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Archive for April, 2012

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Daydreaming

Review of We Are Serenades’ Criminal Heaven and giveaway

Photo by Carl von ArbinCarl von ArbinIf you require an introduction to We Are Serenades – which you probably do – then let it be known that they are the collaborative project of Swedes Adam Olenius, whom you may know as frontman of of Shout Out Louds, and Markus Krunegard, who led an outfit called Laakso. If the latter doesn’t mean that much to you, that’s reasonable as I don’t think they made it overseas at all, and really, Shout Out Louds is really the only reference point you really need for We Are Serenades’ (who were called just “Serenades” until earlier this year) debut Criminal Heaven.

Olenius and Krunegard make a point of singing together across most of the tracks, but Olenius’ faintly Robert Smith-y delivery largely defines the vocals and guest vocals from fellow Shout-er Out Loud Bebban Stenborg, most notably on “Daydreaming”, only serve to make proceedings that much more familiar for fans of the outfit. Musically, it’s more of a stylistic hodge-podge with nods to the electro-, orch-, acoustic-, and power- varietals of pop music but the pastiche largely works in favour of the greater whole. As it’s culled from across a few years of writing and recording sessions during the downtime from their main gigs, it was probably a better idea to simply pull together the strongest selections rather than craft a more cohesive statement. Yeah, it may listen more like a compilation than am album but it’s a good listen and will scratch that certain itch until the next Shout Out Louds record comes along.

We Are Serenades are bringing Criminal Heaven to North America for a Spring tour and will be at The Garrison in Toronto on Monday, May 14. Tickets are $10 in advance but courtesy of Embrace, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want Serenades” in the subject line and your full name in the body and have that in to me before midnight, May 9.

MP3: We Are Serenades – “Birds”
MP3: We Are Serenades – “Oceans”
Video: We Are Serenades – “Birds”
Video: We Are Serenades – “Oceans”
Video: We Are Serenades – “Come Home”
Stream: We Are Serenades / Criminal Heaven

Reunions/hiatus-ends are usually trumpeted with press releases/press conferences so that the whole world knows, but I had no idea The Cardigans were back in action until seeing this interview with Nina Persson at The Guardian. It’s just some Scandinavian (and one Russian and two Japanese) festivals where they’ll be performing all of 1998’s Gran Turismo with no promises of further activity when it’s all done, but the idea of The Cardigans as an active concern, even in limited capacity, makes me happy.

The Quietus talks to Ane Brun; her record It All Starts With One is out tomorrow and she’s in town at The Great Hall on May 10.

A second taste of Sigur Rós’ forthcoming Valtari is available as a streamed BBC radio rip; the album is out May 29 and they play Echo Beach on August 1.

Stream: Sigur Rós – “Varúð”

The Guardian and Irish Times are doing their bit to get people excited about the new Richard Hawley record Standing At The Sky’s Edge, with The Guardian augmenting their feature interview with a stream of the album. It’s out May 7.

Stream: Richard Hawley / Standing At The Sky’s Edge

The Line Of Best Fit offers a precis of an interview with Kevin Shields in the pages of the latest Mojo wherein he offers more concrete information on the alleged new My Bloody Valentine album and EP which could be out before the end of the year. The Loveless, Isn’t Anything, and EP’s 1988-1991 remasters are out May 7.

DIY chats with The Cribs about their new record In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull, out May 15.

Maxïmo Park are streaming the new single from their forthcoming The National Health, out June 11.

Stream: Maxïmo Park – “Hips And Lips”

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with Michael Kiwanuka. He plays The Great Hall on June 19.

The New York Times talks to Dev Hynes about the new, first-person shooter Blood Orange video for “Champagne Coast” from Coastal Grooves.

Video: Blood Orange – “Champagne Coast”

DIY talks to Gerard Love of Lightships.

Magnet Q&As The Twilight Sad as the Scots prepare to take the editorial reins of the magazine’s website this week and fill it with all kinds of doom, gloom, and comic books.

eMusic explores the discography of XTC.

