November, 2012 Archives


Watch Ben Gibbard’s Unplugged Tiny Desk Concert on NPR

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Watch Ben Gibbard’s Unplugged Tiny Desk Concert on NPR Comments

We know it’s unfashionable in certain circles, but we continue to be fans of Ben Gibbard in his various guises.  Whether as a part of Death Cab for Cutie, The Postal Service or with others, Gibbard and his surroundlings always craft memorable melodies with lyrical lines that frequently linger longer than limitless others. Gibbard has now released his first solo album, Former Lives, which he’s said is a collection of songs that didn’t fit with Death Cab for Cutie.  Check out his Tiny Desk Concert (the 250th) for NPR below, in which he plays a song from Death Cab’s last album, a song off Former Lives, and of all things a song from the Arthur soundtrack.

Set List
“St. Peter’s Cathedral”
“Teardrop Windows”
“When The Sun Goes Down On Your Street”


Watch Tame Impala on Jools Holland

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Watch Tame Impala on Jools Holland Comments

Tame Impala is another band that has not previously tamed us (and if we had to pick a muscle-car, we were always bigger Bel Air fans).  Leader Kevin Parker and band attempt to walk that fine line between enhancing the currently-fashionable mid-’60s psych-fuzz sound and merely rearranging the deck chairs on the H.M.S. Revolver or the SS Revivalist.  Having lived through the earlier era, we are predisposed to shrug off new purveyors of the old sound (Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees, etc.) unless they really enhance the ole tropes.  And this is why we have heretofore resisted Tame Impala.  We just haven’t been “hearing it.”

But Tame Impala has been receiving near-universal raves for their recently released album, Lonerism (produced by Dave Fridmann).  With their Beatles homages and Parker’s Lennonist vocals and sway, it’s no wonder the British media in particular have been falling all over themselves to heap praise on the band.  But Tame Impala has also been at the top of the American college charts and indie-radio playlists (Lonerism was last week’s top-played album on KCRW).  So we’ve been forced to reassess.

And reassess we did when we caught Tame Impala on Later with Jools Holland this week.  We were completely taken aback (not just back) by their performance of high-and-lonely song, Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.  You can assess with us below.  Feels Like We Only Go Backwards sounds a bit of Grizzly Bear/Flaming Lips run through a Motown filter, with heartfelt, hurting lyrics and singing.  The band also performed Heaven off the new album (re-mixed thereon by none other than the master, Todd Rundgren), which to our ears is psych-fuzz circa late ’60s with some modest updates.  We prefer the former song, though we acknowledge the spot-on psych-signposts and fuzz-semaphores of the latter song, along with the instrumental acumen and adroit drum-fills thereon.

Check both performances below.  We’re going to pay stricter attention to this band and will report back our decision another day.  You do the same, and we’ll compare notes.  I’d say check them out on their North American tour (see the dates below the videos) that will begin in February, but yet again (WTH?) California has been passed over.  Likely because, you know, California just hasn’t really shown itself to be worthy in the music realm.  Lame Impala?

Tame Impala Tour Dates:

19- New York, N.Y. @ Terminal 5
20- Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club
21- Carrboro, N.C. @ Cat’s Cradle
22- Asheville, N.C. @ The Orange Peel
23- Athens, Ga. @ The Georgia Theater
25- Houston, Texas @ Fitzgerald’s
26- Austin, Texas @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
27- Dallas, Texas @ Granada Theater
28- Tulsa, Okla. @ Cain’s Ballroom


2- Louisville, Ky. @ Headliner’s Music Hall
3- Milwaukee, Wis. @ Turner Hall Ballroom
4- Minneapolis, Minn. @ First Avenue
6- Chicago, Ill. @ Vic Theater
7- Detroit, Mich. @ St. Andrews Hall
8- Columbus, Ohio @ Newport Music Hall
9- Toronto, Ontario @ Kool Haus
11- Montreal, Quebec @ Corona Theater
12- Boston, Mass. @ House of Blues


On Sunday: Watch The Luyas on Out of Town Films

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on On Sunday: Watch The Luyas on Out of Town Films Comments

Check out Montreal’s illuminating band, The Luyas, as they perform their mournful Talking Mountains for Out of Town Films while at CMJ. Perfect for a Sunday morning.  More about The Luyas soon.  The song’s lyrics follow the video.  Abientot.

Talking Mountains

I wasn’t waiting
I wasn’t looking for a face
I wasn’t dreaming of anything but space
I wasn’t repeating anybody’s name
I felt fine
Then you came along
Talking mountains
Talking horses
Talking nothing
Talking to me
You came along
Saying something
And the world was all in pieces
Talking to me
Do you want to kiss?
Are you curious?
I’ll let you come and see me
I’ll stand beside the window when you leave me.


First Aid Kit–How to Mute a Manchester Mob

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on First Aid Kit–How to Mute a Manchester Mob Comments

The fresh-faced Swedish sisters, First Aid Kit, have come a long way (baby).  It was only a few years ago that the prescient John Hawkes (no, not THAT one) was attempting to entice Johanna and Klara Söderbergthem (while they were touring through Cali) to play a house-party at his Santa Barbara house.  Unfortunately for the neighborhood, the young sisters’ correctly-protective father was suspicious of the inquiry and graciously passed.  A couple years later now, and they have been killing the world quietly with their song.

