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Posts Tagged ‘Broken Bells’

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Lost It To Trying

Son Lux raises Lanterns on tour

Photo By Tim NavisTim NavisDenver-born, New York-based artist Ryan Lott has been popping up on a good number of year-end lists – or at least his alias of Son Lux has – on the strength of his latest album Lanterns. I’d seen descriptors like post-rock and hip-hop attached to his work in the past, but on delving into Lanterns they’re only as much a factor as every other genre of popular music out there, all of which is thrown into the mix but none of which dominates.

Instead, Lanterns is an electro-orchestral opus that sounds like the classical past being recreated from incomplete notes by robots from the future. Those seeking a more concrete frame of reference can look to James Blake and also Sufjan Stevens, with whom Lott collaborates in S/S/S, with Lanterns occupying some of that middle space between Seven Swans and Age Of Adz. Yes, that’s a pretty big space, but it’s one worth exploring. As is Lanterns.

Son Lux have announced some Spring headlining dates in support of his latest album; look for him at The Drake Underground on March 23, tickets $12 in advance. The 405, Bowlegs, and Interview have interviews with Lott and Stereogum has premiered a new video.

MP3: Son Lux – “Lost It To Trying”
Video: Son Lux – “Pyre”
Video: Son Lux – “Lost It To Trying”
Stream: Son Lux / Lanterns

Broken Bells have released a stream of the title track from their new album After The Disco. It’s out January 14 and they play The Danforth Music Hall on March 3.

Stream: Broken Bells – “After The Disco”

Californian synth-pop outfit Gardens & Villa have announced a North American tour behind their second album Dunes, out February 4, and will be at The Drake Underground on February 27, tickets $13.50.

Stream: Gardens & Villa – “Bullet Train”

Pitchfork reports that Speedy Ortiz will be releasing a new EP called Real Hair on February 11, a quarter of which you can stream below. They’re in town for NXNE next June.

Stream: Speedy Ortiz – “Everything’s Bigger”

Esquire chats with Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices. Their new record Motivational Jumpsuit comes out February 18.

Even though Shearwater just released an album of covers in Fellow Travelers, their version of Frank Ocean’s “Novocane” wasn’t included – probably because they haven’t toured together. Yet. Anyways, the track was released as part of a split-7″ with Low for Record Store Day, and is now available to stream if you missed out on the limited edition vinyl. Maybe they’ll play it when they hit The Horseshoe on March 27.

Stream: Shearwater – “Novocane”

Erika M Anderson – aka EMA – has announced details of her follow-up to 2011’s Past Life Martyred Saints and they can be found at her new label of Matador. The Future‚Äôs Void will be out in the Spring and the first single from it can be streamed below.

Stream: EMA – “Satellites”

In conversation with Rolling Stone, James Murphy reveals that the final LCD Soundsystem show at Madison Square Garden – as documented in Shut Up And Play The Hits – is being remixed for release as a live album.

NPR is streaming a KCRW session with of Montreal.

NOW talked to Charles Bradley ahead of his show at the Kool Haus last week.

Drowned In Sound and The Line Of Best Fit talk to Aaron Dessner of The National about this and that and what it’ll be like to open for Neil Young at Hyde Park next June.

Neko Case has released a new video of the lyric variety from The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You.

Lyric Video: Neko Case – “Calling Cards”

Tone Deaf talks to Lee Ranaldo about his solo work and the future of Sonic Youth.

Willamette Week and Seattle Weekly have interviews and NPR has posted a World Cafe session with Midlake.

There’s updates from the Sparklehorse tribute album project reported on last month: Last Box Of Sparklers: A Tribute To Mark Linkous is into its final week of fundraising, and remain $7000 short of their $50000 goal. To encourage those who might be able to help them bridge that gap, Box Of Stars have made a few more of the songs that are a part of the project available to stream, most notably The Joy Formidable’s take on “Gold Day” and The Flaming Lips‘ version of “It’s A Sad And Beautiful World”.

Stream: The Joy Formidable – “Gold Day”
Stream: The Flaming Lips – “It’s A Sad And Beautiful World”
Stream: Last Box Of Sparklers: A Tribute To Mark Linkous sampler

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Sunspots

Bob Mould revisits Workbook

Photo By Marc NorbergMarc NorbergI first got into Bob Mould in the early ’90s via Sugar, but quickly found myself seeking out his older works; obviously this included Hüsker Dü, but also his two late ’80s solo records Workbook and Black Sheets Of Rain which preceded his return to a band format. At the time they seemed like oddities, sounding neither like the hardcore-punk-pop evolution of the Dü years, nor the Alternative Nation-signifying roar of Sugar.

Rain was more characteristic of what people expected from Mould, built on layers of electric guitar and Mould’s angst-filled roar and probably not as well-regarded as it should be today because of some dated production values. Workbook, on the other hand, was filled with jangling 12-string acoustic guitar, cello and mandolin adornments, and major key melodies (though raging electric guitar and throat-shredding vocals also featured) – elements that would inform the next two and a half decades of his work, but as his first post-Hüsker Dü release, it must have been a head-scratcher. I took to it immediately – remember, for me 1991 was far more about Out Of Time than Nevermind – and Mould’s contribution to the seminal No Alternative AIDS benefit album in 1993 was also along those lines and one of my very favourites off that album.

All of which is to say as much as I love Bob when he’s perforating eardrums, as he’s been lately, I also totally dig his quieter stuff and I’m glad to see that Workbook is getting the respect that it deserves. It had already been announced that Mould would be marking the 25th anniversary of the release with a performance at Noise Pop next February where he’ll presumably – but not confirmedly – play it in its entirety. But Under The Radar now reports that the milestone is getting commemorated in somewhat larger fashion. A deluxe edition of the record – Workbook 25 – will be coming out on February 25 with the original album being accompanied by a second disc containing a b-side and a complete live show from the era. Granted, many of those bonus tracks appeared on the 1994 Poison Years compilation, but there’s still some unreleased goodies in there and isn’t it the thought that counts?

It’s a shame that the expanded slate of tour dates around its release don’t make it up here, but don’t forget that those Copper Blue recitals were only supposed to be a limited engagement and he toured that everywhere. So fingers crossed.

Video: Bob Mould – “See A Little Light”
Stream: Bob Mould / Workbook
Stream: Bob Mould – “Can’t Fight It”

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have a new video from Wig Out At Jagbags, out January 7. Look for them at Lee’s Palace on February 22.

Video: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Cinnamon & Lesbians”

Broken Bells have a new video from their next album After The Disco, out January 14. They play The Danforth Music Hall on March 3.

Video: Broken Bells – “Holding On For Life”

Pixies have put out a fourth video from their EP1, which should be the last because there are no more songs but then they’ve already released multiple videos for one of the songs so who knows, maybe they’ll milk it another decade before putting out EP2. They’ll be at Massey Hall on January 15 with their new bassist – no, newer – Paz Lenchantin, whom you may remember from A Perfect Circle and Zwan. Or not.

Video: Pixies – “Another Toe In The Ocean”

Rolling Stone talks to Robert Pollard about matters Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices. The new GBV record Motivational Jumpsuit comes out February 18.

Phantogram have come clean with details on their second full-length album, entitled Voices and coming out February 18. Pitchfork has details and a stream of a new song while Metro and AMNY have interviews with the band.

Stream: Phantogram – “Fall In Love”

NPR welcomes Superchunk to their World Cafe for a session.

Speedy Ortiz have released a new video from this year’s debut, Major Arcana.

Video: Speedy Ortiz – “No Below”

NPR has a KCRW session with Glasser.

Magnet talks to Will Sheff of Okkervil River about how he feels about having The Silver Gymnasium named their album of the year. What’s he gonna say? Maybe, “thanks – how about contributing to my Kickstarter to fund a short film video for ‘Down Down The Deep River’?” Maybe. Also, at Salon, Sheff talks about how he wish he knew as a kid that being nerdy would eventually be cool. Nerdy, yes, though being a touring musician, also helps.

Dazed and Confused has premiered the new video from Blouse’s second album, Imperium.

Video: Blouse – “A Feeling Like This”

Billboard Q&As Janelle Monáe, whom they have declared as Rising Star of 2013.

NPR has a World Cafe session with The Head & The Heart.

The Skinny talks to Janet Weiss about her current work with Quasi, the fact that Wild Flag is no more, and that a Sleater-Kinney reunion might be inevitable – as proven by the fact that they reunited to play “Rockin’ In The Free World” with Pearl Jam a few nights later in Portland.

Stereogum tracks the final days of the now-defunct Walkmen.

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Come As You Are

Giving thanks for “Whatever happened to Alternative Nation?”

Photo By Charles PetersenCharles PetersenFell into a long-form musical journalism rabbit hole recently via The AV Club’s “Whatever Happened To Alternative Nation?” 10-part series which actually ran almost three years ago but somehow got back on my radar, probably bubbling up to the surface in the wake of their recent redesign. If you haven’t read it, it covers the years from 1990 to 1999 through the lens of author Steven Hyden’s teen years, beginning with the rise of grunge at the start of the decade through the supremacy of nu-metal and chaos of Woodstock ’99 at the end of the century.

It was of particular interest to me because, though a few years older than Hyden and situated in the suburbs of Toronto rather than Wisconsin, it roughly documents my own journey of musical discovery in high school. Though Nirvana didn’t ultimately end up meaning much to me, I still very clearly remember hearing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the very first time on a friend’s Walkman in the cafeteria in the Fall of 1991 and being impressed that I could hear the string squeaks on the opening riff. And while I would like to pretend that I was into all the ’90s bands then that I love now – your Britpop, shoegaze, college rock, what have you – most of that was discovered retroactively, and that sort of personal revisionist history is addressed in part six; fact is, I was listening to the same now-acknowledged-as-awful radio rock as everyone else – yes I owned Throwing Copper but at least knew even then that Bush was awful – and only discovered or came to appreciate the good stuff after the fact. But better late than never, right?

In any case – it’s a well-written series that covers a lot of what anyone in their 30s lived through with the benefit of hindsight and historical insight, and worth reading if you’ve got some time on your hands and a copies of Siamese Dream and Definitely Maybe handy. Plus it lets me segue into some newsy bits from acts of that era who’re still doing stuff.

Video: Nirvana – “In Bloom”

For anyone who missed it, Tanya Donelly released the fourth volume of her Swan Song Series late last week and the bonus materials are particularly sweet and topical – ten demos of Belly’s debut, Star. And lest you think that’s the end of it, a fifth EP is in the works and I think I read somewhere that it’ll be out around February.

Stream: Tanya Donelly – “Salt”

Stephen Malkmus lists off the music he grew up listening to for The Guardian; his new album with The Jicks – Wig Out At Jagbags – comes out January 7.

Black Francis of Pixies discusses the band’s second act with The Guardian; they kick of their new tour at Massey Hall on January 15.

Seeing as how Andrew Rieger and Laura Carter opened for Jeff Mangum when he was here solo in August 2011, it makes sense that they’d bring the whole band with them when he does the same; Elf Power will open up both sold-out Neutral Milk Hotel shows at The Kool Haus on January 19 and 20. They released their latest album Sunlight On The Moon earlier this year.

Video: Elf Power – “Darkest Wave”

Guided By Voices has settled on a February 18 release date for their new record Motivational Jumpsuit – their fifth since the reunion and presumably the last with the so-called “classic lineup” with now-booted drummer Kevin Fennell. Rolling Stone is streaming the first preview track from the record.

Stream: Guided By Voices – “Littlest League Possible”

Superchunk have released another video from this year’s I Hate Music.

Video: Superchunk – “Void”

The 405 chit-chats with Sebadoh.

Dialing the Wayback Machine a little further, influential ’80s Los Angeles outfit and Paisley Underground pioneers The Dream Syndicate have made a date at The Garrison for February 8, tickets $30 in advance. The Chicago Tribune talks to leader Steve Wynn about the reunion.

Video: The Dream Syndicate – “That’s What You Always Say” (live)

And back to the 21st century, Entertainment Weekly has premiered the new video from Broken Bells’ forthcoming After The Disco, out January 14, and if you’d prefer a studio session version rather than a movie star-featuring version, head over to The Guardian. Broken Bells are at The Danforth Music Hall on March 3.

Video: Broken Bells – “Holding On For Life”

Saddle Creek songstress Maria Taylor has made a date at the Drake Underground for February 9 in support of her latest album Something About Knowing. Tickets for that are $11.50 and examiner.com has an interview with Taylor.

Video: Maria Taylor – “Up All Night”

Boston psych-folk trio Quilt have announced a Winter tour in support of their second album Held in Splendor, which comes out January 28th and from which there’s a video and stream to preview. They’re at The Drake Underground on March 3, tickets $10. Philthy has an interview.

Stream: Quilt – “Tired & Buttered”
Video: Quilt – “Arctic Shark”

Under The Radar gets a track-by-track walkthrough of Shearwater’s new covers album Fellow Travelers. The play The Horseshoe on March 27.

The Hold Steady are crowdfunding a new covers EP via PledgeMusic while they continue to work on a new album, due out in the new year.

Paste checks in with Colin Meloy about matters solo and Decemberist.

Magnet interviews Midlake, this week’s guest editors on their website.

The War On Drugs.

Drowned In Sound has an interview with A Place To Bury Strangers.

Bassist/organist Peter Bauer of The Walkmen tells The Washington Post that their upcoming shows in Washington DC and Philadelphia could be/will be the band’s last. Ever. For serious.

Having covered “Kill The Turkey” on last year’s Thanksgiving episode, it’s not really a surprise that The National would again spend American turkey day with Bob’s Burgers, and lo – Entertainment Weekly has an animated video of the band doing this year’s musical number, a salute to gravy boats. Happy Thanksgiving, America.

Video: The National – “Sailors In Your Mouth”

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

After The Disco

Broken Bells top the list of yesterday’s concert announcements because it comes with a giveaway

Photo By James MinchinJames MinchinConfirming the status of Broken Bells as actual band and not just project, James Mercer of The Shins and Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse have announced the follow-up to their 2010 self-titled debut, excellent news for those who like their indie-pop with a slice of hip-hop and vice-versa.

The new album, After The Disco, will be out on January 14 and the efforts to get people excited about it are well underway. The teaser trailer unveiled last month gave way to the first episode of a Hollywood-flavoured science fiction serial watchable at Rolling Stone, a first preview track from the new album at Pitchfork, and an interview with the duo at NPR.

And now there’s tour dates. Broken Bells have made a date at The Danforth Music Hall for March 3 with Au Revoir Simone supporting, tickets for which are $39.50 before fees and go on sale Friday at 10AM. But for those looking to take care of business before that and save some money, courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away to the show before they go on sale this Friday. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to see Broken Bells” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me by midnight, November 21. Winners will be notified before the on-sale goes live.

Stream: Broken Bells – “Holding On For Life”
Video: Broken Bells: After The Disco

Sweden-based Norwegian singer-songwriter Ane Brun will return for a show at The Rivoli on February 14, part of a North American tour. Her last album of new material was 2011’s It All Starts With One, but she also released a compilation album and rarities collection this year. Metro has an interview.

MP3: Ane Brun – “Do You Remember”

Though they’re not nearly the stars they were tipped to be when they first emerged in 2008, anthemically melancholic Scots Glasvegas still have the fanbase to justify a North American tour in support of their third album Later… When The TV Turns To Static; full dates aren’t up yet, but one imagines they’re not coming all the way over here to only play The Mod Club on February 22 at $20 a head.

MP3: Glasvegas – “Later… When The TV Turns To Static”

One of 2013’s breakout bands from the UK on the back of their self-titled debut, The 1975 still have a short North American tour on the calendar for December, but will return in the Spring for a much more extensive intinerary, including a stop in at The Danforth Music Hall on May 6; tickets for that are $23.50 plus fees. There’s interviews with the band at The Guardian and KROQ, and a list of potentially life-changing records at MTV Hive.

Video: The 1975 – “Head.Cars.Bending”

There was a time when moving from a venue the size of The Great Hall to one more than twice that would be a remarkable feat – nowadays, it seems to simply be what happens. And so it’s no great shock that London Grammar will follow up their local debut last month with a return engagement at The Phoenix on April 7, part of a Spring tour following SXSW. Tickets for that are $22.50 in advance and NPR is streaming a KEXP session with the band.

Video: London Grammar – “Strong”

Also making a return to a Toronto stage – much sooner than I think anyone expected since they were here just in March – are Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. I’m not sure if this is meant to be a second leg behind Push The Sky Away or maybe a tie-in to the Live At KCRW live document coming out December 2, but it really doesn’t matter – Cave and company are coming back. They’ll wrap the Summer tour in Toronto on July 31 with a show at The Sony Centre; ticket pricing isn’t available yet but the presale will go tomorrow morning at 10AM – sign up for details. And since you’re already giving them your email, you may as well get the two free downloads from the aforementioned KCRW live album they’re giving away in exchange for your personal information.

Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Jubilee Street”

The Line Of Best Fit has details on the debut album from UK psych-rockers Temples, just in time for their local debut show at The Horseshoe tomorrow night. It’s called Sun Structures, will be out February 11, and one of the tracks on it will sound like this. There’s also an interview at XFM.

Stream: Temples – “Mesmerise”

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Let's Just Go To The Dogs Tonight

Review of The Dismemberment Plan’s Uncanney Valley

Photo By Shervin Lainez Shervin LainezI will admit, first impressions of Uncanney Valley – the first album from Washington, DC’s Dismemberment Plan since 2001’s Change – was disappointment. And it’s not that I came to it with excessive expectations. I counted myself a fan of the band at the end run of their existence, but mostly of their tremendously entertaining live performances with 2002’s Death & Dismemberment tour with a then-unknown Death Cab For Cutie and their 2003 farewell show being very fond memories. But in the years of their absence, I came to appreciate how singular their blend of post-pop-hardcore-math-punk-art-rock was, and how no one ever really stepped into their oddly-shaped void in indie rock, or even tried. So comeback album? Yes, please.

So why disappointment? I’m not sure. Valley seemed to lack the manic energy, unpredictable creativity, and general weirdness that made the other records unique. It sounded like the Plan, but not the Plan I remembered. But it also still didn’t sound like anything else out there, so it stayed in rotation and before long, its own merits – and not those of its predecessors – became what I focused on, and those merits were many. Yeah the tempos were a little slower and the energy probably measured at a few less joules, but top to bottom Valley was the work of a more mature and tuneful Dismemberment Plan.

Everything that makes the Plan the Plan – Travis Morrison’s mile-a-minute delivery and off-kilter lyrical imagery, Eric Axelson’s oddly funky basslines, Jason Caddell’s creatively jagged guitarwork, and Joe Easley’s heavily nimble drumming – are in place and show no signs of rust, though if I were in charge of the mix said drums would be higher in the mix. While the likes of “Mexico City Christmas” and “White Collar White Trash” tap into their darker sides, it’s the more chipper “Waiting” and “Let’s Just Go To The Dogs Tonight” that set the tone for the record. There’s a relaxedness to the proceedings that might seem contrary to the nervous energy that infused their earlier work, but they wear it well. I as much as anyone should be able to appreciate that you in your 40s is not, cannot be, and should not be you in your 20s and Uncanney Valley is the sound of a band that knows that and is fine with it. The Dismemberment Plan circa 2013 might not be the same Dismemberment Plan circa 2001, but there’s still no one like either of them.

NPR has posted an advance stream of the record, which is out officially next week on October 15. Wired, Filter, and What’s On Tap have interviews with the band, and for the bonus round, the Plan stops in at The AV Club to cover Heart’s “Barracuda”, done straight but great because you do not fuck with “Barracuda”.

Stream: The Dismemberment Plan / Uncanney Valley

Under The Radar and Yahoo! Canada talk to Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal about their new album lousy with sylvianbriar, out this week.

Elle has premiered the new video from Lissie’s just-released new album Back To Forever, which is still streaming at Rolling Stone; she’s at the Adelaide Music Hall on November 21.

Video: Lissie – “Sleepwalking”
Stream: Lissie / Back To Forever

Interview talks to Lee Ranaldo about his just-released new record Last Night On Earth; he and The Dust are at The Horseshoe on October 11.

With a week to go before the October 15 release of Emancipated Hearts, Dean Wareham has made the mini-album available to stream via Spin.

Stream: Dean Wareham / Emancipated Hearts

Refinery 29 talks to Cameron Mesirow of Glasser, whose new album Interiors came out this week. She plays The Drake Underground on October 13.

Pitchfork has an advance stream of Campfire Songs, the new acoustic EP from The Men, out October 15. They play The Horseshoe on October 20.

Stream: The Men / Campfire Songs

The Head & The Heart have given Rolling Stone the nod to stream their new album Let’s Be Still, before it comes out October 15. Mother Jones has an interview with the band, who’re at The Danforth Music Hall on October 31.

Stream: The Head & The Heart / Let’s Be Still

Also out next week and streaming at NPR is Static, the second album from Cults. It brings them to Lee’s Palace on November 25.

Stream: Cults / Static

Pitchfork checks in with Fiona Apple, whose tour with Blake Mills brings her to The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 17.

Consequence Of Sound has got a stream of a new Yo La Tengo song which will be released as a 7″ single on November 5 and also appear as one of the bonus tracks on Fade Deluxe when it comes out on November 19.

Stream: Yo La Tengo – “Super Kiwi”

Rolling Stone talks to Frank Black of Pixies about their plans to stay relevant ten years into their reunion. They’ve already had cast changes with the Roseanne-esque swapping of Kims on bass, are finally releasing new if underwhelming new material via a series of EPs complete with new video, and now another North American tour that kicks off in Toronto at Massey Hall on January 15, tickets ranging from $44.50 to $79.50, FIDLAR supporting.

MP3: Pixies – “Bagboy”
MP3: FIDLAR – “Got No Money”
Video: Pixies – “Andro Queen”

Those who like a little more Danger Mouse in their Shins will be happy to know a second Broken Bells album is on the way; they just released a trailer for After The Disco, which is due out in January.

Trailer: Broken Bells / After The Disco

After releasing her debut Neptune City on a major and the follow-up Mondo Amore on an indie, it just makes sense that for her third album Slow Phaser, Nicole Atkins would start her own label and release it via PledgeMusic. She’s soliciting donations now and with the two-month window, it stands to reason that the new album will be out sometime in early 2014.

NPR puts Superchunk behind a Tiny Desk and demands a concert.

NPR has a KCRW session with Jim James available to stream.