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Posts Tagged ‘Big Star’

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Toronto Urban Roots Fest Day Three

The Hold Steady, Frank Turner, Dawes, and more at TURF 2013

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWait, what happened to Toronto Urban Roots Fest day two? Exhaustion and a backlog of Hannibal happened, but I was mostly recharged and ready to go for the full-day programmes down at Fort York over this past weekend; Saturday, in particular, was not to be missed as it would be the day that the “R” in “TURF” would stop standing for “roots” and most definitely stand for “rock”.

Los Angeles’ Dawes straddled those two solitudes quite nicely, mind, with their sweet Laurel Canyon-inspired harmonies and songwriting and edge-of-jam-band – yet always totally tasteful – guitar solos courtesy of frontman Taylor Goldsmith; it was an ideal balance of crunchy and smooth, if you’re given to peanut butter analogies. But as solid a frontman as Taylor was, the band’s secret weapon was his brother Griffin, who contributed astonishing backing vocals from behind the kit along with some killer drummer face for good measure. They didn’t draw the biggest mid-afternoon crowd – possibly because they had another headlining show slated for Lee’s Palace later that night – but when those who were there were called on to sing along in “When My Time Comes”, they sounded legion. Very impressive.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has an interview with Dawes.

Photos: Dawes @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 6, 2013
MP3: Dawes – “If I Wanted Someone”
Video: Dawes – “From A Window Seat”
Video: Dawes – “When My Time Comes”
Video: Dawes – “Time Spent In Los Angeles”
Video: Dawes – “Love Is All I Am”

You could arguably file Dartmouth’s Matt Mays alongside Dawes in record stores where “roots-rock” is a distinct thing, but he definitely dwells far more toward the rock end of that spectrum – those who found Dawes a bit sedate or polite was probably delighted by the balls-out approach favoured by Mays and his crew. Though undoubtedly still shaken by the sudden passing of guitarist Jay Smith barely a month earlier, from a performance point of view they were firing on all cylinders with a stock of tunes tailor-made for playing loud in the Summer sun. Theirs was a set of dueling guitars and whipping sweaty hair, and I think my favourite part of their set was after a a particularly energetic number, Mays mouthed “how long?” to the stagehand and incredulously repeated, “Twenty-five minutes?!?” – they were not pacing themselves, and the show was all the better for it.

Photos: Matt Mays @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 6, 2013
Video: Matt Mays – “Indio”
Video: Matt Mays – “Take It On Faith”
Video: Matt Mays – “City Of Lakes”
Video: Matt Mays – “Cocaine Cowgirl”
Video: Matt Mays & El Torpedo – “On The Hood”
Video: Matt Mays & El Torpedo – “Tall Trees”

Though as I understand it, he’s a pretty big star in the UK now, I’d somehow managed to never hear Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls before their set, and all I had to go on was that apparently he gets compared to Billy Bragg a lot. Which is cool, because I like Billy Bragg. As it turns out, that’s not the best reference point because Turner really doesn’t sound like Billy Bragg. Handsome and poshly-accented, his songs sound political but are far vaguer than anything Bragg has ever penned, favouring pub-friendly anthemicism to fiery activism and commentary; more Pogues than Clash. But while it’s unlikely to incite a revolution, that everyman approach makes for some rousing music and there’s no debating his ability to stir up a crowd. Energetic and charismatic, he was quick with the banter and expressing his appreciation for the city – he’s no stranger to Toronto stages – and curried some domestic favour with a sharp cover of The Weakerthans’ “A Plea From A Cat Named Virtue”; a canny move, as everyone loves a cat song.

RTE has an interview with Turner.

Photos: Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 6, 2013
MP3: Frank Turner – “The Roads”
Stream: Frank Turner – “Plea From A Cat Named Virtue”
Video: Frank Turner – “The Way I Tend To Be”
Video: Frank Turner – “Recovery”
Video: Frank Turner – “Four Simple Words”
Video: Frank Turner – “Sailor’s Boots”
Video: Frank Turner – “Wessex Boy”
Video: Frank Turner – “If I Ever Stray”
Video: Frank Turner – “Peggy Sang The Blues”
Video: Frank Turner – “I Still Believe”
Video: Frank Turner – “Try This At Home”
Video: Frank Turner – “Isabel”
Video: Frank Turner – “Poetry Of The Deed”
Video: Frank Turner – “The Road”
Video: Frank Turner – “Long Live The Queen”
Video: Frank Turner – “I Knew Prufrock Before He Was Famous”
Video: Frank Turner – “Reasons Not To Be An Idiot”
Video: Frank Turner – “Photosynthesis”
Video: Frank Turner – “The Real Damage”
Video: Frank Turner – “Vital Signs”
Video: Frank Turner – “Casanova Lament”

My relationship with Toronto’s own Lowest of The Low is a long one. Anyone who knew me in my late teens/early twenties – or read this post from 2007 knew that they were easily my favourite band going and hugely important to me, and so when they announced that after their 2000 reunion turned into a going concern, they were again hanging it up for good with a final hometown show that December, it stirred all kinds of memories and nostalgia and whatever, and I bid them farewell. Well, of course they didn’t actually split up, as some 2010 one-off shows turned into tours and more shows and though I probably wouldn’t have gone to them anyways, I felt that I needed to boycott them on principle. Happily, I’ve gotten over myself and allowed that the band is allowed to do whatever the hell they want, and thankfully was able to actually enjoy their TURF set rather than grumble about it.

Interestingly, they were back down to a four-piece – founding bassist David Alexander remained absent, but utility player Lawrence Nichols was no longer in the fold – and while they did roll out some new songs, noting that they were going back into the studio to record a fourth album, it was the old tunes that made the day. I still know all the words to “Eternal Fatalist”, “Bleed A Little While Tonight”, and “Rosy & Grey” and probably will until the day I die – and even though Stephen Stanley’s guitar was nearly inaudible in the mix for the first half of the set, I was able to hum every solo as well. They weren’t that tight up there, certainly not compared to the full-time touring outfits sharing the bill with them, but were good enough for rock’n’roll and Hawkins is still a sharp and funny frontman. Not sure about that hair, though, Ron.

Photos: The Lowest Of The Low @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 6, 2013
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “Gamble”
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “The Dogs Of February”
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “Bleed A Little While Tonight”
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “Subversives”
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “The Unbearable Lightness Of Jean” (live)
Video: The Lowest Of The Low – “Rosy & Grey” (live)
Video: The Lowest Of The Low – “The Last Recidivist”
Video: The Lowest Of The Low – “Eternal Fatalist”

And then The Hold Steady. Because I’d seen them so so so many times in a three-year span, I didn’t realize that it had actually been over four years since I saw Craig Finn and the boys do their thing. The upside of this is that it made our reunion at TURF all that more joyous, though anything Hold Steady is bound to be joyous regardless.

After a series of introductions – festival organizer intro-ed sportscaster Dave Hodge who intro-ed superfan Frank Turner who finally intro-ed the band before running down into the pit to rock out to the show – The Hold Steady took the stage to the biggest cheers of the day and put on a clinic about the power and celebratory spirit of rock’n’roll. Powering through a seventeen-song set that gave about equal time to all their records including the new one they’d be going into the studio to record this week, the band were in excellent form with Finn in extra-good spirits from seeing his Minnesota Twins shut out the hometown Blue Jays down the street earlier in the afternoon. Having missed the Heaven Is Whenever tour entirely, it was my first time seeing them without keyboardist Franz Nicolay, and while his keyboard flourishes and sartorial flair were missed, new guitarist Steve Selvidge endeared himself with some Thin Lizzy-esque lead lines with Tad Kubler. And even after it was done, it wasn’t as the roaring audience demanded that rarest of beasts – an encore from anyone but the last act of the night, they rip-roared through “Stay Positive”; Frank Turner leapt onstage to add vocals, but we all knew the “whoa-oh-oh”s. Exhausting and exhilarating.

