January, 2012 Archives


Wilco on Conan

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Wilco on Conan Comments

Wilco showed up on Conan last night and performed Whole Love and Dawned On Me (the latter a “web exclusive”).  Check it out below courtesy of the Audio Perv.  The former is pleasant, if pedestrian, but the latter is enlivened by Nels Cline and his guitar-exorcisms on throwback, double-necked guitar.  Feels like the early 70s again.  The harmonies after the 3-minute mark add immensely.  Wilco descends on Santa Barbara on February 10th at the Arlington with Other Lives opening.


Nada Surf Streaming New Album Now and Bowery Ballroom Show Tomorrow

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Nada Surf Streaming New Album Now and Bowery Ballroom Show Tomorrow Comments

Another of our all-time favorites, Nada Surf, are streaming their brand new album, The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy (on Barsuk), today over at PureVolume HERE.  The band will also be streaming their SOLD OUT record-release show at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom on their YouTube channel tomorrow HERE starting at 7pm Pacific Time.


The Year in Music–The Best 70 Songs of 2011

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on The Year in Music–The Best 70 Songs of 2011 Comments

The Best 70 Songs of 2011

A bit late, but c’est la vie.  The following were the songs that dominated our playlist in 2011.  Except for an exceptional case or two, we purposefully limited bands to one song on the list in order to spread the wealth, all under the theory that many of the bands whose other songs might have warranted inclusion had already received proper recognition via our Best Albums of 2011 list.

The songs below aren’t necessarily what you might think of as “singles,” but they’re songs that particularly moved us one way or another.   Listed in order of merit, though slightly skewed to the old-world-vision of  “singles” (and we can’t definitively explain differences in ranking after about No. 5).  Included, where possible, is “Inspirational Verse” from each song (in homage to the self-dubbed “Dean of American Rock Critics,” Robert Christgau).

1.  Radiohead–Separator

Perhaps not as pumped up as some of the songs listed below it, this is simply one of the best songs of all time, with its multiple melody lines and rhythm layers, and the usual deft playing and singing.  The melodies sneak in and take over your brain.

Inspirational Verse:  “And if you think this is over, then you’re wrong.”


[audio:https://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/08-Separator.mp3|titles=08 Separator]

2.  Foster the People–Pumped Up Kicks

Catchier than chlamydia in Cambodia, it was the one song that stuck in everyone’s head this year.  We prefer Weezer’s version below (until the songwriters get their live act down).

Inspirational Verse:  None really.

3. Lana Del Rey–Video Games

She’s gonna be huge (despite that SNL showing), and this one kick-started the campaign, replete with harps and strings.  Dreamy, eh?  Her first album “Born To Die” will be released at the end of January.

Inspirational Verse:  “It’s better than I ever even knew, they say that the world was built for two, only worth living if somebody is loving you, baby, now you do.”


4.  MX83–Midnight City

Another ridiculously catchy song from the French band, MX83.

Inspirational Verse: “Waiting in the car, waiting for a ride, at night the city grows, look at the horizon glow.”

5.  Bon Iver–Holocene

Bon Iver did their best to take over the world this year.  This song (and video) helped capture the flag.

Inspirational Verse:  “And at once I knew I was not magnificent…and I can see for miles, miles, miles.”

6.  TV On the Radio–Keep Your Heart

Nine Types of Light was filled with great songs, but this one sang to us the most.

Inspirational Verse:  “With the world all falling apart, I’m gonna keep your heart.”


7.  Bright Eyes–Shell Games

Though Ladder Song is probably the best song on the album, this song has more of the Sugar, Sugar (with its Cars gestalt) and is a great status report from Oberst/Bright Eyes.

Inspirational Verse:  “We’ll be everything that we ever needed, everyone on the count of three, everyone on the count of three, all together now!!”

8.  Diego Garcia–You Were Never There

This one came at us out of the blue and stuck.  All the elements are there.  Why wasn’t this a top radio hit?

Inspirational Verse:  “Where you are looking up at the sun, see all the cars standing still as they run, the days start to fade sleep away out of side, a flash in the sky lighting up my dark night.”

9.  Destroyer–Poor In Love

Kaputt was replete with great songs (Chinatown, Song for America, Suicide Demo, etc.) , but this one impoverished our listening-time the most.

Inspirational Verse:  “I was poor in love, I was poor in wealth, I was okay in everything else there was, oh I was poor in love.”

10.  Adam & the Amethysts–Dreaming

Canada’s Adam & the Amethysts were big hits in the extended Lefort-family in the last months of the year, and this song was the dreamy introduction to the band.

Inspirational Verse:  “If it feels like we’re dreaming, don’t wake me.”

[audio:https://www.thelefortreport.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/11-Dreaming.mp3|titles=11 Dreaming]

Read the rest of this entry »


Joanna Newsom on Austin City Limits

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Joanna Newsom on Austin City Limits Comments

Following on the heels of last week’s firin’ Arcade Fire episode, and as warned, this week Austin City Limits broadcast the multiply-talented Joanna Newsom (and some other shmos who we hear are doing The Implosion).  Skip to the 28:28 mark (or take a nap) and watch Ms. Newsom’s usual stunning performance.  And if you don’t have much time skip to the 41:16 mark for a glimpse of her sonorous sorcery and then the masterful Good Intentions Paving Company at at 43:54.  She’s unlike anyone else out there.  Thankfully.

Watch Fleet Foxes / Joanna Newsom on PBS. See more from Austin City Limits.


Joseph Arthur Releases New Double-Album and Kills on Letterman

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Joseph Arthur Releases New Double-Album and Kills on Letterman Comments

One of the comparatively unheralded greats, Joseph Arthur, appeared on the Letterman Show Friday night to perform his new song, In the Dark of Graveyard Chatter, off his brand new double-album, Redemption City.  While he played every instrument and sang every note on the new album, on Letterman he showed up with a big, powerful band (replete with four backup singers and a bevy of instrumentalists, some wearing leathers, some not).  Check the performance below.  Oh my!!  He does rock n’ roll proud.  Once again.  And you can tell Dave and Paul are appropriately wowed.  After the video (courtesy of the Audio Perv), check out Arthur’s pertinent words regarding the new album, its release and its downloadable options on his website. Give what you can to support great art from one of our art greats.

Joseph Arthur:

“Please don’t take the method or the freedom of this release
to be any judgment on its value.
I think it’s top notch,
but it’s great to take advantage of what the internet is actually good at –

This is the first time I’ve released something while still
inhabiting its space,
I’m alive in the nowness of it!
Join me there or here or here and there.

Around the time I was putting out Redemption’s Son,
I met Peter Beard in Montauk.
Lucky enough to stay with friends at the old Andy Warhol
where the Rolling Stones had rehearsed.

A bunch of us were there
partying, playing cards, trying to do yoga,
but mostly partying.
It was fun.
(Thank you Rene and Suzy.)

One night I told Peter the name of my record that was
about to come out
“Redemption’s Son,” I said.
“Too religious,” he said.
He was probably right but that’s what it was called, though
it wasn’t out yet.

The next day he said, “I thought of a better title for you.”
I asked, “What?”
He paused for drama and then said,
“Redemption City.”
9/11 had just happened,
it was a crazy title and I instantly liked it better than
“Redemption’s Son”,
but it was too late,
that record was already on its way to stores.
(that’s where we used to get music back in the day.)
But I held onto that title.
I made a giant painting of a city when I opened the
‘Museum of Modern Arthur’
and called it “Redemption City”
but somehow its destiny is to be a title of a record.

Peter Beard is a deep cat,
animal blood on huge beautiful prints must awaken the
favor of the gods
because his will for this title has chased me down the years,
and a few years ago I set about making it.
The record inspired by the title.
What would a city of redemption sound like?
What kind of characters would inhabit it?
The files for this record date back to ’09 and one track
further than that.
I work on it, get burned out and then reopen it weeks later.
I built a studio (with the help of Matt Becker) in Brooklyn
to make it,
and it’s the only record I’ve made where I’ve done
everything on it,
played all the things that make all the noise, drums, bass,
synths and guitars,
produced it mixed it, you name it.
Not that i haven’t been helped.
Jen Michel used to come around and listen to tracks and
“Man, this is the record.”
she wanted this one out for awhile,
but it wasn’t ready;
a few more buildings had to go up and a few more roads
had to be paved.
Carla Podgurecki snapped the cover photo one night on
my roof overlooking the city of NYC
and Merritt Jacob came in at the end of it all and helped
me make final mix choices
and nudged the thing along in the right direction towards
Actually, that’s an understatement; he became the partner I
needed to help find the finish.
Finally, it was mastered by the great Fred Kevorkian.

