‘Music’ Category Archives

17
Aug

Suckers For The Sound: Check Out New Julien Baker Song “Appointments” From Impending Album

by Lefort in Music

We’ve loved the weighty-waif Julien Baker for quite some time (since her Sprained Ankle first alighted). She’s about to release her second album entitled Turn Out the Lights. Baker today shared her first new song Appointments from the album (lyrics at bottom), and we are fully appointed and at attention. Listen in below. As frequently heard from Baker, the song is confessional and revealingly raven, but with a corona-glimmer escaping the total eclipse. The new album will be released on October 27th courtesy of Matador Records. This is a bigger sound than we have heard from Baker. And thank God for that. Go big or….go to your other appointment.

You can pre-order Turn Out The Lights HERE.

“I’m staying in tonight
I won’t stop you from leaving
I know that I’m not what you wanted
Am I?

Wanted someone who I used to be like
Now you think I’m not trying
Well, don’t argue it’s not worth the effort to lie
You don’t want to bring it up
And I already know how we look
You don’t have to remind me so much
How I disappoint you
It’s just that I talked to somebody again
That knows how to help me get better
Until then I should just try not to miss anymore
Appointments

I think if I ruin this
That I know I can live with it
Nothing turns out like I pictured it
Maybe the emptiness is just a lesson in canvases
I think if I fail again
That I know you’re still listening
Maybe it’s all gonna turn out alright
And I know that it’s not, but I have to believe that it is

I have to believe that it is
I have to believe that it is
(I have to believe it, I have to believe it)
I have to believe that it is
(Probably not, but I have to believe that it is)

And when I tell you that you that it is
Oh, it’s not for my benefit
Maybe it’s all gonna turn out alright
Oh, I know that it’s not, but I have to believe that it is”

15
Aug

In the Wake of Charlottesville, Wilco Releases “All Lives, You Say?” And Raises Money For Southern Poverty Law Center

by Lefort in Music

The far better part of America has been shaken to the core by the hatred, rascism and violence exhibited in Charlottesville last weekend. In its wake, Wilco today released the plaintive track All Lives You Say? with all proceeds from the song to go to the Southern Poverty Law Center in the memory of Jeff Tweedy’s father Robert L. Tweedy, who passed away earlier this month.

Tweedy said:

“My dad was named after a Civil War general, and he voted for Barack Obama twice,” Tweedy says in a statement. “He used to say ‘If you know better, you can do better.’ America — we know better. We can do better.” Amen.

Listen below and go donate to this good cause at Bandcamp. Done and done. Peace. Lyrics at bottom.

“All lives, all lives you say
I can see you are afraid
Your skin is so thin
Your heart has escaped
All lives, all lives you say

You were born at the end of a noose
What was up came down with your blues
But you don’t know how to sing anything anyway
So all lives, all lives you say

My mind, my mind is gone
It’s too hard for me to know when I’m wrong
This is the last dying gasp of a deadly lung
Turning blue on a lawn in the sun”

12
Aug

Watch Aimee Mann and Band Perform Crazy-Good “Patient Zero” on Conan

by Lefort in Music

Aimee Mann‘s crazy-good album Mental Illness remains one of our Best Albums of 2017. The roundly-praised album is perfectly produced and arranged, and is filled with memorable melodies and adroit vignettes of this majorly mental, modern life. Among our Best Songs of 2017 from the album is the heart-rending, socially-anxious Goose Snow Cone and the masterful  Patient Zero. This week Mann, co-writer and harmonist Jonathan Coulton and pizzicato-plucking ensemble showed up on Conan to killing-ly perform Patient Zero. The performance is a great reminder of the song’s well-honed lyrics, producer Paul Bryan’s string arrangement, and all as adroitly delivered by Mann, Coulton and the workers on the string-gang on Conan.

Mann discussed the song on the always illuminating Song Exploder podcast. As explained there, Mann originally wrote the crushed-Hollywood-hopes song after meeting then Hollywood-newcomer Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, Silence, Hacksaw Ridge). As she evidently often does, Mann initially framed the song as a waltz, before sending it to pal Coulton for re-imagining. Coulton waltzed it up to 4/4 time and introduced some new melodies and added the “lights of the canyon” chorus [Ed.: wouldn’t “stars of the canyon” have made more sense contextually?]. Regardless, it’s a great song worthy of Mann’s much-loved Elliott Smith.

Watch the performance below, and afterwards check out the official video for the song and the song’s lyrics at bottom.

You can pick up Mental Illness HERE.

Patient Zero:

“They served you champagne like a hero
When you landed, someone carried your bag
From here on out, you’re patient zero
Smelling ether as they hand you the rag

Life is good
You look around and think
I’m in the right neighborhood
But, honey, you just moved in
Life is grand
And wouldn’t you like
To have it go as planned?
Go as planned

Hip hip hooray, hocus pocus
With some magic you can fly through the air
But when you’re the guy pulling focus
There are people who will wish you weren’t there

Life is good
You look around and think
I’m in the right neighborhood
But, honey, you just moved in
Life is grand
And wouldn’t you like
To have it go as planned?
Go as planned

Go west, young man
Go west, take a real screen test
Doesn’t count as a job well done
The locusts had their day
The suckers pay and pay
Carmen Sternwood probably pulled that trigger for funAnd in the hills where hope is such a constant companion
Close enough to almost touch the lights of the canyon
The lights of the canyonBut news filtered over the transom
That a villain ended up with the part
You paid your respects like a ransom
To a moment that was doomed from the startLife is good
You look around and think
I’m in the right neighborhood
But, honey, you don’t belong
Life is grand
And wouldn’t you like
To have it go as planned?
Go as planned

And in the hills where hope is such a constant companion
Close enough to almost touch the lights of the canyon
The lights of the canyon
The lights of the canyon
The lights of the canyon
The lights of the canyon”

9
Aug

Check Out The Electricity of The Smith Street Band Through Song “25”

by Lefort in Music

As the great Woody Guthrie once told musicologist Alan Lomax: “Music is some kind of electricity that makes a radio out of a man.” We have heard that played out well in song over time (U2, The Clash, Radiohead, The National, Elvis Costello (most appropriately), etc.). More recently we’ve heard it in the likes of Mondo Cozmo, Car Seat Headrest and Australia’s The Smith Street Band.

Check out below The Smith Street Band‘s rousing song 25 off of their critically-acclaimed 2017 album More Scared of You Than You Are of Me on Poolhouse Records.  With its I Will Follow opening and singer Wil Wagner’s punched-up delivery, we hear the electricity that makes a radio out of Wagner.

You can buy/stream the worthwhile More Scared of You Than You Are of Me HERE.

The Smith Street Band is coincidentally embarking on a North American tour that starts a week from Friday in San Diego, then Los Angeles and San Francisco, and other North American parts, before returning to LA’s cool venue The High Hat on September 19th.  Don’t ya miss ’em! You can get tickets HERE for their tour.

“It was so cold in the top room
But I didn’t wanna risk waking you
So I let it sit in my feet and my fingers
With everything I burn the dull ache it lingers
And I don’t know if I’ll be able to complete
What other people do each day without noticing
And I don’t know if I’ll be able to compete
With when I feel these days about almost everything

One bad week for a life of breathing
A few nights lay awake for an eternity of sleeping
I wanna feel it now
Cough me in, breathe me in and spit me out

I am someone in your passenger seat
I’m your punching bag
I will let you kick the shit outta me
And I’ll hold your hand
I’ll be whatever you tell me to be
And I’ll understand

Breathing out cold air in my own house
And wondering why I couldn’t afford a solution to that by now
And I’m sure everything seems romantic
In reality it’s uncomfortable to deal with

Falling asleep every other afternoon
To the sound of being alone
And having nothing to do
And I’m sure moving in
Straight away made you feel safe
But it probably wasn’t great for my mental state

And one bad week for a life of breathing
A few nights lay awake for an eternity of sleeping
I wanna feel it now
Cough me in, breathe me in and spit me out

I am someone in your passenger seat
I’m your punching bag
I will let you kick the shit outta me
While I hold your hand
I’ll be whatever you tell me to be
And I’ll understand

If I can’t see a future for you without evil
A future for me without you will, only make it better
So I start hoping, that I stop smoking
Because the ducks are in a row and
This is my best chance to get my shit together

When I turned 25 I was terrified
Still haven’t learnt to do the dishes
My mum was my age when I became alive
So I stopped hoping and I quit smoking
Because the writing’s on the wall
And it’s been there for a while
And it sure is nice to remember things yeah

I am someone in your passenger seat
I’m your punching bag
I’ll let you kick the living shit outta me
And I’ll hold your hand
I am whatever you tell me to be
And I’ll understand”

8
Aug

Listen to The National’s New Song “Carin At The Liquor Store”

by Lefort in Music

One month from today longtime Lefort-faves The National will release their highly-anticipated next album Sleep Well Beast. So far we’ve sampled two phenomenal tracks from the album: The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness and Guilty Party. Catchy. Evolving. All stations go. Let ‘er rip.

