‘Music’ Category Archives

18
Oct

Miya Folick Wears Her Redress Well in New Song “Thingamajig” Off Impending Debut Album

by Lefort in Music

We’ve raved about Miya Folick since first encountering her music in 2015. Since then Folick has gone on to thrash and feather and frolic among disparate modes and sounds, including some agro-punkish forays. Folick’s most recent release, single Thingamajig, can be heard below and is from her highly anticipated debut album Premonitions on Terrible Records/Interscope. Thingamajig is a stunningly beautiful song that can stop you in your tracks and cause you to forgive and labor in love. We’re sorry, but we love this song.

Folick explains, “The first song on my album is called THINGAMAJIG. It’s about realizing you were wrong, apologizing, and relinquishing control. It feels pretty relevant right now, so I’m putting it out…. I know that I have people I need to say sorry to. I think most people do. I think some people have bigger apologies to make than others. I want to hear you say you’re sorry.”

Check out the song below and lyrics after. In particular, we love this couplet: “I am smiling wide, I’m the reason the sky is blue.” We have loved artists’ use of the “I am” aggrandizement, and Folick’s is another to add to the likes of The National (“I’m a festival, I’m a parade”). Thinking big thoughts.

You can listen to three other songs from Premonitions and pre-order it HERE.

Folick kicks off a worldwide tour at LA’s vaunted Troubadour this Monday, October 22nd.  Get tickets HERE.

“All the hands I’ve made
Grow in time
Feel my light
Your plastic bones are mine

If you want to be angry
I don’t mind. I’ll let you go
If you want to be angry
I don’t mind. I’ll leave you alone

I am sorry
I know I am wrong

So take it all
I want to be out of control
So take it all
I want to be out of control

I am smiling wide
I’m the reason the sky is blue
Careful design
Was poured into me and poured into you

If you want to be angry
I don’t mind. I’ll let you go
If you want to be angry
I don’t mind. I’ll leave you alone

I am sorry
I know I am wrong

So take it all
I want to be out of control
So take it all
I want to be out of control

Only you know what to do now
Only you know what to do
Only you know what to do now
Only you know what to do”

2
Oct

Watch The National Perform “Dark Side of the Gym” (with Dancers) on The Tonight Show

by Lefort in Music

Last night ever-busy The National performed on The Tonight Show. We were wondering what/how they would play that would transfer well to the TV studio and format. We imagined lead-singer Matt Berninger’s possible trademark singalong with the studio audience or some special accompanying singers such as Phoebe Bridgers, Cat Power or possibly Sharon Van Etten (more about her later today). What we didn’t imagine is that the band would engage two dancers to gracefully lace their endearing Sleep Well Beast song Dark Side of the Gym.

True confession: without any judgment of the good souls who love and engage in the art-form, dance is easily our least favorite genre. We’re not the best “dancers” (slow or otherwise). And we don’t generally appreciate others dancing and especially anything even remotely in the “interpretive dance” realm. So when we heard about our favorite American band performing with dancers on The Tonight Show, we were prepared for copious eye-rolling and embarrassment on our and others’ parts. But as you can see below, Justin Peck (New York City Ballet resident choreographer) and former Miami City Ballet principal dancer Patricia Delgado, added graceful, inventive dancing that coalesced perfectly with the song. Bravo!

In the meantime, the best live American band did what they do best (in, for them, a more contemplative and nuanced performance).

Check it out below.

5
Sep

Check Out Thom Yorke’s Exemplary New Song “Suspirium” from “Suspiria” Remake Soundtrack

by Lefort in Music

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By many accounts the 1977 film Suspiria directed by Dario Argento was a “horror classic.” Whatever. Unlike many, we don’t “do” horror movies because: life. Plenty of day-to-day horrors without adding more.

Nonetheless, now comes director Luca Guadagnino’s new reimagining of Suspiria featuring a Thom Yorke soundtrack that combines an instrumental score with songs and interludes in a double-album. XL Recordings will release Yorke’s soundtrack on October 26th.

Yorke has released the first song entitled Suspirium from the soundtrack via the video below featuring animated dancing. Suspirium is quintessential Yorke piano-balladry, featuring his other-worldly vocals and his enigmatic, dystopian-doublespeak lyrics (at bottom). In short: beauty abounds. Hopefully the placement in the film will provide contextual insights into the lyrics.

You can pre-order the Suspiria soundtrack HERE.

