Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
(North By North) East Of Hercules
NxNE announces 2009 lineup
Aubrey EdwardsI believe it’s traditional that on one’s birthday, one should be fed and watered profusely on someone else’s dime. So that’s exactly what I did last night, for my 34th, and it was all courtesy of NxNE. It wasn’t a party just for me, of course. The festival was having their kick-off press conference wherein they promised to announce “all” the bands playing this year’s to-do, taking place June 17 to 21 around Toronto, a feat which would have been impressive to see since the reading off of hundreds of band names could have been one of the more stultifyingly dull things I’d ever be able to witness.
But as it happens that wasn’t the game plan. Instead, they announced the bigger names who’d be performing the festival, which would have been great… if they weren’t the same names they’d already announced on the website last month. Don’t get me wrong, having the likes of Black Lips, Matt & Kim and No Age and Woodpigeon playing is nothing to shake a stick at, and one name that hadn’t been previously announced and raised an eyebrow was Seattle garage rock legends The Sonics, who will close out the outdoor stage at Yonge-Dundas Square on the Saturday night, June 20. But it’s just that I thought with a big media event they’d have held onto a few surprises to get people excited.
And while it was a bit of an anticlimax in that regard, it doesn’t change the fact that there’s a pretty solid lineup descending on the city come mid-June including a lot of great domestic acts – many of them the usual suspects, sure, but that doesn’t make them less great. And I suppose I got my big pleasant surprise of the festival a couple days ago when I got an email from Austin trio Ume informing me they’d be coming to town for NxNE. Ume, you may or may not recall, were one of the best things I saw at SxSW back in March – a trio led by the guitar heroics of Lauren Larson who balanced pop hooks and sweet female vocals with crazy heavy riffing. I had thought I was going to have to wait until next Spring to see them again, the odds of them touring all the way up here seemed beyond remote but hey, here they come. They’ll be playing Neutral on Thursday the 18th at 10PM – not sure what else is going on that night at that time, the festival schedule is still forthcoming, but I can tell you right now that this will be one of the best bets for that night, if not the whole weekend. They’ve got a couple releases – a 2005 album in Urgent Sea which is decidedly rougher and heavier than their new most excellent Sunshower EP – also check out their SxSW WOXY session. And it’s pronounced “ooo-may”, which you’ll need to know for when people ask you what was the best new thing you saw at NxNE was.
Harbourfront Centre has also released their World Routes 2009 schedule, and the highlights (some previously announced) would appear to be the Constantines show on Canada Day (though Chad Vangaalen isn’t listed, all indications are he’s still playing as well), Holy Fuck with Winter Gloves for Beats, Breaks & Culture on July 10, and Jenn Grant, Gentleman Reg and Amy Millan as part of Canadian Voices the weekend of July 24 and 25. And as always, these shows are free free free.
Amos The Transparent will be at the Horseshoe on May 22 in addition to their June 18 NxNE show at the Drake Underground. They have a new EP out called My, What Big Teeth You Have… and are encouraging the existence of Amos The Transparent cover bands by putting lyrics and chord sheets for their songs on their website.
And if NxNE proper wasn’t going to keep me busy enough that week, there’s also the big-deal shows on the preceding days. Music Snobbery has an interview with Phoenix, whose Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is out May 29 and who play the Phoenix on the Monday, June 15.
And then you’ve got Patrick Wolf at the Mod Club a couple days later on Wednesday, June 17. The Sunday Mail talks to Wolf, whose The Bachelor is out June 1 in the UK and August 11 over here. I do believe I’ll be taking some time off from work that week. Yes I do.
As mentioned in last month’s writeup of Neko Case’s sublime Trinity-St Paul’s show, she’s coming back this Summer and details of said performance have been announced. Case will play Massey Hall on July 14 with tickets going for $29.50, $35.50 and $40.50. Presale goes tomorrow morning at 10AM with the password available at www.atgconcerts.com while the public on-sale begins May 15 at noon.
And if you’re looking for something damn near the opposite of Neko Case that night, you may want to consider seeing Micachu & The Shapes at the El Mocambo the eve of July 14. I (and the MBV posse) reviewed their debut album Jewellery back in March and as confounding as I found it, I can’t say that I won’t be at this show rather than see Case again. Can’t say that I will, but it’s not a no-brainer. Tickets $12.
At long last, Frightened Rabbit are no longer frightened of Toronto and will play their own headlining show on July 22 at the Horseshoe, tickets $13.50 – book it.
Good Radio Dept news for me – they’re playing a second show, albeit a short one, this weekend at NYC Popfest on Friday night at Don Hill’s in Greenwich to go along with their main gig on Saturday night at Bell House. Double the Radio Dept! Good Radio Dept news for everyone – they’re releasing a new EP on June 23 entitled David, hopefully a sign that Clinging To A Scheme will be out soon thereafter. Of course, I thought the same thing for last year’s Freddie & The Trojan Horse EP… but think positive!
Stuart Murdoch talks to Pitchfork about his God Help The Girl project, the album for which will be released on June 23. They are also soliciting subscriptions to the project, which will get you a steady stream of physical and digital goodies sent to your mailbox and inbox over the next few months.
Hooves On Turf recorded a video session with Fanfarlo back during SxSW, which is now online. The band are going to be giving their brilliant Reservoir album a more-proper retail release in the UK soon, but for everyone else, ordering it direct from the band is still the best way to get it, which you really really should.
MP3: Fanfarlo – “Pilot”
Tags: 6 Day Riot, Amos The Transparent, Amy Millan, Cass McCombs, Chad Van Gaalen, Constantines, Dead Weather, Fanfarlo, frightened rabbit, Gentleman Reg, God Help The Girl, Holy Fuck, Jenn Grant, John Vanderslice, Micachu, Neko Case, Patrick Wolf, Phoenix, Radio Dept, Shins, Sonics, Ume, Walkmen, Winter Gloves