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Archive for June, 2012

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

An Argument With Myself

Jens Lekman to tour, finally acknowledge he’s got more than a couple hundred fans

Photo By Kristin Lidell Kristin LidellIt may sound a bit heretical at first but there’ve been genuine problems with Jens Lekman’s visits to Toronto. These aren’t to do with the performances themselves, which have more than ably showcased the droll with and songcraft that have earned the Swedish troubadour legions of fans worldwide, or even a comment on the fact that they’ve been so few and far between, with just three shows in the past seven years.

No, the real problem is that despite having no shortage of those aforementioned legions of fans located in Hogtown, he’s always chosen to play rooms that can’t possibly hold them all and while the lucky ones who get tickets are treated to a lovely and intimate evening, many more are left out in the cold (perhaps literally, given his penchant for playing encores out on the street). His March 2005 Wavelength show packed Sneaky Dee’s and when he returned as promised for a show the following Summer, it was at the even-smaller Music Gallery. His return in April 2008 in support of Night Falls On Kortedala was originally supposed to be two nights at the Music Gallery but was condensed into a single night at The Great Hall; better, but still not nearly capable of meeting demand – especially with no less than Owen Pallett opening up.

All of which is to say that even though I like the cozy shows as much as anyone, it’s a relief that the Fall tour that he’s just announced to coincide with the September 4 release of his new record I Know What Love Isn’t will be at The Phoenix on October 4. Yeah, it’s a room bigger than the other three he’s played here combined and probably no one’s favourite venue in the city but at least you’ll probably be able to get a ticket.

Though don’t take that for granted. Supporting him on this tour is an artist with no small amount of cachet herself, country(wo)man and new labelmate Victoria Bergsmann, aka Taken By Trees, who will have her own new record in Other Worlds to promote. She was last here in February 2010 so you know her own not-inconsiderable fanbase will be itching to get a spot.

All of which is to say when the $20 tickets go on sale this morning, don’t dilly-dally. But if you take a few minutes to watch the first video from Love – premiered at Spin and featuring Jens fully embracing his inevitable baldness to say nothing of some “Careless Whisper”-level sax stylings – that’s probably okay.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “An Argument With Myself”
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Anna”
Video: Jens Lekman – “Erica America”

It won’t end well if you don’t hurry to get tickets for Bloc Party’s own return to town on September 10 at The Music Hall. Their own hiatus – which ends with the release of Four on August 21 – hasn’t been so long that their fanbase has diminished much if at all and they were playing much bigger rooms than this before. Tickets are $25 and $35, on sale tomorrow at 10AM.

MP3: Bloc Party – “Banquet”

Australian electronic duo The Presets are also back with a new record entitled Pacifica on September 14 and it comes with its own promotional website – youthintrouble.com – and a North American tour that hits the Music Hall on October 23.

Video: The Presets – “If I Know You”

Sigur Rós takes Filter through the making of Valtari, track-by-track, video-style. They’re at Echo Beach on August 1.

Rolling Stone has got a stream of a new song from The Raveonettes’ forthcoming album Observator. It’s out on September 11 and they’re at The Phoenix on October 2.

Stream: The Raveonettes – “Observations”

Efterklang have assigned a September 25 release date to their new record Piramida; Exclaim has details and there’s a trailer.

Trailer: Efterklang / Piramida

Spin talks to Swedish electro-pop duo Icona Pop.

The Hives play a studio session for AOL Music and talk turkey with Spin.

Daytrotter sessions up with Mystery Jets.

Laura Marling chats with The Owl and mentions that album number four is written, currently being recorded, and may well be released before the end of the world year.

