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Posts Tagged ‘Echo & The Bunnymen’

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Canadian Musicfest 2013 Day One

CHVRCHES and Diana at Canadian Musicfest

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI went into this year’s Canadian Musicfest with a pretty basic plan – see as little as possible. Okay, that’s not really accurate since that would have easily been accomplished by staying home and I was still out four nights in a row, but rather than engage in the club-hopping that the fest usually demands, I opted to choose one thing a night that I was genuinely interested in seeing rather than trek around the city hoping to shake something worthwhile out of the lineup. Wednesday night, that honour went to a show that was one of the more hotly-tipped of the festival, despite being able to count both bands on the bill’s officially-released songs on one hand.

Diana may have been a relatively new name on the Toronto scene, but the faces were quite familiar, featuring players whose CVs include Everything All The Time, Donlands & Mortimer, Bonjay, and Warm Myth, to name but a few, but the elevator pitch was that this was the sax player from Destroyer’s new synth-pop project with Carmen Elle of Army Girls on vocals and they’d already arguably gotten more buzz abroad than any of their past projects combined (Destroyer excepted, of course).

As someone who came to the band mainly through Army Girls – and was a bit resentful at them for taking Elle’s attention away from her rock project – it was unusual to hear her voice in such a context, surrounded by smooth synth tones and saxophone lines rather than her spiky guitarwork, her voice was more bruised than sultry. Whether by design or happenstance, it created an odd tension between the image she presented as frontwoman; as charming and charismatic as usual, but interestingly at odds with the music would have conventionally presumed. And that applied to Diana as a whole – slinky, soulful synth-pop, yes, but with something else going on in there and it’s that je ne sais quoi that will, unfortunately for me but great for Diana, probably keep Army Girls fans waiting for those albums a little longer.

Photos: Diana @ The Mod Club – March 20, 2013
MP3: Diana – “Born Again”
Stream: Diana – “Perpetual Surrender”

The hype around Scottish trio CHVRCHES has probably put some off of them entirely already, some six months from the release of their debut album, and that’s a shame. Because as far as I can tell, they’re not being posited as saviours of anything, just a new band with some really good songs. Or maybe that new – none of them are rookies in the music biz, with keyboardists Iain Cook and Martin Doherty having done duty in Aerogramme and Twilight Sad, respectively, and singer Lauren Mayberry formerly doing time in Blue Sky Archives. That past experience might explain why despite being a heavily-feted band on their first tour abroad, CHVRCHES were remarkably confident and assured in their Canadian debut. Taking the stage to the strains of an oddly pitch-shifted version of “Let’s Go Crazy”, they opened with last year’s debut single “Lies” and laid out very clearly what they were about – big synth sounds from the fellows and beguiling vocals from Mayberry.

CHRVCHES haven’t solved the the inherent problem of how to put on a compelling live show when you’re two blokes tethered to keyboards and girl singer who’s not Sarah Cracknell, but when you’ve got the songs, everything else becomes somewhat trivial. While a fairly static performer, Mayberry wasn’t a wallflower and offered up some charming banter – Ryan Gosling topped her list of things to thank Canada for – the best part of the show was the fact that it proved that their songwriting chops were equal to the hype. “Recover”, with its irresistible chorus, remained the high point of their works so far but everything was fairly bursting with hooks and melodies, led by Mayberry’s youthful and yearning vocals. It’s refreshing that at a time when synth acts are a dime a dozen, one can still stand out by sticking to the time-tested rules of pop music. After closing with “The Mother We Share”, they returned for a one-song encore that bookended the set with Prince salutations and their totally straight but still fun cover of “I Would Die 4 U”. And then they doused everyone with a bubble machine.

CBC Music and DIY have interviews with CHVRCHES while NPR has video of one of their sets at SXSW earlier this month. Update: And, just announced, CHVRCHES are back on June 12 at The Hoxton, possibly/probably a NXNE show.

Photos: CHVRCHES @ The Mod Club – March 20, 2013
MP3: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”
Stream: CHVRCHES – “Lies”
Video: CHVRCHES – “Recover”

Peace takes DIY on a walkthrough of their debut album In Love, out in the UK today. They’ll bring it to NXNE on June 15.

CBC Music has an interview with Charles Bradley and an advance stream of his new record Victim Of Love, out April 2, while Clash excerpts an interview with the man. He’ll be at the Phoenix on May 11.

Stream: Charles Bradley / Victim Of Love

Stereogum has an interview with Benjamin Michael Lerner of Telekinesis. Their new album Domarion is out April 2 but streaming now in whole at NPR. They’re at The Horseshoe on May 12.

MP3: Telekinesis – “Ghosts & Creatures”
Stream: Telekinesis / Domarion

A new Jessie Ware track taken from the inevitable deluxe edition of Devotion – the “Gold Edition” – is now available to stream. It’s out in the UK on April 15, the day before the regular (yet slightly enhanced) version of Devotion gets a North American release. She plays The Opera House on April 6.

Stream: Jessie Ware – “Imagine It Was Us”

A track from Kurt Vile’s new record Walkin’ On A Pretty Daze is now available to download. It’s out April 9 and he plays the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 7.

MP3: Kurt Vile – “Never Run Away”

The Postal Service has made another of the unreleased tracks from the 10th anniversary edition of Give Up available to stream. It’s out April 9 and they play The Air Canada Centre on June 11.

Stream: The Postal Service – “Turn Around”

Room 205 has posted the first of three video sessions with Redd Kross; they’re in town at The Horseshoe on April 11.

Loud & Quiet talks to Palma Violets, in town at Lee’s Palace on May 3.

Primal Scream are streaming the second single from their new album More Light, out May 6.

Stream: Primal Scream – “It’s Alright, It’s OK”

Deerhunter have announced the May 7 release of their new album Monomania. Typically cryptic details on the release can be found at 4AD.

Having let the dust settle from the announcement that their new album would be out in May and be followed by extensive touring, The National have revealed some more pertinent details – specifically that it’ll be called Trouble Will Find Me, that it will be out May 21, and the artwork and tracklisting look something like this. And additionally, in conversation with Gothamist, drummer Bryan Devendorf offers some insight into the recording sessions and what guest artists you’ll hear on the record. The National will headline Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14, and the tour documentary on the band Mistaken For Strangers will screen at Hot Docs on April 30, May 2, and May 5.

Stephin Merritt has turned his attention to his Future Bible Heroes project, announcing the June 4 release of their first album in over a decade, Partygoing. It’s available either on its own or part of the Memories of Love, Eternal Youth and Partygoing set which includes reissues of their first two albums as well as a bonus disc of rarities. Details on all that at Merge, first track from Partygoing to stream below.

Stream: Future Bible Heroes – “Living, Loving, Partygoing”

Flavorwire is streaming another track from John Vanderslice’s cover album of David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, which will accompany the June 11 release of his new album of original material, Dagger Beach.

Stream: John Vanderslice – “Diamanthunde”

The Quietus have confirmed a new Echo & The Bunnymen album is on the way. Ian McCulloch says that it’ll be called The Garden Of Meedlin’ and will be out before the year is out.

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session and The Georgia Straight an interview with Veronica Falls.

To mark the passing of Jason Molina last week, all of his recorded output as Songs: Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co, or Jason Molina is available to stream. The best way to remember him.

NYC Taper is sharing recordings of a Low show in New York last week while Drowned In Sound has a video session and interview with the band.

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Primavera Sound 2011 Day One

Echo & The Bunnymen and Caribou at Primavera Sound

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangOkay, so that’s the touristy stuff out of the way. Let’s get down to business, which is to say the music. As in festival. Music festival.

While Primavera Sound’s main, three-day event would be cramming Barcelona’s Parc del Forum waterfront park to the gills with music until the wee hours of Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, the festival was also bookended by shows at a hillside venue on the other side of the city. El Poble Espanyol is a traditionally-styled Spanish village/museum that also happens to make a fantastic live music venue, offering great sightlines and a picturesque setting.

Getting through registration made me miss most of Englanders Comet Gain’s set, not that I knew their stuff at all, but their classically-appointed indie pop offered an enjoyable aural backdrop to exploring the environs and as a general kick-off to the festival and warm-up for Echo & The Bunnymen’s headlining set.

This show was one of their Crocodiles/Heaven Up Here recitals, following up the Ocean Rain recreation which they brought through Toronto in October 2009. While that show made perfect sense, boasting both some of the band’s most famous songs and lending itself to orchestral enhancements, offering the first two records the same treatment – sans strings – was a less obvious move. Both were considerably less populist and accessible affairs, very much attached to the band’s post-punk roots and existing in a darker sort of atmosphere. The “fans only”-ness of the set list didn’t keep them from packing the courtyard, though, nor from putting on a show that reinforced past impressions that the band rises – or falls – to the occasion when playing live. This was mostly the former, with Ian McCulloch much more animated onstage than in the past. A relative statement, certainly, but it may have explained him making more effort to hit those high notes which are audibly a strain for him these days. After the main set, they returned with a short set of “hits” as an encore – yes to “Bring On The Dancing Horses”, no to “Killing Moon” – and were done.

Not surprisingly, the crowd thinned somewhat before Caribou took the stage – after all, the demographics for ’80s British New Wave/post-punk and ’00s Canadian cosmic disco don’t entirely overlap – but the audience maintained the crucial density necessary to achieve dance party critical mass. Okay, dance party may have been an overstatement for the start of the set as it was only the handful of die-hards up front who began flailing when the music started, but as the set went on and the grooves got deeper, the dancing seemed to spread virally throughout the audience. I’d not seen the four-piece Caribou live show before – only the baker’s dozen-strong Vibration Ensemble – and their tightness and intensity totally impressed. There were no hat tips as to where they might be going on the in-progress follow-up to Swim, but wherever they go with it I can pretty much guarantee you that it will groove. Hard.

Note that since I didn’t have a photo pass, there’ll be no regular galleries from the fest but live and atmosphere shots that I got from the crowd can be seen at Flickr.

And in other animal-related band news:

Drowned In Sound gets Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison to annotate their debut album Sings The Greys. The Selkirk Weekend Advertiser also has an interview. They play The Molson Amphitheatre on July 27.

Black Book talks to Alex Turner and Matt Helders of Arctic Monkeys and The Guardian to Turner alone. Their new album Suck It And See is streaming over at Soundcloud; it’s out next week.

Stream: Arctic Monkeys / Suck It And See

Under The Radar profiles Wild Beasts.

Today, in Antlers links: NYCTaper is sharing a couple of live recordings, The Alternate Side has an interview and session, The Line Of Best Fit and Drowned In Sound have interviews and a new MP3 from Burst Apart is available to download. They’re at The Mod Club on June 14.

MP3: The Antlers – “I Don’t Want Love”

The AV Club talks to Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes.

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Rolling In The Deep

Adele at The Air Canada Centre

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt happens far too infrequently, but sometimes the good guys win. Sometimes immense talent, great songs and hard work can triumph over image and marketing and when it does, you get improbably wonderful things like Adele becoming and more importantly remaining pretty much the biggest artist in music for 2011 for months on end, on the strength of her sophomore album 21. Granted, her story is hardly one of an out of nowhere dark horse – her debut 19 already made her a star and garnered her two Grammy awards – but the degree to which 21 has catapulted her into the stratosphere is still remarkable.