But wait. Now comes newly-released song Carin at the Liquor Store, and we’re a bit perplexed. Listen below. While the song touches all The National ballad bases (forlorn piano ruminations, Matt Berninger’s signature mourn, etc.) and even adds on more Dessner-guitar exhibitions, we just can’t sink our teeth into anything meaningful in the song’s lyrics (at bottom). Some of it is that it doesn’t evoke much from behind its oblique elusions (and we’re fans of lyrical vagueness). And some of it is that this territory (infatuation, complicated by crass-behavior and self-doubt) seems to have been mined before by Berninger to better effect. For a band and lyricist that have made such emotional marks with us, it’s a rare disappointment. Nous aimons ça, mais non trop. You may hear the song differently–if so, do tell. Here’s hoping for more meat on the album’s remaining song-bones.

Sleep Well Beast will be released September 8th on 4AD. You can pre-order the album HERE.

“I was a war, I was a creature
I get on the ground the second I’d see you
You cannot come buy your love
I wasn’t a catch, I wasn’t a keeper
I was walking around like I was the one who found dead John Cheever
Hand in glove

So blame it on me
I really don’t care
It’s a foregone conclusion

I see you in stations and on invitations
You’d fall into rivers with friends on the weekends
Innocent skies above
Carin at the liquor store, I can’t wait to see you
I’m walking around like I was the one who found dead John Cheever
In the house of love

So blame it on me
I really don’t care
It’s a foregone conclusion
It wasn’t so bad, I wasn’t that sick
Got taken by love, I wasn’t that quick
Foregone conclusion
It’s gonna be different after tonight
You’re gonna see me in a different light
It’s a foregone conclusion

So blame it on me
I really don’t care
It’s a foregone conclusion
I’m already seeing stars in the air
It’s a foregone conclusion”

7
Aug

Watch Spoon’s Stripped-Down Performance of “Hot Thoughts” on Studio Q

by Lefort in Music

Almost without exception, when artists strip down and de-husk songs the remaining kernel reveals so much more about the song’s spark. Such is the case with Spoon’s performance below of Hot Thoughts for Canada’s Studio Q. Check out the redacted guitar-and-percussion treatment (minus Producer Dave Fridmann’s strings and bells), all of which helps to emphasize Britt Daniels’ telling Prince-inspired mien (lyrics at bottom). Hot Thoughts is the title track from Spoon’s critically-acclaimed recent album. You can buy/stream it HERE.

Britt Daniel told Esquire that a Japanese kid in Shibuya hitting on his girlfriend with this line was what inspired Hot Thoughts: “He was smoking a cigarette, and couldn’t really speak English, but was pointing to her teeth and saying her teeth were so sexy and bright. And I thought that was a pretty far out, maybe desperate but funny way of hitting on her.” Ah, new love and the omnipresent interceptors.

“Hot thoughts melt in my mind
Could be your accent mixing with mine
You got me uptight, twisting inside
Hot thoughts all in my mind and all of the time, babe

Hot thoughts all in my mind and all of the time, yeah
Hot thoughts all in, all in my mind all of the time
(Woo!)

Your teeth shining so white
Light up this side street in Shibuya tonight
Hot thoughts melting my cool
Is it your motion signaling cues
Hot thoughts all in my mind and all of the time
You must be trouble for sure

Hot thoughts all in my mind and all of the time, yeah
(Oh oh, oh oh oh)
I tell it to you slow when I want you to know
(Oh oh, oh oh oh)
Hot thoughts all in, all in my mind all of the time

Took time off from my kingdom
Took a break from the war
Took time off from my kingdom
Raise up my creatures
Diamonds from space
Pure facets and features
Last drag drug from your lips
Making you think how good it was to let baby kiss ’em
And those hot thoughts melting your cool
(All on my mind and all of the time)
Could be that motion signaling cues
You’ve got

Hot thoughts all in your mind all of the time, yeah
(Oh oh, oh oh oh)
All that do my rhyme maketh you mine, yeah
(Oh oh, oh oh oh)
You know, I think all, I think all your love is enough”

4
Aug

Released Today: Mondo Cozmo’s (Debut) Album of the Year “Plastic Soul”–Stream Their Set from Lollapalooza

by Lefort in Music

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Since we first heard them in March we have been bowled over by the band known as Mondo Cozmo. Having recently caught them live, we hereby certify that they are the real damn deal. Their songs are anthemic, affecting and ageless, and will take you back and aback. Today is the day that the world finally has access to their phenomenal debut album Plastic Soul on Republic Records, and you can buy/stream it HERE. It is easily our Best Debut Album of 2017, and will contend mightily for Best Album of 2017 (with other stalwarts such as Feist, Broken Social Scene, Elbow, Spoon and others to come). Do yourselves a favor and go marvel at Plastic Soul.

