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Posts Tagged ‘Cold Specks’

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Toronto Urban Roots Fest Day One

She & Him, Camera Obscura, Joel Plaskett, and more at TURF 2013

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI don’t know if the troops who manned Fort York in the 18th and 19th centuries necessarily knew that they were potentially laying their lives on the line so that future generations could wander the grounds, tall boy in hand and Ray-Bans on head whilst listening to live music, but if they did, they’d be proud. After serving intermittent duty as an outdoor venue over the past few years, Fort York and Garrison Commons has become the go-to site for music festivals in downtown Toronto, effectively replacing the picturesque but logistically problematic Olympic Island. And while it’s not large enough to host something on the scale of Lollapalooza or Osheaga, or even necessarily our own late and qualifiedly-lamented V Fest, it’s a convenient, scenic, and effective space for events like the inaugural Toronto Urban Roots Fest this past weekend.

Unlike the Arts & Crafts anniversary Field Trip in June, the Lolla-Osheagea-drafting Grove Fest in early August, or the Replacements-reuniting Riot Fest later that month, TURF comes out of the gate homegrown – put on by local promoters Collective Concerts – and extra-ambitious, stretching over four nights and two full days plus club shows at The Horseshoe and Lee’s Palace, and with a definite eye towards becoming an annual Summer tradition in the city, filling a glaring need in a town that’s otherwise pretty generous for its live music-going patrons (for more background on the festival, check out interviews with founder Jeff Cohen at The Toronto Standard, The Grid, The National Post, The Toronto Star, and The Toronto Sun).

And it all got underway last Thursday evening, under sunny and sweltering skies, with Barr Brothers, the multi-instrumentalised, harp-enhanced quartet from Montreal ably represented the “roots” end of things. Being largely unfamiliar with the band, their musical personality felt somewhat broad, but as the set progressed, settled into an enjoyable range, dwelling largely in the intricate and lovely folk end of things but with confident forays into rougher, bluesy territory, all of it elegantly and impeccably executed.

Photos: The Barr Brothers @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 4, 2013
MP3: The Barr Brothers – “Beggar In The Morning”
Video: The Barr Brothers – “Old Mythologies”
Video: The Barr Brothers – “Beggar In The Morning”

No such stylistic figuring out was needed for Scotland’s Camera Obscura, up next at the other end of the park. I’d seen them what seems like a million times – most recently their second-last visit in June 2009 behind My Maudlin Career (they circled back for another show that November) – but it had still been far too long. But now they were back with a charming new record in Desire Lines and back on the road. And, had there been any doubt, they confirmed that in addition to being top-class purveyors of indie-pop tunes, they could still look unsmiling and dour even on a beautiful Summer’s evening. That’s just them, though, and with a couple touring players utility filling things out on percussion, horns, and steel guitar, they were able to string together all the bright and jaunty pop numbers in their catalog – with a few of the slow burners dropped in for variety – for an ideal smile-inducing, hand-clapping festival show.

The Philadelphia Inquirer and Boston Globe have features on the band.

Photos: Camera Obscura @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 4, 2013
MP3: Camera Obscura – “Fifth In Line To The Throne”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “My Maudlin Career”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “If Looks Could Kill”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “Suspended From Class”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “Come Back Margaret”
Video: Camera Obscura – “The Sweetest Thing”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Honey In The Sun”
Video: Camera Obscura – “French Navy”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”
Video: Camera Obscura – “If Looks Could Kill”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Let’s Get Out Of This Country”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Tears For Affairs”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Teenager”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Keep It Clean”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Eighties Fan”

It stands to reason that if you open up something of local importance, like say a shopping mall, you’d have the mayor on hand to cut the ribbon (maybe not Toronto’s mayor, but I digress). So if you’re inaugurating a new music festival in Canada, you bring out the de facto mayor of Canadian music, which is to say Joel Plaskett. Following an introduction from fellow sort-of Canuck icon, sportscaster Dave Hodge, Plaskett and the Emergency got to work with a set not too different from the one I saw at The Horseshoe in December, with a solo acoustic set sandwiched between classic rock-outs, but angled more for broad crowd-pleasing than just the die-hards. It’s pretty safe to say there’s no size stage that Plaskett doesn’t feel right at home at, whether playing the rocker or troubadour. And it seemed fitting that having largely missed Canada Day earlier this week because I was in the US, I was now marking Independence Day with as concentrated a dose of Canadiana as you could hope to find.

