Search Results - "Voxtrot, Favourite Sons, Au Revoir Simone Sneaky Dee\'s Toronto June 8, 2007"
Tuesday, June 12th, 2007
Though it was a game-time decision, I decided to bail on the Dinosaur Jr show at the Phoenix on Friday, opting to concentrate on the Voxtrot gig at Sneaky Dee’s instead. And by “concentrate”, I mean take the time to eat something resembling a proper meal and watch some TV before heading out for the evening to catch the late half of their double-header.
The appeal of tourmates Au Revoir Simone is obvious – three pretty girls in Summer dresses playing gentle pop music over banks of whirring synths and drum machines. What’s not to like? Their latest record The Bird Of Music is pretty much a study in breeziness – pleasant and refreshing but not exactly what you’d call substantial. Live, they remedied this somewhat by simple virtue of being able to turn up the low end and move some air and hit the keyboards that much harder. Particularly entertaining was watching Heather D’Angelo banging away at her keyboards and jumping up and down like she was in Motorhead. Breezy it may have been, but sometimes that’s exactly what a Summer evening calls for (though it was actually pretty cold for early June) and their three-part harmonies would be welcome any time of the year. They return for a headlining show at Lee’s Palace on August 15.
Middle act Favourite Sons didn’t fare as well. There was a tangible hostility from the band as they took the stage to play songs from their record Down Beside Your Beauty – mayhap the early show didn’t go so well? – and it was returned in turn from the audience. Their rather ponderous, over-emoted rock came across a bit of a wet blanket on the evening and when some of the audience turned to heckling, frontman Ken Griffin flipped the bird without missing a beat. Methinks this wasn’t the first time he’d gotten such a welcome and I get the feeling it won’t be the last.
Voxtrot’s star has risen considerably since their last pass through town in April of last year, so the fact that they were still playing the same tiny club this time around guaranteed that this was going to be an intimate kind of show. The occasion for the tour was the recent release of their long-awaited full-length Voxtrot, which has been getting mixed reviews relative to the uniformly rapturous praise their EPs got. While the record’s not flawless – not at all – I find some of the criticisms to be overly harsh. The band had made their name with perfectly pop-sized discs that left the listener craving more and the album experience is considerably different. It’s a denser record both sonically – strings appear on more than a few tracks, maybe too many – and lyrically – Ramesh Srivastava’s penchant for wordiness is in full effect here – and with less overt hooks and a rather cheesy foray into piano balladry (“Real Live Version”). Repeated listens prove rewarding, though, with the strengths coming more to the fore and the shortcomings fading to the background.
But that’s the record, and this was the live show. I’d forgotten just how much fun Voxtrot were live, how easily they tap into the spirit of pure guitar pop with Srivastava full of manic energy and bounding around the stage like a man possessed (he still does his jump-up-and-down dance). The audience, still shaking off Favourite Sons’ dour set, was ready to party and the net result was a super-fun, if somewhat short, show. It seemed to me that the setlist seemed to lean more on the older material than stuff from the new album, which I found curious, but considering the great response it got from the crowd you couldn’t call it a miscalculation. I wonder if they followed the same strategy for the early show or mixed it up some more? Either way, the set we got made for a terrific time and after a quick, one-song encore the band went across the street to DJ an after-party at a bar and I went home and slept for ten hours. Everybody wins.
If you haven’t, check out the Reaching For Lasers minisite the band has assembled documenting the recording sessions for the album. Voxtrot is back in town on June 20 for a free show/television taping at the Berkeley Church – if you want to get on the guest list, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and “Voxtrot” in the subject line.
Photos: Voxtrot, Favourite Sons, Au Revoir Simone @ Sneaky Dee’s – June 8, 2007
MP3: Voxtrot – “Kid Gloves”
MP3: Favourite Sons – “Tall Grass”
MP3: Au Revoir Simone – “A Violent Yet Flammable World”
Video: Voxtrot – “Steven” (YouTube)
Video: Au Revoir Simone – “Fallen Snow” (YouTube)
MySpace: Favourite Sons
MySpace: Au Revoir Simone
Pollstar has got The New Pornographers as taking part in the Rogers Picnic on July 29 at Historic Fort York. This is the party that’s being headlined by The Roots and also featuring a slew of acts including the reunited Bad Brains, The Dears, Apostle Of Hustle and others. It’s unknown if it will be the full Bejar and Case-powered lineup taking to the road this Fall (but skipping Toronto for the moment) but I suspect not. They’ll surely be previewing material from Challengers, out August 21, which you can pre-order now and get a bunch of bonus goodies. The details seem rather complex so I’ll let you go read them yourself but in the meantime, check out the first MP3 from the record.
