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Posts Tagged ‘Anni Rossi’

Monday, March 29th, 2010

SxSW 2010 Day One A/V

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFull writeup of the day over here.

Basia Bulat
– Toronto-based singer-songwriter released her sophomore album Heart Of My Own back in January. Prefix has an interview, she recorded a Camera Music video session for aux.tv and she plays the Phoenix on June 4.
Photos: Basia Bulat @ The Galaxy Room – March 17, 2010
MP3: Basia Bulat – “Go On”
MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”
MP3: Basia Bulat – “In The Night”
MP3: Basia Bulat – “Snakes & Ladders”
Video: Basia Bulat – “In The Night”
MySpace: Basia Bulat

A Sunny Day In Glasgow
– Philadelphian dreampop sextet currently touring behind last year’s Ashes Grammar and this year’s companion Nighttime Rainbows EP will stop in at the Garrison on Friday, April 2.
Photos: A Sunny Day In Glasgow @ Emo’s Annex – March 17, 2010
MP3: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “Sigh Inhibitionist”
MP3: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “Ashes Grammar/Ashes Math”
MP3: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “Best Summer Ever”
MP3: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “Watery (Drowning is Just Another Word for Being Buried Alive Under Water)”
Video: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “A Mundane Phone Call To Jack Parsons”
Video: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “So Bloody Tight”
MySpace: A Sunny Day In Glasgow

Yukon Blonde
– Classic rockily-inclined Vancouver outfit released their self-titled debut in February. Spinner has a chat and Souther Souls a session. They’ll be at The Garrison on April 23.
Photos: Yukon Blonde @ The Mohawk Patio – March 17, 2010
MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Wind Blows”
MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Rather Be With You”
MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Blood Cops”
MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Streets”
MySpace: Yukon Blonde

Anni Rossi
Spinner talks to the Chicago Viola prodigy, who released her full-length debut Rockwell last year
Photos: Anni Rossi @ The Mohawk – March 17, 2010
MP3: Anni Rossi – “Ecology”
MP3: Anni Rossi – “Wheelpusher”
Video: Anni Rossi – “The West Coast”
MySpace: Anni Rossi

The Depreciation Guild
– Brooklyn 8-bit dream-pop trio will release their new record Spirit Youth on May 18. Currently on tour with Serena-Maneesh, they will be at the Great Hall on April 2.
Photos: The Depreciation Guild @ Peckerheads – March 17, 2010
MP3: The Depreciation Guild – “Dream About Me”
Video: The Depreciation Guild – “Dream About Me”
Video: The Depreciation Guild – “Nautilus”
MySpace: The Depreciation Guild

Miles Kurosky
– Former Beulah leader just released his long-awatited solo debut The Desert Of Shallow Effects. New York Press, The New Haven Register and The AV Club have interviews.
Photos: Miles Kurosky @ Red-Eyed Fly – March 17, 2010
MP3: Miles Kurosky – “Apple For An Apple”
Video: Miles Kurosky – “Dog In The Burning Building”
MySpace: Miles Kurosky

Frightened Rabbit
– Scots released their third album The Winter Of Mixed Drinks earlier this month. STV and eMusic talk to Scott Hutchinson, who lists the reasons “Why I Wish I Could Be A Professional Rapper” for Clash. They play the Opera House on May 4.
Photos: Frightened Rabbit @ The Galaxy Room – March 17, 2010
MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”
MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “The Modern Leper”
MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Head Rolls Off”
MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Old Old Fashioned” (live)
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Nothing Like You”
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Nothing Like You” (alternate version)
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Heads Roll Off”
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “The Greys”

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

SxSW 2010 Day One

Miles Kurosky, Frightened Rabbit, Basia Bulat and more at SxSW

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWith every passing year as the middle of March approaches, I feel more and more like Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon. Clearly the sensible thing to do would be to buy a boat and sail around the world (or at least a ferry ticket to the islands) rather than throw myself yet again into the annual maelstrom of 6th St. And yet here I was, in Austin for the sixth straight year to do SxSW. Or have SxSW done to me, as the case may be.

