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Posts Tagged ‘Black Ships’

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Telling The Hour

An incredibly selective guide to Canadian Musicfest 2013, featuring Mount Moriah

Photo By Andrew SynowiezAndrew SynowiezKnow what week it is? It’s Canadian Music Week, which means it’s also Canadian Musicfest, which means it’s the week where all the Toronto clubs filled up with acts from near and far and folks who would normally be out and about with a fistful of tickets guaranteeing admission were now brandishing wristbands that they hoped would get them into the clubs and prove to be the mathematically superior value that they hoped.

And if those equations included trying to get into the shows of advertised headliners Rihanna or Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, that’s unfortunate – only a handful of VIP passes are being allowed into those, so basically no average punters – but for those willing to do the club-hopping and take a flyer on some unknown quantities, they can still pay off handsomely. So to that end, here’s some suggestions of things to see over the next week; some will be familiar, others not, hailing from near and far.

It’s kind of a shame that in 2013, being described as “rootsy” means your wardrobe could belong to an “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” cosplayer because while the sounds North Carolina’s Mount Moriah make are deeply steeped in folk and country traditions, their just-released full-length debut Miracle Temple is unapologetically modern-sounding. Lead singer Heather McEntire’s voice can twang like Dolly or sigh like Emmylou, but you can also hear her punk-rock bonafides from her time in Bellafea, and the twistingly melodic guitar lines put down by Jenks Miller make no effort to hide his tenure in psych-metalers Horseback. Hurtin’ songs that can still kick like a mule.

Wednesday, March 20, 11PM @ The Drake Underground

MP3: Mount Moriah – “Younger Days”
Video: Mount Moriah – “Bright Light”

Cincinnati trio The Seedy Seeds were a fun time at NXNE 2012 and clearly, they enjoyed the Toronto festival circuit as well as they’re bringing their fun and danceable (but not dance) indie-pop back to town.

Tuesday, March 19, 9:30PM @ The El Mocambo (upstairs)
Wednesday, March 20, 10PM @ Annex Live

Video: The Seedy Seeds – “Telephone The Constrictor”

Before you get too excited, this is NOT the local debut of the Nick McCabe/Simon Jones project that rose from the ashes of the last Verve reunion… but The Black Ships, who hail from just outside of Albany, New York, do a pretty convincing job with their ’80s UK post-punk-influenced sound.

Tuesday, March 19, 1AM @ Rancho Relaxo

Stream: The Black Ships – “Bangalor”

The Scottish synth-pop trio CHVRCHES has been getting more than its share of buzz – including here – but their set merits re-mentioning if just to remind you to get to the Mod Club early because it’s-a gonna fill up.

Wednesday, March 20, 10PM @ The Mod Club

MP3: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”

Dancey, metal-distorted, keyboard-driven, Krautrock from Reykjavik, with a sense of humour – with an elevator pitch like that, how could you now want to catch Apparat Organ Quartet? Their 2012 album Pólýfónía just got a domestic release last week – do let them cave your head in with sound as a hello.

Wednesday, March 20, 12AM @ The Garrison
Saturday, March 23, 6:45PM @ The Hoxton

Video: Apparat Organ Quartet – “123 Forever”

Montreal’s Breezes put on a solid set of harmony-laden guitar-pop at last year’s CMF, and now they’re back with their self-titled debut finished and out so if you’re planning on camping out at the Horseshoe all night as many often do, why not show up early enough to hear some of it.

Thursday, March 21, 8:39PM @ The Horseshoe

Video: The Breezes – “Cross The USA”

Yeah, another Irish-German art-rock duo formed in Paris, but Kool Thing’s blend of beats, guitars, and sexy Euro attitude stands out from the pack. They’ve got enough shows this week that you’d probably have to make the effort to miss them and you really probably shouldn’t.

Thursday, March 21, 8:45PM @ The Drake Underground
Saturday, March 23, TBA @ The Great Hall
Sunday, March 24, 8PM @ The Garrison

Video: Kool Thing – “PLAN.LIFE.GO”
Video: Kool Thing – “Light Games”

I by no means endorse random Twitter messages as a way to get peoples’ ears, but Amanda Merdzan gets a rare pass because the tune she linked – which I listened to in a rare moment of indulgence – was quite lovely. So see her if you can – she’s coming all the way from Australia to play for you! – but if you’re a band, don’t start @-ing me. The odds of this happening again are minuscule.

Thursday, March 21, 9:45PM @ The Church Of The Holy Trinity
Friday, March 23, 11PM @ The Central

Video: Amanda Merdzan – “Afraid”

Prince Edward Islanders Two Hours Traffic are hardly an unknown quantity, but their latest Foolish Blood is proof that lineup shuffles haven’t affected their ability to write classically-styled jangle-pop, but they may be getting even better and more sophisticated at it.

Thursday, March 21, 12AM @ Lee’s Palace

Video: Two Hours Traffic – “Amour Than Amis”

Sóley Stefánsdóttir – Sóley for short, purveyor of haunting electro-folk, and also a member of Seabear – is part of the miniature Icelandic invasion taking place this CMW and possibly part of the advance team, having opened up for Of Monsters & Men at the Kool Haus last November.

Thursday, March 21, 6:30-8PM @ Moog Audio
Friday, March 22, 10PM @ The Drake Underground
Saturday, March 23, 8:15PM @ The Hoxton

Video: Sóley – “Pretty Face”

One of the up-and-coming voices of the London folk scene, Lucy Rose will draw the honour of being the sole international act on the sure-to-be-jammed, Besnard Lakes-headlined Friday night Lee’s Palace lineup. Her debut Like I Used To came out last Fall.

Friday, March 22, 10:30PM @ Lee’s Palace

Video: Lucy Rose – “Shiver”

If memory serves, Sweden’s This Is Head were supposed to play Canadian Musicfest last year, but were one of the many acts to cancel at the last minute. Unlike many of those no-shows, however, they’ve made the effort to come back and share their danceable electro-sonic ideas with you before releasing their new record The Album ID later this Spring.

Thursday, March 21, 6:30-8PM @ Moog Audio
Friday, March 22, 11PM @ The Garrison
Saturday, March 23, 10PM @ Annex Live

Video: This Is Head – “A-B Version”

London quartet Savages entered 2013 as one of the most talked-about new acts thanks to their razor-wire post-punk sound and ferocious live shows, and if you’re the sort to want bragging rights about having seen big bands when they’re still playing small rooms, either of their CMF showcases should be circled in your calendar.

Friday, March 22, 11:10PM @ The Horseshoe
Saturday, March 23, 12AM @ Lee’s Palace

Stream: Savages – “Flying To Berlin”

Rising Toronto-based New Wave revivalists Decades caught my ear out of nowhere earlier this year, so maybe check them out and see if I’m onto something or not before their self-titled debut arrives on April 30.

Saturday, March 23, 9PM @ Lee’s Palace

Video: Decades – “Tonight Again”

Beams are a shiny-new, Toronto-based outfit who are still so green, they’ve but a couple of songs by which to judge them but considering their multi-part harmonies and country-rock instrumentation are as potent on their original compositions as on a Portishead cover, there’s no reason to not believe they’ve got plenty more goodness up their sleeves.

Saturday, March 23, 9PM @ The Silver Dollar

Stream: Beams – “Be My Brother”

Gotta say, after writing a lot of blurbs about artists who work in various subgenres of rock, it’s kind of nice to be able to describe Toronto’s Lost Babies as simply “rock” – dirty guitars, sexy/snarly vocals, and a goodly dollop of attitude.

Saturday, March 23, 11:30PM @ The Shop Under Parts & Labour

Stream: The Lost Babies – “Wasps”

You might think that dance-pop from Germany would be of the stoic, metronomic, Kraftwerk-ian variety but Hamburg duo BOY – who are in fact two girls OH MY GOD I GET IT – are as hand-clappy, swingingly fun as… Germans? Like an Icona Pop you wouldn’t be afraid to take home to the parents or get locked in a room with.

Saturday, March 23, 11PM @ The El Mocambo (upstairs)
Sunday, March 24, 10PM @ The Dakota Tavern

Video: BOY – “Little Numbers”

Have done duty in Shapes & Sizes and Think About Life, Montreal’s Caila Thompson-Hannant is now getting her synth-pop/R&B-funk on as Mozart’s Sister. Comparisons to Grimes are entirely justified, but that doesn’t make it any less catchy – and this comes from someone who really didn’t like Shapes & Sizes.

Saturday, March 23, 1AM @ The Comfort Zone

MP3: Mozart’s Sister – “Single Status”

And if you want to know who’s playing Sonic Boom for their annual CMF in-store fest, check out the Facebook page. I can’t be bothered to type anymore.

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Crystalline

Bjork is doing stuff. No one is quite sure what, but there’s a lot of it.

Photo By Inez van Lambsweerde & Vinoodh MatadinInez van Lambsweerde & Vinoodh MatadinRelatively quiet since 2007’s Volta, Bjork is finally back with a new album… I think. To be honest, the press releases around her new project Biophilia haven’t exactly been designed for quick parsing, and that’s because the album component of Biophilia is just that – a component.

There will be a conventional album, presumably available in CD and LP formats, that is due out this Fall – September 27 is the unofficial release date being bandied about. There will also be ten apps corresponding to the tracks fo the record to add interactive elements to the compositions – there’s no specifics on device or platform, but presumably Mac OSX and iOS and Windows will be supported, possibly/probably more. Touring will be done unconventionally, consisting of six-week residencies in eight different cities worldwide over a course of three years and taking place in intimate, in-the-round performance spaces and utilizing a range of custom-built instruments intended to recreate the sound and atmosphere of the apps. A feature-length documentary about the creative process behind the whole Biophilia experience will be released. The www.bjork.com website has been redone and is now all trippy, though to be honest I’m not sure what to do with it.

Blurt has helpfully reprinted the full text of the press release, which should offer some more insight into what’s what. Pitchfork and Sterogum also have interviews with the artist which shed some light on what she’s doing and why. The first of the aforementioned residencies is already underway in Manchester, England – not sure where the other seven will be but I’m not putting money on Toronto, or even anywhere in Canada necessarily. But while we may miss out on that aspect of the Biophilia experience, we can still hear the songs – the first single is available to stream right now, and a Michel Gondry-directed video is forthcoming.

Oh Bjork, you so crazy.

Stream: Bjork – “Crystalline”

The Concretes have put out a new video from WYWH.

Video: The Concretes – “My Ways”

It’s funny – while Wild Beasts’ last record Two Dancers took me a while to warm to – though I did – their new one Smother I warmed to right away, despite it seeming to garner a more tepid critical response. Either way, looking forward to seeing them live for the first time on September 29 when they return to the Mod Club as part of a North American tour. Oxford Student has an interview with the band.

MP3: Wild Beasts – “Albatross”
MP3: Wild Beasts – “Loop The Loop”
Video: Wild Beasts – “Albatross”

Though The Horrors machine is ramping up in anticipation of the release of Skying, Faris Badwan’s underappreciatedCat’s Eyes side-project has found the time to release a new video for a non-album cover of “The Crying Game”.

Video: Cat’s Eyes – “The Crying Game”

Following up the release of the first MP3 from their forthcoming debut album Gracious Tide, Take Me Home, Lanterns On The Lake have put out a video for the same song. The record is out September 19.

MP3: Lanterns On The Lake – “You’re Almost There”
Video: Lanterns On The Lake – “You’re Almost There”

GQ solicits a list of ten style essentials from Liam Gallagher of Beady Eye.

Drowned In Sound and DIY have features on Nick McCabe and Simon Jones’ post-Verve band The Black Ships. They’re giving away their first EP Kurofone in exchange for your email though forewarned – it’s a single 25-minute, 273MB WAV file. I’ve compressed it into something a bit more manageable for you because if you dig on early Verve, it’s worth a listen.

MP3: The Black Ships – “The Kurofone EP”

Donewaiting grapples with Let’s Wrestle, interview-style.

Octopus Windmill interviews Amor de Dias.

Australia’s Howling Bells have given their third album a title of The Loudest Engine and a release date of September 12. Details at Wears The Trousers.

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Future Starts Slow

Review of The Kills’ Blood Pressures and giveaway

Photo ByShawn BrackbillOn the surface, Blood Pressures – the new record from The Kills – resembles its predecessor, Midnight Boom, quite a bit; particularly in how it doesn’t really resemble their first two records Keep On Your Mean Side and No Wow very much. This is, of course, a very relative statement – everything that Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince have put out has been been very distinctly them, defined by their two-piece art/garage-rock aesthetic and their sexually-charged/ambiguous/tense dynamic.

But with Midnight Boom, they opened up the range of sounds with which they’d work, amped up the pop elements of their sound and generally tidied things up enough to make for their most accessible work yet; certainly it was the record that got me on board. Blood Pressures continues on in the same direction, but the balance of songs versus sonics seems to have swung decidedly in favour of the former. The groove-first, lyrics-second process that accounted for some of Boom‘s sleazy playground rhyme-like numbers has taken a back seat to more conventionally composed and structured songs, perhaps something Mosshart has brought back from her time in The Dead Weather. And though many are still built on unabashedly mechanical and grimy-sounding backing tracks, even those are sounding more organic and tidier than before.

None of this meant in judgement, just as observation. That The Kills would be getting more polished and sophisticated, even if just in relative terms, should come as no surprise – even from their first release it was inevitable, less a question of “if” than “when” and “how”. But with regards to judgement, as solid as Blood Pressures is – tunes like “Nail In My Coffin” and “Baby Says” are as solid additions to The Kills canon as anything they’ve done – but as a whole it doesn’t have the sense of reckless, unhinged fun that made its predecessor such a treat. It’s wholly on target as a satisfying Kills record but confirms that Midnight Boom was the bullseye.

Spinner and Clash talk to The Kills about their new record while Yours Truly solicits an acoustic video session… geoblocked. What the hell, people. They’re at The Sound Academy on May 1 and courtesy of Domino Records, I’ve got a prize pack consisting of a pair of passes to the show and a copy of Blood Pressures on LP to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to Kills” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body. Contest closes at midnight, April 25.

MP3: The Kills – “DNA”
Video: The Kills – “Satellite

The Guardian talks to Faris Badwan about his Cat’s Eyes project and their self-titled debut which is due out next week.

Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Face In The Crowd”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Cat’s Eyes”

The Boston Globe and Under The Radar talk to The Raveonettes.

Arctic Monkeys have a new video from the forthcoming Suck It And See. The album is out June 6 and they’re at The Kool Haus on May 21.

Video: Arctic Monkeys – “Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair”

Glasvegas guitarist Rab Allan talks to Billboard and RTE about new album Euphoric Heartbreak, out now in Canada but not until May 17 in the US. They play Lee’s Palace on May 29.

The Vinyl District interviews Eddie Argos of Art Brut about their new record Brilliant! Tragic!, out May 23. They’ve also released a video from said album and play The Mod Club on June 17.

Video: Art Brut – “Lost Weekend”

Oh look, a new Beady Eye video. They’re at The Sound Academy on June 20.

Video: Beady Eye – “Millionaire”

Filter continues Suede week by talking to some of the band’s producers and getting some discography commentary from Brett Anderson and Mat Osman as well as a twopart interview with the founding members. BBC America also talks to Brett Anderson.

Yours Truly has a video session from and The Arty Semite, Georgia Straight, The OC Weekly and San Diego City Beat have interviews with Yuck. They’re at The Phoenix on May 1.

Esben & The Witch have a new video from Violet Cries.

Video: Esben & The Witch – “Chorea”

Been wondering what happened to guitarist Nick McCabe and bassist Simon Jones since The Verve broke up for the millionth time? The Quietus has your answer – The Black Ships.

Ed O’Brien disappoints a legion of Radiohead-spotters by telling BBC that there will not be another album coming from the King Of Limbs sessions. There will, however, be a North American release for the “Supercollider”/”The Butcher” 12″ that they put out for Record Store Day in the UK – Exclaim reports that it’ll be out on June 14 and you can stream both sides right now at some dude’s Soundcloud.

Spin talks to PJ Harvey, who has another video to show off.

Video: PJ Harvey – “On Battleship Hill”

Drowned In Sound talks to Kate Nash about her record label and music education for girls endeavours.

Emmy The Great introduces and performs a new song inspired by the Royal Wedding for The Guardian. The song doesn’t appear on Virtue, due out June 13, but you can download one that does at RCRDLBL while Drowned In Sound has the artwork and tracklisting up. Emmy’s website has also relaunched and yes, I did check the cost of flights to New York on seeing she’s playing Pianos on May 5 (too much).

MusicOmh chats with Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey of Summer Camp.

Artrocker talks to Alan McGee, founder of Creation Records.