April, 2014 Archives


Listen to Shining New Sharon Van Etten Song “Every Time The Sun Comes Up” and Watch Her Sing in Her Apartment

by Lefort in Music

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We’ve been falling all ourselves praising the first song (Taking Chances) released by Sharon Van Etten off of her impending album, Are We There, (coming on May 27th on Jagjaguwar)  and the official video therefor.

Today Van Etten released another portentous song off the album, Every Time The Sun Comes Up. We love it in all its emotional honesty and humor.  Van Etten had this to say about the new song to The New York Times:

“On a lark, she’d played her band a demo of her singing the chorus. Van Etten didn’t think much of the song, a wry, country-inflected sing-along, but “at that time of day when we’d already spent eight hours in the studio and I’d checked in with everybody, asking, ‘Are you really tired, don’t you want to go home,’ everyone kept saying, ‘Let’s go back to that song,’ I was like, ‘Have you lost your mind?’” She lets out a long laugh. “I ended up just narrating,” she says. “I’m doing the vocals inside the control room while they play in the studio itself, and just pointing at people. Each verse is about someone else in that room. And everyone was laughing and saying, ‘you have to keep those lyrics.’

Check it out below and pre-order the new album in vinyl and CD formats HERE or digitally HERE, HERE, and at your local record store.  The tracklist and SVE’s impending tour dates are at bottom.

In addition, The New Yorker will soon release an article on Van Etten, and after the new song you can watch SVE singing yet another new song and being interviewed in her West Village NYC apartment.

Are We There:

1 Afraid of Nothing
2 Taking Chances
3 Your Love Is Killing Me
4 Our Love
5 Tarifa
6 I Love You But I’m Lost
7 You Know Me Well
8 Break Me
9 Nothing Will Change
10 I Know
11 Every Time the Sun Comes Up

Tour Dates:

Thu. May 8 – Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall
Fri. May 9 – Hudson, NY @ Helsinki Hudson
Sat. May 10 – Providence, RI @ Columbus Theatre
Sun. May 11 – Hamden, CT @ Ballroom at the Outer Space
Sun. May 25 – Brussels, BE @ Botanique Grand Salon (Nuits Botanique)
Wed. May 28 – Paris, FR @ Café de la Danse
Fri. May 30 – Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound
Sun. June 1 – Koln, DE @ Studio 672
Mon. June 2 – Berlin, DE @ Privatclub
Tue. June 3 – Amsterdam, NL @ Bitterzoet
Thu. June 5 – London, UK @ KOKO
Wed. June 11 – Boston, MA @ Sinclair
Thu. June 12 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall at Williamsburg (Northside Festival)
Fri. June 13 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
Sat. June 14 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
Tue. June 17 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Wed. June 18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
Thu. June 19 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Small’s
Fri. June 20 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
Sat. June 21 – Nashville, TN @ Exit In
Tue. June 24 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater
Wed. June 25 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
Sat. June 28 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre
Sun. June 29 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
Mon. June 30 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
Wed. July 2 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
Thu. July 3 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
Sat. July 5 – George, WA @ Sasquatch Festival
Sun. July 6 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
Tue. July 8 – Calgary, AB @ Republik
Wed. July 9 – Edmonton, AB @ Starlite Room
Mon. July 14 – Fargo, ND @ Aquarium
Wed. July 16 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
Thu. July 17 – Madison, WI @ University of Wisconsin
Fri. July 18 – Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Music Festival


Watch Sylvan Esso’s New Video for “Play It Right”

by Lefort in Music

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Sylvan Esso has sauntered ever so deeply into our consciousness this year.  Their debut album will hit on May 13th via Partisan Records.  In advance of that release comes the band’s new official video for Play It Right (originally a comparatively-hushed folker from singer Amelia Randall Meath‘s other band, Mountain Man).   Now comes the application of some sylvan gas to the tune, resulting in its renewal as a dynamic dance number (to go with their similarly dance-inducing Coffee video).  Cohort Nick Sanborn (also of the mega-talented Megafaun) has added proper electronic effervescence to this version, resulting in the involuntary movements you will see (and feel) from Meath and Sanborn in the new video.  Check it out.