Photos: The Hold Steady @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 6, 2013
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Hurricane J”
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Sequestered In Memphis”
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Stay Positive”
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Chips Ahoy!”
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Stuck Between Stations”
Video: The Hold Steady – “Stay Positive”
Video: The Hold Steady – “Chips Ahoy!”
Video: The Hold Steady – “Stuck Between Stations”
Video: The Hold Steady – “Your Little Hoodrat Friend”
Video: The Hold Steady – “The Swish”

Speaking of rock… Drive-By Truckers haven’t been through town in a while – not since November 2011 behind their last full-length Go-Go Boots, what with both Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley working on solo projects and the departures of bassist Shona Tucker and guitarist John Neff, but the Truckers are back on the road and will be at The Phoenix on November 2 with Old 97’s, who themselves haven’t been to town since Spring 2011, along as support. Not sure if this means there’s new records on the way from either of them, but I get the feeling folks will be perfectly happy to hear the old stuff. NYC Taper has posted a recording of an Old 97s show in Brooklyn last week, if you want to hear what Rhett and the boys are sounding like these days.

MP3: Drive-By Truckers – “Used To Be A Cop”
MP3: Old 97’s – “Brown-Haired Daughter”

Exclaim has specifics on the new double-album from Quasi, who are marking their twentieth anniversary as a band with Mole City, out October 1. There’s a trailer and advance MP3 to inspect.

MP3: Quasi – “You Can Stay But You Got To Go”
Trailer: Quasi / Mole City

Cincinnati CityBeat welcomes home native sons The National with a feature interview.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, who also just rolled out a new video from Specter At The Feast.

Video: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Hate The Taste”

Daytrotter has posted a session with Saturday Looks Good To Me.

Future Bible Heroes have released a new video from their latest album Partygoing, which will surely make up for the sting of knowing that their show at Lee’s Palace, originally set for later this month, has been canceled. But that happened ages ago, so you already knew that, right? Right.

Video: Future Bible Heroes – “Living, Loving, Partygoing”

Titus Andronicus have rolled out a new album from last year’s Local Business and are already taking preorders for their fourth album, due for release next year.

Video: Titus Andronicus – “Still Life With Hot Deuce And Silver Platter”

Under The Radar interviews Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

Consequence Of Sound has compiled and impressive oral history of Big Star.

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)

The Morning Benders want ice cream, may as well move to Toronto

Photo By Pieter van HattemPieter van HattemSo all manner of things have been piling up over the past week while I’ve been reminiscing about warm Summer sojourns to Chicago. Let’s get to them.

San Francisco’s Morning Benders are no strangers to Toronto this year, having already come through town twice – once in April for their own show just after their latest album Big Echo was released, and again in June opening up for Broken Bells. They’re back in a couple weeks supporting both Black Keys dates at the Kool Haus on August 3 and 4, but in addition to those performances, they’ve announced they’ll be playing a free acoustic show at the corner of College and Manning in Little Italy on August 4 at 5:30PM in what probably would have been a Soundscapes in-store had the weather not been so nice (or so everyone is hoping). There are rumours that there will be free BBQ and ice cream, but even without refreshments it’ll be a fine, free afternoon of pop music.

MP3: The Morning Benders – “Promises”
Video: The Morning Benders – “Promises”

At long last, after watching her Lilith Fair, Of Montreal and own dates skip us over, Toronto has a date with soul/r&b superstar-in-waiting Janelle Monáe – she is joining The Sadies in supporting Arcade Fire on the Toronto Islands on August 14. Why yes, that is a wacky-ass bill, how good of you to notice. But also an excellent one. Watch this video and tell me that Arcade Fire doesn’t run a real risk of being upstaged by her.

Video: Janelle Monáe – “Tightrope”

Unpronouncable Californian dance-punk outfit !!! (chk chk chk to their friends) have slated a North America tour in support of their forthcoming album Strange Weather Isn’t It?, due out on August 24. Grab an MP3 from their website and look for them at Lee’s Palace on September 26, tickets $16.50 in advance.

MP3: !!! – “Must Be The Moon”
Video: !!! – “AM/FM”

The Dears look to be about done with the follow up to 2008’s Missiles as they’ve scheduled a three-night stand at the Garrison from October 13 to 15 where they’ll surely be previewing new material; tickets on sale Friday (via Singing Lamb). Update: Their label reports that they’ll play the entire new album at the shows and the record isn’t due out till early 2011.

MP3: The Dears – “Disclaimer”

Only in town last month, Swedish sister act First Aid Kit are coming back to North America and will be at the El Mocambo in Toronto on October 15.

MP3: First Aid Kit – “I Met Up With The King”

Blonde Redhead have plotted a North American tour in support of their forthcoming album Penny Sparkle, due September 14. They’ll be at the Phoenix on October 17 with Pantha Du Prince as support; tickets $24.

MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Here Sometimes”
MP3: Pantha Du Prince – “The Splendour”

Helmet are still around and will be at Lee’s Palace on October 17 in support of a new album, Seeing Eye Dog, out September 7.

Video: Helmet – “Unsung”

There are apparently still enough people who want to see The Dandy Warhols live that they can not only book The Phoenix for them, but charge $30 a head. They’re there November 1.

Video: The Dandy Warhols – “Bohemian Like You”

Delorean are back on November 18 for a date at the Mod Club with Lemonade as support.

MP3: Delorean – “Real Love”
Video: Lemonade – “Big Weekend”

Blitzen Trapper tell Spinner that even though Destroyer Of The Void only came out last month, they’re already writing its follow-up. Look for them at the Opera House on August 3.

If it ever looks like Ben Curtis of School Of Seven Bells is sleepwalking through a show, it’s because he may very well be. Hopefully their new live drummer will keep him on his toes when they play the Mod Club on September 15. He also chats with New York Magazine.

Chart has a chat with Beach House; they’re at the Molson Amphitheatre on September 27.

Spinner serves up an Interface session with Stars. They play Massey Hall on October 23.

NPR has a World Cafe session with The National.

Jeff Tweedy talks to Billboard about Wilco’s future as an independent band.

Their own major label experiment come to an ignoble end, Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s will release Buzzard on September 21 on their own.

Paste catches up with John Roderick of The Long Winters, who are so overdue for a new album it’s not funny.

Interview talks to She & Him’s Matt Ward and Zooey Deschanel.

Spinner interviews Holly Miranda.

Rest in peace, Andy Hummel of Big Star.

The final volume of Scott Pilgrim came out this week – The Toronto Star and National Post look at the comic book phenomenon and the film that will be released on August 13, while Exclaim looks at the movie’s soundtrack.

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

"The Ballad Of El Goodo"

Ted Leo covers Big Star

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangNXNE has quite thoroughly kicked my ass, so you’ll forgive me if this week’s selection falls under the category of quick and easy. But hopefully still satisfactory.

And why wouldn’t it be? There are few better go-to guys for covers than Ted Leo, who seemingly hasn’t met a song from any genre that he’s not prepared to take a swing at if it’s a good tune. And there are few bands who’ve wrote more good/great songs that have been – and deserve to be – covered ad infinitum than Big Star. So Ted Leo – solo and acoustic and Pharmacist-free – offering a tender rendition of one of Alex Chilton’s best-loved compositions, sometime circa 2006? Made of win, as the kids say.

Ted tours his newest album The Brutalist Bricks through Toronto this Saturday for a show at Lee’s Palace. Big Star’s Alex Chilton passed away in March and the world remains a colder place for his absence.

MP3: Ted Leo – “The Ballad Of El Goodo”
Video: Big Star – “The Ballad Of El Goodo” (live)

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Wooden Walls Of This Forest Church

An introduction to Lost In The Trees

Photo By D.L. AndersonD.L. AndersonA lot of bands these days lay claim to the adjective of “orchestral” – and indeed, the tasteful addition of some strings, brass and/or woodwinds to one’s aural palette can set one apart from the pack. Those following this path should know, however, that the bar for these sorts of stylings has been raised by North Carolina’s Lost In The Trees. By a lot.

Even if stripped down to just main composer Ari Picker, Lost In The Trees would be a worthy of note – his songwriting is lyrically evocative and his voice capable of ranging from an introspective grumble to a plaintive yelp – but his ambitions go far beyond folk or singer-songwriter. Their third album All Alone In An Empty House – originally released in 2008 but re-recorded and set to be re-released on August 10 – wraps him and his songs in gorgeous tapestries of strings and chorals that are clearly informed by Picker’s Berklee training in classical composition, with the vocal pieces giving way on multiple occasions to full-on insturmental suites. Mixing those in with the more austere numbers and occasional electrified rockers could – and probably should – make for a jarring listening experience but Picker and company – seven in total in the touring configuration but numbering more than a dozen in the studio – make it all blend beautifully. Those other bands can keep calling themselves orchestral – Lost In The Trees are symphonic.

Lost In The Trees are currently on tour and will be in Toronto this coming Tuesday, June 15, for a free show at the El Mocambo. That’s right – the price of admission is the effort it takes to show up. There’s interviews with Ari Picker at The Washington Examiner and hour.ca.

MP3: Lost In The Trees – “Fireplace”
MP3: Lost In The Trees – “All Alone In An Empty House”
MP3: Lost In The Trees – “Time Taunts Me”
MySpace: Lost In The Trees

QRD talks guitars with Anna-Lynne Wiliams of Trespassers William.

Author Michael Chabon offers an eloquent tribute to power pop in general and Big Star in particular.

Drive-By Truckers have a new video from The Big To-Do.

Video: Drive-By Truckers – “After The Scene Dies”

Spinner talks to Tift Merritt about her new record See You On The Moon.

eye‘s cover feature this week welcomes the Pavement reunion to town next Saturday on Toronto Island without actually talking to anyone in the band. It was just announced that the reunion is having a reunion of its own – the band’s June 24 show in their former hometown of Stockton, California will feature their original drummer Gary Young behind the kit. Stockton fans got excited, until they remembered that Young wasn’t a very good drummer.

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem talks to Spinner.

Phantogram check in at Daytrotter for studio session and with The Visalia Times Delta for an interview; they’ll be at Wrongbar on July 8.

Spin checks in with Of Montreal, presently in the studio recording a new record.

The Drums talk to Spinner and BBC about their self-titled debut, out digitally now, and on vinyl come August 10 and on CD in September.

Sky Larkin have nailed down the release date for their second album Kaleide – it will be available in the UK on August 9.

PopMatters chats with Gareth Campesinos! of Los Campesinos!.

Exclaim reports that The Vaselines will release their first new album in some 20 years on September 14 with Sex With An X, the first MP3 of which you can get from their website.

The Telegraph interviews Richard Thompson, whose new recorded-live-in-front-of-an-audience album Dream Attic is out August 31.

New fatherhood may have kept bassist Ted Malmros from participating in the Shout Out Louds’ recent North American tour, but he kept busy producing a new video from Work. Blast and The Days Of Yore also have interviews with Shout Out Loud-ers.

Video: Shout Out Louds – “Show Me Something New”

Drowned In Sound meets Love Is All.

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Transference

Spoon, Deerhunter and The Strange Boys at The Sound Academy in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAs of Monday night, it had been four and a half years since I saw Spoon live and just over four years since I’d been to The Sound Academy (nee The Docks) for a show. One of these streaks I was anxious to break; the other I was not. To be fair, I only missed one of their Toronto shows – a 2008 appearance at the Kool Haus in support of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga – but apparently that was the one where they officially crossed over to “rock star” status. That last time at The Phoenix in November 2005, it felt like a show for Spoon fans – this time, at a room three times the size but just as full, it felt more like the show was simply the place to be that night. That’s not intended with any snarkiness, just an observation.

This tour saw the band bringing two others on tour with them – one who surely benefited from being shown off in front of such-sized audiences and another that probably could have packed a respectably-sized room all on their own. The former of these were The Strange Boys, who hailed from Austin, Texas and proudly carried on that city’s tradition of psychedelic-garage rock. Granted, they weren’t overly trippy, preferring focused pop structures over sprawling jams and weren’t above injecting some twang into their sound, but their roots and skill at said stylings were clear. A little more energy or stage presence wouldn’t have been unwelcome, but still a solid start to the evening from a band making their first visit to Canada.

Deerhunter, on the other hand, were probably responsible for drawing no small percentage of the audience, if not just for themselves then for tilting the decision of whether to see Spoon in one the city’s least-favoured venues into the “yea” column. Though their psychedelic/shoegazing/pop affinities would make them seem the sort of thing I’d really be into, I had not listened to Deerhunter much before and certainly hadn’t seen them live. And now I wish I had, because their set was pretty superb – musically, they were far more direct (read: less wall of noise) than I’d expected, but with enough bludgeoning volume and droning excursions to keep it sufficiently trippy and the show itself was livened up with Bradford Cox’s space cadet stage banter, an unexpected stage invasion from one of The Black Lips (or perhaps expected considering that before they began the song, Cox dedicated it to his fellow Atlantans) and another guest appearance from Spoon’s Britt Daniel, who took over on guitar from Cox while the gangly bandleader engaged in some on-stage shenanigans I couldn’t actually see from my angle – see the eye review for specifics. As far as their recorded works go, I’ve only really spent time with Microcastle – further recommendations are welcome.

I don’t, however, need any help getting acquainted with the collected works of Spoon, having followed them attentively since 2001’s Girls Can Tell, and if there’s a downside to their consistently excellent output over this decade – hell, century – it’s that it can cause one to take them for granted a bit. Some have criticized this year’s Transference as being less focused than its pop-friendly predecessor Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, I – for reasons I can’t quite articulate – prefer it. Both sides of the argument would have been perfectly happy with Monday night’s set list, then, as it opened with Transference’s sublime closer “Nobody Gets Me But You” and drew heavily from both records – seven tracks from each – while also hitting most of the essential notes from all the other Merge releases, even going as far back as 1997’s Soft Effects for the unexpected, “I Could See The Dude”.

In total, they ran through an impressive 25 songs over an hour and forty minutes, aptly showcasing the band’s unique sound and dynamic. Britt Daniel – he of the scratchy voice and stabby six-string – is front and centre, dancing around the stage in his herky-jerky manner as if pulled uncontrollably by his guitar but the contributions of his bandmates can’t be overstated, even if they seem perfectly happy to stay in the background. Eric Harvey’s keys provided the melodic underpinnings that allow Daniel’s guitar lines to wander while he impossibly tight and just funky enough rhythm section of Jim Eno and Rob Pope were omnipresent on this night – possibly because the Sound Academy’s acoustics leaned way towards the bassy. And don’t get me started on the sightlines – it’s a sad situation when you find yourself pining for the environs of the Kool Haus.

In my comments from that Phoenix show in 2005, I noted that ‘I will have to amend my one-line synopsis on Spoon live from “they put on a good show” to “they usually put on a good show, but sometimes they put on a GREAT show”. If Monday was a proper indication of how far they’ve progressed as a live act in the past half-decade, then their work on stage is almost on par with in the studio and I’ll have to update my notes to read, “they put on a great show” – no qualifiers.

Westword, NOW, CBC, The Quietus, The Toronto Star, The Chronicle Herald,NPR, The Toronto Sun and The San Francisco Chronicle have feature pieces on Spoon. Spin has excerpted this month’s feature piece that puts Britt Daniel in conversation with Ray Davies and New York Magazine talks to him about the art of the set list. Chart, The Globe & Mail and Exclaim have reviews of the show. The Fly profiles The Strange Boys.

Photos: Spoon, Deerhunter, The Strange Boys @ The Sound Academy – March 29, 2010
MP3: Spoon – “The Underdog”
MP3: Spoon – “I Turn My Camera On”
MP3: Spoon – “The Way We Get By”
MP3: Spoon – “This Book Is A Movie”
MP3: Spoon – “Mountain To Sound”
MP3: Spoon – “Chips & Dip”
MP3: Spoon – “Idiot Driver”
MP3: Deerhunter – “Wash Off”
MP3: Deerhunter – “Rainwater Cassette Exchange”
Video: Spoon – “Written In Reverse”
Video: Spoon – “The Underdog”
Video: Spoon – “Don’t You Evah”
Video: Spoon – “The Two Sides Of Monsieur Valentine”
Video: Spoon – “I Turn My Camera On”
Video: Spoon – “Sister Jack”
Video: Spoon – “Jonathan Fisk”
Video: Spoon – “Small Stakes”
Video: Spoon – “Everything Hits At Once”
Video: Deerhunter – “Agoraphobia”
Video: Deerhunter – “Strange Lights”
Video: The Strange Boys – “Be Brave”
Video: The Strange Boys – “Woe Is You And Me”

The Line Of Best Fit and Montreal Gazette have interviews with Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater; The Gazette has also posted the full transcript of their interview. Shearwater play Lee’s Palace tomorrow night, April 1.

Also on the bill for that show are Wye Oak, who played a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR.

Daytrotter is featuring a session with Richard Buckner.

Paste reports that Tift Merritt will release a new record entitled See You On The Moon on June 1. The Fayetteville Observer has an interview with Merritt.

Pitchfork has details on Blitzen Trapper’s new album Destroyer Of The Void, due out June 8.

MP3: Blitzen Trapper – “Heaven & Earth”

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco is interviewed by The Miami Herald, Palm Beach Pulse and The Weekender while Le Blogotheque has a Take-Away Show with the band.

The Fly talks to The National frontman Matt Berninger about their new album High Violet, out May 11. They play Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.

LAist and The Dallas Observer chat with Ted Leo, who’s released a new video from The Brutalist Bricks. A Toronto show has also finally been announced – Ted and the Pharmacists will be at Lee’s Palace on June 26, tickets $15.

Video: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “The Mighty Sparrow”

Spinner, Prefix and Blurt have features on the Drive-By Truckers, who bring their new album The Big To-Do to Lee’s Palace for two nights next week, April 6 and 7.

Their respective members have moved on to new projects for the time being, but that hasn’t stopped Monsters Of Folk from releasing a new video from their self-titled album.

Video: Monsters Of Folk – “Dear God”

Crawdaddy profiles John Vanderslice.

NPR is streaming the entirety of Joanna Newsom’s concert in Washington DC last week.

Under The Radar talks to School Of Seven Bells’ Alejandra Deheza about their new album Disconnect From Desire. She says it will be out this Spring; it now being Spring, I am less confident than her about this point – it will be out this year, though.

Phantogram have released a new video from Eyelid Movies. If you’ve been having trouble finding in stores in Canada, there’s a reason – apparently it’s not out here until April 6, their deal with Barsuk not counting north of the 49th? Don’t know, but it’s worth seeking out wherever you have to go to do it. Playtonic Dialogues has an interview.

Video: Phantogram – “Mouthful Of Diamonds”

Portland atmospheric electronicist Eluvium will be at the Drake on May 22 in support of his new album Similes; tickets $12 in advance.

MP3: Eluvium – “The Motion Makes Me Last”

tUnE-yArDs brings her much-feted (but not really understood by me) debut BiRd-BrAiNs to the Horseshoe on June 13 – tickets $12 in advance. I tried, really I did.

MP3: tUnE-yArDs – “Sunlight”
Video: tUnE-yArDs – “Real Live Flesh”

Blurt, Pitchfork and Paul Westerberg – via The New York Times – eulogize Alex Chilton of Big Star.