tUnE-yArDs Plays for Fallon, EMA Plays for Pitchfork, Grass Widow Plays for Zoo Gorillas

08/02/2011 2:40 PM |

Last night, Jimmy Fallon’s music bookers looked for space to even put another feather in a cap that is seemingly nothing but feathers at this point (they are real hip, is what I’m saying), bringing on Merrill Garbus and co. to play “Gangsta” with house band The Roots. While the rhythmic emphasis of her live show makes the addition of Questlove on drums a no-brainer, does anyone else think the guest rap verse is really awkward? Did that have anything more to do with the song than that random guy in Rebecca Black’s video had to do with “Friday?” He was actually rapping about looking forward to the weekend, at least. Nice camera work on the loop-pedal triggering though!

Erika Anderson (or EMA, as she’s become known as) gets caught up in the whole, “Hey, so glad you made it out to the festival! How about you play us a song? The cameras are here,” synergy of the recent Pitchfork Festival. (“Hello kettle, it’s The L Magazine. You’re black.” — Phoebe Buffay) She performs a stripped-down, one-woman version of “Butterfly Knife,” presumably right after she got out of the car from the hotel. It’s great. Raw and intimate, the goth subject matter more easily audible than on the noisier album version. The bit about the rabbits named “Mickey and Mallory” is awkward and embarrassing in a totally true-feeling, weird 90s kid sort of a way.

Grass Widow “Milo Minute” from what rabbit on Vimeo.

Last, we’ve got my personal favorite San Fran band of the minute, Grass Widow, taking time out of a recent tour to play their extremely likable new 7” single, “Milo Minute,” for the gorillas at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. Which sounds like a grand experiment in honoring the dignity of wise, noble apes on paper, but, uh, actually looks like it’s totally pissing them off. Well, there’s that one guy chilling by the window, who might be into it, but the rest are likely disappointed Thee Oh Sees fans, pumped about the Bay Area garage scene, but hoping for a little more oomph.