May, 2017 Archives

25
May

Aldous Harding Is A Woman “Imagining My Man”

by Lefort in Music

Given the given name of Aldous, we were leaning towards Huxley or some other chap. Nope. Aldous Harding is a decidedly female New Zealander whose just-released album Party (on 4AD) was produced by the talented John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels, M. Ward, Perfume Genius,Tom Brosseau). Our first introduction to Harding comes via the recent official video for her beguiling, Lorde-blessed song Imagining My Man, which you can watch below. The song opens with Cat Power/The National piano tones before introducing Harding’s exquisite (Kate Bush-like) vocals, then backing vocals by Perfume Genius’ busy-boy Mike Hadreas, and some Wall-esque kid-group screams of “Hey!!” and “Yes!!” And oh the mournful sax in the coda. So very good.

Go to the pickup-Party HERE.

Harding is out on tour and you can see all the dates (including a visit to Cali in June) HERE.

24
May

The Day-After in Manchester: Watch Broken Social Scene (with Johnny Marr) Perform Elegiac “Anthems for a 17 Year-Old Girl”

by Lefort in Music

Words cannot express….but music can. Despite Monday night’s heartbreaking events in Manchester, the Broken Social Scene show had to go on in Manchester last night. For the sake of Manchester. And on the first night of their European tour the band even managed to add to its grand numbers Manchester’s own Johnny Marr on guitar. With all the effected teenagers at the Ariana Grande show, Broken Social Scene opened appropriately with an elegiac performance of Anthems for a 17 Year-Old Girl that added gravitas beyond our normal takeaway from the anthem. And rightly so.

Watch the affecting performance below. Our prayers and best wishes to all affected by this nightmare.

19
May

We Strongly Recommend (Ahem) Cigarettes After Sex

by Lefort in Music

We are constantly confused by band names that seem purposely designed to hurt a band’s marketing efforts and popularity. Over the past decade-plus we’ve endured all possible variations of band names featuring the F-bomb (F-ed Up, etc., ad nauseum–at least Jenny Lewis used an acronym for NAF). While we’re certainly not petulant prudences, we don’t understand why bands intentionally handicap their possible broader acceptance with such names. It’s not as if these names shock the general public. While Cigarettes After Sex is a comparatively tame name, it’s still TMI, is (if you will) a mouthful (six syllables–hello? The Beatles? The Clash? Rolling Stones? U2? Blur?), and we detest cigarettes. Despite the name games, this Brooklyn band’s music is so compelling we have no choice but to recommend them to you.

Though the band has been bubbling under for quite some time, CAS began to get more attention in 2015 via their YouTube offerings. Smartly, Partisan Records then signed them and will release their self-titled debut album on June 9th.

We hadn’t given them much ear until we heard what we thought was a new Lana Del Rey song. But no, instead it was the androgynous vocal of CAS’ leader Greg Gonzalez. Sounding like a mash-up of Interpol interpreting Smiths songs with Lana Del Sandoval on vocals, CAS’s highly-romantic songs wash over you and enthrall with stirring melodies and evocative lyrics:

“Kisses on the foreheads of the lovers wrapped in your arms
You’ve been hiding them in hollowed out pianos left in the dark…”

To get a feel for the upcoming album, check out below the just-released Each Time You Fall In Love followed by Apocalypse. Both have been on repeat ever since we first heard the latter.

You can pre-order CAS debut album HERE.

The band is heading to Europe to tour in a few weeks and will hit the West Coast in September.  Get the dates and tickets HERE.


18
May

Listen To Another “Automatic” Anthem From Mondo Cozmo

by Lefort in Music

Well that didn’t take long. After first discovering the addicting anthems of Mondo Cozmo in March, the band has been lighting up stages everywhere opening for Bastille and is now a must-add for most festivals this summer (Sasquatch, Governor’s Ball, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, to name a few–see dates at bottom and get tickets HERE). And their homecoming show at the El Rey in September is sold out!

