January, 2017 Archives


Watch Sampha’s Official Video For Touching Ballad ” (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano”

by Lefort in Music

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Talented Brit singer-songwriter Sampha today released his official video for his touching ballad (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano. The song is an homage to his mother, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and (sadly) recently passed. In the interim, Sampha moved in with his mother and took care of her. He also returned to the piano of his youth and crafted this beauty. He sings the hell out of this song. Watch the well-crafted video, by director Jamie-James Medina, below. Afterwards watch a superb recent live performance of the song on The Tonight Show.

Sampha will release his highly-anticipated album Process this Friday, and you can pre-order it HERE.


Review: John K. Sansom & The Winter Wheat Bring Their Winning Ways to the Wiltern

by Lefort in Music

Photos by Norm Popp

Oft-times the world sorts itself out. But sometimes the world makes no sense. These are those times. Adding to our confusion, vaunted singer-songwriter John K. Samson (with The Winter Wheat) left his beloved Winnipeg to be one of three (!) bands opening (!) for Brit Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls Saturday night at The Wiltern in LA. While Turner is an infectious live performer (see photos at bottom), a particular strength of his is his good taste in other musical artists. Turner has repeatedly touted Samson (and his much-praised/beloved band The Weakerthans) to his ardent fans. And Turner also managed to coerce the seemingly-recalcitrant Samson to make a rare visit to California as Turner’s tour-opener. And for that alone we say: thank God for Frank Turner! Samson hadn’t played in California since we caught The Weakerthans’ swan-song tour in July 2009, so whatever it takes to flush the multi-talented Samson out of Manitoba for a California gig is fine by us.

On Saturday the Wiltern crowd quickly warmed to Samson & The Winter Wheat (consisting of Samson’s talented wife Christine Fellows on keys/vocals/uke/melodica and former Weakerthaners Greg Smith on bass and Jason Tait on drums/melodica). Long-time fans of the songwriters’-songwriter mixed with young fans (culled, largely, by Turner) and sang every word as Samson and band soundly impressed (as always). Their set featured a fantastic mix of songs from last year’s solo album Winter Wheat (in part an homage to Neil Young’s seminal On The Beach and our No. 1 Best Album of 2016) and older, but forever-affecting, Weakerthans’ songs. For the uninitiated, Samson is easily one of, if not the best lyricists and songwriters of this generation, and he always conveys soulfulness live.

Samson opened with his wistful, yet encouraging, hymn-for-this-era, Select All Delete, featuring Fellows’ mournful piano and train-whistle vocal. The more up-tempo (but not necessarily upbeat) Weakerthans’ song Sun In An Empty Room followed, enabling bassist Smith and deftly-adroit drummer Tait to better exhibit their fine skills. Before launching into the rallying Post Doc Blues (“recommit yourself to the healing of the world”), Samson acknowledged the current political climate and admonished the crowd to “resist” and to “remember, no one is ever illegal.” The Weakerthans’ rollicking New Name For Everything followed (“Stand with your hands in your pockets and stare, at the smudge on a newspaper sky, and ask it to rain a new name for everything”). Samson then mockingly boasted that the next song (Alpha Adept, one of our favorites off Winter Wheat) would feature “my big guitar solo.” And so it did, while Smith’s bass sang sweetly along with the crowd, and especially on one of the best stanzas of any year:

“All I can say is I’m excited
All I can do is let you know
You are the one I wanna be with
When they return to claim the Earth
For a planet near Orion’s belt
Where everyone is happier and tall
And they sing a billion stories with their minds
While flying all around the sky”

Samson then dedicated the raging Vampire Alberta Blues (off of Winter Wheat and an update/tribute to Neil Young’s anti-oil-industry anthem Vampire Blues) to “all the people of Standing Rock,” giving the performance added gravitas. The Weakerthans’ deeper-cuts Bigfoot (which always reminds of Paul Simon), and the punk-ish Aside and Confessions of a Futon Revolutionist followed, receiving rapturous support from the crowd. Winter Wheat’s beautiful, plaintive Requests followed, featuring Tait on melodica. Samson then unleashed the Weakerthan’s poetry-cloaked-in-punk masterpiece Plea From a Cat Named Virtute (songwriters: if you need an example of well-crafted lyrics, here’s Lesson One). With only time for one last song, Samson appropriately closed with the sanguine Winter Wheatwith both Fellows and Tait joining in on melodica.

And in that moment, the “world was good enough.”

We only hope that our world will be bettered by Samson returning to California soon for a headlining tour. To catch him live, go HERE for the current tour dates.

