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Thursday, February 4th, 2010

It Is Something (To Have Wept)

Review of El Perro Del Mar’s Love Is Not Pop

Photo via The Control GroupThe Control GroupSadness is Sarah Assbring’s stock in trade, a point I’ve rather drilled home in my reviews of her output as El Perro Del Mar – the 2007 self-title and 2008’s From The Valley To The Stars. While both records were beautiful in their downbeat demeanor, you couldn’t help but hope that Assbring would find a way to cheer up, if only for her own emotional well-being.

Unfortunately for Assbring – but fortunately for her listeners – delectable heartache is still the order of the day, and her third album Love Is Not Pop is again chock full of it, but the record stands a good distance apart from its predecessors for other reasons. Rather than the spare, ’50s doo-wop stylings that defined her previous work, Pop draws on a distinctly different aural palette. The core songwriting style and Assbring’s signature forlorn vocals remain, but the introduction of electronic textures and rhythms and Shields-y glider guitar overtop the spare (but occasionally orchestrated) arrangements is unexpected and welcome. Of course, the fact that the album proper is only seven tracks long, and the rest is padded out with remixes adds to the impression that this is a fresher, more sonically adventurous and dance-friendlier El Perro Del Mar. Actually, danceable might be a bit of a reach, but the extra tracks do showcase Assbring with an extra spring in her shuffle.

El Perro Del Mar is at the Mod Club on February 21 as part of a co-headlining tour with fellow Swede Taken By Trees, with the latter closing out this particular show. This is exciting as Victoria Bergsman – she who is Taken By Trees – isn’t especially predisposed to life on the road and hasn’t been to Toronto since the last visit from The Concretes. Unfortunately, it’s meant that Anna Ternheim, previously slated to open for El Perro Del Mar, will no longer be appearing. But maybe it’s a bit of a consolation that another MP3 from Taken By Trees’ East Of Eden is now up for grabs and is, appropriately enough, entitled “Anna”.

MP3: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart”
MP3: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart” (Rakamonie Remix)
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Anna”
Video: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart”
MySpace: El Perro Del Mar

Also Swedish but totally not sad are Love Is All. Their new record Two Thousand and Ten Injuries is out MArch 23 and they’re at the Horseshoe on April 3. Check out another track from the new album.

MP3: Love Is All – “Repetition”

Danish orchestral post-rock outfit Under Byen will release a new album in Alt Er Tabt on April 6.

Magnet Q&As Los Campesinos!, whom they’ve made guest editors of their site this week. Hope they hid all the breakables. Spinner, Islington Tribune, CMJ and Wales Online also have conversations, but don’t hand over the keys to the car. Los Campesinos! are at the Phoenix on April 20.

Laura Marling talks to NOW, The Visalia Times Delta and The San Francisco Examiner about making her new album I Speak Because I Can, out April 6. She plays Lee’s Palace on Tuesday night.

Chart, The Georgia Straight, The National Post, The Aquarian, San Jose Mercury News and The San Francisco Examiner talk to various members of Editors, who play the Phoenix on February 16.

Spin asks Dev Hynes about the secret origin of Lightspeed Champion. His second album Life Is Sweet! Pleased To Meet You, out February 16.

State has a word with Massive Attack, who’ve released a new video from Heligoland, out next week.

Video: Massive Attack – “Splitting The Atom”

Ska fans prepare to skank: The Specials reunion tour will include a stop in Toronto – the two-tone pioneers play the Sound Academy on April 19 – tickets $36.50 for floors, $46.50 for VIP balcony and The English Beat have a date at Lee’s Palace on May 18, tickets $23.50.

Video: The Specials – “Message To You Rudy”
Video: The English Beat – “Mirror In The Bathroom”

Pitchfork talks to Phoenix’s Thomas Mars about how it feels to be a Grammy Award winner.

The Music Fix has details on the next batch of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds reissues, which will arrive in 5.1 surround sound and with a plethora of bonus goodies, on April 5.

Aux.tv has assembled a guide to the many, many online video session sites out there in the wilds of the internet. Not comprehensive – five more started up while I was typing this sentence – but a good start.

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Cover Your Tracks

An introduction to Blue Roses

Photo By Danny NorthDanny NorthI had spent the last few days getting contradictory answers as to whether the December 15 Fanfarlo show at the El Mocambo I’d been so looking forward to and the Montreal date the following night were cancelled or not, but yesterday afternoon the band settled the matter – frontman Simon Balthazar’s passport was stolen in Portland and there was no getting a replacement in time to make the Canadian dates. They’ll surely visit us another time, but not next week.

But goodness knows I’m nothing if not someone who always sees the bright side of things (stop laughing) so if there’s a silver lining here, it’s that the evening is freed up to head down to the Drake Underground to see the Canadian debut of Blue Roses. Both the stage name of Ms Laura Groves of England as well as the title of her debut album, the thing that will strike you first about Blue Roses is her voice; Groves possesses a soprano that will stop you in your tracks, then watch in amazement as it soars and swoops around you. The paths it traces are more than a little reminiscent of Kate Bush or, using a more contemporary reference point, Joanna Newsom albeit less boundary-pushing than the former or potentially polarizing than the latter.

Whether accompanied by elegantly fingerpicked guitar or dramatic piano, the music of Blue Roses maintains a light, airy feel, even when the lyrical matter gets weighty or melancholic. And putting aside the arrangements and their delicate balance of traditional and modern tones, the sense of wide-eyed optimism remains – it’s just inherent in Groves’ 21-year old voice. It’s the sound of youth and hopefulness, though not necessarily naivete – these songs have been lived in. Just as Bush or Newsom sound like their songs belong to some dark and mysterious, fairy-inhabited woods, Groves’ songs inhabit a simpler, more pastoral place – one of open fields and meadows, where the skies might be overcast but are worth celebrating nonetheless.

Groves digitally released a new EP yesterday entitled Does Anyone Love Me Now and is currently on her debut tour of North America supporting Marcus Foster and, as previously mentioned, will be at the Drake Underground on December 15. Stereogum collected a series of live performance videos recorded in assorted idyllic locales while Off The Beaten Tracks captured a couple of songs on tape at this Summer’s Edinburgh Festival before the rains came. The Quietus talked to Groves about her hometown of Shipley, Yorkshire.

MP3: Blue Roses – “Doubtful Comforts”
MP3: Blue Roses – “I Am Leaving”
Video: Blue Roses – “I Am Leaving”
MySpace: Blue Roses

The Drake will also be hosting another young and talented English singer-songwriter in the coming months, though I would think that Laura Marling could easily fill a much larger room than the Underground. Perhaps the February 9 engagement is intended to be a deliberately undersized and intimate show to mark the release of her second album, which currently has no name or street date but February is as reasonable a guess as any. Either way, expect the $13.50 tickets, which go on sale Friday, to go fast.

MP3: Laura Marling – “Ghosts”

Marling will also be heading to India this month to do some shows accompanied by Mumford & Sons, with whom she made her Toronto debut last October. Spinner talks to Marcus Mumford about how that tour came about. Mumford & Sons play the decidedly less exotic but much more easily accessible El Mocambo on February 15, their debut Sigh No More will get a North American release on March 2 and you can download a free stripped-down version of their “White Blank Page” over at The Times.

The February 16 release of Lightspeed Champion’s next proper album Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You may still be a couple months off, but those looking for a more immediate fix need look no further than Dev Hynes’ own website where he’s begun posting what he calls a series of bootlegs, which are essentially off-the-cuff albums of Hynes messing about. The first to be made available is House-Sitting Songs, which as the title implies, was “recorded mid May 2009 within a week whilst house-sitting for a friend of mine in Manhattan”. Hynes talks to Spinner about his reasons for releasing the record and what else is yet to come.

ZIP: Lightspeed Champion / House-Sitting Songs

Guy Garvey of Elbow gives Teletext an update on how things are progressing with their next album, likely not due out until 2011.

The Music Magazine and Blurt talk to Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutichison about their new album The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, due out March 16 in North America.

