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Posts Tagged ‘Arcade Fire’

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Before Us

The Dog Day(s) of December are here

Photo By Seth SmithSeth SmithI’m not entirely sure when or why Halifax’s Dog Day fell off my radar; I was very much on board circa their 2007 debut Night Group and the 2009 follow-up Concentration, but missed out on 2011′s Deformer – which saw the quartet reconfigure themselves as just the duo of Seth Smith and Nancy Urich – completely.

But I’m on the ball with their new album Fade Out – which incidentally finds themselves a quartet again – and it’s nice to know that despite the personnel shuffles, out of the speakers not a lot has changed. Their roughly-hewn and downcast yet unfailingly melodic still evokes the spirit of their ’90s Maritime Can-rock forebears but those ingredients have also underpinned great rock music from many eras and locales. Dog Day sound very much like where they’re from but don’t confuse that with having only a regional appeal.

Fade Out is out December 10 and their eastern Canadian tour brings them to Toronto’s Cinecycle on December 14. Exclaim, The Halifax Chronicle Herald, and The Coast have interviews with Smith about the new album, which you can stream below.

MP3: Dog Day – “Wasted”
Stream: Dog Day / Fade Out

NOW gets to know No Joy, in town at The Garrison tomorrow night, December 5.

Rolling Stone has an advance stream of the new Neil Young archival release Live At The Cellar Door, which captures two acoustic shows in 1970. The album is out December 10.

Stream: Neil Young / Live At The Cellar Door

Pitchfork has surfaced a new song from Doldrums, currently without context but perhaps pointing towards a new release in 2014. Doldrums is at The Great Hall on December 13 for the second Long Winter.

Stream: Doldrums – “Dive Deep Pt 1″

The Drake Hotel has announced the lineup for this year’s What’s In The Box? mini-fest, which fills the Underground with the sounds of local bands and DJs for the five nights following Christmas at the non-inflationary price of $5. As always, there’s all sorts of up-and-coming talent on the bill, but readers of this site will want to circle December 27, when Alvvays take the stage, and December 30, when Rich Aucoin does his thing in a room he’s far too big to play in anymore.

MP3: Alvvays – “Adult Diversion”
MP3: Rich Aucoin – “It”

And speaking of musical holiday traditions, The Wooden Sky have announced details of their fourth annual holiday revue fundraiser to benefit the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank. It goes December 29 at 918 Bathurst and tickets will run $20, plus a donation of a canned good.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”

Stars are helping local radio station Indie88 celebrate their increased signal strength – which means I can now finally hear them in my car in downtown Toronto – with a rare club show at Lee’s Palace on January 18. Tickets are $8.81 and go on sale Friday.

MP3: Stars – “The Theory Of Relativity”

After touring their self-titled debut around North America straight though to the year’s final days, local punks PUP will take a little breather and come right back for a hometown show at The Garrison on January 31.

MP3: PUP – “Reservoir”

Toronto synth-goth artist Trust has announced a March 4 release date for his second album Joyland. Exclaim has details, inevitable trailer is below.

Trailer: Trust / Joyland

If you were holding off on going to see Arcade Fire at the Air Canada Centre on March 13 because the only costumes or formalwear you have are for warm weather, then rejoice – the band have announced a return engagement as part of some late Summer tour dates at the Molson Amphitheatre on August 29. Tickets range from $30.50 to $70.50 and go on sale December 13 at noon.

Video: Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”

Young Galaxy look set to run away with the record for most videos from an album that’s not really an album, namely the bonus disc of the Ultramarine Deluxe edition. They premiered the latest clip via Stereogum.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Hard To Tell”

Tone Deaf and The New Zealand Herald interview Metric, who’ve released another new video from Synthetica.

Video: Metric – “Lost Kitten”

A Music Blog, Yea has an interview with The Darcys while The Toronto Star finds out why their recent gigs have been at area high schools.

Beatroute, The Montreal Gazette, Seattle Weekly, The Georgia Straight, and Victoria News talk to Basia Bulat.

Dan Bejar of Destroyer tells The Line Of Best Fit why he decided to make a record in Spanish. There’s also a video session with Destroyer at Dutch radio station 3voor12.

Beatroute checks in with Amber Webber of Lightning Dust.

CBC Music has video of Fucked Up’s tribute to the legendary Teenage Head show known as The Last Pogo, recorded at a very punk rock 9AM on a Saturday morning at The Horseshoe Tavern, scene of the original show in 1978.

