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Posts Tagged ‘Belle Game’

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.

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Bye Bye

A CanCon post, since there’s absolutely nothing newsworthy happening in Canada or Toronto right now

Photo By Ted BoisTed BoisYup, quiet as hell up here. Though I heard from somewhere that people have been waiting for a video of some kind to surface…? Well here’s five new ones.

Stereogum has premiered the new chicken farm-set clip from Destroyer, taken from Dan Bejar’s forthcoming Five Spanish Songs EP which will be out on November 25. He’ll be on stage at The Opera House – not The Great Hall, as originally scheduled – all by his Bejar-ness, on November 9.

Video: Destroyer – “Bye Bye”

Or there’s the new video from Metric, for the title track of last year’s Synthetica, which got unveiled to the world via Rolling Stone.

Video: Metric – “Synthetica”

Young Galaxy also have a new video, squeezed out of the new tracks on the Ultramarine Deluxe reissue. They play The Hoxton on November 22.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Privileged Poor”

Islands have a new video from their latest release Ski Mask. There’s also interviews at The Coast, The Chronicle-Herald, and The Aquarian.

Video: Islands – “Wave Forms”

And Vancouver’s Brasstronaut have a new clip from last year’s Mean Sun.

Video: Brasstronaut – “The Grove”

And in non-video/crack-related news, Kashka is marking the release of Bound – her debut album as Kashka – by streaming the whole thing, and it’s lovely. Anyone who was sad about the end of Forest City Lovers will have reason to be happy again. There’ll be a record release show at The Great Hall on December 5.

Stream: Kashka / Bound

No Joy have just released their Pastel And Pass Out EP and are streaming another song from it for your enjoyment. They’ll play The Garrison on December 6.

Stream: No Joy – “Second Spine”

Exclaim has an advance stream of the new Misery Makers Vol. 1 EP from Chains Of Love, out as of this week.

Stream: Chains Of Love / Misery Makers Vol. 1

Exclaim talks to Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, whose Alaska B lists off her favourite video game soundtracks for Chart. They’re celebrating the release of Uzu tonight at The Garrison.

Beatroute talks to Shad; he’s back in town at The Danforth Music Hall on January 31.

Vancouver electronic-industrial pioneers Skinny Puppy have announced a date at The Sound Academy on February 18 in support of their latest release, Weapon, released earlier this year.

Stream: Skinny Puppy / Weeapon

The Quietus, aux.tv, and Beatroute talk to Spencer Krug of Moonface.

NOW has an interview with Braids.

Vue profiles The Darcys.

Magnet interviews Basia Bulat as a precursor to her taking over their website for the week.

Altar TV has a video session and The Calgary Herald an interview with The Belle Game.

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Ritual Tradition Habit

The Belle Game and Bear Mountain at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’d mentioned back in April that Vancouver’s Belle Game – purveyors of soulful, atmospheric pop – had taken their own sweet time in releasing their debut album Ritual Tradition Habit, and they were lucky that it was as good as it was, lest the more impatient among us pettily punish the record for taking so long to exist. Instead, those of us seeking something to grouse about could turn our attention to how long it was taking them to come play a live show in Toronto. It seemed odd that an act with the stars seemingly aligning would have missed out on both CMW and NXNE (though, to be fair, they’d been here for those fests in 2011 and 2012), and while they did play a free show at Harbourfront Centre in July for the SoundClash fest, I missed it so in my egocentric worldview, it didn’t happen. All of which is to say that Friday night’s show at The Drake Underground – which caught the band headed home after a successful CMJ in New York – took long enough to happen.

With them were fellow Vancouverites Bear Mountain, whom I knew nothing about but kind of hoped would be some unholy combination of Grizzly Bear and Black Mountain. Which they could still be described as if someone had never heard of either act and assumed they made peppy, disco-inflected electro-pop. Showing off their debut album XO, it was evident that in the Bear Mountain mandate, maintaining the party vibe was paramount and in that, they succeeded admirably. To this end, they utilized such tools as a keytar in its intended purpose of rocking out synth solos, a maybe-ironic cover of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” with the original video projected on their stage decor screens, in case you weren’t sure, and some cheesy but effective crowd-rousing banter. Oh and some catchy if kind of lightweight songs. Assured in what they were doing and entertaining, they weren’t a band that you’d leave saying you’d seen the future of anything, but you would say you had fun.

As mentioned, The Belle Game had a pretty good amount of buzz around them leading up to Ritual Tradition Habit‘s release this Spring, so it’s not unreasonable that they’d have drawn a good crowd based strictly on that… but being on Pitchfork’s radar? I’m sure that didn’t hurt either. But however they got there, room was comfortably filled with punters – especially for an early show – when the band took the stage. Though offering less instant gratification than Bear Mountain, they established their atmosphere quickly and effectively. Not an especially showy sextet, they were largely focused on the task at hand – while demonstrating terrific individual musicianship and chemistry as a unit – with frontwoman Andrea Lo shouldering the duty of engaging the audience. Luckily for her, all she needed to do to accomplish this was let loose with her formidable voice.

If the show had kept to that level throughout, it’d have been perfectly fine if not overwhelming, but as it progressed, it became clear that they were actually capable of more. Moments where the aforementioned musical chemistry seemed more akin to alchemy in creating something powerful; of a new slow jam of a song that pointed to an intriguing new dimension for the band; readings of “River” and “Wait For You” both impressively looser and more intense than the recorded versions; an unexpectedly raucous cover of Nirvana’s “All Apologies” as an encore. And oh yeah, local Broken Social Scenester Kevin Drew showed up to provide guest vocals on another new song. So, all in, a show that both satisfied but also left you eager to see the next stage in the band’s evolution; if that means having to wait a little while until they come back again, then it may well be worth it.

Photos: The Belle Game, Bear Mountain @ The Drake Underground – October 25, 2013
MP3: The Belle Game – “Blame Fiction”
MP3: The Belle Game – “River”
Video: The Belle Game -“River”
Video: The Belle Game – “Wait For You”
Video: Bear Mountain – “Faded”
Stream: Bear Mountain / XO

The Guardian and Canada.com talk to Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and NPR to Butler and Regine Chassagne about Reflektor, which is finally out today. And their live webcast performance from last night is available to stream on-demand at NPR.

The Montreal Gazette talks to Spencer Krug of Moonface about his new record Julia With Blue Jeans On, officially out as of today, along with a new video.

Video: Moonface – “Barbarian”

Also at the Montreal Gazette and out today are features on Yamantaka//Sonic Titan and their new album Uzu, respectively. They play The Garrison on November 6.

Beatroute gets to know July Talk, while Huffington Post gets some background on the recording of “Guns & Ammunition”; they’re at The Sound Academy on December 3 opening up for Frank Turner.

A sad day for fans of domestically-grown power-pop: PEI’s Two Hours Traffic are calling it a day. But as Exclaim reports, they’re doing it with a farewell tour that kicks off in Toronto at Lee’s Palace on December 12; tickets for that are $15.

MP3: Two Hours Traffic – “Stuck For The Summer”

Emily Haines of Metric remembers Lou Reed, with whom the band both played live with and recorded, at Rolling Stone.

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Hall Of Mirrors

Review of Yamantaka//Sonic Titan’s Uzu

Photo By Derek BelchanDerek BelchanIf you thought that unclassifiable Montreal-Toronto outfit Yamantaka//Sonic Titan would have difficulty following up their utterly 2011 debut YT//ST, that their blend of prog-rock, Japanese opera, and metal amongst many other influences would inevitably turn from unique to self-parody, or that the pressure of going from obscurity to 2012 Polaris Prize shortlister would paralyze them creatively, then you don’t need to look up what Uzu – the title of their second album due out on October 29, means – it means “you are dead wrong”.

Even as an avowed fan of the band, I wasn’t sure how they’d follow up YT//ST, so singular a work that it seemed to be, but clearly Yamantaka//Sonic Titan had no such reservations. Whereas much of the excitement of YT//ST came from the primal, alchemical reactions of bringing their disparate elements and ideas together, Uzu intricately crafts them all together with a much more assured hand – rather than melding all those styles together, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan now sound like they’ve created their own. And remarkably, that’s not even what stands out the most about Uzu – that would be how much better they’ve gotten at sounding conventional.

Lead track “Atalanta” opens with a classical piano figure that is quickly joined by Ruby Kato Attwood singing a plaintive and achingly pretty melody. It’s the sort of move that a band determined to hold onto the “experimental” adjective might eschew as too straight, too accessible, but which too Yamantaka is clearly just the right thing to do for the song. The greater emphasis on melody and straight emotion persists through the record and gives Uzu a heart that YT//ST might have possessed, but kept in the background. The two-part “Seasickness” is the best example of how far they’ve come, with the first part emphasizing the austere beauty of the approach and the second demonstrating how well it meshes with their established sound. What this all means is that those who liked Yamantaka before because they were weird will continue to like them because their weird, but those who found them too weird before may well now find them to be sufficiently more accessible to be won over. What this all means is that with Uzu, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan may now be unstoppable.

Pitchfork has an advance stream of the album. They play The Garrison on November 6.

Video: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “One”
Stream: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan / Uzu

Pitchfork has premiered the new video from The Belle Game’s debut Ritual Tradition Habit, while NOW previews their show at The Drake Underground on Friday night, October 25, with an interview.

Video: The Belle Game -“River”

Your latest Arcade Fire inevitability updates: Pitchfork has a lyric video for the next officially-released preview, NPR will host a live concert showcasing Reflektor before its release the next day, and both Rolling Stone and Macleans have interviews with Win Butler about the new album, The National Post with Will Butler, and Radio Free Canuckistan throwing in Q&As with Richard Reed Parry and Tim Kingsbury for good measure. Update: And yeah now you can stream the album in whole.

Lyric Video: Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”
Stream: Arcade Fire / Reflektor

Pitchfork has stepped up with an advance stream of the new Moonface record Julia With Blue Jeans On, which comes out on October 29.

MP3: Moonface – “Everyone Is Noah, Everyone Is The Ark”
Stream: Moonface / Julia With Blue Jeans On

Kashka has premiered a new video from her forthcoming Bound at Indie88; the album is out November 5 and there’s a record release show for it at The Great Hall on December 5.

Video: Kashka – “Never Had It”

Exclaim reports that the new album from Vancouver retro-rockets Chains Of Love will now be an EP, or series of EPs, starting with Misery Makers Vol. 1 which comes out November 5.

The Vancouver Sun, Halifax Chronicle Herald, and What’s Up interview Braids. They’re at The Great Hall on November 10.

Neil Young continues to make his fans easy to Christmas shop for via his Archives series; Consequence Of Sound reports that he’ll release Live At The Cellar Door, capturing a 1970 residency in Washington DC, on November 26.

The Besnard Lakes have released a new video from Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO; they’re at Lee’s Palace on November 26.

Video: The Besnard Lakes – “Colour Yr Lights In”

Death From Above 1979 want some of your Boxing Day spending money, having just announced a show at The Danforth Music Hall for December 26. Tickets will run between $33.50 and $39.50.

Video: Death From Above 1979 – “Romantic Rights”

Shad explains some of the stories behind the lyrics on Flying Colours to The Grid and also talks to JAM, The Huffington Post, The Edmonton Journal, The Coast, and The Halifax Chronicle-Herald. He’ll be back in town to perform it at The Danforth Music Hall on January 31.

Southern Souls has posted a video session with Rose Cousins; The Georgia Straight also has an interview.

Paper Bag Records is proud to present a new video session with Diana. Or at least I assume they are. Why wouldn’t they be?

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Reflekhoter Chamber

Arcade Fire blah blah Reflektor blah blah

Photo By Korey RicheyKorey RicheyBlah blah Arcade Fire blah blah? Blah blah Reflektor blah blah, double album blah blah Rodin’s Orpheus and Eurydice blah blah October 29. Blah blah “Reflektor” blah blah first single blah blah 9/9/9:00 blah blah – weekend leak blah blah David Bowie blah blah James Murphy – blah blah disco-riffic.

Blah blah video premieres blah blah Anton Corbijn blah blah conventional video blah blah Vincent Morriset blah blah Google Creative Lab blah blah interactive video blah blah Creators Project blah blah boombox collaboration.

Blah blah Win Butler blah blah interview blah blah BBC1’s Zane Lowe; blah blah summaries blah blah Pitchfork, blah blah CBC Music, blah blah Spin.

Blah! Blah blah semi-secret shows blah blah Salsatheque in Montreal blah blah world tour coming. Blah blah promotional machine, blah blah blah. Blah, blah Saturday Night Live blah season premiere blah Tina Fey blah September 28.

Whew.

Video: Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”
Video: Arcade Fire – “Reflektor” (interactive)

With their new 7″ out this week, Stars have deemed it safe to stream the b-side over at Under The Radar.

Stream: Stars – “The Light”

The Weeknd has put out a new video from the just-released Kiss Land. He plays three nights at Massey Hall on October 17, 19, and 20.

Video: The Weeknd – “Live For”

Bullett got to premiere another new track from The Darcys’ new album Warring, but the fact that CBC Music now has the entire record available to stream ahead of its release next week, September 17, makes it kind of moot. For those outside Canada and geoblocked, KCRW also has a stream. The Darcys play Adelaide Hall on October 11.

Stream: The Darcys – “Horses Fell”
Stream: The Darcys / Warring

Also out September 17 and available to stream is Internal Sounds, the latest effort from The Sadies and you can hear that at Exclaim as well as read an interview with the band about the new album.

Stream: The Sadies / Internal Sounds

Beatroute has an interview with Young Galaxy, who’ve made another new track from the Ultramarine deluxe edition coming out September 24 available to stream.

Stream: Young Galaxy – “Sea Drug”

Hear Nebraska and NOW talk to Basia Bulat about her new album Tall Tall Shadow, coming out October 1. She plays The Polish Combatants Hall on October 10, 11, and 12 to celebrate its release and if you’re thinking that’s one extra date than the last time you checked, you are correct – they’ve added a third show on the 12th, which makes this less a concert than a veritable Basia-fest. Tickets for that show, like the others, are $20.

Video: Basia Bulat – “It Can’t Be You”

Exclaim has got the video for the title track of Great Lake Swimmer Tony Dekker’s solo debut, Prayer Of The Woods. It’s out October 8.

Video: Tony Dekker – “Prayer Of The Woods”

NOW catches a quick word with Shad, whose new album Flying Colours is out October 15 and who plays The Opera House on October 19.

Montreal’s Suuns have slated an October 19 show at the Adelaide Hall in support of this year’s Images du Futur; tickets for that are $15.

MP3: Suuns – “Edie’s Dream”

Vancouver’s excellent Belle Game will be at The Drake Underground on October 25 behind their equally excellent debut Ritual Tradition Habit, tickets an eminently reasonable $12.50 in advance.

MP3: The Belle Game – “Blame Fiction”

Because he really doesn’t need a particular reason, Joel Plaskett will be at The Danforth Music Hall on November 2 to play some songs accompanied by his father Bill. They’ll do two sets that night and tickets run $29.50 in advance.

MP3: Joel Plaskett – “When I Go”

Former Forest City Lovers frontwoman Kat Burns has announced details of her full-length debut as the electro-pop act Kashka; Bound will be out November 5 and details can be found at Exclaim and a super-brief trailer below.

Trailer: Kashka / Bound

Beatroute has a feature on Braids, who play The Great Hall on November 10.

Hayden has announced a Fall tour which wraps up with a hometown show at the Danforth Music Hall on November 30, tickets running from $32.50 to $39.50 in advance. He’s also released a new video from his latest effort, Us Alone.

Video: Hayden – “Blurry Nights”

Mechanical Forest Sound is sharing a recording of Ohbijou’s farewell show at The Great Hall last weekend.