Friday, January 21st, 2011
Esben & The Witch descends on North America
Adam KolaSo when I saw Esben & The Witch at Lee’s Palace last Fall in support of Foals, I knew little about them beyond that they were from Brighton, that they commissioned a single decidedly creepy video and the that Matador Records would be putting out their debut album, which collectively was more than enough to get me to pay attention. Their set didn’t particularly showcase their songwriting skills, opting instead to spotlight their intensity and murkier, more primal tendencies, but it was compelling enough to get me to defer final judgement until I’d heard what they could do in a studio.
Happily, Violet Cries – out February 8 in North America – makes a good case for their ability to do more than just make a racket. Though they’re certainly capable of melodicism, pop songs are not necessarily their stock in trade – instead, the gothic, atmospheric tumult of their live show remains front and center but with much greater sonic clarity and emphasis on Rachel Davies’ dramatic vocals. It’s nothing like an immediate record and yet holds your attention and that’s about all you can ask.
The band has booked a Spring North American tour that will bring them back to Toronto during Canadian Musicfest and being added to a bill that already includes Anna Calvi and Memoryhouse… well, it looks like Wrongbar will be the place to be on the night of Friday, March 11.
The band have just released a second video from Violet Cries and yes, it too is creepy.
Clash and Spinner talk to former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes, though if the BBC interview with bassist Mick Quinn is correct, that “former” qualifier won’t be in place for very long though he’ll have a solo record out soon, either way.
Australian duo An Horse will release their second album Walls in April – trade your email address for an MP3 at their website.
The last time Pixies were in town was for V Fest 2009 at The Molson Amphitheatre and it was notable for being their last non-Doolittle recital show until… who knows. Point being that the just-announced cross-Canada tour (with some US dates yes) which includes an April 18 stop at Massey Hall will be their Doolittle show… the appeal of which I’ve honestly never understood. In a regular set they play most of Doolittle anyways – after all, it’s not like they’ve been adding new material to their canon since getting back together in 2004. In any case, if you attend expect a completely polished, proficient and somewhat bloodless performance.
Portlanders YACHT have made a date at Lee’s Palace on May 2.
Nicole Atkins’ new record Mondo Amore is almost here – it’s out February 8 – and she’s turned to Kickstarter to help subsidize the upcoming tour, which includes a February 26 show at the Horseshoe. Those with deep pockets can get themselves some sweet-ass rewards, including living room shows, custom songs, haircuts and painted ukuleles. There’s also a video session with Nicole up to enjoy at Livestream.