Thursday, January 31st, 2008
Since discovering The Airfields way back in Summer of 2005, it’s been a treat watching them evolve. The trip may have been slow and occasionally difficult but each signpost along the way, from the whispery 4-track under the bedcovers charm of their debut City-State through the unexpected confidence of 2006’s Laneways EP and then last year’s limited edition teaser Yr So Wonderful, pointed to great things just down the road. And now, with the release of their debut full-length Up All Night, that promise has been delivered on.
The sounds of shyness that hid behind tape hiss on the debut has grown into a healthy musical extrovert, happy to embrace the awkward charm of its youth as well as revel in the more visceral joys of plugging in and turning up loud. The record pays homage to the classic British jangle-and-drone pop that the band so obviously holds dear, but applies an aesthetic that’s very much of the modern. The production is remarkable with sonics that are as much a part of the personality of the record as the songs – it’s not overbearing, but definitely jumped out at me at first listen (and all subsequent ones). The reverbs, in particular, should have liner note credits. And on the songwriting end, David Lush again proves his gift for memorable melodies and guitarist Ian Jackson’s two turns in the writer’s seat may come off more hesitantly and less polished, but evidence much of the latent potential that was present in the band’s first recordings.
Up All Night is officially out on February 5 but the band will have copies available at their CD release show this Saturday night, February 2, at Sneaky Dee’s with Love Kills and Terror Lake. Cover is $6 but you can get a copy of the album for just an extra $4. That’s $10 total, if your math skills aren’t working right now – which is okay. Yesterday I completely forgot how to do long division. And if you can’t make it out this weekend, circle March 6 on your calendar as they play a Canadian Music Week showcase at the Wrong Bar (the shiny new club out Parkdale way). Also stop by Skatterbrain for a nice interview with the whole band wherein they cover the origins of the band, the recording of the album and their plans for 2008 and both eye and NOW gave the record shiny four-star reviews.
Fans of Canadian power pop (or power pop from anywhere) will also be happy to learn that Vancouver’s Salteens, last heard from on 2003’s Let Go Of Your Bad Days, are back in action after a five-year absence not with a new album, per se, but a whack of singles. For 2008, the band will be posting two tracks – an a-side and a b-side – on their website on or around the end of each month as a sort of digital 45 and they’re free to do what you will with them. The first a-side is below, the b-side should be available on their website sometime today and I’ve also posted a couple choice tracks from the last full-length. Clap along at your leisure.
Staying out on the left coast, BrooklynVegan has Destroyer tour dates following the release of Trouble In Dreams on March 18. Bejar and crew will be in Toronto at Lee’s Palace on April 19, a fact which is cause for celebration but also confirms that he won’t be with The New Pornographers on their Spring tour which will be ongoing at the same time. Neko Case, however, will still be along for the ride and the openers for that jaunt are Okkervil River, which is certainly one of the odder pairings I’ve ever seen. But if we’re lucky, having Okkervil kick ass and take names every night before they take the stage will force the Pornos to raise their game a notch – last time around, they were phoning it in a bit. Look for a local date in early April but before then, they’re performing at the Indie Awards at the Royal York on March 8 as part of Canadian Music Week. You can also enjoy this World Cafe session at NPR.
Everyone’s talking about Black Mountain and their new album In The Future. There’s features and interviews with the band at The Globe & Mail, Exclaim!, Wireless Bollinger, SF Weekly, The Times Online and Harp. They’re at Lee’s Palace on March 5.
Chart chats with Laura Barrett, who is also working an older EP in Earth Sciences, slated for re-release on February 26, but also has a full-length in the can and is looking at a late Spring/early Summer release for that. But in the meantime, she’s got a new Pravda-powered video. In Soviet Russia, pony robots you!