5
May

Watch Middle Kids Light Up CBS This Morning

This morning the top-flight Middle Kids showed up on CBS This Morning and built upon the buzz of Friday’s Lost Friends album release (full review imminent). Watch below as the Sydney band (Hannah Joy, guitarist/bassist/producerist Tim Fitz, drummer Harry Day and a guitar-player-to-be-named- later) performed three resounding songs from their magnificent and deft debut album: Edge of Town, Mistakes and On My Knees. This is easily our favorite TV performance by the band to date.

You can order Lost Friends HERE.  The band will open their world tour in Australia before returning to the U.S. on June 1st (late June in Cali).  Go HERE for tickets.

27
Apr

Check Out New Song “Bought It” from Middle Kids

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After performing Mistake and On My Knees on Jimmy Kimmel on Wednesday, Middle Kids have now released new song Bought It from their outstanding impending Lost Friends album. Bought It is yet another powerful, crunchy singalong. The song is, however, replete with angst (taking a line for its chorus from the seminal Tears for Fears’ song) and regrets and allusions to longings for something beyond the here-and-now. Word. Check it out below, followed by the song’s lyrics at bottom.

Bought It:

“My friend, I need a little help
To fend the darkness at the end of all this
I thought that I had fought it
But like clockwork it seems to keep on coming

Oh dear, you saw me on a night
When I was pissed but I tried to act alright
Smooth talking, I’m not sure you bought it
So I’m crawling to the nearest exit

Shout, let it out
I need a little something but I can’t seem to get it now
Oh, help me now
I’ve got a lot of questions but I can’t seem to get them out

Let’s pretend that we had never met
So then it’s fair when we are getting it
On Sunday, I know that that’s a fun day
To remember til I see you next year

This must be the memory
Where you took that photograph of me
Don’t act so embarrassed
We all do dumb things when we’re lonely
You know my heart deeply
But we don’t talk about that do we
Hold your white flag of silence

Shout, let it out
I need a little something but I can’t seem to get it now
Oh, help me now
I’ve got a lot of questions but I can’t seem to get them out”

26
Apr

Watch Middle Kids Perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live

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In what will seem at some point like us clanging a bell, we are here yet again to sing the praises of Australia’s Middle Kids. Having last year whetted appetites with their superb debut EP, the band will provide a feast for the cognoscenti on May 4th when they release their debut album Lost Friends on Domino. We are confident that at year’s end the album will appear at the very top of the Best Albums of 2018 lists. As of now, Lost Friends is at numero uno at Chez Lefort (full, rave review soon come). Watch below as the band performed their simmering single Mistake to an all-in crowd on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Afterwards watch them rave through the rapturous On My Knees.

You can pre-order Lost Friends HERE.  The band will head out on a U.S. tour on June 1st.  Check out the dates below and go HERE for tickets.

Tour:
June 01 | Nelsonville, OH @ Nelsonville Music Festival
June 02 | Toronto, ON @ Field Trip Festival
June 03 | New York, NY @ Governors Ball
June 05 | Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
June 07 | Buffalo, NY @ Mohawk Place
June 08 | Pontiac, MI @ Crofoot Ballroom – Pike Room
June 09 | Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
June 11 | Kansas City, MO @ recordBar
June 12 | St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
June 13 | Nashville, TN @ The High Watt
June 15 | Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
June 16 | Dover, DE @ Firefly Music Festival
June 18 | Raleigh, NC @ The Pour House Music Hall
June 19 | Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade – Purgatory
June 21 | Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall (Upstairs)
June 22 | Austin, TX @ Antone’s Nightclub
June 23 | Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
June 26 | Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room
June 27 | San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
June 29 | Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
June 30 | Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern
25
Apr

Watch Sufjan Stevens Debut “Tonya Harding” and “Visions of Gideon” Live and More on “Live From Here” with Chris Thile

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Imagine Sufjan Stevens’ crystalline songs put through Chris Thile‘s deft Live From Here music-blender. This actually happened last Saturday in New York City. As good as your imagination is, the performances more than live up to it.  Watch below as Stevens, meshed sympathetically with the mandolin and vocals of Thile, and augmented  by the show’s stellar backing ensemble (Gaby Moreno, Rich Dworsky, Billy Contreras, Josh Dion, Chris Eldridge, and Mike Elizondo), performed recent Record Day single Tonya Harding, Heirloom (off Stevens’ 2010’s All Delighted People), Visions of Gideon and Mystery of Love, the latter two off the Academy Award-nominated Call Me By Your Name film soundtrack (and Stevens’ Mystery of Love EP). There will be beauty among all the humanity. The songs’ lyrics follow at bottom.

Tonya Harding:

“Tonya Harding, my star
Well this world is a cold one
But it takes one to know one
And God only knows what you are

Just some Portland white trash
You confronted your sorrow
Like there was no tomorrow
While the rest of the world only laughed

Triple axel on high
A delightful disaster
You jumped farther and faster
You were always so full of surprises

Are your laces untied?
What’s the frown on your face for?
And just what are the skates for now?
Tell me which is your good side?

Are you lonely at night?
Do you miss all the glory
And the mythical story
Of the Olympian life?

Yamaguchi in red
She had high rise and roses
And red-carpet poses
And her outfit was splendid

Nancy Kerrigan’s charm
Well she took quite a beating
So you’re not above cheating
Can you blame her for crying?

Tonya, you were the brightest
Yeah you rose from the ashes
And survived all the crashes
Wiping the blood from your white tights

Has the world had its fun?
Yeah they’ll make such a hassle
And they’ll build you a castle
Then destroy it when they’re done

Tonya Harding, my friend
Well this world is a bitch, girl
Don’t end up in a ditch, girl
I’ll be watching you close to the end

So fight on as you are
My American princess
May God bless you with incense
You’re my shining American star

Shining American star
Shining American star
Shining American star
Shining American star”

Heirloom:

“When your heirloom’s wilted brown
When the devil’s pushing down
When your mourning has a sound
And you hesitate to laugh
How quickly will your joy pass
How quickly will your joy pass

And when you walk inside I feel the door
I’ll never let it push your arms no more
And when your legs give out just lie right down
And I will kiss you till your breath is found
And when you walk inside I feel the door
I’ll never let it push your arms no more

So do you think I came to fight?
And do I always think I’m right?
Oh no I never meant to be a pest to anyone this time
Oh no I only meant to be a friend to everyone this time

And when you walk inside I feel the door
I’ll never let it push your arms no more
And when your legs give out just lie right down
And I will kiss you till your breath is found
And when you walk inside I feel the door
I’ll never let it push your arms no more”

Visions of Gideon:

“I have loved you for the last time
Is it a video? Is it a video?
I have touched you for the last time
Is it a video? Is it a video?

For the love, for laughter, I flew up to your arms
Is it a video? Is it a video?
For the love, for laughter, I flew up to your arms
Is it a video? Is it a video?
Is it a video?

I have loved you for the last time
Visions of Gideon, visions of Gideon
And I have kissed you for the last time
Visions of Gideon, visions of Gideon

For the love, for laughter, I flew up to your arms
Is it a video? (Is it a video?) Is it a video? (Is it a video?)
For the love, for laughter, I flew up to your arms
Is it a video? (Is it a video?) Is it a video? (Is it a video?)
For the love, for laughter, I flew up to your arms
Visions of Gideon, (visions of Gideon), visions of Gideon, (visions of Gideon)
For the love, for laughter, I flew up to your arms
Visions of Gideon, (visions of Gideon), visions of Gideon, (visions of Gideon), Visions of Gideon

Visions of Gideon, visions of Gideon, visions of Gideon
Visions of Gideon, visions of Gideon, visions of Gideon
Visions of Gideon, (Is it a video?), visions of Gideon, (Is it a video?), visions of Gideon
Visions of Gideon, (Is it a video?), visions of Gideon, (Is it a video?), visions of Gideon
(Is it a video?) (Is it a video?) (Is it a video?)”

Mystery of Love:

Oh, to see without my eyes
The first time that you kissed me
Boundless by the time I cried
I built your walls around me
White noise, what an awful sound
Fumbling by Rogue River
Feel my feet above the ground
Hand of God, deliver me

Oh, oh woe-oh-woah is me
The first time that you touched me
Oh, will wonders ever cease?
Blessed be the mystery of love

Lord, I no longer believe
Drowned in living waters
Cursed by the love that I received
From my brother’s daughter
Like Hephaestion, who died
Alexander’s lover
Now my riverbed has dried
Shall I find no other?

Oh, oh woe-oh-woah is me
I’m running like a plover
Now I’m prone to misery
The birthmark on your shoulder reminds me

How much sorrow can I take?
Blackbird on my shoulder
And what difference does it make
When this love is over?
Shall I sleep within your bed
River of unhappiness
Hold your hands upon my head
Till I breathe my last breath

Oh, oh woe-oh-woah is me
The last time that you touched me
Oh, will wonders ever cease?
Blessed be the mystery of love”

12
Apr

Watch Hop Along’s Charming Video For New Song “How Simple” Off Beguiling “Bark Your Head Off, Dog” Album

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We’ve been fans of Philly’s Hop Along since we first laid ears on Frances Quinlan’s gifted, nonpareil vocals that imbue her riveting lyrics. Three years since their last album’s release, the band is back with their outstanding new album, Bark Your Head Off, Dog. To get a feel for the new sounds, check out the new video for lead-off single How Simple (lyrics at bottom). Quinlan is charming and beguiling throughout the video as she meanders through throw-back sets and escapee lighting. About the video, Quinlan has said: “This is my first time appearing in a music video; in which case I decided to do something that felt risky to me. I told myself that I’ve danced through my own house solo enough times to do an alright job of it in front of a camera.”

