Search Results - "Son Volt, Jason Isbell Mod Club Toronto April 12, 2007"
Monday, April 16th, 2007
I came to the realization last Thursday that my relationship with the music of Uncle Tupelo and its offspring, Wilco and Son Volt, goes much deeper than just fandom. So integral were these bands to the development of my musical tastes that no matter how many times I’ve listened to their records, and that number is easily in the hundreds, they’re part of my musical DNA. And I like that. I came to this minor epiphany at a fortuitous time – while seeing Son Volt perform at the Mod Club.
To start, I’ll refer you to my comments from his October, 2005 show at the Opera House, the bulk of which are still true. A frequent knock on Jay Farrar, be it in his band or solo incarnations, on record or live, is that he’s boring. Being as biased towards the man as I am (see above), I’m duty-bound to argue the point but looking at it from an outsider’s perspective, I can certainly see that as being true. He’s not an animated performer nor an especially chatty performer. He shows up, plays his songs and plays them well, tips his hat (figuratively) and leaves. But really, it’s those songs that are the thing. While the Trace material is still untouchable, every subsequent album has had enough highlights that if collected on, say, a well-chosen set list, speaks loudly enough about Farrar’s songwriting catalog that he doesn’t have to himself.
This is true on their latest record The Search which is possibly Farrar’s strongest effort in a while. It’s still a bit draggy in parts but the high points are higher than those on his last few releases. The addition of those songs to the set (and the removal of some of his solo material) made for an even stronger show than last time, as did the addition of Derry DeBorja on keyboards which added some texture and atmosphere you just can’t get with a two-guitar/bass/drum lineup. I thought the other new addition, guitarist Chris Masterson (who replaced album guitarist Brad Rice who was himself replaced on the last last tour by Chris Frame) could have exercised a little more restraint in the leads – “Tear-Stained Eye” does not and never will need extra notes – but based on this performance and the new album, Son Volt Mk2 should put to rest the complaints surrounding Okemah that a Boquist-free Son Volt is no Son Volt at all.
And for anyone who complains that Jay is predictable, I direct you to the Clash/reggae-fied version of “Life Worth Living” in the encore. I can’t decide if it was a triumph or a tragedy, it probably depends entirely on your POV, but it was certainly unexpected.
The opening on this leg of the tour was Jason Isbell, not even a week removed from having to add “former” to his byline as Drive-By Trucker. He was backed by his band the 400 Unit who may have looked more like a skate-punk band from the suburbs but definitely had the chops to back up Isbell on his solo material. It was hard to find an angle from which to describe his new stuff relative to his DBT output – some songs sounded more classic rock, some more hard rock, some bluesier… I guess it just sounds like Isbell but maybe with wider margins. But beyond that the four new songs he played aren’t enough to accurately gauge what Sirens Of The Ditch is going to sound like – we’ll have to wait until July 10 for that. The rest of his set was comprised of a couple Truckers tracks (“Goddamn Lonely Love” and “Danko/Manuel”, both sounded sublime), a song from Patterson Hood’s last solo album (no hard feelings?) and for the finale, a cover of Thin Lizzy’s jailbreak which DAMN looked like fun to play.
The Globe & Mail also has a review of the show, Metro asks Jay about fellow St Louis resident Nelly and The Patriot-Ledger talks to him about The Search. and I just realized that Heath Ledger was IN The Patriot. WHOA.
Photos: Son Volt, Jason Isbell @ The Mod Club – April 12, 2007
Stream: Son Volt – “The Picutre” (QT)
Stream: Son Volt – “Circadian Rhythm” (QT)
Stream: Son Volt – “The Search” (QT)
MySpace: Son Volt
Billboard has an expansive feature on Wilco wherein they visit the band’s loft and how Jeff Tweedy’s headspace informed the writing and recording of Sky Blue Sky, out May 15. They also round up the various formats that the record will be released in – there’s the CD, CD with DVD of featurette Shake It Off, audiophile LP (which will come with a copy of the CD as well – yay!), an iTunes version with bonus track and CDs at “indie coalitions” (I assume they mean independent stores) will come with a 2-song bonus disc. Completists weep for joy, completists’ wallets, just weep. And they’ll be selling it at Starbucks, though no coffee shop-specific bonus goodies for them. They’re at Massey Hall on June 30 with plans for another North American tour in the Fall. They were just in Australia where The Age talked to Jeff Tweedy about the effect his mental health has had on the last few records. And finally, head over to Stereogum to see some little vinyl toys of the band which will be available soon and are really kind of creepy. I think it’s the Amish facial hair they’re all sporting.
