Posts Tagged ‘Black Mold’

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Children Become Their Parents Become Their Children

Review of The Antlers' Hospice and giveaway

Photo By Ben RitterBen RitterHospice, the much-praised new record from Brooklyn solo project turned trio The Antlers, is an exceedingly difficult listen for me. The album is built around a central narrative about a man losing a loved one to cancer and it’s so successful in evoking the emotions and atmosphere around that that when I listen to it, my teeth clench and chest tightens. It’s actually physically uncomfortable.

Hospice accomplishes this by means both obvious and not. To the former, the ghostly production with its hazy atmosphere and subtle whirs, clicks and swells in the background do a good job of evoking the sterile yet foreboding atmosphere of hospitals and cancer wards, where the whiff of hope is faint at best. And Peter Silberman’s voice, all wavering falsetto, is made for gut-wrenching whispers-to-screams though that dynamic is put into effect only sparingly and thus retains its effectiveness. In less capable hands, these tools could still get the desired emotional response, but only in a mechanical and manipulative sense – the way that even terrible suspense films can still make you jump as a reflex, not out of genuine fear. Hospice, though, possesses an intangible sense of genuineness that gives its strange, haunting beauty a real and painful weight and heft that’s tinged by all-too-brief moments of uplift. All the more remarkable considering that Silberman remains coy about how much of the story played out on the record is autobiographical and how much is fiction.

So while I don’t know if Silberman has gone through the experiences he details in such clarity, I can say that while the details and settings of his tale don’t fully line up with my own, the underlying emotions conveyed definitely resonate and often feel like touching – no, grabbing and squeezing – a raw nerve. Hospice captures the anxiety, anger, fear, denial and despair of being past hope and the bleak understanding that the only way out will come with a price that can’t be comprehended but must be paid. I did not enjoy listening to this record, nor did I enjoy writing this piece, but I think it helped.

There’s an Interface session with the band at Spinner, another video session at Laundromatinee and Exclaim has a very brief interview. The band are currently on tour and will be in Toronto next Thursday night, September 24, for a couple of performances – a free in-store at Criminal Records at 6PM and a headlining show at the Horseshoe later that night. Tickets are $10.50 in advance but courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got three pairs of passes to give away to the show. To enter email me at contests AT with “I want to see The Antlers” in the subject and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, September 22.

MP3: The Antlers – “Two”
MP3: The Antlers – “Two” (remastered)
MP3: The Antlers – “Bear”
Video: The Antlers – “Two”
MySpace: The Antlers

There’s a preview track available from Sufjan Stevens’ forthcoming multimedia project The BQE – out October 20 – and it’s a real departure, all shredding guitars, vocodered vocals and fat synths. No of course not, it’s orchestral and twinkly and pretty and has an excessively long title. Pure Sufjan. He’s at Lee’s Palace on October 1.

MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “Movement VI—Isorhythmic Night Dance With Interchanges”

GQ UK talks to Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste.

Early Day Miners give Aquarium Drunkard a tour of Bloomington, Indiana. Their new record The Treatment is out next Tuesday.

Filter talks to Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse and Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse, about their Dark Night Of The Soul collaboration.

Music Snobbery interviews Anna Ternheim, in town on October 14 at the Horseshoe.

Out next week, September 22, is the self-titled debut from Monsters Of Folk – it’s currently available to stream at their MySpace. They play Massey Hall on November 2 and Reuters has an interview.

Stream: Monsters Of Folk / Monsters Of Folk

PopMatters interviews Emily Haines of Metric. They play Massey Hall on October 20 and 21.

Chad Van Gaalen, who has a show at the Church Of The Redeemer this Saturday night – September 19 – has made an EP’s worth of outtakes and whatnot from Soft Airplane available for free download at His Black Mold alter-ego has also just released a new video.

Video: Black Mold – “Metal Spiderwebs”

Exclaim talks to head Hidden Camera Joel Gibb about plans to take their new record Origin:Orphan, out Tuesday, to the stage. The theatre stage, not the concert stage. Though they’ll do that too come December 5 at the Opera House. Which despite the name is not an opera stage.

Islands are streaming their new record Vapours, out next week, at Exclaim and have set a November 7 date at the Mod Club in support.

MP3: Islands – “Vapours”
Stream: Islands / Vapours

Also at Exclaim – details on the sophomore record from Basia Bulat. It’s entitled Heart Of My Own and will be out on January 26 of the new year. Here’s a taste.

MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”

UK electro-pop outfit We Have Band will be at the Drake Underground on October 22. They’ll have a digital EP available Grab a new remix track at RCRDLBL.

MP3: We Have Band – “Hear It In The Cans”
Video: We Have Band – “You Came Out”
Video: We Have Band – “Oh!”

J Tillman may be the drummer for Fleet Foxes but he’s also an established solo artist and he will continue to establish his solo-ness with his new record Year In The Kingdom, which is out next week. He’ll be touring to support and has a date at the Horseshoe on November 11, tickets $13.50. And if you need more reason to attend, consider the fact that he is one funny dude. Seriously.

MP3: J Tillman – “Earthly Bodies”

Denver Westword talks to The Depreciation Guild, who’ve been named as support for School Of Seven Bells at Lee’s Palace on October 15 along with Los Angeles’ Warpaint. It pains me to miss this show for Wilco, but sacrifices must be made.

MP3: Warpaint – “Billie Holiday”
MP3: Warpaint – “Elephants”

And one more September 22 release to talk about – the Higher Than The Stars EP from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. The title track and a non-EP remix of the title track are available to download.

MP3: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Higher Than The Stars”
MP3: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Higher Than The Stars” (Others In Conversation remix)

Thursday, August 13th, 2009


Two Hours Traffic mark their Territory

Photo By Scott MunnScott MunnIt’s been a pretty lousy Summer, not just for myself and many I know, but for anyone who prefers theirs to be warm, sunny and generally not perpetually cloudy and rain-soaked. It’s only been this week that we’ve gotten some proper heat (accompanied by massive thunderstorms, sure), and I can’t believe that it’s just coincidence that the weather has improved just as Prince Edward Island’s finest, Two Hours Traffic, are gearing up for the release of their second album Territories on September 8.

They shared an MP3 of the title track last month, but have now followed that up with not only a first video, but a stream of the entire record on their website. And a couple of listens verifies that name of the record notwithstanding, the quartet haven’t gone out and explored much new ground with their sophomore effort. This is not a complaint. Little Jabs was note-perfect power pop infused with the optimism of youth and while Territory‘s shoulders inevitably sag a bit more from the weight of age and experience, its still got hooks and harmonies to spare.

Two Hours Traffic built their nationwide fanbase the old fashioned way – touring, touring and more touring – and as previously reported, they’re totally doing it again. Torontonians can catch them on October 16 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $15.

MP3: Two Hours Traffic – “Territory”
Video: Two Hours Traffic – “Happiness Burns”
Stream: Two Hours Traffic / Territories
MySpace: Two Hours Traffic

Young Galaxy have prepared their second album Invisible Republic for release on August 25 and will follow that up with a show at the Drake Underground on September 10.

MP3: Young Galaxy – “Long Live The Fallen World”

In town for the Polaris Music Prize awards gala on September 21, where he surely hopes to take home the giant cheque, Chad Van Gaalen will play a show at the Church Of The Redeemer on September 19 with Castlemusic as support. The show is all-ages and tickets are $20 in advance. The Quietus has an interview with Van Gaalen.

MP3: Chad Van Gaalen – “City Of Electric Light”
MP3: Castlemusic – “Heaven”

And now’s as good a time as any to mention Van Gaalen’s electronic-oriented alter-ego/side-project Black Mold, whose debut album Snow Blindness Is Crystal Antz was released this week. If you thought the musical fruits of Van Gaalen’s day job were too aimless or meandering… stay away.

MP3: Black Mold – “Metal Spider Webs”
MP3: Black Mold – “Tetra Pack Heads”

And speaking of staying away, if you like your vocalists clean and pristine, you’ll want to not be at the Horseshoe on October 1 (and you’ll probably be at Lee’s for Sufjan Stevens anyways). But if you like a little/lot of grit and whiskey in the mix, then the ‘Shoe is where it’s at as that night it’ll host a double-bill of Bruce Peninsula and Sunparlour Players.

MP3: Sunparlour Players – “Battle Of 77”
MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Crabapples”

Spinner and The Vancouver Sun talk to Murray Lightburn of The Dears.

Pink Mountaintops have rolled out a new video from Outside Love.

Video: Pink Mountaintops – “Execution”

Also under new videos – the volcano-themed clip for Ohbijou’s “New Year”!

Video: Ohbijou – “New Year”

Exclaim reports that Neil Young will be making a free appearance at Yonge-Dundas Square on September 14 to mark the appearance of the Jonathan Demme-helmed concert doc Neil Young Trunk Show at the Toronto International Film Festival. And yeah, he’s probably bringing his guitar. Joan Baez will do the same on September 18.