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Archive for April, 2013

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Someone Is Waiting

Because there is a Neutral Milk Hotel reunion, I don’t even need to try today.

Photo By Will WestbrookWill WestbrookGuys, in case it wasn’t obvious, running a music blog that tries to update daily is hard work. So when something comes down the wire like, oh, a Neutral Milk Hotel reunion, it’s not the sort of low-hanging fruit one passes up, even if everyone and their mother is reporting it. And so even though you’ve surely already heard, Jeff Mangum – having confirmed via his 2011 solo tour that people do indeed still care about his old band – has gotten Scott Spillane, Julian Koster, and Jeremy Barnes to reform the In The Aeroplane Over The Sea lineup and commit to tour dates this Fall.

Presently, those tour dates number only five – two predictably at the 40 Watt Club in the band’s hometown of Athens, Georgia, one reasonably in Asheville, North Carolina, and two more bizarrely in Tokyo and Taipei. More will surely follow – one doesn’t open the door to something of this magnitude to just immediately shut it – but certainly not before those Athens dates in late October. And might this be paving the way for some new recordings…? Hey, one internet-breaking announcement at a time, alright?

MP3: Neutral Milk Hotel – “Holland 1945”
MP3: Neutral Milk Hotel – “Song Against Sex”

PopMatters talks to Tobin Sprout of Guided By Voices about their fourth post-reunion full-length English Little League, out as of today.

She & Him have let NPR stream their new album, the cryptically-titled Volume 3, a week before it comes out on May 7. They kick off the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 4.

Stream: She & Him / Volume 3

Spinner has a feature interview with Charles Bradley, who leads his Extraordinaires into The Phoenix on May 11.

Consequence Of Sound has details on a new Wild Nothing EP entitled Empty Estate due out May 14, a video from which has been made and released into the wild.

Video: Wild Nothing – “A Dancing Shell”

Spinner talks to the Berninger family about the Mistaken For Strangers documentary about The National, which features and was directed by brothers Matt and Tom. The new National album Trouble Will Find Me is out May 21 and they play Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.

Though he’s mainly focusing on his new record The Low Highway, as in this interview with Spinner, Steve Earle talks to Billboard about revisiting his past with the release of a box set collecting Train A Comin’, I Feel Alright, and El Corazon – the albums that got me obsessed with Earle in the first place – as well as a live album in Live at the Polk Theater and a live DVD in To Hell and Back, circa 1995 and 1996 respectively. The five-disc Steve Earle: The Warner Bros. Years set will be out June 25 and you can stream one of the Polk Theatre tracks below.

Stream: Steve Earle – “The Devil’s Right Hand”

The Fly has a feature interview with Parquet Courts, coming to town for a gig at The Horseshoe on July 17.

Of Montreal took to Kevin Barnes’ Tumblr to announce the completion of their new album Lousy With Sylvainbriar, scheduled for release this Fall.

Janelle Monáe talks fashion with MTV Hive. Her new album The Electric Lady is due out sometime this year.

In conversation with Spin, TV On The Radio reveal they’re working on a new album and it won’t be for Interscope.

NPR has a video stream of The Flaming Lips performing Yoshimi live, in its entirety, back at SXSW in March.

Yours Truly has a video session with Caitlin Rose.

The Black Angels stop in at The Alternate Side for a video session and interview.

NPR chats with Sam Beam of Iron & Wine.

Monday, April 29th, 2013

The Messenger

Johnny Marr at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFor the better part of the past 20 years, I’ve kept with me a copy of the January, 1990 issue of Guitar Player, the cover of which features a too-cool black-and-white photo of Johnny Marr under the title of “Anti-Guitar Hero”. It’s the image and epithet that I think of first when I think of Marr, along with the phrase “consummate sideman”, who in addition to being the true genius behind The Smiths, has lent his guitar and songwriting skills to The Pretenders, The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse, and The Cribs to name just his official affiliations – his list of guest appearances runs much longer and his overall CV is beyond reproach.

