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Archive for May, 2012

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

CONTEST – Archers Of Loaf @ The Phoenix – June 16, 2012

Photo By Sandlin GaitherSandlin GaitherWho: Archers Of Loaf
What: Legendary ’90s college rock outfit led by Eric Bachmann who unexpectedly reunited last year to mark the re-releases of their back catalog and also to show the kids how it’s done. How what’s done? How EVERYTHING is done.
Why: The Archers have slowly but steadily been hitting major (and minor) markets and finally, it’s Toronto’s turn. And while the show isn’t technically part of NXNE – though a number of wristband-holders will be admitted – the Archers documentary live film What Did You Expect? will be making its world premiere at the festival the night before.
When: Saturday, June 16, 2012
Where: The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto (19+)
Who else: Toronto’s Metz open up.
How: Tickets for the show are $25.50 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts and Merge, I’ve got a grand prize pack consisting of one pair of passes to the show and copies of both reissues so far – Icky Mettle and Vee Vee – on LP and a second prize of a pair of passes to the show to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to be an “Archer of Loaf-crosse” (yes, that’s right) in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body; if you don’t want the records and just want to be entered for the passes, make a note of that in the email. Contest closes at midnight, June 8.

MP3: Archers Of Loaf – “What Did You Expect”
MP3: Archers Of Loaf – “Wrong”
MP3: Archers Of Loaf – “Harnessed In Slums”

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

CONTEST – Bry Webb and Del Bel @ 918 Bathurst – June 1, 2012

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWho: Bry Webb and Del Bel
What: A bill featuring the creators of two of the strongest local releases of last year. That would be former Constantines frontman Webb’s solo debut Provider and local orchestral noir collective Del Bel’s debut Oneiric.
Why: It’s a little bit homecoming for Del Bel, currently wrapping up an eastern Canadian tour, and a little bit release show for their new single featuring a duet between vocalist Lisa Conway and Bry Webb, and a lot Wavelength.
When: Friday, June 1, 2012
Where: 918 Bathurst in Toronto (all-ages)
Who else: Lisa Bozikovic, currently touring with Del Bel, rounds out the bill.
How: Tickets for the show are $12 in advance but courtesy of Wavelength, I’ve got a pair of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want a Cure For Loneliness” in the subject line and your full name in the body and have that in to me before midnight, May 30.
What else: The Toronto Star looks at the creative process behind Del Bel.

MP3: Del Bel featuring Bry Webb – “No Cure For Loneliness”

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Choose To Play

Redd Kross have the Blues

Photo By Jon KropJon KropI don’t think anyone necessarily expected anything more from Redd Kross than what they’d been offering since reconvening after a decade apart in 2006. Which is to say sporadic live shows – mainly at festivals like NXNE 2008 – where they made their fanbase feel like they were teenagers again by way of their prototypical Californian bubblegum power-pop, as captured on classics of the genre like Phaseshifter and Neurotica. Nothing wrong with that, not at all.

But there’s also nothing wrong with taking a time-tested formula and whipping up another batch of what works so come August 7, Merge Records – who are taking their role as home for wayward ’90s rock acts seriously – will release Researching The Blues, the band’s seventh album and first since 1997’s Show World. It features the Neurotica-era lineup of Jeff McDonald, Steven McDonald, Robert Hecker and Roy McDonald and using the just-released title track MP3 as a reference, it’s pretty evident that the band are capable of sounding as snotty, riffy and hooky in their 40s as they did in their teens. Which is great.

The Los Angeles Times talks to Steven McDonald about taking the reunion from the stage into the studio.

MP3: Redd Kross – “Researching The Blues”

Their names may sound like they’re taken from a guidebook on how to name your band in a quintessentially nonsensical ’00s manner, but both of New York’s Bear Hands and Fort Lean come with a legitimate amount of buzz – so it could be worth heading to The Drake on July 25 to see them.

MP3: Bear Hands – “What A Drag”
MP3: Fort Lean – “Sunsick”

Speaking of veterans of the ’90s college rock scene – we were, try to keep up – Sebadoh is back in action, with plans to release a new EP this Summer, follow that with a North American tour that stops at The Horseshoe on August 20 and then release their first new full-length since 1999’s The Sebadoh early next year.

