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Posts Tagged ‘Ash’

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

It Is What It Is

Review of Blood Orange’s Cupid Deluxe

Photo By Stacey MarkStacey MarkTo say that following the musical career of Dev Hynes is an adventure is rather an understatement. Starting out with the deliberately sophomoric art-punk Test Icicles, he recast himself as an orch-folk troubadour on Falling Off The Lavender Bridge, his 2008 solo album under the Lightspeed Champion name. It was an identity he quickly found himself outgrowing, his second and last record in that guise – 2010’s Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You – had its share of high points but felt unfocused, like at a creative crossroads. Focus came with another new identity, Blood Orange, and 2011’s Coastal Grooves – a stripped-down and decidedly solo soul/disco record that sounded made in and for the bedroom that was criminally overlooked.

But crucially, while refining and redefining his own artistic identity, Hynes was becoming a highly sought-after producer, particularly after becoming Solange Knowles’ co-writer, producer, and sideman. That all-consuming role through most of this year, not to mention his other production duties, made it unclear if he’d be able to return to his own work anytime soon but somehow he still found time to not only record and release his second Blood Orange album Cupid Deluxe, out this week.

The most marked difference between Cupid and its predecessor is the sheer number of hands on deck. Coastal Grooves was entirely Hynes’ show, a fact emphatically made by his live shows – but Cupid finds Hynes more than happy to be allowing the likes of Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek, Friends’ Samantha Urbani, Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth from his indie rock world and Despot, Skepta, and Clams Casino from his hip-hop world take centre stage while he remains the producer and songwriter running the show. And that show is akin to a dazzlingly diverse r&b revue built around themes of both alienation and community in New York City, coupling heartfelt sentiment to slick grooves.

Dev Hynes has been making music now for almost a decade, and what in isolation might seem like random and disparate creative shifts, when viewed as a whole, paint the picture of an impressively complex and immensely talented artist. Cupid Deluxe is, thus far, the most cohesive assemblage of his gifts – ironic, since it overtly showcases him the least. I personally would have liked to have his guitarwork given a little more prominence – the man can shred, as anyone who’s ever seen him live can attest – but for the time being, the brilliant missed riff key change at 2:43 of “Uncle ACE” will keep me going.

Hynes talks influences with The New York Times and is the cover feature of The Fader, for whom he’s also assembled hour-long mixtape containing new material. But if you’re waiting on tour dates to support the new record, don’t hold your breath.

Video: Blood Orange – “Time Will Tell”
Video: Blood Orange – “Chamakay”

Noisey has premiered the video for the title track of Rose Elinor Dougall’s new EP Future Vanishes, out officially this week.

Video: Rose Elinor Dougall – “Future”

NME has got the new video from Beady Eye, taken from their second album BE which is apparently getting a North American release this week because North Americans have been clamouring for it…?

Video: Beady Eye – “Soul Love”

Rolling Stone is streaming another new song from Kele’s forthcoming Heartbreaker solo EP, out November 25.

Stream: Kele – “God Has A Way”

The Guardian and Drowned In Sound talk to Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon; she’s in town at The Drake Underground on January 21.

NME has details on the new album from Maxïmo Park, entitled Too Much Information and due out February 3. They’ve released a video for the first single, which you can also download in exchange for an email address from their website.

Video: Maxïmo Park – “Brain Cells”

Fanfarlo have announced details of their third studio album: Let’s Go Extinct will be out February 10, and of course there’s a trailer.

Trailer: Fanfarlo / Let’s Go Extinct

The Guardian talks to Lily Allen about her impending return to music with a separate piece about the brouhaha surrounding her comeback video.

Anna Calvi lists off ten life-changing albums for MusicRadar.

Metro has an interview with M.I.A., who has released a new video from her latest, Matangi.

Video: M.I.A. – “Y.A.L.A.”

Consequence Of Sound interviews Charli XCX.

Little Boots has made a couple of extended edits of songs from Nocturnes available to download via HungerTV.

MP3: Little Boots – “Broken Record” (Nocturnal version)
MP3: Little Boots – “Strangers” (Nocturnal version)

Franz Ferdinand salute Australia with a cover of The Go-Betweens in a video session for Triple J. They’ve also released a new official video from Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.

Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Bullet”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Was There Anything I Could Do?” (live)

Black Book interviews CHVRCHES and The Alternate Side welcomes them for a session.

Drowned In Sound gets a look at Summer Camp’s tools of the trade (read: their musical gear).

