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Archive for June, 2013

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

The First 5 Minutes

The Sadies have a new record and all is right with the world

Photo By Rick WhiteRick WhiteGiven that if you live in the Toronto area, it may seem like The Sadies never go away – they’re gigging machines whether they’re on a touring cycle or not, playing any number of festivals, one-offs, support slots, backing gigs – it’s actually been over three years since their last studio album, 2010’s Polaris shortlisted Darker Circles, was released. Sure, in the interim they’ve also put out Night & Day backing Chicago blues-R&B veteran Andre Williams and Dallas and Travis helped make The Good Family Album with their parents, but responding to the announcement that they’ve got a new album done and en route with anything less than great enthusiasm is unacceptable.

The new long-player is called Internal Sounds and will be out September 17, with a first track available to stream now. From note one it sounds exactly like what you expect The Sadies to sound like – psychedelically twangy rock highlighted by tight harmonies and ridiculous musicianship – but the songwriting is stronger than its ever been. It’s an aspect of the band that probably doesn’t get the respect it deserves, overshadowed by all the bands’ other strengths, but compare anything off their last few records with their earliest and marvel at how good they’ve gotten compositionally without ceding any ground in the performance. Go on, marvel.

Exclaim has details on the new release and a brace of Fall tour dates; their hometown commitments are currently limited to two Toronto Urban Roots Fest appearances – July 5 at Lee’s Palace and July 7 at Garrison Common – but sure as the sun rises in the east, they’ll have more to come this Fall and I’ll leak this one right now – they’ll be at The Horseshoe on New Year’s Eve. A-yup.

Stream: The Sadies – “The First 5 Minutes”

With the release today of Fantasy, the new album from Vancouver’s Lightning Dust, the band has just announced another batch of Fall tour dates which include a stop at The Drake Underground on September 10; tickets for that are $12.50 in advance.

MP3: Lightning Dust – “Diamond”

It’s a double-dose of new METZ – a new Chad VanGaalen-animated video from their self-titled debut and a new song from the Adult Swim singles series which you can stream at Consequence Of Sound. Their next local show is July 12 at Downsview Park opening for Weezer.

Video: METZ – “Get Off”
Stream: METZ – “Can’t Understand”

Rae Spoon has announced the August 13 release of his new record My Prairie Home. Hit Exclaim for specifics and stream one of the new songs below.

Stream: Rae Spoon – “I Will Be A Wall”

Kieran Adams and Joseph Shabason of Diana discuss their debut album Perpetual Surrender with Under The Radar. It comes out August 20.

Tone Deaf talks to Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz, who also talks a bit about the cockroach-heavy new video from Impersonator with NPR. He brings his hopefully roach-free show to Wrongbar on September 17.

Video: Majical Cloudz – “Bugs Don’t Buzz”

Jenn Grant is the latest Canadian artist to assume a new synth-rock persona; she talks to CBC Music talks to about her new project Aqua Alta, a few songs from which you can stream at their website. Grant performs as Grant previewing new material at Lee’s Palace on September 21.

Exclaim has posted online this month’s cover story on Austra; Tone Deaf and The Guardian also have interviews with bandleader Katie Stelmanis. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

We’re still waiting on details of Basia Bulat’s third album, but that she’s added some Fall dates to a smattering of Summer commitments implies that it’ll be here soon enough – perhaps in time to make her October 17 date at The Polish Combatants Hall a record release show?

MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”

Consequence Of Sound talks to Colin Stetson, who also talks about the new video from New History Warfare Vol 3: To See More Light at The New York Times.

Video: Colin Stetson – “Who The Waves Are Roaring For”

DIY and NBC San Diego have interviews and NYC Taper a recording of Hooded Fang’s show at The Mercury Lounge in New York at the start of the month.

The Calgary Herald interviews The Besnard Lakes.

