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Posts Tagged ‘Autolux’

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

You And I Know

Ra Ra Riot announce (almost) last-minute (sort-of) private Toronto club show

Photo By Doron GildDoron GildIt’s understandable if Toronto fans of Syracuse’s Ra Ra Riot waiting for them to come back to town turned their frowns upside down and then right back again when their local appearance this coming Saturday was announced – rather than a proper club show to showcase the material from their just-released-today second album The Orchard, they were booked in at the Molson Amphitheatre opening up for City & Colour and Tegan & Sara. Which isn’t to say that some of their fanbase ven diagrams don’t overlap, but most were probably hoping for something a little more intimate and inexpensive.

So for those folks, it’s time to get happy again as it was announced yesterday that the band would be sticking around in town a few more days (or maybe just driving back from Syracuse, it’s not far) to play a special show at the Mod Club next Monday night with no advance tickets; admission is limited to those who either buy a copy of The Orchard at one of the city’s independent record stores (Soundscapes, Criminal Records, Rotate This and Sonic Boom), online via Arts & Crafts or who enter a contest by emailing contest@arts-crafts.ca. Obviously total capacity is limited and nothing is guaranteed, but it’s a pretty cool chance to see a terrific live band in a more amenable setting than, say, the Amphitheatre. And am I the only one who appreciates the clockwork nature of Ra Ra Riot’s visits? This will be the third year in a row they’ve come through within the two week span around the start of September. Okay, maybe it’s just me.

Soundproof talks to violinist Rebecca Zeller while Exclaim has a combination interview/review. Intereview!

MP3: Ra Ra Riot – “Boy”
Video: Ra Ra Riot – “Boy”

Prior to taking the stage at the Horseshoe later that night in full-band mode backed by Mike Watt and The Missingmen, Lou Barlow will be showcasing his solo and acoustic (presumably) side via an in-store at Criminal Records this Saturday, August 28, at 7PM. Express Night Out and Isthmus Daily Paper talk to Barlow.

MP3: Lou Barlow – “Losercore”

Seattle’s Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band will bring their shiny new record Where the Messengers Meet to the Drake Underground on September 18.

MP3: Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band – “Leaving Trails”
MP3: Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band – “Hurrah”

The resuscitated, presumably still very loud and almost certainly still pissed off Atari Teenage Riot will be at the Phoenix on October 4.

Video: Atari Teenage Riot – “Revolution Action”

Illinois girl Lissie, whose debut Catching A Tiger is probably a lot more pop and less country than most would have expected but still a good showcase for her talents, will make her Toronto debut at the El Mocambo on October 19, tickets $12.50. If the buzz around her continues as it has, expect this one to sell out quickly, even if it’s just to people who want to hear her cover Lady Gaga. MTV has an interview.

MP3: Lissie – “Little Lovin'”
MP3: Lissie – “In Sleep” (live)
Video: Lissie – “Cuckoo”

Ted Leo has released a glorious new video which is the culmination of all his retirement talk since way back in July… well played, sir.

Video: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Bottled In Cork”

The Montreal Mirror have a short interview with Patrick Stickles of Titus Andronicus (who appears in the aforementioned Ted Leo video – did you see him and his mighty beard?). They’ve made available for download the opening track from The Monitor, edited down to radio length, and while it’s logical in that it’s pretty long in its original form, know that the proper way to experience the song is as it appears on the record – followed by the rest of the record.

MP3: Titus Andronicus – “A More Perfect Union” (radio edit)

There’s a new Antony & The Johnsons for a song from both the Thank You For Your Love EP, out today, and the Swanlights full-length, out October 12.

Video: Antony & The Johnsons – “Thank You For Your Love”

Sufjan Stevens has put out an epic-length EP entitled All Delighted People which is available to stream for free and to download from his Bandcamp for $5 and sets the stage for what we might expect when he plays Massey Hall on October 13.

QRO talks to Scott Devendorf of The National.

The National Post talks to Greg Edwards of Autolux, in town tonight at Lee’s Palace.

Pitchfork has details on the next A Sunny Day In Glasgow, which will be called Autumn, Again and be available to download completely for free as of October 19. Until then, you can have one track. But just one.

MP3: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “Drink Drank Drunk”

Spinner and Exclaim talk to The Drums, who’re at The Mod Club on October 21.

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Big Echo

The Morning Benders at The Big Chill in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt could have been an interesting study in contrasts if I’d bothered to go to both free shows happening in Toronto yesterday evening. Down at Union Station, you had local aspirant arena rockers Metric drawing throngs while shutting down a key chunk of downtown at rush hour as part of a cell phone launch for a major international corporation. And up in Little Italy, there was Christopher Chu – one quarter of California’s pop merchants The Morning Benders – leading fans and passers-by in singalongs from a makeshift wooden stage outside an ice cream parlour, presented by the independent record store around the corner. Guess which one I went to? Yeah, the one with free ice cream.

Chu and his compatriots had been through town a number of times already this year – including the acoustic gig, yesterday evening’s second night opening up for The Black Keys at the Kool Haus would their fifth Toronto performance of the calendar year – but in this day and age, that’s to be expected when you’ve got a record that could well be your breakout album as The Morning Benders do with their 2010 sophomore album Big Echo. Their 2008 debut Talking Through Tin Cans established the Berkeley-based outfit as knowing their way around a pop hook, but it was on the follow-up that they, assisted on production by Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, put together a distinctive sonic identity. One which did recall Grizzly Bear’s a bit, yes, with its epic scale, cavernous reverbs and edge-of-otherworldly ambience, but with more direct and less precious songwriting.

Not that you’d have gotten any of that from Chu’s solo performance on Wednesday afternoon. Seated on a stool with an acoustic guitar and clearly enjoying the laid-back vibe of the afternoon, he solicited requests from the audience and appeared pleased with some of the “deep cuts” being called out. Over the half hour set, he rattled off selections from both records, gamely attempted a cover of The Cardigans’ “Lovefool” (making it as far as the first chorus), tested out a new song inspired by Annie Hall and closed out with Big Echo‘s “Excuses”, backing vocals provided by all of those in attendance. It was a nice, low key way to distract oneself from the city’s sweltering humidity – thanks in no small part to the free ice cream. Did Metric have free ice cream? I think not.

Chu also promised that he and his band would be back yet again this Fall, presumably for a headlining tour. Is six shows in one calendar year for a touring band some sort of record? I think it may be.

Photos: The Morning Benders @ The Big Chill – August 4, 2010
MP3: The Morning Benders – “Promises”
MP3: The Morning Benders – “Grain Of Salt”
Video: The Morning Benders – “Promises”
Video: The Morning Benders – “Waiting For A War”
Video: The Morning Benders – “Damnit Anna”
Video: The Morning Benders – “Boarded Doors”
MySpace: The Morning Benders

Pitchfork talks to Win Butler about Arcade Fire’s Terry Gilliam-directed webcast from Madison Square Garden tonight and an upcoming project with director Spike Jonze The New York Times talks to Gilliam about the show and Rolling Stone gets some details on their dedication to analog on The Suburbs. They’re at the Toronto Islands on August 14.

Janelle Monáe has a new video from The ArchAndroid, which I just picked up this weekend and may well be as mind-bending as everyone is saying it is. She’s the warm-up for Arcade Fire on the 14th on the Islands.

Video: Janelle Monáe – “Cold War”

Queens Journal profiles The Sadies, who round out the Toronto Islands show on the 14th.

NOW tries to find out what The Hidden Cameras have in store for their Summerworks shows at the Lower Ossington Theatre tonight and tomorrow.

Baeble Music is streaming a full show from New York featuring Stars. They’re at Massey Hall on October 23.

eye has a feature piece on Forest City Lovers, who will be playing an in-store at Soundscapes on Tuesday at 7PM and a proper record release show for Carriage on Thursday night at the Great Hall.

In talking to NME, long-time R.E.M. compatriot Ken Stringfellow says the band’s new album is sounding “very old school”. It’s due out next year.

Filter profiles Autolux, who’re at Lee’s Palace on August 24.

Jose Gonzalez’s band Junip will be hitting the road this Fall with Sharon Van Etten; both have new records coming out – Junip with Fields on September 14 and Van Etten with Epic on October 5. They’re at Lee’s Palace on November 5. NYC Taper has a recording of Sharon Van Etten’s show in New York from last week.

MP3: Junip – “Rope And Summit”
MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Love More”

Clash interviews The Drums. They’re at the Mod Club on October 20.

The Vaeslines have made the title track from their new record Sex With An x, out September 14, available to download. They’re at the Horseshoe on October 30.

MP3: The Vaselines – “Sex With An X”

NOW profiles Wild Beasts; they’re at the Mod Club on August 9.

Jonsi has released a new video from Go.

Video: Jonsi – “Animal Arithmetic”

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

The End Of The World Is Bigger Than Love

Jens Lekman celebrates the waltz, quantifies the size of the apocalypse

Photo By Julien BourgeoisJulien BourgeoisThe inimitable Jens Lekman has been a bit quiet since wrapping up support for 2007’s Night Falls On Kortedala but a the last couple weeks have seen not quite a flurry of activity from the Swedish singer-songwriter, but definite signs that he’s not been idle while away.

First came what he called “A Summer In 3/4 Time”, a downloadable mix/mash-up that started as a remix he did for Au Revoir Simone and turned into an extended aural treatise on 3/4 and 6/8 tempos spanning all eras and genres of pop music with some film quotes thrown in for good measure. There’s a breakdown of the what and the why at his Small Talk journal, but really all you need to know is this.

And while that was very unexpected and enjoyable, the real treat came last week when a new song surfaced and was made available for free in exchange for an email. It also came with an extended backstory describing its origins – your boilerplate boy loses girl on the eve of the US election, fakes being happy on Swedish TV and writes a song about it – but what’s most important is that the song is big and sweeping and pure Jens. And bodes very well for his next record, whenever it’s done.

MP3: Jens Lekman presents A Summer in 3/4 Time

Yours Truly solicits an acoustic performance from First Aid Kit; they’re back in North America this Fall and are at the El Mocambo on October 15.

The San Francisco Chronicle interviews Joanna Newsom.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of The National at Terminal 5 in New York last week.

The Fly solicits an In The Courtyard video session from The Morning Bender. See them in a similar setting on Wednesday afternoon when they play a free acoustic set outside The Big Chill ice cream in Little Italy, in between opening gigs for The Black Keys at the Kool Haus on August 4 and 5.

Spinner talks to Greg Edwards of Autolux. Transit Transit is out this week and they are at Lee’s Palace on August 24.

Matt Pond PA will be at the Mod Club on October 1. They released The Dark Leaves back in the Spring.

MP3: Matt Pond PA – “Grave’s Disease”

Punk legends Bad Religion will be in town on October 14 at a venue to be announced in support of their new record The Dissent of Man, out September 28.

Video: Bad Religion – “New Dark Ages”

How do you know Broken Social Scene are down under? Interviews in Australia’s The Vine and New Zealand’s Under The Radar. And oh yeah, their new video is out.

Video: Broken Social Scene – “Forced To Love”

If you haven’t heard it yet, NPR is streaming the whole of Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs – out now if you’re analog and tomorrow if you’re digital. They play the Toronto Islands on August 14.

Stream: Arcade Fire / The Suburbs

And last but certainly not least – Grinderman is at the Phoenix on November 11, full dates at Pitchfork. Grinderman 2 is out September 14.

Trailer: Grinderman 2

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Time To Listen

Film School and Autolux deliver shoegaze from the Golden State

Photo By Andrew YouseffAndrew YouseffShoegaze as a genre is generally considered to be a British sort of thing, which is reasonable since the concept of playing guitars really loudly while avoiding eye contact with the audience largely originated on that side of the Atlantic, but since the early ’90s, introverts everywhere have picked up guitars and daisy-chained distortion pedals and not a few of those who formed bands call California home. And a couple of the best-known of them are back with new records.

Hailing from San Francisco, Film School have gone through considerable changes since their 2006 eponymous release, both in terms of personnel and sound, softening the somewhat hard edges of that record on the more melodic 2007 follow-up Hideout and from the sounds of the first MP3, their new record Fission – due out August 31 – looks to be their most pop-oriented effort yet. They’re hitting the road this Fall with New York’s The Depreciation Guild, who know a thing or two themselves about building walls of sound as evidenced on their latest album Spirit Youth, and both will be at the El Mocambo in Toronto on October 4.

Los Angeles’ Autolux have managed to remain one of the state/country’s the most revered dreampop acts despite not having released a record since their debut Future Perfect in 2004, but the long wait for a follow-up will finally end next week with the release of Transit Transit. And though you could argue that after waiting six years to hear a new record, what’s another week, the band are now streaming the whole album at their MySpace, giving folks a little extra time to cram on the new tunes before the trio kicks off a North American tour in a couple weeks that rolls through Lee’s Palace on August 24.

MP3: Film School – “Heart Full Of Pentagons”
MP3: Autolux – “Supertoys”
MP3: The Depreciation Guild – “Dream About Me”
Stream: Autolux / Transit Transit

Owen Ashworth has decided that it’s time to pull the plug on Casiotone For The Painfully Alone and as such, his upcoming Fall tour will be his last. Local fans can say thanks and goodbye when he plays The Piston on October 10. Ashworth talks to Exclaim about the decision to hang it up.

MP3: Casitotone For The Painfully Alone – “Optimist Vs. The Silent Alarm (When The Saints Go Marching In”

Two acts keeping Canada safe for down-home rock – The Wooden Sky and Yukon Blonde – are teaming up for a cross-Canada tour which will wrap up on November 6 at Lee’s Palace in Toronto.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Something Hiding For Us In The Night”
MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Wind Blows”

Diamond Rings has finally set a release date for his full-length debut Special Affections – it will be out in North America on October 26. He plays the Lower Ossington Theatre as part of Summerworks on August 11.

MP3: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs”

77 Square talks to Kathryn Calder about both her forthcoming solo debut Are You My Mother? and The New Pornographers.

Under The Radar throws Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham at Devo; interviewing ensues.

The Santa Barbara Independent checks in with Robin Pecknold, who is hitting the road solo as a break from recording the second Fleet Foxes record. There’s also a short tour documentary about Pecknold’s adventures on his own.

MPR has a studio session with Band Of Horses. They’re at the Kool Haus on October 21.

NPR is streaming a session with Retribution Gospel Choir.

Billboard talks to Sam Fogarino of Interpol. Their new self-titled record is out September 7 and they preview it on August 10 at the Kool Haus.

Interview does its thing with The Morning Benders. In addition to two dates at the Kool Haus opening up for The Black Keys next Wednesday and Thursday, they’re giving a free acoustic performance at The Big Chill ice cream on August 4 at 5:30 PM. Free ice cream for the early birds!

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

You're Going Back

The Tallest Man On Earth tours to verify rest of world still shorter than he

Photo By Julia MårdJulia MårdYou can probably scientifically and quantitatively prove that there is nothing fresh or original about what Swede Kristian Matsson does under his stage name of The Tallest Man On Earth. He’s a folk-oriented singer-songwriter who’s armed with just an acoustic guitar and a raspy, Dylan-ish twang and in those terms, is indistinguishable from an infinite number of performers in coffee houses around the world at any given moment in time.

What sets Matsson above and apart is something more ineffable; a fine sense of melody, deft guitarwork and evocative turn of phrase, certainly, but what I like most is his enthusiastic romanticism – he’s occasionally wistful but never downbeat or morose. The cap always sits at a jaunty angle, the step always has just enough spring. It comes across well on his latest record The Wild Hunt but is so much more irresistible live – I only caught him play a short in-store at Criminal Records back on Record Store Day but it was enough to be won over by his charm and charisma as a performer, and I’m a pretty hard sell on “guy with a guitar”.

His show at the El Mocambo that evening was all kinds of sold out, but those shut out will be pleased to know that Matsson will be spending a goodly chunk of the next few months on the road – in Chicago for Pitchfork next week, but Europe the rest of the Summer before returning to North America for a continent-crossing September that includes a September 24 date at Lee’s Palace in Toronto. Support on all North American dates comes from S. Carey of Bon Iver; his solo debut All We Grow is out August 24.

MP3: The Tallest Man On Earth – “Burden Of Tomorrow”
MP3: The Tallest Man On Earth – “King Of Spain”
MP3: S. Carey – “In The Dirt”

In other concert announcement news – Scissor Sisters bring their new record Night Work out on tour and stop in at the Sound Academy on August 31; tickets $35 in advance.

Video: Scissor Sisters – “Fire With Fire”

New York’s Ratatat are also now apparently big enough to play the Sound Academy – their latest album LP4 brings them to the aforementioned venue on September 8; tickets $20 in advance.

MP3: Ratatat – “Party With Children”

Maryland’s Cotton Jones, whose new record Tall Hours In The Glowstream is out August 24, will be at the Drake on October 9 supported by Pepper Rabbit, who were just there the other night.

MP3: Cotton Jones – “Gotta Cheer Up”
MP3: Pepper Rabbit – “Red Wine”

And speaking of just here – with the Toronto Islands gig over and done, Band Of Horses are coming back to town on October 21 for a show at the Kool Haus as part of a full North American tour. Tickets are $27.50 in advance.

MP3: Band Of Horses – “Factory”

Veteran punks Social Distortion have set a date at the Kool Haus on October 23 as part of a Fall tour.

Video: Social Distortion – “I Was Wrong”

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Swedish duo jj. Awkwardness ensues.

Jonsi talks to The Quietus about his days as a Metallica fan.

Wye Oak chats with NPR; they’re at the Horseshoe on August 28.

Daytrotter has served up a session with Drive-By Truckers.

The Quietus talks to Greg Edwards of Autolux. Their Transit Transit is out August 3 and they play Lee’s Palace on August 24.

Cults, who’re at the Horseshoe on August 7 opening up for Maps & Atlases, have a new video that is awash in balloons.

Video: Cults – “Oh My God”

Ted Leo takes to the blog to address rumours circulating about his impending retirement from music.

Local Natives are featured in a Spinner Interface session and interview with Filter. They play the Mod Club on October 19.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Holly Miranda.

That Imagine Concert that was supposed to bring the spirit of the ’60s to Downsview Park this coming weekend but never announced boo about boo? It’s not dead yet. They’re now targeting Labour Day weekend to get all up in your face with peace and love – lineup and ticket details coming soon. I can’t wait.