Friday, December 23rd, 2005
I get a lot of stuff from promo companies, usually telling me so-and-so is the next greatest band I have to listen to (and blog about). Mostly I ignore them (and that, right there, is the sound of people no longer sending me stuff…). But when Shawn from Cornerstone recommended Australia’s Howling Bells to me but added that he wasn’t working them, he just liked them and thought I would too, my cold cold heart thawed and I went to have a listen – and I’m glad I did.
They only have one song, “Velvet Girl”, streaming on their website, but I actually don’t mind that it loops over and over again. It’s addictive. Led by vocalilst Juanita Stein, who with brother/guitarist Joel had some success in the Aussie outfit Waikiki, they sound like a slightly fuzzier, twangier Mazzy Star. They have a dreamy, velvety quality that’s utterly beguiling, but has a hint of danger underneath. Of course, this is a lot to assume from just one song, so it’s a good thing I’ve dug up two. They have “Blessed Night” streaming on their MySpace page, but I’ve found an mp3 (a straight recording of the myspace stream, I think) for your downloading pleasure – it’s a rougher, bluesier track than “Velvet Girl” but also excellent. Between these two samples, consider me officially tantilized.
They just released an e-single for “Low Happening” last week through a variety of online music shops, none of which seem to be available to Canadians. I guess I’ll just have to wait until their debut album, Liberation, comes out April 2006. They seem to be signed to V2 in some territories and Bella Union in the UK, but I can’t find any info about North America. Hopefully the record will be available here through someone… They were actually here back in October, but my unwillingness/inability to do four shows in four nights meant I had to give them a pass. And while I’m sure that night’s sleep was well needed, I’m sorry I missed it. Fingers crossed they’ll make it back.
Matt Pond PA are saying “Happy holidays” to their fans with a new demo streaming off their MySpace page. And tickets are on sale for their February 11 show with dios (malos) at the Mod Club for $13.50.
Local promoters Emerge are using their blog to great effect, having just posted a list of their upcoming shows for 2006. The only one that really catches my interest is The Guillemots at the Horseshoe on March 15. Unfortunately, I will probably be in Austin that week, which sort of raises the question – why is a young, up-and-coming band from abroad in Toronto that week instead of the giant schmoozeola of SxSW?
Blogger year-end lists from Kathryn Yu, Coolfer and Information Leafblower. You know, with all these best-of lists, I’d been hoping to pad my shopping list with new and interesting stuff but I’m not finding a lot of stuff that’s slipped under my radar this year – either I like it and already have it, or I know I don’t dig it.
np – The National / Black Session – 2003