Archive for July, 2010

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

No Place To Fall

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan chart North American tour

Photo via VanguardVanguard RecordsI almost ended up repeating myself verbatim from four and a half years ago when the news that Isobel Campbell was putting together a Fall North American tour in support of Hawk, her new record with Mark Lanegan out August 24. Specifically the “Torontonians haven’t seen Isobel Campbell since she sulked offstage fromBelle & Sebastian’s May 2002 show at the Kool Haus… and then quit the band a couple of weeks later” part. Because, well, it was true then.

The context, however, was that it was supposed to no longer be true as of that following March as Campbell was scheduled to play Revival during CMW in support of her new record Ballad Of The Broken Seas, her first collaboration with Lanegan, and thus give Toronto a fonder memory of she who had by then established herself as a singer-songwriter of repute and not just the girl who used to be in Belle & Sebastian. Alas, that show was cancelled on account of her coming down with the flu and though I was able to see her shortly thereafter at SxSW with Eugene Kelly spotting for Lanegan, fans back home weren’t so fortunate – if fortunate is the correct word, as that SxSW performance was somewhat disappointing.

2008’s Sunday At Devil Dirt found Campbell working with Lanegan again and this time, the dynamic between the two, which was a bit forced their first time out, was much more natural and consequently, the blues and Americana-drenched results far more compelling. All signs point to Hawk continuing in that direction, which makes the fact that the tour is happening and that Lanegan is going to be along for the ride rather exciting news. Campbell’s immune system willing, the Toronto date will be October 20 at Lee’s Palace (and not the Mod Club as the Under The Radar piece states – this from the promoter).

This track is from Sunday At Devil Dirt. A couple of new songs are streaming at Campbell’s MySpace.

MP3: Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – “Trouble”

The working relationship with BBQ apparently done for good, it’ll be King Khan & The Shrines causing shit at Lee’s Palace on October 8.

MP3: King Khan & The Shrines – “Land Of The Freak”

With the September 7 release date for Personal Life drawing ever near, The Thermals have slated a North American tour supported by Cymbals Eat Guitars that stops in at Lee’s Palace on October 9. They talk to Spinner about writing their single “Canada” on stage at a gig in Buffalo.

MP3: The Thermals – “I Don’t Believe You”
MP3: Cymbals Eat Guitars – “Wind Phoenix”

Though the initial salvo of dates seemed so skip over Toronto, the full itinerary for Gorillaz’ Autumn North American tour will indeed be stopping here – at the Air Canada Centre on October 13, to be precise.

Video: Gorillaz – “Stylo”

Exclaim talks to Versus, whose new record On The Ones And Threes is out on Tuesday and available to stream now. They’re at Lee’s Palace on August 13.

Stream: Versus / On The Ones And Threes

NME gets some bon mots from Emmy The Great about what to expect from album number two, already 99% funded and due out in February of next year.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Tift Merritt.

GQ and Time Out have interviews with M.I.A.. Cussing ensues.

Pitchfork solicits a guest list from Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast; they’re at Lee’s Palace on September 25.

NYCTaper is sharing audio from The Flaming Lips’ show in Central Park on Monday night.

They Shoot Music solicits and acoustic set from A Place To Bury Strangers.

Noizefests chats with Mel Draisey of The Clientele. Their new release Minotaur is out August 31.

The Quietus has an extensive, career-spanning interview with Dean Wareham of Dean & Britta.