MP3: Sebadoh – “Skull”

Interview and Elle talk to Exitmusic, in town at Wrongbar on June 16 for NXNE. They’ve put out a video from their just-released debut Passage.

Video: Exitmusic – “The Night”

Also at NXNE and with a new video are A Place To Bury Strangers; here’s an interview with the band at NXNE, they’re at The El Mocambo on June 14, and their new record Worship is out June 26.

Video: A Place To Bury Strangers – “You Are One”

Daytrotter has a session with Father John Misty, back in town at The Opera House on July 12 opening for Youth Lagoon. There’s also features at The Dallas Observer and Creative Loafing.

The Stool Pigeon talks to Bethany Cosentino and The Aspen Times to Bobb Bruno, both of Best Coast. They’re at The Phoenix on July 21.

Bob Mould tells The Quietus why the Sugar reissues – their three albums are being re-released in expanded and remastered form come July 24 – is being accompanied by a new incarnation of the Bob Mould band rather than a proper Sugar reunion, and it’s not because he, David Barbe and Malcolm Travis don’t get along.

Jim James talks to Rolling Stone about his plans for the next Yim Yames solo record. He will be with My Morning Jacket at Echo Beach on August 15.

Pitchfork talks to Mark Kozelek about the new Sun Kil Moon record Among The Leaves, out Tuesday. Kozelek still hasn’t canceled his October 3 date at The Great Hall.

Room 205 has posted the first installment of a video session with Blouse.

CNN interviews Derek Miller of Sleigh Bells, who have a new video from Reign Of Terror.

Video: Sleigh Bells – “Demons”

Retribution Gospel Choir have also got a new video, this one taken from their Revolution EP.

Video: Retribution Gospel Choir – “Maharisha”

NPR has begun checking in with Neko Case as she gets to work on her first new album since 2009’s Middle Cyclone.

Pitchfork has a stream of a new song from The National, taken from the Game Of Thrones soundtrack. Not sure how I feel about them taking up the banner for House Lannister.

Stream: The National – “The Rains Of Castomere”

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Wonderland

NYC Popfest with Allo Darlin’, The Ladybug Transistor, The Wave Pictures, and White Town at Littlefield in Brooklyn

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangNYC Popfest is wonderful for many reasons, not least of which is a built-in excuse to jet off to New York for the May long weekend. I did so back in 2009 when The Radio Dept. as headliners were enough to get me out to two nights, and while I was already planning on being in town this year regardless, the opportunity to see Allo Darlin’ – who were skipping Toronto on their tour in support of Europe after visiting last year – close the festival out was to be happily accepted.

The Sunday itinerary was a marathon of sorts, starting mid-afternoon and running into the night. I had other stuff to do that day so I only made it to Littlefield in time for the last four acts, starting with White Town. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because England’s Jyoti Mishra has had more worldwide hits than pretty much everyone else on the Popfest lineup – which is to say, one. “Your Woman” was a smash way back in 1997 and while to most White Town is the epitome of one-hit wonder, it was nice to see Mishra happily still making music and releasing records, his flukey brush with success achieved on his own terms. A funny and genial fellow, he performed solo and acoustic overtop pre-recorded backing tracks and proved to have equal facility with twee strummy pop and more electronic-based compositions and you know what? “Your Woman”? Solid tune.

I feel a bit ashamed that I hadn’t ever heard Leicstershire’s Wave Pictures before this evening, despite them having released double digits of albums – the latest being Long Black Cars, collaborated with the likes of Hefner and The Mountain Goats, and were touring with Allo Darlin’ for the past month. But better late than never, yeah? They came with all the hallmarks of good British indie-pop – clever lyrics, sharp melodies – but distinguished themselves with a few forays into crooning ballads and David Tattersall’s serious guitar chops. This isn’t a style of music that you’ll often hear guitarists step up and tear off an extended solo, but Tattersall’s leads were really stylish and interesting, and not just to other guitarists (I would hope). Excellent stuff, and I’ll be dipping my toe into their extensive discography soon enough.