I had thought that Asobi Seksu’s last visit in October might be an acoustic set, given their quieter tourmates in Loney Dear and Anna Ternheim and the impending release of their new acoustic record Rewolf but no – it was as big and loud a performance as ever. They will, however, be busting out the acoustics – and presumably leaving the strobe lights at home – for their February 1 show at the Drake. Tickets for that will be $10 in advance. Flavorwire talks to Yuki Chikudate about the decision to make an acoustic record.

MP3: Asobi Seksu – “Thursday” (acoustic)

French duo Air has announced a Spring 2010 tour in support of their latest record Love 2 – look for them on March 23 at the Phoenix.

Though they were just here, The Big Pink have announced another tour for next Spring where they’ll be accompanied by fellow strobe junkies A Place To Bury Strangers. Deafness and blindness guaranteed. The Toronto date is March 24 at the Mod Club.

MP3: The Big Pink – “Dominos”
MP3: The Big Pink – “Too Young To Love”
MP3: A Place To Bury Strangers – “In Your Heart”

Cymbals Eat Guitars have set an April 6 date at the El Mocambo as part of a Spring tour, tickets $10. They recently released sessions at both Laundromatinee and Daytrotter.

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

Everyone I Know Is Listening To Crunk


Photo by Frank Yang

I will confess that this was a show I really wouldn’t have expected to happen. It was perfectly logical that Lightspeed Champion would stop into town as he did in March as that was en route to his carpet bombing of Austin with performances during SxSW, but that he’d return so soon – and in a full band configuration rather than a duo – was a real surprise. Not because it wasn’t justified – Falling Off The Lavender Bridge remains one of my favourite albums of the year so far – but because it didn’t necessarily seem like Dev Hynes’ project was getting much traction in North America beyond the devoted Anglophile community, Conan O’Brien appearances notwithstanding, and mounting a full North American tour might not be the most sensible thing. But understand, this isn’t me complaining – just musing. Obviously someone saw a financial rationale for bringing Dev and co back to the continent and to them, I say “thanks”.

For this tour, Lightspeed Champion had picked up a couple of newer American acts as support, South Carolina’s The Explorers Club and from Omaha, Nebraska, Flowers Forever. The former is frequently pitched with simply as, “If you like the Beach Boys…” which while accurate, doesn’t paint nearly the whole picture. Yes, they frequently tread down the classic pop trail blazed by the Wilson clan and with their unbelievable five-part harmonies and four strong lead vocalists, it’s hard to find other reference points to do them justice. And really, if you CAN sing like the Beach Boys, why on earth would you NOT sing like the Beach Boys? But beyond their vocal prowess, the Explorers Club are gifted songwriters, musicians (their quadruple-guitar freak-out cover of “Johnny B Goode” was something to behold) and really engaging and entertaining performers. They definitely set the bar high for the rest of the evening.

A bar which Flowers Forever didn’t clear. At all. An outfit noteworthy as the side-project of Tilly & The Wall, it came off as a guy desperate to prove that he had some punk rock cred beyond being the dude in the band with the the cute tap-dancing girl. With a stage setup consisting of green floodlights, smoke machines and a trio of large, grotesque screaming head cutouts, the quartet seemed have a mandate to scare grade schoolers. Musically, they were loud and vaguely psychedelic, but anything interesting they might have had to offer in that direction was overshadowed by unfocused anger and random swearing. Juvenile much? Hopefully this little exercise has gotten that out of Pressnall’s system and he’ll be on his best behaviour when Tilly & The Wall come back to town on August 2 at the Mod Club.

When I’d first heard the words “Lightspeed Champion” and “full band” used together, I had fanciful visions of Dev Hynes accompanied by not just a rhythm section, but a full string section and Emmy The Great on vocals, set to recreate the full lushness of Lavender Bridge for my listening pleasure. Well the reality did indeed include the rhythm section, but that was the extent of it. Still, the addition of just those two players significantly altered the dynamic and presentation of the album’s material. Anna Prior, formerly of Leeds’ Dead Disco, not only handled drumming duties but more than ably covered some of Emmy’s vocal parts (and adorableness quotient) though not as loudly or as frequently as I’d have liked, but even a little went a long way.

But recreating the orchestrated wonder of the studio recording obviously wasn’t on the agenda – with the more conventional rock band setup (though again with Mike Siddell on violin) things were arranged relatively louder and heavier, though not to the detriment of the songs and based on the new material that was aired out, that seems to be the direction that Hynes’ songwriting is going anyway. With a (relatively) more structured set than he played in March, he also took the opportunity to trade the acoustic in for electric for a goodly portion of the set and demonstrate some serious chops that weren’t necessarily spotlighted on Bridge. His goofball humour was also on display, with between-song banter including asking the audience what they had for dinner and engaging in some discussion about the ongoing NBA finals. And of course, the hat. Last time in town, they played on the evening of one big-ass snowstorm so the big furry hunter’s hat was an understandable accoutrement. In the middle of Summer? Not so much, especially with Lee’s Palace’s air conditioning on the fritz. But the highlight, as I’m sure they intended, was the big rock reading of the Star Wars theme – Imperial march segueing into the main theme – leading into “Midnight Surprise”. Awesome.

Photos: Lightspeed Champion, Flowers Forever, The Explorers Club @ Lee’s Palace – June 11, 2008
MP3: Lightspeed Champion – “Everyone I Know Is Listening To Crunk”
MP3: Lightspeed Champion – “Waiting Game”
MP3: Flowers Forever – “Black Rosary”
MP3: Flowers Forever – “Beach Bum”
MP3: Flowers Forever – “Happy New Year”
MP3: The Explorers Club – “Do You Love Me?”
Video: Lightspeed Champion – “Galaxy Of The Lost”
Video: Lightspeed Champion – “Tell Me What It’s Worth”
Video: Lightspeed Champion – “Midnight Surprise”
Video: Lightspeed Champion – “Midnight Surprise” (short film)
MySpace: Lightspeed Champion
MySpace: Flowers Forever

The Boston Globe talks to Will Johnson, whose Centro-Matic were also in town on Wednesday night at the Horseshoe. Did anyone go? How was it? No regrets on my part but I’d have liked to have caught that show as well. I should have asked someone to grab me a copy of Dual Hawks.

Thanks to Torr for the tip-off that Neil Halstead will be releasing his second solo record Oh! Mighty Engine on July 29. Neil will be as close as Oro, Ontario on the shores of Lake Simcoe with label-boss/surfing buddy Jack Johnson on August 3, but apparently a proper tour is in the works for the Fall.

Incendiary talks to Isobel Campbell.

Spin catches Nicole Atkins backstage at Bonnaroo in a bale of hay, shoots video. Not nearly as dirty as it sounds.

The Old 97s stop by Spinner’s Interface for a session and have also got a new Tricia Helfer-powered, kung fu-ed video from their new album Blame It On Gravity. And speaking of BSG, that was a pretty dense mid-season finale, n’est-ce pas? Final scene was sort of what I expected, but still something to see. And now we wait till January for the last episodes. JANUARY. Frack. So glad that Weeds is back this week, otherwise I’d be ALL out of TV. And that’s just not right.

Video: The Old 97’s – “Dance With Me”

Also with a new video are The Besnard Lakes, who just opened up for Swervedriver on Friday night and will do the same for My Morning Jacket on Monday at the Kool Haus. That is what we call padding the resume.

Video: The Besnard Lakes – “Devastation”

Daytrotter features up a session with Headlights and also an interview with The Ting Tings, who’re in town at the Mod Club on Tuesday. Congrats to Kim and Diana who won the LPs and the passes to the show. And there’s a new video for that song. Yes, that one. No dancing silhouettes, though.

Video: The Ting Tings – “Shut Up And Let Me Go”

And though it’s been a bit lean in the last while, there’s some show announcements to get to. First, TV On The Radio’s July 2 show at the Kool Haus has been moved to the Phoenix. Half the capacity means twice the intimacy! I think.

A precise release date for Margot & The Nuclear So & So’s’ Animals! remains to be set, but some touring has been confirmed – they’ll make their Toronto debut on August 6 at the Horseshoe, tickets $10.50. They were supposed to check that off their to-do list back in April 2006 but had to cancel the show after their van checked out on them. Best of luck to them making it up here this time around.

Oneida are at Lee’s Palace on August 15, tickets $8.50. Their new album Preteen Weaponry is also out in August.

MP3: Oneida – “Preteen Weaponry”

Cuff The Duke will do a two-night stand at the Horseshoe on August 22 and 23, tickets for each show $12.

Baltimore’s Ponytail will be at Lee’s Palace on August 26. Their Ice Cream Spiritual is out on Tuesday.

MP3: Ponytail – “Celebrate The Body Electric”
Video: Ponytail – “Die Allman Bruder”

If you think the great reunion trend is limited to British shoegaze bands and American post-punk outfits – mid-90’s veterans of the college circuit are also getting into the act. Case in point, Winnipeg’s Watchmen are back together and will be at the Horseshoe on September 26. Tickets $20.

At the other end of the spectrum, new kids Black Kids will release their Bernard Butler-produced debut Partie Traumatic on July 22 and have booked a Fall tour to support. The Toronto date will be at the Mod Club on October 5 and tickets are $20.

Video: Black Kids – “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You”
Video: Black Kids – “Hurricane Jane”

And finally, Pinback will be at the Mod Club on October 7, tickets $16.

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Neutral Ground


Photo by Frank Yang

It’d been almost exactly a month since I’d last attended a proper club show – astonishing, I know – so it’s not surprising that rolling into the El Mocambo on Tuesday night felt a bit unfamiliar. Thankfully, there were some familiar faces on the bill to ease the transition back into the world of live music just a bit.

Brooklyn’s Jealous Girlfriends have become favourites of mine over the last few months, from their Toronto debut last October through their SxSW Hot Freaks appearance and the recent release of their self-titled album, so though I missed their visit in March opening for Nada Surf, I was pleased for the opportunity to see them play again.

The other times I’d seen them play, they’d come across as scorching but on this night, whether deliberately or not, they came across as more of a smoulder. Rather than fill the set with their more immediate, rocking material they kept it rather mid-tempo with a surprising amount of new material and establishing themselves as probably the only band on the planet to cover Think Tank-era Blur. As an established fan, it was nice to hear the new material and “Monkey Brains”, which is on their MySpace in demo form and which was a highlight last year at the Drake, continues to sound better each time out. But as far as winning new fans over – and I’ve seen people slackjawed after their shows – I don’t think this was necessarily them putting their best foot forward.

Conversely, I came to Sea Wolf with considerably lower expectations – I’m partial to their sound but their debut full-length Leaves In The River and past live shows have failed to fully engage me. But sometime between last June and now, they’ve figured out a key ingredient to rectifying that – an ass-kicking drummer. They’ve changed stickmen since last time and the extra volume and energy the new guy brought to the kit made a world of difference, giving Alex James Church’s compositions – finely crafted and orchestrated but rather stiff folk rock – some much-needed swing. The looser and louder Sea Wolf weren’t a revelation but a definite improvement and enough to move them up a good number of rungs in my estimation.

The Jealous Girlfriends are keeping a tour blog for Exclaim! while Vue and Pasta Primavera has an interview with the band.

Photos: Sea Wolf, The Jealous Girlfriends @ The El Mocambo – June 3, 2008
MP3: Sea Wolf – “You’re A Wolf”
MP3: Sea Wolf – “The Garden That You Planted”
MP3: The Jealous Girlfriends – “Roboxulla”
Video: Sea Wolf – “You’re A Wolf”
Video: The Jealous Girlfriends – “How Now”
MySpace: Sea Wolf

Calexico will release their new album Carried To Dust on September 9 – expect them to preview a lot of the new material when they play the Mod Club on July 6. Woodpigeon will support.

Popmatters and The Daily Yomiuri talk Third with Portishead.

VBS visits Lightspeed Champion and Handsome Furs in their rehearsal spaces, video camera in hand. Lightspeed Champion are at Lee’s Palace next Wednesday night – June 11 – and Handsome Furs are there on August 22.

Video: Practice Space – Lightspeed Champion
Video: Practice Space – Handsome Furs

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Bon Iver. He is at Lee’s Palace on July 22.

