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Posts Tagged ‘Datarock’

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Virgin Festival Ontario Day Two

Virgin Festival Ontario day two with Nine Inch Nails, Pet Shop Boys and more

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangGrey skies, cold winds, threatening clouds… was there any doubt that Trent was coming to town?

It was a foregone conclusion that day two of Virgin Festival would end in a blinding and deafening display of aggression and angst courtesy of Nine Inch Nails, so I rather liked that the day would begin with the gentle piano-pop of Coeur De Pirate. Ms Beatrice Martin utterly beguiled at her Toronto debut during NXNE, and to anyone who complained about booking an act with such buzz behind her into a room as small as the Dakota Tavern, well here you go – is the Molson Amphitheatre big enough for you? And speaking of big, Coeur de Pirate as a live entity was now a five-piece band, which helped fill out not only the mix but the stage. Her two-piece setup at the Dakota befit the cozy venue, but here in this massive space, the addition of the rhythm section really helped carry her tunes out over the sparse crowd. I’ve been completely won over by her self-titled album since that NXNE show so I was more than happy to get to see her live again, and her Rihanna cover was much, much better than the Katy Perry one she’d closed with in June. It was probably a safe guess that most of those there for gate time were NIN hardcores bound and determined to be up front, so the fact that everyone who was there for 1PM seemed to respond to Coeur de Pirate most enthusiastically was a pleasant surprise.

And in what would be a recurring theme, probably more a comment on my own stereotypes than anything else, was how supportive those ultra-keen Nine Inch Nails fans were of all the other acts on the day even though many/most were of a style completely not RIYL NIN. I suppose if you’re going to be camped out on a concrete floor pressed up against a metal barricade for 10 hours you may as well have a good time. But still, kudos.

Photos: Coeur de Pirate @ The Virgin Mobile Stage – August 30, 2009
Video: Coeur De Pirate – “Comme Des Enfants”
Video: Coeur De Pirate – “Ensemble”
MySpace: Coeur De Pirate

Gentle pop was out the window for act number two, Norwegian electro-ironists Datarock. Clad in their signature red track suits, they were all about the audience engagement (and shilling their new album Red) as they tried to get the party started with their clownish stage antics and super-tight, uptempo tunes. As schticks went, theirs was entertaining and the half-hour set was just long enough to please without getting old. Datarock are undeniably goofy, but obviously don’t intend to be taken too seriously. After all, there was enough seriousness coming later in the day – for now, some fun.

Photos: Datarock @ The Virgin Mobile Stage – August 30, 2009
MP3: Datarock – “True Stories”
Video: Datarock – “True Stories”
Video: Datarock – “Fa-Fa-Fa”
Video: Datarock – “Bulldozer”
Stream: Datarock / Red
MySpace: Datarock

I have never been able to get a good handle on Mew, the Danish prog-pop ensemble who were capable of shifting from indescribable tweeness to unrelenting aggression at the drop of a hat, all the while remaining simultaneously weird and accessible. Their September 2006 show at the Mod Club remains one of the most singularly odd shows I’ve ever been to, to say nothing of the most frustrating to photograph – and not for poor light like most shows. Read the review for specifics. Anyways, their new record No More Stories still hasn’t grown on me, seeming to be much less focused than And The Glass-Handed Kites, and on top of that they seemed to be having sound issues both on stage and in the house, Jonas Bjerre’s vocals being largely inaudible. Oh, and he still has the worst mic technique in the world, again largely foiling my attempts to get anything resembling a flattering photograph. But the set was salvaged by a majestic reading of “The Zookeeper’s Boy” from Kites that very much demonstrated why, even though they can be confounding, Mew are still worth paying attention to. When they hit it, they hit it hard.

Photos: Mew @ The Virgin Mobile Stage – August 30, 2009
MP3: Mew – “Repeaterbeater”
MP3: Mew – “Introducing Palace Players”
Video: Mew – “Introducing Palace Players”
Video: Mew – “Special”
Video: Mew – “The Zookeeper’s Boy”
MySpace: Mew

I didn’t know anything about New Orleans’ MuteMath prior to their second Virgin Festival appearance in Toronto (they also played in 2007 but I missed them), but everyone told me they put on a great show. And that they did. Visually, they were tremendously entertaining – anytime you have a drummer who needs to duct tape his headphones onto his head, you’re in for a good time. And it wasn’t just for show – Darren King was a monster on the kit and great to watch and his bandmates not far behind, particularly frontman/keyboardist Paul Meany who gave great photo, striking poses with his keytar and showing off his dental work. Musically, they weren’t as impressive – decent radio-ready modern rock, but nothing that really stuck with me after their set was done. But hell of a performance.

Photos: MuteMath @ The Virgin Mobile Stage – August 30, 2009
Video: MuteMath – “Spotlight”
Video: MuteMath – “Typical”
MySpace: MuteMath

I skipped out on the Cold War Kids blog buzz back in 2006 or so, and watching them dull up the stage on this afternoon, I was at a loss to understand how I was in the minority then of those who wasn’t impressed. Shouty and aimless, the best Cold War Kids could muster from the audience was polite applause and general indifference. If looking for positives, they were one of the more mobile acts I’d seen this weekend, all four of the band members endlessly roaming the stage while they played and swapping up instruments. But beyond that, not much to report.

Photos: Cold War Kids @ The Virgin Mobile Stage – August 30, 2009
MP3: Cold War Kids – “Hospital Beds”
Video: Cold War Kids – “We Used To Vacation”
Video: Cold War Kids – “Something Is Not Right With Me”
MySpace: Cold War Kids

The token hip-hop act on the mainstage for the festival was N.E.R.D., who came with a pretty impressive CV including a Shortlist Prize and extensive top 40 production/writing credits via Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo’s work in The Neptunes. I got this from asking people around me, “so who are these guys?”, just to be clear. But if the crowd needed waking up after Cold War Kids – which they did – N.E.R.D. were the ones to do it. Their set was basically a big party, with dancers recruited from the audience, crowd-baiting shout outs and pandering to the hometown by yelling, “TORONTO!” a lot. It was pretty cheesy but wholly effective – this was a crowd that wanted to get excited. Like Franz Ferdinand the night before, N.E.R.D.’s set was a clear indicator that the evening was ramping up and it was now prime time. Which, with Our Lady Peace up next, meant dinner.

Photos: N.E.R.D. @ The Virgin Mobile Stage – August 30, 2009
Video: N.E.R.D. – “Everyone Nose”
Video: N.E.R.D. – “Sooner Or Later”
Video: N.E.R.D. – “She Wants To Move”
Video: N.E.R.D. – “Rock Star”
MySpace: N.E.R.D.

For many, The Von Bondies are best known for a certain physical altercation with a certain fellow Detroit band a few years back – who, incidentally, were covered/sampled/quoted by N.E.R.D. earlier that afternoon – but for the throngs of V Festers who gathered around the Boardwalk stage around dinnertime, they were known as the band who put on a thoroughly kick-ass rock show and looked to be having the best time doing it. Though an act who’s been around as long as they might have had legitimate complaint about being relegated to the baby stage (they even took the trouble to build a riser for the stage so people could see), there was no grousing from the quartet – just grins, jokes and flat-out rock. They’ve already played Toronto twice this year in support of their new album Love, Hate And Then There’s You but I suspect if they return again, they’ll have a lot more fans in attendance.

Photos: The Von Bondies @ The Boardwalk Stage – August 30, 2009
MP3: The Von Bondies – “This Is Our Perfect Crime”
MP3: The Von Bondies – “Pale Bride”
Video: The Von Bondies – “Pale Bride”
MySpace: The Von Bondies

I had a friend in high school whose favourite band was the Pet Shop Boys. I never understood that until Sunday night. I’d always liked the handful of songs I knew, and certainly had no aversion to the synth-pop, but until Pet Shop Boys were announced as part of the V Fest lineup, I’d never really gave them a second thought. In the weeks leading up to this show, I took the time to brush up on my musical education and before long, I was supremely excited for their set. I didn’t realize just how masterful Messrs Tennant and Lowe were with the pop song, but everything I listened to – whether I knew it beforehand or not – was instantly embedded in my skull. Add in the fact that they’re just as well-known for their elaborate live shows and there was no way this wasn’t going to be great. I know most everyone there was going to be waiting for NIN, but for me the night was all about PSB.

And by god they did not disappoint. With a set comprised of a wall of giant white boxes, Lowe and Tennant took the stage with cubes on their heads and accompanied by a pair of dancers also in box couture. From there, it was an almost non-stop, meticulously choreographed and executed technicolour dance-pop extravaganza of costumes, dancers and massive video wall projections. The set wasn’t quite the greatest hits package I’d expected, but to be fair their latest album Yes did chart at #4 in the UK – hardly the sign of a band needing to rest on past laurels. But still, they busted out “Suburbia”, “Go West”, “You Are Always On My Mind”, an unexpected cover of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” and they closed their main set with an exquisite, silver glitter confetti-exploding “It’s A Sin”. And for a second, I thought that might have been it but when roadies in white lab coats and hard hats came out with brooms and vacuums to clean up the confetti, it was obvious it wasn’t over. Of course not. There still had to be “West End Girls”. And they returned and there was “West End Girls”. And it was brilliant.

I think it’s safe to say that Nine Inch Nails has never had such an opener before, and to their credit Reznor’s army of black-clad fans seemed to eat it up for the most part. I would bet that Trent was watching from the side and had his head bobbing at the very least. If you did not love this set then you must put far too much energy into being a sourpuss.

Photos: Pet Shop Boys @ The Virgin Mobile Stage – August 30, 2009
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Love Etc”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Suburbia”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Go West”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Jealousy”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “What Have I Done To Deserve This”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Always On My Mind”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Where The Streets Have No Name”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “West End Girls”
MySpace: Pet Shop Boys

While my weekend had peaked, for most everyone else the main event was still to come. I never liked Nine Inch Nails. Back in high school, I was less about aggressive angst and more about mope angst, and that’s not even mentioning the memories of pub nights in university whenever THAT song came on and the floor filled with the jock types who just had to sing along with THAT chorus because, well, it spoke to them. You know what I’m talking about. But since then my attitude towards NIN has softened somewhat and Reznor, for his part, seems to have found a sense of humour. I still haven’t listened to anything he’s released in years, but I bear him no enmity. So while I had no real intention of sticking around for his full two-hour set, I did want to see what was sure to be an impressive performance to say nothing of the sense of occasion, this being the last Nine Inch Nails show in Canada – perhaps ever, if the publicity people are to be believed.

And it really was something to see. A massive light show, huge sounds and the mighty roar of the crowd – still not completely sold out, but enough to make a racket. Reznor and company played the dynamics of the set masterfully, moving from a clenched whisper to hoarse scream and still, after all these years, sounding like he really means it. Impressive. Also impressive was that in the time I stuck around (just under an hour), I heard two songs I recognized and one I actually liked – “March Of The Pigs”. The other was THAT song. Yeah. Anyways, when Reznor decided it was time for a piano recital, I decided it was time to go home.

Photos: Nine Inch Nails @ The Virgin Mobile Stage – August 30, 2009
Video: Nine Inch Nails – “The Perfect Drug”
Video: Nine Inch Nails – “The Hand That Feeds”
Video: Nine Inch Nails – “Wish”
Video: Nine Inch Nails – “March Of The Pigs”
Video: Nine Inch Nails – “The Day The World Went Away (Quiet)”
Video: Nine Inch Nails – “Closer”
Video: Nine Inch Nails – “Hurt”
MySpace: Nine Inch Nails

Finally, agonizingly, the fourth Virgin Festival in Toronto was in the books. For all the complaining that went on leading up to it – justified and not – and the potential for fiasco, it actually went pretty well. The talent assembled was unique amongst the year’s festival circuit and solid to great, though there wasn’t quite enough of it to offer many options to attendees. While some – myself and my feet included – liked being able to stay in one spot at one stage through the day and still get to see most of the acts, it didn’t really feel like a proper festival. Also not helping the vibe was the venue – as mentioned yesterday, the assigned seating left huge tracts of real estate empty for most of the day, and that just suffocated any chance for a real festival vibe to develop. Sure it was the best they could do on short notice and in that context, it was fine – an empty Burl’s Creek would have been even less vibey – but it’s hardly a desirable locale for future events. And I’m really hoping that the festival and brand survives this annus horribilis, learns some valuable lessons and is able to maintain or win back the the faith of festival-goers put off by any number of things surrounding their five events this year. But also keep in mind that people like to complain. Complaining is fun. But put together the right lineup and even the haters will show up again. See you next year, I hope. Islands again? Downsview? Somewhere with wide, open spaces please.

Reviews of the weekend can be found at The Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, National Post, Spinner and ChartAttack.

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Love Love

Everything All The Time, The Magic and The Balconies at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangYou need only look as far as Monday’s post to see what I was doing at the Horseshoe on Wednesday night. What I hadn’t mentioned in the writeup of The Balconies’ debut album – out officially September 15 – was that I had been trying to catch the band live for some months now, based on numerous rave reviews, but while they’d played no shortage of shows in the 416 I’d not been able to make any of them until now. The fact that I’d been able to familiarize myself with their album was just a happy coincidence.

And to everyone who’d offered those rave live reviews and perhaps set up unreasonable expectations… you were right. The trio, playing their first gig as a Toronto-based band, performed with an energy and tightness that belied their relatively short existence together. Songs that I wasn’t sure about on the album sounded great, as really their whole set did from start to finish. As impressive as the recorded document is – it really does manage to reproduce their on-stage sound – The Balconies live came off with a certain swagger that wasn’t quite captured in the studio. Blessed with an abundance of tunes, talent and charisma, The Balconies may be new in town but if you haven’t made their acquaintance yet, just wait – they’re too good to stay any kind of secret. They play a free show on Saturday night at The Recording Arts Academy and will be at Lee’s Palace for a CD release show on September 25.

I’d seen middle act The Magic back in June during NxNE and they turned out to be one of the best new things I saw during the festival. While that show put the spotlight on their disco-fied side, this time they played things a little cooler and damn if they didn’t sound even better for it – less with the camp and kitsch, more with the deep groove and the slow burn. These are relative statements, mind you – it was still all about the party, but this time the lights were turned down a little more. The band, who released an EP last year that doesn’t nearly do the fullness of their sound justice, continue to work on their full-length debut. Mirror balls twinkle in anticipation.

Last up was Everything All The Time, presumably named for neither the album by Band Of Horses or the song by Styx, but who were acting as hosts for the evening. The occasion was the release of their new EP, a follow-up to their 2008 self-titled debut but the first to properly capture their current incarnation as fronted by Alanna Stuart. With her impressive vocals up front, the keyboard-loaded sextet resided squarely at the intersection of synth-pop and soul-pop, circa the mid-1980s – utterly danceable and with lots of familiar sounds, but blended together in a decidedly fresh manner.

I saw the band play last August and while it was clear what they were going for, it didn’t sound like it had quite coalesced into what it was meant to be. A year on, that’s no longer a problem – their set was delivered with loads of confidence and as much energy as a band where 5/6 of the personnel are rooted to their instruments can possibly have, thanks largely to Stuart’s voice and presence, which was irresistible without being overbearing – a diva with only the positive connotations of the word. Their next gig is a CD release show on October 23 (I think that’s what they said) at the Drake Underground. Odds of it being a dance party are approximately one to one.

The Singing Lamb has an interview with Everything All The Time.

Photos: Everything All The Time, The Magic, The Balconies @ The Horseshoe – August 26, 2009
MP3: Everything All The Time – “Love Love”
MP3: The Balconies – “300 Pages”
MP3: The Balconies – “Smells Like Secrets”

Peaches has a date at the Phoenix on November 18.

MP3: Peaches – “Talk To Me”

Dirty Projectors are heading back on the road this Fall in support of Bitte Orca and will be at the Opera House in Toronto on November 14. Full dates at The Music Slut. The band will also be releasing a new EP in the UK on September 29 called Temecula Sunrise – details at Pitchfork.

MP3: Dirty Projectors – “Rise Above”
Video: Dirty Projectors – “Stillness Is The Move”

Chairlift have released a new video from Does You Inspire You. Last time I was in New York, I saw the health club poster with the phrase that the album title is lifted from. I’m actually back in New York next weekend – anything going on? Actually Chairlift is playing. Maybe it’s a sign. Or a poster. Aaaaah.

Video: Chairlift – “Ceiling Wax”

Pitchfork talks to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips about the edition of All Tomorrow’s Parties they’re curating in New York’s Catskills from September 11 to 13. There’s also interviews at The Fredericksburg Freelance-Star and The Washington Examiner. Their new album Embryonic is out October 13.

Richard Hawley talks to Spinner about getting into the necessary headspace to write his latest album Truelove’s Gutter, out September 22.

Pitchfork gets to know The xx, while The Quietus examines how the state of technology allowed the band to come to be. XX is out October 20 and they play The Phoenix on December 2.

Spin asks tough questions of Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner. They play the Kool Haus on September 29.

Both eye and NOW talk to Ohbijou’s Casey Mecija and James Bunton about the Friends In Bellwoods project, the launch parties for which go tonight at Lee’s Palace and all day tomorrow at The Tranzac.

Canadian Interviews interviews Canadian Kat Burns of Forest City Lovers, who will be playing the Friday night edition of the aforementioned release parties. Look for a new 7″ this Fall and work continues apace on album number three.

V Fest is finally here this weekend and The Toronto Star examines some of the problems that have beset this year’s edition of the festival and NOW looks at some of the acts that will be playing this weekend at the Molson Amphitheatre.

eye talks to Trent Reznor of day two headliner Nine Inch Nails about his decision to hang it up after this final round of touring.

JAM has an interview with Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys. I’ve never even thought of myself as a Pet Shop Boys fan, but they may be the act I’m most excited about seeing this weekend. I don’t think there’s any way they won’t put on a great show.

Montreal Mirror, JAM and Uptown interview Franz Ferdinand, playing the festival on day one.

With Sloan’s Chris Murphy still recovering from a broken collarbone, NOW reports that the band will have a few ringers covering bass duties on Saturday afternoon. No word on a designated scissor-kicker.

NOW and The Toronto Sun talk to Datarock. They’re up early Sunday afternoon. “Up” as in playing. Not as in awake.

Spinner has posted up the next (and last?) in its series on the state of independent music in Canada, this piece looking towards the future with the likes of Fucked Up, Crystal Castles and some fresh-faced kids who go by Metric.

Saturday, August 22nd, 2009

CONTEST – Datarock @ Virgin Festival Ontario – August 30, 2009

Photo By Knut AaserudKnut AaserudYou needn’t look to far to figure out where Norwegian duo Datarock found inspiration for the title of their new album Red – their closets. Their red track suits are as much their signature as the self-referential, pop culture/mass media-worshipping/devouring, giddily hyperactive and utterly danceable electro-pop they produce (though really, there’s as many organic instruments on this record as inorganic so calling them electro seems inaccurate). I’ve heard some say they’re unable to take Datarock seriously. I suspect that’s partly the point. The rest of the point is just having fun, and I’ve not heard any detractors try to challenge them on that.

Their Fall North American tour kicks off this week with the band – live they recruit more players in red track suits, natch – cutting a swath across Canada and that includes an appearance at day two of Virgin Festival Ontario at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto next Sunday, August 30. And courtesy of Nettwerk, I’ve got a pairs of passes to give away for the second day of the festival – sorry, don’t know where the seats are – and, because I think I was sent promotional three copies at least, I’ll include a copy of Red on CD. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see Datarock” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body. Contest will close at 5PM on August 25.

Datarock talk to Spinner about the Talking Heads tribute of first single “True Stories”.

MP3: Datarock – “True Stories”
Video: Datarock – “True Stories”

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Golden Phone

Micachu & The Shapes at the El Mocambo in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangTo this point, whenever I’ve mentioned London’s Micachu, I’ve been sure to mention my ambivalence towards their debut album Jewellery and my inability to discern if it’s great or, well, not so great. But I think the fact that I keep going back to it rather than just discard it and move onto any of the countless other records within arm’s reach says a lot about what my gut says, as does the fact that this past Tuesday night, an evening with no shortage of entertainment options that were pretty much guaranteed to be great, I opted to head to the El Mocambo to see Micachu & The Shapes make their Toronto debut – a decidedly less safe bet, but one that could potentially pay off immensely.

For reasons unknown, opener Anni Rossi dropped off the bill at the last minute – I’d seen her just a few weeks prior so I wasn’t too disappointed – and a local act by name of Animal Monster was tagged to open. And if it were the sort of show where people might have been inclined to dance, then he and his setup of sequencers and samplers might have fit, but with people seated comfortably at tables, his repetitive dance beats with keyboard melodies overtop were just monotonous. At first, some heads were bobbing but before long, they were just hanging in resignation.

Things perked up once Animal Monster shuffled off, with the respectably-sized crowd gathering at the front of the stage to examine Micachu’s unusual stage setup – after all, its not often you see upturned wine bottles mounted on cymbal stands or empty paint cans as part of a percussion kit, and that doesn’t even include the homemade instruments that they kept with them backstage. So given the kitchen sink clatter aesthetic of the record and the similarly random nature of the band’s gear, it would have been understandable to assume that Micachu’s show would be more about making a gleeful cacophony than anything else, and while their performance was indeed gleeful, it was far from chaotic.

Actually what was most impressive about their show – and pretty much all of it was enjoyable and impressive – was how precise and meticulous they were about crafting what, on the surface, seemed to be so random. They were like a musical junk shop transformed into an elaborate sonic Rube Goldberg contraption, the payoff being completely left-field compositions that were still undeniably pop. Mica Levy and her bandmates, in matching white t-shirts, had their hands full recreating much of the fuzzy textures, details and cul de sacs of the recorded versions – far more than I’d expected – and seemed to be having a great time, appreciative of the enthusiastic crowd, when they weren’t utterly intent on the work at hand. With only one record’s worth of material to draw from, the show was understandably short, clocking in at well under an hour, but they did deliver everything they had and that was plenty. No more hedging. Micachu is great.

eye was also at the show, was also impressed.

Photos: Micachu & The Shapes @ The El Mocambo – July 14, 2009
MP3: Micachu – “Lips”
Video: Micachu – “Golden Phone”
Video: Micachu – “Lips”
MySpace: Micachu

Micachu has also teamed up with Alessi’s Ark, Sinead O’Connor and Roisin Murphy and Chaka Khan’s to cover Khan’s “I Am Every Woman” in support of ActionAid UK’s 6 Degrees project for womens rights. There’s also a remix of the track by Ladytron, a free Bat For Lashes live MP3 if you invite some friends to the site and a video of Micachu performing “Waste” at the Six Degrees launch party at the ICA in London. Go, download, listen, read and spread the word.

MP3: 6 Degrees – “I’m Every Woman” (Ladytron remix)
Video: Micachu – “Waste” (live at the ICA)

Filter tracks the working relationship of PJ Harvey and John Parish through the years, up to this year’s A Woman A Man Walked By.

Art Brut’s Eddie Argos declares his love of the Scott Pilgrim comics at Playback:StL – imagine how excited he’ll be when he learns that the Lee’s Palace stage they’ll be playing on August 12 just recently hosted the filming of the Clash At Demonhead scene for the Scott Pilgrim movie!

Two Hours Traffic have released the title track from their next album Territory, out September 8, as a free download.

MP3: Two Hours Traffic – “Territory”

Part four of the Reverie Sound Revue blog tour is now up at The Tape Is Not Sticky, featuring “You Don’t Exist If I Don’t See You” from their self-titled debut.

Spinner has published the second part of their feature series on the past, present and future of Canadian independent music – this chapter focuses on the world of Broken Social Scene.

Thanks to Slowcoustic for pointing out this Camera Music video featuring The Rural Alberta Advantage performing in a bus shelter on Queen St and the Drake Hotel’s patio. New video blog Morning Noon Night also digs up some live footage of the band in a basement at a Canadian Musicfest after-party back in March, and also check out their primo placement in the trailer for the new Alicia Silverstone/Alanis Morissette comedy – man, that film is going to be so quirky! There’s also an interview with the band at the Omaha World-Herald – their next local gig is at the Horseshoe on July 30 and then they’ll be at V Fest on August 29.

And tangentially, eye talks to the folks at aux.tv, who are responsible for hosting the above video series and a wealth of other terrific Canadian music video (but not “music video”) content.

Two more acts playing V Fest – Scandinavians both – have just released new MP3s. Denmark’s Mew have a new one from No More Stories, out August 25, via NME and Norway’s Datarock are sharing a track from their new one Red through Spinner.

MP3: Mew – “Introducing Palace Players”
MP3: Datarock – “True Stories”

Flavorwire checks in with The Raveonettes, who are working on their new record In and Out of Control in hopes of an October release.

NPR has a studio session with Loney Dear – they’re at the Horseshoe on October 13.

And also on that bill is Anna Ternheim, who has released a first MP3 from her new album Leaving On A Mayday, out August 11. Also check out the video of an acoustic performance of the same song.

MP3: Anna Ternheim – “What Have I Done”
Video: Anna Ternheim – “What Have I Done” (acoustic)

Interview talks to Phoenix.

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Come On Pilgrim

Nine Inch Nails, Pixies, Grizzly Bear and Pet Shop Boys for Virgin Festival Toronto/Ontario 2009

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceSo here we go. Some four months after I’d originally expected to see it in my inbox and after much rumour-mongering, hand-wringing, bitching and moaning, it’s here. The lineup for Toronto’s – sorry, Ontario’sVirgin Festival 2009. It’s far and away the most mixed bag of nuts yet, with names guaranteed to both delight and confound, no matter what you’re into.

So really, the question is this; is this lineup enough to get you out to Burl’s Creek park near Orillia and camp for two or three nights with all the attendant logistical hassles? And perhaps more importantly… was this worth the wait? The fact that 2-day tickets this year are just $99 ($105 after fees) – I think that’s a full $30-$40 less than past years – may help sway your opinion towards the “yes” side, though that’s just admission – camping costs another $100 for two nights and $135 for three nights (note – prices are per campsite, not per person, to a maximum four people per site) and there’s various VIP options for those with low self esteem. There will also be information on commuting assistance forthcoming for those citygoers who are afraid to venture north of Dupont, let alone into cottage country.

But anyways. Here it is, with the standard “more to come!” note attached.

Saturday, August 29
Ben Harper & The Relentless7
Pixies
Franz Ferdinand
Paolo Nutini
Grizzly Bear
Mates Of State
Sloan
LIGHTS
Plants & Animals
Down With Webster
The Rural Alberta Advantage
Iglu & Hartly

Sunday, August 30
Nine Inch Nails
Pet Shop Boys
Our Lady Peace
N.E.R.D.
Cold War Kids
MuteMath
Mew
Thunderheist
Coeur De Pirate
The Von Bondies
Datarock
HyperCrush
Trouble Andrew
Silver Starling
The D’Urbervilles

For myself, I have to say this is a pretty attractive lineup, and I love how acronym-heavy the Sunday is, should make for easy texting. Providing there’s no scheduling SNAFUs I see more than enough to keep me interested from start to finish, and if this were somewhere more accessible then it’d be a no-brainer to attend. I wonder if the Pixies will be doing their Doolittle show or if it’ll be a normal set? I assume they, like Pet Shop Boys, will be closing out the second stage rather than warming up for the wholly incompatible “headliners” on each night. The location does give me pause, though – as I think I’ve mentioned before, I have unfond memories of sitting on the 400 for hours while trying to get to Molson Park, and now you have to add in getting through/around Barrie and to an even more remote location. So yeah, this’ll take some thinking. And maybe a helicopter rental. And yourselves? Who’s already airing out their tents and stocking up on industrial-strength blackfly repellant, and who’s, well, not?

And here’s a by no means comprehensive but decent sampling of what you might be hearing waft across Lake Simcoe that last weekend of August.

MP3: Grizzly Bear – “Cheerleader”
MP3: Mew – “Repeaterbeater”
MP3: Mates Of State – “My Only Offer”
MP3: Sloan – “I’m Not A Kid Anymore”
MP3: Thunderheist – “Jerk It”
MP3: Cold War Kids – “Hospital Beds”
MP3: The Von Bondies – “Pale Bride”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Frank, AB”
MP3: The D’Urbervilles – “Dragnet”
Video: Pixies – “Here Comes Your Man”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Love Etc”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Can’t Stop Feeling”
Video: Mute Math – “Spotlight”
Video: Coeur De Pirate – “Comme Des Enfants”

Matablog has details on the new Mission Of Burma record The Sound The Speed The Light, due out October 6. They also have the first MP3, with a decidedly un-MOB title but a very MOB sound.

MP3: Mission Of Burma – “1, 2, 3, Partyy!”

Bandstand Busking has posted a show from Woodpigeon.

They’ve already got a show at the El Mocambo this Thursday, but Japandroids have already scheduled another one at the Horseshoe for September 19 with The Mt St Helen’s Vietnam Band. Tickets $10.

MP3: Japandroids – “Young Hearts Spark Fire”
MP3: The Mt St Helen’s Vietnam Band – “Cheer For Fate”

If you don’t catch her free show at Harbourfront on July 25, Amy Millan has booked a cross-Canada tour including an October 14 date at the Mod Club in support of Masters Of The Burial, out September 8. Tickets for that show are $15.

Black Key gone solo Dan Auerbach will bring his Keep It Hid to the Phoenix on November 7 with Justin Townes Earle and Jessica Lea Mayfield as support. Tickets $20.50.

MP3: Dan Auerbach – “I Want Some More”
MP3: Justin Townes Earle – “Midnight At The Movies”
Video: Jessica Lea Mayfield – “Kiss Me Again”