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Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Midnight Surprise

Test Icicles. The name alone was all I needed to decide to completely ignore the short-lived UK trio who broke up in early 2006, just as their popularity was set to either bust out or simply burst. So with that complete indifference in mind, it’s a bit surprising how much I’m enjoying guitarist Dev Hynes’ new incarnation as Lightspeed Champion.

His debut is Falling Off The Lavender Bridge, out next week in the UK and the following week over here, and it’s not at all what I would have expected given his CV. It’s a remarkably polished bit of pop with some serious country influence and orchestral accents, courtesy of producer Mike Mogis, better known as the sven gali of Saddle Creek. Lyrically, things are still a bit on the crude/filthy side but the songwriting sentiments are solid and when delivered with earnest vocals and terrific melodicism and adorned by backing vocals from Emmy The Great, who can resist? Fans of his more anarchic old outfit might be disappointed in Hynes’ new direction but he’s now got my attention.

Lightspeed Champion is coming to North America in March for SxSW but to make the most of the jaunt, he’s doing some additional shows around the continent including one in Toronto on March 4 at the Horseshoe. That’s a Tuesday and Tuesdays are Nu Music Nite so odds are that’s a free show and as good a way as any to get primed for Canadian Music Week. Gigwise has an interview with Hynes about the new record, his old band and his new project. Update: And Pitchfork has the first sanctioned MP3 from the record. Check it out. Update 2: BrookylnVegan just posted an interview with Hynes and pointed to another MP3. Looks like I posted a day too early to link up the good stuff… Update 3: And full North American tour dates at NME. It shall be an acoustic tour.

MP3: Lightspeed Champion – “Everyone I Know Is Listening To Crunk”
MP3: Lightspeed Champion – “Waiting Game”
Video: Lightspeed Champion – “Galaxy Of The Lost”
Video: Lightspeed Champion – “Tell Me What It’s Worth”
Video: Lightspeed Champion – “Midnight Surprise”
Video: Lightspeed Champion – “Midnight Surprise” (short film)
MySpace: Lightspeed Champion

Also coming to town is Ingrid Michaelson with a show at the El Mocambo on February 19, tickets $13.50. Harp talks to the songstress, star of countless television soundtracks and recent Billboard cover girl about her record and the awkwardness of receiving online marriage proposals. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer also has a little chat.

Video: Ingrid Michaelson – “The Way I Am”
MySpace: Ingrid Michaelson

Thanks to Karl for pointing out in yesterday’s comments that MuchMusic is now streaming Cat Power’s Jukebox in its entirety in advance of its release on Tuesday. She’s playing the Kool Haus on February 9. Update: And stream go bye bye. Oh well.

Stream: Cat Power / Jukebox

MSNBC talks to Bob Mould about wrestling, politics, blogging and band reunions (though not his own). His new album District Line is out February 5 and he plays the Mod Club March 10.

eye has published the results of their 2007 music critics poll, to which my submission was essentially this list put in a mostly arbitrary ranking. And in case you don’t feel like clicking, I’ll just confirm what you suspect – Feist uber alles.

By : Frank Yang at 8:24 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. simon hb says:

    Frank, your opening paragraph are *my thoughts exactly*. I couldn’t believe it when LChamp turned up on Marc Riley’s pretty-much-essential 6Music show and turned out to have the past he had.

    There’s always hope of redemption.

    (Except for Ocean Colour Scene, obviously)

  2. Pete says:

    Yeah, Test Icicles was rubbish but Lightspeed Champion is really really great! The stuff he’s released on the web is really brilliant, like Stay The Fuck Away From Me or the Christmas EP. And his cover of Sean Kingston’s Beautiful Girls is a revelation.

  3. Ricky Lam says:

    that is the strangest picture i have seen today.

  4. Karl says:

    D-oh!

    Darn lawyers!

  5. Frank says:

    I suspect it’s got to do with the fact that the covers have to pay royalties to the actual songwriters (or those who hold the songwriting rights) – that gets expensive.