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Posts Tagged ‘Diana’

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.

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Hall Of Mirrors

Review of Yamantaka//Sonic Titan’s Uzu

Photo By Derek BelchanDerek BelchanIf you thought that unclassifiable Montreal-Toronto outfit Yamantaka//Sonic Titan would have difficulty following up their utterly 2011 debut YT//ST, that their blend of prog-rock, Japanese opera, and metal amongst many other influences would inevitably turn from unique to self-parody, or that the pressure of going from obscurity to 2012 Polaris Prize shortlister would paralyze them creatively, then you don’t need to look up what Uzu – the title of their second album due out on October 29, means – it means “you are dead wrong”.

Even as an avowed fan of the band, I wasn’t sure how they’d follow up YT//ST, so singular a work that it seemed to be, but clearly Yamantaka//Sonic Titan had no such reservations. Whereas much of the excitement of YT//ST came from the primal, alchemical reactions of bringing their disparate elements and ideas together, Uzu intricately crafts them all together with a much more assured hand – rather than melding all those styles together, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan now sound like they’ve created their own. And remarkably, that’s not even what stands out the most about Uzu – that would be how much better they’ve gotten at sounding conventional.

Lead track “Atalanta” opens with a classical piano figure that is quickly joined by Ruby Kato Attwood singing a plaintive and achingly pretty melody. It’s the sort of move that a band determined to hold onto the “experimental” adjective might eschew as too straight, too accessible, but which too Yamantaka is clearly just the right thing to do for the song. The greater emphasis on melody and straight emotion persists through the record and gives Uzu a heart that YT//ST might have possessed, but kept in the background. The two-part “Seasickness” is the best example of how far they’ve come, with the first part emphasizing the austere beauty of the approach and the second demonstrating how well it meshes with their established sound. What this all means is that those who liked Yamantaka before because they were weird will continue to like them because their weird, but those who found them too weird before may well now find them to be sufficiently more accessible to be won over. What this all means is that with Uzu, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan may now be unstoppable.

Pitchfork has an advance stream of the album. They play The Garrison on November 6.

Video: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “One”
Stream: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan / Uzu

Pitchfork has premiered the new video from The Belle Game’s debut Ritual Tradition Habit, while NOW previews their show at The Drake Underground on Friday night, October 25, with an interview.

Video: The Belle Game -“River”

Your latest Arcade Fire inevitability updates: Pitchfork has a lyric video for the next officially-released preview, NPR will host a live concert showcasing Reflektor before its release the next day, and both Rolling Stone and Macleans have interviews with Win Butler about the new album, The National Post with Will Butler, and Radio Free Canuckistan throwing in Q&As with Richard Reed Parry and Tim Kingsbury for good measure. Update: And yeah now you can stream the album in whole.

Lyric Video: Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”
Stream: Arcade Fire / Reflektor

Pitchfork has stepped up with an advance stream of the new Moonface record Julia With Blue Jeans On, which comes out on October 29.

MP3: Moonface – “Everyone Is Noah, Everyone Is The Ark”
Stream: Moonface / Julia With Blue Jeans On

Kashka has premiered a new video from her forthcoming Bound at Indie88; the album is out November 5 and there’s a record release show for it at The Great Hall on December 5.

Video: Kashka – “Never Had It”

Exclaim reports that the new album from Vancouver retro-rockets Chains Of Love will now be an EP, or series of EPs, starting with Misery Makers Vol. 1 which comes out November 5.

The Vancouver Sun, Halifax Chronicle Herald, and What’s Up interview Braids. They’re at The Great Hall on November 10.

Neil Young continues to make his fans easy to Christmas shop for via his Archives series; Consequence Of Sound reports that he’ll release Live At The Cellar Door, capturing a 1970 residency in Washington DC, on November 26.

The Besnard Lakes have released a new video from Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO; they’re at Lee’s Palace on November 26.

Video: The Besnard Lakes – “Colour Yr Lights In”

Death From Above 1979 want some of your Boxing Day spending money, having just announced a show at The Danforth Music Hall for December 26. Tickets will run between $33.50 and $39.50.

Video: Death From Above 1979 – “Romantic Rights”

Shad explains some of the stories behind the lyrics on Flying Colours to The Grid and also talks to JAM, The Huffington Post, The Edmonton Journal, The Coast, and The Halifax Chronicle-Herald. He’ll be back in town to perform it at The Danforth Music Hall on January 31.

Southern Souls has posted a video session with Rose Cousins; The Georgia Straight also has an interview.

Paper Bag Records is proud to present a new video session with Diana. Or at least I assume they are. Why wouldn’t they be?

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

How Deep In The Valley

Sarah Harmer rallies rally for pipeline awareness

Photo By Afie JurvanenAfie JurvanenHer musical achievements are pretty much beyond reproach – both leading Weeping Tile and as a solo artist – but Sarah Harmer has become as well-known for her activism in recent years. In 2005, she helped form PERL – Protecting Escarpment Rural Land – to fight proposed development on the Niagara Escarpment, work which was reflected musically in her I’m A Mountain album and documented in the Escarpment Blues doc. The movement scored a major victory last Fall when a proposed quarry in the escarpment was denied. Now she’s seeking to draw attention to Line 9, a pipeline which currently carries conventional crude oil across Ontario and Quebec and which may be repurposed to also transport heavy crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands.

To draw public attention to their calls for further environmental assessment of the project, Harmer has organized Rock The Line, a free concert happening at Mel Lastman Square in North York this coming Sunday, October 6, starting at 2PM. Joining her will be Gord Downie & The Sadies – formidable on their own, fearsome togetherHayden and Guelph’s Minotaurs. A great show for any reason and an even better one for the cause behind it.

Video: Sarah Harmer – “Oleander”
Video: Gord Downie & The Sadies – “Search & Destroy”
Video: Hayden – “Rainy Saturday”

Basia Bulat is marking the release of her new album Tall Tall Shadow this week with a track-by-track walkthrough at Port Magazine, a video session at NOW, and a video for the title track premiered over at Bullett. She plays three nights at The Polish Combatants Hall on from October 10 to 12.

Video: Basia Bulat – “Tall Tall Shadow”

Filter has a stream of Prayer Of The Woods, the solo debut from Great Lake Swimmers’ Tony Dekker, out October 8.

Stream: Tony Dekker / Prayer Of The Woods

The Darcys talk to Exclaim about their plans to release a 20-minute, Cormac McCarthy-inspired instrumental track and video series for every track on their latest, Warring. They play The Adelaide Music Hall on October 11.

In advance of his “electronic pop opera” performance at the Adelaide Music Hall that night – The Montreal Gazette saw said show at Pop Montreal last weekend – Murray Lightburn will play an in-store at Sonic Boom’s Annex location on October 12 at 2PM.

MP3: Murray Lightburn – “Motherfuckers”

As the October 27 release date for Reflektor draws ever closer, Arcade Fire have revealed a few more new songs via a short film by The Creators Project.

Video: Arcade Fire / Here comes The Night Time

Loud & Quiet, The Link, The Ottawa Citizen, and The Edmonton Journal interview Braids. They play The Great Hall on November 10.

Under The Radar and The Georgia Straight talk to Catherine McCandless of Young Galaxy, who’ve released a new video from Ultramarine. They play The Hoxton on November 22.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Sleepwalk With Me”

Perhaps conscious that they haven’t actually played Toronto since Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO came out in early April – their CMF show happened a few weeks prior and their announced NXNE show never actually happened – The Besnard Lakes have announced a November 26 date at Lee’s Palace, tickets $15 in advance.

MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “People Of The Sticks”

Stereogum talk to Fucked Up’s Damien Abraham about their new record and Godspeed’s comments following their Polaris win last week. That seems like ancient history now, but if you wanted to read some well-reasoned responses to the kerfuffle (which align with my thinking, natch), check out pieces at Herohill, A Void, Radio Free Canuckistan, Liisa Ladouceur, and The Toronto Standard.

Dan Mangan drops some pretty high-falutin’ reference points in discussing his plans for his next record with Exclaim.

NOW has an interview and Chart solicits a list of recommended listening from Diana.

The National Post, Culture Map, and Beatroute interview Katie Stelmanis of Austra.

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Hunting

While I was out… featuring The Darcys and things of a Canadian nature

Photo By Zach SlootskyZach SlootskyConsidering how much of the narrative around The Darcys’ first two records were focused squarely on the past – the band’s self-title inexorably tied to the band’s own turbulent history and their Aja cover album to their affection for Steely Dan’s work – it’s understandable that the promotional lead-up to the September 17 release of their new record Warring would be so eyes forward, full steam ahead.

Since its initial announcement at the end of July, they’ve released streams of two new songs and crowdsourced remixes, and last week they premiered a first video at Esquire followed yesterday by another new stream via Tumblr. A full album stream should surface next week sometime, but it’s already a sure thing that Warring is a dark and dramatic work that balances the progressive and accessible.

Further, they’ve announced a first batch of live dates in support of Warring and it includes a hometown record release show at the Adelaide Music Hall on October 11. Tickets for that are $20 and some are bundled with early release LPs available at stores around Toronto now – details here.

Stream: The Darcys – “Hunting”
Video: The Darcys – “The River”

Panic Manual conducts an exit interview with Ohbijou, who go on indefinite hiatus following a farewell show at The Great Hall on September 7.

NPR has an advance stream of The Weeknd’s new album Kiss Land, which is officially out on September 10. He plays three nights at Massey Hall on October 17, 19, and 20.

Stream: The Weeknd / Kiss Land

Southern Souls has a video session with Austra. They play The Phoenix on September 26.

Flare gets fashion spread-y with Carmen Elle of Diana and Basia Bulat, amongst other Toronto musicians. The former plays The Great Hall on September 26, the latter releases Tall Tall Shadow on October 1 and plays The Polish Combatants Hall on October 10 and 11.

Dears frontman Murray Lightburn will bring his just-released solo record Mass:Light to the stage at Adelaide Hall on October 12, tickets $15 in advance with a number of 2-for-1 packages improving the value proposition. The Take has an interview with Lightburn about the new record.

MP3: Murray Lightburn – “Motherfuckers”

Shad has released a new video from his forthcoming Flying Colours, which you can watch below and read (the lyrics) over at Rap Genius. The album is out October 15 and he plays The Opera House on October 19.

Video: Shad – “Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins)”

Maritime singer-songwriter Rose Cousins has announced a North American tour behind last year’s still-wonderful We Have Made A Spark; she’s at The Dakota Tavern on October 17.

MP3: Rose Cousins – “The Darkness”

Exclaim reports that The Elwins are aiming to have their second album out by the middle of next year, but in the meantime are doing what they do second-best – the best being writing super-poppy tunes – and that’s touring their butts off. Amidst dates in Europe, the US, and the rest of Canada, they’ll play a hometown show at The Horseshoe on October 19.

Video: The Elwins – “Helpful Assistance”

Pitchfork talks to Yamantaka//Sonic Titan about their new album Uzu, coming out October 29.

Spencer Krug will release a new album as Moonface on October 29; the first song from Julia with Blue Jeans On is now available to stream.

Stream: Moonface – “Everyone Is Noah, Everyone Is The Ark”

Arcade Fire has posted a trailer for their next album Reflektor, which people are assuming they’ll hear a first and proper sample from on September 9 at 9PM, as per their marketing campaign. Pitchfork has specifics on what is known thus far. The album is out proper on October 29. Update: Consequence Of Sound has the dirt – “Reflektor” is the first single, the video is directed by Anton Corbijn, and the 12″ single of it will go on sale on September 9 at 9PM if you can find a record store that is open then.

Trailer: Arcade Fire / Reflektor

Having had to cancel his June 30 show at The Hoxton, Mac DeMarco has announced the make-up date for that show at the same venue on November 24. The Music has an interview with DeMarco.

MP3: Mac DeMarco – “Freaking Out The Neighbourhood”

After way too long, The Balconies have gotten their second album Fast Motions together and will have it out later this Fall; Ion Magazine has premiered the first video from it.

Video: The Balconies – “The Slo”

Evening Hymns have premiered a new video from last year’s Spectral Dusk at Clash.

Video: Evening Hymns – “Arrows”

Baeble Music has a videos session with Stars.

Noisey talks to Valleys.

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Crying My Heart Out

Young Galaxy offer up deluxe shade of Ultramarine

Photo By Vanessa HeinsVanessa HeinsI’m going to resist the urge to rail against the whole idea of the “deluxe edition” of an album being issued just months after the original issue. The reasons of why it’s a shitty-ass trend are self-evident and the quite clearly, it’s not going away anytime soon as labels keep doing it, meaning the fans keep buying it. Perhaps the correct perspective to look at it is that since physical singles and EPs are basically relics of a bygone age, the avenues to release b-sides and unreleased stuff are far fewer than they once were so maybe, mathematically speaking, buying the same record twice is about on par with buying all those singles and more space-efficient, to boot. I don’t know if I actually believe it, but I’ll go with that for now and move on.

At the least, the bonus materials should be worthwhile and from the looks of the expanded, double-disc edition of Young Galaxy’s Polaris-shortlisted Ultramarine, they are. There’s two edits of their new single, streamable below, both sides of last year’s sold out “Shoreless Kid” 7″, a couple more unreleased original songs and the requisite remixes, and perhaps most importantly, it’s reasonably priced. It’s coming out on September 24, the day after it could conceivably be crowned as Polaris champ. Not saying it’s going to happen, but it could. Exclaim has specifics on the reissue and CBC Music has a quick chat with Young Galaxy keyboardist/guitarist Matthew Shapiro.

Stream: Young Galaxy – “Crying My Heart Out”

The National Post and Exclaim talk with Diana songwriters Joseph Shabason and Kieran Adams. They play The Great Hall on September 26.

Exclaim has posted this month’s cover story on Braids online, and there’s further writeups at The Montreal Gazette and The Halifax Chronicle-Herald. They play The Great Hall in support of the just-released Flourish//Perish on November 10.

And tangentially and unexpectedly, Diana frontwoman Carmen Elle, as well as Braids’ Raphaelle Standell-Preston, are featured in a New York Times fashion spread. So that’s unexpected.

CBC Music and The Montreal Gazette talk to Murray Lightburn about going solo on Mass:Light.

The 405, Victoria Times-Colonist, NOW, and Interview get to know Sarah Neufeld; she’s at The Drake Underground on August 22.

Though they’ve already shown off all kinds of ingenious promotional ideas to lead up to the September 3 release of The Silver Gymnasium, Okkervil River have topped themselves with an 8-bit video game that lets you explore Will Sheff’s youth while assembling the Triforce, pursuing the Death Angel, and knocking out Piston Honda. See a higher-res and more grown-up version of Sheff when he leads his band into The Phoenix on September 28.

PopMatters has an interview with Colin Stetson, who has had to drop off the Constellation Records showcase at The Great Hall on September 5 on account of a hand injury. He’s not just a pair of lungs, you know.

BrooklynVegan has an interview with Mike Haliechuk of Fucked Up, who’ve finally traded in their Blogspot account for a proper website and filled it with all kinds of streamable rarities. They play 1st Thursday at the AGO on September 5.

The Darcys are streaming another new track from their forthcoming Warring, out September 17, via The AV Club and drummer Wes Marskell gives Thrillist a list of his favourite Toronto eateries. And oh, they’ve offered up the stems of their new song “The River” so you can make and submit remixes. So go to that, if it’s your bag, just don’t send them to me.

Stream: The Darcys – “Muzzle Blast”

Black Book interviews Nick Thorburn of Islands about their new record Ski Mask. It’s out September 17 and they play The Garrison on October 10.

Basia Bulat has used footage from her AGO 1st Thursday performance in January for the first video from Tall Tall Shadow. Paste has the premiere, the album is out October 1, and she plays at the Polish Combatants Hall on October 10 and 11.

Video: Basia Bulat – “It Can’t Be You”

Though her September 10 date at The Drake supporting Lightning Dust is still a couple weeks away, Louise Burns has been announced as support for Hannah Georgas at The Great Hall on November 2.

Video: Louise Burns – “Emeralds Shatter”

Though they’ve yet to release any samples from their new record Static, coming October 15, Cults have announced a Fall tour that brings them to Lee’s Palace on November 25.

MP3: Cults – “Go Outside”

The Daily Swarm talks to Alex Edkins of METZ. The Ottawa Citizen also has a feature.

Noisey gets to know Los Angeles trio Tashaki Miyaki, who should really put some new music out.