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Posts Tagged ‘Choir Of Young Believers’

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Candles

Daughter, Choir Of Young Believers, and Little Green Cars at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI guess I should blame Letterman. When it was announced that English trio Daughter were doing a short North American tour around their CMJ appearance, I was quite excited as I figured with their full-length debut not due out until the new year, and only a couple of low profile EPs in The Wild Youth and His Young Heart to their name, their Monday night showcase at The Drake would be a intimate, even secret, occasion for those of us in the know. After all – what’s the point of going all the way to Texas to be wowed by them at SXSW if not to be able to be ahead of the curve if just by one show? But then Letterman goes off and has them on The Late Show a couple weeks ago and then, all of a sudden, the show is not only sold out but people are being told very explicitly that there are no more tickets, anywhere, so stop asking. Somehow my little low-key performance has become the hot ticket in town.

Not that it was necessarily all thanks to Daughter. The bill featured two other acts from abroad, both with their own momentum coming out of CMJ, and both also making their Toronto/Canadian debuts. Dublin’s Little Green Cars curiously don’t have much of an online footprint, despite having signed to Glassnote (their debut is out early next year) and having been on tour across America for the last few weeks; this show was their last in the New World – and the first where they were legally allowed to drink, all being of the tender ago of 20 – so it was reasonable to expect they’d make it a good one. And maybe a drunk one. Coming out a cute pre-show, side-stage huddle, they went not for their instruments but straight to their mics to open with an impressive a capella number showcasing their five-part harmonies. Now the more cynical might say that we’re all full up with boisterously earnest folk-rock bands from the British Isles, thanks very much – and they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong – but Little Green Cars won’t be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Their roots show, no doubt, but there’s also enough ’50s-vintage rock’n’roll, gospel soul, and jangle-pop in the mix to make it stand out without becoming pastiche. Their sound hasn’t fully cohered yet, but as mentioned they’re crazy young. It’ll get there.

Copenhagen’s Choir Of Young Believers were talked about hereabouts last week, and having spent a moderate amount of time with their latest Rhine Gold, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. A precise idea, as it turned out, as the five-piece lineup did a pretty remarkable job of recreating the tones and textures of the album almost note-perfectly – and only almost because the cello was way low in the mix and the keys up, leaving the sonic balance tilted in favour of their New Wave tendencies, and Jannis Noya Makrigiannis took some more extended and free-form guitar excursions. It sounded quite good – the sadness and yearning of the material was more keenly felt live – but I didn’t detect it quite connecting with the audience, who responded more politely than passionately. If they’d gotten the crowd fully behind them, I suspect it could have felt epic but as it was, it was just alright.

It was genuine excitement that rippled through the packed Drake Underground by the time Daughter came out to set up for their set. They may not have had the personnel numbers of the preceding acts, but they did have some impressively complex pedalboards to help balance that out. You wouldn’t think so much technology would be needed for their dark folk-pop, but as with all aspects of the band, still waters run deep. Daughter may have initially been a pseudonym for frontwoman Elena Tonra, but it’s impossible to imagine how they’d sound without Igor Haefeli’s intricately layers of guitar atmosphere or Remi Aguilella’s spare but creatively treated drums and percussion.

And yet, it still all comes down to Tonra. Demure and hiding under her fringe, a shy girl with a sly smile, she seemed flustered by the attention yet her songs – elegant and reserved on the surface, yet clearly roiling just underneath with regrets, confessions, and accusations – are not the work of someone who prefers to stay silent or play things close to the vest. I was wholly impressed with the first impressions back in March, but having had time to get to know the songs and then see them performed, it took things to another level. Tonra did an exceptional job of tempering the intensity with charm, modestly introducing a solo reading of “The Woods” by saying that if it didn’t go well, to pretend it didn’t happen and then of course absolutely destroying it, and at the set’s close, thanking everyone for letting them in the building. The correct response, of course, was to thank her for letting us into her songs.

Photos: Daughter, Choir Of Young Believers, Little Green Cars @ The Drake Underground – October 22, 2012
MP3: Daughter – “Love”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Sedated”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Patricia’s Thirst”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Nye Nummber Et”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Paint New Horrors”
MP3: Little Green Cars – “It’s A Long Way To Tipperary”
Stream: Daughter – “Run”
Stream: Daughter – “Smother”
Video: Little Green Cars – “The John Wayne”

Dazed, Pitchfork, Planet Notion, eMusic, Interview, and Consequence Of Sound all want to talk to Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan with the release of her third album The Haunted Man. She also goes through the album track-by-track in a video piece for Billboard.

Ábrete De Orejas interviews David Gedge of The Wedding Present, and if you thought that this year’s Seamonsters recitals mean that it was time for Watusi to take centre stage… nope. They’ve announced a handful of 2013 dates in the US and will be playing George Best and their Hit Parade A-sides. Those of us waiting for the return of Cinerama material will have to keep waiting.

NPR has a KCRW session with Hot Chip.

DIY reports that Foals have given their third album, due out next year, a name – Holy Fire.

A Music Blog, Yea? has some questions for The Twilight Sad, in town at The Horseshoe on November 18.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Ritzy Bryan of The Joy Formidable, whose new album Wolf’s Law comes out January 23. They play The Sound Academy on November 25 supporting The Gaslight Anthem.

Hayden Thorpe of Wild Beasts talks to The New Statesman about starting work on their new album.

Fab talks to Patrick Wolf.

Loud & Quiet have got a full, marvelously-shot and sounding Horrors show from their hometown of Southend-on-Sea available to watch.

State gets to know Clock Opera, who perform a video session for They Shoot Music and have released a new video from their album Ways To Forget.

Video: Clock Opera – “The Lost Buoys”

Beth Orton lists off some of her favourite albums for The Quietus.

The Village Voice and NOW have features on The xx.

Interview and Billboard talk to Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner of New Order, while The Quietus talks to Peter Hook – formerly of New Order. Do you think the subject of one another comes up? Noew Order plays the second of two nights at The Sony Centre tonight.

Clash asks Guy Garvey of Elbow what he’d do with the last day of his life.

The Daily Mail offers an update on David Bowie’s ongoing retirement. And that is he’s still retired.

That Marina & The Diamonds/Icona Pop show originally scheduled for December 3 at The Phoenix has been moved to The Kool Haus. Adjust your bus schedules accordingly.

The Capilano Courier talks to Søen Løkke Juul of Indians; their debut Somewhere Else is out January 29 and they’re at The Horseshoe on November 23 supporting Other Lives.

The Raveonettes have released a new video from Observator. Stereogum has some thoughts from directors about the clip.

Video: The Raveonettes – “Curse The Night”

The Alternate Side has a session with The Tallest Man On Earth.

The Fader has a video session with Jens Lekman recorded in a New York bakery.

Sambassadeur is teasing a new album due out in 2013 with a new limited edition 7″ out on November 20.

MP3: Sambassadeur – “Memories”

Sigur Rós have rolled out a couple more videos from their Valtari “Mystery Film Experiment”.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Fjögur píanó”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varðeldur”

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The Wind Is Blowing Needles

Review of Choir Of Young Believers’ Rhine Gold and giveaway

Photo By Nina MouritzenNina MouritzenAs a confirmed musical Scandiphile – I don’t know if that’s a real world but I like it regardless – I like to think each nordic country has a particular strength and style to them: Swedes excel at mating melody to melancholy, the best Icelandic music is evocative of the mystery and otherworldliness of the environment from which it springs, and Norway has given us black metal and a-ha. But Denmark… for a long while, they gave us Aqua. And also Mew and The Raveonettes, sure, but only recently have I began to detect a particular musical thread running through their emerging artists.

Artists like Efterklang and Indians trade in a sort of dense, meticulously crafted, and occasionally proggish pop that prefers measured movements to grand gestures and can prefer to render emotions in infinte greyscale rather than technicolor. And while three acts don’t really constitute a national aesthetic, the aforementioned also applies to Copenhagen’s Choir Of Young Believers, the miniature orchestra led by singer-guitarist Jannis Noya Makrigiannis. Their second full-length Rhine Gold is a sumptuous collection of songs that are stoic and weighty, but still move with grace whether Makrigiannis is working with an elegant croon or lonesome yodel and benefit from arrangements that flirt equally with baroque orchestrations and electronic processing. Certainly, there are points where you wish that the band would crack a smile or let some light in, but it’s hard to argue when the stoicism sounds this good and anyways – it wouldn’t be very Danish, would it?

Choir Of Young Believers are at The Drake Underground on Monday, October 22 in support of Daughter, and courtesy of Big Hassle, I have a pair of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to join the Choir Of Young Believers” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that to me by midnight, October 20.

MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Sedated”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Patricia’s Thirst”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Nye Nummber Et”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Paint New Horrors”

Speaking of Indians, 4AD have offered details on their forthcoming debut: Somewhere Else is out January 29, and a preview MP3 has been provided for your listening pleasure. They’re at The Horseshoe on November 23, and for anyone in New York right now, they’re also at Brooklyn Bowl tonight for my co-presented Hype Machine showcase.

MP3: Indians – “Cakelakers”

PopMatters and Washington City Paper interview Jens Lekman.

PopMatters asks twenty questions of Victoria Bergsman of Taken By Trees.

Death & Taxes interview Icona Pop, whose new EP Iconic is available to stream. They open up for Marina & The Diamonds at The Phoenix on December 2.

Stream: Icona Pop / Iconic

Interview and The Toronto Star talk to Ellie Goulding.

The xx have released a new video from Coexist. They’re at Massey Hall on October 23.

Video: The xx – “Chained”

The Quietus has premiered a video from Sylver Tongue’s new Something Big EP and you know, watching her take that guitar solo, I don’t think anyone would have complained if she had simply released it as Charlotte Hatherley

Video: Sylver Tongue – “Something Big”

Daytrotter welcomes Still Corners to their studios for a session.

Drowned In Sound has an interview with former Supergrass leader Gaz Coombes.

MusicOmh talks to Beth Orton.

Maxïmo Park visits Daytrotter for a session.

Chart solicits a list of favourite albums from Matt Taylor of Dry The River, who will be releasing an acoustic version of their debut Shallow Bed digitally on December 17; details on that at Live4Ever.

The Fly profiles Tame Impala.

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Terribly Dark

Review of Frida Hyvönen’s The The Soul

Photo By KnotanKnotanArtists lose record deals; it happens all the time. But when it happens to an international artist and rather than find a new deal, they disappear off your radar entirely, well that’s just a shame. Swedish singer-songwriter Frida Hyvönen was represented by Secretly Canadian for her first two albums, 2005’s Until Death Comes and 2008’s Silence Is Wild, but after that they parted ways and as such, the release of her third pop album To The Soul back in April escaped my notice completely.

Which is a shame, because I quite liked both of Hyvönen’s other releases (the above ‘pop’ distinction is necessary because her two albums under the Frida Hyvönen gives you: marque are soundtracks for a poodle-inspired dance recital and photographic exhibition and outside the scope of my experience). Death was a more skeletal affair, built largely around Hyvönen’s voice, piano, and idiosyncratic worldview, but when she toured behind it in Spring 2007, it was perfectly suited for her to perform solo, showcasing both her musical talents and genuinely eccentric personality. Silence, in comparison, filled out her sound with both bigger pop numbers and more pointedly personal compositions and I’m genuinely disappointed that she didn’t come back on tour with it – I would have loved to hear “London!” and “Dirty Dancing” live.

That disappointment pales to having to not hearing the follow-up until some four months after it was released not just because I couldn’t find a copy, but because I didn’t even know it existed. To The Soul continues the trajectory marked by the previous two data points in Hyvönen’s discography, taking her songwriting into sonically and emotionally richer territory while she’s arguably never been in finer voice. There’s more variety between her jaunty pop and sweeping ballads, as she swaps piano for synth textures on the New Wave-y “Terribly Dark” and enlists orchestral assistance on the dramatic “In Every Crowd”. Most striking about Soul is how the sort of material which was presented as grandiose pop on Silence has evolved to become almost theatrical in scale; it’s no stretch to imagine “Saying Goodbye” or “Gold” as a show-stopper in a Broadway production, and it’s not just in the presentation – the songs are just that big. The only bigger shame than the fact that the album is only available in North America via iTunes is that people probably don’t even know that much. So if you’re any kind of Hyvönen fan, know that To The Soul is out there and that it’s worth the hunt.

PSL has a video session with Hyvönen. Yes, it’s in Swedish.

Video: Frida Hyvönen – “Terribly Dark”

Pitchfork has details on Pale Fire, the finally-confirmed new record from El Perro Del Mar Pale Fire. It’s out November 13, a new single is available to stream, and tour dates are apparently forthcoming. Huzzah.

Stream: El Perro Del Mar – “Walk On By”

For Folk’s Sake talks to Anna Ternheim about her new record The Night Visitor.

The Alternate Side has a session with Niki & The Dove, with whom DIY caught a word with at Reading & Leeds Festival. They play the slightly smaller Drake Underground on October 2.

Jens Lekman talks to MTV, Playground, and The Sydney Morning Herald about his glorious new album I Know What Love Isn’t, out September 4 and arguably his best record yet. Yes, better than those other ones you love so much. Don’t believe me? The Quietus is streaming the whole thing right now. He plays The Phoenix on October 4. And if you need a refresher as to why all of Lekman’s records are so good, Paste has compiled a list of his best lyrical turns of phrase.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “Erica America”
Stream: Jens Lekman / I Know What Love Isn’t

NPR has a World Cafe session with The Tallest Man On Earth.

The Hives have released a new video from Lex Hives.

Video: The Hives – “Wait A Minute”

Denmark’s Choir Of Young Believers will be at The Drake on October 22 supporting Daughter. Their latest Rhine Gold came out back in March. Full tour dates at BrooklynVegan.

MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Sedated”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Patricia’s Thirst”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Nye Nummber Et”

Danish disco outfit The Asteroids Galaxy Tour return to a North American orbit for a show at The Danforth Music Hall on November 5, tickets $20. Their second album Out Of Frequency came out back in January.

MP3: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – “Major”
MP3: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – “Around The Bend”

DIY has a video session with Of Monsters & Men, and DigitalSpy, The Bay Bridged, Tone Deaf, and The Guardian have interviews.

German ambient-electronic duo Mouse On Mars will be at Lee’s Palace on October 19 in support of their new EP Wow, even though it’s not out until November 2. Tickets for that are $15.

Video: Mouse On Mars – “They Know Your Name”

Daytrotter has a session with The Jezabels, in town at The Mod Club on October 24.

The Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone talk to Nick Cave about writing and scoring the film Lawless.

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Amidst The Movement

Alela Diane opts not to be still, buddies up for EP and tour

Photo By Alina HardinAlina HardinIf Alela Diane’s to-do list for 2009 had release a critically acclaimed album and tour relentlessly behind it, then it would be understood if she opted to take it easy through the tail end of the year. After all – her latest record To Be Still, with its timeless folk roots and clear-eyed songwriting, began collecting accolades as soon as it was released back in mid-February and she was on the road to promote it through much of this year. Yes, rest would be well-earned.

But not to be. Come October 6, she’ll release Alela & Alina, a new EP available on 10″ vinyl and in digital form. As the title implies, it’s a collaborative effort pairing her with Californian singer-songwriter Alina Hardin and while it sounds very much in the vein of To Be Still, the tight high harmonies provided by Hardin on the six new compositions do add an extra layer of loveliness to the proceedings. You can hear one of the new tracks at Diane’s MySpace.

And with the new release comes another excuse to tour, which Diane is of course doing. She’ll be spending September in the UK and Europe, but after a short break she’ll be setting out on an extensive North American tour. It’s unclear if Hardin will be joining her on the trek, but even if not, Diane has lined up a more than worthy tourmate in Marissa Nadler, herself no stranger to delicately beautiful folk music and who released a new album in Little Hells earlier this year. I’ve only managed to catch Diane live once, at a Soundscapes in-store back in February, and have never seen Nadler live despite her being no stranger to Toronto, so I’ve definitely got November 16, when they’ll be at the Horseshoe, circled on the ol’ calendar.

There’s interviews with Alela Diane over at Wears The Trousers, For Folk’s Sake and The Guardian.

MP3: Alela Diane – “White As Diamonds”
MP3: Marissa Nadler – “River Of Dirt”
Video: Alela Diane – “White As Diamonds”
MySpace: Alela Diane

Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater talks to Muso’s Guide about their just-completed new album which is currently targeted for a February 2010 release.

Woodpigeon’s recent European jaunt has yielded a five-part series of dispatches, each with an accompanying new recording. Enjoy.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Say Say Say” (Michael Jackson cover)
MP3: Woodpigeon – “Lonely Kiss” (The Consonant C cover)
MP3: Woodpigeon – “I’m Not Saying” (Gordon Lightfoot cover)
MP3: Woodpigeon – “Rambler Gambler”
MP3: Woodpigeon – “Reynisdranger Lullaby”

Pitchfork gets some background from John Darnielle on the Biblical themes pervading The Life Of The World To Come, the new album from The Mountain Goats, out October 6.

This week sees the release of Grand Archives’ new album Keep In Mind Frankenstein, which is streaming at Spinner. They play the Mod Club on October 15.

Stream:Grand Archives / Keep In Mind Frankenstein

Spinner talks to Big Star drummer Jody Stephens about sifting through the archives whilst assembling the Keep An Eye On The Sky box set, due out next Tuesday.

BeatRoute talks to Tad Kubler of The Hold Steady, playing a two-night stand at Lee’s Palace on September 26 and 27.

Spinner and here get to know Two Hours Traffic. Territory is out now and they’re at Lee’s Palace on October 16.

Dan Snaith gives eye an idea of what to expect at tonight’s Caribou Vibration Ensemble show at the Opera House as well as the new Caribou record, due out next Spring.

Malajube have made a date for the Horseshoe on October 24, tickets $13. They talk to Exclaim about some upcoming soundtrack work.

MP3: Malajube – “Porte Disparu”

Danish orchestral-pop collective Choir Of Young Believers will stop in at the Horseshoe on October 25 as part of a North American tour in support of their debut album This Is For The White In Your Eyes. Tickets for that show are $10.

MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Action Reaction”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Next Summer”

Just here in July, Wales’ Future Of The Left are back for a date at the El Mocambo on November 3 in support of Travels With Myself And Another. Tickets for that show are $10.

MP3: Future Of The Left – “Arming Eritrea”
Video: Future Of The Left – “The Hope That House Built”

Wolfmother are at the Kool Haus on November 11. The new album Cosmic Egg is out October 13.