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Posts Tagged ‘Constantines’

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

"Islands In The Stream"

Feist & The Constantines cover Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton

Image via ExclaimExclaimI am old enough to remember when “Islands In The Stream” was a hit for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton back in 1983 (though probably more for Rogers as was taken from his Eyes That See in the Dark album), and the variety show performance linked below is really all you needed to know about it. So clean-cut, family-friendly and catchy as hell.

The version recorded by Feist and The Constantines for a limited-run 7″ in 2008 certainly turns down the glitz and turns up the smoulder. And though it sounds exponentially more personal and intimate than the original, it’s still very chaste – I guess we’ll put that on the lyrics; it’s certainly not the delivery – Ms Feist and Mr Webb have some serious vocal chemistry.

Feist released her fourth album Metals back in October. The Constantines are on indefinite hiatus (don’t call it a break-up, the collective wails of despair from their fanbase would be too much to bear) and frontman Bry Webb – who again duets with Feist on the new record – released his solo debut Provider last week. Both will be at Massey Hall on Thursday night – Feist headlining, Webb opening and it’s pretty even money he’ll be joining her during her set.

Kenny Rogers released a new album of gospel songs earlier this year in The Love Of God and continues to be a fried chicken magnate and mens style inspiration/internet meme. Dolly Parton also released a new album in 2011 – Better Day – and has her own extra-musical ventures in Dollywood.

And one thing about “Islands In The Stream” that I didn’t know: it was written by The Bee Gees – best wishes to Robin Gibb in his fight against cancer.

MP3: Feist & The Constantines – “Islands In The Stream”
Video: Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton – “Islands In The Stream”

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Lights

Interpol at The Kool Haus in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangEvery relationship waxes and wanes over time, and mine with Interpol is no different. Like many/most, I fell for the blend of post-punk and atmospheric rock on their debut Turn On The Bright Lights, an infatuation cemented by a stellar show at the Horseshoe way back in September 2002. The bloom started coming off the rose not long after, though, with a lacklustre show at the Kool Haus a year later where they were clearly exhausted from touring the world and should probably have just gone home and gotten a good night’s sleep rather than book one more North American leg.

When their second album Antics arrived in 2004, surrounded by a sea of sonic imitators, my attention was already wandering and by the time their major label debut Our Love To Admire came out in 2007, I was detached enough to be able to regard it objectively and heard a band struggling with how to grow artistically without losing their distinctive sound and ending up compromising on both fronts. Their V Fest 2007 appearance, however, was still pretty solid and reminded me of why I liked them in the first place.

Fast-forward to 2010, specifically Tuesday night at the Kool Haus in Toronto. Circumstances beyond their control – namely their leaving Capitol after one album and the departure of founding bassist Carlos Dengler – have forced Interpol out of their comfort zone and though three years isn’t that long a time, the musical landscape has changed enough that they may be finding themselves in the unfamiliar position of being underdogs. And though these dates in advance of the September 7 release of their self-titled fourth album were ostensibly to make up for their support slots on the cancelled U2 Summer tour, also on the agenda was retrenching and seeking to remind fans why Interpol were the soundtrack to their early-mid ’00s.

Striding on stage besuited and dapper as ever, the five-piece touring ensemble started things off with the new and hopefully prescient “Success”, the pulsing opener to Interpol. It’s interesting that after getting progressively cleaner-sounding with each album, the new record dives back into the sonic muck, relatively speaking, thanks to post-production work from uber-shoegaze producer Alan Moulder, and while it still doesn’t reach the heights of their debut, it does possess a pleasing denseness and sophistication that hits the balance that they were striving for on Love. It would be only one of four new songs previewed, though, as the bulk of the set stuck to their first two records and thereby ensured the just-about sold-out house would remain largely enraptured for 90 minutes or so and lose their shit more than a few times for numbers – classics? – like “PDA”, “NYC” and “Slow Hands”.

In the past, it was Dengler – all low-slung bass, questionable moustache and irresistible aloofness – who acted as the visual focus for the band but with him gone and touring players Dave Pajo and Brandon Curtis off to the side tending to their bass and keyboard duties respectively, it left guitarists Paul Banks and Daniel Kessler to provide the band’s stage presence. Kessler obliged, barely standing still throughout the show in favour of dancing/lurching around the stage and Banks, never the most magnetic frontman, was somehow more charismatic and animated than in the past. Even with the new players, Interpol were superbly tight throughout, performing with a nimbleness and weight that you can’t take for granted. That cohesion has always their greatest strength, moreso than any showmanship, so it was a relief to see that that survived the lineup changes.

It can be argued that Interpol sound and style are so tightly tied to a time and place that it would be hard if not impossible for them to ever regain that level of relevance. But it’s also true that while all the imitators that followed in their wake have largely disappeared, the original article has persisted and stayed true to themselves well past fashionable, and it still resonates. Either way, it feels good to have Interpol back.

eye, The Chicago Sun-Times and Charleston City Paper talk to Fogarino and aux.tv with Paul Banks about life in Interpol post-Dengler. Exclaim, Chart and Music Vice have reviews of the show.

Photos: Interpol @ The Kool Haus – August 10, 2010
MP3: Interpol – “Lights”
MP3: Interpol – “NYC”
MP3: Interpol – “PDA”
Video: Interpol – “Lights”
Video: Interpol – “The Heinrich Maneuver”
Video: Interpol – “No I In Threesome”
Video: Interpol – “Mammoth”
Video: Interpol – “C’Mere”
Video: Interpol – “Evil”
Video: Interpol – “Slow Hands”
Video: Interpol – “PDA”
Video: Interpol – “Obstacle 1”
Video: Interpol – “NYC”
MySpace: Interpol

Belle & Sebastian have released some of the salient details about their next album – it will be called Write About Love, look like this and be out on some yet to be announced date this Fall – probably sometime around their October tour dates that include Massey Hall on the 12th of the month.

Pitchfork talks to Isobel Campbell about her new album with Mark Lanegan Hawk, out August 24, cancelled shows and the state of her relationship with her old band. She and Lanegan are at Lee’s Palace on October 20.

The Vaselines have released a video for the title track from Sex With An X. The record is out September 14 and they play The Horseshoe on October 30.

Video: The Vaselines – “Sex With An X”

The triple-bill of Dawes, Peter Wolf Crier and Vetiver will be at the Horseshoe on November 8. For Peter Wolf Crier, it’ll be their second time in town in just over a month and a half as they’re also part of a bill with Rogue Wave and Midlake at the Opera House on September 24. There’s a concert video with them available over at Baeble Music.

MP3: Dawes – “Love Is All I Am”
MP3: Peter Wolf Crier – “Hard As Nails”
MP3: Vetiver – “Strictly Rule”

Support for Band Of Horses’ October 21 show at the Kool Haus has been announced as Jenny & Johnny (as in Lewis and Rice) and The Besnard Lakes.

MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “Albatross”

NOW features Forest City Lovers, playing a record release show for Carriage at the Great Hall tonight.

Exclaim reports that after celebrating their 10-year anniversary earlier this year, Constantines have gone on indefinite hiatus.

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Set You On Fire

Chromewaves co-presents Billions showcase at Canadian Musicfest 2010

Photo By Yannick GrandmontYannick GrandmontIt’s a bit eerie, but with the exception of an in-store in a couple weeks, details noted further down, I’ve got nothing going on in the way of live music for more two weeks until Canadian Musicfest starts on March 11. And that’s really just fine with me, because the double-shot of CMW/CMF and SxSW was exhausting when I was a younger man – these days, I am going to need the downtime to rest up in order to survive that gauntlet of concert-going, airport-hopping and breakfast taco-eating.

And to help minimize the impact of club-hopping during CMF, I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be co-presenting the Billions showcase at Canadian Musicfest, taking place March 12 at Lee’s Palace, meaning that not only will I be able to associate myself with a super-solid lineup of Canadian acts (and one foreign one), I’ll be able to plant my ass in one place all night. Made of win.

The decidedly Montreal/synthpop-heavy lineup kicks off at 9PM with electro-poppers Winter Gloves, still riding the wave of their 2009 debut About A Girl, then Toronto’s Russian Futurists will preview their new album The Weight’s On The Wheels, out this Summer, at 10PM. At 11PM, The Acorn, having been squirreled away for the last while working on their new record No Ghost, will come of hiding to show off what to expect when the album arrives in or around May. Plants and Animals, whose new record La La Land arrives April 20, will take the stage at the stroke of midnight and then come 1AM, Think About Life will have you thinking about both having a disco-punk dance party and how not to get killed by getting caught in the middle of a disco-punk dance party soundtracked by last year’s Family. And, if you’re still standing after all that, Oklahoma ‘s The Uglysuit will usher in last call with the beautiful orch-pop of their 2008 self-titled debut. That is, unless Lee’s has also got 4AM extended drinking hours during Canadian Music Week. You’d think I’d know this but odds are I’ll have dragged myself home well before whether or not the taps are still flowing are an issue.

So while there’s options a-plenty for CMW/CMF – the schedule has really filled out the last few days and I’ll be doing a further preview closer to the festival’s start – I humbly submit that if you’re looking for a one-stop smorgasbord of tunes for Friday night, that Lee’s will be the place to be. And to help make up your mind, I’ve got a pair of passes to give away for the show – to enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to Think About Canadian Music Week” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes midnight, March 5.

MP3: Winter Gloves – “Let Me Drive”
MP3: Russian Futurists – “Paul Simon”
MP3: The Acorn – “The Flood, Pt 1”
MP3: Plants & Animals – “Tom Cruz”
MP3: Think About Life – “Nueva Nueva”
MP3: The Uglysuit – “Chicago”

Ca Va Cool and Chart talk to Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes about their new album The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night, out March 9. They headline the Thursday night of the Chart showcases at the Horseshoe for Canadian Musicfest on March 11, taking the stage at 12:10AM. As is always the case with the ‘Shoe during CMW/CMF/whatever, early arrival is recommended/mandatory.

Same goes for Two Hours Traffic, who are on at the same time on the Saturday night, March 13. But if you don’t get in and need a dose of maritime power-pop, note that they’ll be back on April 3 for a show at Lee’s Palace, tickets $13.50. They’ve also released a new video from their Territory record.

Video: Two Hours Traffic – “Noisemaker”

Chart talks to Paul Banwatt of The Rural Alberta Advantage and Woodhands about how he manages to balance drum duties in two bands, simultaneously blowing up right now. Woodhands are playing the Opera House on March 11 and the RAA at the Indie Awards at the Royal York on March 13. Vue has a feature piece on Woodhands and The RAA have been keeping a tour blog of their journey out west for the Olympics at Exclaim.

The Indie Awards will also feature a performance from Constantines, whose Daytrotter session went up for grabs last week and taught QTV how to play “Young Lions” on guitar.

Also offering a QTV a guitar lesson is Woodpigeon’s Mark Hamilton, who teaches them – and the whole internet – to play “Knock Knock”. The Concordian and Ottawa Citizen also have interviews with Hamilton.

The Montreal Gazette talks to Stars, whose presently untitled new album is apparently set for release in the first half of 2010.

Broken Social Scene have revealed the final details about their forthcoming album – Forgiveness Rock Record, their first proper album in almost half a decade, will be out on May 4 and you can get the first MP3 from the album, a 7-minute sprawler called “World Sick”, in exchange for your email at their website. Broken Social Scene plays the Toronto Islands on June 19.

The other big May 4 release from a Canadian supergroup is, of course, Together from The New Pornographers. The first MP3 from the album has been made available and is the almost-title track from the album.

MP3: The New Pornographers – “Your Hands (Together)”

Chart talks to Zeus, whose Say Us gets a release this week and is streaming until March 1 over at Exclaim. They’ve also scheduled an in-store at Soundscapes for 6PM on March 6 and will play Lee’s Palace on March 10.

MP3: Zeus – “Marching Through Your Head”
Stream: Zeus / Say Us

Canadian Interviews talk to Basia Bulat.

Thick Specs interviews Julie Doiron. Her current project Daniel, Fred & Julie, featuring Doiron, Attack In Black’s Daniel Romano and former Shotgun & Jaybird-er Fred Squire will bring their self-titled debut to the Horseshoe on April 15.

MP3: Daniel, Fred & Julie – “The Gambler And His Bride”

Anyone wondering about the set list for Fucked Up’s show at the Opera House this Friday need look no further than the back cover of The Chemistry Of Common Life – the band will be playing their breakout record in its entirety. And probably some more stuff on top of that.

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Some Party

Wavelength turns 500, goes out with a bang

Photo By Jeremy R. JansenJeremy R. JansenA birthday party is a bit of an odd time to announce a memorial, but such was the case this past February when, at the end of the successful 9th anniversary bash for Toronto’s venerable Wavelength weekly music series, it was announced that the 2010, 10th anniversary shows would also mark the final edition of the showcase… at least in its present form. While the weekly showcases are ending, the Wavelength marque and ethos will continue on via monthly showcases and one-off events, thus ensuring that the stages that gave countless Toronto acts – including Broken Social Scene, The Hidden Cameras and Constantines to name but a very few of the better known – will remain open and inviting.

But before the new Wavelength can begin, the old must be celebrated and put to bed, and that’s what the second weekend of February is going to be all about. Wavelength 500 will bring together acts from all throughout its history, some of whom have gone on to bigger things and some who have simply gone but all of whom are crucial parts of Toronto’s musical tapestry over the past decade. The festival will run over five nights at five venues, starting on February 10 and running through to February 14 for what’s sure to be the loudest, sweatiest Valentine’s Day bash on record. The lineups and locales for each night are as follows:

February 10 @ The Music Gallery: Bruce Peninsula, Evening Hymns, Pony Da Look, Deep Dark United, Canaille ($12)
February 11 @ The Steam Whistle Roundhouse – Holy Fuck, The Russian Futurists, Fembots, Diamond Rings, Professor Fingers ($18)
February 12 @ Sneaky Dee’s – From Fiction, The Bicycles, Laura Barrett, Magic Cheezies, Young Mother ($12)
February 13 @ The Polish Combatants Hall – Constantines, Rockets Red Glare, Donne Roberts, Picastro, Danger Bay ($20)
February 14 @ The Garrison – Kids On TV, Barcelona Pavilion, Mean Red Spiders, Neck, Boars (PWYC)

Advance tickets for the first four nights are available at the prices noted, while the fifth and final night will be pay-what-you-can. In addition, festival passes guaranteeing admission to all five shows will go on sale January 7 at the wholly reasonable price of $50. The timing of the festival is a bit unfortunate as there’s a lot a lot of other stuff going on before, during and after that weekend, but it’s not Wavelength’s fault – they’ve had this date circled on the calendar for, oh, a decade.

MP3: Laura Barrett – “Robot Ponies”
MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Crabapples”
MP3: Canaille – “Vincent Massey” (live)
MP3: Constantines – “Nighttime Anytime It’s Alright”
MP3: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs”
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Dead Deer”
MP3: Fembots – “Good Days”
MP3: Holy Fuck – “Lovely Allen”
MP3: Picastro – “Hortur”
MP3: The Russian Futurists – “Paul Simon”

Constantines are no strangers to anniversary parties, having just wrapped up four Toronto shows to mark their own decade mark this past weekend. Spinner talked to frontman Bry Webb about the milestone.

Southern Souls is featuring a couple of video performances from Evening Hymns, who in addition to playing the Wavelength anniversary will be at the Garrison on January 22 for the Out Of This Spark 3rd anniversary show, alongside The D’Urbervilles, Forest City Lovers and Jenny Omnichord. Evening Hymns are also on HeroHill’s “best of 2009” list with a couple of unreleased tracks up for grabs and interviews with many of their picks.

Forest City Lovers frontwoman Kat Burns offers a couple of solo performances and an interview in this video feature from The National Post.

BlogTO has a feature on the Third Floor Sessions which have been happening at Ryerson University and yielding downloadable sessions from the likes of Ohbijou and The Wooden Sky… and yes, that is your cue to make with the clicky and download the goods (while watching the videos, of course).

NXEW is offering a free Christmas EP from Oh No Forest Fires that’s probably louder and fuzzier than your usual holiday fare. Thank goodness.

The Line Of Best Fit’s “Oh! Canada” series of compilations is also back with another volume, just in time for the holidays. Go get.

Friday, December 11th, 2009

All Yr Songs Are Belong To Us

Sony stages Diamond Rings heist

Photo By David WaldmanDavid WaldmanThe tale of Toronto’s Diamond Rings was one of the unexpected little Toronto triumphs of the Summer, what with the electro-glam alter-ego of D’Urbervilles frontman Jon O’Regan releasing a fun video to go with his debut 7″ single, “All Yr Songs”, and having it quickly get not only catch the ear of Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber, but also garner title of “Best New Music” by the same tastemaking site, leading to plenty of attention, singles sales and plum opening slots.

The happy tale took an unfortunate turn Wednesday, however, as the YouTube clip – at 50,000 plays and counting – was unceremoniously pulled because of “a copyright claim by Sony BMG Music Entertainment”. This was especially odd considering that the song is an original, sample-free composition and the video, while paying tribute to the aesthetic of early hip-hop videos, was also wholly original. Exactly what the basis for Sony-BMG’s DMCA claim on the clip is unknown, as neither they nor Google are talking, but perhaps they’ve enlisted Gollum as their new head of A&R? Get it? Gollum? Wants the ring? His precious? No? Never mind.

But in all seriousness, this is a lousy situation not only for O’Regan but for video director Colin Medley who, for being the one to have uploaded the clip, has had is account essentially put on notice, being informed that as a YouTube user, he is “not in good standing” and further “strikes may result in the termination of your
account”. That the situation is bullshit is clear; what can be done about it is muddier, though some would advocate a Sony boycott. There are processes in place for appealing DMCA notices and those wheels have been put into motion, but as any music blogger who’s held a Blogspot account – also a Google property – knows, the would-be, presumably benign overlords of the internet aren’t big on communication. Here’s hoping it all gets sorted out sooner rather than later.

Even with this setback, Diamond Rings is still full steam ahead – a new single will be out in the new year, followed but a full-length album, he’s playing the Tranzac New Year’s Eve bender (taking place New Year’s Eve at the Tranzac – duh), opening up for Final Fantasy at the Mod Club on January 12 and will be heading down to Austin for SxSW in March. Sony will have to hire a team of interns to stop him.

NOW talked to O’Regan about the YouTube kerfuffle. You can still watch the video at Vimeo and listen to the tune in both its original form and remixed, if it suits your fancy, and if you see/hear anything that sounds like a crib from a Sony-BMG artist, do speak up. I’m sure the creators would love to find out exactly who they ripped off and how.

Update: Okay, the YouTube clip has been un-banned though no explanation as to why has been given. My completely baseless theory is that it may have mistakenly gotten caught up in some Vevo-related dragnet of material that the labels were seeking to clean up/seize control of. I’ll relay anything else I learn, but the important thing is you can now watch Jon bust a move on the online streaming video platform of your choice.
Update 2: NOW has updated their piece, saying Sony is claiming it was a case of mistaken identity with a Sony artist named Chipmunk who had a song called “Diamond Rings”. Uh-huh.

MP3: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs”
MP3: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs” ((GOBBLE GOBBLE’s Wings for Eyeliner remix)
Video: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs”

The Vancouver Sun, Toronto Star, Torontoist, NOW and eye salute Constantines on the occasion of their tenth anniversary as one of Canada’s foremost rock bands. Their series of southern Ontario anniversary shows hits Toronto tonight at Lee’s Palace and continue on there tomorrow and December 19.

Ohbijou are capping off their own terrific year by giving away a free cover of Wham!’s holiday classic, “Last Christmas”. Head over here to grab it.

Woodpigeon have shared the MP3 of a Pink Floyd cover they recorded for a Mojo compilation. I had suggested they do “Run Like Hell”, but no one ever listens to me. Their new record Die Stadt Muzikanten is out January 12.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Mother” (Pink Floyd cover)

The Besnard Lakes’ identity crisis continues – apparently they no longer believe themselves to be The Dark Horse for as of March 9, The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night. The new album will be preceded a month earlier with the release of a new single “Albatross” on 12″.

College Times and Austin360 talk to the Rural Alberta Advantage.

The Joy Formidable, who had me scrambling to check airfare prices upon seeing they’re playing four shows in New York at the start of next January (no I’m not going), are getting into the holiday spirit by giving away a free MP3 of a new song just crackling with festive cheer – “My Beerdrunk Soul is Sadder than a Hundred Dead Christmas Trees”. Now that’s my kind of Christmas carol. I love this band – someone give them tonnes of money so they can tour over here, or give me tonnes of money so I can go see them wherever they play. Actually, let’s just pursue scenario two.

Video: The Joy Formidable – “My Beerdrunk Soul is Sadder than a Hundred Dead Christmas Trees”

eye has a video interview and The New York Observer a print one with The xx. They’re at the Kool Haus on April 20 with Hot Chip, who’ve released a video for the title track from their next album One Life Stand, out February 9.

Video: Hot Chip – “One Life Stand”

Rogue Wave will be at the Mod Club on February 26 to promote their new album Permalight, which will be in stores on March 2.

Electro duo YACHT have set a port of call for Wrongbar on March 4 as part of a cross-Canada tour. Their latest album See Mystery Lights was released earlier this year.

Video: YACHT – “Psychic City (Voodoo City)”

Los Angeles’ Foreign Born and Philadelphia’s Free Energy will be at the El Mocambo on March 9. The former released Person To Person earlier this year, the latter has nothing in tangible form but a nifty digital EP you can get on the interwebs. No, it’s not free. The energy is free, the music is not.

MP3: Foreign Born – “Vacationing People”
MP3: Foreign Born – “Early Warnings”
MP3: Free Energy – “Free Energy”
MP3: Free Energy – “Something In Common”
Video: Foreign Born – “Early Warnings”
Video: Foreign Born – “Winter Games”
Video: Free Energy – “Free Energy”

Exclaim has details of the second She & Him record, entitled Volume Two (it’s the second volume, y’see?) and out March 23.