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Monday, February 12th, 2007

All Ones And Zeroes

I’m pleased as punch to have London’s Early Years on the bill for The Hot Freaks (they’re on Saturday at 12:00PM at The Mohawk, FYI) not only because they offer some of the only British representation on the bill (The Young Knives being the only other UK passport holders) but because they largely encapsulate everything I like about British music.

Effortlessly shifting gears from the driving and anthemic to the atmospheric and introspective, their self-titled debut is never less than epic-sounding, yet intimately so. Reference points would include the scope of Ladies & Gentlemen-era Spiritualized, a less-angry Six By Seven or a more song-focused early Verve– they know when to layer on the reverbs and jam it out and they know when to hit the fuzz pedals and strike fast.

But as invigorating as the rockers are, it’s their proficiency with the slow numbers that really do me in – “Brown Hearts” sounds like standing in a grandiose, ceiling-less cathedral, looking up and having a thunderstorm break out around you. A storm in heaven, if you will (though that’s definitely one of the less Verve-like moments on the record. I almost want to say Coldplay, if Coldplay weren’t awful). That’s actually a description that could go for the record as a whole, but it seems particularly apt on that song, unabashedly romantic without being melodramatic.

The album was originally released in the UK last Fall, but only saw a North American release last month. The US edition features a second CD with four bonus tracks, two atmospheric jams and two album track demos, that really aren’t strictly necessary. Those with the import (and even those without) would do much better to pick up their new EP The Great Awakening, which is out February 19 in the UK and offers four new tracks. You can hear the single at their MySpace and watch the video below as well as those for two of the singles from the album. The band’s rockier side is well represented in the singles but you’ll have to pop over to the MySpace to hear “Brown Hearts”. Do it.

Besides a few well-received shows in New York City at the end of January and SxSW in March, there’s nothing in the way of North American touring on the calendar as of yet but I can only hope that pushing this act on this side of the pond is a priority and they come through town at some point this year.

MP3: The Early Years – “All Ones And Zeros”
Video: The Early Years – “Say What I Want To” (YouTube)
Video: The Early Years – “All Ones And Zeros” (YouTube)
Video: The Early Years – “So Far Gone” (YouTube)
MySpace: The Early Years

And speaking of the Hot Freaks lineup, note that Viva Voce had to withdraw not only from our show but SxSW as a whole in order to open up for some band called The Shins (including the March 17 Toronto show, confirmed by Pitchfork, but we’ve scored some able and equally loud replacements in the form of Asobi Seksu. Talk about a pinch-hitter.

Andy Partridge (formerly) of XTC tells both The AV Club and Pitchfork that the band, for the foreseeable future, is in mothballs. Alas.

But if J Mascis and Lou Barlow can get it back together, there’s always hope for Partridge and Moulding. The new Dinosaur Jr album Beyond, out May 1, has been unveiled in channels both legitimate and not, and the response has been very positive. Hear for yourself (an authorized track, of course) and check out the tracklist and artwork at Aversion. That’s the vintage Dino Jr font, but not using J’s paintings for the art? That’s new.

MP3: Dinosaur Jr – “Been There All The Time”

And continuing on the theme of unlikely reunions, The Police are at the Air Canada Centre July 22. Amazing what can happen when you bury the hatchet… IN A BIG PILE OF MONEY.

The Toronto Star and London Free Press talk to Arcade Fire about the inevitability of playing much larger venues than before when touring in support of Neon Bible, out March 6. And no, there’s still no official Toronto tour dates announced but the Massey Hall-ness noted in the article seems like a pretty safe bet. Or I would hope, because anything larger and you’re into serious suck territory.

The Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph talk to Howling Bells about having their self-titled debut album nominated for an Australian Music Prize. The band have released a video for their new single, “Low Happening”.

Video: Howling Bells – “Low Happening” (YouTube)

And for all you aspiring concert photographers out there, definitely stop by Boudist where he’s reprinted in two-parts a piece he contributed to Digital Photographer on the subject.

By : Frank Yang at 8:29 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. David Freeman says:

    The Great Awakening EP will also be available in Canada on March 13th!

  2. Dan says:

    Cheers for the link Frank.

    I’m all set for SXSW now – got my badge and photo pass. See you with all the other bloggers.