Tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade is nothing short of the real deal. Listen on XPN at 11pm ET (right after a special week-early edition of Land of the Lost with Robert Drake) for a full two-hour show that is stacked top-to-bottom with brand new releases just for you. We’ll hear new singles from evocative pop master Perfume Genius, Atlanta party punks The Black Lips and the always luminous Feist. Don’t miss those plus a few other special IRHP news updates and surprises!
After dropping the news that a fifth studio LP called Pleasure will be out next month, Feist has shared the album’s lead single and title track via NPR Music’s All Songs Considered. The 11-track record comes six years after the Canadian musician’s 2011 Metals effort.
UK born electro pop sensation James Blake entranced a sold out Union Transfer crowd on Monday night with a soulful performance that was nothing short of spellbinding. The young Blake, who won the prestigious Mercury Music Prize this year for his album Overgrown, is no ordinary electronic outfit: instead of enticing you to bounce against the walls like a wild banshee, his live shows pull from the depths of your soul and ask you to simply feel, and that’s precisely what went down at Union Transfer.
The set opened with the bone chilling and hair raising track “I Never Learnt to Share” from Blake’s self-titled album released back in 2011. From the shrills and shrieks that accompanied the opening vocal loops the early number was clearly a crowd favorite. Blake did a beautiful job of incorporating beloved older tracks that early fans yearn for with songs from the most recent release Overgrown, his most widely popular album yet. At a climatic point in the performance Blake began with the more digitized and bass-heavy “Air and Lack Thereof”, a single from way back in 2009, before transitioning into arguably his most popular track “CMYK”, which features rare outside sampling from R&B artist Kelis (Blake’s usual MO is to use his own vocals). Naturally, the whoops and woo’s from the crowd were in full force.
In the relatively short time Blake was on stage, he managed to perform almost all of Overgrown to the delight of many who became introduced to Blake’s music following the album’s release. One of the most beautifully intimate parts of the set came with Blake’s performance of “Our Love Comes Back”, featuring soft vocals in a slower loop that made our hearts jump and throats lump. It was so moving you could hear a pin drop in the max capacity venue (in reality it was the soft clinking of glasses from the back bar that emphasized the silence). He continued to pull from Overgrown with “I am Sold”, “Digital Lion” and the initial track release “Retrograde” that garnered the album so much attention.
Never one to stick to a particular album live, Blake returned to 2011’s James Blake with “A Wilhelm Scream”, a track that displays Blake’s own transition from his older style of music to new, merging the former concentration on potent beat loops to the latter’s more lyrically heavy style found on Overgrown. He strayed further with a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You”, a curveball that threw off everyone in the crowd in the most wonderful way. “Limit to Your Love”, a Feist cover and another of Blake’s most popular tracks, kept everybody ablaze before the heart melting conclusion. Nobody in the audience had any clue of the masterpiece that was to come. Continue reading →
Feist has gotten the remix treatment by The Postal Service. It’s from a new collection called Open Season, featuring various remixes and collaborations from Gonzalez, Apostles of Hustle and K-os. Below, listen to the remix of “Mushaboom.” The Postal Service play The Mann Center on Monday, June 17th.
Dawes, Mumford and Sons and Feist played Saturday evening at World Cafe Live for the World Cafe 20th anniversary tribute concert. Mumford and Sons opened the show with four songs (including a cover of Neil Young’s “Dance Dance Dance” and new song called “Ghosts That We Knew”) then brought Dawes out to join them for two more songs including the new “Awaken My Soul.” Dawes finished up their set by inviting Mumford and Sons out for a high energy version of Dawes’ “When My Times Comes.” We’ll have more pictures and audio from the show tomorrow. Below, some photos from last night’s show.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28th
John Hiatt + Indigo Girls, The Little Willies at World Cafe Live (6 p.m., $95–$190)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 29th
It has been four years since Feist won our hearts with her Apple-approved, quirky tunes on her breakthrough album, The Reminder. Though her recently released follow up, Metals, still features the Canadian singer’s watery vocals and emphasis on guitar strumming, her latest album offers a more serious tone than the poppy cheer of songs like “1 2 3 4” and “I Feel It All.” Instead, Metals delves into more musical explosions that turn on the listener amidst the artist’s expected soft guitar picking. Tracks like “Comfort Me” introduce sudden chorus chanting after two minutes of quiet singing, while the aptly titled “A Commotion” features a fast-paced battle between strings and piano with the sudden shout of the song’s title by an angry-sounding group of men. Though much of Feist’s new material has a heavier flavor—both in lyrical content and through instrumental diversity—you can still bet she’d be able to sell a whole other batch iPod Nanos with her radio-friendly charm. Feist performs with Dawes, Lucinda Williams, and a surprise guest at World Cafe Live; tickets to the all-ages show are $100-$200. —Marielle Mondon
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 30th
Campaign For The Music Party with Amos Lee + Rhett Miller, Susan Tedeschi, and Derek Trucks at World Cafe Live ($500 or larger donation to WXPN’s Campaign For The Music)
Feist released her new album Metals last Tuesday. Below, WXPN’s Mike Vasilikos reviews the album. Feist and Dawes perform at one of the World Cafe 20th Anniversary tribute concerts on Saturday, October 29th and World Cafe Live. Click here to purchase tickets.
Two things immediately come to mind upon the arrival of Feist’s new album Metals. First, where has she been? It’s been roughly four years since her breakthrough album The Reminder was released. And second, how will she respond after the massive success of that album and more specifically her numerical anthem “1,2,3,4”? The first question is easier to answer. After years of touring, some time to decompress and step out of the spotlight seems only fair and appropriate. As you dive into Metals, the answer to the second question becomes clear.
It is obvious that Feist hasn’t gotten caught up in the pressure of heightened expectations. But immediate Metals is not. For the Canadian songstress, it’s an album about staying true to her own musical guidelines. Don’t search for the next “1,2,3,4” because you won’t find it. Nor will you be disappointed. For Feist, Metals moves forward and avoids the trap of trying to recreate the past. That’s not to say these songs aren’t catchy. The lead single on “How Come You Never Go There” is an understated earworm of a song that crawls deeper into your psyche after each listen. “A Commotion” is one of the album’s more interesting arrangements that stirs up the intensity and is bound to be an on-stage favorite. Yet, it really is the delicacy and beauty of her voice wrapped around a collection of intriguing and nuanced arrangements that appeals on Metals.
You can’t help but listen to Metals and feel a bit relieved. The level of success that followed the last album was certainly a bit unexpected. Rather than try to shoot for that same status, Feist decides to stay on her own course. Metals boasts that artistry and beauty that we’ve come to expect from Feist in a set of songs that gets more compelling with every listen.
Ani DiFranco, John Hiatt, Indigo Girls, The Little Willies, The Jayhawks, Dawes (with special guest Robbie Robertson), Amos Lee, and Feist are the artists performing during the World Cafe 20th Anniversary tribute concerts in October. (For a complete list of World Cafe 20th Anniversary tribute shows and tickets go here.) Feist is performing on a bill with Dawes and Robbie Robertson on Saturday, October 29th. Feist’s new album Metals is being released on October 4th however you can stream the album in its entirety below.