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Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Not Sleeping

The Twilight Sad and Odonis Odonis at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAs I understand it, conventional wisdom is that Leap Day should be taken as an opportunity to try something new. But seeing as how prior to this year I’ve never thought of February 29 as anything more than an extra day of Winter every four years, I don’t feel bad that I spent it seeing a band I’ve seen many times before – Scotland’s The Twilight Sad, in town in support of their third album No One Can Ever Know.

“Trying something new” points should still be award for showing up early for opening act Odonis Odonis, who despite hailing from Toronto I’d not heard before the took the stage. A little research revealed that they were in fact labelmates with The Twilight Sad, being signed to the UK’s esteemed Fat Cat imprint for their debut album Hollandaze; this would normally be a good indicator of quality, but I recall another Toronto outfit signed to Fat Cat – Ten Kens – whom I was totally unimpressed with. And as it turns out, Odonis Odonis is the project of a former Ten Kens member. So. It’s probably just as well that I didn’t know that beforehand because I likely wouldn’t have given them a shot, and as it turned out, I liked them better. Relatively, at least. The trio either took a garage/surf-rock thing and buried it under noise layers or art-rock or took a noisy, art-rock thing and gave it a garagey/surfy friendly vibe – the coin flipped a few times over the course of their set. It was pretty loud and heavy, either way, and by the time it was over, I think the scorecard tipped in favour of tuneful over discordant, but just barely.

As noted in my review, No One Can Ever Know certainly found The Twilight Sad trying something new – synth-rock. An unexpected move given their signature sound to this point had been James Graham’s inconsolable bellow over Andy Macfarlane’s massive guitars, but one that works surprisingly well. So while I had a pretty good idea of what to expect of the band live by this point, I was curious to see how this new dimension would be incorporated into the show.

Taking the stage to a slow, pulsing synth tone that could well have been a fire alarm, they opened with No One‘s “Kill It In The Morning” – about half the set was comprised of new material, the rest split evenly between Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters and Forget The Night Ahead – and made it clear that though they had the same five-piece lineup that opened for Mono last time through, Martin Doherty’s keyboard responsibilities – while certainly more important this time out – were not going to supplant Macfarlane’s six-string duties anytime soon. The synthetic sheen of the new material was given a proper steel wool scrub courtesy of Macfarlane’s Fender Jaguar and Marshall stack and made loud, fuzzy and loud. Did I mention loud?

The combination of their old sound and new was quite a potent one, the resultant chaotic squall with a mechanical pulse coming across as more urgent and menacing than ever before and proving the new direction did not come at the expense of old strengths. At some points, the mix fell out of balance and Graham’s vocals – no wallflower of an instrument – were buried under the tumult but it always managed to right itself before becoming an issue. It was also interesting to see how far Graham has come as a frontman, his lurch-dance moves providing a welcome bit of onstage activity relative to his bandmates.

The show moved with a steady but unrelenting momentum for just over an hour, Graham taking the time to sincerely thank everyone for coming out to see them and promising a return visit soon before finishing with a scorched-earth double-shot of “And She Would Darken The Memory” from Fourteen Autumns and “At The Burnside” from Forget The Night Ahead. There was no encore, but there didn’t need to be; that was the proper finish.

Exclaim also has a review of the show.

Photos: The Twilight Sad, Odonis Odonis @ Lee’s Palace – February 29, 2012
MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Another Bed”
MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Kill It In The Morning”
MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Reflection Of The Television”
MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Cold Days From The Birdhouse”
MP3: The Twilight Sad – “That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy”
MP3: Odonis Odonis – “Ledged Up”
Video: The Twilight Sad – “Another Bed”
Video: The Twilight Sad – “Sick”
Video: The Twilight Sad – “The Room”
Video: The Twilight Sad – “Seven Years Of Letters”
Video: The Twilight Sad – “I Became A Prostitute”
Video: The Twilight Sad – “And She Would Darken The Memory”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Ledged Up”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Blood Feast”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Mr. Smith”

Nick Lowe returns to town with a full band for a show at The Phoenix on April 23, tickets $34 in advance and there will be limited seating available. It’s in support of last year’s The Old Magic, from which Lowe has released his first music video in almost two decades – NPR premiered it alongside a conversation with Lowe about the tune.

Video: Nick Lowe – “Sensitive Man”

Finally apparently getting over her fear of playing venues appropriately sized to her fanbase, Laura Marling has announced a June 17 visit to The Phoenix, the final date of a Summer tour. Tickets will be $25 in advance.

Video: Laura Marling – “All My Rage”

Daytrotter has posted a session with Noah & The Whale.

Interview and The Quietus interviews Beth Jeans Houghton, whose Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose is up to stream in whole at Spinner; I wrote this record up a month ago – but the North American release was just this week. But to make up for the delay, there’s a new video!

MP3: Beth Jeans Houghton – “Dodecahedron”
Video: Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny – “Atlas”
Stream: Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny / Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose

Arctic Monkeys have released a new video for a non-album track. They’re at the Air Canada Centre opening for The Black Keys on March 14.

Video: Arctic Monkeys – “R U Mine?”

The lead single from The Wedding Present’s new album Valentina is now available to download. The record is out March 20 – North Americans can preorder the LP version over here – and they play The Horseshoe on March 25.

MP3: The Wedding Present – “You’re Dead”

The most appealing part of the new Belle & Sebastian-curated Late Night Tales compilation coming on March 26 – the band’s cover of The Primitives’ “Crash” – is now available to stream.

Stream: Belle & Sebastian – “Crash”

Also out March 26 is In Time To Voices, the new record from Blood Red Shoes; Artrocker talks to drummer Steve Ansell about the new album.

Allo Darlin’ have released a new video from their forthcoming album Europe, which will be out on April 17.

Video: Allo Darlin’ – “Capricornia”

In conversation with producer Stephen Street, Louder Than War learns that the Blur back catalog is in the process of being remastered for reissue in the near future. And the video from Graham Coxon’s new solo record A+E for which he was soliciting dance audition clips is now live; the album is out April 26.

Video: Graham Coxon – “What’ll It Take”

Pitchfork reports that Hot Chip have completed work on their new album and will release it under the title of In Our Heads on June 12.

Summer Camp has released a new video from their debut album Welcome To Condale.

Video: Summer Camp – “Losing My Mind”

Le Blogotheque has posted a Take-Away Show with Anna Calvi, while Time Out talks to her about her forays into the fashion world and The Music Network inquires about her music.

The Quietus talks to Stuart Staples and David Boulter of Tindersticks about their new record The Something Rain.

DIY talks dating with Charles and Rebecca of Slow Club.

aux.tv gets Los Campesinos! to provide a running commentary of their video for “By Your Hand”.

The Quietus checks in with British Sea Power, presumably working away at their next album.

The Line Of Best Fit salues Black Cab Sessions on the occasion of their 100th episode, and we (I) salute The Line Of Best Fit on the occasion of their fifth anniversary. The Guardian also marks the occasion by picking their five favourite performances.

By : Frank Yang at 8:29 am
Category: Concert Reviews

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  1. Joe says:

    They were godawful opening for Mono last time around, I refused to see them this time around.