So The Messenger, this year’s solo debut under his own name – despite the fact that no one bought 2003’s Boomslang, credited to Marr and The Healers, because it was a new Zak Starkey record – really didn’t have to prove anything, except maybe that it was better than Boomslang. And it is by a fair distance. Marr is a capable singer – not as distinctive a personality as his past collaborators, but strong enough to carry a tune, particularly when backed with his characteristically brilliant guitarwork, which has found an ideal balance between his jangly past and the heavier, riffier sounds of his more recent work. But the best thing about The Messenger is that it’s given Marr an excuse to stage a full North American tour – not such the logistical feat since he’s lived in Portland the last few years – and sell out The Phoenix on Saturday night. And while I’d technically seen Marr in 2008 as part of Modest Mouse and again in January 2011 circa his tenure in The Cribs, there was still a special feeling about this one, what with it being his first visit as Johnny Marr and doing explicitly Johnny Marr things.

Marr took the stage sharply-dressed and looking much younger than his 49 years – how is he so spry when barely-older Morrissey is literally falling apart? – as he led a new version of The Healers through Messenger opener “The Right Thing Right”, but immediately followed it, as if to answer the unspoken question from those who’d not bothered to look at set lists from this tour, with “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before”. Yes indeed, The Smiths songbook was open – and Electronic as well, as “Forbidden City” a few songs in would signal – and damned if Marr didn’t sound great singing it.

His relatively anonymous vocals were a great advantage here as he didn’t try to ape the Moz’s (and Bernard Sumner’s) delivery but was still able to sound like he’d been singing these songs all his life. And while I’ve never seen Morrissey live, I’m going to bet that his backing band can’t close to playing Marr’s guitar parts – as much a part of the Smiths magic as anything Morrissey contributed – as well as the man himself. Indeed, all of the Smiths songs in the set sounded better than anyone could have hoped, with Marr injecting each of “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”, “Bigmouth Strikes Again”, and “The Queen Is Dead” with a some serious rock adrenaline and making them feel more alive than they have in nigh on 30 years.

And for a man who is arguably one of the architects of modern guitar pop, Marr was all about the rock. Anti-guitar hero he might be, but he had some choice guitar hero moves, and while he was friendly and chatty from the stage, he still carried himself like a bona fide rock star. The pace of the set didn’t slow one iota until almost an hour into the set with the relatively more moderately-paced “Say Demense”. Of course, that went straight back into a ripping “Bigmouth” so it barely counted as a lull.

When he returned for the encore, Marr had traded his moddish tweed jacket and button-down shirt for a bright red “Johnny Fucking Marr” t-shirt, and though it’s basically unwearable in public, I’m pretty sure he sold at least a couple dozen of them right then and there. He then called local boy Kevin Drew to the stage, citing Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot It In People as one of his inspirations for re-engaging with popular music some years ago, and traded vocals with him on a cover of “I Fought The Law”. It was then back into the archives for a reading of Electronic’s “Getting Away With It” and, finally – brilliantly – “How Soon Is Now”. For nigh on 90 minutes, Johnny Marr affirmed why he’s a legend and while with all his projects, he’s never really gone away, how amazing it is to have him back, simultaneously and fully embracing both his past and future.

The Toronto Sun and National Post also have reviews of the show. Vulture, Washington City Paper, The Oakland Press, The Detroit Free Press, and MTV Hive all have interviews with Johnny Marr.

Photos: Johnny Marr @ The Phoenix – April 27, 2013
Video: Johnny Marr – “Upstarts”
Video: Johnny Marr – “The Messenger”
Video: Johnny Marr & The Healers – “Down On The Corner”
Video: Johnny Marr & The Healers – “Last Ride”
Video: Electronic – “Late At Night”
Video: Electronic – “Vivid”
Video: Electronic – “For You”
Video: Electronic – “Forbidden City”
Video: Electronic – “Feel Every Beat”
Video: Electronic – “Get The Message”
Video: The Smiths – “Ask” (live)
Video: The Smiths – “I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish”
Video: The Smiths – “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before”
Video: The Smiths – “Girlfriend In A Coma”
Video: The Smiths – “Sheila Take A Bow”
Video: The Smiths – “Shoplifters Of The World Unite”
Video: The Smiths – “Ask”
Video: The Smiths – “Panic”
Video: The Smiths – “The Queen Is Dead”
Video: The Smiths – “The Boy With A Thorn In His Side”
Video: The Smiths – “How Soon Is Now”

With their debut album finally out in North America this week, Rolling Stone has a stream of Daughter’s If You Leave. And just because, you can stream their smouldering cover of the new Daft Punk single, recorded for BBC. Daughter are at The Great Hall on May 7.