Watch Kendrick Lamar, with Johnny Marr and Alicia Keys, on Fallon’s Tonight Show

by Lefort in Music

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Whoa, guess we’ve been preoccupied and missed out.  Last Thursday the killing Kendrick Lamar appeared on The Tonight Show with Alicia Keys and Johnny Marr to perform their collaborative It’s On Again from the Amazing Spider-Man 2 soundtrack (which also features, interestingly, the phantastic Phosphorescent).   If you do nothing else, watch Lamar rule in the first 1:01 of the video below.  And Ms. Keys and Mr. Marr are all fine and good too.  After, check out the high-production-values (there’s a shocker) official video for the song.


The National Deliver the Show of the Year at the Santa Barbara Bowl: Review and Photos

by Lefort in Music


It’s been a banner concert season, capped off Friday night by our fourth show by The National in the last eight months.  We’ve written ceaselessly about this band, their Best Album of 2013 Trouble Will Find Me, and their live shows (which you can read about HERE and HERE).  So we won’t bore with another long praise-screed.  Suffice it to say that we believe them to be America’s best live band (and possibly the world’s best, due deference to Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Elbow and U2).  And that on Friday night they came to the hallowed Santa Barbara Bowl and measured up well against the greats (Marley, The Band, Mitchell, Radiohead, etc.) that have graced these grounds.

Portugal the Man opened and delivered a mesmerizing set of songs warranting much closer scrutiny by yours truly.  We were pleasantly surprised to see a good turnout for the band and most of those in attendance knowing every word to every song of the band’s (one minor complaint would be the leader’s constant mid-song gaze at the stage while tuning his guitar–doesn’t exactly propel things in a live setting)

And then it was time for The National.  And they came out and did what they always d0: lift the world’s weight and make all right again with their healing music.  We will confess that we had concerns following our viewing of the band last month at the Shrine Auditorium.  There, the cavernous venue and an opening film (Tom Berninger’s captivating documentary Mistaken For Strangers) combined to seemingly sap the life entirely from the crowd and partly from the band.  But Friday night was another matter all together.  Bands just can’t help themselves at the Santa Barbara Bowl, and The National continued that legacy.  And this Bowl crowd came ready to sing and sway.  We had been praying for rain all week, certain that the rare event would help to motivate the crowd and band.  And it was so when, while the band was sailing along during their set, the skies opened up (especially the downpour during Slow Show and amidst the oh-so-apropos England) and righteously baptized the proceedings.  From then on the audience gathered resolve with the rain, and there was no turning back, with all on their feet and firmly focused.  Song highlights from the show included Conversation 16, Afraid of Everyone, All the Wine, the rare Santa Clara (the song’s first performance in 2014), Bloodbuzz Ohio, England (as always, but particularly with this rain–a runner was definitely sent–if you haven’t seen, check out the video at the bottom of this post), and the now-standard, scintillating encore-trilogy of Mr. November, Terrible Love and the acoustic/acapella Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks (as depicted above).  As he almost always does, singer Matt Berninger raged out into the crowd during the encore and walked the ancient walls to the crowd’s delight.  No band ends their shows as strongly as this one ’cause they’re “desperate to entertain.”  Nothing better.

Check out our photos (with two panoramics from Tad Wagner) below, along with the full setlist at bottom (you can see they were sadly forced to omit the rarely-performed City Middle)

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Watch Australia’s Courtney Barnett on Fallon’s Tonight Show

by Lefort in Music

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One of our favorite recent discoveries is Australian artist Courtney Barnett.  After wrapping up roundly-praised performances at Corpchella last week, Barnett will heading out on the road for more shows (see list at bottom).  In between all the comings and goings, last night Barnett made her US television debut on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and performed the scintillating single Avant Gardener off her critically-acclaimed album, The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas (Mom + Pop Music).  Check it out below.  As we’ve said before, we love Barnett’s deadpan delivery and lyrics that elevate everyday events into epiphanic epigrams.  All of which shines through on Fallon.


