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Archive for July, 2012

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Fineshrine

Review of Purity Ring’s Shrines

Photo By Sebastian MlynarskiSebastian MlynarskiI expect there’s a lot of interest in drawing parallels between the success of Purity Ring with that of Grimes what with both being based out of Montreal – although Purity Ring’s Corin Roddick and Megan James originally hail from Edmonton – and releasing albums of electronic pop that seem to be the perfect soundtracks for the zeitgeist circa 2012, and on the same label outside of Canada, no less – the legendary 4AD.

But whereas Claire Boucher’s work is rather defined by its technicolor ADD-ness and her pixie-like vocals, Purity Ring’s debut Shrines is quite content to work within decidedly narrow aesthetic parameters. Beats are slow and with their reverse-decay treatment, seem to exist somewhere between a stutter and a throb, giving the record a very steady if uneasy pace. At the other end of the spectrum and separated by layers of thickly reverbed ’80s-vintage synth tones, you have James’ bright, clear, and girlish vocals – and only occasionally electronically sliced and diced – delivering major-key, singalong melodies and lyrics that are often playfully nonsensical, yet still somehow foreboding.

This contrast essentially sums up Purity Ring – a friendly yet fearful intersection of dreampop and R&B. The consistency of their style reminds me of The xx, who were also able to turn a seemingly limited palette of sounds and ideas into a unique sonic world all their own. They aren’t quite as able to avoid the nagging sense of sameness that’s the downside of such an approach – by the end of Shrines, there’s a distinct sense that you’ve heard these songs already – but the record possesses enough distinctiveness and ideas to largely justify all the attention being given to it.

What attention? Well, consider that the week of the record’s release – that’s this week – has yielded feature pieces in Exclaim, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Interview, Canada.com, The Edmonton Journal, The Montreal Gazette, and Stereogum. I’d say that counts as people paying attention.

MP3: Purity Ring – “Belispeak”
MP3: Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”
MP3: Purity Ring – “Obedear”
Video: Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”
Video: Purity Ring – “Belispeak”

Claire Boucher talks to MTV Hive about some creative directions she may want to take in the future, whether as Grimes or as something else. It’s as Grimes that she’ll be at Lee’s Palace on September 21.

Crystal Castles are putting the finishing touches on their third album – still untitled but due out late September, and with the first sample available to download and accompanying North American tour announced. Full dates plus some words from Ethan Kath about the new record are available at Exclaim. The hometown date on the itinerary is November 4 at the Kool Haus; Los Angeles’ HEALTH supports.

MP3: Crystal Castles – “Plague”

Dan Snaith’s multiple personality disorder appears to have reared its head again. After being forced to stop being Manitoba and become Caribou some years ago – occasionally transforming into the Caribou Vibration Ensemble – he’s announced his next release will be under the name Daphni, and be decidedly more electronic/dancey than his past efforts which were decidedly electronic/dancey to begin with. The album JIAOLONG will be out on October 16 – Pitchfork has details, the first video is below.

Video: Daphni – “Ye Ye”

Also at Pitchfork, Dan Bejar reviews some of the musical milestones of his life that turned him into Destroyer. He also talks to The Vancouver Sun and Victoria Times-Colonist about attempting to get Destroyer onto the jazz festival circuit this Summer.

That new Stars tune from North that was made available to stream earlier this week is now downloadable. The album is out on September 4 and they open up for Metric at the Air Canada Centre on November 14.

MP3: Stars – “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”

Shad talks to CBC Music about the ’90s-era samples and influences that went into his Melancholy & The Infinite Shadness mixtape.

Those who like their Can-rock bearded and retro-styled will like the looks of the lineup rolling into Echo Beach on September 15 – that’ll bring The Sheepdogs, The Sadies, Zeus, and Yukon Blonde to the waterfront stage. Tickets for that are $29.50 general admission and $45 VIP.

MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”
MP3: Zeus – “Anything You Want Dear”>
MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Fire”
Video: The Sheepdogs – “I Don’t Know”

The Acorn have taken a moment to update the world on what The Acorn has been up to and to share an unreleased tune. A new record is in the works and they’re playing the Paper Bag Records 10th anniversary show at The Great Hall on September 27.

Stream: The Acorn – “Shoot The Moon”

Daytrotter has a session and The Calgary Herald an interview with Cold Specks. She’s at The Great Hall on August 8.

Beatroute talks to Little Scream.

Exclaim has some details on the deluxe reissue of Sloan’s seminal Twice Removed, which will come as a triple-LP set with the album proper on one slab of vinyl, a demo version of the album on another, and a batch of era-correct outtakes on the third. Street date and complete recital tour dates are still to come – the already announced dates only get them as far as the midwest by late September… they gotta come home sometime.

Those of you who like free shows – I see you enter my contests, I know that’s pretty much all of you – should take note of a couple things going down next week courtesy of Scion Sessions. They’ve got their fingers in a few things including the Mad Decent Block Party taking over Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday, but there’s also a couple of shows – one headlined by Nosaj Thing at The Hoxton on August 2 and one led by Young Widows at Parts & Labour on August 3 that you can be at for just the cost of an RSVP. Follow the links above for details.

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Someone Great

Review of LCD Soundsystem’s Shut Up And Play The Hits

Photo via FacebookFacebookHaving only gotten around to discovering the genius of LCD Soundsystem with their third and final album This Is Happening, I feel immensely fortunate to have caught them live twice on their farewell tour – their final Toronto show in May 2010 and then in Chicago headlining that year’s Pitchfork Festival – probably more than someone as late to the part as I deserved.

But watching Shut Up And Play The Hits, the concert documentary covering their final ever concert at Madison Square Garden in New York in April 2011, I felt no small amount of regret that I didn’t move heaven and earth to be there. Not that I would have gotten a ticket, and not that I had even seriously considered it, but the film does such a great job of making it seem like it was much more than just a concert, but the a genuinely historic (at least from a musical perspective) passing of a band who so embodied their city for the decade that they were active. Even constrained to limited camera angles from the amount of gear and players on stage, the live footage captures both how great a live band they were – remarkable considering they were originally intended to be strictly a studio-bound concern – and just how much their fans loved them.

While I enjoyed the non-concert footage – particularly the Klosterman interview which I think became this Guardian feature – the scenes meant to show James Murphy’s first day of the rest of his life didn’t quite achieve the suspension of disbelief necessary. I mean, it’s possible that he acquiesced to having a camera crew waiting in his apartment while he slept and certainly does a good job of ignoring them while he goes about his band post-mortem business, but I don’t know. It’s too well-captured to not have been at least somewhat staged. And if I’m wrong and it really was all real life, fly on the wall stuff, my hat’s off to directors Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace for getting it so right. Ultimately a trivial complaint and I’m always up for more loving shots of New York City streets, but it did bother me.

The film is currently making the screening rounds – kind of a final farewell tour – and if you missed its last two times through Toronto (Hot Docs back in the Spring and last week where I saw it), note that it’ll be back for a third encore with screenings at The Bloor on August 3 and 4. The DVD edition, which also includes the entirety of the four-hour farewell show, is out October 9 and available to pre-order now – I long ago decided I’d stop buying music DVDs since I rarely/never watch them, but I think I’ll be making an exception for this one. And there’s a little bit of bonus/fan footage available to watch at The Creator’s Project.

Trailer: Shut Up And Play The Hits

If you were at that Shut Up screening last week, you would have seen a trailer for Searching For Sugar Man, the documentary that tracked down lost ’60s folk singer Rodriguez. The film begins a two-week run at The Bloor on August 10 and Rodriguez himself will be in town for a concert at The Mod Club on October 25, tickets $20. There’s feature pieces on the man and the film at The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Wall Street Journal.

MP3: Rodriguez – “Sugar Man”
Trailer: Searching For Sugar Man

Time makes a good case for why the just-released reissues of Sugar’s Copper Blue/Beaster and File Under: Easy Listening are so essential.

eMusic talks to Eternal Summers about their new album Correct Behavior. They’re at The Garrison August 7.

