Thursday, May 20th, 2010
An introduction to The Dø
MySpaceIt’s bad form, but I’m generally too lazy to type out the HTML special characters that properly render things like accents or other non-English written language goodies, but in the case of The Dø, I’ll make an exception – one usually only reserved for the mighty umlaut. Partly because failing to do so reduces French-Finnish duo’s brief yet memorable name to something utterly forgettable (though either way they’re going to have to accept that it’s going to be mispronounced), but also because the slashed o – “ø” – just looks so cool.
And that coolness factor does raise some expectations for the act that would trade under said character, expectations that they largely deliver on if you rate oddness highly. It’s hard to describe what The Dø do – their debut album A Mouthful encompasses a wide range of styles, dwelling where folk, jazz and hip-hop intersect at pop. The ensuing melange is catchy yet discomfiting, with Olivia Merilahti’s plaintive vocals – capable of coo or caterwaul – providing an uneasy anchor and with multi-instrumentalist Dan Levy’s cinematic background making for a widescreen yet intimate effect that can be just as unsettling. A Mouthful is a accessible in that it lets you in easily, but once inside you may not ever be able to figure out exactly where you are.
A Mouthful was released in Europe in 2008 and became the first English-language album to top the French charts. It only received a North American release last month, though bolstered with a handful of bonus tracks by way of apology, and come this Fall they’ll follow it up with a North American tour that includes a September 11 date at The Mod Club.
And moving from the French portion of the post – yes it was brief – to the “just announced”: LEAF – which stands for “Local Enhancement & Appreciation of Forests” – will hold their fourth annual celebration of preserving the urban forest with a show at the Wychwood Barns featuring two local acts who, at least by their names, share the same appreciation of flora and possibly fauna. That’d be Forest City Lovers and The Wilderness Of Manitoba, both of whom have new records out soon – Carriage on June 29 and When You Left The Fire on June 22, respectively. Tickets for the show are $25 in advance, full details on the event over here.
One of the acts I kept hearing people talk about at SxSW this year was Los Angeles’ Pepper Rabbit, though I never managed to see them play. And now that they’re coming to town on July 6 for a show at the Drake Underground… I still not make it seeing as how I’ll have just gotten back in town the day before.
I don’t think they’ve been through town any time in recent memory – certainly not since I acquired one of their band wristbands for admission to SxSW 2006 (it’s okay, they got paid) – but Phosphorescent will finally be in Toronto on July 10 for a show at the Horseshoe. Their new record is Here’s To Taking It Easy and pretty well captures the spirit of Matthew Houck’s laid-back, feel-good country-rock.
Calexico will be in town on July 22 for a show at the Phoenix with Elliott Brood as support. Calexico haven’t put out an album since 2008’s Carried To Dust; it’s not unreasonable to assume that touring implies a new record is on its way. Or it’s just folk festival season. Tickets for the show are $21.50 in advance.
The Stills – who recently welcomed original singer-guitarist Gregory Paquet back into the fold – have a date at the Horseshoe on July 29, tickets $20 in advance.
So people have been waiting for ages for Justin Vernon to come back to town… and they’re going to get their wish – but not in the way they might have thought. He’s hitting the road this Fall but not as Bon Iver – that’s still on the shelf – but as part of Gayngs, a supergroup of sorts featuring members of Bon Iver, Megafaun and The Rosebuds, amongst others. Their mandate is funky, sexy slow jams and if that sounds completely at odds with what you’d expect from those involved… well it is. The album is called Relayted and the Autumn tour stops in at The Phoenix on October 1, tickets $20.