Friday, November 6th, 2009
Ume at The Horseshoe in Toronto
Frank YangWhen I got all effusive about seeing Austin’s Ume way back at SxSW in March, it wasn’t just because they their showcase blew me away – it did – but because I also figured that it would be my last chance to see and write about the trio until SxSW next year, so there was no point in being measured. After all, they were a small band with no label, no tour support and hailing from a long ways away from Toronto meant the odds of catching them up live again were remote. Sound logic, and also completely wrong. They found their way up here in June to play NXNE, turning in a fiery performance at Neutral that proved to everyone I’d harassed to attend that I wasn’t full of it and they were, indeed, the awesome.
And it must be true that good things come in threes because they were back – again – this past Tuesday night for a free show at the Horseshoe. This time, it was a combination of a modest Canadian tour appended onto a jaunt to CMJ in New York and the proper (read: physical) Canadian release of their Sunshower EP, which had heretofore only been available digitally. But the whys were unimportant – all that mattered was that Ume were back in town; rock would ensue.
For a review of the actual performance itself, I can really just refer you back to the other two I did, or offer the Coles/Cliffs notes: songs that balance sweet pop hooks with snarling heaviness, equal debts to punk, stoner, shoegaze and alt rock, insane guitar abuse/heroics and awesome hair-whipping from frontwoman Lauren Larsen and an audience awestruck and won over. It’s hard to say for sure, but I think there were at least a couple of new songs in the mix compared to the Neutral gig and considering that the unfamiliar stuff still sounded great; as much as I like the fact that they’re touring relentlessly hither and yon, I hope that once they’ve returned home and taken a breather, that they’re hitting the studio to work on a new album. Sunshower has done a fine job of sustaining me, but its only five songs – I need more.
There’s an excerpt of Ume’s cover feature in Austin’s Soundcheck magazine available online and the full magazine (and article) are downloadable in PDF form.
Video: Jenn Grant – “You’ll Go Far”
Swedish electro-soul outfit Miike Snow, who is a “they” and not a “he”, are at the Phoenix on April 3.
Video: Miike Snow – “Black & Blue”
Radio Free Canuckistan has an interview with Jon Cook, the author of the Merge Records book Our Noise, which I look forward to picking up now that I’ve finally finished A Confederacy Of Dunces. A wonderful book which should not have taken me anywhere near the 6 months or so it took me to get through it; I just stopped reading anything, really, through the Summer. And now I have much to catch up on.