April, 2017 Archives

28
Apr

Watch Gargantuan Gorillaz On Colbert Last Night

by Lefort in Music

Mastermind Damien Albarn (Blur, etc.) brought his gargantuan Gorillaz gang to Colbert last night as a prelude to today’s release of Gorillaz‘ first record in seven years entitled Humanz.  Check the emphatic performance below of Let Me Out, which features Pusha T and Mavis Staples (holla from a hologram). Albarn, Seye Adelekan, Jesse Hackett, Mike Smith, Karl Vanden Bossche, Gabriel Wallace, and Jeff Wooton performed with a copious choir, and with Pusha T pushing hard next to Albarn. Impressive stuff as usual from Albarn and his cohorts!

You can pick up Humanz HERE.

27
Apr

Reviewed: Radiohead Makes Triumphant Return to Santa Barbara Bowl

by Lefort in Music

Photos by Michael Allen

On April 11, Radiohead continued its sixteen-year love affair with the Santa Barbara Bowl. Beginning in 2001, Radiohead and its singer Thom Yorke (as leader of Atoms of Peace), have repeatedly skipped larger venues and cities to play our historic, comparatively-intimate amphitheater. Storied shows by Neil Young, Bob Marley, Joni Mitchell, The Band—and countless other legends—have lured highly-revered bands like Radiohead here just to experience the “Bowl magic.” In fact, Radiohead roundaboutly confessed to this connection and allure in 2001 when they twice covered Young’s Cowgirl in The Sand (the only time the band has performed the song in the U.S.).

So, it was no surprise when Radiohead announced its return yet again to the Bowl, the smallest venue on its entire 2017 world tour (and one of only nine U.S. shows), while on its way to headlining two weekends at Coachella and its massive crowds. As anticipated, the band wowed the Bowl crowd with a phenomenal 25-song show over the course of two-plus hours, adding another high mark in their singular history with the Bowl.

After an energetic opening set by cross-cultural, Jewish-Arabic band Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis, we watched Jonny Greenwood’s kids enthusiastically file into the wings for some Bowl-schooling, and prepared ourselves for the band hailed by many as the best live band on the planet. Over the span of their 25-year discography, Radiohead has established themselves as one of the most popular and influential bands, while continuously creating, re-inventing and improving their sounds and songs. Curiously, they’ve gained this stature despite their largely dystopian outlook. Never has such anxiety, paranoia and existential dread been turned on its (radio)head and meshed with such powerful music to bring comfort and lift to so many.

On Tuesday the band bowled over the Bowl crowd with their seamless six-piece synergy, which is fed by their individual virtuosity. Yorke is of course the focal point with his signature vocals and dance antics (but also his guitar-playing, which is underrated). Looming to the right though is Jonny Greenwood, a musical giant who provides the heart of the band’s sound with his compositions, unique guitar, keys and synths, glockenspiel, drums, radio, the theremin-like ondes Martenot and a host of other effects. Jonny’s brother Colin Greenwood is acknowledged as one of the most gifted bass players in rock and, together with outstanding drummer Philip Selway (augmented on tour again by percussionist Phil Deamer of Portishead), comprises a powerful but nuanced rhythm section. And then there’s Ed O’Brien, who provides proficient and ambient guitar, and whose harmony vocals never fail to enchant. Together they burn and bewitch. Add to the band’s members an ingenious light show that consistently adds to the songs and playing.

They opened with a fantastically spot-lit stage revealing Thom Yorke confidently arm-crossed and Jonny Greenwood bowed deeply at the piano to deliver their climate-change paean Daydreaming off their most recent, critically-acclaimed album, A Moon Shaped Pool. Several more sinuous songs from the new album revved up the crowd before the setlist shifted to a measured mix of old and new. Early highlights included In Rainbows’ All I Need (with Greenwood adding glockenspiel accents to Yorke’s orchestral piano flourishes) and the ultra-rare Subterranean Homesick Alien (which hadn’t been performed in California in 20 years), during which Yorke conducted the crowd to chilling effect as Jonny’s twinkling guitar and O’Brien’s jangle counterpart entwined perfectly. Identikit brought on Yorke’s first snake-dance and O’Brien’s first harrowing harmonies and ambient guitar to go with Jonny’s ever-inventive guitar-frippery.

Other highlights included the first encore’s Give Up The Ghost on which Yorke looped his mantra vocals and guitar to astounding, harmonized effect. Nude then induced chills with Yorke’s jaw-dropping operatic vocals on the supremely atmospheric song. Lotus Flower showed the band’s powerful ensemble playing with everything in its right place and Yorke railing on about lust and love. A potent Planet Telex (from The Bends) revealed the influences of The Who and their song Baba O’Reilly. Present Tense closed the encore with the band’s lacey three-part guitars.

The band returned for their second encore with You and Whose Army? Yorke’s eyeball-selfie visuals provided intentionally eerie effects throughout the song. The great dystopian anthem, OK Computer’s Let Down (another song not played in 20 years in California), provided the crowd with its first great singalong moment and they responded in kind. The otherworldly harmonies of Yorke and O’Brien did not let the audience down, proving once again that no matter how dark the band’s themes, the net effect on the band’s fans is usually inspiring and hope-filled. The band then barreled past the 10 pm curfew and finished with a ferocious, body-rattling read of Bodysnatchers.

While it would be easy to lament that the band didn’t perform any of their 10-15 most popular songs, the discerning Bowl crowd ate up the song riches the band delivered and walked away knowing that they had witnessed an extraordinary night of music and an extension of this unique band/venue love affair. Long may it run!

[Editor: This review was originally published by the Santa Barbara Bowl on its website HERE (including photos by A Arthur Fisher).]

26
Apr

Watch Warpaint Wow With “Whiteout” on Ellen Show

by Lefort in Music

Warpaint’s critically-acclaimed album Heads Up (released last fall) showed this talented band opening up their indie-rock sound to more pop elements. And it was a match made in heaven that bodes incredibly well for this band’s future. Warpaint is on a roll, having just wowed at Coachella and announcing that they are joining Depeche Mode (beginning in August, including the Santa Barbara Bowl on October 2nd) on the latter’s world tour. And today the band was featured performing their tremendous song Whiteout on the Ellen Show (Degeneres evidently hand-picked the song). Check out Warpaint’s outstanding performance below (filmed last week) and particularly the lovely playing and harmonies. Afterwards, check out a superb vignette of New Song as performed at Coachella.

Heads Up is out now on Rough Trade Records.

25
Apr

Supergroup Sufjan Stevens, Nico Muhly, Bryce Dessner (The National) and James McAlister To Release “Planetarium” Album–Listen to “Mercury,” “Saturn” and “Jupiter”

by Lefort in Music

Almost exactly one century after British composer Gustav Holst composed and first performed his seminal symphonic piece The Planets, Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner (The National), Nico Muhly, and drummer James McAlister will release an album of their own composition, Planetarium (see tracklist at bottom). Coincidence? We think not. One could think of Planetarium (loosely) as the updated, remixed, and extended The Planets, coupled with Steven’s stirring lyrics and vocals added. The ensemble first composed and performed Planetarium for the Brooklyn Academy Of Music in 2013 (watch their outstanding performance of Jupiter at BAM below) and are finally releasing the recorded version on June 9th.

To get a feel, the group today orbited the stirring track Mercury, the last piece on the album (which you can listen to below). They have previously revealed Saturn (listen after Mercury). As beautiful as the compositions are, neither Mercury nor Saturn seem particularly hospitable to humans with darkness aplenty (you know, like most of Stevens’ outstanding output). We can’t wait to dive deeper into this musical solar system.

