Friday, September 12th, 2008
Photo via Merge Records
I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On, the 2006 debut from The Broken West, was a perfect example of a band breaking no new ground whatsoever, but being so good at it that criticisms like that are irrelevant. Go On was a splendid bit of ’70s SoCal, Big Star meets Byrds power-pop revival that proudly wore its influences on its pearl-buttoned sleeves and if they’d opted to follow it up with more of the same, few would have complained.
But instead, with the just-released Now Or Heaven, they’ve managed to pull off the rare feat of displaying marked growth without giving up any of what made them noteworthy in the first place. Still abundant are the sun-kissed harmonies, jangle-riffic guitars and hooks upon hooks, but things are less overtly paisley and plaid – there’s some cloud cover over the valley now, and within those cast shadows things are more rhythmic and textured. The production is more adventurous and a greater reliance on keyboards to stir up the sonic stew and while things might be a touch more sedate this time out, the subtle but significant evolution is most welcome.
The Broken West are currently on the road and will be at the Horseshoe next Wednesday night, September 17, along with The French Kicks. They’re the subject of features at An Aquarium Drunkard, Reveille and The Hartford Courant.
Okkervil River’s new record Stand Ins was finally released this week, and with it came the final intallment of the covers project – this one featuring their tourmates for this upcoming Fall jaunt, including the October 12 date at the Phoenix, Crooked Fingers. There’s also an MP3 available from their forthcoming new album Forfeit/Fortune, out October 7. Pitchfork solicited a guest list from Okkervil frontman Will Sheff – usually when asked, most artists give them a laundry list. Sheff gives them a series of essays. Isthmus Q&A’s drummer Travis Nelson.
Toronto’s FemBots return with a new album in Calling Out, out next Tuesday, and will follow up with a number of shows – there’s an in-store at Soundscapes on September 25 at 6PM, a proper gig at the Music Gallery on September 26 and looking ahead a bit, another show at the Dakota Tavern on November 7.
Edmonton double-drummered dance-rock crew Shout Out Out Out Out are at Lee’s Palace on October 30, tickets $15.
Calexico’s new record Carried To Dust was released this week and the tour dates in support have been announced. Look for them at the Phoenix on November 18 along with Bowerbirds, tickets $18.50. Caliente has an interview with Joey Burns, The Independent has a feature and Spinner is currently streaming the whole record, which is rightly being hailed as a return to form.
Stream: Calexico / Carried To Dust
Brooklynites Parts & Labour are turning out a new record in Receivers on October 21 and will be in town at Sneaky Dee’s a month later on November 21. Since their last visit last Summer in support of Mapmaker, they’ve rotated drummers yet again – which is a shame because Christopher Weingarten was an absolute beast on the kit – but they seem to have gotten even more pop which to me, anyway, isn’t a bad thing at all. Tickets $8.
With the December 4 show sold out, a second Neil Young and Wilco show has been announced for December 5. Having already shelled out $100 for the 4th, I will have to reluctantly let this one pass me by, marking the first local Wilco show that I will have missed in nine years. A moment, please. Paste talks to Neil and Glide to one of the US Marines featured in the CSNY documentary Living With War.
After releasing two albums in Snowflake Midnight and Strange Attractor on September 30, Mercury Rev will strike out on tour and as an added bonus, support for a few of dates including the December 9 stop at the Opera House in Toronto will be Dean & Britta. You think they’ll encore with a little “Car Wash Hair”? How could they not? The New York Times has a feature piece on the band.
Also currently spinning at Spinner – Soft Airplane from Chad Van Gaalen, in town at the Mod Club on October 4 and the cover story on this month’s BeatRoute and The New Year’s new self-title. They’re at Lee’s Palace on October 15.