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Friday, May 11th, 2007

Fortune

I was initially excited to hear about the double-disc Mendoza Line release, 30 Year Low, that’s been scheduled for release on August 21 – there had been talk around the end of last year about the band releasing an EP of new material as well as a compilation of rarities, and this release will be made up of both of those records. But the excitement was tempered with sadness when I saw this Catbirdseat dispatch implying that this release would essentially be the final word from the band.

I only just discovered the band with their last proper album, 2005’s Full Of Light And Full Of Fire, and as much as I enjoyed that release, I’ll fall in line with the others who declare its predecessor, Fortune, as the band’s high point. The last record with singer/songwriter Peter Hoffman in the fold, it was a masterful piece of folk rock that found Hoffman and fellow frontpersons Shannon McArdle and Tim Bracy at the top of their game. The variety in their songs and styles complimented and contrasted each other perfectly. Full Of Light put Bracy and McArdle’s dynamic front and centre and their chemistry as musical collaborators and husband-and-wife worked just as well. But now that their marriage is over and McArdle has left the band, Bracy’s intentions to continue to front the band on his own just don’t seem like a good idea. Even if he writes some amazing songs for the next record, it just won’t be The Mendoza Line to me.

The preview MP3 from this final release is an alternate version of the song featuring vocals from Bracy and McArdle but the version on the album will instead feature the velvet throat of Okkervil River’s Will Sheff.

MP3: The Mendoza Line – “Aspect Of An Old Maid” (alternate version)

And speaking of Okkervil, their next album has a name – look for The Stage Names on August 7. Pitchfork has the tracklisting and artwork for the new record.

Much Emily Haines and Metric info to dispense. Quiet Color has an interview with Emily while Pitchfork gets some info on the Grow Up And Blow Away reissue (can you call it a reissue if it was never released in the first place?) on June 28 as well as her new solo EP What Is Free To A Good Home on July 24. In addition to her Harbourfront show on July 25th, she’s been added to the lineup for the Hillside Festival on the Saturday, July 28. MuchMusic has a video interview with Emily from earlier this week and a two-track preview of the Grow Up album. And I’ve got one track from both the EP and reissue for you to save for your very own.

MP3: Emily Haines – “Rowboat”
MP3: Metric – “Grow Up”

Interesting note in the NxNE press release from earlier this week – they’re now associated with the Voxtrot show at Sneaky Dee’s on June 8th saying that 50 badges or wristbands will be admitted, but also note that the show is sold out and say a second one will be added. That’s all well and good, but with no open dates before or after the 8th, the only thing I can imagine is adding an early show, maybe without opening sets from Au Revoir Simone or Favourite Sons? Very curious to see how this shakes out since I’m planning on hitting that show after Dinosaur Jr at the Phoenix.

The National’s Boxer is out Tuesday after next. Stream the whole thing at their MySpace now. Tremble at its greatness.

Stream: The National / Boxer

Patrick Wolf plays the El Mocambo tonight and both eye and NOW have features on him. Remember, early show – doors at 7, tickets only at the door. And original opener Bishi is off the bill – Cuff The Duke’s Wayne Petti will open instead. Check out this Village Voice review of this week’s NYC show to get an idea of what we might be in store for tonight.

Incendiary talks to Low.

NME has details on the new Rilo Kiley album while Pitchfork has corrections to NME‘s details. But at least this much appears to be correct – Under The Blacklight will be out in the UK on August 20 and presumably August 21 in North America.

It figures that with every band and their mother reuniting these days, this is the one that has to be completely disavowed. Le sigh. But man, if that happened I would never say anything ill of NxNE again. NEXT YEAR, GUYS. MAKE IT HAPPEN.

NOW features Forest City Lovers, playing the Silver Dollar this coming Monday with Pony Up. My contest for passes to said show ends tonight! You should enter.

Also happening Monday night is the Fields show, but it’s now going to be at the Drake Underground rather than the Amp’d Mobile Studio. It’s free to all though if you went to the trouble of getting tickets to the Amp’d thing, those will still be honoured. What that exactly means, I don’t know. Doors are at 9, show at 10. Spinner talked to the band about drinking martinis at Frank Sinatra’s old Palm Springs pad. For serious.

