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Posts Tagged ‘Deer Tracks’

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 2nd, 2013

Divine Light

The Deer Tracks, Falls, and deVah Quartet at The Silver Dollar in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI had planned to lead off by saying that if there was one silver lining to Apple’s completely FUBAR-ed redo of their Music app in iOS7, it was that its insistence on playing all albums by an artist in sequence, ignoring the end of one album and the start of another, it was that I’d be able to listen to The Deer TracksArcher Trilogy as a single entity, uninterrupted by flipping vinyl discs and sides. But as it turns out, for whatever reason, my iPhone insists on sorting them in order of volume 1, 3, and 2, so that doesn’t work. Screw you, Apple.

But even if it takes a few more clicks or flips than ideal, it’s something to be able to experience the work as a whole. The expansive, uplifting moments crafted by the Swedish duo of David Lehnberg and Elin Lindfors that initially hooked me have lost none of their impact, but the spaces in between really do pull the over 100-minutes of grandiose synth-pop together and even if you don’t fully understand what it’s about – though there is a narrative – you certainly feel it. And though it’s not reasonable to expect the full scope of the work to come across in a live show, as evidenced by their local debut last June and their return visit nine months to the day before this last one, they certainly make a go of it.

There was some interesting local support on the bill for the visiting Swedes, starting with the deVah Quartet – a modern take on the classical string quartet combining electric instruments run through serious pedalboards and amplification, backed by a hard-hitting drummer, and boasting Varvatos-approved rock’n’roll style. So by the criteria of not sounding like every other band, they’d already won. And while not the most convincing rock singers or songwriters, they more than compensated with top-notch performance chops and arrangements. I couldn’t say who their audience is going to be – the connections between classical and rock are hardly unexplored but not often from this direction – but if and when they find them, they’ll be golden.

Swinging way back on the conventional side of things were Falls, who wanted nothing more than to be a radio-ready alternative rock band, and in that, they were successful. They were solid players and a tight unit – impressive considering their bassist was a substitute – but those positives were undermined by the general over-emoting and other such tropes of radio-ready alternative rock, perhaps best captured in their unnecessary and un-nuanced cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”. But unlike deVah, I know exactly who their audience is and they’re out and are legion. And so it goes.

There’s not that many ways to re-configure a duo, but somehow The Deer Tracks have managed to bring a different markedly different show to town three times now, in the past year and a half. After performing as a four-piece with touring keyboardist and drummer the previous two times, they were now a three-piece set up amidst a jungle of cables, stands, and LED lights, with Lehnberg assuming drum and percussion duties; this was after doing guitar/keys/vocals duties the first time and focusing on synths last time.

The net result of this reconfiguration, plus the necessary translation of the recorded work into a condensed live show of highlights, was a more percussive, visceral, and dramatic reading of The Archer Trilogy than one might have expected. Yet it did this without compromising the whimsy and delicacy of the material – this end of things remained well intact thanks to Lindfors’ vocals, as well her work on keys, saw, and melodica. The band’s resolutely DIY ethos is well-known to anyone who’s followed the band; the same drive and passion that compels them to create multi-part musical epics and undertake extensive international tours to slowly but steadily grow their fanbase also allows them to imbue something genuinely transformative into their performance. As in February, there weren’t a whole lot of people there but those that were got to experience something special.

Photos: The Deer Tracks, Falls, deVah Quartet @ The Silver Dollar – November 28, 2013
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Bucket Of Sunbeams”
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “W”
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Okta Crash”
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Dark Passenger”
Stream: Falls – “Rain Turn To Snow”
Stream: deVah Quartet – “Tell Me How You Really Feel”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Divine Light”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Lazarus”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Bucket Of Sunbeams”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Meant To Be”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Tiger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fall With Me”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fra Ro Raa / Ro Ra Fraa”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Ram Ram”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Slow Collision”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “12sxfrya”

AlbumStreams have a stream of the new live Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds record Live From KCRW, which gets a proper physical release as of today. They’re in town at The Sony Centre on July 31.

Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / Live At KCRW

Holograms have released a new video from Forever; they’re at The Garrison on December 8.

Video: Holograms – “Luminous”

TwentyFourBit has got a stream of José González’s contribution to the soundtrack of the new Secret Life Of Walter Mitty film, which opens Christmas Day.

Stream: José González – “Step Out”

Exclaim has details on Sigur Rós’ attempt to make Christmas shopping easy for the Sigur Rós fan in your life – a nine-disc vinyl box set of their last album Kveikur, which features each track of their album on an individual 45RPM 12″ with an instrumental mix of the same song as the b-side. And the set is now sold out, so this entire paragraph is moot.

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Time Exists Only To Betray Us

Review of Keep Shelly In Athens’ At Home and giveaway

Photo By Tolis ElefantisTolis ElefantisGreek duo Keep Shelly In Athens first came to attention in late 2010 with a series of singles when “chillwave” was still a thing and sure, the washes of synths and gentle vocals of RΠЯ and Sarah P could merit the hashtag. But in the time its taken them to assemble their full-length debut last month – 2012’s In Love With Dusk / Our Own Dream was a compilation of their previously-released EPs – the label has largely gone from adjective to pejorative and probably not the best pony to hitch one’s wagon to. So it’s a good thing that At Home easily stands up on its own, without the aid of scenes or trends.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. While At Home is far more emotive and emphatic than most hazy bedroom-bred musical excursions, it’s still pretty on-the-sleeve with its influences. They strive to recreate the soulful shadows found at Portishead’s end of ’90s trip-hop but use sleek, ’80s synth luminescence as their light source to go with the dance-ready beats. But what elevates At Home above the pack are Sarah P’s vocal work – which is always engaged and gorgeous, whether evoking menace on “Time Exists Only To Betray Us” and “Knife” or crooning serenely on “Recollection” and “Sails” – and the melodies that she’s given to work with. Because whatever labels you choose to apply to At Home, under it all it’s pop music, and pretty great pop music. And pretty great pop music doesn’t need to much else to be worth your while.

Dime Store Saints and Prairie Moon have interviews with the duo, who kick off a North American tour as co-headliners with Chad Valley next week. Their Toronto show comes October 15 at Wrongbar, and courtesy of LiveNation I’ve got five pairs of passes to give away to the show. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to Keep Shelly In Athens” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, October 11.

Video: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Recollection”
Stream: Keep Shelly In Athens / At Home

PopMatters talks with The Naked & Famous, who are in town for an October 14 show at The Phoenix.

November 19 will see the release of a new 7″ from Iceage consisting of covers from Sinéad O’Connor and Bahamutsi Drama Group. Details at Pitchfork, streams of both sides below.

Stream: Iceage – “Jackie”
Stream: Iceage – “To The Comrades”

The Deer Tracks are marking the announcement of the North American tour which brings them to The Silver Dollar on November 28 with the final statement of their epic The Archer Trilogy with a stream of the appropriately-titled “Epilogue” at Filter.

Stream: The Deer Tracks – “Epilogue”

Australian rock machine Jagwar Ma have announced a North American tour for this Fall behind their debut Howlin’; it brings them to The Great Hall on November 28. Tickets are $15 in advance. Drowned In Sound, The San Francisco Chronicle, and San Francisco Examiner have interviews.

Video: Jagwar Ma – “Come Save Me”
Video: Jagwar Ma – “Man I Need”

Efterklang have released a new video from this year’s Piramida.

Video: Efterklang – “Monument”

The Line OF Best Fit has premiered the new video by múm, taken from their latest album Smilewound.

Video: múm – “Candlestick”

Under The Radar checks in with the Söderberg sisters of First Aid Kit.

Noisey interviews Nanna Fabricius of Oh Land.

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

1000 Answers

The Hives and object lessons in venue relativism

Photo By Tobias SutterTobias SutterThings that are true about live music rooms in Toronto: 1) Everyone hates the Sound Academy, for reasons that don’t really need to be expounded on; 2) a lot of people hate The Phoenix when it represents a tipping point for ascendant acts moving out of clubs and into bigger rooms; 3) a lot of people love The Phoenix when it offers a relatively intimate setting for who might normally play larger rooms but for whatever reason – choice or circumstance – are downsizing.

It’s that third category that I was front of mind yesterday as a batch of concert announcements rolled in. Already scheduled for two dates at The Air Canada Centre supporting Pink on November 30 and December 2, Swedish garage rock heroes The Hives have decided days off are for chumps and have scheduled their own show at The Phoenix for December 1, tickets $29.50. Their last headlining show in support of last year’s Lex Hives was in July 2012 and at The Sound Academy, so their playing a room one-third the size is rather a boon for their fans, at least those who didn’t rush out to buy Pink tickets to see them. Which I would think would include all of them.

Video: The Hives – “Wait A Minute”

New Zealand electro-poppers The Naked & Famous, on the other hand, may be finding out that they’re neither sufficiently naked or famous to fill the Sound Academy as they’ve downgraded their October 14 show in support of their just-released second album In Rolling Waves from there to The Phoenix. Playing the room wasn’t overreaching as their last show in support of their hit debut Passive Me, Aggressive You was there and was their fourth local performance in a year, no less, but kids these days have short attention spans. Remaining tickets for the show are $28.50 in advance. BBC has an interview with the band as does Noisey, along with a stream of the new record.

Video: The Naked & Famous – “Hearts Like Ours”
Stream: The Naked & Famous / In Rolling Waves

When British soul singer Jessie Ware made her local debut at The Opera House in April, it seemed a foregone conclusion that her next visit would be in a much bigger room. And while I won’t suggest that her upwards trajectory has stalled – she and Devotion are just too good to be denied – I was surprised to see that her November 6 show at The Sound Academy had also been downsized to The Phoenix. On the plus side, I already know a few people for whom this show has gone from “ugh” to “ooh”, so it should still be a good and full house when she and The Invisible return to town. Whatever tickets remain for that one are $25 in advance. Interestingly, one of her New York shows on this tour was also downsized from a 3000+ room to a 1000 but a Brooklyn show was also added, so maybe this is as much about the experience as soft sales. Or not. Anyways, if you were on the fence then it’s time to get to a ticket outlet.

Video: Jessie Ware – “Wildest Moments”

The Rural Alberta Advantage have been fairly quiet of late, presumably working on a follow-up to 2011’s Departing – their last local show was last Fall with Dan Mangan at The Danforth Music Hall – but they’ll be taking the stage at the Adelaide Music Hall on October 18 as part of Indie Week, which is apparently a thing. You can get in with a festival wristband or paying $25 for an advance ticket.

MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”

Widowspeak fans dismayed that their only opportunity to see them this Fall was as support for Iron & Wine at The Sound Academy – that place again! – on September 28 will be pleased to know that they’ll be back soon enough in support of their new EP The Swamps, out October 29, for a show at The Silver Dollar on November 2 with Pure Bathing Culture and tickets running a very reasonable $12.50.

MP3: Widowspeak – “The Devil Knows”

Baltimore’s Future Islands haven’t announced anything about a follow-up to 2011’s On The Water, but they’re still hitting the road and will be at The Drake Underground on November 10, tickets $15.50.

MP3: Future Islands – “Before The Bridge”

At some point, the release of Illinois roots-pop artist Lissie’s second album got pushed back a few weeks, but they’ve now committed to both an October 8 street date for Back To Forever as well as a Fall tour to support it. Ms Maurus will be at the Adelaide Music Hall on November 21, tickets for the show $22.50 in advance.

Video: Lissie – “Further Away (Romance Police)”

They may not have been crowned Polaris champs on Monday night, but Young Galaxy can still announce themselves as 2013 shortlisters when they take the stage at The Hoxton on November 22. Not that they would or should; that’s kind of gauche. Tickets for that one are $18 in advance.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Pretty Boy”

If you missed fantastical Swedish synth-pop duo The Deer Tracks when they were here in March – and mathematically, most all of you did – then you can rectify that when they bring their opus The Archer Trilogy back to North America for a victory lap. They’ll be back at The Silver Dollar on November 28.

MP3: The Deer Tracks – “W”

His Toronto debut a couple weeks ago having completely sold out even after being upgraded from The Drake to Wrongbar, Archy Marshall – aka King Krule – will bring his album Six Feet Beneath The Moon back as part of a larger tour and will be at Lee’s Palace on December 9, tickets $20. The New York Times has a feature piece on the artist.

Video: King Krule – “Octopus”

Interview, MTV, and Rolling Stone have features on Swedish electro-pop sensations Icona Pop, whose North American debut This Is… Icona Pop is out this week.

MTV Hive, Elle, and Interview chat with Nanna Øland Fabricius of Oh Land, whose new album Wish Bone is also out this week and is available to stream courtesy of The Line Of Best Fit. Esquire also has a video session with the artist, who plays The Great Hall on September 30.

Stream: Oh Land / Wish Bone

Indians have rolled out a new video from their/his debut Somewhere Else.

Video: Indians – “La Femme”

The New Strait Times, South China Morning Post, and Electronic Musician have interviews with Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds.

Le Blogotheque serves up an Empty Spaces session with Sigur Rós filmed in the catacombs of Paris.

A Heart Is A Spade interviews Kate Boy.

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Ratchet

Bloc Party exchange extended play for extended hiatus

Photo By Marley KateMarley KateI don’t know if anyone has pointed this out to Bloc Party, but four years isn’t really an abnormally long time for a veteran rock band to go between albums. So the dramatics that played out in the media between 2008’s Intimacy and last year’s Four – Kele’s gone solo! Kele’s been fired! Kele’s back in the band! – really weren’t necessary; they could have just quietly gone about their individual business and regrouped when they felt like it and no one really would have batted an eye or wagged a tongue. But that’s not their style, I guess, so it’s not a big surprise that they announced earlier this month that when this Summer’s festival circuit draws to a close, they’d be going back on a hiatus. Kind of like most bands do when their promotional commitments are done.

But however long this break lasts, at least they’re leaving parting gifts. A few weeks after their last scheduled gig in mid-July – August 13, to be precise – they’ll release a new five-song EP in The Nextwave Sessions, which gives some of the new songs they’d been performing throughout the Four tours a properly-recorded incarnation. Pitchfork has specifics, and you can watch the trippy first video from it below. If this is indeed their swan song – I don’t believe it, personally, but why not indulge their dramatics – then it’s a pretty strong note to go out on.

Video: Bloc Party – “Ratchet”

Camera Obscura talks to Filter, The Colorado Springs Independent, Denver Post, and Georgia Straight about their new album Desire Lines. They play The Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Common on July 4.

M.I.A. has followed up the first stream from her new album Matangi with a new video. The album is out sometime this year, but more definitely she plays The Danforth Music Hall on July 18.

Video: M.I.A. – “Bring The Noize”

The Lab talks to Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes; she’s here at The Molson Amphitheatre on September 1 opening for Depeche Mode.

Glasvegas have given their latest effort Later…When The TV Turns To Static a North American release date of September 3, with tour dates to follow. You can stream a track from the new album below and read an interview with the band at The Glaswegian.

Stream: Glasvegas – “If”

German cheery pop duo BOY have slated their third show in Toronto – four if you count both their CMF appearances – in seven months behind their debut Mutual Friend with a show at The Mod Club on October 11.

Video: BOY – “Little Numbers”

The Line Of Best Fit helpfully points to video of an acoustic Jessie Ware show from atop The Gherkin in London. She’s in town at The Sound Academy on November 6.

Swedish duo jj have released some details on their next album V – mainly that it exists and will be out later this year – but are also giving the first track from it away to download, and there’s a trailer for the new record if you’re into that sort of thing.

MP3: jj – “Fågelsången”
Trailer: jj / V

Swede dance-pop star Robyn isn’t quite ready to announce details of her follow-up to 2010’s Body Talk, but this new single at least confirms that something is coming. And Snoop Dogg is part of it. Update: old song, new video. Apologies for my Robyn ignorance.

Video: Robyn – “U Should Know Better”

DIY, The Scotsman, and Spin talk to Empire Of The Sun about their just-released second album Ice On The Dune; they play some of the new songs in a video session for Yahoo Music. And oh, the band will also apparently be scoring Dumb & Dumber 2, because of course they are.

The Von Pip Musical Express talks to Ladytron’s Helen Marnie – aka Marnie – about her solo record Crystal World, which is officially out digitally and in the process of being manufactured in physical media.

Paste and Time talk to Sigur Rós about their new record Kveikur.

Sigur Rós collaborators Amiina discuss their new record The Lighthouse Project with The Line Of Best Fit.

Tone Deaf chats with Iceland’s Of Monsters & Men.

The Line Of Best Fit has premiered the new and characteristically fantastical video from Swedish duo The Deer Tracks, taken from their latest The Archer Trilogy, Pt. 3.

Video: The Deer Tracks – “W”

DIY has premiered the new video from British Sea Power’s latest effort Machineries Of Joy.

Video: British Sea Power – “Loving Animals”

Tone Deaf interviews Beady Eye drummer Chris Sharrock.

The Alternate Side has an interview and session with Still Corners.

Caught In The Carousel talks to Carol Van Dyk of Bettie Serveert.

Labrador Records is celebrating the onset of Summer with a current label sampler which you can stream below or download for keeping.

Stream: Labrador Records Summer Sampler 2013