Future Islands on Letterman

Theatrical Baltimore new wave weirdos Future Islands are nearing the release of their 4AD debut Singles, and this morning they’ve got a new video and a Letterman performance to prove it. First, here’s the video for “A Dream Of You And Me.” Directors Elena Johnston & William Cashion have concocted an array of animated patterns and shapes that put an entirely different spin on Future Islands than the cowboy portrait in the “Seasons (Waiting On You)” video. Speaking of “Seasons (Waiting On You),” you can see them showing off their mesmerizing stage presence while performing it on Letterman, much to Dave’s delight, in the second clip below.


Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You) [Live… by eidurrasmussen

Singles is out 3/25 on 4AD.

Comments (32)
  1. “I’ll take all of that you got!”

    That’s how you make a TV debut apparently.

    Holy fuck that was stellar.

  2. Fantastic!

  3. Oh man, so good. Really excited about this album.

  4. I’m infinitely more excited to see these cats in a couple weeks after watching this!

  5. I hate to be hyperbolic…but is this the best band in the world?

    Seriously, I am very excited for these guys. Every achievement like this one feels intensely earned. When was the last time a late-night audience responded like that?

    • I’ve seen Dave react strongly to bands before (namely TV On The Radio), but him confirming Future Islands greatness with Paul was a level I haven’t seen often.

      I don’t know about best band in the world, but I get this feeling they’ll be the best performances I see at Coachella next month.

      • I’ve been thinking about what other performances that was at their level for the last five minutes (M.I.A. and Sufjan Stevens come to mind), but I don’t think I have ever seen someone hypnotize me that much with them just being them.

        …I have also come to the conclusion that it helps to be over 30 to make good indie pop these days.

      • I know I’m exaggerating, just trying to express the feeling that the performance instilled. It was very good. I saw them on their last tour and it’s amazing the kind of energy they can produce even without a live drummer. You might also think that they have a limited aesthetic that would become less interesting over time, but it is exactly the opposite. Their music seems to be only growing richer and more powerful and evocative.

  6. I’m a huge fan of their records, have sworn for a while that Samuel Herring has one of the most powerful voices in music today, but I’d never seen them perform before. I don’t even think I’ve seen a photo of them before. Whatever I was expecting from Herring, it was not Jive Dancin’ Marlon Brando. Holy shit. Amazing to see somebody actually give a damn.

    • “Jive Dancin’ Marlon Brando”. Awesome.

      Have they always played with a live drummer or is that new?

      • New.

        They added a live drummer for the Singles tour. First time playing with one from what I can tell.

      • Mike Lowry (Lake Trout, Big In Japan, Mt. Royal) is their touring drummer. He was also the touring drummer for an Unkle tour or two. I’ve been seeing him drum since the late 90s and he is a machine!

    • I thought Brando, too.

      For a similarly mesmerizing performance, check out Jim James – on Letterman, I think – performing State of the Art.

      Insanely good.

  7. Ya, that was awesome.

  8. Of the 50 or so shows I saw in 2012, they were in the top 5.

  9. Wow. Thank you David Letterman for introducing me to this band. New to me.

    • New album “Singles” is good, so is “On The Water” (their previous) but I’d say listen to “In Evening Air” first.

  10. I’m with letterman on this one. preordered.

  11. Saw them last night in Saxapahaw, and they tore up a sold out room on a Wednesday night in (and I kid you not) the middle of nowhere. Truly, a live spectacle.

  12. I saw these guys once in Chicago and it was a fantastic showm, and the frontman was so fun to watch. But this! He took the showmanship and impeccable delivery to a Morrissey level!

  13. Zayin  |   Posted on Mar 6th +2

    Anyone just discovering this band should be aware that they wrote and recorded on of the best songs in the past several years, and they didn’t even release it on an album.

    It’s called “The Fountain”, and it is inexplicably hidden away as a B-side on a single that is far less exciting and was also not even included on an album.

    Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIZexZf-ZsA

  14. Guys this is like finding a wonderland – thanks all of you

  15. A few days late to the game on this one, but my God was that stellar. Man.

  16. On the Water was one of my favorite albums of 2011, all their stuff is great really. Glad to see them getting some pub

  17. I laughed the whole way through this and I will again many times. You all need to get out of your indie rock bubbles to see how cringe worthy and funny this actually is. The David Brent of TV musical performance.

  18. This whole performance comes across as a cringe-worthy piss take. The song is not even remotely as epic as Samuel T Herring acts like it is but people on an ‘indie-only’ diet may think so and be impressed.

    • That’s pretty much how he performs every song. If you don’t like the song, fine—but you have a problem with someone acting as if they actually care about the music they’re presenting to the world?

      Also, compare this to The National’s SNL performance over the weekend. I love The National. But Matt B’s shouty aspect at the climax of Graceless was much, much more awkward. And if you would like me to get outside of my indie music bubble, I was pretty unfortunate to see Imagine Dragon’s SNL drum-circle bro-off and, oh man, A Great Big World on Seth Meyers. There is your David Brent. That guy. Right there.

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