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Archive for May, 2011

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Breakfast

EMA leads a sundry post of concert announcements and album streams

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’m on vacation, I swear. But there’s always time to quickly run off various concert announcements over the last few days and other sort-of time-sensitive things, so let’s say I did this while everyone else was at siesta.

And we’ll start off with the most interesting to me, at least – that Ms Erika M Anderson, aka EMA, is coming to The Garrison on July 23 as part of a North American tour. Talk as much smack about Pitchfork as you like, but I’d not heard of her until they issued their “Best New Music” review of her debut Past Life Martyred Saints and encouraged me to spend the eMusic credits on the album. It’s not a groundbreaking album but it is a wholly engaging one, built around Anderson’s evocative, stream-of-confessional lyrics and free-form guitar work. I dig it and will be very keen to see it/her live. Tickets are $10.

There’s an interview with Anderson at eMusic and Rolling Stone declared her an “artist to watch”.

MP3: EMA – “Milkman”
MP3: EMA – “The Grey Ship”
Video: EMA – “California”
Video: EMA – “Milkman”

Everyone who thought that Sloan’s June 22 show at the Mod Club was undersized – you were right. They’ve added a second show for June 21, tickets $25.50 in advance. There’s also a nice album-by-album retrospective with the band at Chart.

MP3: Sloan – “The Answer Was You”

That Coeur de Pirate is finally playing a show in Toronto is great new. That it’s free is even better. That going to see her at Harbourfront Centre the evening of June 24 means missing a free Aretha Franklin show at Metro Square… less great. Your call.

Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Comme des enfants”

Speaking of Harbourfront, it had looked for a while like their tradition of free Canada Day shows was coming to an end, but indeed there will be music by the waterfront this year – and it will star Esterho and Luke Doucet. That’s July 1, in case you’re not from around here.

Video: Esterho – “Heaven Sent”
Video: Luke Doucet & White Falcon – “Blood’s Too Rich”

Jolie Holland will release a new record in Pint Of Blood on June 28 and be at The Horseshoe on July 9 to support – tickets are $17. Stream the first new song over at Soundcloud.

Stream: Jolie Holland – “Gold & Yellow”

Marissa Nadler has a date at Supermarket on July 19 in support of her self-titled album, out June 14. Tickets for the show $12.

MP3: Marissa Nadler – “Baby, I Will Leave You In The Morning”
Video: Marissa Nadler – “Baby, I Will Leave You In The Morning”

Cass McCombs has a date at The Rivoli for July 23, tickets $13.50. His latest Wit’s End also garnered a “Best New Music”, for what that’s worth to you. The Los Angeles Times has an interview with McCombs.

MP3: Cass McCombs – “County Line”

Ellie Goulding, who appears to be well on her way to conquering North America thanks to a certain appearance at a certain wedding a little while ago, will return to Toronto for a show at The Kool Haus on August 1 – tickets $25 in advance.

Video: Ellie Goulding – “Starry Eyed”

As I predicted – though less certainly after the Rivoli show was upgraded to Lee’s – James Blake is coming back for a Fall tour. He’ll be in Toronto for a show at The Phoenix on September 30, and the $27.50 tickets will be again will call-only/scalper-proof/annoying-to-all. Bring a book.

MP3: James Blake – “I Never Learnt To Share”
MP3: James Blake – “To Care (Like You)”

The news that many had been waiting to hear comes wrapped in news that no one wanted to hear. Explosions In The Sky have slated a Fall tour that sees them return to Toronto for the first time since V Fest 2007 for an October 7 show at The Sound Academy. If it makes it any more palatable, Wye Oak are opening up and they’re lovely… Tickets $25.50 general admission, $35.50 VIP.

MP3: Explosions In The Sky – “Trembling Hands”
MP3: Wye Oak – “Civilian”

And on the album stream tip – the new albums from My Morning Jacket, Death Cab For Cutie and The Wooden Birds are up to listen ahead of release. Circuital and Codes & Keys are out next week, Two Matchsticks the following week on June 7. All are also coming to town – The Wooden Birds at The Drake on July 10, My Morning Jacket at The Kool Haus on July 20 and Death Cab at The Molson Amphitheatre on July 27. The Wooden Birds are also giving away a free EP over at Consequence Of Sound.

