Posts Tagged ‘Coeur De Pirate’

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Take Me Out

The Wooden Sky readies album number three

Photo By Justin BroadbentJustin BroadbentIn an age where many young bands seek to get on the expressway to your skull immediately after their first rehearsal – assuming they rehearse instead of just uploading jams to Soundcloud – you have to appreciate a band like The Wooden Sky. They’ve taken the time to hone their songcraft and live show since forming as Friday Morning’s Regret in 2003, and with their 2009 sophomore full-length If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone and its attendant endless touring regimen, have positioned themselves as one of the country’s finest young roots-rock bands.

And after tantalizing with this Fall’s City Of Light EP, they’ll be looking to take that on-the-cusp status over the top on February 28 when their third album, an 18-track nearly-double opus 13-track regular-sized record Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun, is released. Details on the release are available over at Exclaim, as is the itinerary for their accompanying Canada-heavy North American tour. That jaunt includes a hometown show at The Opera House on April 20, tickets $15.50 in advance.

There’s no official preview track of the new album yet but this one from City Of Light, if it’s not on it, should at least point at where they’re going.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”

Rich Aucoin will bring his debut album We’re All Dying To Live and accompanying over-the-top live spectacle to the Drake Underground on January 13.

MP3: Rich Aucoin – “It”
Video: Rich Aucoin – “It”

Fresh off their three-night stand headlining the Phoenix, Tokyo Police Club are back in a support role having been added as openers for Foster The People at The Meadows at Downsview Park on June 19.

MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Party In The USA”

Chart talks to Wes Marskell of The Darcys. They and The Balconies, with whom Plaid has an interview, are a couple of the acts playing this year’s edition of Edgefest, happening July 14 at Downsview Park.

So yeah, new Arcade Fire video(s) for “Sprawl 2 (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”, in conventional and interactive forms. Dance!

Video: Arcade Fire – “Sprawl 2 (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” (conventional)
Video: Arcade Fire – “Sprawl 2 (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” (interactive) talks to Bry Webb about life post-Constantines.

Exclaim has good news and bad news for Karkwa fans: the good is that the band are readying a double-live album – where I’d argue they’re at their best – to be recorded tomorrow night in Montreal and released next year, the bad is that it’ll be their last release for a while as they’re going on a hiatus after that. Which is reasonable – their Polaris win in 2010 made the touring cycle for Les chemins des verre (just certified gold, by the way) many times longer than they probably expected when they released it. Nice problem to have.

The Alternate Side has posted a session and interview with The Handsome Furs.

Exclaim has premiered the first track from John K Samson’s solo album Provincial, due out January 24.

Stream: John K Samson – “When I Write My Master’s Thesis”

CBC Radio 3 has posted a track-by-track live performance from Coeur de Pirate of her new album Blonde.

DIY has n interview and video session with Dan Mangan. Exclaim has also posted a couple of live session videos with the Dan.

Kathryn Calder talks the touring life with CBC Radio 3 and also to The Riverfront Times.

Diamond Rings talks about brushes with fame in the form of Beastie Boys and Katy Perry with Spinner.

Woodpigeon ends an extended – for them, at least – hiatus with the release of the For Paolo digital EP due out on January 16, presumably in advance of a full-length later next year.

The Line Of Best Fit has released their holiday edition of the Oh! Canada mix series. Download it and blast it from your car over the next two weeks.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011


Fanfarlo, Childish Gambino lead first batch of acts announced for Canadian Musicfest 2012

Photo via fanfarlo.comfanfarlo.comWhen it was announced earlier this Summer that Canadian Musicfest/Canadian Music Week was moving from it’s traditional slot in the second week of March – right before SXSW – to the fourth week of March – right after SXSW – I was confused and concerned. Confused because, well, I dislike change, and concerned because whereas doing back-to-back festivals is exhausting no matter which way you order it, I liked that I could get into game shape with CMW, go hard through SXSW and then collapse immediately afterwards and savour my annual post-Austin cold. But that’s just me – and I think most other Toronto-based music writers – so I can only assume/hope that change in schedule was calculated to grab more high-profile acts touring their way out of Austin and maybe get some slightly less awful weather for the club-hopping.