Word is out that the artist’s debut album, Plastic Soul, will be released later this year on Republic Records. We can’t wait! To whet our/your appetites further, Mondo Cozmo today released yet another anthem entitled Automatic. It’s another thrilling ride, maybe in automatic but with the pedal pounded to the floor. It’s also a great complement to the prior anthemic gems Shine, Hold On to Me, Higher, and Chemical Dream.

To quote the song: “It’s the end of the world and we’re doing it right.” Indeed!

Listen to Automatic below and bring on Plastic Soul!

Mondo Cozmo 2017 Tour Dates:
05/20 – Gulf Shores, AL @ Hangout Music Festival
05/26 – George, WA @ Sasquatch! Music Festival
05/28 – Boston, MA @ Boston Calling
05/30 – Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Ballroom
06/02 – Syracuse, NY @ The Lost Horizon
06/04 – New York, NY @ Governors Ball
06/06 – Covington, KY @ Madison Live!
06/08 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music Festival
06/10 – Mountain View, CA @ Live 105 BFD
06/15 – Dover, DE @ Firefly Music Festival
06/20 – London, UK @ The Lexington
06/24 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
07/14 – Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival
07/29 – Detroit, MI @ Mo Pop Festival
08/04 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
08/10-11 – San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands
09/15 – Burlington, VT @ Waterfront Park Burlington
09/22-24 – Las Vegas, NV @ Life is Beautiful
09/26 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre
10/17 – New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
10/20 – Columbia, SC @ Music Farm

17
May

Check Out Two Great New Songs from Grizzly Bear (Despite Teaser-Marketing Campaign)

by Lefort in Music

Thanks to the digital media revolution, we live in an age in which there is more high-quality entertainment content available than can possibly be consumed. You simply can’t keep up. Adding to this conundrum, more artists (including favorite music artists such as Radiohead and Feist) are engaging in “teaser” social media marketing campaigns that feature “teaser” blurbs and bits of songs (i.e. “Teaser Marketing”) in advance of the regular new-release marketing efforts. Due respect to the marketing “genius” that dreamed this up, but please: MAKE IT STOP. We’re reasonably certain there are analytics that marketers are palming off on artists to support these “teaser campaigns,” but from our vantage these campaigns are a waste of a band’s time and money, and an annoyance. We refuse to spend our time on (oft-times) unintelligible, context-less teaser clips and song-snippets when we can instead be sifting through new whole songs or albums by others. More importantly, why would we or any media outlet (we’re looking at you Pitchfk, Stereogum, Consequence of Sound, Spin, etc.) act irresponsibly and waste their readers’ time with such half-baked dross? Ultimately, these teaser campaigns may comprise so much “crying wolf” that the artists’ subsequent, fully-formed content is glossed over.

Take, for example, the recent teaser campaign for Grizzly Bear’s impending new album Painted Ruins. Since April 4th Grizzly Bear (another of our favorite bands) has released one cryptic sound-teaser after another. And we have purposefully ignored them all. So when the band finally revealed an actual, whole song (Three Rings) on May 4th, we completely missed it. Only today, when the band revealed a second new song (Mourning Sound), did we realize that the band’s teaser-campaign was over and actual songs were being revealed. All of which is a shame since both songs live up to the high standards we associate with Grizzly Bear.  Check ’em out below. Three Rings features the band’s signature high harmonies and musical mien, whereas the punny Mourning Sound has a new-wave chug that shares some classic 80s synthesizer inflections.

Confirming that we’re not alone in our teaser disdain, Grizzly Bear posted a mea culpa of sorts via Instagram.

Painted Ruins will be released on August 18th on RCA Records. Pre-order the album at iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play.

The band will also head out on tour this fall, including December dates in Cali. Check ’em out at bottom.

