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Archive for November, 2013

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

CONTEST – Howe Gelb @ The Drake Underground – December 7, 2013

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWho: Howe Gelb
What: Prolific and unpredictable Giant Sand leader, singer, songwriter, and producer, equally adept at evoking the close-quartered intimacy and wide-open expanse of desert life.
Why: Gelb’s new solo record The Coincidentalist will bring him back to town for the first time since he led his gospel-backed ‘Sno Angel Like You project here in December 2006.
When: Saturday, December 7, 2013
Where: The Drake Underground in Toronto (19+)
How: Tickets for the show are $17.50 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 to see Howe Gelb” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, December 4.
What else: Under The Radar has an interview with Gelb.

Stream: Howe Gelb / Coincidentalist

Friday, November 29th, 2013

I Wanna Be Adored

Review of The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone

Photo By Shane MeadowsShane MeadowsI didn’t respond terribly enthusiastically when The Stone Roses announced their equally inevitable and improbable reunion in October 2011, my fixation on their reputation as a patchy live band and general cynicism about its prospects of lasting long enough to come to North America overriding any fanboy enthusiasm about maybe getting to see the creators of one of the greatest albums of the past quarter-century in the flesh. And indeed, though the reunion has lasted long enough to traverse the globe and reported new material earmarked for a third album, they’ve still not come any closer to Toronto than Indio, California so short of getting on a plane to some far-flung destination to see them, the second coming of The Stone Roses has remained something of an abstraction.

But a viewing of Made Of Stone, the film by Shane Meadows about the first days of their reunion, make me rather regret that. It’s not really accurate to call it either a documentary or a concert film, because there’s little to no talking head footage or insights into the hows or whys of the reunion – and if there was, it’d probably be incomprehensible without subtitles – and there’s not enough complete live performances to qualify it as the latter.

Instead, it captures Meadows’ perspective as a mega-fan with a video camera invited into follow the band around from their initial press conference confirming the reunion, through their secret rehearsal sessions and their first secret show at Parr Hall in Warrington, England, their European tour, and culminating in their homecoming shows at Heaton Park in Manchester, along with some historical footage. And while frustrating for those looking for inside dirt – though you do get the skinny on Reni’s walking out on the Amsterdam show that many feared was the derailing of the reunion before it’d barely begun – it more than captures the excitement of it all, both within the band and amongst their fans. The scenes of those to get tickets for that first secret show after it was announced that morning are genuinely heart-warming.

And while I’m sure the business end of things was key to getting the band back together, the excitement within The Stone Roses about playing together again is tangible. Okay, John Squire is as stoic as he probably ever was, but Mani and Reni and Ian Brown all seem positively giddy about it. And if there was any question if they still clicked musically, the rehearsal run through of “Waterfall” answers it definitively and unequivocally. Reni’s backing vocals are divine and even Brown stays remarkably in key; he’s not quite as good in the actual live performances where he resorts to shouting, but given the right circumstances – or maybe just some really good monitors – he’s still got it.

For all the things that Made Of Stone isn’t, what matters most is what it is and that’s a love letter to the band from a fan that gets as much love in return. A must-see for fans of the Roses, even those skeptical about the reunion. I’m hoping that 2014 is the year that the Roses finally makes proper landfall in North America, but if not… maybe I’ll get on a plane.

The DVD got a North American release this week. Shane Meadows penned a piece at The Huffington Post about what it meant to be able to make this film.

Trailer: The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone
Video: The Stone Roses – “Waterfall” (from Made Of Stone)

Following in the well-received footsteps of their UK labelmates Temples, London psych-kraut outfit TOY will be undertaking a North American tour behind their second album Join The Dots, due out December 9. They’ll be at The Horseshoe on January 14, tickets a most post-holiday friendly $11.50.

Video: TOY – “Join The Dots”

The Line Of Best Fit has an interview with Lanterns On The Lake, whose Until The Colours Run gets a North American release on January 14. They’re at The Drake Underground on February 1.

Peggy Sue have released a new video from their forthcoming album Choir Of Echoes, due out January 28.

Video: Peggy Sue – “Idle”

Maxïmo Park have announced details of the deluxe version of their new album Too Much Information, due out February 3. It will include a bonus disc including a handful of cover versions, including a Leonard Cohen song they’ve made available to stream. DIY has a quick chat with the band about making the new record.

Stream: Maxïmo Park – “Lover Lover Lover”

The Bernard Butler-powered Trans have released a new video from their debut Red EP – making that a 1:1 clip-to-song ratio – and have targeted a February release for their second volume.

Video: Trans – “Dancing Shoes”

London Grammar have released a new video from their debut, If You Wait for their cover of Kavinsky’s “Nightcall”. They’re at The Phoenix on April 7.

Video: London Grammar – “Nightcall”

Tim Burgess of Charlatans tells BBC that their new album will feature contributions from their late drummer Jon Brookes, who passed away back in August. The record is due out in the new year.
Camera Obscura are featured in the latest 4AD Session videos set.

eMusic gets some recommended listening suggestions from Black Hearted Brother.

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Come As You Are

Giving thanks for “Whatever happened to Alternative Nation?”

Photo By Charles PetersenCharles PetersenFell into a long-form musical journalism rabbit hole recently via The AV Club’s “Whatever Happened To Alternative Nation?” 10-part series which actually ran almost three years ago but somehow got back on my radar, probably bubbling up to the surface in the wake of their recent redesign. If you haven’t read it, it covers the years from 1990 to 1999 through the lens of author Steven Hyden’s teen years, beginning with the rise of grunge at the start of the decade through the supremacy of nu-metal and chaos of Woodstock ’99 at the end of the century.

It was of particular interest to me because, though a few years older than Hyden and situated in the suburbs of Toronto rather than Wisconsin, it roughly documents my own journey of musical discovery in high school. Though Nirvana didn’t ultimately end up meaning much to me, I still very clearly remember hearing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the very first time on a friend’s Walkman in the cafeteria in the Fall of 1991 and being impressed that I could hear the string squeaks on the opening riff. And while I would like to pretend that I was into all the ’90s bands then that I love now – your Britpop, shoegaze, college rock, what have you – most of that was discovered retroactively, and that sort of personal revisionist history is addressed in part six; fact is, I was listening to the same now-acknowledged-as-awful radio rock as everyone else – yes I owned Throwing Copper but at least knew even then that Bush was awful – and only discovered or came to appreciate the good stuff after the fact. But better late than never, right?

In any case – it’s a well-written series that covers a lot of what anyone in their 30s lived through with the benefit of hindsight and historical insight, and worth reading if you’ve got some time on your hands and a copies of Siamese Dream and Definitely Maybe handy. Plus it lets me segue into some newsy bits from acts of that era who’re still doing stuff.

Video: Nirvana – “In Bloom”

For anyone who missed it, Tanya Donelly released the fourth volume of her Swan Song Series late last week and the bonus materials are particularly sweet and topical – ten demos of Belly’s debut, Star. And lest you think that’s the end of it, a fifth EP is in the works and I think I read somewhere that it’ll be out around February.

Stream: Tanya Donelly – “Salt”

Stephen Malkmus lists off the music he grew up listening to for The Guardian; his new album with The Jicks – Wig Out At Jagbags – comes out January 7.

Black Francis of Pixies discusses the band’s second act with The Guardian; they kick of their new tour at Massey Hall on January 15.

Seeing as how Andrew Rieger and Laura Carter opened for Jeff Mangum when he was here solo in August 2011, it makes sense that they’d bring the whole band with them when he does the same; Elf Power will open up both sold-out Neutral Milk Hotel shows at The Kool Haus on January 19 and 20. They released their latest album Sunlight On The Moon earlier this year.

Video: Elf Power – “Darkest Wave”

Guided By Voices has settled on a February 18 release date for their new record Motivational Jumpsuit – their fifth since the reunion and presumably the last with the so-called “classic lineup” with now-booted drummer Kevin Fennell. Rolling Stone is streaming the first preview track from the record.

Stream: Guided By Voices – “Littlest League Possible”

Superchunk have released another video from this year’s I Hate Music.

Video: Superchunk – “Void”

The 405 chit-chats with Sebadoh.

Dialing the Wayback Machine a little further, influential ’80s Los Angeles outfit and Paisley Underground pioneers The Dream Syndicate have made a date at The Garrison for February 8, tickets $30 in advance. The Chicago Tribune talks to leader Steve Wynn about the reunion.

Video: The Dream Syndicate – “That’s What You Always Say” (live)

And back to the 21st century, Entertainment Weekly has premiered the new video from Broken Bells’ forthcoming After The Disco, out January 14, and if you’d prefer a studio session version rather than a movie star-featuring version, head over to The Guardian. Broken Bells are at The Danforth Music Hall on March 3.

Video: Broken Bells – “Holding On For Life”

Saddle Creek songstress Maria Taylor has made a date at the Drake Underground for February 9 in support of her latest album Something About Knowing. Tickets for that are $11.50 and examiner.com has an interview with Taylor.

Video: Maria Taylor – “Up All Night”

Boston psych-folk trio Quilt have announced a Winter tour in support of their second album Held in Splendor, which comes out January 28th and from which there’s a video and stream to preview. They’re at The Drake Underground on March 3, tickets $10. Philthy has an interview.

Stream: Quilt – “Tired & Buttered”
Video: Quilt – “Arctic Shark”

Under The Radar gets a track-by-track walkthrough of Shearwater’s new covers album Fellow Travelers. The play The Horseshoe on March 27.

The Hold Steady are crowdfunding a new covers EP via PledgeMusic while they continue to work on a new album, due out in the new year.

Paste checks in with Colin Meloy about matters solo and Decemberist.

Magnet interviews Midlake, this week’s guest editors on their website.

The War On Drugs.

Drowned In Sound has an interview with A Place To Bury Strangers.

Bassist/organist Peter Bauer of The Walkmen tells The Washington Post that their upcoming shows in Washington DC and Philadelphia could be/will be the band’s last. Ever. For serious.

Having covered “Kill The Turkey” on last year’s Thanksgiving episode, it’s not really a surprise that The National would again spend American turkey day with Bob’s Burgers, and lo – Entertainment Weekly has an animated video of the band doing this year’s musical number, a salute to gravy boats. Happy Thanksgiving, America.

Video: The National – “Sailors In Your Mouth”

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

We Let The Shadow In

Review of Kashka’s Bound and giveaway

Photo By Jason GordonJason GordonFans disappointed by the disbanding of Toronto folk-pop stalwarts Forest City Lovers last Spring didn’t have long to mourn; frontwoman Kat Burns stepped out of one project and straight into another, assuming a new identity as Kashka and coining the term “folkpoptronica” in describing her debut album Vichada, released mere weeks later. It was a decidedly synthetic and dance-friendly offering, transporting Burns’ warm vocals and songwriting strengths into a sleekly futuristic landscape like a musical version of Tron.

Her second album Bound, released earlier this month, continues to spend quality time immersed in 0s and 1s with a more overt New Wave flavour, but also returns to its forest and city roots in incorporating more organic instrumentation into the mix. But the semantics of genre are secondary to the fact that the evolution of Burns’ pop instincts over the course of three Forest City Lovers album and the Kashka debut continues unabated here. The likes of “Never Had It” and “Lamplight” boast some of the finest melodies Burns has written to date, and their buoyancy coexists with the shadowy, introspective numbers she’s always been strong at. It’s far too early in her career to declare a record a summation of all that’s come before… but Bound rather is. It sparkles and smoulders and is a strong reminder that, whatever name she trades under, Burns is one of this city’s brightest talents.

Kashka plays a record release show for Bound at The Great Hall on December 5, supported by Warm Myth and Kelly McMichael & The Gloss and courtesy of the artist, I’ve got a pair of passes to the show to give away, along with a copy of the new album on your choice of CD or vinyl. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to see Kashka” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me by midnight, December 3. And as a bonus, I’ve also got a pair of passes to give away for the Ottawa show at Raw Sugar on December 6, so if you’re reading from the nation’s capitol and want to go, same deal as above but put “I want to see Kashka in Ottawa” in the subject line.

Video: Kashka – “Never Had It”

It was as much a given as the new year itself, but The Sadies have confirmed their annual New Year’s Eve soirée at The Horseshoe on December 31; tickets $25.

Stream: The Sadies / Internal Sounds

They’ve been teasing its existence for a while, but The Hidden Cameras have finally announced details of their new album Age, which will be out on January 21. And to make up for the wait, they’ve announced a hometown record release show at Lee’s Palace on February 15, tickets $15.

Video: The Hidden Cameras – “Gay Goth Scene”

Their self-titled debut came out so long ago (2009) that it appears to be out of print, but Ottawa by way of Toronto rock machine The Balconies have finally gotten their second album together while expanding from a trio to a quartet; it’s called Fast Motions and will be out on January 28. Exclaim has details as well as some tour dates, including a February 1 local date at Lee’s Palace on February 1, tickets $10.50 in advance. They’re interviewed in the Victoria Times-Colonist and The Ottawa Citizen.

Video: The Balconies – “The Slo”

Chart takes Shad dollar bin-diving at Toronto’s Sonic Boom; The Winnipeg Sun also has an interview. He plays The Danforth Music Hall on January 31.

Interview gets to know Alvvays, whose debut self-titled album will be out in the new year.

Born Ruffians have premiered another new video from Birthmarks via Indie88.

Video: Born Ruffians – “6-5000”

Evening Hymns have released another video from last year’s Spectral Dusk.

Video: Evening Hymns – “Cabin In The Burn”

The Edmonton Journal, Metro, 77 Square, The Daily Tarheel, and 85-26 all talk to Basia Bulat.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Memoryhouse.

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Animal Heart

Nina Persson increases global levels of Nina Persson with solo album

Photo By Shervin LainezShervin LainezWhither Nina Persson? Despite fronting two bands, she’s made herself pretty scarce in recent years. The Cardigans haven’t released a new record since 2006’s Super Extra Gravity and A Camp, her project with Niclas Frisk, Mark Linkous, and Nathan Larson, was last heard of on 2009’s Colonia.

But she hasn’t just been taking some down time. She recently moved to New York, splitting time between there and Malmö, and as revealed in the 2011 Swedish documentary I Am My Own Dolly Parton, was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Fortunately, it was detected early and successfully removed – she discussed in in a 2011 interview with Sweden’s Express and roughly translated into English at Cardies fansite Plain Picture Parade – and she’s since become a mother. Pretty good reasons to have stepped away from making music for a while.

And now she’s back. The Cardigans are technically active again, performing a recital of Gran Turismo at a bunch of European and Asian festivals last year and playing some “greatest hits” dates in Asia and Russia as we speak – they’re actually in Osaka tonight. Whether this will lead to more dates or recording is unclear, but The Cardigans are out of mothballs, at least.

And as for looking forwards rather than back, Persson has just announced her first solo record, implying that the A Camp name is done. The album is entitled Animal Heart, written with Larson and Eric Johnson of the now-defunct Fruit Bats, recorded at her home in Harlem, and coming with “disco and eighties soul” reference points, will be released on February 10. Persson discusses the making of the album in the official bio and has released a video for the title track of the record.

Video: Nina Persson – “Animal Heart”
Trailer: I’m My Own Dolly Parton

New Zealand psych-pop-soul singer Connan Mockasin has announced a short North American tour behind his second album Caramel; he’ll be in Toronto at The Drake Underground on January 13, tickets $13. There’s features on him at The Line Of Best Fit, Interview, Red Bull, and eMusic, you can stream the new album via The Fader and watch a new video at Nowness.

MP3: Connan Mockasin – “Dolphin Love”
Video: Connan Mockasin – “I’m The Man, That Will Find You”
Stream: Connan Mockasin / Caramel

So my sleuthing around the precise release dates of I Break Horses’ new album have turned out to be a little off, but for the better – rather than the January 28 release I speculated on, Chiaroscuro will be out in North America on January 21, the day after it comes out in Europe. No staggered releases here!

Exclaim has details on the sophomore album from The Jezebels, entitled The Brink and due out February 18. Check out the first video from it below.

Video: The Jezabels – “The End”

Spain’s Delorean have premiered the new video from Apar at Nowness; they make up their previously canceled date in support of the record at The Hoxton on February 20.

Video: Delorean – “Unhold”

Icona Pop have released a new video from This Is Icona Pop and have announced a slew of tour dates which brings them back to Toronto on March 31… opening for Miley Cyrus at the Air Canada Centre.

Video: Icona Pop – “Just Another Night”

The Fly checks in with Bo Madesen of Mew.

DIY has a brief interview with Austra-Scandinavian outfit Kate Boy.

Greek duo Keep Shelley In Athens have released a new video from their debut full-length, At Home.

Video: Keep Shelley In Athens – “Oostende”

Noisey has premiered the new video from Japanese post-rockers Mono, taken from their latest album For My Parents.

Video: Mono – “Dream Odyssey”

Phoenix have premiered their new Sofia Coppola-directed video from Bankrupt! at the MoMA website.

Video: Phoenix – “Chloroform”

Spin is streaming a new song from M83, taken from the soundtrack to You And The Night, a French film about an orgy.

Stream: M83 – “Ali & Matthias”

eMusic, Billboard, and Exclaim have interviews with Cut Copy.

Paste talks Hunger Games and other matters with Of Monsters & Men.

Rolling Stone chats with Björk, and Time has dug up an old video of a young Björk explaining how a television works.