The Huffington Post gets some EDM smack talk of out reigning Mercury Prize champ James Blake.

A Music Blog, Yea? talks to drummer Rick McMurray of Ash.

BrooklynVegan interviews Johnny Marr.

The Quietus revisits the first House Of Love album on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

Under The Radar talks to Mark Gardener and Andy Bell of Ride about the enduring legacy of their debut album Nowhere.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Burn Baby Burn

Ash and Kestrals at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIf there’s any lessons a band can take from Ash, first and foremost would be a) to never mind fashion and stick to what you do well, and b) to get started young. The benefits of both of these points were on display Saturday night when the Northern Irish trio rolled into Lee’s Palace for their first Toronto show in seven years. To the former, they had a massive and impressive repertoire of high-energy, ultra-melodic punk/metal-laced pop to draw from and to the former, well if you’re so fortunate to be celebrating your twentieth anniversary as a band then you would probably want to be has as young and spry as the 35-year old Tim Wheeler, even with the flecks of grey in his beard.

While I can think of some acts I’d have rather seen open for Ash – former guitarist Charlotte Hatherley, say, or Wheeler’s girlfriend Emmy The Great – Halifax’s Kestrels were more than fine as well. As I wrote in July, their debut A Ghost History has more than enough ’90s-vintage college rock/shoegaze DNA in it to be a good fit, and there was even a formal connection what with Wheeler making a guest guitar appearance on the record. As is not unusual for bands of their ilk, their live show was exceedingly loud, and many of the pop-friendly nuances on the record were smothered with distortion and volume. The rhythm section, with its thick, fuzzy bass chords and nimble, 16th-note drumming, was an effective balance of heavy and agile and Chad Peck’s guitar leads were less melodic lines than bursts of noise run through a wah pedal. They probably could have done themselves a favour by turning down just a bit, but their enthusiasm was warranted – it was their last show of the year after touring heavily in support of their album and as Peck noted, Ash was his favourite band since forever so getting to open for them – and then take over Wheeler’s guitar roadie duties later – made for a pretty unique experience. If ever there was a night to leave it all on stage, it was this. And they did. Loudly.

Though chronologically, Ash fit right into the first wave of Britpop, I never really thought of them as such – and not just because Northern Ireland isn’t technically part of Britain, so the genre was a misnomer anyways. No, it was more their youthful energy and punkier inclinations didn’t really fit with the sort of Anglo sophistication that I wanted from the likes of Blur or Pulp, and so while I appreciated the singles I heard over the years, I didn’t start making up the lost time until recently. Definitely in time to thoroughly enjoy their show, though. Obviously feeling no inclination to be difficult, the set was wall-to-wall hits – both actual and should have beens – drawn from throughout their career but focusing largely on their 1996 debut 1977 with appropriate consideration given to 2001’s Free All Angels and 2004’s Meltdown, and ranging from the relatively gentle “Shining Light” to the positively raging “Clones”. And while not sold out, the show was well-attended with no small number of Irish fans and not singing along with anthems such as “Goldfinger” or “Girl From Mars” was simply not an option. They also drew heavily from their recent ambitious A-Z singles series – the triple vinyl North American release ostensibly the reason for the tour – and tracks like “Arcadia” and “Binary” proving that even after twenty years, their simple formula of riff and melody – and recently, the occasional electronic flourish – still pays tremendous dividends.

As you would expect a band with as many years and miles under their belts as Ash, they were unbelievably polished and powerful, bassist Mark Hamilton not missing a not while striking body-contorting rock poses through the whole night and Wheeler, when not singing, was bounding around the stage and confirming that the road case oddly placed front and centre stage was indeed for jumping on and rocking out. And after nineteen songs and 90 minutes, it was also the place for the trio to stand up and take a well-earned bow.

Oh, one more lesson bands can take from Ash? Flying Vs rawk.

Exclaim also has a review of the show and A Music Blog, Yea has an interview with Tim Wheeler.

