November, 2014 Archives


On Sunday: Watch/Listen to Ibeyi’s “Mama Says”

by Lefort in Music

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Ibeyi is the twin sisters, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz (daughters of Cuban percussionist, Anga Díaz, who was a member of Buena Vista Social Club).  The Parisian sisters sing both in English and the Nigerian language Yoruba.  They have signed to XL and have started recording their debut album.  Check out below a sample of the impending long-release via soulful track Mama Says.  The song languishes somewhere in the fold between jazz and soul, but bears updated digital production and effects.  All to great affect.  We love it, and look forward to their album.


Watch U2 Perform “Every Breaking Wave”

by Lefort in Music

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Bono, Edge and all of U2 have (once again) become the music whipping boys following the iTunes “gifting” of their latest album Songs of  Innocence.  We think this anger a bit over the top and mostly unwarranted.  But that’s just us.  For those that would complain bitterly about the band, we might suggest that you at least give peace and U2’s music a chance again.  While the new album might not be their absolute strongest, it still has plenty to recommend it.  Exhibit A in this case would be the song Every Breaking Wave as captured live twice in the last month, first on Later with Jools Holland and second from the MTV European Music Awards.  It’s a fantastic song and the live arrangement is sterling.  Not to mention Bono’s vocalese is nonpareil here, his rich tenor and emphatic delivery helping to bring the song alive.  Surf’s up!

Here’s wishing Bono a swift and complete recovery from his Central Park cycling accident.


Reaching Into the Backwaters: Watch Phosphorescent Cover Dylan’s “Tomorrow Is a Long Time”

by Lefort in Music

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Most of the year, the musical Niagara Falls flies by full-flow.  We all shakily extend our cups into the roaring sound-cavalcade and pull out what we can.  But we miss so much, only to find it later downstream in the lazier river.  It’s in this Thanksgiving season that the waters slow somewhat.  Thankfully.  Given the slowing and current events, now seems as good a time as any to pull this one up from January of this year.  The world is again Dylan-agog following the outstanding release of the updated Basement Tapes box sets (guilty as charged: we can’t stop listening to the poor-man’s version, the two-disc Basement Tapes Raw distillation).  And one of our favorites, Phosphorescent, just rolled through Los Angeles and wowed the cognoscenti once again (missed it–more regrets).  Combining the two, watch as Phosphorescent (leader Matthew Houck solo) covers Dylan’s Tomorrow Is A Long Time for WNRN.  It’s a faithful rendering, but aided immeasurably by Houck’s world-weary vocals.  Phosphorescent is known for their outstanding covers (Vampire Weekend’s Ya Hey, Jesse Colter’s Storms Never Last, and Randy Newman’s Days of Heaven to name a few).  This one fits nicely into Phosphorescent’s covers quiver.  Happy Thanksgiving y’all!


Another Vantage: Enter Esmé Patterson’s World With Her Official Video for “The Glow”

by Lefort in Music

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We’d been hearing repeated raves from reliable sources about the alt-country band Shakey Graves, but were gravely shaken not to immediately connect with them upon listening.  Over time, however, a few of their songs finally sank in to our ears.  What we came to realize, though, was that it was their songs that included collaborator Esmé Patterson that were really making their mark on us.  Her strong vocals and harmonies featured on songs/performances such as the ensemble’s Big Time Nashville Star and Dearly Departed (which you can watch/listen to way below) drew us in more than the comparatively straight-forward deliveries by the core band to which she had been added.

The more we delved into Ms. Patterson (formerly of Paperbird), the better we grasped the reasons for her allure.  She’s a whip-smart singer-songwriter who can write, sing and play in all fields, at times sounding like Neko Case and at others like Joni Mitchell.  Last week Patterson impressed further when she released the official video for The Glow (off her critically-acclaimed recent album Woman To Woman).  In so doing she has added acting to her considerable list of skills.  Watch below as Patterson gives a convincing, nuanced performance on screen of the song, which tells Caroline No’s story from Caroline’s perspective (all the songs off the new album tell the woman’s side of the story found in famous songs by The Beatles, Leadbelly, The Band and Townes Van Zandt in addition to the Beach Boys).  Check the video out below, and then check out the lyrics to Caroline No to connect “the glow.”

Afterwards, listen to Patterson’s three-song Tedx Talks session for some more Woman To Woman samples, followed by the referenced Shakey Graves songs at bottom.

Keep your eyes and ears out for Esmé Patterson.

Caroline No:

“Where did your long hair go
Where is the girl I used to know
How could you lose that happy glow
Oh, Caroline no

Who took that look away
I remember how you used to say
You’d never change, but that’s not true
Oh, Caroline you

Break my heart
I want to go and cry
It’s so sad to watch a sweet thing die
Oh, Caroline why

Could I ever find in you again
Things that made me love you so much then
Could we ever bring ’em back once they have gone
Oh, Caroline no”

TedX Talks Session:

With Shakey Graves:

On Conan Performing Dearly Departed:

Performing Big Time Nashville Star:


On Sunday: Listen to Tobias Jesso Jr.’s Telling “Hollywood”

by Lefort in Music

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Reminding somewhat of the great Warren Zevon and early Billy Joel (read, pre-sellout) in subject matter, piano and romantic gestalt, check out Vancouver’s Tobias Jesso Jr.’s affecting ballad HollywoodCheck out Jesso’s soundly-resigned vocals that segue into the perfect horn dishevelment outro.  Beauty.

We’ll have more on Jesso later, but in the meantime enjoy this beauty below.


Watch TV On The Radio Perform “Happy Idiot” on Letterman Show

by Lefort in Music

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screen-shot-TVOR Letterman

It’s been a long dang time (2006) since the first time we caught TV on the Radio at Soho in Santa Barbara on their tour in support of their second album, Return to Cookie Mountain.  Last night the band appeared on the Late Show With David Letterman last night to perform a raucous version of their song Happy Idiot off of their new, critically-acclaimed, fifth album Seeds.  Check it out below.


Watch Mariachi El Bronx on KCRW Perform “Wildfires”

by Lefort in Music

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On a dream weekend earlier this month, we caught up with the nonpareil Mariachi El Bronx as they toured through California.  And MEB delivered one of the most riveting, driving live deliveries we have heard from a band in quite some time. The flipside to the alter-ego punk band side of this melange is a soulful, authentico band that serves up lock-step, soul-infused mariachi music, with hard-driving percussion, riveting vocals and a committed gestalt, which will not quit. Con mucho brio! To get a sample of what you missed, check out their performance for KCRW below.  So dang good. Don’t you miss them, next time they come around.  Whatever you do.


Watch The New Basement Tapes Perform on Jimmy Kimmel Show Last Night

by Lefort in Music

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As we’ve now written repeatedly, The New Basement Tapes, featuring Elvis Costello, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Mumford & Sons’ Marcus Mumford, Dawes’ Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith and The Carolina Chocolate Drops’ Rhiannon Giddens , were brought together by T-Bone Burnett to add music to unfinished lyrics of Bob Dylan’s, from circa Basement Tapes.  Hence the group’s name.

The group has now released its album Lost On The River. Last night, they were on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where Jim James led them through a sterling version of Nothing To It, and Giddens and the boys absolutely annihilated Duncan & Jimmy in a web-exclusive.  Check ’em both out below.  Superb work from this supergroup!


Listen to Another Great New Song from Vaults: “Mend This Love”

by Lefort in Music

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As mentioned before, two new acts, Brit-pop band Vaults and Brooklyn’s Tei Shi, strike an emotional chord within us much harder and deeper than other acts in the pop genre.  Vaults’ song Poison is a perfect example.  Vaults has just released another new track Mend This Love.   Check it out below.  Once again, there are no unnecessary histrionics (so de rigueur these days).  Instead there’s  perfectly spare instrumentation to accentuate an affecting ode to an irredeemable love.  Singer Blythe Pepino and Vaults deliver again with aplomb.

Vaults’ Vultures EP is out December 1st on Virgin/EMI.


Listen to New Elvis Perkins’ Song From Impending Album “I Aubade”

by Lefort in Music

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After two stunning releases in the aughts, New York songwriter Elvis Perkins somewhat disappeared for five years.  Now Perkins has announced a new album via his own MIR imprint, I Aubade.

As a preview of the LP, check out below (via Stereogum) the first single therefrom, Hogus Pogus.  The track evinces a sunnier outlook than we’ve predominantly perceived previously from Perkins.  To get a feel for the less sunny (and for good reason) go HERE to hear one of the all-time greats, Perkins’ beyond-sorrow song Ash Wednesday.

Perkins has this to say about the new album:

“Here lies my third Long-Playing collection of songs. The vast majority of what can be heard is the product of my own placement of microphone to source in the period between February 2012 & December 2013. My previous releases had for the most part been made with steady players in studios and overheard by engineers and producers, so this was for me both a novel approach and a return to the 4-tracking solitary self of my early 20′s.

“I recorded and edited mostly at home {middle new york}, sometimes with others and at their places {hudson, dallas, los angeles}, in american hotels and for a spell in a ‘Wilderness’ {im}mobile home happenstantially catching radio waves {ojai}. Ultimately it is a record full of waves and of changes.”