Wednesday, December 11th, 2013
NXNE 2014 comes with blessings from St. Vincent
Renata RakshaIt may not technically be Winter out there yet, but it certainly feels it and so you can’t be blamed for wanting to look ahead to Summer – particularly when NXNE is getting out there months earlier than in the past with artist announcements for next year’s festival, which will run June 13 to 22 – this means the main weekend of shows is a week later than past years and thus will NOT be happening concurrently with LuminaTO, Taste Of Little Italy, the MMVAs… all of which is to say you will actually be able to get around the city that weekend.
Leading announcements off in the biggest font is Ms Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent. Yesterday, she confirmed details of her fourth album – a self-titled effort coming out February 25 – and today announced a Spring tour behind the record. NXNE isn’t scheduled contiguously with those dates, though, so either Annie’s getting on a plane just to come see us or more dates are happening this Summer – good news for those in markets not included in the itinerary, though to be fair, there aren’t that many. There’s no details on where she’s playing, but the show looks to be happening on June 20. It’s questionable if she’s big enough to anchor Yonge-Dundas Square that night, but considering her trajectory of local shows has gone from opener at Lee’s in 2007 through packing The Horseshoe in 2009 and then The Phoenix in 2011, it’s not unreasonable – after all, you know how you become a festival headliner? You headline a festival. You can stream a track from St. Vincent below and The Quietus has an interview with Annie Clark.
St. Vincent wasn’t the only notable name amongst those announced yesterday; you also had Danny Brown, Mac DeMarco, Speedy Ortiz, Rhye, Snowmine, and Until The Ribbon Breaks. A pretty good start and six more months to make it even better. Wristbands are on sale now and the early bird price of $75 is good until the end of the year – and 2-for-$75 until December 24; then it goes up to $99 until May and finally $150. Do with that information what you will.
MP3: Mac DeMarco – “Annie”
MP3: Snowmine – “Beast In Air, Beast In Water”
MP3: Danny Brown – “Die Like A Rockstar”
Stream: St. Vincent – “Birth In Reverse”
Video: Rhye – “Open”
Video: Speedy Ortiz – “Tiger Tank”
Video: Until The Ribbon Breaks – “Back To the Stars”
And oh yeah, Canadian Music Week also announced the first batch of bands playing their festival next year during its new dates of May 6 to 10. It’s okay if you don’t recognize any of the names. Not many people do.
Neil Young has announced a special benefit show in support of Aboriginal peoples fighting oil sands development in their territories. That’s happening January 12 at Massey Hall where he’ll be supported by Diana Krall and tickets range from $95 to $250, going on sale Friday. Information on the cause can be found at Treaty 8 and Honor the Treaties. Young’s new archival release Live At The Cellar Door came out this week.
Video: Neil Young – “Love And War”
Solo Stroke Albert Hammond Jr was just here last month promoting his new EP AHJ, but will return on January 14 for a date at the Sound Academy supporting Jake Bugg. Which I’m sure he’s totally cool with. Scotland On Sunday, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Pitch have interviews.
Video: Albert Hammond Jr – “Carnal Cruise”
One of the more talked-about bands of the latter part of this year – Syracuse’s punky Perfect Pussy – have put together an extensive tour behind their debut cassette EP I have lost all desire for feeling that wraps through the end of this year straight through to next, and wraps up in Canada, a January 25 date at The Silver Dollar being the second-to-last of the jaunt. Tickets for that show are $10.50 and their full-length debut is due out next year on Captured Tracks.
MP3: Perfect Pussy – “I”
Making up for the date he had to cancel in September because of a hand injury, Colin Stetson has announced two dates at the Workman Arts Theatre on February 14 and 15 behind his Polaris-shortlisted New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light.
MP3: Colin Stetson – “High Above A Grey Green Sea”
San Fermin, the Brooklyn musical collective headed by keyboardist Ellis Ludwig-Leone, will be at The Garrison on February 15 behind this year’s self-titled debut. Advance tickets are $11.50. DIY and Under The Radar have features.
Video: San Fermin – “Sonsick”
Nicole Atkins has given her crowdfunded new album Slow Phaser a February 4 release date – check out the album art and stream a new song at Paste and read an interview at Speak Into My Good Eye – and while full dates to support it are still forthcoming, it’s confirmed she’ll be at The Horseshoe on February 18, tickets $12.50.