If you haven’t heard them or seen them live, and want an appropriate intro, you can stream their set today at Lollapalooza HERE at 11:50 am Pacific time. If you need a quick fix, can also watch the just-released video for single Automatic below.

For a good explique on Mondo Cozmo and interview with leader Joshua Ostrander, you can go over to Buzzbands.LA HERE, and read how Ostrander took 15 years to become an overnight success.

3
Aug

Watch/Listen To Hundred Waters’ Incantatory “Blanket Me”–New Album Coming

by Lefort in Music

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It was just over a year ago that we were finally introduced to Hundred Waters. Thanks to Chance The Rapper and his (and Skrillex’s) joining Hundred Waters on the Colbert Show for a simmering live remix of Hundred Waters‘ fantastic song Show Me Love.

Fast forward to today when Hundred Waters is prepping the release of their second album, Communicating, on September 14th. You can listen to the album’s first single, Blanket Me, below. Based on Blanket Me alone, you know Hundred Waters means serious business with this new offering, which is thematically a break-up-within-band album. Blanket Me is a builder of immense proportions, with dynamism and gravitas immersed under the song’s incantatory lyrics and seeming simplicity. We can’t stop hitting the repeat button.

Some singers are able to take ostensibly simple lyrics and imbue them with far more weight than they may deserve on paper. Such is the case with Nicole Miglis. On Blanket Me she repeats the phrase “blanket me” incessantly, but in so doing manages to convey all possible meanings of the phrase via her nuanced, affecting approach. Brava!

Bring on Communicating!

 

2
Aug

Watch The Clientele’s Lyric Video for Shimmering New Song “Lunar Days” From Upcoming Album

by Lefort in Music

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Back in the day, the beloved Belle & Sebastian and The Clientele duked it out for Brit-pop supremacy. Both bands came out strong following the treacly dust-up, with The Clientele showing a heady discography (including personal fave God Save The Clientele). Now comes the good news that The Clientele will release new album Music for the Age of Miracles on Merge on September 22nd (their first new album in seven years).

To get a feel, check out below the recent lyric video for outstanding song Lunar Days off the album. According to the band, the video depicts London’s Russell Square at twilight and “things on the edge of sight.” The song is classic Clientele, all wrapped up in atmospherics, shimmering sounds, a sprightly melody and surrealistic, très-Brit lyrical visage (the holloways in America are few and far between). Winsome nuances include the vocal inflection in the “nobody hears” lyric and the subtle “ah, woo woo” vocal-accents. In short: we love it. Makes us want to curl up by a fire on a rainy day and binge The Clientele’s entire catalog.

You can pre-order Music for the Age of Miracles HERE. The band will tour in the fall (including nine shows total in the U.S. and California in November) behind the album. Check out the dates HERE.

1
Aug

Watch the PS22 Chorus Lift Up Sufjan Stevens’ “Blue Bucket of Gold”

by Lefort in Music

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We have written once before of the revolving 5th graders at PS22 in Staten Island, NY and their director Gregg Breinberg. According to the PS22 Chorus page: “PS22 Chorus was formed in the year 2000. We are an ever-changing group of 5th graders from a public elementary school in Staten Island…. PS22 Chorus just features ordinary children achieving extraordinary accomplishments — musically and otherwise. PS22 Chorus has been featured on…the 2011 Academy Awards, closing the show with a stunning rendition of “Somewhere of Over The Rainbow.” The chorus has performed for President Obama, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Stevie Nicks and a host of others. The kids have sung with Katy Perry, Queen Latifah, Tori Amos…and many more….”

We were caught off guard recently when Sufjan Stevens himself posted the video below of the PS22 kids completely nailing his heart Blue Bucket of Gold (lyrics below). We in particular love the high “ohs” in the “chorus.” Raise your right hand!  Beauty, right there. Stevens wrote: “The world is abundant. This gives me hope.” We completely concur.

Now if we could just get some enterprising California grade school choir director to have California kids sing California Stars (by Wilco/Billy Bragg/Woody Guthrie), we’d really have something. Paging choir directors, hello?

“My blue bucket of gold
Friend, why don’t you love me?
Once the myth has been told
The lens deforms it as lightning

Raise your right hand
Tell me you want me in your life
Or raise your red flag
Just when I want you in my life

Search for things to extol
Friend, the fables delight me
My blue bucket of gold
Lord, touch me with lightning

Raise your right hand
Tell me you want me in your life
Or raise your red flag
Just when I want you in my life”