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Monday, March 29th, 2010

Headphone Space

An introduction to A Sunny Day In Glasgow and giveaway

Photo By Ever NalensEver NalensThis isn’t quite an introduction as I first said hello to A Sunny Day In Glasgow back in December 2006, but considering they’re far from the same band they were at the time of their first EP, I think we can let it slide. When I first took notice of the Philadelphia outfit, they were a family unit – Ben Daniels on songwriting and instrumentation with twin sisters Robin and Lauren on vocals – with some clear genetic predilection for blending wispy melodies with fuzzy, clattering programming and cut-and-paste production, the net result sounding like a proud standard-bearer for electro-twee-gaze, if such a genre ever existed.

And while that sounds like the sort of thing that would be target-marketed to my musical sensibilities, I found their 2007 debut Scribble Mural Comic Journal a little too much of a head trip to really fall in love with. The melodies, while present, were buried under reverb and white noise and the song structures deliberately bent into disorienting shapes. Clearly this was deliberate aesthetic and musical choice on their part, and points should probably be given and not taken away for not doing the easy “pop” thing, but I never found myself wanting to listen to it much.

The follow-up, last year’s Ashes Grammar, continued along the path forged by the debut but with enough added clarity and growth to make it a far superior effort, at least by my standards. The aural gauze that swaddled all of Comic Journal has been thinned out enough that it’s easier and more enjoyable to pick out the many tones and textures at play. The vocals are still deliberately ghost-like, but given stronger melodies to wrap themselves around, they can’t help but make their presence more strongly felt. It’s a record that manages to be much more what I wanted to hear from them and yet remaining very much what they envision for themselves – win-win.

So of course as soon as the record came out, the band went off and reinvented themselves, personnel-wise. Through a series of circumstances, both sisters left the band and a new lineup more suited to touring was assembled around the one constant of Ben Daniels. It was this ASDG Mk2 that I saw a couple weeks ago at SxSW and who surprised me just how direct-sounding the live renderings of their songs are. Granted, reproducing the records verbatim would be as difficult as it is pointless, but it was still a bit of a shock – pleasantly so – how willing and able they were reinvent themselves as a relatively straight pop band on stage.

Due to an inability to tell time, I only caught the tail end of their performance but it was enough that for all the live music options in Toronto this coming Friday night, April 2, I’ve committed to catching their local debut at the Garrison. Tickets for the show are $10 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got a pair of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to spend A Sunny Day In Glasgow” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, March 31.

aux.tv, The Daily Free Press and Spinner have interviews with ASDG leader Ben Daniels.

MP3: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “Sigh Inhibitionist”
MP3: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “Ashes Grammar/Ashes Math”
MP3: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “Best Summer Ever”
MP3: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “Watery (Drowning is Just Another Word for Being Buried Alive Under Water)”
Video: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “A Mundane Phone Call To Jack Parsons”
Video: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “So Bloody Tight”
MySpace: A Sunny Day In Glasgow

NOW and The Boston Herald have feature pieces on Beach House, playing a sold-out show at the Opera House tomorrow night and then returning for the Toronto Island Concert on June 19.

Faster Louder talks to Neil Halstead about the legacy of Slowdive. A legacy which is being anthologized (again) in a new collection entitled Shining Breeze, out April 26 in the UK. There’s details on the collection over here – looks like it’s a mix of album and single/EP tracks, but nothing that wasn’t made available via the reissues in 2005 or the presumably out of print 2004 best-of Catch The Breeze.

California Chronicle interviews The Big Pink.

Field Music talks to eye.

The Pipettes have released a new video from their forthcoming record Earth vs Pipettes, due out on June 28.

Video: The Pipettes – “Stop The Music”

NME chats with Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine, who has released a new video for “The Dog Days Are Over” from Lungs. I thought the original one was fun and fine, but if you’ve got budget to spend I guess you may as well. Florence is at the Kool Haus on April 10.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “The Dog Days Are Over” (new version)
Video: Florence & The Machine – “The Dog Days Are Over” (old version)

The Music Magazine talks to Emmy The Great about how things are progressing on album number two. Answer: slowly.

BBC6 and Clash talk to Laura Marling about her new record I Speak Because I Can, out in North American on April 6. There’s a couple videos of the song “Rambling Man” now available – the official video and a Black Cab Session recorded at last year’s SxSW festival.

Video: Laura Marling – “Rambling Man”

Spinner talks to Mumford & Sons about their just-released Interface session.

Toro Y Moi has had to cancel Tuesday night’s appearance at the Drake Underground as a result of having his gear nicked in New York the other night. Headliners The Ruby Suns are still performing.

Sloan will be marking Record Store Day on April 17 with an in-store at Sonic Boom, time TBA. Blurt has a piece on why Record Store Day and record stores in general are awesome.

Rufus Wainwright will be performing at the Elgin-Winter Garden on June 15. His opera Prima Donna is running that week as part of LuminaTO, but it seems this date will be a concert from Rufus himself. Update: PR just confirmed the 15th is a solo Rufus show and a second show has been added for June 17.

By : Frank Yang at 8:20 am
Category: Contests

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