Thursday, March 25th, 2010
When I Still Have Thee
Middle-aged cult heroes Teenage Fanclub return with new album
MergeSo much to catch up on. Where to begin? How about Scotland? That Teenage Fanclub had completed a new record in the last while is no secret. Even the title has been kicking around since last year. But the lack of news on the actual release of the record has been tough to find, at least until now. Merge, who put out their last album Man-Made in 2005, will release Shadows on June 8 to the delight of power pop connoisseurs everywhere.
To stir up anticipation, they’ve released the first MP3 from the record. It’s a Norman Blake composition but like most everything they’ve done since 1997’s Songs From Northern Britain, regardless of who the specific songwriter is, it’s a master class in mid-tempo, ultra-melodic jangle-pop. One of the wonderful things about this band – besides the music, of course – is how each of the three principals has their own distinct songwriting personality, and yet they fit together seamlessly. I’ll admit that in the past half decade, I hadn’t really been chomping at the bit for a new Fannies record but knowing that one is coming and that it’s almost certain to be of the same high level of quality as they’ve maintained pretty much forever is a comforting thought. The Fannies will never really surprise, but they’ll never disappoint either.
Also worth looking forward to is the fact that there are plans for North American touring this Fall. Their last tour was also five years ago so another visit is long overdue. Tracklisting and cover art for Shadows can be had over at Pitchfork.
After a goodly amount of teasing, the first official taste of High Violet, the new record from The National, is available to download and it is, in a word, amazing. I’d been joking that this was going to be my album of the year before I heard a note, but I don’t think I’m joking anymore. The National are at Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.
And speaking of live, let’s talk show announcements. With their new album The Five Ghosts set to come out on June 22, Stars are looking to get back into game shape with a short Canadian tour that will find the band playing rooms much smaller than they normally would, including the Mod Club in Toronto on May 5. And you’ll be paying for the privilege of pretending its December 2004… tickets are a rather dear $34.75, on sale Friday morning. But you know that even at that price, they’ll be gone lickety split.
UK electro outfit Fuck Buttons have made a date at the Horseshoe for May 19.
Though they were just here in October, The Psychedelic Furs are back for a much cozier show at Lee’s Palace on June 8.
His date at the Mod Club last April was cancelled due to illness, but Robyn Hitchcock is finally making that up in intimate style with two shows at the Drake Underground on June 11 and 12. Of course that show was supposed to be with the Venus 3 – no word yet what the touring configuration for these appearances are going to be, but it’ll be entertaining regardless.
The New Pornographers have announced their extensive North American touring plans in support of Together, out May 4. For their June 15 date at the Sound Academy, they’ll be joined by The Dodos and The Dutchess & The Duke – tickets $26.50 general admission and $40 VIP balcony, on sale Friday. And since it’s a question that always gets asked when tour dates are announced, yes – Dan and Neko are going to be there.
And oh yeah, Montreal’s Osheaga festival announced their lineup this week and it’s a pretty big pile of holy shit. With a top-five bill of Arcade Fire, Weezer, Pavement, Metric and The National and a pretty solid undercard, it’s pretty much a must-attend for any indie-rocking type who isn’t averse to standing around in a field for two days. The fest goes July 31 and August 1 in Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal; weekend passes go for $110/$120 depending on how soon you’re willing to commit.