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Archive for November, 2013

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Keep In The Dark

Temples, Invasions, and The Auras at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAsk around and some may tell you there’s a bit of a psych-rock renaissance happening in the UK right now, pointing to the emergence of London’s Toy, Leeds’ Hookworms, and Kettering’s Temples as examples of new bands embracing the grand tradition of droning, swirling, and tripping out. And while they’ve yet to stage any sort of full-bore, acid-drenched incursion onto North American shores, Wednesday night’s visit from Temples made a good case that we’re ripe for the picking.

And if they needed sympathizers amongst the local populace, the openers on this evening would be a good place to start. I’d seen local sextet The Auras back in April and as youngsters are wont to do, they’ve improved immeasurably in that time. If they were looking to shake the very obvious Black Angels reference point, they’ve failed; but if they were aiming to sound more cohesive in aspiring to it, more a tribute band than mixtape, they’ve done well. The songs were tighter, the swapping between lead vocalists and just managing their members and the sounds they make more seamless, and the performance just that much better. They recorded and released a new EP earlier this year; stream it below.

It wasn’t hard to guess where Toronto’s Invasions got their name; they probably dispensed with the “British” because it would have been a little too on-the-nose although they serve their fish & chips with a distinctively t(w)angy American southwest flavour. The five-piece, who just released their self-titled debut, offered compact, punchy tunes with good hooks and swagger given an extra dose of distinctiveness by a saxophone who was sitting in for their usual trumpet. And though the excursions weren’t their raison d’être, there were enough forays into trippiness that those looking to tune in and drop out for the entirety of the evening weren’t jarred.

I always consider it a risky move for bands from abroad to undertake a North American tours before they’ve even released a record – not an inexpensive move even for established bands, let alone one trying to convert that unquantifiable thing they call “buzz” into actual asses in seats (or feet on linoleum, in club cases). So with just three singles out in the past year and a full-length debut in Sun Structures just announced as coming out on February 11, Temples’ debut Canadian show was far from a sure success but you wouldn’t have known that if you were there.

Even adjusted for the fact that British bands do disproportionately well in Toronto, the club was impressively full with those looking to preview one of the sounds of 2014 and Temples showed up dressed to impress, all fringes, ‘fros, velvet jackets, and glitter, and one pendent just a few millimeters diameter short of a medallion. Based on all this you’d be right to expect a ’60s-vintage hippie-psych soundtrack and Temples do indeed root themselves in the retro, but also allow themselves the gift of ’70s prognostication and imbue their sound with glammy stomps and hard rock riffs. Their set was short at eight songs drawn out over a respectable 45 minutes, and while the already-released material got the biggest cheers, the new songs that previewed their album were the most impressive and exciting because they implied there was more to the band than their fans might be expecting.

NOW also has a review of the show, and Wicked Local has a conversation with Temples bassist Thomas Warmsley.

Photos: Temples, Invasions, The Auras @ The Horseshoe – November 20, 2013
MP3: Invasions – “Ballad Of The Faithful”
Video: Temples – “Keep In The Dark”
Video: Temples – “Colours To Life”
Video: Temples – “Shelter Song”
Video: Invasions – “Black Fuzz”
Video: Invasions – “Black Fuzz”
Stream: Ivasions / Invasions
Stream: The Auras / EP2
Stream: The Auras / EP

Yahoo has premiered the video to the title track of Glasvegas’ third album Later… When The TV Turns To Static; the Scots are in town at The Mod Club on February 22.

Video: Glasvegas – “Later… When The TV Turns To Static”

NPR has a World Cafe session with London Grammar while over at The London Evening Standard, frontwoman Hannah Reid comments on sexism in the music industry. The band will return to Toronto for a show at The Phoenix on April 7.

Clash talks to M.I.A..

Tone Deaf interviews Kate Nash, who lists her favourite television for The Guardian.

NPR is streaming a complete live concert from Savages.

NPR talks synesthesia with Dev Hynes of Blood Orange.

PureVolume has a video featurette from Stornoway documenting the making of their second album Tales From Terra Firma.

In conversation with Rolling Stone, Noel Gallagher stomps on, kicks down the stairs, stabs, and pees on any prospect of an Oasis reunion to mark the 20th anniversary of Definitely Maybe next Summer.

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

CONTEST – Hayden @ The Danforth Music Hall – November 30, 2013

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWho: Hayden
What: Hayden Desser, beloved Toronto-based singer songwriter of the slow cadence, homespun lyrics, and gravely voice who broke a four-year hiatus this Spring with the release of Us Alone.
Why: Even though he’s played a lot of shows since the album came out, they’ve largely all been either super-intimate or festivals, nothing that was properly-sized for his audience and just Hayden alone. Until now.
When: Saturday, November 30, 2013
Where: The Danforth Music Hall in Toronto (all ages)
Who else: Support comes from highly-recommended and rootsy Doug Paisley and Reuben & The Dark
How: Tickets for the show are $36.50 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 Hayden” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, November 28.

MP3: Hayden – “Old Dreams”
Video: Hayden – “Blurry Nights”
Video: Hayden – “Oh Memory”
Video: Hayden – “Rainy Saturday”

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Catch My Breath

You, Me, NPR, and everyone we know

Photo By Laura Lynn PetrickLaura Lynn PetrickYou may recall last week that I mentioned that this week, an interview I gave NPR’s World Cafe as part of their “Sense Of Place” series on Toronto would be airing this week. And that it did on Wednesday – and let me tell you it’s goddamn weird seeing your own name and face show up in your RSS feed – though I haven’t actually listened to it yet… Nor am I likely to. I saw the hot dogs being made, y’know?

To recap – the theme of the interview was to list off five up and coming Toronto acts for NPR listeners to discover, and bits of the interview have been excerpted over the week for their blog along with a download from the band. So far, they’ve run pieces on Fresh Snow, PUP, The Elwins, and Beliefs – all of whom I think exemplify very different aspects of what’s going on, musically, in this city – and today we will have either Alvvays or Del Bel… hopefully both, though that’s out of my hands. We recorded bits on six bands as a safety in case there were any unforeseen issues. I’ll update with today’s post when it goes up later today. Update: Alvvays piece is up; Del Bel should be up tomorrow.

In any case, all six are worth your time whether you’re into psych-kraut, power-pop, punk, cinematic noir, jangle-indie, or shoegaze. Fresh Snow and Beliefs – pictured above – are both on the bill for the next installment of Long Winter, happening December 13 at The Great Hall, and Fresh Snow are also playing the next Steam Whistle Unsigned showcase at the Steam Whistle Roundhouse on November 29. PUP are finishing up an epic North American tour this weekend, the CMJ show of which is available to hear at NYC Taper; there’s also an interview at The Regina Leader=Post. The Elwins have a couple Ontario dates to close out the month but are gearing up to release their second album next year, as are Del Bel. Alvvays’ self-titled debut will finally be out early next year, and they’re opening up for Young Galaxy at The Hoxton tonight.

Just a few of the many, many, great sounds coming out of Toronto right now. I do hope you dig.

MP3: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
MP3: The Elwins – “Stuck In The Middle”
MP3: PUP – “Reservoir”
MP3: Beliefs – “Catch My Breath”
MP3: Del Bel – “Dusk Light”
MP3: Alvvays – “Adult Diversion”

Also recorded while they were in town, World Cafe has an acoustic session with James and Emily from Metric.

July Talk, who’ll be at the Sound Academy on December 3 opening up for Frank Turner, also recorded a World Cafe session and are interviewed in The Edmonton Journal, Georgia Straight, and Pique.

Young Galaxy have released yet another video from their Ultramarine Deluxe edition; that’s a remarkable amount of singles from material that didn’t make the original album. As mentioned, they’re at The Hoxton on November 22.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Crying My Heart Out”

The Quietus has a stream of Destroyer’s new Five Spanish Songs EP, coming out on Tuesday. Dan Bejar talks about the record with Reverb.

Stream: Destroyer / Five Spanish Songs

Thee Silver Mount Zion have announced a January 21 release date for their new album, Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything; details at Constellation Records, excerpt of one of the new songs and trailer for the record below.

Stream: Thee Silver Mount Zion – “Austerity Blues” (excerpt)
Trailer: Thee Silver Mount Zion / Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything

The Winnipeg Free Press, Metro, and aux.tv make with the chit-chat with Shad. He’s back in town January 31 at The Danforth Music Hall.

The Creators Project has revealed the actual official video for Arcade Fire’s “Afterlife”, taken from Reflektor – that live, Spike Jonze-directed YouTube Awards thing from a few weeks back was just a live, Spike Jonze-directed YouTube Awards thing. And because you apparently can’t get enough Arcade Fire, NME has video from a three-song French television performance. They play The Air Canada Centre on March 13.

Video: Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”

The Grid, The Toronto Star, and BlogTO chat with Owen Pallett, who talks a bit about his new album In Conflict, due early next year, amongst other topics including his new ballet. Exclaim has a helpful round up of everything that’s currently known about the follow-up to Heartland.

The Globe and Mail, San Francisco Examiner, and PopMatters talk to Spencer Krug of Moonface.

Majical Cloudz have made a studio version of a live favourite available to stream; Matablog has some background on the track.

Stream: Majical Cloudz – “Savage”

Oh Comely has a chat with Diana.

Exclaim has details in the next installment in Sloan’s vinyl bootleg series – the 500-piece limited edition of Tokyo Japan 2002 went on sale on Wednesday, so if you wanted one but were counting on me to let you know about it, then you need to re-evaluate your news-gathering strategies.

aux.tv takes a fascinating look at Fucked Up guitarist Ben Cook’s career as a child actor.

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Days Are Gone

Because I have places to be, I’ll just leave these Haim tour dates right here

Photo By Bella LieberbergBella LieberbergI will admit that to this point this year, I’ve taken a bit of pride in not having written about Los Angeles sister act Haim; not because I especially dislike them or anything – they’re fine, though I’ll keep my sliced bread, thanks – but my contrarian side reflexively made me resist on account of their quite successfully blowing up on the back of their debut Days Are Gone without any of my help, thank you very much.

But being in a time crunch and wanting to just get these links out the door, I give. They’ve finally announced their debut Toronto show as part of a North American tour in support of said debut and it’s happening May 15 of next year at The Kool Haus, tickets running a reasonable $25. That date, interestingly, is exactly one year less a day from when their original debut Toronto show supporting Vampire Weekend at The Sony Centre was supposed to happen; a date they quietly canceled not long before it was supposed to happen. Presumably they intend to keep this date.

There’s some recent interviews with the trio at Las Vegas Weekly, The Georgia Straight, and The Irish Independent.

Video: Haim – “The Wire”

The Skinny and The AV Club talk to Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater about their new album Fellow Travelers, due out November 28, while The Current has another download from the album available. They’re at The Horseshoe on March 27.

MP3: Shearwater – “A Wake For The Minotaur”

Pitchfork is streaming Beachwood Sparks’ previously unreleased debut album Desert Skies, coming out next week.

MP3: Beachwood Sparks – “Make It Together”
Stream: Beachwood Sparks / Desert Skies

NPR has premiered another new video from Pixies; they’re at Massey Hall on January 15.

Video: Pixies – “What Goes Boom?”

Brooklynite Jordan Lee – who has been making noise figuratively and literally as Mutual Benefit – has announced a North American tour behind his debut Love’s Crushing Diamond and will be at The Drake Underground on January 15, tickets $12. The album is out December 3 and Stereogum has an interview.

Video: Mutual Benefit – “Golden Wake”

Noisey has premiered a stream of the first taste of Ume’s new record – still untitled, but coming out in January of the new year.

Stream: Ume – “Black Stone”

Pitchfork has specifics on the release of Olivia Tremor Control’s John Peel Session from 1997, coming out on vinyl in January.

Tone Deaf, American Songwriter, and Under The Radar chat with The Head & The Heart.

A Heart Is A Spade talks to Cameron Mesirow of Glasser.

A new Solange song has surfaced on Saint Heron, a compilation of acts signed to the younger Knowles’ new label of the same name.

Stream: Solange – “Cash In”

Because they needed to wait for a whole bunch of factors to fall into place – like for music videos and the internet to exist – Bob Dylan has released the first official video – an immersive and interactive clip – for “Like A Rolling Stone”, just in time for its fiftieth anniversary. Rolling Stone talks to Danny Brown about how he ended up involved in its making.

Video: Bob Dylan – “Like A Rolling Stone”

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

It Is What It Is

Review of Blood Orange’s Cupid Deluxe

Photo By Stacey MarkStacey MarkTo say that following the musical career of Dev Hynes is an adventure is rather an understatement. Starting out with the deliberately sophomoric art-punk Test Icicles, he recast himself as an orch-folk troubadour on Falling Off The Lavender Bridge, his 2008 solo album under the Lightspeed Champion name. It was an identity he quickly found himself outgrowing, his second and last record in that guise – 2010’s Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You – had its share of high points but felt unfocused, like at a creative crossroads. Focus came with another new identity, Blood Orange, and 2011’s Coastal Grooves – a stripped-down and decidedly solo soul/disco record that sounded made in and for the bedroom that was criminally overlooked.