MSNBC and CNN discuss @#%&! Smilers with Aimee Mann. Thanks to Being There for pointing out yesterday that her August 28 show at the Kool Haus is not a headlining gig, but as support for Squeeze.

eye talks to Death Cab For Cutie and previews their show at Olympic Island this Saturday, while Minnesota Public Radio has the band in their studios for a session which is available to stream or download. The Ottawa Citizen, Hour.ca, The Monreal Gazette, Kansas City Star and Seattle Weekly also talk to various band members about various topics.

Also playing the island Saturday is Rogue Wave, and I Am Fuel You Are Friends directs us to this director’s cut of their new video by Bob Odenkirk.

Video: Rogue Wave – “Chicago x 12”

And also coming out of Minnesota with a radio session are Shearwater, who stopped in at the University of Minnesota’s Radio K to record some tracks from their just-released and Pitchfork 8.0-ed new album Rook. They’ll be at the Horseshoe on June 23.

Beatroute has a sit-down with Okkervil River’s Will Sheff. They release The Stand Ins on September 9 and play the Phoenix on October 12.

My Morning Jacket are streaming the whole of Evil Urges on their MySpace right now, in advance of the record’s release next Tuesday. They play the Kool Haus on June 16.

Stream: My Morning Jacket / Evil Urges

The Globe & Mail, The Province and The Los Angeles Times talk to a Billy Bragg, who’ll be performing at Harbourfront Centre on June 17.

Exclaim! talks to Matt Berninger of The National. They’re at the Molson Amphitheatre this Sunday opening for R.E.M..

Elbow respond to Drowned In Sound readers’ questions.

Reveille discover just how prickly an interviewee Mark Kozelek of Sun Kil Moon can be.

Erase Errata will be at Sneaky Dee’s on July 7.

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Wild Mountain Nation


Photo by Frank Yang

Heading in to Wednesday night’s show at the El Mocambo, I was wondering if maybe the buzz around Seattle’s Fleet Foxes, which seemed omnipresent in my online circles over the past month or so, had been held up at the border because while there was some local press covering Portland-based headliners Blitzen Trapper leading up to the show, I was hearing nary a peep about the support act.

I wasn’t in time to catch local openers Fox Jaws but was pleasantly surprised to see that the club was quite full and obviously waiting in patient anticipation for Fleet Foxes to start. And patience was the key word as they were having some technical difficulties with the monitors and were taking their time in sorting it out. It was worth it, though, as otherwise they might not have been able to hear correctly and their four-part harmonies might have suffered and that would have been an absolute crime.

There is much to recommend Fleet Foxes – their timeless blend of British and American folk music filtered through country, soul and chamber pop styles, for example – but what strikes you first and hardest is the stunning vocal interplay. Their voices, led by songwriter Robin Peckold, were simply mesmerizing to listen to. Some have compared the band to My Morning Jacket or Band Of Horses and, while fans of those bands will surely find a lot to like in the Seattle quintet, those similarities are based largely on Peckold’s high voice and the thick blanket of reverb that cloaks their new Sun Giant EP (the self-titled debut album is out June 3). Live, you appreciate how much more delicate and intricate Fleet Foxes’ craft is – there are far fewer rock moves in their arsenal, instead choosing more spiritual musical path.

Throughout their set, the band were openly astonished at how enthusiastic the crowd was, cheering loudly for even for songs that hadn’t been officially released yet. I may not have heard the buzz and anticipation for the show, but obviously it was there. This energy made for an atmosphere of real occasion, as though everyone acknowledged that they were witnessing something pretty special, as though realizing the band is not only as good as everyone says they are, but are quite probably even better.

With this sort of praise following the tour around the continent, you might be tempted to feel sorry for Blitzen Trapper with them having to follow this act every night. But such pity is unnecessary. Though perhaps not as critically acclaimed as their tourmates at the moment – the crowd was noticeably thinner when they came out – they still know how to put on a show and bring the house down. I wasn’t especially taken with their latest record Wild Mountain Nation but, as they did when I saw them in the Fall opening for John Vanderslice, they put on a thoroughly entertaining show.