The group has also announced the following tour dates to perform Planetarium, including at Hollywood Forever Cemetery:

07-10 Paris, France – Philharmonie de Paris
07-18 Brooklyn, NY – Prospect Park
07-20 Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Forever Cemetery
07-21 Oakland, CA – Fox Theater

Planetarium is out June 9th on 4AD which you can pre-order HERE

Planetariun tracklisting:

01. Neptune
02. Jupiter
03. Halley’s Comet
04. Venus
05. Uranus
06. Mars
07. Black Energy
08. Sun
09. Tides
10. Moon
11. Pluto
12. Kuiper Belt
13. Black Hole
14. Saturn
15. In The Beginning
16. Earth
17. Mercury

23
Apr

Watch Bon Iver Bring Out Jenny Lewis and Bruce Hornsby To Cover Still-Relevant “The End Of The Innocence” and Watch “33 God”

by Lefort in Music

We watched spellbound last Saturday as Bon Iver’s Coachella webcast unspooled in all its glory. What Justin Vernon can do to one’s soul with his overtly oblique songs must be witnessed and heard to be believed (to get a feel, watch the outstanding 33 God from that set last weekend in the second video). Jabberwocky-ish. But with soul for days.

On the second weekend of Coachella Bon Iver brought out a host of special guests last night, including Jenny Lewis and Bruce Hornsby who joined Bon Iver for Hornsby’s co-written The End of the Innocence (made famous by Don Henley and still relevant–see lyrics at very bottom). Watch that performance below. Later Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath helped out on FlumeNao aided on Michicant. and Francis (of Francis and the Lights) sang Francis’s Friends with Vernon. We’ll see if Coachella eventually graces us with video captures of the latter two.

The End of The Innocence:

“Remember when the days were long
And rolled beneath a deep blue sky
Didn’t have a care in the world
With mommy and daddy standin’ by
But “happily ever after” fails
And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers dwell on small details
Since daddy had to fly

Oh, but I know a place where we can go
Still untouched by men
Sit and watch the clouds roll by
And the tall grass waves in the wind
You can lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence

O’ beautiful, for spacious skies
But now those skies are threatening
They’re beating plowshares into swords
For this tired old man that we elected king
Armchair warriors often fail
And we’ve been poisoned by these fairy tales
The lawyers clean up all details
Since daddy had to lie

Oh, but I know a place where we can go
And wash away this sin
We’ll sit and watch the clouds roll by
And the tall grass waves in the wind
Just lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair spill all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocenceWho knows how long this will last
Now we’ve come so far, so fast
But, somewhere back there in the dust
That same small town in each of us
I need to remember this
So baby give me just one kiss
And let me take a long last look
Before we say goodbyeJust lay your head back on the ground
And let your hair fall all around me
Offer up your best defense
But this is the end
This is the end of the innocence”

20
Apr

Watch PJ Harvey Bring Her “Community of Hope” to Colbert Show

by Lefort in Music

Deservedly-revered British singer PJ Harvey is on tour in the US in support of last year’s critically-acclaimed, Grammy-nominated album The Hope Six Demolition Project. Last night Harvey made her first US TV appearance in six years on Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Watch below as Harvey and her roiling big band give a commanding performance of The Community of Hope (lyrics at bottom) off the album. Thought for sure we heard a localized version: “They’re going to put a wall right here.” Oh well. Keep the faith!

Harvey is headed to the West Coast in a few weeks. See all the dates at bottom and get ye there.

Tour Dates:
04/20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
04/21 – Philadelphia, PA @ Fillmore
04/22 – Richmond, VA @ The National
04/24 – Detroit, MI @ Royal Oak
04/27 – Dallas, TX @ Bomb Factory
04/28 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s
04/29 – Houston, TX @ Revention
05/02 – Denver, CO @ Fillmore
05/05 – Seattle, WA @ WAMU
05/07 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
05/09 – San Francisco, CA @ The Masonic
05/12 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Greek Theatre
07/15 – Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Music Festival
07/16 – Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival
07/19 – New York, NY @ Central Park Summerstage
07/21 – Vienna, VA @ WolfTrap
08/03-05 – Luhmühlen, DE @ A Summer’s Tale
08/04-06 – Katowice, PL @ OFF Festival
08/07-08 – Edinburgh, UK @ Edinburgh Internernational Festival
08/09-16 – Budapest, HR @ Sziget Festival
08/13 – Oslo, NO @ Spektrum
08/14 – Randers, DK @ Vaerket
08/17 – Hasselt, BE @ Pukkelpop
08/18 – Saint-Malo, FR @ La Route Du Rock
08/19-20 – Beacons, UK @ Green Man Festival
08/23 – Barcelona, ES @ Poble Espanyol
08/25 – Turin, IT @ TODAYS Festival
08/26 – Paris, FR @ Rock En Seine