North American Tour Dates /

06.10.14 – Headliners Music Hall – Louisville, KY *
06.11.14 – Exit In – Nashville, TN *
06.12.14 – Georgia Theatre – Athens, GA *
06.14.14 – Music Hall Of Williamsburg – Northside Festival – Brooklyn, NY
06.17.14 – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
06.18.14 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
06.19.14 – Firefly Festival – Dover, DE
06.20.14 – NXNE Festival – Toronto, ON
06.24.14 – Varsity Theater – Minneapolis, MN
07.01.14 – Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO
07.02.14 – Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
07.04.14 – Fortune Sound Club – Vancouver, BC
07.05.14 – Sasquatch Festival – George, WA
08.01.14 – 08.03.14 – Pickathon Festival – Happy Valley, OR
08.01.14 – 08.03.14 – Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL
08.01.14 – 08.03.14 – Osheaga Festival – Montreal, QC
08.08.14 – 08.10.14 – Outside Lands Festival – San Francisco, CA

* w/ Phosphorescent


Watch Elbow’s New Video for “My Sad Captains” from New Album

by Lefort in Music


Brit super-band Elbow has today released its subtly-affecting official video for My Sad Captains from their fantastic new album, The Take Off And Landing of Everything.  Watch below and listen for the horns heralding one of the outstanding “One Day Like This moments on the new album (the other being New York Morning), with its building handclaps and Shakespearean allusions.  What a waste of perfect time indeed.  Here’s to all our pals of yore and ‘morrow!

Before headlining (yet again) at the Glastonbury Festival in June, the band is coming to America next month (see tour dates at bottom) for a scant twelve dates, and we can’t wait to catch them on that special day, May 28th, at The Wiltern in LA, and hear Guy Garvey sonorously deliver My Sad Captains.  Without doubt the show will be one of the highlights of this concert year.  We only pass this way once.

The song’s lyrics follow the video.

“I’m running out of miracles
Oh my soul
And the streets are lined with one-man shows
Oh my soul
Corner boys were moved along
Oh my soul
We’re plummeting like crippled crows
Oh my soulOh, long before
You and I were born
Others beat these benches with their empty cups
To the night and its stars
To be here, and now, and who we areAnother sunrise with my sad captains
With who I choose to lose my mind
And if it’s all we only pass this way but once
What a perfect waste of timeThe BMX apothecary
Oh my soul
The architect of infamy
Oh my soul
For each and every train we miss
Oh my soul
A bitter little Eucharist
Oh my soulOh, long before
You and I were born
Others beat these benches with their empty cups
To the night and its stars
To be here, and now, and who we areAnother sunrise with my sad captains
With who I choose to lose my mind
And if it’s all we only come this way but once
What a perfect waste of timeAnother sunrise with my sad captains
With who I choose to lose my mind
And if it’s all we only pass this way but once
What a perfect waste of timeAnother sunrise with my sad captains
With who I choose to lose my mind
And if it’s all we only pass this way but once
What a perfect waste of timeWhat a perfect waste of time”
Top photo by Tom Sheehan

Watch the Pixies On KCRW–Stream New Album “Indy Cindy” on The Guardian

by Lefort in Music

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The regrouped and revamped Pixies have a new album out (Indy Cindy, their first in 20 years) and have been out on tour in support (having played both weekends of Corpchella to generally rave reviews, and managing to visit the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur in between).  Been a long dang time since our minds and viruses were blown by the band in 1989 on the Doolittle tour.