The latter point remains to be seen but after trickling a number of confirmed smaller/local acts on their website over the past couple months, CMF released the first proper update of showcasing acts for next year’s festival, happening March 22 to March 25 around Toronto. And while it wasn’t a lot, it was still something to sink one’s teeth into just a bit. Of the most interest hereabouts was the return to Toronto of Anglo-Swedish pop orchestra Fanfarlo; I missed their last show here in favour of seeing Titus Andronicus and while it was an amazing show, the fact that Titus have been back like four or five times since and Fanfarlo zero makes me wonder if maybe I bet on the wrong horse for that particular evening. In any case, with their second album Rooms Filled With Light due out on February 28, it’s a no-brainer that they’re coming back for both SXSW and CMF – they’re at The Mod club on the Saturday night, March 24, and advance tickets are $16.00 if you don’t want to do the festival wristband or want to be guaranteed entry.

The other notable big name – and these are relative terms – is Childish Gambino, the hip-hop alter-ego of Community star Donald Glover. I saw him at SXSW this year and it was an uneven performance at best as they were largely trying to work out the technical kinks in the multimedia aspects of the show prior to his first major tour. I am assuming that he’ll spend more time rapping and less time hunched over a laptop when he, his new album Camp and his roadshow hit the Sound Academy on March 24 for what will be one of the festival’s marquee events. Advance tickets for that one will be $25 and again, an undetermined number of CMF wristbands will be admitted.

It’s also worth mentioning that Weakerthans frontman John K Samson will present his new solo record Provincial, out January 24, at the Great Hall on March 22 and poet/hip-hop artist Saul Williams is at The Great Hall the following night, March 23. Beyond those, the interestingness of the additions fall off a cliff pretty quickly – some more acts are supposed to be announced in the next couple days and the next major update comes January 16. Let’s hope they’ve got something else up their sleeves, or else they’ve messed up my March festival routine for naught.

Video: Fanfarlo – “Replicate”
Video: Fanfarlo – “De.Con.Struc.Tion”
Video: Childish Gambino – “Bonfire”
Stream: Childish Gambino / Camp

Memoryhouse will be part of a bill including Dark Mean and headlined by The Rest on December 16 at The Tranzac, tickets $10 in advance. Their debut full-length The Slideshow Effect is set for a February 28 release next year.

MP3: Memoryhouse – “Quiet America”

Not that you should have needed any more incentive, but when Fucked Up announced their two nights of benefit shows at The Great Hall – that would be with their performing David Comes To Life in its entirety and PS I Love You and Quest For Fire rounding out the bill on December 20 and Sloan, Ohbijou and Bonjay performing on December 21 – but the, “but wait! There’s more!” dropped yesterday and yes indeed, there is more. The Sadies have been added to night one while The Rural Alberta Advantage will be performing on night two, and if you don’t think that’s worth your $20 a night, well God, Jed, I don’t even wanna know you. Tickets are available here and here, respectively. And if that’s not Fucked Up enough for you, Exclaim has details on the next installment in their Chinese Zodiac single series – “Year Of The Tiger” will be out on February 7 of next year.

MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “North Star”

And while on the topic of worthy causes, Arcade Fire have announced that for the holiday season, they will match, dollar for dollar, any donations made to Haiti reconstruction charity Kanpe. They’ve capped the drive at $300,000 but if they have to invoke that limit, then everyone has won anyways. And over at CBC Radio 3, they’ve dug up an old 2004-vintage session with the band for your listening and reminiscing.

Royal City Scene interviews Ohbijou. As mentioned, they’re at The Great Hall on December 21.

Kathleen Edwards has released the first video from her forthcoming album Voyageur, out January 17.

Video: Kathleen Edwards – “Change The Sheets”

Handsome Furs have rolled out a new video from Sound Kapital.

Video: Handsome Furs – “Serve The People”

The Darcys have premiered the first video from their self-titled album over at NME wherein they get all apocalyptic and stuff.

Video: The Darcys – “Don’t Bleed Me” talks to Beatrice Martin of Coeur de Pirate, whom they’ve declared their artist of the month.

Southern Souls has posted a video session with Kathryn Calder.

The first single from Islands’ new album A Sleep & A Forgetting – out February 14 – is available in MP3 and video form at Pitchfork and Stereogum, respectively.

MP3: Islands – “This Is Not A Song”
Video: Islands – “This Is Not A Song”

NPR has a World Cafes session with Feist.

Dan Mangan tries on the journalism hat, penning pieces about the magic of live performance for The Guardian and his favourite books and authors for Clash.

Beatroute talks to Vancouver’s Chains Of Love.

And Toronto concertgoers should bookmark new site Just Shows, who are doing a pretty great job of aggregating concert listings and salient information for the 416 and presenting it in a clean, easy-to-use format.

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Turn A Light On

Kathryn Calder and JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThere’s many great things about the long-running Toronto institution of Nu Music Nites at the Horseshoe – not least of all the fact that they’re free – but the fact that they often feature such random assemblages of acts that each set can feel like its own standalone show and not part of a larger bill is certainly a big part of the fun. Such was the case on Tuesday night when rather than one headline-calibre act, as you’d normally be fortunate to have, they had two – and quite markedly different ones at that.

First you had Kathryn Calder, whom you may remember from her old band Immaculate Machine or know from her current band The New Pornographers but whom you should know for her solo work. Her 2010 debut Are You My Mother? was an unexpected gem displaying a pop acumen that was astonishing, even if she had been apprenticing with some of the country’s finest songwriters for the past half decade and this year’s follow-up Bright & Vivid proved not only that Mother was no fluke, but that Calder was still growing as a songwriter and had even better works in her. Which is to say that it’s as good, if not better, than the first record – and that’s saying quite a lot.

While Calder’s strengths as a singer, songwriter and arranger are self-evident from her records, having missed her solo debut here back in the Summer I still couldn’t comment on her skills as a frontwoman. After all, it’s one thing to do your thing with all eyes on Carl Newman, Neko Case and/or Dan Bejar, quite another to be front and centre yourself. And while she seemed perfectly comfortable in the role, switching off between electric and acoustic guitar and keyboards and offering plenty of low-key charm, you wouldn’t say she’s a riveting performer, at least not yet. But that’s a minor complaint against what she and her band brought to the table.

First off there were the songs, with selections split about evenly between the two albums and well showcasing the range and complexity of her work. It’s no mean feat to fill so many songs with both indelible melodies and emotional depth, but delivering them with her crystalline and dexterous voice – she didn’t miss a move or a note – Calder made it look easy. Points must also go to her band, who were fully equipped with both the tools and talent to recreate the many sonic nuances of the record. They could have easily made it sound good while stripping the arrangements down, but the care they took to make sure all the bits and pieces were there was appreciated.

This show kicked off a three-week North American tour for Calder and company but I almost wish that this was coming at the tail end if just because I’ve no doubt the road-testing would make them sound even better. Make no mistake, they sounded terrific already but if there’s one thing her records have shown, it’s that as good as you think Calder is or can be, she can and will be better.

But wait! There’s more!

It’s probably not fair to expect any kind of funk-soul-rock band to show up and impress when one has just seen Prince a few nights earlier, but for their first visit to Toronto, Chicagoans JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound were sure as spit going to try. Besuited and with Brooks sporting an impressinve Little Richer coif, the five-piece – accompanied by a camera crew – put on a barn-burner of a show. Having just released their second album Want More, they showed off their prowess at classically-styled yet modern-feeling soul – mostly Chicago-flavoured but with forays to Philly to show off Brooks’ ability to slow burn and kill the high notes.

They were at their best when in high gear, though, with the rest of the band being dapper, animated and showing off their impressive chops when called on, all without drawing attention away from their frontman – not that that would have really been possible. Brooks has mastered the fine art of great showmanship without going over the top, engaging the audience without pandering and just basically setting the tone for a wholly impressive show. And while their covers of “Tainted Love” and “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” were set highlights, their original compositions stood tall alongside them – not something you can always say in a genre that’s often more concerned with style and delivery than creation. It’s a shame the audience numbers had thinned from their peak during Calder’s set, but the few dozen that remained got a hell of a show.

Chart and The Calgary Herald have interviews with Kathryn Calder while The Lantern and The Phoenix New Times has features on Brooks.

Photos: JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, Kathryn Calder @ The Horseshoe – November 29, 2011
MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Who Are You”
MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Arrow”
MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Slip Away”
MP3: JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound – “Everything Will Be Fine”
Video: Kathryn Calder – “Who Are You”
Video: Kathryn Calder – “Arrow”
Video: Kathryn Calder – “Slip Away”
Video: JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound – “Everything Will Be Fine”
Video: JC Brooks Uptown Sound – “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”

Paste talks with Kathleen Edwards about making her latest album Voyageur, out January 17. She plays The Phoenix on February 11.

The Diamond Rings b-side which saw the electro-glammer unexpectedly covering power-pop gods Teenage Fanclub is now available to download courtesy of Spinner.

MP3: Diamond Rings – “Mellow Doubt”

NOW marks Feist’s show at Massey Hall tonight by putting her on this week’s cover; Today Online also has an interview. Meanwhile, Under The Radar reports that she and Mastadon will pair up for a split-7″ single wherein each covers one of the others’ songs as a Record Store Day 2012 release.

Exclaim talks to Bry Webb, who is opening up the aforementioned Feist show tonight.

The Toronto Star, Star-Observer and X-Tra have features on Austra, playing tonight at The Phoenix and have announced that a deluxe edition of Feel It Break, featuring a second CD of covers, remixes and whatnot, will be available in mid-December. One of the new tracks, a cover of Roy Orbison’s “Crying” which has been kicking around since Katie Stelmanis was still playing as Katie Stelmanis, is available to stream below and the third and final instalment of the unplugged Paper Bag Sessions has gone up at Disco Naivete.

Stream: Austra – “Crying”
Video: Austra – “Believe Me” (Paper Bag Sessions)

Young Galaxy, who are playing with Austra tonight, are also capping their very good year with a deluxe edition of Shapeshifting, though it’ll be an iTunes-only release and feature early versions of four songs before they were sent to producer Dan Lissvik for reinventing. That’ll be available on December 13 but as of right now, a remix album called Versus is available for free.

ZIP: Young Galaxy / Versus

Bruce Peninsula have released a new video from Open Flames.

Video: Bruce Peninsula – “Pull Me Under”

The videos for some studio sessions that Kat Burns of Forest City Lovers performed for Exclaim are now available to download as well as watch.

MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Keep The Kids Inside” (Rainy Day Version, live at Exclaim)
MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Tell Me, Cancer” (live at Exclaim)
Video: Forest City Lovers – “Keep The Kids Inside” (Rainy Day Version, live at Exclaim)
Video: Forest City Lovers – “Tell Me, Cancer” (live at Exclaim)

Weakerthans frontman John K Samson will release his first solo album in Provincial on January 24; details at Anti, who are releasing the record.

Exclaim interviews Beatrice Martin of Coeur de Pirate.

There’s a new Fucked Up song available to download courtesy of Stereogum. They play a charity gig at The Great Hall on December 20.

MP3: Fucked Up – “I Hate Summer”

Toronto psych-poppers Heartbeat Hotel are streaming the whole of their new record Intae Woe, while Mechanical Forest Sound has a recording from their record release show for said record last week available to download.

Stream: Heartbeat Hotel / Inate Woe

Memoryhouse have announced a February 28 release date for their debut full-length, to be entitled The Slideshow Effect. Mechanical Forest Sound also has a recording of a show last week.

The Drake Hotel has announced most of the lineup for this year’s What’s In The Box holiday season music series, wherein they line up five acts for each of the five nights following Christmas with a five dollar cover. Still a few “special guest” spots to be filled but there’s at least a couple nights with some acts that I’ve been meaning to check out (Doldrums, Donlands & Mortimer) so I expect I’ll be there at least once that week. You may as well too – don’t pretend you’ve got better things to do.

And another end-of-year institution – New Year’s Eve at The Tranzac – has announced their live music lineup via Facebook and it features The Elwins, Maylee Todd and more. I went to last year’s, it was fun. Tickets are $13 in advance and believe them when they say it sells out every year.

Monday, November 14th, 2011


Coeur de Pirate at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe last few years have seen a bit of a renaissance with respect to Francophone Canadian bands making inroads both in English-speaking Canada and internationally, thanks in no small part to there generally being at least one such act on every year’s Polaris Music Prize shortlist. And circa 2009, I certainly expected Montreal’s Béatrice Martin – aka Coeur de Pirate – to be leading the charge. Her 2008 self-titled debut made the long list that year, but hardly needed the boost – she was already a star in many French-speaking parts of the world and had even gotten some high-profile boosterism from American media types such as Perez Hilton and Good Morning America. And, oh, the fact that she was young, beautiful, completely bilingual, and her album a mesmerizing slice of piano-led pop certainly didn’t hurt her odds for success.

But rather than leverage that into ubiquity, Coeur de Pirate opted to play it coy with Anglo Canada, playing festival dates but never booking her own headlining show at a club or theatre. This made gauging her fanbase in Toronto, at least, a bit difficult – her NXNE 2009 showcase was nigh-on impossible to get into but also held at the tiny Dakota Tavern, whereas being tapped to open up day two of that year’s V Fest saw her playing to a mostly-empty Molson Amphitheatre to a brace of Nine Inch Nails die-hards. And earlier this year, when she was booked to play a free show at Harbourfront Centre, her potential audience was probably affected at least a little by another free show downtown by one Aretha Franklin.

All of which made her show at The Mod Club last Friday night to celebrate the release earlier that week of her second album Blonde of particular interest as it would be, as far as I knew, the first opportunity for local fans to actually buy tickets to a Coeur concert and show their support quantitatively. Which they did en masse, as the performance was completely sold out. It still would have been interesting to break them down demographically between long-time fans, ones who’d come to her via Armistice, her English-language side-project with Bedouin Soundclash Jay Malinowski, and how many had simple heard Blonde and been bowled over.

The last of those is eminently plausible as the new record is, in a word, amazing. The girlish, chanson-derived charms of Coeur de Pirate have blossomed into widescreen, swinging-’60s full-band pop gems with Martin functioning less as a singer-songwriter than a full-on bandleader. It was a role that Martin played perfectly on Friday night, alternately playing standing up behind her piano – no sitting! – or stepping out and up to the mic alone. Some pianist-frontpersons might feel uncomfortable or exposed away from their instruments, but Martin performed like a seasoned professional which, even though she’s just 22, I suppose she already is.

The full-band presentation not only did a fine job of bringing Blonde to life but also reinvented the Coeur de Pirate material, muscling up the arrangements and tempos and replacing its ingénue qualities with sass and sophistication. The middle portion of the set turned the time machine back from the ’60s back to the ’40s for a more melancholic vibe, but there was no way to make the show – which also included a couple of Armistice tunes with Malinowski showing up to play duet partner, an abridged version of her cover of The Weeknd’s “Wicked Games” and an unexpected mass audience singalong on “Comme des enfants” – anything less than a giddy celebration and coming-out party. It was a complete understatement when near the night’s end, Martin declared, “it’s been a good show”. It was a great show, and hopefully the first of many more to come.

The Grid, NOW, Exclaim, The National Post and Montreal Mirror all have features on Coeur de Pirate while NOW also has a writeup of the show.

Photos: Coeur de Pirate @ The Mod Club – November 11, 2011
Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Adieu”
Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Ensemble”
Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Francis”
Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Comme des enfants”
Video: Armistice – “Mission Bells”

The Vanguard has a chat with Jenn Grant, who has just scheduled a show at Hugh’s Room on November 23.

Video: Jenn Grant – “Getcha Good”

Beatroute and The Seattle Times have features on Feist, whose KCRW session is available to stream at NPR and whose show at the Glenn Gould Studio in October is available to stream on demand at CBC Radio 2 for a limited time – listen while you can! She’s at Massey Hall on December 1.

Opening up that show for Feist will be Bry Webb, who previewed a couple of new songs from his solo debut Provider for an Exclaim video session. The album is out tomorrow.

Spinner tries to sort out if Broken Social Scene is indeed broken up now or if they’re just on a really long break.

In conversation with Spinner,Damian Abraham of Fucked Up mused about his long-term future with the band, and shortly after that piece ran, Abraham took to Twitter to report that any doubts about continuing on had been put to rest. So that’s that. Elsewhere, NOW reports back from a Polaris Salon where FU drummer Jonah Falco offered some thoughts on David Comes To Life.

Press clippings follow Ohbijou as they tour across the country: there’s feature pieces with the band at Beatroute, CBC Radio 3, Here, Planet S, Uptown, and The Star-Phoenix while CBC Radio 3 also has their release show for Metal Meets at Toronto’s Trinity-St. Paul’s in September available to stream.

Dan Mangan is profiled in feature pieces in Beatroute. The Vancouver Sun, Monday, and The Calgary Herald.

The Walrus looks at the effect that Arcade Fire’s success has had on the Montreal music scene as a whole.

Nick Diamonds of Islands talks to Spinner about their new record A Sleep & A Forgetting, due out on February 14 of next year.

Sloan continue the 20th anniversary celebrations with the release of a Is That All That I Get, a 1993-vintage live bootleg recorded in Winnipeg and being pressed in a limited run of 300 pieces of green marbled vinyl.

Martyr interviews The Balconies.

Author Michael Barclay talks to Exclaim about the Have Not Been The Same ’90s Can-rock tribute compilation Too Cool to Live, Too Smart to Die, which is officially out tomorrow but which I just bought right now. And so can you. Details and tracklist of who covers who available at Radio Free Canuckistan.

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

"Wicked Games"

Coeur de Pirate covers The Weeknd

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangMontrealler Béatrice Martin is also known as Coeur de Pirate but is best known for her lovely, piano-led Francophone pop, the likes of which populated her 2008 self-titled debut and made her a bit of an international star in the process.

But if you’ve seen her live, you’d know that she’s fluently bilingual and that she likes to show off both her English skills and knowledge of contemporary pop music with covers. Lots of them. From the stage she’s offered her take on the likes of Rihanna, Katy Perry and Phoenix, amongst others, and this Summer, while working on her second album Blonde, she took the time out to not only record a version of Toronto R&B sensations The Weeknd’s curse-filled, self-loathing “Wicked Games” from their House Of Balloons mixtape, but make a video for it as well.

Blonde is set for release this Tuesday, and Coeur de Pirate is at The Mod Club in Toronto this Friday, November 11, to celebrate its release. Who knows what cover she’ll have planned for the occasion. The Montreal Gazette, Montreal Mirror, and Beatroute have interviews with Béatrice Martin. The Weeknd released the second part in their mixtape trilogy – Thursday – in August and the final instalment, Echoes of Silence, is due out this Autumn.

MP3: Coeur de Pirate – “Wicked Games”
Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Wicked Games”
MP3: The Weeknd – “Wicked Games”