Photos: Ash, Kestrels @ Lee’s Palace – November 17, 2012
MP3: Ash – “Return Of White Rabbit”
MP3: Ash – “Burn Baby Burn”
Video: Ash – “Carnal Love”
Video: Ash – “Binary”
Video: Ash – “Kamakura”
Video: Ash – “The Creeps”
Video: Ash – “War With Me”
Video: Ash – “Neon”
Video: Ash – “Ichiban”
Video: Ash – “Space Shot”
Video: Ash – “Pripyat”
Video: Ash – “Tracers”
Video: Ash – “Arcadia”
Video: Ash – “Joy Kicks Darkness”
Video: Ash – “True Love 1980”
Video: Ash – “Return Of White “
Video: Ash – “End Of The World”
Video: Ash – “Polaris”
Video: Ash – “You Can’t Have It All”
Video: Ash – “I Started A Fire”
Video: Ash – “Renegade Cavalcade”
Video: Ash – “Starcrossed”
Video: Ash – “Orpheus”
Video: Ash – “Clones”
Video: Ash – “There’s A Star”
Video: Ash – “Candy”
Video: Ash – “Sometimes”
Video: Ash – “Burn Baby Burn”
Video: Ash – “Shining Light”
Video: Ash – “Warmer Than Fire”
Video: Ash – “Wildsurf”
Video: Ash – “A Life Less Ordinary”
Video: Ash – “Oh Yeah”
Video: Ash – “Goldfinger”
Video: Ash – “Angel Interceptor”
Video: Ash – “Girl From Mars” (US)
Video: Ash – “Girl From Mars” (UK)
Video: Ash – “Kung Fu”
Video: Ash – “Uncle Pat”
Video: Kestrels – “The Past Rests”
Video: Kestrels – “There All The Time Without You”

Here’s one to file under “happy coincidences”. Just yesterday morning, I was listening to The Joy Formidable and thinking that it had been too long since I saw them live, having skipped their show in April and also planning to give next Sunday night’s support slot for The Gaslight Anthem a pass. And then, lo and behold, they announce a last-minute headline gig at The Mod Club for next Monday, November 26. It’s a free show as part of CFNY’s holiday concert series, so head to theedge.ca for details on how to win tickets. Expect to hear material from their new album Wolf’s Law, out January 22.

MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Wolf’s Law”

Kate Nash has announced her Death Proof EP will indeed be out this Fall as promised – as of right now, in fact. DIY has details on the release, which will be out on November 19, and Consequence Of Sound has some specifics on Nash’s third studio album, entitled Girl Talk and targeted for a March 2013 release. Spin talks to her about her new video for the title track of the new EP.

Video: Kate Nash – “Death Proof”

Florence & The Machine have squeezed another video out of Ceremonials and premiered it over at Nowness.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “Lover To Lover”

Played the new Veronica Falls track to death already? Head over to They Shoot Music where the band play a live version for a video session in addition to an old song. The new album Waiting For Something To Happen is out February 12.

4AD has details on the second album from Stornoway, to be entitled Tales From Terra Firma and due out on March 11.

Pitchfork has a Takeaway Show with Jessie Ware, filmed last month in Paris.

Blurt talks to Beth Orton.

The first track from Foals’ new album Holy Fire, out February 12, is now available to download.

MP3: Foals – “Inhaler”

Esben & The Witch are also giving away the first teaser of their second album Wash The Sins Not Only The Face, out January 21.

MP3: Esben & The Witch – “Deathwaltz”

For Folks Sake and The Stool Pigeon talk to Neil Halstead.

The Guardian asks the question so many have wondered – how did Mumford & Sons get so damn big?

Wales Online reports that Manic Street Preachers have gotten to work on a new album, though it won’t be out until 2014 at least.

Blur have released a clip from their not-farewell Hyde Park concert, documented on the forthcoming CD/DVD Parklive set. It’s out December 3.

Video: Blur – “Under The Westway” (live at Hyde Park)

Wired reports that Beautiful Noise, the documentary film on the shoegazing movement featuring interviews with many principals of the scene that has seemingly been in production forever, is finally finished and turning to Kickstarter to fund its distribution. $25 gets you a copy of the DVD… and you know you want it.

Trailer: Beautiful Noise

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

If You Still Want Me

Veronica Falls not Waiting to drop second album

Photo via FacebookFacebookEveryone has heard the old saw about bands having “a lifetime to write the first album, a year to write the second”. Similarly, most people can think of an instance or two of “sophomore slump” being more than just a clever bit of alliteration. London’s Veronica Falls seem set on not letting the former be any kind of obstacle and sidestepping the latter entirely. Their self-titled debut came out just over a year ago, but they’ve just announced the follow-up.

Waiting For Something To Happen will be out on February 12 of next year and the first teaser track from it has been made available to stream, and as expected/hoped it’s another slice of deliciously retro, garage-punk-jangle-pop that might sound a bit sunnier with more major key wistfulness than you would have found on the debut, but it’s only one song of thirteen – there’s surely at least some of their trademark darkness still lurking in the corners. Exclaim has the full tracklisting, album art, and other bits and bobs announced about the record.

