‘Music’ Category Archives

22
Nov

Watch Artist of the Year Bon Iver’s New Video For The Challenging “Naeem”

by Lefort in Music

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Bon Iver’s just-released video for their great song Naeem (off of i,i , the Best Album of 2019) echoes the mien of many of that band’s finest songs. Though you may not fully (or even partially) comprehend the challenging clues and totems buried within, you nonetheless FEEL the weight and wonder within those songs/videos. As you watch Naeem below, you may not grasp any particular significance in the video’s suspended rock. But you may nonetheless be strongly stirred by the gravitas of its waving grass and the baptismal power of its life-giving water. And you may be deeply moved by the ineffable qualities. Though it may be a cold winter, it may nonetheless be good.

Naeem may be about the climate crisis, the failure to take action and a call to overcome that inaction. And it may be about the unwealthy and our collective responsibility for the planet and others. Regardless, it’s a powerful call-and-response in which we truly feel the singer as he cries “I can hear crying.” And the answer? “More love.”

Dem dat knows it feels it.

21
Nov

Watch David Byrne and “American Utopia” Cast’s Recent Uplifting Performances On The Talk Shows

by Lefort in Music

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This week David Byrne showed up on The Tonight Show with his cast from his acclaimed Broadway show American Utopia. It’s well worth your time to watch their uplifting performance of Road to Nowhere (originally off the Talking Head’s 1985 album Little Creatures.

This performance follows on the heels of Byrne’s sublime performance of One Fine Day with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus on the Kimmel show last month.

Both are joyous marvels that rise above the current political miasma. Check ’em out!

18
Nov

Chuck Prophet Releases Prophetable New Song “As High As Johnny Thunders”

by Lefort in Music

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We have been fans of Chuck Prophet in his various guises (Green On Red, solo, with The Mission Express, etc.) for at least two lives. Simply put, Prophet is one of America’s best songwriters and guitar-players, not to mention comedians. During those two lives, we haven’t stopped dragging ourselves around to see Prophet perform wherever and whenever possible. Prophet has written some of the great gems of the American songbook, including No Other Love, Summertime Thing, Would You Love Me?, You Did (Bomp Shooby Doobie Bomp), Willie Mays Is Up To Bat, Castro Halloween, Wish Me Luck, etc.

Now comes the great news that Prophet has released another song to add to that hallowed list: As High As Johnny Thunders, which you can listen to at the usual sources HERE (the song was co-written with klipschutz). For those unaware, Johnny Thunders was a notoriously raucous member of The New York Dolls and The Heartbreakers who, among other things, gave the world another great song, You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory. before succumbing years later to overdose in 1991–hence Prophet’s song’s reference to “high as….”

As High As Johnny Thunders was recorded as part of Episode 3 of the show Sites & Sounds (sponsored by Southwest Airlines & Luck Reunion), which you can watch HERE . In the episode, Prophet takes on the role of San Francisco tour guide and takes musician Aaron Lee Tasjan to some of the best hidden spots in San Francisco, including The Make-Out Room concert venue where Prophet and cohorts perform the new song (at minute 25:00).

The song and episode are further evidence of Prophet’s estimable powers as a songwriter, musician and comedian (if you don’t believe us on the funny-front, do yourselves a favor and sign up for his great newsletter HERE).

Catch him if you can!

17
Oct

Matt Berninger Releases New Song “Walking On A String” Featuring Phoebe Bridgers

by Lefort in Music

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Two of our favorite artists, Matt Berninger (The National, El Vy) and Phoebe Bridgers (Boygenius, Better Oblivion Community Center, Phoebe Bridgers) have collaborated on new song Walking On A String.

Today, Berninger has released a new video featuring the song, which was co-written for Between Two Ferns: The Movie by Berninger and his wife, Carin Besser, together with musician Mike Brewer. The song was recorded with the talented Walter Martin (guitar) and Matt Barrick (drums) of The Walkmen and produced by Bridgers, Tony Berg and Ethan Gruska. The music video was directed, shot and edited by Tom Berninger and Chris Sgroi.

Between Two Ferns: The Movie starring Zach Galifianakis was released on Netflix last month. The movie features multiple cameos, including Berninger dueting with Bridgers in a barroom scene. 

