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Archive for August, 2011

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

CONTEST – Said The Whale @ The Mod Club – September 8, 2011

Photo By Marcus JollyMarcus JollyWho: Said The Whale
What: Purveyors of effervescent pop with a distinctive west coast accent, which makes sense since the five-piece hail from Vancouver.
Why: Their last full-length Islands Disappear came out back in 2009 but they’ve been busy, touring relentlessly and being subjects of the mini-documentary Winning America, which followed them to SXSW this year in attempts to become the next big thing and captured such ups and downs as having all their gear stolen en route to Texas but also winning “New Group Of The Year” at the Juno awards a couple weeks later. KARMA!
When: Thursday, September 8, 2011
Where: The Mod Club in Toronto (All-ages)
Who else: Saskatchewan’s Rah Rah and English singer-songwriter Sara Lowes will be warming things up.
How: Tickets for the show are $15 in advance but courtesy of Union Events, I’ve got four pairs of passes to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to be winning Said The Whale” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, September 1.

MP3: Said The Whale – “Camilo (The Magician)”
Video: Said The Whale – “Camilo (The Magician)”
Trailer: Said The Whale: Winning America

Friday, August 26th, 2011

It's Your Destiny

The War On Drugs at Soundscapes in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe last time Philadelphia’s The War On Drugs were in town was as support for Destroyer, and by drafting on the interest in the “Best New Music”-ed Kaputt, played to a sold-out Lee’s Palace. This time out, they were headlining the smaller digs at the Drake Underground but were again buoyed by some Pitchfork love with the same seal of approval being awarded to their just-released second full-length, Slave Ambient.

As noted in my writeup of the Destroyer show, despite relying on the intersection of somewhat disparate styles The War On Drugs cultivate a very specific sound. Take an overtly ’70s-era Dylan approach to singing and lyricism, blend with some Springsteen/Petty-ish classic Americana stylings and a Velvet Underground-level appreciation for the art of the drone and serve doused in a psychedelic shimmer and you’re about there. It’s a vibe that’s immediate and engaging, but I find it gets a bit samey over the course of a long-player. For the span of an in-store length set such as the one the band played on Wednesday night at Soundscapes however, it was just about right.

Stopping in for the performance before even heading to the Drake to set up and soundcheck, they were able to set up as a fully plugged-in four-piece. And it’s just as well because it’s hard to imagine their songs without Adam Granduciel’s electric guitar in all it’s phased and tremoloed glory, seeing as how his expeditionary solos sometimes make up half the song. They played for about half an hour, both new material and old and while they were openly appreciative to everyone who showed up for the set, they seemed especially pleased to have requests for older material called out. It’s surely great to have a new audience take an interest in your work, but that also makes those who’ve been there all along that much more special. It’s hard to imagine they didn’t head down to the Drake afterwards feeling pretty good about that.

Death & Taxes, The Chicago Tribune and Philly.com have profile pieces on the band.

Photos: The War On Drugs @ Soundscapes – August 24, 2011
MP3: The War On Drugs – “Come To The City”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “Baby Missiles”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “Taking The Farm”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “Comin’ Through”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “The History Of Plastic”
Video: The War On Drugs – “Come To The City”
Video: The War On Drugs – “Baby Missiles”
Video: The War On Drugs – “Needle In Your Eye #16”

NOW and The Grid have pieces on Colin Stetson, who is playing the Drake Underground tonight.

Kathleen Edwards will be playing a special low-key show at the Dakota Tavern on Sunday night, August 28, with tickets only available at the door – they’ll run you $20. And if you’re wondering if the mister might make a guest appearance… well, Bon Iver isn’t on the road right now. So.

MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “Asking For Flowers”

The mark the release of The Rip Tide this coming Tuesday, Exclaim has made it four American cover artists in a row by putting Beirut’s Zach Condon front and centre for the September issue. Not that you can blame them – he’s so cute. The Irish Independent and Wall Street Journal also have feature pieces.

Head over to NPR to stream another new track from Girls’ forthcoming Father, Son, Holy Ghost. It’s out September 13 and they play The Mod Club on September 27.

Stream: Girls – “Honey Bunny”

NME, DIY and State talk to The Drums, releasing Portamento on September 13 and playing The Mod Club on October 1. They’ve also started a video performance series to tease the new record – here’s the first instalment.

Video: The Drums – “What You Were” (Visiomento)

St. Vincent has premiered the first video from Strange Mercy over at The Huffington Post. The record is out September 13.

Video: St. Vincent – “Cruel”

It’s hard to say what’s an official video these days, so for the sake of argument we’ll say that this in-studio clip Wilco released of their b-side cover of Nick Lowe is an official video. It’s great, either way. Both Wilco and Lowe are at Massey Hall on September 17 and 18 and Wilco’s new album The Whole Love is out September 27.

Video: Wilco – “I Love My Label”

Pitchfork, Drowned In Sound and The Quietus all have chats with one Stephen Malkmus. He and The Jicks are at The Phoenix on September 21 and you can watch a complete video of their recent Amoeba Records in-store set at Rolling Stone.

The Georgia Straight has a cover story on Dan Mangan. His new record Oh Fortune arrives September 27 and he plays The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 26.

Apparently Chairlift are still around. The released a new 7″ single in “Amanaemonesia” earlier this Summer and will apparently have a new full-length out before the year is over. And oh yeah, they’re opening for James Blake at The Phoenix on September 30.

Stream: Chairlift – “Amanaemonesia”
Video: Chairlift – “Bruises”

The first MP3 from Breaks In The Armor, the new Crooked Fingers record out October 11, is now available to download. They’re at The Drake Underground on November 8.

MP3: Crooked Fingers – “Typhoon”

Purveyors of one of the Summer tunes of 2011, Lousiana’s GIVERS are coming back to town with Los Angeles’ Lord Huron in tow for a show at Wrongbar on October 26, tickets $13 in advance.

MP3: Givers – “Up Up Up”
MP3: Lord Huron – “Mighty”

The Fly gets Chad VanGaalen to perform an acoustic session for them while The Prague Post and The List have interviews. He’s at The Mod Club on October 28.

Rhode Island’s Deer Tick haven’t released a new full-length since last year’s Black Dirt Sessions, but the release of a new single and a Fall tour that brings them to Lee’s Palace on November 16 implies that something more is coming. Or they just felt like releasing a single and hitting the road. Update: New album it is. Exclaim reports Divine Providence is out October 25 – thanks Phil.

MP3: Deer Tick – “Miss K”

Baeble Music has a Guest Apartment video session with EMA.

Pitchfork gets Will Sheff of Okkervil River to document his musical development through the years.

Writers On Process, The Riverfront Times and Louisville Courier-Journal talk to The Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn.

The Flaming Lips have released a video for one of their collaborations with Lightning Bolt.

Video: The Flaming Lips & Lightning Bolt – “I’m Working at NASA on Acid”

Rolling Stone checks in on the possiblity of a Replacements reunion with Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson.

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Nobody Knows You

Summer Camp set to open in time for Fall

Photo via AltsoundsAltsoundsLondon’s Summer Camp are clearly believers in the long game. Since emerging in the Fall of 2009 with their identities shrouded in mystery – they were originally thought to be a Swedish collective – they’ve gradually revealed more and more about themselves while keeping up a steady stream of ’80s-worshipping, in both sound and theme, infectious electro-pop.

Now, almost two years since first causing a fuss, the duo of Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey are ready to release their full-length debut which they’ve christened Welcome To Condale and set for a decidedly un-Summery October 31 release. Financed via Pledgemusic fan support and produced by Pulp’s Steve Mackey, the 12-track long-player only carries over one track from last year’s Young EP and that most likely re-recorded. And that’s probably just as well – as delectable as that release was, they’ve certainly had enough time to write all-new material and goodness we want some new tunes.

Clash has details on the release and you can stream the first single over at long-time band supporter Gorilla Vs Bear; some of the older material is available to hear and watch below. And while it’s probably a bit much to hope for any touring on this side of the Atlantic, it’s worth pointing out that despite their two-piece, heavily programmed configuration not seeming like it’d lend itself to a compelling live show, they were one of the uncontested highlights of SXSW this year.

MP3: Summer Camp – “I Want You”
MP3: Summer Camp – “Ghost Train”
MP3: Summer Camp – “Veronica Sawyer”
Stream: Summer Camp – “Better Off Without You”
Video: Summer Camp – “Ghost Train”
Video: Summer Camp – “Round The Moon”

Also announcing album release details this week was Florence & The Machine. Clearly hoping to find its way under Christmas trees, Ms Welch and company’s second album will be out on November 8, and while it still doesn’t have a title, it does have a video for the first single. Check it out and read an interview with Welch about the new record at Pitchfork.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “What The Water Gave Me”

If you, like me, are thinking about going to see Londonites Male Bonding at The Horseshoe next Friday night – September 2 – but want a head start on hearing their new record Endless Now before it’s officially out on August 30, head over to Punk News as it’s streaming in whole right now, while Spin has a chat and a tune available to download. And if you can’t make the show or it’s not enough, the band are also playing an instore at Kops that evening at 6PM.

MP3: Male Bonding – “Tame The Sun”
Stream: Male Bonding / Endless Now

One of the more hilariously reviled British guitar bands of recent memory – Viva Brother (formerly just Brother) – will put Toronto’s Anglophilia to the test when they bring their debut Famous First Words to the Horseshoe on October 13, tickets $13. There’s interviews at The Belfast Telegraph and BBC.

Video: Viva Brother – “Darling Buds Of May”

You cannot understand how happy I was to hear that Anna Calvi – whose Toronto debut in May I missed due to being in Spain – was coming back for a show at Lee’s Palace on December 8, tickets $15. I was, like, super-happy. Also making me super-happy is this set of videos of Calvi performing on the rooftop at Spin.

MP3: Anna Calvi – “Blackout”

NPR has a World Cafe session with James Blake, who will be at The Phoenix on September 30. And if you’re curious about the Fall Creek Boys Choir project he’s working on with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, The Quietus has a stream of the first taste of the collaboration.

Stereogum checks in with Ladytron on the status of their new record Gravity The Seducer, due out September 13. They play The Phoenix on October 5.

Lucky talks sartorial style with Emmy The Great.

Via a blog post, Billy Bragg responds to the London riots by declaring it high time that people started making political music again.

The Alternate Side has a video session with Art Brut while The San Francisco Examiner talks comics with Eddie Argos.

Sweden’s Little Dragon will bring their acclaimed third album Ritual Union to town for a show at the somewhat less acclaimed Hoxton venue – nee 69 Bathurst – on October 12. Many are hoping that demand for this show forces it into a larger venue… There’s a session with Little Dragon over at NPR.

MP3: Little Dragon – “Feather”
Video: Little Dragon – “When I Go Out”

Back to the mysterious duo meme for a moment, jj continue to disregard conventions of album cycles, getting paid for their work or song title length by posting a new MP3 on their blog this week for free download.

MP3: jj – “You Don’t Know How Much It Would Hurt Me If You Said That You Were In Love With Me”

NPR have posted a KEXP session with Peter Bjorn & John, in town at Lee’s Palace on September 2 and 3. Cleveland.com also has an interview.

France’s Revolver appear set to make a return to Toronto, having scheduled a show at The Horseshoe for October 16.

MP3: Revolver – “Get Around Town”

Jane Birkin will be performing the songs of Serge Gainsbourg at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on December 7, tickets $34.50 in advance.

Video: Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg – “Je t’aime”

And coincidentally – or maybe not so – their daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg has released a new video for the title track of her forthcoming Terrible Angels EP, out September 6 – details on the release at Pitchfork. A new double-album, Stage Whisper, will follow on November 8.

Video: Charlotte Gainsbourg – “Terrible Angels”

And once more with the Euro duos. Disco-pop outfit Keep Shelly In Athens, who actually hail from the Athens in Greece and not Georgia – usually a no-brainer except when you’re talking indie-centric music – will be embarking on their first North American tour this Fall, including a November 16 date at Wrongbar in Toronto. Tickets are $15 in advance but you can win some by posting when and where you’d like to see them on their Facebook.

MP3: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Running Out On You”
MP3: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Fokionos Negri Street”

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

One, Two, Three

Kathryn Calder offers helpful adjectives to music writers with Bright And Vivid

Photo By Caleb BeyersCaleb BeyersEven though Kathryn Calder had well-established her songwriting credentials prior to joining The New Pornographers via her tenure in the now-defunct Immaculate Machine, her 2010 solo debut Are You My Mother? still came as a surprise to many – myself included – for how musically sophisticated and lyrically poignant it was, while still being tremendously tuneful. No one doubted Calder was talented – holding her own in a band of such musical heavyweights was plenty of proof of that – but to release such a mature record on her first go-around was really remarkable.

So while the entire thing has yet to be heard, the first sample of her second album – already completed, entitled Bright And Vivid and set for an October 25 release – certainly seems to prove that Are You My Mother? was no fluke. If anything, “Who Are You?” declares that Mother was just Calder getting warmed up – it sounds more widescreen in scope yet nimbler in execution and more assured all around. If the album’s other nine tracks measure up, Bright And Vivid will firmly establish Calder as a formidable artist in her own right, every bit the equal of her bandmates’ own solo ventures. Yes, I mean that.

Exclaim has more details on the album. Calder’s only visit to Toronto as a solo artist was back in June on one of the most packed concert nights in recent memory and sadly, her Tranzac show didn’t make the cut – here’s hoping that the Fall brings her back to showcase both her records in a live setting.

MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Who Are You?”

What does it sound like when awesome meets awesome? Probably a bit like this cover Basia Bulat did of Ted Leo’s “Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone” for the AV Club Undercover. I look forward to her inevitable folk-punk album. And if you need a Basia fix in the GTA, she’s playing a free show on Friday evening, August 26 at Mississauga Celebration Square – that’s around Square One shopping centre – at 8:30PM; Mississauga.com previews the show with an interview. She also teams up with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra to play Hamilton’s Supercrawl on September 10 – another free show.

Tasseomancy have made their album Ulalume available to stream a week before its August 30 release over at Exclaim, who also have an interview. They play an album release show at The Great Hall on October 20 and open up for Austra at The Phoenix on December 1.

MP3: Tasseomancy – “Healthy Hands”
MP3: Tasseomancy – “The Darkest Of Things”
Stream: Tasseomancy / Ulalume

Feist talks to Q about the process of making Metals. It’s out October 4 and she plays Massey Hall on December 1.

HearYa has a audio/video session and CultureMob an interview with The Wilderness Of Manitoba, who cap off a busy Summer of touring with a homecoming show at Lee’s Palace on September 8.

MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Hermit”

Speaking of hometown shows, Elliott Brood will mark the September 27 release of Days Into Years with a show at The Phoenix on November 18, advance tickets $12. There’s interviews with the band about the new record at The Whistler Question and Pique.

MP3: Elliott Brood – “Northern Air”

The Weeknd are getting a jump on their bid for a 2012 Polaris Prize nomination to go with this year’s shortlist nod, making a new album/mixtape available for free download.

ZIP: The Weeknd / Thursday

Spoonfed talks to Fucked Up’s Jonah Falco.

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

All Over Gently

I’m back from vacation. Stephen Malkmus’ new record is out. One has little to do with the other.