“This is a waltz thinking about our body
What they mean for our salvation
Only the clothes that we stand up in
Just the ground on which we stand
Is the darkness ours to take?
Bathed in lightning, bathed in heat

All is well, as long as we keep spinning
Here now, desert on a wall
Only old songs and laughter we hear
I’m forgiven always and never been true

When I arrive you come and find me
In a crowd you want around
All the road signs black with silence
Now tomorrow’s at peace”

31
Aug

Check Out Great New Songs/Videos from Debut Album of Big Red Machine (Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner)

by Lefort in Music

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Virtually everything that the members of Bon Iver and The National touch turns to musical gold. Both those bands are, for us, at the top of the indie-rock realms. And when their members step out and collaborate with others, more magic ensues. Whether via Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon’s varied productions or his collaborations in Volcano Choir or Sean Carey’s soaring solo recordings, or via The National’s Matt Berninger’s El Vy project or the Dessner Twins’ various projects and productions, these members consistently create fecund musical fields and savory song harvests. Vernon’s and Aaron Dessner’s new project Big Red Machine is yet another example.

Ramping up a collaboration that began eons ago (via the Big Red Machine song included in the Dark Was The Night fundraiser) Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner have today released The Big Red Machine’s debut album that once again inflames the ineffable (with inevitable f-ables). Vernon and Dessner have repeatedly collaborated before. They founded the Eaux Claires Festival and recently developed (with Bryce Dessner) a new music/artist platform dubbed PEOPLE, which seeks to further artistic collaboration. Now comes Big Red Machine. And we’re all in.

The album reflects both Bon Iver’s and The National’s recent entreaties to electronica, but still features Vernon’s affecting, post-Expressionist lyrics, guitar plenitude and melodies befitting of both bands. The luminous list of participants is similarly impressive: Bryce Dessner, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, the unjustly unsung Lisa Hannigan, fulgent Phoebe Bridgers, the earth-eclipsing harmonists The Staves, and This is the Kit’s Kate Stables.

To match the release of their eponymous album, Big Red Machine has delivered videos for three of our favorite songs off the album: Forest Green, Gratitude and the comparatively folkified I Won’t Run From It.  Forest Green is a particular highlight, with its emotionally propelling bass-line and Vernon’s enigmatic lyrics that can’t help but tug the heartstrings. Who doesn’t want to give or receive more time? The inventive videos were directed by Eric Timothy Carlson and Aaron Anderson.

You can pick up the album HERE. Or stream it HERE.

25
Jul

Listen: Iron & Wine Releases Sublime “What Hurts Worse” Song From New EP

by Lefort in Music

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Last year Iron & Wine released one of our favorites and Best Albums of 2017 with its Grammy-nominated album Beast Epic. We loved it on first listen, but the album continued to grow on us with months and months of repeated listens, sewing many ear-seeds and bearing bushels of musical fruit the longer we listened. Such are the songs of Sam Beam. Why just last week we marveled at Beast Epic‘s resiliency. People: the album comes highly recommended. And give it lots of time to gestate.

Now comes good news: Sam Beam and pals (Joe Adamik, Jim Becker, Rob Burger and Teddy Rankin-Parker) will on 8/21 release a follow-up EP entitled Weed Garden on Sub Pop on August 21st. The band’s press release indicates that Weed Garden features six songs written during the Beast Epic phase that weren’t completed until coming to fruition now. Based on the first song below, the wowing What Hurts Worse (lyrics at bottom), the new release is definitely a part of Beast Epic and yet furthers Iron & Wine’s stunningly good discography. Listen to What Hurts Worse below in all its melodious, well-coiffed beauty.

Weed Garden is now available for preorder on CD/LP (limited amber versions)/DL/CS on Sub Pop HERE.

Finally check out (below the video) the tour dates (including Cali in late September) of the band’s world tour this fall.

Weed Garden
Tracklisting:

1.    What Hurts Worse
2.    Waves of Galveston
3.    Last of Your Rock ‘n’ Roll Heroes
4.    Milkweed
5.    Autumn Town Leaves
6.    Talking to Fog

Iron & Wine Tour Dates:

Sep. 21 – Kansas City, MO – Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland*
Sep. 22 – Denver, CO – Paramount Theatre*
Sep. 23 – Salt Lake City, UT – Capitol Theatre*
Sep. 24 – Boise, ID – Revolution Center*
Sep. 26 – Eureka, CA – Arkley Center for the Performing Arts*
Sep. 27 – Sacramento, CA – Crest Theatre*
Sep. 28 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues*
Sep. 29 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre*
Sep. 30 – Sante Fe, NM – Lensic Performing Arts Center*
Oct. 2 – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom*
Oct. 3 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant^
Oct. 4 – Milwaukee, WI – The Pabst Theater*
Oct. 5 – Bloomington, IL – Castle Theatre*
Oct. 6 – Columbus, OH – Southern Theatre*
Nov. 2 – Ann Arbor, MI – Michigan Theater**
Nov. 3 – Toronto, ON – Queen Elizabeth Theatre**
Nov. 4 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre**
Nov. 6 – Portland, ME – State Theatre**
Nov. 7 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount**
Nov. 8 – Glenside, PA – Keswick Theatre**
Nov. 9 – Norfolk, VA – NorVa**
Nov. 10 – Raleigh, NC – Meymandi Concert Hall**
Nov. 12 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium**
Nov. 14 – Augusta, GA – Miller Theater**
Nov. 15 – Tampa, FL – Tampa Theatre**
Nov. 16 – Atlanta, GA – Buckhead Theatre**
Nov. 17 – Memphis, TN – Orpheum Theatre**

*w/ Erin Rae
** w/ Ohmme
^ w/ Carl Broemel

What Hurts Worse:

“Let’s forget whatever we lost
Rolling around in the weeds
Finding ourselves broken
Looking for light on the floor
Let’s become the lovers we want
Banging our heads in the fog
Flowers will close and open
Life going by like we care
One day is whatever we make (whatever we make)
From pieces off the side of a road (whatever we make)
Walked on our map of what hurts
What hurts worse

Let’s become the lovers we need
Who knew we’d be needing so much
We keep finding ourselves broken
Tossed in the yard with the bones
And let’s forget whatever we know
Knowing all too little, too late
Laying down in our own horizon
Letting that water hit home

Let’s become the lovers we want
(Let’s become the lovers we want)
Let’s become the lovers we need
(Let’s become the lovers we need)
Let’s become the lovers we want
(Let’s become the lovers we want)
Let’s become the lovers we need
(Let’s become the lovers we need)”

13
Jul

The Best Songs of 2018 (So Far)

by Lefort in Music

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Tomorrow is Quatorze Juillet (Bastille Day), which for us marks the end of the first half of the year. And it provides the perfect excuse to ensnare you with our Best Songs of 2018 (so far). Check all the songs out above. You will find the list dominated by songs from Damned Devotion a career-best album from the sensational Joan As Police Woman. Damned Devotion will undoubtedly be near or at the top of our Best Albums of 2018 list at year’s end. Joining Damned Devotion will doubtlessly be this year’s albums from Australia’s nascent Middle Kids (Lost Friends) and from the always-reliable Okkervil River (In The Rainbow Rain). Each is well-represented in our Best Songs of 2018.  You will also find multiple songs from the exceptional Janelle Monae, Leon Bridges, Kendrick Lamar (via the stellar Black Panther soundtrack), the seminal Stephen Malkmus (and the Jicks), Neko Case, Car Seat Headrest, The Decemberists and the welcome return of Wye Oak. Finally, you will find phenomenal newcomers Snail Mail, Saba, Stella Donnelly, Miya Folick and Rainbow Kitten Surprise. As you will hear, it’s been a great first half of the year for songs. Let’s hope the year finishes just as strong.

22
Jun

Check Out Laura Marling’s Compelling New “LUMP” Collab with Mike Lindsay

by Lefort in Music

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We were called away for a while, but are now back. While we were away, LUMP, the new collaboration between Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay ( Tunng and Throws) began emitting desirable sounds and objects, ultimately releasing their eponymous debut album on June 1st via Dead Oceans. As we’re sure you’re aware, Marling has had a deep and successful solo career and discography. But based on her earlier band roles (in particular as a member of the now-defunkt Noah and the Whale) and now in LUMP, this band structure may comprise Marling’s best mode.

What initially caught our attention was LUMP’s phenomenal first single, Curse Of The Contemporary, from the album and its mesmerizing official video. Check the official video below and then their fantastic live performance of the song on Later with Jools Holland. We are suckers for any California-centric lyrics, but coupled with the song’s musical motifs, the song is highly addictive. The song’s lyrics are at bottom. Great stuff!

Next check out two other great tracks off the album. Late To The Flight is the album’s opening track. It opens with electronic atmospherics before Marling’s finger-picked guitar joins the “crooner in crisis.” Listen below. Afterwards check out the darkly infectious May I Be The Light. We love its “new libidinal concepts” and Joni-esque bridge.

