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Archive for September, 2013

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

You Caught The Light

Review of CHVRCHES’ The Bones Of What You Believe

Photo By Eliot Lee HazelEliot Lee HazelIf hype were actual currency, you could trade in copies of Scottish trio CHVRCHES’ debut album The Bones Of What You Believe for bars of gold, their buzz-versus-time graph having steadily grown over the last year, successfully buoying them through three North American tours of increasing stature and scale before their first full-length was in stores.

These heightened expectations might seem to demand a big record, but those who were in attendance at the band’s first Toronto show in March – hardly a powerhouse live show with two-thirds of the band anchored to their keyboard stations and frontwoman Lauren Mayberry personable but not exactly owning the stage with her presence – can attest that it’s the small aspects of the band that give them their charm, an opinion borne out by Bones.

The karaoke versions of these songs might easily be mistaken for M83 numbers, with their big synth textures and singalong melodies reaching unashamedly skywards, Mayberry’s sweet voice and the melancholic-to-miserable sentiments it delivers keeps things grounded and resonant at a human scale. It’s understandable if the lyrics aren’t the first things that the listener notices – the big gleaming hooks around them, both instrumental and vocal, do tend to grab one’s attention – but they do offer welcome substance to the proceedings and add an extra dimension that helps them exceed expectations. To be clear: even if Mayberry was singing nonsensical verses about squirrels and tapioca these songs would be earworms of the highest order, but that there’s heart and intelligence here as well makes Bones a record that will merit plays well after the hype machine has moved onto the next big thing.

The Bones Of What You Believe is out this week on September 24 and NPR has a stream of the album. Consequence Of Sound, Billboard, The Wall Street Journal, and The Scotsman have features on the band and their ascent and CBC Music has a video session.

MP3: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”
Video: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”
Video: CHVRCHES – “Gun”
Video: CHVRCHES – “Recover”
Stream: CHVRCHES / The Bones Of What You Believe

The Independent gets to know Daughter, in town for a show at The Phoenix on September 29.

MusicOmh talks to Johnny Flynn, who is streaming a new song from his forthcoming album Country Mile, hitting stores September 30.

Stream: Johnny Flynn – “Fol-De-Rol”

Yuck have released a new video from their forthcoming second record Glow & Behold, out September 30.

Video: Yuck – “Middle Sea”

Rolling Stone has made another song from the Neil Hasltead-fronted Black Hearted Brother available to download; their debut Stars Are Our Home comes out October 22.

MP3: Black Hearted Brother – “This Is How It Feels”

Under The Radar has posted the excerpts of the interview with Charli XCX that went into last issue’s cover story. She plays Wrongbar on November 9.

The Fader is streaming a new song from London’s Arthur Beatrice – introduced back in July – taken from their full-length debut, due out early next year.

Stream: Arthur Beatrice – “Grand Union”

Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin talks to DIY and The Yorkshire Evening Post about their new album Motto.

The Guardian, Exclaim, The National Post, and Stereogum talk to Elvis Costello and The Roots about their just-released collaborative album Wise Up Ghost.

Summer Camp takes The Quietus on a track-by-track tour of their new record Summer Camp.

JAM and Pitchfork have feature interviews with Arctic Monkeys.

The Wall Street Journal has a video session with Laura Marling, who has just released a new video from her latest album Once I Was An Eagle.

Video: Laura Marling – “Devil’s Resting Place”

Noisey, The Georgia Straight, and City Pages interview Savages.

PopMatters talks to Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura, who just gave birth to her first child. Congratulations!

Metro finds out what Johnny Marr thinks of Queen.

The Toronto Star caught up with Peter Hook before his visit to town last week.

Berlin Beat talks to David Lewis Gedge of The Wedding Present.

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

CONTEST – Tricky @ The Mod Club – October 6, 2013

Photo By TrickyTrickyWho: Tricky
What: Adrian Nicholas Matthews Thaws by birth, English by nationality, groundbreaking hip/trip-hop artist by trade
Why: After having to cancel an tour this Summer behind his latest record False Idols, Tricky now has his paperwork in order for the rescheduled dates and it’s to the benefit of Toronto fans – this stop wasn’t on the original itinerary. Update: Or not so in order. Tour delayed.
When: Sunday, October 6, 2013
Where: The Mod Club in Toronto (19+)
Who else: Dunno.
How: Tickets for the show are $29.50 in advance but courtesy of Union Events, 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 Tricky” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, October 1.
What else: The Guardian ran an interview with Tricky when False Idols was released back in the Spring.

