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Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Springsteen’

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

"Darkness On The Edge Of Town"

Patterson Hood covers Bruce Springsteen

Photo via Nine BulletsSouthern ShelterThere’s not really a lot to covering Bruce Springsteen. Whether you’re fronting a big band or are just a guy with a guitar – and maybe a harmonica – all you really need is the ability and conviction to sing it the way Bruce intended it; the song really does the rest. Given that criteria, Patterson Hood has got it – if you’ll excuse the pun – covered.

The Drive-By Truckers frontman opened up for Sonic Youth at the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia in December 2007 and for this set, opted to do a set comprised entirely of Bruce covers. And not just any old set of Springsteen tunes, but only ones taken from The Boss’ 1978 album Darkness On The Edge Of Town. Hood explained his affection for that particular Springsteen record in a piece for Aquarium Drunkard and the full set is available to hear and download at Southern Shelter.

Springsteen is in town this coming Friday night, August 24, for a show at the Rogers Centre in support of his latest album Wrecking Ball. Drive-By Truckers’ last release was 2011’s Go-Go Boots, but Hood is releasing his third solo record in Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance on September 11. Charleston City Paper has an interview with Hood.

MP3: Patterson Hood – “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” (40 Watt Club, Athens, GA – Dec 1, 2007)
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Darkness On The Edge Of Town” (Capitol Theater, Passaic, NJ – September 19, 1978)

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

"Atlantic City"

Allo Darlin’ cover Bruce Springsteen

image via Amazon.comAmazon.comThis week’s selection is more geographically topical than anything as while I’m not actually in New Jersey, but I did land there en route to Brooklyn, and if I were to trek down to the waterfront I could see the Garden State. Not Atlantic City, though, as that’s still a ways away.

And while I’m not here specifically for NYC Popfest, it’s a bit of fortuitous timing that will let me catch Allo Darlin’ in Littlefield in Brooklyn tonight in closing the festivities. They covered New Jersey’s favourite son – that’s Bruce Springsteen and not Jon Bon Jovi, just so we’re clear – as part of a 2009 tribute album entitled Play Some Pool – Skip Some School – Act Real Cool: A Global Pop Tribute To Bruce Springsteen. With an indiepop-skewed roster of artists, it may have sought to prove the Boss’ influence went beyond just folk singers and bar rockers and having not heard the whole thing I can’t comment on how well it did, but I think Allo Darlin’ did a good job of capturing the darker tones of “Atlantic City” while still sounding like them.

Tonight’s show marks the end of their North American tour in support of Europe – hopefully not the last leg as they didn’t make it up to Toronto this time around – and Springsteen will be embarking on the second leg of his tour behind Wrecking Ball later this Summer, hitting The Rogers Centre in Toronto on August 24. Maybe Allo Darlin’ can open?

MP3: Allo Darlin’ – “Atlantic City”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Atlantic City”

Monday, April 16th, 2012

It's Only Life

Review of The Shins’ Port Of Morrow and giveaway

Photo By Annie BeedyAnnie BeedyI’d like to, if I could, refer you back to my writeup of The Shins on the occasion of their visit to Toronto last September. In it, I mused about how this band had a Forrest Gump-like knack for getting pulled into conversations bigger than themselves and how all of that seemed out of scale with James Mercer’s desire to simply write pop songs. That hasn’t necessarily subsided as some of the pieces I’ve read surrounding last month’s release of Port Of Morrow were built around the very questionable thesis that The Shins are already a reunion or nostalgia act (four albums over eleven years is hardly a snail’s pace these days, people).

Having already gotten that end of things out of my system with the aforementioned live review, I’m going to try and just talk about Port Of Morrow in the context of being a new Shins record, and nothing else. And it’s actually not too difficult to do because even with all that’s happened between this record and 2007’s Wincing The Night Away – namely the sacking of the band and shelving the whole thing in favour of Broken Bells – Port makes it feel like nothing has transpired and no time has elapsed.

The sonic aesthetic seems a bit shinier than before, more distinctly in line with ’70s studio pop but still following the path laid out by the albums that came before. Mercer’s distinctive, reedy voice manages to keep up – sometimes barely – with the looping melodies he writes for his cryptically evocative lyrics, accompanied by some ratio of jangly guitars to moody synths. The songwriting is also as solid as before, peaking with lead single “Simple Song” – it easily belongs on any post-career best-of compilation – and while it doesn’t again reach those heights, there’s an admirable lack of filler across the other nine tracks. It seems that it really doesn’t matter who’s along for the ride with James Mercer, The Shins remain as The Shins ever were. It’s funny that a band that was sold to so many as being life-changing should find their greatest strength in their constancy.

The Shins premiered their new video for “The Rifle’s Spiral” on the Nintendo DS platform last week, because they’re cool/annoying like that – it should be available for those of us without portable video game systems this week. They open up for The Black Keys at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 4.

Also, courtesy of With A Bullet, I have several copies of Port Of Morrow to give away – one on LP and three on CD. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want The Shins” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body, and indicate if you’d like to be eligible for the vinyl, digital or both. Contest is only open to residents of Canada – sorry, rest of the world – and closes at midnight, April 29. Update: The prizing has been upgraded to four LPs; if you’re CD-only, sorry, can no longer oblige. Maybe buy a turntable?

Video: The Shins – “Simple Song”
Video: The Shins – “Bait & Switch”

I still have fond memories of seeing The Shins for the first time back in Summer 2002 – just before this blog came into existence – at The Rivoli in Toronto, opening up for Los Angeles’ psychedelic-country outfit Beachwood Sparks. The Shins would eventually go on to great things while the Sparks went on hiatus shortly afterwards… a hiatus that is now over. Pitchfork reports the reconvened band will return with their third album The Tarnished Gold on June 26. One of the new tracks and a couple of old ones are posted below.

MP3: Beachwood Sparks – “Forget The Song”
MP3: Beachwood Sparks – “Confusion Is Nothing New”
MP3: Beachwood Sparks – “Drinkswater”

The Fly talks to Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast. Her new record The Only Place is out on May 15 and they’re at The Phoenix on July 21.

Wears The Trousers has an interview with Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls.

School Of Seven Bells have a new video from Ghostory. They’re at The Hoxton on May 2 and are the subject of interviews at The Star-Telegram, The Citizen-Times, The Pitch, and The National.

Video: School Of Seven Bells – “Reappear”

tUnE-yArDs has released a new video from WHOKILL, featuring some face that may be familiar if you’ve seen the old videos from WHOKILL. There’s also interviews with Merril Garbus at OC Weekly and The Santa Barbara Independent; she plays The Phoenix on August 1.

Video: tUnE-yArDs – “My Country”

Lambchop have squeezed a new video out of Mr. M. Indy Week, Magnet, and The Washington Post have chats with Kurt Wagner.

Video: Lambchop – “2B2”

M. Ward is the subject of feature pieces at Spinner, Paste, The Vancouver Sun, Clash, American Songwriter, Ventura County Star, and Flagstaff Live.

NPR welcomes Perfume Genius to WFUV for a radio session featuring a new song. There’s also features at The Georgia Straight and Dazed, and the second part of the interview between Michael Stipe and Mike Hadreas is now up at East Village Boys.

NPR has made The Magnetic Fields’ day show at SXSW available to stream, and also have a radio interview with Stephin Merritt available. There’s also pieces at The Guelph Mercury and Creative Loafing.

Rolling Stone caught up with Annie Clark of St. Vincent to talk about her next album – a collaboration with David Byrne that should be out in the Fall. Pitchfork also points out that her entire Coachella set is available to watch online and a new song which appears on her Record Store Day 7″ makes its live premiere and scorches.

Video: St. Vincent @ Coachella 2012

QRO talks to Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater.

Greg Dulli talks to DIY about the Afghan Whigs reunion.

New York electro-rock/soul/funk acts Penguin Prison and Class Actress are teaming up for a co-headline tour which brings them to Wrongbar on June 7;

Video: Penguin Prison – “Don’t Fuck With My Money”
Video: Class Actress – “Weekend”

You have the Toronto Jazz Festival to thank for bringing Janelle Monáe back to Toronto for the first time since CMW 2011; she’ll be playing the outdoor stage at Nathan Phillips Square on June 22, and hopefully you can find a spot to watch from the unticketed area because admission is a rather dear $62.50.

Video: Janelle Monáe – “Tightrope”

Also in town for the Jazz Festival is Nellie McKay, whose boycott of Canada in protest of the seal hunts is apparently over. She’ll be at The Horseshoe on June 30, tickets $20 in advance.

Video: Nellie McKay – “Real Life”

San Francisco electronic artist Tycho is back in town on July 10 for a date at The Hoxton.

MP3: Tycho – “Hours”
MP3: Tycho – “Coastal Brake”

And Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – perhaps you’ve heard of them – have finally added a Toronto date for their Wrecking Ball tour. They’ll be at The Rogers Centre on August 24 with tickets going on sale April 20; no pricing as yet but you can bet it won’t be cheap and that it’ll still be worth it. They’ve also released a new video from Wrecking Ball recorded at the Moody Theater show at SXSW in March. If you look really closely, you can see me in the stands! Okay, no you can’t. Update: Tickets are $35 and $115. Nicely done, Bruce.

Video: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – “Death To My Hometown”

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

SXSW 2012 Night Two A/V

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWriteups of all things Bruce and non-Bruce from Thursday night can be found over here.

The Low Anthem
– Rhode Island threesome-become-fivesome who are fluent in folk, blues and pop dialects of the language of Americana; their fourth album Smart Flesh came out in 2011.

MP3: The Low Anthem – “To Ohio”
Video: The Low Anthem – “Ghost Woman Blues”
Video: The Low Anthem – “Boeing 737”
Video: The Low Anthem – “Charlie Darwin”

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
– Bruce Springsteen. The Boss. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He was at the festival to do the conference keynote and, of course, he had to play a show. His new record Wrecking Ball had just come out a couple weeks prior. NPR has got his keynote from earlier in the day available to stream.

Photos: Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band @ ACL Live at The Moody Theater – March 15, 2012
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “We Take Care Of Our Own”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Ain’t Good Enough For You”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Save My Love”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “The Wrestler”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “My Lucky Day”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Working On A Dream”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “A Night With The Jersey Devil”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Long Walk Home”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Radio Nowhere”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “O Mary Don’t You Weep”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Pay Me My Money Down”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Devils & Dust”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Waitin’ On A Sunny Day”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Lonesome Day”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “The Ghost Of Tom Joad”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Dead Man Walkin'”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Secret Garden”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Murder Incorporated”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Streets Of Philadelphia”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Leap Of Faith”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Better Days”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Human Touch”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Tougher Than The Rest”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “One Step Up”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Brilliant Disguise”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “War”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “My Hometown”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Glory Days”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “I’m On Fire”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Born In The USA”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Dancing In The Dark”
Video: Bruce Springsteen – “Atlantic City”

Patrick Watson
– Montreal-based singer-songwriter/band/perennial Polaris shortlister whose third album Adventures In Your Own Backyard comes out April 17. He/they play The Music Hall in Toronto on May 29.

Photos: Patrick Watson @ St. David’s Historic Sanctuary – March 15, 2012
MP3: Patrick Watson – “Into Giants”
Video: Patrick Watson – “Fireweed”
Video: Patrick Watson – “The Storm”
Video: Patrick Watson – “Drifters”
Video: Patrick Watson – “The Great Escape”

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

SXSW 2012 Night Two

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band and more at SXSW

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo – did I mention that I won a ticket to see Bruce Springsteen for the Thursday night of SXSW? I did? Okay then, just checking. The show was held in conjunction with The Boss’ appearance as the keynote speaker at this year’s conference and admission being doled out via lottery open to badgeholders. The actual location of it was kept secret, but minimal sleuthing pretty much guaranteed that it would be at the almost-brand new (opened last year) Moody Theater, where they held the tapings for Austin City Limits.

The old studio on the University Of Texas campus – where I’d been fortunate enough to see a Wilco taping in 2007 – was nice enough, but very much a soundstage/studio. The new facility, located right in downtown Austin, was easily one of the nicest modern concert venues I’ve ever been to, with stadium sightlines, comfy padded seating and an amazing sound and light system yet still relatively cozy with a capacity around 2800 people. Which by Springsteen standards may as well have been a tiny hole-in-the-wall bar. Yeah, this would be pretty special.

Openers came in the form of Rhode Island’s The Low Anthem, whose last release was 2011’s Smart Flesh. I’d seen them way back in December 2008, just before their star began to rise, and recall being impressed with their musicianship and intricate folk-pop songcraft, though apparently not quite enough to keep up with their career. Now a five-piece rather than a trio, they had even more musical options and I think each song in their set featured a different instrumental configuration than the last. A bit showy, perhaps, but they were quick about it and the focus remained on their elegant and ornate Americana sound that explored and maintained the trails blazed by Bob Dylan over the course of his career, but with smoother vocals and harmonies. It was a charming set but if we’re being honest, I doubt I’ll be following them any closer than I did after the last time I saw them.

Next up was Austin roots-rock mainstay Alejandro Escovedo backed by The Sensitive Boys & Girls, and those in the audience who were complaining about The Low Anthem putting them to sleep – and there were a few within earshot – certainly would have had the cobwebs blown out of their ears by Escovedo and company. Their lean, no-frills rock’n’roll was slick yet raucous and filled with evocative songwriting and ripping guitar solos. That the man is regarded as a legend in a city that’s turned out more than its share of musical legends is saying something.

But if we’re talking legends, then Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band would have to be at the top of anyone’s list. Now I think it’s important to note that though I fancy myself appreciative of Springsteen and reasonably familiar with his work, I would not file myself as a huge fan nor have I ever seen him live; tickets for his shows are pretty damned expensive and even then, sell out about immediately. I’ve just never gone to the extra effort to secure some, and so to have this one fall into my lap – or onto my arm, as the admission wristband did – was pretty exciting. There was a bit of a wait between the end of Escovedo’s set and the start of Bruce’s but then setting up a 16-piece band is no small task, even for pros. But a little past nine, the lights went down, a roar went up and they got underway.

The show started not with any of Springsteen’s own classics, but a solemn, gospel-tinged reading of Woody Guthrie’s “I Ain’t Got No Home”, gussied up with brass and chorus to mark the centenary of the original protest singer’s birth. From there, the lights went up, the Telecaster went on and the band tore into the anthemic “We Take Care Of Our Own” and the title track of their just-released new record Wrecking Ball; I haven’t paid attention to how the album has been received but damn if these two songs didn’t sound like fiery classics in the making. They pulled out one I did know – “Badlands” – next before returning to the new material and bringing Tom Morello out to guest on “Death To My Hometown”; Morello would return a few more times through the night, including an utterly incendiary jaw-dropping duet with Springsteen and solo on “The Ghost Of Tom Joad”.

And you know what? Billboard has the set list with their writeup of the show, and running through things song by song is pointless. Hell, reviewing a Springsteen show seems pointless – its been done thousands of times and its probably safe to say that there’s rarely if ever a bad Bruce show, and if there were it wouldn’t be this one. I just stood there marvelling at the charisma of the man and the power of the band; they were really the epitome of a rock band, of which all others were just reflections and shadows, with moves and routines that would have been hokey coming from anyone else but coming from Springsteen, totally genuine and uplifting. One couldn’t help thinking back to his keynote address earlier in the day where he named off dozens of subgenres of rock and it was easy to see why he found it all so amusing – the man only dealt in the original article.

The show seemed to mostly be made up of selections from Wrecking Ball and The Rising, which might not have been ideal for one like me who really only knew the hits – or at least the 20th century material – but it was understandable. Despite having a career spanning four decades, Springsteen remains creative and vital and the furthest thing from a nostalgia act – I didn’t expect to hear many or even any of the hits, so there was no sense of disappointment. And how could I be? I was finally seeing one of the great artists and entertainers in the history of rock music and in a setting that others would give their eye teeth for. It was amazing.

And so of course I left early.

Well actually I stayed for almost the entirety of the two-hour main set, though I kick myself for missing “Thunder Road”, but I also really wanted to catch the Jesus & Mary Chain and at that point it seemed like I was allowing enough time for that to happen. Of course it didn’t. I ended up standing in a line outside The Belmont for almost 90 minutes, eventually ceasing to move with 40 or so people ahead of me, while Bruce played on and was joined by Jimmy Cliff and Eric Burdon for the encore and Arcade Fire (and a slew of others) for the show-closing reading of “This Land Is Your Land”. But hey, I heard “Head Down” from the street, so not a total loss…

And maybe things really did land butter-side up considering that I managed to get over to St. David’s Historic Sanctuary for a good portion of Patrick Watson’s set. Now I’ve never been much of a Watson fan, but have slowly been warming to him over time and based on this performance, his new one Adventures In Your Own Backyard may be the one to get me fully onboard. Beyond the songs, which sounded great, and the setting, which with shifting and pulsing strings of lights draped around the church was rather magical if a nightmare photographically, there was the fact that I think I finally begin to get what Watson is about. The same way that band treated the stage more like a playground than a performance space, Watson’s compositions are lovely little things that exist simply from the desire to create something beautiful. It sounds a bit silly but it was a real mental shift for me with respect to him – hey, not every artist has to be exorcising demons in their work – and sent me back into the night feeling pretty damn good. And needing a hot dog.

Rolling Stone reports that a new Neil Young & Crazy Horse record not only exists, as rumoured, but that it will be called Americana, consist of reinterpretations of classic folk and protest songs and be coming out on June 5.

The Victoria Times Colonist, The Province, and Jambands profile Plants & Animals, in town at Lee’s Palace on April 21.

NOW, The Toronto Star, Boston Phoenix, The Telegraph, and Loud & Quiet talk to Grimes, whose show at The Horseshoe Monday night was cancelled due to illness and rescheduled for next Tuesday, but is still sold the fuck out.

Rolling Stone is streaming the new Zeus record Busting Visions ahead of its release next week; they play The Horseshoe March 23 for Canadian Musicfest and The Phoenix on June 9.

MP3: Zeus – “Anything You Want Dear”
Stream: Zeus / Busting Visions

On that bill with Zeus at The Horseshoe will be Snowblink, who are officially labelmates as of their second album, due out later this year. To mark the occasion, the band have uploaded a bunch of covers of dead artists – well, Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse – to Soundcloud. Don’t worry, they’re respectful.

DIY chats with Kathleen Edwards, who has been announced as one of the performers at this year’s LuminaTO arts festival in June.

Rae Spoon has put out a new video from I Can’t Keep All Of Our Secrets.

Video: Rae Spoon – “Ocean Blue”

The Waterloo Record talks to Al Spx of Cold Specks, who has made a track from her debut album I Predict A Graceful Explosion available to stream; it’s out May 22 and she plays The Music Gallery for Canadian Musicfest on Thursday, followed by an appearance opening for Great Lake Swimmers at The Music Hall on June 2.

Stream: Cold Specks – “Winter Solstice”

An unexpected but wholly welcome entrant in the ’90s Can-rock reunion ring? Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet. Exclaim reports that the instrumental and influential surf-rock legends are getting back together for a couple shows to mark the reissue of their catalog on vinyl; 1988’s Savvy Show Stoppers comes out in June and the other two will follow at approximately six month intervals. As for those shows, the Toronto date is July 14 at Lee’s Palace and as for the fact that bassist Reid Diamond passed away in 2001, they’ve got a pretty good ringer lined up – Dallas Good of The Sadies. Fun fact – my band in high school would cover “Having An Average Weekend” in our sets. It did not make us popular.

Stream: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – “Having An Average Weekend”

And here’s your Osheaga 2012 lineup. Not. Bad. At. All.