Thursday, May 12th, 2011
Review of Jonny’s Jonny and giveaway
Mei LewisIn case it wasn’t obvious from the name, Jonny is the musical marriage of Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and former Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci Euros Childs. It’s perhaps not a pairing that people have been clamouring for – it never even occurred to me that the two might work together before it was announced that they were – but it’s not out of left field either. In fact, the more I think about it, the more logical it gets – Blake led the Fannies through two decades of power pop perfection while Childs’ now-defunct Mynci made their name with a unique blend of psychedelia and folk that proudly wore their Welsh heritage on their sleeves; there’s really no reason that the meeting of these minds shouldn’t produce something worthy.
And their self-titled debut, released earlier this Spring, is very much worthy. It’s not a record that necessarily aspires to greatness – the vibe is much more casual and off-the-cuff with a healthy dose of goofiness added in for good measure – but the combination of Childs’ distinctively fantastical songwriting and Blake’s immaculate songcraft can’t help but be a winning combination. Jonny offers both the spot-on harmonies and indelible melodies you’d expect from a Fanclub record but also some of the musical unpredictability that Gorky’s were known for. Not everything hits – opener “Wich is Wich” is pretty much a throwaway and there’s no reason “Cave Dance” needed to run over ten minutes, but songs like “Circling The Sun” and “Candyfloss” are the sort of gems that might represent the career highwater marks of lesser artists. Their name might be nigh-on meaningless but their music makes an impression.
The record is currently available to stream in whole at Merge, and their introductory EP – consisting of non-album material – is still available to download for free. They will be kicking off a North American tour with two nights at the Drake Underground in Toronto – fun fact, Blake now resides in Kitchener, Ontario – on June 3 and 4. Tickets for each show are $21.50 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts and Merge, I’ve got a couple of prize packs to give away. There’s one for each night and they consist of a pair of passes to the show, a copy of Jonny on CD and a pink balloon that was given away to those who pre-ordered the album. Why? Why not? To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to meet Jonny” in the subject line and your full name in the body along with your mailing address and a note as to which night you’d prefer or if you’ve no preference, say you have no preference. Contest closes at midnight, May 19.
Keeping with both the “streaming new records from Merge” and “bands made up of people from other bands” memes, we have Amor de Días – aka Alisdair from The Clientele and Lupe of Pipas – and their debut full-length Street Of The Love Of Days, which is out next week. The record is streaming at Merge, a new video from said record has just been released, the band is on the road and at The Horseshoe on May 25 and Design Sponge has an interview with Lupe Núñez-Fernández.
Stream: Let’s Wrestle / Nursing Home
Not out on Merge but definitely out soon – May 24 to be precise – and up and streaming at Hype Machine is Pala, the second effort from Friendly Fires. You can also download an MP3 over there and see them at The Phoenix on May 30.
Stream: Friendly Fires / Pala
The Fly and The Phoenix checks in with Arctic Monkeys about their forthcoming album Suck It And See, out June 7. Spin has also got a new track from the record available to stream. They play The Kool Haus on May 21.
Opening up that show are The Vaccines, who have got a Daytrotter session up, are interviewed by Buzznet and whose debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines is out May 31. And oh yeah, they’re giving away a live track.
Video: Blood Orange – “Dinner”
Pitchfork reports that Upside Down, the documentary about Creation Records, has gotten a DVD release as of this week and comes packaged with a two-CD soundtrack/sampler of Creation artists. Which would be great if not for the the fact that it’s only PAL and region-2. Would someone please bring this film to North America in some watchable form?