The Village Voice talks to Jason Pierce about the lasting legacy of Spiritualized’s Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Walls Of Dry Clouds

An introduction to Heartbeat Hotel

Photo via FacebookFacebookI am going to go out on a limb and say that Fetus Dreams, the debut full-length from Toronto’s Heartbeat Hotel, is the best free complete album you can and should download today. And not just because all it’ll cost you is 78 MB of hard disk space and a half hour of your time

The ambient/electro psychedelic pop of Fetus Dreams has got some of that meandering Grizzly Projector Collective vibe that the kids are so into these days – probably a selling point for some but not really for me – but they maintain focus sufficiently to make sure that the pop side of things doesn’t take a back seat to the trippy. There’s a few punchy guitar rock moments that speak to the shoegazer in me but what I find most compelling is how they manage to so effortlessly evoke the golden era of Elephant 6, particularly the Olivia Tremor Control camp, without sounding like they’re trying. In fact I would be surprised if asking them whether they preferred the songs of Will Cullen Hart or Bill Doss was met with a blank stare (though I also wouldn’t be surprised if the had a shrine erected to them in their rehearsal space).

Point being, while they don’t necessarily transcend their influences, they use them well while hanging onto their own personalities. They’re on to something and that something is good. There’s no local dates on the horizon but I’ll be keeping an eye out.

MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “Fins Of A Shark”
MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “Walls Of Dry Clouds”
MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “The Hello Barrel”
Album: Heartbeat Hotel / Fetus Dreams
MySpace: Heartbeat Hotel

The Georgia Straight profiles Wolf Parade.

Radio Free Canuckistan offers some ruminations on hanging out with Arcade Fire on the (figurative) eve of release of The Suburbs while The New York Times has a feature and Exclaim talks to bassist Tim Kinsbury. The official release date is this coming Tuesday but local retailers appear to have the go-ahead to start selling the double-vinyl this weekend. Arcade Fire play the Toronto Islands on August 14 and their show at Madison Square Garden next Thursday will be streamed live on YouTube starting at 10PM EDT, and the show will be directed by Terry Gilliam – which means you can expect a giant foot to come down and crush the band at the climax of “Power Out”.

The Sadies have released a new video from Darker Circles. They join Arcade Fire on the Island on August 14.

Video: The Sadies – “Cut Corners”

Sarah Harmer has released a new video from Oh Little Fire

Video: Sarah Harmer – “Captive”

FFWD profiles Dan Mangan.

Chart talks to Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon about his upcoming record(s). The vinyl edition of Balladeer, which was originally released as a companion disc to this year’s Die Stadt Muzikanten, now exists and will be available for sale soon. Woodpigeon play a noon-hour show at Yonge-Dundas Square on October 6.

Jason Collett will make up for his cancelled show at Mod which was supposed to happen last week with a solo acoustic date at the Church Of The Redeemer on November 11, part of his coast-to-coast “Undressed Tour”.

MP3: Jason Collett – “Love Is A Dirty Word”

Spin asks Metric where they got their name. Metric explains.

They were originally supposed to unveil a new video from Forgiveness Rock Record, but Broken Social Scene have decided to keep that under wraps until next week. PitchforkTV has your BSS video fix, though, as the band is featured in the debut of a new interactive multi-camera video session series called POV.

The Line Of Best Fit and A Pocket Full Of Seeds talk to Tokyo Police Club. There’s also a video session with the band at Baeble Music.

Born Ruffians tell Chart that they dig Bill Murray. And if you do too, then this interview at GQ and this bit of satire (yes) at Christwire. Because they’re funny.

Black Mountain are sharing a couple MP3s from the forthcoming Wilderness Heart, out September 14.

MP3: Black Mountain – “Hair Song”
MP3: Black Mountain – “Old Fangs”

Boise Weekly talks to The New Pornographers’ Carl Newman.

Caribou talks to whilst dropping a new video from Swim.

Video: Caribou – “Sun”

Spinner talks to Holy Fuck.

Pitchfork is streaming Fucked Up’s new epic-length single “The Year Of The Ox”, which will be out on 12″ come September 28.

The Toronto Star talks to Daniel Lanois about the new Neil Young record, which he is producing. He intends to premiere some of the new songs at Nuit Blanche in October. The Guardian also has some details on the forthcoming Archives : Volume Two due out… oh let’s not even play that game.

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World director Edgar Wright is the cover story in this month’s Exclaim and CTV has a feature piece on the comic. And head over here for a sweet Google Maps mashup of Scott Pilgrim’s Toronto.

