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Friday, February 17th, 2012

Circumambient

Grimes’ Visions; let her show you them

Photo By Raphael OulletRaphaël OulletWho would have thought that the title of Canada’s queen of electro-pop would be such a contested one? Just last year, Toronto’s Katie Stelmanis-fronted Austra seemed to have the title locked down, having collected numerous accolades both at home and abroad for their debut album Feel It Break. And yet just a few months later, it’s Vancouver native and Montreal resident Claire Boucher who operates as Grimes that everyone is talking about, what with her new record Visions set for release next week.

Not that it’s a competition, of course, and beyond the superficial there’s not that much in common; Visions is Grimes’ fourth album (but her first for indie juggernaut label 4AD) so if it is indeed her breakout album – and the just-awarded “Best New Music” won’t hurt – it’s been a long time in coming. And her sunnier sound, defined by Boucher’s affection for both dream-pop and R&B and her infectious chirp of a voice, is rather a far cry from Austra’s darker, goth-indebted aesthetic and Stelmanis’ operatic vocals. So why draw parallels? Lazy writing, of course, and the fact that it’s nice to have someone at the ready to pick up the Canadian electronic flag and run with it while Austra lays low and recovers from a whirlwind year.

The Georgia Straight, The Washington Post, The Province, Exclaim, Pitchfork, Prefix, The Guardian, The National Post, and SF Station all have feature pieces on Grimes and NPR has Visions available to stream in its entirety. Grimes is at The Horseshoe on March 19 and you’re damn skippy it’s sold out.

MP3: Grimes – “Oblivion”
MP3: Grimes – “Genesis”
Stream: Grimes / Visions

It’s not a total dearth of Austra happenings, though – their recent jaunt to Australia has yielded this video of a radio session wherein they cover Robyn.

Video: Austra – “None Of Dem”

Southern Souls has an interview with The Elwins, who are celebrating the release of their debut And We Thank You this coming Tuesday with a new video premiered at aux.tv and an album stream at Exclaim. They play a record release show at the Burroghes Building on February 24 and will also look to chase your CMW hangover away with a set at Rancho Relaxo on March 25 at 11PM.

MP3: The Elwins – “Stuck In The Middle”
Video: The Elwins – “Stuck In The Middle”
Stream: The Elwins / And We Thank You

Contra gets to know Army Girls. Their next show is March 10 at the Bovine Sex Club opening up for Carole Pope and they’re waiting to be scheduled in for Canadian Musicfest at the end of the month.

Cold Specks has announced details of her debut album, to be called I Predict a Graceful Expulsion and due out on May 22 on Arts & Crafts at home and Mute worldwide. A video for the first single has just been released and she will be at The Music Gallery on March 22 as part of Canadian Musicfest – a much better setting for her than The Phoenix, I’d say. This show is in addition to the already-announced June 2 appearance at The Music Hall opening for Great Lake Swimmers.

Video: Cold Specks – “Holland”

John K Samson talks to Exclaim about what’s in store for the next Weakerthans album, which he’ll get started on when he’s done being a solo act. Samson does the solo thing at The Great Hall on March 22.

Beat and Nine To Five help introduce Dan Mangan to Australia. He plays The Indie Awards at The Royal York on March 24.

Spencer Krug’s Moonface has announced the April 17 release of With Sinai: Heartbreaking Bravery, a collaboration with the Finnish band Sinai. The first MP3 sounds like this.

MP3: Moonface – “Teary Eyes And Bloody Lips”

The new Miracle Fortress video from Was I The Wave? has premiered at IFC; a must-see for anyone who’s ever wanted to set Graham Van Pelt on fire.

Video: Miracle Fortress – “Raw Spectacle”

Bry Webb gets into the end of the Constantines with Spinner.

Southern Souls chit-chats with Olenka Krakus of Olenka & The Autumn Lovers.

NPR has posted a World Cafe session with Kathleen Edwards.

It’s not the specifics of the new album Spectral Dusk that I’ve been patiently waiting for, but this unexpected Evening Hymns cover of a Trembling Blue Stars tune is pretty nice as well. Spectral Dusk is due out sometime in the Spring.

Stream: Evening Hymns – “If I Handle You With Care”

Torotonist, The AV Club, and NOW (in two parts) salute Toronto music showcase Wavelength on the occasion of its twelfth anniversary; the party goes all weekend.

By : Frank Yang at 8:30 am
Category: General

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