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Celebration Rock

Japandroids and Cadence Weapon at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThere’s a point in the arc of the breakout band where long-time fans who’ve supported and encouraged the artist through those early days find themselves in the odd position of rubbing elbows not with the faithful but newbs and tourists, interested not in hearing the songs that soundtracked crucial points in their life but that one tune they heard on the radio. For fans of Vancouver duo Japandroids, that time has come and for those in Toronto, that specific moment was Saturday night where on the strength of their second album Celebration Rock, they not only proved they could play clubs the size of Lee’s Palace, but jam it to the gills. And I report on this not as one of those die-hards but one of the newbs.

It wasn’t quite the top-40 scenario sketched out above, but it is true that while I didn’t care for the duo’s 2009 debut Post-Nothing, I was wholly and unexpectedly taken with Celebration Rock and its righteous classic rockism. And I was hardly the only one as the band’s story has turned from having almost called it quits prior to making this record into being one of the most talked-about rock bands of the moment, to say nothing of a spot on the 2012 Polaris Prize longlist with more than reasonable chances of making the short. Yeah, they’re having a pretty good year.

And if they needed someone to discuss the spotlight with, then they could do worse than their tourmate Rollie Pemberton, aka Cadence Weapon, who had himself made the Polaris long list with his third album Hope In Dirt City and who had previously shortlisted with his 2005 debut Breaking Kayfabe. The bill had just completed tours together in the UK and US and as Japandroids guitarist explained as he took the mic before their set, he’d taken to introducing Cadence Weapon to their audience as a way of explaining why a crowd who’d come to see a white noise rock band was about to be warmed up by a hip-hop artist. He did, however, also acknowledge that this was their first show together in Canada and that Cadence Weapon probably didn’t need any hype man in his home country; indeed, to hear Pemberton tell it on Dirt City, he “don’t need a fuckin’ hype man” at all.

In any case, Pemberton performed as though he was thrilled to be playing to audiences where he didn’t necessarily have to justify his presence. His set was part performance, part conversation where he would offer some backstory, some anecdote or otherwise just chat between songs – good for engagement, not so great for pacing or keeping the momentum going. It did get going though, thanks to the crowd getting more and more into it as the show progressed, and while the spartan beats that work well on the Dirt City recordings sounded a bit thin in the live setting, that was more than offset by the amount of energy and expression that Pemberton threw into the performance.

Building momentum wasn’t any kind of problem for Japandroids’ set. Though some have cited Celebration Rock‘s unrelenting pace as a shortcoming – not unreasonably – it was nothing but a positive for their live show, as after another short introduction by King, he and drummer David Prowse – not David Prowse – burst out of the gates with “The Boys Are Leaving Town” and basically didn’t let up with the fist pumping adrenaline or hand clapping anthemicism for the next 80 minutes or so. This was my first Japandroids show ever – see above about newbiness – and even though I’d seen two-piece acts before, the massiveness of their sound was really impressive. The dual Fender Twins/Marshall full stack/Ampeg SVT backline that King plugs his Telecaster into sound massive and also looks it – perfect for doing guitar hero poses in front of, particularly when you’ve got a fan situated sidestage providing windswept hair effects (and cooling things off, of course) to go with the Springsteen-approved white button-down and blue jeans look.

You couldn’t escape the Springsteen-ness of the music, either. Though the older material still sounded a bit generic to my ears, the Celebration Rock stuff translated as well from record to stage as impressively as you could hope, particularly with hundreds of fans singing along. Sweaty and rank fans, certainly – I had to flee their churning mosh pit after four songs – but absolutely devout and unquestionably enthusiastic. And young. Their new record may be a celebration of rock but it’s also a celebration of youth, and I can appreciate how while it just sounds like a great rock record to me, it can connect on a much deeper level to their demographic. It was quite something see; I just didn’t need to be in the middle of it anymore.

If his emcee role earlier in the evening wasn’t a hint, Brian King made it clear pretty quickly he liked to talk to the audience when he wasn’t rocking their faces off, explaining the songs, recounting tour stories, and thanking the fans. You definitely got the sense that he wasn’t taking their recent successes for granted and was genuinely grateful for it all; I’ve little doubt that this is going to be a momentous couple years for the duo as the record propels them forward – it’s good to see that they’re going into this with the right attitude.

It was amusing to hear him call album closer, “Continuous Thunder” a “slow jam” but I suppose that relative to most everything else in their repertoire, it was the thoughtful, contemplative mid-tempo number. They closed with their cover of The Gun Club’s “For The Love Of Ivy”, warning in advance that there would be no encore as they intended to give it their all. The same could have been said about their entire show and no, they weren’t kidding. Intense.

The National Post was also on hand for a review. The double bill has rightfully been leaving quite a trail of press clippings in their wake. There’s Japandroids features at The Phoenix, Denver Westword, Post City, Vulture, The Montreal Mirror, Cleveland.com, and The New York Times while Pemberton talks to The AV Club, The Grid, The Winnipeg Free Press, The National Post (who also take him shopping in Toronto), The Montreal Gazette, and The Edmonton Journal.

Photos: Japandroids, Cadence Weapon @ Lee’s Palace – June 23, 2012
MP3: Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built”
MP3: Japandroids – “Young Hearts Spark Fire”
MP3: Japandroids – “Wet Hair”
MP3: Japandroids – “Heavenward Grand Prix”
MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Conditioning”
MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Real Estate”
Video: Cadence Weapon – “Get On Down”
Video: Cadence Weapon – “Conditioning”
Video: Cadence Weapon – “Real Estate”
Video: Cadence Weapon – “Sharks”

Billboard talks to Neil Young and director Jonathan Demme about the Neil Young: Journeys documentary that’s coming out June 29. Young leads Crazy Horse into the ACC on November 24.

And just announced as openers for that Neil Young show and others on the tour – ladies and gentlemen, The Sadies.

MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”

Over at The National Post, Nils Edenloff of The Rural Alberta Advantage explains why opening up for The Tragically Hip at Burl’s Creek on Canada Day next weekend is such a big deal for him. He also talks to The Barrie Advance about the show.

Ragged Gold, the debut album from Guelph disco-pop brother act The Magic is out this week and available to stream in its entirety, along with track-by-track band annotations at DIY. They’re opening up for Hot Chip at The Sound Academy on July 15 and will play their own show at The Theatre Centre on August 10 as part of Summerworks.

MP3: The Magic – “Door To Door”
Stream: The Magic / Ragged Gold

Edmonton’s Purity Ring have released another taste of their forthcoming debut Shrines. They’re at The Music Hall on July 6 supporting Dirty Projectors and are featured by The National Post and Spinner.

MP3: Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”

Macleans has posted the full Q&A of their interview with Don Pyle of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, whose reunion hits Lee’s Palace on July 14, and Exclaim has a video of one of their comeback gigs at St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club.

MP3: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – “13”

DIY has a video session with and aux.tv some video commentary from Al Spx of Cold Specks. She leads her band into The Great Hall on August 8.

Opening up that show is Snowblink and they’ll be previewing material from their just-confirmed new album Inner Classics. It’s due out September 11 and details on the release can be found at Exclaim, and a first track can be downloaded below.

MP3: Snowblink – “Black & White Mountain”

Each Note Secure chats with Great Lake Swimmers, opening up for Blue Rodeo at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 20.

Stars have revealed details of their next album – it will be called The North, be out September 4, and at least one song will sound like this. As for details of their next tour…

MP3: Stars – “The Theory Of Relativity”

…They will be hooking up with Metric for a cross-Canada tour that brings them to the Air Canada Centre on November 24. Not quite stadium love, but arena ain’t bad. The Globe & Mail and eMusic have feature pieces on the band and DIY and The Line Of Best Fit chip in video sessions. And another track from Synthetica has been made available to download.

MP3: Metric – “Clone”
MP3: Metric – “Artificial Nocturne”

Spinner gets a preview on the visual and audio direction that Diamond Rings will be taking with his second album; a video for the first single from it was just released.

