Search Results - "The Postmarks Amp\'d Mobile Studio Toronto April 21, 2007"

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

You Drift Away

After a long day at the office Saturday (yes), it was nice to be able to kick back in the evening with some smooth, light pop sounds courtesy of The Postmarks before heading home to crash hard.

The Miami outfit was in town for a show at the Amp’d Mobile Studio, a new venue/space that I’d been curious about for a while and finally had the opportunity to check out. Without getting into a marketing spiel for them, they’re a mobile phone company whose angle is to provide original music content to subscribers and to that end, they’ve set up a little studio in their office/storefront to host free shows which they record. How effective a business model it is is their concern – to me, it’s free shows in a cozy yet well-appointed room.

They do, however, need to work a bit on their publicity engine as said room was very sparsely filled when the band took the stage. Granted, The Postmarks are hardly a buzz band and it was the first gorgeous Saturday night of the year, but the meager turnout was a little disappointing. In the studio the band is centered around the trio of singer Tim Yehezkely, guitarist Christopher Moll and drummer Jonathan Wilkins but live, their number expands to include a bassist and keyboardist. As a result, the unabashedly 60’s cinematic retro chic of their self-titled debut gets a good deal louder on stage.

It’s an approach that has both its upsides and down. On the plus side, the extra bounce helps propel Yehezkely’s wispy and whispery vocals forward and makes for a more engaging and energetic experience for the audience. On the down side, they can also be overwhelming – it’s a delicate balance that could have been helped out a lot if Wilkins had opted for brushes instead of sticks. But as it was, the drums were loud and the vocals were soft and while that wasn’t ideal, The Postmarks still came across quite well. The string, brass and woodwind flourishes on the record were missed – the synths can only compensate so much – but the band successfully recreated the sunny yet forlorn vibe of their record. As a frontwoman, Yehezkely is as demure and delicate as her vocals suggest, but her wallflower charm works perfectly for this band (and I won’t lie, the gogo dress helped).

The band’s North American tour continues on through May, check them out if you get the chance. Deadjournalist talks to the band about the success of the album and taking it on the road while Stereogum asks them about their day jobs.

Photos: The Postmarks @ The Amp’d Mobile Studio – April 21, 2007
MP3: The Postmarks – “Goodbye”
Video: The Postmarks – “Goodbye” (YouTube)
MySpace: The Postmarks

The Toronto Star talks to Feist about the impending wave of attention that will surround the release of The Reminder next Tuesday. She also discusses the recording of the new album with Reuters.

Filter talks to Dean Wareham about how he got out of his post-Luna funk to create the new Dean & Britta album, Back Numbers.

Emma Pollock discusses life after The Delgados with The Scotsman – she’s embarking on a headlining solo tour across the UK in May and will release her debut solo record Watch The Fireworks in September.

Jarvis Cocker also discusses the solo life with The New York Post.

I have to wonder what kind of bizarro universe IGN lives in where they can declare, presumably with a straight face, that Hurricane #1 can be said to have released one of the Top 25 Britpop Albums and not a complete and utter musical abomination. Which is what they really were. Much of the rest of the list is also bewildering – Lupine Howl? Really?

The New York Times considers what effect all these indie rock comebacks might be having on the reunited bands’ legacies. Via Good Hodgkins Wolf Notes Parsefork Good Hodgkins, aka Sybil of the music blogosphere.

The Globe & Mail gets am update on the status of the Over The Top Fest vs CFL kerfuffle reported on earlier this month. Over The Top – the music festival, not the tailgate party, goes down first weekend of May.

Friday, April 20th, 2007


Fans of Champaign, Illinois’ Headlights should be aware of a new EP that the band have rather quietly released – Keep Your Friends And Loves Close Keep The City You Call Home Closer is a collection of songs recorded at radio and internet sessions over the last little while and is available only on tour and online at Polyvinyl. A couple of the songs are taken from their Daytrotter session from January of this year, one of which you can hear below (The Des Moines Register also talks to Daytrotter’s Sean Moeller). There’s also some WOXY-born tracks and you can hear the session here as well as win copies of the EP.

They’re wrapping up a tour over the next couple days and sadly, this Pollstar listing of a Toronto show in May is untrue. The band is making plans to visit our fair city, however, in late Summer or early Fall so keep an eye out. So in the meantime, read this interview at with the band at Washington Square News and check out their first-ever video for “TV” – equal parts cute (the band is adorable), dangerous (that bike is not made for three!) and strange (what’s going on at the end there?).

MP3: Headlights – “This One”
Video: Headlights – “TV” (YouTube)
MySpace: Headlights

Some reasons to look forward to August – according to The Austin Chronicle, Okkervil River will release their as-yet-untitled new album on August 7 while The New Pornographers’ Challenger has been given a release date of August 21.

Some bits on bands coming through town in the next while:

eye talks to The Postmarks, playing a free show at the Amp’d Mobile Studio on Saturday.

You may have noticed I had a Howling Bells date in my calendar for next Saturday at a venue TBA – that was based on the fact that they were doing a post-Killers tour jaunt up the eastern seaboard and I was told that they wanted to book a Toronto show on that date. But with a week to go, it looks like that’s not going to happen and that the 27th in NYC will be the end of it. Maybe next time they’re on the continent/hemisphere.

Ted Leo talks to The Idaho Statesman, The Salt Lake Tribune and The Denver Post from the road. Leo’s at the Mod Club May 2.

Tickets for Fields’ show at the Amp’d Studio are now available – I’m glad these are early-ish shows because it’ll give me a chance to head up to the El Mocambo after and catch the just-announced Last Town Chorus show that same evening. Not entirely sure I will – that week is shaping up to be a bear – but it’s good to have the option. Fields’ Everything Last Winter is out May 8.

The International Herald Tribune profiles Feist, whose The Reminder is out May 1 and who plays Massey Hall on May 25 and 26.

Filter tells the story of The Rosebuds, who are at the Horseshoe on May 28 with Land Of Talk. It’s like a mini Hot Freaks day two revival! They’ve also got a World Cafe session on NPR available to stream.

The lineup for this year’s NxNE, taking place June 7, 8 and 9, isn’t going to be announced until May 8 but some info is already trickling out. For The Records has gathered up some of the names being bandied about and I can tell you that the lineup at Lee’s Palace on the Saturday will include Los Angeles dream-poppers Great Northern and Chicago’s medallion champions Urge Overkill. I had a copy of Saturation on cassette back in high school. This song was on it.

MP3: Urge Overkill – “Sister Havana”

And you’d best not get too worn out by NxNE because on June 11, Lee’s plays host to a rather odd but still sure to be excellent pairing – The Long Blondes and Nicole Atkins & The Sea. The former are a sassy, co-ed British buzz band whose debut Someone To Drive You Home gets a domestic release June 8 while the latter is a New Jersey native steeped in country and soul who impressed the heck out of me at SxSW. Be there. Tickets are $15, on sale April 25.

Wilco’s Nels Cline pays tribute to the late Kurt Vonnegut in The Age. Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky is out May 15 and they’re at Massey Hall on June 30.

The Telegraph talks to Cat Power, in town with the Dirty Delta Blues Band on July 10 at the Phoenix. Tickets $28.50, on sale Wednesday.

Monsters Are Waiting are opening up for Maximo Park at the Mod Club on July 14! Yay! Our Earthly Pleasures is out May 8.

Brooklynvegan interviews Bjork, whom I hadn’t listened to in a couple years until this weekend when I was reminded of just how weird and wonderful her music is – consider me very excited both for her new record Volta (out May 8 and streaming a track at her MySpace) and to see her at the first day of Virgin Fest on September 8. And as for the day two headliners, Smashing Pumpkins, apparently the interview process went well and the vacancies have been filled because rumour has it that someone named Ginger Reyes will be playing the part of D’arcy Wretzky/Melissa Auf Der Mar and Jeff Schroeder will be trying to make people forget about James Iha. We’ll have to see how this goes.

And finally, the lineup for this year’s Ottawa Bluesfest has been announced and holy smoke. If this took place over the course of a weekend instead of over 11 days, it’d be hands down the destination of the Summer. But even spread out over a week and a half, it’s an embarrassment of riches. Bob Dylan, Sarah Harmer, The White Stripes, George Clinton, Blue Rodeo, Kanye West, Cat Power, Built To Spill and Metric only some of the bigger names on the lineup. It’s crazy. JAM! talks to one of the organizers about getting the lineup together.

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Song For The Angels

More than any other band I can think of, the sound of Great Lake Swimmers is defined by their environment. Their self-titled debut was recorded in an abandoned grain silo and the music reflected that rural setting (though the crickets that open the record certainly helped the vibe) and the follow-up, Bodies And Minds, could be said to have a more spiritual flavour to it though equally austere, having been recorded in a church on the shores of Lake Erie.

The new record, Ongiara, is the band’s cleanest and most sonically impressive record to date, thanks in no small part to the environs of its origin – the Aeolian Hall concert hall in London, Ontario. While it doesn’t have the same enveloping reverb as the first two records, it makes up for it in how perfectly Tony Dekker’s voice and guitar are captured as well as the rich production and arrangements, markedly fuller than on past albums.

But for all the talk of the sonics, the real strength of Great Lake Swimmers has always been and remains the songs. Three records in, Dekker’s compositions haven’t changed that much – and that’s far less a comment about lack of growth than the fact that his songwriting was remarkable from day one and still is. And I hope that my interest in the evolution of the musical accompaniment to his songs doesn’t make it sound like I’m taking that for granted, because I’m not. Dekker has, over the past year as I’ve delved into his works, become one of my favourite current songwriters, local or otherwise. But if distinctions have to be made, I’d say that the songs on Onigara are more animated and outward-looking, with dashes of soft colours appearing in the sepia-toned beauty.

And to return to the theme of environments, it was an inspired decision to hold the band’s hometown CD release shows at the Church Of The Redeemer. I’ve seen a number of musical performances in a few of the churches on Bloor St, but this was my first at this particular house of worship and I think it sounded far and away the best. Sidebar – I was originally going to the late show and thought I had switched to the early show but as it turns out, I still ended up at the 9:00 performance (it’s a long story and not interesting at all). For these shows, the band elected to not have opening acts, instead they played an extended set with a lineup augmented by some stellar talent – Basia Bulat on backing vocals, pedal steel guitarist extraordinaire Bob Egan (formerly of Wilco and currently of Blue Rodeo), Owen Pallet on violin and Andy Magoffin who produced Ongiara, was doing sound and did such a marvelous job he deserves a mention.

Dressed in a beige, Cosby-approved sweater, Dekker led his band through material from all three records (and an encore cover of Neil Young’s “Don’t Cry No Tears” that I would LOVE to get a recording of) and everything sounded stunning. Everything. The performances were note-perfect, the mix perfectly balanced and the church acoustics everything you’d hope they’d be. It would be possible to go on at length (even moreso) about how good it sounded, so let’s just say it sounded better than you could possibly imagine. And though he was as soft-spoken as always, Dekker’s understated charisma was just as amplified by the setting – with the church full of friends, fans and well-wishers, it really did have the intimate vibe of being part of a large family. I’ve always felt that Great Lake Swimmers didn’t get nearly the attention and respect that other, more extroverted Toronto acts did and undeservedly so. The two sold out shows on Saturday night may well be evidence that that’s no longer the case and for that, I say it’s about time.

Or perhaps not – I can’t help noticing that besides the CBC truck out front recording the show, none of the city’s newspapers or media outlets appeared to be in attendance. For shame. For The Records has a review of the early show which sounds an awful lot like the late one, right down to the anecdotes.

Photos: Great Lake Swimmers @ Church Of The Redeemer – April 14, 2007
MP3: Great Lake Swimmers – “Your Rocky Spine”
MP3: Great Lake Swimmers – “I Am A Part Of A Large Family”
Video: Great Lake Swimmers – “Back Stage With The Modern Dancers” (YouTube)
eCard: Great Lake Swimmers / Ongiara
MySpace: Great Lake Swimmers

Tickets for The Postmarks’ show at the Amp’d Mobile Studio this Saturday night are now available and like all shows at this new venue/studio/marketing tool, they’re free. I find The Postmarks’ breezy lounge-pop to dwell on the enjoyable side of innocuous and am going as much to check out the setup of the room as much as anything else. Check out some media below and if you like it, go get some free tickets. Did I mention they’re free? The Miami New Times talks to Postmarks singer Tim Yehezkely who, despite the name, is very much a girl. Oh, and I missed out on the cover they made available of Ministry’s “(Everyday Is) Hallowe’en” late last year. Can anyone shoot me an mp3? Thanks.

MP3: The Postmarks – “Goodbye”
Video: The Postmarks – “Goodbye” (YouTube)
MySpace: The Postmarks

Back in February I posted as MP3 Of The Week a cover of Grizzly Bear’s “Knife” by local boys Born Ruffians, recorded during a radio session for KEXP. Well prior to starting work on their full-length debut, they gave the cover another shot in a proper studio and let Four Tet mix it. Give both versions a listen below to compare and contrast – I still sort of like the radio session one better. Sounds breezier.

MP3: Born Ruffians – “Knife”
MP3: Born Ruffians – “Knife” (@ KEXP)

CBC Radio 3 has an audio interview with Land Of Talk’s Elizabeth Powell. PopMatters loves Applause Cheer Boo Hiss, you should too.

La Blogotheque continues their winning streak of Take-Away Shows with a session with The Shins, recorded on the streets of Paris. Wonderful. The OC Register has an interview with frontman James Mercer.

Chart talks to Maria Taylor about being on tour and working with Conor Oberst.