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Posts Tagged ‘Del Bel’

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Music When The Lights Go Out

Coeur de Pirate offers Trauma-tic covers album

Photo By Clara PalardyClara PalardyBeatrice Martin – Coeur de Pirate to her fans – can be forgiven for taking a little while to release the follow-up to 2011’s Blonde; my understanding is that having a baby takes a bit out of you. But after returning to live performances this past Summer, she’s announced she’ll be back with a new record to kick of 2014.

But instead of a new collection of French-language originals, her third album will be a set of English-language covers called Trauma which she recorded for the soundtrack of Québec television series of the same name (“trauma” is French for “trauma”). But unlike the fun Top-40 covers that she’s been known to pepper her live sets with – Rihanna’s “Umbrella” or Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl”, for example – the tracklist will comprise “serious” songs from a diverse list of artists including The Libertines, Bon Iver, Kenny Rogers, and Patrick Watson to name a few. Exclaim has more details and her version of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” is available to stream below.

Trauma is out January 14.

Stream: Coeur de Pirate – “You Know I’m No Good”

NOW puts Fresh Snow on their cover in anticipation of their appearance at Friday night’s Long Winter at The Great Hall, and in addition to that, their next local show has been announced – they’ll be at The Silver Dollar on January 11 for a Wavelength showcase; tickets for that will be $6 at the door. Del Bel will also be on the bill showcasing material from their forthcoming new album; they’ve just released a new track for free download – a cover of John Prine’s holiday chestnut, “Christmas In Prison”.

MP3: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
MP3: Del Bel – “Christmas In Prison”

NOW has a feature on Dog Day, whose new record Fade Out came out this week and will be at Cinecycle on December 14, which is to say this Saturday.

The Hidden Cameras have released a second taste of their new album Age, which will be out on January 21 – check it out at Q. They’re at Lee’s Palace on February 15.

Stream: The Hidden Cameras – “Year Of The Spawn”

The Come Up Show have an interview with Shad, who has premiered a new video from Flying Colours at Complex. He plays The Danforth Music Hall on January 31.

Video: Shad featuring Lights – “Remember To Remember”

Timber Timbre have announced an April 1 release date for their new album, Hot Dreams. Check out the trailer below.

Trailer: Timber Timbre / Hot Dreams

Until now, Tokyo Police Club haven’t offered up too many details on their next album, currently being recorded and coming out next year, but they’ve just put out a first taste of it by way of a nine-minute multi-part epic that modestly suggests the new record might be a wee bit ambitious.

Stream: Tokyo Police Club – “Argentina (Parts 1, 2, 3)”

Young Galaxy have turned back to the original issue of Ultramarine for another new video. Unless you count this live performance clip at Southern Souls.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Fever”

Noisey has premiered the new video from The Darcys’ latest album Warring.

Video: The Darcys – “Itchy Blood”

Dan Bejar talks to Exclaim about his future Destroyer plans.

The Dallas Observer and Phoenix New Times talk to Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes.

Paste gets to know Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz.

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Catch My Breath

You, Me, NPR, and everyone we know

Photo By Laura Lynn PetrickLaura Lynn PetrickYou may recall last week that I mentioned that this week, an interview I gave NPR’s World Cafe as part of their “Sense Of Place” series on Toronto would be airing this week. And that it did on Wednesday – and let me tell you it’s goddamn weird seeing your own name and face show up in your RSS feed – though I haven’t actually listened to it yet… Nor am I likely to. I saw the hot dogs being made, y’know?

To recap – the theme of the interview was to list off five up and coming Toronto acts for NPR listeners to discover, and bits of the interview have been excerpted over the week for their blog along with a download from the band. So far, they’ve run pieces on Fresh Snow, PUP, The Elwins, and Beliefs – all of whom I think exemplify very different aspects of what’s going on, musically, in this city – and today we will have either Alvvays or Del Bel… hopefully both, though that’s out of my hands. We recorded bits on six bands as a safety in case there were any unforeseen issues. I’ll update with today’s post when it goes up later today. Update: Alvvays piece is up; Del Bel should be up tomorrow.

In any case, all six are worth your time whether you’re into psych-kraut, power-pop, punk, cinematic noir, jangle-indie, or shoegaze. Fresh Snow and Beliefs – pictured above – are both on the bill for the next installment of Long Winter, happening December 13 at The Great Hall, and Fresh Snow are also playing the next Steam Whistle Unsigned showcase at the Steam Whistle Roundhouse on November 29. PUP are finishing up an epic North American tour this weekend, the CMJ show of which is available to hear at NYC Taper; there’s also an interview at The Regina Leader=Post. The Elwins have a couple Ontario dates to close out the month but are gearing up to release their second album next year, as are Del Bel. Alvvays’ self-titled debut will finally be out early next year, and they’re opening up for Young Galaxy at The Hoxton tonight.

Just a few of the many, many, great sounds coming out of Toronto right now. I do hope you dig.

MP3: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
MP3: The Elwins – “Stuck In The Middle”
MP3: PUP – “Reservoir”
MP3: Beliefs – “Catch My Breath”
MP3: Del Bel – “Dusk Light”
MP3: Alvvays – “Adult Diversion”

Also recorded while they were in town, World Cafe has an acoustic session with James and Emily from Metric.

July Talk, who’ll be at the Sound Academy on December 3 opening up for Frank Turner, also recorded a World Cafe session and are interviewed in The Edmonton Journal, Georgia Straight, and Pique.

Young Galaxy have released yet another video from their Ultramarine Deluxe edition; that’s a remarkable amount of singles from material that didn’t make the original album. As mentioned, they’re at The Hoxton on November 22.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Crying My Heart Out”

The Quietus has a stream of Destroyer’s new Five Spanish Songs EP, coming out on Tuesday. Dan Bejar talks about the record with Reverb.

Stream: Destroyer / Five Spanish Songs

Thee Silver Mount Zion have announced a January 21 release date for their new album, Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything; details at Constellation Records, excerpt of one of the new songs and trailer for the record below.

Stream: Thee Silver Mount Zion – “Austerity Blues” (excerpt)
Trailer: Thee Silver Mount Zion / Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything

The Winnipeg Free Press, Metro, and aux.tv make with the chit-chat with Shad. He’s back in town January 31 at The Danforth Music Hall.

The Creators Project has revealed the actual official video for Arcade Fire’s “Afterlife”, taken from Reflektor – that live, Spike Jonze-directed YouTube Awards thing from a few weeks back was just a live, Spike Jonze-directed YouTube Awards thing. And because you apparently can’t get enough Arcade Fire, NME has video from a three-song French television performance. They play The Air Canada Centre on March 13.

Video: Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”

The Grid, The Toronto Star, and BlogTO chat with Owen Pallett, who talks a bit about his new album In Conflict, due early next year, amongst other topics including his new ballet. Exclaim has a helpful round up of everything that’s currently known about the follow-up to Heartland.

The Globe and Mail, San Francisco Examiner, and PopMatters talk to Spencer Krug of Moonface.

Majical Cloudz have made a studio version of a live favourite available to stream; Matablog has some background on the track.

Stream: Majical Cloudz – “Savage”

Oh Comely has a chat with Diana.

Exclaim has details in the next installment in Sloan’s vinyl bootleg series – the 500-piece limited edition of Tokyo Japan 2002 went on sale on Wednesday, so if you wanted one but were counting on me to let you know about it, then you need to re-evaluate your news-gathering strategies.

aux.tv takes a fascinating look at Fucked Up guitarist Ben Cook’s career as a child actor.

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

NXNE 2013 Day Three

Fresh Snow, Data Romance, Del Bel, and more at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’m sure some would look at the last full day/night of a music festival as an opportunity to go hard or go home, I took NXNE’s Saturday schedule as an opportunity to go small and go (relatively) local. I’d kept a pretty conservative schedule through the festival this far, after all, why stop now?

I started out at Supermarket in Kensington to see Vancouver’s Data Romance. I wasn’t really familiar with them before stumbling across their stuff in the NXNE listings, and liking what I heard, gave them a shot. And indeed, armed with a healthy array of drum pads, synths, and laptops, duo Ajay Bhattacharyya and Amy Kirkpatrick, put on a very likeable set of electro-pop drawn from their debut album Other, the former playing electronic drums live to keep things organic and the latter adorably charismatic, her voice expressive without being excessively showy. They specialized in soulful, synthy ballads that would feel like part of the zeitgeist had it come out of the UK right now, but coming from western Canada, sounds rather unique. Accessible, interesting, and well-crafted, Data Romance could and should find a broad audience.

Photos: Data Romance @ Supermarket – June 15, 2013
MP3: Data Romance – “Spark”
Video: Data Romance – “Can’t Keep Your Mind Off”
Video: Data Romance – “The Deep”
Video: Data Romance – “She’s Been High”

Next it was to the Creatures Creating studio space – or more accurately, the tinfoil and lightshow-adorned basement of the studio space – where Toronto music and arts institution Wavelength was holding the final night of their NXNE showcases and previewing their upcoming Roadshow tour which would send three Toronto bands on the road to do their thing across Ontario and Quebec over the next couple weekends. The first of these, Most People, comprised just two people and a whole lot of musical gear of the guitar, bass, percussion, and electronic persuasion which they alternated between tag team-style while building sound-on-sound pop songs that seemed to fold in on themselves but straightened themselves out when needed, being sure to leave the hooks exposed. While their yelpy vocal stylings weren’t to my taste and the songs could stand to be more concise, there’s no denying they were fun to watch. And I’m not just saying that because they’re the only band I’ve ever seen with the same guitar amp as I have. Solidarity!

Photos: Most People @ Creatures Creating – June 15, 2013
Stream: Most People / Most People

I’d seen local jazz-noir collective Del Bel a couple times last year, but never with as lean a lineup as they had on this night – just five pieces, though I would imagine the logistics of getting any larger a group than that together and able to tour would be nigh on impossible. Even stripped down, though, they were able to both do the dark, evocative sounds of their debut Oneiric justice and give them a fresh angle that suited the boozecan feel of the room. Some new material from their forthcoming second album was also showcased, and affirmed that they’re still one of the most interesting and promising new acts bubbling under in Toronto.

Photos: Del Bel @ Creatures Creating – June 15, 2013
MP3: Del Bel with Bry Webb – “No Cure For Loneliness”

I feel as though I should offer a disclaimer about Fresh Snow – I used to be in a band with guitarist Brad Davis and have been friends for many years – but even without the personal angle, I would be excited to be writing about the band. What started as an interesting Krautrock-jam project has become a genuinely exciting psych-rock experience that exists at intersection of calculated and cacophonous. They can shift from Godspeed to Kraftwerk to Mogwai within the same song, and then segue to eminently danceable synth-led disco a few minutes later with some pleasantly woozy violin lines offering a decidedly human counterpoint to the mechanical rhythms driving things. And they might also blow the power in the venue a couple times, but nothing worthwhile comes without some cost. Their debut album i is due out in late July.

Photos: Fresh Snow @ Creatures Creating – June 15, 2013
Video: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”

And that was my NXNE for 2013. Not nearly as intense as past years, but just about the right pace to keep me interested and alive. Trust me on that last point.

Unsurprisingly, with this year’s festival in the books, some of the buzzier bands who had undersized showcases have already announced bigger/proper shows for the not-too-distant future. Braids spin-off Blue Hawaii will be at Wrongbar on July 28 in support of their debut Untogether, released earlier this year and from which they’ve just released a new video.

MP3: Blue Hawaii – “In Two II”
Video: Blue Hawaii – “Reaction II”

And Majical Cloudz, who by all accounts was pretty intense in their showcases, continue to promote their debut Impersonator with a show at Wrongbar on September 17, tickets $12. The Toronto Star has an interview with frontman Devon Welsh.

MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Bugs Don’t Buzz”

The ALL CAPS! music festival has decided that five is enough and that this year’s edition, taking place at Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Islands across August 10 and 11, will be the final one. And who better to send it off with a fitting party than Rich Aucoin, who will headline the Sunday night alongside Brooklyn’s The Blow – closing out Saturday – and a lineup that also includes catl, Shotgun Jimmie, Elfin Saddle, and more, not to mention a whole lot of other arty stuff. A very limited number of camping passes go on sale June 25 for $52 early bird and $69 lollygagger, and festival passes where you have to go home for $24 going up to $30. Single-day tickets are $17 in advance.

MP3: Rich Aucoin – “It”
MP3: The Blow – “Hock It”

With a new double-album in Drifters/Love Is The Devil just out, Taiwan-born Montreal-based no-fi rockabilly act Dirty Beaches has announced Fall tour that hits The Garrison on September 11, tickets $13 in advance. Exclaim and Stereogum talk to Alex Zhang-Hungtai – he who is Dirty Beaches – about his latest opus.

Video: Dirty Beaches – “Casino Lisboa”

Interview, DIY, and Noisey talk to Katie Stelmanis of Austra, whose new record Olympia came out this week. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

Dears frontman Murray Lightburn has release the first MP3 and video from his forthcoming solo album Mass:Light; contrary to what I reported last month, the album itself has no announced release date yet.

MP3: Murray A. Lightburn – “Motherfuckers”
Video: Murray A. Lightburn – “Motherfuckers”

Beatroute has an interview with Toronto’s July Talk.

The Besnard Lakes talk to Beatroute.

The Georgia Straight and Beatroute check in with Yamantaka//Sonic Titan.

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Walking On The Streets

Live every day of NXNE like it’s Beach Day

Photo By Scott WitterScott WitterOh hey, it’s that time of year again where I realize it’s NXNE week and I try to throw together some sort of list of recommendations of acts to go see starting next Wednesday and through the weekend at Toronto’s many clubs and club-like venues. And probably because I’m just not as good at keeping up with what’s new and interesting as perhaps I once was, it’s not escaped my notice that a lot of the recommendations are pretty familiar names hereabouts. Sorry about that.

But maybe Beach Day will be a new name to you; they certainly have been to me. Their sound is kind of old – the surf/girl-group/garage sounds they mine are pretty vintage and even the indie rock revival of said genres probably peaked a few years ago – but the Florida trio justifies themselves quite well with sharp, concise songwriting and s/punky attitude. Their debut album Trip Trap Attack comes out next Tuesday, June 18, and they’ll be spending the weekend leading up to it gigging all around Toronto. In addition to their official showcase at Handlebar on Saturday, June 15 at 11PM, they’re also playing an afternoon in-store at Urban Outfitters on Yonge St. on Friday, June 14, at 2PM and another the Sunday evening of June 16 at Kops Records on Queen St West at 6:30PM.

Austin Town Hall, Donkey Jaw, and The G-Man have interviews with the band.

MP3: Beach Day – “Love Is Strange”
Video: Beach Day – “Beach Day”
Video: Beach Day – “Boys”

And now, the day-by-day recommends:

Wednesday, June 12

Bernice @ The Piston, 8PM – Dreamy, jazzy pop from Toronto singer Robin Dann with assistance from Owen Pallett collaborator Thom Gill. Not often mentioned as part of the new wave of R&B, but really should be.
Stream: Bernice / When I Know How To Climb

Calexico @ The Mod Club, 10PM – One of the gimmes of the fest, Tejano-infused desert-rockers Calexico never put on a bad show. This will mark their first Toronto visit in support of last year’s Algeirs and first time back in town since 2010.
MP3: Calexico – “Para”

Golden Bloom @ The Painted Lady, 11PM – For times when only singalong melodies and fuzzy guitars will do, there are bands like Golden Bloom. Their latest No Day Like Today is classic power-pop at its finest.
MP3: Golden Bloom – “Flying Mountain”

Thursday, June 13

KASHKA @ Wrongbar, 9PM – New electronic and all-caps incarnation of former Forest City Lovers frontwoman Kat Burns. Guitars may have been traded in for synths, but the songwriting remains as strong as ever.
Video: KASHKA – “Winter Light”

Moon King @ The Horseshoe, 9PM – One of Toronto’s most exciting new acts, the Spiral Beach alumnus are releasing their psych-pop debut Obsession as a series of three EPs, with two out and the third still to come. They also play Wrongbar on Friday at 9PM and Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday at 5PM.
MP3: Moon King – “Appel”

William Tyler @ The Garrison, 9PM – Solo instrumental guitarist whose new album Impossible Truth remembers that it’s about songs and feeling over virtuosity, though there’s plenty of the latter as well.
Stream: William Tyler – “Cadillac Desert”

Camera @ The Drake Underground, 10PM – Big, emotive Brit-rock out of Wales that should push all the right buttons for those partial to big, emotive Brit-rock. Their second album is For When You Wake.
Video: Camera – “Happiness”

Diana @ The Horseshoe, 11PM – Ascendant synth-pop outfit assembled from pieces of Destroyer, Army Girls, Bonjay, and a dozen other Toronto stalwarts. Their debut Perpetual Surrender will be coming out on August 20.
MP3: Diana – “Born Again”

Cœur de pirate @ The Great Hall, 11PM – Having taken some time off since last Fall to focus on motherhood, Beatrice Martin is back on the road with songs from 2011’s Blonde and perhaps some new material as well.
Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Place de la République”

Valleys @ Handlebar, 11PM – Montreal duo whose debut Are You Going To Stand There And Talk Weird All Night? is a solid and occasionally sublime piece of cinematic synth-pop. May as well put them on your radar now because they’re going to get there eventually. They’re also playing The Garrison on Friday night at 10.
Video: Valleys – “Undream A Year”

Olenka & The Autumn Lovers @ The Great Hall, 12AM – London folk-pop collective who’ve yet to properly follow-up 2010’s And Now We Sing, but whose two recent EPs Hard Times and It’s Alright make fine stopgaps until it comes. As do their shows. They also play an acoustic set that afternoon in Bellwoods at 4PM.
Stream: Olenka & The Autumn Lovers / It’s Alright

Mikal Cronin @ The Silver Dollar, 12AM – This year’s rock’n’roll residency goes to San the Francisco-based singer-songwriter who accents his gleaming pop compositions with just the right amount of garage-harvested fuzz, as evidenced by his second album MCII. He also plays June 14 at 12AM and June 15 at 1AM. Catch one or all; you won’t regret it. Missoulian, SF Weekly, and Red Eye have features.
Video: Mikal Cronin – “Change”

No Joy @ BLK BOX, 12AM – Montreal trio who infuse their shoegaze roots with a healthy dose of punk rock aggression; be glad they’re looking at their shoes because eye contact probably means they’re gonna fight you. Their second album Wait To Pleasure came out a couple months ago.
Video: No Joy – “Hare Tarot Lies”

Del Bel @ The Great Hall, 1AM – Local film noir-inspired collective who should have some new material to show off; they’ve been working on the follow-up to 2011’s Oneiric for a while now.
Stream: Del Bel / Oneiric

Friday, June 14

Decades @ Urban Outfitters, 12PM – Toronto glam/New Wave newcomers who’ve got a really solid self-titled debut to show off will kick off a great day show lineup ahead of their set at The Silver Dollar that night at 11PM.
Video: Decades – “In Sequins”

Still Corners @ Urban Outfitters, 3PM – English dreampop outfit who’ve recast their band lineup and sound between 2011’s Creatures Of An Hour and this year’s Strange Pleasures and somehow come out out just as good, if not better. Their official showcase goes later this night at The Horseshoe at 10PM.
MP3: Still Corners – “Berlin Lovers”

Hayden @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 8:30PM – Announced as the opener for The National during his set at Field Trip this past Saturday, it looks like NXNE is doubling down on gravel-voiced melancholy as what the fans are after.
MP3: Hayden – “Old Dreams”

The National @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 9:30PM – Oh yeah, these guys. They’re alright. May as well see them – it’s free, after all.
MP3: The National – “Fake Empire”

July Talk @ The Mod Club, 10PM – Torontonians whose country-punk with a dash of New Wave formula makes for a great live show and, as their self-titled debut proves, a great record as well.
Video: July Talk – “Guns & Ammunition”

Always @ The Silver Dollar, 10PM – It’s not entirely clear whether these transplanted Maritimers are going by Always or Alwaayz or Alvvays, but that question is less important than when we’ll finally get an official release from these relative newcomers. Some of the finest indie-pop to come out of the 416 in some time.
Stream: Always – “Next Of Kin”

The Magic @ BLK BOX, 11PM – Whether it’s because they took so long to finally release their debut Ragged Gold or the general un-searchability of their name, it is a damn shame that more people are not hot to this Guelph outfit’s smooth and sexy disco-pop. ‘Cause it’s smooth and sexy.
MP3: The Magic – “Door To Door”

The Super Friendz @ The Great Hall, 11PM – Sloan’s Peppermint recital set might be the big draw at the Murderrecords showcase, but miss seeing these intermittently-reunited power-pop mavens at your peril. Matt Murphy is still a hell of a frontman and the songs oh so hold up.
Video: The Super Friendz – “10 Lbs”

The Soft Moon @ The Garrison, 12AM – Bay Area band whose brand of icy post-punk comes with the “darkwave” hashtag. This show’s mandatory for those seeking some gloomy quarters in the warm, June night.
MP3: The Soft Moon – “Breathe The Fire”

Brazos @ Sneaky Dee’s, 12AM – Elegant and melodic indie pop hailing from and named for a street in Austin, Texas; they just released their second album Saltwater. Also playing at the St. James Gazebo on Saturday at 6PM and supporting Villagers at The Great Hall that night at 11PM.
MP3: Brazos – “How The Ranks Was Won”

Gold & Youth @ BLK BOX, 1AM – Vancouver synth-pop band whose debut Beyond Wilderness delivers on a lot of promise and still promises more. This show offers solid, “I saw them when” bragging rights potential.
Video: Gold & Youth – “Jewel”

Odonis Odonis @ The Garrison, 1AM – The growth of these Torontonians from curiousity to compelling has been pretty remarkable to see. I’m still not entirely sure how to describe their particular post-punk niche, but it is definitely getting more and more interesting.
Video: Odonis Odonis – “New World”

Saturday, June 15

Villagers @ Side Door, 8PM – Irish Mercury Prize nominees who’ve got a fresh new album out in {Awayland}. This showcase is an acoustic set; if you want the full band experience, be sure to catch their Great Hall show that same night at midnight.
Video: Villagers – “Passing A Message”

Data Romance @ Supermarket, 10PM – West coast duo that likes to inject a little sexy somethin’ somethin’ into their electro-pop, with sexy results.
MP3: Data Romance – “Spark”

The Sour Notes @ Sneaky Dee’s, 12AM – I’d not heard of this Austin band until a friend said that their co-ed harmonies overtop richly-arranged, yet effortlessly light pop tunes was exactly the sort of thing I’d like. And it was, and so maybe it is for you as well. They’ve also got a NXNE warm-up show at the Horseshoe tomorrow night; it’s free and they’re on at 12:20AM.
MP3: The Sour Notes – “Two Hands Wait”

Majical Cloudz @ The Great Hall, 12AM – On the strength of the confessional electronica of Impersonator, the Montreal duo of Devon Welsh and Matthew Otto have become one of Canada’s most talked-about new acts. So of course this showcase will be hard to get into and yet worth trying anyways.
MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Childhood’s End”

Iceage @ The Horseshoe, 12AM – These Danes barely out of their teens will be declaring their propensity for taut, angular post-punk and inciting sweaty, rowdy, and occasionally violent live shows at customs. And I have no information that they will be the Special Guest at The Garrison on Sunday night at midnight, but…
MP3: Iceage – “New Brigade”

Fresh Snow @ Creatures Creating, 1AM – This show kicks off the Wavelength Road Show which takes Toronto’s new krautrock hopes, as well as Del Bel and Most People, around Ontario and Quebec.
Video: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”

Fucked Up @ The Horseshoe, 1AM – It’s Fucked Up in the Horseshoe. What else do you need to know?
MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”

Lower @ Cherry Cola’s, 2AM – Iceage’s countrymen and tourmates also do the Scandi-post-punk thing, but are less fury, more menace. They also play The Garrison on Sunday night, June 16, at 11PM.
Stream: Lower – “Someone’s Got It In For Me”

Sunday, June 16

Mickey Avalon @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 3PM – Alls I know is that I couldn’t stop laughing at the scene in Harold & Kumar Go To Guantanamo Bay soundtracked by this song, and the prospect that it might be blasting out of the YDS PA at all the Eaton Centre shoppers is kind of great.
Video: Mickey Avalon – “My Dick”

And as befits a proper citywide festival, there’s a number of day shows and whatnot happening this week: The Arts & Crafts pop-up shop at Queen and Dovercourt which coincided with this past weekend’s Field Trip fest will remain popped up with shows and DJ sets every night; there’s the aforementioned Urban Outfitters day show on the 14th; the now-annual Bruise Cruise which takes you, a bunch of other festival-goers and a few choice bands on a tour around the islands; they’ve not yet announced details but it seems implausible that Sonic Boom won’t have at least a day of in-stores. And if you like records and buying records and watching other people buy records, do hit up the Independent Label Market going on at the Ryerson campus all day Saturday.

Monday, June 4th, 2012

No Cure For Loneliness

Bry Webb and Del Bel at 918 Bathurst in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’m sure that the timing was just coincidence, but if Friday night’s Wavelength show at the Buddhist temple at 918 Bathurst featuring Bry Webb and Del Bel was meant as a last-minute bit of lobbying for my Polaris Prize ballot – long-list voting had opened that day – then I salute them. Well played. Though I’ve had a year to mull it over, there was very little actually locked down on my list of the top five Canadian “albums of the highest artistic integrity, without regard to musical genre, professional affiliation, or sales history”, and both Webb’s Provider and Del Bel’s Oneric were very much in the running.

I’d seen Del Bel at another Wavelength in January and Webb’s record release show in February, and while the live show is not supposed to have any bearing on the nomination process, this wasn’t going to hurt with keeping them front of mind. But this show was intended to mark Del Bel’s return from a couple weeks of Canadian touring and celebrate the release of their new single – a collaboration with Webb – and not to squeeze their way onto any Polaris ballots at the 11th hour. I think.

Del Bel’s set was structurally quite similar to the one in January – Webb’s guesting on the new single “No Cure For Loneliness” was obviously different – but better from the band’s point of view for having been road-tested the past weeks and better from mine for having had many more months to spend with Oneric. Some combination of the two points – probably more the latter – made it much easier to extract and appreciate the songs from their atmospheric cinematic-noir style, and as far as the performance went, the shifts in mood felt more natural and dextrous than before and while singer Lisa Conway still preferred to stand behind her bandmates while she sang, she had less of a wallflower air about her this time out, coming across more mysterious than just shy. Touring: it does a band good.

I don’t think Bry Webb has taken his band out on the road for any extended jaunts since Provider came out, but with over a decade of fronting Constantines before they went on hiatus to his name, he hardly needs the practice of getting in front of an audience. If there was an immediate difference between this night’s show and the one at the Music Gallery in the Winter, it was that Webb had found his guitar strap and was playing standing up although it still wouldn’t mean forays into the audience – electrical noise on stage kept him fairly rooted to one spot to avoid interference. It also featured a few new songs to augment the Provider material but the enlistment of Del Bel’s horns and drummer for a good portion of the set really gave things an extra kick to augment the more solemn, low-key tone of the material. And while Webb’s solo material exists a good distance from what the Constantines were about, there was a taste of the old band’s fire when Webb stepped up for a righteous lead break on “Low Life” which he dedicated to former bandmate Will Kidman. On the other hand, it was impossible to imagine the Cons covering Seals & Croft’s “Summer Breeze” as Webb and seven-ninths of Del Bel (two of whom, it should be noted, are also full-time Providers) did to end their main set.

There’s little question that Oneric and Provider are two of the finest releases to come out of Toronto/southern Ontario in the past year; this evening was strong proof of that. But would that be enough to get them on the Polaris long-list, short-lists, or my ballot for either? To the first two, I’ve no idea and to the last, well we’ll just have to wait and see.

NOW had both a preview piece on Del Bel for the show and a review of the show; Singing Lamb and BlogTO were also in attendance.

Photos: Bry Webb, Del Bel @ 918 Bathurst – June 1, 2012
MP3: Bry Webb – “Rivers Of Gold”
MP3: Del Bel with Bry Webb – “No Cure For Loneliness”
Stream: Del Bel / Oneric

NPR is streaming a short film that Neil Young has made to coincide with the release of his new album with Crazy Horse Americana, out this week.

The June 12 release date of Synthetica not far off, Metric is ramping up the media cycle with a complete stream of the new record, a cover story in this month’s Exclaim, and a fans-only show on the day of release at The Opera House; details on how to win tickets will be available by hanging out on the band’s various social media sites.

Stream: Metric / Synthetica

Spinner and The Winnipeg Free Press talk to Japandroids about not breaking up. They’re at Lee’s Palace on June 23.

Willamette Weekly and San Francisco Bay Guardian chat briefly with Dan Bejar of Destroyer, whose previously Record Store Day-only vinyl edition of Destroyer’s Rubies is now available for anyone/everyone to own and spin.

Grimes has made another MP3 from her breakout album Visions available to download; she’s at Historic Fort York as part of the Full Flex Express on July 13.

MP3: Grimes – “Circumambient”

And speaking of shows at Fort York, I’ve made some jokes about how Toronto seems to be commemorating the bicentennial of the War Of 1812 with nothing but raves, but there’s now something a little more musically patriotic and family-friendly happening to mark the anniversary. On July 14, The Garrison Commons at Fort York will host a free show featuring performances from Sarah Harmer, Shad, The Rural Alberta Advantage, and Alex Cuba. Specifics are still forthcoming so keeping up with the Facebook page probably isn’t a bad idea.

MP3: Shad – “Rose Garden”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”
Video: Sarah Harmer – “Almost”
Video: Alex Cuba – “Cabello”

Macleans talks to Don Pyle about the Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet reunion, which hits Lee’s Palace on July 14.

Exclaim and The Grid have feature pieces on Cold Specks and Exclaim also ups the ante with a video session. Cold Specks are at The Great Hall on August 8.

Daytrotter has a session and NOW and interview with Great Lake Swimmers, who will be at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 18 opening up for Blue Rodeo.

Leonard Cohen has added a second Toronto show at the Air Canada Centre for December 5, to go along with the December 4 one that is just about sold out now. Tickets range from $72.50 to $250 plus fees. And while you mull that over, check out Clash‘s liste of ten things you didn’t know about Lenny.

Their show at The Music Hall sold out and in the books, Patrick Watson has announced another Toronto date for December 6 at Massey Hall with The Barr Brothers supporting; tickets are $24.50 to $35.00 plus fees, on sale now. NPR also has a Tiny Desk Concert, PostCity and interview, and a second MP3 from Adventures In Your Own Backyard has been made available to download.

MP3: Patrick Watson – “Words In The Fire”

BlogTO has the full lineup of this year’s Open Roof Festival, which pairs bands and movies for a night under the stars at the Amsterdam Brewery all Summer. You’ve got bands like Army Girls, Bruce Peninsula, and The Magic and films like Moonrise Kingdom, Charles Bradley: Soul of America, and Indie Game: The Movie – a bad time can’t be had (okay it can but it shouldn’t). Tickets for each night are $15.

Young Galaxy are releasing a new 7″ single tomorrow and the B-side is available to download courtesy of Stereogum. And if you liked what they accomplished on Shapeshifter working with producer Dan Lissvik electronically across the ocean, imagine what they could do working directly with him in the studio. If you’d like the see that happen, the band would like you to help out.

MP3: Young Galaxy – “Youth Is Wasted On The Young”

77 Square, Pioneer Press, City Pages, Isthmus, and Columbus Alive talk to Feist.