It’s been one hell of a process,
and I hope you like it.
If you do, pass it along and spread the word!
We’ve set this up so you can just have the record.
You can donate,
pay what you want,
or nothing at all.

Passing it on, spreading the word, is better than money,
but records are hard to make and expensive so if you dig it,
Dig in!


There is lots of interesting low-end stuff on this record so…
I’m talking to you with the laptop on your chest listening to
this thing,
lazy in your bed and not wanting to connect it to fancy
headphones or decent speakers
for shame!


Part 1

Is complete as a record and for those who are generally
against the idea of an artist making a double record (of
which there are many) you can stop there and you have it.

Part 2

Is the deep cuts,
Which would have otherwise remained on the cutting room
floor or else been leaked out over time in various ways,
fragmented beings with no brothers or sisters or home.
I think both parts serve to strengthen the whole.  They are
relating to each other and breathing back and forth.
They are each other’s shadow and hold hands when no one
is watching.
It’s true that often less is more but sometimes more is more
and that is something that, in this case, will be down to

With the Internet and new ways of releasing music it seems
that the doors are open to broader perspectives on what’s
too much.
Here you have both a double and a single record,
depending on how you want it or your level of interest.
Also it’s not important (or possible!) to listen to all of it in
one sitting.
Take in Part 1 and then move slowly into part 2.
It’s a city.
There are lots of avenues and side streets,
Abandoned buildings and bodegas,
Cars parked on the side of oblivion with cats in them.
Come in and walk around.

So without further ado,

for Peter Beard and the others who helped me get here,

Welcome to

Redemption City.”

We’ve listened to a good part of the album, and he’s done it again–musical magic.  Go over to his site, and give what you can to download the album..


Cults on Jimmy Fallon

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Cults on Jimmy Fallon Comments

We are looking forward to the hirsute Cults coming to Santa Barbara (sounds worse than it is).  The critically-acclaimed band will bring their wall-of-retro to Velvet Jones on Feb. 24th courtesy of Club Mercy).  If you don’t know Cults, here’s a flavor for the band via their performance of Abducted on Jimmy Fallon last night.


Laura Gibson on Oregon Public Broadcasting–Coming to Muddy Waters on 2/7

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Laura Gibson on Oregon Public Broadcasting–Coming to Muddy Waters on 2/7 Comments

Laura Gibson’s new album, La Grande (her first for Barsuk and third overall), takes its name from a town in Eastern Oregon that Gibson visited while beginning work on the new albumAs usual, Gibson’s grabbing vocals are the centerpiece, but augmented this time by more varied and interesting and affecting instrumentation.  OPB recorded a session with Gibson before the start of her new tour.  You can check out a video of the title song below, and two other songs off the new album below.   Gibson will play Muddy Waters in Santa Barbara on February 7th.


Joanna Newsom on Austin City Limits Tonight

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Joanna Newsom on Austin City Limits Tonight Comments

Uniquely gifted chamber-poppy singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joanna Newsom can be seen on tonight’s PBS’ Austin City Limits broadcast.  If you need an introduction to Newsom, you can read our review of her phenomenal concert at the Lobero Theater in 2010 HERE.  You can also get to the ACL info at the link HERE.    Never mind that other act on the show (bunch o’ Fleet Fokkers–J. Tillman’s departure announced today is just the beginning of the rats leaving the shite ship).  Newsom’s songs are so dense, long and involved that she only manages the following three otherworldly songs in the episode: a cover of the Decemberists’ Bridges and Balloons (heard below), Have One on Me, and Good Intentions Paving Company.  Hang in and pay attention–you won’t be disappointed.  Check out a preview of the show below.

Joanna Newsom “Bridges and Balloons” from Austin City Limits on Vimeo.


The Avett Brothers Cover Bob Dylan for Amnesty International on Jimmy Fallon

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on The Avett Brothers Cover Bob Dylan for Amnesty International on Jimmy Fallon Comments

The Avett Brothers showed up on Jimmy Fallon last night and covered Bob Dylan’s One Too Many Mornings. The song is off of the upcoming album Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International.  Check out more details on the album and stream it HERE (it’s gonna be good–K’NAAN covering With God On Our Side?? Check out the songlist after the video below–there’s something for everybody).  And then watch the Avetts below while we eagerly await the 2012 release of their next Rick Rubin-produced album.

Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International:

Disc 1
01. Raphael Saadiq – Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
02. Patti Smith – Drifter’s Escape
03. Rise Against – Ballad of Hollis Brown
04. Tom Morello The Nightwatchman – Blind Willie McTell
05. Pete Townshend – Corrina, Corrina
06. Bettye LaVette – Most of the Time
07. Charlie Winston – This Wheel’s On Fire
08. Diana Krall – Simple Twist of Fate
09. Brett Dennen – You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
10. Mariachi El Bronx – Love Sick
11. Ziggy Marley – Blowin’ in the Wind
12. The Gaslight Anthem – Changing of the Guards
13. Silversun Pickups – Not Dark Yet
14. My Morning Jacket – You’re A Big Girl Now
15. The Airborne Toxic Event – Boots of Spanish Leather
16. Sting – Girl from the North Country
17. Mark Knopfler – Restless Farewell

Disc 2
01. Queens Of The Stone Age – Outlaw Blues
02. Lenny Kravitz – Rainy Day Woman # 12 & 35
03. Steve Earle & Lucia Micarelli – One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)
04. Blake Mills – Heart Of Mine
05. Miley Cyrus – You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
06. Billy Bragg – Lay Down Your Weary Tune
07. Elvis Costello – License to Kill
08. Angelique Kidjo – Lay, Lady, Lay
09. Natasha Bedingfield – Ring Them Bells
10. Jackson Browne – Love Minus Zero/No Limit
11. Joan Baez – Seven Curses (Live)
12. The Belle Brigade – No Time To Think
13. Sugarland – Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You (Live)
14. Jack’s Mannequin – Mr. Tambourine Man
15. Oren Lavie – 4th Time Around
16. Sussan Deyhim – All I Really Want To Do
17. Adele – Make You Feel My Love (Recorded Live at WXPN)

Disc 3
01. K’NAAN – With God On Our Side
02. Ximena Sariñana – I Want You
03. Neil Finn with Pajama Club – She Belongs to Me
04. Bryan Ferry – Bob Dylan’s Dream
05. Zee Avi – Tomorrow Is A Long Time
06. Carly Simon – Just Like a Woman
07. Flogging Molly – The Times They Are A-Changin’
08. Fistful Of Mercy – Buckets Of Rain
09. Joe Perry – Man Of Peace
10. Bad Religion – It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
11. My Chemical Romance – Desolation Row (Live)
12. RedOne featuring Nabil Khayat – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
13. Paul Rodgers & Nils Lofgren – Abandoned Love
14. Darren Criss featuring Chuck Criss and Freelance Whales – New Morning
15. Cage the Elephant – The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
16. Band of Skulls – It Ain’t Me, Babe
17. Sinéad O’Connor – Property of Jesus
18. Ed Roland and The Sweet Tea Project – Shelter From The Storm
19. Ke$ha – Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
20. Kronos Quartet – Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

Disc 4
01. Maroon 5 – I Shall Be Released
02. Carolina Chocolate Drops – Political World
03. Seal & Jeff Beck – Like A Rolling Stone
04. Taj Mahal – Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream
05. Dierks Bentley – Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) (Live)
06. Mick Hucknall – One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)
07. Thea Gilmore – I’ll Remember You
08. State Radio – John Brown
09. Dave Matthews Band – All Along the Watchtower (Live)
10. Michael Franti – Subterranean Homesick Blues
11. We Are Augustines – Mama, You Been On My Mind
12. Lucinda Williams – Tryin’ To Get To Heaven
13. Kris Kristofferson – Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)
14. Eric Burdon – Gotta Serve Somebody
15. Evan Rachel Wood – I’d Have You Anytime
16. Marianne Faithfull – Baby Let Me Follow You Down (Live)
17. Pete Seeger – Forever Young
18. Bob Dylan – Chimes Of Freedom


More Kathleen Edwards on CBC

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on More Kathleen Edwards on CBC Comments

Check out more Kathleen Edwards as she performed Soft Place to Land from her new album ‘Voyageur‘ in CBC’s Studio 211.