Future Islands are one of the greatest live bands currently working, thanks to a whole bunch of amazing songs and to Samuel T. Herring’s singular, sincere, physically commanding stage presence. And their gifts as a live band are ideally suited to late-night TV, where you can really get a good look at everything Herring does. The band famously blew up largely on the strength of an astonishing Letterman performance in 2014, and so it’s great to see them back on that late-night circuit, continuing to do amazing things. Last night, the band put in work on The Tonight Show, performing “Ran,” the first single from their forthcoming album The Far Field. And once again, they were something special. There’s a moment, about two thirds of the way through the song, where Herring slaps himself in the face a couple of times, and it comes off as a meaningful, grave, moving gesture. Check it out below; you’ll be glad you did.
The Far Field is out 4/7 on 4AD.