Video: Diamond Rings – “I’m Just Me”

The Grid chatted with Dan Bejar of Destroyer ahead of last weekend’s show at The Opera House.

Chains Of Love have released a new video from Strange Grey Days and if you head over to Nylon, you can grab another track from the album to download. Note that it’s uncompressed so have some disk space open…

AIFF: Chains Of Love – “Mistake Lover”
Video: Chains Of Love – “He’s Leaving With Me”

Daytrotter has a session with Kathryn Calder.

CBC Music solicits PS I Love You frontman Paul Saulnier’s five favourite songs of the last 20 years.

The Take chats with The Elwins.

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Yours, Mine and Ours

Joe Pernice & Norman Blake at The Dakota Tavern in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI don’t think Toronto necessarily has an international reputation as a destination for expatriate pop geniuses, but apparently Canadian women hold a certain appeal for them. Joe Pernice of Pernice Brothers has been up here for the better part of eight years while Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub moved to Kitchener a couple years ago – both on account of their Canadian wives – and on Friday night, they were on stage together at The Dakota Tavern for a low-key show together. It had been advertised as a Joe Pernice show with the promise of a “special guest”, and while a show from Joe alone would be worth pencilling into the calendar, once the faintly-veiled clues as to who said guest would be got out, it turned into a must-see.

Anyone expecting a high-falutin’ musical summit between two of the finest pop songwriters around would have done well to dial down their expectations, though. The show was much more of a back porch strumalong between two old friends who just happened to have one hell of a songbook to draw from and though it had its share of sloppy moments, that arguably made it even more special and memorable than if it had been meticulously rehearsed. Pernice started out with a short solo set that drew from his many projects – Pernice Brothers, Joe solo, Scud Mountain Boys – and included a new song entitled “Surf’s Up” that he revealed was from a new, just-completed Scuds record. Scoop!

Blake was then invited onstage and the two spent the rest of the show playing each other’s songs – Pernice on a standard acoustic, Blake on a Nashville-strung parlour-body – and reminding the gathered that they were two of the funniest stage banterers in the business with some great repartee. There was plenty of time for banter as Blake’s guitar required plenty of tuning and retuning – their first run through of “Baby Lee” went further out of tune with each strum and forced a do-over – but when they were able to get onto a song, it was grand if clearly not overly rehearsed. Even with a music stand overflowing with notes onto the floor between them, they were happy to do things off the cuff – Blake had to teach Pernice the chords to “You Was Me” from his Jonny side-project with Euros Childs on the fly (it turned out fine) and even though their take on Fanclub’s “I Don’t Want Control Of You” was a bit of a comedy of errors, they still made it tremendously entertaining.

The stuff that was more properly arranged, however, was nothing sort of sublime. Hearing them trade verses on “Everything Flows” was easily the highlight of the night and their finale of “Alcoholiday” not far behind. You obviously didn’t have the wall of harmonies that Teenage Fanclub proper can offer, but Pernice’s falsetto was a pretty good stand-in. It wasn’t just about the Fanclub material, mind, as their work on “Loving Kind” off the last Pernice Brothers album Goodbye Killer was stirring and their cover of The Zombies’ “The Butcher’s Tale” darkly affecting. Though they obviously could have kept going all night, a hard curfew forced them to cap things at 90 minutes though they were permitted an encore of Fanclub’s “Start Again” that was a divine finale.

It’s not clear if this tweet is a joke or a promise, but an actual collaboration between the two – or even some more of these casual-vibe shows – would be a great treat and a far better way to enjoy having these talents as locals than going through their trash.

The Calgary Herald has an interview with Joe Pernice about his plans to release two albums this year – the aforementioned new Scuds record and the long-promised new Pernice Brothers album.

