Thursday, May 16th, 2013
Majical Cloudz streams debut Impersonator; has no use for your so-called “spelling”
Denis NazarovThough at least some of his current profile comes from being associated with the same Montreal scene that produced Grimes, those expecting more electro-pop cotton candy from Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz had best adjust their expectations. His full-length debut Impersonator is electronic, yes, but is also spare, haunting, and unflinchingly emotional, circling heavy lyrical topics like death and desire. One would expect that at the Matador company picnic, he’ll be keeping more company with Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius than, say, Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch.
Even so, Impersonator is one of the more eagerly-anticipated debut records coming out of Canada this year, and with its May 21 release date almost upon us, it’s time for an advance stream of the record courtesy of Pitchfork. There’s also interviews with Welsh at Stereogum and Flavorwire, and while the venue is still TBA, he’ll be one of the bigger draws at NXNE on June 15. Update: It’s BLK BOX underneath The Great Hall.
MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Bugs Don’t Buzz”
MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Childhood’s End”
MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Turns Turns Turns”
Stream: Majical Cloudz / Impersonator
And a few noteworthy album streams originating from right here in Toronto: Exclaim is streaming the self-titled debut from glam/New Wave outfit Decades, though they should technically be called “Decade” since the only one that matters to them is the ’80s. The record came out this week and they play a record release show for it at The Garrison tonight, May 16.
Stream: Decades / Decades
Hooded Fang are streaming their new record Gravez over at Hype Machine ahead of its May 28 release date. They play a hometown record release show for it at The Horseshoe on May 31.
Stream: Hooded Fang / Gravez
Local country-pop newcomers Beams have made their debut album Just Rivers available to both buy and stream. There’s a video session with the band at Exclaim and they’ll be at The Central on June 14 for NXNE.
Stream: Beams / Just Rivers
Exclaim and NOW find out what METZ are up to, besides making a triumphant homecoming at Lee’s Palace tomorrow night, May 17; expect a new song and video sooner rather than later.
Young Galaxy have released another new video from Ultramarine. They’re at Lee’s Palace on May 31.
Video: Young Galaxy – “Fall For You”
Daytrotter welcomes Hayden for a session. He’s at Field Trip at Garrison Commons on June 8.
Noisey has a video session with Stars, also partaking in Field Trip on June 8.
With their debut album Beyond Wilderness out as of this week, Vancouver’s Gold & Youth have released a new video from it and are the subject of feature pieces at Exclaim, The Georgia Straight, and The Vancouver Sun. They play the Arts & Crafts Field Trip fest at Garrison Commons on June 8 and will stick around town to play a NXNE showcase at BLK BOX on June 14.
Video: Gold & Youth – “Jewel”
The Dumbing Of America has an interview with No Joy, who are back in town at BLK BOX on June 13 for NXNE.
Stereogum talks to Katie Stelmanis of Austra, whose second album Olympia is out June 18.
Diana are poised to become Toronto’s next great synth-pop export, having signed a deal with Paper Bag Records and Jagjaguwar for the August 20 release of their self-titled debut. Exclaim has details and a new video from the record. All of this is very exciting, of course, but sadly probably means that we won’t be seeing anything anytime soon from frontwoman Carmen Elle’s Army Girls. Alas. Diana have a June 13 showcase at The Horseshoe for NXNE and will support Tegan & Sara and fun. at Downsview Park on July 6.
Video: Diana – “Born Again”
It sounds as though The Hidden Cameras will release a new record this Fall under the title of Age.
Exclaim and The Verge talk to Jim Guthrie about his years in the making yet totally worth the wait new record, Takes Time.
Exclaim has an interview with The Besnard Lakes. Frontman Jace Lasek also details his dream band lineup for The Independent.
Beatroute and Austinist interview Suuns.
Stephen McBean talks to Exclaim about what’s coming next from his Pink Mountaintops project.
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
Iron & Wine & Local & Natives & NXNE & TURF & shows & stuff
Craig KiefSpring is only barely here – the past few days’ weather notwithstanding – but the concert announcement machine is already making eyes at Autumn with the unveiling of a couple of pretty high profile tours coming through town when the leaves start to change and the days get shorter.
Sam Beam, the walking epitome of bearded folk music, released Ghost On Ghost – his fifth album as Iron & Wine – last month, but until now only had Spring dates in the northeast and Europe confirmed on the itinerary. Come Fall, however, he and his band will traverse much of the middle of North America – the USA and Canada both – before wrapping things up in Toronto at The Sound Academy on September 28, advance tickets $30 for general admission and $40 for VIP balcony.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and New York Times have interviews with Sam Beam.
MP3: Iron & Wine – “Belated Promise Ring”
Video: Iron & Wine – “Joy”
Los Angeles’ Local Natives have already come through town once this year in support of their second album Hummingbird, but even a venue upgrade from The Opera House to The Phoenix wasn’t enough to meet demand. Hence, they’ve added a slew of dates that will take them around the planet and then some, stopping in Toronto at The Kool Haus on September 21, tickets $26.50. And if you’re thinking that you already saw them in March, know that they’ll have the quite excellent Wild Nothing along as support, touring behind last year’s Nocturne full-length and the just-released Empty Estate EP. There’s Local Natives feature pieces at The Huffington Post, Seattle Weekly, and Georgia Straight.
MP3: Local Natives – “You & I”
MP3: Wild Nothing – “Paradise”
Dialing things back to the Summer – and the festival circuit in particular – there were some updates of note over the last couple days. If you thought the otherwise comprehensive Arts & Crafts lineup for Field Trip had a conspicuous Dan Mangan-shaped hole in the lineup, you were right. And now it’s been filled by Dan Mangan himself; not just a similarly-bearded impersonator. That all goes down June 8 at Garrison Commons, and yes he’s still on the lineup for the Mumford-y “Gentlemen Of The Road Stopover” on August 23 out in Simcoe, Ontario.
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”
NXNE revealed a bunch more acts for this year’s festival, descending on Toronto’s clubs from June 12 to 16, including Dan Deacon (despite his coming back a few weeks later to support Animal Collective’s make-up show), Still Corners (confirming they’re still doing festival dates in addition to the June 12 date supporting CHVRCHES at The Hoxton), and a slew of Canadian acts including Wintersleep, No Joy, The Super Friendz, Gold & Youth, and more – check out the artists page for a full list of current confirmed acts. I’ve also collated some of the where and when information, but there’s no point in sharing that ever-changing information until the official schedule is posted, which won’t be long because hey – the festival is less than a month away.
MP3: Dan Deacon – “Lots”
MP3: Still Corners – “Fireflies”
MP3: Wintersleep – “Resuscitate”
The Toronto Urban Roots Fest is mostly making waves as a multi-day, outdoor festival the likes of which Toronto hasn’t seen in some time, but its club-level happenings are turning out to be just as impressive, particularly if you’ve no love of multi-day, outdoor festivals. Running concurrently with the main festival, the club series will see the likes of Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys, The Wooden Sky, Dawes, and The Felice Brothers amongst others playing The Horseshoe and Lee’s Palace from July 4 to 7, tickets ranging from $20 to $30 including surcharges, on sale May 23. Some who where and when information is available at the TURF website.
MP3: Frank Turner – “The Roads”
MP3: Dawes – “If I Wanted Someone”
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”
Video: The Felice Brothers – “Ponzi”
Video: Alejandro Escovedo – “Sally Was A Cop” (live)
With their new record Planta set for a June 11 release and a new video from it just out, Brazil’s CSS have put together a North American tour that brings them to The Opera House on July 4, tickets $25.
MP3: CSS – “Hits Me Like A Rock”
Video: CSS – “Hangover”
There’s good news and bad news from the House Of Tomorrow: the good is that, with their new record Partygoing set to come out on June 4 (as well as the Memories of Love, Eternal Youth, and Partygoing. discography-collecting box set), Future Bible Heroes are undertaking a rare tour. The bad news is is that chief songwriter and personality Stephin Merritt will not be participating, though key members Claudia Gonson, Christopher Ewen, Shirley Simms, and Anthony Kaczynski will. So even without Merritt’s delicious dourness, a wonderful time should be had by all at Lee’s Palace on July 22. Tickets for that are $15.50.
Stream: Future Bible Heroes – “Living, Loving, Partygoing”
The Fly talks to Chicago’s Smith Westerns about their new record Soft Will, which will be out June 25. They’ve released the first video and rolled out a batch of tour dates via Pitchfork; the Toronto date comes July 29 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $17.
MP3: Smith Westerns – “Still New”
Video: Smith Westerns – “Varsity”
With a new album in Pura Vida Conspiracy due out July 23, everyone’s favourite – and probably only – Gypsy punks Gogol Bordello have announced a massive tour that comes to Toronto for not one but two nights – August 19 and 20 at The Danforth Music Hall. Rolling Stone has a conversation with frontman Eugene Hutz.
