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Posts Tagged ‘Clock Opera’

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”

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Sense

Review of Amanda Mair’s Amanda Mair

Photo By Kjell B PerssonKjell B PerssonIt’s not unfair to say that Labrador Records has something of a “house sound”, and not just for the Swedish accents. With acts like The Radio Dept., Acid House Kings, and Sambassadeur on their roster, they’re a reliable source for warm, fuzzy, indie pop-ish sounds and so when they announce a new signing, it’s usually worth paying some attention – even when on paper the artist doesn’t seem have much in common with the rest of their roster. Or in the case of Amanda Mair, especially when. Not many labels would sign a 15-year old singer-pianist on the strength of her raw talent – there weren’t even any demos – but Labrador did just that in 2010. And having given her a couple years to hone her craft before sending her into the studio with Philip Ekström of The Mary Onettes and the result – her self-titled debut, released in Sweden in February and in North America this week – has proven worth the wait.

It’s hard not to want to use Mair’s youth as a qualifier for offering praise, but the fact is that Amanda Mair would be an accomplished collection of polished pop and piano balladry from an artist of any age. Mair does just fine on the latter with a direct, unadorned presentation – her voice is innately suited to tugging at the heartstrings – but Ekström deserves credit for making the former so sonically dense and interesting without overwhelming her. The choice of a lightly but distinctly ’80s production style is an interesting one, considering those years were a distant memory before Mair was born, but it really does work – for those old enough to remember the era, the sounds are familiar but Mair’s presence is so fresh that it never feels deliberately retro or nostalgic.

Her lyrics may come across a bit vague – one would hope she doesn’t yet have the sort of life experience that would allow her to pen truly pointed, emotional songs – but that gives them a sort of universality that serves her well and the delivery is well-balanced between earnest open-heartedness and knowing wisdom. I suspect every review of this record closes with some sentiment along the lines of how good she already is and how much better she’ll surely get as she gains more experience, but it really is true. And while Mair’s upside is astonishing, don’t assume that Amanda Mair is all about potential – she’s already arrived.

There’s a stream of the album available at MTV, but it’s geoblocked to the US. Americans, have at it. Everyone else, just trust me.

MP3: Amanda Mair – “House”
MP3: Amanda Mair – “Sense”
MP3: Amanda Mair – “Doubt”
Video: Amanda Mair – “House”
Video: Amanda Mair – “Sense”
Stream: Amanda Mair / Amanda Mair (US only)

Anna Ternheim released her new album The Night Visitor this week, and it’s available to stream in whole at Spinner.

MP3: Anna Ternheim – “Walking Aimlessly”
MP3: Anna Ternheim – “The Longer The Waiting (The Sweeter The Kiss)”
Stream: Anna Ternheim / The Night Visitor

NPR is streaming The Tallest Man On Earth’s new album There’s No Leaving Now ahead of its release next Tuesday. Kristian Matsson hits the stage at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on June 15.

MP3: The Tallest Man On Earth – “1904”
Stream: The Tallest Man On Earth / There’s No Leaving Now

Interview, The Music, and The Herald Sun talk to The Hives, in town at The Sound Academy on June 26.

Rolling Stone talks to Sigur Rós’ Georg Holm about their new album Valtari, from which they’ve released another video from their “Mystery Film Experiment” series. They play Echo Beach on August 1

Video: Sigur Rós – “Varúð”

Denmark’s Efterklang premiered songs from their forthcoming album Piramida in performance with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the end of May, and a video of one of them has been released to get people excited for the new set of songs, due out this Fall.

Video: Efterklang – “The Ghost” (live)

The Guardian wonders what’s up with the women who helped define the synthy sound of 2009: La Roux is supposed to have a second album out this year but there’s been nary a peep out of Elly Jackson in ages; Ladyhawke traded a lot of the keys for guitars on her just-released second album Anxiety – there’s interviews with Pip Browne at The New Zealand Herald and The Music; and Little Boots just debuted a new video taken from her second album which, while it clearly exists, has yet to have any specifics revealed.

Video: Little Boots – “Headphones”

NPR is streaming Hot Chip’s latest In Our Heads, due out next Tuesday. The Music talks to singer Alexis Taylor and they play The Sound Academy on July 15.

Stream: Hot Chip / In Our Heads

Pitchfork checks in with The xx, who’ve announced their second album Coexist will be released on September 11. They’ll preview the new material when they play a sold-out show at The Phoenix on July 28.

There’s a complete Clock Opera show from Amsterdam in May available to watch at 3voor12.

The Line Of Best Fit says hello to Mystery Jets, themselves saying hello when they open up for Keane at The Sound Academy on June 19.

Most pleased to hear that Richard Hawley’s latest Standing At The Sky’s Edge will be getting a North American physical release on August 28 – it’ll be available digitally next week – because I was getting close to biting the bullet and paying the $40+ for the import vinyl. Yay procrastination! And yay for a sample track from the album to download. Now let’s just get some touring happening over here…

MP3: Richard Hawley – “Leave Your Body Behind You”

Neil Halstead’s new solo record Palindrome Hunches – originally targeted for an August release – will now be out come September 11, but to make up for the delay a first MP3 has been made available for listening.

MP3: Neil Halstead – “Full Moon Rising”

Jarvis Cocker talks to The Guardian about his work raising awareness for Arctic environmental concerns.

MusicOmh chats with Supergrass frontman gone solo Gaz Coombes.

Muse have announced a September 17 release date for their new record The 2nd Law. The accompanying trailer does not inspire confidence, as it would appear to be a bombastic concept album about peak oil.

Trailer: Muse / The 2nd Law

The AV Club takes the occasion of the recent reissues to examine the career and importance of My Bloody Valentine.

Interview and NME both mark the 40th anniversary of David Bowie’s The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust; the former with an interview originally published in March 1973 and the latter with an interactive look at the album cover.

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Headin' For The Top Now

Spiritualized and Nikki Lane at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangPeople will probably never stop referencing 1997’s Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space as the iconic Spiritualized album, and justifiably so. It was Jason Pierce’s grand breakup album with a soap opera-calibre backstory, it was the band’s marker in the Britpop era (though stylistically they never really fit), it raised the band’s profile immensely – I once heard “Cool Waves” coming over the PA at a Mongolian Grill restaurant – and was a gorgeous melange of psychedelia, gospel, jazz, and rock besides. It’s the sort of record that a band would be lucky to make once in their careers. And yet with each listen to their latest Sweet Heart Sweet Light, I feel the argument that this could well be the definitive Spiritualized record.

The talking points on Sweet Heart are that this is Pierce’s “pop” record, and indeed it’s as immediate and melodic as anything he’s ever done, but it hardly dilutes the Spiritualized formula for the sake of mass appeal. If anything, it’s as clear a picture of everything that Pierce has done since leaving Spaceman 3 in one hour’s running time – it rocks, it swoons, it jams, it drones, and it does it all with focus and purpose. While it certainly echoes everything that’s gone before, it’s also an exciting signpost to what’s yet to come – of all of his musical peers that came out of ’90s Britain, Pierce may yet be the most creatively vital among them, and that’s with certainly having had the most near-death experiences. All of which is to say that if the first Spiritualized show in Toronto in almost four years and the first plugged-in, headlining show since 2003 wasn’t enough reason to get excited about their appearance at The Phoenix last Saturday night, then the fact that hearing material their new record was to be highly anticipated rather than simply endured should have sealed the deal.

Support on the tour might have seemed an odd choice in Nashville-based, South Carolina-bred Nikki Lane though there were some stylistic threads between her dusty country sound and Spiritualized’s cosmic rock if you dug down to their shared gospel roots, but the fact was that she had been invited by the band to support so questions of appropriateness were really rather moot. And armed just with an acoustic guitar and a sweet, breathy twang of a voice and despite implying that she didn’t usually play band-less, she did just fine – having been gifted with a rowdy yet friendly crowd, she was able to get comfortable and sass back and needed. Having forgetten her set list, she ad libbed a set drawn from her debut album Walk Of Shame, the off-the-cuff-ness of it adding to her charm. Spiritualized followers might not make up her normal demographic, but it was pretty safe to say that she was winning over fans on every stop of the tour.

It’s hard to believe, but excepting their afternoon set at Virgin Festival 2008 and the “Acoustic Mainlines” tour in Fall 2007, the last time Toronto hosted a full and proper Spiritualized show was at the Opera House back in late 2003. That’s a long time, people. And yet thanks to their distinctive semi-circle stage setup with Jason Pierce positioned at far house right, it all felt immediately familiar – doubly so since the core of the lineup had remained intact since their V Fest appearance circa Songs In A+E (the two backing singers were new faces).