Their amalgam of roots, classic, country and psychedelic rock influences – all stored in the garage, natch – sounds like it could and should collapse at any second yet the band is simply too tight and too together to ever let that happen. The ensuing musical tug-of-war is a delight to behold. And they were funny as hell, too, with guitarist Marty Marquis paying tribute to Canada by pointing out his faded Alpha Flight t-shirt. They closed out their show in gloriously chaotic fashion with all of Fleet Foxes out on stage with them along with some fans from the audience and drummer Brian Adrian Koch deciding that one of his cymbals had outlived its usefulness and trying to put it out of its – and his – misery.

If you’re anywhere near the remaining tour dates, I highly recommend hitting the show up. It’ll be beautiful, cacophonous and all points in between, guaranteed.

Tiny Mix Tapes has an interview with Blitzen Trapper and, while a few months old, this profile on Fleet Foxes by The Stranger is worth a read.

Photos: Blitzen Trapper, Fleet Foxes @ The El Mocambo – April 2, 2008
MP3: Blitzen Trapper – “Wild Mountain Nation”
MP3: Blitzen Trapper – “Sci-Fi Kid” (Principal Participant Kingswood’ Remix)
MP3: Blitzen Trapper – “Sci-Fi Kid” (40 Thieves Remix)
MP3: Fleet Foxes – “White Winter Hymnal”
Video: Blitzen Trapper – “Devil’s A-Go-Go”
Video: Blitzen Trapper – “Wild Mountain Nation”
Video: Blitzen Trapper – “Woof & Warp of the Quiet Giant’s Hem”
MySpace: Blitzen Trapper

A very welcome addition to the June concert calendar is Lightspeed Champion’s return to town on the 11th for a show at Lee’s Palace… this time accompanied by a full band. The two-piece configuration we saw at the Horseshoe in March worked quite well, considering, but it will be great to hear the rich arrangements of Falling Off The Lavender Bridge done proper justice in a live setting. Full tour dates are here and support will be Flowers Forever, the side project from Tilly & The Wall’s Derek Presnall.

MP3: Flowers Forever – “Black Rosary”

Matmos will be at the Music Gallery on July 21.

NPR is streaming a session from Jens Lekman recorded at SxSW last month. Jens is at The Great Hall on April 8.

NOW and Commercial Appeal talk to Will Sheff of Okkervil River, who kick off their tour with The New Pornographers starts in Toronto next Wednesday night, April 9.

Chart reports that The Coast’s cross-country tour got off to a lousy start when the band’s van was burgled in Victoria and many personal effects – and frontman Ben Spurr’s clothes – were stolen. The band will be back home, hopefully fully clothed, for a record release show at the Horseshoe on April 18. Expatriate was released this week.

PopMatters asks questions of American Music Club’s Mark Eitzel, gets pithy responses. The Georgia Straight and The Province also offer up interviews. AMC are at Lee’s Palace on April 19.

Beatroute profiles The D’Urbervilles, playing the UKULA store on May 1 as part of the Over The Top Fest.

The Calgary Sun bears witness as Feist is reunited with her old Fender Mustang bass. Awwwww. Feist plays a sold out show at the Sony Centre on May 13 and will also appear on Sesame Street in the near future.

JamBase profiles British Sea Power, in town on Monday for a Beautiful Noise taping and again on May 16 for a gig at Lee’s Palace.

Matt Berninger of The National talks to Spinner about how R.E.M. soundtracked his high school days. Non-$90 tickets for their show at the Molson Amphitheatre on June 8 go on sale tomorrow at 10AM.

InsideVandy, The River City Reader and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette talk to Jim Eno and Britt Daniel of Spoon, who have a new video and a new EP, Don’t You Evah, out April 8. Watch and stream below, respectively.

Video: Spoon – “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”
Stream: Spoon / Don’t You Evah

And speaking of new videos, Elbow has one from The Seldom Seen Kid, out April 22.

Video: Elbow – “One Day Like This”

Minnesota Public Radio has Headlights in their studio for a session.

Sons & Daughters kept a tour diary for Billboard during their recent North American jaunt.