Friday, August 28th, 2009
Everything All The Time, The Magic and The Balconies at The Horseshoe in Toronto
Frank YangYou need only look as far as Monday’s post to see what I was doing at the Horseshoe on Wednesday night. What I hadn’t mentioned in the writeup of The Balconies’ debut album – out officially September 15 – was that I had been trying to catch the band live for some months now, based on numerous rave reviews, but while they’d played no shortage of shows in the 416 I’d not been able to make any of them until now. The fact that I’d been able to familiarize myself with their album was just a happy coincidence.
And to everyone who’d offered those rave live reviews and perhaps set up unreasonable expectations… you were right. The trio, playing their first gig as a Toronto-based band, performed with an energy and tightness that belied their relatively short existence together. Songs that I wasn’t sure about on the album sounded great, as really their whole set did from start to finish. As impressive as the recorded document is – it really does manage to reproduce their on-stage sound – The Balconies live came off with a certain swagger that wasn’t quite captured in the studio. Blessed with an abundance of tunes, talent and charisma, The Balconies may be new in town but if you haven’t made their acquaintance yet, just wait – they’re too good to stay any kind of secret. They play a free show on Saturday night at The Recording Arts Academy and will be at Lee’s Palace for a CD release show on September 25.
I’d seen middle act The Magic back in June during NxNE and they turned out to be one of the best new things I saw during the festival. While that show put the spotlight on their disco-fied side, this time they played things a little cooler and damn if they didn’t sound even better for it – less with the camp and kitsch, more with the deep groove and the slow burn. These are relative statements, mind you – it was still all about the party, but this time the lights were turned down a little more. The band, who released an EP last year that doesn’t nearly do the fullness of their sound justice, continue to work on their full-length debut. Mirror balls twinkle in anticipation.
Last up was Everything All The Time, presumably named for neither the album by Band Of Horses or the song by Styx, but who were acting as hosts for the evening. The occasion was the release of their new EP, a follow-up to their 2008 self-titled debut but the first to properly capture their current incarnation as fronted by Alanna Stuart. With her impressive vocals up front, the keyboard-loaded sextet resided squarely at the intersection of synth-pop and soul-pop, circa the mid-1980s – utterly danceable and with lots of familiar sounds, but blended together in a decidedly fresh manner.
I saw the band play last August and while it was clear what they were going for, it didn’t sound like it had quite coalesced into what it was meant to be. A year on, that’s no longer a problem – their set was delivered with loads of confidence and as much energy as a band where 5/6 of the personnel are rooted to their instruments can possibly have, thanks largely to Stuart’s voice and presence, which was irresistible without being overbearing – a diva with only the positive connotations of the word. Their next gig is a CD release show on October 23 (I think that’s what they said) at the Drake Underground. Odds of it being a dance party are approximately one to one.
The Singing Lamb has an interview with Everything All The Time.
Photos: Everything All The Time, The Magic, The Balconies @ The Horseshoe – August 26, 2009
MP3: Everything All The Time – “Love Love”
MP3: The Balconies – “300 Pages”
MP3: The Balconies – “Smells Like Secrets”
Peaches has a date at the Phoenix on November 18.
Dirty Projectors are heading back on the road this Fall in support of Bitte Orca and will be at the Opera House in Toronto on November 14. Full dates at The Music Slut. The band will also be releasing a new EP in the UK on September 29 called Temecula Sunrise – details at Pitchfork.
Chairlift have released a new video from Does You Inspire You. Last time I was in New York, I saw the health club poster with the phrase that the album title is lifted from. I’m actually back in New York next weekend – anything going on? Actually Chairlift is playing. Maybe it’s a sign. Or a poster. Aaaaah.
Video: Chairlift – “Ceiling Wax”
Pitchfork talks to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips about the edition of All Tomorrow’s Parties they’re curating in New York’s Catskills from September 11 to 13. There’s also interviews at The Fredericksburg Freelance-Star and The Washington Examiner. Their new album Embryonic is out October 13.
Canadian Interviews interviews Canadian Kat Burns of Forest City Lovers, who will be playing the Friday night edition of the aforementioned release parties. Look for a new 7″ this Fall and work continues apace on album number three.
V Fest is finally here this weekend and The Toronto Star examines some of the problems that have beset this year’s edition of the festival and NOW looks at some of the acts that will be playing this weekend at the Molson Amphitheatre.
JAM has an interview with Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys. I’ve never even thought of myself as a Pet Shop Boys fan, but they may be the act I’m most excited about seeing this weekend. I don’t think there’s any way they won’t put on a great show.
With Sloan’s Chris Murphy still recovering from a broken collarbone, NOW reports that the band will have a few ringers covering bass duties on Saturday afternoon. No word on a designated scissor-kicker.
Spinner has posted up the next (and last?) in its series on the state of independent music in Canada, this piece looking towards the future with the likes of Fucked Up, Crystal Castles and some fresh-faced kids who go by Metric.