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Archive for October, 2005

Monday, October 31st, 2005

Remember Me As A Time Of Day

For a band that had originally said they were going to keep a low profile in 2005, Explosions In The Sky are certainly keeping busy. Just this month, they released not one but two records – a reissue of their long sought-after and out-of-print debut How Strange, Innocence and the contribution to Travels In Constants mail-order series, a mini-album entitled The Rescue.

It’s interesting to compare and contrast the two releases, seeing as how they’re documents of the band at the very start of their careers and in the right now, yet were recorded in somewhat similar fashions. As the liner notes for How Strange, Innocence state (they’re printed directly on the face of the CD), the band had been together for just seven months before it holed up and produced this album in just four days from recording to mastering. Their green-ness is definitely evident in listening to the album, especially if you’ve heard their later works. The compositions aren’t nearly as focused and while there are moments that foreshadow where they’re going, it sounds mostly like a what it is – a new band feeling out their new surroundings and exploring.

The Rescue, on the other hand, oozes confidence. Even under the limitations put on the recording sessions (apparently wrote and recorded one song a day for eight days), there’s a unity and commonness of purpose within the band that’s tangible. The musical chemistry hinted at in the first record is in full effect here. In addition to their core guitar/bass/drum sound, there are also some ambient vocals and piano flourishes which, while seemingly minor, do add a new dimension to the EITS sound. If The Rescue is any indication of where EITS are heading, they’re following the natural evolution of the post-rock instrumental band wherein they discover there’s much more interesting territory to be explored in beauty than aggression. Whenever the new album comes out next year (someone said Fall?), expect it to be a scorcher.

In the meantime, check out a track from How Strange, Innocence:

MP3: Explosions In The Sky – “Look Into The Air”

And while legit mail-order pressings of The Rescue are all sold out, thanks to the magic of the internet, it’s still available to those who want a copy… and the band is fine with it. Quoth EITS:

“We can only assume that it will be available on various file sharing sites soon, so please feel free to download it. We don’t mind.”

And there you go. They will have copies with them on tour this Fall, but their schedule is limited to the UK, a couple European shows and a pair of shows in NY and LA… not much use for most of us (or me, anyway). That’s why I have no qualms about posting the YouSendIt link from which I downloaded my copy. I don’t know how long these things last, but if it goes dead anytime soon, let me know – I still have the .rar file on my desktop.

Bob Mould likes Swervedriver. Bob is taking a short break, having just finished his full-band rock tour, but will be back on the road the second week of November doing the solo acoustic thing.

MusicTAP has details on next year’s Richard Thompson box set. Cleverly titled RT: The Life And Music Of Richard Thompson, the set offers five discs of completely rare and unreleased recordings from throughout his career as well as a 160-page (!) book. Those are some mighty liner notes. The collection is out February 6 – check out the full press release here.

A cryptic message has appeared on the Wheat website… “everyday i said a prayer for kathy and made a one inch square – 2006”. Can you say hiatus over? Sweet. Oh, and does anyone have the complete Nude version of Per Second Per Second Per Second Every Second? I’ve only got three or four of the tracks and would like to track down the whole thing. I know it’s out there.

Rogue Wave talks to The Daily Vanguard about recording Descended Like Vultures.

np – Yo La Tengo / Prisoners Of Love: A Smattering of Scintillating Senescent Songs: 1985-2003

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

Sunday Cleaning – Volume 12

Aberdeen City / The Freezing Atlantic (Dovecote Records)

Despite their name, Boston’s Aberdeen City don’t sound British, or try to sound British, and for that, I thank them. Well, bits of them sound British, but bits of them sound like everything – I don’t remember the last time I heard a band that reminded me of so many things at once, and yet managed not to sound like a slavish imitator or fashion chaser. Drums flirt with post-punk disco beats, guitars echo, buzz and bubble with shoegazey textures, the vocals are earnest in that sorta-emo way and everything has a modern rock-esque radio-friendly sheen. Brad Parker’s vocals are strong but are somewhat lacking in the melodic sophistication department. However, the overall musicianship and production helps pick up the slack. Overall, The Freezing Atlantic is a pretty slick little debut – especially for their first long-player. There’s room for improvement but if they can fulfill some of that potential, they could be a band to watch. Nice album art, too.

MP3: Aberdeen City – “God Is Gonna Get Sick Of Me”

Aberdeen City @ MySpace

The Twin Atlas / Sun Township (Tappersize Records)

The Twin Atlas are a duo based out of New York and Philadelphia who have been happily churning out albums of folkish indie rock since 2000. Sun Township is their sixth full-length in that time, a prodigious output to be sure, but don’t mistake their prolificness for Pollard-esque (lack of) quality control. While ultra-compact at ten tracks and under half an hour, Sun Township is a lush, sparkling jewel of a record from top to bottom. Sean Byrne and Luke Zaleski’s voices and instrumentation wrap you up like a warm blanket. Sun Township is like a concetrated dose of Summer on a plastic disc, just the thing to fend of the approaching Winter blahs.