Stream: Nicole Atkins – “Girl You Look Amazing”
North Carolina’s Lost In The Trees will be on the road and at The Garrison on February 23 in support of their new album Past Life, which comes out just a few days before on February 18. It’s the follow-up to 2012′s A Church That Fits Our Needs. Tickets for that show will run $13.50 in advance.
Video: Lost In The Trees – “Rites”
London-based duo Public Service Broadcasting, who blend archival educational film soundtracks and footage with driving, Kraut-derived instrumental rock to bracing effect on their debut Inform Educate Entertain are setting out on a North American tour with a stop at The Drake Underground on February 26. And if you think that a band playing along with visuals is inherently kind of boring, do check out this live performance video at Noisey and also read this interview at The National Student.
Video: Public Service Broadcasting – “Signal 30″
Video: Public Service Broadcasting – “If War Should Come”
Not only have Warpaint offered up a second taste of their forthcoming self-titled effort, out January 25, but they’ve announced a North American tour that brings them back to Toronto for a show at the Danforth Music Hall on March 25.
Stream: Warpaint – “Biggy”
Dum Dum Girls have announced dates in support of their new album Too True, coming out January 28, and it will feature support from Portland’s Blouse, who released their second album Imperium this year. They will be at Lee’s Palace on March 29, tickets $20.
MP3: Blouse – “No Shelter”
Video: Dum Dum Girls – “Lost Boys And Girls Club”
The Head & The Heart and Basia Bulat will team up for a pretty folk-ing great Spring tour that stops at The Kool Haus on March 30; both released acclaimed new albums this Fall – The Head & The Heart with Let’s Be Still and Bulat with Tall Tall Shadow – read an interview with The Head & The Heart at The Georgia Straight and watch a video session with Bulat at Public Radio International. Tickets for the show are $26.50 in advance.
Video: The Head & The Heart – “Shake”
Video: Basia Bulat – “Tall Tall Shadow”
Demand for The 1975 has bumped their May 6 date at The Danforth Music Hall up to The Kool Haus. You have five months to remember this.
Video: The 1975 – “Head.Cars.Bending”
Tuesday, December 10th, 2013
Bob Mould revisits Workbook
Marc NorbergI first got into Bob Mould in the early ’90s via Sugar, but quickly found myself seeking out his older works; obviously this included Hüsker Dü, but also his two late ’80s solo records Workbook and Black Sheets Of Rain which preceded his return to a band format. At the time they seemed like oddities, sounding neither like the hardcore-punk-pop evolution of the Dü years, nor the Alternative Nation-signifying roar of Sugar.
Rain was more characteristic of what people expected from Mould, built on layers of electric guitar and Mould’s angst-filled roar and probably not as well-regarded as it should be today because of some dated production values. Workbook, on the other hand, was filled with jangling 12-string acoustic guitar, cello and mandolin adornments, and major key melodies (though raging electric guitar and throat-shredding vocals also featured) – elements that would inform the next two and a half decades of his work, but as his first post-Hüsker Dü release, it must have been a head-scratcher. I took to it immediately – remember, for me 1991 was far more about Out Of Time than Nevermind – and Mould’s contribution to the seminal No Alternative AIDS benefit album in 1993 was also along those lines and one of my very favourites off that album.
All of which is to say as much as I love Bob when he’s perforating eardrums, as he’s been lately, I also totally dig his quieter stuff and I’m glad to see that Workbook is getting the respect that it deserves. It had already been announced that Mould would be marking the 25th anniversary of the release with a performance at Noise Pop next February where he’ll presumably – but not confirmedly – play it in its entirety. But Under The Radar now reports that the milestone is getting commemorated in somewhat larger fashion. A deluxe edition of the record – Workbook 25 – will be coming out on February 25 with the original album being accompanied by a second disc containing a b-side and a complete live show from the era. Granted, many of those bonus tracks appeared on the 1994 Poison Years compilation, but there’s still some unreleased goodies in there and isn’t it the thought that counts?
It’s a shame that the expanded slate of tour dates around its release don’t make it up here, but don’t forget that those Copper Blue recitals were only supposed to be a limited engagement and he toured that everywhere. So fingers crossed.
