Tuesday, July 6th, 2010
School Of Seven Bells invites listeners to connect with Desire
Abbey DruckerSo yes, it was a wonderful little vacation, thanks for asking. Lots of sun (maybe too much), friends (never too much), good food and not a little shopping. And since it was a long weekend on both sides of the 49th, there wasn’t a whole lot of interesting stuff showing up in the inbox but there was some, including the fact that School Of Seven Bells had begun streaming their new record Disconnect From Desire at Rolling Stone, more than a week ahead of its July 13 release date.
Its predecessor, 2008’s Alpinisms, was one of my favourites of the year with its soaring synth-gaze anchored by tribally rhythmic underpinnings, and so obviously the follow-up was on my “hotly anticipated” list. And, a few listens in, there’s no chance it will end up on my “disappointments” list. The key facets of the Seven Bells sound – which is to say the gorgeous vocals and harmonies of the Deheza sisters and the guitars of Benjamin Curtis cutting through the meticulously programmed beats and textures – are wholly intact and even more refined than on their debut, but delivered with a sleekness that was only invoked only sparingly on Alpinisms. In doing so, Disconnect sheds some of the more experimental nooks and crannies that made its predecessor an occasionally difficult listen but also gave it much of its character. Luckily, the new record has opted to trade those quirks for more melodies and hooks as well as being more overt in its 4AD-ishness and love of ’80s synth-pop, and that’s a deal I’ll accept any day. It’s too early to state conclusively, but Disconnect doesn’t seem to reach the same stratospheric heights as Alpinisms, but does maintain a more consistently high cruising altitude throughout.
And speaking of cruising, the band’s upcoming Fall tour took an interesting and exciting dimension when I heard some first-hand accounts of their shows at New York’s Mercury Lounge last month – specifically, the fact that the trio were now playing with a live drummer. The couple times I’d seen them perform, they’d sounded great but the show’s energy definitely suffered for their reliance on prerecorded backing tracks. Now with live drums in the equation, I’m extra excited for their upcoming September 15 date at the Mod Club – not just to hear the new material, but to hear how it all sounds live. Now if they could just get Claudia Deheza a keytar so she can move around a bit on stage, we’d be cooking with gas.
Spinner has details on exactly what lineup of Guided By Voices will be taking the stage at the Palms in Las Vegas on the weekend of October 1 to 3, and they’re not kidding when they say it’s the classic lineup. Seeing as how they’ll be sticking to period-correct material, expect to hear lots of Alien Lanes, Bee Thousand and Under The Bushes, Under The Stars. Oh yes. Rolling Stone talks to some of the folks at Matador about how the sure-to-be-epic Matador 21 birthday bash came together; tickets and packages go on sale this Friday and the theatre that it’ll all be taking place in holds 2100. I’ll leave you to figure out just how long you can afford to dither. And yes, I am talking to myself there.
Sharon Van Etten has released details of her second album, and though Epic will only contain seven tracks, on scales of emotionality and beauty, it’s sure to more than live up to its name. It will be released on October 5.
And a slew of show announcements, big and small. Well, mostly mid-sized. Phosphorescent will follow up their show at the Horseshoe this Saturday night (July 10) in support of new album Here’s To Taking It Easy with an in-store at Soundscapes on the following afternoon (July 11) at 5PM. American Songwriter has an interview with Matthew Houck.
You may want to lump them in with the reunion bandwagon, but when Polvo and Versus roll into Lee’s Palace on August 13 for their first local shows in forever and a day, it’ll be in support of new albums – Polvo’s In Prism came out last year and was their first album in 12 years while Versus’ On The Ones And Threes will mark their first release in a decade when it finally comes out on August 3. Tickets for the show are $16.50 in advance, and yes of course they’ll play some of the old stuff.
Admiral Radley may not be a familiar name but the principals – Jason Lytle and Aaron Burtch, both formerly of Grandaddy, and Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murra of Earlimart, might be. And if they are, you may be inclined to check them out on their upcoming tour, which stops in at the Horseshoe on August 15, tickets $13.50 in advance. Their debut I Heart California is out next week and is streaming in whole at NPR. Filter also has an interview.
Having conquered England, Marina & The Diamonds sets her sights across the Atlantic with a Fall tour in support of her debut The Family Jewels that’s still to be formally announced but will include a September 8 date at the El Mocambo in Toronto. Tickets for the show are $16.50 in advance, and I’m pretty sure this one will sell out fast. The Queen just visited; our Anglophilia is at a fever pitch. The San Francisco Examiner talks to Marina Diamandis.
Swedish psychedelic merchants Dungen will trip people right out when they play the Horseshoe on October 10; tickets are $17.50 in advance. Their new album Skit | Allt is out on September 14 – details and full tour dates at Pitchfork.
The legendary Nick Lowe will return to the Mod Club on October 13 and while it’s true he was here a few years ago at the same venue, this time he’s bringing a full band. Ticket $34.50.
And another legend coming to town – same-ish era, also immeasurably influential but different stylistic wheelhouse – is Gary Numan. Look for him at the Opera House on October 24.
Video: Gary Numan – “Cars”
Video: Josh Ritter – “The Curse”