EL VY Proves to Be More Than Just a Side Project, with Debut Release, “Return to the Moon”

el vy

The much buzzed about EL VY creates an inspiring album, Return to the Moon, out now via 4AD. Consisting mainly of Matt Berninger of The National and Brent Knopf of Ramona Falls/Menomena, what the duo creates is something honest, heartfelt, and truly unique.

Like when all high profiled musicians break off from their main band, there seems to be a bit of a back and forth skeptical reaction that travels throughout the internet. I believe it was in Pitchfork that I had read a blurb stating that Berninger and Knopf were “incompatible” as musicians. To be honest, yes, they kind of are incompatible as musicians; but on the bright side, that is exactly what makes this combination work well.

The first two singles shined light on the blending of two parties; first with “Return to the Moon (Political Song for Didi Bloome to Sing, with Crescendo)” and the follow up “I’m the Man to Be.” The first singles were definitely a departure from Berninger’s deep and heavy sounds of The National, but it allowed us to see a more upbeat version of what he has to offer. Knopf on the other hand, brings a stunning element of instrumentation to the table that sometimes provides a lively vibe, and other times, a haunting and unusual sound. The mixture of these elements seem to work completely, as they weave throughout each track of the record.

The biggest misconception that a listener can have going into this, is that it’s going to sound like a “National” record. It’s not. Then Berninger would just be working on National songs right now (Right? Right.). What would be the point? The voice is there, but the content isn’t always as heavy. You’re going to dance, you’re still going to get depressed as hell, and you are going to love every moment of it.

Releasing a series of lyric videos directed by the multi-talented Tom Berninger, it provides multiple songs with an intimate look to capture your attention even more. Tracks such as “Happiness Missouri” bring a haunting, yet determined sound into play, while harmonies fill the album in pieces such as “Silent Ivy Hotel,” or the chilling musicianship of “Paul is Alive.” Songs such as “No Time to Crank the Sun,” offers up Matt’s signature delicate crooning, as “Need a Friend,” shares a more vibrant sound, that brings Knopf’s intricate brand of musicianship to the table. Together they create a truly special musical experience within Return to the Moon.

Each piece on the record is strong enough to stand on their own, which is perhaps why the group decided to release a track one at a time leading into the record. Return to the Moon is perhaps the finest record of 2015; mark my word.

EL VY is currently on tour, recently kicking off their Eastern U.S. dates, with two stops in New York. Friday at Bowery Ballroom, and Saturday at Music Hall of Williamsburg. See you there kids.

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Jimmy Eat World Take on Conan and the planet

Jimmy Eat World is fun, accessible, easy, and their name sounds like a comic book. No wonder they’re widely popular and live up to fans’ expectations time and time again. The same holds true for their new album, Invented featuring the single “Coffee and Cigarettes.” It puts you in a good mood just by hearing it. It’s not groundbreaking or mind blowing; it’s just really good, like Jimmy Eat World itself.

The chorus line “Coffee and Cigarettes/As Simple As it Gets” off the track pretty much sums it up. The lyrics are straightforward and modest with westward-bound self discovery and romantic nostalgia themes, while the melody and music are masterful pop creations. In conjunction, it’s a simple pleasure that needs no further explanation.

Catch them play “Coffee and Cigarettes” on the triumphant revival of Conan O’Brien December 13th on TBS or on their many tour dates including New Years Eve at the Fiesta Bowl Rock Party in Tempe, Arizona and international shows in Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Vampire Weekend on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

It’s pretty much set in stone that Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is only going to book the trendiest things going, so what took them so long to get Vampire Weekend? The band stopped by last night to perform ‘White Sky’ which we’ve heard live before. This time around the band performed it with a string section.  I’m hoping the band makes it past their ‘dreaded album 2’ curse,  because even though I didn’t think it at first, I’m pretty sure Vampire Weekend has some solid staying power. Only time will tell I guess.

Check out ‘White Sky’ live on Jimmy Fallon.

Download the song here

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band New Album

It has been less than a year since Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band released their first record. Actually its only been about 6 months as of right now. We all know that Conor is one of those guys who just churn out the tunes, but I don’t think any of us were expecting a follow up release so fast.  The band already displayed new songs on their last tour proving that they were still in the writing mode. Oberst and the boys will release ‘Outer South’ on May 5th on Merge Records, and yes, it has 16 tracks of new material which includes “Nikorette”  which they performed on Conan.  No doubt it will sound a lot like the first record, but that is what we love about it. Anything that Conor touches is pretty much gold.

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band are stopping at Coachella this spring, and have announced a few West Coast tour dates.

Thu-Apr-09 Omaha, NE Slowdown
Fri-Apr-10 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
Sat-Apr-11 Aspen, CO Belly Up
Sun-Apr-12 El Paso, TX Barnett Harley Davidson (Hands of Love & Hope Benefit)
Mon-Apr-13 Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theatre
Tue-Apr-14 Tempe, AZ Marquee Theatre
Wed-Apr-15 Pomona, CA Glass House
Fri-Apr-17 Indio, CA Coachella Music & Arts Festival
Thu-Jun-18 Telluride, CO Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Watch Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band peforming “Nikorette”  on Conan.

Conan O’Brien’s Last Musical Guests: The White Stripes!

Yes, Conan O’Brien moving to The Tonight Show has its ups and downs. First off, we get him at an earlier time. Nice. But the bad news is that he is moving to California to do the show. Bummer. Conan is doing a nice little send off on March 2nd with his last musical guests and friends, The White Stripes! Conan and the band have a pretty good history together. They did a week of performances on the show a few years back and Conan appeared in their video for ‘Denial Twist’. I guess they are a match made in heaven. Here’s to Conan and his new beginnings.

Watch The White Stripes’ (w/ Conan) ‘Denial Twist’