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Posts Tagged ‘Besnard Lakes’

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Music When The Lights Go Out

Coeur de Pirate offers Trauma-tic covers album

Photo By Clara PalardyClara PalardyBeatrice Martin – Coeur de Pirate to her fans – can be forgiven for taking a little while to release the follow-up to 2011’s Blonde; my understanding is that having a baby takes a bit out of you. But after returning to live performances this past Summer, she’s announced she’ll be back with a new record to kick of 2014.

But instead of a new collection of French-language originals, her third album will be a set of English-language covers called Trauma which she recorded for the soundtrack of Québec television series of the same name (“trauma” is French for “trauma”). But unlike the fun Top-40 covers that she’s been known to pepper her live sets with – Rihanna’s “Umbrella” or Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl”, for example – the tracklist will comprise “serious” songs from a diverse list of artists including The Libertines, Bon Iver, Kenny Rogers, and Patrick Watson to name a few. Exclaim has more details and her version of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” is available to stream below.

Trauma is out January 14.

Stream: Coeur de Pirate – “You Know I’m No Good”

NOW puts Fresh Snow on their cover in anticipation of their appearance at Friday night’s Long Winter at The Great Hall, and in addition to that, their next local show has been announced – they’ll be at The Silver Dollar on January 11 for a Wavelength showcase; tickets for that will be $6 at the door. Del Bel will also be on the bill showcasing material from their forthcoming new album; they’ve just released a new track for free download – a cover of John Prine’s holiday chestnut, “Christmas In Prison”.

MP3: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
MP3: Del Bel – “Christmas In Prison”

NOW has a feature on Dog Day, whose new record Fade Out came out this week and will be at Cinecycle on December 14, which is to say this Saturday.

The Hidden Cameras have released a second taste of their new album Age, which will be out on January 21 – check it out at Q. They’re at Lee’s Palace on February 15.

Stream: The Hidden Cameras – “Year Of The Spawn”

The Come Up Show have an interview with Shad, who has premiered a new video from Flying Colours at Complex. He plays The Danforth Music Hall on January 31.

Video: Shad featuring Lights – “Remember To Remember”

Timber Timbre have announced an April 1 release date for their new album, Hot Dreams. Check out the trailer below.

Trailer: Timber Timbre / Hot Dreams

Until now, Tokyo Police Club haven’t offered up too many details on their next album, currently being recorded and coming out next year, but they’ve just put out a first taste of it by way of a nine-minute multi-part epic that modestly suggests the new record might be a wee bit ambitious.

Stream: Tokyo Police Club – “Argentina (Parts 1, 2, 3)”

Young Galaxy have turned back to the original issue of Ultramarine for another new video. Unless you count this live performance clip at Southern Souls.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Fever”

Noisey has premiered the new video from The Darcys’ latest album Warring.

Video: The Darcys – “Itchy Blood”

Dan Bejar talks to Exclaim about his future Destroyer plans.

The Dallas Observer and Phoenix New Times talk to Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes.

Paste gets to know Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz.

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?

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

How Deep In The Valley

Sarah Harmer rallies rally for pipeline awareness

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

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

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

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

Video: Basia Bulat – “Tall Tall Shadow”

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

Stream: Tony Dekker / Prayer Of The Woods

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

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

MP3: Murray Lightburn – “Motherfuckers”

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

Video: Arcade Fire / Here comes The Night Time

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

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

Video: Young Galaxy – “Sleepwalk With Me”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Here Here

Islands, island festivals, theatre festivals, etc, etc.

Photo By Todd WeaverTodd WeaverHere are some things I didn’t know about Islands. That though their history is pretty firmly tied to the early aughts Montreal scene that spawned The Unicorns and from whose ashes the first of many incarnations of the band were based, Wikipedia now says they’re based in Los Angeles. Of course, this is probably based on the fact that where Nick Thorburn, the only constant in the band since its inception, lays his hat is where they’re based, and circa their last record – last year’s A Sleep & A Forgetting – Thorburn was indeed working out of the city of angels. I also didn’t know that Evan and Geordie Gordon, principals of Guelph’s disco-tastic The Magic, had been members since 2009. Who knew?

But what I do know is that the stylistically eclectic pop outfit already have a new record ready to go, that they’ve called it Ski Mask, that it’s about being angry – the next logical step from Forgetting‘s prevailing themes of heartbreak, I guess – and that it will be out on September 17, and the first sample from it is available to stream below. Also confirmed is a North American tour that brings them to The Garrison in Toronto on October 10 for a ticket price of $12.50. And if you don’t believe me, consult Pitchfork – surely they’re a reliable source?

Stream: Islands – “Wave Forms”

While there’s no local Two Hours Traffic show per se, the band will be in the area to play Hillside over in Guelph and so are throwing their local fans a bone by playing a free in-store at Sonic Boom’s Annex location on July 27 at 5PM.

MP3: Two Hours Traffic – “Territory”

Summerworks added a musical component to their established theatre festival starting back in 2008, and while the showcase they provided to many of the area’s local on-the-verge talents was a great one – The Rural Alberta Advantage, Diamond Rings, Evening Hymns, the aforementioned Magic, Miracle Fortress, Hooded Fang, and Hidden Cameras to name but a few – they’ve only in the last couple years begun realizing the potential of really connecting the musical acts with their theatre roots. With this year’s programme, it seems they’ve finally figured out a way to make the music series really distinct and have enlisted The Wooden Sky, Snowblink, The Bicycles, and Maylee Todd to participate in some unique collaborations with other multi-disciplinary artists, and really, it’s just easier if you go and read about them than me try to explain. Oh, and there’s also more conventional live music performances at the Performance Bar. Summerworks runs August 8 to 18 in and around the Lower Ossington Theatre and Great Hall; tickets for the musical series shows will be $15 a piece.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”
MP3: Snowblink – “Unsurfed Waves”
Video: Maylee Todd – “Baby’s Got It”
Video: The Bicycles – “Nap Trap”

It’s unfortunate that Summerworks overlaps the fifth and final ALL CAPS! festival taking place at Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Islands the weekend of August 10 and 11 because they’re really catering to the same audience. In fact, Summerworks alumnis Hooded Fang were just added to the lineup, along with Magneta Lane. Torontoist talked festival organizers at Wavelength about why they’re calling it after five years and what will come next.

Video: Hooded Fang – “Bye Bye Land”
Video: Magneta Lane – “Lady Bones”

You may recall at the end of last Summer, I decamped to the wilds of northern Quebec for Festival de music émergent, a fun and fascinating little festival in the town of Rouyn-Noranda. They’ve just announced this year’s lineup, and while it’s not the Feist-Godspeed! one-two punch they got for their tenth anniversary, it’s a solidly trippy bill headlined by Montreal space-cadets The Besnard Lakes, New York art-rockers Blonde Redhead, and Quebec prog-metal legends Voivod, amongst many others of both Francophone and Anglophone persuasion. It’s off the beaten path, to be sure, but it’s a unique experience if you’re looking for something along those lines for the Labour Day long weekend. And if the music isn’t enough to persuade you, the words 24-hour poutinerie might. Exclaim has more details on this year’s FME, as the locals call it.

MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Missile++”
MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “People Of The Sticks”

Somewhat closer to home, local emergent synth-pop heroes Diana have scheduled a hometown record release show for their debut album Perpetual Surrender; the record is out August 20, they’re at The Great Hall on September 26, and there’s a brand-new video from said record to win your hearts and minds and eyeballs.

MP3: Diana – “Born Again”
Video: Diana – “Perpetual Surrender”

Remember when The Weeknd was all shy and would play shows or give interviews and stuff? Well no more. With his first proper – as in you pay for it – album due out this fall in Kiss Land, Abel Tesfaye has booked not one, not two, but three nights at Massey Hall to sing you some songs. He’s there on October 17, 19, and 20 and tickets run from $45 to $75 in advance. A video for the title track of the new record was released earlier this Summer.

MP3: The Weeknd – “Wicked Games”
Video: The Weeknd – “Kiss Land”

Kat Burns of Kashka – and formerly of Forest City Lovers – talks to NOW about her new identity and direction. She plays Harbourfront’s Soundclash festival this Saturday afternoon, July 13, at 1:30PM; that’s free.

Exclaim has premiered the new video from Louise Burns’ just-released new record The Midnight Mass; she talked a bit to Ion Magazine about making the clip.

Video: Louise Burns – “Emeralds Shatter”

The Effects Bay gets a look at Jimmy Shaw’s pedalboard with Metric, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

NXNE 2013 Day Three

Fresh Snow, Data Romance, Del Bel, and more at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’m sure some would look at the last full day/night of a music festival as an opportunity to go hard or go home, I took NXNE’s Saturday schedule as an opportunity to go small and go (relatively) local. I’d kept a pretty conservative schedule through the festival this far, after all, why stop now?

I started out at Supermarket in Kensington to see Vancouver’s Data Romance. I wasn’t really familiar with them before stumbling across their stuff in the NXNE listings, and liking what I heard, gave them a shot. And indeed, armed with a healthy array of drum pads, synths, and laptops, duo Ajay Bhattacharyya and Amy Kirkpatrick, put on a very likeable set of electro-pop drawn from their debut album Other, the former playing electronic drums live to keep things organic and the latter adorably charismatic, her voice expressive without being excessively showy. They specialized in soulful, synthy ballads that would feel like part of the zeitgeist had it come out of the UK right now, but coming from western Canada, sounds rather unique. Accessible, interesting, and well-crafted, Data Romance could and should find a broad audience.

Photos: Data Romance @ Supermarket – June 15, 2013
MP3: Data Romance – “Spark”
Video: Data Romance – “Can’t Keep Your Mind Off”
Video: Data Romance – “The Deep”
Video: Data Romance – “She’s Been High”

Next it was to the Creatures Creating studio space – or more accurately, the tinfoil and lightshow-adorned basement of the studio space – where Toronto music and arts institution Wavelength was holding the final night of their NXNE showcases and previewing their upcoming Roadshow tour which would send three Toronto bands on the road to do their thing across Ontario and Quebec over the next couple weekends. The first of these, Most People, comprised just two people and a whole lot of musical gear of the guitar, bass, percussion, and electronic persuasion which they alternated between tag team-style while building sound-on-sound pop songs that seemed to fold in on themselves but straightened themselves out when needed, being sure to leave the hooks exposed. While their yelpy vocal stylings weren’t to my taste and the songs could stand to be more concise, there’s no denying they were fun to watch. And I’m not just saying that because they’re the only band I’ve ever seen with the same guitar amp as I have. Solidarity!

Photos: Most People @ Creatures Creating – June 15, 2013
Stream: Most People / Most People

I’d seen local jazz-noir collective Del Bel a couple times last year, but never with as lean a lineup as they had on this night – just five pieces, though I would imagine the logistics of getting any larger a group than that together and able to tour would be nigh on impossible. Even stripped down, though, they were able to both do the dark, evocative sounds of their debut Oneiric justice and give them a fresh angle that suited the boozecan feel of the room. Some new material from their forthcoming second album was also showcased, and affirmed that they’re still one of the most interesting and promising new acts bubbling under in Toronto.

Photos: Del Bel @ Creatures Creating – June 15, 2013
MP3: Del Bel with Bry Webb – “No Cure For Loneliness”

I feel as though I should offer a disclaimer about Fresh Snow – I used to be in a band with guitarist Brad Davis and have been friends for many years – but even without the personal angle, I would be excited to be writing about the band. What started as an interesting Krautrock-jam project has become a genuinely exciting psych-rock experience that exists at intersection of calculated and cacophonous. They can shift from Godspeed to Kraftwerk to Mogwai within the same song, and then segue to eminently danceable synth-led disco a few minutes later with some pleasantly woozy violin lines offering a decidedly human counterpoint to the mechanical rhythms driving things. And they might also blow the power in the venue a couple times, but nothing worthwhile comes without some cost. Their debut album i is due out in late July.

Photos: Fresh Snow @ Creatures Creating – June 15, 2013
Video: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”

And that was my NXNE for 2013. Not nearly as intense as past years, but just about the right pace to keep me interested and alive. Trust me on that last point.

Unsurprisingly, with this year’s festival in the books, some of the buzzier bands who had undersized showcases have already announced bigger/proper shows for the not-too-distant future. Braids spin-off Blue Hawaii will be at Wrongbar on July 28 in support of their debut Untogether, released earlier this year and from which they’ve just released a new video.

MP3: Blue Hawaii – “In Two II”
Video: Blue Hawaii – “Reaction II”

And Majical Cloudz, who by all accounts was pretty intense in their showcases, continue to promote their debut Impersonator with a show at Wrongbar on September 17, tickets $12. The Toronto Star has an interview with frontman Devon Welsh.

MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Bugs Don’t Buzz”

The ALL CAPS! music festival has decided that five is enough and that this year’s edition, taking place at Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Islands across August 10 and 11, will be the final one. And who better to send it off with a fitting party than Rich Aucoin, who will headline the Sunday night alongside Brooklyn’s The Blow – closing out Saturday – and a lineup that also includes catl, Shotgun Jimmie, Elfin Saddle, and more, not to mention a whole lot of other arty stuff. A very limited number of camping passes go on sale June 25 for $52 early bird and $69 lollygagger, and festival passes where you have to go home for $24 going up to $30. Single-day tickets are $17 in advance.

MP3: Rich Aucoin – “It”
MP3: The Blow – “Hock It”

With a new double-album in Drifters/Love Is The Devil just out, Taiwan-born Montreal-based no-fi rockabilly act Dirty Beaches has announced Fall tour that hits The Garrison on September 11, tickets $13 in advance. Exclaim and Stereogum talk to Alex Zhang-Hungtai – he who is Dirty Beaches – about his latest opus.

Video: Dirty Beaches – “Casino Lisboa”

Interview, DIY, and Noisey talk to Katie Stelmanis of Austra, whose new record Olympia came out this week. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

Dears frontman Murray Lightburn has release the first MP3 and video from his forthcoming solo album Mass:Light; contrary to what I reported last month, the album itself has no announced release date yet.

MP3: Murray A. Lightburn – “Motherfuckers”
Video: Murray A. Lightburn – “Motherfuckers”

Beatroute has an interview with Toronto’s July Talk.

The Besnard Lakes talk to Beatroute.

The Georgia Straight and Beatroute check in with Yamantaka//Sonic Titan.