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Posts Tagged ‘Chairlift’

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Amanaemonesia

Chairlift at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAs mentioned when this show was originally announced in May, I was quite pleased to see that New York’s Chairlift were coming back to town as part of Harbourfront Centre’s Soundclash festival because I didn’t realize how much I liked their second album Something until they had finished touring it. And that’s largely because I found their 2008 debut Does You Inspire You? intermittently entertaining but largely uninteresting, the overall quality not matching their iTunes advert-elevated profile. I didn’t appreciate how much better they got after founding member Aaron Pfenning left, leaving the duo of Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly to regroup and realize ditching the cutesy/goofy songwriting o the debut for an approach that understood Polachek’s remarkable vocals were better cast in a more soulful, yet more synthesized context, would produce much stronger work.

So of course they opened up with an opera number. Or operatic, at the least. I’m not sure if it was an original composition, but if the intention was to grab the attention of passers-by out for walk along the waterfront with a riveting vocal performance, it did the job. “Sidewalk Safari” immediately followed to reassure fans they weren’t, in fact, at the wrong show, and the next song, a slinky slow-burner, was one of a few new songs in that vein. Compared to the recent and new material, the simple singalong pop of “Bruises” sounded almost quaint and emphasized how much more sophisticated of a band they had become, but there was no disputing its crowd-pleasingess, hence its inclusion though rather earlier in the show than one might have thought. And though they cited “I Belong In Your Arms” as a request, I can’t believe it’d have been omitted from the show otherwise – surely there’s consensus that it’s one of the best songs in their repertoire?

Chairlift on this evening were a three-piece, with a guitarist/keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist augmenting the core duo. Apparently they’ve toured as a larger live band in the past, allowing Polachek to focus on frontwoman duties rather than anchor herself to a keyboard for parts of the set, but even so she was still a presence on stage, all tassels and shampoo commercial hair – to say nothing of her remarkable vocals, even rangier and more expressive live than on record – as she roamed the stage and danced. The audience, in typically polite Toronto fashion, was appreciative but it took a direct invitation from Polachek to dance to get up out of their seats. I’d like to think, however, that they’d have done so on their own by the time the show closed with “Amanaemonesia”. A terrific way to spend a Summer’s evening, and cement my appreciation for the band, if somewhat late to the party.

Photos: Chairlift @ Harbourfront Centre – July 12, 2013
MP3: Chairlift – “I Belong In Your Arms”
MP3: Chairlift – “Lift Cool As A Fire”
MP3: Chairlift – “Garbage”
Video: Chairlift – “Met Before”
Video: Chairlift – “Amanaemonesia”
Video: Chairlift – “Bruises”
Video: Chairlift – “Evident Utensil”

American experi-folk collective Akron/Family are coming to southern Ontario for some Hillside Festival action, but aren’t forgetting their Toronto fans – they’ll play a free in-store at Sonic Boom on July 26 at 8PM.

MP3: Akron/Family – “So It Goes”

eMusic and Pitchfork have features on Northampton, Massachusetts’ Speedy Ortiz, who’ve been making a lot of noise – literal and figurative – with their wonderfully ’90s-vintage jagged-edge melodic rock on Major Arcana; they’ve just been confirmed as support for Thurston Moore’s Chelsea Light Moving at The Horseshoe on September 15 so that’s gone from can’t miss to CAN’T MISS.

MP3: Speedy Ortiz – “No Below”
MP3: Speedy Ortiz – “Tiger Tank”

Though they’re down a number of members since becoming band du jour in 2005, Philadelphia’s Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are still a going concern and will be at Lee’s Palace on September 28 to prove it. Tickets for the show are $22.50 in advance.

MP3: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Same Mistake”

Brooklyn surf-punk-garage quartet Obits have readied a new long-player in Beds & Bugs, given it a September 10 release date and will be at The Horseshoe on October 4 as part of a North American tour, tickets $13.50. Hear one of the songs from the new record below.

MP3: Obits – “Taste The Diff”

Unclassifiable Ameri-Parisian sister act CocoRosie have assembled a North American tour behind their latest album Tales Of A GrassWidow and will be at The Phoenix on October 15. Exclaim has the full tour itinerary.

Video: CocoRosie – “Gravedigress”

If you were concerned because Ty Segall hasn’t been through town in a few months, don’t worry – he’s coming back as part of his psychedelic FUZZ project for a date at Parts & Labour on October 16 following the October 1 release of their self-titled debut album; Exclaim has all the dates. And don’t worry, the August 20 release of Sleeper, his next album under his own name, is still on track so expect some dates behind that sooner rather than later.

MP3: FUZZ – “Loose Sutres”

Brooklyn rock machine The Men have finally set a local date behind this year’s surprisingly Americana-ish but still fierce New Moon. They’ll be at The Horseshoe on October 20 and the rest of their Fall dates are up at Consequence Of Sound.

MP3: The Men – “Open Your Heart”

You don’t often see bands play support in rooms smaller than they headline, but with their date at Lee’s Palace opening for Wire in the books, NEVER MIND THAT PART. Minus The Bear have announced a show at The Opera House on October 20, tickets $25. This is partly but not really in support of their crowdfunded acoustic-versions record Acoustics II – they’re promising to play an acoustic mini-set as part of a fully-plugged in show.

MP3: Minus The Bear – “Hooray”

If you chose either Foals or The Breeders over Charles Bradley in this past May’s show-mageddon with the expectation that he’d be back before the others, congratulations – Bradley and his Extraordinaires are bringing No Time For Dreaming to The Kool Haus on December 12, tickets $25.50. As a bonus, you get this video session from NPR as well as a World Cafe session.

Video: Charles Bradley – “Strictly Reserved For You”

Superchunk are streaming a new tune from their new record, I Hate Music, due out August 20.

Stream: Superchunk – “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo”

Pitchfork have details of the new record from Of Montreallousy with sylvianbriar is out October 8, and the first single sounds like this.

Stream: Of Montreal – “fugitive air”

Widowspeak have announced the release of a new EP entitled The Swamps on October 29. Details at Pitchfork, lead track from said EP below.

Stream: Widowspeak – “True Believer”

NPR has premiered the new video from John Vanderslice’s latest album, Dagger Beach.

Video: John Vanderslice – “How The West Was Won”

Sterophile interviews Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Met Before

I am back in town. Chairlift are coming to town. Coincidence? Absolutely.

Photo By Tom HinesTom HinesSo Chicago was great, thanks for asking. Terrible weather forecasts came not to pass, though storms yesterday did wreak a little havoc on getting out of town. But that’s neither here nor there, and I am now here, not there. And here is a very short post to confirm that I am, indeed, still alive.

It’s not entirely clear to me what the mandate of the Soundclash festival coming to Harbourfront Centre in July is, but at least part of it is to bring Brooklyn electro-pop duo Chairlift to town for a free show on the Harbourfront mainstage on July 12 – I only realized I really dug their last album Something after they’d finished touring it – so it’s cool with me. That’s in addition to the Born Ruffians and Belle Game bill on the evening of the 13th, so if there’s a better place to hang out that weekend than on the lakefront, I can’t imagine what it is.

MP3: Chairlift – “I Belong In Your Arms”

If you didn’t know, the NXNE schedule is now live and should be your go-to for updates on who’s playing the festival, which kicks off June 12. One of the new adds worth noting is California’s We Are Scientists, who will anchor the Lee’s Palace lineup on June 14 and play Yonge-Dundas Square on June 15 at 4PM. Their last album was 2010’s Barbara but should be due a new record later this year.

MP3: We Are Scientists – “Impatience”

When you’re talking about Björk, some degree of strange is always implied, but that Californian experimental hip-hop outfit Death Grips will be opening for her at Echo Beach on July 16 is extra strange. Well, not when you consider Zach Hill and Björk are chums and collaborators, but musically? There’ll be some confused Björk super-fans up front that night, I wager.

MP3: Death Grips – “Spread Eagle Cross The Block”

The CNE circuit is usually reserved for family-friendly, throwback nostalgia acts, but it appears that The New Pornographers will be one of the performers at this year’s Ex, presumably playing the Bandshell on August 17. Shows are free with admission to the Exhibition.

MP3: The New Pornographers – “The Laws Have Changed”

Whilst on the topic of free (or free with admission) outdoor shows around the city, Plants & Animals and Cadence Weapon will be part of the Indie Fridays concert series at Yonge-Dundas Square on the evenings of August 23 and August 30, respectively.

MP3: Plants & Animals – “Song For Love”
MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Conditioning”

Because he doesn’t give a damn what you or anyone else thinks, Peter Hook and his band The Light will be in town on September 19 as part of his tour of complete album recitals of New Order’s Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies. It is worth noting, however, that The Hoxton is a good deal smaller than The Phoenix, where he first performed Unknown Pleasures in Fall of 2011. Tickets are $18 in advance, which isn’t bad to see a legend up close and personal.

Trailer: Peter Hook & The Light / Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies live

Brooklyn-based electronic/ambient artist Julianna Barwick will release her new album Nepenthe on August 20 and be in town at Double Double Land on September 26 to play songs from it.

MP3: Julianna Barwick – “Never Change”
Trailer: Julianna Barwick / Nepenthe

Laura Marling talks to Interview, The Age, NOW, and Spin about her new album Once I Was An Eagle, out next Tuesday, May 28, and streaming now at NPR. She plays 99 Sudbury this Saturday night, March 25.

Stream: Laura Marling / Once I Was An Eagle

The National released Trouble Will Find Me this week, and are thus the topic of feature pieces at The Grid – who send Hayden to interview Matt Berninger – as well as The Toronto Sun, Entertainment Weekly, Consequence Of Sound, Billboard, NPR, and The National Post. NPR also has a World Cafe session with the band, who headline NXNE at Yonge-Dundas Square on June 14.

Okay I’m going to go lie down now.

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Keep Believing

Bob Mould leaves the Blue, brings the Silver

Photo By Peter EllenbyPeter EllenbyWhen Bob Mould looks back on his 2012, he should be able to reflect on a very busy and productive year. First, he released his memoirs See A Little Light – a very direct and enlightening, if somewhat dryly written, accounting of his professional and personal life over the past half-century, back in June. Shortly thereafter came the release of the complete output of his second most-important power trio in Sugar, which he’d also marked by playing the entirety of the seminal Copper Blue on tour throughout the year. And oh yeah, on top of all that, he released his first album of new material since 2009’s Life & Times in The Silver Age, rightly heralded as his strongest – and most all-out rocking – work in some time.

One thing Mould didn’t get time to do this year, though, was come north of the border to play some shows. It would have been great to have one of the Copper Blue shows up here, but it didn’t happen – which makes me feel extra-fortunate that I was able to catch on at SXSW, not that that does the rest of his Toronto fanbase much good. But while it seems improbably that 2013 will be as busy for Bob as 2012, he’s added a few more dates including his first local show since Fall 2009, on March 1 at The Horseshoe. Yes he could easily play a bigger room – which is why this will be extra-great. It won’t be a Copper Blue recital – he officially retired that in November – but one of the perks of having thirty years worth of material to draw from is that he can assemble a near-infinite number of different set lists and they’ll all be fantastic. Bob will bring the tunes, you bring the earplugs. Tickets for the show are $24.50, on sale tomorrow.

Another thing Mould has been doing this year? Turning to Kickstarter to fund a release of the See A Little Light: A Celebration of the Music and Legacy of Bob Mould concert film recorded in Los Angeles last November, wherein a collection of musicians including Dave Grohl, Britt Daniel, Craig Finn, and Britt Daniel came together to perform works from Mould’s entire career. Sound like something you’d want to see? Me too – so chip in if you can.

And finally – last thing – Mould is doing a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” on Monday, December 17, starting at 1PM. So if there’s something you’ve been wanting to ask him – that’s your chance.

Video: Bob Mould – “The Descent”

Also hellaciously busy this year were Guided By Voices, with the reunited indie rock icons releasing fully three new albums in barely 11 months. So what do you do for an encore? As Tobin Sprout tells Ghettoblaster, one more album and an EP in January for sure, and maybe another album after that.

The Afghan Whigs, who set stages on fire (figuratively) with their reunion tour through much of this year, play a video session for NPR.

It would be reasonable to assume that Alan Sparhawk would be focusing on Low next year, what with a new album in The Invisible Way coming out March 19, but no – his Retribution Gospel Choir will release a two-track, Nels Cline-starring third album entitled 3 on January 22, with some touring scheduled for the early part of the year. A warm-up for Low, I guess. Details on the release over here. And back to Low, there’s a mini-documentary film at BYUtv about the band’s 20-year history together.

NYCTaper has recordings of the first two nights of Yo La Tengo’s Hannukah shows at Maxwell’s this week. New album Fade is out January 15 and they’re at The Phoenix on February 9.

Funny Or Die has got a pretty damn funny video short featuring Cat Power singing to a class of second-graders while being Cat Power.

Josh Ritter has announced the return of Josh Ritter in both recorded and live formats. To the former, his new record The Beast In In Tracks will be out March 5 – stream a new song below – and to the latter, he’s announced a Spring tour that brings him to the Danforth Music Hall on April 16.

Stream: Josh Ritter – “Joy To You Baby”

Widowspeak have premiered a stream of another new song from Almanac over at Paste. The album is out January 22.

Stream: Widowspeak – “The Dark Age”

Also doing the preview stream thing is Ra Ra Riot; Entertainment Weekly brings you the second taste of Beta Love, out January 22. They’re at Lee’s Palace on March 6 and there’s an interview with the band at The Shreveport Times.

Stream: Ra Ra Riot – “When I Dream”

Spinner chats with Christopher Owens about his solo debut Lysandre. It’s out January 15 and he plays The Mod Club on January 18.

PopMatters interviews Savoir Adore.

Chairlift are giving away an EP’s worth of demos for Something via Soundcloud.

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

DJ, Ease My Mind

Niki & The Dove leads a whole whack of concert announcements

Photo By Eliot HazelEliot HazelDays like yesterday are kind of my favourite. Those are the days where the inbox/RSS/Twitter feed is like a non-stop barrage of concert announcements and they’re great because not only do they put interesting things on my calendar to look forward to, but they also make the next day’s blog post an easy one.

Of all the announcements to come down the pipe, the one that I’m most pleased about is that Swedish electro duo Niki & The Dove will be at The Drake Underground on October 2, tickets $15 in advance. I had originally been disappointed that their first proper North American tour supporting Twin Shadow didn’t include his two nights at Lee’s Palace at the end of July, but they tacked on a handful of headlining dates after that tour wrapped including Toronto. I’m a bit surprised about the size of the venue – having seen them at both Iceland Airwaves last Fall and at SXSW this Spring, their stardom seemed assured and considering those dates were coming a good while after the August 7 release of their debut Instinct, I would think that the buzz would demand a decidedly larger room.

All of which is to say that when tickets go on sale this Friday, if you’re at all interested in seeing this band – which you should be – you should get on tickets quick.

MP3: Niki & The Dove – “Tomorrow”
MP3: Niki & The Dove – “Mother Protect”
MP3: Niki & The Dove – “The Drummer”

Also confirmed rolling through the 416 in the last few days, in chronological order:

Peppy Louisiana five-piece Givers, who had one of the songs of the Summer last year with “Up Up Up” hope that their debut In Light has the legs to keep toes tapping through another Summer tour. They’re at The Drake on July 31, tickets $10.50 in advance.

MP3: Givers – “Up Up Up”

Echo Beach is a far, far cry from the intimate environs of The Drake Underground where Perfume Genius played in April, but the sum beauty that the pairing of him and Sigur Rós could bring to the waterfront gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. They open for the Icelanders there on August 1, one of four dates they’re doing with them.

MP3: Perfume Genius – “Hood”
MP3: Perfume Genius – “Dark Parts”

I had thought that Franco-Finnish duo The Dø might be giving us a pass in support of their latest album Both Ways Open Jaws – it came out in November and they hadn’t been through since September 2010, but they’ve just taken their time getting around to it. They’ll be at Lee’s Palace on August 3, tickets $15 in advance.

MP3: The Dø – “Slippery Slope”

With their new, self-titled album out today, Australia’s Temper Trap have made a date at The Phoenix for August 7 since they’ll be over this way for Lollapalooza anyways. Tickets for that are $26.50 in advance. There’s interviews with the band at MySpace and FasterLouder.

Video: The Temper Trap – “Trembling Hands”

San Franciscan country/garage-pop – maybe barn-pop? – outfit Sonny & The Sunsets have put together a Summer tour in support of their new record Longtime Companion, out June 26. They’re at The Silver Dollar on August 11, tickets $11.50.

MP3: Sonny & The Sunsets – “Pretend You Love Me”
MP3: Sonny & The Sunsets – “I See The Void”

Having made his name with The Frames and The Swell Season (and The Commitments, but we don’t talk about that), Glen Hansard is looking to do the same for Glen Hansard. His solo debut Rhythm & Repose is out June 16 and he’s put together a North American tour that brings him to The Music Hall on September 16; tickets range from $25.50 to $35 in advance. There’s chats with Hansard at Spinner and Exclaim.

Video: Glen Hansard – “Philander”
Video: Glen Hansard – “Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting”

Los Angeles art-rock weirdos Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti have yet to formally announce their follow up to 2010’s Before Today, but that they’ve announced a Fall tour that includes a September 19 date at Lee’s Palace – tickets $20 – implies that it’s not far off.

MP3: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “Round And Round”

Chairlift are coming back to town for Something and they’ve graduated from The Horseshoe to The Molson Amphitheatre! Of course, it’s in support of Gotye, whom you may know from that one song and whom you won’t remember in a year, but still. That’s September 20, and I suspect if you sit tight there’ll be a lot of tickets made available super-cheap in the days leading up to the show. PopMatters has a feature on the Brooklyn band.

MP3: Chairlift – “I Belong In Your Arms”
MP3: Chairlift – “Cool As A Fire”

Though they released the Into The Night EP this Spring as a stopgap, The Raveonettes also have a new album in the works and some Fall tour dates to go with it. They’ll be at The Phoenix on October 2, tickets $18.50.

MP3: The Raveonettes – “Into The Night”

Punk rock veterans Social Distortion have announced a Fall tour that brings them to the Sound Academy on October 20.

Video: Social Distortion – “Machine Gun Blues”

With their Americana album of traditional folk songs grunged the hell up out today, Neil Young & Crazy Horse decided it’s as good a time as any to announce their Fall tour in support of it. They’ll be at The Air Canada Centre on November 19 with Los Lobos as support, tickets on sale June 15. Pricing still not announced but odds are it won’t be cheap; it never is and yet it’s always worth it. Rolling Stone talks to Neil to find out why it’s Crazy Horse and not Buffalo Springfield.

Video: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “God Save The Queen”

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Sound Go Round

Dressy Bessy at Littlefield in Brooklyn

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIf anyone were to ask – and really they’re not – this long weekend jaunt to New York was most definitely not a music trip. It was a shopping/eating/visiting/just getting out of Toronto trip, yes, but not a “music” trip as so many of my getaways tend to be. So that I ended up at shows the first two nights I was in town was purely mostly coincidence.

I mean, I hadn’t even thought about Denver’s Dressy Bessy in the better part of a decade. I saw them at The Horseshoe way back in 2002 circa Sound Go Round – pre-blog era, yo – but lost interest not long after that and they haven’t exactly fought their way back onto my radar, having not released an album since 2008’s HOLLERandSTOMP. But here they were, still together and getting ready to put out a series of singles this Summer, and here I was, in an apartment just a few blocks from Littlefield in Brooklyn and in town with friends who wanted to go. And so we went.

And though Dressy Bessy were ostensibly the headliner on the bill over former Dream Syndicate leader Steve Wynn and his Miracle 3, they went on first – just as well since the day was beginning to catch up with me. The turnout was relatively light – perhaps some of their audience was peeled off by NYC Popfest, which this show could easily have been part of but wasn’t – but the band seemed bound and determined to have a good time of it regardless. Though they’re associated with the Elephant 6 scene and all the tweeness that can come with that, they were refreshingly loud and garagey/glammy in performance – I really wished I had earplugs – yet still bouncy and fun, with the energy of a band that doesn’t play much live but still really enjoys it. And as I remembered from that one time I saw them a decade ago, Tammy Ealom still has a curious relationship with the concept of pitch – her singing isn’t accurate, at least not with respect to the Western musical scale, but it is precise. It’s really kind of interesting.

Only stuck around for a little bit of Steve Wynn’s set – see above about being tired – but stayed long enough to a) hear Dream Syndicate’s “That’s What You Always Say”, which I know mostly from Luna’s cover, and b) acknowledge that Steve Wynn is a shit-hot guitarist. ‘Tis true.

Photos: Dressy Bessy @ Littlefield – May 19, 2012
MP3: Dressy Bessy – “Ringalingaling”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Hey Alice!”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Pretty Pleaze”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Automatic”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Anyone Can See”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Ease Me Down”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Dressed The Part”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Do You Whisper”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Roundabout”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “In Your Headphones”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Left To The Right”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Simple Girlz”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Shoot I Love You”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Ten Million Stars”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Electrified”
Video: Dressy Bessy – “Better Luck”

The Afghan Whigs have released their first single in a half-decade, a cover of Marie “Queenie” Lyons’ “See And Don’t See”, and have made it available as a free download. They kick off their 2012 reunion tomorrow night at New York’s Bowery Ballroom – if I were staying here one extra day, I’d have moved heaven and earth to get a ticket. Instead, I will go home and feed the cat.

MP3: The Afghan Whigs – “See And Don’t See”

The Alternate Side has a video session with White Rabbits, playing the Mod Club on June 14 for NXNE.

The first track from Major, the second album from Fang Island, is available to download. The record is out July 12.

MP3: Fang Island – “Asunder”

Having had to cancel last week’s show at The Horseshoe, Maps & Atlases have rescheduled for July 17, same venue. The New York Daily News and Courier-Post have interviews.

MP3: Maps & Atlases – “Winter”

DIY, Seattle Times, and Clash talk to Best Coast. They’re at The Phoenix on July 21.

Merge Records continues their duties as archivists of the ’90s with remasters and reissues of all of the Sugar albums. Copper Blue and Beaster will be collected as one double-LP/triple-CD set and File Under: Easy Listening on its own, both with attendant b-sides and live material. There will probably not be a more essential musical release this year, folks. They’re out July 24 and you can download live versions of three Copper Blue songs by Bob Mould earlier this Spring at Slicing Up Eyeballs.

Filter and The Telegraph have features on Sharon Van Etten, playing the Phoenix on July 31.

For No One has a video session and Drowned In Sound an interview with School Of Seven Bells.

Ardent Studios welcomes Shearwater for a video session and Under The Radar has a feature piece.

Spinner interviews Chairlift.

The Guardian has a feature interview with Beach House and The Line Of Best Fit points to where you can watch the whole of their record release show in New York last week.

Perfume Genius has made a non-album track that’s been showing up in live sets available to download.

MP3: Perfume Genius – “Rusty Chains”

The AV Club has posted part five of their R.E.M. timeline/retrospective.