Video: Bob Mould – “See A Little Light”
Stream: Bob Mould / Workbook
Stream: Bob Mould – “Can’t Fight It”
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have a new video from Wig Out At Jagbags, out January 7. Look for them at Lee’s Palace on February 22.
Video: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Cinnamon & Lesbians”
Broken Bells have a new video from their next album After The Disco, out January 14. They play The Danforth Music Hall on March 3.
Video: Broken Bells – “Holding On For Life”
Pixies have put out a fourth video from their EP1, which should be the last because there are no more songs but then they’ve already released multiple videos for one of the songs so who knows, maybe they’ll milk it another decade before putting out EP2. They’ll be at Massey Hall on January 15 with their new bassist – no, newer – Paz Lenchantin, whom you may remember from A Perfect Circle and Zwan. Or not.
Video: Pixies – “Another Toe In The Ocean”
Rolling Stone talks to Robert Pollard about matters Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices. The new GBV record Motivational Jumpsuit comes out February 18.
Phantogram have come clean with details on their second full-length album, entitled Voices and coming out February 18. Pitchfork has details and a stream of a new song while Metro and AMNY have interviews with the band.
Stream: Phantogram – “Fall In Love”
NPR welcomes Superchunk to their World Cafe for a session.
Speedy Ortiz have released a new video from this year’s debut, Major Arcana.
Video: Speedy Ortiz – “No Below”
NPR has a KCRW session with Glasser.
Magnet talks to Will Sheff of Okkervil River about how he feels about having The Silver Gymnasium named their album of the year. What’s he gonna say? Maybe, “thanks – how about contributing to my Kickstarter to fund a short film video for ‘Down Down The Deep River’?” Maybe. Also, at Salon, Sheff talks about how he wish he knew as a kid that being nerdy would eventually be cool. Nerdy, yes, though being a touring musician, also helps.
Dazed and Confused has premiered the new video from Blouse’s second album, Imperium.
Video: Blouse – “A Feeling Like This”
Billboard Q&As Janelle Monáe, whom they have declared as Rising Star of 2013.
NPR has a World Cafe session with The Head & The Heart.
The Skinny talks to Janet Weiss about her current work with Quasi, the fact that Wild Flag is no more, and that a Sleater-Kinney reunion might be inevitable – as proven by the fact that they reunited to play “Rockin’ In The Free World” with Pearl Jam a few nights later in Portland.
Stereogum tracks the final days of the now-defunct Walkmen.
Monday, December 9th, 2013
Swervedriver veer back into fast lane with new album
Gaz FailFor a band that’s so intrinsically connected to the idea of powerful cars barrelling down the highway, Oxford’s Swervedriver have taken a pretty leisurely path since they reunited in 2008, touring fairly regularly behind old material but seeming to focus their creative energies on non-Swervies work; frontman Adam Franklin releasing three full-length albums with his Bolts Of Melody solo project including this year’s Black Horses, as well as one with Magnetic Morning, his project with Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino. And while Toshack Highway hasn’t released anything since 2006, don’t discount Franklin returning to the project at some point in the future.
But for all of those releases’ merits, they’ve not been Swervedriver so it’s pretty exciting news that 2014 will finally see the band putting into gear with the release of a new Swervedriver album, their first since 1998′s 99th Dream. Now reunion albums are rightly regarded with suspicion – sometimes they’re great, a la My Bloody Valentine, but usually they’re passable at best and embarrassing at worst, but from just-released the first single – which they’re streaming along with the alternate version b-side, remixed by Ride’s Mark Gardener – their ability to meld great guitar riffs with catchy melodies remains wholly intact, and excitingly reminiscent of Raise, their 22-year old debut; it’s like dream-pop where the dream is of a muscle car going full tilt down the open road. Bring it.
The Feedback Society has an interview with Adam Franklin about both the new Bolts Of Melody record and the return of Swervedriver. And if you’re new to the band or haven’t been paying attention, a slew of live rarities – including complete on-stage versions of their first four albums – are available to download, gratis. Update: And now there’s a video.
Stream: Swervedriver – “Deep Wound”
Stream: Swervedriver – “Dub Wound”
Video: Swervedriver – “Deep Wound”
DIY talks to TOY about their new album Join The Dots, the title track of which they play in session for The Guardian. The album is out this week and they’ll be at The Horseshoe on January 14.