Interview talks to Cat Power about her new album Sun, due out September 4.

Trespassers William nave announced a September 4 street date for their final release Cast; a double-disc set with collects an album’s worth of rarities and b-sides and a full-length version of their 2009 EP The Natural Order Of Things.

NME talks to J Mascis about I Bet On Sky, the new Dinosaur Jr album due out September 18. They play Lee’s Palace September 24, 25, and 26 in support.

Rolling Stone talks Undersea with The Antlers, in town September 25 at The Great Hall.

The Mountain Goats have released the first MP3 from their new record Transcendental Youth, out October 2.

MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Cry For Judas”

October 2 also marks the release of the new Mark Eitzel solo record Don’t Be A Stranger. Details on the release – his third since the last American Music Club album The Golden Age was released but the first since that band was officially retired (again) – are available at Exclaim.

Paste checks in with Ben Gibbard, who’s putting out his first solo record Former Lives on October 16. This ode to recently-traded Seattle Mariners outfield Ichiro Suzuki probably isn’t on it.

Stream: Ben Gibbard – “Ichiro’s Theme”

Terribly if accurately named Los Angeles outfit He’s My Brother She’s My Sister are in town for a show at Parts & Labour on October 19.

Video: He’s My Brother She’s My Sister – “Touch The Lightning”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Andrew Bird, who’s just released a new video from Break It Yourself.

Video: Andrew Bird – “Give It Away”

Yours Truly has a video session with Of Montreal.

The Village Voice talks to Dean Wareham about Galaxie 500 and the odds of a Luna reunion. Update: NYC Taper has a recording of last week’s Dean & Britta performance in New York where they were joined on guitar by Sean Eden. 3/4 of the way there!

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

All Your Gold

Bat For Lashes reveals plenty about new album

Photo By Ryan McGinleyRyan McGinleyThough Bat For Lashes were certainly due to release a new record this year – 2009’s Two Suns feels like it came out forever ago – it was certainly a relief when Natasha Khan officially announced last month that her third album, entitled The Haunted Man, would indeed be coming out this Fall.

But cognizant of the fact that simply knowing it exists will only keep fans happy for so long, some more specifics about the record have been released. Exclaim has the tracklisting and a look at the album art, which with its stark, black-and-white photography is quite a far cry from the fantastical imagery that graced her first two records. Considering how well that art reflected the records’ contents, it does raise some questions about what album three has in store. Questions which are answered somewhat by the first single from the album – also just released – which is a gorgeous but very spare piano-led composition suffused with longing, an emotion excellently articulated in the accompanying video. Those who prefer Khan’s trippier, sonically adventurous side to her inner balladeer may hope that the new record doesn’t turn away from those completely, but an album entirely of songs that hit as hard as this one does is fine with me.

The Haunted Man will be released on October 15 in the UK and come out a week later on October 23 in North America.

Video: Bat For Lashes – “Laura”

Their self-titled debut finally getting a domestic North American release on September 25, Django Django have put together a short North American tour to support it – they’ll be at Wrongbar in Toronto on September 29, tickets $14.50 in advance. They impressed at SXSW so if you’re curious, it’s worth the ticket. Drummer David Maclean talks to NPR about their just-released new video.

MP3: Django Django – “Default”
Video: Django Django – “Hail Bop”

Rolling Stone gets some details on The Joy Formidable’s second album from frontwoman Ritzy Bryan. She won’t spill on the title but it doesn’t look as though it’ll be released until early next year at the soonest. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel also has an interview.

The Vine talks to Romy Madley of The xx about making their second album Coexist, due out September 11. They’ll preview the new album at The Phoenix this Saturday night, July 28.

The Guardian talks to Mica Levy of Micachu & The Shapes about their just-released new album Never, from which they’ve just put out a green screen-empowered video for every song. I’m linking them all – hit up DIY for the complete viewing experience.

