There Was Good Music On TV Last Night (And Also Some Bad Music)

Frank Ocean performed the song “Bad Religion,” from his new album Channel Orange, with a string section and The Roots on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” last night. And on the “Late Show With David Letterman,” Tom Waits performed “Chicago” from his ten-month-old album, Bad As Me. With his son Casey playing drums.

Jay Leno had Kimbra—the New Zealand singer who sings with the Gotye guy on the inescapable (and, I have found, undeniable) “Somebody that I Used To Know”—on for a performance that was way, way too Bobby McFerrin for my taste.

Jimmy Kimmel had Welsh pop singer Marina and her backing group the Diamonds play a catchy but annoying song called “Primadonna.” Marina seems to be going for a sort of Lana Del Rey thing. Which is dangerous.

Conan O’Brien had no musical guest last night. (Why does Conan O’Brien hate music?) But tonight he hosts Sharon Von Etten—who you should watch, because her latest album Tramp, is just drop-dead awesome. Here is a video of her performing the song “Leonard” on the show in March. Von Etten was born in New Jersey but now lives in Brooklyn. It’s like we are the same person, she and I.

Later this month, on Sunday the 29th, she is playing at a beautiful performance space in Hudson, New York called Helsinki. I went there for dinner this past Saturday night with my friend Pete, who lives in Hudson. Oddly, Helsinki serves Southern-American food. Also oddly, it was delicious. I had pan-seared scallops with red-beet gnocchi, swiss chard and spicy crushed walnuts. And here I, three days later, raving about it. Von Etten reminds me more of Liz Phair than anyone since Liz Phair, and I wish I could take the train back up there to see the concert. Maybe Tommy Stinson will join her? I would think they could do a killer version of “Black Diamond.”