We have only heard a couple of songs off the new album and, Frankly, have not been overly impressed.  Until today.  We will now have to revisit and listen more closely to Indy Cindy.  This morning the band showed up on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic and played, amongst others, new song Greens and Blues, together with one of their hallmarks, Monkey Gone to Heaven.  As you can see below, Greens and Blues comes off very well here and Monkey Gone to Heaven is, well, gigantic (God is Seven!!).  You can listen/watch the entire Morning Becomes Eclectic session HERE.

To stream Indy Cindy, go over to The Guardian HERE.


Watch Neil Young Perform “Needle of Death” off New Album “A Letter Home”

by Lefort in Music

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Neil Young will on May 27th release his new album of cover songs entitled A Letter Home, which was “reproduced” by Jack White and Young.  Check out Young below performing Bert Jansch’s song Needle of Death in a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph vinyl recording booth at White’s Third Man Records in Nashville. Needle of Death’s inspiration for Young’s superb On The Beach song Ambulance Blues is obvious (listen to it at bottom).  Young told Rolling Stone back in 1992:

“I was especially taken by Needle Of Death, such a beautiful and angry song. That guy was so good… And years later, on On The Beach, I wrote the melody of Ambulance Blues by styling the guitar part completely on Needle Of Death. I wasn’t even aware of it, and someone else drew my attention to it.”

Here is a list of the cover songs on the new album:

1. Changes (Phil Ochs)
2. Girl From The North Country (Bob Dylan)
3. Needle of Death (Bert Jansch)
4. Early Morning Rain (Gordon Lightfoot)
5. Crazy (Willie Nelson)
6. Reason To Believe (Tim Hardin)
7. On The Road Again (Willie Nelson)
8. If You Could Read My Mind (Gordon Lightfoot)
9. Since I Met You Baby (Ivory Joe Hunter)
10. My Hometown (Bruce Springsteen)
11. I Wonder If I Care As Much (Everly Brothers)


Watch Coldplay Perform New Song “Oceans” for BBC Radio 1

by Lefort in Music

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Let’s face facts.  Coldplay will, in most respects, always be the little brother to U2, Radiohead and others (Travis, perhaps) from the UK music scene.  Don’t get us wrong, Chris Martin and cohorts have written some beautiful, impossibly-catchy songs over the last decade plus, and certainly can put on a big-top live show.  But Coldplay is never going to be high on the list of the most-inventive, most-influential outfits (at least compared with the aforesaid bands).  To wit, the band will next month release new album Ghost Stories.  We’ve all heard the first tracks from the album, Midnight and Magic, and we at Chez Lefort were soundly unimpressed by the songs and even more concerned than normal about the artistic vitality of the band’s new album.

Thankfully the band has today shared another, better song entitled Oceans via a live performance for BBC Radio 1, which you can listen to/watch below.   The song is particularly compelling given Martin’s recent high-profile split with wife Gwyneth Paltrow.  Check out Martin below singing about a failing relationship amid spare, tasteful backup by the band.  His pain is palpable (Paltrowble?).

The band also announced today the release of Coldplay: Ghost Stories, a 60-minute special that will be broadcast on NBC on Sunday, May 18th that will mesh live video with “360-degree imagery.”

Check out Oceans below.


Watch Damon Albarn’s “Heavy Seas Of Love” Video and Stream New Solo Album “Everyday Robots”

by Lefort in Music

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As we’ve been regularly mentioning, the great Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz, et. al) is poised to release his solo debut Everyday Robots next week.  We’ve heard a good portion of the new “cathartic” album, and it is, as we have come to expect from Albarn, a melodic, massively-affecting meisterwork.  Today Albarn has dropped his official video for the magnificent Heavy Seas of Love collaboration with Brian Eno.  We were a little slow and only yesterday posted last week’s Song of the Week, but we can’t stop listening to Heavy Seas of Love so let’s just call it now:  Heavy Seas of Love is our Song of the Week this week.  Check out below the charming and crafty iPad-created video below with its jumble of of journeyings.  Afterwards, go over and stream Everyday Robots via iTunes Radio.  It will surely vie for Best Album of 2014.