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.

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’

Of Montreal Peform ‘An Eluardian Instance’ on Letterman

Kevin Barnes

Last night I was super excited waiting for of Montreal to perform on the Late Show with David Letterman. I was like a teen girl waiting for the Beatles to come on the Ed Sullivan show.

of Montreal sort of threw me for a surprise last night. I was actually expecting it to be more like when they performed ‘Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse’ on Conan in 2007. Their performance on Conan was extremely ellaborate with the band trying to put everything they did in their whole live show into one song….which is a hell of a lot.  They pulled off the song great, but it was a lot to look at during one song.

of Montreal did not do this last night. I think the band pulled off their performance on Letterman perfectly. It was just enough OM pizazz that they needed for one song. They came out with the gold Buddhas and then continued on with the paper mache man towards the middle and end. The band played beautifully last night and everyone in the band looked super sharp, especially Kevin in his purple ensemble. ‘An Eluardian Instance’ was completely flawless and amazing last night, and even by the end of it, Letterman looked like he was actually amused.

Watch of Montreal ‘An Eluardian Instance’ live on Letterman