Stream: Veronica Falls – “Teenage”

A Music Blog, Yea runs some questions by guitarist Paul Rains of Allo Darlin’.

The Joy Formidable have released a new video from their own sophomore effort, Wolf’s Law. It’s out January 23 and they’re at The Sound Academy on November 25 supporting The Gaslight Anthem.

Video: The Joy Formidable – “The Ladder Is Ours”

Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes talks about her experience in the music industry with Exclaim. A new track from The Haunted Man has also been made available to download.

MP3: Bat For Lashes – “Oh Yeah”

MXDWN and Los Angeles Magazine talk to Laura Marling.

NPR welcomes Neil Halstead for a World Cafe session.

Johnny Marr has released a video for the title track from his solo debut The Messenger, due out February 26. Hear that, son? That’s the jangle.

Video: Johnny Marr – “The Messenger”

DIY has some updates on the next album from Primal Scream, targeted for release in Summer of next year.

Atlanta Music Guide has a short interview with Ash; they’re at Lee’s Palace this Saturday night, November 17.

The Fly interviews Trailer Trash Tracys.

One of the tracks from Charli XCX’s new Super Ultra Mixtape has been made available for download, if you prefer things in sub-three minute chunks.

MP3: Charli XCX – “Glow”

Rolling Stone talks to Richard Thompson about his new album Electricity – due out February 5 – and also have a stream of one of the new songs on it.

Stream: Richard Thompson – “Good Things Happen To Bad People”

Blurt reports that Dutch indie-rock veterans Bettie Serveert have targeted a February release for their new album Oh, Mayhem! and released a first video from it. Here’s hoping they take this opportunity to make up that 2010 Toronto show canceled at the eleventh hour due to visa issues.

Video: Bettie Serveert – “Had2Byou”

Sambassadeur have made the flipside of their forthcoming single “Memories”/”Hours Away” available to stream, helping to tide you over until the single is out November 20 and the new album is out sometime next year.

Stream: Sambassadeur – “Hours Away”

Under The Radar talks to Carl and Adam of Shout Out Louds about how work is progressing on their fourth album. They hope to release it near the end of February 2013.

Much Sigur Rós to report; they’ve premiered another video from the Valtari Mystery Film Experient over at Nowness, this one set to four of the songs from Valtari. Maybe it will be one of those screened at The Bloor on December 8. Further, the band have announced another North American tour for next Spring. The band made a total triumph of their last visit to Echo Beach in August, but instead of returning to their former home of Massey Hall for indoor digs, they’ll be setting up at the Air Canada Centre on March 30, albeit in the more-intimate theatre configuration. And lest you worry that arenas in any configuration are acoustic nightmares, know that The National made the same setup sound amazing last December and the magical elves that work sound for Sigur Rós did wonders with Echo Beach’s PA, so I have full confidence that this will sound incredible. Ticket details still forthcoming but public on-sale is this Saturday, so they’ll be available soon. And on top of all that, they will release a new EP to go with the tour on March 22. Hoo-rah.

MP3: Sigur Rós – “Hoppípolla”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Valtari”

Björk has also rolled out a new video from last year’s Biophilia.

Video: Björk – “Mutual Core”

Tame Impala have released a new video from Lonerism; The Chicago Tribune also has an interview.

Video: Tame Impala – “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Scottish Winds

Frightened Rabbit at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFor most bands, an EP is a stopgap between albums meant to keep their name out there, their fans appeased, and to buy some more time while they work on the next proper full-length. For Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit, their new State Hospital short-player was an excuse to stop work on their third album, jet across the Atlantic and play a batch of North American dates. They kind of did the same thing last Summer, though A Frightened Rabbit EP was less an excuse to tour than to have something new at the merch table after they were invited out to support Death Cab For Cutie on the amphitheatre circuit. In either case, both the tour and releases were pretty good distractions from the fact that their last album – The Winter Of Mixed Drinks – is now over two and a half years old.

But if you thought that the sold-out house at The Mod Club last Wednesday night were on hand to tell the band off in person for being tardy with new music, well you’d have been wrong. Lots of young bands have fanbases of a certain size have to accept a percentage of “oh I like that one song” and “these guys are hip so I should be here”-types amongst them, but Frightened Rabbit seem to have managed to keep theirs disproportionately, “I love this band more than life itself”. Which is impressive, if not a bit unsettling, and a proven benefit of touring constantly, being accessible to your fans, and finding that songwriting sweet spot where introverted miserablism intersects big rock action.

The last time I saw the band was a few tours ago – two sets at SXSW 2010 – and so any notes I might have on how they’ve evolved as a live act have significant gaps in them. That said, I don’t think anyone will take great offence is I say that big “FR” stage backdrop aside, they haven’t changed much at all which is to say they’re still wonderfully down to earth and earnest, and no, no one besides frontman Scott Hutchison really does much besides steadily and stolidly going about their business. And while I’m the last person who’d complain about being faced with a phalanx of Telecasters, one does have to question why they’d necessarily need a four-guitar lineup for some songs – though to their credit, they never let the arrangements get messy or overdone. But when you have more guitarists than Iron Maiden, you gotta wonder.

The set strongly favouring 2008’s Midnight Organ Fight but touched on all points of their discography to date, including reaching back to their debut Sing The Greys for “Square 9”. It’s a song that’s hardly small on record, but live had been built up to arena-scale set-closer proportions. Impressive, and brought back down to Hutchison on solo acoustic for the front half of the encore, eventually bringing the band back out for a grand “Living In Colour” to close things out for good. And here was one of the benefits of the between-album tours: there’s nothing to sell, so give the fans what they want.

It was a bit surprising that aside from a couple State Hospital selections, there wasn’t any new material at all in the fold. But even so, it’s pretty easy to guess what formula next album – due out early next year – will utilize: make it sad, make it big, give it a Scottish accent. Some might bristle at the suggestion that Frightened Rabbit work by formula, but it’s not a slight – if Scott Hutchison’s songwriting stays at the same high level that it has since the band emerged, and there’s little reason to think it won’t, then it’ll make for another bracing album of anthemic angst that will give them another excuse to tour and their fans to celebrate. And what’s wrong with that?

Exclaim also has a review of the show.

Photos: Frightened Rabbit @ The Mod Club – October 10, 2012
MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Scottish Winds”
MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”
MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Old Old Fashioned” (live)
MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “The Modern Leper”
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “State Hospital”
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Living In Colour”
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “The Loneliness & The Scream”
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”

DIY, Drowned In Sound, and Gigwise talk to Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes about her new album The Haunted Man It’s out October 23 and streaming now at NPR.

MP3: Bat For Lashes – “Laura”
Stream: Bat For Lashes / The Haunted Man

The Line Of Best Fit chats with Beth Orton.

Field Music muse to Gigwise about their odds of taking home the Mercury Prize in a few weeks.

Rolling Stone have made one of the tracks from Ash’s A-Z singles series – being released on triple-vinyl in North America in time for their North American tour, which brings them to Lee’s Palace on November 17.

MP3: Ash – “Return Of White Rabbit”

DIY has got a stream of the new Patrick Wolf set Sundark & Riverlight, finally out physically tomorrow. Clash talks to Wolf about the decade-marking double-set.

Stream: Patrick Wolf / Sunlight & Riverdark

Clash profiles The xx, back in town at Massey Hall on October 23.

Two Door Cinema Club have released a new video from Beacon and also have a chat with The Belfast Telegraph.

Video: Two Door Cinema Club – “Sun”

Interview and The Line Of Best Fit have interviews with Tame Impala, in town at the Phoenix on November 12.

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

CONTEST – Ash @ Lee’s Palace – November 17, 2012

Photo via ash-official.comash-official.comWho: Ash
What: Northern Irish Britpop/power-pop trio who’ve outlived pretty much all of their peers and are marking their twentieth anniversary as a band.
Why: It’s been some seven years since Ash have been here, but the aforementioned anniversary and series of special releases – most notably a triple-vinyl release of their A-Z singles series from 2009/2010 – is a good enough reason to make a visit.
When: Saturday, November 17, 2012
Where: Lee’s Palace in Toronto (19+)
Who else: Halifax’s period-correct – at least in inspiration if not age – Kestrels will support.
How: Tickets for the show are $15 in advance and go on sale this Friday at 10AM, but courtesy of LiveNation, you can beat the box office: I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see Ash” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in before midnight, October 11. Winners will be notified before tickets go on sale the next morning.
What Else: The band have just digitally released a covers EP entitled Little Infinity; you can stream the whole thing on their website.

MP3: Ash – “Burn Baby Burn”