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Catch My Breath

You, Me, NPR, and everyone we know

Photo By Laura Lynn PetrickLaura Lynn PetrickYou may recall last week that I mentioned that this week, an interview I gave NPR’s World Cafe as part of their “Sense Of Place” series on Toronto would be airing this week. And that it did on Wednesday – and let me tell you it’s goddamn weird seeing your own name and face show up in your RSS feed – though I haven’t actually listened to it yet… Nor am I likely to. I saw the hot dogs being made, y’know?

To recap – the theme of the interview was to list off five up and coming Toronto acts for NPR listeners to discover, and bits of the interview have been excerpted over the week for their blog along with a download from the band. So far, they’ve run pieces on Fresh Snow, PUP, The Elwins, and Beliefs – all of whom I think exemplify very different aspects of what’s going on, musically, in this city – and today we will have either Alvvays or Del Bel… hopefully both, though that’s out of my hands. We recorded bits on six bands as a safety in case there were any unforeseen issues. I’ll update with today’s post when it goes up later today. Update: Alvvays piece is up; Del Bel should be up tomorrow.

In any case, all six are worth your time whether you’re into psych-kraut, power-pop, punk, cinematic noir, jangle-indie, or shoegaze. Fresh Snow and Beliefs – pictured above – are both on the bill for the next installment of Long Winter, happening December 13 at The Great Hall, and Fresh Snow are also playing the next Steam Whistle Unsigned showcase at the Steam Whistle Roundhouse on November 29. PUP are finishing up an epic North American tour this weekend, the CMJ show of which is available to hear at NYC Taper; there’s also an interview at The Regina Leader=Post. The Elwins have a couple Ontario dates to close out the month but are gearing up to release their second album next year, as are Del Bel. Alvvays’ self-titled debut will finally be out early next year, and they’re opening up for Young Galaxy at The Hoxton tonight.

Just a few of the many, many, great sounds coming out of Toronto right now. I do hope you dig.

MP3: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
MP3: The Elwins – “Stuck In The Middle”
MP3: PUP – “Reservoir”
MP3: Beliefs – “Catch My Breath”
MP3: Del Bel – “Dusk Light”
MP3: Alvvays – “Adult Diversion”

Also recorded while they were in town, World Cafe has an acoustic session with James and Emily from Metric.

July Talk, who’ll be at the Sound Academy on December 3 opening up for Frank Turner, also recorded a World Cafe session and are interviewed in The Edmonton Journal, Georgia Straight, and Pique.

Young Galaxy have released yet another video from their Ultramarine Deluxe edition; that’s a remarkable amount of singles from material that didn’t make the original album. As mentioned, they’re at The Hoxton on November 22.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Crying My Heart Out”

The Quietus has a stream of Destroyer’s new Five Spanish Songs EP, coming out on Tuesday. Dan Bejar talks about the record with Reverb.

Stream: Destroyer / Five Spanish Songs

Thee Silver Mount Zion have announced a January 21 release date for their new album, Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything; details at Constellation Records, excerpt of one of the new songs and trailer for the record below.

Stream: Thee Silver Mount Zion – “Austerity Blues” (excerpt)
Trailer: Thee Silver Mount Zion / Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything

The Winnipeg Free Press, Metro, and aux.tv make with the chit-chat with Shad. He’s back in town January 31 at The Danforth Music Hall.

The Creators Project has revealed the actual official video for Arcade Fire’s “Afterlife”, taken from Reflektor – that live, Spike Jonze-directed YouTube Awards thing from a few weeks back was just a live, Spike Jonze-directed YouTube Awards thing. And because you apparently can’t get enough Arcade Fire, NME has video from a three-song French television performance. They play The Air Canada Centre on March 13.

Video: Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”

The Grid, The Toronto Star, and BlogTO chat with Owen Pallett, who talks a bit about his new album In Conflict, due early next year, amongst other topics including his new ballet. Exclaim has a helpful round up of everything that’s currently known about the follow-up to Heartland.

The Globe and Mail, San Francisco Examiner, and PopMatters talk to Spencer Krug of Moonface.

Majical Cloudz have made a studio version of a live favourite available to stream; Matablog has some background on the track.

Stream: Majical Cloudz – “Savage”

Oh Comely has a chat with Diana.