You can order or stream the album HERE.

LUMP Tracklist:
1. Late To The Flight
2. May I Be The Light
3. Rolling Thunder
4. Curse Of The Contemporary
5. Hand Hold Hero
6. Shake Your Shelter
7. LUMP is a Product (credits)

Curse of the Contemporary

“If you should be bored in California
I’m sure not the first to warn you
Don’t read in too much to all the signs and turns
Keep your wits about you
and your mind freedom

If you should be bored in California
I’m sure I’m not the last to warn ya
The natives scaled the mountains for the promise of the sea
But deemed the land unworthy of them evidently

We salute the sun because
When the day is done
We can’t believe what we’ve become
Something else to prey upon
Evidently it’s just another vanity
Another something to believe
The curse of the contemporary

We salute the sun because
When the day is done
We can’t believe what we’ve become
Something else to prey upon
Evidently it’s just another vanity
Another something to believe
The curse of the contemporary

If you should be bored in California
I’m sure not the first to warn ya
Don’t read in too much to all the signs and turns
Keep your wits about you and your mind freedom

If you should be bored in California
I’m sure I’m not the last to warn ya
The natives scaled the mountains for the promise of the sea
But deemed the land unworthy of them evidently

We salute the sun because
When the day is done
We can’t believe what we’ve become
Something else to prey upon
Evidently it’s just another vanity
Another something to believe
The curse of the contemporary

We salute the sun because
When the day is done
We can’t believe what we’ve become
Something else to prey upon
Eidently it’s just another vanity
Another something to believe
The curse of the contemporary”

18
May

Watch Courtney Barnett and Band Ragin’ on The Tonight Show

by Lefort in Music

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A week ago, we caught Courtney Barnett in full flight at the intimate Pico Union Project. Last night, in advance of today’s release of her new album Tell Me How You Really Feel, Barnett and blazing band set The Tonight Show afire with their raging performance of Nameless, Faceless off the new album (lyrics at bottom). Watch below. We particularly loved the mix, with the vocals mixed way up and highlighting the band’s harmonies. And of course Courtney’s guitar playing was perfect throughout. Brava!

You can order/stream the fantastic new album HERE.

Nameless, faceless

Don’t you have anything better to do
I wish that someone would hug you
Must be lonely
Being angry
Feeling over-looked.
You sit alone at home in the darkness
With all the pent-up rage that you harness
I’m real sorry
Bout whatever happened to you

I wanna walk through the park in the dark
Men are scared that women will laugh at them
I wanna walk through the park in the dark
Women are scared that men will kill them
I hold my keys
Between my fingers

He said “I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup
And spit out better words than you”
But you didn’t
Man you’re kidding yourself if you think
The world revolves around you
Yknow you got lots to give
N so many options
I’m real sorry
Bout whatever happened to you

I wanna walk through the park in the dark
Men are scared that women will laugh at them
I wanna walk through the park in the dark
Women are scared that men will kill them

I hold my keys
Between my fingers
Go on tell me
You’re just kidding
He said, she said
Nameless, faceless

16
May

Check Out Superb Songs and Videos from Wye Oak’s Outstanding New Album “The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs”

by Lefort in Music

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We have once again lost track of amazing musical talent. Wye Oak has always been a bright blip on our musical radar. Like many, we first latched onto them via their breakout 2011 album Citizen before they moved from that album’s guitar-dominated sounds and shape-shifted into the synth-sounds of 2014’s fantastic Shriek. In 2016 the band’s lead singer Jenn Wasner also released (under the Flock of Dimes totem) a superb solo(ish) album entitled If You See Me, Say Yes.  All told, these albums comprise a very impressive discography. But we have a bit of the ADD, and so we lost track of the band and didn’t pay attention when their outstanding new album, The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs, was released in early April. Our bad. It’s among the Best Albums of 2018.

The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs combines the best of Citizen’s guitar-grandeur and Shriek’s synth-dominated gestalt, resulting in their best album to date. We hear great influences in the album, including Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel (It Was Not Natural), Laurie Anderson and LCD Soundsystem (the title track and Instrumental), Broken Social Scene (Lifer) and Joni Mitchell (I Know It’s Real), to name a few.  No matter the fantastic mix of influences we hear, Wassner and colleague Andy Stack always make the sounds and songs altogether their own, and to powerful effect, with Wassner’s vocals always a heady clarion call to the soul.