We love the song (and video), with its softened edges and intentions [sic] to detail.  You can pick up Bark Your Head Off, Dog HERE.

How Simple:

“I suppose one, one, one who hasn’t seen
The earlier frames
Could say I am advancing up this road
I am advancing

Pale as a banshee sun
Think I should stop checking myself out
In the windows of cars
When I could see my future in her pictures of relatives

How simple my heart can be
How simple my heart can be
Frightens me

Don’t worry we will both find out
Just not together
Don’t worry we will both find out
Just not together

Your hand was on me
It seemed like you were being sweet
Here I am again
At the reserve to drink

It’s not that I thought
Like all of a sudden you change
We were covered in each other’s snot
In my childhood bed
Well it seemed like we were being sweet
Her pictures of relatives
How simple my heart can be
Frightens me

Don’t worry we will both find out
Just not together
Don’t worry we will both find out
Just not together
Don’t worry we will both find out
Just not together
Don’t worry we will both find out
Just not together
Don’t worry we will both find out
Just not together
Don’t worry we will both find out
Just not together

We will find out
Here I am again
At the reserve to drink”

4
Apr

Middle Kids Release New Song/Video “On My Knees” As Offering From New Album

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One of our most highly-anticipated album-releases this year is Lost Friends, the debut album from Australia’s formidable Middle Kids that will be released on May 4th on Domino Records. We’ve been bowled over by Middle Kids’ incredibly well-wrought and melodic songs (Never Start and Edge of Town) and sounds ever since we first caught wind of them in late 2016.

Having previously released the enormous, singalong-anthem Mistake from the Lost Friends, today the band (gifted vocalist and guitarist, Hannah Joy, percussionist Harry Day, and talented multi-instrumentalist/producer Tim Fitz) has released another winsome/lose-some song entitled On My Knees via the song’s official video. Check it out below (and the song’s lyrics at bottom).

About the song, Middle Kids have said: “‘On My Knees is about rejecting the value system of the individual as the prime unit of society. It’s also about how suffering and disappointment can help change our perspective in a healthy way. When we stop focus on ‘winning’ and can submit to something bigger, or to each other, we are better people.”

On My Knees‘ gestalt is reflected in the video in which a cross-section of individuals attempt to “win” their “auditions,” only to seemingly realize the inconsequence of their individual efforts in the face of a bigger picture. As Hannah Joy alludes in the song, seeking deeper meaning while on one’s knees always seems to help sort and set-right the heart and mind. We love the theme and grandeur of the song, not to mention its massive, emphatic sound (Tim Fitz’s huge production is phenomenal here and throughout). On My Knees confirms that there are many more gems coming from this band and can’t wait for Lost Friends!

You can pre-order Lost Friends HERE.  Having seen them live, you won’t want to miss their upcoming U.S. tour in June, the dates of which can be found HERE.

On My Knees:

“Give me a sign, I said, give me a sign
I got the big green eyes and they’re looking everywhere
Give me a hand, I said, give me a hand
Because mine are open wide and I’m just hoping that you’re there
You are never far from my mind

CHORUS
I swear when I am on my knees it’s different
I swear when I’ve fallen off my feet
I stare at everything a little different
There’s something there that I have never seen

What is the plan, I said, what is the plan?
I am the second hand,
I am a roadside distraction and they’re
Looking at me as if I got what they need
But I don’t got it, don’t got it, don’t got it
You think I know but I don’t know I don’t know”

23
Mar

Check Out Eleanor Friedberger’s New Song and Video–Opening for The Decemberists Tonight in Santa Barbara

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As mentioned yesterday, long-time Lefort-fave Eleanor Friedberger is opening tonight for The Decemberists at the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara. A founding member of the legendary/vaunted band The Fiery Furnaces, Friedberger has gone on to issue a series of superb and highly-acclaimed solo albums. Friedberger is set to  release her new album, Rebound, on Frenchkiss Records on May 4, 2018. Check out below the ravishing first song In Between Stars via its official video. As usual with Eleanor, we love this new song and can’t wait to Rebound! You can pre-order it HERE.

