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Posts Tagged ‘Cat’s Eyes’

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Break The Spell

Rachel Zeffira at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThough inconvenient and unfortunate in real terms, there was something appropriate about the fact that half of Rachel Zeffira’s first North American tour was canceled on account of visa issues. After all, her musical career only took the course that it did because of an overzealous British immigration officer refused her entry to the country, causing her to miss her an important music college audition. That all worked out for the best, of course, as it set her on the course to become half of Cat’s Eyes with Faris Badwan of The Horrors, and then the solo artist who dropped the stunning operatic/classical/indie genre-melding debut album The Deserters late last year in Europe, and this Spring in North America.

The aforementioned cancelation left Thursday night’s performance at The Drake Underground in Toronto as her sole show on this continent; thankfully getting her into Canada wasn’t an issue as she originally hails from the Kootenays in British Columbia. Given that it was a relatively low-key debut and the buzz around her hasn’t yet really begun bubbling over into broader consciousness, I wasn’t sure how much of a production this show would be; entering the Drake and seeing the stage absolutely jammed with gear, the answer was clearly, “a pretty big one”. And though the audience wasn’t overly large, they were attentive and helped create a welcoming atmosphere for Zeffira’s first-ever visit to Toronto, as a performer or otherwise.

Though she surely could have impressed with just her soaring soprano, a keyboard, and maybe some choice samples, Zeffira fronted a seven-piece band with a three-piece mini-orchestra of cello, oboe, and trumpet, a drummer, and two backup singers – while she herself moved between keys, organ, and vibraphone. But really, the full band was the only way to do The Deserters justice – while the album isn’t especially busy, when it calls for a trumpet flourish or cello line, it demands it. And so while the extra players often sat quietly while Zeffira led the proceedings, when they were called on, you couldn’t imagine them not being there.

While reproducing the album arrangements was the strategy for much of the set, the massive organ which apparently took nine people to move into the Drake’s basement was used to give “Here On In” a decidedly gothier makeover, and the vibes – essential for “Waiting For Sylvia” – were also put to good use on a gorgeous cover of The Beatles’ “Because” alongside Zeffira and her singers’ harmonies. The show was a touch short, the main set wrapping at the 40-minute mark, it had the perfect grace note as Zeffira returned to the organ for the encore and played Cat’s Eyes swinger “Over You”. A nice treat for those of us who came to her solo work via that project and perhaps an enticement for newer fans to discover her other works, and a solid finale to an impressive if too-short debut.

Exclaim and NOW also have reviews of the show; The Globe & Mail, NOW, The Toronto Star also had interviews with Zeffira ahead of the show while The Village Voice did the same without knowing her New York show was canceled. Vogue also has an interview.

Photos: Rachel Zeffira @ The Drake Underground – May 2, 2013
Video: Rachel Zeffira – “Here On In”
Video: Rachel Zeffira – “The Deserters”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Face In The Crowd”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “The Best Person I Know”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Over You”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Cat’s Eyes”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Love You Anyways”

Exclaim talks to Gold & Youth about their forthcoming debut album Beyond Wilderness, out May 14, which they also happen to have to stream. How convenient. They’re also playing Field Trip at Garrison Commons on June 8.

Stream: Gold & Youth / Beyond Wilderness

The Denver Post has a chat with METZ, coming home to Lee’s Palace on May 17.

Though she’s done promoting Visions, Grimes can still give her debut album Geidi Primes – conveniently reissued last year – a nudge by posting a heretofore unreleased video to her Tumblr.

Video: Grimes – “Venus In Fleurs”

For Folk’s Sake has an interview with Jonas Bonetta of Evening Hymns.

The Calgary Herald checks in with Carl Newman of The New Porongraphers, who are getting ready to head back into the studio to record a new record.

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Heading For The Top

Spiritualized offers Sweet release

Photo via FacebookFacebookAlmost four years on from their last dispatch, Spiritualized has announced that their seventh studio album Sweet Heart Sweet Light will be released on March 19, 2012. It’s about the same gap that separated 2008’s Songs In A&E and 2003’s Amazing Grace, but that delay was compounded by Jason Pierce’s near-death experience. This time any extenuating factors in the delay fell into the more decidedly benign category; new labels in both Europe and America, recitals and reissues to mark the 10th anniversary of their landmark Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, etc.

But the record is finally done and according to the press release from Domino (their new European home to go with Fat Possum Stateside), it’s Pierce’s tribute to old school rock’n’roll in the spirit of The Beach Boys and Chuck Berry. I can only hope it turned out better than their last stab at raw rock as Amazing Grace is the go-to Spiritualized album for precisely no one.

The Guardian has an audio interview with Jason Pierce about the making of the new record and also a live video of the album’s leadoff track, recorded last weekend at the Other Voices festival.

Video: Spiritualized – “Hey Jane” (live at Other Voices)

Also at Other Voices and recorded by The Guardian were Wild Beasts, whose entire set is available to watch.

Exclaim reports that Tindersticks have confirmed details of their new record: The Something Rain will be out on February 21 and a stream and video for the first single from the album are available now.

Stream: Tindersticks – “Medicine”
Video: Tindersticks – “Medicine”

DIY talks to Veronica Falls frontwoman Roxanne Clifford about their plans for following up a pretty swell 2011; plans which include a February 14 date at The Garrison in Toronto.

SYFFAL – yes, it’s an acronym – has words with Charles and Rebecca of Slow Club.

In conversation with The Creator’s Project, Jamie xx says that the new xx album should be done and out in time for the Summer festival season, which is to say the front half of 2012.

The Leeds Guide speaks briefly with David Gedge of The Wedding Present, in town at The Horseshoe on March 25.

Alex James tells NME that Blur are planning a holiday get-together and in addition to exchanging gifts and drinking egg nog, they may well do some recording.

Emmy The Great ponders to The Daily Star why there are so many indie Christmas albums being released this year, including her own.

Kaiser Chiefs are still around and Under The Radar reports they’re following this Summer’s The Future Is Medieval with a new album less than a year later in Start the Revolution Without Me, out March 6. The first MP3 is available to download at RCRDLBL – also still around – and they’ll be at The Phoenix on April 17.

Video: Kaiser Chiefs – “Little Shocks”

Coldplay are at the Air Canada Centre on July 23. Last time they were here in 2009 it was the Rogers Centre; stadium band to arena band, oh the indignity.

Video: Coldplay – “Paradise”

The Line Of Best Fit and The Edinburgh Journal talk to James Graham of The Twilight Sad, whose new record No One Can Ever Know is out on February 7.

Exclaim gathers five bits of Stone Roses trivia for your enjoyment.

Cat’s Eyes, the debut album from Cat’s Eyes, continues to yield new videos. Like this one.

Video: Cat’s Eyes – “The Best Person I Know”

As is usually the case when a band with a breakout album does a tour of woefully undersized venues that are sold the hell out, M83 has announced a Spring tour that brings the French electro-gaze act back to town for a show at the Sound Academy on May 6, tickets $25 in advance. And while normally I wouldn’t bother hitting a second show for the same album having just seen them last month, I’ll definitely be there. Why? I Break Horses are opening the whole tour. I love I Break Horses, and their debut Hearts. How much? I’ll tell you next week.

MP3: I Break Horses – “Winter Beats”
Video: M83 – “Midnight City”

Cheers to Ja Ja Ja for finding and posting this live Loney Dear studio performance of “D Major”.

The Raveonettes are marking the holidays with a new video for the cryptically-titled “Christmas Song”.

Video: The Raveonettes – “The Christmas Song”

The Jonsi-scored soundtrack to Cameron Crowe’s latest film We Bought A Zoo is now up to stream at Rolling Stone.

Stream: We Bought A Zoo original soundtrack

NPR has posted a KEXP session from Icelandic merrymakers Of Monsters & Men. Their first North American release will be the digital Into The Woods EP on December 20, followed by a domestic issue of My Head Is An Animal in the Spring.

Australia’s Gotye has a date at The Phoenix on March 31.

Video: Gotye – “Bronte”

Interview talks to Hayley Mary, lead singer of The Jezabels.

NME reports that the long-awaited (by me, anyways) second Ladyhawke album will have a title of Anxiety and release date of March 19. And they’ve got some video of Pip Brown at work on said record.

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Hello Sadness

Los Campesinos’ sadness. See it. Hear it.

Photo via FacebookFacebookRoving gang of musical Welsh nogoodniks Los Campesinos! announced the existence of their fourth album Hello Sadness just last week, but they’ve already followed up that news with both the first downloadable MP3 from the record and video, both for the record’s leadoff track – a song which despite the band’s supposed claims to welcoming despair into their lives, sound pretty damn peppy. Or shouty, at least.

And while you’re getting down to that, they’ve also announced a handful of – well, four – American tour dates to preview the record. Note that doesn’t the crew won’t be crossing the border north of the US this time, but seeing as how they’ve never been averse to visiting Toronto and Canada repeatedly, expect a date when broader touring plans are announced.

MP3: Los Campesinos! – “By Your Hand”
Video: Los Campesinos! – “By Your Hand”

Noah & The Whale – who proved their ability to get super-sad with second album First Days Of Spring – return to town to party like it’s the Last Night On Earth at The Phoenix on November 8, part of a full North American tour; admission is $20 in advance. Interview has a chat with violinist Tom Hobden.

MP3: Noah & The Whale – “The First Days Of Spring”
Video: Noah & The Whale – “Tonight’s The Kind Of Night”

Baeble Music has a Guest Apartment interview and session with Laura Marling. A Creature I Don’t Know is out Tuesday and she plays The Great Hall on September 23.

Beatroute, The Edmonton Journal, OC Weekly and The Calgary Herald have feature pieces on The Joy Formidable.

Even though there’s really no need to reissue an album that was just released in February, Yuck will get a deluxe edition of their self-titled debut on October 11 that includes a 6-track bonus CD – you can stream one of the new offerings at Pitchfork. They play The Horseshoe on September 27.

Stream: Yuck – “Cousin Corona”

The Guardian is streaming Mogwai’s new EP Earth Division, out next Tuesday, as well as notes from Stuart Braithwaite. So go and stream it and read. Go.

Stream: Mogwai / Earth Division

Also streaming and out next week is Acrobat, the second album from Peggy Sue.

MP3: Peggy Sue – “Cut My Teeth”
Stream: Peggy Sue / Acrobats

Music Broke My Bones and The Whiteboard Project have interviews with Slow Club, the latter of which is hilariously conducted via whiteboard. Paradise is out next week.

Grantland sends Chuck Klosterman to interview Noel Gallagher. A pretty great read regardless of your opinions of either character ensues. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds release their debut album on November 7 and play Massey Hall on November 7 and 8.

Wears The Trousers chat with Esben & The Witch.

DIY has a feature interview with Patrick Wolf and the singer-songwriter fesses up to Clash about his love of waterslides.

Though he’s supposed to be gearing up for the Horrors tour which brings him to Lee’s Palace on September 27, Faris Badwan tells Exclaim that his side-project Cat’s Eyes plans to release two more records in 2012. Which is good news because Cat’s Eyes was great. And Badwan talks Horrors with The Illinois Entertainer.

Beatroute has an interview with Arctic Monkeys.

Artrocker has the new video from Sons & Daughters, taken from their latest Mirror Mirror.

Video: Sons & Daughters – “Rose Red”

Goth godfather Peter Murphy brings his new solo record Ninth to town for a show at Lee’s Palace on November 23, tickets $29.50.

MP3: Peter Murphy – “I Spit Roses”

Though the media cycle on New Order of late has mainly been about irrevocably rent asunder they are with the acrimonious departure of bassist Peter Hook, Spinner reports that it’s a bit of a zero-sum game as original keyboardist Gillian Gilbert is back in the fold for a couple of charity gigs in October. Unsurprisingly, Hooky is unimpressed. Which makes me wish that Ian Curtis was capable of issuing press releases so we could find out what he thinks about what Peter Hook is up to.

Fanfarlo have completed their second album and while it’s still untitled and has no release date, it does have a video for the leadoff track.

Video: Fanfarlo – “Replicate”

The Line Of Best Fit goes on an in-depth expedition into The Radio Dept.’s discography with founders Johan Duncanson and Martin Larson as sherpas. The Radio Dept are at The Mod Club on November 17.

Exclaim has some details of Swedish sister act First Aid Kit’s second album; The Lion’s Roar will be out on January 24 of the new year and you can see them supporting Lykke Li at The Sound Academy on November 15.

Little Dragon have released a new video from Ritual Union; they’re at The Hoxton on October 12.

Video: Little Dragon – “Brush The Heat”

Pitchfork has a new video from Sigur Ros taken from their Inni live film and album, due out November.

Video: Sigur Ros – “Klippa”

If you like Howling Bells and are willing to admit as much via Facebook, you’ll be able to stream their new record The Loudest Engine. It’s out Monday.

Stream: Howling Bells / The Loudest Engine

NME talks to Empire Of The Sun’s Luke Steele about their plans for album number two. But before that, they will play The Sound Academy on Tuesday evening, September 13.

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Come On Over

Tour North America? Veronica Falls don’t mind if they do

Photo By Robin SilasRobin SilasThrowback-style pop is nothing new – sounding old is really kind of the point – but there’s something special in the way English quartet Veronica Falls goes about it. It’s like they’ve got a foot in 1970’s New York, with no small amount of Velvet Underground goodness in the mix as well as echoes of their followers and the other in swinging 1960’s London with the irresistible catchiness of the British invasion. Taken together and you’ve got a brew that’s buoyant, yet somehow sinister and wholly memorable.

Their set was one of my highlights of SXSW this year, so I’m excited that they’re going to be undertaking a Fall tour in support of their self-titled debut which is out September 20 in North America. Somewhat less excited that said dates are in support of The Drums, whom I’m mostly indifferent to, but I’ll still likely be at their show at The Mod Club on October 1.

BrooklynVegan has some details about the record and full tour dates and a new song from the album was just made available to stream this week, to go along with a couple preview MP3s which have already been circulating.

Stream: Veronica Falls – “Bad Feeling”
MP3: Veronica Falls – “Come On Over”
MP3: Veronica Falls – “Found Love In A Graveyard”
Video: Veronica Falls – “Come On Over”
Video: Veronica Falls – “Beachy Head”
Video: Veronica Falls – “Found Love In A Graveyard”

Also notable in the support department – English folk singer Alessi’s Ark will be opening up for English folk singer Laura Marling at The Great Hall on September 23. Her new record Time Travel is out September 27 in the US but available to stream at her Facebook now.

MP3: Alessi’s Ark – “The Robot”
Stream: Alessi’s Ark / Time Travel

Stereogum talks influences with Yuck. Some is exactly what you’d expect, some not. Yuck play The Horseshoe on September 25.

DIY and Contact Music talk with Still Corners about their full-length debut Creatures Of An Hour, due out October 11. They play The Drake Underground on October 25.

Clash talks to Dev Hynes of Blood Orange. His Coastal Grooves arrives August 30.

The Guardian interviews Faris Badwan and Rachel Zeffira of Cat’s Eyes about music and home decor.

The Quietus, Tourdates UK and DIY get re-acquainted with the no-longer-on-hiatus-at-least-for-the-moment Electrelane. They also recently recorded a Black Cab Session.

Producer Paul Epworth reports that the new Florence & The Machine record is finished – details and quotes at NME.

Spin has a video of Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison performing a cover of current tourmates Death Cab For Cutie.

Spinner discusses the art of war with PJ Harvey.

Drowned In Sound and Sunshine Coast Daily check in with Mogwai.

Brett Anderson tells XFM that Suede will indeed be going back into the studio to record new material, but will only be releasing it if it’s worthwhile. All that after he’s done promoting his new solo record Black Rainbows, out September 26. He’s just released a video from said record.

Video: Brett Anderson – “Brittle Heart”

Proving that post-Oasis bickering and name-calling need not be a strictly family affair, Beady Eye guitarist Andy Bell offered up some choice thoughts about former boss Noel Gallagher and his version of how their former band ended to Japan Times.

Consequence Of Sound reports that the Inni video teaser that Sigur Ros posted to their website last week is a live film recorded by director Vincent Morriset at a series of London shows in 2009 that will make its debut at the Venice Film Festival at the end of the month. So no, not a new album but maybe there’ll be an accompanying soundtrack…? Update: The Audio Perv reports the soundtrack will be a double-disc set plus film DVD out in November. Sweet.

Trailer: Sigur Ros: Inni

Currently celebrating their fifteenth anniversary, Pitchfork talks to Bjork about her last decade and a half. Her new album Biophilia is out September 27. Update: Pitchfork also has the album art for Biophilia. It’s very Bjork.

Australia’s Howling Bells will be back with their third album The Loudest Engine on September 12; they’ve released a video for the first single.

Video: Howling Bells – “Into The Sky”

Empire Of The Sun’s Luke Steele confirms to NME that creative partner Nick Littlemore is back in the fold and together they’re working on a new album. Empire Of The Sun play Toronto’s Echo Beach on September 13.

The Naked & Famous have released another new video from Passive Me, Aggressive You; they play The Phoenix on October 6.

Video: The Naked & Famous – “The Sun”

Friday, July 15th, 2011

You Should Do Better

Cut Off Your Hands notice that hands have not been cut off, plot return

Photo By VCPVCPNew Zealand’s Cut Off Your Hands made some noise a couple years ago with their debut You And I, an enjoyable if not especially original collection of hepped-up, post-punk pop tunes intended to incite pogoing. And they worked that record pretty hard in North America, eventually losing both founding guitarist Mikey Ramirez to the rigours of touring and drummer Brent Harris to damaged hearing.

A couple years on and both are back in the fold to some degree and the band is back with a new album in Hollow, out in North America August 16, and they really want you to hear some of it. There’s a download of the more-Bunnymen-than-Bunnymen “Hollowed Out” along with some commentary at Spin, a video has been released for the first single and over at Facebook, a Like will get you another download from the new record. And oh hell, the whole thing is available to stream at Soundcloud. It’s definitely a more jangly/shimmery/classically Kiwi-pop record than the debut, more romantic-sounding and less in-your-face – still not breaking any new ground but it’s kind of nice to know that they’ve got a broader record collection to steal from than the first album implied.

Under The Radar has an interview with frontman Nick Johnson.

MP3: Cut Off Your Hands – “Hollowed Out”
Video: Cut Off Your Hands – “Fooling No One”
Stream: Cut Off Your Hands / Hollow

DIY and The Irish Independent with New Zealand’s current top musical export, The Naked & Famous. They play Lee’s Palace on August 9.

Billy Bragg has done what all good protest singers do and written a song about the News International phone hacking scandal currently unfolding in the UK – download the song for free, watch the video, read an op-ed by Billy in The Guardian and do what the man says – same applies in Toronto, by the way.

MP3: Billy Bragg – “Never Buy The Sun”
Video: Billy Bragg – “Never Buy The Sun”

The Guardian has premiered another new video from Cat’s Eyes’s self-titled debut.

Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Over You”

The Alternate Side has a session and interview with James Blake while inthemix and Time Out have feature pieces. He plays The Phoenix on September 30.

A public service announcement: The Two Door Cinema Club show originally scheduled to take place at The Phoenix on September 17 has been moved to Kool Haus. Also, Metro discovers frontman Alex Trimble listens to Lady Gaga.

Blood Orange has released a video from his debut Coastal Grooves, which is now set for an August 30 release.

Video: Blood Orange – “Sutphin Boulevard”

One of the new tracks from Ladytron’s forthcoming Gravity The Seducer, out September 13, is now available to download. They’re at The Phoenix October 5.

MP3: Ladytron – “White Elephant”

NPR are streaming a KCRW session with Friendly Fires, in town at The Phoenix on October 23.

Veronica Falls have supplemented the recent audio preview of their debut album, out in October, with a video.

MP3: Veronica Falls – “Come On Over”
Video: Veronica Falls – “Come On Over”

Allo Darlin’ will release a new non-album single in “Darren”, named for and inspired by Darren Hayman, former frontman of Hefner and featuring as a b-side a cover of “Wu Tang Clan”, originally by his project The French. Stream the a-side at Bandcamp.

The Daily Star chats with Florence Welch about some of the studio shenanigans that have gone into recording the second Florence & The Machine album.

PopMatters uses the occasion of the recent reissues as an excuse to reexamine the legacy of Suede. BBC also has an audio interview with Brett Anderson about getting the band back together; his new solo record Black Rainbows is out September 26. And regarding those Suede reissues; just noticed that eMusic has both Suede and Dog Man Star listed under “London Suede”. If you have an account and wanted to cherry pick the bonus material without re-buying everything a third time (like I do/don’t).

And alas, Gomez have cancelled the remainder of their North American tour due to illness, including Sunday’s show at The Phoenix.