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

CONTEST – Rogue Wave @ The Mod Club – June 25, 2013

Photo By Terri LoewenthalTerri LoewenthalWho: Rogue Wave
What: Indie-pop outfit founded in Oakland a decade ago and anchored by drummer Pat Spurgeon and singer/guitarist/namesake Zach Rogue, because “Schwartz Wave” would have been a pretty bad band name.
Why: They released their fifth full-length Nightingale Floors at the start of June, and are now on tour to support it.
When: Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Where: The Mod Club in Toronto (19+)
Who else: Brooklyn’s Caveman opens up.
How: Tickets for the show are $19.50 in advance but courtesy of LiveNation, 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 see Rogue Wave” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, June 23.
What else: MTV Hive and Metro have feature pieces on the band.

MP3: Rogue Wave – “Publish My Love”
MP3: Rogue Wave – “Endless Shovel”
Stream: Rogue Wave – “College”
Stream: Rogue Wave – “Siren’s Song”

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Happy Days

Blouse continue to tailor sound on Imperium

Photo By Anna IgnatenkoAnna IgnatenkoPortland-based trio Blouse made a pretty positive impression with their 2011 self-titled debut and its alluring balance of mechanical post-punk rhythms and shoegazey textures, be they synth- or guitar-created. Advance word on their just-announced second album Imperium, however, makes it sound as though they’ve elected to up the organic quotient, entering the studio with an “instruments that don’t plug into the wall” mandate.

Based on the first single from Imperium, this hasn’t drastically changed the band’s aesthetic – Charlie Hilton’s vocals are still entrancingly Nico-icy and melancholic – but the greater emphasis on live instrumentation certainly makes them sound more like a proper rock band than a “project”, as they initially referenced themselves. Some may bemoan their tilt towards the conventional, but if the end result is more and better songs, then I’m all for it.

Imperium is out September 17 and as a sort of press release, label Captured Tracks has a Q&A with the band about the new album.

MP3: Blouse – “No Shelter”

Spin has a feature interview with Kurt Vile, who’s in town to play the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Common on July 7.

NYC Taper has a recording of Yo La Tengo’s final show at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey. They play TURF on July 7 at Garrison Common.

Stereogum asks Jeff Tweedy what’s going on with the new Wilco record. Answer – not much; writing, no recording. So expect to hear stuff you know when they play The Molson Amphitheatre on July 15 opening for Bob Dylan. And don’t pretend that bothers you.

Interview talks to electronic/ambient artist Julianna Barwick about her new album Nepenthe, due out on August 20 and with a new song available to stream. She’s in town at Double Double Land on September 26.

Stream: Julianna Barwick – “One Half”

Stereogum talks to Laura Ballance and The Calgary Herald to Jim Wilbur of Superchunk; Ballance is probably thankful she no longer tours with the band as they’re having a hell of a time in flooded Calgary for Sled Island this weekend. Their new album I Hate Music is out August 20.

Under The Radar has details on the new record from Lissie; Back To Forever will be out September 10. The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with the roots-rocker.

The Thurston Moore-powered Chelsea Light Moving are bringing their self-titled debut back to town for a show at The Horseshoe on September 15.

MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Burroughs”

Local Natives have rolled out a new video from this year’s Hummingbird. They play The Kool Haus on September 21.

Video: Local Natives – “You & I”

Chicago’s Disappears and San Francisco’s Weekend have paired up for an Autumn co-headlining tour that’s sure to be loud and abrasive in all the right places and wraps up in Toronto at The Garrison on October 25. Disappears released Pre-Language last year; Weekend’s new album Jinx comes out July 23.

MP3: Disappears – “New Fast”
MP3: Weekend – “Coma Summer”

La Sera have been announced as support for Kate Nash’s upcoming show at The Phoenix on November 5. Their last release was 2012’s Sees The Light

MP3: La Sera – “Please Be My Third Eye”

Noisey, The Citizen-Times, and Interview get to know Beach Day, whose debut Trip Trap Attack came out this week.

Interview has an interview with Alan Sparhawk of Low.

The Postal Service has released a video for one of the new songs on the anniversary edition of Give Up.

Video: The Postal Service – “A Tattered Piece Of String”

aux.tv talks to Titus Andronicus.

