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Posts Tagged ‘Bad Lieutenant’

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

A Coming Of Age

Review of Lucky Soul’s A Coming Of Age

Photo via Lucky SoulLucky SoulHere’s a little bit of trivia for you. Of the 66 artists who’ve either placed in my year-end lists since I began recording them in 2003 or made my “favourite records of the past seven years” list, 18 of them have or are about to release new records this year, eight more were due to put one out this year, eight have put out solo records or collaborations and five more are currently in the studio. Which is to say that if past history is any indicator, 2010 is going to be an exceptional year for music.

While it’s presumptuous to assume that many or even any of those acts will be making repeat appearances on any list of this year’s favourites, one follow-up that’s pretty much a shoo-in is A Coming Of Age, the sophomore effort from London’s Lucky Soul. Their 2007 debut The Great Unwanted was and remains one of my favourite releases of this century, a pretty much perfect collection of classically-styled, throwback pop built on Andrew Laidlaw’s songwriting and Ali Howard’s sun-kissed vocals. So while I was clearly going to be favourably inclined towards the follow-up, it also had some huge footsteps to follow in – footsteps which it uses not so much as a starting line but a launching pad.

It was already clear from the new material previewed when I went to see Lucky Soul make their live US debut in October 2008 that the band had ambitions beyond the northern soul/girl-group vibe that they had pretty much perfected their first time out, but I was still more than surprised by the range of influences that come into play on A Coming Of Age. There are the disco inflections of the irresistible leadoff track, “Whoa Billy!”, the ’80s indie jangle of “White Russian Doll”, the classic Motown stylings of “Love 3”, the light country twang of “Upon Hilly Fields”… and that’s just the first third of the record. Of course, such ranginess wouldn’t be something to laud if they weren’t able to pull it all off but they certainly do, all without losing any of their own distinct personality – quite the opposite, in fact.

The more they push outwards from what The Great Unwanted defined Lucky Soul as, the more they prove they’re so much more than what that implied. It certainly reinforces their ability to craft a pop hook for the ages, and addition to the greater blend of styles, the material also covers a greater emotional spectrum. The charming girlishness of Ali Howard’s presence, which so perfectly captured the spirit of their debut, has matured and grown more experienced on the follow-up with Howard’s stronger voice proving up to the task of expressing those emotions. The best examples of what Lucky Soul are capable of now come at what would logically be the final tracks of sides A and B – the title track and “Could It Be I Don’t Belong Anywhere” – both of which ride sweeping string sections to dramatic effect but stay just on the right side of tasteful, evoking grandeur rather than excess. The latter, in particular, deftly runs the gamut from daydreamy wistfulness to swirling tumult so naturally, you don’t even notice the storm clouds gather until they’re upon you and it does it in under three-and-a-half minutes, providing a remarkable finale to a remarkable record from a most remarkable band.

Lucky Soul have just released a new puppet-powered video for “Whoa Billy!” which was written, shot, edited entirely by the band. A Coming Of Age is out next Monday in the UK, with no domestic release at the moment but amazon.ca and amazon.com both have it listed as imports. The Von Pip Musical Express talks to songwriter Andrew Laidlaw, who has also taken to the band’s blog to annotate a song from the new record each day over the next twelve days or so. Touring over here is probably far too much to hope for, but if they manage to make it over here for a date or two again, you can bet your sweet bippy I’ll be there.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “A Coming Of Age”
MP3: Lucky Soul – “Whoa Billy!”
Video: Lucky Soul – “Whoa Billy!”
Video: Lucky Soul – “White Russian Doll”
MySpace: Lucky Soul

The New York Times gets a behind-the-scenes look at the fashion and styling of Florence & The Machine; NPR and Blare also have interviews with Florence Welch.

Spinner talks to Doves about their new best-of collection The Places Between, from which they’ve released a video for the one new song.

Video: Doves – “Andalucia”

There’s also a new Lightspeed Champion clip from Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You. NME reports that Dev Hynes recently had a bad time with some medical issues, but is feeling better now.

Video: Lightspeed Champion – “Madame Van Damme”

And also one from Emma Pollock, taken from her second solo record The Law Of Large Numbers.

Video: Emma Pollock – “Red Orange Green”

Metro and Love Shack Baby have interviews with members of Fanfarlo.

The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, The Province and The Vancouver Sun have features on and MPR a streaming radio session with The xx. They’re at the Kool Haus on April 20.

Song By Toad has a lovely session with Mumford & Sons available to download.

A first sample of Been Listening, the second album from Johnny Flynn, is now available to download. The record is out June 7.

MP3: Johnny Flynn – “Kentucky Flynn”

The Quietus has details on The Boxer, the debut solo effort from (former?) Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke. It’s out June 21.

NME reports that Richard Hawley will release a new digital EP on June 8 entitled False Lights From The Land, featuring “Remorse Code” from last year’s Truelove’s Gutter, one new song and two covers.

Fyfe Dangerfield will be playing a handful of North American dates in support of his solo record Fly Yellow Moon, including a May 23 date at the El Mocambo. Leeds Music Scene and The Linc have interviews with the lead singer of The Guillemots.

MP3: Fyfe Dangerfield – “She Needs Me”
Video: Fyfe Dangerfield – “She Needs Me”

Athlete will bring their new record Black Swan to Lee’s PAlace on June 7 – full North American dates at The Music Slut.

Video: Athlete – “Black Swan Song”

The June 1 release of The Futureheads’ new record The Chaos will be accompanied by a North American tour, including a June 10 date at the Mod Club. There’s a feature piece on the band at News Of The World.

MP3: The Futureheads – “Struck Dumb”

The Guardian reports that Supergrass will be calling it a day this Summer, after 17 years of power-pop.

Video: Supergrass – “Richard III”

If you’ve got 90 minutes to kill, then this episode of BBC6’s The Record Producers on Bernard Butler is well worth a listen – it examines his works from Suede through his solo career to his role today as one of the most in-demand producers in the UK, complete with interviews and exclusive audio samples.

The Sun reports that Blur will release their first new single in seven years this Saturday for Record Store Day in the UK. The head of their label Parlophone tells BBC6 he hopes this is just the start of more new music from the band. Of course he does.

Spinner talks to Bernard Sumner about both Bad Lieutenant and New Order.

Drowned In Sound gets to know Chapterhouse, whose May 1 show at the Horseshoe has unfortunately been cancelled.

Roger Waters will kick off the 30th anniversary tour for Pink Floyd’s The Wall on September 15 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The Toronto Star talks to Waters about the tour, which he says will likely be his last.

Eardrums talks to the makers of a documentary currently being made about legendary Sarah Records label. The Story Of Sarah Records isn’t due out until the end of the year, but a teaser trailer is up now and call for stories and memorabilia about the label open.

Trailer: The Story Of Sarah Records

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

A More Perfect Union

Review of Titus Andronicus’ The Monitor

Photo By Bao NguyenBao NguyenEver since I first saw Fanfarlo during SxSW last year – even before, actually – I’ve been waiting for them to come to Toronto. And though a mid-December date was cancelled due to a stolen passport, it appears all systems are go for their debut this Friday night at Lee’s Palace… so why won’t I be there? Well, blame New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus.

After seeing more than a few glowing reviews of their new album The Monitor, I dug up my copy, popped it in the CD player and proceeded to have my ass kicked for the next 60-plus minutes. The American Civil War themes that run through the record and offer context to the spoken word clips that appear throughout make for good talking points, but what’s really important about The Monitor is that it’s an uncompromising rock record that’s as tuneful and honest as it is intense and aggressive and so booze-soaked, you can almost see the fumes coming out of the speakers. And while on paper, that’s what all rock music should be, in reality it’s quite a rare thing and so when you hear it done right – and The Monitor does it right – it’s an eye-opener.

As far as reference points go, Titus Andronicus beats the music writer to the punch via their own bio, pre-emptively stating, “Blah blah blah Springsteen blah blah blah beer blah blah blah beard blah blah blah Shakespeare yadda yadda yadda Seinfeld blah blah blah Conor Oberst in a vat of acid blah blah blah books”. Clever, but if they were being thorough there’d be a few more “blahs” separating references to The Replacements, Whiskeytown and The Hold Steady and truly, The Monitor finds Titus Andronicus following in their same dense, wordy, angst-ridden, despondent and triumphant footsteps. It sprawls and staggers, it stands up and falls down. And gets back up again.

So what’s this got to do with Fanfarlo and their delightful orchestral pop? Well, Titus Andronicus are going to be at Sneaky Dee’s on Friday night as well, and as much as I enjoy the Londoners and hope they have a great show, I kind of want/need to see Titus Andronicus and, if their live reputation is accurate, get my face torn off. Figuratively speaking.

Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles tells Spinner how he recruited the likes of Craig Finn and Cassie Ramone (Vivian Girls) to provide the dramatic readings interspersed throughout the album. Pitchfork solicits a guest list from the band and Exclaim, eMusic and The Georgia Straight have interviews.

MP3: Titus Andronicus – “A More Perfect Union”
MP3: Titus Andronicus – “Four Score And Seven” (Part One)
MP3: Titus Andronicus – “Four Score And Seven” (Part Two)
Video: Titus Andronicus – “A More Perfect Union”
MySpace: Titus Andronicus

The Weekender talks to Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn about their new album Heaven Is Whenever, due out May 4.

Philadelphia Daily News, The Patriot Ledger, Victoria Advocate and JAM talk to Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers, who are in town this week for two nights at Lee’s Palace – April 6 and 7 – as well as an in-store at Sonic Boom at PM on Wednesday night. NYC Taper has a recording of their recent show in New York available to download.

White Rabbits have released a new video from last year’s It’s Frightening. They’re at Lee’s Palace on April 27.

Video: White Rabbits – “They Done Wrong, We Done Wrong”

Beatroute and Spinner talk to Spoon. The band stopped in at CBC last week to record a session for QTV.

Video: Spoon – “The Mystery Zone” (live on QTV)

The Quietus talks to The National’s Matt Berninger and Aaron Dessner about the making of High Violet, due out in just over a month on May 11. They play Massey Hall on June 8 and 9. And I really have to go pick up my tickets for that.

The Line Of Best Fit and Georgia Straight talk to Retribution Gospel Choir’s Alan Sparhawk.

LCD Soundsystem have scheduled a North American tour in support of their new record This Is Happening, out May 18, and it includes a May 25 date at the Kool Haus. Tickets $35 in advance, on sale Friday.

Stream: LCD Soundsystem – “Drunk Girls”

The Music Slut asks eight questions of Steve Drozdt of The Flaming Lips. They’ve announced a July 7 date in Montreal, so can a Toronto date – their first in almost four years – be far off? I imagine not.

Chart, eye and Metro talk to Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan about their contributions to the film Passenger Side, which premieres at the Royal tomorrow night and will be followed by an acoustic set from half of the ‘Chunk – Mac and Jim.

Interview and Under The Radar interview The Drums, whose debut album is due out June 7.

NPR interviews Sam Coomes of Quasi, who are in town at the Horseshoe on April 18.

Sounds Good Ink has a feature on Let’s Wrestle, who will be supporting Quasi on the aforementioned date (and tour).

Broward-Palm Beach New Times and Athens Banner-Herald have conversations with Arctic Monkeys bassist Nick O’Malley while News-Observer chats with guitarist Jamie Cook.

Doves’ guitarist Jez Williams talks to The Guardian about using the moon as a delay pedal and that the band have no plans to split, despite being in the career retrospective phase with the upcoming release of The Places Between: The Best Of Doves, due out April 20. Williams also tells BBC6 that he feels for new bands trying to get their careers started in this day and age.

Spinner and The Times chat with The Futureheads – their new record The Chaos is out in North America on June 1.

eGigs talks to Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit, who are at the Opera House on May 4.

The first single from The Pipettes’ new record Earth Vs Pipettes, out June 28, is now available to download. Wouldn’t it be great if one of the choruses in the song went, “Our love was saved by Dr. Leo Spaceman“? Yes? No? Sorry, been watching a lot of 30 Rock.

MP3: The Pipettes – “Our Love Was Saved By Spacemen”

OPB Music has a video session with The Clientele, The Montreal Miror an interview.

Magnet prepares to hand over the editor’s desk to David Gedge of The Wedding Present for a week with a Q&A. They kicked off their Bizarro 20th anniversary tour last week and will be at the Horseshoe on April 14. The Aquarian Weekly also has an interview.

PopMatters interviews Bernard Sumner of Bad Lieutenant.

Clash lists 12 things you didn’t know about Pet Shop Boys.

The Quietus celebrates the 20th anniversary and defends the legacy of Lush.

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Soft As Chalk

Joanna Newsom at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI don’t know exactly when I became a Joanna Newsom fan. Though I’d certainly heard people talk about her, my first exposure to her music wasn’t through either of her first two records but by seeing her live on her first visit to Toronto in October 2006 – a breathtaking performance that had me picking up The Milk-Eyed Mender almost immediately thereafter and the follow-up Ys when it came out later that year, but even then I didn’t listen to them all that much. They were my go-to records for when I was in the mood for ornate and expansive, harp-led folk music, sure, but for some reason that wasn’t that often.

Even so, I was still amongst those who picked up her new triple-album Have One On Me on the day of release, and while you’d think that two hours of Joanna Newsom for anyone less than a fanatic would be overwhelming, I instead found it surprisingly immersive and immediate. It’s less quirky than Mender and less epic than Ys, but to my ears, more fully realized. Whereas the talking points for her earlier records focused on her unusual voice or the elaborate orchestrations that adorned her compositions, the only thing worth talking about on Have One On Me is the songs themselves. It’s as though she’s developed enough confidence in her craft to no longer hide behind an affected singing style or lush orchestrations, and though on paper it makes her more conventional, the sheer quality of the work makes that complaint null and void. If I wasn’t a huge Joanna Newsom fan before hearing Have One On Me, I certainly was by the time side 6 hit the runout groove.

As such, I fit right in with the rest of sold-out crowd packed into the Phoenix on Saturday night, breathlessly awaiting her first appearance in Toronto in three and a half years. And waiting. It was at least 20 minutes past her scheduled start time before the curtains were drawn back and her band’s setup revealed. Whereas her last visit was just her solo, this time she brought a five-piece backing band – drums, horn, strings and guitar – to help recreate the arrangements on the record and she herself would start things off not at her signature harp, but the grand piano. Leading off with “Easy”, Newsom managed the impressive feat of utterly silencing 1000 people as she played, all of whom were hanging on every note she played, every word she sang.

After a trio of songs on the piano – and after the allotted time for photography was over, hence the piano-only gallery – Newsom moved to the harp for “In California” and remained there for the remainder of the set. For all the elegance of the music, the first part of the set was marked by some endearingly grounded interaction from Newsom and her band. She forgot the words to “The Book Of Right-On” and then took an extended break to tune her harp, leaving drummer Neal Morgan to chat with the crowd, answer questions and generally buy time. Time which would turn out to be at a premium, as the Phoenix’s looming curfew would put a hard cap on the proceedings. Getting back down to business, they played “No Provenance” and the title track from the new record before closing with the sole Ys cut, “Emily”. Everything was uniformly gorgeous-sounding, the Phoenix never sounding better. The only source of disappointment on the evening was that it ended at 9PM, though after some (myself included) had left – the house lights and music were on! – the stalwarts managed to call Newsom and her band back for an encore. I’m sorry I missed that reading of “Baby Birch”, but it in no way diminishes the hour of music I did get to take in. Just as I said after her last show…. Amazing.

The National Post, The Globe & Mail, Exclaim and Chart all have reviews of the show and share the complaint that the set was too short. I agree, but would point out that Newsom’s Mod Club show wasn’t more than an hour long and while I’ve never played a harp, I imagine it’s pretty fatiguing – especially for 10-minute stretches whilst singing. She was toweling herself off after the more sprawling numbers. I don’t know if she does especially long shows, curfew or not? Maybe we’ll find out when her show in Washington DC on March 23 is webcast live on NPR.

Photos: Joanna Newsom @ The Phoenix – March 13, 2010
Video: Joanna Newsom – “The Sprout & The Bean”

Gibson Guitars talks to Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers about his guitars (natch) and just-released new album The Big To-Do, currently streaming at Spinner – who also have an interview. They’re at Lee’s Palace on April 6 and 7 and were, curiously, the pre-show music over the PA at the Joanna Newsom show. Maybe they were late taking the stage because she was playing air guitar to Southern Rock Opera.

Stream: Drive-By Truckers / The Big To-Do

New York drone merchants Cold Cave have a date at Wrongbar on June 19.

MP3: Cold Cave – “Theme From Tomorrowland”
MP3: Cold Cave – “Laurels Of Erotomania”
MP3: Cold Cave – “Life Magazine”
Video: Cold Cave – “Life Magazine”

Pitchfork has a feature interview with Matt Ward and Zooey Deschanel of She & Him, whose new album Volume Two is streaming in its entirety over at NPR, a week before its March 23 release. They play The Phoenix on June 9.

Stream: She & Him / Volume Two

Wye Oak will be releasing a new EP entitled My Neighbor / My Creator on June 8, and are sharing a first MP3 from said release. They’re hitting the road with Shearwater this Spring and will be at Lee’s Palace with them on April 1.

MP3: Wye Oak – “I Hope You Die”

Billboard talks to Spoon drummer Jim Eno. They play The Sound Academy on March 29.

4AD has details of what’s sure to be one of the coolest Record Store Day specials this year – a live concert DVD from The Mountain Goats wherein John Darnielle performs The Life Of The World To Come in its entirety.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Ted Leo.

Magnet kicks off a week of handing the editorial reins to Miles Kurosky, whose solo debut The Desert Of Shallow Effects is out now.

Check out the new video from Retribution Gospel Choir.

Video: Retribution Gospel Choir – “Workin’ Hard”

NPR has a Tiny Desk Concert with The Antlers. They’re opening up for The National at Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.

And speaking of The National, Pitchfork has details on their new one High Violet, due out May 11 including cover art and tracklisting.

New Hot Chip video! They’re at the Kool Haus on April 20.

Video: Hot Chip – “I Feel Better”

The Quietus talks to Bernard Sumner of Bad Lieutenant.

Spinner talks to Swedish duo First Aid Kit. They’re at the Rivoli on June 12.

Serena-Maneesh, whose new record S-M 2: Abyss In B Minor comes out March 23, talk to Spinner. They play the Great Hall on April 2.

Exclaim talks to John K Samson of The Weakerthans, whose Live At The Burton Cummings Theatre is out next week and streaming right now at Exclaim. They play an in-store at Sonic Boom on March 25 and a proper show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on May 26.

Stream: The Weakerthans / Live At The Burton Cummings Theatre

The Toronto date for Lilith Fair has been announced – it’s happening July 24 at the Molson Amphitheatre. I had been saying that if we got the right combination of acts from the pool of talent already announced to be participating, it could be good. Well so far, we have not.

And y’all will excuse me as I immerse myself in South By South Nonsense for the next few days – trip down was completely uneventful, which was all I hoped for, and though it’s a touch cooler here in ATX than I’d like (or have packed for), it’s gonna be a good time.

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Canadian Musicfest 2010 Day Three

The Brother Kite and Kill The Lights at Canadian Musicfest

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe Saturday night of Canadian Musicfest featured a considerable shift in musical gears, starting out with the gentle, harp-led orchestrations of Joanna Newsom at the Phoenix – not a CMF show and which will be written up tomorrow – and ending with some big, loud guitar rock at Rancho Relaxo. Who says I don’t have varied tastes?

An expedient streetcar and longer-than-expected set meant that I was able to catch a couple songs from Montreal’s Kill The Lights. It almost seems wrong to say I’d seen them before, as June 2006 seems like a lifetime ago and the band has undergone changes in the interim, most notably losing co-lead singer Steph Hanna sometime in the past few years (I haven’t been keeping up). That said, Kill The Lights circa 2010 didn’t sound too different from what I remembered; their collective music collection clearly overlapped with mine in and around the drone-rock/shoegazer end of things, but they took their influences in a decidedly more extroverted if somewhat anonymous direction. Spending some time with last year’s Fog Area revealed more nuance than was particularly detectable live – they like it loud – and some more personality. The best moments sound like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with a more electronic sheen and a bit more jump in their step; the rest is just kind of forgettable.

Photos: Kill The Lights @ Rancho Relaxo – March 13, 2010
Video: Kill The Lights – “Prince Pang”

I’d seen Providence, Rhode Island’s The Brother Kite in Austin, New York City and Montreal but never Toronto, even though I was the one who put together the show for their last visit here back in Fall of 2007 (I was still at Pop Montreal when they played Tiger Bar). It’s not that I was following them around, necessarily, it’s simply that our paths crossed at various festivals and why wouldn’t I take the opportunity to see the band who put out one of my favourite records of the past decade in 2006’s Waiting For The Time To Be Right any chance I got? But that they were here again and playing just down the street from home was extra sweet. No airfare required!

Not surprisingly, their set drew a fair bit from their new record Isolation, wholly in the can but still in search a loving home to release it into the world. Though the new material takes a leaner, more spacious approach than the Ride-meets-Beach Boys lushness that made Time such a joy, it’s still immediate and wonderful – what does it say about a band that they can step away from a winning formula and still impress almost as much? It was great to hear new material from them and the contrast it provided to the older material, with its soaring guitars and melodies, made the familiar songs sound even more majestic. It remains a crime that a band this good remains so unknown and underappreciated, but I did take some satisfaction as looking at some of the impressed faces around the room and knowing that they were at least now that much better-known and appreciated.

A few tracks from Isolation (as well as their other two albums) are available to stream at their website.

Photos: The Brother Kite @ Rancho Relaxo – March 13, 2010
MP3: The Brother Kite – “Get On, Me”
Video: The Brother Kite – “I’m Not The Only One”
MySpace: The Brother Kite

Spinner, Owl & Bear and SxSW profile Slow Club, one of my must-see acts for SxSW this week. They’re playing Eastbound & Found on Thursday at 3:15PM (and other days/places but let them plug their own shows).

The Guardian profiles Laura Marling, whose new album I Speak Because I Can is streaming in its entirety over at The Times, a week before its March 23 UK release and three weeks before it comes out in North America on April 6.

Stream: Laura Marling / I Speak Because I Can

The Futureheads’ new album The Chaos will be getting a North American release on June 1.

Video: The Futureheads – “Heartbeat Song”

Nota bene: Florence & The Machine’s April 10 show at the Phoenix has been moved to the Kool Haus. Original tickets still valid for the new venue and 1000 or so more tickets are now available.

Rock rules at the Mod Club on April 28 as Band Of Skulls and The Whigs roll into town. The Whigs released their new record In The Dark today; stream it over at Spinner, who also have an interview with Band Of Skulls.

MP3: Band Of Skulls – “Blood”
Stream: The Whigs / In The Dark

The Guardian, AV Club, SxSW and NPR have interviews with Frightened Rabbit, who have a date at the Opera House on May 4.

And what, you may ask, could possibly prompt me to miss Frightened Rabbit’s second Toronto show in a row? Well, the fact that Welsh trio The Joy Formidable, one of my top new discoveries of the past year or so, will be playing at the Horseshoe that same evening – May 4 – as part of Nu Music Nites (read: free). Now I love me some Frightened Rabbit, but I’ll be seeing them this week at SxSW and they will be back. I would like to believe that the world will discover how excellent The Joy Formidable are and they, too, will be touring the world regularly but… just in case, I’m going to this show. And if you’re not at Frabbits, you should too. The Alternate Side has an interview and video session with the band. Their debut mini-album A Balloon Called Moaning is due for a North American release in March or April and their as-yet untitled first full-length is due out in June.

MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”
MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Greyhounds In The Slips”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Popinjay”

Jamie Lidell has set a date for the Mod Club on June 12, tickets $20. His new record Compass is due out May 18 and Paste has a chat.

MP3: Jamie Lidell – “Multiply”

BBC talks to The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess about their decision to mark the 20th anniversary of their debut Some Friendly with a reissue and tour.

The Music Magazine has an interview with Jake Evans, the one member of Bad Lieutenant who was never in New Order.

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

See You Later

Field Music to tour with The Clientele

Photo By Ian WestIan WestLet’s be honest here. It’s a couple of days before Christmas and a four-day weekend – something that people of all faiths can agree is a good thing – and you’re probably not reading this. Goodness knows why I’m writing this. I mean, I could be watching Lost right now – after years of holding out, I’ve picked up all five seasons on DVD and am ploughing through them like a fat kid on Smarties. But seeing as how I’ll be enjoying said upcoming long weekend almost certainly sans blog, I should probably clear out whatever little bits and bobs I’ve still got on the plate today and tomorrow.

And we’ll start with the Brewis boys of Field Music. Done with their respective side projects of The Week That Was, whom I liked, and School Of Language, whom I didn’t like as much, David and Peter Brewis have reconvened their original band and will release a new double album on February 16 entitled (Measure). And it will be followed up with North American dates as support on the final third of The Clientele’s upcoming Winter tour, which includes the March 19 show at the Horseshoe in Toronto. You know, the one I’ve been kvetching about missing. I won’t harp on that anymore, but even though I never liked Field Music nearly as much as some, the first samples from (Measure) sound pretty damn good and I’d have liked to have caught this bill. Alas. Tickets for the show are $14.

MP3: Field Music – “Measure”
Video: Field Music – “Them That Do Nothing”

Fact talks to director Saam Farahmand about his plans to make an audio-visual sculpture from The xx’s debut album while the band tells Spinner that they loves them some Beyonce. Hey, who doesn’t. The xx are back on April 20 at the Kool Haus in support of Hot Chip.

Black Book solicits some random facts about the band from Fanfarlo frontman Simon Balthazar. The band also put up a video of themselves covering Low’s “Just Like Christmas”, recorded in their tour van whilst en route to a radio session for NPR.

Video: Fanfarlo – “Just Like Christmas” (Low cover)

Editors have released a second video from In This Light And On This Evening, which will have a North American release on January 19. They play The Phoenix on February 16.

Video: Editors – “You Don’t Know Love”

Frightened Rabbit drummer Grant Hutchison offers The Scotsman a holiday-themed poem. Frightened Rabbit’s The Winter Of Mixed Drinks is out March 16.

Rolling Stone talks to Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien about the decade that was.

Clash solicits some Christmas memories from The Horrors’ Faris Badwan.

The Big Issue has a quick chat with Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine.

Filter has a three-part conversation with Bad Lieutenant frontman Bernard Sumner. Congratulations go out to Heather, Caroline, Andrea, Brian and Jo who won copies of Never Cry Another Tear on vinyl.

The AV Club interviews Ray Davies.

The Times contemplates the future of the album as an artistic statement, looking to Bat For Lashes, Kasabian and Mastadon for input.