Top Ten Dream Late Night Show Bands


fred armisen

With the inspired choice of Fred Armisen as the late night band leader for Seth Meyers’ late night show and the release of the latest from Late Night masters The Roots, we decided to put together a dream list of artists who would rival Armisen and The Roots to dominate late night bumper music, sketch assistance, and other late night bandy things.  We factored in humor, charisma of frontman, musical range, suitability of the artists sound live, and other overall whathaveyou in the making of this list.  Enjoy, and please suggest your nominations.

10.  Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake 20/20 Experience Songs

Let’s face it, if there wasn’t some restraint needed for being the house band of a late night show, JT may have taken the number one spot.  Timberlake is a born entertainer, and may be more suited to host a late night show or variety show, rather than be the supporting act.

9.  Janelle Monae

janelle monae

Janelle Monae is kind of a do-it-all show woman.  She’s got style and an ample amount of quirkiness, but also the R&B chops to be Arsenio Hall’s soul sidekick any day of the week.

8.  Phish

Phish Bonnaroo 2012

Phish can write songs both delicate and weird as hell.  They also have obscene range and a large catalog of material they have covered, making them a great choice for any late night host into parodies.

7.  Robert Randolph & the Family Band

robert randolph

This is more of a conventional choice for late night band, but nonetheless very tempting.  Randolph can straight shred on his steel guitar, but his more laid back jams would make for great intros and outros.  Maybe a Craig Kilborn pairing for Randolph since they could endlessly banter on the NBA.

6.  Adrian Young & the Delfonics

Adrian Younge, ghostface killah, saxophone
^Adrian Younge

Adrian Younge is a showman as Todd and I evidenced when he opened for Ghostface and then played for the entirety of Ghostface’s set.  There is a debonair style to Adrian not seen on late night anymore.  Johnny Carson would have loved to have Adrian on his right.

5.  My Morning Jacket

Jim James, live, Bonnaroo, 2013

MMJ would be really cool for a looser free-wheeling late night show.  Just allow Jim James to do his thing and I’m sure everything would work itself out.  I’d nominate Craig Ferguson’s wacky schtick as the ideal pairing here, even though I expect to catch some flack.

4.  Cake


Cake is a true one-of-a-kind American band.  A band that makes compelling music that is often painfully funny at the same time.  I would think Cake would be an ideal fit to cover up some of the awkwardness of a late night host that is new to hosting.

3.  Jack White

jack white new song, high ball stepper

Jack White is a masterful musician, but also a solid spooky sidekick as evidenced by his week on The Colbert Report a couple years ago.  He could also bring on his many different bands to help him out, depending on who needed the work at the time (I’m looking at you Meg White).  Colbert is the obvious pairing.

2.  Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

If Pee Wee’s Playhouse is ever reincarnated as a late night talk show, I’d like The Flaming Lips to be the featured band.   Absurdity is the name of the game with both, and Wayne Coyne and co. could certainly handle all the angles.

1.  Flight of the Conchords

flight of the conchords

Flight of the Conchords would be perfect because their humor is so understated.  Sure, their songs are ridiculous, but when called upon to banter with the host, there may be nothing better.  Conan would be my ideal fit here.

Just Missed

Todd – Hot Chip

hot chip

I don’t think this works because of the nature of Hot Chip’s music, but if it did work it could be transcendent.

Wes – Wilco

wilco, bonnaroo, 2013, live

Wilco is the perfect fit for any daytime talk show, but I think a Dr. Phil pairing would be ideal.  I would say Maury Povich, but Wilco just wouldn’t be able to keep up.

Austin – Dwight Yoakam

dwight yoakam, country, cowboy

I like the idea of a weird country twangster awkwardly making small talk with David Letterman on a regular basis, so Dwight Yoakam is my pick.

Damien Jurado Review: Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son

Damien Jurado

Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son

Damien Jurado Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son album cover art

Seattle journeyman Damien Jurado has managed to stay almost completely out of the limelight since 1997, when he came up with some of the other spare and haunting songwriters like Elliott Smith and Mark Kozelek. I had been largely unfamiliar with Jurado’s music up until 2010’s Saint Bartlett hit, an album produced by fellow behind-the-scenes singer/songwriter Richard Swift, who pushed Jurado towards a bigger sound and vision, bringing Jurado’s music to a whole new level. Swift added strings, a gospel choir, and a reverb wall of sound that allowed his normally sobering songs to soar. On 2012’s Maraqopa, Jurado continued his roll of graceful songs produced by the lo-fi Phil Spector, Richard Swift. Now on his latest, Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son, Jurado brings his newfound sound into its full realization with an 11-song musical journey about a man searching for purpose, and like Jurado himself, it seems the central character has truly found where he belongs.
Continue reading “Damien Jurado Review: Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son”

Secret Machines Retro Review: Now Here is Nowhere

Secret Machines

Now Here is Nowhere

Secret Machines Now Here Is Nowhere album cover art

Let’s start the new year at LxL by rewinding the clock 10 years. In 2004, Dallas psych-rock band the Secret Machines released their full-length debut, Now Here is Nowhere, to very little fanfare, but the album stands out as one of the best albums of that year. The reason I have chosen to highlight this album is the recent passing of their lead singer and one of two brothers in the band, Benjamin Curtis, who died of a rare Lymphoma cancer on December 30th. So as a way of highlighting his career, I thought I would cover his best album. And that’s not a small statement for a man involved in 3 noteworthy bands, Tripping Daisies, the Secret Machines, and School of Seven Bells. So onto the album.
Continue reading “Secret Machines Retro Review: Now Here is Nowhere”

Top Ten Thursday: Food & Drink Edition – Part I

Top Ten Thursday: Food & Drink Edition

With the approach of Thanksgiving, we decided it appropriate to offer up a list of our favorite songs containing food and drink references.  The pool of songs was way more impressive than we imagined, necessitating us splitting the list into two parts; the first highlighting food and the second focusing on drinks (check it out here).  What we found, at least while putting together this first list, is that almost every song referencing food is either inherently silly or sexual in nature.  We gravitated toward the sillier songs, so our apologies to Warrant for not recognizing their terrible strip club staple.

As a further note, since this list is of the less serious variety, I apologize for not giving too much legitimate information on the songs or artists that follow.  I pretty much just free associated, and it felt right.  Enjoy, and as always let us know what we missed or where we screwed up.

10.  “Ham N’ Eggs” – A Tribe Called Quest

ham n' eggs

A Tribe Called Quest was almost as forward-thinking in their dietary decisions as they were in their jazz-influenced hip hop beats.  “I don’t eat no ham n’ eggs, ’cause they’re high in cholesterol” are some words the LxL staff should heed a little more often to be completely honest.  “Ham N’ Eggs” is jam packed with more than 25 soul food references.  Yum!

Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Food & Drink Edition – Part I”

Top Ten Thursday: Top Ten Songs for the Government Shutdown

government shutdown

With the Congress bringing the almighty U.S. government at a stand-still (you know, except for Congress receiving their own paychecks), we decided to craft a list of the top ten songs to accompany this government shutdown.  The last time the government took this route, there were actually some fitting tracks ruling the airwaves:  “Another Night” by Real McCoy, “Run-Around” by Blues Traveler, and “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio are just a couple where the title rings all too true.  Not to be outdone, 2013 gives us “Blurred Lines”, “We Can’t Stop”, and “Radioactive” to appropriately jam to.

Pop corollaries aside, we decided to make this list for those that are mighty frustrated, and want to rage against this inefficient mess.  Not much lighthearted fare on this list, just bombast after frustration, followed by some heavy indictments.  Whether this shutdown affects you or not, get your riot gear on and hit the streets (or at least your nearest dive bar).  Enjoy, and as always shoot us some favorites of yours that we missed.

10.  M.I.A. – “Born Free”


Contrary to the beliefs of the uninitiated, flipping off all of ‘Merica during her Super Bowl performance was just a mild dose of M.I.A.’s anachronistic career.  M.I.A. has always had strong views, but her big coming out party for her views may be her lead single for her third album Maya.  Accompanied by a shocking video, “Born Free” takes to task the ever more oppressive role of government.

Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Top Ten Songs for the Government Shutdown”

MGMT Review Royale: MGMT


MGMT, album cover art

Wes’s Thoughts

We talked last week about our hatred for the dreaded mid-career self-titled reinvention album, and while MGMT’s latest fits the description, it does for a very different reason than most bands. While many bands try  to set the stage for a major label debut or try to reinvent themselves after a misstep usually going for a more commercial sound, the Brooklyn duo finds itself actually trying to brush off their commercial fame from their smash debut Oracular Spectacular and go for the sound they love: psychedelic, experimental rock reminiscent of early Pink Floyd. While I always commend a band for doing what they want rather than falling the whims of their audience, you need to at least be able to do what you want well, which MGMT fails miserably at.
Continue reading “MGMT Review Royale: MGMT”

Top Ten Thursday: Masters Of Originality


With the release of Nine Inch Nail’s new album, as well as the random tracks that artists like M.I.A. and TV On The Radio have been dropping lately, we thought the topic of original artists was a good thing to focus on this week. Artist in particular that unmistakably have their own sound. Vocally, musically, production-wise; upon the first moment you hear it, you know who it is. Something that didn’t exist prior to, and something that even if attempted to be replicated, it has not happened in the same fashion since. In this respect, artists such as The Beatles or Led Zeppelin (who were extremely original for their time but have been copied a billion times over) don’t exactly qualify. Naturally this lends itself to be a very current list, but we would love to hear any arguments as to what we missed. Now onto the list of what we find to be the most uniquely original artists in music:
10. Mystikal
Mystikal, rapper, artist
Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Masters Of Originality”