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Brief Encounters

Franz Ferdinand, Frightened Rabbit, and Travis lead an Autumn Scottish invasion

Photo By Andrew KnowlesAndrew KnowlesIt was amusing to me to hear portions of the internet get all worked up a few weeks ago when Franz Ferdinand announced the August 27 release of their fourth album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, because those people most excited are almost certainly the same ones who will be first to declare it to be, for the third time, inferior to their 2004 self-titled debut. And it may well be true, but it’s strange that those who’d purport to be the Scottish quartet’s biggest fans are also the first to be disappointed by them. I feel for the band, I do.

But it could also be they’re less excited about the prospect of new songs than the band heaving an excuse to hit the road again – after all, whatever you think of their records, there’s no denying that the band remain a phenomenal live band – this I was reminded of last Summer when I saw them at Osheaga. And so fans will be pleased to know the band have announced a Fall tour that brings them back to Toronto for the first time since V Fest 2009; they’ll be at The Kool Haus on October 24, tickets $35 in advance.

The band have not offered an official taste of the new record, but they did just release a little behind-the-scenes video featurette to whet your appetite, assuming your appetite is whetted by things like this.

Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Walk Away”
Video: Franz Ferdinand’s A Weekend In Glasgow

Buzzy Scots CHVRCHES have just released details about their debut album. The Bones of What You Believe, as well as more North American dates including September 15 at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. The album is out on September 24 and this is the newest video from it. The Guardian also has an interview.

MP3: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”
Video: CHVRCHES – “Gun”

Veteran Scots Travis have also regrouped for a new album, their first since 2008’s Ode To J. Smith. Where You Stand will be released on August 19 and be accompanied by a North American tour; their first Toronto show in over four years will be on September 25 at the Sound Academy, tickets $30 general admission and $45 VIP.

MP3: Travis – “Driftwood”
Video: Travis – “Where You Stand”

Frightened Rabbit aren’t as firm believers in absence making the heart grow fonder as their countrymen; Selkirk’s most famous rock band will be back for their third visit in a year with a show at The Kool Haus on October 17, still in support of this year’s Pedestrian Verse. Tickets for that are $25 in advance and Under The Radar has the rest of their tour itinerary. They culled through some live footage recorded on an Australian tour for their latest video.

MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Scottish Winds”
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Late March, Death March”

M.I.A. may continue to have problems getting her fourth album Matangi released – Maya Arulpragasam talks to The Guardian about why she thinks that is – but she’s still released the first single to stream and is undertaking a small North American tour, including a stop at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall on July 18; tickets $35 in advance.

Stream: M.I.A. – “Bring The Noize”

Up-and-coming British electronic duo AlunaGeorge have put together a North American tour in support of their debut album Body Music, which comes out July 29 and has just yielded a new video. Exclaim has the full dates, which include a September 9 stop at The Hoxton. Admission will be $20 in advance.

MP3: AlunaGeorge – “You Know You Like It”
Video: AlunaGeorge – “You Know You Like It”

After high-profile supporting slots for M83 last summer and Marina & The Diamonds last month, Charli XCX is finally ready for the spotlight – she’ll make her local headlining debut in support of True Romance on September 16 at The Hoxton, tickets $15. Exclaim has the complete dates and Billboard and Idolator have conversations with the singer.

MP3: Charli XCX – “Glow”

Editors have released a new video from their forthcoming The Weight Of Your Love, out July 2.

Video: Editors – “The Weight”

Aquarium Drunkard, Willamette Weekly, The Portland Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, and Santa Barbara Independent have interviews with Camera Obscura. They play Garrison Common for the Toronto Urban Roots Fest on July 4.

Guitar Player has an interview with Richard Thompson, who opens up the Bob Dylan/Wilco/My Morning Jacket tour that hits The Molson Amphitheatre on July 15.

Pet Shop Boys have released a new video from their forthcoming Electric, out July 16. They play The Sony Centre on September 25.

Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Vocal”

White Lies are streaming another song from their new record Big TV, out August 21. They play The Opera House on October 1.

Stream: White Lies – “There Goes Our Love”

Bella Union has offered details on the second album from orch-pop ensemble Lanterns On The Lake. Until The Colours Run will be out on September 9.

Also out September 9 will be Summer Camp, the second album from Summer Camp. The Line Of Best Fit have details on the release, or you can just watch the trailer.

Trailer: Summer Camp / Summer Camp

Daughter have released a new video from If You Leave; they play The Phoenix on September 29.

Video: Daughter – “Youth”

They’re not tipping their hat as to a new album that it be taken from, but Arctic Monkeys have released a video to go with a brand new new single.

Video: Arctic Monkeys – “Do I Wanna Know?”

Fans of top-notch dreampop in the Mojave 3 vein take note: Pigeons & Planes has premiered a new song from Anglo-Canadian dreampop outfit The High Wire, with details of a new full-length hopefully to come soon.

Stream: The High Wire – “LNOE”

Gigwise gets Richard Hawley to share his true feelings about festivals like Glastonbury – spoiler alert, not positively – and also about his contributions to the new Manic Street Preachers albums, whenever they come out.

And whilst on the topic of Manic Street Preachers, The Guardian talks to James Dean Bradfield and Tone Deaf to Sean Moore about rugby and music.

Despite being one of the busiest producers and sidemen going, DIY reports that Dev Hynes will release a second Blood Orange record this year, possibly with the title of Cupid Deluxe.

Noisey meets Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, whose latest More Light got a North American release this week.

Alex James confirms to Contact Music that Blur did, indeed, hit the studio in Hong Kong recently and that the sessions went “very well”.

Clash and GQ chat with the lads of Beady Eye about their new album BE.

The Guardian has premiered the new video from Foals, taken from this year’s Holy Fire.

Video: Foals – “Bad Habit”

NPR has posted a Tiny Desk Concert with Billy Bragg.

The Guardian chats with Stornoway frontman Brian Briggs.

Figure 8 chats with Dave Gedge of The Wedding Present.

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

NXNE 2013 Day Three

Fresh Snow, Data Romance, Del Bel, and more at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’m sure some would look at the last full day/night of a music festival as an opportunity to go hard or go home, I took NXNE’s Saturday schedule as an opportunity to go small and go (relatively) local. I’d kept a pretty conservative schedule through the festival this far, after all, why stop now?

I started out at Supermarket in Kensington to see Vancouver’s Data Romance. I wasn’t really familiar with them before stumbling across their stuff in the NXNE listings, and liking what I heard, gave them a shot. And indeed, armed with a healthy array of drum pads, synths, and laptops, duo Ajay Bhattacharyya and Amy Kirkpatrick, put on a very likeable set of electro-pop drawn from their debut album Other, the former playing electronic drums live to keep things organic and the latter adorably charismatic, her voice expressive without being excessively showy. They specialized in soulful, synthy ballads that would feel like part of the zeitgeist had it come out of the UK right now, but coming from western Canada, sounds rather unique. Accessible, interesting, and well-crafted, Data Romance could and should find a broad audience.

Photos: Data Romance @ Supermarket – June 15, 2013
MP3: Data Romance – “Spark”
Video: Data Romance – “Can’t Keep Your Mind Off”
Video: Data Romance – “The Deep”
Video: Data Romance – “She’s Been High”

Next it was to the Creatures Creating studio space – or more accurately, the tinfoil and lightshow-adorned basement of the studio space – where Toronto music and arts institution Wavelength was holding the final night of their NXNE showcases and previewing their upcoming Roadshow tour which would send three Toronto bands on the road to do their thing across Ontario and Quebec over the next couple weekends. The first of these, Most People, comprised just two people and a whole lot of musical gear of the guitar, bass, percussion, and electronic persuasion which they alternated between tag team-style while building sound-on-sound pop songs that seemed to fold in on themselves but straightened themselves out when needed, being sure to leave the hooks exposed. While their yelpy vocal stylings weren’t to my taste and the songs could stand to be more concise, there’s no denying they were fun to watch. And I’m not just saying that because they’re the only band I’ve ever seen with the same guitar amp as I have. Solidarity!