Feist is queen of all (NYC) media – in extended pieces, The New York Times talks to her and The New Yorker talks about her. She’s also on the cover of the next issue of Under The Radar. Methinks this is just the beginning of the media frenzy that will envelop Ms Leslie when The Reminder is released May 1. She’s at Massey Hall May 25 and 26 and in addition to the video for “1234″ that made the rounds last week, there’s a second official clip for “My Moon, My Man” now available – it’s just as dance-errific but also moving sidewalk-tacular (via All Things Feist which, if you’re interested in this stuff, should probably be your homepage for the next while).
Video: Feist – “My Moon, My Man” (YouTube)
Video: Feist – “1234″ (YouTube)
To anyone who picked up Centro-Matic’s new EP Operation Motorcide, or is thinking about it, An Aquarium Drunkard has some interesting information about the the tracks that comprise the release – mainly that they were the songs excised from last year’s Fort Recovery, which was originally intended as a double album. He’s got the track listing of that release if anyone wants to go MP3-shuffling and hear Will Johnson’s unaltered vision. Not that you can hear a vision. Different senses. Like tasting a smell, you can’t do that either. Anyway.
The Boston Herald and Hartford Courant talk to M Ward as he prepares to set off on tour opening for Norah Jones. They’re at Massey Hall on May 11.
NWI.com talks to Chris Funk, Decemberist.
So you thought The Hulk was bad? I didn’t, radioactive poodles aside, but I was one of the few. Well bound and driven to make a Hulk movie that’s far less thinky and far more smashy, production is beginning on The Incredible Hulk this Summer – right here in Toronto and guaranteed to be 100% more incredible than its predecessor – and who’s going to be filling out the purple pants? Edward Norton. For reals. They’ll need a new tagline for the film though – I’ve seen Edward Norton angry and I do still like him. No comments from the actual Hulk in his blog, but I’m sure it’s coming.
Monday, April 9th, 2007
While it’s certainly unfortunate that visa issues forced Aereogramme to bow out of the first leg of their tour with The Twilight Sad and A Northern Chorus, it has to be said that based on Friday night’s show at the El Mocambo, the dynamic with just the two tourmates worked really well – I don’t know that I would have wanted another act to follow the de facto headliners in The Twilight Sad.
There were still three bands on the bill, as The Rest from Hamilton/Burlington (or somewhere thereabouts) were brought in at the last minute as pinch hit openers. They were an interesting outfit, seven members strong and each traveling with an arsenal of gear making the stage look like a musical instrument rummage sale (of really nice gear, mind you). And they used every piece of it in executing their rather expansive prog-pop pieces. The musicianship and song orchestrations were impressive – arranging four guitars such that no one is redundant is no mean feat – but Adam Bentley’s Alec Ounsworth-aping vocals planted them into the “not my thing” department. If he gets that under control I’d be interested to hear what else they can do.
A Northern Chorus’ latest album The Millions Too Many was a bit of a revelation in how good the band could sound with drier production and without the aural soft focus lens that had defined their sound till now. The same can also be said for their live show – there was a lean, upfront quality to the performance that I really enjoyed. Hearing them with both string players was also a treat (last time, two years ago, they were cello-less) – ANC are typically classed as dream-pop or shoegaze or what have you, but there’s an orchestral and even folk/country-ish angle to their sound that sounds new to me but I suspect has always been there. It’s always nice to have a band you thought you had pegged turn around and surprise you, and in the positive sense.
I couldn’t help comparing the stage setup for The Twilight Sad and that for The Rest – whereas the latter’s gear was practically falling off the stage, the headliners’ setup was as austere as a four-piece could get. One guitar, one bass, one amp for each, a few pedals, drum kit and a microphone for the singer. But even so, they were able to make one enormous sound – coming after A Northern Chorus’ glistening set, The Twilight Sad were like storm clouds gathering and then unleashing a steady, sustained thunderclap. Some bands excel at creating musical tension, The Twilight Sad are all about that moment where musical tension becomes release. You might think that could get repetitive over the course of a set, but just as their record Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters somehow remains engaging start to finish, so did their live show. Frontman James Graham has a curious but compelling onstage charisma as he communes with his microphone, seemingly oblivious to the audience and as I said before, his Scottish accent is simply marvelous and perfectly suited for their melancholic anthems. Everything sounds 50% more despairing in a Scottish brogue. The only misstep of the night was with the set closer of “I’m Taking The Train Home” – they were sadly out of synch and I’m convinced that the volume levels finally took their toll and the band were no longer capable of hearing each other. But on the plus side, they probably didn’t even know it and that made for a fittingly ragged finale to a wholly impressive show. If I were Aereogramme, I’d be very wary of having to follow this band.
Marathonpacks is all agog about The Twilight Sad and Hour talked briefly to the band, who have a few remaining tour dates out west. Catch them if you get a chance, and bring earplugs. Two pairs.
Photos: The Twilight Sad, A Northern Chorus, The Rest @ The El Mocambo – April 6, 2007
MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Cold Days from the Birdhouse”
MP3: The Twilight Sad – “That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy”
MP3: The Twilight Sad – “And She Would Darken The Memory”
MP3: A Northern Chorus – “The Millions Too Many”
MP3: The Rest – “Memories Like Photographs (An Icelandiguese Fable)”
MP3: The Rest – “Innocent Fools”
MySpace: A Northern Chorus
MySpace: The Rest
The Scotsman profiles Scotswoman Tracyanne Campbell of Scotsband Camera Obscura.
Filter features Fields.
It’s probably the furthest thing from sensible to plan on seeing Loney, Dear at Lee’s Palace on June 3 the day after I get back from two weeks in Europe, but you know what? I’m planning on it anyways. Hook me up to a caffeine IV, I’m good to go. Check out all tour dates here and take my word for it – they’re marvelous live.
Fantastic news – Low has been chosen to open all the dates on Wilco’s upcoming North American tour including the June 30 finale at Massey Hall in Toronto.
Sad news – The Drive-By Truckers have confirmed that Jason Isbell has officially left the band to pursue his solo career. Isbell followed up a terse post on his MySpace blog with a more diplomatic one, saying that the post from Patterson Hood on the DBT MySpace blog says everything that needs to be said, though it certainly sounds more like a push than a jump from Isbell’s POV. Disappointing for sure, especially since his songs have been my favourites on the last couple Truckers records. But in hindsight, it’s amazing that three such strong songwriting talents were able to co-exist for as long as they did. Interesting to see how the next Truckers record, being recorded this Summer with original guitarist John Neff back in the fold, sounds without Isbell’s contributions. For his part, he’s living the solo artist life on the road with Son Volt and stopping at the Mod Club on Thursday. I wonder how he’ll manage to do press to promote the tour and his solo record Sirens Of The Ditch, out July 10, while maintaining his pledge to “not answer questions about” the split?
The Chicago Sun-Times talks to Jay Farrar about the new Son Volt record and also his other project, Gob Iron while The Telegram discusses the making of The Search.
Chart reports on forthcoming records from both Centro-Matic and South San Gabriel, hopefully both this year. C-M’s Operation Motorcide EP is out on Tuesday.
Billboard talks to Bill Janovitz about Three Easy Pieces, the first new album from Buffalo Tom in nine years. It’s in stores July 10.
Preview a few songs from Golden Smog’s new EP Blood On The Slacks, out April 24, on their MySpace.
Friday, April 6th, 2007
Son Volt are currently on the road in support of their new record The Search, a jaunt which brings them to Toronto next Thursday, April 12, for an early show at the Mod Club.
