October, 2015 Archives


Watch Destroyer Raving on KEXP

by Lefort in Music

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It was almost exactly a month ago that we caught the fantastic show by Destroyer at the Regent Theater in LA. To get a feel for the band’s winning, eight-member assault on the ears, check out performances below from their session last Friday at KEXP.  They are simply en fuego!  Do what you have to do to catch Destroyer’s tour when they head off to Europe at the end of the month.  And ferheavensakes, do yourselves a favor and pick up their powerful new album Poison Season.   We particularly love the Times Square and Bangkok performances below.


Review: The National at The Troubadour–Benefit for Cooperative For Education

by Lefort in Music

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All-time Lefort-faves The National performed two shows last night at The Troubadour as a benefit for Cooperative For Education and its “Thousand Girls Initiative, and all was right with the world for a few hours.  You may have noticed by now that The National have been fully-nationalized, playing festivals and large venues around the world.  So catching them at the tiny “Los Angeles cathedral” The Troubadour provided a special treat for their ardent fans, particularly since they hadn’t performed at The Troubadour since March 2006.

Singer Matt Berninger opened on-stage with his cousin, Jeff Berninger (a founder of Cooperative For Education) explaining the charity’s origins and worthy purpose (raising funds for Guatemalan schoolchildren, with the focus rightly on Guatemalan girls).

Following that necessary precis, the remaining band members came down the Troubadour’s steps and opened with Scottish traditional Peggy-O (made famous by some Bay Area band that will remain nameless).  The band then performed a powerful trio of songs from Trouble Will Find Me before speaking of their current recording sessions and performing a brand new, slow-burn song Walk It Back (alternatively known for a while as Roman Candle, watch below). Opening with au current synth-pulse, the song features Bryce Dessner’s always-affecting, subtly-genius guitar-play and Berninger “walking it back.”

After the new song, the band shifted into fan-favorite mode, reeling off Bloodbuzz OhioSea of Love and the victoriously-venomous Squalor Victoria, before returning to more great Trouble Will Find Me tracks (see full setlist at bottom). A decade-plus later, Berninger still deftly ranges between humor and grand-mal seethers, and it remains a joy to behold his rich pageant. The Dessner Twins and Devendorf Rhythm Brothers play with unparalleled aplomb and chemistry, accented by keyboardist/horn-player/harmonizer Ben Lanz and pal.

Berninger then naturally devoted I Need My Girl to the pro-girl Cooperative For Education. Subsequent highlights were All The Wine, and, well, each and ever remaining songs from the show (but especially Slow Show, Pink Rabbits, Mr. November and England–with its “Los Angeles cathedral” verse receiving a huge crowd-applause and smiles all-around from the band). The show ended with the now-standard closer, the all-acoustic Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks sing-along. The devoted crowd sang every word to every song this night. The band members were in good spirits throughout (amiably exchanging jibes) and seemed to feed off the crowd’s energy while shaking off some lay-off rust (with resulting glances between the Dessner twins and with other band members).

The National play tomorrow at the Treasure Island Festival before taking a break (hopefully to work more on the recording). Berninger will release (with Brent Knopf) EL VY’s fantastic album Return To The Moon on 10/30 and heads out on tour in support (stopping at The Troubadour, on November 7th and which we’ll review).

It was a fantastic night for a great cause, and will be remembered fondly by all who attended.

Don’t Swallow the Cap
I Should Live in Salt
Hard to Find
Walk It Back
Bloodbuzz Ohio
Sea of Love
Squalor Victoria
I Need My Girl
This Is the Last Time
All the Wine
Slow Show
Pink Rabbits
Fake Empire
Mr. November
Terrible Love
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks


Review: Neil Young + Promise of the Real Rebel at the Santa Barbara Bowl with Show of the Summer

by Lefort in Music

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Neil Young + the Promise of the Real took over the Santa Barbara Bowl last Saturday and gave the show of the summer, if not the entire year.  Returning to one of his favorite historical haunts and aided by the catalytic Promise of the Real (with Willie Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah), Young seemed to have the energy of ten (69-year old) men.  Young and crew performed for over three hours straight and did not leave the stage until well-after the Bowl’s revered 10pm curfew, playing until 10:38(ish) and finishing with the in-your-face, rollicking Ragged Glory cut F@*cking Up (the 24th song of the evening).  Rebel Content Tour indeed.  It’s hard to believe that Young will turn 70 next month given the energy expended at the Bowl (and on all the other nights of his tour).  Long live Neil Young!

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The show would feature songs spanning virtually the entirety of Young’s career (see setlist at bottom), and opened with Young on solo piano and singing After The Gold Rush, updated to lament Mother Nature still being on the run “in the 21st Century.”  Throughout the night Young’s signature harmonica-playing would particularly strum the heart-strings of the audience.  The crowd-singing was also impressive here and on the subsequent, still-stirring My My Hey Hey and Helpless.  Introducing the elegiac Mother Earth (which he played on pump organ), Young exclaimed “Welcome to California ladies and gentlemen!”

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The Promise of the Real then joined Young on stage, and they performed a full-band set of acoustic songs that included favorites Hold Back The Tears, Out on the Weekend, Unknown Legend, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, and the new Wolf Moon.

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Thereafter, it was all electric, all the time, and all electrifying.  Young and crew kicked off this segment with an emphatic, damning Words (Between the Lines of Age).  With his white Gretsch in hand, Young has never sounded better (early-on his vocals reflected his lines of age).  And the Promise of the Real sang scintillating harmonies while playing with aplomb throughout the night (along with Nelson, brother Micah Nelson on guitar/keyboards, drummer Anthony Logerfo and bass player Merlyn Kelly were on fire the entire set).  Lukas Nelson traded organic and invigorating riffs with Young throughout the night, and Young seemed to gather much from his young cohorts, frequently circling with them to compound the sound.  They followed up with a slamming Alabama before Young yielded the stage to Nelson on solo piano to beautifully sing September Song, the Kurt Weill chestnut that his father, Willie, made famous again, .

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And then Young brought out Old Black (his famous Les Paul electric) and the band tore into captivating activist songs off of the new, political album The Monsanto Years.  Give Young credit; while many have given up, he’s still fighting the fight in songs, deeds and seeds (which he handed out later, while decrying the new California “three-mile seed transport rule”).  In the process, Young called out Monsanto, Starbucks, and Clarence Thomas, among others.  Even if you don’t agree with his politics, you’ve got to respect his energy and commitment to causes.  The Promise of the Real was in full flight during this segment, cavorting and jumping around the stage, and rallying Young to new heights.  The best summation of the night might be the title of Young’s self-rallying song, I Won’t Quit.  That song sang volumes about Young this night.

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Included within this segment was as rocking a version of Down By The River as has ever been heard, followed by the roadhouse-styled rocker Time Fades Away, and a timeless and affecting Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.  Somewhere along the way, Young handed out personally-packaged (“I recognize that handwriting; what a wonderful girl”) organic seeds from his “magic basket” (see photos at bottom).

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The Bowl audience was well aware of the curfew passing at 10 pm and could only gape in awe as Young and crew raged on through an encore of F@*king Up that extended to the show-closing 10:38 pm mark.  As usual, Young ended by tearing the roof off the joint but also the strings from Big Black.  That’s when you know a Neil Young show is over.

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It was a show for the ages and will be remembered forever by all who attended.  Again, long live Neil Young!

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After the Gold Rush
My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)
Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)
Hold Back the Tears
Out on the Weekend
Human Highway
Unknown Legend
Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Wolf Moon
Words (Between the Lines of Age)
September Song (Lukas Nelson on lead vocals)
A Rock Star Bucks a Coffee Shop
People Want to Hear About Love
Big Box
Monsanto Years
Down by the River
Time Fades Away
I Won’t Quit
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Love and Only Love

Fuckin’ Up

All photos:  Lefort


Listen To the Majical Minimalizm of Majical Cloudz’ Songs “Downtown” and “Are You Alone?” Off Impending New Album

by Lefort in Music

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MC Are you alone

This Friday, Montreal’s intent Majical Cloudz will release their sophomore album, Are You Alone?, on Matador Records.  The band is duo Devon Welsh and Matthew Otto, and last week they released the addicting track/video Downtown.   Check out Downtown along with the new album’s title track below.  We particularly love Downtown and its unnerving devotion that smacks of Bryan Ferry covering Joy Division.  We are also heavily enamored by Are You Alone? because Radiohead’s Motion Picture Soundtrack is one of the great songs written and deserves constant amplification.  Here, Majical Cloudz gently lift the original’s lyrics and make it their own.  Go pre-order/buy Are You Alone? HERE.


Watch My Morning Jacket Practicing for This Sunday’s Santa Barbara Bowl Concert

by Lefort in Music


Long-time Lefort-faves My Morning Jacket are coming to the Santa Barbara Bowl this Sunday, October 11th (check out our rave review of their last Santa Barbara Bowl show HERE).