The Community of Hope:

Here’s the Hope Six Demolition Project
stretching down to Benning Road
a well-known pathway of death,
(at least, that’s what I’m told).
Here’s the one sit-down restaurant
in Ward Seven. Nice.
Okay, now this is just drug town,
just zombies, but that’s just life.

The Community of Hope.

Here’s the highway to death and destruction,
South Capitol is its name.
The school looks like a shit hole –
does that look like a nice place?
Here’s the old mental institution
now the Homeland Security base.
Here’s God’s Deliverance Centre,
a deli called M.L.K.

The Community of Hope.

They’re gonna’ put a Walmart here.”

18
Apr

Watch Well-Captured Videos of Radiohead Performing Three Magnificent Songs at Coachella

by Lefort in Music

Despite the much-lamented sound issues that occurred during Radiohead’s headlining set last Friday at Coachella, as always the band triumphed in the end. We could speak (and have spoken) volumes about Radiohead and its exalted heights in music history, but it’s worth noting that this band remains (over 25 years after initially forming) one of the very few bands that refuses to give up and retrench and continues to innovate and renovate as a band. As when they slayed last Tuesday at the comparatively-diminutive Santa Barbara Bowl, the band could be heard  at the height of their powers during the webcast from Coachella. To get a feel for the Coachella and Santa Barbara Bowl sets, watch below three very well-captured videos of the band at Coachella.  Nude is particularly astounding owing to Thom Yorke’s operatic vocals. But Idiotique and Paranoid Android were not performed at the Santa Barbara Bowl, and each warrants repeated viewings (if for no other reason than Ed O’Brien’s superb harmony vocalists and interplay with Yorke, but also the addition of Middle Eastern elements to Idiotique and the band’s confident swagger, inspired guitar of Jonny Greenwood, and Yorke’s flawless vocals to go with O’Brien on Paranoid Android).

Don’t forget to watch (HERE) the webcast of Radiohead’s headlining set at Coachella this Friday night (we assume again at 10:40 pm, but please do double-check).

18
Apr

Watch Spoon Give Ellen “Hot Thoughts”

by Lefort in Music

Ellen DeGeneres has been inviting more and more interesting musical artists to her show (Anderson .Paak, etc.), and this morning she advised her studio audience that she’s “obsessed” (who isn’t??) with Spoon’s song Hot Thoughts, the title track off their “fantastic” new album. Check the inflaming performance of the song below. Wow. Otra vez en fuego (since they flew out after the show to play three dates in Mexico). Minor quibble for Spoon: so you’re in LA to do the Ellen show. How about favoring us with a concert or two while you’re at it? Watch the broadcast this afternoon and/or watch it below.

Go HERE to pick up the new album.

14
Apr

Watch Arcade Fire and Mavis Staples Perform Talking Heads’ “Slippery People”

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Watch Arcade Fire and Mavis Staples Perform Talking Heads’ “Slippery People” Comments

The magnitude of the Talking Heads oeuvre and talent has only become more obvious over time. Singing volumes, the Heads’ superb discography is repeatedly mined by artists for cover songs to repeated success. Take, for example, the live cover below of Slippery People by the marvelous Mavis Staples and Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, at a concert in Chicago in 2014. An official video of the concert has been released and AXS TV will broadcast it this Sunday (April 16). It’s also being released on June 2nd as a CD/DVD by Blackbird Presents.  Regardless, watch Staples, the Arcadians and big band render a rollicking cover of the superb song below.

