Saturday, June 25th, 2005
Into The Morning
It was a game-time decision but I headed down to the Horseshoe to partake in the Frontier Index CD release party for their self-titled debut album on Rainbow Quartz. I wasn’t nearly as wiped out as I usually am by Friday evening, and the promise of a spot on the guest list and gratis CD didn’t hurt. For the record – I CAN be bought, and it doesn’t take much. No sir.
Leading things off were The Parkas, formerly based out of London but now scattered all over Southern Ontario. Big props to them for not only keeping the band together, but still sounding good while doing it. Starting off a little slow, they seemed to gain energy and confidence with each article of clothing the singer doffed. Their set wasn’t long enough for him to do an Anthony Keidis impersonation (thankfully), but by the end they were fully in the zone, sounding not unlike Exile-era Rolling Stones at last call, a staggering (in the wobbling sense, not the heartbreaking genius sense) blend of country rocking soul. The dudes are some kind of funny onstage, too.
The middle act went to Andy Magoffin, who incidentally produced both the Frontier Index and Parkas. First performing a couple of numbers with just Jenny Mitchell of Barmitzvah Brothers as Crime Travellers, he then brought up the rest of the band to complete The Two Minute Miracles lineup. After the high-energy Parkas, Magoffin’s considerably quieter pop gems got lost a bit in the crowd chatter, but still sounded good. I confess that I didn’t give him my undivided attention, I ended up by the merch table talking comics with Graig, but what I heard when I tuned in sounded good. Honest.
By this point, it was pretty goddamn late, the guests of honour at this particular party not taking the stage until 12:30. I’m impressed by how much better of a live band Frontier Index have gotten since the first time I saw them last August (opening for the Parkas, coincidentally). They’ve headed further in the country direction, playing up the natural twang in guitarist Corey Hernden and drummer Mick Jackson’s voices but keeping one foot in the rock world (on the monitor whilst soloing, natch). The best touchstones I can think of are post-Olson Jayhawks with a dash of ‘Mats swagger thrown in. That’s about how I’d describe the album as well, after just one intial listen. The production is very clean and reminiscent of Wilco’s A.M.. But back to the live show – the band was certainly feeding of the positive energy of the crowd, composed of family, friends, fans and general well-wishers to put on a terrifically tight show. Now with a proper album to support, I’m expecting Frontier Index to start making some waves in the greater public consciousness through the second half of the year. Hopefully big things are coming.
The album is out in Canada on Tuesday, the US in August and internationally come Fall. Check out their electronic press kit for some audio that I couldn’t actually get working and pics – six of the eight of which are mine! Here are some more for them to pad their press kits.
Various corners of blogsburg are taking advantage of the year’s halfway point to compose those ultimate in music writer indulgences, the best-of list. Brooklynvegan has his up and My Old Kentucky Blog has his favourite AND his biggest disappointments. Muzzle Of Bees has chosen to accentuate the negative and has only listed off his worst of ’05. I may whip together a list next week if it’s a slow one.
Rolling Stone talks to Carl Newman about what to expect from the new New Pornographers record, Twin Cinema, out August 23. Link from Largehearted Boy. This report that they’re playing the Docks here in Toronto on October 9 really makes me unhappy. Unhappy enough to not go.
Embrace has never done much for me, but with Longwave opening up on their upcoming tour, I guess I’ll be giving them another look. They’ll both be at Lee’s Palace on July 26 along with Augustana. You can listen to all of Longwave’s new album There’s A Fire over at MySpace. The audio was kind of fucked up earlier this week, but the proper authorities have been notified so hopefully that’s sorted out. Either way, the album is out for real on Tuesday.
Explosions In The Sky apologize for the continuing non-functionality of their website and make up for it by re-releasing their long-out-of-print debut album How Strange, Innocence, on or around October 11. Until then, check out these live tracks from a show in San Francisco in June 2003, courtesy of Transmission 3000.
Yeah, late post. Late night.
np – Explosions In The Sky / Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever