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Posts Tagged ‘Aidan Knight’

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Sleep Patterns

Canadian Musicfest 2011 suggestions that I won’t be taking

Photo By Samantha CardowSamantha CardowWith festivals come hard choices, and for this year’s edition of Canadian Musicfest, getting underway with a handful of events tonight and in earnest as of tomorrow, I am choosing to eschew the club-hopping-ness that typically comes with these sorts of fest and largely plant myself in one place for each evening. Hard choice or lazy choice? A little of both.

But just because I am staying put doesn’t mean that I recommend others do the same. So by way of festival preview, here’s a list of stuff that I almost certainly won’t be going to but that you should, or at least should investigate. As for what I am going to be seeing over the next few nights, well you can wait for the post-mortem for that.

Wednesday, March 9
Snowblink @ The Painted Lady, 10PM – their release party for the beauteous album Long Live this past weekend apparently a carnivalesque success, the Toronto duo have announced their festival showcase. If you missed the Music Gallery show, as I did, you should make this one, as I will not.
MP3: Snowblink – “The Tired Bees”

Alcoholic Faith Mission @ Rancho Relaxo, 12AM – acoustically-inclined pop-rock comprised of Danes who met in Brooklyn will be all over Toronto this week, following this show with a midnight engagement at The Dakota Tavern on Friday night and an 8PM opening slot at The El Mocambo on Saturday night.
MP3: Alcoholic Faith Mission – “Running With Insanity”

Thursday, March 10
Modern Superstitions @ The Horseshoe, 8:30PM – this local quartet delivers scrappy garage rock with a healthy dose of hooks, attitude and not a little sex appeal. Only an EP to their name right now but more and better will come.
MP3: Modern Superstitions – “Visions Of You”

Molly Rankin @ The Horseshoe, 9:20PM – caught a bit of this Nova Scotia native – yes, of those Rankins – during a BBQ at NXNE last year, and her rootsy power-pop made an impression, even over the sound of me eating a tasty burger. She has members of Two Hours Traffic in her band, presumably voluntarily.
MP3: Molly Rankin – “Bombshell”

Heartbeat Hotel @ The Silver Dollar, 10PM – rising locals continue to refine their heady brew of psychedelic pop, and hopefully their live show will be as good as their recorded works – maybe it’ll happen this evening!
MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “Fins Of A Shark”

Memoryhouse @ The Great Hall, 10:45PM – hey, didja hear? The local dreampop duo has signed to Sub Pop. Not that you need the validation of some big American indie label to know that these guys are great and worth seeing. No, you’re smarter than that.
MP3: Memoryhouse – “Lately (Deuxieme)”

The High Dials @ Hard Luck, 11PM – this venue is pretty new but I’m reasonably certain it’s not a drug front for the mob. The High Dials, on the other hand, have been around for ages and I am certain they’re still putting out some of the sharpest power-pop around.
MP3: The High Dials – “Chinese Boxes”

The Darcys @ The Silver Dollar, 11PM – long one of the city’s most bursting-with-potential as well as sort-of snakebit bands, their new – and first? – second album is done and should finally deliver on their immense promise. Appreciate their ubiquitousness on local stages while you can.
MP3: The Darcys – “The House Built Around Your Voice”

Halves @ The Hideout, 12AM – these Dublliners were playing at Whelan’s Pub in Dublin the very same night I was there in 2008. I didn’t go upstairs to see them, drank a Guinness instead. TRUE STORY. They cultivate a gorgeous, post-rock with vocals vibe reminiscent of Early Day Miners and are also playing Friday at The Comfort Zone at 8PM.
Video: Halves – “Medals”

Austra @ Wrongbar, 1AM – the artist formerly known as Private Life formerly known as Stelmanis formerly known as Katie Stelmanis has finally settled on an identity and a sound – dark electro-pop – and is reaping the benefits and buzz from it. Her debut Feel It Break is out in May.
MP3: Austra – “The Beat & The Pulse”

The Butterfly Explosion @ The Hideout, 2AM – the Irish shoegazers have visited before and broken up and reformed in the interim, and have now drawn an unenviable insomniac/unemployed time slot. If you’re still out and about at that hour and looking for something to see, they won’t disappoint.
MP3: The Butterfly Explosion – “Sophia”