What began as a pull-yourselves-up-by-your-You-Tube act, has garnered the attention of scene-makers Jack White and Conor Oberst, been produced by make-magic producer Mike Mogis, and gone on to regale at music festivals around the world.  Their 2012 sophomore album, Lion’s Roar, has also been a critical and commercial success.

Check out below their cherubic veneer and vocal liaisons as they conjoin with and quiet the Manchester crowd on Thanksgiving Day on their song Ghost Town (no, not THAT one) off their first album.  After, watch them honor Paul Simon by covering his song America at the 2012 Polaris Music Awards in August (we follow what Simon-“says” at the end). 


Watch Jens Lekman on NPR

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Watch Jens Lekman on NPR Comments

We were swept away by Sweden’s Jens Lekman’s first album, Night Falls Over Kortedala, in 2007.  While Lekman has put out an EP in the interim, his latest album, I Know What Love Isn’t, is his first album in over five years.  On the new album, Lekman again sounds like a cunning combo of Belle & Sebastian and Prefab Sprout, with themes of heartbreak and survival (with humorous leitmotifs along the way–it’s his Silver Linings Songbook).  Check out Lekman performing the title track and Some Dandruff on Your Shoulder off the new album below, all courtesy of Oregon Public Broadcasting and NPR.  Then go over and buy the Secretly Canadian album HERE.


Give Thanks For Obscurities–Donnie & Joe Emerson’s “Baby”

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Give Thanks For Obscurities–Donnie & Joe Emerson’s “Baby” Comments

In 1979 we were in the thrashing throes of unbridled punk rock love.  England had exploded in song, and LA was marching to the mosh.  So excuse us if we missed this one.  Included on the soundtrack to recent film Celeste and Jesse Forever (starring Rashida Jones), check out below Donnie & Joe Emerson’s (who?) dreamily-hypnotic song, Baby.  The song, which marvels at Marvin Gaye and smacks of Smokey Robinson, has been championed and covered recently by Ariel Pink and the Haunted House.  You can read more about the Emersons below and Pink’s love below, and buy their 1979 album HERE. After the Emersons’ studio version, check out Ariel Pink’s Smokeyed-up cover.  Happy Thanksgiving all!

On the Emersons and their recording:

“Pacific Northwest isolation mixed with wide-eyed ambition, a strong sense of family and the gift of music proved to be quite the combination for teenage brothers Donnie and Joe Emerson. Originally released in 1979, Dreamin’ Wild is the sonic vision of the talented Emerson boys, recorded in a family built home studio in rural Washington State. Situated in the unlikely blink-and-you-missed-it town of Fruitland and far removed from the late 1970s punk movement and the larger disco boom, Donnie and Joe tilled their own musical soil, channeling bedroom pop jams, raw funk, and yacht rock.

Ariel Pink:

‘Baby’ has been a staple on just about every playlist/mixtape I’ve assembled in the past 3 years. It is nothing short of sublime.”


Watch Sufjan Stevens’ Video for “Silent Night”

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Watch Sufjan Stevens’ Video for “Silent Night” Comments

The lad has been busy.  Now from Sufjan Stevens comes a relatively straightforward (albeit with crazy choral-esque vocals) cover of Silent Night.   Enjoy.


Watch Sufjan Stevens’ Hilarious Silver & Gold Infomercial and the Friendship Slay Ride Series

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Watch Sufjan Stevens’ Hilarious Silver & Gold Infomercial and the Friendship Slay Ride Series Comments

For those of you that think Sufjan Stevens is a humorless twit, think again.  Check out this infomercial below (via Pitchfork) for Stevens’ new box set, Silver & Gold.  Now THAT’S entertainment.  It’s as if Saturday Night Live asked Pastor The Reverend Karl to produce its weekly skits.  Too funny.

And if you like that, Pitchfork TV has seven new hilarious videos from Stevens under the title Friendship Slay Ride.  Check out our favorite, Law Office, after Joy to the World, and continue on with remaining Friendship Slay Ride videos adjacent thereto.  If this music thing doesn’t work out, Suf-Jan Sta-Vons, you might want to think about comedy.


Watch Sufjan Stevens’ Official Video for “Joy to the World”

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Watch Sufjan Stevens’ Official Video for “Joy to the World” Comments

Sure the video itself is kitschy as all Christmas.  But Sufjan Stevens’  re-imagining of the Christmas chestnut, Joy to the World, is no parts kitsch (well, except for that vexing vocoder, but we’re dealing).   Beginning with the sound set at sheer-beauty, the song segues into static, electronica-wonderland and other niblets of noise, even tossing in the glorious chorus (“we can do much more together it’s not so impossible”) from Impossible Soul off his last album, The Age of Adz.   Joy to the World is off of the new Christmas box set Silver & Gold from Stevens.


Watch Aimee Mann and The Shins’ James Mercer on Jimmy Kimmel Show

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Watch Aimee Mann and The Shins’ James Mercer on Jimmy Kimmel Show Comments

Aimee Mann recently released the tres-charmant album Charmer.  Watch the slow-burn (but also hilarious) Mann perform Living a Lie off the album with James Mercer of The Shins on the Jimmy Kimmel Show below.  After watch Mann perform lead single Labrador off Charmer.