May, 2014 Archives


Watch Arcade Fire on Jools Holland

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Watch Arcade Fire on Jools Holland Comments


Arcade Fire are out in the world biding their time until they can get to the Santa Barbara Bowl on August 4th.  This week they appeared on British music show Later With Jools Holland.  Check out below as the band nails We Exist, You Already Know and Normal Person off of their latest album, Reflektor.


Watch The National (with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser) at Primavera Festival

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Watch The National (with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser) at Primavera Festival Comments

Jeesh, we haven’t written about The National in weeks.  Let’s fix that quick.  Last night in Barcelona during The National’s Primavera Festival set, the band brought out Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon (whose Volcano Choir also made an appearance) to join for Slow Show (at the 4:00 mark in the first video below) and the Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser and Paul Maroon helped out on Mr. November and Terrible Love.  Check out these performances below.  Oh to be in Barcelona.  The National’s setlist follows the videos.  Sadly, the standard Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks sing-along was dropped as the set-ender.  A crying shame.  Spain’s loss.

You can live stream the remainder of the Primavera Festival HERE.

Primavera Setlist:

Don’t Swallow the Cap
I Should Live in Salt
Mistaken for Strangers
Bloodbuzz Ohio
Sea of Love
Hard to Find
Afraid of Everyone
Conversation 16
Squalor Victoria
I Need My Girl
This Is the Last Time
Slow Show (with Justin Vernon)
About Today
Fake Empire
Mr. November (with Hamilton Leithauser & Paul Maroon)
Terrible Love (with Paul Maroon)


Video of the Week: Anna Calvi/David Byrne’s Cover of “Strange Weather”

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Video of the Week: Anna Calvi/David Byrne’s Cover of “Strange Weather” Comments


As we’ve written, Britain’s classically-trained Anna Calvi is one of the most talented and dynamic artists to emerge in recent years.  Calvi will next month release (on Domino) a five-track covers EP entitled Strange Weather featuring covers of songs by David Bowie, Keren Ann, Suicide, and inventive newcomers FKA Twigs and Connan Mockasin.  This week Calvi released the outstanding official video for the title track, a cover of the Keren Ann original, on which Calvi has teamed up with some dude named David Byrne.  The cover is stunningly beautiful (who knew Byrne could falsetto so well?) and the video is a heart-rending ‘scape of New York City.  Check it out below.  And after listen to the EP’s opening track, a unique new take on the mesmerizing FKA Twigs’ Papi Pacify.  You can pre-order Strange Weather HERE.



Review and Videos of Elbow at the Wiltern; Listen to Their WXPN World Cafe Session

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Review and Videos of Elbow at the Wiltern; Listen to Their WXPN World Cafe Session Comments


On a hallowed day (Wednesday) we attended Elbow’s outstanding, U.S.-tour-ending show at the Wiltern Theater in LA.  There was joy abounding at the Wiltern while Guy Garvey and his fine fellows delivered their well-crafted songs with aplomb and held the audience in their sway (with its ever-swaying hands).  As usual, the gregarious Garvey cut a common-man figure and left everyone in the audience feeling as if he had sung each song just for them.  With his trademark point-and-nod, eye-contact acknowledgements, Garvey seeks to connect with his audience like few have.  And if that isn’t enough, he’ll pass a gin and tonic back to you if you’re hot or sing a song for you if it’s your first date (“Jimmy” and “Melanie” in this instance).  Mission accomplished, as they say.  In the end Garvey seemed to have sung at least six songs directly to us (or was it to Rob Corddry or Brendan CoyleBates from Downton Abbey–who were in attendance?).  Regardless, it’s a particularly winning strategy when coupled with his sonorous vocals (which seem to impossibly improve with every year), the band’s dynamic discography and their sound-perfect ensemble performances (percussionist Richard Jupp in particular stood out for his precise drumming acumen and cymbal-play, but also keyboardist/producer Craig Potter).  The core of Elbow was fleshed out superbly with the addition of two sylvan string players/back-up singers.