That the Toronto stop of her North American tour on Wednesday night was originally booked into the Kool Haus – considerably smaller than the posh environs of Massey Hall where she last performed in 2009 – certainly seemed to imply that people were underestimating her draw, and that the show was moved to the many times larger Air Canada Centre after selling out instantly was representative of just how much bigger – and faster – her fanbase was growing. Granted, it was in theatre configuration, accommodating approximately 5200 patrons instead of the 16000 of the full arena, but if you don’t think she could have easily sold a few thousand more tickets then you’re just not paying attention.

I had the privilege of seeing Adele at an MTV Live taping back in March and so had a sense of how she was live – which is to say wonderfully warm and engaging, with no sense of the stage fright she’s supposedly afflicted with – but that was a short set in front of a maybe a couple hundred people. This would be considerably more on every level, and yet Adele Adkins somehow managed to make an arena show in front of thousands feel just as intimate as that studio performance.

Things opened with a touch of theatricality – with Adele starting “Hometown Glory” from behind a curtain before stepping onstage to rafter-shaking shrieks – but for most of the show, it was all about simple, direct and genuine connection between Adele and her fans, which for all of her prodigious artistic gifts may be her greatest strength. Chatty, conversational and more than a little crude between songs, punctuated by a huge and endearing cackle, Adele was able to make a massive room feel as intimate as a small club or even more like a private performance for some friends in the front room. It’s impossible to overstate the intensity of the personal rapport that seemed to exist between she and almost every one of the thousands in the audience – it’s hard to imagine any other artist of her stature taking stage time to talk about the experiences that informed her songs, her affection for her pet dachshund or gush about bands she’s currently listening to (incidentally, she gave big props to Toronto R&B outfit The Weeknd).

As entertaining as it would likely be to just sit and chat for an hour and a half with Adele, there was no forgetting that music was the order of the evening. Improvisation wasn’t on the menu, save for a few subtle shifts in arrangements, with the emphasis on her huge, expressive voice and playing the songs everyone wanted to hear the way they knew them, but with plenty of verve and as singalong-able as possible – something the house happily obliged, at times creating an almost choral effect. Backed by a seven-piece band, Adele delivered exactly the sort of set you’d expect, comprising most of 21 – often introduced as “new songs” as though they were something to be politely endured before she got to the old favourites instead of the material that brought both her and her fans here on this evening – and a decent amount of 19. The show built to a finale that was completely predictable – “Chasing Pavements” and “Make You Feel My Love” to close the main set and “Someone Like You” and “Rolling In The Deep” making up the encore – but also completely rousing. You don’t need to surprise when you’re this good. Adele is like the friend who goes onto great things, but never forgets where she came from – not “is like”, but “is” – and though musically she trades in broken hearts, there was nothing but love at the ACC on this night.

The Globe & Mail has a feature piece on Adele and also a review of the show. The Toronto Sun, National Post, Toronto Star and Exclaim also have writeups of the evening.

Photos: Adele @ The Air Canada Centre – May 18, 2011
Video: Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”
Video: Adele – “Make You Feel My Love”
Video: Adele – “Chasing Pavements”
Video: Adele – “Cold Shoulder”

Interview has a brief talk with Anna Calvi, who has a date at The El Mocambo on May 27.

PJ Harvey discusses the visual side of her art with Spinner.

Pitchfork has an extensive interview with Kate Bush, who released her first album in over five years this week with Director’s Cut. The record is streaming in whole over at NPR.

Stream: Kate Bush / Director’s Cut

New York Magazine and The Chicago Tribune talk to Will Sergeant of Echo & The Bunnymen while The Aquarian chats with Ian McCulloch.

Johnny Marr talks up his upcoming projects with Billboard.

The Guardian talks to Brett Anderson and Mat Osman about why the reunited Suede are so fashionable again – just in time for Brett Anderson (the solo artist) to announce the September 26 release of his next record, Black Rainbows. Details on the album at NME.

The second single from Patrick Wolf’s forthcoming Lupercalia now has a video and it indeed confirms that, on this record, Wolf is in his happy place. It’s out June 20.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “House”

Foals discuss possible directions of their next record with aux.tv.