Things began Wednesday at noon with a familiar face, Toronto’s own Basia Bulat kicking off two days of epic lineups for Paste‘s parties at the Galaxy Room. Typically, early shows are sparsely attended affairs as people struggle to haul their asses out of bed, never mind deal with registrations and whatnot, but for Bulat’s show at least they were out in force, ready to have their spirits lifted. Though playing with a much smaller band than she normally does – just herself, brother Bobby on percussion and Alison Stewart on viola and vocals – her songs sounded almost as full as ever and the perfect thing to start of the afternoon/day/festival.

I only had to dash around the corner to Emo’s Annex for the next to-see on my schedule, but my apparent inability to tell time mean that when I got there, A Sunny Day In Glasgow were already halfway through their short set. Even so, I was still able to tell that their live experience was much more immediate and conventionally pop than their records – that might be a turn off for some, but for me, who finds their albums just a little too obtuse and twisty, it meant they were a most tasty bit of dream-pop. I’m still debating whether to see them or Serena-Maneesh in Toronto on April 2, but I now definitely want to see more of A Sunny Day In Glasgow. Your move, Serena.

Heading up Red River, it became clear that the Broken Bells “secret” show, which was just announced that morning, was no longer any kind of secret and any thoughts of getting in were quickly put aside. Continuing on past the massive line, I got to the Mohawk where Austinist’s annual party was going down. I had thought I had some time before Sweden’s First Aid Kit were supposed to start, so I watched Vancouver’s Yukon Blonde do their classic rocking thing for a bit before heading inside to see… Anni Rossi. I double-checked my schedule and indeed had First Aid Kit written down, but looking at the show posters they weren’t listed at all. They’re coming to Toronto in June so no big deal, but still perplexing. Not only can I not tell time, I am apparently making stuff up now.

Thankfully playing when and where I thought they were was The Depreciation Guild, who were just beginning to regale Peckerhead’s with their electronically enhanced dreampop when I got there. I had wholly enjoyed their set opening up for The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart in February 2009 but perhaps just wasn’t fully in the mood for that in mid-afternoon or maybe I missed the big 8-bit-esque projections that were so cool that time (big sunny windows onto 6th St don’t create the same vibe). Or maybe I just needed lunch. Either way, before long, it was back out onto 6th.

After recharging with some street meat, it was time to catch one of my must-see acts for the festival, former Beulah frontman Miles Kurosky, whose long-promised solo debut The Desert Of Shallow Effects finally arrived last week. And just as the record was worth the wait, so too was Kurosky’s return to live performance. Fronting a band almost as large as his last one – five core members with percussionist and trumpet added when necessary – they brought his post-Beulah works to life in front of a goodly-sized audience that clearly had been anticipating this day for a long time. After shaking some early jitters, Kurosky was in good spirits and obviously just as pleased to be back, cracking jokes about his former band Pavement and even introducing the first of two songs from his past life as “Summer Landslide Babe”. Hearing the opening track from Yoko again was no joke, though, and would easily be the high point of the day, maybe even the week. Running out of time, they reached way back to finish off with “Emma Blowgun’s Last Stand”, capping a short but fantastic set that not only served to remind that Beulah were one of the great pop bands of the last decade, but to notify that their chief songwriter was back and still had plenty more to offer. Win-win.

With the daytime portion of the, uh, day widing down, it was back to the Paste party for Rokkervil – the Roky Erikson/Okkervil River collaboration but seeing as how they were still soundchecking drums 20 minutes past their start time, I ducked to the other stage to see Frightened Rabbit… who also turned out to be running behind. But their problems would prove to be more than just getting their gear soundchecked – some of their equipment was not even working so when they finally got started, it was in a more stripped-down configuration than they’d intended, most notably with frontman Scott Hutchison sticking to acoustic guitar for the set. This actually proved to be a blessing, of sorts, as their new record The Winter Of Mixed Drinks takes their sound into heavier, more electric territory than their beloved Midnight Organ Fight and it was nice to hear the new material delivered with a little less bombast. I’ve not doubt that they can make the big presentation work, as they surely will when they play Toronto’s Opera House on May 4, but I liked seeing/hearing it done small(er).