MP3: The New Pornographers – “My Rights Versus Yours”
NME has got solo dates for solo Super Furry Gruff Rhys in support of his album Candylion. The Toronto date will be September 25 at the Rivoli, so local fans had best get on that fast whenever tickets go on sale – they won’t last long.
Also coming soon – Animal Collective are at the Phoenix on September 8.
I neglected to mention before that last week, Daytrotter featured Asobi Seksu in session and in conversation.
Also for loud listening – Spinner is streaming the both discs of the deluxe reissue of Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation, out today. File under: timeless.
Stream: Sonic Youth / Daydream Nation (deluxe edition)
The Toronto Sun talked to Lou Barlow about squeezing a new album out of the Dinosaur Jr reunion.
Thursday, May 17th, 2007
What was supposed to be a nice bonus show Monday night from Fields, who had just played here on Friday opening for Blonde Redhead, ended up turning into a bit of an ordeal though with a happy ending. First, for reasons unknown, the show was moved from the Amp’d Mobile Studio where it was originally scheduled to the Drake Underground where the band was shoehorned into an Elvis Mondays showcase. Then it turned out keyboardist/vocalist Thorunn Antonia had come down with food poisoning and was very iffy to be able to perform. Great.
Needless to say, the evening was running a bit behind schedule so I arrived in time to catch the act preceding Fields, and it was… interesting to say the least. Fronted by what looked like the bastard offspring of Brandon Flowers and Freddie Mercury, they were all classic rock riffs and new wave synths, studded wristbands, dubious moustache and cheese-rock poses. Initially I was aghast, but when I began to pick up snippets of lyrics – “there is Autobots on the autobahn” and “boobies – I like them very very much” – that I realized that there was the distinctive whiff of irony in the air and then Erick Von Erick & The Raving Psychos – yes, that’s right – went from being one of the worst things I’d ever seen to one of the best. It’s funny, they were all obviously quite good musicians but had opted to use their powers for cheese and hey, that’s cool. Their set was short so as not to belabour the punchline and damn if it didn’t make for some great photos.
I talked last week about my likes and dislikes about Fields’ full-length debut Everything Last Winter but while it earns a qualified seal of approval, I heartily endorse their live show with no such reservations. Thankfully joined by Antonia, the band tore through most of the high-energy numbers from both the album and their 7 From The Village EP and not to belabour the point, but the songs sounded so much more vibrant live, with the rough edges that got polished out in the studio.
One of the smart moves in the making of the record, however, was turning up Antonia’s vocals so that instead of backing Nick Peill, as was her role on the EP, she was harmonizing with him. Though she looked a bit paler than usual from being ill – and she’s plenty pale to begin with – she sounded terrific and really has remarkable pitch. On the record, you’d swear she was being auto-tuned but I’ll bet dollars and doughnuts it’s just her. And it wasn’t just her, the whole band sounded terrific and with great tightness and energy, obviously benefiting from all the recent touring.
I speculated after their first show in Toronto last October that next time through town, they’d be playing to much larger crowds. Not counting Blonde Redhead’s audience, it seems my predictions still haven’t quite come true as the Drake audience was decent, but also made up of friends/fans of the the other bands playing. I think if they’d played the Amp’d Studio as originally intended it’d have been a better measure of their fanbase in Toronto though surely a smaller one. But whether it grows (as it deserves to) or not, it’s a good bet that whenever they come through town again, I’ll be there again.
Photos: Fields, Erick Von Erick & The Raving Psychos @ The Drake Underground – May 14, 2007
MP3: Fields – “Song For The Fields” (Everything Last Winter version)
MP3: Fields – “If You Fail, We All Fail”
MP3: Fields – “Brittlesticks”
MP3: Fields – “Song For The Fields” (7 From The Village version)
Video: Fields – “If You Fail, We All Fail” (MySpace)
Video: Fields – “Brittlesticks” (MySpace)
Video: Fields – “Song For The Fields” (MySpace)
Video: Fields – “Charming The Flames” (MySpace)
MySpace: Erick Von Erick & The Raving Psychos
Thanks to For The Records for pointing out that the NxNE 2007 schedule is now up. Only had time to give it a once-over, but a lot of names are jumping out at me. Some I can endorse whole-heartedly, others tepidly and some just sound familiar. I’ll do more research before things actually get underway but for now, here’s some random selections of what caught my eye:
Thursday, June 7
Future Clouds & Radar @ The Horseshoe – 9PM
Sea Wolf @ The Horseshoe – 10PM
Kathleen Edwards @ Lee’s Palace – 10PM
Buffalo Tom @ The Horseshoe – 12AM
Jason Falkner @ The Reverb – 12AM
Adam Franklin @ The Reverb – 1AM
Friday, June 8
The Pantones @ The Savannah – 9PM
Nicole Atkins & The Sea @ The Reverb – 10PM
Handsome Furs @ The Comfort Zone – 12AM
Jesse Malin @ The Reverb – 12AM
The Sadies @ Lee’s Palace – 12AM
Therapy? @ The El Mocambo – 12AM
Jenn Grant @ C’est What – 1AM
John Doe @ Lee’s Palace – 1AM
Saturday, June 9
Ohbijou @ The Horseshoe – 10PM
Schooner @ C’est What – 10PM
She Keeps Bees @ Holy Joe’s – 10PM
Great Northern @ Lee’s Palace – 12AM
The Silent Years @ Holy Joe’s – 12AM
Urge Overkill @ Lee’s Palace – 1AM
And that doesn’t even include the so-called “NXNeXtra” shows, which are basically all the big name touring bands in town that first week of June to which a limited number of badges and wristbands – like 50 to 100 – will be admitted. Included in that is the Voxtrot show at Sneaky Dee’s on the 8th, for which an early all-ages show has just been added. That’s a 6:30PM start and both touring openers, Favourite Sons and Au Revoir Simone, will be playing.
And NOT appearing at NxNE – Ride. Funnily, the denial made it out before the rumours did.
And some non-NxNE show news of note – Elvis Perkins has been added to the Hillside lineup on the Sunday July 29, Smoosh are opening for The Pipettes at Lee’s Palace on June 1 and latest Arts & Crafts signees Los Campesinos!, who sound pretty much exactly like how you’d expect an A&C band to sound – except Welsh – are in town August 7 at a venue to be announced.
The Hour has a video interview with Rob Dickinson.
Pitchfork announces that Trembling Blue Stars, who I thought had disbanded but I guess they just gave up touring, will release a new album – The Last Holy Writer – on June 4, their first in three years. I should dig out my copies of Broken By Whispers and Alive To Every Smile to see if I still dig them. I do know that the one single from the latter record, “The Ghost Of An Unkissed Kiss”, was and still is sublime. Heard it? No? You should.
MP3: Trembling Blue Stars – “The Ghost Of An Unkissed Kiss”
Spinner 3×3 takes on Bloc Party.
NME talks to Patrick Wolf about touring with Amy Winehouse.
Friday, May 11th, 2007
I was initially excited to hear about the double-disc Mendoza Line release, 30 Year Low, that’s been scheduled for release on August 21 – there had been talk around the end of last year about the band releasing an EP of new material as well as a compilation of rarities, and this release will be made up of both of those records. But the excitement was tempered with sadness when I saw this Catbirdseat dispatch implying that this release would essentially be the final word from the band.
I only just discovered the band with their last proper album, 2005′s Full Of Light And Full Of Fire, and as much as I enjoyed that release, I’ll fall in line with the others who declare its predecessor, Fortune, as the band’s high point. The last record with singer/songwriter Peter Hoffman in the fold, it was a masterful piece of folk rock that found Hoffman and fellow frontpersons Shannon McArdle and Tim Bracy at the top of their game. The variety in their songs and styles complimented and contrasted each other perfectly. Full Of Light put Bracy and McArdle’s dynamic front and centre and their chemistry as musical collaborators and husband-and-wife worked just as well. But now that their marriage is over and McArdle has left the band, Bracy’s intentions to continue to front the band on his own just don’t seem like a good idea. Even if he writes some amazing songs for the next record, it just won’t be The Mendoza Line to me.
The preview MP3 from this final release is an alternate version of the song featuring vocals from Bracy and McArdle but the version on the album will instead feature the velvet throat of Okkervil River’s Will Sheff.
