Thursday, March 31st, 2005
When Ivy announced that their new album, In The Clear, would be a return to the more organic, guitar-based sound of Apartment Life rather than the slicked-up synths of Long Distance, I was happy to hear it. I’m a big fan of their first two records, but found the third release to be overproduced and overly stiff. Alas, In The Clear is not the album I was hoping for. Yes, there are more guitars – it actually sounds a fair bit like the Andy Chase/Dominique Durand side-project Paco – but the production is still fairly shellac-like. And I mean that like the varnish, not the band.
Ivy’s sophisticated pop has always been distinctly urban, so perhaps the best analogy is that while the first records were the sound of a wide-eyed newcomer to the city, the last couple of releases have been the soundtracks to the lifestyle of the posh sophisticate. Still quite lovely, but comparatively slight and superficial. I’m certainly not going to turn the socialite, but all things being equal, I’d rather hang out with the ingenue without all the make-up. Reviews for the disc have been generally favourable, though, making me think that maybe I had greater expectations for this record than most.
Still, I remain a fan and live in hope that they will recapture the spontenaity of their youth and still look forward to the eventual release of their rarities compilation (maybe even moreso now) either later this year or early next year. In the meantime, the band is touring the new record and currently have dates scheduled up the west coast through May. I’m expecting east coast appearances later this Summer. It’s also good to see that they’ve made all their old videos available on their website in decent quality.
Ryan Adams sure knows how to drive a hard bargain. In favour of going to his May 3 show at the Kool Haus (there was a conflict with another show at the Phoenix that night, hence the venue change), his support act will be Rachael Yamagata, who also contributed vocals to his new one Cold Roses. On the nay side, the $30 price tag. For me, the nays have it, but it’ll be a good show nonetheless. Tix on sale Friday.
It will be interesting to see what sort of crowd turns out to see Loretta Lynn at Massey Hall on July 22 – the old-school country fans or the hipster-come-latelys who own Van Lear Rose and are really just hoping that Jack White makes an appearance? I personally hope for both. And that they fight. In the streets.
The Opera House threatens to collapse under the weight of all the hype on May 21 when LCD Soundsystem and MIA entertain the hipsters. And non-hipsters can get their rawk on at the Phoenix on May 11 with The Stereophonics and Augustana.
So, like the comics fanboy I am, I dashed out and bought Countdown To Infinite Crisis yesterday, it being the latest in DC’s unverse-altering ultra-mega crossovers. I’ll put my thoughts in spoilers just in case someone hasn’t read it yet and intends to: Man, I LIKED Blue Beetle. Like, a lot. I was all about the Giffen/DeMatties JLA and am genuinely sad by how much DC is messing with it. Killing Sue Dibney, killing Blue Beetle, evil Maxwell Lord… I mean, from the previews it was obvious that Teddy-boy bought the farm, but still. I am genuinely saddened by that, more than I thought I’d be. All this makes the publication of Formerly Known As The Justice League last year and the I Can’t Believe It’s Not The Justice League storyline currently running in JLA Classified seem exceptionally cruel. I swear, the payoff for all this better be worthwhile.
np – Pulp / We Love Life