Stream: My Morning Jacket / Circuital
Stream: Death Cab For Cutie / Codes & Keys
Stream: The Wooden Birds / Two Matchsticks

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

CONTEST – Sondre Lerche @ The Mod Club – May 31, 2011

Photo By Ruvan WijesooriaRuvan WijesooriaWho: Sondre Lerche
What: Norwegian singer-songwriter who’s frequently jumped genres, but always remained smooth, charming and oh-so Scandinavian.
Why: Album number seven, a self-titled affair, is due out on June 7. Those songs aren’t going to road-test themselves.
When: Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Where: The Mod Club in Toronto
Who else: Nightlands and Kishi Bashi open up. Nope, don’t know anything about them either.
How: Tickets for the show are $18.50 in advance but courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got three pairs of passes to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see Sondre Lerche” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that to me before midnight in whatever time zone I’m in at the time on May 27.
What else: Daytrotter recently posted a session with Lerche and Metromix has an interview.

Video: Sondre Lerche – “Domino”

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Boats And Trains

Stornoway and other bands you should see because I can’t

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo yes, I am currently abroad – huzzah – but this little dispatch isn’t meant to rub it in to those who are still back in Toronto (or wherever you might be that is not Barcelona). Instead, it’s to gently remind you that there’s still plenty of stuff of the live music variety to see right there in Hogtown this week; more than is typical, I’d go so far as to say.

So here’s a quick run-down of stuff that, were I not elsewhere, I’d either be at or consider being at, starting off – both chronologically and interest-wise – with Oxford, England’s Stornoway, who are at The El Mocambo tomorrow night, May 24, with See Of Bees. The quartet were here back in December for a fairly jaw-dropping set that cemented their debut Beachcomber’s Windowsill on my year-end list, not that it necessarily needed the nudge.

I didn’t expect they’d be making another trip back before putting out a new record, but they are and if you missed that last show, want to taste some of that magic again or just have nothing else to do on a Tuesday night, then you could do far far worse than hitting up the ol’ ElMo.

MP3: Stornoway – “Fuel Up”
MP3: Stornoway – “On The Rocks”
MP3: Stornoway – “Zorbing”
MP3: Sea Of Bees – “Marmalade”
MP3: Sea Of Bees – “Wizbot”
Video: Stornoway – “Zorbing”
Video: Stornoway – “I Saw You Blink”

And other shows while I’m away that are worth your attention:

Wednesday, May 25
Damon & Naomi, Amor de Días @ The Horseshoe
MP3: Damon & Naomi – “Walking Backwards”
MP3: Amor de Dias – “Bunhill Fields”

Thursday, May 26
Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit, Caitlin Rose @ The Horseshoe
MP3: Johnny Flynn – “Kentucky Pill”
MP3: Caitlin Rose – “Shanghai Cigarettes”

Man Man, Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers @ Lee’s Palace
MP3: Man Man – “Life Fantastic”
MP3: Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers – “Heaven In Stereo”

Friday, May 27
Anna Calvi, Cuckoo Chaos @ The El Mocambo
MP3: Anna Calvi – “Blackout”
MP3: Cuckoo Chaos – “Jesus Flag American Fish”

Portugal. The Man, Telekinesis, Unknown Mortal Orchestra @ Lee’s Palace
MP3: Portugal. The Man – “People Say”
MP3: Telekinesis – “Car Crash”

Saturday, May 28
Lissie, Ash Koley @ The Phoenix
MP3: Lissie – “Everywhere I Go”
Video: Ash Koley – “Brighter At Night”

Sunday, May 29
Glasvegas, Magneta Lane @ Lee’s Palace
Video: Glasvegas – “Euphoria, Take My Hand”
Video: Magneta Lane – “Lady Bones”

The Radio Dept, Nightbox @ The Horseshoe
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Never Follow Suit”

Monday, May 30
Friendly Fires, Wise Blood @ The Phoenix
MP3: Friendly Fires – “Jump In The Pool”
MP3: Wise Blood – “Loud Mouths”

Wildbirds & Peacedrums , Yellow Ostrich @ The Drake Underground
MP3: Wildbirds & Peacedrums – “Fight For Me”
MP3: Yellow Ostrich – “Whale”

Wednesday, June 1
The Baseball Project, The Order Of Good Cheer @ Lee’s Palace
MP3: The Baseball Project – “1976”

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

"Disco 2000"

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds cover Pulp

Image via WikipediaWikipediaEgads, another week, another repeat. It’s turning into a regular clips episode around here. But again, I have good reason – because this week, Pulp and I will be meeting up in the year 2011 at Primavera Sound in Barcelona, Spain and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds will be along for the ride. Okay, it’ll actually be Cave and company in their guise as Grinderman, but that kind of fits with this week’s selections.

