Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer
Review and giveaway of A.C. Newman's Get Guilty
Caleb BuyersLet’s be honest, there’s not a lot of reason for there to be a Carl Newman solo record. The man is the chief songwriter in The New Pornographers, an outfit that turns out material at a pretty decent rate all things considered, and it’s not as though he has a metal jones to itch that wouldn’t work in the context of the Pornographers – when he puts on the AC Newman hat, he’s still the consummate popsmith.
But the whys and wherefores are his business – for the rest of us, there’s no sense in looking a gift horse in the mouth. And in this case, that gift is entitled Get Guilty. Like 2004’s The Slow Wonder, any of the songs on Guilty could have easily appeared on a Pornographers record but unlike that record, which seemed to deliberately apply a more traditional rock band ethos to the proceedings, Guilty seems more willing to incorporate the more ornate flourishes that you’d associate with a proper Pornographers release.
That said, without having to balance out the large cast of players in the Pornographers, the AC Newman experience is leaner and punchier – more of a raiding party than the mothership of the New Pornographers. And for those wondering where all the fast songs that weren’t on Challengers went, well, at least some of them are here – “Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer” and “The Palace At 4AM” have a rhythmic drive and energy that hasn’t really been there on the last couple Pornographer records. Of course, whether they’d have fit is another discussion altogether – the important things is that they’re here now and they’re excellent, as is pretty much all of Guilty.
Get Guilty is out today, and courtesy of Last Gang Records, I’ve got copies on CD to give away to five lucky Canadians (sorry Americans, you’ll have to console yourselves today with a new president). To enter, leave me a comment below telling me something you’re guilty of and make sure your email is there, spam-proofed as need be, so I can contact you. Contest closes at midnight, January 26. Also remember that AC Newman are heading out on tour in February, including a March 11 date at Lee’s Palace in Toronto.
NPR has a short interview with Newman, Magnet a longer one, and Allmusic has traced out his musical history from the early days with Superconductor through to the present. Update: Stereogum has another live session video from Newman to follow up the one premiered at Pitchfork last week. Update 2: The whole album is streaming at Spinner.
Co-Pornographer Neko Case will release Middle Cyclones on March 3 and blow into town for two dates at Trinity-St Paul’s on April 17 and 18. Tickets for each of those shows are $35.50.
Not your speed but still seeking something to do that night? The Music Tapes, featuring ex-Neutral Milk Hotelier Julian Koster, will be at Lee’s Palace that same night in support of last year’s Get Guilty. Like 2004’s Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes. Tickets also $12.50.
There’ll be a lovely little show taking place at The Central in Mirvish Village next Thursday night, January 29, featuring the songwriters from a few of Toronto’s finest bands in a solo and acoustic setting – Casey Mecija of Ohbijou, Kat Burns of Forest City Lovers, Jonas Bonnetta of Evening Hymns and Gavin Gardiner of The Wooden Sky. Admission is pay-what-you-can.
The Coast are heading over to the UK for some dates next month and Clash has not only conducted a feature interview with the the Toronto boys, but set up a fancy little microsite about the band. And they’re making available to download a Born Ruffians remix of “All The Boys” from Expatriate.
The schedule for Canadian Musicfest (why do I think I’m going to be the only one not calling it Canadian Music Week?) is partially up, and by partially I mean barely. But there’s still some good information on lineups now available, foremost those of the Chart-sponsored shows at the Horseshoe. And they’re kinda stacked. Just a little. Thursday, March 12 you’ve got Chad Van Gaalen, Gentleman Reg, Women, $100, The Lovely Feathers, The Delinquints and Quest For Fire. The Friday night bill will be led by Handsome Furs and also feature Human Highway, The Bicycles, Daniel Wesley, Dinosaur Bones, Hot Panda and The Schomberg Fair. And finally, Saturday will wrap things up with The Golden Dogs, Two Hours Traffic, Young Galaxy, Rebekah Higgs, The Hundreds And Thousands, Vancougar and Hexes & Ohs. Admission to these shows is via CMF wristbands and needless to say, get there early. Of course, once in you probably won’t be able to leave but really, why would you want to?
But if you do, there’s a few other dates and venues to note. Malajube, who will release Labyrinthes on February 10, are at the El Mocambo on March 12. That same night both Angela Desveaux and The Rural Alberta Advantage are at the Gladstone and 6 Day Riot are at Rancho Relaxo. On the Saturday, Basia Bulat and Herman Dune are at Lee’s Palace while The Ting Tings are at the Mod Club. Still more to come, obviously, but things look to be shaping up alright.
Joel Plaskett will play Massey Hall – yes, Massey Hall – on May 23. Tickets from $29.50 to $39.50.
BlogTO talks to the members of Bruce Peninsula, who have a string of local dates surrounding the February 3 release of A Mountain Is A Mouth. There’s a January 31 date at the Horseshoe, a February 4 in-store at Soundscapes and the February 22 album release party at the Polish Combatants Hall.
Tags: $100, 6 Day Riot, AC Newman, Angela Desveaux, Basia Bulat, Bicycles, Bruce Peninsula, Chad Van Gaalen, Coast, Daniel Wesley, Delinquints, Dinosaur Bones, Evening Hymns, Forest City Lovers, Gentleman Reg, Golden Dogs, Handsome Furs, Herman Dune, Hexes & Ohs, Hot Panda, Human Highway, Hundreds And Thousands, Joel Plaskett, Jon Langford, Lovely Feathers, Malajube, Music Tapes, Neko Case, New Pornographers, Ohbijou, Quest For Fire., Rebekah Higgs, Rural Alberta Advantage, Sadies, Schomberg Fair, Ting Tings, Two Hours Traffic, Vancougar, Women, Wooden Sky, Young Galaxy