About the video below, Friedberger says: “I saw Danny do live visuals for Body/Head (Kim Gordon and Bill Nace) and Bjorn Copeland (formerly of Black Dice) while I was in LA in January. I thought his use of analog feedback and bold color fit the mood of Rebound perfectly. With a little moral support and instruction from Kim Gordon: ‘move around, just twirl.’ I turned the camera on myself and hit record.”

Following tonight’s opening for The Decemberists, Friedberger sets on various dates between now and June. All tour dates and tickets can be found HERE, including her headlining May 9th in LA at the Moroccan Lounge.

22
Mar

Watch The Decemberists Dishing New Ditties on Jimmy Kimmel Show–Coming to Santa Barbara This Friday

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Long-time faves The Decemberists last week released their new album, I’ll Be Your Girl, on Capitol. It’s a feisty affair featuring augmented sounds and glowering lyrical glances. In short: we like it a ton.

The band showed up on Jimmy Kimmel Live! this week and performed Severed and We All Die Young. Check ’em out below. Severed adds analog-synth lead a la Depeche Mode, and features autocratic, POTUS-inspired lyrics and heavenly harmonies. Though written before and unrelated to Parkland, We All Die Young is an outstanding rocker, the chorus of which (with its children’s choir mien) can’t help but remind us of that tragedy. Which reminds: don’t forget the March For Our Lives this Saturday, March 24th, throughout the nation. Those responsible will have to suffer repercussions.

As mentioned previously the band will pay their first visit to Santa Barbara this Friday night, performing at the Arlington Theater with the fabulous Eleanor Friedberger opening (more on Ms. Friedberger tomorrow). Don’t you miss it! Tickets are still available HERE.

21
Mar

Watch Natalie “Popolicious” Prass on Conan Last Night

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We caught wind of the multi-talented artist Natalie Prass back in 2015, first featuring her phenomenal La Blogatheque set (see also at bottom a performance of Bird of Prey way back at the 2015 SXSW). Her debut album was a beauty and augured well for her future. Prass will soon release her follow-up album The Future And The Past. To give a flavor, the popolicious Prass appeared on Conan last night and sang new song Short Court Style, the first song from the new album. As can be seen, Prass played it like a star, letting her pop freedom-flag fly, singing with style, and contributing dance moves (and even sounding a bit Michael Jackson-y along the way). Watch Prass swinging for the fences below. Sweet stuff from Ms. Prass. Afterwards watch the song’s official video.

The Future And The Past will be released on June 1st on ATO and you can pre-order it HERE.

20
Mar

Okkervil River Reveals Ravishing New Song “Pull Up The Ribbon” Via Video–New Album and Tour Coming

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Okkervil River has today released the second song, Pull Up the Ribbon, from their impending album In The Rainbow Room, via the song’s official video. The new song follows on the heals [sic] of last month’s fantastic first song, Don’t Move Back To LA, from the new album.

Watch the video below directed by Christopher Good featuring, among other things, Revolutionary-war-togged soldiers safeguarding and playing a golden guitar at ocean’s edge, dressers filled with bones and other cataclysmic semaphores. The song’s opening bars resemble (mimic?) recent War On Drugs sounds, but the signature vocals of leader Will Sheff kick in (aided and abetted by Lip Talk-Sarah K. Pedinotti) to take the song to another level. Sheff even tosses in a vocal turn at the 3:16 mark that would make Jim James proud (high praise in our book).

About the song, Sheff had this to say:

“When I first started working on “Pulled Up the Ribbon” I felt really excited about the melody and the chords in a way that made me nervous, because I felt pressure to write lyrics for it and nothing seemed quite right. I started with something quite dark and violent, and it felt like a good direction but I kept hitting creative dead ends. And then I realized there was something in the melody and phrasing that seemed like it was about destruction and doom but also something else that felt like it was about creation and birth. So I decided to try to write a kind of praise song for the force behind all of those things. The song started as a waltz ballad, briefly turned into a Motown-style number, and then we streamlined it and Will Graefe added that hook. I had heard some of the great vocal performances on our keyboardist Sarah’s album with her project Lip Talk and knew I wanted her to sing on the song, and she elevated it further. And then, when I took the song to Shawn Everett to mix, he stripped out a lot of the padding from the track and made everything more aggressive and skeletal, with the drums and bass way up in the mix, the beauty amped up but also the spooky stuff. This was the only one of Shawn’s mixes where there were no notes, no tweaking. He played me the track and said “whoa” and approved it and we moved on.”

We can’t wait for In The Rainbow Room (pick it up HERE) and the Okkervil River tour to ensue (coming to Cali in late May/early June–get tickets HERE).