I always find it interesting, as the comments in this post last month demonstrate, how riled up some people get when discussing the pros and cons of Jay Farrar – especially considering he’s pretty much the epitome of “keep on doing what I’m doing”, regardless of what others think. But I think it comes down to this: if, after all these years, you’re still interested in what Jay’s doing, you’ll find something to enjoy in all his work, The Search included. And if you’re not, you’d have turned your attention elsewhere long ago. Metromix has some fun with a surprisingly game Farrar while The Press-Enterprise, The Herald and The Colorado Springs Independent also have chats with him about the new record.
And accompanying Son Volt on this leg of the tour is Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell. As More Cowbell reports, his long-awaited solo record Sirens Of The Ditch will be out July 10 and I’m definitely looking forward to hearing him preview it next week. The Times Daily talks to Isbell about striking out on his own while The News Times talks to bandmate Pattersoon Hood about the current state of the DBT nation.
I guess I should get to the contest portion of this post, eh? Okay – courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away to the Son Volt/Jason Isbell show next week. I’ve ALSO got a copy of The Search on CD to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want me some Son Volt” in the subject line and in the body, your full name if you’re angling for the passes and your full mailing address if you’d rather score the CD. Naturally, if you want the passes please live in Toronto or surrounding areas but if you want the CD, that’s open to whoever. If you’re a local and want a shot at the passes AND the CD, include your mailing address and mention that you’ll take either. We’ll see how this shakes out. Clear as mud? Good. Contest closes at midnight, Monday April 9.
Stream: Son Volt – “The Picutre” (QT)
Stream: Son Volt – “Circadian Rhythm” (QT)
Stream: Son Volt – “The Search” (QT)
MySpace: Son Volt
Tuesday, March 6th, 2007
Much hubub was made when Jay Farrar revived Son Volt two years ago with a whole new lineup and the ensuing album, Okemah And The Melody Of Riot, sounded like a guitar-rocking statement of defiance from Farrar and crew to those who had written him off as having lost his sense of adventure and being too comfortable in the folksinger mode of his last couple solo records. And while Okemah did rock like he hadn’t in some years and was a solid offering, it was also a bit one-dimensional in sound and production – no doubt a consequence of the band having come together just before heading into the studio and thus missing out on the chemistry that can only be earned through time and touring.
But two years on with the release of The Search today, it seems that’s no longer an issue. Note that my impressions are based on just a single listen to the album stream below but also a more than passing familiarity with Farrar’s whole career. It sounds like they’ve reined in the rock a bit and the addition of Derry deBorja on keyboards is a solid one, giving the proceedings a more expansive and textured sound that the songs wear very well and overall, it’s a much more dynamic record. Attempting further discourse without spending a lot more time with the album would be pointless, so I’ll simply say that it sounds pretty good to me.
St Louis Today and CTNow.com talk to Farrar about the new record and NPR has a live show from Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago available to stream. The band kicks off a North American tour at the end of this month that includes an April 12 stop at the Mod Club in Toronto with solo Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell as support. They’re also one of two bands confirmed for Lollapalooza this August, along with Pearl Jam. C’mon, Son Volt AND Pearl Jam? Time to buy those plane tickets to Chicago.
Stream: Son Volt / The Search
MySpace: Son Volt
And speaking of Mr Isbell, I can’t find any recent news on what’s happening with his long-completed solo record, though the fact that he’s touring on his own could be a good sign on that front. Interestingly, his primary MySpace seems like a typical personal page, but this bare-bones one has three songs streaming on it, and nothing else.
And even though Uncle Tupelo called it quits fourteen years ago, Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy’s careers continue to exhibit interesting bits of synchronicity – as Son Volt release their new album, Wilco unveiled their new album Sky Blue Sky via an overnight stream on Saturday night. I gave it a couple listens (though not my undivided attention) and it sounds very laid back and pretty. Can’t wait for May 15, but until then, the band has made one of the tracks available to download – the song they debuted in Toronto last July. It was called “There’s A Light” back then, and you can compare it with the final version below.
MP3: Wilco – “What Light” (.zip)
MP3: Wilco – “There’s A Light” (live in Toronto 2006-07-07)
The National have announced a full North American tour in support of Boxer, out May 22. As far as Toronto goes, they’ll be at the Opera House on June 5. I’m tired of complaining about the venue so I’m just going to be really really excited about the show instead.
CokeMachineGlow has an interview with Okkervil River’s Will Sheff wherein they dig up some of his old music journalism for AudioGalaxy and ask him about it. It’s fun watching Sheff’s answers get briefer and more terse as it goes on.
My Old Kentucky Blog has got some new Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s songs that you can expect to hear on their new album, out later this year, or at SxSW next week – perhaps at Hot Freaks where they’ll be playing Club DeVille at 4:30 on Saturday.
Bradley’s Almanac has the audio from last week’s Sparklehorse show in Boston available to download.
Thursday, February 8th, 2007
I don’t know why, but the Swedish seem to have an innate gift for mixing unfallible pop sensibilities with wonderfully downbeat melancholy – I suspect it’s got to do with the amount of daylight they get. Further proof of this phenomenon comes in the rather po faced form of Emil Svanangen, aka Loney, Dear.
On Loney, Noir, his second full-length and first for SubPop, he offers an intimate and beguiling collection of songs that sound like someone who’s been lying on the floor for a long time, perhaps/probably heartbroken, slowly but surely getting back onto his feet. The lyrics are kind of weepy, especially when delivered in Svanangen’s falsetto (which reminds me very much of Mew’s Jonas Bjerre), but grafted to some of the prettiest melodies I’ve heard in ages they can’t help but soar. Add into the equation the lightly orchestral/chamber pop instrumentation (all played by Svanangen) and you’ve got a record that ruminates quietly before periodically bursting forth with song in a way that’s almost too pretty to handle.
Everyone is all about Peter Bjorn & John right now (they also released their new album Stateside this week) and while no quarrel with them, they feel like empty calories next to Loney, Dear’s emotional depth. Too much PB&J and I need an insulin level check, but I can ingest as much Loney, Dear as the day is long. I have no clever food analogy for the name so I’m not even going to try.
Svanangen has assembled a band for his upcoming North American tour which bypasses Toronto but does include SxSW, where he’s high on my list of acts to catch. Harp wish to introduce Loney, Dear to their readers while Lunapark has an interview with Svanangen (and Exclaim an ultra-brief one). NPR declares “I Am John”, which is available as an MP3 and video, their song of the day while Idolator offers up an extra track from the record. And you can stream the whole record from AOL.
MP3: Loney, Dear – “I Am John”
Video: Loney, Dear – “I Am John” (YouTube)
Stream: Loney, Dear / Loney, Noir
MySpace: Loney, Dear
And speaking of Mew and AOL, Spinner has a 3×3 feature on the band with three video performances from the band performing live in Copenhagen and New York City. Yes, you have to watch a commercial first. Sorry.
The Toronto Star, eye and NOW all pay tribute to Toronto institution Wavelength, celebrating its seventh anniversary with a series of shows all over the city this weekend.
Pitchfork gets a little dirt on the new Maximo Park record Our Earthly Pleasures, out April 3. The video for the first single is also now available for your viewing pleasure.
Video: Maximo Park – “Our Velocity” (YouTube)
Current UK hot young things Klaxons will be at Lee’s Palace on April 8, tickets $15.
And oh man, I was prepared to skip out on Son Volt’s show at the Mod Club on April 12 – saw them in ’05 and they’re not exactly a must-see live act – but guess who they’re touring with? Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell. Hrmmm.
PopMatters wonders why Fountains Of Wayne are so dang mean. Their next collection of melodic meanness, Traffic And Weather, is out April 3.
Chart talks to Midlake about setting out on their first proper tour and how much they hate blogs. Said tour brings them to Lee’s Palace on Monday evening and my contest for passes to see them ends tonight so if you’re interested but not quite enough to shell out some money, hop on over.
And obviously shamed by our big announcement yesterday, SxSW has finally posted an initial list of acts appearing this year. Okay, someone parse that thing – it’s making my head explode to look at it. Update: The Tragically Hip? Seriously? Update 2: Kingsnake.com delivers a much more readable list. Yay.