Posts Tagged ‘Charlotte Hatherley’

Monday, September 28th, 2009

It Feels So Good When I Stop

Joe Pernice and Kate Boothman at The Dakota Tavern in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe last time Joe Pernice took a Toronto stage, he promised that as a new resident of the city, he might find himself playing more gigs around town and that he’d see us soon.

That was over four years ago.

Being fair, Joe has hardly been idle in that time. He released another Pernice Brothers record in Live A Little, became a father and wrote his first novel It Feels So Good When I Stop, which was the occasion for him to again get up, guitar in hand, in front of an audience of his neighbours – literally, as the Dakota Tavern was stumbling distance from his west-end digs.

Opening up was Kate Boothman, a local who had accompanied Joe on a couple of the US dates of this brief tour. Her short set didn’t do much for me, her folkish compositions failing to take off mostly on account of her rather flat vocal phrasing. The one tune she did with Julie Fader on harmonies fared better, so perhaps she works better when fronting her band Sunbear – people who’d stick around would find out as she’d be playing a full-band set after Joe went on.

Seeing as how the occasion for the show was both the release of the book and Joe’s latest record – a soundtrack of sorts to the book comprised of covers of songs mentioned in the book – the evening was being billed as a combination performance/reading, a format which actually worked really well. The evening started with Pernice, looking not a little like a fitter Elvis Costello, reading a passage from the novel and though he’d thank us at the end for being patient with him for doing so, it was our pleasure – his dry delivery really gave the book (which I have but still haven’t read sorry sorry sorry) life and I, for one, found it wholly engaging. This was followed by a set of covers from the soundtrack record and another reading, all interspersed with Pernice’s razor-sharp and self-effacing wit. Though his songwriting persona is famously bummed out (or “exquisitely sad”, he is truly one funny guy.

The real gold came next, though, as Pernice followed up with a lengthy set of his own material. The solo acoustic configuration precluded a lot of the regular Pernice Brothers material, as rich and full band-arranged as those tend to be, so instead the Dakota was treated to a trove of riches from the other eddies of Pernice’s career – the Big Tobacco solo record, the Chappaquiddick Skyline one-off project and to close it out, a suite of Scud Mountain Boys tunes that reinforced just how wonderful and consistent Pernice’s songwriting has been for so long. All told, Pernice played for nearly two hours – remarkable considering that Pernice Brothers live tended towards shorter sets – filled with songs, stories and banter. And before leaving the stage, he once again mentioned that now that he’s a Torontonian, maybe he’d play some more gigs around town. Alone or with band, book it and we’ll be there Joe. Just don’t wait another four years to do so.

The Globe & Mail has a feature piece on Joe and his book with outtakes from the interview available over at Zoilus. NOW and The Los Angeles Times also have pieces on Pernice. Now that the promotional rounds for the book are about done, Pernice is getting back to work on the already-started next Pernice Brothers record. Look for that sometime in the new year.

Photos: Joe Pernice, Kate Boothman @ The Dakota Tavern – September 24, 2009
MP3: Pernice Brothers – “Somerville”
Video: Pernice Brothers – “Somerville”
Video: Pernice Brothers – “Baby In Two”
Video: Pernice Brothers – “The Weakest Shade Of Blue”
Video: Pernice Brothers – “Working Girls”
MySpace: Pernice Brothers

Nick Cave is another musician whose recent foray into fiction – in his case his second novel The Death Of Bunny Munro – has been generating press. There’s conversations with Cave about the book at The Winnipeg Free Press, Time, CBC, The Toronto Star, The National Post and The Montreal Gazette, which also offers a full transcript of the interview. The Ampersand also got a musical endorsement for Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers.

The Times talks to Steve Earle, who is working on his first novel I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive.

NPR talks to Fanfarlo about their literary inspirations (their name comes from Baudelaire) while Tourdates also has an interview with frontman Simon Balthazar and if you’ve still not heard it (shame!), Clash is streaming the album right now.

Stream: Fanfarlo / Reservoir

This Is Nottingham has an interview with Charlotte Hatherley, who has released a video for the second single from her third album New Worlds. It will be out October 20.

Video: Charlotte Hatherley – “Alexander”

The Dodos have a new video from Time To Die. Look for them at Lee’s Palace on October 17.

Video: The Dodos – “Fables”

The Rural Alberta Advantage stopped in at Minnesota Public Radio for a streaming session and gave an interview to Decider. They’re also in the new issue of Spin but that piece isn’t online yet. They play Lee’s Palace on November 4.

The first MP3 from El Perro Del Mar’s new album Love Is Not Pop, out October 20, is now available to download. There’s also an interview at the Buenos Aires Herald. She opens for Peter Bjorn & John at the Phoenix on November 11.

MP3: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart”

Daily Finance chats with Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance of Merge Records about their 20th anniversary as an independent music label. Babelgum is also hosting a whole slew of video footage from the XX Merge festival in Carrboro back in July.

The National Post has a nice little feature on Canadian sportscasting legend and inveterate music fan – that IS him you see at all those gigs around town – Dave Hodge.

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

These Are My Twisted Words

Radiohead chide internet, magnanimously give away free song

Photo By Kevin WestenbergKevin WestenbergThis has already been covered ad nauseum everywhere – I saw it mentioned in some washroom graffiti yesterday – but I think my music blogging license gets revoked or something if I don’t report on it and anyways, it’s quick and easy and allows me to spend the evening watching television.

Everyone was abuzz last week when a song that sounded too much like Radiohead to not be Radiohead began circulating online without any official comment from the band’s camp. Naturally, everyone went batshit – they’d already released a new tune last week and recent interviews implied that they were tired of the conventional album release model and had some fresh ideas on how they’d release future recordings, so the idea that this was just the tip of a Radiohead-sized iceberg wasn’t an unreasonable assumption. Adding fuel to the fire was the discovery of an URL in some ASCII artwork that accompanied the leaked track that pointed to www.wallofice.com, which in turn pointed to w.a.s.t.e., Radiohead’s official webstore. By end of day Friday, the consensus was that the band would be releasing a new EP or album entitled Wall Of Ice on Monday, all sneaky-like, and all the ills of the world would be cured. Pitchfork has a summary of all this if you seek more detail.

Anyways, Monday rolled around yesterday as it often does following Sundays and lo and behold, there was indeed a new Radiohead release available for free on their website. One song – “These Are My Twisted Words” – which was the exact one that had been circulating since Friday and which started all the brouhaha. It’s a good one, for sure, and alongside Harry Patch gives a tantalizing taste of where Radiohead are, creatively, but hardly the grand event many had been hoping for. And what about www.wallofice.com? Well assuming that that is, in fact, a Radiohead-sanctioned site, it now scolds everyone for rumour-mongering and generally being the internet. So, it seems by completely ignoring all this hubub until now, I may the one and only online outlet to remain in Thom Yorke’s good graces. Nyah!

Anyways, assuming that the ‘Head are done messing with peoples’ heads is probably unwise. When they take their time off, they’re almost deathly silent, but when they get up to stuff, they get up to a lot.

ZIP: Radiohead – “These Are My Twisted Words”

Moving on.

Maximo Park frontman checks in from Germany with another tour diary dispatch for Spinner. Think their September 18 date at Lee’s Palace will merit an entry of its own? No, probably not.

Channel News Asia has an interview with Emmy The Great, who has been keeping Summer festival diaries for The Guardian and Clash.

The Horrors have released a new video from Primary Colours. They’re at Lee’s Palace on October 14 and am hoping to score some decent tickets for the just-announced second Wilco show at Massey Hall on the 15th so I can see these guys the first night. Won’t be around for the presale tomorrow though – anyone want to grab me a ticket? I’m good for it, honest.

Video: The Horrors – “Mirror’s Image”

Also with a new video is Fanfarlo, who bring their delightful Reservoir album to North America on October 6. Paste declared them one of their “Best of what’s next for 2009” and they’re not wrong.

Video: Fanfarlo – “The Walls Are Coming Down”

Arctic Monkeys insist to BBC that their new album Humbug, out August 25, is not more “mature”. They are at the Kool Haus on September 29.

The Dumbing Of America has an interview with Charlotte Hatherley, whose New Worlds will be out in the UK on October 19.

The Times has a profile on Patrick Wolf.

NME reports that Placebo have canceled their entire upcoming North American tour in support of Battle For The Sun, including the October 6 date at the Sound Academy in Toronto, while frontman Brian Molko recovers from a virus contracted in Asia. Sidestepping joke about hoping Molko gets real drugs and not fake ones…. now.

The Boston Globe talks to Richard Thompson about his new box set Walking On A Wire: 1968-2009, which is out today. You can stream a sample of songs from the collection at Spinner.

Stream: Richard Thompson / Walking On A Wire (selections)

If you ever wondered exactly what you were getting when you paid for “remastered” reissues, check out this absurdly detailed report on what was done for the upcoming Beatles remasters, coming out September 9. I’m no big advocate of buying the same records over and over again, but if you’re a Beatles fan, these may well be worth the dosh.

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

The Good News

The Mountain Goats find religion, testify about Life Of The World To Come

Photo By Chrissy PiperChrissy PiperThe Mountain Goats have revealed (revelated?) details of their next album and rather than utilize more of his typically cryptic or obscure song titles, John Darnielle has instead opted to name all twelve songs on The Life Of The World To Come after Bible verses. Whether these are meant as shorthand for each song’s real, divinely-inspired title or if he’s just drawing thematic parallels is unclear, but what’s for certain is that the title of the first released MP3, linked below, is easier to say (and type) than “So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken” (that’s the referenced verse, I looked it up online. I’m not quoting scripture from memory, goodness no).

In a posting announcing the new record on their website announcing the new album, along with production details and the October 6 release date, Darnielle denies he’s found religion in any conventional sense or is planning on railing against it with the new record, but will expound more on how it has inspired the new record in the near future. He’s also just announced a slew of Fall dates which will have Final Fantasy, who did string arrangements on the new record, as support. There’s no local date as yet – perhaps because Final Fantasy would possibly be a larger draw in his hometown than the headliner, and that’s just awkward. But I’m sure the Goats will be up this way to spread their gospel sooner or later so in the meantime, just enjoy the new track and give praise to whatever or whomever you choose that there’s a new Mountain Goats record en route. Hallelujah!

MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Genesis 3:23”

My copy of the book has yet to move to the top of my to-read queue and my copy of the album is in a USPS/Canada Post mailbag somewhere so I can’t talk too much about either of Joe Pernice’s new project It Feels So Good When I Stop but will hope to be all caught up before his show at the Dakota Tavern on September 24. In the meantime, read up on it with feature pieces on Joe at The Patriot Ledger, Blurt, The Boston Globe, Things I’d Rather Be Doing, The Boston Herald, Metro, The New York Post and The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Ohbijou are this month’s cover story in Exclaim and the band have announced Fall cross-Canada tour but if you think that there’s not going to be a hometown show either in that three day gap between Ottawa and Sudbury or when the whole thing’s over in late November, you’re taking crazy pills.

Ca Va Cool has an interview with the The Rural Alberta Advantage and Laundromatinee has a video feature on the band. By all accounts, last week’s show at the Horseshoe was pretty special – can’t wait to see them again, albeit in what’s probably an absurdly large stage, at V Fest on August 29.

Daytrotter has posted up a session with The Coast. They’re at the Horseshoe on Thursday night.

Spinner has the next installment in the Reverie Sound Revue blog tour, a performance of “The Leisure Lost”.

Check out the new video from Mew taken from No More Stories, out August 25. They’ll be at V Fest on August 30.

Video: Mew – “Introducing Palace Players”

Pitchfork has premiered the first MP3 from The Raveonettes, whose In And Out Of Control is due October 6 and who will be at the Phoenix on October 22.

MP3: The Raveonettes – “Suicide”

The Manic Street Preachers’ first North American tour in a decade, including an October 4 date at the Phoenix, will indeed be in support of a domestic release – the excellent Journal For Plague Lovers will be out in North America on September 15.

Charlotte Hatherley’s new album New Worlds has been given a UK release date of October 19 – hoping the North American release will be October 20 and those long-ago promises of promotion and touring on this side of the Atlantic still hold. There’s an interview with Hatherley at Spoonfed.

MP3: Charlotte Hatherley – “Colours”

Hatherley’s sometimes-day job Bat For Lashes have released a new vide from Two Suns. Filter also has a feature interview with Natasha Khan.

Video: Bat For Lashes – “Sleep Alone”

Another Mercury prize nominee with a new video is Florence & The Machine. Someone certainly got themselves a production budget.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “Drumming Song”

NOW has an interview with La Roux, who is also included in this “Brit Pop Girls” feature at Interview along with Little Boots and Ladyhawke.

Paper talks to Polly Scattergood.

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Two Planets

Some Mercury Prize predictions, both plausible and not

Photo By Jennifer TzarJennifer TzarSo I got an email last week from a fellow at the BBC asking me if I wanted to offer up some thoughts and/or predictions on the shortlist for the UK and Ireland’s Mercury Prize, which is set to be revealed next Tuesday. Having been largely off the mark in what I expected to make the shortlist for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize last week, and actually knowing how that process works, I figured I couldn’t possibly do any worse with the Mercurys – a prize whose process was almost completely unknown to me and which tends to draw from a much broader range of candidates than my little indie rockist world.

I’ve since learned that the 12 albums on the shortlist are selected by the same shadowy group of journalists, musicians and other industry illuminati types who choose the winner – a far cry from the Polaris’ jury, which endeavours to be as inclusive of journos and whatnot as possible and only saving the star chamber treatment for choosing the winner. And so to the BBC fellow’s original request, I’m not really sure if I should attempt to predict what albums will make the short list, what albums should make the short list or what albums I’d like to make the short list. I know I’d fail miserably at the first task and it’s impossible to accomplish the second without a much more comprehensive knowledge of all the possible nominees so that basically leaves the wholly subjective wish list, which is fine with me, but I’ll try to temper my picks with some degree of realism.

Bat For Lashes / Two Suns – This record would actually fit all three angles – I want to see it make the list, it deserves to make the list and it almost certainly will make the list, thus making Natasha Khan an impressive two for two in Mercury nominations for her albums. It’s one of those records that’s distinctive, accessible and artistically ambitious – and also just excellent. Even without seeing the actual list, this is my odds-on pick to win… of course, Fur & Gold was also heavily favoured and didn’t end up winning.

MP3: Bat For Lashes – “Glass” (live)

Manic Street Preachers / Journal For Plague Lovers – I get the feeling that the Mercury jurors are all about the new and so the Manics’ best album in many years may get overlooked on account of its creators already being some degree of legend. And that would be a real shame because it also happens to be their most heartfelt album, perhaps ever, has a genuinely affecting backstory and frankly rocks like a mother.

Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Jackie Collins Existential Question Time”

Patrick Wolf / The Bachelor – I’m personally of the opinion that many of the accolades given to Bat For Lashes could also apply to Patrick Wolf, particularly his latest which currently ranks as one of my favourite records of the year, but don’t know how he’s generally rated critically in his homeland. I get the sense that his extravagant personality might work against him with some unable or unwilling to look past his flamboyant exterior to see the brilliance underneath. Their loss.

MP3: Patrick Wolf – “Vulture”

Micachu / Jewellery – I will fully admit this one is here as a bit of a hedge. I remain unsure if it’s a brilliant record or bollocks, but with every listen it steps more firmly in the direction of the former. If someone told me it was an utter long shot to make the list, I would agree and if someone else told me it was a lock, I would also agree. It perplexes me. Either way, I look forward to offering an “I told you so” if it is indeed nominated.

MP3: Micachu – “Lips”

Emmy The Great / First Love – There is no realistic way I expect Emmy’s debut to get a Mercury nomination. Yes, Laura Marling got a nod last year and came out of the same scene, but Emmy’s more cynical, sardonic approach doesn’t strike that same chord of timelessness that Marling’s does. But that said, and acknowledging that while First Love is very good it’s not fully representative of her at her best, I’m still exceedingly fond of the record and would love to see it get the boost that a nomination would provide.

MP3: Emmy The Great – “We Almost Had A Baby” (Simon Raymonde mix)

Fanfarlo / Reservoir – I don’t know sort of precedent there is for self-released records getting Mercury nominations are, but if we’re talking about worthy records based strictly on musical merit, I would think that this meticulously crafted piece of orchestral pop would get some serious consideration. It’s not groundbreaking or all that original, but it is lovely and lilting and makes me, at least, quite happy.

MP3: Fanfarlo – “I’m A Pilot”

So there’s my picks if I were allowed to decide half of the short list, and besides Bat For Lashes I don’t really expect any of them will make the cut – especially if you look at who the UK’s bookmakers are betting will win. I assume they’re basing their odds on things like sales, profile and critical buzz and have got it down to either Doves or Little Boots. The former I can understand, as they follow the slow and steady veteran model that got Elbow the big prize last year but whereas The Seldom Seen Kid was, in my opinion, a big leap forward for that band, Kingdom Of Rust doesn’t really set itself apart from its predecessors. As far as Little Boots goes, there’s no denying Hands is fun and catchy as all get out, but it seems a bit shallow to ordain as the best album in the kingdom. And looking at other frontrunners, I’ve already covered Bat For Lashes and am a bit perplexed to see La Roux rated so highly – her self-title has some high points but I find it pretty monotonous overall. Florence & The Machine’s Lungs I’ve not spent enough time with to render fair judgment.

All will come clear next Tuesday, with the winner to be announced September 8, but until then the speculation is the fun part. The Line Of Best Fit, To Die By Your Side and Music Snobbery were also asked by the Beeb to compile their picks for the shortlist, Clash has made their predictions and The Quietus is pulling for The Horrors. If you’ve got an opinion of what should make the list or even win outright, chime in in the comments.

XFM is streaming a studio session with Bat For Lashes.

Bumpershine has an interview with Fanfarlo and is also giving away some CDs.

The Mirror and BBC have interviews with Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine.

Ms Lily Allen has a new video from It’s Not Me, It’s You.

Video: Lily Allen – “22”

NME has details on an upcoming re-release of Friendly Fires’ self-titled debut on August 31 which will include a new song, a disc or remixes and a live DVD. They play Lee’s Palace on August 10 and have a DJ gig at The Social later that night. Clash also has an interview with the band.

MP3: Friendly Fires – “Jump In The Pool”

Been waiting for this date to be confirmed for a little while now – Britrock prevails as The Twilight Sad, BrakesBrakesBrakes and We Were Promised Jetpacks hit the El Mocambo on October 10, tickets a mere $12. The Twilight Sad’s new album Forget The Night Ahead is out out September 22, BrakesBrakesBrakes’ Touchdown came out earlier this Spring and the Jetpacks debut These Four Walls hit stores last week.

MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Reflection Of The Television”
MP3: BrakesBrakesBrakes – “Don’t Take Me To Space (Man)”
MP3: We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Quiet Little Voices”

I missed this interview with Charlotte Hatherley at the Big Takeover website when it was originally posted back in May, but considering her new solo record New Colours isn’t due out till September at the earliest – maybe even October – I don’t think there’s any particular rush. But there is a new video!

MP3: Charlotte Hatherley – “Colours”
MP3: Charlotte Hatherley – “White”
Video: Charlotte Hatherley – “White”

This isn’t an official video for the title track of Camera Obscura’s latest My Maudlin Career, but the clip compiled of home videos taken on their recently-completed North American tour is certainly charming. They’ve also chosen to celebrate Bastille Day yesterday by giving away an MP3 of their last single “French Navy”.

MP3: Camera Obscura – “French Navy”
Video: Camera Obscura – “My Maudlin Career On The Road”

Torontonians disappointed that Arctic Monkeys didn’t make plans to visit over the August long weekend despite being up the 401 at Osheaga can celebrate – they’ve set a date at the Kool Haus for September 29 in support of their new album Humbug, due out August 25 and the first single from which, “Crying Lightining”, is streaming at their MySpace. Full tour dates at Spin.

Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite bemoans the demise of music journalism at Drowned In Sound.

Maximo Park are keeping a tour diary for Spinner. They’re at Lee’s Palace on September 18.

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Dancing Shoes

Montt MardiƩ delivers best-of and new album

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceWay back in my first post of the year, I gushed a bit about Sweden’s Montt Mardie and his first UK release, the Introducing ….. The Best Of compilation of his first two Swedish albums Drama and Pretender/Clocks. It was – and still is – a wonderful collection of lush and giddy throwback pop to any and every era of pop you can imagine. I wasn’t sure at the time if the album was actually out, and as it turned out it wasn’t – and still isn’t. It’s now set for a May 4 release in the UK but in the interim, Mardie hasn’t been idle.

He released his third proper studio album, entitled Skaizerkite, this week in Sweden. There’s both an MP3 and video for the first single but beyond that, being somewhat less than fluent in Swedish, information on this release is a bit hard to come by. I did manage to discern, however, that it’d cost me around $28 on import to get a copy of the album sent to me. Um, ouch. I’d forgotten the joys of buying imports. I think I will hold off just a bit on that one and hope that a less expensive option arises – after all, I’m still getting lots of mileage out of Introducing, even after so many months.

Here’s the aforementioned new track in audio and video form, and a crash course in his older material.

MP3: Montt Mardié – “Dancing Shoes”
MP3: Montt Mardié – “1969”
MP3: Montt Mardié – “Metropolis”
MP3: Montt Mardié – “New York”
MP3: Montt Mardié – “High School Drama”
MP3: Montt Mardié – “Come On Eileen”
Video: Montt Mardié – “Dancing Shoes”
Video: Montt Mardié – “High School Drama”
Video: Montt Mardié – “Metropolis”
Myspace: Montt Mardié

Daytrotter has a session with Loney Dear, who will be at the Rivoli on May 8.

Spinner interfaces with Peter Bjorn & John. They have two local dates coming up – a headlining show at the Phoenix on April 25 and a support slot with Depeche Mode at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 24.

Clash interviews Fanfarlo, who being a British band fronted by a Swede, provide the perfect segue from the Swedish portion of the post to the British. I make my own fun. Shut up.

It’s just a short note but this update at The Clientele’s website stating that they’re almost completed their new album brightened my day – after all, it was posted in February so surely it’s done by now? Their last two records – 2007’s God Save The Clientele and 2005’s Strange Geometry – almost perfectly encapsulates the feeling of wandering aimlessly around London, which is to say my happy place. Can’t wait to get another dose of that.

MP3: The Clientele – “Bookshop Casanova”

Camera Obscura’s Carey Lander answers The Daily Growl seven questions about songs. My Maudlin Career is out April 21 and they play Lee’s Palace on June 27.

Still no release date for Charlotte Hatherley’s Cinnabar City – nothing more specific than September 2009, anyways – but there’s not one but two tastes already available. Dig it. And see her play someone else’s songs when she tours as part of Bat For Lashes this Spring. The Sunday Mail has an interview with Hatherley about her busy life.

MP3: Charlotte Hatherley – “Colours”
MP3: Charlotte Hatherley – “White”

Minnesota Public Radio welcomes Glasvegas to their studios for a session. Fazer has an interview.

Filter talks to PJ Harvey and John Parish about their album A Woman A Man Walked By.

Billy Bragg talks to Music Ally about matters such as royalties and digital artists rights.

Delayed so long that I assumed it wasn’t happening, the third and final volume of Club AC30’s Never Lose That Feeling shoegaze tribute albums is now out. It’s rather lighter on big names – which is to say there really aren’t any – but I enjoyed the first two volumes enough to want the full set. Thanks to A Good Day For Airplay for the tip-off.

Teen Vogue‘s Spring Music Preview features short interviews and photo shoots with the likes of Florence & The Machine and Ladyhawke. And for your information, I do not read Teen Vogue on a regular basis. I graduated to Vogue years ago.