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010


Virtual screening of Mogwai live film and giveaway for real-life screenings

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangHello and welcome to a post that will get far more interesting at around 3PM EDT this afternoon. It’s at that time that the big black box below will magically fill with moving images and sounds of Scotland’s Mogwai, as I’m proud to be one of the websites offering a virtual screening of Burning, their live concert film directed by Vincent Moon and Nathanaël Le Scouarnec which will be coming on DVD on August 24 accompanied by a live album entitled Special Moves, both of which you can pre-order here.

After the screening – which is a one-time deal so make sure you can hide from work for a couple hours – the little social media widget underneath will come alive as Mogwai guitarist Stuart Braithwaite and co-director Vincent Moon will participate in a Q&A about the film. And for those of you on the Twitter, use #mogwaiburning and @mogwaiband in your tweets when marveling at the film. In addition to the virtual screening, the film will be traveling around North America starting next month for in-person screenings, including two confirmed dates in Canada – August 24 at Pacific Cinematheque
 in Vancouver and September 14 for two showings at the Drake Underground in Toronto, for which tickets already on sale. Courtesy of Maple Music, however, I’ve got a pair of prize packs to give away consisting of a copy of the Burning/Special Moves DVD/CD set, a special poster for the screening tour and a pair of passes to the Vancouver and Toronto screenings. To enter, email me at contests AT with either “I am burning for Mogwai in Vancouver” or “I am burning for Mogwai in Toronto” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body. I’ll draw a winner for the Van-city screening on August 17 and for Toronto on August 31, so all entries for the respective cities must be in before then.

I’ve not yet seen the film but have had the aural document for a little while, and though it doesn’t really capture the full sensory experience of being at a live Mogwai show – that would require standing in front of an industrial-strength fan and having someone punch you in the ears incessantly for 90 minutes – it does sound quite fantastic and has exquisite renditions of what, for me, are the three key pillars in the Mogwai oeuvre: “Mogwai Fear Satan”, “2 Wrongs Make 1 Right” and “Glasgow Megasnake”. No compilation – live or best-of – would be complete without these so cheers for their inclusion.

Video: Mogwai – “I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead” (live)

Austin Town Hall talks to Dave Lovering of Pixies.

Daytrotter has a session with Local Natives, in town at the Mod Club on October 19.

Interpol talks about life after Carlos Dengler with Spinner. Interpol is out September 7 and they play the Kool Haus on August 10.

England’s Boxer Rebellion have a date at the Horseshoe on September 27.

Video: The Boxer Rebellion – “Flashing Red Light Means Go”

The Drums will finally bring their buzz to Toronto for a date at the Mod Club on October 16, tickets $15. Their self-titled debut is out on August 10 on vinyl, CD release sometime in September.

Video: The Drums – “Forever And Ever Amen”

Jimmy Eat World are at the Kool Haus on October 17 in support of their new record Invented, out September 28.

Emmy The Great is soliciting donations to fund her second album via PledgeMusic. Levels of support range from £8 for a download of the new record or £10 for a CD all the way up to £500 for a living room gig. I suspect that offer is limited to the UK.

Monday, July 26th, 2010


An introduction to Stornoway

Photo By J J BullockJ J BullockHave we officially christened a “song of the Summer” for 2010 yet? Do we even have enough of a monoculture anymore that a consensus on such a thing is even possible? If so – or if not – I would like to nominate “Zorbing”, the lead track and single from Beachcomber’s Windowsill, the debut album from Oxford, England’s Stornoway. It’s a simple but instantly catchy tune about the metaphorical joys of rolling around London in a giant hamster ball – I think – that’s elevated from good to great with a couple of key flourishes: the low “whoaaa” harmonies in the chorus and the jubilant horns in the bridge that hearken to Belle & Sebastian’s finest moments.

And said Scots aren’t a bad reference point for Stornoway in general, at least as far as articulating the aesthetic of their orchestrally-appointed folk-pop. But while they’re clearly capable of wide-eyed upbeatness, as “Zorbing” and the follow-up single “I Saw You Blink” clearly evidence, Stornoway’s hearts are inherently heavier and Brian Briggs’ vocals more inclined to drama – so maybe it’s to their benefit that Briggs doesn’t seem to have much luck in love; it makes for great lyrical fodder. His bandmates back him up with all the standard pop band accouterments, but close listening shows there’s a lot of detail hidden in the nooks and crannies of their seemingly austere sound – pianos, kazoos, strings, Morse code, church bells… and it’s these touches, like those aforementioned little details in “Zorbing”, that elevate Stornoway above the pack. If your Summer consists of getting your heart broken or wishing you were getting your heart broken whilst lounging on grassy hills (and maybe watching people roll down said hills in giant plastic balls) then Stornoway should be, if not your soundtrack, then at least in your playlist.

Drowned In Sound has a feature interview with the band. Beachcomber’s Windowsill is out in the UK right now and digitally in North America. It will be out in physical form on this continent on August 10. So far their American itinerary has consisted of an expeditionary gig in New York earlier this month, but promises are being made of a full incursion this Fall. Update: The album is now up to stream at Spinner.

MP3: Stornoway – “Zorbing”
Video: Stornoway – “Zorbing”
Video: Stornoway – “I Saw You Blink”
Stream: Stornoway / Beachcomber’s Windowsill

Shonen Knife have a date at the Horseshoe on October 1, tickets $15.50. Their new album Free Time will be out on August 31.

Video: Shonen Knife – “Perfect Freedom”

Justin Townes Earle will follow up the September 14 release of his new record Harlem River Blues with a Fall tour that includes an October 15 date at the Horseshoe. Jessica Lea Mayfield supports.

Video: Justin Townes Earle – “Midnight At The Movies” interviews Tift Merritt.

Sharon Van Etten records a Takeaway Show for Le Blogotheque. Her new record Epic is released on October 5. profiles Oakland dream-pop band Minipop

Daytrotter has served up a session with Rogue Wave. They’re at the Opera House on September 24.

Billboard talks to Dean & Britta about the release tomorrow of their 13 Most Beautiful soundtrack album which is out tomorrow.

Spinner talks to Ra Ra Riot about the making of their new record The Orchard, out August 24. They’ll be at the Molson Amphitheatre on August 28 supporting Tegan & Sara and City & Colour.

The Omaha World-Herald talks to Spoon bassist Rob Pope.

Lazy-i interviews Jim Wilbur of Superchunk. Their new record Majesty Shredding is out on September 14.

Las Vegas Weekly tries to squeeze more information about Matador 21, going down October 1 to 3 at the Palms in Las Vegas, out of label head Gerard Cosloy.

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Spin 25th anniversary webcasts this week

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangConsider this a public service announcement to anyone at or near their computers this week – as part of their ongoing Spin25 quarter-century anniversary, Spin is running a week of webcasts from various locales around New York City featuring artists who are by and large worth your time. All shows will be shown in their entirety and in high quality, multi-camera video. The schedule is as follows, all times approximate and Eastern Daylight:

Monday, July 26 @ 8PM:
The Smashing Pumpkins with Kill Hannah, The Jim Jones Revue @ Terminal 5
Tuesday, July 27 @ 8PM:
The Flaming Lips with Fang Island @ Terminal 5
Wednesday, July 28 @ 8PM:
The Black Keys with The Whigs, Lee Fields & The Expressions @ Terminal 5
Thursday, July 28 @ 8PM:
The National with Kurt Vile, Suckers @ Terminal 5
Friday, July 30 @ 10PM:
Spiritualized performing Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space @ Radio City Music Hall

And yeah, you read that last one right – the final (?) complete performance of Ladies & Gentlemen is going to be webcast. This, friends, is what the internet was made for.

SPIN 25 Presented by ZYNC from American Express