Some shows of note – Hawksley Workman and Ohbijou will be playing a free show at Harbourfront Centre on June 4 as part of the Luminato arts festival, The Airfields have a show scheduled for The Silver Dollar on June 21 and Vancouverites The Awkward Stage are there a month later on July 21. And finally, looking waaaaay ahead, Do Make Say Think appear to have a date scheduled at the Phoenix for October 20. And if you’re looking to get out of the city the weekend of June 2 and 3, Track & Field out on Tantramar Farm near Guelph, could be just the ticket. The lineup is crazy solid and by all accounts past editions have been a great time. Admission hankerchiefs go on sale the week of the 24th starting at a launch party/fundraiser at the Tranzac. More info on their website.

And oh yeah, it’s my birthday. Yay me.

By : Frank Yang at 8:26 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Catbird says:

    Didn’t mean to indicate that this was the final Mendoza record in toto– rather, this is the last Mendoza record with both McArdle and Bracy together; Bracy will continue using the Mendoza Line name, sans McArdle.

  2. Frank says:

    yeah, I found the official bio for the release a little after and got the full info – still a real shame. A full record of just Bracy’s wheezing doesn’t set my heart a-flutter.

  3. alan says:

    Happy Birthday dude!!

  4. clickclickclickclicky says:

    Happy birthday old man. Can’t recommend the Mendoza Line back catalog enough, particularly the record "We’re All In This Alone," although it is all gold.

  5. Dimitri says:

    Happy birthday Frank!!!

  6. Jack says:

    Many happy returns, Frank

  7. mark says:

    congrats on another year frank. also, you got National happy saying the album is out Tuesday, which i took as you referring to this Tuesday. which is the date for that other super fine release but not BOXER so you kinda had it mixed up perhaps?

  8. Frank says:

    whoops. getting dotty in my old age.

  9. kathryn says:

    Happy birthday, Frank!

    You’re finally of drinking age, now, right?

  10. Chris says:

    Happy birthday, Frank.

  11. Roland says:

    Happy Birthday! P-Wolf is incredible live, have fun at that show. I just got into Fields, looking forward to that full length. And thanks for the Metric/Rilo Kiley info!

  12. monkeyinabox says:

    Happy Birthday!

  13. juepucta says:

    Felíz cumpleaños.

    -G.

  14. Kate Warren says:

    Happy Birthday!

  15. kelly says:

    hope you have an awesome bday!

  16. Cory Brown at Misra Records says:

    Happy Birthday Frank. I’ve got to cut in on the Mendoza Line thing though. The band was started and ran for several years without Shannon. I think in the wake of the couple’s separation and the change of life that involves for both parties, it’s a little premature to be naysaying any changes to the band. And "wheezing" is a pretty rough characterization.

    It’s distinctly possible that The Mendoza Line without Shannon will be like Shearwater without Will Sheff. Doesn’t take a thing away from Sheff (who already shines with Okkervil) or even from Shannon (whose plans are not known to me), but when chemistry changes in a band and the man up front pulls up his bootstraps and takes stock, the results can be a huge leap forward.

    If "Rare Entertainment," the song Tim wrote for the website of Joe Hill’s best-selling novel Heart-Shaped Box (found here: http://www.joehillfiction.com/), is any indication, there’s great music around the corner.

  17. Frank says:

    Hey Cory

    thanks (and to everyone) for the birthday wishes. Yeah, I may be a bit premature about writing off The Mendoza Line post-Shannon, but her vocals were a huge part of why I fell for the band in the first place and while wheezy wasn’t necessarily meant as a pejorative (I consider Bob Dylan wheezy and love his stuff), Tim’s vocals were easier to take mixed with Shannon’s. And I had no idea that the band was in turmoil so this news comes as something of a shock.

    But rest assured I will keep an open mind about whatever comes next. Thanks for writing.

  18. Tualla says:

    I do agree with Mr Brown. If anything personal clashes within that band seem to make the music stronger and they do seem to have had a ton of members come and go.

