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Posts Tagged ‘David Bowie’

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

2013

Chromewaves’ favourite albums of 2013

2013Image by Christine KwanChristine Kwan

If it’s the year’s end and this is a list, then this must be a year-end list. You should all know the drill by now: ten albums released this year, listed alphabetically and not in order of preference, that largely reflects my listening habits for the year. No promises that all of these records will remain in favour as the years pass – goodness knows that past lists don’t bat 1.000 for shelf life – but I’ll take honesty over prognostication.

There’s only one debut in the batch, but a few sophomore efforts that reinforce the fact that the artists are no flash in the pans, and that’s arguably more exciting than some rookie who tears up the league the first time out and then fades away. Two – or three, depending on definition – reunion/comeback albums as well, which is also surprising considering most records of this ilk are half-hearted excuses to stage cash-grab tours. Which I’m not inherently against, but to have artists back as genuine creative forces and not just nostalgia machines is obviously better, no?

Either way, pretty good year for music. And many thanks to Christine Kwan for taking the chore of making graphics for this list off my hamfisted hands from concept to execution and dressing them in seasonal finery.

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Monday, December 9th, 2013

Deep Wound

Swervedriver veer back into fast lane with new album

Photo by Gaz FailGaz FailFor a band that’s so intrinsically connected to the idea of powerful cars barrelling down the highway, Oxford’s Swervedriver have taken a pretty leisurely path since they reunited in 2008, touring fairly regularly behind old material but seeming to focus their creative energies on non-Swervies work; frontman Adam Franklin releasing three full-length albums with his Bolts Of Melody solo project including this year’s Black Horses, as well as one with Magnetic Morning, his project with Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino. And while Toshack Highway hasn’t released anything since 2006, don’t discount Franklin returning to the project at some point in the future.

But for all of those releases’ merits, they’ve not been Swervedriver so it’s pretty exciting news that 2014 will finally see the band putting into gear with the release of a new Swervedriver album, their first since 1998’s 99th Dream. Now reunion albums are rightly regarded with suspicion – sometimes they’re great, a la My Bloody Valentine, but usually they’re passable at best and embarrassing at worst, but from just-released the first single – which they’re streaming along with the alternate version b-side, remixed by Ride’s Mark Gardener – their ability to meld great guitar riffs with catchy melodies remains wholly intact, and excitingly reminiscent of Raise, their 22-year old debut; it’s like dream-pop where the dream is of a muscle car going full tilt down the open road. Bring it.

The Feedback Society has an interview with Adam Franklin about both the new Bolts Of Melody record and the return of Swervedriver. And if you’re new to the band or haven’t been paying attention, a slew of live rarities – including complete on-stage versions of their first four albums – are available to download, gratis. Update: And now there’s a video.

Stream: Swervedriver – “Deep Wound”
Stream: Swervedriver – “Dub Wound”
Video: Swervedriver – “Deep Wound”

DIY talks to TOY about their new album Join The Dots, the title track of which they play in session for The Guardian. The album is out this week and they’ll be at The Horseshoe on January 14.

The Fly corners Cate Le Bon to play a video session for them. She’ll be at The Drake Underground on January 21.

Maxïmo Park have rolled out a second video from their new album Too Much Information, out February 3.

Video: Maxïmo Park – “Leave This Island”

The Fly has details on the new album from Bombay Bicycle Club, which will be called So Long, See You Tomorrow and be out in the UK on February 3.

Rolling Stone has premiered the new video from Fanfarlo, taken from their forthcoming album Let’s Go Extinct, coming out February 11.

Video: Fanfarlo – “Landlocked”

London’s Let’s Wrestle return with their third album – a self-titled effort – on February 11 and they’ve permiered the first video from it at Noisey.

Video: Let’s Wrestle – “Codeine and Marshmallows”

Even though his latest album was the rather definitively-titled full-band affair Electric, It’ll be Richard Thompson solo and acoustic at Koerner Hall on March 6, just as when he dazzled there in September 2011. This time, though, he’ll have an opener with him and that’s none other than his son, Teddy Thompson.

Stream: Richard Thompson – “Good Things Happen To Bad People”

Intelligent Life hangs out with Guy Garvey of Elbow; their new album Carry Her Carry Me is out March 10.

What do you do if you’re releasing a single that appears in two different versions on your two current albums, one live and one studio? if you’re Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and the albums are Live At KCRW and Push The Sky Away, you record a third version. And then you premiere it at Rolling Stone. Cave and company are at The Sony Centre on July 31.

Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Higgs Boson Blues”

DIY have premiered a stream from Kate Nash’s new holiday EP Have Faith This Christmas. You probably know the song.

Stream: Kate Nash – “Silent Night”

Laura Groves has a new video for a Paul McCartney cover contributed to the Pun For Cover cover album; check it out via DIY.

Video: Laura Groves – “Waterfalls”

The Toronto Sun has an interview with and Stereogum a streaming b-side from Arctic Monkeys.

Stream: Arctic Monkeys – “You’re So Dark”

David Bowie has released another video from the bonus material on The Next Day Extra, though not for one of the new songs but again a remix – or an edit of a remix, to be precise, whatever that means.

Video: David Bowie – “I’d Rather Be High” Venetian Mix (Wasted Edit)

Rolling Stone asks Noel Gallagher how his year was. He answers as only Noel Gallagher can.

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

One Breath

Anna Calvi and Gems at The Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI didn’t go to New York this past weekend expressly to see Anna Calvi; although she was only playing a handful of North American dates following the release of her second album One Breath last month, I had no doubt she’d be back for a full and proper tour before too long and air travel wouldn’t be necessary to see her play. I was planning to go to New York anyways, however, and did I schedule said trip to intersect with her show at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg? Maaaaaybe.

Opening up were Washington DC’s Gems, a co-ed duo who play soulful, electro-pop that’s getting a moderate amount of buzz in the same way that many other co-ed duos who play soulful, electro-pop are. Which is not to say they weren’t alright, but you couldn’t help feel like they were just one of the contestants in the Hunger Games of co-ed duos who play soulful electro-pop and whether they’d come out on top or be an also-ran wasn’t clear. Working in their favour was a sound and show that was well-polished and songs that were solidly-crafted if not outstanding on one listen, and against them were the fact that, well, blending smoky vocals, echoey guitar lines, and canned beats danceable enough for the band to groove and the audience to sway isn’t especially fresh. But even so, I give them pretty good odds. Their debut EP Medusa came out this week.

As they were setting up the stage for Anna Calvi’s set, I thought that someone had accidentally her mic stand out of position. With the boom set low and almost perpendicular to the stand, surely it was far too low for Calvi to sing into. What I had forgotten – or perhaps didn’t notice when I finally saw her live last in December 2011 – is that Calvi is absolutely tiny in stature, even in stilettos, and her Telecaster – hardly the largest electric guitar out there – looked gigantic on her. But all presumptions of petiteness were rendered irrelevant from the moment she struck said guitar, and opened her mouth to said mic.

Opening with “Suzanne & I” off her 2011 self-titled debut – one of my favourites of the year and still in steady rotation – Calvi’s preternatural guitar and vocal abilities were well on display; the former viscerally virtuostic, the latter enormously emotive, and both massive is scale. Her band was expanded to include a keyboardist alongside her long-term multi-instrumentalist Mally Harpaz as well as new drummer, replacing the just-departed Daniel Maiden-Wood, but functioned like a well-oiled machine in supporting Calvi and allowing her to do her thing.

With the front half of the show dominated on the relatively more subdued and atmospheric One Breath, the emphasis was more on Calvi’s voice, as powerful as her operatic training would allow but also soft and seductive when called to be, even when she was more focused on tuning her guitar than send shivers down the audience’s collective backs, shivers ensued. The guitar chops were used judiciously – though always for killing blows – but by the time they reached “I’ll Be Your Man”, the Tele-triggered sonic explosions were becoming more frequent and intense and when she pulled out a Gretsch Sparkle Jet for “Carry Me Over”, feedback and Bigsby abuse were added to her arsenal of attack. Appropriately, the set hit its crescendo with “Desire” and was sustained with Calvi in full guitar hero mode through main set closer, “Love Won’t Be Leaving”. After that breathtaking showing, expecting an encore seemed unreasonable but she was coaxed out for the the smouldering “Bleed Into Me” and then her customary closer, a cover of Edith Piaf’s “Jezebel”, before leaving for good.

So no, I didn’t fly to another country just to see Anna Calvi play, but I certainly would have. And I still have her eventual Toronto show next year to look forward to.

W, The Vine, and The Independent have features on Anna Calvi. And if any geeks out there wanted a look at her pedalboard, I got a shot (it’s all run into a Vox AC30).

Photos: Anna Calvi, Gems @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg – November 11, 2013
MP3: Anna Calvi – “The Wall”
MP3: Anna Calvi – “Blackout”
MP3: Anna Calvi – “Jezebel”
Video: Anna Calvi – “Wolf Like Me”
Video: Anna Calvi – “Suzanne & I”
Video: Anna Calvi – “Blackout”
Video: Anna Calvi – “Desire”
Video: Gems – “Pegasus”

Cate Le Bon has marked this week’s release of her new album Mug Museum with a new video; she plays The Drake Underground on January 21 and tells The Independent what fantasy band she wishes could be backing her up at that gig.

Video: Cate Le Bon – “Are You With Me Now?”

AllMusic is streaming the whole of Stornoway’s new EP You Don’t Know Anything, which came out this week. A new album should follow in 2014.

Stream: Stornoway / You Don’t Know Anything

Rose Elinor Dougall’s new EP Future Vanishes is out next week, but you can stream the title track from it now.

Stream: Rose Elinor Dougall – “Future Vanishes”

Dazed has an interview with Dev Hynes of Blood Orange as well as a whole bunch of pieces with his collaborators on Cupid Deluxe, which is out in physical form next Tuesday; a new video from it has just been released.

Video: Blood Orange – “Time Will Tell”

Under The Radar talks to London psych-rockers Temples, coming to town for a show at The Horseshoe on November 20; their debut album comes out next year.

Paste talks to director Shane Meadows about his Stone Roses doc Made Of Stone, premiering at The Bloor Cinema on November 22.

Exclaim reports that Kele Okereke is using the Bloc Party hiatus to return to being Kele; and will release the Heartbreaker EP on November 25; you can stream the title track now.

Stream: Kele – “Heartbreaker”

Yuck have rolled out a new video from their new record Glow & Behold. They’re at at The Garrison on January 17.

Video: Yuck – “Lose My Breath”

As expected, Johnny Flynn has added a Toronto date to his already-announced tour in support of new album Country Mile; he’ll be at Lee’s Palace on January 22, tickets $13.

Video: Johnny Flynn – “Gypsy Hymn”

Done teasing with apps and constellations, Metronomy have announced a March 10 release date for their new album Love Letters. Details at Pitchfork, streamable first single below.

Stream: Metronomy – “I’m Aquarius”

Guy Garvey discusses the new Elbow album Carry Her Carry Me, out March 10, with NME.

Manic Street Preachers have confirmed their new album, a plugged-in companion of sorts to this year’s Rewind The Film, to NME. It’s called Futurology and will probably be out around the time of their just-announced UK tour dates, which is to say late March/early April.

The Line Of Best Fit has an interview with Fanfarlo. Their new full-length is out next year.

Lily Allen has kicked off her return to music with a new video that is as controversial as she’d probably intended, though maybe not in the way she’d like.

Video: Lily Allen – “Hard Out Here”

Spin interviews M.I.A..

David Bowie has released another video for the James Murphy remix of “Love Is Lost” off The Next Day Extra via Vice, and Pitchfork the Louis Vuitton short film that he stars in because he is David Bowie and he does things like star in short films for Louis Vuitton.

Video: David Bowie – “Love Is Lost” (Hello Steve Reich remix video two)

Under The Radar talks to Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys.

MTV Hive has an interview with Los Campesinos!.

The Alternate Side welcomes London Grammar for an interview and session.

Franz Ferdinand talks to Tone Deaf and plays a video session for Triple M.

The Guardian declares Suede’s reunion as a reunion done right.

And speaking of reunions (which won’t happen), Ride have made their YouTube channel worth a visit with a complete stream of their digitally-reissued Waves compilation of BBC sessions, including three tracks not on the CD issue, and the full professionally-shot video of the 1992 Brixton Academy show which was included as a bonus disc to the 20th anniversary reissue of Going Blank Again last year.

Stream: Ride / Waves
Video: Ride – Leave Them All Behind (live at Brixton Academy 27/03/1992)

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Retrograde

James Blake wins Mercury Prize, hopes people will now stop asking him about tennis

Photo By Nabil ElderkinNabil ElderkinJames Blake is hardly an unknown in certain circles, but it’s understandable if he has some identity issues. He’s often mixed up with the American tennis player of the same name, and just last night at a gathering of British music industry types who ought to know better, he was introduced by BBC presenter Lauren Laverne as treacle-singing countryman James Blunt. It’s a good thing they got it right a few minutes later when he was announced winner of the 2013 Mercury Music Prize for his album Overgrown.

In doing so, he bested not only the heavily favoured (Laura Mvula), buzz bands (Disclosure), stars (Arctic Monkeys), legends (David Bowie), and underdogs (Jon Hopkins ), but allowed the genres of indie, pop, R&B, electronic, dubstep, and whatever else he might have been described as to claim victory. For a prize that inevitably leaves people crying unfair or out of touch for whatever reason, not a bad compromise. I only wish that he’d named the album after the first single so that we could make the easy – and accurate – joke about the Mercury being in Retrograde. Ah, opportunities missed.

And it makes Blake’s decision to cancel a few dates of his current North American tour to attend the Mercury ceremony look like a pretty smart move. He’s back across the pond after some celebrations, I’m sure, and will be taking the stage at The Kool Haus in Toronto on November 10. Under The Radar and Clash have conveniently-timed features on Blake

Video: Video: James Blake – “Retrograde”
Video: Video: James Blake – “Overgrown”

And though they didn’t win, some of the nominees were using the occasion and extra attention to unveil some goodies. David Bowie premiered a video for the James Murphy remix of “Love Is Lost” that appears on The Next Day Extra deluxe edition of his new record which comes out November 5; watch it below and read a little of the making-of for the clip via The Mirror. And five of the new songs that also appear on the Extra release are available to stream – for Canadians only – at CBC Music, although some enterprising internet-user has already ripped four of them to non-geoblocked YouTube; “God Bless The Girl” appeared on the Japanese release of The Next Day, so that doesn’t technically count as new, but you may as well stream that too.

Video: David Bowie – “Love Is Lost” (Hello Steve Reich Mix)
Stream: David Bowie – “Atomica”
Stream: David Bowie – “The Informer”
Stream: David Bowie – “Like A Rocket Man”
Stream: David Bowie – “Born In A UFO”
Stream: David Bowie – “God Bless The Girl”

Though surely relieved to have not won something they were clearly uncomfortable with, Savages still timed the release of a new video from Silence Yourself to coincide with the ceremony. Guitarist Gemma Thompson took to Tumblr to discuss the new Vonnegut-inspired clip and DIY has a cover story on the band.

Video: Savages – “Marshal Dear”

Although not Mercury-recognized, Frightened Rabbit also released a new clip from Pedestrian Verse via DIY.

Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Holy”

Los Campesinos! have put out a new video from their latest No Blues, which is out now in the UK but doesn’t get North American release until November 12. A Heart Is A Spade, Pitchfork, and Interview talk to the band about the new record.

Video: Los Campesinos! – “Avocado, Baby”

Daughter are using tour footage/their tour diary as the new video from If You Leave

Video: Daughter – “Amsterdam”

BrooklynVegan interviews Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, though the subject of his Mercury Prize conspiracy theories don’t come up. Shields leads MBV into the Kool Haus on November 5.

Blood Orange has released a lyric video for the second preview of his next record Cupid Deluxe, coming out November 19.

Lyric Video: Blood Orange – “You’re Not Good Enough”

Veronica Falls are now streaming the b-side of their new Australia/Japan tour 7″, being released to those not seeing them on said tour come December 9.

Stream: Veronica Falls – “Ned You Around”

Yuck v2.0 makes their Toronto debut behind their second album Glow & Behold at The Garrison on January 17, part of a full North American tour.

Video: Yuck – “Middle Sea”

Mogwai have announced a January 21 release date for their new studio album Rave Tapes; stream the first song from it below.

Stream: Mogwai – “Remurdered”

Former Mercury Prize winners Elbow have given their new record – already locked in for a March 10 release – the title of Carry Her Carry Me; details at Exclaim.

Daytrotter has a session with Fanfarlo, who’ve just released their The Sea EP ahead of a new full-length due out next year.

The 405 has an interview with Kele Okereke of Bloc Party.

The Guardian has premiered a mini-documentary film of The Vaccines on the road.

Summer Camp share their top ten favourite horror films with Consequence Of Sound – just in time for American Thanksgiving!

And to bring it all around, Clash wonders if the Mercury Prize might be better if it were more like Canada’s Polaris Prize.

Friday, October 11th, 2013

In The Meantime

Happy Thanksgiving; have a serving of Spacehog

Photo By Lee ClowerLee ClowerThere’s nothing like going into the long weekend with a healthy dose of WTF, so we’ll run with this – a concert announcement either torn from the playlists of Alternative Nation circa 2005 or the dollar bins of CD stores for pretty much every year after that. That’d be the double-bill of Leeds-born, New York-based glam-rock revivalists Spacehog and Detroit’s post-grunge champions Sponge, who will take the stage at Lee’s Palace on December 11, tickets $23 (that’s about $15 in 1995 dollars, if you were wondering).

Also, if you were wondering, they do both have new material that they’re ostensibly promoting. Though they basically split in 2001, Spacehog reunited in 2008 and released a new record in As It Is On Earth at the start of this year. Sponge, remarkably, never actually broke up and have been chugging along since their commercial peak with Wax Estatic and put out and Stop The Bleeding last month. But it’s okay if you don’t care; they probably know you don’t. But they know you wanna hear those old singles so you’re just going to have to deal.

The Nottingham Post has a quick interview with one of Spacehog’s Langdon brothers. It’s not really clear which one.

Stream: Spacehog – “Try To Remember”
Stream: Spacehog – “Glad To Know”
Video: Spacehog – “In The Meantime”
Video: Sponge – “Wax Ecstatic (To Sell Angelina)”

While it’s disappointing that Keep Shelly In Athens had to cancel their Toronto date at Wrongbar next week due to visa issues, their co-headliner Chad Valley will still be coming to town and be playing for free at The Horseshoe on October 15, set time 11:40PM.

MP3: Chad Valley – “I Want Your Love”

English producer Darren Williams has already toured through a couple times in the past two years as Star Slinger, will release his debut album next year – he’s offered a taste to stream below – but not before he puts together another tour that will bring him to the Drake Underground on November 16, tickets $15.

Stream: Star Slinger – “Free”

English singer-songwriter Jake Bugg may have to wait until the end of the month to learn if he’s going to win the Mercury Prize, but he’s already thinking big, following up this past August’s local debut at The Mod Club with a new date at The Sound Academy on January 14, tickets $29.50. Though the fact that his second album Shangri La will be out on November 19 might also have something to do with the tour.

Video: Jake Bugg – “What Doesn’t Kill You”

With a new album in Mug Museum due out on November 12, Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon has announced a North American tour that brings her to The Drake Underground on January 21 of the new year, tickets $12.50 in advance.

Stream: Cate Le Bon with Perfume Genius – “I Think I Knew”
Stream: Cate Le Bon – “Are You With Me Now”

The Line Of Best Fit, The Fly, and DIY have interviews with Anna Calvi about her new record One Breath, which came out this week.

If you missed the album stream that went with the UK release of Summer Camp’s second album back in September, Interview is hosting another preview of Summer Camp ahead of its US release next week on October 15.

Stream: Summer Camp / Summer Camp

The Neil Halstead-fronted Black Hearted Brother have released a new video from their debut Stars Are Our Home, due out October 22.

Video: Black Hearted Brother – “This Is How It Feels”

Los Campesinos! have made available a stream of a new song from No Blues, their forthcoming album due out October 29.

Stream: Los Campesinos! – “Avocado, Baby”

Posting of remixes is usually verboten around here but when it involves David Bowie, exceptions can be made. LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy’s remix of “Love Is Lost” is one of the main selling points of The Next Day Extra, being released November 4, and it was premiered yesterday via Pitchfork but if you have the inclination, the rip of the BBC premiere is worth hearing for the short interview with Murphy that precedes it. And the version of “Sound & Vision” that soundtracked a cellphone commercial earlier this year is also available to hear (and buy, if you like) – Exclaim explains that one.

Stream: David Bowie – “Love Is Lost” (Hello Steve Reich mix)
Stream: David Bowie – “Sound & Vision” (Sonjay prabhakar mix)

There didn’t end up being a local Stone Roses date this year as I’d prophesied – sorry to anyone who believed me – but the Made Of Stone documentary film about their legacy and reunion definitely is. It’ll screen at The Bloor Cinema on November 22, so circle that one if you’re interested.

Trailer: The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone

Bowlegs has a video session with Lanterns On The Lake, whose wonderful new record Until The Colours Run doesn’t get a North American release until January 14.

The 405 have got a stream of the new Peggy Sue album Choir of Echoes, due out on January 27 of the new year.

Stream: Peggy Sue – “Idle”

The Fly checks in with The Horrors, at work in the studio on their next album.

Filter talks to Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream.

Manic Street Preachers have released a poignant new video from their latest, Rewind The Film.

Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Anthem For A Lost Cause”

Camera Obscura have released a new old-school sci-fi video from Desire Lines.

Video: Camera Obscura – “Troublemaker”

Noisey chats up London Grammar about their current North American tour

Under The Radar has an interview with Savages.

A Music Blog, Yea grabbed an interview with Daughter when they were in town a couple weeks back.

In excerpting the book Isle Of Noises: Conversations With Great British Songwriters, Clash gets some insights into the processes of Laura Marling and Johnny Marr.

Noisey sends Emmy The Great to find out how much it would cost to be A$AP Rocky’s girlfriend a la the prerequisites in “Fashion Killa”; hilarity ensues.

Anyone who had “founding a company dedicated to building and restoring early 1990s Porches” in the, “What has former Catherine Wheel frontman Rob Dickinson been doing since releasing his first and only solo record Fresh Wine For The Horses way back in 2005″ pool, congratulations – you win. Hypebeast has a video interview with Dickinson, who sadly doesn’t sound like a man who misses strapping on a Stratocaster and singing “Black Metallic”.