Then it was time to forage up some dinner before things got official.

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

I Gotta Tell Ya Fellas, This Is Pretty Terrific

Oh No Forest Fires, Make Your Exit, Clothes Make The Man and The Balconies at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangPeople traditionally go to great lengths to avoid getting a lump of coal for Christmas but there’s something to be said for getting a big pile of rock for the holidays. And it was rock – and lots of it – on offer Saturday night at the Horseshoe for Jingle Bell Rock, an evening presented by promotions company Audio Blood Media and media partners aux.tv and Exclaim. The lineup featured four bands from the Audio Blood roster – Oh No Forest Fires, Make Your Exit, Clothes Make The Man and The Balconies. The opener and closer were personal live favourites so even though I didn’t know the middle acts at all, odds were pretty good that it’d be a great show.

I’d seen The Balconies a couple times since they moved to Toronto from Ottawa and began gigging their asses off, and they’ve yet to deliver anything but a cracking good set. As always, the power pop of their self-titled debut was lean and lethal and the trio had energy and charisma to spare, rewarding those who’d had the foresight to show up early with a terrific set. I was recently asked in a sort-of poll for a UK website what my Canuck tip for 2010 was – I went with The Balconies, calling them “an inevitability” (do I need quotes to quote myself?). This show was a reminder of why. Their next local gig is January 6 at Supermarket.

From there it was into the, “…and you are?” portion of the night. Clothes Make The Man were certainly keeping in the rock theme of the night, perhaps moreso than any of the others. You had to feel for frontman Ryan McLennan’s vocal cords, so throat-shredding and raw was his delivery but even so, was still able to carry a melody and even convey some gentleness when called for. Which, honestly, wasn’t that often – the quartet was here to be loud and heavy and just tuneful enough. Mission accomplished.

Make Your Exit had a decidedly different mandate, playing the role of sensitive, jam-friendly collective for the evening. Their set was all grand arrangements, emotive melodies and layered harmonies – enough to put most of those around me into a collective swoon but leaving me largely umoved. Certainly I was able to appreciate the musical ability on display, objectively, but any grab for the heartstrings missed the target. Hey, win some, lose some.

Oh No Forest Fires were, as the kids say, made of win and provided just the jolt of energy I needed to make it through the remainder of the night. Led by frontman and human superball Rajiv Thavanathan, their gleeful, ADD-addled prog-punk had the band bouncing around the stage as the blew through material from their debut mini-album The War On Geometry which, in the spirit of the season, they were offering for free to anyone who asked for a copy. Also festive was their set’s finale, which saw the Horseshoe stage being swarmed by most/all the other bands and those who put on the show for a madcap Christmas medley of “Silent Night” and “Feliz Navidad” that would have made Jose Feliciano proud… assuming he’s secretly a musical anarchist. A fitting cap to a holiday celebration the way they all ought to be – sweaty and ear-bleeding.

Photos: Oh No Forest Fires, Make Your Exit, Clothes Make The Man, The Balconies @ The Horseshoe – December 12, 2009
MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “Robin The Boy Wonders”
MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “It’s Not Fun And Games Until Someone Loses An Eye”
MP3: Make Your Exit – “Through The Winter”
MP3: Clothes Make The Man – “Telescopes”
MP3: The Balconies – “Serious Bedtime”
MP3: The Balconies – “300 Pages”
MP3: The Balconies – “Smells Like Secrets”
Video: Clothes Make The Man – “Privy”
Video: Clothes Make The Man – “Singles Only”
MySpace: Clothes Make The Man

Since this has started out as a sort of holiday post, now’s as good a time as any to round up some of the many, many, many seasonal musical giveaways that seems to be popular right now. Lucky Soul have gathered all the artists on their own Ruffa Lane label to give away a Christmas tune. They’ve themselves done a cover of Mud’s “Lonely This Christmas”, Montt Mardié has discoed up Wham!’s “Last Christmas” while Swedish glammers Napoleon and London folkies Grantura offer original compositions. Lucky Soul’s second album A Coming Of Age is currently on target for a March 2010 release.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “Lonely This Christmas”
MP3: Montt Mardié featuring Le Sport & Mr Suitcase – “Last Christmas”
MP3: Napoleon featuring Ali Howard – “Midnight Train to Arhus”
MP3: Grantura – “Holly”

Dean & Britta are giving away both sides of their 2008 Christmas single, a cover of Roger Miller’s “Old Toy Trains” and “(S)He’s Coming Home” by The Wailers. And as an early Christmas gift to longtime fans, The Line Of Best Fit reports that all three Galaxie 500 albums will be reissued on March 22 of next year by Domino Records in deluxe CD format, each album featuring a bonus disc previously released by Rykodisc on its own, and on heavy 180-gram vinyl. More immediately gratifying these interviews with Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips at Ladygunn.

Anni Rossi is offering a special gift to those who sign up to her mailing list; Future Sounds reports said gift is an EP of Christmas tunes, one of which is “Silver Bells”.

MP3: Anni Rossi – “Silver Bells”

Jason Lytle is celebrating the holidays by giving away a free EP at his Bandcamp site.

Ear Farm has curated a terrific album of holiday tunes featuring artists such as Asobi Seksu, Sharon Van Etten and Julie Doiron, and is selling it for a paltry $5 with all proceeds going to benefit the Association to Benefit Children.

Looking past Christmas – as in the day after – the Drake Hotel has released the lineup for their annual “What’s In The Box?” Boxing Week concert series. As always, cover is $5 and some of the performers helping make sure those of us still working through the last week of December are bleary-eyed and unproductive are The D’Urbervilles, By Divine Right, Pick A Piper and many more.

Also hosting a series of shows that week with a food drive angle is The Garrison – specifics are still forthcoming but a list of some of the bands participating has gone up over at Stille Post.

Toronto label Out Of This Spark will make the end of the holidays and return to the humdrum of the working week a little more bearable on January 22 when they hold their third anniversary bash at the Garrison. The bill will feature The D’Urbervilles, Forest City Lovers, Evening Hymns and Jenny Omnichord – a lot like this year’s lineup.

Looking a little further ahead, New York synth-pop duo Phantogram will be at the Drake on February 20, tickets $10. Their debut full-length Eyelid Movies will be out on February 9 of next year.

MP3: Phantogram – “When I’m Small”

The Morning Benders will return to the Drake Underground, where they played in February, on April 14 as part of a North American tour in support of their new album Big Echo, out March 9. Tickets for the show are $11.50.

MP3: The Morning Benders – “Waiting For A War”

Yeasayer, who are directing all their website traffic to the one specially set up for their new single “Ambling Alp”, will be at Lee’s Palace on May 1 in support of their new album Odd Blood, out February 9. Tickets $18. There’s an interview with singer Chris Keating at BBC Radio 1.

MP3: Yeasayer – “Ambling Alp”
Video: Yeasayer – “Ambling Alp”

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

My Maudlin Career

Camera Obscura and Anni Rossi at Lee's Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThere were plenty of evening entertainment options in Toronto this past Saturday night, including but not limited to free shows as part of Pride over in the Village and the Zunior Fifth Anniversary festivities at the Tranzac, but I opted to head over to Lee’s Palace to see Camera Obscura – a band I’d already seen live some half-dozen times. Considering that even the most generous fan would be hard-pressed to call them an especially dynamic live act, you might rightly question why I keep going back rather than try something new. To that, all I can say is “I don’t know” and “I like them”.

