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Posts Tagged ‘Bry Webb’

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Negative Space

This is a bunch of stuff of a Canadian nature. And this is METZ.

Photo By Colin MedleyColin MedleyThis here is another of those posts that, were it a category on Jeopardy, would be called “Potpourri” on account of it being a whole lot of this and that with only the passports of the artists mentioned in common.

And I’ll start with Toronto’s METZ because, well, I haven’t used one of their photos yet and my posting process is really that random. The trio has been making a lot of noise – literally and figuratively – on the back of their self-titled debut, and while it wouldn’t normally be my particular sack of hammers, there’s a clarity to their attack and just enough underlying melody for me to get behind. I’d like to experience one of their legendarily… energetic live shows, but we’ll probably have to wait until at least the Spring as they’re taking their show through Europe for pretty all of the first quarter of 2013. In the meantime, there’s a recording of their show at the Knitting Factory in New York last month over at NYC Taper, NPR has just posted video of a KEXP radio session, and the a-side of their new, non-album single is available to stream.

Stream: METZ – “Dirty Shirt”

Exclaim gets a look inside Yamataka//Sonic Titan’s home studio/headquarters and also asks them what they’ve got in mind for their second album. They play 1st Thursday at the Art Gallery Of Ontario this Thursday night, December 6.

The Line Of Best Fit, The Lantern, and The Marquette Tribune interview Patrick Watson, headlining Massey Hall on December 6.

The Line Of Best Fit and The 405 have interviews with Do Make Say Think, who’ve made a track from their live soundtrack to the 1924 film´╗┐ Greed available to download via CBC Music. They’re at The Opera House on December 7.

MP3: Do Make Say Think – “Greed Waltz”

Fucked Up have announced the lineup for the second installment of their Long Winter series, taking place December 14 at The Great Hall. They will again headline the event, and be joined by Dusted, Laura Barrett, and many more. Admission is pay what you can.

MP3: Fucked Up – “I Hate Summer”
MP3: Dusted – “(Into The) Atmosphere”

The Wooden Sky have announced details of their third annual Holiday Revue charity show, scheduled for December 17 at The Music Gallery. Tickets for the show are $20 and all proceeds from the event will go to the Daily Bread Food Bank. Support will be announced later this week. Metro talks to frontman Gavin Gardiner.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Child Of The Valley”

If you were wondering why it’s not been possible to get tickets for the Evening Hymns show at the Church Of The Redeemer on December 15 announced in October, it’s because that show is no longer happening. It has been replaced by one at The Music Gallery on December 20, tickets $17 and available right now via Kelp Records. So the room is still appropriately church-y but it’s also smaller, so if you wanted to go, best get on that. Neil Haverty of Bruce Peninsula will open up.

MP3: Evening Hymns – “Arrows”

Julie Doiron has scheduled a show at The Horseshoe for January 25 in support of her new album So Many Days. Tickets are $15 in advance. The Vancouver Sun and The Province have profiles.

MP3: Julie Doiron – “By The Lake”

The lead single from Suuns’ new album Images Du Futur is now available to download. It’s out March 5.

MP3: Suuns – “Edie’s Dream”

AC Newman has a new video from his latest solo record Shut Down The Streets.

Video: AC Newman – “I’m Not Talking”

The Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette, and MTV have feature pieces on Diamond Rings, who’s released a live route for an alternate version video from Free Dimensional.

Video: Diamond Rings – “I’m Just Me”

Martin Tielli has taken to Facebook to explain his withdrawal from the Rheostatics reunion shows which were to have taken place this week; Radio Free Canuckistan has reposted the message for those who are just fans but maybe not friends of Tielli.

The National Post has an interview with The Dears.

CBC Music gets to know Shad. Again. Some more.

Exclaim has some videos from Bry Webb’s recent Toronto Public Library performance available to watch.

Hooded Fang stops in at DIY for a video session.

Spin interviews Alice Glass of Crystal Castles.

Exclaim asks Chains Of Love about their plans for album number two.

BlogTO chats with Gentleman Reg.

Spinner talks to Neil Young about last night’s Hurricane Sandy benefit in New York.

