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Posts Tagged ‘Acorn’

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Rainy Saturday

Hayden wants to be Alone with you

Photo By Vanessa HeinsVanessa HeinsOh hey so the weekend is upon us and whatever you’ve got planned, you could do worse than to take an hour and listen to Us Alone, the new album from beloved Toronto singer-songwriter Hayden. What’s that, you say? The record isn’t out until Tuesday – February 5 – and by then we’re back into the work week and you can’t find an hour to curl up in a little ball in the corner and weep uncontrollably let alone listen to a charmingly languid collection of folk-pop? Well it’s a good thing that CBC Music has an advance stream of the new record as well as a Q&A with the artist. So grab a coffee, read that, and have a listen. And if you’re finished reading that before it’s done – which I would hope is the case – there’s another interview at The Victoria Times-Colonist.

Hayden has three intimate local shows coming up later this month – February 20, 21, and 22 at the Dakota, Cameron House, and Rivoli respectively – but those are as sold out as you can imagine. Tickets are still available for relatively nearby shows in Guelph and Hamilton, or you can wait until June 8 where he performs as part of the Arts & Crafts Field Trip festival at Fort York.

MP3: Hayden – “Old Dreams”
Stream: Hayden / Us Alone

NOW interviews Purity Ring ahead of their show at The Phoenix tonight. PhillyBurbs and The Dallas Observer also have features.

Wavelength talks to Sarah Neufeld about her solo work, which she brings to The Great Hall on February 16 as part of their anniversary series of shows.

Southern Souls has posted a video session with Two Hours Traffic, who release their new record Foolish Blood on February 19. They play Lee’s Palace on March 21.

Consequence Of Sound has premiered the first video from Thumbtacks & Glue, due out February 26. There’s also a video session recorded at Iceland Airwaves last year at The Line Of Best Fit and Mark Hamilton talks to The Calgary Herald about a project he’s working on with some Icelandic musicians.

Video: Woodpigeon – “Edinburgh”

The Victoria Times-Colonist has an interview with Rachel Zeffira and NPR a live-in-studio version of her My Bloody Valentine cover. Her original reinterpretation and nine other gorgeous songs can be found on The Deserters, due out domestically on March 12.

Daytrotter has posted a session with Stars, who are playing two nights at the Danforth Music Hall on March 20 and 21.

Born Ruffians have prepped their third album Birthmarks for an April 16 release; you can stream a new single from it below.

Stream: Born Ruffians – “With Her Shadow”

Gorilla Vs Bear has premiered the first track from Young Galaxy’s new album Ultramarine, out April 23, and it should put to rest any fears that Shapeshifting was a lucky accident.

Stream: Young Galaxy – “Pretty Boy”

Spin talks to Colin Stetson about his new album, New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light, which was just confirmed for an April 30 release. Pitchfork has details on the album as well as North American tour dates which include a May 19 date at The Great Hall in Toronto, tickets $13.50. A track from the album featuring Justin Vernon of Bon Iver on vocals is also available to download.

MP3: Colin Stetson – “High Above A Grey Green Sea”

Exclaim talks to Louise Burns about the status of her second solo record, tentatively entitled Louise Burns Presents the Midnight Mass and due out whenever it’s good and ready.

Ottawa Magazine catches up with Rolf Klausner of The Acorn, whose new record Vieux Loup will be out later this year. You can hear one of the new songs by way of video session for Herd Mag.

The Ontarion has words with Alaska B and Ruby Attwood of Yamantaka//Sonic Titan.

Memoryhouse have made a video for an unreleased song as a sort of thank you to their fans.

Video: Memoryhouse – “Untitled”

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Fineshrine

Review of Purity Ring’s Shrines

Photo By Sebastian MlynarskiSebastian MlynarskiI expect there’s a lot of interest in drawing parallels between the success of Purity Ring with that of Grimes what with both being based out of Montreal – although Purity Ring’s Corin Roddick and Megan James originally hail from Edmonton – and releasing albums of electronic pop that seem to be the perfect soundtracks for the zeitgeist circa 2012, and on the same label outside of Canada, no less – the legendary 4AD.

But whereas Claire Boucher’s work is rather defined by its technicolor ADD-ness and her pixie-like vocals, Purity Ring’s debut Shrines is quite content to work within decidedly narrow aesthetic parameters. Beats are slow and with their reverse-decay treatment, seem to exist somewhere between a stutter and a throb, giving the record a very steady if uneasy pace. At the other end of the spectrum and separated by layers of thickly reverbed ’80s-vintage synth tones, you have James’ bright, clear, and girlish vocals – and only occasionally electronically sliced and diced – delivering major-key, singalong melodies and lyrics that are often playfully nonsensical, yet still somehow foreboding.

This contrast essentially sums up Purity Ring – a friendly yet fearful intersection of dreampop and R&B. The consistency of their style reminds me of The xx, who were also able to turn a seemingly limited palette of sounds and ideas into a unique sonic world all their own. They aren’t quite as able to avoid the nagging sense of sameness that’s the downside of such an approach – by the end of Shrines, there’s a distinct sense that you’ve heard these songs already – but the record possesses enough distinctiveness and ideas to largely justify all the attention being given to it.

What attention? Well, consider that the week of the record’s release – that’s this week – has yielded feature pieces in Exclaim, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Interview, Canada.com, The Edmonton Journal, The Montreal Gazette, and Stereogum. I’d say that counts as people paying attention.

MP3: Purity Ring – “Belispeak”
MP3: Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”
MP3: Purity Ring – “Obedear”
Video: Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”
Video: Purity Ring – “Belispeak”

Claire Boucher talks to MTV Hive about some creative directions she may want to take in the future, whether as Grimes or as something else. It’s as Grimes that she’ll be at Lee’s Palace on September 21.

Crystal Castles are putting the finishing touches on their third album – still untitled but due out late September, and with the first sample available to download and accompanying North American tour announced. Full dates plus some words from Ethan Kath about the new record are available at Exclaim. The hometown date on the itinerary is November 4 at the Kool Haus; Los Angeles’ HEALTH supports.

MP3: Crystal Castles – “Plague”

Dan Snaith’s multiple personality disorder appears to have reared its head again. After being forced to stop being Manitoba and become Caribou some years ago – occasionally transforming into the Caribou Vibration Ensemble – he’s announced his next release will be under the name Daphni, and be decidedly more electronic/dancey than his past efforts which were decidedly electronic/dancey to begin with. The album JIAOLONG will be out on October 16 – Pitchfork has details, the first video is below.

Video: Daphni – “Ye Ye”

Also at Pitchfork, Dan Bejar reviews some of the musical milestones of his life that turned him into Destroyer. He also talks to The Vancouver Sun and Victoria Times-Colonist about attempting to get Destroyer onto the jazz festival circuit this Summer.

That new Stars tune from North that was made available to stream earlier this week is now downloadable. The album is out on September 4 and they open up for Metric at the Air Canada Centre on November 14.

MP3: Stars – “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”

Shad talks to CBC Music about the ’90s-era samples and influences that went into his Melancholy & The Infinite Shadness mixtape.

Those who like their Can-rock bearded and retro-styled will like the looks of the lineup rolling into Echo Beach on September 15 – that’ll bring The Sheepdogs, The Sadies, Zeus, and Yukon Blonde to the waterfront stage. Tickets for that are $29.50 general admission and $45 VIP.

MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”
MP3: Zeus – “Anything You Want Dear”>
MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Fire”
Video: The Sheepdogs – “I Don’t Know”

The Acorn have taken a moment to update the world on what The Acorn has been up to and to share an unreleased tune. A new record is in the works and they’re playing the Paper Bag Records 10th anniversary show at The Great Hall on September 27.

Stream: The Acorn – “Shoot The Moon”

Daytrotter has a session and The Calgary Herald an interview with Cold Specks. She’s at The Great Hall on August 8.

Beatroute talks to Little Scream.

Exclaim has some details on the deluxe reissue of Sloan’s seminal Twice Removed, which will come as a triple-LP set with the album proper on one slab of vinyl, a demo version of the album on another, and a batch of era-correct outtakes on the third. Street date and complete recital tour dates are still to come – the already announced dates only get them as far as the midwest by late September… they gotta come home sometime.

Those of you who like free shows – I see you enter my contests, I know that’s pretty much all of you – should take note of a couple things going down next week courtesy of Scion Sessions. They’ve got their fingers in a few things including the Mad Decent Block Party taking over Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday, but there’s also a couple of shows – one headlined by Nosaj Thing at The Hoxton on August 2 and one led by Young Widows at Parts & Labour on August 3 that you can be at for just the cost of an RSVP. Follow the links above for details.

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Laura Palmer's Prom

No one tell Paper Bag Records that the traditional 10th anniversary gift isn’t three nights of shows

Photo via FacebookFacebookCustom dictates that for tenth anniversaries, the traditional gift is something made from tin and the modern equivalent is aluminum. Or diamond. How on earth do you get from tin to diamond? Happily, Toronto’s Paper Bag Records pays no attention to such convention and to mark their tenth year of releasing great music from both Canada and abroad, they’ve opted to put together three nights of shows at The Great Hall from September 27 to 29 and featuring the best of their current roster as well as a surprise and welcome return – You Say Party.

The Vancouver dance-rock band were riding high on their third album, 2009’s XXXX, when their drummer Devon Clifford suddenly and tragically died onstage in April 2010. They soldiered on for another year and then, promotional duties done, went on indefinite hiatus – a hiatus that would last a year and a half, as they state on their website, “Over the course of the last year, we came to realize a simple truth: that the four of us missed making music together”. Their appearance on the third night of the PBR anniversary shows will mark their first step back and as a four-piece, reconfiguring their old songs to fit and presumably crafting new ones.

Their return will surely be a highlight of that third night, which also features Young Galaxy, The Luyas, and a special guest that you probably don’t need to do too much thinking to guess who it will but all three evenings are pretty stacked. Thursday night features Elliott Brood, Born Ruffians, Woodhands, and The Acorn and Friday brings in The Rural Alberta Advantage, Cuff The Duke, PS I Love You, and Slim Twig.

Tickets for each night are $25 and a three-day pass comes in at $60, on sale now. The Great Hall isn’t that big so if you’re thinking this is something you should be at, turning thought into action soon is recommended.

MP3: The Acorn – “Restoration”
MP3: Born Ruffians – “Sole Brother”
MP3: Cuff The Duke – “Standing On The Edge”
MP3: Elliott Brood – “Northern Air”
MP3: The Luyas – “Too Beautiful To Work”
MP3: PS I Love You – “2012”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”
MP3: Slim Twig – “Young Hussies”
MP3: Woodhands – “Dissembler”
MP3: You Say Party! – “Laura Palmer’s Prom”
MP3: Young Galaxy – “Peripheral Visionaries”

Under The Radar chats with Torq Campbell of Stars, who released their first albums on Paper Bag and will put their sixth album North out on September 4. They’ve made a new track from said record available to stream and will be at the Air Canada Centre on November 14 supporting Metric.

Stream: Stars – “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”

The New York Times has a feature piece on Purity Ring, whose much-anticipated debut Shrines is out this week and who’ve made another track from it available to download.

MP3: Purity Ring – “Belispeak”

Damian Abraham of Fucked Up rattles off his favourite records of the past two decades for CBC Music. They’re at Historic Fort York on September 9 as part of Riot Fest.

Melancholy & The Infinite Shadness is the name of a new mixtape from Shad that you need in your life. Get it for free.

ZIP: Shad / Melancholoy & The Infinite Shadness

The Georgia Straight and The Victoria Times-Colonist talks to Kathryn Calder.

CBC Music has five tracks to preview for the forthcoming live Dears album Never Destroy Us, due out this Fall.

Patrick Watson gives Spinner his thoughts on and ambitions for the music video medium; he also chats with Vermont’s Seven Days. He’s at Massey Hall on December 6.

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Provider

Bry Webb and Doug Tielli at The Music Gallery in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt probably amounts to some sort of Can-rock heresy, but I think I actually like Bry Webb on his own more than I ever did with Constantines. I fully acknowledge why many hold the Cons up as one of the greatest Canadian rock acts of the past however many years/decades/centuries – I’ve seen them live, I know what they were capable of – but the fact is, his solo debut Provider has captivated me more than any of the Cons studio releases ever did. The whys of it, I’ve already covered but it’s telling that even though I had opportunities to catch the Constantines a couple years ago one last time before they went on their indefinite hiatus, I never got around to it whereas when it was announced that Webb would be playing a couple of intimate shows at The Music Gallery on Saturday night to properly mark the record’s release – he technically debuted the new songs in December at Massey Hall opening for Feist – the early show went straight into the calendar.

Opening up both sets was local fixture Doug Tielli, who came armed with just his voice and guitar; the former a slow, warm instrument with effortless falsetto, the latter a virtuosically-handled Stratocaster. Not much, but still plenty when wrapped around a half-dozen songs that ranged from country-western shuffles about cows to jazzy-yet-visceral croons to shimmering atmospheric pop and also a cover of Aretha’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”. Short but sweet.

I’d actually seen Webb solo before back in December 2009 when he was operating under the guise of Harbour Coats. I don’t know how much, if any, of that material made it onto Provider but that show did affirm that Webb was as compelling a performer on his own as with a band. For this occasion, he again had a band – dubbed The Providers – but they were hardly a conventional setup, with Webb mainly on acoustic guitar and backed by an upright bass, lap steel and pedal steel. The configuration was an inspired one, evoking a heartbeat and blood flow while Webb gave his songs breath and spirit. Even though no one doubted that Webb’s vocals, known across Canada for their rough bark, could be just as affecting as a sigh, hearing it fill the church sanctuary on gorgeous and moving moments like “Asa” and “Persistent Spirit” was still revelatory. The heaviest moment of the night came with set closer “Ex-Punks”, wherein they were joined by a drummer to add enough hammering percussion that if you looked and listened close enough, you could perceive the ghosts of the Constantines hovering overhead; not invoked, but acknowledged. For the one-song encore, they offered a cover of The Mills Brothers’ “Smoke Rings” and sent us on our way and the ready themselves to do it all over again.

Mechanical Forest Sound has a recording of “Ex-Punks” from the show he’d like to share, and BlogTO has a review. NOW, The Guelph Mercury, The Toronto Star, Spinner, Brock Press, and BlogTO have profile pieces on Webb.

Photos: Bry Webb, Doug Tielli @ The Music Gallery – February 4, 2012
MP3: Bry Webb – “Rivers Of Gold”
Stream: Bry Webb – “Undertaker”
Stream: Doug Tielli – “Deer”
Video: Doug Tielli – “Deer”

Paste has offered up a new download from the forthcoming Wooden Sky album Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun, due out February 28. They play The Opera House on April 20.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Malibu Rum”

Almost a couple years on from its release, a new video from The Acorn’s last album No Ghost. Odd timing, but there’s never a bad time to be reminded of a great band and album.

Video: The Acorn – “Misplaced”

The schedule for this year’s Canadian Musicfest is probably still a ways off, but some showcases lineups are trickling out, including this Quebec-centric one at The El Mocambo on March 22, which will feature a super-solid lineup of The Dears, Martha Wainwright, Galaxie, and Adam & The Amethysts. Advance tickets are $20 or you can try your luck with a festival wristband, of which a limited number will be admitted.

MP3: The Dears – “Blood”
MP3: Adam & The Amethysts – “Prophecy”
Video: Martha Wainwright – “You Cheated Me”
Video: Galaxie – “Piste 01”

PopMatters gets to know Dan Mangan, who will be in town to play the Indies at the Royal York on March 24.

Exclaim talks to The Darcys, who are at The Phoenix on March 1 opening for Bombay Bicycle Club and at Downsview Park for Edgefest on July 12.

A track from Rae Spoon’s new album I Can’t Keep All Of Our Secrets is now available to download. If you’re into that sort of thing. There’s also interviews at The Dalhousie Gazette and Beatroute.

MP3: Rae Spoon – “Crash Landing”

Great Lake Swimmers are streaming a second selection from their new album New Wild Everywhere, due out April 3. They play The Music Hall on June 2.

Stream: Great Lake Swimmers – “Les Champs des Prog´lniture”

Pitchfork is streaming all of Fucked Up’s Chinese zodiac singles to date; that’s five so far, including the “Year Of The Tiger” one due out on February 21.

Stream: Fucked Up / Chinese Zodiac singles

Consequence Of Sound reports that Neil Young’s getting back together with Crazy Horse may yield as many as two albums – the one called Americana is apparently already recorded and a second is in the works. Or, it being Neil, maybe nothing will actually come of this.

Whole lot of talking about Leonard Cohen in the wake of last week’s release of Old Ideas: The AV Club has a primer to his recorded works, Exclaim has assembled a timeline of his career, and Spinner and The National Post have both assembled panels of musicians to talk about the influence of the man and his music. Also, two more installments of the Old Ideas With New Friends covers series have surfaced, with The Guardian presenting Cults covering “Everybody Knows” and Pitchfork hosting Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox doing his take on, “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy”.

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

North Star

Review of The Rural Alberta Advantage’s Departing

Photo via Vanessa HeinsVanessa HeinsIt’s fitting that there was on The Rural Albeta Advantage’s debut album Hometowns a song called “The Ballad Of The RAA” because really, theirs was a nearly perfect story. The Toronto trio went from sparsely-attended open mic nights around town through a whirlwind of buzz – including a glorious, crystalline moment in an packed Austin church – that saw them become critical and popular darlings, all on the back of that batch of perfect, almost bewilderingly-simple but heartfelt songs. If this were the feature film adaptation of their story, then the final scene might well have played out at Lee’s Palace in December 2009 with the band playing a jam-packed hometown homecoming show and basking in the love of friends and family, faded to black.

Real life, however, doesn’t get to just let the credits roll and short of disbanding, a sequel was guaranteed and a couple years on, has arrived in Departing. Now for some bands, saying that they’ve made the same record over again would be a slight but for The RAA, at least in this case, it’s meant as high praise. Their sonic signature was distinctive from day one, relying on just a handful of musical tools to bring their songs to life, and success hasn’t been converted into truckloads of new instruments to play with. They just took a break, took a breath, and got back to it.

On the similarities, Departing is still built on Nils Edenloff’s nasal rasp and battered acoustic guitar, Amy Cole’s humming keyboards and sweet harmonies and Paul Banwatt’s insane drumming; elements that might seem at odds with one another on paper yet are perfectly complimentary in practice. The songs are yearning and wistful, still informed by Edenloff’s past life as a young Albertan in love. Even so, Departing is far from redundant – it represents a further honing of the above elements, the sort that you only get from endlessly touring. The production is more consistent throughout the album – Hometowns sometimes bore the fingerprints of its drawn-out gestation – and the arc of the songs from start to finish feels more considered and fluid. And while it covers the same lyrical terrain as its predecessor, the emotional range is broader, featuring some of the band’s most gentle and raging moments. On an individual song basis, Hometowns might retain the edge in highlights but as a collection and an arc, Departing is every bit its equal if not better.

All that said, one has to wonder how much more mileage can be gotten from this formula which has served them so well thus far, both with regards to sound and songwriting. The tidiness of a trilogy aside, it’s hard to imagine a third record of this not entering diminishing returns territory and surely a band as talented as they would want to push their boundaries as well. That, however, is a deliberation for later. All that matters for now is that Departing, while not having the ineffable x-factor that comes with discovering one of your new favourite bands, is another superb record from a singular band and should be treasured.

The Rural Alberta Advantage play their biggest hometown show yet at The Phoenix on April 29. Paste, Spinner and The Wall Street Journal have interviews with the band, NPR a World Cafe session and Billboard coaxes an Abba cover out of them.

MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “North Star”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”
Video: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”

Pitchfork talks to Tom Scharpling about directing the latest New Pornographers video for “Moves”, outtakes from which have now surfaced on Vimeo.

Wireless Bollinger exchanges words with Dan Bejar of Destroyer. He plays Lee’s Palace on March 31.

BBC, The New Zealand Herald and Herald Sun talk to Dan Snaith of Caribou, who has released a new video from last year’s Swim.

Video: Caribou – “Jamelia”

Beatroute has an interview with Born Ruffians, who have a show at The Opera House on April 16.

The New Haven Advocate and Spinner catch up with Tokyo Police Club.

Exclaim rounds up various goings-on in the world of Fucked Up, including a live record and GG Allin tribute 7″. Their next studio record David Comes To Life is due in May.

Spinner talks to John O’Regan of Diamond Rings.

Muzzle Of Bees has premiered a new video from Great Lake Swimmers.

Video: Great Lake Swimmers – “Chorus In The Underground”

PopMatters interview Rolf Klausener of The Acorn. They’ve just announced an April 28 date at The Horseshoe with Evening Hymns.

MP3: The Acorn – “Restoration”

Beatroute discusses Degeneration Street with Murray Lightburn of The Dears.

Soundproof, Prefix and Filter have features on Young Galaxy, playing at Lee’s Palace on Thursday night as part of Canadian Musicfest.

NOW, eye and The Waterloo Record talk to Karkwa in advance of their local appearances next week – March 5 at Lee’s Palace opening for Plants & Animals, March 11 at Wrongbar for Canadian Musicfest and an in-store at Sonic Boom at 9PM on March 12.

Ottawa XPress, The Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Citizen and Brock Press have feature pieces on Jenn Grant.