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Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo Tom’

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Now We Hurry On

Bowerbird/Andrew Bird-watching season is here

Photo By D.L. AndersonD.L. AndersonIt’s unlikely bird videos will ever achieve the same degree of online adoration as, say, cat videos, but when said clips come courtesy of artists who push the boundaries of what can be called folk music the way that North Carolina’s Bowerbirds and Chicago’s Andrew Bird do, a little more attention should be paid. Both artists released their new albums this week – The Clearing and Break It Yourself, respectively – and both have marked the occasion with the release of a new video.

Both are also streaming the new records in whole – not new news, but always good to be reminded of – and are doing quite a bit of press to promote their records. Bowerbirds are featured in The Quietus, The 405, Consequence Of Sound, Interview, Paste, and NPR while Mr. Bird has chats with each of Interview, PopMatters, The Stool Pigeon, The Guardian, Spinner, and The AV Club.

Where they differ is in their migratory patterns – Bowerbirds have long had a March 27 date at The Garrison in Toronto booked as part of their Spring tour, whereas Andrew Bird’s tour dates come as close as Detroit, but no closer – at least for now. I don’t think he’s been here since Spring 2009 so it’s reasonable to say he owes us a visit.

MP3: Bowerbirds – “Tuck The Darkness In”
MP3: Bowerbirds – “In The Yard”
Stream: Andrew Bird – “Eyeoneye”
Stream: Andrew Bird – “The Crown Salesman”
Video: Bowerbirds – “Tuck The Darkness In”
Video: Andrew Bird – “Eyeoneye”
Stream: Bowerbirds / The Clearing
Stream: Andrew Bird / Break It Yourself

Shearwater is named for a kind of bird, so they’re up next. Rolling Stone talks to frontman Jonathan Meiburg about their new record Animal Joy.

Mother Jones chats with Sharon Van Etten, who just premiered a new video from Tramp at The Los Angeles Times.

Video: Sharon Van Etten – “Leonard”

Perhaps hoping to get people talking about something besides their collaboration with a corporation as ethically vile as Urban Outfitters, Best Coast have announced the May 15 release of their second album The Only Place and accompanying tour which hits The Phoenix on July 21, tickets $18.50. Details on the record and full tour dates over at Tiny Mix Tapes.

MP3: Best Coast – “Boyfriend”

The Decemberists are spreading the love around, streaming both discs of their forthcoming live set We All Raise Our Voices at two different sites – Rolling Stone and Paste.

Stream: The Decemberists / We All Raise Our Voices to the Air (Live Songs 04.11-08.11) disc one
Stream: The Decemberists / We All Raise Our Voices to the Air (Live Songs 04.11-08.11) disc two

They haven’t fessed up to the accuracy of reports that their new album would be called Bloom and released on May 15, but the fact that a new Beach House song showed up to stream on their website the other night certainly makes it seem to be the case. The track is called “Myth” and it sounds like Beach House. Update: Okay, the above new album info is officially official.

Stream: Beach House – “Myth”

NOW welcomes EMA back to town; she’s at The Garrison on March 13. The Chicago Sun-Times, Montreal Mirror, and Playback:STL also have interviews.

Death & Taxes, Clash, and DIY have interviews with Sleigh Bells, making up a cancelled date at The Phoenix on March 26 and supporting Red Hot Chili Peppers at The Air Canada Centre on April 27 and 28.

For a guy with a reputation for being a tough interview, Stephin Merritt sure is entertaining a lot of inquiries. The Magnetic Fields mastermind chats Love At The Bottom Of The Sea with PopMatters, Rolling Stone, Clash, Beatroute, Salon, and Vulture. They will play The Sound Academy on March 30.

They Shoot Music has a video session and Magnet and Beatroute interviews with Nada Surf. They play The Opera House on April 4.

co.create looks at the marketing campaign being organized to help make Minneapolis’ Howler your new favourite band. They may or may not include this video session and interview at The Alternate Side or this interview about their already in-process second album at Paste, and if they work, you may find yourself seeing them at The Drake Underground on April 5.