Their epic set – and that’s not an adjective I use lightly – pulled from all points in their discography but were still very specific about which records were represented. Sweet Heart was naturally prominently featured, but 2003’s Amazing Grace was also given a lot of attention – surprising because it wasn’t a record that was particularly well-received but perhaps not so surprising since its no-frills aesthetic matches Sweet Heart fairly well. And being forced to reevaluate the material, I must admit that it sounded great in this context – the guitar duel between Pierce and Doggen on “She Kissed Me”, in particular, was jaw-dropping.

While Sweet Heart is not short on the extra-long compositions – opener “Hey Jane” and second-last main set selection “So Long You Pretty Thing” did as much to affirm the new material as as good as the old – you couldn’t not feel a certain rush when the ascending riff to “Electric Mainline” from Pure Phase and a crackle of electricity up the spine when it the ensuing jam coalesced into the title track of Ladies & Gentleemen. It was curious to see Lazer Guided Melodies, Let It Come Down, and Songs In A+E get overlooked completely, but there really was no arguing with the resultant show.

Pierce didn’t say a word to the audience – or even the rest of his band – through the entire show until the final notes of “Come Together” faded out to close the main set, and then it was just a couple of quiet, “thank you’s” before leaving the stage. Following a serenely cacophonous “Cop Shoot Cop” for the encore, he said “thank you” twice more and was gone. Some might have wished that he’d interacted with the audience more, but he and his band had just given everything for two hours – what more was there to say?

NOW also has a review of the show and The National Post, The Music, and Toronto Star talked to Jason Pierce.

Photos: Spiritualized, Nikki Lane @ The Phoenix – May 5, 2012
MP3: Nikki Lane – “Gone, Gone, Gone”
MP3: Nikki Lane – “Sleep For You”
Video: Spiritualized – “Hey Jane”
Video: Spiritualized – “Soul On Fire”
Video: Spiritualized – “Cheapster”
Video: Spiritualized – “You Lie You Cheat”
Video: Spiritualized – “She Kissed Me (It Felt Like A Hit)”
Video: Spiritualized – “Do It All Over Again”
Video: Spiritualized – “Out Of Sight”
Video: Spiritualized – “Stop Your Crying”
Video: Spiritualized – “Come Together”
Video: Spiritualized – “Electricity”
Video: Spiritualized – “Let It Flow”
Video: Spiritualized – “Run”
Video: Spiritualized – “Any Way That You Want Me”
Video: Nikki Lane – “Lies”
Video: Nikki Lane – “Gone, Gone, Gone”
Video: Nikki Lane – “Sleep For You”

Richard Hawley talks to The Sheffield Telegraph about getting angry and politicized on his new record, Standing At The Sky’s Edge.

The Line Of Best Fit is streaming the whole of In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull, the new album from The Cribs. It’s out this week.

MP3: The Cribs – “Chi-Town”
Stream: The Cribs / In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull

The Guardian checks in with former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes about going solo. His debut Here Come The Bombs is out May 21.

Paste catches up with 2:54. Their self-titled debut is out May 28 and they play Lee’s Palace for NXNE on June 15.

The Guardian talks to Faris Badwan of The Horrors.

The Fly has a chat with Clock Opera frontman Guy Connelly.

Damon Albarn sounds of to the BBC about his solo projects and the London Olympics.

Spin checks in on The Joy Formidable, who are in the studio working on their second album.

The Line Of Best Fit marks the release of the My Bloody Valentine reissues with an intensive look at the band’s history.

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

God Of Loneliness

Emmy The Great gets even more Virtue-ous

Photo By Gabriel BruceGabriel BruceI’m no fan of the deluxe reissue trend – at least not with respect to an album that came out less than a year ago – as it tends to punish the biggest fans, those who would have bought the original issue and most want whatever bonus materials are applied to the reissue. So while I don’t greet the news that Emmy The Great is doing this with last year’s Virtue – one of my faves of 2011 – I at least appreciate that some of the bonus material will be made available separately.

The fancy edition of Virtue will be out on May 7 and include three unreleased songs from the sessions for the album and a cover of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”. One of those songs – “God Of Loneliness” – will also be released that day as a single with the Mazzy Star cover as a b-side so if you don’t want to repurchase Virtue, there’s that option. Though you know those other two tracks will indeed taunt you with their very existence. To also go along with the occasion, they’ve also commissioned four comic strips to go with it all – the first is up at The Line Of Best Fit – and four remixes that are being made available to download for free. And oh, there’s a video/black comedy mini-movie for the single.

MP3: Emmy The Great – “Exit Night” (Banjo or Freakout remix)
Video: Emmy The Great – “God Of Loneliness”

Already out in the UK but now getting a proper North American release is Dry The River’s own debut Shallow Bed. Spinner has an interview with the band and a stream of the album.

MP3: Dry The River – “New Ceremony”
Stream: Dry The River / Shallow Bed

Clock Opera’s debut album Ways To Forget is now streaming in whole at Hype Machine; it’s out April 23 in the UK and The Line Of Best Fit talks to the band about it.

MP3: Clock Opera – “Once And For All”
Stream: Clock Opera / Ways To Forget

Radio Free Canuckistan has posted the complete transcript of the interview with Nick Lowe that went into the Macleans piece; The Star-Tribune also has an interview. Lowe plays The Phoenix on April 23.

The Guardian, Spinner, and NPR talk to Jason Pierce of Spiritualized, whose Sweet Heart Sweet Light is finally out. They’re at The Phoenix on May 5.

Interview talks to Anthony Gonzalez of M83, who’re in town not once but twice this Summer – May 6 for a headlining show at the Sound Academy and August 4 at Historic Fort York co-headlining the HARD festival with Justice.

Pitchfork reports that jj have commissioned a video to go with their latest release jj n° 4, out on May 8.

Video: jj – “Beautiful Life”

Prefix is streaming the whole of We Are Serenades’ debut Criminal Heaven, out now. They’re at The Garrison on May 14.

MP3: We Are Serenades – “Birds”
MP3: We Are Serenades – “Oceans”
Stream: We Are Serenades / Criminal Heaven

Anglo-Basque electro-rock outfit Crystal Fighters have made a date at Wrongbar on May 26 in support of their debut album Star Of Love, out April 24. Examiner.com has an interview with the band.

Video: Crystal Fighters – “Plage”

Hot Chip are streaming a second single from their new record In Our Heads, It’s out June 12 and they’re at the Sound Academy on July 15.

Stream: Hot Chip – “Night & Day”

Blurt talks to Laura Marling, in town for a show at The Phoenix on June 17.

Le Blogotheque has posted a Take-Away Show with Michael Kiwanuka and The Express has an interview. He plays The Great Hall on June 19.

Graham Coxon has released a new video from A+E.

Video: Graham Coxon – “Ooh, Yeh Yeh”

Le Sigh chats with Veronica Falls.

Stereogum has dug up an interview conducted with The Twilight Sad just before the release of their latest, No One Can Ever Know. Better late than never, yeah?

Rolling Stone and examiner.com get a moment of Noel Gallagher’s time.

If you’re one of the unlucky many who haven’t gotten to see Pulp on their reunion tour, here’s the next best thing – a couple of complete, professionally-shot videos of their sets at Reading Festival last Summer and Coachella this past weekend.

Video: Pulp @ Reading Festival – August 27, 2011
Video: Pulp @ Coachella – April 13, 2012

And while we’re at it, here’s Coachella sets from Radiohead and Wild Beasts. Just like being there, but without the heat stroke.

Video: Radiohead @ Coachella – April 14, 2012
Video: Wild Beasts @ Coachella – April 15, 2012

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

The Warmth Of The Sun

Review of Lightships’ Electric Cables

Photo By Cat StevensloresCat StevensloresThe general assumption as to whoy Teenage Fanclub release albums so infrequently – 2010’s Shadows was just their third effort in the 21st century, assuming you count 2000 as part of this millenium – is that despite having three superb songwriters in their ranks, they just work very, very slowly; if this is true, then clearly bassist Gerard Love isn’t the limiting factor. Based on Electric Cables, the debut album from his solo project as Lightships, he has no shortage of songs at the ready and most are as good as anything he’s contributed to the Fannies over the past decade.

Backed by a band of Scottish all-stars recruited from Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian and The Pastels, Love has crafted a record of gorgeously bucolic pop songs marked by Love’s airy vocals and guitar and flute lines gently bouncing off of one another. The notes aren’t content to simply jangle and decay, but rather hang suspended, shimmering in the air. Cables possesses enough energy and buzz to keep from coming across as too ephemeral, but the prevailing vibe is the return of and a return to nature and given the prevalence of pastoral themes in the song titles – “Photosynthesis”, “Sunlight To The Dawn”, “Muddy Rivers” to name a few – one can only assume that this is deliberate and not just a happy coincidence.

Let this be your soundtrack to Spring, and if it just so happens to linger in your ears through the rest of the seasons, then so be it. Norman Blake may have been first with his breezy Jonny side-project and while he’s not fronting it, it’s good to see Raymond McGinley active extra-circularly in Snowgoose, but Lightships is what every Fannies fan hopes for in a Teenage Fanclub side-project in that it sounds like Teenage Fanclub. Which is to say beautiful.

Video: Lightships – “Sweetness In Her Spark”
Video: Lightships – “Two Lines”
Stream: Lightships / Electric Cables

NPR is streaming the whole of Spiritualized’s Sweet Heart Sweet Light ahead of its release next week. Rolling Stone talks to Jason Pierce about the new album and Pitchfork finds out what he was thinking when he selected the album art. They play The Phoenix on May 5.

Stream: Spiritualized / Sweet Heart Sweet Light

JAM, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Georgia Straight talk to Elvis Costello about busting out the “The Spectacular Spinning Songbook” for his recent tours, though it won’t be in play when he’s at Casino Rama on April 19 – guess they prefer people do their gambling on the casino floor than in the theatre. The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook live CD/DVD culled from the Summer 2011 leg of the tour came out last week.

Pitchfork points out that Field Music are streaming their contribution to this year’s Record Store Day release schedule; a 7″ featuring a cover of Pet Shop Boys’ “Rent”, which kicked off a mini PSB marathon over these parts; never a bad thing.

Stream: Field Music – “Rent”

Daytrotter has posted a session with Clock Opera, whose debut Ways To Forget was supposed to be out now but has been pushed back until April 23 in the UK.

DIY talks to Mystery Jets about their new album Radlands, due out April 30. They’re at The Sound Academy on June 19 in support of Keane.

Interview talks to Hot Chip about their new record In Our Heads, coming out June 12 and justifying a visit to the Sound Academy on July 15.

Stylist talks fashion with Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine. She’s at the Molson Amphitheatre on August 2.

Loud & Quiet talks to Trailer Trash Tracys.

Django Django have released a new video from their self-titled debut.

Video: Django Django – “Storm”

The Quietus tags along with British Sea Power as the band plays a concert at the CERN project in Switzerland.

Slicing Up Eyeballs has complete video of one of The Wedding Present’s shows at SXSW last month.

In the, “karmic balance for Anglophiles” department: Jarvis Cocker and Kevin Shields, in conversation with Shortlist and Pitchfork respectively, reveal that new material from both Pulp and My Bloody Valentine could be in the works – Pulp were also on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night – but Damon Albarn tells The Guardian in very few uncertain terms that Blur – and Gorillaz if you care about Gorillaz – are probably over following a final single and the Hyde Park show this Summer. DIY looks at what the definitive end of Blur would mean for the band’s legacy.

New to my ears lately are Swedish duo The Deer Tracks, whose two mini-albums so far – The Archer Trilogy P1 1 and The Archer Trilogy Pt. 2 (part three is out this Fall) – remind me not a little of early Múm, which is a good thing indeed. Also good is their North American tour this Summer is missing a Toronto date at the moment, but there’s a conspicuous two-day gap between Chicago and Montreal that just happens to fall during NXNE. So yeah.

MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Dark Passenger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Ram Ram”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fra Ro Raa / Ro Ra Fraa”

Pitchfork reports that another co-ed Swedish duo with a penchant for electronics – jj – will release a new single/EP/something entitled jj n° 4 on May 8, and the first track from it is now available to download.

MP3: jj – “Beautiful Life”

Anna Ternheim has announced the June 5 North American release of her new record The Night Visitor and offered a first sample for downloading and listening purposes.

MP3: Anna Ternheim – “The Longer The Waiting (The Sweeter The Kiss)”

Knox Road, The Boston Herald, Metro, and USA Today speak with Of Monsters & Men, in town at The Phoenix on April 12.

The second video from Ladyhawke’s Anxiety, out May 29, is now available to watch.

Video: Ladyhawke – “Sunday Drive”