Thursday, February 4th, 2010
It Is Something (To Have Wept)
Review of El Perro Del Mar’s Love Is Not Pop
The Control GroupSadness is Sarah Assbring’s stock in trade, a point I’ve rather drilled home in my reviews of her output as El Perro Del Mar – the 2007 self-title and 2008’s From The Valley To The Stars. While both records were beautiful in their downbeat demeanor, you couldn’t help but hope that Assbring would find a way to cheer up, if only for her own emotional well-being.
Unfortunately for Assbring – but fortunately for her listeners – delectable heartache is still the order of the day, and her third album Love Is Not Pop is again chock full of it, but the record stands a good distance apart from its predecessors for other reasons. Rather than the spare, ’50s doo-wop stylings that defined her previous work, Pop draws on a distinctly different aural palette. The core songwriting style and Assbring’s signature forlorn vocals remain, but the introduction of electronic textures and rhythms and Shields-y glider guitar overtop the spare (but occasionally orchestrated) arrangements is unexpected and welcome. Of course, the fact that the album proper is only seven tracks long, and the rest is padded out with remixes adds to the impression that this is a fresher, more sonically adventurous and dance-friendlier El Perro Del Mar. Actually, danceable might be a bit of a reach, but the extra tracks do showcase Assbring with an extra spring in her shuffle.
El Perro Del Mar is at the Mod Club on February 21 as part of a co-headlining tour with fellow Swede Taken By Trees, with the latter closing out this particular show. This is exciting as Victoria Bergsman – she who is Taken By Trees – isn’t especially predisposed to life on the road and hasn’t been to Toronto since the last visit from The Concretes. Unfortunately, it’s meant that Anna Ternheim, previously slated to open for El Perro Del Mar, will no longer be appearing. But maybe it’s a bit of a consolation that another MP3 from Taken By Trees’ East Of Eden is now up for grabs and is, appropriately enough, entitled “Anna”.
MP3: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart”
MP3: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart” (Rakamonie Remix)
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Anna”
Video: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart”
MySpace: El Perro Del Mar
Danish orchestral post-rock outfit Under Byen will release a new album in Alt Er Tabt on April 6.
Magnet Q&As Los Campesinos!, whom they’ve made guest editors of their site this week. Hope they hid all the breakables. Spinner, Islington Tribune, CMJ and Wales Online also have conversations, but don’t hand over the keys to the car. Los Campesinos! are at the Phoenix on April 20.
Ska fans prepare to skank: The Specials reunion tour will include a stop in Toronto – the two-tone pioneers play the Sound Academy on April 19 – tickets $36.50 for floors, $46.50 for VIP balcony and The English Beat have a date at Lee’s Palace on May 18, tickets $23.50.
Aux.tv has assembled a guide to the many, many online video session sites out there in the wilds of the internet. Not comprehensive – five more started up while I was typing this sentence – but a good start.