According to a press release: “Between Two Ferns: The Movie’s producer and writer/director Scott Aukerman had given Berninger carte blanche to create whatever he wanted – with whomever he wanted – provided the resulting song would sound right at home being performed in a bar scene set in the heartland of America. The song, performed as a duet between the two singers, was recorded in two versions –   presented in both soaring, lush pop glory and as hushed, chilled-out Americana. The band’s performance in the movie was filmed at Oh Grady’s bar in the San Fernando Valley, CA.”

“It’s a song about how our problems and anxieties can build up and feel like a tangled inescapable web,” Berninger told Rolling Stone. “Sometimes all it takes is a friend with some perspective and patience to help us see our way out of our own messes. It’s also just a love song between a spider and a moth.”

Walking on a String is available now via Dead Oceans.

Check out the big-production song (it runs on strings) and its video below.

21
Aug

Thom Yorke and Wynton Marsalis Dilute and Dent the “Daily Battles”

by Lefort in Music

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Send us all of your sad songs. Simmer them in sepia sounds and plate with cris du coeur. We slowly savor each, our daily battles diluted and dented. Left for hope. Listen below: the singer and horn mine the field and bare the path. Enough about your broken heart.

Check out the intertwined tracks below from the soundtrack to Motherless Brooklyn, Edward Norton’s new film.

Daily Battles:

“The lines are drawn
For  daily battles
Trumpet  sound
For daily troubles

Lock your dreams away
You’re  waking up
Enough  about
Your broken heart

You’re  on parade
For daily battles
The other side
It has no face

Upon  its cause
We can’t remember
Enough about
Your broken heart

The lines are drawn
For daily battles
And I can mend
I cannot stop

Lock your dreams away
You’re waking up
Enough about
Your broken heart”

26
Jun

Spoon Releases Cool New Song “Bullets Not Spent” in Advance of Greatest Hits Album

by Lefort in Music

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Spoon is one of our favorite bands of all time. We just can’t shut up about the band and its discography, having devoted entire weeks and countless lobbed-lauds to the band and their crunching, snarling magnificence.

Spoon has now announced a greatest hits compendium (retrospective?) from their entire discography entitled Everything Hits at Once (check the songlist at bottom). It’ll be released on July 26th via Matador Records and will feature 12 of their best tracks. The huge bonus is that the album will also feature the fantastic new song No Bullets Spent. The song is classic Spoon with its cadence and crunchy guitars, and fits perfectly on their music shelf. It’s also culled from recording sessions that will result (hopefully near-term?) in a stellar new Spoon album.

About No Bullets Spent leader Britt Daniel has said: “I solo in it. I do two guitar solos. But don’t worry, they’re 10 seconds or less. The song is sort of a story/parable thing about an oppressive minister and fantasizing about how to get rid of him in the best way.”

Check the fantastic new song out below via its lyric video.

Spoon is also headed out on tour and you can check the dates and get tickets HERE.

Everything Hits at Once Songlist:
01. I Turn My Camera On
02. Do You
03. Don’t You Evah
04. Inside Out
05. The Way We Get By
06. The Underdog
07. Hot Thoughts
08. I Summon You
09. Rent I Pay
10. You Got Yr Cherry Bomb
11. Got Nuffin
12. Everything Hits At Once
13. No Bullets Spent

18
Jun

What We Wouldn’t Give: Feist Singing “One to One” To Audience Member

by Lefort in Music

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All the tea in China? A landing on the moon? A free-fall dive over Niagara Falls? All of that and much, much more, to be sung to one-on-one by one of our all-time favorite musical artists, Leslie Feist. Watch below as a lucky lad, who has been plucked from an audience, is blind-folded and led to a seat on stage where Feist sings and loops to him her evocative gem, Baby Be Simple (lyrics at bottom, off of her last album Pleasure). Beauty abounds all around.

The performance is another in a series from La Blogothèque entitled One to One. In these performances a person in the audience is “kidnapped,” then taken to a secret room where a musical artist is waiting to perform a sing in front of the kidnapped person. There have been others in this charming series, including a majestic Heavenly Father and 8 (circle) from Bon Iver and this charmer from Eric Johnson of the Fruit Bats. (By the way, Fruit Bats perform this Friday night at Soho in Santa Barbara and you can still get tickets HERE.)

To see another fantastic intimate performance (from 2011) from Feist, go HERE.

Photo at top by Steve Armstrong.

