Posts Tagged ‘6 Day Riot’

Friday, June 19th, 2009

The Messenger

Patrick Wolf, Living Things, Plastiscines and Jaguar Love at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSure, it was billed as the Nylon Summer Music Tour, implying a traveling roadshow with all performers on some sort of equal footing, but everyone knew that this was the Patrick Wolf tour and the other three acts were just the openers. Or at least that’s what I’d thought going into Wednesday night’s stop at the Mod Club in Toronto – and even if the audience was on board with that train of thought, it was obvious from the get-go that the bands didn’t necessarily agree and were set to make the most of their time on stage to win over the Wolf disciples.

Lead-off hitters Jaguar Love seemed to me the most curious additions to the bill, at least considering their pedigree. Formed from former members of The Blood Brothers and Pretty Girls Make Graves, I thought they might be too loud or aggro for the crowd, not that I really had a notion of what the very much all-ages crowd were expecting. But my preconceived notions went right out the window when the duo, backed by beats off a laptop, tore into their set of super-energized, adrenaline-infused party rock. Singer Johnny Whitney and guitarist Cody Votolato were in constant motion, the former belting it out with his remarkable classic rock wail while the latter never stopped riffing the hell out of his Rickenbacker, whipping the crowd into a frenzy that you never see at a show at 8PM. Not once but twice did the duo leap into the audience, never missing a beat, and quite literally got this party started right. Absurdly fun, it was evident that anyone hoping to be able to stand back and have a nice, passive night out was at completely the wrong show.

Any momentum built up from the opening set, however, ground to a halt before France’s Plastiscines took the stage. Though you think that the tour would have had the routine for switching between sets down to an art by this point, it seemed that each band member was having some sort of mic or equipment problem that turned into a 30-plus minute wait to get sorted out. By the time they were ready to go, the natives were a bit restless and the quartet probably had more than their share of work cut out for the to win the house over. The Plastiscine recipe is pretty straightforward – four attractive French girls playing what would be considered garage rock if it weren’t so immaculate-sounding. Think The Donnas with less rock attitude and slightly more poppy gleefulness. Perhaps the snarliness will develop as they become more seasoned – though not awkward, per se, they were still a bit reticent in performance. Perhaps counting on our alleged bilingualism, they addressed the crowd in French and whether they were actually understood or not, it got a positive response, as did their charming if predictable cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made For Walking”. Despite the rough start, they were able to shake off the delay and turn in a good set that steadily improved and finished on a high note.

If the Plastiscines were lacking in genuine rock grit, the quota was more than made up for by St Louis’ Living Things. With a singer that looked like some genetic crossing of Ian Astbury, Iggy Pop and Richard Ashcroft, they served up good, old-fashioned rock laden with attitude and a healthy dose of photo-friendly posing. Musically it wasn’t the most distinctive stuff you’d hear, but the delivery was just right and the performance engaging – literally. The band pulled audience members onstage to dance and gyrate with them and also leapt into the crowd, not the first act of the night to do so nor would they be the last, but they definitely ratcheted the already-high energy level up another notch, and set the table nicely for the headliner.

Oh, Patrick Wolf. Seen him twice before, and even when you think you know what to expect, you never know what to expect. Given the darker tone of his latest excellent album The Bachelor, a heavier approach was likely – and this was borne out when he stepped out in an giant black… I don’t even know what the hell he was wearing, but rather than pick up his viola or ukulele, he strapped on a decidedly rock-correct Flying V electric guitar before tearing into “Oblivion”. He didn’t do much with it besides play one-finger barred power chords – no shredding solos, thanks – but symbolically, it set the tone for the show.

As dramatic as his recordings are, they pale compared to Wolf the live performer. Every move, every sound, is rich with theatricality and imbued with his intense and mercurial personality – it might come across as ridiculous if he wasn’t so utterly committed to it, and his fans are no less devoted to him. They hung on every syllable, every note and shrieked with every piece of clothing shed. Personal highlights were an intense “Count Of Casualty” (disrupted a bit by some idiot screaming, “Afghanistan!” behind be through the extended outro) and the string-laden “Damaris” – I realize that the the sound was far too lush for just the violin and viola being played live, implying some pre-recorded enhancement, but who cares – it sounded amazing. As the show progressed, he got progressively more undressed until around 50 minutes into the show, when down to just suspenders and his lederhosen, he started into “Tristan” from Wind In The Wires and just a minute or so in, abruptly declared the stage monitors to be the worst he’s had all tour and stormed off stage. After a few awkward bars, his band stopped and followed him off.