Viva la Talking Heads! Been a few years since we first caught Talking Heads at the tiny Backdoor club at San Diego State University in September 1978 on the tour behind their first album (and many times after). Never a dull moment.

13
Apr

Check Out Exhaustive Coachella Webcast Schedule This Weekend–See Our Recommended Artists and Set-Times to Watch

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Check Out Exhaustive Coachella Webcast Schedule This Weekend–See Our Recommended Artists and Set-Times to Watch Comments

Something good has got to come out of it. And here it is. Coachella will webcast a good amount of this weekend’s performances live. Go HERE to watch on YouTube starting tomorrow (Friday) at 3:35 PT. See the schedule (and parenthetical channels) below and note our bolded must-see sets. Other possible viewings are asterisked(*).

Friday, April 14th:
03:35 – Tennis (1)
03:35 – Preservation Hall Jazz Band (2)
03:35 – Klangstof (3)
04:05 – Joseph (3)
04:10 – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (1)
04:25 – Sampha (2)
04:50 – The Lemon Twigs (3)
05:00 – Bonobo (1)*
05:10 – Broods (2)
05:35 – SOHN (3)
05:50 – Mac DeMarco (1)
06:00 – Francis and the Lights (2)
06:50 – Oh Wonder (2)
06:55 – Glass Animals (1)*
07:20 – Big Gigantic (3)
07:40 – Banks (2)
07:45 – Father John Misty (1)
08:10 – Crystal Castles (3)
08:30 – Richie Hawtin (2)
08:45 – Phantogram (1)*
09:00 – Mac Miller (3)
09:30 – Jagwar Ma (2)
09:35 – The xx (1)*
09:55 – Steve Angello (3)
10:20 – DJ Shadow (2)
10:40 – Radiohead (1)
10:55 – Empire of the Sun (3)
11:15 – Capital Cities (2)
11:50 – Dillon Francis (3)*
12:10 – D.R.A.M. (2)*

Saturday, April 15th:
03:35 – Local Natives (1)
03:35 – Arkells (2)
03:35 – Blossoms (3)
03:55 – Kaleo (2)
04:20 – Shura (3)
04:30 – Chicano Batman (1)
04:45 – Car Seat Headrest (2)
05:00 – Banks & Steelz (3)*
05:15 – The Head and the Heart (1)
05:40 – The Atomics (2)
05:45 – Autograf (3)
06:10 – Bastille (1)
06:25 – Roisin Murphy (2)
06:35 – Little Dragon (3)
07:15 – DREAMCAR (2)
07:20 – Two Door Cinema Club (1)*
07:25 – Mura Masa (3)
08:05 – Moderat (2)
08:15 – Gryffin (3)
08:20 – Future (1)
09:05 – Warpaint (2)*
09:10 – Tory Lanez (3)
09:15 – ScHoolboy Q (1)*
09:55 – Tycho (2)*
10:00 – Röyksopp (3)
10:15 – Bon Iver (1)
10:45 – DJ Snake (2)
10:55 – Martin Garrix (3)
11:25 – Lady Gaga (1)
12:00 – Gucci Mane (2)*
12:05 – Classix (3)

Sunday, April 16th:
03:35 – Ezra Furman (1)
03:35 – Grace Mitchell (2)
04:15 – Anna Lunoe (3)
04:25 – Whitney (1)
04:25 – Preoccupations (2)
05:15 – Toots & The Maytals (1)*
05:15 – Goldlink (2)
05:15 – NAO (3)*
06:10 – Grouplove (1)
06:10 – Jack Garratt (2)*
06:55 – Kaytranada (3)
07:00 – Kiiara (2)
07:20 – Future Islands (1)
07:55 – Tove Lo (2)
08:10 – DJ Khaled (3)
08:15 – Porter Robinson & Madeon (1)
08:40 – Hans Zimmer (2)
09:00 – Galantis (3)
09:20 – Lorde (1)*
09:45 – Kehlani (2)
09:45 – Justice (3)
10:25 – Kendrick Lamar (1)
10:30 – New Order (2)
11:05 – Marshmello (3)