In and out
That’s my way in
I saw an old sign
When my world was way down
Quiet on the streets
So I climbed the stairs
To the rarified air
I’ve been on fire
Made from my thoughts
I thought up my life by
Out then back in
That’s the way to begin
But I had to climb down
Into today
And give up the pain
I held myself up by

Baby, be simple
Baby, be simple
Be simple
Be simple with me

Out, thicker skin
That’s no way to begin
Come with your true arc
To fall all the way down
Like an empire
Into a kingdom of guts
To become a rooftop
I built me from the bedrock
Made me right up
Ignited little tunes
While the wind was still
Trying to find a way to tell you
If I’m not the true arc
Is even there
Or on a pillow of air
Rip me apart by the lore
To become that rooftop
Had to fall all the way down

Baby, be simple
Baby, please be simple
Be simple
Be simple with me

4
Jun

Cause for Celebration: Bon Iver Releases Two Superb New Songs, Announces North American Tour

by Lefort in Music

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We awoke yesterday to the great news that Bon Iver had released two superb new songs and announced North American tour dates for this fall. We are led to believe the two new songs will be featured on Bon Iver’s next studio album (only their fourth) and feature contributions from Jenn Wassner (Wye Oak, Flock of Dimes), Bryce Dessner, Moses Sumney, Bruce Hornsby, Elsa Jensen, Psymun, Phil Cook, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and others.

The first song (listen below) is Hey, Ma, a comparatively straightforward (though “looks is deceiving man, don’t underrate no man“) song from Vernon that seems to look back on his youth, his relationship with his mother (and others), and cataclysmic growings-up. The lyric video below ads to the heft with what appear to be old home movies from Vernon. Though Vernon always sells his songs with lyrical crypto-currency, we will forever buy the weight and weft of their worth. ‘Cause the songs always allow light to leak in. “Tall time to call your Ma.” Dang. Do so if you can!

The second song is U (Man Like), which opens with Chance the Rapper undertones and Bruce Hornsby on piano. The song cryptically (natch) explores current social issues (lyrics at bottom), with allusions to the under-wealthed, the opioid crisis (the “domer” and “rot”), homelessness, the over-wealthed, and the potential resulting comeuppance thereto (“Let ’em eat cake!) as projected in Brecht/Weill’s seminal Pirate Jenny (and the Black Freighter). U (Man Like) was arranged by Bryce Dessner and features affecting backing vocals from Jenn Wasner, Moses Sumney and Elsa Jensen. While sounding the warning, the message is delivered in a sweet-sounding package. Keep cueing Justin, compassion’s bound to take at some point!

Bon Iver has also made reference to icommai.com, a nebulous website with hints about the band’s upcoming recording (fourth studio album?).

Check out both lyric videos below. Superb songs yet again from Bon Iver!

As for the fall tour, Wasner will also join Justin Vernon, Sean Carey, Matthew McCaughan, Michael Lewis, and Andrew Fitzpatrick on stage, together with supporting acts FeistIndigo GirlsSharon Van Etten, and Yo La Tengo. Tickets go on sale on Friday, June 7 at 10:00 AM local time HERE. The dates are listed below. Catch them if you can!

06/04 – Esch-Sur-Alzette, LU @ Rockhal
06/08 – Aarhus, DK @ Northside Festival
06/12 – Bergen, NO @ Bergenfest
06/14 – Malmo, SE @ Mölleplatsen
06/29 – Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest
07/07 – Montreux, CH @ Montreux Jazz Festival
07/11 – Madrid, ES @ Mad Cool Festival
07/13 – Oeiras, PT @ NOS Alive
07/16 – Lyon, FR @ Les Nuits De Fourvière
07/17 – Verona, IT @ Castello Scaligero, Villafranca di Verona
07/19 – Wiesbaden, DE @ Schlachthof
07/21 – Gräfenhainichen, DE @ Melt Festival
08/31 – Missoula, MT @ KettleHouse Amphitheater*
09/02 – Vail, CO @ Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater∞
09/03 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Amphitheatre∞
09/04 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Maverik Center∞
09/06 – George, WA @ The Gorge Amphitheatre∞
09/07 – Vancouver, BC @ Pacific Coliseum∞
09/10 – Portland, OR @ Theater of the Clouds∞
09/12 – San Francisco, CA @ Chase Center∞
09/15 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum∞
10/03 – St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center†
10/04 – Rosemont, IL @ Allstate Arena†
10/06 – Toronto, ON @ Scotiabank Arena†
10/08 – Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center†
10/10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center†
10/11 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center‡
10/15 – Boston, MA @ TD Garden†
10/17 – Washington, DC @ The Anthem†
10/19 – Raleigh, NC @ PNC Arena†

*w/ Indigo Girls
∞ w/ Sharon Van Etten
† w/ Feist
‡ w/ Yo La Tengo

U (Man Like) lyrics:

“Mmm, mmm
I will see you off now
Down the back of the ridge
There’s just something that I got to show you
There is domer and there’s rot
And the common case
It ain’t nothing what you say is true

With your long arms, try
And just give some time
Presently, it does include my dues
Ain’t your standard premonitions
All this phallic repetition
Boy, you tell yourself a tale or two

Man like you
Man, improve

Well, I know that we set off for a common place
(And the lines have run too deep)
How much caring is there of some American love
When there’s lovers sleeping in your streets?

So Cerberus Ride!
Bring those dead alive
Like Pirate Jenny on the Black Freighter
It’ll be a long day of fixing
Make something else your mission
Boy, this shit’s so hard to cue

Man like you
How you do?

Na-na-na-na-na-na
Na-na-na
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na
Hey”

31
May

Sufjan Stevens Releases Two Plainspoken, Love-Filled Songs

by Lefort in Music

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One of the best songwriters extant, Sufjan Stevens, has again graced us with new songs. Both are lyrically plainspoken and forthcoming, stripped of artifice and unencumbered. While the lyrics are effortless, the compositions, performance and production are weighty and enormous. Praise be.

According to Stevens’ press release: “In celebration of Pride Month, Sufjan Stevens is releasing two new songs on the topic of love: “Love Yourself” and “With My Whole Heart,” available on limited-edition 7” vinyl in late June and on all digital platforms May 29, 2019.”

Listen below to the first song, Love Yourself, a newly-recorded, fleshed-out version of an old 1996 demo. The demo can be heard following the new version. The new release is heartfelt and wondrous, reminding us at moments of an older Stevens’ medley in which he melds his ebullient take on Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart.

Also released is a brand-new song, With My Whole Heart, which Stevens wrote in an attempt to “write an upbeat and sincere love song without conflict, anxiety or self-deprecation.” Mission accomplished. Musically, the song is massive and aspirational, serving up a love-feast of sounds. Simply put, it is one of the Best Songs of 2019. A “short reprise” of the song follows to end the new release.

You can listen to all four tracks below. A 7-inch record will be released in late June, along with a Sufjan-designed t-shirt, both of which you can obtain HERE. Portions of the proceeds will go to the Ali Forney Center in Harlem and the Ruth Ellis Center in Detroit.

1
May

A Must See: Lauren Ruth Ward at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara Tomorrow Night (Thursday, 5/2)

by Lefort in Music

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Talented up-and-coming Los Angeleno artist Lauren Ruth Ward is playing at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara tomorrow night (Thursday, May 2nd).

Our collaborator and pal from LA, LA Music Scene provides the apt encouragement below.

“You should be there. Why should you be there? Because Lauren Ruth Ward is special.

What makes Lauren Ruth Ward special? Certainly her deft songwriting and empowering humanist lyrics, her beautifully raspy and throaty vocals, her full-of-energy-and-love and exuberant-abandon live performances, and her knack for surrounding herself with exceptionally talented collaborators.

But what makes Lauren Ruth Ward really special is Lauren Ruth Ward herself. Self-confident and self-assured without the slightest hint of arrogance, Lauren is exactly and completely the unique individual she was born to be. She’s a smart, charming woman, and an artist and performer driven with boundless energy. She’s “Mom” to her band and a huge supporter of the LA music scene, and just about the most-comfortable-in- her-skin person you’ve ever met.

The LA music scene is as good as it’s ever been because of the wealth of extraordinarily talented women populating it. At the very top of that population is Lauren Ruth Ward.

Lauren Ruth Ward with LA friends Laura Jean Anderson and Cosmo Gold Thursday May 2 at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara. You really should be there. “

We strongly concur and recommend HIGHLY that you get tickets for the show HERE and check Lauren Ruth Ward out tomorrow night at Velvet Jones! Check out First Thursday downtown and then saunter on down to Velvet Jones for a complete night.

To get more of a feel for Lauren Ruth Ward, check out a couple of her official music videos (starting with great new songs Valhalla with its Janis Joplin-inflections and brand new Hungry Barber) below followed by LA Music Scene’s recent live video of Ward in action on Valhalla.