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Posts Tagged ‘Broken West’

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Son Of A Gun

The Vaselines get reissued, come to Toronto

Photo via SubPopSubPopMy head is kind of, uh, fried right now on account of my powering through and processing all of my SxSW photos this weekend, as those who are unfortunate enough to be RSS subscribers or Twitter followers and been deluged with update notices can attest. But the good news for everyone is that I am done and there are 46-odd photo galleries of artists I saw a couple weeks ago along with as many MP3 and video links for each as I could find. I’m pretty happy with how everything turned out – please have a boo, or check out the Flickr set for a high-level view. And with what remains of my grey matter, I will try to cobble together some sort of blog post.

Starting with The Vaselines. You may know them as the Scottish band who existed just long enough to release a couple of EPs, one album, and exert a huge influence on one Kurt Cobain. I actually knew them better as the band that Eugene Kelly was in before Eugenius, but that’s neither here nor there. For many years, the The Way Of The Vaselines: A Complete History compilation from SubPop has been the first (and last) stop for those seeking to learn more about the outfit, but come May 5 there’s going to be a new final word. That’s the day they’ll replace the venerable compilation with Enter The Vaselines, a new double-CD/triple-LP collection that remixes much of and remasters all of Way and throws in a pile of unreleased extra material. Full tracklisting at Exclaim!.

But wait, there’s more! The band reunited last Summer for a few one-off and festival gigs, but appear to be ready to do more in order to promote the collection. Though they didn’t make it over for SxSW as they’d initially intended, they do still have their eyes on North America, or at least Toronto – they’ve got a date set for May 15 at Lee’s Palace, for which tickets will run $29.50. That’s pretty exciting, and I assume other dates for some sort of tour will be forthcoming soon.

Also on the reissue tip, dearly departed Guelphies Royal City are set to be compiled by the good folks at Asthmatic Kitty They’ll release Royal City on June 23, a collection of a dozen previously unreleased tracks that has been rumoured for over four years. Better late than never though, right? Magnet is also on board with the nostalgia, paying tribute to their second album Alone At The Microphone. Here’s one of the songs from the new comp, and a few older album tracks to remind of how good they were.

MP3: Royal City – “A Belly Was Made For Wine”
MP3: Royal City – “Bring My Father A Gift”
MP3: Royal City – “My Brother Is The Meatman”
MP3: Royal City – “Bad Luck”
MP3: Royal City – “I’m Taking The Train”
MP3: Royal City – “At Rush Hour The Cars”

Exclaim! reports that R.E.M. are giving the deluxe reissue treatment to their sophomore album Reckoning, planning a live release of their 2007 “Dublin working rehearsals” which preceded the release of Accelerate and getting to work on the follow-up to said record. No timelines for any of the releases has been provided, though.

A track from the new Bob Dylan album Together Through Life is available to download from his website through midnight (Eastern Daylight time) tonight. The album is out April 28.

Chart and See talk to Hylozoists frontman Paul Aucoin.

There’s an MP3 available from the new Super Furry Animals album Dark Days/Light Years, available digitally now and on CD April 21.

MP3: Super Furry Animals – “Inaugural Trams”

The California Chronicle talks to Dean Wareham.

Isis have a date at the Phoenix on June 7 in support of their new album Wavering Radiant, out May 5.

A few radio sessions available to stream – NPR with M Ward, who is at the Phoenix on April 27, and MPR welcomes AC Newman and another one with The Broken West.

BrooklynVegan has unveiled the lineup to this year’s All Points West festival, taking place just across the Hudson from Manhattan. It’s interesting to me mainly to give a better idea of what acts are doing the festival circuit this year and perhaps who we might expect at V Fest this year. This, of course, presumes that there will BE a V Fest in Toronto this year. The past three years, the headliners and first wave of acts had all been announced by now, and this year there’s been nary a peep – the website doesn’t acknowledge that it’s 2009 or try to build any sort anticipation and their social network pages are similarly silent. It’s almost like they’re trying to keep a low profile and hope no one notices they’re not there. I’ve asked around a bit and while no one has heard anything about V Toronto being cancelled, no one has heard anything about it actually happening either and I know just enough about goings-on on the business end of the fest to not take for granted that it’s happening. I hope I’m just being paranoid and they’re just hammering out some details to bring, oh, Blur and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs to town but each day that goes by without an effusively-worded press release showing up in my inbox is, well, another day. But if anyone out there knows something, even a cryptically-worded message along the lines of, “Stop fearmongering! The rock is en route!” or “At least you’ll be able to see more films at TIFF this year”, one way or the other would be appreciated.

Update: And this is related-interesting – Montreal’s Osheaga Festival, which was branded last year as “presented by Virgin Mobile”, has confirmed dates for 2009 – July 30 and 31 “in they city” (presumably club gigs) and August 1 and 2 “on the island” (at Parc Jean-Drapeau). Perhaps they’ll siphon off some acts from APW? Perhaps I’m going to Montreal for the August long weekend? It seems Coldplay – and thus Elbow – are a lock for that one…

Friday, February 20th, 2009

El Sincero

Wheat return again

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceSay what you will about Taunton, Massachusetts’ Wheat, but you can’t deny that they refuse to stay down. Once upon a time one of my favourite bands (circa Medeiros and Hope & Adams), they became a cautionary tale against the major label machine with 2003’s ill-fated Per Second Per Second Per Second Every Second (which I chronicled back in 2004 and 2005) and essentially disbanded in the aftermath.

They unexpectedly returned in 2007 with Everyday I Said A Prayer For Kathy And Made A One Inch Square, again independent and down a member, but even then they were beset with label problems and delays. And the record itself was free of the excessive gloss of Per Second, it was decent at best – unfocused and only evidencing glimpses of the rough magic that defined their earliest releases. It pretty much came and went and I figured that that was the end of the band, again. They’d returned in order to finish on their own terms.

Or not. There were rumblings of a new record late last year and though there’s no release date as of yet, it has a title – White Ink, Black Ink – and a sample of it has surfaced on the band’s profile for SxSW, where I fully intend to see them play. Obviously not enough to form an opinion on, though it sounds like they’re sticking to the sonic cut-and-paste aesthetic of Kathy. I find I remain curious and still a little excited about the prospect of new music from Wheat – this news prompted me to revisit those magical first two records and they still give me tingles.

And those first two records – Medeiros and Wheat – are being reissued together along with a bonus disc of rarities and whatnots from the era entitled 30 Minute Theatrik (thanks to Mark for the tip). It’s set for a March 10 release but you can pre-order it now and get all three records digitally immediately. If you’ve never heard either one, well, you should. And here’s your chance.

More Wheat info and downloads available at thiswheat.com.

MP3: Wheat – “El Sincero”
MP3: Wheat – “Move = Move”
Mp3: Wheat – “What Everyone Keeps Telling Me”
MP3: Wheat – “World United Already”
Video: Wheat – “Don’t I Hold You”
Video: Wheat – “I Met A Girl”
MySpace: Wheat

Drowned In Sound declared this week just ending “slowcore week” and followed that up with extensive features on personal favourites like Low, Galaxie 500, The New Year and Early Day Miners. They’ll have a new album out sometime this year entitled The Treatment.

The Democrat & Chronicle interviews Blitzen Trapper, playing a sold-out show at the Horseshoe tomorrow night.

CBC Radio 3 talks to Casey Mecija of Ohbijou, who will release their second album Beacons on April 14 and follow that up with a CD release show at the Opera House on April 18.

The Thermals are hitting the road in support of their new album Now We Can See, out April 7. Pitchfork has the full North American itinerary, which includes a May 3 date at the Horseshoe.

MP3: The Thermals – “Now We Can See”

Mogwai have announced a North American tour for this Spring which will make up their cancelled The Hawk Is Howling dates from last Fall when drummer Martin Bulloch’s pacemaker threatened to escape from his chest. The Toronto date will be May 4 at the Phoenix – those who won passes to the cancelled show, I’ll be in touch about the make-up date.

MP3: Mogwai – “The Sun Smells Too Loud”

With their new album What Is?! coming out domestically on April 12, King Khan & The Shrines will be at the Phoenix on May 12 to promote.

Vetiver have a date at the Horseshoe on May 15 in support of last year’s Tight Knit.

MP3: Vetiver – “Everyday”

Leonard Cohen has announced a North American tour – closest local date is May 19 at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton. Second closest is May 24 at John Labbat Centre in London. Tickets on sale March 2.

Neil Young’s Fork In The Road has a confirmed release date of March 31. Archives? Don’t ask.

Annie Clark, aka St Vincent, will release her sophomore album in Actor on May 5. Full details on the release at Pitchfork.

Also out May 5 is Outer South, the second solo record from Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band.

Viva Voce will release Rose City on May 26.

The Broken West have turned out a new video from last year’s Now Or Heaven.

Video: The Broken West – “Perfect Games”

CHUD interviews Scott Pligrim creator Bryan Lee-O’Malley.

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Marvelous Design

Review of Pale Young Gentlemen's Black Forest (Tra La La)

Photo By Christina HensleyChristina HensleyWhen I was writing up the self-titled debut from Madison, Wisconsin’s Pale Young Gentlemen last year, I took the easy way out in name-checking some of the more obvious stylistic reference points (DeVotchKa, Decemberists, Beirut) but the band has to take equal responsibility in that – they made it easy. And to be fair, I still gave the record a thumbs up – just because it was a bit obvious, it didn’t make it any less of an accomplished and enjoyable debut.

But they’re not letting me get away with any such shortcuts with the follow-up, Black Forest (Tra La La), released last month. Though the same elements are at work, or even moreso in the case of their expanded string section, Black Forest has a much greater sense of purpose and determination about it. The debut seemed quite content to spend the evening at the cabaret getting debauched in grand fashion, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but while the sophomore effort starts off in that same setting with the grandiose “Coal/Ivory”, it then opts to step outside and go for a walk, exploring the dark nooks and crannies of existence.

As such, it’s a less immediate and raucous affair. On the first few listens, I was asking myself, “didn’t this band used to be fun?”, but repeated listens served the record well. Michael Reisenauer’s croon is as dramatic as ever and the orchestrated backdrops even richer than before, but the overall delivery is much more nuanced and less reliant on the big, sweeping gestures. That may not play as well to those in the cheap seats, but for those up front and paying attention, it’s much more rewarding.

Fingertips, The Bat Segundo Show and Culture Bully all have interviews with Reisenauer about the new record.

MP3: Pale Young Gentlemen – “Coal/Ivory”
MP3: Pale Young Gentlemen – “The Crook Of My Good Arm”
MySpace: Pale Young Gentlemen

Drowned In Sound solicits a mix tape from Emmy The Great. She also gives Clash a list of the meats currently comprising up her cultural stew. Her debut First Love is out in the UK on February 2.

Laura Marling is the subject of interviews at Clash and For Folk’s Sake. I feel compelled to mention that the LP versions of Alas, I Cannot Swim are worth seeking out, not only because it’s a nice heavy pressing but because it also comes with a bonus live CD that features the backing band that played with her on the recent “Fe Fie Fo Fum” North American tour, and as such, sounds absolutely splendid. I don’t know if there’s any other (legal) way to get Verses From The Union Chapel, but it’s worth having. And the players that largely comprised said band, Mumford & Sons, are also interviewed at For Folk’s Sake.

Colin Meloy describes the new Decemberists record, Hazards Of Love, to Rolling Stone. Key takeaways? Musical theatre, rock opera, more of the same.

Jonathan Meiburg annotates Rook, track by track, for Drowned In Sound.

The Broken West stop in for a session at Daytrotter. Stereogum asks frontman Ross Flournoy about his day job.

eye features M83 while Limewire, The Georgia Straight and NOW interview School Of Seven Bells. Both are in town tonight for a show at the Opera House.

Laundromatinee welcomes Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s to their studios for a video session.