Solely to prepare for the Santa Barbara Bowl show, the band apparently rented out Red Rocks Amphitheater, hired an audience (at least that’s our understanding) and filmed a practice session, all of which is captured in the new video below for the song Compound Fracture off of their critically-acclaimed latest album The Waterfall.

Good to see MMJ putting in the time in Colorado to get properly-prepped for the main stage, the Santa Barbara Bowl.  As an added bonus, the sweet Fruit Bats are opening, starting at 6:30 pm.  If you haven’t already, you can pick up tickets at the Bowl box office or HERE.

Check out the impressive video, song and performance below, followed by the band’s upcoming tour dates. You can pick up The Waterfall HERE.

My Morning Jacket Tour Dates:

October 11 at Santa Barbara Bowl in Santa Barbara, CA w/ Fruit Bats
October 13 at The Shrine in Los Angeles, CA w/ Fruit Bats and Dr. Dog
October 15 at Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco, CA w/ Fruit Bats
October 16 at Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco, CA w/ Fruit Bats
October 17 at Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco, CA w/ Fruit Bats
October 19 at SDSU Open Air Theatre in San Diego, CA w/ Fruit Bats
October 20 at Comerica Theater in Phoenix, AZ w/ Fruit Bats
October 22 at Music Hall in Austin, TX w/ Fruit Bats
October 23 at Music Hall in Austin, TX w/Fruit Bats
October 24 at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, TX w/ Fruit Bats
November 19 at Tower Theater in Philadelphia, PA w/ Strand of Oaks
November 20 at Orpheum Theater in Boston, MA w/ Strand of Oaks
November 21 at Orpheum Theater in Boston, MA w/ Woods
November 24 at Beacon Theatre in New York, NY w/ Woods
November 25 at Beacon Theatre in New York, NY w/ Strand of Oaks
November 27 at Beacon Theatre in New York, NY w/ Cass McCombs
November 28 at Beacon Theatre in New York, NY w/ Craig Finn


Listen to Kaleidoscopic Remix of Destroyer’s “Forces From Above” by Bandmember John Collins

by Lefort in Music

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Destroyer’s Poison Season is easily one of the Best Albums of 2015, and their recent concert at the Regent in Los Angeles matched the album and raised it one (or ten).  So when anything Destroyer-related comes our way these days, we’are all ears.  Today, the band released their own John Collins’ (“DJ johnedwardcollins@gmail.com”) remix of the single Forces from Above.  Versus the string-laden bongo-propelled soar of the original, this version is all over the musical map and takes glorious flight in its second half.  Collins deftly adds Jamaican dub elements and then lays the tone-heavens above bare and spare, ultimately adding more dub and electronica effects and percussion and driving violins and horns, resulting in breath-taking wall-of-sound propulsion.  We love everything about the remix.  That felt good, indeed!  Check it out below.

Collins hilariously had this to say:

DJ johnedwardcollins@gmail.com has heard of dubstep. DJ johnedwardcollins@gmail.com is sickened by the organic, human nature of the album version of “Forces From Above” and of the Poison Season feel in general, when the words are so often about mechanised abuse at a societal level. It makes no sense. However, DJ johnedwardcollins@gmail.com understands malaise and being lost in the simple maze (a couple of squiggly lines) of one’s dreary thoughts. DJ johnedwardcollins@gmail.com knows for a fact that “Forces From Above” is about CAMPS, like internment camps and concentration camps.

DJ johnedwardcollins@gmail.com heard this from Bejar himself, muttered once or twice, in his bunk. DJ johnedwardcollins@gmail.com mixes are not interested in release; they are exercises in tension that go nowhere, much like a life. DJ johnedwardcollins@gmail.com dabbles in queer theory. DJ johnedwardcollins@gmail.com mixes on an iPhone; too bad
DJ johnedwardcollins@gmail.com says, “Destroyer’s sadness is no match for mine. Mine cannot be contained. It never has been able to be.” Extemporaneous night is something DJ johnedwardscollins@gmail.com is working on. DJ johnedwardscollins@gmail.com mourns the undanceability of his mixes, but it won’t always be this way.

DJ johnedwardcollins@gmail.com does not believe techno music to be a suitable medium for songwriters.
DJ johnedwardcollins@gmail.com created this mix as a response to the challenge of making an unmasterable WAV file.”


Watch New Lyric-Video for EL VY’s “Paul Is Alive”

by Lefort in Music

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EL VY‘s coming, hide your heart, girl.   EL VY (Matt Berninger and Brent Knopf) has already given us several good reasons to be big fans of this project (along with an impressive performance on Conan), and today have offered up new, coming-of-music-age cut Paul Is Alive.  Their promising album Return to the Moon will be released on October 30th on 4AD.

About the new song, Berninger says:  “I think ‘Paul Is Alive’ is about finally finding the water that you can breathe in, finding a place or a person that makes you feel like you. It’s very much my story of what Cincinnati was like, growing up and falling in love with music, discovering these little places where like-minded people could find each other.”

Listen/watch/read-along below in which Berninger name-checks “Hüsker Du and The Smiths/ The Sluggos, [and] The Cramps.  With it’s sinister-esque guitar-play, Paul Is Alive leans to the Cramps side of that equation, with additive Ghost Town (The Specials) overtones.  Once again, we love it.


We of the Late Show: Watch Ryan Adams Perform Superb Covers of Taylor Swift’s “1989” Songs on Daily Show

by Lefort in Music

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RA 1989

We’ve been running all over the West Coast trying to keep time with the times, but seem to only have lost it (time, that is).  While we were away a whole host of things went down, including the new host at The Daily Show, Trevor Noah.  We’re still assessing the future ark of Noah, but he did way right last week by bringing on the talented Ryan Adams to perform songs from Adams’ new album 1989, an indie-rock rearrangement of Taylor Swift’s pop masterwork.  Watch below as Adams performs Blank Space, Bad Blood, and Style (presented in our order of preference).  As good as the originals were, Blank Space and Bad Blood are superb examples of why Adams has mattered all these years.  Blank Space, in particular, is simply chill-inducing.  Well-played Mr. Adams. Congrats for all the sales, charting and accolades.  Well-deserved.

Watch Blank Space HERE or below.


Watch Bad Blood HERE or below.


Watch Style HERE or below.



Listen to Courtney Barnett’s Stirring Cover of “Shivers” by Australia’s The Boys Next Door

by Lefort in Music

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Courtney Barnett today released news of a repackaging and boxsets of her fantastic album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, but also a brand new 7″ single produced by Jack White for his Third Man Records Blue Series.

As a part thereof, Barnett gives us today a listen of the B-side of the single, Shiversby fellow-Australians The Boys Next Door (the A-side is Boxing Day Blues (revisited) an extension of the closing song on her recent album).   Shivers was written by Rowland S. Howard when he was a scant 16 years old.  Howard would record the song with The Boys Next Door, which evolved into the seminal The Birthday Party (with Nick Cave).  Unfortunately, Howard passed away on December 30, 2009 of liver cancer.  You can check out his own “cover” (as he says) of the song after listening to Barnett’s stirring version below.

Barnett will also be back in California on October 20th, opening at The Hollywood Bowl for Blur.

You can pick up all of the foregoing worthies as follows:

Special Editionhttp://smarturl.it/CBSometimes_SE
Electric Lady Standalone:  http://smarturl.it/CBElectricLady 
LP: http://smarturl.it/CBSELP_MPStore
CD Boxset: http://smarturl.it/CBSEBoxset_MPStore

After Howard’s version, check out another great version as performed live by Divine Fits (with Spoon’s Britt Daniels on vocals) as captured by KEXP.

The song’s lyrics are at bottom.

“I’ve been contemplating suicide,
But it really doesn’t suit my style,
So I think I’ll just act bored instead
And contain the blood I would’ve shed?
She makes me feel so ill at ease
My heart is really on it’s knees
But I keep a poker face so well
That even mother couldn’t tell
But my baby’s so vain
She is almost a mirror
And the sound of her name
Sends a permanent shiver down my
I keep her photograph against my heart
For in my life she plays a starring part
All alcohol and cigarettes
There is no room for cheap regrets
She makes me feel so ill at ease
My heart is really on it’s knees
But I keep a poker face so well
That even mother couldn’t tell
But my baby’s so vain
She is almost a mirror
And the sound of her name
Sends a permanent shiver down my


Watch EL VY Commanding on Conan

by Lefort in Music

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One of our favorite new projects of 2015 is EL VY (The National’s Matt Berninger and Ramona Falls’/Menomena’s Brent Knopf).  In advance of the release of their debut album, EL VY made its network TV debut last night on Conan.  Watch below as Berninger, Knopf and their superb backers light up Conan’s stage while performing the title track to their impending album, Return To The Moon (on 4AD). While Berninger can do no wrong in our book, Knopf especially impressed with his ambi-instrumental acumen and verve.  That is one seriously catchy song, and its ante was upped live!  Impressive.

We can’t wait to catch their tour at the Troubadour in LA.  Said tour begins on November 2nd in Portland.  Check all the dates and ticket availability HERE.