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

"When You Sleep"

The Twilight Singers cover My Bloody Valentine

Photo via WikipediaWikipediaIf the accompanying image this post looks familiar, it may be because I went to this record – The Twilight Singers’ 2004 covers album She Loves You – as recently as last October for a selection. And why not? As I mentioned in that writeup, Greg Dulli is a master of the cover version and any excuse he gives me to listen to or share one of them, I’ll probably take it. And getting The Afghan Whigs back together – as he did this year for live dates both festival and not – counts. So why not post a Whigs-era track, which I’ve got more than a few of? Because he didn’t cover My Bloody Valentine with them, turning the one of the band’s poppiest songs into a loungey piano number (but with guitars – no heresy here) with a Bette Midler coda (really), and the long-awaited MBV reissues – they were announced back in early 2008 to coincide with their own reunion dates – are finally coming out. No really, they are.

Slicing Up Eyeballs has got actual photos of the remastered Loveless and Isn’t Anything reissues as well as the new double-disc EPs 1988-1991 compilation CD sets and after being teased by non-working advances a few times, I finally heard them this weekend. They’re real, people. And they’re out May 7. With so much productivity, maybe the Pitchfork interview where Kevin Shields said a new album was almost done has some truth to it? Of course, just because it’s been recorded doesn’t mean it’ll come out. These releases had been recorded for over twenty years, after all. Bassist Deb Googe clearly isn’t waiting on further MBV activities to fill her calendar; she’s followed Shields’ footsteps and joined Primal Scream.

The Twilight Singers, who released Dynamite Steps just last year, are on the shelf while The Afghan Whigs collect their due over a decade after calling it quits. That they’ve begun announcing North American dates (well, New York) makes me hopeful that more are coming. They’ve been kind of the unofficial soundtrack of my 2012.

MP3: The Twilight Singers – “When You Sleep”
Stream: My Bloody Valentine – “When You Sleep”

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

CONTEST – Ron Sexsmith @ The Queen Elizabeth Theatre – May 17, 2012

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWho: Ron Sexsmith
What: Perennially acclaimed yet underappreciated singer-songwriter who got a little less underappreciated after making the Polaris Prize shortlist last year
Why: The album that got Sexsmith on the aforementioned shortlist – 2011’s Long Player Late Bloomer – continues to gather accolades (he was up for two Juno Awards for it) and justify another hometown date.
When: Thursday, May 17, 2012
Where: The Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto (all-ages)
Who else: Fellow veteran Toronto singer-songwriter Kyp Harness supports
How: Tickets for the show are $29.50 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got one pair of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see Ron Sexsmith” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, May 13.

Video: Ron Sexsmith – “Late Bloomer” (live)

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

CONTEST – La Sera @ The Shop Under Parts & Labour – May 13, 2012

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWho: La Sera
What: (Relatively) shinier but just as poppy side-project from Vivian Girls bassist Katy Goodman.
Why: She’s touring in support of her second album Sees The Light, which was just released in March.
When: Sunday, May 13, 2012
Where: The Shop Under Parts & Labour (19+)
Who else: Not sure yet, to be honest.
How: Tickets for the show are $10.50 in advance but courtesy of Embrace, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want La Sera” in the subject line and your full name in the body and have that to me before midnight, May 9.
What else: Fuse, Clash, and Toro have interviews with Goodman.

MP3: La Sera – “Please Be My Third Eye”
MP3: La Sera – “Never Come Around”
MP3: La Sera – “Break My Heart”
MP3: La Sera – “Devil’s Hearts Grow Gold”
Video: La Sera – “Real Boy/Drive On”
Video: La Sera – “Please Be My Third Eye”
Video: La Sera – “Never Come Around”
Video: La Sera – “Devil’s Hearts Grow Cold”

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Of Songs

Songs to see and hear from Bruce Peninsula, Army Girls, Purity Ring and more

Photo By Norman WongNorman WongWe’re going to close out the week with some new and hopefully interesting stuff to listen to, domestic-style. Unless you’re not Canadian in which case this will all be strange and foreign and exotic. Whoooooo!

Last week, Bruce Peninsula were teasing on their website that something big was coming as of April 24 and they weren’t kidding. And it’s literally big – an epic-sized, three-part, almost 14-minute song cycle entitled “Of Songs” that takes the band’s choral gospel-blues sound in unexpectedly experimental directions. It’s available to stream – as below – or buy. It would be interesting to see them try and recreate this live when they play The Great Hall on May 24, but it’s probably a safer bet that you’ll just hear a lot of last year’s Open Flames. Which is also just fine.

Stream: Bruce Peninsula – “Of Songs”

Also out of Toronto but with a lineup the fraction of the size, Army Girls have debuted a new single over at Exclaim which will be made available for free at their Bandcamp starting May 1. And while you’re there, stream (and buy) their excellent debut EP Close To The Bone. They’re at The Garrison tonight supporting Hot Kid and there again the evening of May 15 opening up for PS I Love You.

Stream: Army Girls – “Twice”

The Elwins released a limited edition CD for Record Store Day containing a remix and their cover of Beyonce’s “Countdown” with Born Ruffians singer Luke Lalonde, and for those who didn’t get one of the copies they also promised to make it available for free online – which they have. Dorkshelf has an interview with Feurd from the band.

MP3: The Elwins with Luke Lalonde – “Countdown” (Beyonce cover)
Video: The Elwins with Luke Lalonde – “Countdown” (Beyonce cover)

Edmonton’s Purity Ring dominated the internet this week with the announcement that their debut album Shrines would be out on July 24 and giving away the first MP3 from it. Exclaim has details on it, including Summer tour dates which include two Toronto dates – June 14 at Wrongbar as part of NXNE and July 6 at The Music Hall opening for Dirty Projectors (Exclaim doesn’t actually note that date but it’s legit).

MP3: Purity Ring – “Obedear”

Speaking of PS I Love You (we were earlier, try to pay attention), Chart has posted a video session, a second Paper Bag Sessions vid has been released and a stream of another new song from Death Dreams, out May 8. And as mentioned, they kick off their Summer tour in support of it May 15 at The Garrison.

Stream: PS I Love You – “Don’t Go”
Video: PS I Love You – “Sentimental Dishes” (Paper Bag Sessions)

Rose Cousins has released a first video from her excellent We Have Made A Spark; she’s at The Rivoli on May 3.

Video: Rose Cousins – “Go First”

Patrick Watson talks to CBC Radio 3 about his new album Adventures In Your Own Backyard, from which he’s just released a video. He plays the Music Hall on May 29.

Video: Patrick Watson – “Into Giants”

Cold Specks has released a new video from I Predict A Graceful Expulsion, out May 22, and the Swans cover she had on a Record Store Day release is up to stream. She plays the Music Hall on June 2 opening up for Great Lake Swimmers.

Stream: Cold Specks – “Reeling The Liars In” (Swans cover)
Video: Cold Specks – “Blank Maps”

NYC Taper has shared a recording of Plants & Animals’ show in New York last week. They’ll be back in Toronto for NXNE on June 15 at Yonge-Dundas Square

It seems to be all about the side-project for Toronto musicians of late; Ohbijou’s Casey Mecija is the latest to do a little moonlighting, adopting the name of Warm Myth for her collaboration with Keiran Adams of Everything All The Time; they’ve got some songs up at Soundcloud. Also keeping Mecija busy of late has been The Blot, a monthly collaborative art-music project that pairs images – see the Tumblr above – with sounds – see the Bandcamp. And Ohbijou is still being tended to; they play a free show at Pecault Square on June 17 for LuminaTO.

Stream: Warm Myth – “Working”

The Star-Tribune and The Republic have interviews with Kathleen Edwards, who is also doing a free LuminaTO show at Pecault Square; she’s there the afternoon of June 16.

Her show is part of a double-bill with Dan Mangan, who has a Daytrotter session that’s just gone live as well as an interview at The Oxford Student.

The National Post and Ottawa Citizen chat with Joel Plaskett, coming to town for two shows at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on May 18 and 19.

New York Magazine profiles Grimes.