Exclaim has details in the next installment in Sloan’s vinyl bootleg series – the 500-piece limited edition of Tokyo Japan 2002 went on sale on Wednesday, so if you wanted one but were counting on me to let you know about it, then you need to re-evaluate your news-gathering strategies.

aux.tv takes a fascinating look at Fucked Up guitarist Ben Cook’s career as a child actor.

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Reservoir

Review of PUP’s PUP

Photo By Frank YangAmanda FotesSo a few weekends ago, the good folks from NPR’s World Cafe programme were in town exploring Toronto for their Sense Of Place series, and one of their stops was my dining room. They had somehow gotten it into their heads that I was the right person to recommend some up and coming 416/905 bands and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that my days of being out in the trenches (read: clubs) seeing fresh-faced new acts were long behind me. But I think I still managed to put together a solid list of recommendations, most of whom are familiar to the pages of this blog; one who was not, however, was PUP. So before my segment airs (next Wednesday around 5PM, I think), let’s rectify that.

I think in my elevator pitch for PUP, I described as something akin to pop-punk without the shopping mall baggage of that genre. Emphasis on “I think”, because I was blathering pretty badly throughout the interview. What I meant was that the band and their debut album PUP was loud, brash, and melodic, but without the disaffected ennui or sophomoric snottiness that I’d otherwise associate with the label. Powered by the friction of disappointment and defiance that’s the territory of youth, PUP balances snarling vocals with singalong choruses and bristling with riffs metallic without being quite metal. PUP may not have made it into these pages before this because, well, big loud rock is young people music but man, if I were some years younger, this would be the shit.

There’s features on the band at Exclaim, The Edmonton Sun, and Planet S; Exclaim also has a video session with the band.

Video: PUP – “Reservoir
Stream: PUP / PUP

It’s not entirely clear what the just-announced Fucked Up, S.H.I.T, and Odonis Odonis show at The Garrison on November 20 is about, but from the looks of this RSVP form, it’s sponsored by Vice, possibly free, and as cuss-worthy as you can get. If only “odonis” were a swear.

MP3: Fucked Up – “A Little Death”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Better”
Stream: S.H.I.T. / Equalizing Distort Radio Session

And speaking of Fucked Up things, the lineup for the December edition of Long Winter – taking place December 13 at The Great Hall – has just been announced, and while the event’s patrons are again not on the bill, it is still pretty stacked with performances by Doldrums, Hooded Fang, Fresh Snow, and Beliefs (the last two – spoiler alert! – also making an appearance in my NPR segment) amongst many, many others. As always, the event will be pay-what-you-can, multi-disciplinary, and wonderful.

MP3: Doldrums – “I’m Homesick Sittin’ Up Here In My Satellite”
MP3: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
Video: Hooded Fang – “Ode To Subterrania”
Video: Beliefs – “Catch My Breath”

Great Lake Swimmers leader Tony Dekker will be at Yorkville’s Heliconian Hall for two shows on January 24 in support of his solo album Prayer Of The Woods; tickets for each performance are $20.

Video: Tony Dekker – “Prayer Of The Woods”

Vancouver’s Belle Game – just in town a couple weeks back – have already set a return date behind their debut Ritual Tradition Habit; they’ll be at The Horseshoe on February 8, tickets $13.50 in advance. There’s features on the band at The Vancouver Sun and The Province.

MP3: The Belle Game – “River”

And I guess people have been waiting for this one for a while; Arcade Fire have revealed the dates for their North American tour in support of Reflektor. Toronto gets to put on their mandatory costumes and fancy dress to file into the Air Canada Centre on March 13, tickets ranging from $30.50 to $70.50 plus fees.

Video: Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”

Austra have released a new video from Olympia.

Video: Austra – “Forgive Me”

Noisey has premiered the new video from Louise Burns’ latest album The Midnight Mass.

Video: Louse Burns – “Jasper”

Tokyo Police Club gives Exclaim an update on their next album, targeted for an early 2014 release.

Southern Souls chats with Chad VanGaalen.

Spencer Krug of Moonface lists off some favourite albums for Chart; he also gives an interview to Exclaim.

Friday, November 8th, 2013

UZU

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan and Jef Barbara at The Garrison in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangEven though I was able to wax effusive about UZU, the second album from Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, a few weeks ago, the fact is that was only half the story. Because for Yamantaka, arguably more than most bands, the live presentation is as much a part of what they do as the music itself. It’s one thing to hear the confluence of opera, prog, punk, and metal influences in their music, but it’s another to see them in Japanese Noh costume and face paint, with their stage dressings and lighting effects; it may not be a lavish production, but adds an invaluable dimension to the experience. And so I was pleased to be back at The Garrison on Wednesday night, in the same room where I first saw the Montreal-Toronto collective during NXNE 2012, just as their debut YT//ST was really catching fire and put them on a trajectory that landed them on the 2012 Polaris Prize short list.

Support on this night came from Jef Barbara, who despite coming from a decidedly different place musically with his latest album Soft To The Touch, also understood the value of visuals – hence the impressively sequin-laden jumpsuit and sneakers and flamboyant stage moves the Montrealer wore and executed onstage. Sonically, he and his band offered a very considered and finely-crafted sound akin to early ’80s Bowie/Smiths/Cure trying their hand at R&B and funk and having it come out glam; ingredients you’ve heard before but combined in a way that sounded as fresh as it did familiar. Not everything worked equally well – the extended jam that closed out the eight-song set wasn’t interesting enough to be either a set closer or extended jam – but when it came together, which was frequently, it was quite impressive.

Anyone looking for a material example of how success had changed Yamantaka needed look no further than their stage dressing; rather than the handmade cardboard cut-outs that flanked them for the YT//ST shows, they now had sturdy corrugated plastic sheets with the UZU artwork professionally affixed. But aside from that indulgence, their show was largely unchanged; which is to say it was still great. Vocalists Ruby Kato Attwood and Ange Loft started out circulating in the packed room while their bandmates played an extended overture of “Atalanta”, before taking the stage and kicking off an impressive, straight-through reading of their new album.

And though I wasn’t expecting a full-album recital, it really is the only thing that makes sense. UZU is such a cohesive, integrated work that picking individual songs would be not only difficult, it’d be a disservice to the whole. Only once, early on, did they break the fourth wall and chat with the audience and that was to allow Attwood to warn us that she was feeling ill and would be nursing on 7-11 tea through the show. And while she did audibly pull back with her voice at a few points, it wasn’t at all to the detriment of the show and the power of Loft’s voice more than made up for it. Though it’s Attwood and drummer Alaska B who are the band’s principals, Loft is their secret weapon both vocally and visually.

They could have called it a job well done after the final notes of album and set closer “Saturn’s Return” rang out, the dust from the thundering “One” that preceded it still hanging in the air. But they returned for a four-song encore of YT//ST material that was appropriately more primal-sounding and acted as further confirmation that even though the band had grown immensely on the new record, they still started from a place of remarkable assuredness and achievement. And just as it’s hard to separate the band’s sound and visuals, it’s hard to say if it would be harder to capture their live sound on record or reproduce their recordings on stage. It’s probably a good thing they’re astonishing at both.

The Montreal Gazette has an interview with Jef Barbara.

Photos: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, Jef Barbara @ The Garrison – November 6, 2013
Video: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “One”
Video: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “Hoshi Neko”
Video: Jef Barbara – “Song For The Loveshy”
Video: Jef Barbara – “I Know I’m Late”
Video: Jef Barbara – “Sébastien”
Video: Jef Barbara – “Wild Boys”
Video: Jef Barbara – “Les Homosexuelles”
Video: Jef Barbara – “Cocaïne Love”
Video: Jef Barbara – “Larmes de Crocodiles”
Video: Jef Barbara – “Flight 777″

I’ve been waiting most of this year for news of Toronto indie-pop outfit Alvvays’ debut album, and it’s finally here. Well, the news – not the album. Exclaim reports that their self-titled, Chad VanGaalen-produced debut will be out next year, but they’re sharing the first single from it with a video premiered at Nylon. They’ll play it and other lovely songs at The Hoxton when they open for Young Galaxy on November 22.

Video: Alvvays – “Adult Diversion”

Stereogum has premiered the new video from Born Ruffians, taken from their latest album Birthmarks. They’re at The Danforth Music Hall on November 22.

Video: Born Ruffians – “Permanent Hesitation”

A little late to this one but I think this Spike Jonze-directed, live thing from the YouTube Music Awards last weekend is counting as the new video from Arcade Fire’s Reflektor. And if it’s not, oh well.

Video: Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Basia Bulat.

Exclaim and The 405 talk to Spencer Krug of Moonface.

The Georgia Straight talks inspiration with The Darcys.