Photos: Joe Pernice & Norman Blake @ The Dakota Tavern – June 22, 2012
MP3: Pernice Brothers – “Somerville”
MP3: Scud Mountain Boys – “Grudge Fuck”
MP3: Teenage Fanclub – “Baby Lee”
MP3: Teenage Fanclub – “It’s All In My Mind”
MP3: Teenage Fanclub – “Everything Flows”
MP3: Jonny – “Candyfloss”
MP3: Jonny – “Gloria”

Dirty Projectors are giving away a couple tracks from their forthcoming Swing Lo Magellan, out July 10. They play The Music Hall on July 6.

MP3: Dirty Projectors – “Dance For You”
MP3: Dirty Projectors – “Gun Has No Trigger”
Video: Dirty Projectors – “Gun Has No Trigger”

The Alternate Side has a session and Clash, Houston Press, and Indy Week have interviews with Lower Dens. They play Lee’s Palace on July 17.

Beirut has released a video for the title track of last year’s The Rip Tide. They are at The Sound Academy on July 19.

Video: Beirut – “The Rip Tide”

The Antlers are streaming a track from their forthcoming EP Undersea, due out July 24.

Stream: The Antlers – “Drift Dive”

The Shins have rolled out a new video from Port Of Morrow; they’re in town August 4 opening up for The Black Keys at The Molson Amphitheatre.

Video: The Shins – “No Way Down”

Pitchfork talks to Cat Power about her new record Sun, due for release on September 4.

Aimee Mann has given Rolling Stone the title track of her new record Charmer to stream. It’s out September 18.

Stream: Aimee Mann – “Charmer”

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion has taken their reunion from the stage into the studio and are set to release their first new album since 2004’s Damage in Meat & Bone, out September 18. Then they’ll take in back to the stage with a series of live dates that includes an October 18 appearance at The Horseshoe in Toronto. Stream one of the new songs below.

Stream: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – “Black Mold”

San Fransciso goth-gazers The Soft Moon will be at The Drake Underground on September 22, tickets $11.50 in advance.

MP3: The Soft Moon – “Tiny Spiders”
MP3: The Soft Moon – “Breathe The Fire”

Michael Gira’s Swans will make an appearance at Lee’s Palace on October 25 in support of their new double-record We Rose From Your Bed With The Sun In Our Head, tickets for that $26.50 in advance.

MP3: Swans – “Sex God Sex”

Matt & Kim are preparing for the Fall release of their new record Let’s Go with a video for the title track.

Video: Matt & Kim – “Let’s Go”

Boulder Weekly has a tete-a-tete with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco while The Daily Herald and Missoulian chat with Nels Cline.

Interview talks to Munaf Rayani of Explosions In The Sky.

Spinner documents a typical day in the life of The Flaming Lips, assuming that playing a free show in downtown Toronto as part of NXNE counts as typical for these guys. Maybe it does. You don’t know.

Okay, gotta go. San Francisco beckons.

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Death Rays

Mogwai and Odonis Odonis at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt seems a bit perverse to use the phrase, “comfort food” with respect to veteran Scottish post-rock giants Mogwai, but there’s real truth in it. There’s no question that they’ve grown as musicians and songwriters over their seven studio albums, but its been a gradual, evolutionary pace that’s not done much to shock or shake loose (m)any of their fans along the way. Their touring regimen has also been similarly predictable, with typically two North American tours per album and each of those shows being rather understated from a visual point of view but offering a sonic experience akin to a really loud, usually abrasive and occasionally beautiful hug by a sledgehammer.

It’s always a satisfying show, make no mistake, but it can get to the point that you don’t necessarily fret about missing one because a) they’d be back soon enough and b) it’s probably not too different from the last one you saw. Those days of taking the band for granted, however, may be coming to an end. When announcing this latest leg of touring for 2011’s Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, the band mused that this would be “the last extensive touring we do for some time”; perhaps there was a bit of salesmanship in that but one could also believe that the band were indeed wearying of life on the road and weren’t planning to spend as much of theirs on it. So even though I had been perfectly fine missing their last visit in Spring of 2011, I would definitely find the time to make it out to this one at The Phoenix last Monday.

