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Archive for September, 2007

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Pop Preview – The Brother Kite

And here we have the final installment of my previews for the Bleating Heart Shows at Pop Montreal next week. Having talked to Danielle Duval, My Dad Vs Yours and The Airfields already, we finish up with our guests from “The Ocean State” that’s not really an island, Rhode Island’s The Brother Kite, represented here by guitarist Jon Downs.

1) Inspect your official Pop Montreal bio below and respond. How accurately do you think they capture the essence of your band?

Since when did Johnny Marr and Brian Wilson decide to crash Belle and Sebastian’s last recording session? This is America’s The New Pornographers.

Very interesting. They did a fine job.

2) Given the same approximate amount of space to write your own bio, what would it be?

A modified AllMusic bio sums up our history pretty well:

Providence, RI’s the Brother Kite had their beginnings in the collaboration between musicians Patrick Boutwell and Jon Downs in 2001, but the group itself didn’t come together until the following year with the addition of bassist Andrea Mason and guitarist Mark Howard. The group released a split 7″ with Vaguely Starshaped in 2003 and followed it up with their first full-length, thebrotherkite, the following year. They recruited drummer Matt Rozzero soon after that, and recorded their second full-length, Waiting for the Time to Be Right, an album that cobbled together the band’s trademark shoegaziness with psychedelic power pop reminiscent of Smiley Smile-era Brian Wilson.

3) Besides playing the best showcase of the festival, what else do you plan to do with your time in Montreal?

We haven’t been to Montreal in a couple years, so there is plenty of sigh-seeing to be done. Any recommendations? I’ve heard Canadian strip clubs are all-nude, but we’re far to shy to take advantage of that.

4) Why should festival-goers come see your show over all others going on at the same time?

Many of the acts at the festival play Montreal quite frequently. But TBK visits are few and far between (unfortunately). So if you like us, you shouldn’t miss it. And we can’t promise this, but it looks like we’ll probably be selling our new EP at the show (providing they arrive in time) which we’re not supposed to sell until November 6th.

MP3: The Brother Kite – “Get On Me”
Video: The Brother Kite – “I’m Not The Only One” (YouTube)
MySpace: The Brother Kite

The Brother Kite plays on October 4 at 11PM at the Green Room (5390 St-Laurent) le Gymanse (4177 rue St-Denis), admission is $8 at the door or free with a Pop Montreal bracelet.

Show poster by Cheryl Cheung

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

Sunday Cleaning – Volume 78

Pinback / Autumn Of The Seraphs (Touch And Go)

I find the sonics of Pinback fascinating. Rob Crow’s songs always seem to be on the verge of seething with tension and anxiety, but they’re always presented in these meticulously produced packages. The vocals are almost zen-like in their serenity, even when he’s raging at the mic, and the guitars – my latent guitar geek would love to know how they make a tone that I’d otherwise consider to be overly-clean, bordering on lifeless, sound so very much the opposite of lifeless. Like Summer In Abbadon before it, Autumn Of The Seraphs is a study in whispered screams and the lines between bared teeth and a grin, delivered in deceptive pop song trappings. Bracing stuff, and I’ll forgive the blatant Police rip that opens “Blue Harvest”.

Pinback are at the Opera House on October 12.

MP3: Pinback – “From Nothing To Nowhere”
Video: Pinback – “From Nothing To Nowhere” (YouTube)
MySpace: Pinback

Static Of The Gods / Cycles Follow Signs (Del Verano)

Boston boasts a strong tradition of turning out superb female-led power pop bands and though none of the members are Beantown natives, it’s in the footsteps of the likes of Juliana Hatfield, Belly and Fuzzy that Static Of The Gods seeks to follow. For the most part, they craft straightforward pop-rock in the mould of Letters To Cleo though Jen Johnson’s pipes are more muscular than Kay Hanley’s more girlish delivery. The power-trio arrangements are also leaner with a familiar blend of jangle and crunch and the songs are pleasantly melodic if a bit light in strong hooks, but I can’t help but wish they demonstrated more of the musical eccentricity and idiosyncrasies of their forebears. Maybe there just used to be something in the water.

Static Of The Gods are in town as part of Indie Week for a show at Rancho Relaxo on October 12.

MP3: Static Of The Gods – “2.33”
MP3: Static Of The Gods – “User”
MP3: Static Of The Gods – “Swing And Sway”
MP3: Static Of The Gods – “The Offering”
MySpace: Static Of The Gods

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Pop Preview – The Airfields

Welcome to part the third of my Bleating Heart Shows previews for Pop Montreal next week. Already haven taken their turns on the hot seat were Danielle Duval and My Dad Vs Yours. Today we talk to David Lush of The Airfields and we’ll wrap up tomorrow with The Brother Kite.

1) Inspect your official Pop Montreal bio below and respond. How accurately do you think they capture the essence of your band?

The Airfields somehow manage to simultaneously sound like Fleetwood Mac and Belle and Sebastian without coming off as completely schizophrenic. This five-piece’s self-described “forlorn pop music” grounds atmospheric riffs and multidimensional vocals in rock beats that seem specifically designed for hipster head bobbing – definitely a show not to be missed.

Fleetwood Mac? Okay, maybe we borrowed the ending bit from “the Chain”, but we don’t use nearly enough drugs and there have been no divorces in our band (yet). I would love to fill a room with hipster-looking bobble head dolls as our audience for the show. They look more friendly than real humans.

2) Given the same approximate amount of space to write your own bio, what would it be?

We are drowning in the labour-based music economy of this brave new digital era. Be a revolutionary and come to our rescue. Come to the show, buy our new 3-song e.p. and everything else we have to sell you (pretty please). We’ll have a new album later this autumn and you should buy that too. For better or for worse, it sounds nothing like Belle & Sebastian. Our van broke down last night and we need all of your money. (ed note – you can stream a couple of the songs from the EP on their MySpace right now)

3) Besides playing the best showcase of the festival, what else do you plan to do with your time in Montreal?

Probably checking out Film Pop. Our friend Vitalyi Bulychev made a video for a song of ours called “Red Fox” and, incredibly, that will be showcased at Film Pop! I’d be a really inconsiderate friend if I didn’t show up. I’d also be out of a place to stay whilst in Montreal.

4) Why should festival-goers come see your show over all others going on at the same time?

It’s too confusing to think about all of the other shows. Just come to ours and spare yourself the trouble of trying to drunkenly navigate the Metro in a desperate search for Pere Ubu.

MP3: The Airfields – “Lonely Halls”
MP3: The Airfields – “Nowhere Left To Go”
Video: The Airfields – “Red Fox” (YouTube)
MySpace: The Airfields

The Airfields play on October 4 at 10PM at the Green Room (5390 St-Laurent) le Gymanse (4177 rue St-Denis), admission is $8 at the door or free with a Pop Montreal bracelet.

Show poster by Cheryl Cheung

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

CONTEST – Patrick Wolf @ Lee's Palace – October 6, 2007

We should all be thankful that Patrick Wolf is full of shit. If he was a man of his word and made good on his promise to retire from music then we would have his Fall tour, stopping in at Lee’s Palace on October 6, to look forward to. As wonderful as his show back in May was, it was curfew-shortened and you know that given a proper-length set to work with show would be even more outrageous.

So while I’ll have to miss the Lee’s show – but will be catching him at the elegant Cabaret du Musee Juste Pour Rire in Montreal the night previous – I do have a two pairs of passes to give away to the show courtesy of REMG as well as a copy of Wolf’s latest CD The Magic Position. To enter, send me an email at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I’m hungry for the Wolf” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, October 1.

MP3: Patrick Wolf – “The Magic Position”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Accident And Emergency” (YouTube)
Video: Patrick Wolf – “The Magic Position” (YouTube)
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Bluebells” (YouTube)
MySpace: Patrick Wolf

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Together We're Both Alone

By rights, Nicole Atkins’ debut full-length Neptune City should have been in heavy rotation in my CD player for well over a month now – except it got pushed back from its original release date of August 20 to its new street date of October 30 and so I’ve had to make do with the Bleeding Diamonds EP and the various album tracks that’ve crept out via her MySpace or videos or what have you – until now.

Check out the link below for a full album stream of Neptune City which, I’m happy to report, confirms that the album is every bit as good as I’d hoped. The production is ultra-lush – some might complain too much so, but I think with a voice as powerful as Atkins the arrangements need that extra bit of goosing to keep up. It’s also stylistically broader than the Bleeding Diamonds EP, less torch and more rock. I’ve been reserving a place in my year-end list for this record – looks like it wasn’t jumping the gun.

Upstage has an expansive interview with Atkins in which she talks about her clothes, her dreams, her music and the series of American Express ads she and her band are currently appearing in. She’s in town on October 14 with The Raveonettes at Lee’s Palace.

Stream: Nicole Atkins & The Sea / Neptune City
Commercial: Nicole Atkins for American Express
MP3: Nicole Atkins – “Bleeding Diamonds”
MP3: Nicole Atkins – “Carouselle”
Video: Nicole Atkins & The Sea – “The Way It Is” (MySpace)
Video: Nicole Atkins – “Neptune City” (YouTube)
MySpace: Nicole Atkins

I had hoped to find the time to talk about Jens Lekman’s new album Night Falls On Kortedala before its October 9 release date, but looking ahead over the next week and change, it’s doubtful I will. So I’ll just say that it’s wonderful in the same way that his earlier work so if you like that… there you go. The Guardian has an interview and there’s a bit of an embarrassment of riches in the way of AV from the album to dive into.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “The Opposite Of Hallelujah”
MP3: Jens Lekman – “Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo”
Video: Jens Lekman – “Sipping On The Sweet Nectar” (MOV)

Pitchfork reports that Cat Power will release her second covers record on January 22 of next year.

Dave’s Live Music Blog has some audio from Great Lake Swimmers’ instore at Criminal Records in Toronto earlier this week. They’re playing the Phoenix tonight and will be opening up for Feist on February 18 at the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts. NPR has an interview and session with her and Chart has a conversation with her boyfriend, Kevin Drew about the possible return of Broken Social Scene in a non-“presents” capacity next year.

Okkervil River does press with The Philadelphia Daily News, The Daily Tar Heel and AM New York.

Billboard gets an update on that recording of Mates Of State’s fifth album, due out early next year.

John Vanderslice, in town at the El Mocambo on Monday, is the subject of features from ArtVoice, Washington Square News, The Boston Herald and WikiNews.

The San Jose Mercury talks to Matt Berninger of The National. They’re at the Phoenix on October 8 for a show that may well be sold out by the time you finish reading this sentence. Or maybe this one.

NME reports that Liam Gallagher of Oasis no longer hates Blur. In other news, no one cares.

And tangentially, Drowned In Sound reports that all four members of Blur are meeting for the first time in five years to discuss reunion plans. Will NME be sending paparazzi and reporting back on who had what for lunch? Of course they will.