Tour Dates:

10/05 – Dublin, IE @ Vicar Street
10/06 – Manchester, UK @ Albert Hall
10/08 – Glasgow, UK @ O2 ABC
10/09 – London, UK @ O2 Academy Brixton
10/12 – Berlin, DE @ Columbiahalle
10/13 – Utrecht, NL @ Tivoli
10/14 – Brussels, BE @ Ancienne Belgique
10/16 – Paris, FR @ L’Olympia
11/01 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
11/02 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
11/03 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
11/07 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
11/09 – Knoxville, TN @ The Mill & Mine
11/12 – New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre
11/14 – Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle
11/15 – Orlando, FL @ House of Blues
11/16 – Miami, FL @ The Fillmore
11/18 – Mexico City, MX @ Corona Capital
11/26 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
11/27 – Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
11/28 – Park Township, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
12/01 – St. Paul, MN @ Palace Theatre
12/03 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
12/07 – Vancouver, BC @ Orpheum Theatre
12/08 – Seattle, WA @ Moore Theatre
12/09 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theatre
12/11 – San Francisco, CA @ Warfield Theatre
12/13 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern

 

16
May

Broken Social Scene’s “Hug Of Thunder”–The Second Highly-Anticipated Album of 2017 Featuring Feist

by Lefort in Music

When the standard “Mostly Highly Anticipated Albums of the Year” lists came out early in the year, we were left scratching our heads. Was it really possible that the hinted-at new album from Feist, one the best artists of our generation, would not make any of these lists?! You’re kidding, right? Nope. No mention was made of Feist’s album on Rolling Stone’sPitchfork’sConsequence of Sound’sStereogum’s or A.V. Club’s lists, to name but a few of the more popular music blogs. We won’t quarrel with some of the questionable artists on those lists (really? Sam Hunt, Little Big Town or soul-sucking Marilyn Manson?), but it is unfathomable to us that any such rags would leave Feist off those lists. Maybe a little too much internalized kool-aid is being swilled out there.

Feist’s album (which ultimately became her outstanding album Pleasure) has been at the top of our most highly anticipated albums, as has been the foreshadowed album from great Canadian ensemble Broken Social Scene (not to beat some dead media sites, but it’s worth noting that out of the above-referenced lists only Consequence of Sound included BSS’ album).

Thankfully news recently broke that Broken Social Scene will release it’s new album Hug of Thunder on July 7 via City Slang/Arts & Crafts. To whet appetites the band first revealed fullsome track Halfway Home (our Song of The Week). And now the band has released the title track to the album, which (coincidentally) features Feist. Double the anticipation.

The new album will feature 17 players including (in addition to Feist) original members Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw of Metric, Amy Millan and Evan Cranley of Stars, Charles Spearin and Ohad Benchetrit of Do Make Say Think.

With its opening minimalism and Feist’s rhythmically-delivered ruminations, Hug Of Thunder (lyrics at bottom) initially sounds as if it would fit pleasurably on Feist’s own Pleasure (high praise for the song). But as the song progresses BSS does its thing and adds on multiple layers of vocals, psychedelic sonics and warming effects to give it grandeur. Bravo!

Bring on a Hug of Thunder! You can pre-order the album HERE.

Hug Of Thunder:

“Many years before I kept track of the years I felt I would look back
Otherwise why did I write down everything that entered my mind
Check out these lines like I’m staring and I’m soon ticking when it is closed
In twenty holes how could I say what point I will gain perspective later on

No, I had to survive it by the soundtrack made of our short lives
Making sense of hologram ecology
I’ll be up crying, nursing into grace and
Hiding in the pages adding up to me

Eternity

‘Til I leave

It’s like a topography that is made from cartography of me
All those feelings everyday the bus stop pulls to size up the entire world
And while I broke your tubes and carving at me all the times I had done you wrong
I hope I’m sorry
Certain times in our lives come to take up more space than others

And time’s gonna take it
Time that Kenny said I broke in over the summer
It was the evening when he climbed that tree
I was afraid what he was doing inside so I
Followed him to stop a robbery

All along we’re gonna feel some numbness
Oxymoron of our lives
Getting fed up by the hunger
Supersize we found inside
He will know what’s real or numbness
Catching up and climbing life
Speaking like a hug of thunder
Lit up by the lights of dusk outside

