Search Results

1_Ben Folds + yMusic_Bowery Ballroom

Believe it or not, it’s been a staggering seven years the last solo album from Ben Folds. Although he released a new Ben Folds Five record three years ago, he’s been long overdue for a new record of his own, and it just so happens that we are getting one sooner than we expect. Although it’s not quite a solo record, but more of a collaboration with hot-rising NYC classical sextet, yMusic. I’ve seen the group open and play alongside a few acts, and am quite excited to see what their album produces. For those unfamiliar to them, they’re a mix of a classical orchestra with a modern rock-band twist. Considering how Folds has blended the line of classical piano and pop for so many years, the two are a match made in heaven.

Folds and yMusic stopped into New York City last week for sold out shows at Bowery Ballroom, Music Hall of Williamsburg, and Town Hall. I caught the first show at Bowery Ballroom on Monday night, and what a performance it was. There was no opener, just the central performance of Folds and yMusic. The sextet got the night started with one of their original pieces, the appropriately titled “Beautiful Mechanical.” From there Folds joined them playing a selection of their new “chamber pop” pieces, as well as some of his own songs that were best fit for additional help from an orchestra.

2_Ben Folds + yMusic_Bowery Ballroom

Folds pieces with yMusic mixed his ear for classical orchestration with his energetic pop sensibilities. You could sense that a lot of fans weren’t quite sure what to expect, but once Folds and yMusic got through a couple of songs, his fans were right there with him. He made it easer for us by mixing in familiar cuts like “Effington, “Cologne,” and “Erase Me.” It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Folds live, but memories of past shows came back to me during “Not The Same,” where Folds came to the front of the stage to conduct the crowd’s split harmonies, taking me back many years ago when I first saw Folds do this in my earlier concert going days. It thrilled be just them same, if not more so as I now have an even greater appreciation for his constant dedication to his audiences involvement, and enjoyment, of his show.

3_Ben Folds + yMusic_Bowery Ballroom

There was a great deal of comradery between Folds and the crowd, sparked by a joke that Folds told about a hashtag that started for one of yMusic’s members at an earlier show. Later in the night this resulted in a fan shouting about a hashtag for “the flute player.” Folds only heard “the flute player” and took it as a chance to improvise on a song about “the flute player” which soon became a full on out jazz performance, with yMusic full on and ready to follow their leader through his hilarious improvisation. It was an unforgettable moment, one that lasted pretty much the whole show, with fans shouting “the flute player” as we waited for them to reemerge for the encore. If anything, this took a bit of steam away from Folds performance of “Rock This Bitch” a improvised song that he almost always performs during his shows. But still impressive was the fact that he and yMusic were ready to create yet another new song on the spot, and make it look easy. The impressive six-song encore took us back through a look at some of Folds best work throughout the years: “Best Imitation Of Myself,” “Underground,” “Zak and Sara,” “Annie Waits,” “Army” and “You Don’t Know Me.”

It was wonderful to hear so many classic songs from Folds given a unique treatment by yMusic who spruced up the songs where orchestration fit, while also adding just enough of their own style to give it a unique spin. This, along with the first look at their collaborative material with Folds in such a intimate setting, made this show one of the best shows I’m likely going to see all year. I forgot how bad I needed Ben Folds back in my life.

Photos and setlist posted below.
Read the rest of this entry »

Ben Folds Five have released a music video for “Do It Anyway”, and they have done so in tremendous fashion. The band has teamed up with Fraggle Rock, the world famous Jim Henson creations. Anna Kendrick, Rob Corddry, and Chris Hardwick from The Nerdist (who produced the video) all appear as well.

Ben Folds Five + Fraggle Rock? How awesome does that sound? This video will brighten up your Monday. I guarantee it.
Read the rest of this entry »

On September 18 Ben Folds Five will release The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind, their first new album in 13 years. Last week the band released three new songs from the album. The first is “Erase Me”, a very classic Ben Folds Five song that officially marks their fully formed return. The other two, “Michael Praytor, Five Years Later” & “Sky High” also hit home just as well. The latter should please fans of his solo work.

It’s been a long time since Ben Folds Five have been around, but you really wouldn’t know it from listening to these new songs. The band have aged gracefully.

“Erase Me” (via Spin):

“Michael Praytor, Five Years Later”
(via TeamCoco)

“Sky High” (via Spinner)

Ben Folds Five @ Bonnaroo (June 10, 2012)

By Will Oliver, June 14th 2012

Ben Folds will always have a space in my heart. His music was a big part of my teenage years. So to be finally able to say I saw Ben Folds Five live is a special thing. The band played a show a week before their Bonnaroo performance, but before that, they hadn’t played a show together in 13 years. That’s a long time.

They didn’t lose anything on the way. They weren’t too dramatic about it, just went along their business rocking out all of the classic jams that graced the ears of many a generation in the 90s. Ben Folds is always a pleasure to watch live, and the rest of the band seemed just as happy to be playing again.

Many great things to praise about these guys being back. But honestly, just being able to hear songs like “Brick”, “Army”, “Narcolepsy” was enough to put a smile on my face, sending me down a memory lane of sorts.

They got a new album on the way, so hopefully the good vibes keep on coming from BF5.

[new]: Ben Folds Five – Do It Anyway

By Will Oliver, May 7th 2012 — with 6 comments

Over the weekend Ben Folds posted a giant message on his facebook detailing the new album (the first in 12 years) from Ben Folds Five and what exactly they are doing with it. This announcement also came with an unmastered new track from the album called “Do It Anyway”.