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Time Flies

The Horseshoe turns 65, Joel Plaskett volunteers to jump out of cake five times

Photo By Ingram BarssIngram BarssThere’s been a series of articles The Grid for the past year called Then & Now that has been diligently recording the history of Toronto’s musical history by way of its clubs and venues, many of which have been consigned to history regardless of what legendary acts have sweat upon their stages. It’s truly fascinating reading – especially if you take the time to look up what sort of pedestrian businesses reside at those addresses today – but it’s comforting to know that the odds of The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern ever entering that particular dead pool are slim to none.

The Queen West bar – beloved in the city and renowned internationally as an amazing place to both see and play a show – is marking its 65th year this December, and while the birthday celebrations will last for the better part of the month, one of the main events will run from December 12 to 16, when Can-rock icon and friend to woodland creatures Joel Plaskett sets up shop for five nights, including an all-ages throw-down on the final day – hey, even kids love Joel Plaskett. If this all sounds familiar, it may be because he did the same thing back in 2007 for the ‘Shoe’s 60th birthday, playing one of his albums in its entirety each night for six straight nights. It’s not clear if there’s going to be any sort of theme for these shows – one would think there has to be some way that they’re going to be distinguished from each other – but whatever it is, you know it’s going to be a good time. Tickets range from $25 to $29.50 per show and go on sale this Thursday.

MP3: Joel Plaskett – “When I Go”

Also making a date at The Horseshoe are Montreal’s Malajube; their last release La Caverne came out last year, but they’ll be in town on November 24, tickets $15.

MP3: Malajube – “Synesthésie”

The Toronto Public Library’s Make Some Noise program is back, and they’ll be bringing Bry Webb to the Parkdale branch on October 26 to play some songs from Provider, which was just released in the US today. That show is free and starts at 8PM.

MP3: Bry Webb – “Rivers Of Gold”

Fans of art and music (which is also art, yes, let’s not get pedantic) may be interested in the 1st Thursdays series at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which kicks off this Thursday, October 4, with a performance from Bahamas; he just released a new video from Barchords.

Video: Bahamas – “Lost In The Light”

Bruce Peninsula vocalist Misha Bower has just released a book of short stories entitled Music For Uninvited Guests, and it comes with musical accompaniment in the form of a mixtape of music from her various projects and a new song, which is streamable. There’s a book launch/concert on October 11 at the Great Hall which will feature performances from Doug Paisley, Simone Schmidt, Sean Donald and some of Bruce Peninsula.

Stream: Misha Bower – “I’m All About”

Toronto’s METZ may sound all rough and tumble – and hella loud – on their self-titled debut, but they’ve got some fancy friends. To wit, this feature piece in The New Yorker by no less than Sasha Frere-Jones, accompanied by a stream of the entire thing. The piece at Exclaim is fine too, I guess. The album is out next Tuesday and the band plays a hometown release show for it at the Horseshoe on October 12.

MP3: METZ – “Wet Blanket”
MP3: METZ – “Headache”
Stream: METZ / METZ

AC Newman’s new solo record Shut Down The Streets has apparently inspired a short film. It’s out October 9, he brings it to Lee’s Palace on October 21, and he talks to Chronogram about it. Update: And now the album is streaming at Pitchfork.

Video: Want You To Know
Stream: AC Newman / Shut Down The Streets

So there’s a new Godspeed You! Black Emperor record coming, their first in a decade. ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! is out October 16 though physical copies are already on sale at their shows. Big news, short blurb. What, did you expect a series of making-of YouTube vids starring Efrim? No. The record exists. The end.

Caribou’s Dan Snaith will release Jiaolong, his first record under the alias of Daphni, on October 16 but it’s now streaming in whole over at Resident Advisor.

MP3: Daphni – “Ye Ye”
Stream: Daphni / JIAOLONG

Dan Mangan will have something new to go with his Fall tour that brings him to the Danforth Music Hall on October 25 – the “Radicals” 7″ single will be out October 16 and feature a new song on the A-side and a Yukon Blonde cover on the flip. Stream the former and watch a video for the latter now.

Stream: Dan Mangan – “We Want To Be Pleasantly Surprised, Not Expectedly Let Down”
Video: Dan Mangan – “Stairway”

The Wilderness Of Manitoba have released a video from their new record Island Of Echoes, which they bring to Trinty-St. Paul’s on October 26.

Video: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Morning Sun”

NPR has an interview with Neil Young and Spin offers some choice excerpts from his new memoirs Waging Heavy Peace. His new album with Crazy Horse, Psychedelic Pill, is out October 30 and they play The Air Canada Centre on November 19.

Crystal Castles have confirmed a November 6 release date for their new record (III) and to mark the occasion, have made a new track from it available to download. They play The Kool Haus on November 3.

MP3: Crystal Castles – “Wrath Of God”

Beatroute, The Halifax Chronicle-Herald, and The Regina Leader-Post talk to Jenn Grant about her new record The Beautiful Wild, which came out last week and has been streaming at Exclaim, along with a new video. She’s at The Winter Garden Theatre on November 24.

Video: Jenn Grant – “In The Belly Of The Dragon”
Stream: Jenn Grant / The Beautiful Wild

The Wooden Sky have released a new video from Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun. They’re at The Phoenix on December 1.

Video: The Wooden Sky – “I’m Your Man”

CBC Music reports that Chad Van Gaalen is working on a full-length animated science fiction feature which he’s called Tarbox. Yeah, that won’t be weird at all.

Spanish site Vigopolis has got a video session of Basia Bulat playing a new song, so if you were wondering what Basia was doing – she’s in Spain playing new songs for Spanish websites. And giving interviews in Spanish. Because why wouldn’t she.

Spinner talked to Vancouver’s You Say Party, who officially returned to active duty this weekend at PBR10.

CBC Music talks to Snowblink.

Michael Barclay of Radio Free Canuckistan givs Macleans as detailed a description as he’s allowed of how things went down in the Polaris grand jury room last Monday such that Feist was allowed to walk away champion.

Monday, August 13th, 2012

Side By Side

Cuff The Duke, Jenn Grant, Wintersleep, and Elliott Brood embrace double-feature touring

Photo By Zuzana HudackovaZuzana HudackovaIt’s shaping up to be an Autumn of Can-rock double bills high on value. Folks thought that it was a pretty impressive pairing of talent when it was announced last month that Dan Mangan and The Rural Alberta Advantage were teaming up to cross the country in October, or the June announcement that Metric and Stars were hitting the country’s arenas together, but that were just the first of a number of impressive double-bills looking to share driving duties across Canada this Fall.

First, you’ve got Toronto’s Cuff The Duke teaming up with Halifax’s Jenn Grant teaming up for a tour that stretches from BC out to Montreal, and while the Toronto venue isn’t officially announced, the date is confirmed as November 24 and the rumoured venue is the fancy-pants Winter Garden Theatre. Both artists have new records coming out, hence the road trip. Cuff The Duke will release Union October 2 and from the first taste of the new material via a live Paper Bag Session, it sounds like it’ll be more tuneful country-rock of the sort that they’ve built their following on. Grant, on the other hand, looks to be shifting gears again with The Beautiful Wild, out September 25. Following the effervescent pop of Honeymoon Punch, Exclaim reports that Wild will pursue a more mature and musically adventurous direction. The first single from said record is streamable below. Update: Winter Garden Theatre is confirmed, tickets on sale August 20.

Cuff The Duke have a couple of local shows before the Grant tour – there’s a free show at Yonge-Dundas Square the evening of August 31 and they’re part of the Paper Bag Records 10th anniversary show at The Great Hall on September 27.

Stream: Jenn Grant – “In The Belly Of A Dragon”
Video: Cuff The Duke – “Side By Side” (Paper Bag Sessions)

Elliott Brood are also playing that PBR10 show on September 27, but will be back on a Toronto stage on October 21 at The Danforth Music Hall as part of their Marvel Team-Up almost cross-Canada tour – no BC dates at the moment – with Halifax’s Wintersleep; tickets for that one are $25.50. Both released new records earlier this year – Days Into Years for the Brood, Hello Hum for the ‘Sleep. Chronicle Herald and The Montreal Gazette have Wintersleep features.

MP3: Elliott Brood – “Norther Air”
MP3: Wintersleep – “Resuscitate”

METZ will celebrate the release of the debut self-titled album with a hometown show at The Horseshoe on October 12, ticket $12 in advance.

MP3: METZ – “Headache”

After a couple visits in a supporting role, Cadence Weapon has scheduled a headlining gig of his own in support of the Polaris shortlisted Hope In Dirt City at Wrongbar for October 12, tickets $12.

MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Conditioning”

CBC Music talked to The Magic ahead of their Summerworks record release show for Ragged Gold this past weekend. Counteract also has a short feature piece.

Evening Hymns have released the first official video from Spectral Dusk, which is out next Tuesday but gets its live public unveiling this Friday night at Summerworks. The album, however, is unveiled as of right now courtesy of the stream at The Line Of Best Fit, which also comes with song-by-song annotations from Jonas Bonnetta.

Video: Evening Hymns – “Family Tree”
Stream: Evening Hymns / Spectral Dusk

Bry Webb talks to NOW about his plans for his own Summerworks show on August 18.

Exclaim and Stereogum talk to Dan Boeckner about his new outfit Divine Fits, while Britt Daniel does the same for Mountain X-Press. A Thing Called Divine Fits is out August 28 – though it’s available to stream now – and they play Lee’s Palace on September 5.

Stream: Divine Fits / A Thing Called Divine Fits

And Boeckner’s former bandmate Spencer Krug talks to The Quietus about his current project, Moonface.

Two Hours Traffic have announced a new EP Siren Spell, due out September 11, which not only offers a sneak preview of what their new lineup sounds like, but also gives the band a chance to indulge in their favourite pastime – touring across the country. Dates are coming this week but in the meantime, check out a track from the new EP.

MP3: Two Hours Traffic – “Amour Than Amis”

After a couple of non-album teases, The Wilderness Of Manitoba have finally offered an official first taste of their second album Island Of Echoes. It’s out September 18.

MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Morning Sun”

NPR is streaming a new song from the forthcoming Stars album The North. It’s out September 4 and they support Metric at The Air Canada Centre on November 24. But I think I already said that.

Stream: Stars – “Backlines”

Hot on the heels of her Feistodon interactive clip, Feist has released a more conventional, less metal video from Metals.

Video: Feist – “Anti-Pioneer”

The Luyas have released a preview track from their new record Animator, out October 18. They’re at The Great Hall on September 29 for the PBR10 show.

MP3: The Luyas – “Fifty Fifty”

The AV Club welcomes Destroyer to AV Undercover and they choose to cover Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. Of course.

DIY interviews Purity Ring.

NOW and The Montreal Gazette talk to Al Spx of Cold Specks.

John O’Regan talks to Spin about the new Diamond Rings record Free Dimensional, due out October 23.

Sloan have announced their super-fancy Twice Removed 20th anniversary package will be out on September 4; Exclaim has rounded up exactly what your $90 plus shipping gets you besides a public declaration that you really like “Pen Pals”.

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan drummer Alaska B lists her favourite albums of the last 20 years for CBC Music.

Beatroute checks in with Black Mountain.

Ben and Jonah of Fucked Up give Exclaim a progress report on their next album. They play Fort York on September 9 as part of Riot Fest.

Friday, June 15th, 2012

A Star Over Pureland

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan and 39 other artists are your 2012 Polaris Music Prize long list

Photo By Derrick BelchamDerrick BelchamIt figures that the first year that I would have been able to actually attend the long-list unveiling for the Polaris Music Prize, they up and move it from its usual home atop the Drake clear across the country to give Vancouver a taste of what the grand unveiling of the 40 albums selected as the top musical achievements in Canada over the past 12 months is like. But that’s alright because as it turns out, this was also the first year that I don’t need to make any changes to my ballot as all five of the records I submitted have made it onto the long list so unless I have some massive change of heart about which record is more artistically achieving than another, my role in this year’s Polaris is done.

Which is a surprise because at the start of this year’s eligibility period, I’d have only been able to predict one – maybe two – of my nominations. One of them I’d have sworn I’d never get behind and one I’d never even heard of. And yet. That said, the long list itself is simultaneously one of the most varied in recent memory, from a stylistic and profile point of view, and also one of the most predictable if you’ve been privy to the internal discussions of the 200+ jurors (or at least the ones who participate in the Google group). In any case, nows the time for forty artists to enjoy their time in the large-ish spotlight, send out press releases and update their Wikipedia pages; the short list is announced on July 17 and that, I’m far less confident in my ability to predict. Then, come September 24, there will only be one.

And as I do every year, here are what made my final ballot and why. There was more indecision and last-minute jockeying than there usually is, but I’m pretty comfortable with my picks and also with the fact that two of my three runners-up also made the long list. What can I say, this was just the year that I was wholly in sync with the zeitgeist or something.

1. Fucked Up / David Comes To Life
As with Arcade Fire’s eventual champion The Suburbs last year, this one felt like a no-brainer for the number one slot if for no other reason than it aspired to more, artistically, than most of its peers and arguably succeeded far more than it fell short. Certainly, questions abound: Does the rock opera narrative hold up? Is it hardcore anymore? Will this be the year an artist finally repeats as Polaris champ? To these questions, I have no answer, but I do know this: those guitar riffs friggin’ shoot for the moon.
MP3: Fucked Up – “The Other Shoe”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Ship Of Fools”
MP3: Fucked Up – “A Little Death”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”
Video: Fucked Up – “Turn The Season”
Video: Fucked Up – “The Other Shoe”
Video: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”

2. Yamantaka//Sonic Titan / YT//ST
I fully expected to hate this band and this record. I mean, how much more pretentious can you get than a bio like, “the pan-Asian cultural collective, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan has crafted a debut LP that sets new standards for the creative heights and satisfactions of genre fusion. They call it Noh-Wave”. And yet that may very well be what they’ve done. Within it’s barely-qualifying seven tracks (really six) and 30 minutes, there’s incredibly deft moves through rock, metal, no-wave, and jazz, all with a genuine Eastern flavour that’s more than just affectation; by rights, it should collapse under the weight of its conceit but instead it soars. It’s operatic, metallic, exotic, and fantastic.
Video: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – “Hoshi Neko”
Stream: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan / YT//ST

3. Bry Webb / Provider
Never the biggest Constantines fan, I didn’t have much in the way of expectations of their frontman’s solo career, and with its low-key production and ruminations on age and family and life, Provider doesn’t seem like it’s necessarily expecting you to expect much from it. And yet it’s an unquestionably powerful and resonant work, with Webb’s rich, rasp of a voice proving to be just as effective – if not more – in a conversational tone as it was as a defiant bark.
MP3: Bry Webb – “Rivers Of Gold”

4. Patrick Watson / Adventures In Your Own Backyard
I will refer you back to this post in order to fully appreciate how remarkable I must think Adventures is for it to be on my ballot. And really, he’s not doing anything substantially different than he’s done on his earlier records – elegantly arranged and executed art-pop that’s content to just be lovely. And that he’s dialed down the fussiness a bit and dialed up the beauty a lot has apparently been enough to win me right over.
MP3: Patrick Watson – “Words In The Fire”
MP3: Patrick Watson – “Into Giants”
Video: Patrick Watson – “Into Giants”

5. Kathryn Calder / Bright & Vivid
I liked Calder’s first record a lot and loved her second, and yet was reluctant for a long while to put it on my ballot. Why? Because it’s pop music – pure and simple – without any particular stylistic angle or backstory, and pure pop is frequently dismissed or denigrated for aspiring to nothing more than creating indelible, earwormy melodies. Well you know what? That’s an incredibly hard thing to do, and to do it as well as Calder does on just her second time out? That deserves recognition.
MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Who Are You”
Video: Kathryn Calder – “Turn A Light On”
Video: Kathryn Calder – “Who Are You”

Plants & Animals have released a new video from The End Of That. Their NXNE schedule puts them at Yonge-Dundas Square tonight at 8:30PM for a free show.

Video: Plants & Animals – “H.C.”

NOW and The Ottawa Citizen talk to Yamantaka//Sonic Titan as they gear up for NXNE; they’ll be at The Garrison tonight at 12AM, will play an in-store at Sonic Boom on Saturday at 3PM and if you’re still up and about late Saturday night, maybe you’ll need a soundtrack for some nachos…

Toronto’s METZ – who have been fixtures around the city seemingly forever – have finally announced details of their debut full-length, which is still untitled but will be out on October 9 via Sub Pop. They talk to Exclaim about it, and will be at Wrongbar tonight and The Phoenix opening for Archers Of Loaf tomorrow.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian, City Arts, Denver Westword, Washington City Paper, Willamette Weekly, The Phoenix New Times, and Vice discover Destroyer’s Dan Bejar isn’t so media-averse after all. He’s at The Opera House on June 23.

Consequence Of Sound and Spin have features on Japandroids, in town at Lee’s Palace on June 23.

Reg Vermue has been pretty busy in the guise of Regina The Gentlelady in Light Fires, but Gentleman Reg is not being neglected; Exclaim reports that Reg will be releasing a new album entitled Leisure Life as a series of three digital EPs, the first arriving July 3 and all of which will be collected in physical form in the Fall. The first track from the collection has been made available to stream.

Stream: Gentleman Reg – “Waiting Around For Gold”

Basia Bulat will be opening up for Andrew Bird at Echo Beach on July 19.

MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”

CBC Music asks Bry Webb to name his five favourite records of the last 20 years; The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Uptown, and Regina Leader-Post. Webb plays The Theatre Centre on August 18 as part of the Summerworks festival, the lineup of which was just announced this week and also features the likes of Evening Hymns and Buck 65 in special performances that promise to better integrate the theatrical side of the festival; should be interesting. Dates and performer information can be had at Exclaim.

The National Post talks to Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers; they’re opening up for Blue Rodeo at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 18.

Exclaim, eMusic, National Post, and Spinner have features on Metric and The Alternate Side a video session to mark the release of Synthetica. The band have a new video from it as well.

Video: Metric – “Youth Without Youth”

PS I Love You have released another video in their Paper Bag Sessions series. The Halifax Chronicle-Herald and McMaster Silhouette have interviews.

Video: PS I Love You – “Death Dreams Pt 1 & 2”

Spin talks to Spencer Krug about the new Moonface record With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery, from which a new video has just been released.

Video: Moonface – “Faraway Lightning”

Macleans investigates why John K Samson is so popular in Germany. Check the Hasselhoff jokes, people. Just don’t.

Monday, June 4th, 2012

No Cure For Loneliness

Bry Webb and Del Bel at 918 Bathurst in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’m sure that the timing was just coincidence, but if Friday night’s Wavelength show at the Buddhist temple at 918 Bathurst featuring Bry Webb and Del Bel was meant as a last-minute bit of lobbying for my Polaris Prize ballot – long-list voting had opened that day – then I salute them. Well played. Though I’ve had a year to mull it over, there was very little actually locked down on my list of the top five Canadian “albums of the highest artistic integrity, without regard to musical genre, professional affiliation, or sales history”, and both Webb’s Provider and Del Bel’s Oneric were very much in the running.

I’d seen Del Bel at another Wavelength in January and Webb’s record release show in February, and while the live show is not supposed to have any bearing on the nomination process, this wasn’t going to hurt with keeping them front of mind. But this show was intended to mark Del Bel’s return from a couple weeks of Canadian touring and celebrate the release of their new single – a collaboration with Webb – and not to squeeze their way onto any Polaris ballots at the 11th hour. I think.

Del Bel’s set was structurally quite similar to the one in January – Webb’s guesting on the new single “No Cure For Loneliness” was obviously different – but better from the band’s point of view for having been road-tested the past weeks and better from mine for having had many more months to spend with Oneric. Some combination of the two points – probably more the latter – made it much easier to extract and appreciate the songs from their atmospheric cinematic-noir style, and as far as the performance went, the shifts in mood felt more natural and dextrous than before and while singer Lisa Conway still preferred to stand behind her bandmates while she sang, she had less of a wallflower air about her this time out, coming across more mysterious than just shy. Touring: it does a band good.

I don’t think Bry Webb has taken his band out on the road for any extended jaunts since Provider came out, but with over a decade of fronting Constantines before they went on hiatus to his name, he hardly needs the practice of getting in front of an audience. If there was an immediate difference between this night’s show and the one at the Music Gallery in the Winter, it was that Webb had found his guitar strap and was playing standing up although it still wouldn’t mean forays into the audience – electrical noise on stage kept him fairly rooted to one spot to avoid interference. It also featured a few new songs to augment the Provider material but the enlistment of Del Bel’s horns and drummer for a good portion of the set really gave things an extra kick to augment the more solemn, low-key tone of the material. And while Webb’s solo material exists a good distance from what the Constantines were about, there was a taste of the old band’s fire when Webb stepped up for a righteous lead break on “Low Life” which he dedicated to former bandmate Will Kidman. On the other hand, it was impossible to imagine the Cons covering Seals & Croft’s “Summer Breeze” as Webb and seven-ninths of Del Bel (two of whom, it should be noted, are also full-time Providers) did to end their main set.

There’s little question that Oneric and Provider are two of the finest releases to come out of Toronto/southern Ontario in the past year; this evening was strong proof of that. But would that be enough to get them on the Polaris long-list, short-lists, or my ballot for either? To the first two, I’ve no idea and to the last, well we’ll just have to wait and see.

NOW had both a preview piece on Del Bel for the show and a review of the show; Singing Lamb and BlogTO were also in attendance.

Photos: Bry Webb, Del Bel @ 918 Bathurst – June 1, 2012
MP3: Bry Webb – “Rivers Of Gold”
MP3: Del Bel with Bry Webb – “No Cure For Loneliness”
Stream: Del Bel / Oneric

NPR is streaming a short film that Neil Young has made to coincide with the release of his new album with Crazy Horse Americana, out this week.

The June 12 release date of Synthetica not far off, Metric is ramping up the media cycle with a complete stream of the new record, a cover story in this month’s Exclaim, and a fans-only show on the day of release at The Opera House; details on how to win tickets will be available by hanging out on the band’s various social media sites.

Stream: Metric / Synthetica

Spinner and The Winnipeg Free Press talk to Japandroids about not breaking up. They’re at Lee’s Palace on June 23.

Willamette Weekly and San Francisco Bay Guardian chat briefly with Dan Bejar of Destroyer, whose previously Record Store Day-only vinyl edition of Destroyer’s Rubies is now available for anyone/everyone to own and spin.

Grimes has made another MP3 from her breakout album Visions available to download; she’s at Historic Fort York as part of the Full Flex Express on July 13.

MP3: Grimes – “Circumambient”

And speaking of shows at Fort York, I’ve made some jokes about how Toronto seems to be commemorating the bicentennial of the War Of 1812 with nothing but raves, but there’s now something a little more musically patriotic and family-friendly happening to mark the anniversary. On July 14, The Garrison Commons at Fort York will host a free show featuring performances from Sarah Harmer, Shad, The Rural Alberta Advantage, and Alex Cuba. Specifics are still forthcoming so keeping up with the Facebook page probably isn’t a bad idea.

MP3: Shad – “Rose Garden”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”
Video: Sarah Harmer – “Almost”
Video: Alex Cuba – “Cabello”

Macleans talks to Don Pyle about the Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet reunion, which hits Lee’s Palace on July 14.

Exclaim and The Grid have feature pieces on Cold Specks and Exclaim also ups the ante with a video session. Cold Specks are at The Great Hall on August 8.

Daytrotter has a session and NOW and interview with Great Lake Swimmers, who will be at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 18 opening up for Blue Rodeo.

Leonard Cohen has added a second Toronto show at the Air Canada Centre for December 5, to go along with the December 4 one that is just about sold out now. Tickets range from $72.50 to $250 plus fees. And while you mull that over, check out Clash‘s liste of ten things you didn’t know about Lenny.

Their show at The Music Hall sold out and in the books, Patrick Watson has announced another Toronto date for December 6 at Massey Hall with The Barr Brothers supporting; tickets are $24.50 to $35.00 plus fees, on sale now. NPR also has a Tiny Desk Concert, PostCity and interview, and a second MP3 from Adventures In Your Own Backyard has been made available to download.

MP3: Patrick Watson – “Words In The Fire”

BlogTO has the full lineup of this year’s Open Roof Festival, which pairs bands and movies for a night under the stars at the Amsterdam Brewery all Summer. You’ve got bands like Army Girls, Bruce Peninsula, and The Magic and films like Moonrise Kingdom, Charles Bradley: Soul of America, and Indie Game: The Movie – a bad time can’t be had (okay it can but it shouldn’t). Tickets for each night are $15.

Young Galaxy are releasing a new 7″ single tomorrow and the B-side is available to download courtesy of Stereogum. And if you liked what they accomplished on Shapeshifter working with producer Dan Lissvik electronically across the ocean, imagine what they could do working directly with him in the studio. If you’d like the see that happen, the band would like you to help out.

MP3: Young Galaxy – “Youth Is Wasted On The Young”

77 Square, Pioneer Press, City Pages, Isthmus, and Columbus Alive talk to Feist.