Watching The Ladybug Transistor, I had a sudden sense of deja vu, and that’s because I saw them right here in New York – okay, Manhattan – on a whim back in 2009 at The Cake Shop. Since that show, they’d released a new album in Clutching Stems and though I haven’t heard it – I’ve only a very passing familiarity with their stuff – it was a good set, with their American-ness very much contrasting with the other acts’ British-ness, though not quite in the way you might expect. Their style of pop was very ornate and sophisticated while the other acts’ rawer, C86-ish roots was still evident. They closed their set with a dedication to Robin Gibb, who’d passed away earlier in the day, and in the process were the bearers of bad news to some fans who’d been sequestered away in this corner of Brooklyn all day. Alas.

Every time I’ve written up one of Allo Darlin’s records, the gist of it has been how despite their being an indie pop band, the strength of their songwriting comes from a wistful, melancholic streak. Which is all well and good, but fails to point out that the reason they still qualify as an indie pop band is because they’re a damn good indie-pop band live, what with the big, bouncy, hand clappy pop moves. Their set largely stuck to the uptempo notes of their two records – “Capricornia” and “The Polaroid Song” being highlights, as was Elizabeth Morris trading her ukulele for a Fender Mustang for a few songs of added rock power – and certainly made my night by playing both sides of last year’s “Darren” 7″, including their cover of The French’s “Wu Tang Clan” which I thought would have gotten more of a response from the New York audience, but maybe the Popfest crowd just isn’t down with the Wu. They did slow it down to open the encore with Morris playing the lovely “Tallulah” solo, but closed out on the highest of high notes with members of Wave Pictures and Ladybug Transistor’s Gary Olson subbing in for Monster Bobby on “Dreaming”.

The Hartford Courant interviews Allo Darlin’ and The Daily Reville checks in with Wave Pictures.

Photos: Allo Darlin’, The Ladybug Transistor, The Wave Pictures, White Town @ Littlefield – May 21, 2012
MP3: Allo Darlin’ – “My Heart Is A Drummer”
MP3: Allo Darlin’ – “Dreaming”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “Clutching Stems”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “Breaking Up On The Beat”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “Splendor In The Grass”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “The Reclusive Hero”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “A Burial At Sea”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “People In My Sleep”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Front From The Front”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Notes For A Book On Buster Keaton”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “I Saw Your Hair Between The Trees”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Long Island”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “We Sugared Our Apples”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Chinese Takeaway”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Leave The Scene Behind”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “Capricornia”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “Tallulah”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “My Heart Is A Drummer”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “If Loneliness Was Art”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “Dreaming”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “The Polaroid Song”
Video: The Ladybug Transistor – “Always On The Telephone”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Spaghetti”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Eskimo Kiss”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “If You Leave It Alone”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Blue Harbour”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Little Surprise”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Sweetheart”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “I Love You Like A Madman”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Just Like A Drummer”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Strange Fruit For David”
Video: White Town – “Invisible Elastic”
Video: White Town – “Missing Her Again”
Video: White Town – “She’s A Lot Like You”
Video: White Town – “Cut Out My Heart”
Video: White Town – “Make The World Go Away”
Video: White Town – “Undressed”
Video: White Town – “Your Woman”

Belfast post-rock maniacs And So I Watch You From Afar will be at The Horseshoe on July 14, tickets $10.50 in advance.

MP3: And So I Watch You From Afar – “The Voiceless”

How do we know The xx have a new record in the can? They’ve announced an intimate North American tour that brings them to The Phoenix on July 28, tickets $30, on sale Friday. It counts as intimate because they could easily play a room three times that size; I mean really, they already have.

MP3: The xx – “Basic Space”

DIY has an interview with Saint Etienne, whose new album Words & Music By Saint Etienne is streaming in whole at NPR ahead of its release next week.

Stream: Saint Etienne / Words & Music By Saint Etienne

Interview talks to Dev Hynes of Blood Orange about his history with Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine.

Prefix talks to Hannah Thurlow of 2:54 about their plans to conquer North America with their self-titled debut, out May 29 release. They play Lee’s Palace on June 15 as part of NXNE.

Hot Chip have released a new video from the forthcoming In Our Heads, out June 12. They’re at The Sound Academy on July 15.

Video: Hot Chip – “Night & Day”

J Spaceman of Spiritualized details a life of musical influences for Pitchfork.

