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Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

In Your Eyes

Kate Boy and Gold & Youth at Wrongbar in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt might seem like an act of massive hubris for a brand-new band from abroad to book a North American tour with no official release, not even a handful of released songs, and barely a month’s worth of experience performing live, but Sweden’s Kate Boy did just that in rolling into Wrongbar on Sunday night for the third of six dates on this continent. But when each of those three singles and videos have been met with immensely positive response and the right outlets are paying attention, maybe it’s less an act of starry-eyed optimism than a canny first move in a well-orchestrated, long-term marketing strategy.

Though I was intrigued by the aforementioned singles – particular with them on repeat whilst writing this – it took the announcement of Vancouver’s Gold & Youth as support to cement my attendance. Though they were hardly going to be strangers to Toronto stages over this week, opening up the Arts & Crafts Field Trip fest on Saturday and also playing NXNE, the odds of my catching any of those shows was going to slim. And I wanted to see them – their just-released debut Beyond Wilderness being a solid if not life-altering document of ’80s-ish synth-pop that I suspected would come across stronger live than on record. And indeed, it did. Utilizing a conventional band lineup augmented by synths and samples, rather than the other way around, their live show was more energetic and brought their musicianship to the fore, if also laying bare their Cure, New Order, and Depeche Mode influences. Danceable without being dance music, the affirmed themselves as a band with a great if familiar sound, and good to very good songs that should just get better.

Just as it wouldn’t have surprised me if Wrongbar had been empty for Kate Boy’s Canadian debut, it also didn’t surprise me that there was a very respectable-sized crowd by the time the foursome took the stage, uniform of black t-shirts and baseball caps intact. I was surprised, though, that much of the audience seemed not to be the curious out to be convinced, but genuine fans wanting to have their belief confirmed – looks like three songs can really go a long way. Thankfully, the band had more than that in their repertoire, and their 40-minute set was tightly choreographed and impressively crafted – what was that about having only played their first-ever gig in May? The three singles were spaced out so as to be able to keep the momentum up, and basically performed live as extended remixes to effectively balance familiarity and freshness. The rest of the material adhered to the same formula of big heavy beats and even bigger choruses, so if you liked one you were pretty much going to like them all.

While her bandmates kept their Scandinavian cool whilst manning their synths, drums, and bass with laser focus, frontwoman Kate Akhurst was all smiles and arm-waving dance moves, clearly less concerned with maintaining their icy aesthetic than having and giving a good time. And it’s a pretty safe bet that for everyone in attendance, a good time was had. There’s probably not ever going to be a narrative around Kate Boy that casts them as the scrappy, DIY upstarts. There’s something very calculated about their career trajectory so far, and even though they’re currently signed to Los Angeles indie IAMSOUND for their singles, five will get you six that like label alumnus Florence & The Machine, Charli XCX, and Little Boots, their debut will be on a major. Not that that matters, really – all that does is they’ve got the look, they’ve got the sound, and they’ve got the show. Everything is going according to plan.

Exclaim also has a review of the show while Idolator and Chicago Now have posted interviews with the band. MSN gets to know Louise Burns as both a member of Gold & Youth and solo artist, whose second album The Midnight Mass comes out July 9.

Photos: Kate Boy, Gold & Youth @ Wrongbar – June 9, 2013
MP3: Kate Boy – “Northern Lights”
Video: Kate Boy – “The Way We Are”
Video: Kate Boy – “In Your Eyes”
Video: Kate Boy – “Northern Lights”
Video: Gold & Youth – “Jewel”
Video: Gold & Youth – “Time To Kill”

Exclaim has an advance stream of Beady Eye album BE, though since the album is now out as of this week – in the UK, at least – it’s not so advance. The Independent has an interview with Liam Gallagher where he sounds off on this and that.

Stream: Beady Eye / BE

Drowned In Sound talks to CHVRCHES, in town tomorrow night – June 12 – for a show at The Hoxton.

Sigur Rós have turned to their live show projections for the video to the title track and to CBC Music to host an advance stream of their new album Kveikur, coming June 18. The stream is probably geoblocked to Canada, but rest of the world can be sure that their territories will be attended to shortly. Update: Try Amazon.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Kveikur”
Stream: Sigur Rós / Kveikur

Rolling Stone and Refinery 29 have feature pieces on Empire Of The Sun and their new album Ice On The Dune, out June 18 and available to stream now at Rolling Stone. Yahoo, meanwhile, gets a look behind the scenes at the band’s visual presentation.

Stream: Empire Of The Sun / Ice On The Dune

Also out next week – at least domestically in North America – and doing the advance stream thing now is More Light, the new record from Primal Scream. That’s up at NPR.

Stream: Primal Scream / More Light

Editors are streaming a new b-side from the first single for their forthcoming The Weight Of Your Love. The new album is out July 1.

Stream: Editors – “The Sting”

TOY and Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan have teamed up for a cover of Iranian artist Amir Rassaei. It’s out on July 1 as a 7″ single. More details at Pitchfork.

Stream: TOY with Natasha Khan – “The Bride”

The Line Of Best Fit gets to know Camera Obscura. They play the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Common on July 4.

Icona Pop discuss the inspiration behind their hit, “I Don’t Care”, with MTV. They play Garrison Common on August 3 as part of The Grove Fest.

Beatroute, Scout Magazine, and Vita.mn have interviews with José González of Junip.

The National Post and Canada.com have interviews with The xx, who premiered a new video from Coexist last week via Noisey.

Video: The xx – “Fiction”

Metro interviews Bloc Party, who tell Canada.com that following this Summer’s touring commitments, they’re going back on indefinite hiatus.

NME talks to the director of the new video from Billy Bragg’s Tooth & Nail; NPR also has a Mountain Stage video session with the singer-songwriter.

Video: Billy Bragg – “Handyman’s Blues”

DIY has a feature interview with Laura Marling.

The Guardian welcomes Suede to their studios for a video session.

The Joy Formidable have released a live video of them performing an acoustic cover of Echo & The Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon”.

Video: The Joy Formidable – “The Killing Moon” (live)

Clash invites Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison to take a swing at some of the songs currently on the UK charts.

By : Frank Yang at 8:33 am
Category: Concert Reviews

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RSS Feed for this post3 Responses.
  1. SilberMusicFeed says:

    Chromewaves – Kate Boy and Gold & Youth at Wrongbar in Toronto http://t.co/P1IIbJVbXt

  2. BartTuszkiewicz says:

    @fyang thanks for hooking up my girlfriend with tickets. We had a good time

  3. Killbeat says:

    RT @fyang chromewaves: Kate Boy and Gold & Youth at Wrongbar in Toronto http://t.co/quRZXvUgWQ