MP3: The Twin Atlas – “Roll On”>

The Twin Atlas @ MySpace

Luigi

I was trying to pick a band randomly from my MySpace friends to listen to, but it turns out that I knew a bit about Atlanta’s Luigi after all. Singer/guitarist Michelle DuBois used to be in Ultrababyfat, who also used to feature one Britta Phillips on bass. Ms Phillips, of course, went on to lay down the low end in the dear, departed Luna and while Ultrababyfat soldiered on a little while longer, they eventually called it a day and DuBois formed Luigi. Based on the three songs up for preview on their MySpace page, Luigi continues to deliver punchy, hook-laden, guitar-driven power-pop not that far removed from UBF. DuBois’ voice has a perfect blend of sweet and ragged, and it makes for some excellent boy-girl harmonies with the singing, Y-chromosone-sporting members of the band (I won’t pretend to know which of Scott Rowe and Johnn McConnell are singing what). The band has just released their second album, Found On The Forest Floor.

MP3: Luigi – “Wash It Down”

Luigi @ MySpace

np – Wilco / A.M.

Saturday, October 29th, 2005

I'm Talking to Myself About You

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco takes some time out to tell Billboard how recording sessions for the band’s sixth album are progressing. They’ve begun sorting through material with an eye towards a release sometime next year, and excepting the live album out November 15, this will be the first record to feature the full six-piece lineup. One of the songs Tweedy mentions, “I’m Talking to Myself About You”, has already been road tested and live versions are circulating the interweb under the name of “Walken”. You can grab a couple live mp3s of the track here. There’s also a piece on the band in The Chicago Reader (WARNING – PDF with live links! May cause browser wackiness) where Tweedy talks about the timing of Kicking Television, why there’s no DVD of the shows and various other bits of scuttlebutt and gossip.

And for more Wilco goodness, come back here around, oh, midnight…

NME brings word that Belle & Sebastian’s new album will be called The Life Pursuit and be out in the UK on February 6 (and presumably North America on February 7). I guess the previous working title was just a smokescreen – the goalkeeper will have to seek revenge elsewhere. Via The Rock Snob.

Chart has a long piece on Metric. The Straight has a short piece.

Harp reports that the Billy Bragg box set which was announced for this release this Fall and then cruelly retracted just days later, will be coming out on February 21. We’re talking about the seven-disc box set, in case you weren’t keeping up.

New York Magazine plays Q&A with Matt Pond. From For The Records.

The Daily Texan talks to Mac McCaughan of Portastatic.

Neko Case speaks very very briefly to Billboard about co-self-producing her new record, Fox Confessor Brings The Flood, which is out on March 7.

Pulse Of The Twin Cities talks to My Morning Jacket’s new guitar slinger, Carl Broemel. From Largehearted Boy.

Rainer Maria’s new album remains the only one on my release calendar that is supposed to come out in 2005, but has no set release date. Maybe someone can ask them WTF when they tour through town on November 17 for a show at Lee’s Palace.

It’s good to see that even amidst all the chaos and uncertainty, the White House is managing to focus on issues that really matter to Americans.

My iPod is here. It’s pretty. I’ve gone with 256 AAC for ripping, so my hard drive and iPod are filling up a little faster than I anticipated, but it should be okay. Still much ripping and organizing to do. Damn, I’ve got a lot of CDs.

np – Explosions In The Sky / How Strange, Innocence

Friday, October 28th, 2005

Secret Meeting

It’s quite nice to see The National get some press that talks about the greatness of the band itself and not whether or not half the audience left after the opening act played… Check out features and interviews with frontman Matt Berninger at Pitch, Pittsburgh Live and The Tallahassee Democrat. I also can’t help noticing these tour dates with Bell Orchestre… They’re playing with them on November 10 in Montreal and November 12 in Burlington, Vermont, but are skipping the Toronto show on November 11. WTF? You’re already on the good side of the border, why not make the trek down the 401? Is an extra day in maple syrup country really that important? Le sigh.

Oh, I got a copy of Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers (the album before Alligator) on vinyl via eBay last week. A wonderful HEAVY pressing. So pretty. And on the topic of vinyl, I got my copy of Ride’s Going Blank Again back from the record store after having it cleaned. HOLY SMOKE. If anyone ever has a piece of vinyl that needs to be cleaned, find someone with the Nitty Gritty record cleaning system and have them do it. You cannot believe the amount of crap they got off of these records. Seriously. Compared to how it was before, the noise floor now is almost non-existant. I mean, there’s still a little noise, but relatively speaking it’s negligable. And it just cost me $2 a record to get done! Around Again on Baldwin rules.

So following up on Lucas’ comment yesterday that Low were planning on playing a New Year’s Eve show at the Underground in Hamilton – this Stille Post thread certainly makes it sound like a done deal, but if that were the case, why has there been no further updates on the matter since October 6? I personally hope that it’s not happening, because I’d really like to see Low but I don’t want to have to haul my ass to Hamilton on New Year’s Eve to do so. ‘Cause even if it weren’t a logistical hassle, Low isn’t really what I’d call “ring in the new year music”… “This one’s called ‘Whore’. Happy New Year, everyone!” Update: Show not happening. Thanks to Sean for the update.