Also courtesy of The Alternate Side is a session and interview with Perfume Genius, and also worth reading is an interview with Mike Hadreas at Slutever. Perfume Genius is at The Drake on April 8.

If you ever need a reminder of how gorgeous Low can be, this performance recorded in a Duluth church for a new television programme called Audio-Files should do the trick. They’re here on April 19 at Massey Hall opening for Death Cab For Cutie.

Video: Low – “Point Of Disgust” (live for Audio-Files)

Interview gets to know Hospitality, in town at The Garrison on May 5.

The Fly talks to James Mercer of The Shins, whose Port Of Morrow arrives March 20. They are at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 4.

Clash talks to Jay Farrar about the Woody Guthrie tribute project New Multitudes, of which he’s a part.

Jeff Tweedy and Nels Cline discuss the guitar (read: gear) side of Wilco’s The Whole Love with Guitar World.

Also talking the gear: St. Vincent’s Annie Clark with Guitar Player.

Pitch, The Daily Nebraskan, and SXSW interview Lauren Larsen of Ume.

Daytrotter has posted a session with Telekinesis.

NYC Taper has shared a recording of one of Craig Finn’s recent performances in New York while Allentown Morning Call shares an interview.

The Quietus talks reunion with Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs.

Dirty Laundry hangs out in a laundromat with Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers and Archers Of Loaf.

Loud & Quiet talks to Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices.

PopDose talks to Bill Janovitz about the 20th anniversary of Buffalo Tom’s excellent Let Me Come Over.

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

I’d Go Anywhere With Hugh

The Magnetic Fields will pull you to The Bottom Of The Sea, hope to pull you to the edge of Lake Ontario

Photo By Marcelo KrasilcicMarcelo KrasilcicThe Magnetic Fields are back. But wait, you might argue, they never really went away. Sure, three albums in the past decade doesn’t really match the rate of output that Stephin Merritt was maintaining in the ’90s – particularly when you take into account his other projects – but it ain’t nothing. And yet it’s accurate on many levels that The Magnetic Fields are back: they’re back on Merge, the label that released their greatest records including the risky and magnificent 69 Love Songs, after a decade on Nonesuch; they’re back to their signature mix of synths and acoustic instruments after largely abandoning keys and the like on those last few albums in favour of strictly electric and acoustic arrangements; and they’re back with a new record that makes both these points salient on March 6 with Love At The Bottom Of The Sea. Their last few records got mixed reviews, but with the number of resets that seem to accompany this one, it’s hard not to be a little optimistic.

And the band will also be back on the road immediately following the album’s release with an extensive itinerary that brings them to Toronto’s Sound Academy on March 30. It’s an interesting choice of venue considering their last couple visits have been at the acoustically sterling Queen Elizabeth Theatre in February 2010 and Trinity-St. Paul’s in July 2004, and the last thing that the everyone’s favourite lakeside shoebox can be accused of is being a sympathetic venue. But hey, maybe they’re going for the big rock show this time and they need somewhere they can set off pyrotechnics. In any case, tickets are $30 for floors and $37.50 for balconies, and while the fan pre-sale is on now, the Live Nation mobile app presale is Friday at 10 and the regular on-sale is Saturday.

There’s no preview track from the album available yet, but here’s a seasonal one from the last record and a classic one from 69 Love Songs.

MP3: The Magnetic Fields – “Everything Is One Big Christmas”
MP3: The Magnetic Fields – “The Book Of Love”

In other, “guess who’s coming to town” news, earnest folk-poppers The Head & The Heart will be in town on March 13 at The Opera House, tickets $18.50 in advance. Their last visit was back in February and considering how much their star has risen since then, I’m surprised it will have taken them over a year to make it back here. In any case, here’s a World Cafe session at NPR to hold you over until then.

MP3: The Head & The Heart – “Down In The Valley”
MP3: The Head & The Heart – “Lost In My Mind”

Also making a return engagement is EMA, last sighted hereabouts in July. No venue upgrade this time out – she’s at The Garrison again on March 13 – but considering that Past Life Martyred Saints will be showing up on at least a few year-end lists, expect this show to have a little less elbow room than that one. Tickets are $13.50 in advance and Rolling Stone has an interview.

MP3: EMA – “Milkman”
MP3: EMA – “The Grey Ship”

Texas family act Eisley will be in town to help kick of Canadian Musicfest, playing The Drake Underground on the Wednesday night, March 21. They’ll be touring both this year’s The Valley as well as a new EP entitled Deep Space, due out on February 14. Examiner.com has some info on the EP and their tour itinerary.

MP3: Eisley – “Smarter”
Video: Eisley – “The Valley”

Howler may hail from Minnesota, but their rough and retro garage rock is making them all kinds of fans in the UK. Their debut America Give Up is out January 17 and they’ve got a date at The Drake on April 5.

Video: Howler – “Back Of Your Neck”

Oh hey Cults are coming back. Look for them at The Phoenix on April 25, tickets $20 in advance.

MP3: Cults – “Most Wanted”
MP3: Cults – “Go Outside”

Bear In Heaven’s new album I Love You, It’s Cool isn’t out until April 3 but the band already has the whole thing up for stream on their website – it’s just slowed down by 400,000%. Pitchfork has the what and why, as well as tour dates which include a May 5 date at The Garrison, tickets $11.50 in advance. Here’s a track from 2007’s Red Bloom Of The Boom, played at regular speed.

MP3: Bear In Heaven – “Bag Of Bags”

NOW and hour.ca talk to St. Vincent’s Annie Clark in advance of tonight’s show at The Phoenix.

The Shins have announced details of their long-awaited new record. Port Of Morrow will be out in March – Pitchfork has some specifics.

Daytrotter has posted a session with Wilco, recorded at the band’s Chicago loft.

NPR has Beirut’s final show of the year from last night available to stream, or will shortly. Check back.

Steve Earle offers his thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street movement to Knoxville.com.

Spin talks to Sleigh Bells about their forthcoming Reign Of Terror, which begins February 14.

The Atlantic talks to the director of Okkervil River’s video for “Your Past Life As A Blast”.

The AV Club gets Bob Mould to go One-Track Mind interview/performance sessions with Sugar’s “Hoover Dam”.

Another new Guided By Voices track is available to stream; it’s a super-short b-side from “Donut For A Snowman” written by Tobin Sprout. Let’s Go Eat The Factory is out January 1.

Stream: Guided By Voices – “One Two Three Four”

Bill Janovitz, he of Buffalo Tom and many covers, has posted something special: a Tom Waits cover which is credited as, “featuring Tanya Donelly but in fact features he on lead vox throughout. Usually Bill gives his covers away, but this one is being made available via The Right Track for a minimum donation of $0.99 to TargetCancer. Do it, the cause is good, the track is beautiful and we don’t get to hear Tanya’s voice nearly enough these days. And speaking of Buffalo Tom, The Boston Globe and The Phoenix talk to them about marking their 25th anniversary as a band.

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Rolled Together

The Antlers and Little Scream at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangA week straight of show-going is a pretty foreboding thing when you’re generally more inclined to stay home and watch television, but if the first night of said run – which began Tuesday at The Mod Club with The Antlers and Little Scream – is a bellwether of the next seven (or ten) nights out, then I say bring it on.

Though both acts were familiar, their performances were still new to me in crucial ways, in particular with Little Scream whom I’d last seen two years ago in a pair of solo performances that were both enigmatic and intriguing. Contrast that with this evening, where Laurel Sprengelmeyer was fronting a six-piece band and promoting her debut album The Golden Record; an album that’s been well-received but interestingly not done much to clarify the mystery of who Little Scream is, offering highlights in the individual songs but not really feeling particularly cohesive as it ranges from style to style, held together only by Sprengelmeyer’s impressive vocals. The live incarnation remedied this somewhat, unifying things by being both heavier and proggier throughout and offering itself up as a variant of rock built on folk instead of blues. Sprengelmeyer jokingly compared them to Iron Maiden, on account of the three-guitar configuration but just as she did a couple years ago, I was most reminded of The Who, despite the lack of any obvious nods. Why, I can’t explain, just as I still can’t fully put my finger on what makes Little Scream what they are – but I’ll keep trying.

The Antlers broke out via the unlikeliest of records in Hospice, a beautifully grim and harrowing meditation on mortality. I saw them three times in the cycle for that record, twice as openers and once at an in-store, and each time their performances seemed to be exercises in exorcising the darkness of that material by taking the songs and stretching them out into something new. The catharsis would appear complete with the band’s new record Burst Apart, which feels like fresh growth on a former blast site; sensual and sinewy, it practically glistens with life.

The sense of rebirth also carried over live, where the three-piece had added a fourth player on bass and guitar and frontman Peter Silberman, formerly content to set up off the side and hide somewhat behind keyboards, was up front and centre. As mentioned, this was my first time seeing The Antlers headlining their own show, but considering that even in a support setting they weren’t given to brevity – when opening for Editors, they stretched out five songs over 40 minutes – I expected epic-scale things from the Brooklynites and was not disappointed. With the extra four- or six-strings on hand, The Antlers were able to jam out the Burst-heavy set and allow Silberman to roam and even dance around the stage when not stealing the spotlight with his haunting falsetto. The few Hospice songs that did make an appearance were recognizable but decidedly incongruous from their original versions, the transformations applied over the two years of touring having taken hold permanently without diminishing their emotional power or beauty.

For many in the sold-out house, I’m sure the Hospice tracks were the highlights but given my difficult personal relationship with the record (it may have been written as a metaphor but for me was all too literal) it was the Burst Apart material that really shone. Free of the thematic and narrative constraints of its predecessor, the new record isn’t necessarily happy but it does have an optimism threaded throughout that’s genuinely uplifting, rather than simply trying to overcome its own weight. That the band were able to not only recreate this feeling live but amplify it was nothing short of remarkable.

DIY and The New Haven Advocate have features on The Antlers while Pitchfork solicits a list of Silberman’s formative musical influences. The National Post and BlogTO also have reviews of the show.

Photos: The Antlers, Little Scream @ The Mod Club – June 14, 2011
MP3: The Antlers – “Parentheses”
MP3: The Antlers – “I Don’t Want Love”
MP3: The Antlers – “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out”
MP3: The Antlers – “Two”
MP3: The Antlers – “Sylvia”
MP3: The Antlers – “Bear”
MP3: Little Scream – “Cannons”
MP3: Little Scream – “The Heron & The Fox”
Video: The Antlers – “Bear”
Video: The Antlers – “Two”
Video: Little Scream – “Red Hunting Jacket”
Video: Little Scream – “The Lamb”

Her show at The Rivoli safely behind us, Alela Diane has been announced as support for Fleet Foxes at Massey Hall on July 14. Spin declares her to be an artist “breaking out”.

MP3: Alela Diane – “To Begin”

Following in her brother’s footsteps and getting to work outside the context of The Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger has set a July 12 release date for her solo debut Last Summer, and scheduled a Summer tour that includes a free show at The Horseshoe on July 19. The first single from the album is available to hear and watch.

MP3: Eleanor Friedberger – “My Mistakes”
Video: Eleanor Friedberger – “My Mistakes”

You get exactly zero points if you can guess what Portland synth-poppers STRFKR used to be called. Or maybe are still called, depending on who you ask and what company you’re in. You can be in their company at Lee’s Palace on September 20, where they’ll be showing off their new record Reptilians. Full dates at Exclaim.

MP3: STRFKR – “Bury Us Alive”

Stephen Malkmus has put together a Fall tour in support of his new album Mirror Traffic, due out on August 23. He’ll be at The Phoenix with The Jicks on September 21, tickets $22.50 in advance.

MP3: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Senator”

The National Post, Spinner and NOW preview Art Brut’s show at The Mod Club tomorrow night.

The Daily Swarm has gone through Bob Mould’s just-released new memoirs See A Little Light and posted their picks for some of the more intriguing passages contained therein and NPR have excerpted the first chapter. The Pioneer Press and The Bellingham Herald talk to Mould about looking back on his life for the book.

The Mountain Goats are giving away a new MP3 from their latest All Eternals Deck. Just because.

MP3: The Mountain Goats – “High Hawk Season”

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with The Kills. The band have also released a set of acoustic performance videos over on their YouTube.

Spinner has a pre-NXNE interview with Dum Dum Girls; their showcase is Friday night at Lee’s Palace, 11PM.

Writers On Process talks to The Rosebuds’ Ivan Howard about his writing process. The Rosebuds are at The Sound Academy on August 9 opening up for Bon Iver.

That’s the same Bon Iver whose Justin Vernon is all dapper and shit as the cover story of the new Spin. There’s also interviews at Exclaim and The Vancouver Sun and the first video from Bon Iver, Bon Iver is now out – presumably not financed by the Alberta Tourism board.

Video: Bon Iver – “Calgary”

Aquarium Drunkard interviews Will Johnson of Centro-Matic about their new record Candidate Waltz, out next week.

Buffalo Tom have released a first video from their latest record Skins.

Video: Buffalo Tom – “Guilty Girls”

JAM and Echo interview Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers.

Acoustic Guitar and JAM chat with Steve Earle, in at the Molson Amphitheatre on August 20.

Friday, May 6th, 2011

These Days

Review of Sleepy Vikings’ They Will Find You Here

Photo By Kelley JacksonKelley JacksonHere’s a somewhat disturbing trend – bands of young’ns drawing influence from the music I grew up with, despite the fact that they probably weren’t even out of diapers when it was contemporary. Disturbing mainly in the fact that it implies I’ve crossed some sort of generational checkpoint and the cycle of influences is looping in on itself, as it does.

Case in point, Tampa sextet Sleepy Vikings, whose acquaintance I first made at NXNE last year. Despite making a non-stop 26-hour drive from there to here and playing their showcase half-dead as a result, they still impressed with their decidedly ’90s-vintage sound, all beautifully sullen jangle and fuzz. The only recordings they had to offer then were a three-song EP dubbed Ghost, but it certainly augured well for the future.

And the future is now – or more accurately, next Tuesday when their debut They Will Find You Here is released. It takes those three songs from Ghost – which remain the standout moments – and adds another half-dozen compositions that mostly reinforce what they’ve already proven excellent at. But what’s most remarkable about They Will Find You Here isn’t so much the music itself but the mood that it, as a whole, conjures. Led by singer Tessa McKenna’s subtle twang and Julian Conner’s rough harmonies, Sleepy Vikings evoke the sense of ennui and melancholy that’s one of the less-celebrated aspects of being young. They sound too resigned to be called angsty, even in their more fiery moments, but with that comes an honesty and vulnerability that would have been lost if delivered with more bluster.

I initially liked Sleepy Vikings because they sounded a lot like bands I used to – and still do – enjoy; now I like them because they remind me of things I used feel – though thankfully not nearly as much.

Orlando Weekly and therepubliq have band features.

MP3: Sleepy Vikings – “Calm”
MP3: Sleepy Vikings – “Flashlight Tag”

am New York talks to Kip Berman of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, in town at The Opera House on August 2.

Spinner talks to Warpaint about the Interface session they’ve just posted.

The Kills’ Jamie Hince talks to Spinner and The Georgia Straight.

According to Pitchfork, Ted Leo will be recording a none-more-analog live set for Jack White’s Third Man Records next week, to be released on vinyl shortly thereafter.

Interview talks to The Antlers’ Peter Silberman about their new record Burst Apart, due out on Tuesday. They play The Mod Club on June 14.

Consequence Of Sound reports that the Soft Bulletin live shows that The Flaming Lips have been performing will produce a live album in the near future.

eye, The AV Club and Cleveland Scene interview Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal.

Simultaneously tending to both their their present and their past, R.E.M. has released another new video from Collapse Into Now while also revealing details of their next super-deluxe reissue set; next up is 1986’s Life’s Rich Pageant, which will be released in loaded-with-bonuses double-disc form on July 25. Interview has a talk with frontman Michael Stipe.

Video: R.E.M. – “Discoverer”

Fracture Compound interviews Superchunk.

It’s a J Mascis video bonanaza. In addition to a new official clip from Several Shades Of Why, there’s a set of in-studio performances over at Pitchfork.

Video: J Mascis – “Is It Done”

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Buffalo Tom’s recent visit to the Bowery Ballroom in New York.

In conversation with Hitfix, Zach Condon reveals that a new Beirut record should be out sometime this Summer. Presumably before they play two nights at The Phoenix, August 2 and 4.

Hitfix also gets the scoop on Matt Ward’s return to being M Ward – solo artist – rather than Him or a Monster.

Fleet Foxes have posted up another MP3 from the just-released Helplessness Blues. They’re at Massey Hall on July 14.

MP3: Fleet Foxes – “Grown Ocean”

On May 31, My Morning Jacket will mark the release of Circuital that day with a live-to-YouTube concert at Louisville’s Palace Theater. The New York Times talks to filmmaker Todd Haynes, who will be directing the performance, as to what he’s got planned.

NOW finds out what’s going on in the world of Joe Pernice; home renovations, a new record due out this Fall, a possible/probable tour as Pernice Brothers and a solo show at the Dakota Tavern tonight.

Exclaim has details on the first new Richard Buckner record in five years; Our Blood will be out on August 2 and the first taste of what he’s been up to in that time is available to download.

MP3: Richard Buckner – “Traitor”

Old 97’s will follow up the release of last year’s The Grand Theatre, Vol. 1 with – wait for it – The Grand Theatre, Vol. 2 on July 5. Spinner talks to Rhett Miller about the record.

The Toronto Star, Houston Chronicle and The Daily Herald talk to Steve Earle. He’s at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 20.

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

When I Am New Again

Wildlife, The Darcys and Freedom Or Death at Steam Whistle Brewing in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI will be the first to admit I don’t do nearly as good a job of keeping track of worthy up and coming local and/or Canadian bands as I’d like, generally taking an “if they’re worth hearing I’ll hear them eventually” approach and deferring to great local and national sites with a homegrown focus like I Heart Music, The Take, Singing Lamb and Herohill to do the legwork and put worthy new Canuck talent on my radar. Showcasing said talent is the mandate of the Unsigned series which periodically puts on shows at the Steam Whistle brewery and checking out said talent was what I was doing there on Friday night along with a pretty packed roundhouse.

Leading things off were Freedom Or Death, who were marking the release of their debut mini-album Ego earlier in the week. The duo in the studio/quartet on stage craft what would best be described as a sort of synth-rock-soul amalgam, though not nearly as left field-sounding as that might imply. Most of their material is built around frontman Sway C in R&B croon mode overtop keyboard patches lifted from the ’80s and given a ’90s-ish production sheen, but its relative safeness is offset by the fact that a lot of their songs are instantly memorable and expertly crafted. It’s the sort of thing that if alt.rock radio or MuchMusic still held the cultural hegemony they once did, could become huge but as things stand today, would have to settle – for now at least – for impressing a roomful of punters in a brewhouse. Like their music, their performance was a bit slick and calculated but certainly effective; those watching might well have walked away thinking they’d seen one of the city’s next big things and who knows, they might be right.

Goodness knows that’s a title that’s been hanging around The Darcys for years now, and clearly no guarantee of anything. The circumstances around their delayed ascent to greatness were pretty well-documented back in March by The Toronto Star – but with the self-titled sophomore effort that’s really more of a debut hopefully finally ready to see the light of day after being stalled for more than a year, the band may finally be ready to move forwards. For the as yet unacquainted, my best description of The Darcys would a balance of prog and pop somewhere between the tension of mid-era Radiohead and the grand presentation of early Elbow, though I don’t think it’s any slight to add the caveat that they’re not as brilliant as either, at least not right now if ever, but it does give a sense of where they’re pointed creatively as well as their potential. And so while there’s still no definite timetable for when their recorded selves will finally be let loose, though it seems inconceivable that no label in the city will have the good sense to put it out before the year is out, The Darcys are making do venting their energies onstage.

As with the last couple times I’d seen them live, their show was an impressive exercise in musicianship and intensity though as I’ve mentioned in the past – and as also applies to their record – a couple of less-clenched songs would really help the dynamics of the experience. But considering they’ve been sitting on this record and these songs far longer than any band ever should, who knows where they’re actually at right now with respect to their songwriting. And that’s perhaps the biggest reason I hope they get the album out soon; not just so that the rest of the world can be let in on what Toronto’s known for so long, but so that the band can finally get on with it.

Though The Darcys were top billed on the show posters, they weren’t the closing act – that honour went to Wildlife, whose acquaintance I’d made only a day or two earlier via a copy of their debut album Strike Hard, Young Diamond which conveniently showed up in my mailbox. And the collection of uptempo rock, faintly Wolf Parade-ish without all the quirkiness and striking a good balance between heart-on-sleeve sensitivity and beer-in-hand boisterousness, made a good impression so though the option of heading home early was on the table, I opted to stick around. That the aforementioned balance wouldn’t be carried over to the stage was made clear pretty early on as frontman Dean Povinsky declared that the evening’s spirit animal would be Andrew WK and the theme would be partying. They did the party thing well, however, and while it didn’t really hold my attention for the duration, it did energize the crowd with the good time vibes. And props for the solid encore of The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly”.

NOW has a profile on Freedom Or Death and Toro a video session. Their next show is June 9 at The Drake while Wildlife’s next local performance will be May 26 at Sneaky Dee’s.

Photos: Wildlife, The Darcys, Freedom Or Death @ Steam Whistle Brewing – April 29, 2011
MP3: Wildlife – “Stand In The Water”
MP3: The Darcys – “The House Built Around Your Voice”
MP3: Freedom Or Death – “This Crowded Room”
Video: Freedom Or Death – “This Crowded Room”

Heartbeat Hotel, who are one of my personal picks for worthy unsigned bands in the city – as in worthy of being signed, not that they should remain without a label – have released a new video from last year’s free and excellent and free album Fetus Dreams.

Video: Heartbeat Hotel – “Windowsill #1”

Nashville’s Tristen will be in Toronto on July 16 for a show at the Drake in support of her debut album Charlatans At The Gate; a 7″ worth of MP3s is available at their website in exchange for an email.

Video: Tristen – “Baby Drugs”

Liz Phair defends the artistic merits of lat year’s Funstyle to Spinner.

Having just announced that they’ll be reissuing their 2004 EP Cherry Tree in limited edition on June 28, The National are giving away an MP3 of “About Today” from said release at their Bandcamp in exchange for an email. Also available to grab is the song they contributed to the soundtrack of Portal 2, which I’m led to understand is a video game of some kind.

MP3: The National – “Exile Vilify”

The Dallas Observer and Exclaim talk to Will Sheff of Okkervil River, whose new record I Am Very Far comes out next Tuesday, May 10 but is streaming in whole right now at Exclaim. They play The Phoenix on June 10.

Stream: Okkervil River / I Am Very Far

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Low’s set at the Bowery Ballroom in New York last week. They’re at The Mod Club tonight.

DCist talks to Bill Janovitz of Buffalo Tom.

The New York Times profiles the people behind the up-and-coming live music resource Songkick.