The Gate has an interview with Plaskett.

Photos: Joel Plaskett Emergency @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 4, 2013
MP3: Joel Plaskett – “When I Go”
MP3: Joel Plaskett – “Deny Deny Deny”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Somewhere Else”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “Through & Through & Through”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “You Let Me Down”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Fashionable People”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “Happen Now”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “Natural Disaster”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “Paralyzed”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Work Out Fine”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Come On Teacher”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “True Patriot Love”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Maybe We Should Just Go Home”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Clueless Wonder”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “She Made A Wreck Outta Me”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “News Of Your Son”

On an evening of TURF firsts, She & Him had the distinction of not only being the first headliner, but the first ones to reveal the very existence of the festival to the world when it was listed in their tour itinerary in support of Volume 3 back in January. It was a personal first for me, as well, seeing them for the first time outside of SXSW where I caught one of their earliest shows in 2008 and again in more seasoned form in 2010. It looked to be Matt Ward and Zooey Deschanel’s same six-piece backing band in place as at that second show – nice to see they’ve kept the unit together over the years – and also in place was their strict “no photos” policy, applied to the entire audience and most of the media. This was a source of some grousing from those hoping to leverage the star power on display into more Instagram likes, but for those who accepted it and watched the show with their eyeballs, it was a pretty enjoyable show.

It may be an overstatement to say that had She & Him been exactly what they are musically but without the principals being who they are, they wouldn’t be where they are now – okay, any outfit with someone of Matt Ward’s guitar and arrangement skills would demand to be heard – but you can’t argue that having someone of Deschanel’s profile fronting them offered a pretty big leg up. She’s not an astonishing talent as a singer or a songwriter, but she’s certainly good enough to pull off the uncomplex but endearing retro-pop songs that she writes, particularly when surrounded with the players that she is. And considering that between the release of their first record in 2008 and now, she’s gone from an indie film darling to legit network sitcom star, the her commitment to She & Him remains as strong as it is actually pretty impressive.

Also impressive is how much she’s grown as a frontperson and performer. She’s not Juliette Lewis, by any measure, but considering how deer-in-the-headlights terrified she was at that first SXSW show, the assuredness she’s got on stage now if nice to see. Ward, also, was more engaged with being the titular Him in the band, stepping out of the shadows for some showy guitar moves and to elicit swoons with his gravelly vocals on the duets. Together, Ward and Deschanel have a charming if decidedly PG sort of chemistry, perfectly suited to the chaste, sock hop-esque concepts of romance that they specialize in. High points were the Chapin Sisters-harmonized rendition of the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” against a backdrop of stars, a sweet version of Ward’s own “Magic Trick”, and a fiery guitar duel between Ward and Mike Coykendall to close out “In The Sun” and the main set. And also that the first day of the first TURF ever went off beautifully.

Photos: She & Him @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 4, 2013
MP3: She & Him – “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?”
Video: She & Him – “I Could’ve Been Your Girl”
Video: She & Him – “Don’t Look Back”
Video: She & Him – “Thieves”
Video: She & Him – “In The Sun”
Video: She & Him – “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?”

Exclaim has a conversation with Louise Burns about her new album The Midnight Mass as well as an advance stream of said record ahead of its July 9 release date.

Stream: Louise Burns / Midnight Mass

Exclaim gets Diamond Rings to play an acoustic video session. He’ll be fully plugged-in when opening up for OMD at the Danforth Music Hall on July 11 and 19.

Exclaim talk changes in direction with Lightning Dust, in town at The Drake on September 10.

The Grid checks in with Dallas Good of The Sadies, whose new album Internal Sounds will be made external on September 17.

Exclaim has the first batch of live dates from Rae Spoon in support of his new record My Prairie Home, coming August 13, and they include a September 18 date at The Gladstone in Toronto.

MP3: Rae Spoon – “Crash Landing”

The Montreal Gazette and Spin have feature pieces on Austra, who play a hometown show at The Phoenix on September 27.

The Grid talks to Joel Gibb of The Hidden Cameras about their new 7″ “Gay Goth Scene” and the new album, Age, that it precedes. That is due out sometime this Fall.

Evening Hymns have released a new video from their Polaris-longlisted album Spectral Dusk.

Video: Evening Hymns – “Song To Sleep To”

Stars have premiered the newest video from The North at The Huffington Post.

Video: Stars – “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”

Huffington Post talks to Al Spx of Cold Specks about collaborating with Moby on his new record and where she’s going with her own next album.

The Guardian has a video session with Rachel Zeffira, wherein she performs her version of The Beatles’ “Because”; she plays one of her own songs in session for Chart.

aux.tv has an interview with Odonis Odonis.

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Here On In

Review of Rachel Zeffira’s The Deserters

Photo via last.fmlast.fmIn some ways, being introduced to British Columbia-born/London-based Rachel Zeffira by way of Cat’s Eyes did less to prepare one for her solo debut The Deserters than coming to it completely cold. That 2011 collaboration with Horrors frontman Faris Badwan presented her as a sweetly-voiced ingenue, and since its strong throwback/girl-group aesthetic was so far removed from The Horrors’ grinding shoegaze, one could reasonably assume that it better reflected where Zeffira’s own influences lay.

It isn’t that The Deserters presents her in a dramatically different light, it’s more that it presents her in a much more revealing one and; one that so much better demonstrates the full breadth of her talents. Her operatic training, only implied by Cat’s Eyes, is much more to the fore here but is never the point. Her voice – a lovely, lilting thing that effortlessly soars when called upon – is a formidable instrument to be sure, but just one of them. While voice and piano do form the foundation of the album, orchestral and electronic flourishes surface throughout and the numbers built around more conventional rock band configurations – with contributions from TOY and S.C.U.M. – add extra dimensions to the album without jarring its flow. Impossibly elegant and beguiling throughout, The Deserters is a timeless, otherworldly, and utterly remarkable debut.

The Fader has an advance stream of the album, out in North America next Tuesday. CBC Music, Violent Success, and The Edmonton Journal all have features on the Canadian ex-pat.

Video: Rachel Zeffira – “Here On In”
Video: Rachel Zeffira – “The Deserters”
Stream: Rachel Zeffira / The Deserters

The Line Of Best Fit has an interview with Al Spx of Cold Specks, performing at The Kool Haus on March 22 for the Canadian Music Week Indie awards, and at Fort York on June 7 as part of the Field Trip festival.

The Fly has a interview with Suuns, who are playing Lee’s Palace on March 23 for Canadian Musicfest.

The StarPhoenix, The Calgary Herald has an interview with John O’Regan of Diamond Rings, also playing the aforementioned Indies on March 22 and then opening for OMD at The Danforth Music Hall on July 11 and 19.

Vancouverites The Belle Game have released a new video from their forthcoming debut Ritual Tradition Habit, coming April 16.

Video: The Belle Game – “Wait For You”

Exclaim has details on appropriately-titled Takes Time, the first new record that’s not a video game soundtrack from Jim Guthrie since 2003. It’s out May 7 and a first single is available to stream.

Stream: Jim Guthrie – “The Rest Is Yet To Come”

The Fly, Edinburgh Journal, and Exclaim have interviews with Doldrums’ Airick Woodhead. He plays The Horseshoe on May 11.

Toronto-Vancouver electro-pop outfit Gold & Youth caught my ear last Fall but are only getting around to releasing their first album this Spring. Beyond Wilderness will be out May 14 and a first track is available to preview courtesy of Noisey.

Stream: Gold & Youth – “Jewel”

The Skinny and DIY talk to Toronto’s METZ, who’ve premiered a new video from their self-titled debut at Stereogum. They bring all it back home to Lee’s Palace on May 17.

Video: METZ – “Wasted”

Beatroute talks to Hayden.

Toro has an interview with Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon.

The Darcys are working on a new studio album, but that doesn’t mean they can’t release a new video via Under The Radar to remind you of last year’s Aja cover album.

Video: The Darcys – “I Got The News”

Clash talks fashion with Claire Boucher of Grimes.

And finally, RIP Stompin’ Tom Connors.

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Little Wings

Review of Woodpigeon’s Thumbtacks and Glue

Photo By Paolo CalamitaPaolo CalamitaHe may have migrated habitats from Calgary to Vienna, but Mark Andrew Hamilton – he who is Woodpigeon – remains one of Canada’s great, underappreciated musical treasures. Though 2009’s Polaris long-listed Treasury Library Canada raised his profile considerably, it may lie with his fourth album (or closer to fortieth, depending on how you count his many interstitial releases) Thumbtacks & Glue to properly elevate his status to where it belongs.

Thumbtacks refuses – if you’ll excuse the pun – to be pigeonholed as orchestral-folk the way past releases have. It’s still built around Hamilton’s soft, tender vocals and melodic gifts, and trades in a delicate beauty that would be easy at this point to take for granted, but incorporates a broader, more electrified sonic palate that’s unafraid to let some edges fray or layers stack upon themselves. It’s a side of Woodpigeon that’s come out in live shows in the past, but has until now been unreflected in the recordings and while acknowledging that part of its appeal is the novelty it brings to the Woodpigeon recipe, it’s difficult to argue that it doesn’t legitimately make things tastier.

Thumbtacks and Glue is out this Tuesday, February 26, and is available to stream right now over at DIY.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Red Rover, Red Rover”
Stream: Woodpigeon / Thumbtacks & Glue

NOW talks to local electro-pop sensations Diana, whom I wish nothing but success but will admit to being disappointed that the more success they achieve, the further on the back-burner vocalist Carmen Elle will surely push Army Girls, and that’s a shame. Diana open up for Trust at Lee’s Palace tonight and are on the fun./Tegan & Sara bill at Downsview Park on July 6.

Lesser Evil, the long-awaited debut long-player from Doldrums, is also out next week and available to advance stream thanks to Pitchfork.

MP3: Doldrums – “Egypt”
MP3: Doldrums – “She Is The Wave”
Stream: Doldrums / Lesser Evil

The Line Of Best Fit and Incendiary have interviews with Suuns about their new album Images du Futur, out March 5. They play Lee’s Palace on March 23, the Saturday night of Canadian Musicfest.

Cold Specks has gone the live performance route for the latest video from I Predict A Graceful Expulsion; they have two hometown shows coming up – March 22 at the Kool Haus as part of the CMW Indies and June 8 as part of the Arts & Crafts Field Trip festival at Fort York.

Video: Cold Specks – “When The City Lights Dim”

Pitchfork has a stream of a song from Birthmarks, the new album from Born Ruffians, in stores April 16.

Stream: Born Ruffians – “Needles”

Gorilla Vs Bear has premiered a second sample of the new Young Galaxy record Ultramarine, due out April 23.

Stream: Young Galaxy – “Fall For You”

Though delayed some by some aborted sessions with Sune Rose Wagner of The Raveonettes, Montreal’s No Joy have wrapped their second album and will release Wait To Pleasure on April 23; that same day, they’ll be in Toronto at The Garrison celebrating the new record by opening up for Clinic. You can stream the first taste of the album below.

Stream: No Joy – “Lunar Phoobia”

Toronto’s Decades, who were a pleasant new wave surprise last month, have gotten their self-titled debut together for an April 30 release and have released a first video from it that confirms it’s worth keeping an ear out for.

Video: Decades – “Tonight Again”

The Creators Project gets into the glowing cocoons that define Purity Ring’s live show. They’ll be on display when the duo pla

The Alternate Side welcomes METZ for a studio session and The 405 an interview. They’re at Lee’s Palace on May 17.

Patrick Watson has a new video from last year’s Adventures In Your Own Backyard.

Video: Patrick Watson – “Blackwind”

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Take Them On, On Your Own

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club lead a pack of concert announcements

Photo By James MinchinJames MinchinYesterday was one of those wonderful inbox-bursting days of press releases that, rather than having to try to figure out what to write about for a post, I had to choose what to save for later. Today we’ll cover all the concert announcements that will be bringing acts from near and far through town in the next few months.

We’ll start with California’s goth-garage rockers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club because, well, they haven’t been here since Spring 2010 and they give good – or at least smoky – photo. The details of their sixth album Specter At The Feast – coming March 18 – were revealed last week, but they’ve quickly followed that up with a full slate of tour dates that bring them back to Toronto for a show at The Kool Haus on May 9, tickets $25 in advance.

And as is the custom these days, they’re drumming up anticipation for the new record with a series of teaser videos.

MP3: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Whatever Happened to My Rock and Roll (Punk Song)” (live)
Trailer: Specter At The Feast Part 1

The fourth and final installment of the Fucked Up-curated Long Winter concert series has announced their lineup, and addition to Toronto’s hardcore heroes once again headlining the affair, they’ll be joined by Holy Fuck, The Sadies, and more music, art, food, and whatsit. That goes down February 8 at The Great Hall, admission pay-what-you-can.

MP3: Fucked Up – “I Hate Summer”
MP3: Holy Fuck – “Lovely Allen”
MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”

American electronic duo Matmos have announced a North American tour in support of their new record The Marriage Of Two Minds, out February 18. They haven’t settled on a venue yet, but they’ll be in Toronto on February 14. Update: It’s The Garrison.

MP3: Matmos – “Sun On 5 at 152”

It’s been known for a while that punk-poet legend Patti Smith would be in town at some point as part of her Camera Solo exhibition running February 9 to May 13 at the Art Gallery Of Ontario, but NOW finally has details – and they’re pretty swell. She’ll be performing both music and poetry at the March edition of their 1st Thursday events, with two shows on the night of March 8, one early and one late. Tickets are $15, limited to two per person, and go on sale February 8 at 10AM.

MP3: Patti Smith – “Wing”

Having failed to make it over here to support Centipede Hz when it came out last year, Animal Collective will seek to remedy this with a March 9 show at the Danforth Music Hall, and perhaps by way of making up for the delay, will be bringing Dan Deacon along as support, even though he was here just in November in support of his latest America. Tickets for that are $27.50 for floors, $25 for balcony seats, all general admission.

MP3: Animal Collective – “Today’s Supernatural”
MP3: Dan Deacon – “Lots”

Pennsylvania punk-asses Pissed Jeans will be at Lee’s Palace on April 16 to play you songs from their new record Honey’s, coming for your ears February 12. Tickets for the show are $15 in advance.

MP3: Pissed Jeans – “Bathroom Laughter”

Having had to cancel their last scheduled appearance back in November, Vancouver punks White Lung have announced a make-up date as part of a Spring tour with Brooklyn’s Hunters, who made a favourable impression last Winter opening up for The Kills. That bill is at The Hard Luck on April 22, tickets $10.

MP3: Hunters – “Headache”
Video: White Lung – “Deadbeat”

We may have to wait an extra six weeks for North American release of Daughter’s debut If You Leave – it’s out in Europe March 18 but not here until April 30 – but at least we’re getting a North American tour immediately thereafter. They’ll be at The Great Hall on May 7, tickets $16.50. Somewhat bigger than The Drake down the street where they made their debut in October, but still pretty cozy.

MP3: Daughter – “Love”

And last but certainly not least, there’s a festival date to keep you warm until, well, it’s actually warm. To mark their tenth anniversary, local label Arts & Crafts have coerced flagship act Broken Social Scene to break their long-standing retirement – inactive since November 2011! – for a one-off show that will probably be one of those “all hands on deck” affairs that sets Toronto hearts a-fluttering. The two-stage, all-day event – dubbed Field Trip and happening on June 8 at Fort York’s Garrison Commons – will see them be joined by a goodly portion of the label’s active roster – both domestic and international – including Feist, Bloc Party, Hayden, Cold Specks, Timber Timbre, Ra Ra Riot, and more. Early bird tickets go for $55, regular tickets for $75, and kids get in free.

MP3: Broken Social Scene – “World Sick”
MP3: Hayden – “Old Dreams”
MP3: Timber Timbre – “Black Water”
MP3: Ra Ra Riot – “Dying Is Fine”
Video: Feist – “Graveyard”
Video: Bloc Party – “Kettling”
Video: Cold Specks – “Hector”

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Twice Removed

Sloan at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s probably a reach to think that Sloan had some sort of master plan for the past couple years that would pull their career from the respectable but not overly remarkable holding pattern that it’d been in for the past few albums and make them both exciting and relevant again, but that’s pretty much what they’ve managed to do. Their twentieth anniversary as a band last year was kept from being a one-way trip down memory lane thanks to The Double Cross, arguably their best album this century (those arguing otherwise would generally be arguing for 2006’s Never Hear The End Of It). Further, their partaking in the “Don’t Look Back”-style album recital shows – Once Chord To Another for a local show last December and Twice Removed for this Fall tour – was an attractive hook for getting old fans who might have lost interest in recent years to be reminded of why they loved the band in the first place and that despite ups and downs in their discography, they’re still one of the best acts this country has produced in the past two decades.

I covered the landmark-ness of Twice Removed back in September, and as you’d expect given its iconic status, The Phoenix was sold out for Thursday night’s (adopted) hometown performance, the second-last show of their cross-country tour. Not as many people as who’d shown up for their epic show at Echo Beach last August, but that was a free show – hardly a fair point of comparison by numbers, but you could probably make a case for this show’s crowd winning on enthusiasm and anticipation. Despite promising to be on at the stroke of 8 – as with many shows on this tour, there was no opening act – the stage remained empty until quarter-to-nine, perhaps all a ploy to get some old-school “Slooo-aaaaan” changes going. If so, it worked.

When they finally took the stage, it was straight into “Penpals” and the first of many boisterous, singalong moments. And here’s where I’ll make a point about Twice Removed that I didn’t mention last time – for all the love laid at its doorstep, it’s really quite an odd record. Catching the band in the process of transitioning from a noise- to power-pop outfit and before each of the four songwriters had settled into the roles and styles that’d define them henceforth, it’s high on quirk and creative forays that they’d not repeat later in their career. In practical terms, it also meant that fewer Twice Removed songs made it into live sets than their more chart-friendly peers. Why play “Bells On” rather than “She Means What She Says”? “I Hate My Generation” instead of “The Rest Of My Life”? Maybe the Twice Removed recital was largely fan service and a nostalgia exercise, but it’s also true that its songs don’t get nearly the live attention that they deserve, and was as much of a treat as anyone could have hoped.

Even though the band took a decidedly businesslike approach to getting through the material – little talking, straight onto the next song – they still created no shortage of magical little moments; fitting for an album defined more by its magical little moments than any big, rousing singles. Patrick Pentland’s “Loosens” reminding everyone that he was the sensitive pop guy in the band before he decided to become the classic rock guy, Chris Murphy and Andrew Scott going it alone for the guitar-and-drum highlight “Deeper Than Beauty”, the irresistible chorus of Jay Ferguson’s “Snowsuit Sound”, and perhaps most of all, their bringing out jale’s Jennifer Pierce to reprise her harmonies with Pentland on too-sweet-for-words album closer “I Can Feel It”.

Sloan left the stage on that high for an extended intermission, but returned for a second 45-minute set of career-spanning material that offered a good balance of hits and deep cuts, an extra bit of focus on Double Cross and a four-song mini-set of Andrew Scott tunes in the middle of it all. It may not have been formulated to keep a packed house packed – people began peeling off throughout the second set as it became clear that it wouldn’t be a greatest hits revue – but I have to respect the band for keeping it unpredictable (though thankfully not as unpredictable as their all b-sides set at Sonic Boom for Record Store Day 2010. And I can only hope that those who left early got a good night’s sleep, because it meant they missed hearing Jennifer Pierce return for the encore to cover her parts on Smeared‘s rarely-played “I Am The Cancer”, didn’t get to see Chris Murphy’s one scissor-kick of the night during “Losing California”, and didn’t get to sing along with “Underwhelmed” for the set closer.

It’s no easy thing to work both the nostalgia circuit and maintain your status as a creative, active band simultaneously – I can only think of The Wedding Present as far as acts who are even really trying over the long term – but Sloan are doing a fine job of it. During the show, they promised a new studio album in 2013 and a One Chord To Another deluxe reissue set after that. What’s next, Navy Blues live? Bring it. I’ll stay interested until Pretty Together.

NOW, BlogTO, and The Record talk to Jay Ferguson about revisiting Twice Removed. The National Post also has a writeup of the show.

Photos: Sloan @ The Phoenix – November 22, 2012
MP3: Sloan – “Follow The Leader”
MP3: Sloan – “The Answer Was You”
MP3: Sloan – “Unkind”
MP3: Sloan – “I’m Not A Kid Anymore”
Video: Sloan – “Unkind”
Video: Sloan – “Witch’s Wand”
Video: Sloan – “Emergency 911”
Video: Sloan – “All Used Up”
Video: Sloan – “The Rest Of My Life”
Video: Sloan – “The Other Man”
Video: Sloan – “Friendship”
Video: Sloan – “Losing California”
Video: Sloan – “She Says What She Means”
Video: Sloan – “Money City Maniacs”
Video: Sloan – “The Lines You Amend”
Video: Sloan – “Everything You’ve Done Wrong”
Video: Sloan – “The Good In Everyone”
Video: Sloan – “People Of The Sky”
Video: Sloan – “Coax Me”
Video: Sloan – “500 Up”
Video: Sloan – “Underwhelmed”

Another track from Crystal Castles’ new album (III) has been made available to download.

MP3: Crystal Castles – “Affection”

CBC Music talks to Gentleman Reg about his new album Leisure Life, which they’ve also got available to stream in whole. He plays a record release show at The Gladstone on December 2.

Stream: Gentleman Reg / Leisure Life

Also available to steam at CBC Music with attendant Q&A is The Dears’ new Live At Pasagüero live album, out digitally this week.

Stream: The Dears / Live At Pasagüero

Spinner has an interview and Bowery Presents an acoustic video session with Diamond Rings, coming home for a show at The Mod Club this week on November 29.

Pop This and The Vancouver Sun have interviews with Cold Specks, opening up for Conor Oberst at Massey Hall on December 8.

The Fly talks to Purity Ring, in town at The Phoenix on February 1.

The Grid Q&As Emily Haines of Metric.

Spinner and State have long and short interviews with Torq Campbell and Pat McGee of Stars, respectively.