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Posts Tagged ‘Austra’

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

And In Truth

Colin Stetson leads lineup for Wavelength 14

Photo By Scott IrvineScott IrvineWhen I listed off a couple of Colin Stetson shows slated for February last week, it was a bit reluctantly as I had a hunch that I was missing some crucial information about the context of the performance – the unconventional venue and absence of formal press release or ticket information, in particular, were flags. But I went with it anyways and now, a week later, I’m amending the info with lots of context – which I should have guessed, given the timing. The twice-Polaris-shortlisted saxophone maestro will be performing as part of Wavelength’s 14th anniversary festival, taking place around Toronto from February 13 to 16 of next year with his show – just one, now – happening February 15 at the Polish Combatants Hall on a bill that includes US Girls amongst others, tickets $20 in advance.

Other festival showcases include Hooded Fang spin-off Phedre and friends at The Silver Dollar on February 13 ($10), American guitar goddess Marnie Stern with local synth-pop heroes Diana and post-punkers Odonis Odonis at The Adelaide Music Hall on February 14 ($17), and Haligonian two-headed rock machine Cousins bring things to a close with an eclectic bill at The Garrison on February 16 ($10). Plus, there’s some in-store talks and events happening at local record stores through the weekend. Wavelength the music series and especially the anniversary festivals have always done a great job of showcasing new and established talent from at home and abroad, and this year’s lineup is no exception.

Tickets are available for individual shows or a four-day festival pass can be had for just $49.

MP3: Colin Stetson – “High Above A Grey Green Sea”
MP3: Marnie Stern – “Transparency Is The New Mystery”
MP3: Diana – “Born Again”
Video: U.S. Girls – “Work From Home”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Better”
Stream: Cousins – “River”

Even though they were just here in November, New York’s Holy Ghost! are pretty sure people want more of their new album Dynamics and so they’re coming back for another show at The Hoxton on February 14.

Video: Holy Ghost! – “Okay”

When she announced her Toronto debut back in August, I had to ask, “who is Lorde?” Not asking that anymore. The Kiwi teen is bringing her massively massive debut Pure Heroine back to town for a show at Sound Academy on March 15 as part of a North American tour, tickets the appropriately massive $44.50 to $55.

Video: Lorde – “Royals”

Synth/New Wave legend Gary Numan has announced a North American tour in support of his latest album Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind). He’ll be at The Phoenix on March 27, tickets $29.50. The National Student has an interview.

Video: Gary Numan – “Cars”

Another of José González’s contributions to the Secret Life Of Walter Mitty soundtrack has been released, this time with a video. The film is out December 25, aka Christmas Day.

Video: José González – “Stay Alive”

The Quietus has an interview with TOY, who will be in town at The Horseshoe on January 14.

Black Francis discusses the departure of Kim Shattuck from Pixies with Yahooo!. He really sounds torn up about it; hopefully he’ll be able to pull it together for their show at Massey Hall on January 15.

DIY talks to Yuck, who’ve rolled out a new video from their latest Glow & Behold. They’re in town at The Garrison on January 17.

Video: Yuck – “Lose My Breath”

Clash talks to Efrim Menuck of Thee Silver Mount Zion and Godspeed You! Black Emperor about the new Mount Zion record Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything, due out January 21.

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with Warpaint, who will release their second full-length Warpaint on January 21 and play The Danforth Music Hall on March 25.

The New Mendicants – that’s Joe Pernice, Norman Blake, and Mike Belitsky if you’ve not been keeping up – have made a few tracks from their debut album Into The Lime available to stream. It’s out January 28.

Stream: The New Mendicants – “A Very Sorry Christmas”
Stream: The New Mendicants – “Sarasota”
Stream: The New Mendicants – “If You Only Knew Her”

The Fly talks to Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls about their new record Too True, out January 28. They’re at Lee’s Palace on March 29.

The Fly talks to Joe Jonas of Metronomy, who release their new album Love Letters on March 10. Watch the just-released first video from it below.

Video: Metronomy – “I’m Aquarius”

NPR has posted a KCRW video session and Filter an Ernie Ball session with The Head & The Heart; they’re at The Kool Haus on March 30.

Pretty Much Amazing have an interview with London Grammar have released a stream of an old, unreleased track via Rolling Stone. They’ll be back in Toronto at The Phoenix on April 7.

Stream: London Grammar – “Everywhere You Go”

Noisey has premiered the latest video from The Vaccines, taken from last year’s Come Of Age.

Video: The Vaccines – “If I Was A Girl”

Interview talks to Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, whose apartment in New York tragically burned down Monday night, taking with it all his belonging and his new puppy. Fundraising efforts are underway to help Dev get back on his feet and while they’ve already well past their original modest goal of $5000, every bit will help.

Kate Nash has released a new video from her seasonal EP Have Faith This Christmas.

Video: Kate Nash – “I Hate You This Christmas”

Under The Radar has an interview with Summer Camp.

Esquire and The Huffington Post chat with Elvis Costello.

Islands have made a brand-new song available to stream. Islands. Stream. Hmm.

Stream: Islands – “Hawaii”

Filter gets to know Braids.

Noisey talks sex and politics with Austra.

Tone Deaf has an interview with Born Ruffians.

Majical Cloudz have released a video for the non-album track made available to stream last month.

Video: Majical Cloudz – “Savage”

The Line Of Best Fit just beat the Christmas shipping deadline with the release of their fifth holiday-themed Ho! Ho! Ho! compilation of Canadian indie artists, along with a promise to be more frequent in the new year.

Tone Deaf chats with Ken Stringfellow.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of one of Yo La Tengo’s shows at Brooklyn’s Bell House last week.

Under The Radar talks to Cameron Mesirow of Glasser.

The Life Of Best Fit has an interview with Midlake.

Stereogum spends some time with Titus Andronicus‘ Patrick Stickles.

And that, I guess, will just about do it.

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, October 18th, 2013

Lady Toronto

Fucked Up almanac predicts another Long Winter with high probability of King Cobb Steelie

Photo via FacebookFacebookHaving found their prescription of music, art, film, dance, food, and community to have been wholly effective at warding off the Winter blues, local hardcore heroes and good citizens Fucked Up have announced a second edition of the Long Winter arts series, set to take place monthly from November 2013 through March 2014.

Though Fucked Up themselves headlined three of the five shows of 2012-13, they’re ceding centre stage for the season opener – set to take place November 8 at The Great Hall – to Guelph’s electronic-jazz-funk pioneers King Cobb Steelie, their on-again/off-again status again in the “on” position following the re-release of their 1994 album Project Twinkle last Fall. They’re joined on the musical portion of the bill by Rheostatics spin-off Bidiniband, local post-punkers Ell V Gore, and many more. Admission to the event is pay-what-you-can.

Stream: King Cobb Steelie – “Mano Ponderosa”
Stream: King Cobb Steelie – “Deadbeat”
Stream: King Cobb Steelie – “Home”
Video: King Cobb Steelie – “Rational”

As mentioned, Fucked Up aren’t playing the first edition of this year’s series – although it’s a certainty they will before Spring arrives – but they are playing a local show that same weekend. Those willing to make the trek to Scarborough can see them at Rockpile East on November 9.

MP3: Fucked Up – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

The National Post and Vancouver Sun talk Flying Colours with Shad, out now and behind which he has two local area shows scheduled – a sold out gig at The Opera House tomorrow night, October 19, and another at The Danforth Music Hall on January 31.

JAM has an interview with Will Butler of Arcade Fire, whose Reflektor will finally be out on October 29. And if album trailers wasn’t annoying enough, now we’ve got song trailers. Arcade Fire – groundbreaking as ever.

Trailer: Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”

July Talk will be at the Sound Academy on December 3 as support for Frank Turner. Exclaim is streaming their just re-released debut album with the four bonus tracks, so if you haven’t heard it or even if you have, you should probably give a listen.

Stream: July Talk / July Talk

No Joy have made a date at The Garrison for December 6, ostensibly in support of their Pastel And Pass Out EP which is due out November 4, but probably mostly just because.

MP3: No Joy – “Heedless”

Local psych-pop upstarts Moon King will be at The Drake on December 12, perhaps in expectation that the third and final part of their Obsession EP series will finally be out, though they did just release a video from part II so maybe they’re not quite done with that one yet. Either way, hope they don’t burn the place down.

MP3: Moon King – “Appel”
Video: Moon King – “Almost Blue”

Exclaim has details on and a stream from a new tour cassette EP from Austra-adjuncts Tasseomancy, as they spool up for a European tour and a new album next year.

Stream: Tasseomancy – “Braid. Wind Is Coming”

The Winnipeg Free Press, Georgia Straight, and Edmonton Journal talk to Katie Stelmanis of Austra.

Basia Bulat plays a Take-Away Show for Le Blogothèque.

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

How Deep In The Valley

Sarah Harmer rallies rally for pipeline awareness

Photo By Afie JurvanenAfie JurvanenHer musical achievements are pretty much beyond reproach – both leading Weeping Tile and as a solo artist – but Sarah Harmer has become as well-known for her activism in recent years. In 2005, she helped form PERL – Protecting Escarpment Rural Land – to fight proposed development on the Niagara Escarpment, work which was reflected musically in her I’m A Mountain album and documented in the Escarpment Blues doc. The movement scored a major victory last Fall when a proposed quarry in the escarpment was denied. Now she’s seeking to draw attention to Line 9, a pipeline which currently carries conventional crude oil across Ontario and Quebec and which may be repurposed to also transport heavy crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands.

To draw public attention to their calls for further environmental assessment of the project, Harmer has organized Rock The Line, a free concert happening at Mel Lastman Square in North York this coming Sunday, October 6, starting at 2PM. Joining her will be Gord Downie & The Sadies – formidable on their own, fearsome togetherHayden and Guelph’s Minotaurs. A great show for any reason and an even better one for the cause behind it.

Video: Sarah Harmer – “Oleander”
Video: Gord Downie & The Sadies – “Search & Destroy”
Video: Hayden – “Rainy Saturday”

Basia Bulat is marking the release of her new album Tall Tall Shadow this week with a track-by-track walkthrough at Port Magazine, a video session at NOW, and a video for the title track premiered over at Bullett. She plays three nights at The Polish Combatants Hall on from October 10 to 12.

Video: Basia Bulat – “Tall Tall Shadow”

Filter has a stream of Prayer Of The Woods, the solo debut from Great Lake Swimmers’ Tony Dekker, out October 8.

Stream: Tony Dekker / Prayer Of The Woods

The Darcys talk to Exclaim about their plans to release a 20-minute, Cormac McCarthy-inspired instrumental track and video series for every track on their latest, Warring. They play The Adelaide Music Hall on October 11.

In advance of his “electronic pop opera” performance at the Adelaide Music Hall that night – The Montreal Gazette saw said show at Pop Montreal last weekend – Murray Lightburn will play an in-store at Sonic Boom’s Annex location on October 12 at 2PM.

MP3: Murray Lightburn – “Motherfuckers”

As the October 27 release date for Reflektor draws ever closer, Arcade Fire have revealed a few more new songs via a short film by The Creators Project.

Video: Arcade Fire / Here comes The Night Time

Loud & Quiet, The Link, The Ottawa Citizen, and The Edmonton Journal interview Braids. They play The Great Hall on November 10.

Under The Radar and The Georgia Straight talk to Catherine McCandless of Young Galaxy, who’ve released a new video from Ultramarine. They play The Hoxton on November 22.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Sleepwalk With Me”

Perhaps conscious that they haven’t actually played Toronto since Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO came out in early April – their CMF show happened a few weeks prior and their announced NXNE show never actually happened – The Besnard Lakes have announced a November 26 date at Lee’s Palace, tickets $15 in advance.

MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “People Of The Sticks”

Stereogum talk to Fucked Up’s Damien Abraham about their new record and Godspeed’s comments following their Polaris win last week. That seems like ancient history now, but if you wanted to read some well-reasoned responses to the kerfuffle (which align with my thinking, natch), check out pieces at Herohill, A Void, Radio Free Canuckistan, Liisa Ladouceur, and The Toronto Standard.

Dan Mangan drops some pretty high-falutin’ reference points in discussing his plans for his next record with Exclaim.

NOW has an interview and Chart solicits a list of recommended listening from Diana.

The National Post, Culture Map, and Beatroute interview Katie Stelmanis of Austra.

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

'Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

Godspeed You! Black Emperor win 2013 Polaris Music Prize; speechless seems an appropriate reaction

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWell I certainly didn’t expect that.

Even though Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s surprise comeback record‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! was high on my own ballot and certainly a worthy record by any standard – refer back to my review last October – I had expected that some combination of the band’s own refusal to interact with the media (and thus any of the jury), the relative bleakness/impenetrableness of their music, and just their lack of profile outside of old-school indie circles to stack the odds against them. Apparently not. Proving that predicting the Polaris Music Prize is a tricky, tricky pastime, the name that last year’s winner Leslie Feist read from winner’s envelope wasn’t Zaki Ibrahim or A Tribe Called Red or any of the other acts who were widely expected to walk away with the $30,000 in this unusually wide-open year, but Godspeed.

No one was sure if they’d even acknowledge the nomination though it was a pretty sure thing they wouldn’t show up to the ceremony, and indeed they didn’t. American music journalist Jessica Hopper said a few short words at the gala to acknowledge their nomination and Ian Ilavsky of Constellation Records, Godspeed’s label, said a few words after their win, thanking the jurors and announcing that the winnings would be donated to a program to bring music and instruments to Quebec prisons. There was no giant novelty cheque. And this morning, the band made their own official statement on the win and manage to be entirely gracious while remaining entirely Godspeed.

As to the rest of the gala, it was an eminently enjoyable affair in its fancy new home at The Carlu. Shad and Kathleen Edwards were fine hosts, with the requisite costume skits and making light of the fact that they were both two-time Polaris losers (including both of them in 2008 when my Grand Jury gave the prize to Caribou), as well as leveraging Edwards’ renowned potty mouth towards collecting money for charity via a swear jar on each guest table whenever she cussed. Which was often.

The performances opened with Purity Ring bringing their trademark cocoon lantern stage show to accompany their squelchy electro-pop, followed by and impressive set by R&B artist Zaki Ibrahim with costumes and dancers that was probably revelatory for most in attendance, since she’s hardly if ever performed live in Canada. As they did in 2009, Metric opted to perform acoustic as just the core duo of Emily and James but bringing in a grand piano to fancy things up a bit helped avoid the coffee house vibe of that previous showing.

What with having been sidelined very recently with a broken hand, solo saxophonist Colin Stetson was a surprise performer on the night but showed no ill effects fresh off the DL, turning in the most raw, elemental performance of the night and maybe the history of the Polaris Prize. Tegan & Sara also surprised, not by showing up and performing but by having Toronto’s Choir! Choir! Choir! sub in with a brilliant and buoyant version of “Closer”.

Whitehorse only played one song when they could have easily done two in their allotted time, but that one more than ably showcased their abilities and appeal, with Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland’s intricately choreographed instrument swapping and looping an impressive demonstration of musicality and chemistry. And it speaks to the diversity of nominees on this year’s short list that Young Galaxy’s set would come across as unusual, what with them being a conventional rock band simply performing a couple of their songs.

A fancy-dress gala might have been an odd first time to see local punk heroes METZ, but their loud and loud and awesome and loud set successfully transformed the Carlu from a storied concert hall that once hosted Frank Sinatra and Glenn Gould into every dirty, grungy basement venue in the world, albeit a really well-lit one. And finally, to wrap the night, A Tribe Called Red added some visual interest to their three-DJ performance with a native break/hoop dancer who, while no Gary the pole dancer, certainly put on a memorable and unique performance.

And then they gave the prize to Godspeed. It’s funny – of all the years the Polaris has been a thing, this was the year I felt least invested in. The couple of records I would have really loved to see make the final round having not, I had a lot of difficulty getting interested in this year’s edition beyond an academic level. And of course, it turns out the album I was pulling for but had basically assumed was out of contention wins, and the gala features some of the very best performances I’ve seen at these things. The Polaris – you just never know. Photos from the gala and a reminder of who the shortlist was below.

Photos: The Polaris Music Prize 2013 Gala @ The Carlu – September 23, 2013

A Tribe Called Red / Nation II Nation (Pirate’s Blend)
Video: A Tribe Called Red – “Electric Pow Wow Drum”

Godspeed You! Black Emperor / ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (Constellation)
Stream: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Mladic”

Zaki Ibrahim / Every Opposite (Motif)
Video: Zaki Ibrahim – “Go Widdit”

Metric / Synthetica (Metric Music International)
MP3: Metric – “Clone”

METZ / METZ (Sub Pop)
MP3: METZ – “Wet Blanket”

Purity Ring / Shrines (Last Gang)
MP3: Purity Ring – “Obedear”

Colin Stetson / New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light (Constellation)
MP3: Colin Stetson – “High Above A Grey Green Sea”

Tegan & Sara / Heartthrob (Warner Music)
Video: Tegan & Sara – “Closer”

Whitehorse / The Fate of the World Depends On This Kiss (Six Shooter)
Video: Whitehorse – “Achilles’ Desire”

Young Galaxy / Ultramarine (Paper Bag)
Video: Young Galaxy – “New Summer”

Young Galaxy have premiered a stream of another of the new tracks on their Ultramarine deluxe edition, out today, at Stereogum. The Edmonton Journal and Metro have interviews with the band.

Stream: Young Galaxy – “Talk To Her”

The Lab interviews Katie Stelmanis of Austra, who brings their 2014 Polaris-likely second album Olympia to The Phoenix on September 27.

The AV Club is offering an advance stream of Basia Bulat’s new album Tall Tall Shadow before its release next Tuesday, October 1. She plays three nights at the Polish Combatants Hall on October 10 through 12.

Stream: Basia Bulat / Tall Tall Shadow

Beatroute, The Montreal Gazette and CBC Music talk to Nick Thorburn of Islands about their new album Ski Mask. They play The Garrison on October 10.

Noisey have premiered the new video from The Darcys’ new record Warring, while B-Insider has an interview. They play the Adelaide Music Hall on October 11.

Video: The Darcys – “Muzzle Blast”

Shad discusses his new album Flying Colours with Respect. It’s out October 15 and he’s at The Opera House on October 19.

The Weeknd has premiered another video from Kiss Land; his three-night stand at Massey Hall begins October 17.

Video: The Weeknd – “Pretty”

NOW talks to Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, who’ve released a first video from their new record Uzu, coming out October 29.

Video: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “One”

Consequence Of Sound reports that Arcade Fire will follow-up their September 27 appearance on Saturday Night Live with a 30-minute concert performance to be shown on NBC – so that’s 1AM EDT, if it was unclear. Elsewhere, Richard Reed Perry tells NME how David Bowie ended up on “Reflektor” and Under The Radar has got a stream of their cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Games Without Frontiers”, appearing on the forthcoming All I’ll Scratch Yours tribute album, out this week. Arcade Fire’s own Reflektor is in stores October 29.

Stream: Arcade Fire – “Games Without Frontiers”

Also streaming from the Peter Gabriel tribute is this track from Feist featuring Timber Timbre; whether you choose to imagine a video featuring Leslie and Taylor clinging to each other for warmth for four minutes is your business.

Stream: Feist with Timber Timbre – “Don’t Give Up”

Destroyer has announced the release of Five Spanish Songs, an EP of songs by Spanish musician Antonio Luque of the band Sr. Chinarro, due out November 29. You may hear some of these songs when Dan Bejar plays The Great Hall solo on November 9. Or you may not.

Stereogum are streaming a new song from Odonis Odonis, presumably from a new album in the works or coming soon or something. They’ve not said.

Stream: Odonis Odonis – “Are We Friends”

Pitchfork welcomes Majical Cloudz for a City Of Music video session.

No Joy have released a new video from their latest, Wait To Pleasure.

Video: No Joy – “Blue Neck Riviera”

aux.tv has an interview with METZ.

Exclaim reports that the limited edition vinyl pressing of the first Super Friendz record Mock Up Scale Down is now a little less limited but more easy to buy, being on sale via murderrecords directly.