The Guardian, Gigwise and Clash have feature pieces on Friendly Fires, whose new record Pala is out next week and are in town at The Phoenix on May 30.

NME gets some information on the next Muse record from rhythm section Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme.

The Aquarian talks to Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner. They’re at The Kool Haus on Saturday and their new album Suck It And See is out June 7.

Also on the bill are The Vaccines, who have a new video from their debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines, due out May 31.

Video: The Vaccines – “All In White”

NPR have posted a WFUV radio session with Noah & The Whale, with whom North Country Times, Oregon Music News, The Telegraph and The Edinburgh Evening News have interviews.

James Blake has a new video from James Blake.

Video: James Blake – “Lindesfarne”

Artrocker has a piece from Clock Opera frontman Guy Connelly about writing their latest single “Belongings”, for which they’ve just released a video and are streaming both sides at Soundcloud. DIY also solicits an alphabetized list of… stuff from the band. These guys were one of the more exciting discoveries at SXSW and the lead-up to their debut album verifies that the excitement is justified.

Video: Clock Opera – “Belongings”

Ladytron are streaming the first single from new album Gravity The Seducer at Soundcloud, well in advance of its September 13 release date.

Art Brut are streaming their new record Brilliant! Tragic! over at Paste. They play The Mod Club on June 17 for NXNE.

Stream: Art Brut / Brilliant! Tragic!

And according to Under The Radar, the Friday night of NXNE – June 17 – will also bring Oxford’s Swervedriver back to town for the first time since, well, NXNE 2008. Venue still to be announced but this should be one of the highlights of the festival.

MP3: Swervedriver – “Duel” (live)

IFC has both an interview with Euros and Norman of Jonny and premiered a new video from the duo. They are at The Drake Underground on June 3 and 4.

Video: Jonny – “You Was Me”

They Shoot Music has a video session with Gruff Ryhs, and he’s also the subject of features at Nashville Scene, The Village Voice and Today Online. He has a date at The Horseshoe for June 11.

NPR has posted a World Cafe session with The Joy Formidable.

And with that, folks, things go into vacation mode over the next couple weeks. There’ll still be updates and whatnot, just maybe fewer, probably leaner and almost certainly at odd hours. And any last-minute suggestions of things to see and do in Barcelona are welcome.

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Whirring

The Joy Formidable Roar now over there, Roar later over here

Photo via TJFthejoyformidable.comProving that cliches are both true and false, Welsh trio The Joy Formidable are setting out to prove that good things do indeed come to those who wait but also that sometimes you can’t get too much of a good thing. To the former, there’s the fact that while those in the UK were able to celebrate “Big Roar Day” yesterday in honour of the release of their debut album The Big Roar, North Americans will have to wait until March 15 for the domestically-released edition. And while I appreciate the necessity of staggered release dates in different territories from a business point of view – there’s only so much press and promo a band is able to do in a given time frame – the fact that it’s so easy to get records irrespective of where you live (legally, of course) makes the notion that something is available elsewhere but not where you are hard to swallow. And don’t get me started on geoblocked videos… but I digress.

But the upside to the exercise in delayed gratification is the fact that the North American release will be accompanied by a North American tour, anchored by appearances at SxSW and Coachella, that brings them back to Toronto for their third date at The Horseshoe in less than a year on April 2, tickets $13.50. It’s hard to believe that not too long ago I was afraid I’d never get the chance to catch them live and nearly flew to New York on one occasion and rescheduled a work trip around making sure I was able to see them last May. Not that I’ve any complaint about their regular visits – both shows here were barnburners and I expect no less of this next one.

Virtual Festivals and Stereoboard have interviews with the band, while Rolling Stone declares them “Band Of The Week” and The Quietus has a video session.

MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”

Daytrotter has posted up a session with Little Boots.

Spinner learns the rather unsustainable source of Adele’s songwriting inspiration. Her second album 21 arrives February 22.

Arriving just a smidge to late to piggyback on last week’s tour announcement, Stereogum is streaming the whole of Esben & The Witch’s debut album Violet Cries a week ahead of its January 31 UK release and a bit longer ahead of the February 8 North American street date. Clash has also declared them a “band to watch”.

Stream: Esben & The Witch / Violet Cries

Also up for stream early is the debut album from Gorky’s Fanclub side-project Jonny. Well, early for North America – in another case of territorial differences, the self-titled effort is out in the UK next Monday but not until April 12 over here.

Stream: Jonny / Jonny

Lucky Soul get animated in the video for the final single to be taken from their terrific A Coming Of Age. The band are taking a bit of a break while Andrew and Ali have a baby then it’s back to work for record number three.

Video: Lucky Soul – “Upon Hilly Fields”

Patrick Wolf has released the first proper video from his forthcoming Lupercalia, a beach-frolicking little number shot in Santa Monica, California. The record is out May 23.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “The City”

Spin talks to Andy Bell and Liam Gallagher of Beady Eye about their debut album Different Gear, Still Speeding, which will get a North American release on March 1. I keep reporting on this for Andy’s sake. You know that.

MP3: Beady Eye – “The Roller”

Brett Anderson tells XFM he’d like to take a mulligan on the last Suede record, the eminently forgettable A New Morning. Where’s the positivity, Brett? This, of course, opens the question of a new record from the reformed band but first they’re going to reissue the whole of their back catalog – including A New Morning – with previously unheard rarities and participation in the archive diving from prodigal guitarist Bernard Butler but perplexingly there don’t appear to be plans for vinyl editions of any of the records. The band will also be diving into storage to dig up their “The London Suede” merch as they’re making their first trip to the US in probably at least a decade for an appearance at Coachella, though hopefully that’s not their only show on these shores. HINT HINT.

A British band who knows how to treat their audio/analogphile fans are Spiritualized, whom Exclaim reports are putting out their first two record Lazer Guided Melodies and Pure Phase on vinyl later this month. And rumours persist that a new record will be arriving from Mr. Pierce/Spaceman before the year is out.

Having successfully brought the complete Ocean Rain to Toronto in October 2009, Echo & The Bunnymen will return with their first and fourth records Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here rehearsed and ready for recital on May 16 at The Phoenix, tickets $37.50. Full dates at Pitchfork.

Video: Echo & The Bunnymen – “Crocodiles” (live)

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Neighbourhood

Arcade Fire announce show at Toronto Islands

Photo via Last.fmLast.fmIt’s been a long time since there’s been a live music throwdown of any kind at the city’s most picturesque and moderately inconvenient venue, the Toronto Islands. The 2009 edition of the almost-annual Islands concert was canceled thanks to a combination of the Toronto Indy and sluggish ticket sales, so excepting a private frosh week event last September, the last time the throngs gathered on Olympic Island was V Fest 2008, and that ended with the ignoble thud of Noel Gallagher getting knocked on his ass. 2010 seems set on making up for that absence, however. In addition to the heavyweight lineup of Pavement, Broken Social Scene, Beach House and Band Of Horses (and more) playing the June 19 Toronto Island Concert, a second excuse for people to complain about having to take the ferry was announced yesterday.

Having sold out three nights at Massey Hall on their last visit to Toronto in 2007, where Arcade Fire would play next was a reasonable question – the idea of another multi-night stand would make wallets ache and still probably not meet demand, and yet any of the larger venues in the city – Sound Academy, Air Canada Centre, Molson Amphitheatre – seemed unlikely for a multitude of reasons. But having played the inaugural Olympic Island Concert in 2004 at the bottom of the bill as veritable unknowns, Arcade Fire will return six years later on August 14 as one of the biggest bands in the country. Tickets are $47 in advance, plus ferry, fees and $1 charitable donation to Partners In Health, and go on sale Friday at noon. The band remain cagey about releasing details of their third album, but a single could/should be out next Tuesday and the record will probably follow soon after, almost certainly before their touring schedule starts in Finland at the end of June.

Gates for the show are at 4PM, so while that’s a little too late to assume this will blossom into a mini-festival, there’s certainly enough time for a few decent supporting acts to be added. So while this Summer is looking awfully lean as far as fests in the GTA go – V is MIA/probably DOA, Rogers Picnic’s 2009 hiatus looks to now be permanent, Imagine is feeling more like a pipe dream and there hasn’t even been a peep about Edgefest for the kids – we’re doing alright for festival-setting shows. And if you like, you can think of the Arcade Fire and Broken/Pavement show as a single excellent multi-day festival – just one that’s two months apart and require separate admissions.

MP3: Arcade Fire – “Keep The Car Running”
MP3: Arcade Fire – “Black Mirror”
MP3: Arcade Fire – “No Cars Go”
MP3: Arcade Fire – “Wake Up”

Having sold out their May 28 show at the Horseshoe, Born Ruffians will entertain those who couldn’t get tickets or just need another another encore with a free in-store at Sonic Boom on Saturday, May 29, at 3PM. Their new record Say It is out next Tuesday.

MP3: Born Ruffians – “Sole Brother”

Also confirmed for an in-store are Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit. Their debut The Big Black & The Blue is out now, and they’ll showcase it both at the Rivoli on the evening of June 12 and at Criminal Records that afternoon at 4PM. Exclaim has a feature on the band.

MP3: First Aid Kit – “Hard Believer”
MP3: First Aid Kit – “Sailor Song” (live)

The Old Crow Medicine Show will be at the Phoenix on July 13.

Video: Old Crow Medicine Show – “Wagon Wheel”

The Black Keys have added a second local date in support of the just-released Brothers; in addition to the sold-out August 3 show at the Kool Haus, they’ll also be there the following night, August 4. The Morning Benders will support both nights.

Video: The Black Keys – “Next Girl”

Though the new Belle & Sebastian record is nearly finished – their Twitter is abuzz with updates and hey, does anyone remember when this band was all mysterious and stuff? – Stuart Murdoch continues to find time to tend to his God Help The Girl project, releasing a new non-album single and video. “Baby You’re Blind” features vocals from Linnea Jonsson of Swedes Those Dancing Days; it’s available digitally and as a 7″, and has an accompanying video. And while I haven’t figured out exactly where they got it, the pull quote at BrooklynVegan certainly implies that there’ll be some B&S live dates in Canada this Summer/Fall. Hey, maybe we can get THEM to play the Islands as well!

Video: God Help The Girl – “Baby You’re Blind”

Yours Truly has posted a video session with Camera Obscura.

Amelia Fletcher, formerly of Heavenly and currently of Tender Trap, talks to Spinner about being name-checked on the new Hold Steady record. The new Tender Trap record Dansette Dansette is due out on June 22.

MP3: Tender Trap – “Girls With Guns”
Video: Tender Trap – “Girls With Guns”

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Neil Halstead’s performance at the Truck America festival in New York state earlier this month.

Love Shack Baby catches a word with Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, who also stopped in to play some songs for Tripwire, captured on video.

Johnny Marr tells BBC6 that work on The Cribs’ new record is coming along swimmingly.

Clash talks to The Futureheads about their new record The Chaos; it’s out next week and they’re at the Mod Club on June 10.

Platform chats with Frightened Rabbit.

Ian McCulloch of Echo & The Bunnymen gives Spinner his thoughts on audience participation at their shows.

Billboard talks to Richard Thompson about his decision to record his new record Dream Attic, out August 31, entirely live in concert.

NME reports that the second album from Nick Cave side-project Grinderman will arrive on September 13 under the title of Grinderman 2. The first record was greasy, grimy and awesome – I expect no less from this one.

Interview interviews Jonsi.

Magnet has a Q&A with Bettie Serveert’s Carol van Dyk as a kick-off to her week as guest editor of their website.