MP3: The Mendoza Line – “Aspect Of An Old Maid” (alternate version)
And speaking of Okkervil, their next album has a name – look for The Stage Names on August 7. Pitchfork has the tracklisting and artwork for the new record.
Much Emily Haines and Metric info to dispense. Quiet Color has an interview with Emily while Pitchfork gets some info on the Grow Up And Blow Away reissue (can you call it a reissue if it was never released in the first place?) on June 28 as well as her new solo EP What Is Free To A Good Home on July 24. In addition to her Harbourfront show on July 25th, she’s been added to the lineup for the Hillside Festival on the Saturday, July 28. MuchMusic has a video interview with Emily from earlier this week and a two-track preview of the Grow Up album. And I’ve got one track from both the EP and reissue for you to save for your very own.
MP3: Emily Haines – “Rowboat”
MP3: Metric – “Grow Up”
Interesting note in the NxNE press release from earlier this week – they’re now associated with the Voxtrot show at Sneaky Dee’s on June 8th saying that 50 badges or wristbands will be admitted, but also note that the show is sold out and say a second one will be added. That’s all well and good, but with no open dates before or after the 8th, the only thing I can imagine is adding an early show, maybe without opening sets from Au Revoir Simone or Favourite Sons? Very curious to see how this shakes out since I’m planning on hitting that show after Dinosaur Jr at the Phoenix.
The National’s Boxer is out Tuesday after next. Stream the whole thing at their MySpace now. Tremble at its greatness.
Stream: The National / Boxer
Patrick Wolf plays the El Mocambo tonight and both eye and NOW have features on him. Remember, early show – doors at 7, tickets only at the door. And original opener Bishi is off the bill – Cuff The Duke’s Wayne Petti will open instead. Check out this Village Voice review of this week’s NYC show to get an idea of what we might be in store for tonight.
Incendiary talks to Low.
NME has details on the new Rilo Kiley album while Pitchfork has corrections to NME‘s details. But at least this much appears to be correct – Under The Blacklight will be out in the UK on August 20 and presumably August 21 in North America.
It figures that with every band and their mother reuniting these days, this is the one that has to be completely disavowed. Le sigh. But man, if that happened I would never say anything ill of NxNE again. NEXT YEAR, GUYS. MAKE IT HAPPEN.
NOW features Forest City Lovers, playing the Silver Dollar this coming Monday with Pony Up. My contest for passes to said show ends tonight! You should enter.
Also happening Monday night is the Fields show, but it’s now going to be at the Drake Underground rather than the Amp’d Mobile Studio. It’s free to all though if you went to the trouble of getting tickets to the Amp’d thing, those will still be honoured. What that exactly means, I don’t know. Doors are at 9, show at 10. Spinner talked to the band about drinking martinis at Frank Sinatra’s old Palm Springs pad. For serious.
Some shows of note – Hawksley Workman and Ohbijou will be playing a free show at Harbourfront Centre on June 4 as part of the Luminato arts festival, The Airfields have a show scheduled for The Silver Dollar on June 21 and Vancouverites The Awkward Stage are there a month later on July 21. And finally, looking waaaaay ahead, Do Make Say Think appear to have a date scheduled at the Phoenix for October 20. And if you’re looking to get out of the city the weekend of June 2 and 3, Track & Field out on Tantramar Farm near Guelph, could be just the ticket. The lineup is crazy solid and by all accounts past editions have been a great time. Admission hankerchiefs go on sale the week of the 24th starting at a launch party/fundraiser at the Tranzac. More info on their website.
And oh yeah, it’s my birthday. Yay me.
Thursday, March 1st, 2007
Elvis Perkins has a backstory, and while it may seem sensationalistic to discuss it, it’s rather essential to any discourse on his debut album Ash Wednesday. In brief – his father was Anthony Perkins, who played Norman Bates in Psycho and died of AIDS in 1992 and his mother was actress Berry Berenson, who was on board the plane that hit the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. So you could say he’s had some heaviness in his life.
So while Ash Wednesday, written in the years following his mother’s death, would have every right to be a dark and depressing work – and It is melancholic and sad to the very core – it’s presented in a way that’s also suffused with lightness and beauty. Based around Perkins’ warbly tenor, evocative lyricism and sparse, folky arrangements, the record alternately invokes the timeless elegance of Nick Drake, another artist adept at wrapping up sadness in gorgeous melody, and the anguished psychedelic folk of Neutral Milk Hotel, especially when the musical saw shows up. Ash Wednesday may be rooted in sadness but it still grows upwards, hopefully reaching for the sun or the sky or perhaps the aeroplane over the sea.