Highlights from their set included the fantastic new songs New York Morning and My Sad Captains.  If you haven’t seen the official videos for each, check them out HERE (Dennis and Lois from the video were at the Wiltern and called out by Garvey) and HERE, along with older stalwarts including The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver, Grounds For Divorce, The Birds, Lippy Kids and (of course) the set-closing One Day Like This.  The middle of the set sagged a bit under the weight of its balladry and could use some shuffling, but we left knowing we had seen one of the best concerts of 2014.  Watch fan videos below of the band performing My Sad Captains, before which Garvey graciously brought out the band’s road crew for a bow, and New York Morning.  The remainder of their set can be viewed on video HERE.  The Wiltern setlist (which did not vary the entire US tour) is at bottom.  If they come your way in the future, recall that “we only pass this way once” and don’t miss ’em.

And yesterday Elbow was featured on WXPN’s World Cafe.  Listen to it below the videos.  Host David Dye speaks with Garvey and great bassist/instrumentalist Pete Turner about the evolution of the band and the band performs acoustically Real Life (Angel), My Sad Captains, and The Blanket of Night.  Superb music as usual from one of the best bands extant.

Wiltern Setlist:

1. Charge
2. The Bones of You
3. New York Morning
4. Real Life (Angel)
5. The Night Will Always Win
6. Fly Boy Blue/Lunette
7. The Loneliness of a Tower Crane Driver
8. Great Expectations
9. Scattered Black and Whites
10. Mirrorball
11. The Birds
12. Grounds for Divorce
13. My Sad Captains


14. Lippy Kids
15. One Day Like This

Photo by Lefort.


Watch Conor Oberst Perform (with Dawes) This Morning On CBS This Morning

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Watch Conor Oberst Perform (with Dawes) This Morning On CBS This Morning Comments


Conor Oberst’s outstanding new album Upside Down Mountain has wormed its way into our ears and won’t desist.  This morning on CBS This Morning Oberst was interviewed and performed three songs off the new album, including a solo performance of one of the most talked-about tracks on the new album, You Are Your Mother’s Child.  The song is a coming of age song (timed perfectly for graduation season) that’s been dubbed an update of Harry Chapin’s classic (maudlin) Cat’s In The Cradle.  Oberst sings in the role of a contrite father, proud of his kid’s accomplishments despite his own shortcomings as a father.  “I definitely struggled with whether to put that one on the record,” Oberst told Billboard magazine. “It has more sentimentality to it than any of the other songs, but I’ve seen a lot of friends go through that stuff. [Having kids] would be a cool thing to do someday. I don’t particularly feel ready for it right now, but I guess no one ever does.”

After, check out the phenomenal album opener, Time Forgot (a web-exclusive), and Hundreds of Ways, on which the dynamic Dawes provided stentorian support.


Remix of the Week: Listen to MS MR Remix of Sylvan Esso’s “Coffee”

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Remix of the Week: Listen to MS MR Remix of Sylvan Esso’s “Coffee” Comments


We have had our morning fix and are fixated on this MS MR remix of Sylvan Esso’s still-addicting Coffee.  Check it out below with MS MR’s kaleidoscopic electronic additions and subtractions.  Phenom.  If you like this mix, check out manifold other MS MR remixes, go HERE for more goodness.  This mix follows on a last week’s great remix of the song by Helado NegroSylvan Esso’s original can be poured over at bottom.


Watch Counting Crows on Seth Meyers As They Reiterate Why They Were (And Still Are) Worthy

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Watch Counting Crows on Seth Meyers As They Reiterate Why They Were (And Still Are) Worthy Comments

Late Night with Seth Meyers - Season 1

As music lovers become older, there lurks an assessment and reckoning that we all must partake in if we want to be honest about our musical history.  Simply put, every generation tends to grow up believing that the music of its generation is the greatest.  But it’s good to reevaluate and take an honest look back.  Hopefully, as listeners we’ve continued to evolve musically and can at some point objectively assess the worth of what went down musically in our adolescent/young-adult days.  And in retrospect, while some will forever stand the test of time (Hank Williams, Gram Parsons, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, The Band, etc.), those with objectivity might admit that their musical heroes weren’t really worthy of their adulation (hello Boston, Aerosmith, and Kiss fans!).

