Tuesday, April 10th, 2012
The Warmth Of The Sun
Review of Lightships’ Electric Cables
Cat StevensloresThe general assumption as to whoy Teenage Fanclub release albums so infrequently – 2010’s Shadows was just their third effort in the 21st century, assuming you count 2000 as part of this millenium – is that despite having three superb songwriters in their ranks, they just work very, very slowly; if this is true, then clearly bassist Gerard Love isn’t the limiting factor. Based on Electric Cables, the debut album from his solo project as Lightships, he has no shortage of songs at the ready and most are as good as anything he’s contributed to the Fannies over the past decade.
Backed by a band of Scottish all-stars recruited from Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian and The Pastels, Love has crafted a record of gorgeously bucolic pop songs marked by Love’s airy vocals and guitar and flute lines gently bouncing off of one another. The notes aren’t content to simply jangle and decay, but rather hang suspended, shimmering in the air. Cables possesses enough energy and buzz to keep from coming across as too ephemeral, but the prevailing vibe is the return of and a return to nature and given the prevalence of pastoral themes in the song titles – “Photosynthesis”, “Sunlight To The Dawn”, “Muddy Rivers” to name a few – one can only assume that this is deliberate and not just a happy coincidence.
Let this be your soundtrack to Spring, and if it just so happens to linger in your ears through the rest of the seasons, then so be it. Norman Blake may have been first with his breezy Jonny side-project and while he’s not fronting it, it’s good to see Raymond McGinley active extra-circularly in Snowgoose, but Lightships is what every Fannies fan hopes for in a Teenage Fanclub side-project in that it sounds like Teenage Fanclub. Which is to say beautiful.
NPR is streaming the whole of Spiritualized’s Sweet Heart Sweet Light ahead of its release next week. Rolling Stone talks to Jason Pierce about the new album and Pitchfork finds out what he was thinking when he selected the album art. They play The Phoenix on May 5.
JAM, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Georgia Straight talk to Elvis Costello about busting out the “The Spectacular Spinning Songbook” for his recent tours, though it won’t be in play when he’s at Casino Rama on April 19 – guess they prefer people do their gambling on the casino floor than in the theatre. The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook live CD/DVD culled from the Summer 2011 leg of the tour came out last week.
Pitchfork points out that Field Music are streaming their contribution to this year’s Record Store Day release schedule; a 7″ featuring a cover of Pet Shop Boys’ “Rent”, which kicked off a mini PSB marathon over these parts; never a bad thing.
Stream: Field Music – “Rent”
Video: Django Django – “Storm”
In the, “karmic balance for Anglophiles” department: Jarvis Cocker and Kevin Shields, in conversation with Shortlist and Pitchfork respectively, reveal that new material from both Pulp and My Bloody Valentine could be in the works – Pulp were also on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night – but Damon Albarn tells The Guardian in very few uncertain terms that Blur – and Gorillaz if you care about Gorillaz – are probably over following a final single and the Hyde Park show this Summer. DIY looks at what the definitive end of Blur would mean for the band’s legacy.
New to my ears lately are Swedish duo The Deer Tracks, whose two mini-albums so far – The Archer Trilogy P1 1 and The Archer Trilogy Pt. 2 (part three is out this Fall) – remind me not a little of early Múm, which is a good thing indeed. Also good is their North American tour this Summer is missing a Toronto date at the moment, but there’s a conspicuous two-day gap between Chicago and Montreal that just happens to fall during NXNE. So yeah.
Pitchfork reports that another co-ed Swedish duo with a penchant for electronics – jj – will release a new single/EP/something entitled jj n° 4 on May 8, and the first track from it is now available to download.
Anna Ternheim has announced the June 5 North American release of her new record The Night Visitor and offered a first sample for downloading and listening purposes.
The second video from Ladyhawke’s Anxiety, out May 29, is now available to watch.
Video: Ladyhawke – “Sunday Drive”