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Thursday, January 4th, 2007

Phantom Limb

James Mercer of The Shins talks to Pitchfork about making Wincing The Night Away (out January 23) and the weight of expectation surrounding the new release. He also mentions that Fruit Bat Eric Johnson is now in the band on guitar – an interesting development as the implication seems to be that it’s a permanent position. A gifted songwriter in his own right, I guess we won’t see what Johnson can contribute to the band in terms of writing until the next record, but a second guitar will certainly beef up their live sound. Also look for a new Fruit Bats record sometime this year.

Mercer also talks to NOW about the new record as part of the magazine’s hot upcoming releases feature in this week’s issue. Finally, also note that The Shins will be on Saturday Night Live on January 13, Late Night With David Letterman on January 23 and are expected to begin touring in in support of the new album in February and March.

And if you haven’t heard and seen the first single yet, well here you go, along with an alt. version of one of the album tracks. I’d really forgotten how much I liked The Shins, but the new stuff sounds great.

MP3: The Shins – “Phantom Limb”
Video: The Shins – “Phantom Limb” (MOV)

If you’re looking for something to do tonight, I suggest checking out Basia Bulat at the Drake Underground tonight. Said The Gramophone has all the aural and written persuasion you should need.

As people get back to work, there’s been some movement on lineups for a few of the Spring music festivals. Firstly, the lineups for the Wavelength 7th anniversary celebrations taking place February 8 to 11 at various venues around Toronto have been announced. The website hasn’t been updated yet but all the info has been posted at Stille Post including links to artist MySpace pages as applicable. I’ll be making use of those because I’d be lying if I said I knew who (m)any of the bands playing are but I’ve seen some good stuff at past Wavelength anniversaries so I’d expect/hope the same could be said of this year’s edition.

Swinging to pretty much the opposite end of the cred-o-meter, Canadian Music Week has revealed the first batch of bands confirmed to be playing the festival this year from March 7 to 10. As usual, a whole lot of unknowns, a couple familiar faces (The Coast, Jenn Grant) and an intriguing import – in this case, Scotland’s My Latest Novel, who I wrote up in November. They’ll be at the Drake Underground on March 9.

Also running concurrently (and oppositely) to CMW over March 7 to 11 is the Pitter Patter Festival, named for the weekly music series that runs at cozy little venues around town like The Boat and The Supermarket. Though much smaller in scale, the announced bands are arguably a lot more interesting. A great alternative to those who’d otherwise be spending their time complaining about CMW.

And information on the daddy of them all, SxSW, is starting to trickle out. The Donewaiting SxSW blog is once again getting into gear with all the confirmed appearances and a healthy dose of rumour and hearsay. Honestly, in a way the anticipation is the best part of the festival. No one hugely exciting in the confirmed acts yet, but give it a few weeks – things usually get really silly/fun by late January/early February and hit a fever pitch by early March. SxSW Baby will also be back by mid-Month offering survival tips for March Madness in Austin.

And bringing things back to Toronto, this year’s edition of Over The Top Fest is scheduled for May 3 to 6. No bands announced yet, but I have faith that it’ll be ridiculously solid as ever.

And that’s just the stuff that’s happening before it’s warm enough to head outdoors…

By : Frank Yang at 8:35 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Thierry says:

    Well, the only four acts that I really know anything about for CMW – the three with Heavy Blinkers/Halifax connexions (Brent Randall, Jenn Grant, Ruth Minnikin), and garage-psych revivalists Rockfour – have already gotten me reasonably excited. I’m already expecting them to be scheduled all at the same time, in different venues…

    (oh, and happy belated new year!)