Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘Christopher Owens’

Monday, January 14th, 2013

I'll Be Around

Review of Yo La Tengo’s Fade

Photo By Carlie ArmstronCarlie ArmstrongNot much stays fresh after 30 years, particularly something as fleeting as creativity, and not even a band that’s as stylistically rangy as Yo La Tengo is immune to the of feeling of repeating themselves. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as their last release – 2009’s Popular Songs – was an enjoyable summation of everything Yo La Tengo has done well over the past three decades or so, from concise poppers to sprawling rockers on the x-axis and quiet to loud on the y, but didn’t really offer much as a jumping-off point for where they’d could go next.

As it turned out, the “where” would be Chicago, to work with John McEntire of Tortoise, rather than Nashville and Roger Moutenot, who had been behind the boards for every one of their records since 1993’s Painful – that’s their last seven releases. And while it’s not necessarily clear that a change in producer would have that drastic an effect on a band that’s as assured in what they do and how they do it as Yo La Tengo, if they were looking to come away with something different, it’s reasonable to say that the fruits of those sessions – Fade, out tomorrow – accomplished that.

The songs still follow the familiar Yo La Tengo templates, but the presentation feels compressed. Not in the technical studio sense of being less dynamic, but it’s not hard to imagine bookend tracks “Ohm” and “Before We Run” stretching past the 10-minute mark on other records instead of being constrained to their relatively concise six-and-change running times here. And those are the longest tracks on the album – almost everything else clocks in at under five minutes. Not to get too hung up on matters of time – what’s more remarkable than the fact that the whole thing could be dubbed onto a single side of a 90-minute cassette is that it seems to have been done without compromising any of the band’s trademark atmospheric indulgences or rushing their gentler, languid tempos.

On the quiet side, “Two Trains” exists in a sumptuous, phase-shifted dream-state, and “I’ll Be Around” hums along, carried by whirring organs and Ira Kaplan’s fingerpicked guitarwork, yet maintain enough presence to avoid becoming pretty aural wallpaper, and at the other end of the spectrum, “Well You Better” and “Paddle Forward” are welcome additions to the crunchy pop nugget section of their songbook. Fade may not necessarily break any new ground for the band – that may well be mathematically impossible for them at this point – but it does offer a fresh perspective on much of what they do best.

Spin and DIY have interviews with Ira Kaplan. They’re at The Phoenix on February 9.

MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Stupid Things”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Ohm”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Before We Run”
Stream: Yo La Tengo / Fade

It’s not as good as, say, her own tour in support of a new album, but it’s worth noting that Nicole Atkins will be in town on February 25 opening up for Eels at The Phoenix.

MP3: Nicole Atkins – “Vultures”

And if you missed the post addendum last week, Low have announced a local date in support of their new record The Invisible Way. The album is out March 19 but they’ll be here a few days earlier, on March 16, at The Great Hall. Tickets for that are $18.50 and on sale now.

MP3: Low – “Just Make It Stop”

Chelsea Light Moving – aka Thurston Moore’s new post-Sonic Youth band – will be at Lee’s Palace on March 31 in support of their self-titled debut, out March 5. Tickets are $19.50, details on the release available at Matablog and there’s quite a bit of the new record available to preview; spoilers – it sounds like Thurston Moore.

MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Burroughs”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Frank O’Hara Hit”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Empire Of Time”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Groovy & Linda”

Los Angeles electro-pop outfit Fol Chen will be at The Drake Underground on April 7 in support of their new album The False Alarms, due out March 19.

MP3: Fol Chen – “Cable TV”
Stream: Fol Chen – “200 Words”

Good news for those anticipating/dreading the auction later this week for the new Replacements benefit EP, Songs For Slim; while that limited edition of 250 will still be auctioned off to raise money for former ‘Mats guitarist Slim Dunlap’s medical bills, a regular edition of the recordings will be made available for sale to the general public. Details on that at Consequence Of Sound.

NPR interviews Christopher Owens, whose solo debut Lysandre is out tomorrow and who hits The Mod Club this Friday night.

NPR has got the whole of the new Widowspeak album Almanac available to stream ahead of its January 22 release.

