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Posts Tagged ‘Chad Van Gaalen’

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Reservoir

Review of PUP’s PUP

Photo By Frank YangAmanda FotesSo a few weekends ago, the good folks from NPR’s World Cafe programme were in town exploring Toronto for their Sense Of Place series, and one of their stops was my dining room. They had somehow gotten it into their heads that I was the right person to recommend some up and coming 416/905 bands and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that my days of being out in the trenches (read: clubs) seeing fresh-faced new acts were long behind me. But I think I still managed to put together a solid list of recommendations, most of whom are familiar to the pages of this blog; one who was not, however, was PUP. So before my segment airs (next Wednesday around 5PM, I think), let’s rectify that.

I think in my elevator pitch for PUP, I described as something akin to pop-punk without the shopping mall baggage of that genre. Emphasis on “I think”, because I was blathering pretty badly throughout the interview. What I meant was that the band and their debut album PUP was loud, brash, and melodic, but without the disaffected ennui or sophomoric snottiness that I’d otherwise associate with the label. Powered by the friction of disappointment and defiance that’s the territory of youth, PUP balances snarling vocals with singalong choruses and bristling with riffs metallic without being quite metal. PUP may not have made it into these pages before this because, well, big loud rock is young people music but man, if I were some years younger, this would be the shit.

There’s features on the band at Exclaim, The Edmonton Sun, and Planet S; Exclaim also has a video session with the band.

Video: PUP – “Reservoir
Stream: PUP / PUP

It’s not entirely clear what the just-announced Fucked Up, S.H.I.T, and Odonis Odonis show at The Garrison on November 20 is about, but from the looks of this RSVP form, it’s sponsored by Vice, possibly free, and as cuss-worthy as you can get. If only “odonis” were a swear.

MP3: Fucked Up – “A Little Death”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Better”
Stream: S.H.I.T. / Equalizing Distort Radio Session

And speaking of Fucked Up things, the lineup for the December edition of Long Winter – taking place December 13 at The Great Hall – has just been announced, and while the event’s patrons are again not on the bill, it is still pretty stacked with performances by Doldrums, Hooded Fang, Fresh Snow, and Beliefs (the last two – spoiler alert! – also making an appearance in my NPR segment) amongst many, many others. As always, the event will be pay-what-you-can, multi-disciplinary, and wonderful.

MP3: Doldrums – “I’m Homesick Sittin’ Up Here In My Satellite”
MP3: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
Video: Hooded Fang – “Ode To Subterrania”
Video: Beliefs – “Catch My Breath”

Great Lake Swimmers leader Tony Dekker will be at Yorkville’s Heliconian Hall for two shows on January 24 in support of his solo album Prayer Of The Woods; tickets for each performance are $20.

Video: Tony Dekker – “Prayer Of The Woods”

Vancouver’s Belle Game – just in town a couple weeks back – have already set a return date behind their debut Ritual Tradition Habit; they’ll be at The Horseshoe on February 8, tickets $13.50 in advance. There’s features on the band at The Vancouver Sun and The Province.

MP3: The Belle Game – “River”

And I guess people have been waiting for this one for a while; Arcade Fire have revealed the dates for their North American tour in support of Reflektor. Toronto gets to put on their mandatory costumes and fancy dress to file into the Air Canada Centre on March 13, tickets ranging from $30.50 to $70.50 plus fees.

Video: Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”

Austra have released a new video from Olympia.

Video: Austra – “Forgive Me”

Noisey has premiered the new video from Louise Burns’ latest album The Midnight Mass.

Video: Louse Burns – “Jasper”

Tokyo Police Club gives Exclaim an update on their next album, targeted for an early 2014 release.

Southern Souls chats with Chad VanGaalen.

Spencer Krug of Moonface lists off some favourite albums for Chart; he also gives an interview to Exclaim.

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Saturation Complete

Fresh Snow and Mimico at The Boat in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI don’t spend nearly as much time in the clubs scouting out new local acts as I used to – and relative to some who do this, I never spent that much time on that beat anyways – but last Thursday night at The Boat, I was reminded of what I liked and disliked about it. The “dislike” basically comes down to set times that always run at least a half hour and more likely an hour behind and thus being out far later than I’d like, the generally terrible venue lighting, and the greater than usual odds of seeing music that just doesn’t do anything for you. And under “like”, you’ve really only got one point – the prospect of seeing something great emerge before your eyes and ears.

That wasn’t really the case with Mimico, whom I arrived in time to see but would have missed had things been running on time. The stuff I’d listened to from their self-titled EP wasn’t bad in a rough, Kraftwerk-y post-punk sort of way but they couldn’t translate it live. Perhaps if they’d had their MIA drummer, it’d have been more engaging but as a two-piece synth-guitar duo playing over tinny drum machine patterns, it was far more meandering and failed to come together. But the recordings are pretty good for what they are, so I’ll not write them off yet.

I actually shouldn’t pretend that I was simply out scouting for new blood on this night; I’d covered Fresh Snow in this year’s NXNE coverage and had seen them play a couple times in Spring 2012, when they were a much greener act – so decidedly known quantities. But the occasion of the release of their debut album I merited another writeup because a) the album is really quite good, and b) I needed something to blog about.

To the former point, the shorthand on Fresh Snow is that they’re an instrumental, kinda post-Krautrock band – and it’s true that they like the drone and the noise in equal measure. But sandwiched between I‘s bookends of “French Horse Hall Of Fame” and “Saturation Complete” – which amount to almost 30 minutes of the a glorious combination thereof – they also get positively pop (“Helix Pass”) and show off a deft touch for dreamy ambience (“Los Vientos Del Tempo”) en route to a solid initial statement. It’s made up of a lot of things you’ve heard before, but taken as the big picture, there’s enough dynamics and ideas that the Fresh Snow ethos feels remarkably original.

As for the show, it wasn’t far removed from the NXNE performance. Their instrumental intro took too long to coalesce into something coherent, but once they got their feet under them it was full steam ahead. For the numbers of synths they had on stage, they spent much of the show in a decidedly conventional guitar-bass-drums (plus violin) configuration that offered all the loud and driving rockists could want and made for a solid wrestling match of control and chaos. A few interruptions in the flow of the show – though nothing like the power outages in June – kept it from becoming the fully hypnotic experience it could have and should been, but as a record release and coming out party, it was an impressive one.

Photos: Fresh Snow, Mimico @ The Boat – August 8, 2013
MP3: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
MP3: Fresh Snow – “BMX Based Tactics”
Video: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
Stream: Mimico / Mimico

Snowblink reveals to NOW that their next release will be a death-themed covers EP called I Am a Hall Of Fame; Post City also has an interview. They play BLK BOX as part of the Summerworks music series on August 14.

MTV is streaming four tracks from Mass:Light, the new solo record from Murray Lightburn; it’ll be out August 20. EastScene also has an interview with the Dears frontman.

Braids are streaming another track from Flourish//Perish, though with its August 20 release date just around the corner, expect the whole thing to start streaming any moment now. They play BLK BOX on November 10.

Stream: Braids – “Freund”

NME introduces their readers to Diana, just in time for the August 20 release of Perpetual Surrender. They play The Great Hall on September 26.

Fucked Up have been announced as the musical guests for the September 5 edition of First Thursdays at the Art Gallery Of Ontario, an event which will also feature a live video chat with artist Ai Wei Wei.

MP3: Fucked Up – “A Little Death”

NPR is streaming one of two new Stars songs which will be released as a 7″ single on September 10.

Stream: Stars – “Wishful”

aux.tv and Beatroute have interviews with Louise Burns, who supports Lightning Dust at The Drake Underground on September 10.

The Chicago Tribune and Metro get to know Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz. They play Wrongbar on September 17.

Islands have premiered a second taste of their new album Ski Mask via Spin ahead of its September 17 release, while Chart also has a video session. They play The Garrison on October 10.

Stream: Islands – “Becoming The Gunship”

Folks looking for an excuse to hang out in the park before Autumn well and truly rolls around should know about the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival, happening on September 21 and 22 at Christie Pits and featuring live music from the likes of The Golden Dogs, Memoryhouse, and Beams and two special secret headliners who – let’s face it – are almost sure to be Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene. Unless they’re not.

MP3: The Golden Dogs – “Travel Time”
MP3: Memoryhouse – “Quiet America”

Stereogum has an interview with Katie Stelmanis of Austra. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

Run Riot talks to Basia Bulat about her new record Tall Tall Shadow; it’s out October 1 and she plays The Polish Combatants Hall on October 10.

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan has announced details of their second album as well as sharing the first track, and Pitchfork is on it. Uzu will be out on October 29.

Stream: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “One”

Arcade Fire haven’t announced the title of their new album, out October 29, but the internet rumour mill is saying Reflektor and this website is certainly Arcade Fire-y in its crypticness. They’re less coy about the fact that they’re also scoring the new Spike Jonze film Her, because Pitchfork said so.

Dan Bejar is taking Destroyer back on the road this Fall with Pink Mountaintops as support but without a band. He’ll be exploring his songbook in solo style and also promises some new songs in the mix. Exclaim has full dates and details, including a November 9 date at The Great Hall.

MP3: Destroyer – “Chinatown”
MP3: Pink Mountaintops – “Vampire”

Spin has premiered the new (and first?) video from Born Ruffians’ latest album Birthmarks. They play The Danforth Music Hall on November 22.

Video: Born Ruffians – “Needle”

Rose Cousins has released a new video from last year’s wonderful We Have Made A Spark.

Video: Rose Cousins – “For The Best”

Evening Hymns have posted a complete livestream of a show in Kelowna, British Columbia last week. There’s also interviews with Jonas Bonetta at The Gate and The Edmonton Journal.

Chad VanGaalen fills in Exclaim on what he’s been up to.

Jim Guthrie road trips down to NPR to play a Tiny Desk Concert.

Earshot interviews Gold & Youth.

Dan Boeckner talks to Exclaim about his new project Operators, which he’ll presumably be more focused on once Britt Daniel puts Divine Fits on the back burner to concentrate on the next Spoon record.

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.

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Vowels = Space And Time

Grimes leads historical reenactment of War Of 1812. Or something.

Photo By John LondonoJohn LondonoI didn’t study a whole lot of history in school – to my regret – and the topics I did cover didn’t include the War Of 1812. I did, however, take a lot of math courses so I am able to calculate that this is the 200th anniversary of said conflict between the then-British territory that would become known as Canada and the newly-independent United States of America.

The precise causes of the war aren’t entirely clear to me but based on the musical events being scheduled at Toronto’s Historic Fort York – the site of the Battle Of York in April 1813 – this Summer, it was about the inalienable right to get one’s dance on. After all – there’s the HARD fest in August where French electro/disco headliners Justice and M83 will presumably be representing the interests of Lower Canada, and just announced this week for July 13 is the first date of the Full Flex Express tour. It will see Canadian electro artist Grimes teaming up with American DJ types Skrillex and Diplo travelling the country by train to celebrate the way in which our two countries were able to overcome our differences and spend the last two centuries coexisting in harmony through the power of dubstep. Or maybe they’re going to don period uniforms, brandish muskets, and have at each other for a few hours. One can only hope.

Tickets go on sale today with a limited number of early birds available for $41.50 and the rest at $51.50. And to top it off, Grimes has released a new video from this year’s Visions that I assume is an accurate recreation of Major General Roger Hale Sheaffe’s retreat from the American forces at Fort York. There’s more nudity than I would have expected, but hey – I’m not the historian here.

MP3: Grimes – “Genesis”
MP3: Diplo – “Express Yourself”
Video: Skrillex – “Bangarang”
Video: Grimes – “Nightmusic”

Chad VanGaalen has made a date at The Mod Club for July 26.

MP3: Chad VanGaalen – “Willow Tree”

The Wilderness of Manitoba are still being coy about the what and when of their second album, but they’re being generous with where. They’ve got a couple shows planned for the Summer – one on June 1 at the Steam Whistle Roundhouse and another on June 30 on the Toronto Islands as part of the New Traditions festival with a goodly number of artists, both musical and visual. Admission for the Steam Whistle thing is $5 and a festival pass for the latter is $20.

MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Hermit”

And if you like your festivals on islands, you’ll be pleased to know that Kingston’s Wolfe Island Music Festival has announced their 2012 lineup – Sam Roberts, Zeus, and Yukon Blonde are just a few of the acts playing on August 10 and 11, early bird tickets are $65, include camping and go on sale next week. I went to the fest back in 2007 and it is a great time, well worth the trip up the 401.

NOW makes cover stars of PS I Love You, headlining The Garrison on May 15.

Metro, The Winnipeg Free Press, and Monday talk to Al Spx of Cold Specks, whose debut album I Predict A Graceful Expulsion is out May 22. They play The Music Hall on June 2 opening for Great Lake Swimmers.

And speaking of Great Lake Swimmers, there’s feature interviews with the band at Vancouver Weekly, The Victoria Times Colonist, Exclaim, The Calgary Herald, and The Georgia Straight. In addition to the aforementioned Music Hall show, they’ll be supporting Blue Rodeo at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 18.

Japandroids give Exclaim some background on the title of their new album Celebration Rock, out May 29. They’re at Lee’s Palace on June 23.

With the June 12 release date of Synthetica coming up, Metric gives Rolling Stone an acoustic performance of the first single and tell aux.tv where the “reflection” videos they’re using as promotional teasers came from.

aux.tv gets Plants & Animals to offer commentary for their “Lightshow” video. They play Yonge-Dundas Square on June 15 for NXNE.

Spin gets to know Dan Mangan, who plays a free show as part of LuminaTO at Pecault Square on the afternoon of June 16.

The Guardian gets on board with The Magic. Their debut Ragged Gold is out June 25.

Trust have released a new video from their debut album TRST. They play The Great Hall on July 13.

Video: Trust – “Sulk”

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

"Willow Tree"

Slow Club covers Chad VanGaalen

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangUsually when it comes time to post one of these weekly covers – which would be every week – at least half of the equation is a famous or at least notable artist with a significant backstory to them. That that is not so much the case this week should not take anything away from either the coverer or coveree – I actually think it makes it more interesting. I mean, how often does an English band working their first album opt to record and release as a b-side a cover of an active, underground, eccentric Canadian singer-songwriter-animator? Probably exactly once.

And that was when Sheffield Slow Club released their “Giving Up On Love” single in Spring of 2010, taken from their debut Yeah So, recorded their take on a song from Chad VanGaalen’s 2008 album Soft Airplane. Pretty random, but also pretty charming. This recording isn’t the actual b-side – that’s more fully-produced sounding – but a live version recorded, as the note implies, in a hotel room somewhere. Also charming.

Slow Club are currently on tour in support of last year’s sophomore effort Paradise and are at The Rivoli in Toronto tonight. Chad VanGaalen released his latest album Diaper Island last Spring; as part of a Valentine’s Day feature, he told The National Post how he met his wife Sara.

MP3: Slow Club – “Willow Tree” (hotel room recording)
Video: Slow Club – “Willow Tree” (live at Hampton Court fairground, March 2010)
MP3: Chad VanGaalen – “Willow Tree”