But crucially, while refining and redefining his own artistic identity, Hynes was becoming a highly sought-after producer, particularly after becoming Solange Knowles’ co-writer, producer, and sideman. That all-consuming role through most of this year, not to mention his other production duties, made it unclear if he’d be able to return to his own work anytime soon but somehow he still found time to not only record and release his second Blood Orange album Cupid Deluxe, out this week.

The most marked difference between Cupid and its predecessor is the sheer number of hands on deck. Coastal Grooves was entirely Hynes’ show, a fact emphatically made by his live shows – but Cupid finds Hynes more than happy to be allowing the likes of Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek, Friends’ Samantha Urbani, Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth from his indie rock world and Despot, Skepta, and Clams Casino from his hip-hop world take centre stage while he remains the producer and songwriter running the show. And that show is akin to a dazzlingly diverse r&b revue built around themes of both alienation and community in New York City, coupling heartfelt sentiment to slick grooves.

Dev Hynes has been making music now for almost a decade, and what in isolation might seem like random and disparate creative shifts, when viewed as a whole, paint the picture of an impressively complex and immensely talented artist. Cupid Deluxe is, thus far, the most cohesive assemblage of his gifts – ironic, since it overtly showcases him the least. I personally would have liked to have his guitarwork given a little more prominence – the man can shred, as anyone who’s ever seen him live can attest – but for the time being, the brilliant missed riff key change at 2:43 of “Uncle ACE” will keep me going.

Hynes talks influences with The New York Times and is the cover feature of The Fader, for whom he’s also assembled hour-long mixtape containing new material. But if you’re waiting on tour dates to support the new record, don’t hold your breath.

Video: Blood Orange – “Time Will Tell”
Video: Blood Orange – “Chamakay”

Noisey has premiered the video for the title track of Rose Elinor Dougall’s new EP Future Vanishes, out officially this week.

Video: Rose Elinor Dougall – “Future”

NME has got the new video from Beady Eye, taken from their second album BE which is apparently getting a North American release this week because North Americans have been clamouring for it…?

Video: Beady Eye – “Soul Love”

Rolling Stone is streaming another new song from Kele’s forthcoming Heartbreaker solo EP, out November 25.

Stream: Kele – “God Has A Way”

The Guardian and Drowned In Sound talk to Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon; she’s in town at The Drake Underground on January 21.

NME has details on the new album from Maxïmo Park, entitled Too Much Information and due out February 3. They’ve released a video for the first single, which you can also download in exchange for an email address from their website.

Video: Maxïmo Park – “Brain Cells”

Fanfarlo have announced details of their third studio album: Let’s Go Extinct will be out February 10, and of course there’s a trailer.

Trailer: Fanfarlo / Let’s Go Extinct

The Guardian talks to Lily Allen about her impending return to music with a separate piece about the brouhaha surrounding her comeback video.

Anna Calvi lists off ten life-changing albums for MusicRadar.

Metro has an interview with M.I.A., who has released a new video from her latest, Matangi.

Video: M.I.A. – “Y.A.L.A.”

Consequence Of Sound interviews Charli XCX.

Little Boots has made a couple of extended edits of songs from Nocturnes available to download via HungerTV.

MP3: Little Boots – “Broken Record” (Nocturnal version)
MP3: Little Boots – “Strangers” (Nocturnal version)

Franz Ferdinand salute Australia with a cover of The Go-Betweens in a video session for Triple J. They’ve also released a new official video from Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.

Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Bullet”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Was There Anything I Could Do?” (live)

Black Book interviews CHVRCHES and The Alternate Side welcomes them for a session.

Drowned In Sound gets a look at Summer Camp’s tools of the trade (read: their musical gear).

The Huffington Post gets some EDM smack talk of out reigning Mercury Prize champ James Blake.

A Music Blog, Yea? talks to drummer Rick McMurray of Ash.

BrooklynVegan interviews Johnny Marr.

The Quietus revisits the first House Of Love album on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

Under The Radar talks to Mark Gardener and Andy Bell of Ride about the enduring legacy of their debut album Nowhere.