Stream: Gogol Bordello – “Malandrino”
Pinback are back for a date at Lee’s Palace on September 7 in support of last year’s Information Retrieved; tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.
MP3: Pinback – “Proceed To Memory”
FIDLAR – whose name stands for “Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk”, if you were wondering – are teaming up with fellow Los Angelenos The Orwells for a Fall tour that hits The Hard Luck on October 18, tickets $13. FIDLAR released their self-titled debut earlier this year whereas The Orwells’ debut Remember When came out last year. DIY and The Clock have themselves FIDLAR features.
MP3: FIDLAR – “Cheap Beer”
MP3: The Orwells – “Other Voices”
Grantland and MusicOmh profile The National, whose new album Trouble Will Find Me is out on May 21 and who play Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.
It won’t be out in time for her July 13 date at The Kool Haus, but Spin has some info on Solange’s new album, which will be out this year on her own label under Sony.
Exitmusic have premiered a new video from last year’s debut Passage at NPR.
Video: Exitmusic – “White Noise”
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
The National make Trouble easy to Find
Deirdre O’CallaghanPredictability typically carries negative connotations in the context of art, but in the case of The National, it’s more about promises kept. For the third May in six years, following Boxer in 2007 and High Violet in 2010 – and though Alligator came out in April 2005 but I bought it in June, averaging out to May – they’ve released a sterling new album in Trouble Will Find Me.
It’s not a record that breaks any new ground for the band – Matt Berninger’s sonorous baritone and oblique lyrics, the Dessners’ twin-terwining guitar parts, the Devendorf brothers’ complex yet effortless rhythm section combining for another collection of gleaming melancholic rock – but achieves maybe the more difficult feat of arguably keeping the band at the top of their game for a third or fourth straight record, depending on your personal grading curve. My own personal bias for the band is documented throughout the last eight years or so of this blog, but I’ll tell you this – there’s a real comfort in being confident that a band has released one of your very favourite records of the year before even hearing a note of it.
Trouble Will Find Me is out next Tuesday, May 21, and was made available to stream in advance yesterday afternoon via iTunes. There’s feature interviews with the band at The Guardian and The Line Of Best Fit, and last week they took part in a Reddit AMA (which Consequence Of Sound has helpfully summarized) in which they released a new video, the inspiration for which was tracked down by Twenty-Four Bit. The National headline a free show at Yonge-Dundas Square on June 14 as part of NXNE.
Video: The National – “Sea Of Love”
Stream: The National / Trouble Will Find Me
Happy to see Superchunk aren’t taking another ten years between records; they’ll release I Hate Music on August 20; details and non-Toronto-including tour dates can be had at Merge, album trailer below.
Trailer: Superchunk / I Hate Music
And more happiness for folks who dug indie rock when it was still called college rock – Exclaim reports that Sebadoh will put out a new record later this year entitled Defend Yourself. Specifics are still forthcoming, but Lou Barlow announced it via Instagram so it must be true.
The Daily Swarm and The Independent talk to Wayne Coyne and Jambands to Steven Drozd, both of The Flaming Lips. And for whatever reason, the band have released a live video of themselves covering David Bowie’s “Heroes”, and even with all the echo on his vocals, Coyne arguably sounds better than he has in some time.
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Heroes” (live)
The Village Voice talks to Benjamin Michael Lerner of Telekinesis, who premiered a new video from Domarion at NPR last week.
Video: Telekinesis – “Empathetic People”
NPR has a World Cafe session and Dallas News an interview with Jim James.
Monday, May 13th, 2013
Stornoway and Field Report at The Horseshoe in Toronto
Frank Yang2010 wasn’t really that long ago, but apparently it was long enough that I’d just about forgotten about Oxford, England’s Stornoway despite their debut Beachcomber’s Windowsill making it onto my year-end list, helped along by a stellar local live debut that December at the El Mocambo. Which is not to say that I had forgotten them completely or that I liked them, but by the time their follow-up album Tales From Terra Firma came out in mid-March, they’d fallen far enough off the front burner of my memory that I rolled into Thursday night’s show at The Horseshoe driven more by curiosity than excitement.
