October, 2013 Archives


Watch The Avett Brothers Live In Concert on Letterman Show

by Lefort in Music

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Last night The Avett Brothers took over the Letterman Show and showed all how to put on a show, just as they did at their mesmerizing concert at Santa Barbara Bowl earlier this month.  The band first played Part From Me on the broadcast and then reeled into an hour-long set of new and old for the web-exclusive Live on Letterman performance series.  You can watch both below.

If you missed the band’s show at the Santa Barbara Bowl, check out the bountiful brotherly harmonies of Seth and Seth Avett, and watch as the band employs all manner of instruments on both new songs from their new album, Magpie and the Dandelion, and older favorites such as I and Love and You and Laundry Room.


On Halloween: Watch the Ghost of Michael Jackson Walk in New Blood Orange Video

by Lefort in Music

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Blood Orange (NYC-sited Brit artist and producer Dev Hynes) will drop his new album Cupid Deluxe on 11/18 on Domino Records.  The album features collaborations with the likes of Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth and Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek.  Check out below Hynes’ new lyric video for song You’re Not Good Enough in which the ghost of Michael Jackson (OK, it’s Hynes in Jacko-garb) beats it down a sidewalk while the ’80s soundtrack on by.

After, check out Hynes’ charming earlier video (filmed in Hynes’ mother’s home of Georgetown, Guyana) for song Chamakay featuring Ms. Polachek’s perfect vocal mesh.  Hynes says this about the latter video:  “”I decided to visit Georgetown, Guyana for the first time, the town where my mother is from. She, herself has not been back for 30 years, 3 years before I was born. I tracked down family members, including my 92 year old grandfather, who I had never met before. In this video you will see our first ever meeting.”

Both songs bode incredibly well for Cupid Deluxe, which could be THE pop hit of the season.


Watch Arcade Fire Reflekt on Jimmy Kimmel Show

by Lefort in Music

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Evidently our invitation got lost in the mail when Arcade Fire held a record release show at the Capitol Records Tower in LA, all in honor of the release yesterday of the band’s new album Reflektor.  The show was streamed live, but the band’s performances of new songs Flashbulb Eyes and Afterlife, showed up on Jimmy Kimmel’s Show last night.  Check ’em out below.  We particularly like the Haitian reggae-with-strings motif on Flashbulb Eyes.  And Win Butler dedicated Afterlife to the late, great Lou Reed and covered Reed’s Supersymmetry/Satellite of Love.  They play the Hollywood Palladium on Halloween.  We’ll see you there.

The Capitol Records show’s setlist is below:

Flashbulb Eyes
It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)
We Exist
You Already Know
Normal Person
Here Comes the Night Time
Supersymmetry/Satellite of Love
Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)



Watch Diego Garcia’s Official Video for “Sunnier Days”

by Lefort in Music

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We wrote recently about Diego Garcia’s new album Paradise and its magical pop song Sunnier Days.  Garcia recently released the whimsical official video for this sweet song.  Check it out below and go order the album at Garcia’s site above.  And be on the lookout for sunnier days.  Garcia’s tour in support of the new album will begin next week in California and the dates can be found HERE.


Read Emily Haines’ Homage to Lou Reed

by Lefort in Music

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Shelebration 1_

The tributes to the late, great Lou Reed are beginning to flow in.  We have fond memories of attending Bright Eyes show in New York City on May 25th, 2007 at the Music Hall, and Conor Oberst inviting Lou out to sing I’m Waiting For The Man and Dirty Blvd.  We could go on and on about our love for the musician and his music.

But instead will demure to Emily Haines’ (Metric, Broken Social Scene) well-rendered homage set forth below in its entirety.  Haines and Reed had performed/appeared together for years, and Reed contributed to Metric’s most recent album, Synthetica.

Haines’ homage is a heart-rending read, which you can also read on Metric’s site HERE.  At bottom you can watch Metric, Haines and Reed perform The Velvet Underground’s Pale Blue Eyes just last September.

RIP Lou.

Sha La La, Man

When Lou Reed asked me, “Emily Haines, who would you rather be, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones,” I shot back, “The Velvet Underground.” Quick thinking, sure, but also the truth. In our song “Gimme Sympathy,” we lament the fact that none of us living today are likely to achieve the stature or saturation the signature acts of that era enjoyed. But for me none of that music comes close to the contribution Lou Reed has made to the world. It’s immeasurable. Famously cranky, his integrity is unrivaled. He irritated everyone with difficult music. He refused to spend his life re-writing “Walk on the Wild Side,” effectively sparing himself a lifetime of boring conversations with fools. Anyone who couldn’t see that his tough exterior was an essential shield for the man who gave us “Pale Blue Eyes,” with all its intimacy and relatable sadness, has missed the point of his life completely.

I’m not one to proclaim fated encounters, but it seems as though everyone I know who had the power to bring Lou and me together used it to make it happen. A strange combination of forces channeled Hal Willner through Kevin Drew through Kevin Hearn through Neil Young’s “A Man Needs a Maid” and that was that. When we finally did meet, it was obvious and easy, like an idea that’s been floating around for years and then one day emerges effortlessly, fully formed. Our connection was free of the fawning fandom and nauseating idolatry that so often characterizes such show biz interactions between a young woman and an older man. He was never condescending. I didn’t worship him. We talked about my late father Paul Haines’ recordings of Albert Ayler, we talked about Escalator Over the Hill, we talked about Roswell Rudd and Henry Grimes. This thin man with gold teeth and clear engaging eyes was a thrill to be with, and his barbed wire wit made hanging with him like a tightrope walk. You couldn’t drift.