Video: Micachu & The Shapes – “Never”

The Guardian has an interview with Kate Nash.

Ryan Jarman of The Cribs chats with Clash.

Hot Chip have released their second new video from In Our Heads in a week.

Video: Hot Chip – “How Do You Do”

Spin catches a moment with Two Door Cinema Club, whose new album Beacon is out September 4 and will be followed by a date at The Sound Academy on October 5.

Light Of Lost Worlds talks to Alisdair Mclean of The Clientele and Amor de Días, the former of which remains on hiatus while the latter prepares to release their second album in January of 2013.

Mojave3online.com submits a stack of fan-sumbitted questions to Neil Halstead about his new record Palindrome Hunches and the status of Mojave 3 (playing occasional gigs, sans Rachel, but without any plans for a new record at the moment).

Stevie Jackson discusses the need to go solo once in a while with DIY. He also lists his five favourite Belle & Sebastian contributions to MTV Hive.

Pet Shop Boys have released the first official video from their new album Elysium, out September 18.

Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Winner”

Drowned In Sound talks to Jens Lekman about I Know What Love Isn’t, out September 4. He’s at The Phoenix on October 4.

The Raveonettes have released a video from their new record Observator. It’s out September 11 and they play The Phoenix October 2.

Video: The Raveonettes – “She Owns The Streets”

Interview talks to Lætitia Sadier about her just-released new solo record Silencio. She plays The Drake on September 18.

Mono are streaming a track from their new album For My Parents, out September 4.

Stream: Mono – “Dream Odyssey”

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

CONTEST – Justice & M83 @ Historic Fort York – August 4, 2012

Photo via FacebookFacebookWho: Justice and M83
What: Two of the biggest musical exports France has given the world in recent years, offering a distinctly Gallic take on disco and space-rock.
Why: They’re headlining the Toronto edition of the Hard Fest, which aims to bring some much-needed “dance your ass off in a big open field under the Summer evening sky” vibe to Hogtown.
When: August 4, 2012
Where: Historic Fort York in Toronto (all ages)
Who else: Filling out the impressive lineup are Austra, Buraka Som Sistema, and Charli XCX.
How: Tickets for the show are $49 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 to get Hard with Justice” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, July 31.

MP3: M83 – “Midnight City”
Video: Justice – “New Lands”

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Movement

New Order get ready for live return to North America

Photo By Kevin CumminsKevin CumminsThere are two points about New Order that are difficult to dispute.

a) They were one of the greatest bands of the ’80s, whose run of albums from 1983’s Power, Corruption & Lies through 1989’s Technique and including 1987’s singles collection Substance templated and led that which we’d call indie, New Wave, post-punk, dance-rock, electronica, and were massively commercially successful at the same time. Their legacy is deep and far-reaching and even after their heyday, when roster changes and internal bickering overshadowed their music, they still managed to include at least one amazing song per otherwise uneven record that reminded you of why they mattered.

b) They were lousy live. Okay, that’s a deliberately polemic statement, especially for someone who’s never seen them live, but any live footage I’ve seen or heard has been some degree of cringe-worthy and in my years of being a fan, that’s always seemed the consensus opinion. Their official BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert album, which captured their 1087 Glastonbury set – which is to say the recording that they deemed good enough to release and sell – shone a bright light on Bernard Sumner’s inability to sing live. His voice is thin, off-key, and on this recording at least, punctuated with whoops and yelps that also manage to be way out of pitch. His shortcomings as a vocalist are evident on the albums as well, but what’s passable in a studio is decidedly less so amplified to stadium levels. Some of this was certainly due to some of the chemical accouterments of the era, but online footage from more recent shows don’t demonstrate much improvement.

So it’s all well and good to focus on point a) with the news yesterday that the band – who were supposed to have broken up for good back in 2009 but who’ve turned a handful of one-off gigs into a proper ongoing concern that now includes a North American tour that wraps in Toronto on October 23 at the Sony Centre, their first time here since Summer 2001, when they were part of Moby’s Area One tour at The Docks. Purists will rightly point out that it’s not really New Order without Peter Hook – he quit the band in decidedly acrimonious fashion in 2007 – but they’ve got keyboardist Gillian Gilbert, who quit circa 2005’s Waiting For The Siren’s Call, back in the fold so they’ve still got three out of four original members – better than many bands out on the nostalgia circuit.