    Cory, thanks for the Joehillfiction link. 2 question – Why aren’t the new Mendoza line releases coming out on Misra and more importantly, when is that next wrens record gonna come out?

    Regards – Tualla

  19. Cory Brown at Misra Records says:

    The Glurp release has been in the works for several years now. The band was paid an advance and recorded a set of songs so strong, they wound up becoming Full Of Light And Full Of Fire. Tim felt strongly about fulfilling their obligation to Glurp and honoring the label’s support (rather than simply returning their money) and we completely respect that. In fact, we’ll likely be carrying 30 Year Low and The Final Remarks of the Legendary Malcontent on the Misra site upon its release.

    There are all sorts of discussions going on right now about a Best Of comp with new songs, a possible catalog relaunch, etc. but whatever happens, you’re likely to see a Mendoza Line release on Misra in early 2008.

    As far as the Wrens go, I know Kevin has demoed about 10 songs so far. Not so sure about Greg’s or Charles’ progress, but we’re all working towards actually getting them in a studio this summer for a 2008 release on Absolutely Kosher. Charles does contribute to Get Him Eat Him’s new album, Arms Down, out on AKR on June 5. That same day, Misra releases the debut by Boston’s Hallelujah the Hills. Needless to say (but say it I shall), both records are awesome.

  20. Cory Brown at Misra Records says:

    PS: No sweat, Frank. Just looking out for my peeps.

  21. Tualla says:

    Cory – Thanks very much for the update. I promise to put an order through and grab both those discs.

    I would so love to be in your shoes to hear all that wrens stuff. If I could be a nattering fangirl for a second, please don’t let them destroy the demos. After all, we gotta have a second expanded version of the cd to buy a year after its first release. :)

    Frank, I’m rude. Happy Birthday!

  22. Ron Freeman says:

    Any idea what Peter Hoffman has been doing since he left Mendoza line? I always loved his songs but have heard pretty much nothing about him since he split.

  23. lionzub says:

    Wasn’t a fan of Metric at all, but I like this song by Haines.

    I’m a fairly new reader, love the website! Happy birthday man!

  24. mike says:

    Happy B’day! Have fun at the Patrick Wolf show. I was thinking about that Voxtrot show. I decided last minute to buy a ticket through Ticketweb for the Voxtrot’s Toronto show(Friday June 8). That’s gonna be packed. The only way I can see Voxtrot adding a second show is if they add a matinee performance on the following day(Saturday June 9). They’re suppose to be in Montreal that night but they’ll likely go on around midnight(if not after midnight). Playing a matinee show in Toronto then driving down to Montreal and getting there before midnight is possible as long as they don’t hit gridlock.

  25. Tony says:

    Dude, it’s my birthday as well. Happy bday from Chi-town. Did you see the line-up for ACL fest? Ridiculous. Hope you partied hard last night.

  26. Shannon says:

    Wow, I’ve never looked on one of these things before. Interesting. Thanks to all who had kind words for my music. To be clear, the information that you’ve seen on the Glurp website and other places was written by Timothy. I’ve not left the band by my own will. It’s not clear that he will continue to use the ML name either. The end of our collaboration and marriage was decided by Timothy. I’d have loved for them both to continue. Timothy is a talented man, and whatever he does will be great. I am trying to pick up the pieces and do the same.

  27. Paul says:

    Thanks for all that great info, Cory, regarding my favorite band, The Mendoza Line. When you say to be on the lookout for a Misra release in early 2008, are you referring to the Best Of and/or reissues, or do you mean there will be an album of all-new material in addition to the Best Of and/or reissues? Will the long-promised Slow Dazzle CD ever get released?

    Shannon, I wish you the best of luck!

  28. thomaus says:

    Geez, Frank. You should have a birthday everyday. Very informative comments today.
    Also, very nice photo of your of the Skydome at Torontoist http://www.torontoist.com/a… Too bad about the Jays.

  29. James says:

    Sorry I missed your birthday, man. Next beer at Volo is on me, if I see you before you go away to Europe. And agree with you about The Mendoza Line. I found them a few years ago just by chance (and loved the clever band name) and will miss them.