Stream: Daughter – “Get Lucky”
Stream: Daughter / If You Leave

James Blake gripes about the music industry to Exclaim. He brings his gripes – er, music – to the Danforth Music Hall on May 4.

DIY and Female First interview Victoria Hesketh of Little Boots. Her new record Nocturnes is out May 7 and The Guardian have posted her new video from it.

Video: Little Boots – “Broken Record”

Drowned In Sound talks to Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, whose new album More Light is out May 6 in the UK and June 18 in North America.

The xx are streaming their contribution to the soundtrack of The Great Gatsby. The soundtrack album is out May 7, the film on May 10, and they play Downsview Park on June 6.

Stream: The xx – “Together”

The Guardian talks to Foals. They’re at The Kool Haus on May 11.

The Guardian and Contact Music have interviews with Laura Marling about her forthcoming album Once I Was An Eagle, out May 28, while Noisey presents a short film/performance video by Marling entitled “When Brave Bird Saved”.

Daytrotter welcomes CHVRCHES for a session. They’re at The Hoxton on June 12 and their debut album is due in September.

HungerTV and Gold Flake Paint talk to Polly Scattergood about her new record Arrows, coming June 14.

Rolling Stone has premiered the gory new video from Two Door Cinema Club, taken from last year’s Beacon.

Video: Two Door Cinema Club – “Handshake”

MySpace has an interview with Jessie Ware, who details her favourite things about London for The London Evening Standard and who has just put up a stream of a Martika cover – no, not of “Toy Soldiers” – just because.

Stream: Jessie Ware – “Love Thy Will Be Done”

Spinner finds out what former XTC frontman Andy Partridge has been up to of late, specifically his Gonwards collaboration with Peter Blegvad.

Atoms For Peace have made a new, non-album track available to stream.

Stream: Atoms For Peace – “Magic Beanz”

The Rumpus manages to be the first outlet to elicit an interview with David Bowie, in the form of a 42-word workflow diagram for The Next Day. Okay, then.

Friday, April 26th, 2013

CONTEST – The Postal Service @ The Air Canada Centre – June 11, 2013

Photo By Autumn De WildeAutumn De WildeWho: The Postal Service
What: The scrappy electro-pop offspring of Death Cab For Cutie’s Benjamin Gibbard and DNTEL’s Jimmy Tamborello which, with a little help from a couple of Jennifers – Wood and Lewis – crafted an album that would template much of indie- and electro-pop for the next decade and beyond and find a special place in the hearts of a generation of indie kids everywhere.
Why: After ten years of refusing to tour or record a second record, Gibbard and Tamborello have given up fighting it and in addition to releasing an extras-laden anniversary edition of Give Up, are also touring anywhere and everywhere.
When: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Where: The Air Canada Centre in Toronto (all-ages)
Who else: San Francsicans Mates Of State will open up and compound the cuteness of the evening.
How: Tickets for the show are $49.50 to $59.50 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 the Postal Service” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me by midnight, May 26.
What else: aux.tv has a retrospective feature that includes conversations with Tamborello and the Sub Pop rep who signed them and Metro also has a conversation with Tamborello.

MP3: The Postal Service – “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”
MP3: The Postal Service – “Such Great Heights”
Video: The Postal Service – “Against All Odds”
Video: The Postal Service – “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”
Video: The Postal Service – “Such Great Heights”
Video: The Postal Service – “We Will Become Silhouettes”

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Among The Sef

Colin Stetson has made some movies to show you what his music looks like

Photo By Robert NetheryRobert NetheryAnd the theme of today’s post is videos. Domestic videos if you’re Canadian, and exotic foreign ones if you’re not. And led off by Mr. Colin Stetson – who is in fact American by birth but Canadian by immigration – because he will be releasing his new album New History Warfare Vol 3: To See More Light next week on April 30, and because the man has a big horn.

He’s actually rolled out a few clips over the past few weeks – one doing double-duty for a couple More Light songs debuted at Pitchfork, and another clip surfaced this week at Interview, so if you were wondering what sort of visuals go with intense, experimental jazz performed on bass saxophone, now you know.

The Skinny also has a feature interview with Stetson, who will be at The Great Hall in Toronto on May 19.

Video: Colin Stetson – “Among The Sef”
Video: Colin Stetson – “In Mirrors”/”And In Truth”

The Wilderness Of Manitoba have released a new video from their second full-length Island Of Echoes, while Baeble Music has premiered the performance video for one of the tracks from their new Leslieville Sessions EP. Their next local show comes this weekend, on April 28 at The Campbell House Museum.

Video: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Echoes”

Toronto’s Hooded Fang have put out a clip for the sort-of title track of their new album Gravez, coming out May 28. They play a hometown release show for it at The Horseshoe on May 31.

Video: Hooded Fang – “Graves”

Young Galaxy have put out the first video from their just-released new record Ultramarine and discuss the new record with The Fly, Exclaim, Toro, The Montreal Gazette, and CBC Music. They bring it to Lee’s Palace on May 31.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Pretty Boy”

Hayden has made a new video taken from Us Alone, coinciding with the announcement of a handful more Canadian tour dates which you can find at Exclaim. However, the only Toronto date remains his appearance at the Field Trip festival at Garrison Commons on June 8.

Video: Hayden – “Oh Memory”

This video from Montreal’s Valleys isn’t technically very new – it debuted in early March – but seeing as how I haven’t talked about the band before and their debut Are You Going To Stand There And Talk Weird All Night? comes out next week and is available to stream in whole at Exclaim… I figured I’d post both. Because it’s a good record that does the icy/moody/emotive cinematic electro-pop thing a la Chromatics quite well. So yeah, you haven’t heard about them hereabouts before now, but henceforth you most certainly will.

Video: Valleys – “Undream A Year”
Stream: Valleys / Are You Going To Stand There And Talk Weird All Night?

The Good Family don’t have a new video – though you can bet that home movie footage of Dallas and Travis as toddlers wouldn’t go viral – they are streaming The Good Family Album at Exclaim ahead of its release next week on April 30. The family reunion show runs two nights at The Dakota on May 9 and 10.

Stream: The Good Family / The Good Family Album

Beatroute has words with METZ, coming home to Lee’s Palace on May 17.

DIY talks with No Joy about their just-released Wait To Pleasure.

Spinner talks to Metric about being three-time winners at this year’s Juno Awards.

Grimes has taken to her Tumblr to post a pretty strong statement against the sexism in the music industry that she and many others still have to deal with in 2013.

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Where You Come In

Review of Shout Out Louds’ Optica and giveaway

Photo By Frode & MarcusFrode & MarcusI get why people have such affection for Shout Out Louds’ 2005 debut Howl Howl Gaff Gaff; the way it tapped into the scrappy, garage-rock sound in vogue at the time but rather than the insouciant attitude that typically came with the aesthetic, it offered a wide-eyed and sincere charm and stood apart from the pack for it. That said, it was only with 2007’s Our Ill Wills, which polished up their pop and expanded it to widescreen dimensions, that I was personally won over by the band. Happily for me and less so for those on Team Howl, it’s been this template that has informed each Shout Out Louds record ever since, this year’s Optica being no exception.

They did tweak their approach a bit with 2010’s Work tweaked the formula by going for a more organic, live-off-the-floor sound, but while Optica lets things drift back to the more produced side of things a bit, those holding out hope that the band might let things get raucous again should probably just go and find themselves a new, charmingly rough Scandi-pop band to patronize. Shout Out Louds have got this elegant pop thing down pat – “Blue Ice” is tastefully orchestrated and “Walking In Your Footsteps” may offer the best flute hook of the year – and even when they get relatively dark or heavy, they do it more through tone and atmosphere than volume; “14th Of July” is the riffingest number on the record and it really just jangles. Mostly, though, Optica adopts a pleasant midtempo pace and relies on its immaculate popcraft and melodicism to win the listener over.

Shout Out Louds’ North American tour kicks off in early May and will stop in at The Opera House in Toronto on May 14. Tickets for the show are $18.50 in advance, but courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got three pairs of passes to give away to their show and as a bonus, courtesy of Big Hassle and Merge, a copy of the band’s “Blue Ice” 7″ – no, not the actual ice one, don’t be ridiculous. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to Shout Out Loud” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and if you would also like the 7″, say so and include your mailing address. Have all that to me by midnight, May 6.

Rolling Stone just premiered the newest video from Optica.

MP3: Shout Out Louds – “Blue Ice”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Illusions”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Walking In Your Footsteps”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Blue Ice”

Spin and The San Francisco Examiner check in with Palma Violets, coming to town on May 3 for a show at Lee’s Palace and again on August 3 as part of The Grove Fest at Garrison Commons.

Los Campesinos! have announced details of and a track from their first-ever live album, entitled A Good Night For A Fistfight, recorded last December and to be released digitally May 5. DIY has specifics and some words from Gareth Campesinos! about the recording.

MP3: Los Campesinos! – “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed” (live at Islington Assembly Hall)

Noah & The Whale are streaming the title track from their forthcoming album Heart Of Nowhere, due out May 6, and it guest stars the wonderful Anna Calvi. The Yorkshire Evening Post and Gigwise have interviews with frontman Charlie Fink.

Stream: Noah & The Whale – “Heart Of Nowhere”

7 Digital interviews Victoria Hesketh of Little Boots about her second album Nocturnes, slated for a May 7 release.

MTV Hive gets to know Charli XCX; she opens for Marina & The Diamonds at Echo Beach on May 23.

The 405 interviews Elliphant, who is streaming a new song and making her local debut on June 7 supporting Twin Shadow at The Phoenix.

Stream: Elliphant – “Make A New Breed”

Interview chats with Jose Gonzalez of Junip, whose new self-titled album came out this week. They play The Great Hall on June 10.

While the May 13 UK release of Primal Scream’s new long-player More Light was long-confirmed, there’s only just come word that there’ll be a domestic release in North America, coming June 18. Details on that at Spin.

Under The Radar has an interview with Pet Shop Boys, whose new album Electric comes out in June.

Spin, eMusic, The 405, The Guardian, MTV, The Daily Beast, NPR, and Exclaim all have feature interviews with Phoenix with Exclaim offering a sidebar piece on the band, Spin the fruits of their photo shoot, and NPR a KCRW video session. Phoenix headline The Grove Fest at Garrison Commons on August 3.

Filter hangs out with the girls of Icona Pop. You can do the same at The Grove Fest at Garrison Commons on August 3.

MTV Hive takes fashion tips from Hot Chip, also playing The Grove Fest on August 3.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are streaming one of the tracks that appeared on their Record Store Day 7″ release.

Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Animal X”

Mystery Jets have made their Record Store Day release, the self-explanatory Live At The Royal Festival Hall, available to stream for those who missed out on getting a copy on Saturday or who never even had the opportunity what with it only being available in the UK and all.

Stream: Mystery Jets / Live At The Royal Festival Hall

Kate Nash has released a new video for the a-side from her Record Store Day 7″, and later this week she’ll roll out the next clip from Girl Talk. But not yet.

Video: Kate Nash – “Free My Pussy”

Clash gets into the heads of British Sea Power.

The Big Takeover has an interview with Veronica Falls.

PopMatters and Black Book interview Ólafur Arnalds.

Stereogum points out a stream of a new Jens Lekman song, written for an Esopus magazine compilation and about a fan who mailed him a dead bird.

Stream: Jens Lekman – “Regarding A Package”

Rolling Stone sits down with Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich to talk about Atoms For Peace and the state of dance music, and somehow the conversation drifts to the topic of Radiohead.

Rolling Stone got a moment of Jason Pierce’s time at Coachella to talk about things of a Spiritualized nature.