It was unclear whether this was it, a most disappointing end to what had been a terrific night, or if he might return to at least give one last song and say goodbye. Hopes were raised when the crew came out and began re-soundchecking the stage setup and after about 10 minutes, the tour manager apologized and said that Wolf would be back in a moment. And it seemed that Wolf had taken the unscheduled intermission to raid the costume closet, because when he did return to the roar of the house, it was clad in an undone shirt and a leather thong. Appropriately, the band kicked off the unusual encore with “Hard Times”, Wolf taking full advantage of the Flying V’s phallic imagery, and then he went to the keyboard for the crowd-pleasing “Magic Position”. Considering that that had been the show-closer for the rest of the tour, most were probably expecting that it was the finale, the show salvaged with a proper finish, but Wolf wasn’t done – not by a long shot. He then tore into a gloriously aggressive “Accident & Emergency”, then shed the shirt – just the thong now – and put on a bizarre knit headdress and collar for a stirring, “Who Will”. Any one of these could have been a fitting finale, but Wolf was apparently dead set on making up for his earlier outburst – say what you will about his diva-ish tendencies, but the man will not let his fans down and for that he deserves respect.

After a lengthy monologue to the crowd about how much Toronto means to him – not just lip service, the city and its residents were a great influence around the era of The Magic Position – and also announcing he was going to get married soon and Patrick “Wolf” would be no more as he would take his husband’s surname, he nearly stripped off the thong while mocking his body and demanded that the pictures go on the internet (happy to oblige). And then donning a giant feathered vest, he tore into a ferocious reading of “Vulture” which saw him leap off the stage and onto the bar running down the length of the room, singing all the while, and then into the audience basically inciting a riot. Though breathless at the end of it, he had enough left for one more mosh – the even more chaotic “Battle” – before climbing back on stage to serenade a bit of “My Heart Will Go On” as a farewell.

And then that was the end of the show. After looking like he was going to cut the show short, Wolf extended it to a near-marathon. Bizarre and unforgettable, it was easily one of the most manically wonderful and bewildering performances I’d ever seen. Overheard as we staggered out of the club was, “what the hell was THAT?” That, anonymous concert compatriot, was Patrick Wolf.

Wolf gave Black Book a listing of his favourite spots in London. NYLON blogged the Toronto show and Chart was there, but left when Wolf did (the first time around). Panic Manual wisely stuck around.

Wolf promised to return later this year, and it’s a shame that he probably won’t choose to play the Mod Club again, given his disdain for their sound system because Wolf’s stage show plus the gorgeous lighting at the club makes for some great photos. Slightly NSFW depending on your work’s tolerance for sweaty, pasty white British asses.

Photos: Patrick Wolf, Living Things, Plastiscines, Jaguar Love @ The Mod Club – June 17, 2009
MP3: Patrick Wolf – “Who Will?” (Buffet Libre mix)
MP3: Patrick Wolf – “A Boy Like Me”
MP3: Living Things – “Oxygen”
MP3: Jaguar Love – “Bats Over The Pacific Ocean”
MP3: Jaguar Love – “Highways Of Gold”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Hard Times”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Vulture”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Accident And Emergency”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “The Magic Position”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Bluebells”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “The Libertine”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Wind In The Wires”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “To The Lighthouse”
Video: Living Things – “I Owe”
Video: Living Things – “Let It Rain”
Video: Living Things – “Bombs Below”
Video: Living Things – “Bom Bom Bom”
Video: Plastiscines – “Barcelona”
Video: Plastiscines – “Loser”
Video: Jaguar Love – “Highways Of Gold”
MySpace: Patrick Wolf
MySpace: Living Things
MySpace: Plastiscines
MySpace: Jaguar Love

The Daily Growl solicits a seven songs list from Fanfarlo.

6 Day Riot have completed the first video from their forthcoming album 6 Day Riot Have A Plan, due out July 6.

Video: 6 Day Riot – “Run For Your Life”

Decider talks to Adam Franklin, who is playing the El Mocambo on July 6.