People always seemed afraid to be straight with Lou but I wasn’t. At the rehearsal for our performance at Vivid Festival at the Sydney Opera House in 2010 (an event he curated with Laurie Anderson), he couldn’t remember the guitar part for “Cremation,” the song he wanted me to sing with him. I said, “You have to remember. You have to play the guitar,” and the room fell silent as though I had hit the height of blasphemy. But he just looked at me and said, “You’re right.”

Persuading him to play “Pale Blue Eyes” when he joined Metric onstage for “The Wanderlust” at Radio City Music Hall in 2012 required a more nuanced approach and I’ll always remember the golden look of approval he gave our guitarist, Jimmy Shaw, when he played that delicate guitar line onstage that night.

An essential thing people seem to miss when they think of Lou Reed is the scope of his sense of humor. When he invited me to play with him at the Shel Silverstein tribute concert in Central Park in 2011, I was the straight man, backing him up on piano and vocals as he turned the song “25 Minutes to Go” into a roast of Mayor Bloomberg’s New York for billionaires.

Near the end, there were things Lou wanted to do that his poor health prevented. We had planned to perform together at Coachella but he wasn’t well enough and had to cancel. More recently, his visit to Toronto became impossible and I found myself standing around talking to Mick Rock instead, looking at photographs of the glamorized Lou when really the person I wanted to see was the man that had made it through all those years and married Laurie Anderson, the man who continued to live and love and create. I hijacked the DJ’s playlist at the gallery, forced everyone to listen to “O Superman” and gave a big drunk speech about it. I guess you could say it was an early expression of the grief that was to come.

Kevin Hearn has played in Lou Reed’s band for years. Hearn and I have been working on some new recordings of my songs, just vocals and piano. A survivor of blood cancer himself, Kevin visited Lou and Laurie many times throughout Lou’s treatment in Cleveland. It appeared for a while there that Lou was on the mend, but in recent weeks his condition declined. When Lou called for him a few days ago, Kevin feared the worst. He wrote to me late last night, “I went to see Lou in Cleveland. He had to go back in the hospital. He is not doing too well I’m sad to say. Laurie was there too. They asked what I have been up to and I told them about the songs. They wanted to hear something so I played them ‘Dedicated.’ I hope you don’t mind. They really liked it.” I fell asleep last night hoping my voice had been of some comfort to him. And when I woke up, I found out he was dead.

The first time I sang “Perfect Day” for him, Lou said, “You have to bring more pain to it. You’re not singing about a fucking picnic.” Consider it done.

Playing “Cremation” with Lou was heavy enough at the time, but now that he’s gone the lyrics just break my heart. “The coal black sea waits for me me me/ the coal black sea waits forever/ when I leave this joint/ at some further point/ the same coal black sea/ will it be waiting?”

In his last message to me, Lou wrote, “I’m so sorry Emily I would’ve if I could have but I’m a little under the weather but I love you.”

I love you, too.”



Watch Last Night’s Tribute to Lou Reed: My Morning Jacket, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Conor Oberst, and Jennie Lewis & The Watson Twins Covering “Oh! Sweet Nuthin”

by Lefort in Music

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Last night at the Bridge School Benefit Concert there was musical magic aplenty.  In addition to Tom Waits’ first live show in over five years, one of the clear highlight’s of the night was an ensemble tribute to the late, great Lou Reed.  Watch below as My Morning Jacket, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, Conor Oberst, Jennie Lewis and The Watson Twins cover Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ off of the last Velvet Underground studio album, Loaded. Between Jim James’, Elvis Costello’s and  ensemble vocals, Young’s fervent harmonica playing, and Carl Broemel’s dobro playing, they lit up the night right for Lou.  R.I.P. Sweet Lou.

And by the way:  it’s a wonder Reed and The Velvet Underground didn’t sue the Marshall Tucker Band for their copycat melody on Can’t You See? (listen at bottom).


Step Right Up and Watch Tom Waits’ Set at Bridge School Concert

by Lefort in Music

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The music world was rightly agog yesterday when Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Famer Tom Waits performed live for the first time in over five years at Neil Young’s annual Bridge School Benefit Concert.  You can watch his entire stentorian set below. Genius and hilarity will ensue.  After watch a brief glimpse of the rehearsal for the show released by Waits‘ label Anti Records.

Below is Waits’ setlist:

Raised Right Men
Talking at the Same Time
Lucky Day
Tom Traubert’s Blues
Last Leaf
Cemetery Polka
Come On Up to the House


Watch Last Night’s Bridge School Concert

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Word is coming in from today’s (Sunday’s) Bridge School Benefit Concert.  Only an hour ago, Neil Young, Elvis Costello, My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst and Jenny Lewis gathered onstage and together paid tribute in song to dearly departed Lou Reed. Not a dry eye in the house.  It’s that kind of show each year.

In case you missed the stream of yesterday’s show featuring, amongst others, CSN&Y, Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, Jenny Lewis, Elvis Costello and Diana Krall.  Arcade Fire’s set-closer, Wake Up, is worth your time alone, but My Morning Jacket’s duet with Neil Young on Harvest Moon is particularly enthralling.  All good on the Western Front.  Check it out below.


Bridge School Benefit Concert Streaming Now

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It’s on now.  Watch tonight’s Bridge School Benefit now below.  Later:  Arcade Fire and multiple musical riches.


More Lily & Madeleine–Touted by Sufjan Stevens

by Lefort in Music

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We recently stumbled upon teenage sisters Lily & Madeleine who will release their debut album next Tuesday.  Check out their new video below for Goodbye to Anyone, which none other than Sufjan Stevens touted by posting this morning with this message:  “Lily & Madeleine 4EVR.”  We agree.  Another sweet song from the sisters that belies their ages.