This week, to make things simple, just set your digital video recording device to record Letterman every night, as Paul Shaffer and the Late Show Band will be hosting a must-see act every night, bookending the week with two acts I'm particularly excited to see: Grinderman and Buffalo Tom.
First up tonight is the Nick Cave-led Grinderman, which is essentially a stripped-down version of The Bad Seeds. It's driven by the raw sounds of Cave playing electric guitar for the first time in his life, and is a sort of return to the post-punk roots of his early eighties band The Birthday Party. His lyrics and delivery are more off-the-cuff and like his guitar scratches, completely raw, which almost always translates into a great live experience.
Tuesday night, Letterman welcomes critic darlings The National, featuring the lyrical poetry lead singer Matt Berninger, who's baritone delivery is understated magic. Wednesday night, country legend Porter Wagoner stops by and shows how country music should be done, even at 80 years of age. Thursday brings the garage-punk sounds of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Karen O's stage presence will surely produce beads of sweat on Paul Shaffer's balding head.
And ending the week in style, the Boston-based trio Buffalo Tom return after nine years with a new album (Three Easy Pieces) and easily join the upper ranks of the indie rock reunion circuit. Funny to think that the last time they played a talk show (in support of 1999's Smitten,) it was closing out the final show of The Jon Stewart Show on MTV (see video.) Bringing it full circle, one of Stewart's guests on that final show was David Letterman.
Finally, I'd be remiss not to mention that PBS is re-airing the infamous Guided By Voices appearance on Austin City Limits, documented on DVD in full earlier this year. That their cohorts in the episode are Modest Mouse only adds to the necessity to tune in (again.)
Picks for the week
Monday, July 23
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Grinderman
NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Common
NBC: Late Night With Conan O'Brien: Dr. Dog (REPEAT)
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Dolores O'Riordan (REPEAT)
Tuesday, July 24
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: The National
SYNDICATION: The Ellen Degeneres Show: Lynyrd Skynyrd
Wednesday, July 25
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: Editors
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Porter Wagoner
NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Stephen Stills
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Ben Kweller (REPEAT)
Thursday, July 26
ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: T.I. (REPEAT)
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
SUNDANCE: Live From Abbey Road: Massive Attack, Dr. John, LeAnn Rimes
Friday, July 27
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Buffalo Tom
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: The Cribs
IFC: The Henry Rollins Show: The Good, the Bad & the Queen
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Silversun Pickups (REPEAT)
Saturday, July 28
NBC: Saturday Night Live: Snow Patrol
PBS: Austin City Limits: Modest Mouse, Guided By Voices
tags: music, television, soundtrack, talk shows, grinderman, buffalo tom, the national, gbv,letterman, indie rock, rhapsody