Photos: Most People @ Creatures Creating – June 15, 2013
Stream: Most People / Most People

I’d seen local jazz-noir collective Del Bel a couple times last year, but never with as lean a lineup as they had on this night – just five pieces, though I would imagine the logistics of getting any larger a group than that together and able to tour would be nigh on impossible. Even stripped down, though, they were able to both do the dark, evocative sounds of their debut Oneiric justice and give them a fresh angle that suited the boozecan feel of the room. Some new material from their forthcoming second album was also showcased, and affirmed that they’re still one of the most interesting and promising new acts bubbling under in Toronto.

Photos: Del Bel @ Creatures Creating – June 15, 2013
MP3: Del Bel with Bry Webb – “No Cure For Loneliness”

I feel as though I should offer a disclaimer about Fresh Snow – I used to be in a band with guitarist Brad Davis and have been friends for many years – but even without the personal angle, I would be excited to be writing about the band. What started as an interesting Krautrock-jam project has become a genuinely exciting psych-rock experience that exists at intersection of calculated and cacophonous. They can shift from Godspeed to Kraftwerk to Mogwai within the same song, and then segue to eminently danceable synth-led disco a few minutes later with some pleasantly woozy violin lines offering a decidedly human counterpoint to the mechanical rhythms driving things. And they might also blow the power in the venue a couple times, but nothing worthwhile comes without some cost. Their debut album i is due out in late July.

Photos: Fresh Snow @ Creatures Creating – June 15, 2013
Video: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”

And that was my NXNE for 2013. Not nearly as intense as past years, but just about the right pace to keep me interested and alive. Trust me on that last point.

Unsurprisingly, with this year’s festival in the books, some of the buzzier bands who had undersized showcases have already announced bigger/proper shows for the not-too-distant future. Braids spin-off Blue Hawaii will be at Wrongbar on July 28 in support of their debut Untogether, released earlier this year and from which they’ve just released a new video.

MP3: Blue Hawaii – “In Two II”
Video: Blue Hawaii – “Reaction II”

And Majical Cloudz, who by all accounts was pretty intense in their showcases, continue to promote their debut Impersonator with a show at Wrongbar on September 17, tickets $12. The Toronto Star has an interview with frontman Devon Welsh.

MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Bugs Don’t Buzz”

The ALL CAPS! music festival has decided that five is enough and that this year’s edition, taking place at Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Islands across August 10 and 11, will be the final one. And who better to send it off with a fitting party than Rich Aucoin, who will headline the Sunday night alongside Brooklyn’s The Blow – closing out Saturday – and a lineup that also includes catl, Shotgun Jimmie, Elfin Saddle, and more, not to mention a whole lot of other arty stuff. A very limited number of camping passes go on sale June 25 for $52 early bird and $69 lollygagger, and festival passes where you have to go home for $24 going up to $30. Single-day tickets are $17 in advance.

MP3: Rich Aucoin – “It”
MP3: The Blow – “Hock It”

With a new double-album in Drifters/Love Is The Devil just out, Taiwan-born Montreal-based no-fi rockabilly act Dirty Beaches has announced Fall tour that hits The Garrison on September 11, tickets $13 in advance. Exclaim and Stereogum talk to Alex Zhang-Hungtai – he who is Dirty Beaches – about his latest opus.

Video: Dirty Beaches – “Casino Lisboa”

Interview, DIY, and Noisey talk to Katie Stelmanis of Austra, whose new record Olympia came out this week. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

Dears frontman Murray Lightburn has release the first MP3 and video from his forthcoming solo album Mass:Light; contrary to what I reported last month, the album itself has no announced release date yet.

MP3: Murray A. Lightburn – “Motherfuckers”
Video: Murray A. Lightburn – “Motherfuckers”

Beatroute has an interview with Toronto’s July Talk.

The Besnard Lakes talk to Beatroute.

The Georgia Straight and Beatroute check in with Yamantaka//Sonic Titan.