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Posts Tagged ‘Avett Brothers’

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Breaking The Yearlings

Review of Shearwater’s Animal Joy

Photo By Shawn BrackbillShawn BrackbillHow to follow up a career-defining record is hard enough question for most bands fortunate enough to find themselves in the position of having to do so. For Austin’s Shearwater, it’s triply difficult as they released not one but three interlinked albums over a span of four years – the so-called “Island Trilogy” of Palo Santo, Rook and The Golden Archipelago – which transformed them from Okkervil River sidebar into one of America’s finest, if still underappreciated, art-rock bands.

Not that continuing on in the same vein wouldn’t have been a viable option – after all, the marriage of ambitious prog-folk arrangements, nature-centric lyrics and Jonathan Meiburg’s otherworldy vocals had resulted in three superb albums; there’s no reason to think that it couldn’t yield more. But then we wouldn’t have gotten Animal Joy, the band’s just-released seventh album and that would have been an enormous shame.

On one level, Animal Joy isn’t that far removed from its predecessors but on another, it’s a polar opposite. Meiburg’s vocals are as dramatic and bracing as ever and as an ornithologist and scientist, his songwriting will naturally (pun intended) gravitate to certain themes; in that sense, Animal Joy is immediately recognizable as Shearwater. Where it breaks from the band’s catalog is in how it, to put it simply, rocks hard. Each of the preceding albums had its swells of intensity, it’s gloriously jagged moments that grabbed you and shook, but they were balanced by gentle, ethereal moments that settled over the proceedings like a mysterious fog. Animal Joy rarely sits still long enough for that to happen, taking advantage of the leaner arrangements – most everything on the record is the work of the core trio of Meiburg, Kim Burke and Thor Harris – to move quickly and determinedly. It eschews the elegant hollow bones of the trilogy for something more of sinew and blood, and crackles with life.

It’s those with the longest histories with the band who will be most surprised by Animal Joy offers, but also the most rewarded as its raw energy and sense of excitement – even danger – reveals a heretofore unexplored aspect of what Shearwater is. It’d have been understandable if the band had chosen to take some time off or creatively reinvent themselves following a project as massive as “The Island Trilogy”, but coming right back with such an invigorated follow up that may well be one of their very best? That’s better.

77 Square, DCist, PopMatters, Austin 360, and The Other Paper have interviews with Meiburg about the new record and Rolling Stone talks to him about the just-released first video from Animal Life. Shearwater are at Lee’s Palace on February 21 opening for Sharon Van Etten.

MP3: Shearwater – “You As You Were”
MP3: Shearwater – “Breaking The Yearlings”
Video: Shearwater – “Breaking The Yearlings”
Stream: Shearwater / Animal Joy

Speaking of Sharon Van Etten, the press cycle around Tramp shows no signs of abating. There’s interviews at The Stool Pigeon, Paste, Chicago Tribune, The Daily Tar Heel, and Black Book and NPR is streaming a World Cafe session and Le Blogotheque has a Take-Away Show.

Paste gets to know Hospitality, in town at The Horseshoe on February 29.

Spin points at the new video from The Head & The Heart, released just in time for their Winter tour which brings them to The Opera House on March 13.

Video: The Head & The Heart – “Down In The Valley”

Also in town on March 13 – at The Garrison – is EMA, who has released a new video for an anti-bullying benefit single; details at Pitchfork.

Video: EMA – “Take One Two”

Paste talks to Texas pop family Eisley, whose new EP Lights Out was just released and is available to stream. They’re at The Drake Underground on March 22.

Stream: Eisley / Lights Out

The New York Times is the place to go if you want to hear the whole of the new Sleigh Bells record Reign Of Terror before it’s out February 21. The duo are at The Phoenix on March 26 and also The Air Canada Centre on April 27 and 28 supporting Red Hot Chili Peppers.

MP3: Sleigh Bells – “Comeback Kid”
Stream: Sleigh Bells / Reign Of Terror

Daytrotter has a session with Chairlift, who are at The Horseshoe on March 28.

Spinner talks to Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields. Love At The Bottom Of The Sea is out March 6 and they’re at The Sound Academy on March 30.

Put Your Back N 2 It, the new album from Perfume Genius, is available to stream in whole at Spin ahead of its February 21 release and the official bio has track by track annotations from Mike Hadreas. He plays The Drake Underground on April 8 and offers The Quietus and DIY interviews.

MP3: Perfume Genius – “Hood”
MP3: Perfume Genius – “All Waters”
Video: Perfume Genius – “Hood”
Stream: Perfume Genius / Put Your Back N 2 It

DIY checks in with School Of Seven Bells, whose Ghostory arrives February 28. They’re at The Hoxton on May 2.

When Joshua Tillman announced he was abdicating his throne as drummer for Fleet Foxes, it was assumed that he was doing so to concentrate on his solo career as J. Tillman. In fact, he was doing so to start a new solo career as Father John Misty and will be releasing his debut album in that guise, Fear Fun, on May 1. He will be taking said record on the road shortly thereafter and be at the Horseshoe on May 14, tickets $11.50 in advance.

MP3: Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
Video: Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”

The Avett Brothers haven’t formally announced the follow-up to 2009’s I And Love And You, but the fact that they’ve booked two nights at The Music Hall for May 15 and 16 certainly implies something will be out by then. Or maybe they just want to visit.

MP3: The Avett Brothers – “I And Love And You”

Lambchop have released a video from Mr. M; it’s out next Tuesday, February 21.

Video: Lambchop – “Gone Tomorrow”

Spin chats with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver post-Grammy win.

Alison Mosshart of The Kills reminisces about the band’s first gig to NME as they celebrate its tenth anniversary.

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

CONTEST – The Avett Brothers @ The Phoenix – June 1, 2010

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceSo I’m sitting down to write up this little contest giving away passes to see bluegrass bros The Avett Brothers and I’m getting the oddest sense of deja vu… because I did the very same thing back in September, when they played the Horseshoe in support of their just-released album I And Love And You.

So if you’re looking for some thoughts on the record, go re-read that post – I don’t think I’ve got anything to add to what I jotted down last Fall – but if you’re looking to score some passes to see them live, then this is where you want to be. The Avetts are coming back to town on June 1, but instead of the cozy ‘Shoe, they’re playing the much larger Phoenix – a sign, perhaps, of the success their major label debut has garnered in the past eight months.

Tickets for the show are $25.50 in advance, but courtesy of Embrace 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 be an Avett Brother” in the subject line and your full name in the body and get that in to me by midnight, May 27.

There’s features on the band at Associated Press and Sign On San Diego.

MP3: The Avett Brothers – “I And Love And You”
Video: The Avett Brothers – “I And Love And You”

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

When I Still Have Thee

Middle-aged cult heroes Teenage Fanclub return with new album

Photo via MergeMergeSo much to catch up on. Where to begin? How about Scotland? That Teenage Fanclub had completed a new record in the last while is no secret. Even the title has been kicking around since last year. But the lack of news on the actual release of the record has been tough to find, at least until now. Merge, who put out their last album Man-Made in 2005, will release Shadows on June 8 to the delight of power pop connoisseurs everywhere.

To stir up anticipation, they’ve released the first MP3 from the record. It’s a Norman Blake composition but like most everything they’ve done since 1997’s Songs From Northern Britain, regardless of who the specific songwriter is, it’s a master class in mid-tempo, ultra-melodic jangle-pop. One of the wonderful things about this band – besides the music, of course – is how each of the three principals has their own distinct songwriting personality, and yet they fit together seamlessly. I’ll admit that in the past half decade, I hadn’t really been chomping at the bit for a new Fannies record but knowing that one is coming and that it’s almost certain to be of the same high level of quality as they’ve maintained pretty much forever is a comforting thought. The Fannies will never really surprise, but they’ll never disappoint either.

Also worth looking forward to is the fact that there are plans for North American touring this Fall. Their last tour was also five years ago so another visit is long overdue. Tracklisting and cover art for Shadows can be had over at Pitchfork.

MP3: Teenage Fanclub – “Baby Lee”

After a goodly amount of teasing, the first official taste of High Violet, the new record from The National, is available to download and it is, in a word, amazing. I’d been joking that this was going to be my album of the year before I heard a note, but I don’t think I’m joking anymore. The National are at Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.

MP3: The National – “Blood Buzz Ohio”

The Acorn have set a June 1 release date for their new album No Ghost – details on the release at Exclaim.

Exclaim talks to Wolf Parade about their still-untitled new album, which has a release date of June 29. They’ll preview it at the Phoenix on April 7.

BBC6 talks to Thomas Mars of Phoenix, who are celebrating a pretty good year by giving away a free live album. Go and get it.

ZIP: Phoenix / Live In Sydney

And speaking of live, let’s talk show announcements. With their new album The Five Ghosts set to come out on June 22, Stars are looking to get back into game shape with a short Canadian tour that will find the band playing rooms much smaller than they normally would, including the Mod Club in Toronto on May 5. And you’ll be paying for the privilege of pretending its December 2004… tickets are a rather dear $34.75, on sale Friday morning. But you know that even at that price, they’ll be gone lickety split.

They entertained the hell out of me just a few days ago, and now Man Man are coming to do the same to you – they’ve got a date at Lee’s Palace on May 9 as part of a short tour, tickets $15.

MP3: Man Man – “Top Drawer”

UK electro outfit Fuck Buttons have made a date at the Horseshoe for May 19.

MP3: Fuck Buttons – “Bright Tomorrow”

Holly Miranda will finally be bringing her solo effort The Magician’s Private Library to town for a show at the El Mocambo on May 20.

MP3: Holly Miranda – “Waves”

The Avett Brothers will bring their latest album I And Love And You back to town for a show at The Phoenix on June 1. Tickets are $25.50 and on sale now.

MP3: The Avett Brothers – “I And Love And You”

Though they were just here in October, The Psychedelic Furs are back for a much cozier show at Lee’s Palace on June 8.

Video: The Psychedelic Furs – “Love My Way”

His date at the Mod Club last April was cancelled due to illness, but Robyn Hitchcock is finally making that up in intimate style with two shows at the Drake Underground on June 11 and 12. Of course that show was supposed to be with the Venus 3 – no word yet what the touring configuration for these appearances are going to be, but it’ll be entertaining regardless.

MP3: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – “Goodnight Oslo” (live)

The New Pornographers have announced their extensive North American touring plans in support of Together, out May 4. For their June 15 date at the Sound Academy, they’ll be joined by The Dodos and The Dutchess & The Duke – tickets $26.50 general admission and $40 VIP balcony, on sale Friday. And since it’s a question that always gets asked when tour dates are announced, yes – Dan and Neko are going to be there.

MP3: The New Pornographers – “Your Hands (Together)”
MP3: The Dodos – “Fables”
MP3: The Dutchess & The Duke – “Living This Life”

And if you like your west coast pop a little more bent, Frog Eyes will be at the Music Gallery that same evening, June 15, accompanied by Seattle’s Pearly Gate Music.

MP3: Frog Eyes – “Bushels”
MP3: Pearly Gate Music – “Big Escape”

And oh yeah, Montreal’s Osheaga festival announced their lineup this week and it’s a pretty big pile of holy shit. With a top-five bill of Arcade Fire, Weezer, Pavement, Metric and The National and a pretty solid undercard, it’s pretty much a must-attend for any indie-rocking type who isn’t averse to standing around in a field for two days. The fest goes July 31 and August 1 in Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal; weekend passes go for $110/$120 depending on how soon you’re willing to commit.

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

CONTEST – The Avett Brothers @ The Horseshoe – September 30, 2009

Photo By CrackerfarmCrackerfarmFor as often as they’re cited as having one foot in the world of bluegrass and another in punk rock, you might expect The Avett Brothers to be some sweat-drenched, hellfire-picking outfit leaving a trail of wanton destruction in their wake. And while there’s no denying they’ve got the instrumental virtuosity that you’d expect from the former or the latent energy or wildness inherent in the latter, their new record I And Love And You – out Tuesday – is best described as elegant. Unbelievably elegant pop tunes, built on stately acoustic arrangements and soaring harmonies but fully capable of acting out and letting their roots show. Love is only the second Avetts album I’ve listened to so I can’t say with any sort of authority where they’ve been but where they are now, with their major-label debut, is somewhere pretty special.

And on the topic of where they’re going to be, though it took a little while to confirm – original tour routing seemed to have them going from Dallas to Toronto to New Orleans over the course of five days – the Avetts will indeed be at the Horseshoe on Wednesday night, September 30. Tickets are $17.50 in advance and $20 at the door, but courtesy of Against The Grain, 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 be an Avett Brother” in the subject line and your full name in the body – get that in to me by midnight, Monday night, September 28.

There’s interviews with the band at The Daily Times, Reuters and Metro Spirit while Paste gets some commentary from them on their song “Laundry Room” from the new record. And in addition to streaming the new record in advance of its release, NPR has a radio session with them.

MP3: The Avett Brothers – “I And Love And You”
Video: The Avett Brothers – “I And Love And You”
Stream: The Avett Brothers / I And Love And You

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone

The Wooden Sky at Sonic Boom in Toronto

Photo by Frank YangFrank YangIt’s funny that though I offered readers an introduction to The Wooden Sky just last month, watching them play an in-store at Sonic Boom on Monday night, the eve of release for their new album If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone, it felt like I was the one being introduced to them for the first time.

Previously, I’d regarded them as very good with moments of great roots-rock band – terrific at what they did but unlikely to turn anyone’s world upside down. And initial listens to the new record backed that up – it was a definite step forward for the band in terms of concept and execution, but not a giant leap. But this understated show in the sweaty basement of a local record store was a real eye- and ear-opener. Just coming off a cross-country tour that saw them playing unusual and intimate venues – not for nothing was it called the “Bedrooms and Backtstreets Tour” – The Wooden Sky were perfectly comfortable in the cozy setting and their performance mesmerizing.

Drawing heavily on the new record with a couple selections from When Lost At Sea and a Townes Van Zandt cover thrown in for good measure, The Wooden Sky focused on their quieter side to stunning effect. In stripping things down and trading some of the crescendos on the record for a slow burn, they were able to emphasize their more emotionally resonant side. And while Gavin Gardiner’s raw twang has always been front and centre, I was particularly impressed with how effective and musically sympathetic his bandmates were – guitarist/keyboardist Simon Walker, in particular, was nothing short of astonishing with his high harmonies and the tones and textures he coaxed out of his instruments. It was like he was able to take the ghosts and bittersweet memories that inhabit Gardiner’s lyrics and give them sound and form.

In talking about the Wooden Sky in the past, I inevitable mention that I’ve been following them for over half a decade, as though that gave me some particular insight into the band that newcomers might not have. Now I think that it might have actually clouded my perceptions, convincing me I knew what to expect and what they were capable of when I quite obviously didn’t. Either way, with If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone and the way they’re translating it to the stage, The Wooden Sky are set to take their place as one of the finest bands this city has to offer – or maybe they already were, and we’re only now noticing.

Aux.tv has a rooftop video performance with the band from late last year and the same director – Scott Cudmore – accompanied the band on their recent tour, filming all the while – that footage will be coming out in the coming weeks. There’s also an interview with the band at Sky. Aside from an appearance at the Friends In Bellwoods launch party at the Tranzac on Saturday, The Wooden Sky have no upcoming hometown dates. Americans can get a taste in October, however, as they’re heading south as support for Elliott Brood.

Photos: The Wooden Sky @ Sonic Boom – August 24, 2009
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Something Hiding For Us In The Night”
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “North Dakota”
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “The Wooden Sky”
Video: The Wooden Sky – “Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot To Me)”
Video: The Wooden Sky – “When Lost At Sea”

That Elliott Brood tour covers more than the US – they’re also going to be traversing most of Canada this Fall including an October 30 date at the Opera House.

MP3: Elliott Brood – “Write It All Down For You”

Final Fantasy recently taped a Black Cab Session while in the UK for the Field Day Festival. Final Fantasy plays an unrevealed location in Toronto September 5 and his new album Heartland is out in early 2010. Ambiguous much?

Thick Specs and Exclaim have interviews with Amy Millan, whose Masters Of The Burial is out September 22 and who will be at the Mod Club on October 14.

Cover boys for this month’s Exclaim are Two Hours Traffic. Their new one Territory is out September 8 and they play Lee’s Palace on October 16.

Spinner is streaming all ten nominees for the Polaris Music Prize this week – though I suspect they’re only available in Canada. The prize will be awarded on September 21.

Blurt talks to Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal.

Bradley’s Almanac is sharing live MP3s from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, recorded in Vermont way back in February on Valentine’s Day. Awwwww. They’ll be at the Horseshoe on September 7.

Laundromatinee is sharing a video session with The Avett Brothers. Look for them at the Horseshoe on September 30 and their new album I And Love And You in stores the day before.

Magnet plays over/under with The National. Interestingly, four of their five most overrated picks are some of my least favourite National tunes – I stand by “Green Gloves” – and their five most underrated are some of my most favourite. Make of that what you will.

The Wooden Birds have released a new MP3 and video from Magnolia. They’ve also announced Fall tour dates with Great Lake Swimmers but nothing in this neck of the woods.

MP3: The Wooden Birds – “Hometown Fantasy”
Video: The Wooden Birds – “Hometown Fantasy”

Uber-producer John Leckie reflects on the making of The Stone Roses’ debut album for The Quietus.

Grand Crew has an acoustic session with Camera Obscura. They’re at the Phoenix on November 26.

The Quietus talks to The xx. Their debut XX is out domestically on October 20 and they play the Phoenix on December 2.

The Mars Volta have a date at The Kool Haus on October 4 in support of their latest album Octahedron.

Video: The Mars Volta – “Since We’ve Been Wrong”

Silversun Pickups’ new record Swoon bring them to the Sound Academy on October 15 with Cage The Elephant and An Horse as support, tickets $29.50. There’s interviews with the band at Canada.com, The Examiner and The Georgia Straight.

MP3: Silversun Pickups – “Panic Switch” (Bobby Evans remix)
Video: Silversun Pickups – “Panic Switch”

Rain Machine, the new project from TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone, will release their self-titled debut on September 8 and play Lee’s Palace on October 19 as part of a North American tour. Pitchfork premiered the first track from the album.

MP3: Rain Machine – “Give Blood”

La Roux returns to Toronto for her third show in seven months with a gig at the Guvernment on October 23, tickets $20.

MP3: La Roux – “Bulletproof” (Joe & Will Ask remix)
Video: La Roux – “Bulletproof”

The King Khan & BBQ Show will release Invisible Girl on November 3 and tour to support, including a December 4 date at Lee’s Palace.