Friday, March 11
Rebekah Higgs @ Supermarket, 9PM – Haligonian songwriter constantly trying to reconcile her folkish roots and electronic inclinations with tuneful results. Her Little Voice EP offers a taste of the new full-length coming soon.
MP3: Rebekah Higgs – “Asleep All Winter”

Aidan Knight @ The Rivoli, 10PM – BC singer-songwriter whose debut album Versicolour is an understated gem, and whose live show is charmingly goofy. Also playing a day show out Trinity-Bellwoods way at 4:40PM on Saturday.
MP3: Aidan Knight – “Friendly Fires”

The Jezabels @ Lee’s Palace, 10PM – Australian rock act here all the way from Australia. Dark, dramatic, crunchy and Australian. Did I mention they’re Australian?
MP3: The Jezabels – “Mace Spray”

Monogrenade @ The El Mocambo, 10:30PM – we all took French in grade school and high school, so language shouldn’t be a barrier to appreciating these rangy Montrealers, who’ve got the acoustic/orchestral smoulder thing down pat. Yeah, that’s a thing.
Video: Monogrenade – “Ce Soir”

Imaginary Cities @ The Garrison, 11:30PM – if an act as legendary as Pixies saw fit to invite these Winnapeggers along for their North American tour and see/hear them every night, then surely they’re worth an hour of your time? They’re also playing on Thursday night at Lee’s Palace at 10:30PM.
MP3: Imaginary Cities – “Hummingbird”

Bombay Bicycle Club @ Lee’s Palace, 12AM – every year it seems there’s a token buzzy Brit band who makes a festival appearance – this year it’s Bombay Bicycle Club. But if you’re of the Anglophile persuasion, you’ve probably already decided to be at this show.
Video: Bombay Bicycle Club – “Evening/Morning”

The Meligrove Band @ Sneaky Dee’s 1AM – local power-pop veterans will be showcasing songs from their latest album Shimmering Lights; always a spirited and rollicking good time.
MP3: The Meligrove Band – “Halflight”

Saturday, March 12
The Balconies @ Lee’s Palace, 10PM – local faves have been holed away writing album number two all Winter – surely there’ll be some new songs in the set? And no you don’t have to stay for Electric Six.
MP3: The Balconies – “300 Pages”

Neon Windbreaker @ The Silver Dollar, 11PM – at first they weren’t a real band, then not a serious band, and now they’re a band with a work ethic that shames career bands that’s playing all over the place both here and at SxSW with a penchant for covering ’90s Canadian alt-rock standards. So you may as well.
MP3: Neon Windbreaker – “Furniture”

Nadia von Hahn @ The Library Bar 11:30PM – smooth and sassy retro-pop from the west coast with loungey and doo-wop accents. Also doing a Daytime Living Room session for The Toronto Institute For The Enjoyment Of Music out Trinity-Bellwoods way at 2PM that afternoon.
Video: Nadia von Hahn – “This Holy Night”

Writers’ Strike @ Rancho Relaxo, 12AM – scrappy and kinda snotty pop-punk from Halifax, not really offering anything new but doing what they do well and with vigor.
MP3: Writers’ Strike – “Bad Time”

The White Wires @ Wrongbar, 2AM – highly regarded new purveyors of old-school garage rock from Ottawa, they may well be worth dealing with Parkdale at 2AM on a Saturday night to see. Seriously.
MP3: White Wires – “Be True To Your School (Until You Get Kicked Out)”

Did you notice the fest is really front-loaded this year? Yeah, me too.

Of course, besides the showcases there’s plenty else going on that doesn’t necessarily require a badge or wristband or even a cover charge – Dorkshelf has rounded some of them up. There’s the three-day in-store mini-fest happening at Sonic Boom, which will feature sets from the likes of The Balconies, The Most Serene Republic, Bombay Bicycle Club, J Mascis, James Vincent McMorrow and Karkwa, among many many others – the full list and schedule is up at the Sonic Boom website.

Criminal Records will also be hosting an in-store with a west coast flavour on Friday night at 7PM, featuring Aidan Knight – complimented above – and We Are The City.

MP3: We Are The City – “Happy New Year”

There’s also a full list of performers and times for the Living Room Sessions noted a couple times above – all performances are free and all-ages.

Memoryhouse discusses their background and aesthetics with Spinner.

The Toronto Star talks to The Darcys about their near-death and rebirth.

Spinner talks to The Wilderness Of Manitoba, who are opening up Thursday night’s bill at Lee’s Palace as well as playing a Living Room Session at 5:20 on Saturday.

She Does The City asks random questions of Young Galaxy’s Stephen Ramsay. They’re the headliner on the Thursday night Lee’s Palace bill, going on at 11:30PM.

Citeeze talks to Laurel Sprengelmeyer, aka Little Scream, whose debut album The Golden Record has been released on iTunes as of this week, well ahead of the physical edition’s April 12 street date. A new MP3 from said record is also available to download. She is opening things up at The Opera House on Thursday night at 8:30, and note that she will no longer be supporting Sharon Van Etten at The Drake on April 12.

MP3: Little Scream – “Cannons”

The National Post chats with Karkwa, who are at Wrongbar on Friday night with a set time of 10PM.

J Mascis’ new solo record Several Shades Of Why, which you can expect to hear when he headlines The Great Hall on Friday night, is streaming over at Spin ahead of its March 15 release.

Stream: J Mascis / Several Shades Of Why

The Globe & Mail previews Canadian Music Week by chatting with Jenn Grant, Imaginary Cities and Hollerado.

Chad VanGaalen’s next record Diaper Island will be out May 17; details at Chart.

Mumford & Sons might be getting the headlines for their railroad tour through the southwest this Spring, but a similar excursion – though presumably by good old Via Rail rather than some retro-fied locomotive – is happening across Canada and is bringing Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon, Magali Meagher of The Phonemes and Jon Janes of The Mountains & The Trees to 16 station stops from coast to coast. The Toronto date is April 21 at The Tranzac.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Empty-Hall Sing-Along”
MP3: The Mountains & The Trees – “More & More & More”

And if this hasn’t been quite enough Canadian music to get you through the day/week/month, head over to The Line Of Best Fit for another Oh! Canada mix to download.

Whew. Effin’ festivals.

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Set The Sails

Dan Mangan and Aidan Knight at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangDan Mangan has come through town a few times since his show at the Rivoli last October, but for my purposes that show and the one this past Thursday night at the Horseshoe make for very good comparison points. At that show, I noted he seemed “on the cusp of bigger things” and while the ‘Shoe is physically bigger than the Rivoli by a fair margin, selling it out as fully as Mangan did also represents a sort of watershed moment for a Canadian artist. Dan Mangan isn’t just rising; he’s risen.

And along for the ride (and this tour) was Victoria’s Aidan Knight, who himself has been getting some attention for his debut mini-album Versicolour… though not from me. Though I knew I had a copy, I hadn’t gotten around to checking it out before the show and so basically went into his opening set cold. What I found was an artist possessed of a voice that was simultaneously wearily aged yet earnestly youthful and with a timbre not unlike Tony Dekker’s and armed with a brace of songs whose tones ranged from quirky to weighty. Decent stuff made more entertaining thanks to Knight’s charmingly awkward stage presence and band arrangements that were more intricate and interesting than they probably needed to be. And I did finally give Versicolour a listen afterwards, and must say it’s a much more impressive document of Knight’s abilities than his live set was – well-crafted, musically ambitious and with just the right amount of downbeat mood, it definitely marks Knight as a talent to keep an eye on.

Which, really, is what people were probably saying about Dan Mangan a year or so ago, when his Roboteering EP was released and foreshadowed what was to come later last Summer with his second full-length Nice, Nice, Very Nice. And as much as credit must be given to that record for being excellent and one of my favourites of last year, I think it’s largely Mangan’s work ethic and relentless cross-country touring that was responsible for packing the Horseshoe on this night – the vibe in the room wasn’t so much of fans seeing a favourite performer but of friends visiting with one another, and that sort of rapport is really only built in the live setting.

Nowhere was this more clearly evident than early in the set for “The Indie Queens Are Waiting” – whereas at the Rivoli show, Mangan had a female band member cover Veda Hille’s vocals on the studio version, this time Mangan’s crew were all men so it seemed he was prepared to let the responses to his calls go unmade. The audience, however, would have none of it and quietly and chorally filled in that space, in particular one girl standing just behind me who nearly nailed Hille’s timbre and phrasing. Also unlike the Rivoli show, this time out Mangan had a full-time drummer behind him, giving the set a bit more meat and propulsion than in October but the overall pacing was kept at a fairly even keel and interspersed with corny jokes and anecdotes, such that the evening had less the feel of a performance than a friendly conversation. And for the quality of his songwriting and records, it’s that resonance and relatability that may be Mangan’s greatest talents – you can go far by just making great music, but there are some heights that can only be reached if you’re lifted up on the shoulders of your fans.

BlogTO, The Globe & Mail and Music Vice also have reviews of the show (though the Globe piece is really more of an extended, “I don’t get it”) while NOW and The Toronto Star chime in with feature pieces on Mangan.

Photos: Dan Mangan, Aidan Knight @ The Horseshoe – April 22, 2010
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Robots”
MP3: Dan Mangan with Shane Koyzcan – “Tragic Turn Of Events/Move Pen Move”
MP3: Aidan Knight – “Jasper”
Video: Dan Mangan – “Robots”
Video: Dan Mangan – “The Indie Queens Are Waiting”
Video: Aidan Knight – “Jasper”
Stream: Dan Mangan / Roboteering
Stream: Dan Mangan / Nice, Nice, Very Nice
MySpace: Dan Mangan
MySpace: Aidan Knight

Pitchfork talks to Caribou’s Dan Snaith; they play The Phoenix on May 3.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Owen Pallett’s show in New York last week. Dallas Voice also has an interview.

Under The Radar talks to Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine.

Fresh off announcing the release date of her new record – June 29 – M.I.A. has released the first decidedly NSFW video and leaked the corresponding MP3 from the record herself. Clearly, motherhood has mellowed her out. Yeah, right. Update: YouTube has moved the video behind the adults-only curtain. Kids of all ages can watch it and it’s ultra-violence at her website, though.

MP3: M.I.A. – “Born Free”
Video: M.I.A. – “Born Free”

The Hot Chip/xx show from Washington DC this past weekend is now available to stream at NPR, and if you want some visuals to go with the audio, check out the photos over at Photokyle. There’s also a Hot Chip feature at The Independent.

Slow Club are giving away a free EP – head over here and swap your email for their Let’s Fall Back In Love EP.

Idlewild have chosen to call it a day – I guess that rumoured North American tour for the Fall isn’t happening.

An Horse have released a new video from Rearrange Beds. They play the Garrison tonight.

Video: An Horse – “Postcards”

MBV Music reports that the long-awaited new Versus album – their first in ten years – has a title of On The Ones And Threes and will be out this August on Merge and Teenbeat.

It seems I jumped the gun a bit on announcing that Mirah show at the Horseshoe last week. Not because the show’s not happening – it is, on June 26 – but because it’s part of a massive co-headline tour with Thao with The Get Down Stay Down. I can’t speak for the live Mirah experience – or the recorded one, really – but Thao live is terrific. I suspect this show – and tour – is wholly worth your time.

MP3: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down – “Know Better Learn Faster”

Billboard has an extensive feature piece on The National, whose High Violet is just a fortnight from release and who are at Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.

PitchforkTV has a video session with The Antlers; they open up both of those National shows at Massey Hall.

NPR interviews Midlake. They play the Mod Club on May 22.

The Georgia Straight and Tuscon Weekly talk to Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Band Of Horses’ Creighton Barrett. Infinite Arms is out May 18 and they play Toronto Islands on June 19.

Crooked Fingers has taken to Kickstarter to solicit financing for a most worthy of projects – a follow-up to their 2002 covers EP Reservoir Songs. Pledges can be for as little as $1, but starting at the $6 point you’re entitled to a download of the finished product, while $15 or $25 gets you a limited-edition LP and if you get into the four-figure territory, you can get to pick a song for them to cover or have them come to your living room to perform. For serious. They’re targeting an early Summer release for the EP and a new Crooked Fingers full-length before the year is out.

Seeing as how they initially reported on its existence, it seems fitting that Torontoist have an update of sorts on the Imagine Concert, which is still supposed to usher in a new Age of Aquarius (aren’t we already in one?) emanating from Downsview Park in Toronto starting the weekend of July 10 and 11. It seems the city still hasn’t signed off, never mind provincial or federal authorities and the promoter is tilting at windmills and trying to pay artists fees with peace and love. I also apparently gave them too much credit in assuming they’d secured The Flaming Lips as part of the “Pink Floyd tribute” portion of the show as updated touring itineraries show the Lips as being at Ottawa Bluesfest on the 10th and in Louisville, Kentucky on the 11th. That does, however, leave two days open between Montreal on the 7th and Ottawa on the 10th where the Lips could conceivably make their first Toronto appearance in three and a half years. Presumably at a show that would pay them in actual money, and not just good vibes. Now don’t get me wrong – I still hope this thing happens and that it’s wonderful or at least interesting (in a good way or a train wreck way, whichever) – but it doesn’t look too good right now.

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Made To Disappear

The Twilight Sad loses bassist, finds tourmates, hits road

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSome sad news out of Scotland this week when it was announced that Twilight Sad bassist Craig Orzel had decided to leave the band, effective immediately. He announced his departure in a blog post, though it’s not really clear what “waking up baw deep in a granny” means and if that had any effect on his decision.

Though losing a founding member is always tough on a band, the rest of the band are clearly ready to soldier on, with another single from last year’s Forget The Night Ahead – “The Room” – set for release on March 29 and a massive North American tour announced for the month of May. Unlike their Fall 2009 tour which saw them teaming up with their countrymen, this jaunt will pair them up with an outfit from considerably further away – Japan’s epic instrumentalists Mono. They have a new live album and film coming out on April 29 entitled Holy Ground: NYC Live with the Wordless Music Orchestra.

I’ve always wanted to see Mono – yes they’ve been through town a number of times, I just haven’t gone – and am always happy to be aurally assaulted by The Twilight Sad, so you can consider May 26, when the tour winds its way through Lee’s Palace in Toronto, circled on my calendar.

MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Reflection Of The Television”
MP3: Mono – “Follow The Map”
MP3: Mono – “Ashes In The Snow”

Other concert announcements this week include an in-store triple bill during Canadian Musicfest at Criminal Records. On March 13, they’ll play host to Aidan Knight, Dan Mangan and Hollerado, playing at 5PM, 6PM and 7PM respectively. As far as their festival showcases go, Knight is at the Global Backpackers Hostel on March 12, Mangan is at the Great Hall on the 11th and the Courthouse on the 12th and Hollerado at the Horseshoe on the 11th. CTV has an Olympics-themed interview with Mangan.

MP3: Hollerado – “Juliette”
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”
MP3: Aidan Knight – “Jasper”

Adam Green has a date at the Mod Club on April 17 in support of his new record Minor Love, tickets $13.50. Clash, The Line Of Best Fit and Spinner have interviews.

Video: Adam Green – “What Makes Him Act So Bad”

On April 18, the Drake Underground will welcome White Hinterland and Dosh, both of whom have new records en route. White Hinterland’s Kairos is out March 9 while Dosh’s Tommy will be available on April 13.

MP3: White Hinterland – “Icarus”
MP3: White Hinterland – “No Logic”
MP3: Dosh – “Subtractions”

Here We Go Magic and White Rabbits are teaming up for a Spring tour that will stop in at Lee’s Palace on April 27. Here We Go Magic’s new album is due out sometime in the Spring; White Rabbits are still working last year’s It’s Frightening.

MP3: White Rabbits – “Percussion Gun”
Video: Here We Go Magic – “Fangela”

Northern Ireland’s Two Door Cinema Club will wrap up a North American tour with a May 17 date at Wrongbar, tickets $10 in advance. Their debut album Tourist History is out on April 27, and if you like mondo-catchy, jangly-dancey guitar pop, it/they should probably be on your radar.

MP3: Two Door Cinema Club – “I Can Talk”
MP3: Two Door Cinema Club – “Something Good Can Work”

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings are back with a new record in I Learned the Hard Way, out April 6, and will be hitting the road, with a May 25 date at the Sound Academy in Toronto – tickets $25.

Behold the new clip from Caribou’s new album Swim, due out April 20.

Video: Caribou – “Odessa”

Phantogram’s Josh Carter tries to describe what they do to The Washington Examiner. Find out for yourself at the Drake Underground on Saturday night.

El Perro Del Mar’s Sarah Assbring talks to NOW about the Lou Reed influence on her latest record Love Is Not Pop. She is at the Mod Club on Sunday night.

The Daily Record talks to Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit about The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, due out March 9. They are at the Opera House on May 4.

BBC6 talks to Friendly Fires about working on their second album.