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Posts Tagged ‘Caveman’

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Thick As Thieves

Widowspeak and The Auras at The Garrison in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangObjectively speaking, there’s not a world of difference between Widowspeak’s 2011 self-titled debut or the follow-up Almanac, released in January of this year. You can file them both quite comfortably under “the soundtrack to dreams of dusty country roads”, not too far from lazy but not inaccurate reference points Mazzy Star and Cat Power, but something about Almanac grabs me the way that Widowspeak, as much as I dug it, didn’t. And it’s not something as simple as they’re getting more dynamic or rocking out harder, as refresher listens to their debut confirm there’s no shortage of volume spikes amidst the sleepiness. There’s just something more present, more assured, in Almanac‘s grooves – like lucid dreaming versus wake-walking. Whatever it is, I love it, and so their show at The Garrison on Monday night – their first non-festival headline date in Toronto – was a must-go on my calendar.

Local support came from The Auras, signed to Toronto’s Optical Sounds and labelmates with B-17, whom I’d just seen just a few days earlier; if there’s some sort of shadow conspiracy to get me more attuned with the city’s psych-pop scene… then it’s working. Mind you, The Auras didn’t impress the same way that B-17 did, but they’re not really built to. Comprised of fresh-faced youngsters rather than scene veterans, they were a bit of a mish-mash visually – a mass of paisley, headbands, shaggy hair, tassels, and with half the six-piece band in sunglasses, all bathed in their a bring-your-own light show. Sonically, they felt more like a a psychedelic jam session, rotating through four lead vocalists and possessing more of vague mandate to sound like a more shambolic, polite Black Angels than a firm mission statement. Understand that this is not a complaint, but actually more a point of envy. Having a group of like-minded players to jam, gig, and record with sounds like the best thing ever, actually.

I saw Widowspeak twice last year – in the same room at NXNE and a few months earlier at SXSW – but this time there was a new rhythm section in place and a fifth member in the fold on guitar and keys. The heart of the band, however – Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas – were still there, ever front and centre. Opening with Almanac leadoff “Perennials”, the template for the show was quickly established – Hamilton serenely cooing into the mic while Thomas got to play the role of guitar hero, although he would have been more effective at it had his guitar not been the quietest of the three on stage; a little more volume would have helped his leads achieve the prominence they deserved and might also have quieted the reasonably-sized if disproportionately chatty crowd audience.

As the show progressed, the chatter either diminished or the genuinely interested moved up to the front – in either case, they were drawn in by the performance, which maintained the same basic rhythm through the better part of an hour, offering a good mix of Almanac and Widowspeak material though sadly omitting two of my favourite new songs, “Devil Knows” and “Spirit Is Willing”. They did shift gears slightly towards the end with a cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” – yeah, having Hamilton wrap her voice around it is a bit on the nose, but still gorgeous – and a keyboard-led “Thick As Thieves”, before closing with a relatively raucous “Ballad Of The Golden Hour” and “Harsh Realm”. An encore wasn’t a foregone conclusion, but Hamilton was enticed to come back out for a final number, a reading of “Limbs” done solo because the rest of the band didn’t know how to play it, and were also busy selling merch off to the side. A modest finale to a modest yet wholly enjoyable show.

Iamnosuperman and Good Times have interviews with Robert Earl Thomas and The Riverfront Times chats with Molly Hamilton while El Paso What’s Up talks to both.

Photos: Widowspeak, The Auras @ The Garrison – April 16, 2013
MP3: Widowspeak – “Ballad Of The Golden Hour”
MP3: Widowspeak – “Sore Eyes”
MP3: Widowspeak – “Gun Shy”
MP3: Widowspeak – “In The Pines”
MP3: Widowspeak – “Devil Knows”
MP3: Widowspeak – “Harsh Realm”
Video: Widowspeak – “Locusts”
Stream: The Auras / The Auras

Not necessarily enough show announcements this week to devote a post, but still a few things of note. Seattle’s Cave Singers will bring their new album Naomi – released last month – to town for a show at The Horseshoe on June 17, tickets $15. There’s a feature on the band at 85-26.

MP3: The Cave Singers – “Black Leaf”
MP3: The Cave Singers – “Swim Club”

California’s Rogue Wave are back with a new record in Nightingale Floors coming out on June 4, and are teaming up with Brooklyn’s Caveman, who just released their second self-titled album, for a Summer tour that hits The Mod Club on June 25, tickets $18.50/.

MP3: Caveman – “Easy Water”
Stream: Rogue Wave – “College”

Another bi-coastal bill will team Californian psych-pop outfit Woods, still working last Fall’s Bend Beyond, with New York ’90s indie rock revivalists Parquet Courts and their debut Light Up Gold for a date at The Horseshoe on July 17, tickets $15.50.

MP3: Woods – “Wind Was The Wine”
MP3: Parquet Courts – “Borrowed Time”

Los Angeles’ Julia Holter brings last year’s Ekstasis to The Drake on July 17, tickets $16.50.

MP3: Julia Holter – “In The Same Room”

Consequence Of Sound, Spinner, Vulture, and Spin talk to Thermals frontman Hutch Harris and PopMatters to drummer Westin Glass about their just-released new record Desperate Ground, and they also talk to The AV Club and Clash respectively about action movies. The Thermals are at The Horseshoe on May 21.

MTV Hive and Stereogum have features on The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, whose new record Mosquito arrived this week.

Interview and The Victoria Times-Colonist talk to Sam Beam about the new Iron & Wine album Ghost On Ghost.

PopMatters, eMusic, Forbes, and Spin have features on The Flaming Lips and their new album The Terror.

The National Post talks to Steve Earle about his latest The Low Highway.

Ra Ra Riot is streaming the single they’ll be releasing for Record Store Day this Saturday via T Magazine. The Alternate Side also has a session with the band, who are here on May 25 at The Sound Academy supporting The Shins, then back for the Field Trip fest at Garrison Commons on June 8.

Stream: Ra Ra Riot – “All I Fear”

Stereogum has a stream of The Hold Steady’s contribution to this week’s Game Of Thrones closing credits, while Wired examines the intersection of the kingdoms of Westeros and the world of indie rock. The Hold Steady are here as part of the Toronto Urban Roots Fest on July 6 at Garrison Commons.

Stream: The Hold Steady – “The Bear & The Maiden Fair”

NPR has a Tiny Desk Concert concert with Yo La Tengo, one of the names at the final day of the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 7.

Kurt Vile is also playing TURF Sunday; Noisey has an interview with him about being a rocker parent rocker.

Janelle Monáe dishes a bit to Billboard about her long-awaited second album The Electric Lady, due out later this year.

Stereogum have premiered the new video from Low’s The Invisible Way.

Video: Low – “Just Make It Stop”

Okkervil River’s Will Sheff has squeezed another video out of his Lovestreams side-project.

Video: Lovestreams – “There’s Video”

NPR welcomes Local Natives for a World Cafe session.

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Fade

Happy holidays from Yo La Tengo and also me but mostly Yo La Tengo

Photo By Carlie ArmstrongCarlie ArmstrongSo here’s one last housecleaning post before basically winding down for the holidays. Which isn’t to say I won’t pop back next week, but let’s not assume so.

Happily, Yo La Tengo have made it easy to wrap things up – whereas most quiet down in December, the trio traditionally have their busiest run of the year thanks to their eight-night run of Hannukah shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken. The combination of a tiny room and ridiculously cool opening acts and special guests have made the events instant sellouts, so those of us who don’t reside in or around the New Jersey area can thank NYC Taper for doing their best to document and share the proceedings.

This year, they captured seven of the eight shows and have made them all available to download, so when you’re sick of Christmas carols, pick one and turn it up. And if you want more, Matablog reports that special mix CDs compiled by the band from their own record collections and made available at the shows will be put on sale online today and tomorrow with all proceeds going to Norton Records, whose Brooklyn warehouse was basically destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Update: And night six is up. Collect them all!

Looking ahead to the January 15 release of their new album Fade, a new video from the record was just released – yes, it’s a time-lapse of a tree not entirely dissimilar to the one on the album cover; it serves as a nice companion piece to the “Before We Run” clip released last month. There’s also a short interview with Ira Kaplan about the new record at DIY, and a gentle reminder that the band are in town at The Phoenix on February 9.

And to keep it seasonal, here’s the Jan Terri cover that led off their 2002 Merry Christmas From Yo La Tengo EP. Because it’s fun.

MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Rock’N’Roll Santa”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Ohm”

Exclaim has some details on the new Guided By Voices EP coming in the new year. It’s called Down By The Racetrack and will be available as of January 22.

Fast Company Create talks to J Mascis and mixer John Agnello and Village Voice to Lou Barlow about why the Dinosaur Jr reunion has been so successful.

Earlier this week, Bob Mould stopped by Reddit for an “Ask Me Anything” session. On March 1, he stops by The Horseshoe for face-tearing rock session.

Some show announcements before people stop paying attention entirely… American lo-fi soul saviour Cody ChesnuTT brings his 2012 release Landing On A Hundred to Wrongbar on February 10, tickets $19.50 in advance.

Video: Cody ChesnuTT – “Till I Met Thee”

Nashville’s Caitlin Rose is at The Garrison on April 5 as part of a Spring tour in support of her new album The Stand-In, due out February 25. A couple of tracks from the record are available to stream.

Stream: Caitlin Rose – “No One To Call”
Stream: Caitlin Rose – “I Was Cruel”

Brooklyn’s Caveman aren’t saying much about their follow-up to last year’s debut Coco Beware besides that it will be out this Spring, but they’ve already announced a tour to promote it. Look for them at Lee’s Palace on March 1, tickets $10.50.

MP3: Caveman – “Easy Water”
MP3: Caveman – “Thankful”

Memphis’ Lucero have graduated to the big rooms – the March 26 date of their Spring tour, still in support of this year’s Women & Work, will have them at The Phoenix. Tickets for that are $20.

Video: Lucero – “Women & Work”

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Sharon Van Etten’s secret show in Brooklyn last week and The Sydney Morning Herald a short interview. She’s here at Massey Hall on March 23 opening up for Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

She & Him get animated in a video for last year’s A Very She & Him Christmas, confirming that releasing a Christmas album is one of the best business decisions – if also one of the worst artistic decisions – a musician can make.

Video: She & Him – “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

The 405 talks to Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing.

It shouldn’t be a point of surprise – they were due – but it’s still exciting that Yeah Yeah Yeahs have confirmed a new album will be out in the Spring via Twitter.

Bat For Lashes have released a third video from The Haunted Man. The Guardian talks to Natasha Khan about her 2012.

Video: Bat For Lashes – “A Wall”

Interview and The Village Voice talk to METZ.

Not sure why it took so long, but Modern Superstitions’ solidly garage-rocking self-titled debut is now available to stream. And buy.

MP3: Modern Superstitions – “Bad Habit”
Stream: Modern Superstitions / Modern Superstitions

Stereogum goes record-listening with John O’Regan of Diamond Rings. The Calgary Herald also has an interview.

That’s it, hopper’s about empty. Have a happy and safe holiday season everyone.

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Coco Beware

Caveman, Hospitality, and Volcano Playground at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s quite possible that people headed out to the Horseshoe on Wednesday night because both halves of the touring bill consisted of New York-based bands with a good head of steam and impressive record label behind them – Caveman, having just signed to Fat Possum and Hospitality preparing to release their debut record very shortly on Merge. Either or both could reasonably emerge as one of the year’s rookie success stories, and who wouldn’t want the bragging rights to say they saw them early on at a little club show? Or it could have been that this was one of the first tours of the young year and folks wanted to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to take in a little live music. In any case, there were a surprising number of folks were out to see a couple of mostly-unknown acts.

Locals Volcano Playground opened things up and some may recall that I’ve felt the space-rock outfit had potential based on a couple live shows. I was pleased to see that their rate of growth as a band between those two shows had continued on – though it had apparently cost them a guitarist at some point along the line – and the style-hopping that marked my earlier impressions had settled into a rhythmically strong and ominously atmospheric aesthetic. Unfortunately, refining their strengths put their weaknesses into starker contrast and their distracted, mumbled vocals and general lack of any kind of stage presence felt more frustrating than they’d been in the past – especially when they prove they can do better, evidenced by the set highlight wherein guitarist/bassist Jackie Game managed to channel Rachel Goswell in a decidedly Souvlaki-esque number. A full-length debut is due out this Spring; fingers are still crossed that it’s a good one.

I went on a bit about Hospitality back in December and as one of the perks of doing what I do, have been enjoying the sprightly, ’80s-echoing but freshly-brewed guitar pop of their self-titled debut for a while even though it’s not out until January 31; had they not been playing, I’d have probably stayed home and slept. What with Amber Papini’s sweetly quirky vocals being such a key facet of their sound, it was a little dismaying that they were buried for the first bit of their set but on the bright side, it did allow one to appreciate the intricacies of their musical arrangements and the twisty guitar interplay between Papini and Nathan Michel as well as bassist Brian Betancourt’s Clean t-shirt – talk about wearing one’s influences. In any case, the mix was sorted out within a few songs, Papini’s voice was again front and centre and balance was restored to the universe and the rest of their spirited set.

My first impressions of Caveman in a live setting was that the complaints I’d had about their debut Coco Beware had been alleviated thanks to the judicious application of volume – it’s hard to fault something for being overly floaty when it’s pounding your eardrums. But while their combination of heavy percussion and echo-driven blooms of guitar were impressive at first, it quickly became formulaic and didn’t do as good a job of distracting from the largely mid-tempo monotony of their material and overall shallowness of their sonic stylings. As with on the record, a few of the songs managed to stand out from their peers, but many of the subtle touches were overpowered by the loud and all told it wasn’t enough to keep me interested. It should be noted that my opinion seemed to be in the minority – the band clearly already had a fanbase hereabouts – but by the time their hour-long set was done, I was mostly just patting myself on the back for having enough self-restraint to not jump onstage and turn off the guitarist’s delay pedal, if only for a moment.

BlogTO was also on hand and has some thoughts.

Photos: Caveman, Hospitality, Volcano Playground @ The Horseshoe – January 11, 2012
MP3: Caveman – “Thankful”
MP3: Caveman – “Easy Water”
MP3: Caveman – “Old Friend”
MP3: Caveman – “Decide”
MP3: Caveman – “My Room”
MP3: Hospitality – “Betty Wang”
MP3: Hospitality – “Friends Of Friends”
MP3: Volcano Playground – “Waiting”
MP3: Volcano Playground – “Anywhere”
Video: Caveman – “Easy Water”

It’s in support of Adam Cohen, sure, but it’s worth noting that Rachael Yamagata will be in town on February 11 for a show at the Mod Club. Her new record Chesapeake came out last Fall and Spinner had an interview in December.

MP3: Rachael Yamagata – “Starlight”

Sleigh Bells may have pushed back the release of Reign Of Terror a week to February 21, but they’re still going ahead with the tour in support of it, and that now includes a February 18 date at The Phoenix, tickets $25 in advance.

MP3: Sleigh Bells – “Infinity Guitars”

YACHT have set course for a North American tour that brings them and last year’s Shangri-La to Wrongbar on February 23.

MP3: YACHT – “Dystopia (The Earth is on Fire)”

Another new song from Craig Finn’s solo debut Clear Heart Full Eyes is available to stream at Stereogum; the record is out January 24. He also talks food with eater.com.

Stream: Craig Finn – “New Friend Jesus”

A second song from School Of Seven Bells’ third record Ghoststory is available to hear ahead of the record’s February 28 release date.

MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “Lafaye”

The first taste of The Magnetic Fields’ return to synthesizers – Love At The Bottom Of The Sea, out March 6 – is now available to stream. They’re at The Sound Academy on March 30.

Stream: The Magnetic Fields – “Andrew In Drag”

Black Cab Sessions takes Chairlift for a ride while Pitchfork sits them down for a chat. Their Something is out January 24 and they’re at The Horseshoe on March 28.

I-D has a video session with Sharon Van Etten. Her new record Tramp is in stores February 7 and she’s at Lee’s Palace on February 14.

Exclaim reports that The Kills will release a new EP led with Blood Pressures track “Last Goodbye” – for which they’ve just released a video – and b-sided with a trio of covers. The EP is out February 14 and the band is at The Kool Haus on February 7.

Video: The Kills – “Last Goodbye”

LCD Soundsystem hasn’t been in the past tense for very long now, but long enough for there to be a documentary film on the band that will be premiering at Sundance in a couple weeks. It’s called Shut Up And Play The Hits and there’s a trailer.

Trailer: Shut Up And Play The Hits

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Easy Water

Review of Caveman’s Coco Beware and giveaway

Photo via Dine Alone RecordsFrank YangMost bands that name themselves for prehistoric entities – your Mastadons, your Dinosaur Jrs – seem to do so at least a little for the heavy and/or primal connotations that come with it. Not so much for Brooklyn’s Caveman, who seem to have chosen the name ironically as there’s nothing raw or neolithic about their smooth and polished debut album Coco Beware.

Rather than club you about the head with a bone, Caveman makes an impression with shimmering guitars, floaty synths and tight harmonies delivering genial, mid-tempo pop that’s reminiscent of a less annoying Vampire Weekend sans Afropop influences. Another reference point is Local Natives thanks to their vocal interplay and creative percussion though Caveman never gets nearly as frantic as that outfit when they’re in gear. Granted, atmosphere and mood are much more Caveman’s mandate than overt dynamicism but you can sense that they’ve got the goods to amp things up a bit if they wanted, they’ve simply opted not to. As a result, Coco Beware succeeds at being an interesting listen, but not a very exciting one. They can do better.

Caveman are in town at The Horseshoe on January 11 along with Oklahoma’s Hospitality, chattered about here. Tickets are $10 in advance but courtesy of Embrace I’ve got a pair of passes to give away to the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see Caveman” in the subject line and your full name in the body, contest closes at midnight, January 8.

MP3: Caveman – “Thankful”
MP3: Caveman – “Easy Water”
MP3: Caveman – “Old Friend”
MP3: Caveman – “Decide”
MP3: Caveman – “My Room”
Video: Caveman – “Easy Water”

Anyone hoping that the Cat Power Christmas Eve release would be a new song rather than a cover might be a little disappointed that it’s not – but to be fair, it’s a cover of herself. Her redo of “King Rides By” sounds very much like the confident Cat Power of today than rather than the one who originally recorded it for her third album What Would The Community Think in 1996 – great for those who have been waiting to hear her voice wrapped around anything new but not necessarily offering much insight into where her songwriting is as she prepares her first release of new material since 2006’s The Greatest. An MP3 of the track is available to download from Cat Power’s website in exchange for a charitable donation and the video, featuring boxer Manny Pacquiao and directed by actor/director Giovanni Ribisi, is available to watch below.

Video: Cat Power – “King Rides By”

Wilco are streaming the opening night of their “Incredible Shrinking Tour Of Chicago” from earlier this month at Roadcase.

One of this year’s Record Store Day releases was an EP consisting of Franz Ferdinand covers; a video for the selection by Peaches came out back in the Spring but now, three more for the contributions by LCD Soundsystem, Stephin Merritt and ESG have come out. Still nothing for the collaboration between Franz Ferdinand themselves and Deborah Harry yet, but these other vids came out of nowhere as well. So.

Video: LCD Soundsystem – “Live Alone”
Video: ESG – “What She Came For”
Video: Stephin Merritt – “Dream Again”
Video: Peaches – “Turn It On”

Spinner talks to Matthew Sweet about celebrating his 20th anniversary with his Girlfriend, Laundromatinee welcomes the popsmith to their studios for a session, and NPR has a Mountain Stage session.

The AV Club gets Craig Finn to go all One-Track Mind with one of the songs from his solo debut Clear Heart Full Eyes, due out January 24.

DIY checks in with Of Montreal as they put the finishing touches on Paralytic Stalks, out February 7.

The Alternate Side serves up a session with Mates Of State.

Spin has a Moog Sound Lab video session with The Antlers.

Loud & Quiet interviews Erika Anderson of EMA, who has a date at The Garrison on March 13.

Merrell Garbus talks to Blurt about what’s been a pretty good year for tUnE-yArDs. Relix also has a chat.

NYC Taper – who narrowly avoided being hacked into oblivion earlier this week – has posted recordings of a couple of this year’s Yo La Tengo Hannukah shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken.

Paste looks into the enduring appeal of Neutral Milk Hotel’s not-nearly-as-reclusive-as-he-used-to-be leader Jeff Mangum.

NPR talks to Tom Waits.