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Ritual Tradition Habit

The Belle Game and Bear Mountain at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’d mentioned back in April that Vancouver’s Belle Game – purveyors of soulful, atmospheric pop – had taken their own sweet time in releasing their debut album Ritual Tradition Habit, and they were lucky that it was as good as it was, lest the more impatient among us pettily punish the record for taking so long to exist. Instead, those of us seeking something to grouse about could turn our attention to how long it was taking them to come play a live show in Toronto. It seemed odd that an act with the stars seemingly aligning would have missed out on both CMW and NXNE (though, to be fair, they’d been here for those fests in 2011 and 2012), and while they did play a free show at Harbourfront Centre in July for the SoundClash fest, I missed it so in my egocentric worldview, it didn’t happen. All of which is to say that Friday night’s show at The Drake Underground – which caught the band headed home after a successful CMJ in New York – took long enough to happen.

With them were fellow Vancouverites Bear Mountain, whom I knew nothing about but kind of hoped would be some unholy combination of Grizzly Bear and Black Mountain. Which they could still be described as if someone had never heard of either act and assumed they made peppy, disco-inflected electro-pop. Showing off their debut album XO, it was evident that in the Bear Mountain mandate, maintaining the party vibe was paramount and in that, they succeeded admirably. To this end, they utilized such tools as a keytar in its intended purpose of rocking out synth solos, a maybe-ironic cover of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” with the original video projected on their stage decor screens, in case you weren’t sure, and some cheesy but effective crowd-rousing banter. Oh and some catchy if kind of lightweight songs. Assured in what they were doing and entertaining, they weren’t a band that you’d leave saying you’d seen the future of anything, but you would say you had fun.

As mentioned, The Belle Game had a pretty good amount of buzz around them leading up to Ritual Tradition Habit‘s release this Spring, so it’s not unreasonable that they’d have drawn a good crowd based strictly on that… but being on Pitchfork’s radar? I’m sure that didn’t hurt either. But however they got there, room was comfortably filled with punters – especially for an early show – when the band took the stage. Though offering less instant gratification than Bear Mountain, they established their atmosphere quickly and effectively. Not an especially showy sextet, they were largely focused on the task at hand – while demonstrating terrific individual musicianship and chemistry as a unit – with frontwoman Andrea Lo shouldering the duty of engaging the audience. Luckily for her, all she needed to do to accomplish this was let loose with her formidable voice.

If the show had kept to that level throughout, it’d have been perfectly fine if not overwhelming, but as it progressed, it became clear that they were actually capable of more. Moments where the aforementioned musical chemistry seemed more akin to alchemy in creating something powerful; of a new slow jam of a song that pointed to an intriguing new dimension for the band; readings of “River” and “Wait For You” both impressively looser and more intense than the recorded versions; an unexpectedly raucous cover of Nirvana’s “All Apologies” as an encore. And oh yeah, local Broken Social Scenester Kevin Drew showed up to provide guest vocals on another new song. So, all in, a show that both satisfied but also left you eager to see the next stage in the band’s evolution; if that means having to wait a little while until they come back again, then it may well be worth it.

Photos: The Belle Game, Bear Mountain @ The Drake Underground – October 25, 2013
MP3: The Belle Game – “Blame Fiction”
MP3: The Belle Game – “River”
Video: The Belle Game -”River”
Video: The Belle Game – “Wait For You”
Video: Bear Mountain – “Faded”
Stream: Bear Mountain / XO

The Guardian and Canada.com talk to Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and NPR to Butler and Regine Chassagne about Reflektor, which is finally out today. And their live webcast performance from last night is available to stream on-demand at NPR.

The Montreal Gazette talks to Spencer Krug of Moonface about his new record Julia With Blue Jeans On, officially out as of today, along with a new video.

Video: Moonface – “Barbarian”

Also at the Montreal Gazette and out today are features on Yamantaka//Sonic Titan and their new album Uzu, respectively. They play The Garrison on November 6.

Beatroute gets to know July Talk, while Huffington Post gets some background on the recording of “Guns & Ammunition”; they’re at The Sound Academy on December 3 opening up for Frank Turner.

A sad day for fans of domestically-grown power-pop: PEI’s Two Hours Traffic are calling it a day. But as Exclaim reports, they’re doing it with a farewell tour that kicks off in Toronto at Lee’s Palace on December 12; tickets for that are $15.

MP3: Two Hours Traffic – “Stuck For The Summer”

Emily Haines of Metric remembers Lou Reed, with whom the band both played live with and recorded, at Rolling Stone.