MP3: Tricky – “Anti-Matter”
Video: Tricky – “Parenthesis”
Video: Tricky – “Does It”

Friday, September 20th, 2013

H2O

Hall & Oates at Casino Rama in Orillia

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo, yeah, a few people have asked if I really drove all the way up to Casino Rama (a 90-minute drive north of Toronto that never takes less than two-plus hours, for those not local) to see Hall & Oates on Wednesday night. To which I answer, “you’re damn right I did”. Not that it requires any justification, but having grown up in the ’80s and spent most of that decade glued to MuchMusic/MTV, I have a massive soft spot for the pop music of the era, and while a lot of it has not aged well, to say the least, the works of Darryl Hall and John Oates remains pretty effin’ great; had they ever toured any closer to Toronto I’d have surely seen them by now but since they basically stick to the lucrative casino circuit, it would take a perfect convergence of opportunity and company to make it happen. Which it did.

And if you equated working the casino circuit with phoning it in – which to be honest I sort of did – I’m happy to say that it was not the case. With an enthusiastic audience of around 5000 filling the theatre, Hall & Oates and their six-piece backing band opened up with “Maneater”; give the people what they want, right? But within a few songs were busting out the deep cuts, including their first-ever live performance, if they were to be believed, of “Alone Too Long” from their eponymous 1975 record. It was interesting that they’d include so many deep cuts, but perhaps that was the best way to remind folks of their old-school Philly soul credentials in addition to being pop stars.

But let’s be honest, we were there to hear the hits and they weren’t not going to play them. They emerged from the depths of their set book with the slow jams – “She’s Gone”, “One On One”, and “Sara Smile” thank you very much – before closing things out with the big guns; a jazzy “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” with extended sax solo and two chart-topping encores comprised of “Rich Girl”, “You Make My Dreams Come True”, “Kiss On My List”, and “Private Eyes” as the finale. Yeah of course that was how it was going to go, but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable.

Performance-wise, both Hall and Oates sounded great, particularly when backed by the multi-part harmonies of their band, and were still looking pretty trim for their years and with Oates wisely sporting facial hair again. The band was loud and tight and although I’d have traded some of the extended jamming for, oh, “Method Of Modern Love”, they did a good job of playing according to score while Hall went off on vocal and keyboard ad libs – too bad they couldn’t cover up Hall’s Live From Daryl’s House-advertising guitar strap and t-shirt. Ah well. A fun show despite the amount of travel time – next time I’ll take one of those Chinatown buses – but not one I’m likely to make a habit of. Unless that Huey Lewis & The News Sports 30th anniversary tour makes a date…

Photos: Hall & Oates @ Casino Rama – September 18, 2013
Video: Hall & Oates – “Promise Ain’t Enough”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Don’t Hold Back Your Love”
Video: Hall & Oates – “So Close”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Love Train”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Downtown Life”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Missed Opportunity”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Everything Your Heart Desires”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Possession Obsession”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Method Of Modern Love”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Out Of Touch”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Adult Education”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Say It Isn’t So”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Family Man”
Video: Hall & Oates – “One On One”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Maneater”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Your Imagination”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Did It In A Minute”
Video: Hall & Oates – “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Private Eyes”
Video: Hall & Oates – “You Make My Dreams Come True”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Kiss Is On My List”
Video: Hall & Oates – “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”
Video: Hall & Oates – “How Does It Feel To Be Back?”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Portable Radio”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Wait For Me”
Video: Hall & Oates – “Intravino”
Video: Hall & Oates – “She’s Gone”

Spin, The Daily Beast, and The Guardian talk to Mazzy Star about their new album Seasons Of Your Day, out on Tuesday. They play The Danforth Music Hall on November 16.

Exclaim have posted this month’s cover story on the one, the only, Janelle Monáe. She does her thing at The Kool Haus on October 19.

Pitchfork talks to Explosions In The Sky and director David Gordon Green about working on the soundtrack to Prince Avalanche. They play The Air Canada Centre on October 4 in support of Nine Inch Nails.

Drowned In Sound chats with Midlake v2.0 about their forthcoming album Antiphon, which is out November 5 and from which they’ve just premiered a new song at NPR.

Stream: Midlake – “Provider”

Sebadoh talks about their new album Defend Yourself to DIY, LA Magazine, and Drowned In Sound. They’re at The Horseshoe on November 8.

Matador has details on the forthcoming deluxe edition of Yo La Tengo’s latest album Fade, which will be coming out November 18 and contain a second disc of b-sides and rarities and the like. PandoDaily has a chat with Ira Kaplan about integrity and whatnot.

Having released their first new album in many years with last year’s The Tarnished Gold, Californian psych-country-pop mavens Beachwood Sparks are getting in the wayback machine to give their recorded-in-1996-but-never-released first album Desert Skies on November 20; you can download the first time capsule of a song below.

MP3: Beachwood Sparks – “Make It Together”

Jim James gives Billboard an update on the in-progress new record from My Morning Jacket.

Pitchfork celebrates the longevity – if not prolificness – of The Wrens.

Though she should probably be concentrating on her new album, Solange has gone ahead and released a new video from her True EP; that’s the sound of no one really complaining.

Video: Solange – “Lovers In The Parking Lot”

Esquire has premiered the latest video from Ra Ra Riot’s Beta Love.

Video: Ra Ra Riot – “I Shut Off”

NPR has posted up a World Cafe session with She & Him.

The Georgia Straight profiles The National.

NPR welcomes Neko Case for a World Cafe session.

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Design

A whole bunch of concert announcements, featuring Glasser

Photo By Jonathan TurnerJonathan TurnerLots of concert announcements over the last few days, but nothing that demands to take the lead spot, so I shall go with news of Glasser – aka electronic-pop artist Cameron Mesirow – because it comes first chronologically and her promo photos are awesome. Yes folks, sometimes that’s all it takes. In any case, the Mesirow will release Interiors – the second Glasser album and follow-up to 2010’s Ring – on October 8. She’s already released two songs from the album – one with official video – and has also just rolled out a handful of North American dates which include an October 13 date at The Drake Underground – tickets for that are $15 in advance. Pitchfork has an interview with Mesirow about out what to expect with the new album.

Video: Glasser – “Design”
Stream: Glasser – “Shape”

Typically when a band adds a second show to meet demand, they do it at the same room so as to avoid moving all their gear around town – but in the case of Two Door Cinema Club, they’re satisfying overflow demand for their October 15 show at The Danforth Music Hall with a second show at the half-as-large Mod Club the night before, October 14, with both openers St. Lucia and Peace remaining as support. It’s actually pretty canny, since at least some of the fans who’ve already got tickets for the main show will be willing to drop another $25 to see the band in much more intimate environs.

MP3: Peace – “California Daze”
Video: Two Door Cinema Club – “Sleep Alone”
Stream: St. Lucia – “Elevate”

With a new album in Weekend coming out October 23, Swedish glam-rockers The Sounds have assembled a small North American tour that includes a stop at The Mod Club on October 17, tickets $20. They’ve released a lyric video for the first single from the new record, though you probably could have figured out the chorus on your own.

Lyric Video: The Sounds – “Shake Shake Shake”

With their new album Nothing Is Real set for an October 15 release, Californian psych-rockers Crystal Antlers have announced a North American tour which brings them to The Silver Dollar on November 1, tickets $10.50 in advance.

Video: Crystal Antlers – “Rattlesnake”

Californian psychedelic-western outfit Spindrift have used their explorations of American ghost towns as source material for their next album Ghost Of The West, due out October 22, and a documentary film that will follow next year. They’ll be touring behind it to some decidedly non-ghost town locales, including Lee’s Palace on November 11, tickets $10.50 in advance. There’s a trailer for the new record and film companion.

Trailer: Spindrift / Ghost Of The West

Evening Hymns will continue to bring life to last year’s Spectral Dusk with a Fall tour that includes a stop at the Drake Underground in Toronto on November 14.

MP3: Evening Hymns – “Arrows”

With their new album Internal Sounds now out, The Sadies have announced a show at Lee’s Palace on November 15, tickets $20 in advance.

Stream: The Sadies – “Another Tomorrow Again”

English electronic singer-songwriter Daniel Woodhouse, who operates as Deptford Goth, has put together a string of dates behind his debut album Life After Defo and will be in town at The Drake on November 15.

Video: Deptford Goth – “Union”

Once – and future, let’s be honest – Broken Social Scenester Brendan Canning has announced some live dates behind his new solo record You Gots 2 Chill, coming out October 1. He’ll be in familiar environs on November 16 when he plays Lee’s Palace, tickets $15. You can stream a new track below as well as watch a video.

Stream: Brendan Canning – “Bullied Days”
Video: Brendan Canning – “Plugged In”

Taking advantage of the extra profile afforded by being a Mercury Prize shortlister for his album Immunity – okay, the tour was probably booked already regardless – English producer/electronic artist Jon Hopkins is going to be in town on November 21 for a show at The Hoxton. The Montreal Gazette and Red Bull have interviews.

Video: Jon Hopkins – “Open Eye Signal”

American singer-songwriter Cass McCombs has a new album in Big Wheel And Others coming out on October 15 and as such, has some Winter dates behind it including December 4 at The Great Hall, tickets $15.50. Stream a new song below.

Stream: Cass McCombs – “There Can Be Only One”

The inexplicably – to me, at least – popular MGMT have just released their new record – also called MGMT – and rolled out a new video starring Michael K. Williams of The Wire and Boardwalk Empire because when you’re popular – inexplicably or otherwise – you can do things like that. Pitchfork also has tour dates for this Fall, but while they’ve only got “TBA” for the venues, Pollstar appears to have the missing info so Toronto fans can look forward to trekking down to the Sound Academy on December 7 and paying $35 for general admission and $45 for VIP while waiting for them to play “Time To Pretend”. There’s interviews with the band at Digital Spy, Rolling Stone, and Blare.

Video: MGMT – “Cool Song No. 2”

While there’s been no word of a follow-up to 2012’s Blood Pressures – which brought them to town last February, The Kills are coming back to town for a show at The Danforth Music Hall on December 11, tickets $24.50 to $29.50 in advance.

MP3: The Kills – “Future Starts Slow”

Another Mercury Prize shortlister following up their nomination with a tour announcement are electronic duo Disclosure, whose feted album Settle will bring them to the Danforth Music Hall on January 14 of next year. Pitchfork has full dates as well as a 360-degree video recorded at a show in Central Park earlier this year so you’ll know what to expect from their tour, assuming you get up on stage with them.

Video: Disclosure – “When A Fire Starts To Burn”
Video: Disclosure – “Latch” (live in 360)

And because it can’t all be gain, a couple of show cancellations also came through yesterday – those with tickets for either Foxygen at The Hoxton on October 1 or How To Dress Well at The Garrison on November 2 should seek refunds at the point of purchase. Perhaps as an apology, Foxygen also released a new video for the title track of We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace And Magic; How To Dress Well, on the other hand, offer nothing – not even advice on how to dress well.

Video: Foxygen – “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic”

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Sleeping Where I Fall

Chelsea Light Moving and Speedy Ortiz at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFor two bands touring behind their debut albums, you don’t get much further apart in terms of backstory than Speedy Ortiz and Chelsea Light Moving. The former being a loud and brash quartet from Northampton, Massachusetts whose Major Arcana demonstrates an overt and emphatic appreciation for the sounds of American college rock in the 1990s, and the latter being the new outfit of Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore, a man who in large part architected the styles which Speedy Ortiz are disciples of and whose self-titled debut affirms that whatever name he’s trading under, he’s not done building on them. Together at The Horseshoe on Sunday night – Speedy Ortiz’s first visit to Toronto and Chelsea Light Moving’s second, following a visit to Lee’s Palace in March – they were something of a dream double-bill for those who like their guitars to sound like jagged, angry weapons doing their damage in serrated melodies.

And they don’t especially need much time to do it. While it was a touch disappointing that Speedy Ortiz wrapped up their set after barely 20 minutes – 25 tops – but there was no complaint about how they utilized the time they did have. I didn’t think it possible, but their stage show made the Archers Of Pavement-saluting stylings of Major Arcana sound positively polite by comparison. Guitarist Matt Robidoux must have felt undermixed on the album because live he was turned up extra-loud, though not to the point of overpowering frontwoman Sadie Dupuis because she was just as loud and with Darl Ferm on bass their equal in the mix, the complexity and contrasts of their respective parts became impressively clear. Together, they replicated the sound of three different songs falling off a cliff into one another and somehow, implausibly, gelling into something lurchingly, chaotically greater yet still given a friendly, accessible face by Dupuis’ urgently laid-back vocals and off-kilter melodies. It’s not easy to satisfy completely while leaving them wanting more, but Speedy Ortiz did it – and efficiently, no less.

After spending over 30 years pushing musical boundaries and indulging his creative impulses in Sonic Youth, it’s unlikely anyone was really expecting Thurston Moore sound like anyone besides Thurston Moore with his new band. So while over the course of their hour-long set, Moore edged into the shadows at stage left as if to more equally share the stage with his bandmates, there really wasn’t hiding someone of his stature, both literally and figuratively. Chelsea Light Moving sound immediately familiar from the sinewy guitar lines to Moore’s languid vocals, but closer inspection reveals key differences with Sonic Youth. Chelsea are more direct – Moore’s melodic instincts are give full play – and also heavier, with Keith Wood not attempting to replicate any Lee Ranaldo-esque guitar interplay but instead often doubling Moore’s rumbling low-string riffs and washes of feedback; you might say Chelsea come across like Sonic Youth gone garage rock – less hypnotic or avant-garde, perhaps, but more visceral and primal.

Over the course of their hour-fifteen set – which Show opened and closed with a collage of pick scrapes and the string noises of Jazzmasters being played where they weren’t meant to be and included a song based on 16th-century poet John Donne’s “The Ecstasy” as well as a dedication of “Lips” to the “Toronto chapter of the Pussy Riot movement”, Chelsea Light Moving turned in a pummelling set that simultaneously scratched the itch that Sonic Youth fans had for the on-hiatus legends and rubbed salt in the wound that given the personal issues that underpin said hiatus, their return is no sure thing.

The Huffington Post and Artvoice have interviews with Thurston Moore and Lancaster Online with John Moloney of Chelsea Light Moving. Speedy Ortiz frontwoman Sadie Dupuis gives MTV Hive a guide to being a vegan on the road, Village Voice does some urban exploration with the band, and Epitonic has got a Saki Session available to download.

Photos: Chelsea Light Moving, Speedy Ortiz @ The Horseshoe – September 15, 2013
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Burroughs”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Frank O’Hara Hit”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Empire Of Time”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Groovy & Linda”
Video: Chelsea Light Moving – “Lip”
Video: Chelsea Light Moving – “Groovy & Linda”
Video: Chelsea Light Moving – “Burroughs”
Video: Speedy Ortiz – “Tiger Tank”

As for the other half of the Sonic Youth schism, Rolling Stone, San Diego City Beat, Stereogum, and Slate talk to Kim Gordon about her new musical project Body/Head and their new record Coming Apart, which was released last week.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Blouse’s set at the Captured Tracks fifth anniversary show last month. Their new album Imperium is out today.

Tone Deaf has and interview with Sebadoh on the occasion of the release of their new album Defend Yourself. It’s out today, they’ve got a new video from it, and they’ll be at The Horseshoe on November 8.

Video: Sebadoh – “I Will”

Stereogum talks to Mazzy Star about their new album Seasons Of Your Day, due out next week on September 24 but available to stream now at NPR. They’ll be at The Danforth Music Hall on November 16.

Stream: Mazzy Star / Seasons Of Your Day

Filter, eMusic, and The Austin Chronicle talk to Will Sheff of Okkervil River. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

Rolling Stone and eMusic talk to Derek Miller and Alison Krauss of Sleigh Bells about their new record Bitter Rivals, which comes out October 8 and from which they’ve made a new song available to stream. They play The Phoenix on November 13.

Stream: Sleigh Bells – “You Don’t Get Me Twice”

of Montreal are streaming another new song from their forthcoming album lousy with sylvianbriar, out October 8.

Stream: of Montreal – “Belle Glade Missionaries”

Father John Misty has released a new video from last year’s Fear Fun; he’s in town solo-like at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 15.

Video: Father John Misty – “I’m Writing A Novel”

NPR has a World Cafe session with The Head & The Heart, whose new album Let’s Be Still comes out October 15. They’ll be at The Danforth Music Hall on October 31.

The Dismemberment Plan are streaming another new song from their reunion record Uncanney Valley, coming October 15.

Stream: The Dismemberment Plan – “Daddy Was A Real Good Dancer”

Janelle Monáe and The Electric Lady are the subject of features at Paste, Rolling Stone, The AV Club, Billboard, and Interview. Oh, and because it’s an awesome thing, stream her cover of The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” below. She plays The Kool Haus on October 19.

Stream: Janelle Monáe – “I Want You Back”

Grizzly Bear are seeking to help out those with Grizzly Bear fans on their Christmas list with the release of expanded and b-sides versions of last year’s Shields on November 12. Warp has details on the editions, the former of which includes the original edition of the album and the latter of which is just the extras, comprised of b-sides, remixes, and demos – one of which you can stream below.

Stream: Grizzly Bear – “Will Calls” (Marfa demo)

Though they’re not saying anything about a new record, Phantogram have made a new song available to stream.

Stream: Phantogram – “Black Out Days”

Stereogum offers an oral history of The Wrens’ The Meadowlands on the occasion of its tenth anniversary.

Q interviews Mac McCaughan of Superchunk, who’ve premiered a new video from I Hate Music along with interview at Blouin Artinfo.

Video: Superchunk – “Staying Home”

Deerhunter have released a new video from Monomania.

Video: Deerhunter – “Back To The Middle”

Low are streaming their Rihanna cover, which you can also buy with proceeds going to charity. Details at Pitchfork.

Stream: Low – “Stay”

Waxahatchee has released a new video from this year’s Cerulean Salt.

Video: Waxahatchee – “Misery Over Dispute”

NPR has a KEXP session with Sharon Van Etten.

The Guardian chats with Joey Burns of Calexico.

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with Caitlin Rose, recorded at End Of The Road fest in England.