I’m sure that scheduled opener Balam Acab had every intention of making it as well, but he was kept out of the country for the second time in a month – he missed out opening for Active Child in May – and locals Odonis Odonis were tapped to fill in. I’d seen them back in February opening up for The Twilight Sad and while I decided I didn’t dislike them, I wasn’t especially chuffed to see them again so soon; this probably explained why I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed them this time out. Certainly the addition of a second guitarist was a big change for the band, but it didn’t explain how much tighter and more melodic they sounded this time out. No one will confiscating their aggressive, post-punk credentials anytime soon, mind, but they were inarguably much more listenable. I’d read a capsule review of their NXNE showcase a few days earlier mentioning that they were much improved since this same time last year; I’ll go one better and say they’re much improved from four months ago.

Mogwai took the stage casually and opened with, “Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home” off their debut Young Team – no big deal, done it a thousand times – but to a far more enthusiastic respons than I’d have expected. And it’s about now that I realized how young the crowd looked. Typically for a band that’s been around a decade and a half, the audience will look as though they’ve aged along with them but at least from my vantage point, it was a really student-looking demographic who may very well have been at their first Mogwai show. I calculated that this was my sixth and spontaneously aged about a million years. With their enthusiasm, unfortunately, came some obnoxiousness and the one mook calling out for “X-Mas Steps” throughout the show went from amusing to annoying in about the amount of time it took for him to call out, “Christmas Steps!” the second time. He was clearly getting on Stuart Braithwaite’s tit as well – always dangerous – as the de facto frontman stepped to the edge of the stage at one point to try and stare him down and then later called him out saying that they could should whatever they wanted between songs, but not during. And they weren’t going to play “X-Mas Steps” so just quit it already.

Audience observations and interactions aside, it was certainly one of the more monolithic Mogwai sets I’ve seen, getting fists pumping and pants flapping through much of the set. “Rano Pano” and “Mexican Grand Prix” offered some nimbleness and acceleration to the proceedings, but most of the set list favoured the band’s more lumbering and apocalyptic selections. And while I may seem like I’m all “oh Mogwai again”, that doesn’t mean it’s not still exciting – the main set-closing pair of “Like Herod” and “Glasgow Megasnake” were still as powerful as if i was seeing them for the first time. It’s important to note that even though their albums have have transitioned from visceral to cinematic over time, their live shows still manage to capture both facets magnificently. If Mogwai are indeed dialing down their touring commitments, understand that it’s not because they’ve lost a step on stage. No way.

The National Post also has a review of the show and Clash reports that the band will release a new remix album based on Hardcore entitled A Wretched Virile Lore; this will be their first remix collection since 1998’s Kicking a Dead Pig.

Photos: Mogwai, Odonis Odonis @ The Phoenix – June 18, 2012
MP3: Mogwai – “San Pedro”
MP3: Mogwai – “Rano Pano”
MP3: Mogwai – “The Sun Smells Too Loud”
MP3: Mogwai – “Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home”
MP3: Mogwai – “Tracy”
MP3: Mogwai – “Dial: Revenge”
MP3: Mogwai – “Hunted By A Freak”
MP3: Mogwai – “7:25”
MP3: Odonis Odonis – “Ledged Up”
Video: Mogwai – “San Pedro”
Video: Mogwai – “Mexican Grand Prix”
Video: Mogwai – “How To Be A Werewolf”
Video: Mogwai – “I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead”
Video: Mogwai – “Batcat”
Video: Mogwai – “Travel Is Dangerous”
Video: Mogwai – “Friend Of The Night”
Video: Mogwai – “Hunted By A Freak”
Video: Mogwai – “Dial: Revenge”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Ledged Up”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Blood Feast”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Mr. Smith”

Spin, The Japan Times, Paste, and eMusic have features on Hot Chip, in town at The Sound Academy on July 15.

