XPN MusicNotes: Watch Jim James, M. Ward, Conor Oberst and Zooey Deschanel reunite Monsters of Folk and She & Him

Monsters of Folk | via Pitchfork

Supergroup Monsters of Folk reformed in LA over the weekend, reuniting Jim James, Conor Oberst & M. Ward for the1st time in 6 years. Zooey Deschanel also joined M.Ward for a couple of She & Him songs. Watch some fan video of “Vincent O’Brien”, “To Save Me”, “Never Had Nobody Like You” and “Magic Trick.” Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: M. Ward at Union Transfer & John Hiatt at Sellersville Theater

m. ward
M. Ward | photo courtesy of the artist

Prolific songwriter and She & Him guitarist M. Ward released his new solo album, the classically catchy More Rain, earlier this month, and tonight he will be performing at Union Transfer. Opening the show will be NAF (Nice As Fuck), the supergroup featuring Jenny Lewis, Erika Spring, and Tennessee Thomas. For tickets and more information, check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


NAF (Jenny Lewis, Erika Spring, and Tennessee Thomas) added to M. Ward show at UT in May

Jenny Lewis | Photo by Kate McCann for WXPN |
Jenny Lewis | Photo by Kate McCann for WXPN |

According to Brooklyn Vegan, Jenny Lewis, Erika Spring of Au Revoir Simone, and Tennessee Thomas of The Like performed together last night for the first time as NAF (short for Nice As Fuck) at a Bernie Sanders benefit show in New York. So So Glos and Wild Belle also played.

The supergroup trio will continue to play together as Nice As Fuck and they’ll be going on the road with M. Ward for his More Rain tour, which includes his stop at Union Transfer on Monday, May 2nd. Continue reading →


This Weekend: XPN Welcomes Dar Williams, Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson, M. Ward, Esperanza Spalding

Regina Spektor

Dar Williams performs at 8 p.m. Friday, May 11th, at World Cafe Live At The Queen; tickets to the all-ages show are $31-$41.


Regina Spektor performs with Only Son at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 12th, at Tower Theatre; tickets to the all-ages show are $36-$74.


Ingrid Michaelson performs with Scars On 45 at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12th, at Electric Factory; tickets to the all-ages show are SOLD OUT.


M. Ward performs with Lee Ranaldo Band at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12th, at Union Transfer; tickets to the all-ages show are $22-$25.


Esperanza Spalding performs at 8 p.m. Sunday, May 13th, at Electric Factory; tickets to the all-ages show are $30.


SXSW Dispatch: M. Ward, Tommy Stinson and more pay tribute to Big Star’s “Third”

Last night at Austin’s Paramount Theater, an all-star cast of indie / alt-rock luminaries – from M. Ward, to The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson, to Wilco’s Pat Sansone and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck – gathered to pay tribute to Big Star‘s Third, arguably the best unfinished record in rock. This was the second time a Big Star tribute has taken place at South by Southwest in recent years; the legendary power-pop / art rock band was set to reunite for the 2010 festival, but band leader Alex Chilton died suddenly just days before, prompting a troupe of his fans in the music community to convene and pay their respects in song. While that performance was spontaneous and emotional – captured in “Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me,” a documentary that screened before the performance – this one was celebratory, punctuated by a dazzling orchestra and the elegant surroundings (and acoustics) of the Paramount. The performance of the album was followed by a dip into the Big Star back catalog, including songs from the solo career of Chilton (“Bangkok”) and founding singer-guitarist Chirs Bell (“I Am The Cosmos,” “You and Your Sister”). Check out a slideshow of the tribute above, and a video of “I Am The Cosmos” below.


Listen to new M. Ward song “Primitive Girl” (WXPN Welcomes him to Union Transfer in May)

M. Ward is releasing a new album, A Wasteland Companion, on Merge Records on April 10th. Below, listen to “Primitive Girl” and watch the wonderfully animated video for “The First Time I Ran Away,” both from the forthcoming album. WXPN Welcomes M. Ward with The Lee Rendaldo Group (of Sonic Youth) to Union Transfer on Saturday, May 12th. Go here for ticket information.

M. Ward – Primitive Girl (Single Version) by MergeRecords


Weekend Picks: Bright Eyes + M Ward, The Postelles, Suzie Brown, The Dodos, Kurt Vile + Pissed Jeans

Bright Eyes

Bright Eyes began in 1998 as a project showcasing then 18-year-old Conor Oberst’s songwriting. Accompanied by a revolving cast of contributors, Oberst wrote mournful songs with narrative and literary flair. With the release of Lifted in 2002, he was embraced by bookish teenagers, emo kids and critics alike. Oberst was called the “new Dylan,” and embarked on a series of musical explorations, delving into Americana and electro-pop on subsequent albums. Along with perennial Bright Eyes members multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis and pianist Nate Walcott, Oberst returned this February with The People’s Key. It is Bright Eyes’ first offering since 2007’s Cassadega, and Oberst says, it will be its last, remarking that he wants “to lock the door, and say goodbye” to the band that brought him success. Bright Eyes performs with Dawes and M Ward at 7:30 p.m. at The Mann Center; tickets to the all-ages show are $25-$33.50. —Kiley Bense

I have yet to find a write-up of The Postelles without a reference to The Strokes, so I won’t try to dodge it here. It’s a definitive feature of the band—and both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. The preppy Manhattan kids are certainly more earnest than the apathetic Stokes, but at times their simple retro new wave is indiscernible. Their self-titled debut album came out this week, so it’s too early to tell if they are still searching for their own sound or content to mimic others.  Regardless, drawing comparisons to one of the biggest bands of the last 10 years isn’t the end of the world. So, if you want to hear a Strokes cover band playing Strokes songs you’ve never heard before, check out The Postelles tonight. The Postelles perform with The Dig and Ambassadors at 7:30 p.m. at Kung Fu Necktie; tickets to the 21+ show are $10. —Dave Simpson

Also playing: Suzie Brown + Jake Snider at World Cafe Live (8 p.m., $19-$24); Dangerous Ponies + Hop Along, Ryat, George And Jonathan at First Unitarian Church (7:30 p.m., all ages, $10);

The Dodos + Gauntlet Hair at Theatre Of Living Arts (9 p.m., $15); East Hundred (record release) + Turning Violet Violet, Steve Goldberg And The Arch Enemies at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10); The Great Unknown + The Spinning Leaves, The End of America at Kung Fu Necktie (7 p.m., 21+, $8); Lenka + Elizabeth And The Catapult, Shannon Corey at North Star Bar ($8, 21+, $14)

Kurt Vile & The Violators + Pissed Jeans, Meg Baird at First Unitarian Church (8 p.m., all ages, $12); Natasha Bedingfield + Kate Voegele, Kevin Hammond at Theatre Of Living Arts (8 p.m., $29)