To get a feel, check out three great tracks off the album below. First up is the music video for It Was Not Natural, one of the album’s strongest songs. After, check out the lyric video for heart-strung Lifer, followed by the official video for the title track.  These songs’ superb, soul-baring lyrics are at bottom.

You can order The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs HERE.  Or stream it on your favorite streaming source.

Wye Oak is out on tour in support of the new album, and you find dates/tickets HERE.

IT WAS NOT NATURAL

when i am tired
unbidden
i go for a walk
i have to walk
or else
i do not recognize myself
my foot uncovers
what my heart wishes
is a treasure
seemingly foreign
but somehow still it is familiar
it could be amber
it could be animal or antler
they do resemble
they do remember one another
it was not natural
all along
only human hands
could give us
something so
unforgiving
as i expected
with time
it hasn’t gotten easier
i have to work now
at things
that used to be
like breathing
i try to focus
forgive myself
for having so much
i am too busy for it
or else i am not busy enough
when i think clearly
i know we share the same devotion
but joy is hungry
and you know i can’t promise anything
it was not natural
all along
only human hands
could give us something
so unforgiving

LIFER

you worry i have given up
have lost direction for the cause
have traded truth for confidence
went back on all my promises
i am not old but i’ve become
afraid of things i never was
and stumbling on without a pause
can only go so long
did you say that i was the lifer
did you say that life could be better
it seems to those who know me best
my luck is wild and in excess
i don’t know why some suffer so
and others never fear to go
i won’t reduce myself to air
undo myself for your affair
i’ve shown you everything i am
you choose or not to understand
there is a logic to the rule
the end is kind, the mean is cruel
i have to love the life i make
make up for all the space i take
mistaken for an oversight
the absence of my appetite
the source of all my arrogance
i left it up to chance
i believed that i was the lifer
i believed that life could be better
i want to see you rise again
to see life in your eyes again
to feel your pulse is beating strong
to prove all of us wrong
will you say that you are the lifer
do you think that life could be better
will you say that i am the lifer
do you think that life could be better

THE LOUDER I CALL, THE FASTER IT RUNS

and we were jubilant
willing to pretend
we were not losing time
time wasted
like any other day
we will make the bed
thinking it is dead
it is finally dead
the louder i call, the faster it runs
the louder i call, the faster it runs
the quiet is ours, the work has begun
the louder i call, the faster it runs
i search for patterns
sense that isn’t there
you can have everything
and still you have nothing
so i take them all apart
and then i put them back
sometimes it takes a long
long, long time
the louder i call, the faster it runs
the louder i call, the faster it runs
the longer the day, the nearer the sun
the louder i call, the faster it runs
the louder i call, the faster it runs
the louder i call, the faster it runs
the quiet is ours, the work has begun
the louder i call, the faster it runs

11
May

Review: Courtney Barnett At Peak of Powers at Pico Union Project

by Lefort in Music

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After waiting 4-1/2 years to finally catch the brilliant musical force that is Courtney Barnett, we were treated last night to an intimate, but raucous, show by Barnett and her brilliant band at the sold-out and febrile Pico Union Project.  Yes, we had caught a show of Barnett’s and Kurt Vile’s joint tour last year in support of their fine album, but we craved unadulterated Courtney. And last night gave us the uncut Courtney we needed, and it was pure delight. In addition to her melodies and incisive lyrics, Barnett’s unorthodox claw-hammer, finger-pick guitar-playing continues to wow and particularly live while in full-flow.

The obviously confident and commanding Barnett hit the PUP stage with a sweet swagger, letting the crowd know she meant business by throwing down song after song and riff after riff of furious abandon. She performed her fantastic-sounding new album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, from front to back in sequence. Our album review in short: the world is in for fistfuls of smashing new songs. Live highlights from the album included Hopefulness, the rollicking, groove-riddled City Looks Pretty, Charity, Need A Little Time, Walking On Eggshells, and Sunday Roast.

After knocking out the new album, Barnett shifted into the “hits” half of the night (see setlist below). Thankfully she played the all-time word-play great Avant Gardener and a revved-up version of the heart-strung Depreston, but also reached back for fan-faves Anonymous Club, History Eraser and Pedestrian At Best. The crowd knew every word and, despite the heat, pitched around the PUP in joyful abandon. It was a musical night to remember that set the bar very high for other artists seeking to claim the coveted Best Concert of 2018 award.

The Bay’s Jay Som opened with an impressive set of jazz-prog inflected songs that spotlighted the band’s superb ensemble playing. We look forward to seeing them again.

Photos by LA Music Scene.