Ticket information is still forthcoming, but considering it won’t be cheap, it may be worth giving some thought to point b) before putting your cash on the barrelhead. But then, of course, you’ll imagine hearing “Blue Monday” live and it’ll be a done deal. That’s fine, nothing wrong with celebrating the songs more than the performance. I’ll probably be there too.

Video: New Order – “Blue Monday”
Video: New Order – “Bizarre Love Triangle”
Video: New Order – “Regret”

When Don Pyle of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet mentioned at their Lee’s Palace show a couple weeks ago that they were going to be playing at The Cameron House in August, I wasn’t sure if he was being serious or making a joke. turns out he was serious. Exclaim reports that the band will play a benefit double-header at the tiny Queen West venue on August 12 with proceeds from the early show going to Mindfulness Without Borders and the late show benefitting Hospice Toronto. Tickets are $20 and go on sale July 28 at the Cameron House – and maybe this time they’ll have copies of Savvy Show Stoppers to sell.

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

Boston post-rock veterans Caspian will be at The Horseshoe on September 10 in support of their new record Waking Season, out later this Fall. Tickets are $10.50 in advance.

Trailer: Caspian / Waking Season

With a new record in Nocturne out on August 28 and now more a proper band than a pseudonym for Jack Tatum’s solo project, Wild Nothing are teaming up with New York’s DIIV – themselves no strangers to the art of being buzzy – for a Fall tour that brings them to The Great Hall on September 18, tickets $15.50 in advance. Alibi talks to Wild Nothing’s Tatum while Spin talks favourite things with DIIV leader Zachary Cole Smith.

MP3: Wild Nothing – “Nowhere”
MP3: DIIV – “Sometime”

Leeds’ Alt-J will release their debut album An Awesome Wave Stateside on September 18 and as part of their Fall tour to support it, will be in town at Wrongbar on September 19; tickets are $13 in advance. Gigwise has an interview with the band.

MP3: Alt-J – “Tessalate”
MP3: Alt-J – “Matilda”

The Antlers are marking the release today of their new Undersea EP with the announcement of a show at The Great Hall on September 25, tickets $21.50 in advance. It’s almost certainly part of a full tour, but the rest of the dates are still forthcoming. While you wait, you can hear the whole mini-album on their Facebook for the price of a ‘like’.

MP3: The Antlers – “Drift Dive”
Stream: The Antlers / Undersea

Not that they should need any help selling out The Phoenix, but Crocodiles have been announced as support for The Afghan Whigs’ October 3 show at The Phoenix. Their Endless Flowers came out last month. Remaining tickets for the show are $35.

MP3: Crocodiles – “Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9)”

The powers that be won’t say what or when with regards to head New Pornographer Carl Newman putting his A.C. Newman solo cap back on, but they have confirmed a third solo record exists, will be out this Fall, and he’ll be touring in support. That kicks off October 21 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $16.50.

MP3: A.C. Newman – “Submarines Of Stockholm”

Josh Tillman must like life on the road – having just made his Father John Misty debut here back in May and returning in support of Youth Lagoon last week, he’s announced an extensive Fall tour what brings him back for the third show in five months, hitting Lee’s Palace on October 27 with La Sera opening up. Tickets are $14.50 in advance. There’s a Father John Misty interview and session at The Alternate Side and a short interview at Melbourne Times Weekly.

MP3: Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
MP3: La Sera – “Please Be My Third Eye”

Their support duties for Best Coast done with, Those Darlins are free to announce another return to town, hitting The Garrison on October 30, tickets $12.50 in advance. They’re featured in pieces at Miami New Times and The Augusta Chronicle.

MP3: Those Darlins – “Red Light Love”