All along we’re gonna feel some numbness
Oxymoron of our lives
Getting fed up by the hunger
Supersize we found inside
They won’t know us by our numbers
Catching up and climbing life
Speaking like a hug of thunder
Lit up by the lights of dusk outside

It was a military base across the street
We watch them training while we read

It was a military base across the street
We watch them training while we meet
We watch them training while we meet”

15
May

Britain’s Loyle Carner Begins U.S. Tour Tomorrow Night at Rickshaw Stop In San Francisco

by Lefort in Music

The fantastically talented Brit soul-rapper Loyle Carner is playing Bardot tonight in Hollywood tomorrow night at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. If it wasn’t for a lone performance at SXSW in 2015, tomorrow night tonight would be his debut in the U.S.. So to be safe we’ll just say that the soul-deep Carner is making his West Coast debut tomorrow night tonight, the first of only six shows in the States in support of his enthralling album Yesterday’s Gone, before returning to the UK to close out his tour (see dates HERE). As we wrote a few months ago, Carner is a 21-year old British rap/soul artist doing his best to transcend rap music’s stereotypical drugs and guns, and instead lift up family, lament the load of responsibility, pay tribute to musical fore-bearers, and grapple with faith and father figures (or the lack thereof. That’s all. His song Ain’t Nothing Changed is one of our favorite discoveries of the year. If you are capable of getting to the Rickshaw Stop tomorrow night Bardot tonight, do so or regret it later.

Below check out Damselfly, one of our other favorite tracks off of the superb Yesterday’s Gone album.

11
May

The National Deliver Spectacular New Sounds in Song; Announce Impending Album and World Tour

by Lefort in Music

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While you were sleeping or up all night talking to God, The National released a video (below) for new song The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness and announced that their highly-anticipated next album, Sleep Well Beast, will be released on September 8th on 4AD. Sleep Well Beast was produced by the band’s Aaron Dessner with co-production by twin Bryce Dessner and singer Matt Berninger. The album was recorded at Long PondAaron Dessner’s Hudson Valley, New York studio, with added recording sessions in Berlin, Paris & Los Angeles.

The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness (lyrics at very bottom) is a spectacular intro to the album, opening with Brian Wilson-esque high-harmonies and showing new musical cards, including agitated guitars, synthesized sounds and a ripping classic-guitar solo to go with Berninger’s vocals and the much-loved gestalt of the band. Check out the Casey Reas-directed video below.

Sleep Well Beast is available for pre-order HERE.

The band also announced a World Tour in support of the album beginning in September, with several California shows in October. See list of dates at bottom. Word to the wise: you need to pre-register to enter the lottery for the ticket pre-sale that begins Monday, May 15th HERE.  Public sale begins Friday, May 19th. Every ticket in North America will include a digital copy of Sleep Well Beast delivered on September 8th.

TRACK LIST:
Nobody Else Will Be There
Day I Die
Walk It Back
The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
Born to Beg
Turtleneck
Empire Line
I’ll Still Destroy You
Guilty Party
Carin at the Liquor Store
Dark Side of the Gym
Sleep Well Beast

WORLD TOUR:
06/21/17 – Glastonbury Festival – Glastonbury, UK
08/12/17 – HAVEN Festival – Copenhagen, DENMARK

9/16/17 – Cork Opera House / Sounds From a Safe Harbour – Cork, IRELAND
9/17/17 – Vicar Street – Dublin, IRELAND
9/18/17 – Vicar Street – Dublin, IRELAND
9/20/17 – Usher Hall – Edinburgh, UK
9/21/17 – Usher Hall – Edinburgh, UK
9/22/17 – O2 Apollo – Manchester, UK
9/23/17 – O2 Apollo – Manchester, UK
9/25/17 – Eventim Hammersmith Apollo – London, UK
9/26/17 – Eventim Hammersmith Apollo – London, UK
9/27/17 – Eventim Hammersmith Apollo – London, UK
9/28/17 – Eventim Hammersmith Apollo – London, UK
10/05/17 – Wang Theatre – Boston, MA
10/06/17 – Forest Hills Stadium – New York, NY
10/11/17 – Hollywood Bowl – Los Angeles, CA
10/12/17 – CalCoast Credit Union Open Air Theatre – San Diego, CA
10/14/17 – Greek Theatre – Berkeley, CA
10/21/17 – Elbphilharmonie – Hamburg, GERMANY
10/23/17 – Tempodrom – Berlin, GERMANY
10/24/17 – Tempodrom – Berlin, GERMANY
10/25/17 – AFAS Live – Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
10/28/17 – Coliseum – Lisbon, PORTUGAL
10/30/17 – Bozar – Brussels, BELGIUM
10/31/17 – Bozar – Brussels, BELGIUM
11/02/17 – 11/04/17 – Pitchfork Paris, Paris FRANCE
11/04/17 – Annexet – Stockholm, SWEDEN
11/05/17 – Annexet – Stockholm, SWEDEN
11/06/17 – Sentrum Scene – Oslo, NORWAY
11/07/17 – Sentrum Scene – Oslo, NORWAY
11/27/17 – Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall – Portland, OR
11/28/17 – Paramount Theatre – Seattle, WA
11/29/17 – Paramount Theatre – Seattle, WA
12/01/17 – Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Vancouver BC, CANADA
12/02/17 – Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Vancouver BC, CANADA
12/04/17 – Verizon Hall – Philadelphia, PA
12/07/17 – Metropolis – Montreal QC, CANADA
12/08/17 – Metropolis – Montreal QC, CANADA
12/09/17 – Sony Centre – Toronto ON, CANADA
12/10/17 – Hamilton Place Theatre – Hamilton ON, CANADA
12/12/17 – Civic Opera House – Chicago, IL
12/13/17 – Civic Opera House – Chicago, IL

The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness:

“Maybe I listen more than you think
And I can tell that somebody sold you
We said we’ve never let anyone in
We said we’d only die of lonely secrets

The system only dreams in total darkness
Why are you hiding from me?
We’re in a different kind of thing now
All night you’re talking to God

I thought that this would all work out after a while
Now you’re saying that I’m asking for too much attention
Also no other faith is light enough for this place
We said we’d only die of lonely secrets

The system only dreams in total darkness
Why are you hiding from me?
We’re in a different kind of thing now
All night you’re talking to God

I can’t explain it
How I’m any other, any other way
I can’t explain it
How I’m any other, any other way”

8
May

Live Review: Feist Provides Pure ‘Pleasure’ at The Palace

by Lefort in Music

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Photo by @LAMusicscene_

Until Saturday night we had never been at the right place at the right time to catch one of the fabulous Feist’s shows. When Leslie Feist, one of our all-time favorite artists, announced she would hold a three-night residency at the intimate Palace Theater in LA, the stars finally aligned. Anticipation ran high as Feist took the stage at the sold out venue with her superb three-piece band (two multi-instrumentalists/vocalists and drummer Paul Taylor). With her fantastic new album Pleasure only a week old, it was no surprise that her set focused on the plenty-pleasurable songs from the new album, all of which took on added luster, emotion and nuance live. It says volumes about the quality of Pleasure that at concert’s end its songs ranked right up there with the older favorites that Feist would go on to perform.

Photo by Lizzie Willett

Beginning with the title track, Feist performed the entire album in sequence before adding on a mix of “golden oldies” (her words). Sporting a full-length pink dress, Feist ferociously fingered her guitar on the propulsive and rowdy Pleasure and the audience erupted as the song came crashing to its powerful close. In addition to her astonishing, signature vocals, Feist is a gifted guitar player with masterful chops and a charming stage presence. She beguiled throughout the night. While difficult to single-out highlights from the Pleasure portion of the show, the comparatively delicate Lost Dreams (with its perfectly looped vocals and guitar) was found dreamy. And the dynamic Any Party (possibly our favorite song off the new album) wowed with its rambunctious romanticism, Feist’s stentorian vocals and a fabulous Feist-led sing-along of the chorus (“You know I’d leave any party for you/ ’cause no party is as sweet as our party of two”). On Any Party (and also on Baby Be Simple and A Man Is Not His Song) her vocals echoed legendary fellow-Canadian chanteuse Mary Margaret O’Hara [Ed: at bottom, watch Any Party as performed Sunday night at the Palace, with Feist’s long-time collaborator, LA-resident drummer/composer/producer Mocky guesting on drums]. Century was a forceful wall of sound (and lights), complete with Jarvis Cocker’s spoken-word interlude. I’m Not Running Away was powerful (see Toronto performance below), with Feist wailing on her bluesy electric guitar and soaring on vocals. The stay-young Young Up closed the Pleasure portion on a strong and encouraging note, with Feist fist-pumping along.

Photo by Lefort

Feist was in good spirits throughout her set, introducing songs, chatting with the audience and repeatedly leading clapping and singalong sequences. She introduced the A Man Is Not His Song by dedicating the song to her Broken Social Scene pal Kevin Drew who was in attendance (“Kevin, you were the first to hear these songs.”). She would later introduce 2007 hit I Feel It All, off of The Reminder, by reminiscing about touring in 2007 on a tour bus with then-openers Grizzly Bear, whose Ed Droste was also in the audience (“they’ve got a new album and I’ve got a new album…hmmm”).

Photo by Hannah McDaniel

Following Pleasure, the set moved into its “golden oldies” portion, with Feist inviting any slow-dance couples to come in front of the stage and do so (“like that scene from Back to The Future“). The audience heeded her call and rushed the stage for the crowd-pleasing remainder. On both My Moon My Man and Sea Lion Feist instigated crowd-clapping and sing-alongs to great effect. A stripped down, but revved-up version of her classic I Feel It All was revelatory (still) and joy-filled. Let It Die followed with Feist evincing her soulful vocal prowess to great effect. For the encore, Feist performed a rearranged, tempered version of her mega-hit 1234, allowing the song’s lyrics to take on a more sepia-toned, sagacious tone. Beauty.

After almost two hours of musical perfection, our losing streak had been broken. We had finally witnessed live one of the most talented artists of this generation. Vive la Feist!

Photo of Feist (lower left corner) from @feistmusic

6
May

The Decemberists and Olivia Chaney Combine to Form OFFA REX–Watch “The Queen Of Hearts” Video

by Lefort in Music

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Long-time Lefort-faves The Decemberists have combined with British folk revivalist Olivia Chaney to form OFFA REX.  The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy described the project thus:

“A few years ago, I had a chance to hear a record by a fantastic artist, one Olivia Chaney. She made a record called The Longest River and I was so taken by it, particularly her arrangement of the old folk song “The False Bride.” She seemed to me to be channeling the great female folk singers of the British folk revival: Sandy Denny, Anne Briggs, June Tabor, Norma & Lal Waterson, Shirley Collins and Maddy Prior. We invited her to open a bunch of Decemberists shows in 2015 and afterward I made a pitch to her: let us be the Albion Dance Band to your Shirley Collins. Let’s start a band. Let’s make a record of old folk songs that will be as much about rediscovering ancient songs as it is an homage to that incredible era of British music, the 60s and 70s folk revival. She, very kindly, agreed.

You can listen [below] to The Queen of Hearts, a song we learned from Martin Carthy. It’s about heartbreak in the face of unrequited love; to my ears it’s as fresh today as it was when it was written three hundred years ago. That’s kind of the spirit of the record.”

Check the performance video out below of the traditional song in all its updated, treacly-harpsichord, and breathless-vocal beauty.

Offa Rex will be playing a pair of shows in Portland and New York City in late July, leading into XPoNential Festival in Philadelphia and Newport Folk Festival. Along with The Decemberists own festival in Missoula, Montana in August.

And expect to see Offa Rex appear, mid-set, for a couple songs when Chaney opens The Decemberists’ summer tour dates. You can find all of the details HERE.

The Queen of Hearts album will be released July 7th via Nonesuch Records and you can pre-order it HERE.