The AV Club ran an interview with now-departed Low bassist Zak Sally last month, talking about his cartooning and acting projects which he is now presumably going to be concentrating more time on.

There’s some live Okkervil River material available for download here – unfortunately, neither of the two TT The Bears shows are of very good quality, but the Emo’s show in their hometown of Austin is, and of course the KEXP session sounds great as well. Okkervil’s “No Plan, No Key” tour is off to a bit of a rough start as they’ve had to cancel a couple west coast shows on account of singer Will Sheff coming down with strep throat and being unable to sing. Best wishes for a quick recovery.

The Washington Post profiles Death Cab For Cutie (via Coolfer) and I Heart Music has an interview with drummer Jason McGerr.

Mirrormask is finally getting a release in Toronto today! It’s playing at Canada Square up at Yonge and Eglinton, and Canada Square only. Despite the middling reviews, I am going to endeavour to see it this weekend.

So get this – I installed iTunes last night in anticipation of my iPod’s arrival today (hopefully, anyway. It’s in Missisauga!). I allow it to “organize” my My Music folder, and it does a fine job of it – too fine. I had a special folder of covers for the blog set aside, containing all past and pending covers of the week in one convenient location. Note the use of the past tense. iTunes has taken every one of those files and moved them into the folders for each respective artist. This, of course, is a disaster. Well, not really, but a real pain in the ass. I’ve begun the arduous process of moving them all back into their special folder… I have my posting schedule pretty much set for the rest of the year, however, so it’s no big deal to go find the needed tracks, but still. Stupid iTunes, thinks it’s so smart. I also have to go and tag a LOT of random MP3s so as to display in the browser properly. I bet I end up deleting most of them rather than try to figure out exactly what the hell song it is.

np – My Bloody Valentine / Isn’t Anything

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

The Great Destroyer

It’s been a hard year for Low. 2005 started out great – they released one of their best albums and possibly one of the best of the year by anyone in The Great Destroyer – but partway through their Spring tour, the wheels began to come off. First, they had to cancel a slew of dates (including a June show in Toronto) on account of a mental breakdown on Alan Sparhawk’s part. Within the last couple months, Sparhawk seemed to have recovered well enough to play with his other outfit in The Retribution Gospel Choir, as well as a few one-off Low dates here and there. But now comes word from Pitchfork that bassist Zak Sally has left the band… again.

You may remember the Sally quit before, back in 2003, but was lured back by the prestige (and dollars) of opening a European tour for Radiohead. That time, the terse announcement made it sound like it was a move made out of anger or temper. This time, his announcement seems more thought out and final. He has already been replaced by Retribution Gospel Choir bassist Matt Livingston (whom The Duluth Superior has a chat with), so while his departure is sad – any time one-third of the band leaves, there’s going to be an effect – hopefully this won’t spell the end of the band in any sense. They still owe Toronto a show.

But! Whatever happens in Low-land from here on out, we’ll still have the records. And the videos. Like these ones – I had no idea they’d made three clips for The Great Destroyer. Check em out:

Video: Low – “Death Of A Salesman” (.MOV)

Video: Low – “California” (.MOV)

Video: Low – “Monkey” (.MOV)

And speaking of things I didn’t know about videos – I had no idea that The Decemberists were still milking The Tain. I note that they recently reissued the EP – I guess it was out of print? – but now it appears they’re making a DVD video for their 20-minute epic to soundtrack? Coolio. No release date yet, but BrooklynVegan has some screen caps.

Billboard talks to James Shaw about juggling duties with Metric and Broken Social Scene. It’s this scheduling nightmare that’s led BSS to recruit some new help on their current tour, namely vocalist Lisa Lobsinger, formerly of Calgary’s Reverie Sound Revue. Anyone who’s heard the RSR stuff (there’s a couple working MP3s on that link) know that Lobsinger has got the pipes, but the faithful still aren’t convinced. Change is necessary, kids. The Minnesota Daily also has a piece on the band.

And as they did last year, Stars are closing out the year with a couple of shows – December 16 and 17 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $15. This one is probably already sold out. NOW, who declare Amy Millan as Toronto’s best female singer, gets a couple tips from Amy about where to find good lingerie and country music in the city. Update: the Saturday show will be a double-header, one a dry all-ages matinee performance and a licensed evening show. Both are $15.

Ryan Adams gets his third album of the year out just under the wire. Look for the final episode in his 2005 trilogy, 29, in stores on December 20. Rachel at Scenestars has assembled a frighteningly comprehensive radio blog covering the entirety of Adam’s career. And I mean entirety.

See, if more labels would do what Merge is doing – namely giving away a downloadable copy of the album with every vinyl purchase, I would be a happy, happy man. Of course, I don’t really want The Clientele record in any format, so this particular offer is moot, but the practice? Gold. Hope it catches on.

The Torontoist week in shows.

My iPod was in Alaska yesterday. ALASKA. This thing is going to be better travelled than I am before I get it.

np – Explosions In The Sky / How Strange, Innocence