Such was our mindset when we began to catch wind of a resurgence in popularity and notoriety of the Counting Crows.  We recall fondly the halcyon days for the Counting Crows as they grew up in our Berkeley backyard and we caught them in small local venues in the SF East Bay at a time when we knew we wouldn’t be able to keep the masses at bay.  Following the release of their first album in 1993, August and Everything After, that was no longer possible.  They became very popular (horrors!), in part because of their rousing live performances, but also because of their great songwriting and recordings.   Nonetheless, as stated above, two decades later one should still question the worth of the artists that we adored.

We’ve looked around a bit, and to their credit, the Counting Crows still hold up well following reassessment.  Of course they’ve aged and also haven’t recently written or recorded new songs on par with their earlier material (they have apparently recently signed to Capitol Records and will release a new album, tentatively titled Somewhere Under Wonderland, later this year–so will have something new to assess).   As proof of their continued merit, check out below this week’s performance Late Night with Seth Meyers of one of their defining songs, Round Here.  Meyers also interviews band leader, Duritz (Sideshow Bob?), who comes across as a likable, humorous, and somewhat quirky chap.  Watch the band’s performance in which Duritz delivers one of their great songs, Round Here, with aplomb and reasserts their historical worth.  Amongst other things, Duritz was always a gifted lyricist.  But in the Late Night performance he delivers every syllable of the song perfectly, with emphases soundly placed and emotion properly drawn from the song’s lyrics.  While some of their other songs may not stand up as well, Round Here roundly stands the test of time.  Check it out.  After, watch Meyers’ interview segments with Duritz.  The song’s ever-relevant lyrics (as updated, mostly, from the performance) are at bottom.

The band kicks off its tour next month, and you can check out the dates HERE.

Round Here:

“Step out the front door like a ghost
into the fog where no one notices
the contrast of white on white.
And in between the moon and you
the angels get a better view
of the crumbling difference between wrong and right.
I walk in the air between the rain
through myself and back again
Where? I don’t know.
Maria says she’s dying
through the door I hear her crying
Why? I don’t know.

Round here we always stand up straight
Round here something radiates

Maria came from Nashville with a suitcase in her hand
she said she’d like to meet a boy who looks like Elvis
she walks along the edge of where the ocean meets the land
just like she’s walking on a wire in the circus
she parks her car outside of my house
takes all her clothes off
says she’s close to understanding Jesus
she knows she’s more than just a little misunderstood
she has trouble acting normal when she’s nervous

Round here we’re carving out our names
Round her, hey man,  we all look the same
Round here we talk just like lions
But we sacrifice like lambs
Round here she’s slipping through my hands

Sleeping children better run like the wind
out of the lightning dream
Mama’s little baby better get herself in
out of the lightning

She says It’s only in my head
She says shhhh….I know it’s only in my head
But the girl on car in the parking lot
says “Man, come on, you should try to take a shot
can’t you see my walls are crumbling?”
Then she looks up at the building
and says she’s thinking of jumping
She says she’s tired of life
well everybody’s tired of something

Round here she’s always on my mind
Round here hey man got lots of time
Round here we’re never sent to bed early
And nobody makes us wait
Round here we stay up very, very, very, very, very late.

I can’t see nothin’, nothin’, round here.
No, you catch me when I’m fallin’.
You catch me if I’m fallin’.
You catch me if I’m falling down on you.
Oh man I said ” I’m under the gun…”
Round here.
Oh man I said “I’m under the gun…”
Round here.
And I can’t see nothin’, nothin’.
Round here.”


Watch Sharon Van Etten Perform Three Songs Off New Album in a London Church

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Watch Sharon Van Etten Perform Three Songs Off New Album in a London Church Comments


As mentioned repeatedly on these pages, Sharon Van Etten will soon release her new album Are We There.  Van Etten recently recorded three live videos of herself and frequent collaborator Heather Woods Broderick performing Afraid of Nothing, Taking Chances and Tarifa unplugged at the St. Pancras Old Church in London.  Go over to Amazon UK Artist Lounge HERE to watch these sterling performances.  The voices of angels.  Indeed.

You can still stream Are We There over at HERE at iTunes Radio.


A Potent Combo: Watch Conor Oberst (with Dawes) Perform New Song on Fallon’s Tonight Show

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on A Potent Combo: Watch Conor Oberst (with Dawes) Perform New Song on Fallon’s Tonight Show Comments


As alerted previously, Conor Oberst yesterday released his new solo album Upside Down Mountain, his first major label release (on Nonesuch).  The new album is a tour de force and possibly his best.  It’s receiving near-universal reviews (ours, soon come).  Yep, there will always be Oberst haters, but the album strikes us as his most cogent, heartfelt and open in quite some time.  The New York Times’ esteemed Jon Pareles has observed: “All of Mr. Oberst’s gifts align on Upside Down Mountain.”  We couldn’t agree more.

To kick off the album’s late night campaign, Oberst appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night, backed by the dynamic Dawes (who will back Oberst on his impending tour–check the dates at bottom).  Check out below their performance of great track Zigzagging Toward the Light, off the just-released album.  Oberst has always been backed by great ensembles (Bright Eyes, the Mystic Valley Band, The Felice Brothers, etc.), but we predict that Dawes will be the pick of the litter.  You can see/hear it below in Dawes’ background vocals and Taylor Goldsmith’s electrifying guitar playing at song’s end.

After, check out the online exclusive of Oberst discussing his first concert experience.

Conor Oberst 2014 Tour Dates:
05/20 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade NYC
05/21 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
05/22 – Westbury, NY @ The Space at Westbury *
05/23 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club *
05/24 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club *
05/25 – Munhall, PA @ Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead *
05/27 – Cincinnati, OH @ Taft Theatre *
05/29 – Chicago, IL @ Metro *
05/30 – Chicago, IL @ Metro *
05/31 – Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater *
06/01 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue *
06/02 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue *
06/04 – Omaha, NE @ Sokol Auditorium *
06/05 – Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note *
06/06 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium *
06/07 – Lexington, KY @ Buster’s *
07/02 – Kansas CIty, MO @ Crossroads KC *
07/03 – Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck *
07/04 – Des Moines, IA @ 80/35 Festival
07/08 – Manchester, UK @ Cathedral *
07/09 – London, UK @ KOKO *
07/11 – Bilbao, ES @ Bilbao BBK Live *
07/12 – Aix les Bains, FR @ Musilac Festival *
07/13 – Brugge, BE @ Cactusfestival *
07/14 – Nijmegen, NL @ Valkhof Festival *
07/15 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso *
07/17 – Berne, CH @ Gurten Festival *
07/18 – London, UK @ KOKO *
07/19 – Southwold, UK @ Latitude Festival *
07/20 – Dublin, IE @ Longitude Festival *
07/21 – Glasgow, UK @ ABC *
07/27 – Newport, RI @ Newport Folk Festival
07/29 – New York, NY @ SummerStage *
07/31 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Meijer Gardens Amphitheatre *
08/01 – Cooperstown, NY @ Brewery Ommegang *
08/05 – Aarhus, DK @ Train *
08/06 – Copenhagen, DK @ Amager Bio *
08/07-09 – Gothenburg, SE @ Way Out West
08/11 – Hamburg, DE @ Fabrik *
08/12 – Berlin, DE @ Postbahnhof *
08/13 – St. Polten, AT @ Frequency Festival *
08/14 – Vienna, AT @ Vienna Arena *
08/16 – Munich, DE @ Freiheiz *
08/17 – Cologne, DE @ Gloria *
09/14 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
09/16 – Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theater
09/18 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s
09/19 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
09/20 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheatre
09/21 – Dallas, TX @ AT&T Performing Arts Center
09/23 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theatre
09/27 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
09/28 – Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory
09/30 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox at the Market
10/01 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
10/05 – Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre #

* = w/ Dawes
# = w/ John Prine


Stream Sharon Van Etten’s New Album “Are We There”

by Lefort in Music

Comments Off on Stream Sharon Van Etten’s New Album “Are We There” Comments


As heralded previously on these pages, Sharon Van Etten will release her new album, Are We There, on May 27th on Jagjaguwar.  Until then, you can stream the album now via iTunes Radio HERE.  To our ears, Van Etten hasn’t hit a wrong note in her entire discography, and the new album may be her best yet.  SVE self-produced the album in reaction to many questioning how much of her last (fantastic) album Tramp represented her efforts versus those of producer Aaron Dessner (The National) and others.  Are We There sets the record straight.  Van Etten does it all while arriving “there” musically.  Brava!