In the meantime, do yourselves a huge favor and support this artist by picking up Winter Wheat (on Epitaph/ANTI) HERE.



Watch Elbow’s Official Video for “Gentle Storm” From New Album

by Lefort in Music

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Today Lefort-faves Elbow released a new video for temperate new song Gentle Storm in advance of next week’s release of new album Little Fictions. The band has previously graced us with beauties Magnificent (She Says) and All Disco. The new video is an homage to Godley And Creme’s (10cc) 1985 video for their song Cry (which you can view after Gentle Storm). Elbow leader Guy Garvey had this to say about the video, which features, among others, Benedict Cumberbatch, Garvey’s wife Allison Stirling, and the rest of Elbow’s fine members):

“‘Gentle Storm’ reminded me of something but I couldn’t work it out for a bit, the yearning and the sparsity of the sound. When I worked out it was ‘Cry’ I asked the rest of the band if they remembered the video ‘cos it was such a seismic event as a kid. Pete and Mark did but Craig didn’t and I realized that a lot of people wouldn’t know the track or the video even though they were BOTH so important to me. So Kevin Godley is a Prestwich boy and so am I so I thought ‘I’ll be a cheeky bastard and get in touch with him and see if he is up for doing it again for our track.’ It was amazing that he was up for it. We got a load of our friends and family involved so they ALSO are in it. The shoot day was incredible, video shoots can be quite grim but it was such a great atmosphere that Kevin created and the finished film is something we are amazingly proud to be involved with.

And director Kevin Godley had this to say:

“When Guy Garvey called me and said: ‘Would you consider recreating the ‘Cry’ video for our new song ‘Gentle Storm’ I was a bit puzzled. Why would he want something that was already out there? Then I realised… ‘out there’ really meant out there since 1985 and a whole generation or three wouldn’t have seen the original, or have a clue who Godley & Creme were, so to a world of millennials it would probably be ‘who the fuck?’ I didn’t really have to direct anyone – they all became suitably themselves as soon as the camera rolled. Everything felt real, nothing felt forced and there were no fuck ups, no tantrums and no 35mm gates to check as we shot on 4K res digital video. In fact the only difference between this shoot and Cry was the major technological advance of steadying people’s heads with a sink plunger instead of a saucepan.”

Check it out below. Oh, and it’s a spare, very cool song to boot (lyrics at bottom).

You can pre-order Little Fictions HERE.

Gentle Storm:

“I will fly swift and true straight to you, like an arrow
Just to be where you lie
Meet my quest, do my shambling best to be near you
Where you lie
I’ve found peace in your arms

Gentle storm
Rage my way
Fall in love with me
Fall in love with me
Fall in love with me

Counting down, now the clocks reset when I met you
Do we start a new life?
Yours and my spit-shone restless hearts, they were meant to
Beat one time, share one fate
From this day

Gentle storm
Rage away
And fall in love with me
Fall in love with me
Fall in love with me


Watch Anderson .Paak, the Free Nationals and Son Perform On Ellen

by Lefort in Music

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In a world gone crazy, it’s nice to get some relief via upbeat entertainment. This morning the outrageously-talented Anderson .Paak showed up on Ellen and performed Am I Wrong off his phenomenal, critically-acclaimed Malibu album.  It was his second amazing performance on Ellen.Paak is a thriller of a performer who last year put on one of, if not, the Best Concerts of 2016 that we witnessed (at the Ventura Theater), and he continues to light up the stage. Watch below as .Paak & The Free Nationals are joined by .Paak’s 6-year old son for a birthday performance gift for Ellen.  Following performances like these and his two Grammy nominations, we have a sneaking suspicion that we won’t again be able to catch .Paak in a venue as small as the Ventura Theater. This guy is on fire. Enjoy.


Lambchop Announces Expanded Tour Including Rare California Dates in June–Shares Prince Cover

by Lefort in Music

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That we have been able to find, Lefort-faves Lambchop have only performed live in California a mere dozen times in their entire 23-year history, and a scant four (4!) times in Los Angeles). Thankfully those numbers are about to be augmented. Lambchop announced today that they have added to their tour one show in San Francisco (at their beloved Great American Music Hall on June 2nd) and one in Los Angeles (at the beloved Bootleg Theater on June 3rd). The band is out on tour in support of their fantastically-re-imagined, quantum-soundshift, and still-moving album, FLOTUS. Bandleader Kurt Wagner has said that the beguiling new sound-scape was designed, at least in part, to get the attention and ear of his wife.

To get a feel for the band’s newfound sound (Wagner’s deftly manipulated vocals, etc.) on FLOTUS, check out below their sweet cover of Prince’s seminal When You Were Mine (off Dirty Minds). The band has been performing the cover out on tour and we hope to hear it in June.

Do yourselves a favor and pick up FLOTUS now HERE. And at bottom check out and get tickets for the band’s upcoming tour dates.

Lambchop on tour:
Jan 25 Reims, FR – La Cartonnerie
Jan 26 London, UK – Roundhouse
Jan 27 Saint Lo, FR – Le Normandy
Jan 28 Brest, FR – La Carène
Jan 29 Rennes, FR – Antipode
Jan 30 Paris, FR – Tranbendo
Jan 31 La Roche sur Yon, FR – Fuzzy’on
Feb 01 Vendôme, FR – Le 3ème Volume
Feb 02 Nimes, FR – Paloma
Feb 03 St. Etienne, FR – Le Fil
Feb 05 Erlangen, DE – Markgrafentheater
Feb 06 Luzern, CH – Sudpol
Feb 07 Geneva, CH – Antigel Festival
Feb 08 Zurich, CH – Schauspielhaus
Feb 09 Utrecht, NL – Tivoli/Vredenburg (Cloud Nine)
Feb 10 Groningen, NL – Oosterpoort
Feb 11 Brussels, BE – Botanique
Feb 12 Mainz, DE – Frankfurter Hof
Feb 14 Vienna, AT – WUK
Feb 15 Munich, DE – Kammerspiele
Feb 16 Mulhouse, FR – Génériq Festival
Feb 17 Dortmund, DE – Konzerthaus
Feb 18 Berlin, DE – Heimathafen
Feb 21 Cologne, DE – Gloria
Feb 22 Hamburg, DE – Elbphilharmonie (sold out)
Feb 24 Malmo, SE – KB (Kulturbolaget)
Feb 25 Stockholm, SE – Fasching
Feb 26 Oslo, NO – Parkteatret
Feb 27 Copenhagen, DK – Vega
Feb 28 Leipzig, DE – Felsenkeller
Mar 01 Mannheim, DE – Capitol
Mar 02 Linz, AT – Posthof
Mar 03 Ravenna, IT – Bronson Club
Mar 04 Avellino, IT – Auditorium del Conservatorio
Mar 05 Rome, IT – Auditorium Parco della Musica
Mar 22 St. Louis, MO – Off Broadway Nightclub
Mar 23 Iowa City, IA – The Mill
Mar 24 Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
Mar 25 Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
Mar 27 Toronto, ON – Great Hall on Queen Street
Mar 28 Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
Mar 30 New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
Mar 31 Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
Apr 01 Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall
Apr 02 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
Apr 07 Atlanta, GA – Terminal West *
Jun 02 San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall *
Jun 03 Los Angeles, CA – The Bootleg Theater *

*Lambchop trio of Kurt, Tony & Matt


Watch Ben Gibbard and Julien Baker Perform Death Cab For Cutie’s “Photobooth”

by Lefort in Music

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Ben Gibbard (leader of Death Cab For Cutie) is out on tour solo right now, and last night Gibbard was joined by talented opener Julien Baker (critically-acclaimed and newly-signed to Matador Records) to perform Death Cab For Cutie’s deep(er)-cut Photobooth from their 2000 Forbidden Love EP.  Check out this wistful beauty below performed at Chicago’s Thalia Hall. Afterwards, check out Baker’s insightful cover of the same song (lyrics at bottom) for A.V. Undercover.


“I remember when the days were long
And the nights when the living room was on the lawn
Constant quarreling, the childish fits, and our clothes in a pile on the ottoman
All the slander and double-speak
Were only foolish attempts to show you did not mean
Anything but the blatant proof was your lips touching mine in the photobooth

And as the summer’s ending
The cool air will push your hard heart away
You were so condescending
And this is all that’s left
Scraping paper to document
I’ve packed a change of clothes and it’s time to move on

Cup your mouth to compress the sound
Skinny dipping with the kids from a nearby town
And everything that I said was true
As the flashes blinded us in the photobooth
Well, I lost track, and then those words were said
You took the wheel and you steered us into my bed
Soon we woke and I walked you home
And it was pretty clear that it was hardly love

And as the summer’s ending
The cool air will push your hard heart away
You were so condescending
And this is all that’s left
Scraping paper to document
I’ve packed a change of clothes and it’s time to move on

And as the summer’s ending
The cool air will push your hard heart away
You were so condescending
As the alcohol drained the days”


Coming to America–Check Out Australia’s Middle Kids And Their Stellar New Song “Never Start”

by Lefort in Music

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Australia has over the years given the world some of our best music, and especially indie/punk rock. We grew up with venerable upstarts such as The Saints, Radio Birdman, The Go-Betweens, The Church, Birthday Party (Nick Cave), Crowded House, and Paul Kelly, and on and on, most recently becoming enamored by Angus & Julia Stone, Allo Darlin’, and the uber-talented Courtney Barnett. Now joining these ranks are the Sydney trio Middle Kids (featuring another left-handed guitarist–to match Barnett–and gifted vocalist, Hannah Joy). We became aware of them via their ridiculously addicting songs Edge of Town and Your Love (both featured on many Best Songs of 2016 lists). Check out the official video at bottom for Edge of Town and go HERE and HERE for rousing live versions of b0th songs.

The band has now released the official video for the stellar Never Start, which will be included in their upcoming EP (which you can pre-order HERE) on Domino Records. You can just feel it: these Kids have legs!

Middle Kids are headed out on a new tour, which will bring them to the US.  They play the Barboza in Seattle on February 21st and The Echo on February 25th, and we can’t wait! Check out the dates and get tickets HERE.


Listen to New Title Track “Hot Thoughts” From Imminent New Spoon Album

by Lefort in Music

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Longtime Lefort-faves, Spoon, have today released the molten title track, Hot Thoughts, from their new album that will be released on Matador Records on March 17th.  Check it out below. While much of the song is fantastic familiar territory, producer Dave Fridmann has added electronic embellishments, new layers and some vocals dub-treatment. It’s another Spoon tour de force. Afterwards check out a live performance of another new song, I Ain’t The One, which was featured on Showtime show Shameless in December. Hot Thoughts bodes incredibly well for the new album, which you can pre-order HERE.


Watch Flaming Lips Perform “The Castle” on Tonight Show

by Lefort in Music

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Earlier this week the flamboyant Flaming Lips performed new song The Castle on the Tonight Show. The band was a comparatively demure while performing the new song off of their new album Oczy Mlody, which was released yesterday. Leader Wayne Coyne was nonetheless was a bit bedazzled while singing the devastating ode to a female friend who took her own life (lyrics at bottom). It’s a beauty performed perfectly by the ensemble. Enjoy.

About the song, Wayne Coyne has said:

“An embarrassingly pure little song.. Ha.. I say embarrassing because as I wrote it (just a couple of lines, that didn’t end up in the song, and the one chorus line “and the castle can never be rebuilt again.. No way..” I was truly sad and I was singing and writing about this sad sad situation (a friend of ours had committed suicide) and felt like I was doing what a songwriter should do.. be real and let it flow.. Ha.. But the next day when I listened to it.. I thought it was really boring and approached the song as being about the person (who had killed themselves) instead of it (the song) being about me.. So yeah.. I’m embarrassed about that part.. But I think songs work like that.. They let you get something out.. And I think this delicate whimsical song really came to life as soon as I sang (into my phone .. It was the only recording device I had in that moment) the very first lines.. ‘Her eyes were butterflies her smile was a rainbow’.. I still heard it (the song) as being very very sad and so, to me, because I was convinced of its power (the power of this sadness.. which, I think, was just me being still sad about the real life situation) it allowed me to sing these utterly silly romantic lyrics as a way of masking something horrible and brutal and fucked up and unspeakable.”

Go HERE to pick up the new album.

“Her eyes were butterflies
Her smile was a rainbow
Her hair was sunbeam waves
Shining ’round like a halo
Her face was a fairy tale
That has a poison apple
Her skull was a mighty moat
Her brain was the castle

And the castle gets mistaken for a ship that’s floating in the clouds
And the castle is brighter than a thousand Christmas trees
And the castle can never be rebuilt again
No way

One day a strange storm rolled in
While she was riding on her dragon
The mushrooms and the bumblebees
Told the flowers how it happened
She was lost in the invisible war
Fighting in the battle
Her love is still buried there
In the ruins of the castle

And the castle oscillates to the beating heart of her mind
And the castle is taller than the Northern Lights
And the castle can never be rebuilt again
No way

And the castle can never be rebuilt again
No way
And the castle can never be rebuilt again
No way

No way
No way
(No way)
No way, no way
No way”


Heads Up: Starry Nites Festival to Be Held at Live Oak Campground on March 18th and 19th

by Lefort in Music

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Just announced is the Starry Nites Festival (affiliated with Coachella) to be held over the hill at Live Oak Campground. Check out the lineup above (including Lefort faves Teenage Fanclub, Cat Power, etc.).  Tickets are on sale now for SNF, including camping passes, and you can go HERE to get tickets