Daytrotter has posted up a session with The Cribs and The San Francisco Examiner a (very) quick chat.

Blur have finally fessed up as to what the cryptic clues pointing to something happening on July 2 are all about. Via a video message viewable at DIY, Alex James explains that the band will perform two new songs – “Under The Westway” and “The Puritan” – live on Twitter from a rooftop in London. I don’t know what “live on Twitter” means – maybe Damon will sing 140 characters at a time – but a world premiere like this sounds like a great way to summon the fail whale.

Exclaim has details on the new Two Door Cinema Club record, entitled Beacon and due out on September 4. And yes, there’s an album trailer.

Trailer: Two Door Cinema Club / Beacon

DIY has a feature piece on Wild Beasts.

Simian Mobile Disco have long had a DJ date scheduled for The Hoxton on July 12, but they’ve just announced they’ll be back at that same room on December 14 with instruments in tow for a proper live show in support of their new album Unpatterns.

MP3: Simian Mobile Disco – “Seraphim”

Beth Jeans Houghton stops in at Daytrotter for a session.

To build up some anticipation for their new album No Hope For The Vaccines due out September 3, The Vaccines are giving a download of a new live EP recorded in Brighton entitled Live In Brighton.

MTV talks to Mika Levi of Micachu & The Shapes; their new album Never is due out July 24.

Prefix gets to know some of Laura Marling’s influences. The San Francisco Examiner also has an interview and Seattle Weekly gets a tour of her iPod.

Spin explains why music is better off if Lily Allen does indeed make a third album, as she’s gone back to the studio to begin.

Only just behind last week’s Afghan Whigs announcement as far as concert announcements I’m excited as hell about is confirmation of I Break Horses’ headlining Fall tour, and that’s only because I saw them last month supporting M83. They’ll be at The Drake Underground on September 19, tickets $13 in advance.

MP3: I Break Horses – “Winter Beats”

It’s hard not to feel a little bad for a label whose highest-profile act keeps giving away all their music as free downloads and refuses to/is incapable of touring. But Sincerely Yours seem perfectly happy to keep enabling jj, who’ve just made their High Summer EP available for free.

ZIP: jj / High Summer

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with Anna Ternheim.

The National Post, Toronto Star, and FasterLouder interview The Hives, hitting up the Sound Academy tomorrow night.

Clash interviews Sigur Rós, in town at Echo Beach on August 1.

Pitchfork has some details on the new Mono album, to be called For My Parents and out September 4.

Trailer: Mono / For My Parents

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

"Tractor Rape Chain"

Crooked Fingers cover Guided By Voices

Photo via NMFLNo More Fake LabelsOkay, this one would have been a lot more fitting last week, what with Eric Bachmann leading the reunited Archers Of Loaf into town last Saturday and the release of Guided By Voices’ second album of the reunion/year in Class Clown Spots A UFO last Tuesday, but that’s schedules for you, and I kind of think this one’s worth waiting for. It comes from Sing For Your Meat, a tribute to Dayton, Ohio’s finest released in Spring of last year and featuring a pretty solid lineup of GBV contemporaries (Elf Power, Kim Deal, The Flaming Lips) in addition to their followers (La Sera, Blitzen Trapper).

Having been fighting the good fight since 1991, Eric Bachmann should be counted firmly in the former group, even though the Crooked Fingers guise that he uses for his take on the Bee Thousand classic only came into use in 2000, when the classic/current GBV lineup was already a thing of the past. And while he’s not someone I’d ever thought, “man it’d be great to hear him do some Guided By Voices”, I think it sounds pretty great.

Crooked Fingers is largely taking a back seat to Archers right now, but an acoustic demos version of last year’s Breaks In The Armor was just released. Guided By Voices have a third album entitled Bears For Lunch ready to go for late Fall, probably seeing the light of day in November.

MP3: Crooked Fingers – “Tractor Rape Chain”
Video: Guided By Voices – “Tractor Rape Chain” (live 2001)