Monday, July 25th, 2011
EMA at The Garrison in Toronto
Frank YangIn case anyone was wondering – and I certainly was earlier on on Saturday night – there is no air conditioning at The Garrison. Had I known this for sure beforehand, it would have been another compelling reason – right behind a week-old broken bone and backlog of television to watch – to stay home and just not deal with the world. But EMA was in town and easing myself off prescription meds as I was, getting out for a show was the sort of distraction I could use.
I confess to no familiarity with Erika Anderson’s last band Gowns, but her debut under the acronym identity Past Life Martyred Saints has been on fairly heavy rotation over the past couple months. Its a fascinating balance of rawness and poise, grunge and folk, all tied together with Anderson’s almost uncomfortably bare and confessional lyrics – I quite wanted to see how it would all come off live.
As did a healthy number of other people – a couple hundred by my guesstimate – all adding to the general sweatiness of the proceedings but also providing plenty of incentive for Anderson and her three bandmates to turn in an impressive show despite looking like hot messes before even playing a note. Throughout their hour-long set they alternately and simultaneously evoked Sonic Youth – thanks in no small part to Anderson’s Kim Gordon-esque vocals – and The Velvet Underground – duelling violins in a rock context will do that – all with a distinctly ’90s alt-rock vibe that was equal parts Nirvana and Pavement.
Between songs Anderson was chatty, a bit dorky and a lot funny, a decidedly different character than you might expect given the open wound vibe of the album’s stream of consciousness confessionals. But expecting every live show to be some sort of catharsis would be unreasonable and probably unhealthy – instead the show contained a healthy dose of attitude and snarl and was delivered with a surprising degree of theatricality. Things weren’t so polished, however, that after closing the set with a properly intense and stage-messing “California”, Anderson had to spend a little while putting her pedals and gear back together before being able to close out with one more song. Short, sweet and satisfying. And sweaty. Oh so sweaty.
St. Vincent has set up a StrangeMercy.com to build anticipation for album number three, Strange Mercy, before its release on September 13 and via a Twitter campaign, the first MP3 from the album was made available last week.
MP3: Ume – “Captive”
Exclaim and The Globe & Mail talk to Eleanor Friedberger about her solo works and what’s next for The Fiery Furnaces. Though here just last week for a solo show, word is Friedberger will be back with a full band sometime in October. A new video from Last Summer also came out a few weeks ago.
The new single from Bon Iver is up for grabs. Their just-started tour hits The Sound Academy on August 8.
Pitchfork has streams of the latest Flaming Lips releases – the ones that come on USB sticks embedded in gummy fetuses – and there’s also a video for a track they recorded with Lightning Bolt. The Boston Herald and Montreal Gazette have interviews with Wayne Coyne.