I’ll direct you back to the December 2009 post where I went over the specifics of when and where these tracks came from, but the short version is that when asked to contribute some b-sides to the single for Pulp’s “Bad Cover Version”, Nick Cave actually submitted two – a gently swaying and sentimental version that was used as the b-side and a more raucous “pub rock” version that showed up on the deluxe reissue of Different Class. The former kind of fit the ballad-y mood of the Bad Seeds releases of the time, but the latter was loud and sloppy to a degree that sort of foreshadowed their excursions into raunch with Grinderman.

Pulp play the first of their reunion gigs on Friday night at Barcelona’s Parc Del Fòrum. Grinderman are up the night before. The third salvo of Nick Cave & The Bad Sees reissues came out last week.

MP3: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Disco 2000”
MP3: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Disco 2000” (Pub rock version)
Video: Pulp – “Disco 2000”

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Rolling In The Deep

Adele at The Air Canada Centre

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt happens far too infrequently, but sometimes the good guys win. Sometimes immense talent, great songs and hard work can triumph over image and marketing and when it does, you get improbably wonderful things like Adele becoming and more importantly remaining pretty much the biggest artist in music for 2011 for months on end, on the strength of her sophomore album 21. Granted, her story is hardly one of an out of nowhere dark horse – her debut 19 already made her a star and garnered her two Grammy awards – but the degree to which 21 has catapulted her into the stratosphere is still remarkable.

That the Toronto stop of her North American tour on Wednesday night was originally booked into the Kool Haus – considerably smaller than the posh environs of Massey Hall where she last performed in 2009 – certainly seemed to imply that people were underestimating her draw, and that the show was moved to the many times larger Air Canada Centre after selling out instantly was representative of just how much bigger – and faster – her fanbase was growing. Granted, it was in theatre configuration, accommodating approximately 5200 patrons instead of the 16000 of the full arena, but if you don’t think she could have easily sold a few thousand more tickets then you’re just not paying attention.

I had the privilege of seeing Adele at an MTV Live taping back in March and so had a sense of how she was live – which is to say wonderfully warm and engaging, with no sense of the stage fright she’s supposedly afflicted with – but that was a short set in front of a maybe a couple hundred people. This would be considerably more on every level, and yet Adele Adkins somehow managed to make an arena show in front of thousands feel just as intimate as that studio performance.

Things opened with a touch of theatricality – with Adele starting “Hometown Glory” from behind a curtain before stepping onstage to rafter-shaking shrieks – but for most of the show, it was all about simple, direct and genuine connection between Adele and her fans, which for all of her prodigious artistic gifts may be her greatest strength. Chatty, conversational and more than a little crude between songs, punctuated by a huge and endearing cackle, Adele was able to make a massive room feel as intimate as a small club or even more like a private performance for some friends in the front room. It’s impossible to overstate the intensity of the personal rapport that seemed to exist between she and almost every one of the thousands in the audience – it’s hard to imagine any other artist of her stature taking stage time to talk about the experiences that informed her songs, her affection for her pet dachshund or gush about bands she’s currently listening to (incidentally, she gave big props to Toronto R&B outfit The Weeknd).

As entertaining as it would likely be to just sit and chat for an hour and a half with Adele, there was no forgetting that music was the order of the evening. Improvisation wasn’t on the menu, save for a few subtle shifts in arrangements, with the emphasis on her huge, expressive voice and playing the songs everyone wanted to hear the way they knew them, but with plenty of verve and as singalong-able as possible – something the house happily obliged, at times creating an almost choral effect. Backed by a seven-piece band, Adele delivered exactly the sort of set you’d expect, comprising most of 21 – often introduced as “new songs” as though they were something to be politely endured before she got to the old favourites instead of the material that brought both her and her fans here on this evening – and a decent amount of 19. The show built to a finale that was completely predictable – “Chasing Pavements” and “Make You Feel My Love” to close the main set and “Someone Like You” and “Rolling In The Deep” making up the encore – but also completely rousing. You don’t need to surprise when you’re this good. Adele is like the friend who goes onto great things, but never forgets where she came from – not “is like”, but “is” – and though musically she trades in broken hearts, there was nothing but love at the ACC on this night.

The Globe & Mail has a feature piece on Adele and also a review of the show. The Toronto Sun, National Post, Toronto Star and Exclaim also have writeups of the evening.

Photos: Adele @ The Air Canada Centre – May 18, 2011
Video: Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”
Video: Adele – “Make You Feel My Love”
Video: Adele – “Chasing Pavements”
Video: Adele – “Cold Shoulder”

Interview has a brief talk with Anna Calvi, who has a date at The El Mocambo on May 27.

PJ Harvey discusses the visual side of her art with Spinner.

Pitchfork has an extensive interview with Kate Bush, who released her first album in over five years this week with Director’s Cut. The record is streaming in whole over at NPR.

Stream: Kate Bush / Director’s Cut

New York Magazine and The Chicago Tribune talk to Will Sergeant of Echo & The Bunnymen while The Aquarian chats with Ian McCulloch.

Johnny Marr talks up his upcoming projects with Billboard.

The Guardian talks to Brett Anderson and Mat Osman about why the reunited Suede are so fashionable again – just in time for Brett Anderson (the solo artist) to announce the September 26 release of his next record, Black Rainbows. Details on the album at NME.

The second single from Patrick Wolf’s forthcoming Lupercalia now has a video and it indeed confirms that, on this record, Wolf is in his happy place. It’s out June 20.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “House”

Foals discuss possible directions of their next record with aux.tv.

The Guardian, Gigwise and Clash have feature pieces on Friendly Fires, whose new record Pala is out next week and are in town at The Phoenix on May 30.

NME gets some information on the next Muse record from rhythm section Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme.

The Aquarian talks to Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner. They’re at The Kool Haus on Saturday and their new album Suck It And See is out June 7.

Also on the bill are The Vaccines, who have a new video from their debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines, due out May 31.

Video: The Vaccines – “All In White”

NPR have posted a WFUV radio session with Noah & The Whale, with whom North Country Times, Oregon Music News, The Telegraph and The Edinburgh Evening News have interviews.

James Blake has a new video from James Blake.

Video: James Blake – “Lindesfarne”

Artrocker has a piece from Clock Opera frontman Guy Connelly about writing their latest single “Belongings”, for which they’ve just released a video and are streaming both sides at Soundcloud. DIY also solicits an alphabetized list of… stuff from the band. These guys were one of the more exciting discoveries at SXSW and the lead-up to their debut album verifies that the excitement is justified.

Video: Clock Opera – “Belongings”

Ladytron are streaming the first single from new album Gravity The Seducer at Soundcloud, well in advance of its September 13 release date.

Art Brut are streaming their new record Brilliant! Tragic! over at Paste. They play The Mod Club on June 17 for NXNE.

Stream: Art Brut / Brilliant! Tragic!

And according to Under The Radar, the Friday night of NXNE – June 17 – will also bring Oxford’s Swervedriver back to town for the first time since, well, NXNE 2008. Venue still to be announced but this should be one of the highlights of the festival.

MP3: Swervedriver – “Duel” (live)

IFC has both an interview with Euros and Norman of Jonny and premiered a new video from the duo. They are at The Drake Underground on June 3 and 4.

Video: Jonny – “You Was Me”

They Shoot Music has a video session with Gruff Ryhs, and he’s also the subject of features at Nashville Scene, The Village Voice and Today Online. He has a date at The Horseshoe for June 11.

NPR has posted a World Cafe session with The Joy Formidable.

And with that, folks, things go into vacation mode over the next couple weeks. There’ll still be updates and whatnot, just maybe fewer, probably leaner and almost certainly at odd hours. And any last-minute suggestions of things to see and do in Barcelona are welcome.