Posts Tagged ‘Brett Anderson’

Friday, July 15th, 2011

You Should Do Better

Cut Off Your Hands notice that hands have not been cut off, plot return

Photo By VCPVCPNew Zealand’s Cut Off Your Hands made some noise a couple years ago with their debut You And I, an enjoyable if not especially original collection of hepped-up, post-punk pop tunes intended to incite pogoing. And they worked that record pretty hard in North America, eventually losing both founding guitarist Mikey Ramirez to the rigours of touring and drummer Brent Harris to damaged hearing.

A couple years on and both are back in the fold to some degree and the band is back with a new album in Hollow, out in North America August 16, and they really want you to hear some of it. There’s a download of the more-Bunnymen-than-Bunnymen “Hollowed Out” along with some commentary at Spin, a video has been released for the first single and over at Facebook, a Like will get you another download from the new record. And oh hell, the whole thing is available to stream at Soundcloud. It’s definitely a more jangly/shimmery/classically Kiwi-pop record than the debut, more romantic-sounding and less in-your-face – still not breaking any new ground but it’s kind of nice to know that they’ve got a broader record collection to steal from than the first album implied.

Under The Radar has an interview with frontman Nick Johnson.

MP3: Cut Off Your Hands – “Hollowed Out”
Video: Cut Off Your Hands – “Fooling No One”
Stream: Cut Off Your Hands / Hollow

DIY and The Irish Independent with New Zealand’s current top musical export, The Naked & Famous. They play Lee’s Palace on August 9.

Billy Bragg has done what all good protest singers do and written a song about the News International phone hacking scandal currently unfolding in the UK – download the song for free, watch the video, read an op-ed by Billy in The Guardian and do what the man says – same applies in Toronto, by the way.

MP3: Billy Bragg – “Never Buy The Sun”
Video: Billy Bragg – “Never Buy The Sun”

The Guardian has premiered another new video from Cat’s Eyes’s self-titled debut.

Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Over You”

The Alternate Side has a session and interview with James Blake while inthemix and Time Out have feature pieces. He plays The Phoenix on September 30.

A public service announcement: The Two Door Cinema Club show originally scheduled to take place at The Phoenix on September 17 has been moved to Kool Haus. Also, Metro discovers frontman Alex Trimble listens to Lady Gaga.

Blood Orange has released a video from his debut Coastal Grooves, which is now set for an August 30 release.

Video: Blood Orange – “Sutphin Boulevard”

One of the new tracks from Ladytron’s forthcoming Gravity The Seducer, out September 13, is now available to download. They’re at The Phoenix October 5.

MP3: Ladytron – “White Elephant”

NPR are streaming a KCRW session with Friendly Fires, in town at The Phoenix on October 23.

Veronica Falls have supplemented the recent audio preview of their debut album, out in October, with a video.

MP3: Veronica Falls – “Come On Over”
Video: Veronica Falls – “Come On Over”

Allo Darlin’ will release a new non-album single in “Darren”, named for and inspired by Darren Hayman, former frontman of Hefner and featuring as a b-side a cover of “Wu Tang Clan”, originally by his project The French. Stream the a-side at Bandcamp.

The Daily Star chats with Florence Welch about some of the studio shenanigans that have gone into recording the second Florence & The Machine album.

PopMatters uses the occasion of the recent reissues as an excuse to reexamine the legacy of Suede. BBC also has an audio interview with Brett Anderson about getting the band back together; his new solo record Black Rainbows is out September 26. And regarding those Suede reissues; just noticed that eMusic has both Suede and Dog Man Star listed under “London Suede”. If you have an account and wanted to cherry pick the bonus material without re-buying everything a third time (like I do/don’t).

And alas, Gomez have cancelled the remainder of their North American tour due to illness, including Sunday’s show at The Phoenix.

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Rolling In The Deep

Adele at The Air Canada Centre

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt happens far too infrequently, but sometimes the good guys win. Sometimes immense talent, great songs and hard work can triumph over image and marketing and when it does, you get improbably wonderful things like Adele becoming and more importantly remaining pretty much the biggest artist in music for 2011 for months on end, on the strength of her sophomore album 21. Granted, her story is hardly one of an out of nowhere dark horse – her debut 19 already made her a star and garnered her two Grammy awards – but the degree to which 21 has catapulted her into the stratosphere is still remarkable.

That the Toronto stop of her North American tour on Wednesday night was originally booked into the Kool Haus – considerably smaller than the posh environs of Massey Hall where she last performed in 2009 – certainly seemed to imply that people were underestimating her draw, and that the show was moved to the many times larger Air Canada Centre after selling out instantly was representative of just how much bigger – and faster – her fanbase was growing. Granted, it was in theatre configuration, accommodating approximately 5200 patrons instead of the 16000 of the full arena, but if you don’t think she could have easily sold a few thousand more tickets then you’re just not paying attention.

I had the privilege of seeing Adele at an MTV Live taping back in March and so had a sense of how she was live – which is to say wonderfully warm and engaging, with no sense of the stage fright she’s supposedly afflicted with – but that was a short set in front of a maybe a couple hundred people. This would be considerably more on every level, and yet Adele Adkins somehow managed to make an arena show in front of thousands feel just as intimate as that studio performance.

Things opened with a touch of theatricality – with Adele starting “Hometown Glory” from behind a curtain before stepping onstage to rafter-shaking shrieks – but for most of the show, it was all about simple, direct and genuine connection between Adele and her fans, which for all of her prodigious artistic gifts may be her greatest strength. Chatty, conversational and more than a little crude between songs, punctuated by a huge and endearing cackle, Adele was able to make a massive room feel as intimate as a small club or even more like a private performance for some friends in the front room. It’s impossible to overstate the intensity of the personal rapport that seemed to exist between she and almost every one of the thousands in the audience – it’s hard to imagine any other artist of her stature taking stage time to talk about the experiences that informed her songs, her affection for her pet dachshund or gush about bands she’s currently listening to (incidentally, she gave big props to Toronto R&B outfit The Weeknd).

As entertaining as it would likely be to just sit and chat for an hour and a half with Adele, there was no forgetting that music was the order of the evening. Improvisation wasn’t on the menu, save for a few subtle shifts in arrangements, with the emphasis on her huge, expressive voice and playing the songs everyone wanted to hear the way they knew them, but with plenty of verve and as singalong-able as possible – something the house happily obliged, at times creating an almost choral effect. Backed by a seven-piece band, Adele delivered exactly the sort of set you’d expect, comprising most of 21 – often introduced as “new songs” as though they were something to be politely endured before she got to the old favourites instead of the material that brought both her and her fans here on this evening – and a decent amount of 19. The show built to a finale that was completely predictable – “Chasing Pavements” and “Make You Feel My Love” to close the main set and “Someone Like You” and “Rolling In The Deep” making up the encore – but also completely rousing. You don’t need to surprise when you’re this good. Adele is like the friend who goes onto great things, but never forgets where she came from – not “is like”, but “is” – and though musically she trades in broken hearts, there was nothing but love at the ACC on this night.

The Globe & Mail has a feature piece on Adele and also a review of the show. The Toronto Sun, National Post, Toronto Star and Exclaim also have writeups of the evening.

Photos: Adele @ The Air Canada Centre – May 18, 2011
Video: Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”
Video: Adele – “Make You Feel My Love”
Video: Adele – “Chasing Pavements”
Video: Adele – “Cold Shoulder”

Interview has a brief talk with Anna Calvi, who has a date at The El Mocambo on May 27.

PJ Harvey discusses the visual side of her art with Spinner.

Pitchfork has an extensive interview with Kate Bush, who released her first album in over five years this week with Director’s Cut. The record is streaming in whole over at NPR.

Stream: Kate Bush / Director’s Cut

New York Magazine and The Chicago Tribune talk to Will Sergeant of Echo & The Bunnymen while The Aquarian chats with Ian McCulloch.

Johnny Marr talks up his upcoming projects with Billboard.

The Guardian talks to Brett Anderson and Mat Osman about why the reunited Suede are so fashionable again – just in time for Brett Anderson (the solo artist) to announce the September 26 release of his next record, Black Rainbows. Details on the album at NME.

The second single from Patrick Wolf’s forthcoming Lupercalia now has a video and it indeed confirms that, on this record, Wolf is in his happy place. It’s out June 20.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “House”

Foals discuss possible directions of their next record with

The Guardian, Gigwise and Clash have feature pieces on Friendly Fires, whose new record Pala is out next week and are in town at The Phoenix on May 30.

NME gets some information on the next Muse record from rhythm section Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme.

The Aquarian talks to Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner. They’re at The Kool Haus on Saturday and their new album Suck It And See is out June 7.

Also on the bill are The Vaccines, who have a new video from their debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines, due out May 31.

Video: The Vaccines – “All In White”

NPR have posted a WFUV radio session with Noah & The Whale, with whom North Country Times, Oregon Music News, The Telegraph and The Edinburgh Evening News have interviews.

James Blake has a new video from James Blake.

Video: James Blake – “Lindesfarne”

Artrocker has a piece from Clock Opera frontman Guy Connelly about writing their latest single “Belongings”, for which they’ve just released a video and are streaming both sides at Soundcloud. DIY also solicits an alphabetized list of… stuff from the band. These guys were one of the more exciting discoveries at SXSW and the lead-up to their debut album verifies that the excitement is justified.

Video: Clock Opera – “Belongings”

Ladytron are streaming the first single from new album Gravity The Seducer at Soundcloud, well in advance of its September 13 release date.

Art Brut are streaming their new record Brilliant! Tragic! over at Paste. They play The Mod Club on June 17 for NXNE.

Stream: Art Brut / Brilliant! Tragic!

And according to Under The Radar, the Friday night of NXNE – June 17 – will also bring Oxford’s Swervedriver back to town for the first time since, well, NXNE 2008. Venue still to be announced but this should be one of the highlights of the festival.

MP3: Swervedriver – “Duel” (live)

IFC has both an interview with Euros and Norman of Jonny and premiered a new video from the duo. They are at The Drake Underground on June 3 and 4.

Video: Jonny – “You Was Me”

They Shoot Music has a video session with Gruff Ryhs, and he’s also the subject of features at Nashville Scene, The Village Voice and Today Online. He has a date at The Horseshoe for June 11.

NPR has posted a World Cafe session with The Joy Formidable.

And with that, folks, things go into vacation mode over the next couple weeks. There’ll still be updates and whatnot, just maybe fewer, probably leaner and almost certainly at odd hours. And any last-minute suggestions of things to see and do in Barcelona are welcome.

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Between Two Lungs

Florence & The Machine at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangInitial buzz around Florence & The Machine was largely built on a handful of singles, live recordings and performances that positioned Florence Welch as a big-voiced musical eccentric (or as I put it last November, “batshit crazy”) surely set for a career of creative left turns and cul-de-sacs that would delight as often as it confounded. But the surprise – in these quarters, at least – came when it was announced that Florence had signed with major label Island for her debut, majors never really being the most adept entities at marketing “crazy”.

But they are better at marketing “glitz” and there’s far more of that in evidence than psychosis on Florence’s first long-player Lungs, a bright and shiny showcase for Welch’s pipes. Stylistically, it’s hard to pin down as it veers from garage rock to gospel/soul wailers through big pop productions, the only common denominators being Welch and her flair for the dramatic, not to mention an apparent determination to include as much harp as possible, everywhere. Credited to a brace of different producers, there’s definitely a whiff of “by committee” about the proceedings, some numbers are more show than song and are sometimes delivered with more bombast than necessary, but when the combination of Welch’s primal voice and pop hooks connect – and that’s still far more often than not – the results are remarkable. While some/many have their knives out for Welch for whatever reason – the amount of hype that buoyed her rise to fame, her admittedly over-played and over-calculated kooky public persona, whatever, they’ll find no traction in criticizing her talent – the packaging may be debatable, but the goods are for real.

And those goods were well on display on Monday night before a completely sold-out Mod Club, the final night of a North American tour that included four shows in addition to her CMJ appearances. Hardly a grueling itinerary, but that was perhaps to our advantage as Welch still had plenty of energy and nothing to conserve it for. Though starting small with “Between Two Lungs”, the show quickly picked up in scale and volume, thanks to a five-piece backing band – including harp – that was a far cry from the raw duo format she first turned heads with at SxSW – and hit an early peak a few songs in with a vigorous “Kiss With A Fist” before stepping away from Lungs briefly for a b-side and Cold War Kids cover, all delivered with that huge voice that was as powerful live as one would have imagined and hoped. Throughout the show, Welch managed to maintain her theatrical bearing, all arm gestures and flourishes, while connecting with her audience, genuinely and appreciatively. I fully expect that she organized the mass leaping for “Dog Days Are Over” at every show, but that doesn’t make her obvious glee at watching some 500 people bouncing up in down in unison any less real – it was a thing to see and my obvious high point of the night. Judging from the collective swoon that met the encore, for many others it was her reading of “You’ve Got the Love” that was the singular, crystalline moment of the night. I think all could agree, however, that “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” was a superb finale, pretty much encapsulating everything that is great and grand about Florence & The Machine – the voice, the drama, the songs and yes, of course, the harp.

eye has an interview with Welch while The Toronto Sun, Panic Manual and The Globe & Mail offer reviews of the Mod Club show.

Photos: Florence & The Machine @ The Mod Club – November 2, 2009
MP3: Florence & The Machine – “I’m Not Calling You A Liar”
MP3: Florence & The Machine – “Kiss With A Fist”
MP3: Florence & The Machine – “Postcards From Italy”
MP3: Florence & The Machine – “Girl With 1 Eye” (live)
MP3: Florence & The Machine – “Hospital Beds” (live)
Video: Florence & The Machine – “You’ve Got The Love” (The xx remix)
Video: Florence & The Machine – “You’ve Got The Love”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Drumming Song”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Kiss With A Fist”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Dog Days Are Over”
MySpace: Florence & The Machine

Rolling Stone declares La Roux a “breaking” artist.

The Music Magazine has an interview with Charlotte Hatherley, whose new record New Worlds should be available everywhere but is sadly available almost nowhere (at least in physical form). But is worth seeking out.

IFC has an interview with The Clientele frontman Alisdair MacLean while WFMU has a studio session available to stream.

Good news from Drowned In Sound – Lightspeed Champion will release his second record Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You on February 1 in the UK and February 16 in North America – The Quietus has an interview with Dev Hynes about what to expect off of album number two. He’s also the guest vocalist on the new single from Basement Jaxx.

Video: Basement Jaxx featuring Lightspeed Champion – “My Turn”

Eastscene caught an interview with Sky Larkin during their visit to Toronto last week.

Noah & The Whale have just released a second video from First Days Of Spring.

Video: Noah & The Whale – “Love Of An Orchestra”

The Tripwire converses with The Horrors.

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Editors bassist Russell Leetch about this, that and the other thing.

State interviews White Lies.

The Herald and The Independent catch up with former Suede frontman Brett Anderson, who’s just released his second third solo record in Slow Attack.

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Party Hard

In praise of Pulp

Photo via WikipediaWikipediaThis whole year has been marked with a strong resurgence in my musical Anglophilia, but for no particular reason I can articulate, the closing weeks in particular have been marked with a heavy, heavy dose of Pulp.

Britpop debates usually start with the old Blur versus Oasis arguments, but for me, Pulp rise above them both by a considerable distance. Yes, I’ve got a big ‘ol man-crush on Jarvis Cocker and don’t care who knows it. There’s not many artists out there that I’m still desperate to see live, but he’s definitely one – in fact, if the opportunity arises to see him anywhere, I’ll be checking flights (note to Jarv – please play somewhere interesting that I can plan a vacation around). Considering he shunned us on at least a couple of tours this year, waiting for him to come to Toronto would seem to be an exercise in futility.

Seeing as how I’ve been playing to death all the albums I’ve got (reaching back as far as His’N’Hers as well as the John Peel Sessions set I got in London back in May), my main musical purchases on Boxing Day were copies of the deluxe editions of This Is Hardcore and Different Class, released a couple of years ago. His’N’Hers was also fancied up at that time, but isn’t on the shopping list yet, mainly because I’ve read that the bonus material on the second disc isn’t really essential. And while you could argue that the demos and b-sides collected on the other two also aren’t absolutely crucial, but to my ears there’s enough a-side-worthy stuff amongst those odds and sods to warrant a place in my collection and, dammit, I just needed some new material, even if it’s old. The remastering (and in the case of Hardcore – which I’m more convinced is an absolute classic with every listen – slightly different mix) of the albums proper is also nice, as are the liner notes from Cocker.

And since this post has actually even more pointless than usual, I’ll toss up a massive YouTube mix of all their videos dating back to His’N’Hers, most of which I’ve surprisingly never seen. And seeing as how the Pulp: Hits video anthology isn’t available in region 1 or NTSC, this is probably as good as it’s going to get.

Video: Pulp – “Bad Cover Version”
Video: Pulp – “The Trees”
Video: Pulp – “Party Hard”
Video: Pulp – “A Little Soul”
Video: Pulp – “Like A Friend”
Video: Pulp – “This Is Hardcore”
Video: Pulp – “Help The Aged”
Video: Pulp – “Something Changed”
Video: Pulp – “Disco 2000”
Video: Pulp – “Sorted For E’s And Wizz”
Video: Pulp – “Mis-Shapes”
Video: Pulp – “Common People”
Video: Pulp – “Babies”
Video: Pulp – “Do You Remember The First Time?”
Video: Pulp – “Lipgloss”
Video: Pulp – “Razzmatazz”

Dig For Fire has video of former Pulp sideman and all-around awesome guy Richard Hawley last December.

Blurt talks to Stuart Staples about the reconstituted Tindersticks, playing the Opera House on March 10.

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with The Cure.

Incendiary has an interview with Brett Anderson.

Magnet breaks new ground in wondering who was better, The Beatles or The Stones.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Kieron Gillen, author of the excellent comic series Phonogram, the second series of which appears to be more focused on contemporary indie rather than the Britpop retro-ness of the first, Rue Britannia. It’s still shaping up to be excellent, though, and I’m not the only one to think though – the first printing sold out almost immediately.