Posts Tagged ‘A Camp’

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

You Cross My Path

Charlatans schedule Ontario club dates, hope people forget the last time they tried that

Photo By Roger SargentRoger SargentIt’s been some time since The Charlatans could be considered “buzzworthy” by any objective measure. Don’t get me wrong, it’s commendable that they’ve endured as long as they have, outliving most of their contemporaries in the baggy/Britpop eras and assembling a respectable oeuvre of singles and albums, but I will wager they’ve never been anyone in the world’s favourite band and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

They did manage to garner more headlines than they have in years last year, though, when they opted to release their tenth album, You Cross My Path, as a free download (physical formats that you had to pay for followed a couple months later). The record was also notable for being surprisingly decent. They’d lost me with 2001’s funk-soul pastiche Wonderland and I’d assumed that the plot remained lost, but Path was very much an example of the Charlatans doing what they’d always done well, melodic, danceable and anthemic and if you listen closely, cribbing shamelessly from pretty much every era of British rock.

And on a more local scale, they made a surprise concert announcement in July, making a date for the the Mod Club in October – a venue that no matter how far removed from their heyday they might be, would still be considered small for them. And, of course, they canceled the date for reasons unknown barely two weeks later. But it seems they’re bound and determined to give their Toronto-area fans an up-close and personal encounter as they’ve again announced a show at the Mod Club, this one for September 23 – that gives them four months to change their minds. They’ve also announced a couple other North American dates, including September 22 in London, Ontario, so it looks like they’re making a proper tour of this. Tickets for the Toronto show are a rather dear $36 before service charges, so you’ll have to stop and think just how badly you want to hear “The Only One I Know”. And yeah, tickets for the canceled show were a slightly more reasonable $30 but hey – the economy’s collapsed. What’re you going to do.

MP3: The Charlatans – “Oh! Vanity”
MP3: The Charlatans – “You Cross My Path”
Video: The Charlatans – “Oh Vanity”
Video: The Charlatans – “You Cross My Path”
Video: The Charlatans – “The Misbegotten”
Video: The Charlatans – “Mis-Takes”
ZIP: The Charlatans / You Cross My Path

Colorado Daily and The Colorado Springs Independent have interviews with Doves, who will be at the Kool Haus next Monday night, June 1.

Dots & Dashes talks to Patrick Wolf about new album The Bachelor, out June 1. He’ll be at the Mod Club on June 15.

White Lies discuss the state of the music industry with BBC. They’re at the Phoenix on September 26.

Florence & The Machine’s debut Lungs has a UK release date of July 6 but according to Pitchfork, it’s not going to be out in North America until October 13. Yeah, I’ll wait for the domestic release. Sure.

Clash asks Fanfarlo on how they like to pass the time while waiting.

With their North American tour set to kick off tonight in New York, A Camp took some time to talk to NME, New York Magazine, New York Press and Magnet, where Nina Persson and Nathan Larsen are also playing guest editor this week. They’ll be at the Mod Club on June 1.

The Boston Globe talks to Gentleman Reg, who will be opening up many of those A Camp shows.

While in town this week, The National stopped in at the CBC to record a performance of one of their new songs, formerly entitled “Karamazov” but now dubbed “Runaway”. Gorgeous stuff.

Video: The National – “Runaway” (live on QTV)

The San Francisco Chronicle interviews Jenny Lewis.

The Los Angeles Times profiles The Kills.

All week, PitchforkTV is running Do You Love Me Like I Love You, the documentary feature that appear on the recent Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds reissues. The first two segments are up now, more to follow.

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Letters From A Voyage To Sweden

NYC Popfest with Cats On Fire, Liechtenstein, The Tartans and Don Lennon at Don Hill's in New York City

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt seems a bit ridiculous to say that I was in New York City on Friday night with nothing to do, but right up until the middle of last week, it looked like that was what it was going to be. Which isn’t to say I would have spent the evening watching television in my hotel room… but that was certainly not beyond the realm of possibility. I’d been considering hitting up the Friday night show of NYC Popfest, despite not knowing any of the acts on the bill, mainly because Don Hill’s was conveniently located just down Greenwich Ave from my hotel, but when the “special guest” was revealed to be The Radio Dept playing a second show in addition to the one I’d booked this whole trip to see, well that sealed it.

Doors for the show opened some 70 minutes later than scheduled, so there wasn’t hardly anyone inside when local solo act Don Lennon started the evening off. An acoustic singer-songwriter sort, Lennon’s songs were interesting, tuneful and topical and certainly clever, but not especially funny. Which isn’t to suggest that lyrical cleverness needs to be delivered with humour, but Lennon’s narratives seemed to be all set up and no punchline – or maybe he was just more deadpan than I was capable of appreciating.

Los Angelenos The Tartans required no such close examination to appreciate – they wore their influences and the sound on their cardigan sleeves. The five-piece band were like factory issue twee-pop with bouncy rhythms, boy-girl harmonies, instrument and lead vocal swapping and strategically-placed melodica, glockenspiel and handclaps… but while they certainly nailed the look, they only managed to graze the sound. Certainly, their tunes were peppy, sing-song friendly and melody-laden but the lacked the sort of personality that would have been necessary to really make an impression. On the plus side, they were still very much a new band and obviously talented – there’s no reason to think that with time, the substance and focus won’t come. But at the moment, they’re not there.

The Radio Dept, I will cover tomorrow along with their headlining performance at The Bell House in Brooklyn. Patience!

I wasn’t completely truthful when I said earlier that I knew nothing of the bands playing this show – I’d gotten a few mailings last week about Swedish trio Liechtenstein, so I had a notion of what to expect from them. Unfortunately, while the samples I’d been given held some promise, their live experience didn’t do much to deliver on that. With their ’50s-primitivist retro-pop sound, the best parallel I can draw is Vivian Girls, but while Liechtenstein are unquestionably better musicians and are arguably pursuing more interesting creative paths, they don’t make it sound especially catchy – and if you’re playing something called Popfest, you better have some hooks at the ready. Their new record Survival Strategies is out June 2.

I realize that I’ve sounded rather down on everything covered so far, but don’t interpret that as my having a bad time – none of it was by any means bad, simply unimpressive and when you’re facing a large bill with a lot of unknowns, you’re hoping at least one of them will turn out to be a genuinely pleasant surprise rather than just a way to pass the time. Final band Cats On Fire, over all the way from Finland, didn’t out and out wow me but they certainly managed to get me to overcome my disdain for their name and wrapped things up on a high note. Charming and upbeat and hailing from the Smiths school of pop, they didn’t necessarily do anything new – new isn’t really the motivating factor for a lot of indiepop – but they did it well and with vigor. Mattias Bjorkas was an animated and entertaining frontman, all archness and gyrations, delivering tunes from their newly-released album Our Temperance Movement amongst others. After a sweaty set they were called back for an encore and had the crowd properly worked up for the indie-pop dance party that followed. Me, I went back to the hotel and got some sleep.

Photos: Cats On Fire, Liechtenstein, The Radio Dept, The Tartans, Don Lennon @ Don Hill’s – May 15, 2009
MP3: Cats On Fire – “Horoscope”
MP3: Liechtenstein – “Roses In The Park”
MP3: The Tartans – “My Baby Doesn’t Care For You”
Video: Cats On Fire – “Tears In Your Cup”
Video: Liechtenstein – “Security By Design”
Video: Don Lennon – “Last Comic Standing”
Video: Don Lennon – “Where Is The New Adventure”
MySpace: Cats On Fire
MySpace: Liechtenstein
MySpace: The Tartans
MySpace: Don Lennon

The Yorkshire Evening Post interviews A Camp’s Nina Persson and Spin has a couple MP3s available to download – the new single and an acoustic version of a track from Colonia. A Camp play the Mod Club on June 1.

MP3: A Camp – “Love Has Left The Room”
MP3: A Camp – “I Signed The Line” (Harlem Session)

Denmark’s Mew manage to take the blue ribbon for most ridiculous album title of the year. No More Stories Are Told Today I’m Sorry They Washed Away No More Stories The World Is Grey I’m Tired Let’s Wash Away is out August 25.

Dazed Digital has the premiere of the new video from Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, out May 29, as well as an interview with Christian Mazzalai from the band. They’re at the Phoenix on June 15.

Video: Phoenix – “1901”

Dallas Morning News and Metromix talk to Annie Clark, aka St Vincent. She’s finally announced a Toronto date and will be at Lee’s Palace on August 8 – via For The Records.

Underworld are at the Kool Haus on August 11.

For a limited time – like the rest of today – NME is offering a couple downloads to mark the release of the new Manic Street Preachers album Journal For Plague Lovers. A remix by The Horrors, James Dean Bradfield’s favourite new band and one of many contributing to a forthcoming remix album of Plague Lovers, and a cover of The Horrors’ “Vision Blurred” from Primary Colours by the Manics.

MP3: Manic Street Preachers – “Doors Closing Slowly” (Horrors remix)
MP3: Manic Street Preachers – “Vision Blurred”

NPR welcomes AC Newman to the World Cafe for a session.

Telekinesis and An Horse are teaming up for a Summer tour that includes a June 10 stop at the Horseshoe. There’s new videos from both and an MP3 from the Aussies to whet your appetite for the gig.

MP3: An Horse – “Camp Out”
Video: Telekinesis – “Awkward Kisser”
Video: An Horse – “Camp Out”

The Washington Post interviews The Thermals.

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Queen Of The World

Review of Ida Maria's Fortress 'Round My Heart

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceIf I were a more paranoid person, I’d say that Norway’s Ida Maria was deliberately avoiding me. Back in March, she was a no-show for both her official SxSW showcases showcases and at almost the same time, she cut her stint as opener for Glasvegas to just a handful of dates, dropping off the tour just a couple shows before she’d have played Toronto. Maddening, right?

Getting a handle on her debut album Fortress ‘Round My Heart really isn’t any simpler. It was originally released in the UK in the Summer of 2008 on Sony and though a goodly amount of buzz was generated, the relationship between artist and label didn’t work out and she was cut loose. The record was re-released in February of this year independently with rejigged track listing and artwork and it was expected this indie version would be the one to trickle over to North America but it was instead picked up by Mercury Records and pushed back until April, when it came out over here with yet another track listing and different cover art.

It’s ironic that things should be so complicated around Ms Borli Sivertsen, because what she does is about as simple as it gets. Raw, irresistible guitar-rock with whiffs of garage and bubblegum, simultaneously anchored and buoyed by Sivertsen’s rough and giddy vocals. “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” might seem like a gimmicky tune with limited shelf life, but has hooks that go far beyond the titillating title. The rest of the album barrels along with tales of booze and bawdiness, all recounted with reckless glee only pausing for breath a couple of times. It has remarkably high re-play value, helped along by the fact that the whole thing clocks in at barely 32 minutes and offering a super sugar buzz without being saccharine-sweet.

Having already made some late-night TV appearances, garnering all kinds of attention of the right kind and now set to play Lollapalooza in August, more North American touring seems like a given. Perhaps late Summer is a reasonable assumption for her first Toronto date? After all, she can’t evade me forever.

There’s features on Ida Maria at Interview, Black Book, Elle and Canadian Press.

Video: Ida Maria – “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”
Video: Ida Maria – “Oh My God”
Video: Ida Maria – “Stella”
MySpace: Ida Maria

This week also marks the North American release of A Camp’s second album, the strangely polarizing Colonia. Some really like it, some really dislike it. I opted for “sorta like” when I reviewed it back in February. There’s interviews with head Camp counselor Nina Persson at The Glaswegian, State, Prefix and Birmingham Mail while Black Book asks her about her favourite NYC hangouts. A Camp are at the Mod Club on June 1 and the album is streaming this week at Spinner.

MP3: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus” (Harlem session)
Video: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus”
Stream: A Camp / Colonia

Uncensored Interview has a chat on video with Emil Svanangen of Loney Dear. They’re at the Rivoli next Friday night, May 8.

Daytrotter offers up a session with Cut Off Your Hands.

There’s a couple new videos from little blonde English girls with debut albums coming out soon. Little Boots’ Hands is out June 9, Polly Scattergood’s debut self-title gets a North American release on May 19.

Video: Little Boots – “New In Town”
Video: Polly Scattergood – “Please Don’t Touch”

The Globe & Mail talks to Adele, who plays Massey Hall tonight. It was also announced that she’ll be the first artists to perform on the new incarnation of MTV Unplugged – wow, it’ll be such a relief to be able to finally hear her sing without the wall of electric guitars drowning her out.

The Sun quotes Graham Coxon as saying that the Blur reunion should cover all the band’s material – even the stuff he wasn’t a part of.

Interview talks to Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie.

Clash talks to Super Furry Animals drummer Dafydd Ieuan, Wales Online to frontman Gruff Rhys.

The Daily Growl gets Mumford & Sons to pick seven songs.

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

A Window

The Radio Dept come to America, still refuse to release new record

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceSo, yes – my head is a wee bit fried right now from endless photo processing. And on top of that, I actually had no planned posts, per se, for after SxSW – just a mess of links that have accumulated over the past week. So I’ll just vomit some of those out for you to get through the day. ‘Kay?

To begin – this post at BrooklynVegan made me first do a double-take, and then fire up Expedia to check prices for flights to New York City over the May long weekend. Why? The Radio Dept are coming to North America. It’s just a single show so far on May 16 at the Bell House in Brooklyn as part of NYC Popfest, but this interview with the band at Ca Va Cool reveals there’s one more NYC date to come and maybe – maybe – some more North American touring come Fall. But I will say this – if I’m not Barcelona-bound at the end of May, I could very well be en route to Brooklyn for the May 2-4. Hell, maybe even either way. Who wants to come?

To say that the ways of the Radio Dept are mysterious doesn’t even begin to cover it, as there’s been no word in many months as to the status of their third album Clinging To A Scheme, originally scheduled for a September 2008 release and then pulled. And so we wait. And we wait. The aforementioned bit about Autumn touring implies that it should be finished and out by then, but who knows. It’s not all bleakness for fans of their gorgeous Scandanavian synth-pop, though – they’ve made a complete live recording from last May available to download on their site. It’s not the finest audio quality – it sounds like a fan recording rather than soundboard – but it’s mostly listenable and the set contains a few new songs. There’s also a variety of live material available for download on their website but for whatever reason, some of the best stuff is inaccessible. How Radio Dept typical.

MP3: The Radio Dept – “Freddie and the Trojan Horse”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “The Worst Taste in Music”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “A Window”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “Pulling Our Weight”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “Why Won’t You Talk About It?”
ZIP: The Radio Dept / Live In Lund – May 18, 2008

Clash, Irish Times and Black Book talk to Nina Persson of A Camp. Colonia is out domestically on April 28 and they play the Mod Club on June 1.

Clash and New York Magazine talk to Peter Bjorn & John, whose Living Thing is out next week but streaming at their MySpace. They’re at the Phoenix on April 25.

Stream: Peter Bjorn & John / Living Thing

Pitchfork reports that Norway’s Ida Maria will give her 2008 debut Fortress Around My Heart a North America release on April 14. She was originally supposed to play two SxSW showcases last week but missed them both due to visa issues. She was also supposed to open up the whole of Glasvegas’ North American tour, including the April 3 date at the Mod Club in Toronto. Now she’s only with them as far as the March 31 show in Boston. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she was doing her best to avoid me.

Video: Ida Maria – “Oh My God”
Video: Ida Maria – “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”
Video: Ida Maria – “Stella”

Le Blogotheque features a Take-Away Show with Sigur Ros in a French cafe. Loverly.

Patrick Wolf has released the first video from The Bachelor, out June 1, and if it were a film it’d have a big ‘ol NC-17 rating attached to it. Oh my. Stereogum gets an update from Wolf on how the album is coming along.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “Vulture”

Drowned In Sound meets Doves, whose Kingdom Of Rust is out April 7 and who are at the Kool Haus on June 1.

Filter and The Times have features on White Lies, in town next Tuesday at Lee’s Palace.

CMJ reports that Elvis Costello is suddenly prolific again, with a new country-Americana album in Secret, Profane And Sugarcane set for release on June 2. The last time he walked this stylistic path, we go the sublime King Of America. Can he do it again? If he even comes close, it’ll be a worthy record.

Manic Street Preachers will release the Albini-produced, Edwards-penned Journal For Plague Lovers on May 18. Details at The Quietus.

The new album from The Rumble Strips has a name and release date. Look for Welcome To The Walk Alone on June 8. Details at NME.

The rumour mill has a Metric show at the Mod Club on April 14 with Holy Fuck as support. They said they had something special planned for the April 7 release of Fantasies – I think a little club show would qualify. Will confirm that when I can but in the meantime, watch their new video. And read this interview at Clash.

Video: Metric – “Gimme Sympathy”

French Kicks are at the Horseshoe on April 27, tickets $10.50.

MP3: French Kicks – “Also Ran”

New York state folk duo Gregory & The Hawk have a date at the El Mocambo on May 2. They were recently featured on Bandstand Busking.

BrooklynVegan reports that Jonathan Richman and Vic Chesnutt are hitting the road together this Summer, and that tour includes a June 25 date at The Great Hall in Toronto.

Camera Obscura have announced a North American tour in support of My Maudlin Career, out April 21. The Toronto date finds them at Lee’s Palace on June 27, a considerably smaller venue than their last couple visits, which were to the Opera House and Phoenix. Expect this to sell out super-quick.

Jay Reatard will be at the Mod Club on June 29.

Crystal Castles have a July 25 date at the Sound Academy as part of the TIME Festival.

Due to “personal medical issues”, Passion Pit have cancelled their April 3 date at Lee’s Palace, which in turn was a make-up date for their January 24 date at the Horseshoe, which was cancelled due to visa issues. Their debut Manners is out May 26.

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

In For The Kill

Concert announcements from La Roux, A Camp, M Ward and more

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceI’m just About hip-deep in Canadian Musicfest stuff at the moment and also trying desperately to get my SxSW junk together, but a handful of tasty concert announcements showed up yesterday and if I don’t get them out there now, who knows when I will.

I first noticed unabashedly ’80s-loving English electro-pop outfit La Roux when they showed up no small number of “next big things for ’09” lists at the start of the year. And while it’s still far too early to see if Elly Jackson and her interesting hair will deliver on those expectations – she’s only just released her second single with an album in the works for sometime this year – the Londoner and co-conspirator Ben Langmaid are coming across the Atlantic this Spring to try and make an impression. They’ll be at the Drake Underground as a special presentation of the Sticky Fingers DJ nights on April 5, tickets $13 in advance.

Video: La Roux – “Quicksand”
Video: La Roux – “In For The Kill”
MySpace: La Roux

The Rosebuds are coming back to town on the back of last year’s Life Like – they have a date at Lee’s Palace on April 13, tickets $10.50. They just rolled out a new video for the title track of said record.

MP3: The Rosebuds – “Life Like”
Video: The Rosebuds – “Life Like”

M Ward’s Spring tour in support of Hold Time has slated a Toronto date for April 27 at the Phoenix. Tickets $23.50.

MP3: M Ward – “Never Had Nobody Like You”
Video: M Ward – “Hold Time”

Baltimore’s Ponytail will be at the DeLeon White Gallery on April 27.

MP3: Ponytail – “Celebrate The Body Electric”

Country Club, the collaboration from John Doe & The Sadies, is out April 14 and they will follow that up with at show at the Horseshoe on April 30. Tickets $17.50. Currently on a western swing, Dallas Good talks to The Georgia Straight and Pique Newsmagazine.

And possibly the toughest decision I’ll have to make this year… A Camp who are going on tour in support of Colonia – out April 28 – have set a date at the Mod Club for June 1. A date that is already circled on the calendar as it’s also when Doves are at the Kool Haus. Nina Persson’s first visit to town in five years or Doves’ first in four? Swedish babe or Mancunian beardies? Hmm. Tickets for the A Camp show are $15 and already on sale. MusicOHM has an interview with Persson.

MP3: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus” (Harlem Session)
Video: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus”

There’s a new vid from Franz Ferdinand, who have a gig at the Kool Haus on May 4.

Video: Franz Ferdinand – “No You Girls”

PJ Harvey discusses her new album with John Parish, A Woman A Man Walked By, with Billboard. It’s out March 30.

And finally, the divine Mary-Louise Parker gives Esquire a list of ten types of albums no man should own if they ever hope to have sex again… (scans CD collection)… Yes! I still have a shot!