It also helped that this was their first time back in town since August 2007, their final show in support of Let’s Get Out Of This Country, and they were playing a room half the size of that show despite having released maybe their best album yet in My Maudlin Career. Country had been a definite breakthrough record for the Scottish outfit, shedding once and for all the Belle & Sebastian comparisons by adopting a more Motown-influenced attitude, but while it had a brace of killer singles, across the whole record it sometimes lagged or drifted back into more familiar musical postures. Career‘s highlights don’t quite hit the same heights as its predecessor, but it’s a much more consistent record top to bottom. The band sounds much more comfortable in the richness of their sonic trappings but most importantly, Traceyanne Campbell is doing something different with her voice. It’s still wearied and lovely as ever, but there’s something in her inflection and phrasing on this record that ratchets up the emotional quotient significantly. It’s a little thing, but it means a lot.

And so this is why I was standing at Lee’s Palace on Saturday night, waiting for the show to begin. And waiting. And waiting. Being completely sold out, arriving early was necessary to get a decent vantage point but the set times seemed unnecessarily late. Normally the opening act would serve to pass the time, but Chicago-based Anni Rossi seems to be a firm believer in the adages of “less is more” as well as “leave them wanting more”. Her warm-up set ran just 20 minutes, but she certainly made an impression in that time with her idiosyncratic, sorta-folkish sorta-not songs, distinctive acrobatic vocals and musical accompaniment consisting of violin viola and percussion generated by her stomping on the suitcase on which she stood. With a recipe like that you’d think she’d be a bit difficult for the casual listener but she was actually quite immediately engaging and surely could have played longer without anyone complaining – after her set, I saw a few people scurry back to the merch table to pick up copies of her debut Rockwell. She’ll be back in town on July 14 opening for Micachu at the El Mocambo – fingers crossed she plays a longer set.

The brevity of her performance meant it was another lengthy wait for the main attraction and grumbling could be overheard from all directions, but when the sextet finally strode onstage, the ladies decked out in vintage dresses, all was forgiven. Somewhat surprisingly, it was a different lineup than I’d seen play SxSW just three months prior – trumpeter Nigel Baillie had since gone to part-time status to tend to his new role as a father and bassist Gavin Dunbar had left the tour early due to a death in the family. The stand-ins were more than up to the task, however, and even added a bit of extra energy that might not have been there otherwise.

For as already stated, Camera Obscura will never be mistaken for Gogol Bordello in a live setting. They’re quite content to play their songs well and let their craftsmanship speak for them, so it’s a good thing their songs do that so well. Tracyanne Campbell has become a much better frontperson over the years, though that’s relative to the early days where the odds of her so much as cracking a smile were pretty low and if she did, it’d be at show’s end. On this night, she flashed a smile or two early on – basically guaranteeing a good night – and even cracked a few jokes. Their set covered almost all of My Maudlin Career – the arrangements were somewhat leaner than on record but never sounded lacking – and a lot of Country material also made appearances, particularly later in the set. Big cheers went out for the staples from the first two records, but for my money the new material is just so far superior that it deserves the spotlight. And I was particularly proud of the Hogtown punters for cheering when Toronto got namechecked in “Forests & Sands”, but only the first time – for subsequent choruses we stayed polite and let them do their thing. That’s the way to do it. And that’s how Camera Obscura did it – politely, but excellently. I like them.

There’s interviews with band members at The Georgia Straight and Portland Mercury and Panic Manual also has a review of the show.

Photos: Camera Obscura, Anni Rossi @ Lee’s Palace – June 27, 2009
MP3: Camera Obscura – “My Maudlin Career”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “Let’s Get Out Of This Country”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “If Looks Could Kill”
MP3: Anni Rossi – “Ecology”
MP3: Anni Rossi – “Wheelpusher”
Video: Camera Obscura – “French Navy”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”
Video: Camera Obscura – “If Looks Could Kill”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Let’s Get Out Of This Country”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Tears For Affairs”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Teenager”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Keep It Clean”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Eighties Fan”
Video: Anni Rossi – “The West Coast”
MySpace: Camera Obscura
MySpace: Anni Rossi

Clash has an advance sneak peak/listen to Forget The Night Ahead, the new album from The Twilight Sad, due out September 22. The new single “I Became A Prostitute” is streaming over at their MySpace.

NME has a Glastonbury-themed interview with Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos.

They’d already played a number of warm-up gigs, but Glastobury was really the first big Blur reunion show, and by all accounts they utterly killed it. A good portion of the set was broadcast on the BBC and Deaf Indie Elephants has pointers to where you might be able to hear it. And if that doesn’t work or just isn’t enough, Pitchfork reports that the band’s shows in Hyde Park this week will be recorded and released as a live record about a week after the shows are performed.

Under The Radar gets a status update on album number two from Lucky Soul’s Andrew Laidlaw. Still being recorded, it’s targeted for October release and is going to be titled Whoa, Billy! – making this the title track. You can also follow the band on Twitter. Update: Band tweet denies that the album is going to be called Whoa Billy – thank goodness.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “Whoa, Billy!”

As part of their “alt.country” week, Drowned In Sound contemplates London’s alt.country scene, which with players such as Lightspeed Champion, Emmy The Great and Laura Marling, looks (and sounds) an awful lot like what they were calling “anti-folk” last year.

A couple of show announcements to wrap – Butthole Surfers are apparently still around and will be at The Phoenix on October 2, tickets $25. But much more exciting is the news that School Of Seven Bells are finally playing a headlining date in Toronto. They’re at Lee’s Palace on October 15 in support of Alpinisms, one of my favourite albums of 2008.

MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “Connjur”
MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “Half Asleep”
MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “Chain”
MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “My Cabal” (Robin Guthrie mix)
Video: School Of Seven Bells – “My Cabal”
Video: School Of Seven Bells – “Half Asleep”

Monday, June 1st, 2009

William's Last Words

Review of Manic Street Preachers' Journal For Plague Lovers

Photo viaaktualne.czI only came to the Manic Street Preachers with their 1994 breakout album Everything Must Go and thus missed the Richey Edwards years, only discovering the music and the legend retrospectively. And while I could submit the Manics v2.0 as having superior pop songs and Nicky Wire as a worthy lyricist with moments of brilliance, if a devout Edwards acolyte were to claim that with their original songwriter’s disappearance, the band had lost a crucial, ineffable creative fire that all the chart-toppers in the world couldn’t compensate for, I don’t think I could argue it.

While the first two Manics albums were decidedly flawed – Generation Terrorists overlong, Gold Against The Soul undercooked and both with production that’s aged badly – the band’s third and Edwards’ last, The Holy Bible, was and remains a masterpiece. Still one of the angriest albums I’ve ever heard, it mated Edwards’ seethingly articulate vitriol with a dry and intense sonic attack for a truly harrowing yet cathartic listening experience and after he disappeared, it’s not surprising the band was unable or unwilling to tread in such territory again – not many would be able to tap into such a vein of inspiration and come out of it whole.

But after fifteen years and five albums of varying quality – things went parabolic post-Go, hitting a nadir with 2004’s anaemic Lifeblood but they rebounded with the 2007’s solid Send Away The Tigers – the band surprised all by turning to notes and lyrics left behind by Edwards for their latest album Journal For Plague Lovers and consciously creating a sequel to The Holy Bible, right down to the sleeve artist and typeface. You’d have to be a special breed of cynical to view this as some calculated stunt – the Manics have said and done some questionable things over the years but their earnestness has rarely been in question – but good intentions don’t necessarily make for good albums. The trio are not the angry young men they were a decade and a half ago – could trying to recapture that spirit really end well?

Amazingly, yes.

Journal manages to take the live-wire energy of the Manics of old and mate it perfectly with the weight of experience of the Manics of today. Edwards’ lyrics, still verbose, literate and tongue-twisting, remain fixed on topics of body, blood and anxiety and it’s a testament to James Dean Bradfield’s abilities that he’s able to deliver them with the both the righteous fury of a young man and the seasoned nuance of an older man, and all while delivering his typically ripping guitarwork. Much was made of the use of Steve Albini as engineer on this record, but his sonic signature isn’t especially present – it may be a touch more abrasive than their last couple records, but is still stadium-sized.

The Manics have managed to take the tension and nihilism of The Holy Bible and temper it with the melodicism of Everything Must Go and the elegiac beauty of This Is My Truth and in the process, perhaps made the most defining album of their career. It’s hard to say how where they’ll go from here – after all, there are presumably no more words left from Edwards to frame – but even if they never reach these heights or degree of focus again and return to making decent if uneven records for the remainder of their career, that they not only attempted a project as fraught with risk as Journal but made it a triumph will stand as a tribute to their fallen bandmate and a testament to their own excellence.

Seeing as how the band viewed Journal as less a conventional album and more a personal project – at one point Nicky Wire didn’t even want to release it – there were initially supposed to be no singles or videos from it. It appears they’ve changed their minds on that as a video for “Jackie Collins Existential Question Time” has surfaced, complete with slightly sanitized lyrics – on the album, it’s not “if a married man begs a Catholic”… I wonder if Richey would have approved? The two downloads that NME put up a few weeks back – one a remix by The Horrors which will appear on a forthcoming remix album and the other a cover by The Manics of The Horrors’ “Vision Blurred” from Primary Colours – are still available, so grab those. A BBC documentary on the band, Shadows and Words, is also available on YouTube in three parts and there’s an interview with Wire at The New Statesman. I’ve heard nothing about a North American release for the record and touring over here is probably never going to happen again – I don’t think they’ve been back since the This Is My Truth tour way back in 1999.

MP3: Manic Street Preachers – “Doors Closing Slowly” (Horrors remix)
MP3: Manic Street Preachers – “Vision Blurred”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Jackie Collins Existential Question Time”
MySpace: Manic Street Preachers

I’ve not gotten a formal press release about it yet, but the listing on the venue’s website is official enough for me to be absolutely stoked about the fact that Elbow will be playing their own headlining show at the Phoenix on July 29 before opening up for Coldplay at the Rogers Centre the following night. This is definitely one to file under “wishes fulfilled”. Cannot wait. Tickets are $26.50.

LA2Day has words with Doves drummer Andy Williams and MPR is streaming a studio session with the band. They’re in town tonight at the Kool Haus.

The Guardian assembles an oral history of Blur from the beginning to the end. An ending which itself ends next month with the band’s reunion gigs in the UK.

Daytrotter has a session with Anni Rossi, with whom Toronto isn’t seeming to have much of a choice but to get acquainted with. She was here in late April opening for Noah & The Whale and will be returning not once but twice this Summer – she’ll be supporting Camera Obscura at Lee’s Palace on June 27 and then Micachu at the El Mocambo on July 14. Westword and SF Station have interviews with Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell while Clash talks to Micachu’s Mica Levi. Micachu also have a new vid.

Video: Micachu – “Golden Phone”

JAM and The Globe & Mail talk to Elvis Costello about Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, out tomorrow. He’ll play Massey Hall on August 28.

The Line Of Best Fit asks Fanfarlo what they’ve been listening to.

Bat For Lashes have a new video out.

Video: Bat For Lashes – “Pearl’s Dream”

Maximo Park have also released a new clip from Quicken The Heart, which has grown on me since I first got it but is still more forgettable than I’d like. They play Lee’s Palace on September 18.

Video: Maximo Park – “Questing, Not Coasting”

Face Culture has a series of video interviews with Patrick Wolf, Metro a print one and Virgin Music covers online. The Bachelor is out today in the UK and tomorrow in digital form here in North America. The CD is out August 11. He plays the Mod Club on June 17.

Glasswerk interviews White Lies, coming to the Phoenix on September 26.