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Sound Go Round

Dressy Bessy at Littlefield in Brooklyn

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIf anyone were to ask – and really they’re not – this long weekend jaunt to New York was most definitely not a music trip. It was a shopping/eating/visiting/just getting out of Toronto trip, yes, but not a “music” trip as so many of my getaways tend to be. So that I ended up at shows the first two nights I was in town was purely mostly coincidence.

I mean, I hadn’t even thought about Denver’s Dressy Bessy in the better part of a decade. I saw them at The Horseshoe way back in 2002 circa Sound Go Round – pre-blog era, yo – but lost interest not long after that and they haven’t exactly fought their way back onto my radar, having not released an album since 2008’s HOLLERandSTOMP. But here they were, still together and getting ready to put out a series of singles this Summer, and here I was, in an apartment just a few blocks from Littlefield in Brooklyn and in town with friends who wanted to go. And so we went.

And though Dressy Bessy were ostensibly the headliner on the bill over former Dream Syndicate leader Steve Wynn and his Miracle 3, they went on first – just as well since the day was beginning to catch up with me. The turnout was relatively light – perhaps some of their audience was peeled off by NYC Popfest, which this show could easily have been part of but wasn’t – but the band seemed bound and determined to have a good time of it regardless. Though they’re associated with the Elephant 6 scene and all the tweeness that can come with that, they were refreshingly loud and garagey/glammy in performance – I really wished I had earplugs – yet still bouncy and fun, with the energy of a band that doesn’t play much live but still really enjoys it. And as I remembered from that one time I saw them a decade ago, Tammy Ealom still has a curious relationship with the concept of pitch – her singing isn’t accurate, at least not with respect to the Western musical scale, but it is precise. It’s really kind of interesting.

Only stuck around for a little bit of Steve Wynn’s set – see above about being tired – but stayed long enough to a) hear Dream Syndicate’s “That’s What You Always Say”, which I know mostly from Luna’s cover, and b) acknowledge that Steve Wynn is a shit-hot guitarist. ‘Tis true.

Photos: Dressy Bessy @ Littlefield – May 19, 2012
MP3: Dressy Bessy – “Ringalingaling”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Hey Alice!”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Pretty Pleaze”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Automatic”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Anyone Can See”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Ease Me Down”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Dressed The Part”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Do You Whisper”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Roundabout”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “In Your Headphones”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Left To The Right”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Simple Girlz”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Shoot I Love You”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Ten Million Stars”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Electrified”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Better Luck”

The Afghan Whigs have released their first single in a half-decade, a cover of Marie “Queenie” Lyons’ “See And Don’t See”, and have made it available as a free download. They kick off their 2012 reunion tomorrow night at New York’s Bowery Ballroom – if I were staying here one extra day, I’d have moved heaven and earth to get a ticket. Instead, I will go home and feed the cat.

MP3: The Afghan Whigs – “See And Don’t See”

The Alternate Side has a video session with White Rabbits, playing the Mod Club on June 14 for NXNE.

The first track from Major, the second album from Fang Island, is available to download. The record is out July 12.

MP3: Fang Island – “Asunder”

Having had to cancel last week’s show at The Horseshoe, Maps & Atlases have rescheduled for July 17, same venue. The New York Daily News and Courier-Post have interviews.

MP3: Maps & Atlases – “Winter”

DIY, Seattle Times, and Clash talk to Best Coast. They’re at The Phoenix on July 21.

Merge Records continues their duties as archivists of the ’90s with remasters and reissues of all of the Sugar albums. Copper Blue and Beaster will be collected as one double-LP/triple-CD set and File Under: Easy Listening on its own, both with attendant b-sides and live material. There will probably not be a more essential musical release this year, folks. They’re out July 24 and you can download live versions of three Copper Blue songs by Bob Mould earlier this Spring at Slicing Up Eyeballs.

Filter and The Telegraph have features on Sharon Van Etten, playing the Phoenix on July 31.

For No One has a video session and Drowned In Sound an interview with School Of Seven Bells.

Ardent Studios welcomes Shearwater for a video session and Under The Radar has a feature piece.

Spinner interviews Chairlift.

The Guardian has a feature interview with Beach House and The Line Of Best Fit points to where you can watch the whole of their record release show in New York last week.

Perfume Genius has made a non-album track that’s been showing up in live sets available to download.

MP3: Perfume Genius – “Rusty Chains”

The AV Club has posted part five of their R.E.M. timeline/retrospective.