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Posts Tagged ‘Chad Van Gaalen’

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Oh Fortune

Dan Mangan and The Daredevil Christopher Wright at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangMuch of Dan Mangan’s appeal comes from his everyman-ness – and his beard, if you ask certain friends of mine – so when he was playing the back rooms of bars, as at The Rivoli in October 2009 or The Horseshoe in April 2010, it felt perfectly natural. Those shows also felt utterly jam-packed – because they were – making it unlikely that the club circuit would be able to serve his ever-growing audience for very long. And so when he played Trinity-St. Paul’s in his last proper Toronto show last October, it felt like he’d made a significant step up.. or so I’d imagine – I missed that show, making this past Friday night’s performance at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre in support of Oh Fortune the first time I’d be seeing Mangan in such a formal setting. Or as formal as you could get with a Hallowe’en theme park located around the corner.

Openers The Daredevil Christopher Wright were certainly impressed with the venue. The Madison, Wisconsin trio said as much during their set, between showing off songs from their new EP, The Longsuffering Song. Their whimsical, carnival-like musical sensibilities and endearing presence was easy to enjoy, but with the instrument swapping and impeccable harmonies, it was impossible to not notice the formidable musicianship and sophisticated songwriting underneath. It was no stretch to say that while they’re not nearly at a point in their career to be headlining theatres like this, they’ve got the talent to get there. Or to a big top. Whichever.

Dan Mangan, on the other hand, had already grown comfortably into the posher surroundings. Fronting a seven-piece flannel orchestra, he opened with Oh Fortune‘s “About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All” – complete with wall of noise introduction – and over the next hour and fifteen, took full advantage of the room’s acoustics and the capabilities of his band to reproduce the complex textures of the new record. I was sorry I missed The Crackling, who’d opened up the night, as they were made up of some members of Mangan’s band and really stood out in bringing his songs to life and in many cases, eclipsing the recorded versions. In particular, the effected/delayed trumpet of JP Carter was used as a ghostly sonic backdrop for much of the show and the barber shop harmonies that opened up “Some People”, to say nothing of the big instrumental jam in the bridge, were remarkable enhancements.

But just as I described Mangan’s steady presence in the sonic swirl of Oh Fortune, so too was he a rock of solidity throughout the show with his mostly-acoustic guitar, gravelly voice and thoughtful, empathic songs. Interestingly, even with so much going on sonically I found myself compelled to pay even more attention to Mangan’s lyrics in this live setting and more fully appreciating the way he balances simplicity and depth in his songs. A particular standout was “Basket”, from Nice, Nice, Very Nice, which Mangan said was a birthday request though its ruminations on aging make it kind of a grim birthday tune.

Though the set was relatively short, Mangan managed to fit an impressive number of tunes into his allotted time and also a goodly amount of banter; this may have been physically the furthest he’s been from his audience, but he was still able to reach out and connect with them and make it feel intimate. After ending the main set with an aptly-named “Jeopardy” – his amp was making unhappy noises and threatened to blow up at any moment – he returned for the encore solo at first, inviting the audience to sub in for Veda Hille on “The Indie Queens Are Waiting”, offering a faithful reading of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” and then closing out with a full band “Robots” – of course” – and placing his mic facing out into the crowd to play chorus while he went for a wander in their midst. A fitting end to a show that was eminently satisfying, with Mangan proving that his charms easily translate into larger rooms and larger audiences. There weren’t any surprises, but then that’s not his game – he wasn’t here to argue or debate or make bold declarations; simply to play his songs and strike up a conversation with friends. We were all friends here.

BlogTO also has a review of the show and NOW, Uptown, View, The Manitoban, The Cord, and The Toronto Star all have interviews with Mangan.

Photos: Dan Mangan, The Daredevil Christopher Wright @ The Queen Elizabeth Theatre – October 28, 2011
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Oh Fortune”
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Robots”
MP3: Dan Mangan w Shane Kyczan – “Tragic Turn Of Events”
MP3: The Daredevil Christopher Wright – “The Animal Of Choice”
MP3: The Daredevil Christopher Wright – “The East Coast”
Video: Dan Mangan – “Rows Of Houses”
Video: Dan Mangan – “Sold”
Video: Dan Mangan – “Robots”
Video: Dan Mangan – “The Indie Queens are Waiting”
Video: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”
Video: The Daredevil Christopher Wright – “Stewardess”
Stream: The Daredevil Christopher Wright / The Longsuffering Song

Feist talks to HitFix and has also released a video taken from her show at the Glenn Gould Studio in early October, which will be broadcast on CBC Radio 2 tomorrow night – November 2 – at 7PM. She is at Massey Hall on December 1.

Video: Feist – “Caught A Long Wind” (live at Glenn Gould Studio)

The Washington Post talks to Katie Stelmanis of Austra, who are at The Phoenix on December 1 and whose set at Moogfest this past weekend is streaming over at NPR. Both support acts for that show – Young Galaxy and Tasseomancy – have also just released new videos.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Phantoms”
Video: Tasseomancy – “Black Milk”

Heavy Weather has posted a video performance by Bruce Peninsula recorded atop Signal Hill in St. John’s, Newfoundland. And while there, they also chatted with The Telegram.

The Ottawa Sun talks to Chad VanGaalen.

Daytrotter has posted a session with The Wilderness Of Manitoba.

The Darcys have announced they’ll play an in-store at Kops Records on Queen West on November 7 starting around 1PM for a sort of teaser of their full show at The Horseshoe on November 18.

MP3: The Darcys – “Shaking Down The Old Bones”

Pitchfork have inaugurated their new Frames animated feature by turning Fucked Up into a cartoon with Damian Abraham narrating the story of his first stitches.

And finally, how much does Toronto love My Bloody Valentine? Enough to stage not one but two concert events honouring the twentieth anniversary of Loveless, that’s how much. The first, Toronto’s Loveless, goes this Friday, November 4, at the Toronto Underground Theatre and will feature performances from Ruby Coast, Volcano Playground and others – admission $10 at the door. And as a bonus, event organizers Gold Soundz have assembled a Loveless tribute album comprised of Toronto artists – many of whom are playing the event – as well as Memoryhouse and Silver Dapple.

The other event is a Wavelength joint called Lovel(in)ess which will feature a complete reading of Loveless by an assemblage of local players calling themselves So Much Sorry as well as a set from Flowers Of Hell and MBV covers from a variety of other acts. That one takes place November 18 at The Garrison, admission $10 or pay what you can.

MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “To Here Knows When”
MP3: Memoryhouse – “When You Sleep”
MP3: Volcano Playground – “Come In Alone”

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

100 Mile House

Review of The Darcys’ The Darcys

Photo By Aaron MillerAaron MillerThere’s no shortage of variants on the sentiment that good things come to those who wait, but in the case of Toronto’s Darcys, keeping the faith would have been trying for the most steadfast optimists. The specifics of their long, four-year gap between their debut Endless Water and their self-titled follow-up – out today – are still best documented in this Toronto Star feature from back in March, which is also approximately when I got a finished copy of the record to preview. To reiterate: this album was finished and ready for the world in March, and probably even a while before that. And it’s only coming out today.

But to invoke another platitude, was The Darcys worth the wait? Has the band who has been carrying the mantle of potentially being the city’s next big thing for so long that other big things have already come and gone finally delivered on that promise? I give that a very qualified, “yes”. It definitely confirms them as an inordinately talented and ambitious outfit with a gift for dramatic, prog-pop songcraft. With lush keyboards, nimble, complex rhythms, intricately-arranged guitars set to chime and squall, and rough yet soaring vocals from frontman Jason Couse, their sound is evocative of turn of the century Radiohead and Elbow; certainly heady reference points and ones that set them apart from many of their peers.

So why the reservations? Because for as long in coming as this record has been, in the end it still tantalizes more than it satisfies. The Darcys excels at building and teasing out tension but for all the moments of release, be it instrumental or vocal, it doesn’t quite manage to offer that one grand moment that pulls it all together and transcends. It’s essentially what I noted when I saw them in Halifax a year ago, in thinking they were one big chorus away from stardom. That’s a lot to ask of a band, especially on what is for all intents and purposes a debut album, but great artistic ambitions come with great expectations.

That said, it’s important to again note that these songs and this record have been hanging around for a long time and might very well not reflect where The Darcys actually are, circa late 2011. I remain confident that any expectations around the band will still be realized, and possibly sooner than we might expect; to make up for the delay in getting The Darcys out, the band already have two more albums in the can and will be putting them out in the new year. If you consider The Darcys as the first instalment in a trilogy, then it becomes a much more exciting entity as it sets the stage for the sequels. And for all the extra pressure that may put on the band, one suspects that after spending so long waiting for their moment, they’ll relish the opportunity to rise to the challenge.

The Darcys is being made available for free digitally and for sale as an LP; head over to the Arts & Crafts website to download it in exchange for an email address or stream it in whole at Spinner. Additionally, the band has recorded a live video for each song from the album and I’m pleased to be able to premiere the one for the album’s lead-off track, “100 Mile House”. The others will be going up today at a variety of sites around the internet – I’ll update this post with links as I collect them, starting with Exclaim (“Glasnost”), aux.tv (“I Will Be Light”), Baeble Music (“The Mountains Make Way”), Chart (“When I Am New Again”), Spinner (“Shaking Down The Old Bones”), The Line Of Best Fit (“Don’t Bleed Me”), Absolute Punk (“Edmonton To Purgatory”), Wood & Wires (“Des Animeaux”) and CBC Radio 3 (“The Mountains Make Way”). That’s all!

The Darcys play a hometown record release show at The Horseshoe on November 18.

MP3: The Darcys – “Shaking Down The Old Bones”
MP3: The Darcys – “House Built Around Your Voice”
Stream: The Darcys / The Darcys

The Halifax Chronicle Herald, The Coast, and Aux.tv have feature interviews with Fucked Up.

The Big Takeover has an interview with Evan Abeele of Memoryhouse.

The Line Of Best Fit is streaming another new track from Kathleen Edwards’ forthcoming Voyageur, out January 17.

Stream: Kathleen Edwards – “Sidecar”

Diamond Rings has made a b-side from a tour-only 7″ for “You & Me” available to stream, a cover of Teenage Fanclub’s “Mellow Doubt”. Rather an unlikely song from an unlikely band, but I like it.

Stream: Diamond Rings – “Mellow Doubt”

Speaking of tour-only goodies, those hitting up one of Chad VanGaalen’s upcoming shows will be able to pick up one or all of eight cassette-only releases of material from the VanGaalen vaults. You can stream a sampler of the Cassette Tape Series over at Flemish Eye. VanGaalen plays The Mod Club on October 28 and there’s features at The Georgia Straight, Here and hour.

BlogTO catches up with The Balconies, who have just released their new Kill Count EP, though it’s only available at shows. Which means you’ll have to be at The Horseshoe on October 29 if you want to get a copy.

While a touch disappointed that the release of Spectral Dusk, the new record from Evening Hymns has been pushed back from this year until Spring 2012, that’s more than offset by finally being given a taste of the finished product – a new song is streaming over at Facebook.

Stream: Evening Hymns – “Asleep In The Pews”

Spin reports that Leonard Cohen will release a new studio album next year, entitled Old Ideas.

It’s not really common for books to have soundtracks, but when the book is Have Not Been The Same, the recently-reissued definitive tome on Canadian rock in the ’90s, then it’s almost a necessity. And so it is that come next month, we will have Too Cool To Live; Too Smart To Die, a tribute album featuring current Canadian acts covering songs of the book’s era, including Forest City Lovers tackling Sloan, Great Lake Swimmers saluting Grapes Of Wrath, Bruce Peninsula’s Neil Haverty reinterpreting Rheostatics and much more. A full tracklisting of who does what can be found at Radio Free Canuckistan, blog of one of the book’s authors, and the comp itself will be out digitally on November 15 and be available exclusively via Zunior with all proceeds going to support the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health in Toronto.

The Line Of Best Fit has released a special Halifax Pop Explosion edition of their Oh! Canada compilations available to download.

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Scenes From The Suburbs

Arcade Fire wins the 2011 Polaris Music Prize; people bragging about predicting it just look silly

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangExecutive summary of this post: Arcade Fires’s third album The Suburbs did what everyone kind of expected and won the 2011 Polaris Music Prize last night, and with the $30,000 giant novelty cheque comes loads of praise and under-the-breath mutterings about how they don’t deserve it, though that’d have happened no matter who won. If you’re the sort of person who only looks at the scoreboard and pays no attention to the boxscores, then you’re done here. If you want the blow-by-blow about how it happened, well, I don’t have that for you either. I offered my own thoughts on the record’s deserving the prize when I put it at the top of my ballot but as with every year, what happens in the Grand Jury room stays in the Grand Jury room, guarded by the ghosts of masons and templars, but I can at least report on what happened at the gala proper.

Unlike last year’s rare ten for ten in terms of shortlisters showing up to perform, only six acts were available to take the stage this year. Arcade Fire and Colin Stetson had legitimate reasons for missing out, the former having just headlined Austin City Limits the night before and unable to do it logistically (though three of the band were in attendance) and the latter being in Los Angeles as part of Bon Iver’s touring band. No official reason was given for Destroyer’s Dan Bejar not being in attendance, let alone perform and even though The Weeknd had established themselves as actually existing and being able to perform a couple months earlier, Abel Tesfaye seems to have since decided it’s more fun being an urban legend than a real person.

And so we began with Ron Sexsmith, looking dapper in a red tuxedo jacket, led his full band through a couple selections from Long Player Late Bloomer. I daresay no one was especially blown away by the performance but that’s not Sexsmith’s thing – he’s in it for the long game and will be crafting fine pop songs years from now. Austra followed and though from the same neck of the woods – Toronto represent! – was at the complete opposite end of the musical spectrum, with a dramatic visual presentation to go the intense, operatic synth-goth sound of Feel It Break. The live show was about as impressive as I’ve heard it was.

Montreal’s Galaxie were up next and were an anodyne for anyone bemoaning the lack of straight-ahead rock in today’s music. For Galaxie and their nominated record Tigre et diesel were nothing if not straight-ahead rock, with lots of meaty, 70s-vintage guitar riffs and corresponding swagger. I continue to bear them a bit of ill will for calling themselves Galaxie 500 for so long but if you heard them, there’s no way you’d confuse them with the REAL Galaxie 500. Timber Timbre recital of a couple numbers from Creep On Creepin’ On was probably the biggest revelation of the night. I’d not seen them live since it was still a Taylor Kirk solo project hiding in the dark and here, they were a full 9-piece band with string quartet and the scale of sound they made were remarkable; there was no more hiding in the shadows, instead this was Timber Timbre standing proud and tall for all to see and hear and they would not be cowed by the light.

The Timber Timbre experience was emblematic of why these Polaris galas are so great – in the months leading up to it, there’s inevitably bands you dismiss or make jokes about because you don’t believe they’ll win or even belong on the short list, but to see them in this sort of setting and doing their thing it’s very difficult to not understand and appreciate how, even if they’re not your thing, they’re almost always great in their way. Braids, whose Native Speaker I never warmed to, almost made me want to reassess my opinion of them in that manner – in fact with their first song, they had me with their obviously impressive musicianship and complex songwriting. But by their second number, those feelings of “this is so pretty” were equaled if not surpassed by feelings of, “this is so so so long”. That said, their focus is much sharper than it was when I last saw them live, so in a few years/records I may well be on board. But not yet.

This left Newfoundland’s Hey Rosetta! to close things out. Contrary to their last gala appearance in 2009, the band eschewed the massive orchestral presentation that people equate with their sound and went with the core six-piece configuration to showcase a couple songs from Seeds. Their earnest compositions were pretty and pleasant, but felt more polite than passionate – many swear by their grand, heartfelt pop but it just doesn’t really connect with me… but two Polaris shortlist appearances in as many albums certainly speaks to them doing something right.

With the performances done, all that remained was to give Arcade Fire another major award to go with their Grammy, Juno and BRIT. Unlike past years, where the announcement of the winner usually resulted in at least some gasps and/or confused looks, this year’s announcement was met with applause and nods – either in agreement that the right call had been made or in resignation that none of an electronic witch, avant-garde saxman or leisure-suited poet could derail the Suburbs-sized freight train. Represented by Win Butler, Richard Reed Parry and Jeremy Gara, they were gracious winners who encouraged young bands to create greater works than they had and invited them to come record at their studio, into which they hinted that at least some of the winnings would get invested.

And so the record that was both the surest thing and the longest shot come out on top and in the process, dismantled the Polaris’ growing reputation as something of a contrarian prize. Everybody wins. Especially Arcade Fire.

For more non-performance shots from the gala and Arcade Fire press conference, check out my Flickr.

Photos: Polaris Music Prize Gala 2011 @ The Masonic Temple – September 19, 2011
MP3: Austra – “Lose It”
MP3: Braids – “Lemonade”
MP3: Destroyer – “Chinatown”
MP3: Hey Rosetta! – “Yer Spring”
MP3: Colin Stetson – “Fear Of The Unknown And The Blazing Sun”
MP3: Timber Timbre – “Black Water”
MP3: The Weeknd – “The Party & The After Party”
Video: Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”
Video: Galaxie – “Piste 01″
Video: Ron Sexsmith – “Late Bloomer” (live)

The Globe & Mail, Toronto Star and National Post ran some pre-gala Polaris pieces on the topics of citizenship and eligibility for the award, the Arcade Fire’s chances and the process and nominees and whatnot, respectively. And peeking over across the Atlantic, The Line Of Best Fit had a three-parter examining each of the shortlisted records and an interview with prize founder Steve Jordan.

Also posted prior to last night – Spinner asking Katie Stelmanis of Austra what they’d have done with their winnings and Exclaim, BlogTO and Spinner finding out how being shortlisted has affected Colin Stetson.

The Vancouver Sun and Georgia Straight talk to 2010 Polaris winners Karkwa.

The Georgia Straight, The Portland Mercury and Backseat Seattle talk to Young Galaxy as they tour over to the west coast.

Stool Pigeon talks to Chad VanGaalen. He’s at The Mod Club on October 28.

Pitchfork has an interview with Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew wherein he reveals the band are going on a hiatus after their last few shows of the year are done. Whether this means another deluge of “Broken Social Scene Presents” solo records is unclear.

The New York Times talks to Feist about her new record Metals, out October 4. She plays Massey Hall on December 1.

State interviews Alexei Perry of Handsome Furs.

Bruce Peninsula are sharing a track from their forthcoming album Open Flames, out October 4. They play an album release show at Lee’s Palace on October 27 and are interviewed by The Record.

MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “In Your Light”

Elliott Brood are marking the September 27 release of their new album Days Into Years with an in-store at Sonic Boom’s Annex location that evening at 7PM. Their proper hometown show doesn’t come until November 18 at the Phoenix so if you want to see ‘em, be there with some canned goods to donate.

MP3: Elliott Brood – “Northern Air”

NOW has an interview with Rebekah Higgs, who will have a Sunday night residency at The Drake Underground throughout the month of October – that’s five shows on each of the 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th – admission $7 each.

MP3: Rebekah Higgs – “Gosh Darn Damn”

Hour has a feature piece on Montreal’s Adam & The Amethysts, whose Flickering Flashlight is out October 4 and available to stream at Exclaim. They’ll be at The Piston to celebrate with a show on October 5.

MP3: Adam & The Amethysts – “Prophecy”
Stream: Adam & The Amethysts – “Flickering Flashlight”

The Wooden Sky are going to be previewing material from their follow up to If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone with a short Fall tour that includes a hometown stop at The Dakota Tavern on October 19, tickets $15 in advance. The new album won’t be out until next year but the band will have a tour EP available at these shows to tide fans over.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Bit Part”

Shout Out Out Out Out have made a date at The Great Hall on October 27.

Video: Shout Out Out Out Out – “Coming Home”

Baeblemusic has video of a live set from Suuns recorded way back at SXSW; they’re at The Garrison on October 2.

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Do I Have Power

Timber Timbre creeping across eastern Canada

Photo By Kandle OsborneKandle OsborneWhen I last wrote up Timber Timbre back in March, shortly before the release of their latest Creep On Creepin’ On, I commented on how unlikely it seemed that the Toronto trio’s murky goth-blues should make them stars (relatively speaking), but how that seemed to be exactly what was going to happen. And indeed, it’s been a good 2011 for them, to say the least. The decidedly positive critical response and popular demand kept the band on the road through all of North America and Europe through the Spring and Summer, and with their placement on the Polaris Music Prize shortlist, they’ve announced a Fall tour that will keep them living in a van through the rest of the year, covering locales from Ontario through to the Maritimes with a handful of European dates for good measure.

They’ll get a chance to sleep in their own beds and do some laundry, though, as the itinerary now includes their first hometown date since the Trinty-St. Paul’s album release show way back in April – and it’s coming at the decidedly fancy digs of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on November 26. Tickets for that show are $25 in advance and despite it being a seated venue, will be general admission; they’re on sale today at 10AM. And the merch table at this and other shows will have a little something special in the form of vinyl reissues of the first two independently-released Timber Timbre records – Cedar Shakes and Medicinals – dating from when the band was a pseudonym for Taylor Kirk solo.

The band have also released a new, appropriately creepy animated video from Creep On Creepin’ On and over at BlogTO, violinist Mika Posen talks about the Polaris nomination.

MP3: Timber Timbre – “Black Water”
Video: Timber Timbre – “Too Old To Die Young”

Tasseomancy have released another video from their just-released record Ulalalme, which was co-produced by Taylor Kirk. They’re playing The Great Hall on October 20 and will support Austra at The Phoenix on December 1.

Video: Tasseomancy – “Soft Feet”

Also with a new video from a Polaris-shortlisted record is Destroyer, from Kaputt.

Video: Destroyer – “Savage Night At The Opera”

Julie Doiron has a couple of local live dates lined up, as she usually seems to, with a free in-store on September 10 at 3PM to inaugurate the recently-opened Kensington Market location of Sonic Boom. She will also open up for Ohbijou at Trinity-St. Paul’s on September 30.

MP3: Julie Doiron – “When Brakes Get Wet”

If you’re the sort of person who needs an introduction to the works of Sloan, then you’re probably not someone who’s hung around here much – welcome! – but if you do, head over to Noisetrade to grab a pay-what-you-can 17-track sort-of best-of compilation. And yes, you can pay nothing if that’s how you roll.

The Line Of Best Fit gets acquainted with Chad VanGaalen and his unique brand of interview awkwardness. VanGaalen is at The Mod Club on October 28.

Rolling Stone has gotten on the Louise Burns bandwagon, having a quick chat with the singer and offering a new track for download.

MP3: Louise Burns – “Drop Names Not Bombs”

Beirut have discovered one of the perks of staggered digital and physical releases – double the press cycles. There were a flurry of pieces when The Rip Tide came out through online sources back at the start of August, and now that the vinyl and CD are available? Features in The National Post, Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, Irish Times, Paste, Pitchfork and Time. That Zach Condon is a clever boy.

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Jason Lytle about the legacy of Grandaddy on the occasion of the vinyl reissues of The Sophtware Slump and Sumday.

The Fly gets a courtyard video session from The Antlers.

NPR has a KCRW session with My Morning Jacket.

Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard talks drinking and excessive drinking with Spinner.

The Grid and NOW chat with Peter Bjorn & John, who kick off a two-night stand at Lee’s Palace tonight.

Friday, August 26th, 2011

It's Your Destiny

The War On Drugs at Soundscapes in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe last time Philadelphia’s The War On Drugs were in town was as support for Destroyer, and by drafting on the interest in the “Best New Music”-ed Kaputt, played to a sold-out Lee’s Palace. This time out, they were headlining the smaller digs at the Drake Underground but were again buoyed by some Pitchfork love with the same seal of approval being awarded to their just-released second full-length, Slave Ambient.

As noted in my writeup of the Destroyer show, despite relying on the intersection of somewhat disparate styles The War On Drugs cultivate a very specific sound. Take an overtly ’70s-era Dylan approach to singing and lyricism, blend with some Springsteen/Petty-ish classic Americana stylings and a Velvet Underground-level appreciation for the art of the drone and serve doused in a psychedelic shimmer and you’re about there. It’s a vibe that’s immediate and engaging, but I find it gets a bit samey over the course of a long-player. For the span of an in-store length set such as the one the band played on Wednesday night at Soundscapes however, it was just about right.

Stopping in for the performance before even heading to the Drake to set up and soundcheck, they were able to set up as a fully plugged-in four-piece. And it’s just as well because it’s hard to imagine their songs without Adam Granduciel’s electric guitar in all it’s phased and tremoloed glory, seeing as how his expeditionary solos sometimes make up half the song. They played for about half an hour, both new material and old and while they were openly appreciative to everyone who showed up for the set, they seemed especially pleased to have requests for older material called out. It’s surely great to have a new audience take an interest in your work, but that also makes those who’ve been there all along that much more special. It’s hard to imagine they didn’t head down to the Drake afterwards feeling pretty good about that.

Death & Taxes, The Chicago Tribune and Philly.com have profile pieces on the band.

Photos: The War On Drugs @ Soundscapes – August 24, 2011
MP3: The War On Drugs – “Come To The City”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “Baby Missiles”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “Taking The Farm”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “Comin’ Through”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “The History Of Plastic”
Video: The War On Drugs – “Come To The City”
Video: The War On Drugs – “Baby Missiles”
Video: The War On Drugs – “Needle In Your Eye #16″

NOW and The Grid have pieces on Colin Stetson, who is playing the Drake Underground tonight.

Kathleen Edwards will be playing a special low-key show at the Dakota Tavern on Sunday night, August 28, with tickets only available at the door – they’ll run you $20. And if you’re wondering if the mister might make a guest appearance… well, Bon Iver isn’t on the road right now. So.

MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “Asking For Flowers”

The mark the release of The Rip Tide this coming Tuesday, Exclaim has made it four American cover artists in a row by putting Beirut’s Zach Condon front and centre for the September issue. Not that you can blame them – he’s so cute. The Irish Independent and Wall Street Journal also have feature pieces.

Head over to NPR to stream another new track from Girls’ forthcoming Father, Son, Holy Ghost. It’s out September 13 and they play The Mod Club on September 27.

Stream: Girls – “Honey Bunny”

NME, DIY and State talk to The Drums, releasing Portamento on September 13 and playing The Mod Club on October 1. They’ve also started a video performance series to tease the new record – here’s the first instalment.

Video: The Drums – “What You Were” (Visiomento)

St. Vincent has premiered the first video from Strange Mercy over at The Huffington Post. The record is out September 13.

Video: St. Vincent – “Cruel”

It’s hard to say what’s an official video these days, so for the sake of argument we’ll say that this in-studio clip Wilco released of their b-side cover of Nick Lowe is an official video. It’s great, either way. Both Wilco and Lowe are at Massey Hall on September 17 and 18 and Wilco’s new album The Whole Love is out September 27.

Video: Wilco – “I Love My Label”

Pitchfork, Drowned In Sound and The Quietus all have chats with one Stephen Malkmus. He and The Jicks are at The Phoenix on September 21 and you can watch a complete video of their recent Amoeba Records in-store set at Rolling Stone.

The Georgia Straight has a cover story on Dan Mangan. His new record Oh Fortune arrives September 27 and he plays The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 26.

Apparently Chairlift are still around. The released a new 7″ single in “Amanaemonesia” earlier this Summer and will apparently have a new full-length out before the year is over. And oh yeah, they’re opening for James Blake at The Phoenix on September 30.

Stream: Chairlift – “Amanaemonesia”
Video: Chairlift – “Bruises”

The first MP3 from Breaks In The Armor, the new Crooked Fingers record out October 11, is now available to download. They’re at The Drake Underground on November 8.

MP3: Crooked Fingers – “Typhoon”

Purveyors of one of the Summer tunes of 2011, Lousiana’s GIVERS are coming back to town with Los Angeles’ Lord Huron in tow for a show at Wrongbar on October 26, tickets $13 in advance.

MP3: Givers – “Up Up Up”
MP3: Lord Huron – “Mighty”

The Fly gets Chad VanGaalen to perform an acoustic session for them while The Prague Post and The List have interviews. He’s at The Mod Club on October 28.

Rhode Island’s Deer Tick haven’t released a new full-length since last year’s Black Dirt Sessions, but the release of a new single and a Fall tour that brings them to Lee’s Palace on November 16 implies that something more is coming. Or they just felt like releasing a single and hitting the road. Update: New album it is. Exclaim reports Divine Providence is out October 25 – thanks Phil.

MP3: Deer Tick – “Miss K”

Baeble Music has a Guest Apartment video session with EMA.

Pitchfork gets Will Sheff of Okkervil River to document his musical development through the years.

Writers On Process, The Riverfront Times and Louisville Courier-Journal talk to The Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn.

The Flaming Lips have released a video for one of their collaborations with Lightning Bolt.

Video: The Flaming Lips & Lightning Bolt – “I’m Working at NASA on Acid”

Rolling Stone checks in on the possiblity of a Replacements reunion with Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson.