est tres charmant, non? Oui! Bien sur.
North American Tour Dates /
06.12.14 – Georgia Theatre – Athens, GA *
06.14.14 – Music Hall Of Williamsburg – Northside Festival – Brooklyn, NY **
06.15.14 – The Surf Lodge – Montauk, NY
06.17.14 – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY **
06.18.14 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA **
06.19.14 – Firefly Festival – Dover, DE
06.20.14 – 06.22.14 – Silver Dollar – NXNE Festival – Toronto, ON
06.24.14 – Varsity Theater – Minneapolis, MN **
07.01.14 – Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO ^^
07.02.14 – Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT ^^
07.04.14 – Fortune Sound Club – Vancouver, BC ^^
07.05.14 – Neptune – Seattle, WA ^
07.07.14 – The Triple Door – Seattle, WA
07.30.14 – Schubas Tavern – Chicago, IL
08.01.14 – Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL
08.02.14 – Osheaga Festival – Montreal, QC
08.03.14 – Pickathon Festival – Happy Valley, OR
08.07.14 – Casbah – San Diego, CA
08.08.14 – Pappy and Harriets – Pioneertown, CA
08.08.14 – 08.10.14 – Outside Lands Festival – San Francisco, CA
11.07.14 – Fun Fun Fun Fest – Austin, TX
* w/ Phosphorescent
** w/ Benjamin Booker
^ w/ Sharon Van Etten
^^ w/ Your Friend
by Lefort in Music
It’s been quite a week for Jack White. Following on the heels of his lively, hectoring appearance on The Tonight Show on Monday and the release of his artfully-agro new solo album Lazarreto on Tuesday, last night White appeared on Conan and NPR broadcast his entire concert (all two hours of it, including White Stripes, Raconteurs and Hank Williams songs) at the Fonda Theater in LA. You can watch all of the Conan participation below and his entire Fonda show on NPR HERE.
On Conan, the comparatively subdued new songs Temporary Ground and Alone In My Home were well-wrought and a welcome wind-down from the more incendiary fare presented by White.
Alone In My Home:
by Lefort in Music
And in our seemingly weekly Sylvan Esso news, the dynamic duo was recently caught by Noisey on a Brooklyn rooftop with added horn quartet and handclapper/wine-bottler. Watch as the group performs a stripped down acoustic version of their catchy Hey Mami. Amelia Meath prefaced the performance by explaining that the song is addressed to ridiculous cat-calling harassers. The performance recalls Paul Simon motifs and rhythms, updated well. Simply superb.
by Lefort in Music
At long last, the stupendous New Pornographers have announced they will release their new album The Brill Bruisers on August 26th on Matador Records. The album was recorded by/with the fantastic lineup of A.C. Newman, Neko Case, Dan Bejar (Destroyer), Blaine Thurier, John Collins, Kathryn Calder, Kurt Dahle, and Todd Fancey. Listen to the album’s ebullient, rocking title track and/or click on the prompt to go over to the band’s site and “paint” the song in full palette. Following on the heels of Newman’s last contemplative and heavy solo album, Shut Down The Streets, Newman says about The Brill Bruisers: “This is a celebration record. After periods of difficulty, I am at a place where nothing in my life is dragging me down and the music reflects that.”
It’s early in the week, but we’re calling it now after listening to the song on repeat for ours: its the Song of the Week.
The new album’s tracklist is below (Champions of Red Wine has to be great!) and the band’s tour dates (Cali: they come to Cali mid-October, including The Wiltern) follow the video (tickets HERE).
1 Brill Bruisers
2 Champions Of Red Wine
3 Fantasy Fools
4 War On The East Coast
6 Marching Orders
7 Another Drug Deal Of The Heart
8 Born With A Sound
9 Wide Eyes
10 Dancehall Domine
13 You Tell Me Where
07/18-20 Pemberton, BC @ Pemberton Music Festival
08/29-31 Edmonton, AB @ Sonic Boom Festival
09/06 Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theatre
09/06-07 Toronto, ON @ Riot Fest
10/05-06 Seattle, WA @ The Showbox*
10/08 Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom*
10/09 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory*
10/10 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot*
10/11 Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre*
10/13 Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom*
10/14 Tuscon, AZ @Rialto Theatre*
10/15 Pioneertown, CA @Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace*
10/17 Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern*
10/18 San Diego, CA @ North Park Theatre*
11/04 Nashville, TN @ Cannery Ballroom*
11/05 Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel*
11/06 Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre*
11/07 New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre*
11/07-09 Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun Fest
11/10 St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant*
11/11 Omaha, NE @ Slowdown*
11/13 Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater*
11/14 Chicago, IL @Riviera Theatre*
11/15 Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues*
11/17 New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom*
11/19 Boston, MA @ House of Blues*
11/20 Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer*
11/21 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club*
11/23 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle*
*w/ The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart