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Posts Tagged ‘Chapterhouse’

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Whirlpool

Chapterhouse, Ulrich Schnauss and Fjord Rowboat at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangOne might think that after last weekend’s three-day salute to the ’90s I’d be ready to get back to the 21st century, musically-speaking, but instead last Wednesday night turned the dial on the wayback-machine even further – Chapterhouse was in town. The North American leg of their reunion tour, which began in late 2009, was delayed from May until this Fall due to volcanic ash though the Toronto show was cancelled earlier for reasons unknown. Hogtown was back on for the new dates, however, and at a larger venue no less that was respectably filled. Clearly whatever reason nixed the original date wasn’t lack of interest.

For anyone with even a passing affection for the British shoegazing movement of the early ’90s, it was hard not to be interested – My Bloody Valentine aside, this was the only first-wave shoegaze band in recent memory to reunite, let alone play shows in North America, in well over a decade (if anyone wants to fact-check that statement, feel free). And while Chapterhouse weren’t as seminal – in my eyes/ears, anyways – as the likes of Ride, Slowdive or Lush, their credentials are indisputable and their debut Whirlpool an essential listen for the genre. Which is basically another way of saying, “if you are a shoegaze fan and Chapterhouse come to your town, you go”.

Locals Fjord Rowboat know how that goes, but for them it was “if Chapterhouse comes to your town, you lend them your gear and open for them”. Which they did, and in return got to play an impressive show for probably a more receptive audience than they’ve ever had. I used Chapterhouse as a reference point their 2007 debut Saved The Compliments For Morning and that still holds for the just-released follow-up Under Cover Of Brightness, the band remaining faithful to the spirit of shoegazing while remembering, unlike many modern-day purveyors of the style, that what made the greats great was that underneath the layers of sound, there were solid songs. And in the interests of disclosure, I should mention that Fjord has two former bandmates in their number. High five!

I’d lived the Ulrich Schnauss experience twice before and thought I’d figured out the secret to appreciating his electro-ambient stuff – close your eyes. Then you don’t notice that the entire “live” set consists of Schnauss playing preprogrammed tracks off his laptop while adding keyboards overtop or mixing things in real-time, or at least I assume that’s what he was doing – I couldn’t actually hear anything changing in the mix as he clicked and fiddled. This time his set came with its own visual component – projections of European urban scenes, mostly looking as though they’d been filmed from a moving car, which held ones interest for a while but after they began to loop, one’s attention began to wander. By the end, I had a new way to enjoy Schnauss’ set – as a particularly cosmic soundtrack to a game of iPhone Civilization.

One of the first thing you notice about Chapterhouse is how young they all still look – all five are barely 40 (if even) and frontmen Andrew Sherriff and Stephen Patman still look remarkably boyish. This is less a comment on their skin care regimen than the fact that they were barely into their twenties (if even) when Whirlpool was released and so, returning to Toronto for the first time in nearly 20 years, they still seemed younger than many acts making their debuts. Also setting them apart from many other acts on the road today was the fact that they weren’t out trying to win over new fans or make a name for themselves – if you were there, you knew why and what you were going to get and were just happy to be there. This isn’t to suggest that the bar for performance was lowered at all, but any mistakes or less-than-perfection – and there was some, in the way of feedback (the bad kind, not the good kind), some awkward re-learning of songs onstage and a “Crystal” that wasn’t as tight or together as you’d want – were quickly and easily forgiven.

Instead, it was much easier to focus on the good. There was the seemingly endless rotation of my favourite guitars and the massive sounds the three guitarists coaxed out of them, including Simon Rowe whose status in Mojave 3 is as unclear as the band’s itself and who missed their last tour. There was their cover of The Beatles’ “Rain”, which got a pass on my usual “no Beatles covers please” rule, their pretty much perfect rendering of “Pearl” – more than making up for “Crystal” – and a set list that, while curiously light on their second album Blood Music, delivered almost all of Whirlpool and a selection of b-sides and rarities that they must have known would be appreciated by an audience of the faithful.

While they were hardly monsters of rock onstage, it was hard to imagine that their performances inspired the originally-derisive “shoegaze” label – sure, Rowe stood pretty much stock-still through the set but Sherriff and Patman moved around and hardly glanced at their feet. Of course, unlike many of their peers Chapterhouse have always been as much about the groove as the wall of sound, sometimes referred to as “baggy-gaze” and moving further towards dance and electronic sounds with Blood Music. None of which makes them sound any more contemporary, but no one was here for contemporary. We were here for 1990 and Chapterhouse brought it.

Prefix and The Faster Times have Chapterhouse interviews and Jess Barnett a conversation with Ulrich Schnauss. Exclaim and Panic Manual have reviews of the Toronto show.

Photos: Chapterhouse, Ulrich Schnauss, Fjord Rowboat @ Lee’s Palace – October 6, 2010
MP3: Chapterhouse – “Pearl”
MP3: Ulrich Schnauss – “Passing By”
MP3: Fjord Rowboat – “Carried Away”
MP3: Fjord Rowboat – “Paragon”
Video: Chapterhouse – “Breather”
Video: Chapterhouse – “April”
Video: Ulrich Schnauss – “Medusa”
Video: Fjord Rowboat – “Carried Away”
MySpace: Chapterhouse
MySpace: Fjord Rowboat

Beatroute and The Boston Globe talk to The Vaselines; they’re in town on October 30 for a show at The Horseshoe.

The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Record and DCist have feature pieces on Teenage Fanclub.

NPR talks to Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian. He and his band are at Massey Hall tonight and their new album Write About Love is also out today – the promo TV talk show put together for the record is streaming at PitchforkTV and the performance of “I Want The World To Stop” from said programme has been excerpted as the first official video from the record.

Video: Belle & Sebastian – “I Want The World To Stop”
Video: Belle & Sebastian Write About Love

A track from Idlewild’s latest (and final?) album Post-Electric Blues has been made available to download to mark the album’s North American release today.

MP3: Idlewild – “Younger Than America”

Drowned In Sound has gone a little British Sea Power-crazy, what with the release of the new Zeus EP in advance of next year’s new full-length – they’ve commissioned a number of features from the band, including their top five UK castles, ten things they wish they hadn’t done, the joy of knitting and a guide to keeping amused on the road.

Charlatans drummer Jon Brookes takes to the band’s blog to thank fans for their support as he convalesces from surgery for a brain tumour while Clash talks to frontman Tim Burgess. A track from their new record Who We Touch has been made available to download.

MP3: The Charlatans – “Love Is Ending”

Barry Hyde of The Futureheads tells Spinner they’re planning on releasing an a capella record early next year.

The Fly has a first listen to the new White Lies record Ritual, due out January 17 in the UK.

A whole slew of new videos in the past few days from the other side of the Atlantic – let’s start with Kele, who has a new clip from his solo record The Boxer.

Video: Kele – “On The Lam”

Foals have rolled out a new video from their second record Total Life Forever.

Video: Foals – “Blue Blood”

Mystery Jets have a new short from this year’s Serotonin. eFestivals and MusicOmh also have interviews.

Video: Mystery Jets – “Show Me The Light”

6 Day Riot have a video for the first single from their forthcoming record On This Island, available in the UK on November 1.

Video: 6 Day Riot – “Take Me Out”

Oxford University’s Cherwell talks to Kate Nash, who has a new single to coincide with her North American tour. It kicks off later this month and includes a date at The Phoenix on November 13.

Video: Kate Nash – “Later On”

For whatever reason, the powers that be have decided that the UK video for La Roux’s “In For The Kill”, out for over a year, just won’t cut it for American audiences and have commissioned a new one. I guess their focus groups demanded more snakes, less cars.

Video: La Roux – “In For The Kill” (US)
Video: La Roux – “In For The Kill” (UK)

The Telegraph talks to Duffy, who releases her second album Endlessly on November 30.

Word is Johnny Flynn’s October 18 show at Lee’s Palace has been postponed until mid-November; all other shows on the North American jaunt, including the 19th in Montreal, appear to still be on, so no idea what the problem with T.O. is. Anyone else hear “Kentucky Pill” on last week’s Weeds? Of course not, because no one with any dignity should admit to watching Weeds anymore. Me, I just heard about it. On the Twitter. Yeah.

Spinner talks to Elvis Costello about his new album National Ransom, out November 2. You can download a track from the record at his website.

Norway’s Serena-Maneesh have rolled out a new video from S-M 2: Abyss In B Minor.

Video: Serena-Maneesh – “D.I.W.S.W.T.T.D.”

NPR is streaming a complete show from The Tallest Man On Earth.

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Crystallised

The xx and Warpaint at Massey Hall in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhen it was announced in June that The xx were not only coming back to Toronto for their fourth show in less than 10 months but doing it in a room far bigger and pricier than anything they’d done before, people thought they were mad. Now it doesn’t seem like madness so much as prescience. For starters, two of those three previous shows were support slots for acts who would have had no trouble selling out even without a buzz band opening and the third was at a room – The Phoenix – that was probably already undersized for them (it too was completely sold out). And really, all three of these shows were before the band REALLY blew up outside of indie circles, never mind the Mercury Prize win for their debut XX a few weeks ago. So was staging last night’s show at Massey Hall ambitious and unthinkable even as recently as a few months ago? Maybe. Was it the right thing to do? Yes, yes it was.

And while it would be presumptuous to suggest that Los Angeles’ Warpaint would find the same level of success as The xx in as short amount of time, they similarly didn’t seem to have any concerns about hitting their market saturation point – this was their third local show in less than four months and fourth in a year, and it’s still not enough as far as I’m concerned. Their debut The Fool, due out October 25, actually remains the last 2010 release that I’m looking forward to and haven’t heard yet and the fact that I won’t even contemplate my year-end lists until I’ve heard it should give you some idea of how much I’m anticipating it.

As to their show, it was interesting seeing how they translated into the much larger environs of a theatre having only experienced them in much more intimate club settings, and while the sound was murkier than ideal, their strengths – namely the thundering and undulating (thund-ulating?) rhythm section of Stella Mozgawa and Jenny Lee Lindberg and serpentine guitars and keening vocals of Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman – still came across loud and clear. And while the tempos they operated at made them sound like speed metal relative to The xx, their shared affinity for dark and dreamlike atmospherics should have impressed anyone who showed up in time to catch their 35-minute set; happily, there were quite a few of them but even if Massey had been empty, one suspects the band wouldn’t have noticed – once they started, the quartet were in their own world and seemingly playing just for themselves. We were just fortunate to get to watch.

Any question as to whether The xx could draw enough for a room the size of Massey Hall was moot before the house lights even went down – though not sold out, it was close enough to confirm that The xx were, indeed, huge. Even so, the ongoing complaint from some that their live show was lacking in charisma or stage presence have some basis, although I stand by my standard response of, “well what would you have them do – scissor kicks?” and maintain that their low-key demeanour is fitting to the music they make; they’re a soundtrack to what you get up to in the dark – it’s not about seeing so much as feeling. That said, The xx have improved their live show each time I’ve seen them and this time was the best yet. Perhaps not in terms of actual performance – there were more than a few missed notes and falling out of time with one another, perhaps a consequence of trying to get too loose up there – but for vibe, it was pretty special. For starters, I wager that this was the first time many of the 2500 or so in attendance had seen them play and the excitement in the room was palpable – these folks, who also seemed to have the youngest mean age of any full house I’ve ever seen at Massey Hall – were excited. And though the band were as polite but low-key as ever, when those seated in the floors spontaneously rushed the stage to dance or just get closer to their heroes during “Islands”, they seemed genuinely taken aback by the enthusiasm.

With an intimate delivery that was also possibly even slower and more sensual than on record and playing under a grand yet still somehow dark, meticulously synchronized light show, their set encompassed all of XX plus their cover of Womack & Womack’s “Teardrops”. As they’ve maintained there’s no new material ready to be aired or even any guarantee of a second album, the only “fresh” material came via in the instrumental intros, outros and inter-song segues that they used to expand and differentiate the live renditions from the album versions. The set barely clocked in at an hour including encore, but I didn’t get the sense that anyone felt they didn’t get their money’s worth – they heard everything they could have wanted to.

In a way, you almost hope that they don’t ever make a second record, if just to preserve the purity of their narrative arc thus far. Over a year and a half, these teenagers making music in obscurity have skyrocked to global fame, a Mercury Prize and massive tour of some of North America’s most hallowed venues, and their debut could stand as the single definitive statement of The xx, a document of their youth preserved in amber. In reality, this almost certainly won’t be the last we hear from The xx, but if it were? That’d be okay.

The Toronto Sun also has a review of the show. The Seattle Times has an interview with DJ/producer Jamie Smith, whom Spin reports is releasing a solo single next month.

Photos: The xx, Warpaint @ Massey Hall – September 29, 2010
MP3: The xx – “Basic Space”
MP3: Warpaint – “Undertow”
MP3: Warpaint – “Elephants”
MP3: Warpaint – “Billie Holiday”
Video: The xx – “Islands”
Video: The xx – “Basic Space”
Video: The xx – “Crystalised”
Video: Warpaint – “Stars”
Video: Warpaint – “Elephants”
MySpace: The xx
MySpace: Warpaint

PopMatters talks to the reunited Chapterhous, in town at Lee’s Palace on October 6.

Film School and The Depreciation Guild, both of whom will be at the El Mocambo on October 4, have each released new videos from their latest albums Fission and Spirit Youth, respectively. Wired talks to Film School’s Greg Bertens.

Video: Film School – “Sunny Day”
Video: The Depreciation Guild – “My Chariot”

Spoonfed and The Georgia Straight talk to Benjamin Curtis of School Of Seven Bells.

Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead tells Spinner they’re hoping to get a lot of mileage out of their latest album Penny Sparkle. They play The Phoenix on October 17.

Exclaim’s cover story this month is Deerhunter, whose latest Halcyon Digest came out this week. They are at the Opera House on October 19.

Spoonfed and Austinist have interviews with The Morning Benders, who premiered a new song in their Take-Away Show for Le Blogotheque. It may well be in rotation by the time they play The Mod Club on November 5.

Exclaim has details on the inevitable deluxe edition of The National’s High Violet which will be available on November 22. The good news is all the bonus tracks will be available a la carte via the usual digital retailers.

Muzzle Of Bees interviews Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

Exclaim chats with Stephen McBean of Black Mountain, in town at The Phoenix on October 31.

Land Of Talk’s Liz Powell weighs in on the subject of illegal music downloads at Spinner (precis: she doesn’t like it one bit).

Daytrotter has posted a session with Born Ruffians.

Peaches will be celebrating the holiday season this year with her production of Peaches Christ Superstar, the content of which should be self-explanatory (but Spinner explains anyways). The touring production wraps December 21 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto.

And all those Neil Young videos from Le Noise are indeed parts of a larger filmic whole, and it’s available to watch in its entirety over at YouTube starting today. Young discusses the album with The New York Times.

Video: Neil Young / Le Noise – The Film

This is going to be about it for this week; off to Las Vegas tomorrow morning for Matador 21 and I’d normally be reporting all about it but… what happens in Vegas and all that. But you can follow along thanks to the magic of the internet as most of the sets will be streaming at MySpace – details at Matablog. And also check out this oral history of Matador Records at MySpace, with two parts up and the final one tomorrow. ‘Tis good reading.

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Keep Shining

2010 Polaris Music Prize long list revealed

Photo By Christine LimChristine LimThough not technically related, yesterday afternoon’s announcement of this year’s Polaris Music Prize long list in the midst of all the NXNE hubbub was no coincidence. What better time to reveal the consensus cream of the Can-con crop than in the smack dab in the middle of one of the biggest festivals and conferences in the country? A perusal of the 40 albums that made the cut reveals a lot of the names I’d have expected, based on factors such as public profile, track record and oh yeah, artistic merit, though some others that I thought might have eked onto the list are absent and others that I thought would have been too under the radar to gather sufficient support have moved onto the next round.

Net result? An interesting and diverse list of albums that should provide sufficient grist for acclaim, angst and analysis, at least until the short list when it’s announced on July 6, and then the fun part – endless back and forth about which of the ten finalists should take home the $20,000 cheque – begins and continues until the winner is announced on September 20. For my part, since I was on the Grand Jury in 2008, my duties end this year with submission of my second ballot in a week’s time. And considering that I’ve only got one record from the first ballot that’s not still in the running and a pool of 36 records to choose from, that should be relatively easy. What’s that? What was on my first ballot? Well I’m glad you asked. In order, they were:

1. Shad / TSOL
In a perfect world, my Polaris ballot would write itself. Albums up for the title of “best in Canada” should announce themselves as such and not give you the option to not include it. Not a lot of records do this, but Shad’s third album did. Its blend of heart, humour and hooks are irresistible. TSOL demands its place on the long list, will almost certainly find its way on the short list and I give it good odds of going all the way.

MP3: Shad – “Yaa I Get It”

2. Reverie Sound Revue / Reverie Sound Revue
I knew this album wouldn’t make the long list without some sort of divine intervention, but with each successive listen in the year or so since its release, it has won me over more and more. What it has is understatedly clever wordplay delivered by Lisa Lobsinger’s perfectly matched vocals overtop impeccably conceived and arranged jazzy pop sounds, and the fact that very little out there does what they do this well, from any country. What it doesn’t have is a band able to tour or otherwise promote it as it deserved, and that’s why I’m looking for a new fifth album for ballot #2. But this album should be heard.

MP3: Reverie Sound Revue – “Arrows”

3. Owen Pallett / Heartland
Just five years in, repeat short list nominees are hardly uncommon but we haven’t had a repeat winner yet. And with the name change before this record’s release, pedants could argue it wouldn’t be a repeat, but I digress. Truth is I don’t even know how much I like it – there’s so much going on that even months on I find myself overwhelmed and still haven’t fully absorbed it – but the artistic ambition and achievement of it transcends subjective opinion.

Video: Owen Pallett – “Lewis Takes His Shirt Off”

4. Dan Mangan / Nice, Nice, Very Nice
What I said about the Shad record applies here as well, though not quite as emphatically. Some naysayers have criticized Mangan’s album for being just another indie-folk singer-songwriter record and technically, they’re quite correct. Which is why the degree to which Nice, Nice was able to stick and resonate for so long marks it as noteworthy. There’s unquestionably something going on here above and beyond what you get on paper.

MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”

5. Basia Bulat / Heart Of My Own
Any reservations I had about nominating Basia’s second album amounted to it being so similar to Oh, My Darling and not yet being the masterpiece statement that I’m sure she has in her. But then I listened to it – and “The Shore” – again and tossed those reservations out the window. I don’t know that I’d go to the wall for it as best album of the year, but thankfully I don’t have to.

MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”

Chart talks basketball and TSOL with Shad, who’s at the Kool Haus with K’Naan on October 1.

The Toronto Star, JAM and Metro interview The Besnard Lakes.

Pitchfork talks to Black Mountain’s Stephen McBean. Their new record Wilderness Heart is out September 14 and they preview it at The Horseshoe on July 23.

Torq Campbell of Stars goes through The Five Ghosts, out next week, song-by-song for The National Post while Amy Milan talks about the new album with Dose.ca.

The Toronto Star and The Globe & Mail and Vancouver Sun talk Twilight with Metric, who recorded an acoustic video session for The Fly. They’re at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 9.

Ca Va Cool interviews The Meligrove Band. Their new record Shimmering Lights is out September 21.

Filter Q&A’s Tokyo Police Club, who’re at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 8.

Check out this Takeaway Show with Land Of Talk, whose new record Cloak & Cipher is out August 24. hour.ca has a conversation with Liz Powell.

Wolf Parade are streaming the whole of their new record Expo 86 at their MySpace in advance of its June 29 release.

Stream: Wolf Parade / Expo 86

Diamond Rings has released the video for his new single – the most elaborate one so far – just in time for the 12″ release at Wrongbar tonight. He’s on at 11 and a certain peacock costume may well be making an appearance. His debut full-length Special Affections will be out in the Fall.

Video: Diamond Rings – “Show Me Your Stuff”

The Balconies have released the first video from their self-titled debut; they play the Wine & Spirits Festival in the Distillery District on Saturday evening.

Video: The Balconies – “Serious Bedtime”

A few show announcements to cap off the week – after first cancelling the Toronto date and then the whole tour back in May, reunited shoegaze forebears Chapterhouse have re-booked their North American tour for this Fall and T.O. is back on the agenda – this time it’s set for October 6 at Lee’s Palace, again with Ulrich Schnauss supporting.

Video: Chapterhouse – “Pearl”

If you look at my schedule for SxSW in March, you will see no less than seven Local Natives shows marked down, some of them flagged as “high priority”. Needless to say, I missed them all. I’ll finally get to make that up on October 19 when the Los Angeles outfit bring Gorilla Manor to town for a show at the Mod Club, tickets $17.50 in advance.

MP3: Local Natives – “Sun Hands”

Matt & Kim have slated a massive Fall tour that will include an October 29 show at The Phoenix. Yeah, they’re that big now.

MP3: Matt & Kim – “Yeah Yea”

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

A Coming Of Age

Review of Lucky Soul’s A Coming Of Age

Photo via Lucky SoulLucky SoulHere’s a little bit of trivia for you. Of the 66 artists who’ve either placed in my year-end lists since I began recording them in 2003 or made my “favourite records of the past seven years” list, 18 of them have or are about to release new records this year, eight more were due to put one out this year, eight have put out solo records or collaborations and five more are currently in the studio. Which is to say that if past history is any indicator, 2010 is going to be an exceptional year for music.

While it’s presumptuous to assume that many or even any of those acts will be making repeat appearances on any list of this year’s favourites, one follow-up that’s pretty much a shoo-in is A Coming Of Age, the sophomore effort from London’s Lucky Soul. Their 2007 debut The Great Unwanted was and remains one of my favourite releases of this century, a pretty much perfect collection of classically-styled, throwback pop built on Andrew Laidlaw’s songwriting and Ali Howard’s sun-kissed vocals. So while I was clearly going to be favourably inclined towards the follow-up, it also had some huge footsteps to follow in – footsteps which it uses not so much as a starting line but a launching pad.

It was already clear from the new material previewed when I went to see Lucky Soul make their live US debut in October 2008 that the band had ambitions beyond the northern soul/girl-group vibe that they had pretty much perfected their first time out, but I was still more than surprised by the range of influences that come into play on A Coming Of Age. There are the disco inflections of the irresistible leadoff track, “Whoa Billy!”, the ’80s indie jangle of “White Russian Doll”, the classic Motown stylings of “Love 3”, the light country twang of “Upon Hilly Fields”… and that’s just the first third of the record. Of course, such ranginess wouldn’t be something to laud if they weren’t able to pull it all off but they certainly do, all without losing any of their own distinct personality – quite the opposite, in fact.

The more they push outwards from what The Great Unwanted defined Lucky Soul as, the more they prove they’re so much more than what that implied. It certainly reinforces their ability to craft a pop hook for the ages, and addition to the greater blend of styles, the material also covers a greater emotional spectrum. The charming girlishness of Ali Howard’s presence, which so perfectly captured the spirit of their debut, has matured and grown more experienced on the follow-up with Howard’s stronger voice proving up to the task of expressing those emotions. The best examples of what Lucky Soul are capable of now come at what would logically be the final tracks of sides A and B – the title track and “Could It Be I Don’t Belong Anywhere” – both of which ride sweeping string sections to dramatic effect but stay just on the right side of tasteful, evoking grandeur rather than excess. The latter, in particular, deftly runs the gamut from daydreamy wistfulness to swirling tumult so naturally, you don’t even notice the storm clouds gather until they’re upon you and it does it in under three-and-a-half minutes, providing a remarkable finale to a remarkable record from a most remarkable band.

Lucky Soul have just released a new puppet-powered video for “Whoa Billy!” which was written, shot, edited entirely by the band. A Coming Of Age is out next Monday in the UK, with no domestic release at the moment but amazon.ca and amazon.com both have it listed as imports. The Von Pip Musical Express talks to songwriter Andrew Laidlaw, who has also taken to the band’s blog to annotate a song from the new record each day over the next twelve days or so. Touring over here is probably far too much to hope for, but if they manage to make it over here for a date or two again, you can bet your sweet bippy I’ll be there.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “A Coming Of Age”
MP3: Lucky Soul – “Whoa Billy!”
Video: Lucky Soul – “Whoa Billy!”
Video: Lucky Soul – “White Russian Doll”
MySpace: Lucky Soul

The New York Times gets a behind-the-scenes look at the fashion and styling of Florence & The Machine; NPR and Blare also have interviews with Florence Welch.

Spinner talks to Doves about their new best-of collection The Places Between, from which they’ve released a video for the one new song.

Video: Doves – “Andalucia”

There’s also a new Lightspeed Champion clip from Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You. NME reports that Dev Hynes recently had a bad time with some medical issues, but is feeling better now.

Video: Lightspeed Champion – “Madame Van Damme”

And also one from Emma Pollock, taken from her second solo record The Law Of Large Numbers.

Video: Emma Pollock – “Red Orange Green”

Metro and Love Shack Baby have interviews with members of Fanfarlo.

The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, The Province and The Vancouver Sun have features on and MPR a streaming radio session with The xx. They’re at the Kool Haus on April 20.

Song By Toad has a lovely session with Mumford & Sons available to download.

A first sample of Been Listening, the second album from Johnny Flynn, is now available to download. The record is out June 7.

MP3: Johnny Flynn – “Kentucky Flynn”

The Quietus has details on The Boxer, the debut solo effort from (former?) Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke. It’s out June 21.

NME reports that Richard Hawley will release a new digital EP on June 8 entitled False Lights From The Land, featuring “Remorse Code” from last year’s Truelove’s Gutter, one new song and two covers.

Fyfe Dangerfield will be playing a handful of North American dates in support of his solo record Fly Yellow Moon, including a May 23 date at the El Mocambo. Leeds Music Scene and The Linc have interviews with the lead singer of The Guillemots.

MP3: Fyfe Dangerfield – “She Needs Me”
Video: Fyfe Dangerfield – “She Needs Me”

Athlete will bring their new record Black Swan to Lee’s PAlace on June 7 – full North American dates at The Music Slut.

Video: Athlete – “Black Swan Song”

The June 1 release of The Futureheads’ new record The Chaos will be accompanied by a North American tour, including a June 10 date at the Mod Club. There’s a feature piece on the band at News Of The World.

MP3: The Futureheads – “Struck Dumb”

The Guardian reports that Supergrass will be calling it a day this Summer, after 17 years of power-pop.

Video: Supergrass – “Richard III”

If you’ve got 90 minutes to kill, then this episode of BBC6’s The Record Producers on Bernard Butler is well worth a listen – it examines his works from Suede through his solo career to his role today as one of the most in-demand producers in the UK, complete with interviews and exclusive audio samples.

The Sun reports that Blur will release their first new single in seven years this Saturday for Record Store Day in the UK. The head of their label Parlophone tells BBC6 he hopes this is just the start of more new music from the band. Of course he does.

Spinner talks to Bernard Sumner about both Bad Lieutenant and New Order.

Drowned In Sound gets to know Chapterhouse, whose May 1 show at the Horseshoe has unfortunately been cancelled.

Roger Waters will kick off the 30th anniversary tour for Pink Floyd’s The Wall on September 15 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The Toronto Star talks to Waters about the tour, which he says will likely be his last.

Eardrums talks to the makers of a documentary currently being made about legendary Sarah Records label. The Story Of Sarah Records isn’t due out until the end of the year, but a teaser trailer is up now and call for stories and memorabilia about the label open.

Trailer: The Story Of Sarah Records

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Do Wah Doo

Kate Nash jets across Atlantic for North American tour

Photo By Clare NashClare NashUpdates from the recording sessions for Kate Nash’s follow-up to 2007’s Made Of Bricks were few and far-between, but what did come out – that she was working with Bernard Butler, as famed for his stint as guitarist in Suede as his production work and that boyfriend Ryan Jarman from Brit-rockers The Cribs was hanging around – seemed to imply that her bubbly piano anthems might be taking on a harder edge on the sophomore effort. A theory borne out by the first released MP3 from the album, initially entitled Crayon Full Of Color but since changed to My Best Friend Is You and out on April 20 either way – “I Just Love You More” sounded like a not especially successful attempt at punk rock and certainly not playing to Nash’s strengths – clever wordplay and keen, observational songwriting that’s as humorous as it is pointed.

The first proper single, however, does sound like vintage Kate Nash. “Do Wah Doo”, for which a fun dancing stewardess-themed video has just been released, is very much in line with the best of Bricks, just gussied up with Butler’s signature retro-slick production. In fact it might be a little too similar to those who’d like to see some more growth from album one to two, but if “Do Wah Doo” represents one end of the stylistic spectrum covered on the new record and “I Just Love You More” the other, then My Best Friend Is You should be a fun and interesting listen.

Nash was already announced as one of the artists taking part in this year’s Lilith Fair revival, but this piece in Rolling Stone shows she’s not waiting for Sarah McLachlan’s say-so to bring her new record to North America. Less than a week after the record’s release, Nash is embarking on a small club tour across the continent, starting on April 26 in Toronto at the Mod Club – tickets $22.50. I missed both of Nash’s previous local shows back in 2008, so I’m pretty excited about the opportunity to finally see her live, and in cozy environs no less. And hopefully it will go better than her recent Glasgow show.

The Daily Record and Contact Music have interviews with Nash.

MP3: Kate Nash – “I Just Love You More”
Video: Kate Nash – “Do Wah Doo”

Spin finds out why Victoria Hesketh calls herself Little Boots while NYLON and Metro also have interviews. It seems that it’s not just the Toronto date of her North American tour that’s been scotched – none of her east coast, post-Coachella dates are listed on her website anymore.

Pitchfork has details on the forthcoming album from the all-new. all-different PipettesEarth vs. the Pipettes will be out on June 28 in the UK and if the band believes that it’s the planet Earth that is conspiring to have all their members quit… they may be on to something.

Magnet has an interview with former Delgados frontwoman Emma Pollock, who has been playing guest editor on their site all week. Her second solo record The Law Of Large Numbers came out last week.

MP3: Emma Pollock – “Hug The Harbour”

If the questions posed in these following Spinner quickie SxSW preview interviews look familiar… well, they are. Thankfully the answers are different.

Spinner talks to Frightened Rabbit, whose Winter Of Mixed Drinks finally began this week. They are at the Opera House on May 4.

Fanfarlo chats with Spinner and The Daily Texan. They’re in town with a show at Lee’s Palace on April 9, and Clash reports the band are planning to give away a free live EP in conjunction with this (or some other upcoming) tour.

This Spinner interview with The xx strays from the script a little bit. They’re at the Phoenix on April 4 and the Kool Haus on April 20.

Let’s Wrestle grapples with some questions from Spinner. They’re at the Horseshoe on April 18.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of a recent show from We Were Promised Jetpacks and oh yeah, there’s one of those Spinner interviews too.

The Line Of Best Fit chats with Field Music. They’re at the Horseshoe next Friday night with The Clientele, with whom 77 Square and City Pages have chats.

The Tripwire has a feature piece on The Big Pink. They play The Mod Club on March 24.

JAM and The Montreal Gazette interview Muse.

The High Wire, heartily endorsed late last year, have made the title track of their new album The Sleep Tape available to download. It starts out small, but quickly becomes a pretty compelling argument for this as one of the best dream-pop records of the year. Which, as of this moment, it is.

MP3: The High Wire – “The Sleep Tape”

Exclaim reports that Belle & Sebastian are off hiatus and headed back into the studio to record album number eight. EIGHT. Goodness.

Daytrotter has a session with Ian McCulloch of Echo & The Bunnymen. They are at The Phoenix on April 23.

Rumoured a little while ago but now official – first-wave shoegazers Chapterhouse have slated a North American tour for this Spring and will kick it off on May 1 at the Horseshoe in Toronto.

Video: Chapterhouse – “Pearl”

Billboard wonders what David Bowie is up to – apparently, not much.