The Quietus has an interview with Elly Jackson of La Roux. Her self-titled album is out June 29 and she has a gig at the El Mocambo on July 31.

Spinner’s Interface welcomes Sigur Ros to their studios.

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco chats with The Las Vegas Sun. Wilco (The Album) is out on June 30.

The Star-Tribune talks to Colin Meloy of The Decemberists. They’re at the Kool Haus on August 3.

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

(North By North) East Of Hercules

NxNE announces 2009 lineup

Photo By Aubrey EdwardsAubrey EdwardsI believe it’s traditional that on one’s birthday, one should be fed and watered profusely on someone else’s dime. So that’s exactly what I did last night, for my 34th, and it was all courtesy of NxNE. It wasn’t a party just for me, of course. The festival was having their kick-off press conference wherein they promised to announce “all” the bands playing this year’s to-do, taking place June 17 to 21 around Toronto, a feat which would have been impressive to see since the reading off of hundreds of band names could have been one of the more stultifyingly dull things I’d ever be able to witness.

But as it happens that wasn’t the game plan. Instead, they announced the bigger names who’d be performing the festival, which would have been great… if they weren’t the same names they’d already announced on the website last month. Don’t get me wrong, having the likes of Black Lips, Matt & Kim and No Age and Woodpigeon playing is nothing to shake a stick at, and one name that hadn’t been previously announced and raised an eyebrow was Seattle garage rock legends The Sonics, who will close out the outdoor stage at Yonge-Dundas Square on the Saturday night, June 20. But it’s just that I thought with a big media event they’d have held onto a few surprises to get people excited.

And while it was a bit of an anticlimax in that regard, it doesn’t change the fact that there’s a pretty solid lineup descending on the city come mid-June including a lot of great domestic acts – many of them the usual suspects, sure, but that doesn’t make them less great. And I suppose I got my big pleasant surprise of the festival a couple days ago when I got an email from Austin trio Ume informing me they’d be coming to town for NxNE. Ume, you may or may not recall, were one of the best things I saw at SxSW back in March – a trio led by the guitar heroics of Lauren Larson who balanced pop hooks and sweet female vocals with crazy heavy riffing. I had thought I was going to have to wait until next Spring to see them again, the odds of them touring all the way up here seemed beyond remote but hey, here they come. They’ll be playing Neutral on Thursday the 18th at 10PM – not sure what else is going on that night at that time, the festival schedule is still forthcoming, but I can tell you right now that this will be one of the best bets for that night, if not the whole weekend. They’ve got a couple releases – a 2005 album in Urgent Sea which is decidedly rougher and heavier than their new most excellent Sunshower EP – also check out their SxSW WOXY session. And it’s pronounced “ooo-may”, which you’ll need to know for when people ask you what was the best new thing you saw at NxNE was.

MP3: Ume – “The Conductor”
MP3: Ume – “Wake”
Video: Ume – “The Conductor”
MySpace: Ume

Harbourfront Centre has also released their World Routes 2009 schedule, and the highlights (some previously announced) would appear to be the Constantines show on Canada Day (though Chad Vangaalen isn’t listed, all indications are he’s still playing as well), Holy Fuck with Winter Gloves for Beats, Breaks & Culture on July 10, and Jenn Grant, Gentleman Reg and Amy Millan as part of Canadian Voices the weekend of July 24 and 25. And as always, these shows are free free free.

Amos The Transparent will be at the Horseshoe on May 22 in addition to their June 18 NxNE show at the Drake Underground. They have a new EP out called My, What Big Teeth You Have… and are encouraging the existence of Amos The Transparent cover bands by putting lyrics and chord sheets for their songs on their website.

And if NxNE proper wasn’t going to keep me busy enough that week, there’s also the big-deal shows on the preceding days. Music Snobbery has an interview with Phoenix, whose Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is out May 29 and who play the Phoenix on the Monday, June 15.

And then you’ve got Patrick Wolf at the Mod Club a couple days later on Wednesday, June 17. The Sunday Mail talks to Wolf, whose The Bachelor is out June 1 in the UK and August 11 over here. I do believe I’ll be taking some time off from work that week. Yes I do.

As mentioned in last month’s writeup of Neko Case’s sublime Trinity-St Paul’s show, she’s coming back this Summer and details of said performance have been announced. Case will play Massey Hall on July 14 with tickets going for $29.50, $35.50 and $40.50. Presale goes tomorrow morning at 10AM with the password available at while the public on-sale begins May 15 at noon.

MP3: Neko Case – “Middle Cyclone”
MP3: Neko Case – “People Got A Lotta Nerve”

And if you’re looking for something damn near the opposite of Neko Case that night, you may want to consider seeing Micachu & The Shapes at the El Mocambo the eve of July 14. I (and the MBV posse) reviewed their debut album Jewellery back in March and as confounding as I found it, I can’t say that I won’t be at this show rather than see Case again. Can’t say that I will, but it’s not a no-brainer. Tickets $12.

MP3: Micachu & The Shapes – “Lips”

At long last, Frightened Rabbit are no longer frightened of Toronto and will play their own headlining show on July 22 at the Horseshoe, tickets $13.50 – book it.

MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “The Modern Leper”
MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Head Rolls Off”
MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Old Old Fashioned” (live)

Jack White’s new band – the Alison Mosshart-fronted Dead Weather – will be taking their debut album Horehound, out June 16, on the road and stop in at the Kool Haus on July 22.

Video: The Dead Weather – “Hang You From The Heavens”

The Walkmen have a date at Lee’s Palace on July 24, Cass McCombs supports.

Video: The Walkmen – “In The New Year”

NPR is streaming the whole of John Vanderslice’s new record Romanian Names, which is due out next week. He plays the Horseshoe on July 10.

Stream: John Vanderslice / Romanian Names

Good Radio Dept news for me – they’re playing a second show, albeit a short one, this weekend at NYC Popfest on Friday night at Don Hill’s in Greenwich to go along with their main gig on Saturday night at Bell House. Double the Radio Dept! Good Radio Dept news for everyone – they’re releasing a new EP on June 23 entitled David, hopefully a sign that Clinging To A Scheme will be out soon thereafter. Of course, I thought the same thing for last year’s Freddie & The Trojan Horse EP… but think positive!

Stuart Murdoch talks to Pitchfork about his God Help The Girl project, the album for which will be released on June 23. They are also soliciting subscriptions to the project, which will get you a steady stream of physical and digital goodies sent to your mailbox and inbox over the next few months.

Hooves On Turf recorded a video session with Fanfarlo back during SxSW, which is now online. The band are going to be giving their brilliant Reservoir album a more-proper retail release in the UK soon, but for everyone else, ordering it direct from the band is still the best way to get it, which you really really should.

MP3: Fanfarlo – “Pilot”

Avenue 61 interviews 6 Day Riot, last year’s top find of NxNE. Their new album 6 Day Riot Have A Plan will be out on July 6 in the UK.

The Los Angeles Times and Reuters talk to James Mercer of The Shins.

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Canadian Musicfest Day One and Two

6 Day Riot, An Horse and more at Canadian Musicfest

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangYou know what they say about the best laid plans, right? Well I should have known after assembling my complete itinerary for Canadian Musicfest last week (I’ve opted to not be difficult and just accept the new branding), it would get – if not thrown out the window then at least shaken up significantly.

Thursday night started as intended, at the Silver Dollar to see Ketch Harbour Wolves, but I’m sad to report that their live show failed to impress the way their recorded output has. Whereas on tape they manage to channel their dramatic impulses in a way that made for compelling songs, on stage it manifests itself in rather dubious stage moves and general melodramatic hamminess. I’m sorry but there’s no place for dramatic arm motions, air grabs or pointing at the audience. There’s just not. Their actual musical performance was quite good, but I couldn’t get past the presentation.

Photos: Ketch Harbour Wolves @ The Silver Dollar – March 12, 2009
MP3: Ketch Harbour Wolves – “Words”
MP3: Ketch Harbour Wolves – “Leaves”
MySpace: Ketch Harbour Wolves

There was no disappointment, thankfully, for the return to these shores of London’s 6 Day Riot, who did dazzle at NxNE last year. With a new album in the can and set for a June release, the band mixed in a batch of new songs with the familiar. For the unfamiliar, imagine a heady brew of folk and pop made with tom-heavy rhythms, klezmer horn lines and Tamara Schlesinger’s strong and sweet vocals. It was heartening to see that a healthy audience had gathered to see them and though they stayed a typically Torontonian distance back from the stage, they seemed to be won over. And to me, even without the thrill of discovery that came with their show last year, it was still just loveliness.

Photos: 6 Day Riot @ Rancho Relaxo – March 12, 2009
Video: 6 Day Riot – “Go Canada” (live on

It was at this point I was supposed to dash out and hop in a cab to the Gladstone to catch The Week That Was, but the fact that they’d had a 1AM Saturday show added to the sched and I was just feeling lazy kept me at Rancho a bit longer. And it was also an opportunity to see Megan Hamilton & The Volunteer Canola, whom I’d been meaning to see since first catching her open for My Morning Jacket way back in 2005. What can I say, I’m slow about stuff sometimes. And in the interim, her sound has evolved from a plaintive, high lonesome country-folkiness to a more electrified sound that almost borders on bar-rock boogie at points but manages to stay distinctive thanks to Hamilton’s just slightly off-kilter vocals. Her new album See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard is out April 7 and has a slew of shows in the city and surrounding regions in the next few months – check out her MySpace for specifics.

Photos: Megan Hamilton & The Volunteer Canola @ Rancho Relaxo – March 12, 2009
MP3: Megan Hamilton – “Cat Tail Legs”
MP3: Megan Hamilton – “Detroit”
MySpace: Megan Hamilton & The Volunteer Canola

And that was it for day one. Anything else that had my interest was simply too out of the way for someone who had to work the next morning so I called it at three and headed home. And that brevity is why I’m also diving right into Friday night with this post. A night which, once again, began at the Silver Dollar.

The draw was Montreal’s Little Scream, whom I saw in January supporting Land Of Talk. And while she still has no internet presence to speak of – Google led me back to my own review – she hasn’t been idle in the intervening months, having traded in her acoustic guitar for an electric. And though she had already been amplifying and distorting the acoustic, the shift to a solidbody instrument did seem to give her a more visceral sonic presence – maybe it was the knowledge that she could beat on it and not worry about damage. And still, I can’t figure out what I find so compelling about this performer – she seems simultaneously distracted and focused, folkish and pure rock. Maybe once she gets some samples online someone can tell me what I’m hearing. Until then, I guess I’ll just keep seeing her live and trying to figure it out for myself.

Photos: Little Scream @ The Silver Dollar – March 13, 2009

From there, it was time for what would be my only foray from the Spadina-College corridor the entire weekend, to see An Horse at the Tranzac. The Australian duo had just appeared on Letterman a few nights earlier and it was tough to say if that had translated into extra interest in their showcase – I think it’s safe to say that the wide-eyed front row, decked out in An Horse t-shirts and clutching items for autographs, had had this date circled on their calendars for a while regardless. Playing songs from their debut Rearrange Beds, getting a North American release tomorrow, the duo were nothing short of impressive. Though their formula is as simple as it gets – guitar and drums and not even any soloing – and executed just as simply with dry, barre chord guitar work and straight-ahead, driving beats. But the songs are terrific – compact and hook-laden, occupying that space at the edge of anxiety yet not becoming angst and delivered in Cooper’s charmingly thick accent, a winning combination. And full props to the pair for not losing momentum when Cooper’s mic attempted to electrocute her early on in the show. An Horse will be back in town April 21 for a show at the Horseshoe with The Appleseed Cast. Attendance recommended.

Photos: An Horse @ The Tranzac – March 13, 2009
MP3: An Horse – “Postcards”
Video: An Horse – “Camp Out” (live on Letterman)
MySpace: An Horse

And here, again, is where I went off-schedule. I had intended to hop on the streetcar back to the Silver Dollar for The Darling DeMaes but Mike from For The Records convinced me to accompany him down the street to Central for French act Angil & Hiddentracks, about whom I knew nothing but hey – isn’t that part of the point of festivals like this? And if nothing else, they take the prize for most confounding act of the festival (from my limited sampling). Their ethos seems to be as willfully eclectic and lyrically absurd as possible, mashing together rock, jazz, classical, hip-hop, whatever, with a distinct Mark E Smith-ish style into something that, if nothing else, was certainly distinct. A few of their songs appealed but unsurprisingly, they were the more conventional compositions and made me suspect I was missing the point.

Photos: Angil & Hiddentracks @ Central – March 13, 2009
MP3: Angil & Hiddentracks – “Trying To Fit”
MP3: Angil & Hiddentracks – “Narrow Minds”
MySpace: Angil & Hiddentracks

At that point, I called it a night. That’s right, two days, six acts. Hardly a marathon, I know. I did better on Saturday by a fair margin, but I’ll get into that tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

The Canadian Music Week That Was And Will Be

A look ahead to Canadian Music Week/Fest

Photo by Ian WestIan WestCanadian Music Week – sorry, Canadian Musicfest, as the showcase component has now been renamed – is a tricky time for me, because as much as I’d like to take in as much of the shows on offer as possible, I need to be mindful of saving energy for the big show – SxSW – the following week. To this end, I tend to be very particular about what I choose to see during CMW/F, avoiding if I can bands I’ve seen or can easily see again. Ironically, this usually means I don’t see all that much Canadian music during Canadian Music Week.

One of the acts definitely circled on the schedule is Sunderland, UK outfit The Week That Was, whose main claim to fame is being the spinoff project from Field Music drummer Peter Brewis. My interest in this band surprises me a bit because though I tried, I was never able to get into Field Music. Their attempts to meld prog rock and folk just sounded too studied and wasn’t able to connect, but after seeing their self-titled debut show up on more than a few 2008 year-end lists, I decided to give the new band a shot and it was a wise choice. The Week That Was sheds those more rustic touches and more fully embrace the rock – the drums are thunderous – without abandoning Field Music’s quirky musical sensibilities. TWTW feels more like a band than a project, so it just figures that this North American jaunt is their swan song, at least for the foreseeable future – the Brewis brothers are getting Field Music out of mothballs. Here’s hoping they bring some of the looseness of The Week That Was back to the mothership.

The Week That Was have two shows in Toronto this week – one at 11PM on Thursday, March 12 at the Gladstone Hotel and another at 6:30PM at the Mod Club opening up for The Ting Tings. The former is part of eye‘s three-night throwdown at the Gladstone and as such, they’ve got an interview with the band. Update: And apparently The Ting Tings have taken offense with the non-reverential tone of Brewis’ interview and have booted The Week That Was off the bill for the Mod Club show. But they will still be kicking it Saturday night, now at the El Mocambo at 1AM.

MP3: The Week That Was – “Scratch The Surface”
MP3: The Week That Was – “Learn To Learn”
Video: The Week That Was – “Scratch The Surface”
Video: The Week That Was – “Learn To Learn”

For the curious, the rest of my CMF schedule looks a little like this:

Ketch Harbour Wolves (Thursday, March 12, 9PM @ The Silver Dollar) – Toronto combo whose debut EP impressed last year and whose follow-up (available for free download on their site) was I Heart Music’s co-album of the year for 2008. That’s no faint praise.

MP3: Ketch Harbour Wolves – “Words”
MP3: Ketch Harbour Wolves – “Leaves”

6 Day Riot (Thursday, March 12, 10PM @ Rancho Relaxo) – The highlight of NxNE 2008, this London outfit is returning to Canada to win over Toronto once again and preview material from their forthcoming second album Have A Plan, targeted for a June release. They’re also playing at 1AM on Saturday, March 14, at Bread & Circus.

The Week That Was (Thursday, March 12, 11PM @ The Gladstone) – see above

Little Scream (Friday, March 13, 8PM @ The Silver Dollar) – One-woman Montreal act who made an impression opening up for Land Of Talk back in January. And still no website of any kind.

An Horse (Friday, March 13, 9PM @ The Tranzac) – Australian guitar-and-drums duo whose debut Rearrange Beds is set for release on March 17. Scrappy and catchy, they could be good. Actually, make that “should”. Hell, I’ll even commit to “will”. The Badger Herald has an interview and Filter has more North American tour dates, they they got a little “!”-happy, only the March 24-27 dates are with Wintersleep. An Horse are also appearing on Letterman the evening of the 11th.

MP3: An Horse – “Postcards”

The Darling DeMaes (Friday, March 13, 10PM @ The Silver Dollar) – Alternately folky and noirish, this Montreal band were initially a random selection so that I didn’t end up going home at 10PM on a Friday evening (not that I would have minded that) but I’m now actually quite interested to see/hear them and find out which side of them shows up. Their EP is up for grabs for free on their website.

MP3: The Darling DeMaes – “With A Magnifying Glass”
MP3: The Darling DeMaes – “A Day In Her Life”

We See Lights (Saturday, March 14, 8PM @ Bread & Circus) – They’re Scottish, and let’s be honest – all things being equal that’s probably enough to get me out to see you. There’s also a lot of them and have that sort of earnest folky cacophonous thing going on. They’re also playing on Thursday night at 9PM at Rancho Relaxo.

MySpace: We See Lights

Sofia Talvik (Saturday, March 14, 9PM @ Bread & Circus) – Swedish artist who recorded a duet with Bernard Butler before he became producer to the stars. Her fourth album Jonestown has its share of standard singer-songwriter fare, but also enough standout material to merit attention.

MP3: Sofia Talvik – “My James Dean”
Video: Sofia Talvik – “It’s Just Love” (with Bernard Butler)

The Morning After Girls (Saturday, March 14, 10PM @ The Tranzac) – Australian drone-rockers who didn’t impress too much with their first record compiling early EPs, but the new stuff from their forthcoming album Alone, due in May, sounds a lot more dynamic and interesting. Grab a download at RCRDLBL.

Video: The Morning After Girls – “Shadows Evolve”

The Assistants (Saturday, March 14, 11PM @ Neutral) – It’s jangly, homegrown power-pop. Can you go wrong? I certainly hope not.

MP3: The Assistants – “Fiction”

Obviously what I plan to see is not all that I endorse. Here’s some randomness with other bands playing the festival and worth your time:

eye talks to Angela Desveaux, who’s playing the Gladstone on Thursday at 10PM.

I Heart Music has uploaded a session from late last year with Jenn Grant. She’s at the Reverb at midnight on Saturday night.

Handsome Furs, who are the reason you won’t get into the Horseshoe anytime past 9PM let alone just before their midnight set Friday evening, have a new video from Face Control, which is out this week. Chart talks to Dan Boeckner about the new record (and again), which is currently streamable.

Video: Handsome Furs – “I’m Confused”
Stream: Handsome Furs / Face Control

Radio Free Canuckistan, Xtra and Chart have interviews with Gentleman Reg, who helps anchor the Thursday night lineup at the Horseshoe with an 11PM set.

The Toronto Star talks to Malajube, closing out the Sirius Satellite Radio showcase at the El Mocambo on Thursday night at midnight.

And while it’s not technically a CMW/F show, it’s certainly in the spirit of and features bands participating in – I speak of a matinee show on the Saturday, March 14 at the Trash Palace (converted theatre near Bathurst and King W) featuring The Rural Alberta Advantage, Dinosaur Bones, Great Bloomers and Peachcake. It’s an all-ages gig, starts at 2, over by 5 and admission is $6. And your fancy-pants CMF wristband won’t count for jack.

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer

Review and giveaway of A.C. Newman's Get Guilty

Photo By Caleb BuyersCaleb BuyersLet’s be honest, there’s not a lot of reason for there to be a Carl Newman solo record. The man is the chief songwriter in The New Pornographers, an outfit that turns out material at a pretty decent rate all things considered, and it’s not as though he has a metal jones to itch that wouldn’t work in the context of the Pornographers – when he puts on the AC Newman hat, he’s still the consummate popsmith.

But the whys and wherefores are his business – for the rest of us, there’s no sense in looking a gift horse in the mouth. And in this case, that gift is entitled Get Guilty. Like 2004’s The Slow Wonder, any of the songs on Guilty could have easily appeared on a Pornographers record but unlike that record, which seemed to deliberately apply a more traditional rock band ethos to the proceedings, Guilty seems more willing to incorporate the more ornate flourishes that you’d associate with a proper Pornographers release.

That said, without having to balance out the large cast of players in the Pornographers, the AC Newman experience is leaner and punchier – more of a raiding party than the mothership of the New Pornographers. And for those wondering where all the fast songs that weren’t on Challengers went, well, at least some of them are here – “Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer” and “The Palace At 4AM” have a rhythmic drive and energy that hasn’t really been there on the last couple Pornographer records. Of course, whether they’d have fit is another discussion altogether – the important things is that they’re here now and they’re excellent, as is pretty much all of Guilty.

Get Guilty is out today, and courtesy of Last Gang Records, I’ve got copies on CD to give away to five lucky Canadians (sorry Americans, you’ll have to console yourselves today with a new president). To enter, leave me a comment below telling me something you’re guilty of and make sure your email is there, spam-proofed as need be, so I can contact you. Contest closes at midnight, January 26. Also remember that AC Newman are heading out on tour in February, including a March 11 date at Lee’s Palace in Toronto.

NPR has a short interview with Newman, Magnet a longer one, and Allmusic has traced out his musical history from the early days with Superconductor through to the present. Update: Stereogum has another live session video from Newman to follow up the one premiered at Pitchfork last week. Update 2: The whole album is streaming at Spinner.

MP3: AC Newman – “There Are Maybe Ten Or Twelve”
MP3: AC Newman – “Submarines Of Stockholm”
Stream: AC Newman / Get Guilty
MySpace: AC Newman

Co-Pornographer Neko Case will release Middle Cyclones on March 3 and blow into town for two dates at Trinity-St Paul’s on April 17 and 18. Tickets for each of those shows are $35.50.

MP3: Neko Case – “People Got A Lotta Nerve”

And Neko’s ex-Boyfriends The Sadies will be Jon Langford’s band when he plays the Horseshoe on February 27 – tickets are $12.50 and that gets you not one but TWO sets of country rocking goodness.

Not your speed but still seeking something to do that night? The Music Tapes, featuring ex-Neutral Milk Hotelier Julian Koster, will be at Lee’s Palace that same night in support of last year’s Get Guilty. Like 2004’s Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes. Tickets also $12.50.

MP3: The Music Tapes – “Majesty”
Video: The Music Tapes – “Majesty”
Video: The Music Tapes – “Ministry Of Longitude”

There’ll be a lovely little show taking place at The Central in Mirvish Village next Thursday night, January 29, featuring the songwriters from a few of Toronto’s finest bands in a solo and acoustic setting – Casey Mecija of Ohbijou, Kat Burns of Forest City Lovers, Jonas Bonnetta of Evening Hymns and Gavin Gardiner of The Wooden Sky. Admission is pay-what-you-can.

The Coast are heading over to the UK for some dates next month and Clash has not only conducted a feature interview with the the Toronto boys, but set up a fancy little microsite about the band. And they’re making available to download a Born Ruffians remix of “All The Boys” from Expatriate.

MP3: The Coast – “All The Boys” (Born Ruffians remix)

The schedule for Canadian Musicfest (why do I think I’m going to be the only one not calling it Canadian Music Week?) is partially up, and by partially I mean barely. But there’s still some good information on lineups now available, foremost those of the Chart-sponsored shows at the Horseshoe. And they’re kinda stacked. Just a little. Thursday, March 12 you’ve got Chad Van Gaalen, Gentleman Reg, Women, $100, The Lovely Feathers, The Delinquints and Quest For Fire. The Friday night bill will be led by Handsome Furs and also feature Human Highway, The Bicycles, Daniel Wesley, Dinosaur Bones, Hot Panda and The Schomberg Fair. And finally, Saturday will wrap things up with The Golden Dogs, Two Hours Traffic, Young Galaxy, Rebekah Higgs, The Hundreds And Thousands, Vancougar and Hexes & Ohs. Admission to these shows is via CMF wristbands and needless to say, get there early. Of course, once in you probably won’t be able to leave but really, why would you want to?

But if you do, there’s a few other dates and venues to note. Malajube, who will release Labyrinthes on February 10, are at the El Mocambo on March 12. That same night both Angela Desveaux and The Rural Alberta Advantage are at the Gladstone and 6 Day Riot are at Rancho Relaxo. On the Saturday, Basia Bulat and Herman Dune are at Lee’s Palace while The Ting Tings are at the Mod Club. Still more to come, obviously, but things look to be shaping up alright.

Joel Plaskett will play Massey Hall – yes, Massey Hall – on May 23. Tickets from $29.50 to $39.50.

BlogTO talks to the members of Bruce Peninsula, who have a string of local dates surrounding the February 3 release of A Mountain Is A Mouth. There’s a January 31 date at the Horseshoe, a February 4 in-store at Soundscapes and the February 22 album release party at the Polish Combatants Hall.