MP3: Widowspeak – “Ballad Of The Golden Hour”
Stream: Widowspeak / Almanac

Hit up Consequence Of Sound to hear a stream of a track from the new Guided By Voices EP Down By The Racetrack, due out January 22. Their next full-length English Little League will follow on April 30.

Stream: Guided By Voices – “Copy Zero”

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Caitlin Rose, whose second album The Stand-In is out February 25 and who plays The Garrison on April 5.

Charles Bradley has given his second album Victim Of Love an April 2 release date. Details over at Exclaim.

The Flaming Lips have announced plans to release their 1997 mind-fuck opus Zaireeka as a vinyl reissue for Record Store Day this year, which is to say April 20. Which sounds great but when you factor in the fact that you’d not only need four turntables instead of the original issue’s quad-CD player setup, but you’d need to swap sides and records for each disc… yeah. No.

Memory Tapes have released a new video from last year’s Grace/Confusion.

Video: Memory Tapes – “Sheila”

The Alternate Side has a studio session with Dinosaur Jr.

Glasswerk have a video session with Crooked Fingers.

Elle Canada has an interview with Janelle Monáe.

Popmatters talks to Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum.

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Lovers In The Parking Lot

Solange is coming; it’s True.

Photo By Elias TahanElias TahanThere are many routes to Solange. Some may know her because of the surname she shares with her superstar sister. Others for her thespian endeavours which so far, have peaked with the starring role in the third chapter of the competitive cheerleading saga Bring It On. And her music career – two albums since 2003 – have sold hundreds of thousands of copies, so she’s got fans there, too. But it’s her recent turns covering Dirty Projectors and collaborating with Of Montreal that have garnered her scores of new followers in the indie realm.

She only came to my attention, however, when word got out that she was working with Dev Hynes as producer and co-writer. I had originally been a bit wary of his shift from the folk/orchestral indie-rock stylings of Lightspeed Champion to the ’80s-vintage disco-soul of of Lightspeed Champion and Blood Orange, but Coastal Grooves, his debut in that guise, was so irresistibly slick and funky – and at minimal cost to his guitar heroics – that the prospect of pairing those skills with an up-and-coming soul diva such as Knowles had so much potential.

The full-length fruits of their labours is still forthcoming, but the mini-album True, released digitally last November and out physically as of yesterday, certainly shows that promise is being fulfilled. It sounds like a companion piece to Coastal Grooves in style, but the use of an actual studio rather than Hynes’ home environs and Knowles’ vocals makes it a different creature entirely – smooth and expressive while eschewing the diva excesses so typical of her peers. It’s a bit of a subtle release, but that’s also what makes it refreshing and it doesn’t take but a few listens for the hooks to sink in and once they’re in, that’s it.

With the record’s release, Solange has announced a Winter tour that brings her – and presumably Hynes, who has been in her band for past live appearances – to The Hoxton on February 22. Tickets for that – which will go fast, you best believe – are $23 and go on sale this Friday at 10AM.

The Guardian has a feature piece on how Knowles came to work with Hynes, and if you’re curious about how their styles compare, know that the closing track on True is a Blood Orange cover of a 7-inch single; you can stream the original below. Solange’s performance of “Losing You” on Jimmy Fallon last year – with Hynes at her side – is also worth watching.

Video: Solange -“Losing You”
Video: Solange – “Losing You” (live on Jimmy Fallon)
Stream: Blood Orange – “Bad Girls”

Elsewhere, Brooklyn’s lo-fi surfers Beach Fossils have made a date at The Garrison for February 27 in support of their new album Clash The Truth, out February 19. Tickets are $14.50 in advance.

MP3: Beach Fossils – “Careless”
MP3: Beach Fossils – “Shallow”

With his/their third album Dormarion due out April 2, power-pop maestro Benjamin Michael Lerner – aka Telekinesis – has slated a Spring tour that stops in at the Horseshoe on May 12; tickets $11.50. A new song is also available to stream.

Stream: Telekinesis – “Ghosts And Creatures”

Pitchfork has debuted their new advance album stream feature with Yo La Tengo’s new one Fade, out next Tuesday. They’re at The Phoenix on February 9.

Stream: Yo La Tengo / Fade

The Stool Pigeon, New York Times, Red Eye, and The 405 interview Christopher Owens, whose solo debut Lysandre is out next Tuesday and who plays The Mod Club on January 18. The Line Of Best Fit has got a stream of the album right now.

Stream: Christopher Owens / Lysandre

Ra Ra Riot are streaming another new song from Beta Love, out January 22. They play Lee’s Palace on March 6.

Stream: Ra Ra Riot – “Dance With Me”

Two weeks out from the release of Almanac, Widowspeak have made another new song available to stream. It’s out January 22.

Stream: Widowspeak – “Thick As Thieves”

Local Natives have made another track from their forthcoming Hummingbird, out January 29. They’ve got a sold-out show at The Opera House on March 28.

MP3: Local Natives – “Heavy Feet”

Rolling Stone has some words with Jim James as well as a new stream from his forthcoming solo record Regions Of Sound & Light Of God, out February 5.

Stream: Jim James – “A New Life”

Spin talks to Caitlin Rose about expanding her country horizons on her second album The Stand-In, due out February 25, and the Arctic Monkeys cover that’s part of that. Watch the video for that one below, and see her at The Garrison on April 5.

Video: Caitlin Rose – “Piledriver Waltz”

The 405 has details on the new album from Brooklyn’s The Men, as well as a stream of a new song. Yes, its’ face-ripping. The album is called New Moon and is due out March 5.

Stream: The Men – “Electric”

Apparently that first taste in December of Low’s forthcoming The Invisible Way was unofficial because this new stream is being called the first official release from their new record, out March 19. They also just announced a live date at The Great Hall on March 16.

Stream: Low – “Just Make It Stop”

Rolling Stone talks to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club frontman Robert Been about writing and recording their new album, still untitled but due out this March, in the wake of his father’s sudden death in 2010. Update: Turns out it does have a name, as well as release date: Specter At The Feast is out March 18.

Spinner talks to John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

NYC Taper has a recording of Titus Andronicus’ set opening up for one of the Yo La Tengo Hannukah shows last December.

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.

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Zumm Zumm

Django Django are are coming coming to to town town

Photo By Pavla KopecnaPavla KopecnaIn mentioning yesterday that winning the Mercury Prize allowed Alt-J to graduate from playing Wrongbar in September to playing The Phoenix in March, we can also scientifically see what only getting nominated to the shortlist gets you. Django Django, who were shortlisted on the strength of their self-titled debut, also played Wrongbar in late September and have also just scheduled a Spring tour that brings them back to town in March – March 12, specifically, and at The Opera House. So based on the capacities of these two rooms, what can we discern? Winning the Mercury lets you play to about 200 more people. QED. Tickets are $17.50.

DIY has an interview with Django Django, who’ve just released a new video from the aforementioned Mercury-nominated album. There’s also a World Cafe session up at NPR.

MP3: Django Django – “Default”
Video: Django Django – “Life’s A Beach”

Also just announced – Ken Stringfellow of The Posies, R.E.M., and Big Star will be in town as just Ken Stringfellow – solo artist who released Danzig In The Moonlight in October – for a date at The Drake Underground on February 19. Tickets for that are $15, and God Is In The TV has an interview.

MP3: Ken Stringfellow – “Doesn’t It Remind You Of Something”

Chapel Hill’s rootsy Mount Moriah – recently signed to Merge and getting a lot of good press – will release their second album Miracle Temple on February 26 and be in town at The Drake on March 20 to celebrate; that’ll be part of Canadian Music Week, if you were wondering.

Stream: Mount Moriah – “Lament”

The Get Down Stay Down are at Lee’s Palace on March 27 in support of their new album We The Common, due out February 5. Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside support, tickets are $17.50 in advance. Full tour dates at Exclaim.

MP3: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “Know Better Learn Faster”

And if you hadn’t heard and were interested, the reunited but still Christine McVie-less Fleetwod Mac will be at the Air Canada Centre on April 16. Stevie Nicks talks to The Los Angeles Times about the upcoming tour, while Rolling Stone also loops in Lindsey Buckingham for a Q&A.

Video: Fleetwood Mac – “Go Your Own Way”

Pitchfork and Rolling Stone talk to ex-Girls frontman Christopher Owens about his solo debut Lysandre, out January 15. He plays The Mod Club on January 18.

DIY has an interview and The Alternate Side a session with The Antlers.

The AV Club have premiered a new video from Crooked Fingers’ 2011 effort Breaks In The Armor and The Line Of Best Fit also has a video session on offer.

Video: Crooked Fingers – “Bad Blood”

DIY talks to Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius.

Stereogum has an interview with Dayve Hawk of Memory Tapes.

DIY talks to Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum.

The Austin Chronicle, Phoenix New Times, and Dallas Observer interview John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Stars.

Spin, ABC News, The New Zealand Herald, DIY, and The Daily Swarm talk to Claire Boucher of Grimes.

The Grid and NOW preview Joel Plaskett’s upcoming five-night stand at The Horseshoe next week. That’s December 12 to 16.

Spinner finds out why a Raveonettes-mixed new No Joy album won’t be winding its way to you anytime soon. Or ever.

Modern Superstitions talk to aux.tv about their self-titled debut.

DIY has a quick chat with Wild Beasts.

The Fly has a video session with 2:54.

TOY are interviewed as part of DIY‘s year-end wrap.

Pitchfork reports that Phoenix are planning to rise again with a new album in or around April. That there’s the sound of Two Door Cinema Club’s business model collapsing.

M83 have released the fourth video from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.

Video: M83 – “Wait”

DIY interviews Tame Impala, in town at The Kool Haus on March 9.

Sigur Rós have released the final installment of their Valtari Mystery Film Experiment – just in time for the screenings happening worldwide and at The Bloor Cinema on Saturday. This one’s another short film rather than conventional video, and is directed by Floria Sigismondi and stars Elle Fanning and John Hawkes. Save the best – or at least biggest-named – for last, yeah? Sigur Rós are at The Air Canada Centre on March 30.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Leaning Towards Solace”

And with that, everything I’ve had in my blog drafts hopper is gone. It’s empty! There’s nothing left! You know what that means? Me neither. I’m scared.

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

I Love You But You're Dead

Mark Eitzel at The Rivoli in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s less accurate to say that Mark Eitzel was/is/ever shall be the frontman for American Music Club than it is to simply say Mark Eitzel is American Music Club. Over both of the band’s incarnations – their original run from 1982 to 1994 and the reunion from 2004 to 2009 – Eitzel released solo records whose songbooks intersected liberally with AMC but roamed more musically, most curiously on The Ugly American, which saw him arranging old songs for traditional Greek instruments, and Candy Ass, which took him electronic.

His latest Don’t Be A Stranger isn’t one of those sidebar releases, being both his first record for Merge and first since the book was formally closed on American Music Club for the second and probably final time. It also provided occasion for Eitzel’s first visit to Toronto since leading AMC through an excellent but lightly-attended show in Spring 2008. Despite Stranger being a fully-produced affair, Eitzel was touring light – just himself and a piano player, the same setup I saw him with during SXSW 2011.

Given that he was performing to his own, appreciative fans rather than drive-by hipster festival-goers, Eitzel was in a decidedly better mood than that show. Even though the dour dimension gave that performance a memorable intensity, it was nice to have him be able to show off his more jovial side instead with his humour thankfully stayed on the right side of the self-deprecating/self-loathing line. The set list was impressively career-spanning, offering four selections from the new record amongst old AMC favourites like show opener, “What Holds The World Together” off of San Francisco, and “Apology For An Accident” and “Hollywood 4-5-92” from personal favourite Mercury, all dramatically rearranged for the cabaret show configuration but still just as powerful as in their rock band format, thanks in no small part to Eitzel’s massive and emotive vocals – the mic often seemed more stage prop than necessary sound reinforcement. He may have only gotten through a baker’s dozen worth of songs in the hour-fifteen show, but most were accompanied by anecdotes that offered illuminating insights into the song. It was amazing how many of Eitzel’s songs are actually literal rather than allegorical; aspiring songwriters could do far worse than to study his works to learn how to transform daily experiences into compelling lyrical works.

Eitzel had to take a mulligan on the encore after a monologue hilariously derailed things, but wrapped up strongly with “We All Have To Find Our Own Way Out” off of Stranger, and closing with “Chanel No. 5”, a song that’s so much an essential part of the AMC canon that I’m astonished it was only released as a b-side. Mark Eitzel doesn’t come through town very often – he’d do well to take the advice of this album’s title – but when he does, it’s always special.

Back To The World also has an excellent review of the show. The Plain Dealer and Columbus Alive have interviews with Eitzel.

Photos: Mark Eitzel @ The Rivoli – November 28, 2012
MP3: Mark Eitzel – “I Love You But You’re Dead”
MP3: American Music Club – “Only Love Can Set You Free”
MP3: American Music Club – “All The Lost Souls Welcome You To San Francisco”
Video: American Music Club – “All The Lost Souls Welcome You To San Francisco”
Video: American Music Club – “Rise”
Video: American Music Club – “Wish The World Away”
Video: American Music Club – “Electric Light”

The new Memory Tapes album Grace/Confusion is available to stream in whole right now; it’s out on Tuesday.

MP3: Memory Tapes – “Shelia”
Stream: Memory Tapes / Grace/Confusion

Pitchfork compiles an oral history of Interpol’s Turn On The Bright Lights, the deluxe edition of which is out this Tuesday.

Nuvo has an interview with Jason Lytle, who’s just released a new video from Dept. Of Disappearance. He’s at Massey Hall on December 5 opening up for Band Of Horses.

Video: Jason Lytle – “Somewhere There’s A Someone”

The Fader talks to Christopher Owens about the end of Girls. His solo record Lysandre is out January 15 and he plays The Mod Club on January 18.

Eater talks food with Yo La Tengo. Their new album Fade is out January 15 and they play The Phoenix on February 9.

Spin talks to Ra Ra Riot, whose new album Beta Love is out January 22 and who are at Lee’s Palace on March 6.

Local Natives have released a video from their next album Hummingbird, due out January 29. They play The Opera House on March 28 and talk to NME about what it was like to make the record with Aaron Dessner of The National.

Video: Local Natives – “Breakers”

Ameri-Kiwi psych-rock outfit Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Los Angeles’ Foxygen are teaming up for a North American tour in support of their new albums – UMO’s II is out February 5 and Foxygen’s We Are The 21st Century Ambassarors Of Peace & Magic is out January 22. They’re at Wrongbar on March 4, tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “I’ll Come Back 4 U”
MP3: Foxygen – “Make It Known”

Jukebox The Ghost and Matt Pond are in town for a show at The Horseshoe on March 11. Jukebox released Safe Travels earlier this year and Pond has a new one in The Lives Inside The Lines Of Your Hand due out on February 15.

MP3: Matt Pond PA – “The Hollows”
Video: Jukebox The Ghost – “Don’t Let Me Fall Behind”

Low have announced details about their next album – The Invisible Way was produced by Jeff Tweedy and will be out on March 19. Check out the trailer below and inspect details – and also exchange your email for a live six-song set – over at Pitchfork.

Trailer: Low / The Invisible Way

Spinner talks to Jeff Tweedy of Wilco.

That song The National recorded for Boardwalk Empire last week is now available to download.

MP3: The National – “I’ll See You In My Dreams”

Rolling Stone has premiered another James Franco-directed – and starring – video from R.E.M.’s final album Collapse Into Now, and if you prefer your Stipe & co a little more vintage, Slicing Up Eyeballs has video of a complete R.E.M. live show from Atlanta circa 1981 available to stream.

Video: R.E.M. – “That Someone Is You”

DIY chats with Sharon Van Etten about her exceptionally good year.

Under The Radar has an interview with Oliver Ackerman of A Place To Bury Strangers.

Nashville Scene and The Arizona Daily Wildcat talk to John Darnielle and Peter Hughes of The Mountain Goats, respectively.