The record was originally released independently last year but was picked up by XL Recordings and re-released last week. Perkins was originally slated to play the Mod Club in April with his band Dearland but that show was canceled in order to tour in support of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah including April 14 at the Kool Haus. I’m going to try and catch him at SxSW though I’m not sure I’ll be able to make any of his shows – more than likely I’ll have to hope he comes back on his own later this year.
A couple months ago Filter ran what they claimed was the first interview Perkins ever granted and addressed the topic of his parents head-on, though it’s written in an elliptical (and rather awful) metaphor involving Indian mythology. The Boston Herald and Metro have much more concise conversations with Perkins and last week offered up a session with him, including four downloadable songs and an interview. Metacritic is also on the job, doing what it does.
MP3: Elvis Perkins – “While You Were Sleeping”
MP3: Elvis Perkins – “All the Night Without Love”
MP3: Elvis Perkins – “Ash Wednesday”
Video: Elvis Perkins – “All the Night Without Love” (YouTube)
MySpace: Elvis Perkins
So you thought the cast of Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There: Suppositions on a Film Concerning Dylan – Cate Blanchett, Colin Farrell, Christian Bale and Richard Gere, amongst others, all of whom portray Dylan – was odd? Pitchfork reports that director Todd Haynes is taking a simliar approach with the soundtrack, with the likes of Stephen Malkmus, the Hold Steady and Calexico (with a variety of guest vocalists) all covering Dylan at various points in his career. Uncut also recounts a portion of an interview with Cate Blanchett where she talks about her part in the film. The film is set to premiere this May in Cannes.
Billboard and The Toronto Star examine another version of Dylan on celluloid – the expanded DVD edition of D.A. Pennebaker’s 1965 tour doc Don’t Look Back.
The schedule for this year’s edition of the Over The Top Fest, taking place May 3 to 6 around Toronto, is now up and tickets go on sale today. Honestly, a whole lot of names I’m not very familiar with there so I’m going to have to do some research before deciding what to see but The Hylozoists with The Explorer’s Club at the Tranzac on the 3rd seems like a pretty rock-solid bet. Any recommendations on the other shows?
Chart talks to Robert Schneider of Apples In Stereo.
A pile of new release dates and news came out yesterday – let’s take it chronologically, starting with a couple of North American releases for UK bands. May 8 will see the domestic release of new ones from Maximo Park and Fields, via Pitchfork and Tripwire respectively. Both the former’s These Earthly Desires and the latter’s Everything Last Winter are out in the UK on April 2.
Fields will also be conducting a short North American tour following their Coachella appearance including a May 11 date at the Opera House in Toronto. If this tour is with them headlining, I find the choice of venue more than a little perplexing – they were here in October of 2006 and played to a couple dozen people. Have they seriously worked their way up to 800-capacity venues in the intervening seven months? I kinda don’t think so. And while I enjoyed that show and their EP 7 From The Village, I’ve only put that show in my calendar tentatively. My distaste for the venue is well documented and I don’t know if that’s where I really want to spend my 32nd birthday. Update: Thanks to Dimitri for pointing out that Fields will be opening for Blonde Redhead, which I probably could have learned if I could be bothered to do a modicum of digging. That makes it more enticing, 23 is a wicked record, though I will be seeing them at SxSW and don’t know if that’ll be a better use of my evening than getting drunk and throwing up like I used to when I was young. Which isn’t to say I couldn’t do both.
Anyway. Voxtrot have thought long and hard about it and finally came up with a name for their debut full-length, out May 22. It will be called… Voxtrot. Ask for it by name! Pitchfork has more info and a track list. Also note that they’re at Sneaky Dee’s on June 8 with Au Revoir Simone and Favourite Sons.
Aaron Dessner talks to Billboard about The National’s Boxer, also out May 22.
Ryan Adams will release Easy Tiger on June 5. It’s unclear if this’ll be credited just to him or with The Cardinals.
CMJ reports that Saturday Looks Good To Me’s next record, originally conceived as a double-CD opus, has now been pared down to an economical 11 tracks. Look for Fill Up The Room on September 11 via K Records.
CBC looks at the art of selecting a band name.