The Fly corners Cate Le Bon to play a video session for them. She’ll be at The Drake Underground on January 21.
Maxïmo Park have rolled out a second video from their new album Too Much Information, out February 3.
Video: Maxïmo Park – “Leave This Island”
The Fly has details on the new album from Bombay Bicycle Club, which will be called So Long, See You Tomorrow and be out in the UK on February 3.
Rolling Stone has premiered the new video from Fanfarlo, taken from their forthcoming album Let’s Go Extinct, coming out February 11.
Video: Fanfarlo – “Landlocked”
London’s Let’s Wrestle return with their third album – a self-titled effort – on February 11 and they’ve permiered the first video from it at Noisey.
Video: Let’s Wrestle – “Codeine and Marshmallows”
Even though his latest album was the rather definitively-titled full-band affair Electric, It’ll be Richard Thompson solo and acoustic at Koerner Hall on March 6, just as when he dazzled there in September 2011. This time, though, he’ll have an opener with him and that’s none other than his son, Teddy Thompson.
Stream: Richard Thompson – “Good Things Happen To Bad People”
Intelligent Life hangs out with Guy Garvey of Elbow; their new album Carry Her Carry Me is out March 10.
What do you do if you’re releasing a single that appears in two different versions on your two current albums, one live and one studio? if you’re Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and the albums are Live At KCRW and Push The Sky Away, you record a third version. And then you premiere it at Rolling Stone. Cave and company are at The Sony Centre on July 31.
Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Higgs Boson Blues”
DIY have premiered a stream from Kate Nash’s new holiday EP Have Faith This Christmas. You probably know the song.
Stream: Kate Nash – “Silent Night”
Laura Groves has a new video for a Paul McCartney cover contributed to the Pun For Cover cover album; check it out via DIY.
Video: Laura Groves – “Waterfalls”
The Toronto Sun has an interview with and Stereogum a streaming b-side from Arctic Monkeys.
Stream: Arctic Monkeys – “You’re So Dark”
David Bowie has released another video from the bonus material on The Next Day Extra, though not for one of the new songs but again a remix – or an edit of a remix, to be precise, whatever that means.
Video: David Bowie – “I’d Rather Be High” Venetian Mix (Wasted Edit)
Rolling Stone asks Noel Gallagher how his year was. He answers as only Noel Gallagher can.
Saturday, December 7th, 2013
Frank YangWho: Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires
What: “The Screaming Eagle of Soul”, whose remarkable story is captured in film and whose career renaissance of bringing old-school funk and soul plays out on stages around the world
Why: Bradley basically lives on the road, and is on a second North American leg in support of his second album No Time For Dreaming, released in the Spring. “He comes to town too often”, complained no one, ever.
When: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Where: The Kool Haus in Toronto (19+)
Who else: Brooklyn rock’n'soul combo The Jay Vons open up
How: Tickets for the show are $25.50 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 Charles Bradley” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, December 10.
What else: Bradley released a 7″ for Record Store Day, which teamed Bradley up with his old backing band The Bullets and which Spin has to stream. The Isthmus also has an interview.
Video: Charles Bradley – “Strictly Reserved For You”
Video: Charles Bradley & The Bullets – “Ain’t It A Sin”
Friday, December 6th, 2013
Frank YangWho: The Kills
What: Trans-Atlantic rock’n'roll duo of Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince who, together, embody the spirit of rock’n'roll’n'sex’sweat, though not necessarily in that order.
Why: They haven’t released a new record since 2011′s Blood Pressures – which they toured through town twice, last in February 2012 – but an invitation to open up for Queens Of The Stone Age in New York was enough to get the band out of the studio.
When: Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Where: The Danforth Music Hall in Toronto (19+)
Who else: American-born, Toronto based Meghan Remy – aka U.S. Girls – opens up.
How: Tickets for the show are $24.50 to $29.50 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got a pair of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to Kill” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, December 9.
What else: Mosshart talks to The Detroit News about how the new record is coming along, and if you missed it, their Live At L’Olympia live film is available to watch below.
MP3: The Kills – “DNA”
MP3: The Kills – “Future Starts Slow”
Video: The Kills – Live At L’Olympia