Photo By Leah NashLeah NashIt was only five days or so and not especially far, but this past weekend’s extended jaunt to New York City was a lovely break from both my jobs – the blog and the one that pays – so while I readjust to the reality that my lifestyle is NOT meandering about Manhattan, taking pictures and eating strange and delicious meals, I’m just gonna toss up some stuff that’s been accumulating over the last few days and go have a nap.

And I guess we’ll start with Mr Stephen Malkmus, whose Mirror Traffic – his Beck-produced, recorded pre-Pavement reunion but mixed post-reunion record with The Jicks, is out today. There’s plenty of press surrounding its release, but this piece at Salon is particularly interesting to me, anyways, as it’s written by fellow 90s college rock icon Dean Wareham of the dearly, dearly departed Luna and Galaxie 500… though I can’t help noticing that one of the questions not asked was, “so should I get the old band back together?” though I suspect the answer from SM wouldn’t be the one the Luna fan in me would want to hear.

There’s other conversations with Malkmus about the new record – though by less esteemed interviewers – at Billboard, Clash, New York Magazine, Nerve, Exclaim, MTV Hive and Interview. And a new video from the record just premiered over at The New York Times. The album is still up to stream in whole at NPR.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks kick off their North American tour in support of Mirror Traffic in just under a month; the second date is in Toronto at The Phoenix on September 21.

MP3: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Tigers”
MP3: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Senator”
Video: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “No One Is (As I Are Be)”
Stream: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks / Mirror Traffic

Spin gets Wild Flag – whose Janet Weiss is not a Jick this time around – to list off some of their favourite things while The Vine talks to keyboardist Rebecca Cole. Their debut self-title will be more than few peoples’ favourite thing when it comes out on September 13. They play Lee’s Palace on October 11.

The Decemberists have premiered a new video from The King Is Dead over at NPR. The Georgia Straight has a chat with bassist Nate Query.

Video: The Decemberists – “Calamity Song”

Also with a new video straight out of the Pacific northwest is The Head & The Heart. You can also stream their set at the Newport Folk Festival from a few weeks back at NPR.

Video: The Head & The Heart – “Cats & Dogs”

Under The Radar and AltSonds have interviews with Blitzen Trapper. Their new one American Goldwing is out September 13 and they play The Opera House on October 30.

Spinner reports – in decidedly first-hand fashion – that The Flaming Lips and Death Cab For Cutie will be collaborating on a new EP sometime in the future.

Erika Anderson of EMA chats with Spinner and talks fashion with Spin.

Low have released a new video from C’Mon.

Video: Low – “Especially Me”

Head over to The Jayhawks’ official Facebook page where the band have been giving away free live MP3s en masse as a lead up to the September 20 release of their new album Mockingbird Time.

The new Bon Iver video practically doubles as a PSA for Tourism Iceland. Colour me convinced – see you in October!

Video: Bon Iver – “Holocene”

St. Louis Magazine has an extensive feature on Wilco, including some acoustic performances of new material from Jeff Tweedy. The Whole Love is out September 27 and they play Massey Hall on September 17 and 18.

NPR has a World Cafe session with My Morning Jacket while You Ain’t No Picasso and Citybeat have band interviews. Paste talks to guitarist Carl Broemel about not only MMJ, but his latest solo record All Birds Say.

Magnet Q&As Of Montreal before making them guest editors of their website for a week. They’re going to be picking glitter out of the office furniture for weeks to come.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Sonic Youth’s show at the Williamsburg Waterfront in Brooklyn last week.

They Shoot Music has a video session with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.

Details are coming out about the first new Tom Waits studio album in some seven years – Exclaim reports on the track listing of Bad As Me and indicates it will be out October 25. Expectations are also that a stream of the title track, which has appeared and disappeared online in the last little while, will be made officially available sometime today. As for the questions of will Waits tour behind it… well, Tom Waits does what Tom Waits wants to do, but the odds are certainly a lot better with a new album than without.