The song definitely has that classic Ben Folds Five feel to it. Fans of both the band and Ben Folds solo stuff have plenty to be happy about.

[mp3]: Ben Folds Five – Do It Anyway

The band is releasing the album on their own, and are rely on fans to help them promote the album. There’s a pledgemusic page and everything. Folds says if fans help him relay messages then he will reward them with credit on the actual LP art. That’s pretty awesome. Find the full facebook message from Ben after the jump.
Read the rest of this entry »

[new]: Ben Folds Five – Stumblin’ Home Winter Blues

By Will Oliver, October 14th 2011 — with 1 comment

October 11 brought the release of Ben Folds retrospective compilation, The Best Imitation of Myself: A Retrospective. We can all agree that one of the best parts of this release is that there are three new Ben Folds Five songs attached to it.

We already heard “House” and “Tell Me What I Did”. Now we have a chance to listen to the final new track, “Stumblin’ Home Winter Blues”. It’s a somber ballad not shy of showing plenty of substance, in typical Ben Folds Five fashion. We can only wish that the band would reunite to release more stuff of this quality.

Check out a stream of it below:

If you haven’t already, but the compilation album right here.

[new] Ben Folds Five – House

By Will Oliver, August 24th 2011 — with 9 comments

It’s been quite a long time since we’ve heard Ben Folds. It’s been even longer since we’ve heard Ben Folds Five. Of all places, NBC has uploaded a new song of Ben’s called “House” onto his profile page for The Sing-Off, the show which he acts as a judge. The song is being billed as new Ben Folds Five, which should be enough to make you smile just a little bit.

When I was younger I used to be a huge Ben Folds fan. My tastes have changed since then, but this song is good enough to remind me of why I used to like Ben so much in the first place.

“House” will be included on Ben’s upcoming greatest hits album, The Best Imitation Of Myself: A Retrospective, which is out on October 11.

Album Review: Ben Folds – Way To Normal

By Will Oliver, October 14th 2008 — with 1 comment

Ben Folds is a man of many talents. He can write beautiful melodies, create big hooks, and write a funny song. Sometimes all at once. However I feel that he is at his best when he has a combination of each in separate tracks. Some of my favorite Ben Folds songs are ‘Not The Same’, of the best tracks are ‘Kylie From Connecticut’ and ‘Cologne’ where he hits on relationships over some beautiful piano. These delicate moments really show Ben’s true talent. He can make a beautiful ballad. Thats for sure. But Ben is more so known for his mix of hooks and comedy. Ben has tons of fun with tracks like ‘Bitch Went Nuts’ which I dare you not to tap along at all. ‘Hiroshima (B B B Benny Hit His Head)’ discusses Ben’s fall on stage at a show at Hiroshima which only Ben could make fun of himself over a catchy chorus. It is the type of song you have come to adore from Ben. It has a great beat, and a big hook that draws you in. ‘Dr. Yang’ is one of the more experimental tracks on the album with Ben putting his voice at an unusual register. The track has a lot of energy and even though it may not go where you hoped, it provides an interesting listen.

The standout track is Ben’s duet with the wonderful Regina Spektor on ‘You Don’t Know Me’. This is one of Ben’s best work recently, which many relationships can relate to. The best moments for Ben are usually when he combine’s his sense of humor with this soft tender side. Such as in ‘Effington’ which talks about a lonely town, but in Ben fashion. “If there’s a god/he’s laughing at us/And our football team.”. The track has all of the components of a good Ben Folds song, and he really hit a homerun with ‘Effington.’ It is quite an enjoyable song!

Howeved the album doesn’t quite always reach its potential. Songs like ‘Errant Dog’ and ‘Free Coffee’ don’t seem to reach the heights Ben was going for. Those songs lacked a serious component. ‘The Frown Song’ is killed by some random/dumb lyrics about “Fucking The guru”. Things like that just kill songs for me. I just didn’t get too much out of them. Ben can really make some beautiful ballads, I think if he can find a good balance between ballads and fast paced pop songs he will get back to where he wants to be. This album has some really beautiful songs mixed in with some songs that Ben probably had fun doing, but didn’t turn up as good as he hoped. They do sound better live at least…

All in all this is not as bad of an album as critics are saying. You got some classic Ben ballads, some goofy upbeat tunes, what else can you ask for. I will say one thing, the album definitely gets better over time. So don’t give up on it yet, somethings aren’t as normal as they used to be! Ben is one of the most talented piano players making music at the moment. There is a lot of good stuff there, just you may have to decide which of his styles is more for you! Ben is an amazing performer live, and if you really want a full appreciate of him, go see him live!!

Rating: 7.0

(Bold = Top track picks)

Hiroshima (B B B Benny Hits His Head) – 3.5
Dr. Yang – 3.25
The Frown Song – 2.75
You Don’t Know Me (feat. Regina Spektor) – 5
Before Cologne – N/A
Cologne – 4.5
Errant Dog – 2.5
Free Coffee – 2
Bitch Went Nuts – 3.75
Brainwascht – 2.75
Effington – 4.5
Kylie from Connecticut
– 4.25

[MP3] : Ben Folds – You Don’t Know Me (Feat. Regina Spektor)
[MP3] : Ben Folds – Effington

Purchase Way To Normal: Insound | Amazon


blog advertising is good for you

Monday Morning Matinee

midwest sunglasses

Find the Musical Instruments at