Support act Field Report, hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and making their Toronto debut, didn’t worry too much about cultivating curiosity from their audience. Playing songs from their self-titled debut, they offered raspy narratives over slow, atmospheric folk tunes dusted from the well-worn roads of Americana. Crafting something fresh didn’t seem to be as of much importance as doing it in great detail, as well as building a rapport with the audience – much time was spent introducing the songs, chatting with the audience, and complimenting the city. Ultimately more charming than memorable.
I’m not normally one to allow Pitchfork to dictate the conversation – at least not ones that I’m having – but that their tepid review of Terra Firma cited a lack of memorable melodies as a one of its chief complaints is just bewildering to me. I may not have spent the time I’d have liked with the record prior to this show, but even the handful of listens I’d given it affirmed it as at least as tuneful as its predecessor, which itself was plenty melodically rich. The reason this came to mind at the show was because when the six-piece band got into full swing – the core quartet were joined by a touring violinist and multi-instrumentalist, both with sheaves of sheet music in front of them – the problem was not trying to find a delicious melody to listen to but choosing which one to concentrate on.
They were like a candy store of folk-pop, every hand and mouth contributing to the glorious rustic orchestra onstage; it was hard to not be drawn to Oli Steadman’s basslines, so much funkier and more prominent in the live mix than on record, Jon Ouin’s textured bed of keyboards or spidery guitar leads, Rob Steadman’s wonderfully creative drum patterns, or Brian Briggs’ gorgeous tenor, often leading immaculate, multi-part harmonies. Listening to any of them in isolation would have been lovely; hearing them in concert with one another was astonishing, even without most of the instruments as on their reading of “The Ones We Hurt The Most”, the four-part harmonies performed perfectly and unaccompanied save for acoustic guitar and single violin. And then there was their use of live wood-chopping as the rhythm bed for “Farewell Appalachia”. Who does that?
The set was split about evenly between the two records, keeping a consistently jaunty pace with occasional spikes of jubilant, yet always sounding elegant and sophisticated. Unlike some more populist acts who could be filed as their peers in the genre, Stornoway don’t need to try to broadcast authenticity with their dress or mannerisms; they’re timeless – not throwback – and just plugged directly into it. And while their audience might not have been as large, they were devoted and clearly in it for the long haul – even those, like myself, who’d temporarily forgotten that they were. But if there was an upside to that memory lapse as to how great Stornoway were, it was that it allowed me to rediscover the fact all over again.
Photos: Stornoway, Field Report @ The Horseshoe – May 9, 2013
MP3: Stornoway – “Fuel Up”
MP3: Stornoway – “On The Rocks”
MP3: Stornoway – “Zorbing”
Video: Stornoway – “The Bigger Picture”
Video: Stornoway – “Knock Me On The Head”
Video: Field Report – “I Am Not Waiting Anymore”
Spin and Interview have features on Copenhagen’s Vår, who’ve released a new stream from their debut album No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers, out tomorrow.
Stream: Vår – “Into Distance”
Pitchfork reports that New Order will be releasing a benefit live album recorded at last year’s Bestival on the Isle Of Wight. Live at Bestival 2012 will be out July 8.
The livestreamed Savages put on last week to mark the release of their debut Silence Yourself is now available to stream on demand at YouTube; The Creators Project has a Q&A with the performance’s director. They play The Mod Club on July 16.
Planet Notion offers an interview with Victoria Hesketh of Little Boots.
Daytrotter has a session with Noah & The Whale.
The Toronto Star talked to Foals ahead of Saturday night’s gig at the Kool Haus.
The Line Of Best Fit has an interview with Iceland’s Sóley.
Friday, May 10th, 2013
Jesper SkouboellingWho: D’Angelo
What: Modern American soul singer born Michael Archer whose legend is as much based on his two released albums – 1995′s Brown Sugar and 2000′s Voodoo – as the now-mythical third, which has been rumoured and laboured over for the past 13 years and counting.
Why: After many fits and starts, 2013 appears to be the year of D’Angelo’s comeback. Album number three – James River – should be out this year and shows are being scheduled – yes, the previous Toronto scheduled for April was canceled almost as soon as it was announced, but this one is happening. Or so it would seem.
When: Friday, May 31, 2013
Where: The Sound Academy in Toronto (19+)
How: Tickets for the show are $72.50 in advance but courtesy of Union Events, I’ve got a pair of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see D’Angelo” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that to me by midnight, May 22.
Video: D’Angelo – “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”
Video: D’Angelo – “Brown Sugar”