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Posts Tagged ‘Empire Of The Sun’

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Lay Us Down

While I was out… featuring Holograms and things of a rest-of-the-world nature

Photo By KnotanKnotanI won’t deny that one of the reasons I was so keen to go to Stockholm on this last vacation was my affection for Swedish music, specifically the melancholically melodic indie-pop of that the likes of Jens Lekman, I Break Horses, and The Cardigans have done so well over the years. This is not at all how you’d describe Holograms, the quartet of 20-something Stockholmers who’ve just released their second album Forever; their tense and wiry post-punk has far more in common with the likes of Denmark’s Iceage than any of their countrymen, though their approach is a hair less nihilistic and more anthemic. Which is to say they’re marginally less likely to punch you in the face than Iceage.

Noisey posted an advance stream of Forever last week, but seeing as how the album’s now out, it’s not an advance stream anymore – just a stream. But what is new is a new video, premiered yesterday at Interview, and the announcement of a North American tour that hits The Garrison on December 8.

MP3: Holograms – “Flesh & Bone”
Video: Holograms – “Meditations”
Stream: Holograms / Forever

Empire Of The Sun have released a new, characteristically epic video from Ice On The Dune – just in time for their show at The Danforth Music Hall on September 9. The Huffington Post has an interview with bandleader Luke Steele.

Video: Empire Of The Sun – “DNA”

The Quietus and The Line Of Best Fit have everything you need with respect to Emiliana Torrini’s new record Tookah – the former has an advance stream ahead of its release next Tuesday, September 10, and the latter has a track-by-track walkthrough by Torrini herself. The Quietus also solicited a list of Torrini’s favourite albums.

Stream: Emiliana Torrini / Tookah

Pitchfork have an advance stream of Apar, the new album from Spanish electro-pop ensemble Delorean, while Filter and Stereogum have feature interviews. The new record is out September 10 and they play The Horseshoe on October 17.

Stream: Delorean / Apar

Clash has an advance stream of múm’s new long-player Smilewound, which also has a new video. It’s out September 10.

Video: múm – “Toothwheels”
Stream: múm / Smilewound

Icona Pop are streaming another new song from their international debut This Is… Icona Pop, out September 24.

Stream: Icona Pop – “My Party”

Danish electro-pop artist Nanna Øland Fabricius, aka Oh Land, has a new album in Wish Bone coming out September 24. She’s premiered the first video at Rolling Stone and announced a North American tour that brings her to The Great Hall on September 30, tickets $15.

Video: Oh Land – “Renaissance Girls”

Le Blogotheque films a Still Room Session with Of Monsters & Men in Rome while Iceland Review interviews the band.

Also at Le Blogotheque, a Take Away Show with Phoenix filmed in front of the Palace of Versailles. There’s also an interview at A Heart Is A Spade and they enter the wayback machine with Noisey to discuss their first hit, “If I Ever Feel Better”.

Noisey talks to Kate Boy’s Kate Akhurst while Vogue takes her shopping.

The Guardian Q&As Björk.

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Concert Pitch

Empire Of The Sun are bringing their intimate, stripped down live show to a stage near you

Photo via empireofthesun.comempireofthesun.comConsidering how much trouble it took epic Australian synth-pop duo Empire Of The Sun to make it to Toronto the first time – an August 2010 appearance at Echo Beach around their Lollapalooza set was nixed because of logistics and when the make-up show finally happened in September 2011, it was at the significantly smaller Sound Academy and still not especially well-attended – I didn’t really expect a return engagement if indeed a North American tour behind their second album Ice On The Dune even happened. After all, as big stars as they are back home, their profile in the northern hemisphere isn’t really on the same scale. But returning to North America they are, and the itinerary does indeed include a return to Toronto on September 9 at the probably much more appropriately-sized Danforth Music Hall, tickets running $30 to $35.

Given the almost five years since their debut Walking On A Dream came out and the fact that in The Sleepy Jackson, Luke Steele demonstrated an almost pathological stylistic restlessness, it’s somewhat surprising that Ice On The Dune treads much of the same ground as its predecessor. On a surface level, that’s all well and good as if you’re an Empire Of The Sun fan, you’re all about grandiose, danceable tunes with soaring choruses mated to astonishing visuals. But the similarities will naturally elicit direct comparison and you can’t help but feel that the formula is returning fewer dividends this time out. If they don’t mix it up a bit for album number three, it could become and issue but for now, it’s still enough to get the swordfish dancers out on the road and that’s all that really matters.

The Age has an interview with Luke Steele, while Wired reports that the collaboration with JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot studios that produced the extravagant, three-minute Ice On The Dune trailer, is just a prelude to a larger feature. And oh yeah, don’t forget they’re scoring Dumb & Dumber 2.

Video: Empire Of The Sun – “Alive”
Trailer: Empire Of The Sun / Ice On The Dune

Northampton, Massachusetts pop-punk – in the sense that they’re both poppy and punky, not that they belong on the Warped tour – quartet Potty Mouth will be at The Shop Under Parts & Labour on August 5, topping an $8, six-band bill that may well entice you underground to close out the August long weekend. Their debut Hell Bent is out September 17 and there’s features on them at Noisey and CMJ.

Video: Potty Mouth – “Damage”

Her duties supporting second album The Midnight Mass will bring Louise Burns to The Drake Underground on September 10 where she’ll also be supporting Lightning Dust. Tickets for that are still $12.50.

Video: Louise Burns – “Emeralds Shatter”

English newcomer and BBC Sound of 2013 longlister King Krule will be at The Drake on September 11 in support of his debut Six Feet Beneath The Moon, out August 24. Tickets for that are $15 in advance.

Video: King Krule – “Octopus”

Anyone who thinks that the garage-friendly triple bill of Wavves, Jacuzzi Boys, and King Tuff won’t be extra loud and unruly when it hits the Opera House on September 29 is probably wrong. But that’s kind of the point. Tickets are $19 and the full touring itinerary can be had over at Pitchfork.

MP3: Wavves – “Hippies Is Punks”
MP3: Jacuzzi Boys – “Automatic Jail”
MP3: King Tuff – “Anthem”

New York gloomy gusses Crystal Stilts have a new album in Nature Noir coming out September 17 – stream a new song below – and will be at The Horseshoe on October 8 to play you songs from it. Tickets for that are $12.50.

Stream: Crystal Stilts – “Star Crawl”

With his once and maybe future Sonic Youth bandmate Thurston Moore there a little less than a month earlier with Chelsea Light Moving, Lee Ranaldo and his new band The Dust will be at The Horseshoe on October 11, tickets $16.50. Matablog says that the tour is in support of his new solo record, the follow up to 2011’s Between The Times & The Tides, but isn’t saying any more about that for the moment.

MP3: Lee Ranaldo – “Off The Wall”

English electronic duo Fuck Buttons celebrated yesterday’s release of their new album Slow Focus with the announcement of a North American tour that brings them to Wrongbar on October 16, tickets $12. Interview, The Guardian, Clash, The Fly, and The Quietus have feature pieces on the band.

Video: Fuck Buttons – “The Red Wing”

With a new album in On Oni Pond ready for a September 10 release, Philadelphia weirdos – meant in the most complimentary sense – Man Man have slated a Fall tour that brings them to The Horseshoe on October 18, tickets $18.50.

MP3: Man Man – “Knuckle Down”

English folk-poppers Noah & The Whale have announced the dates for their Fall tour in support of album number four, Heart Of Nowhere. They’re at The Phoenix in Toronto on October 19, tickets $25.

Video: Noah & The Whale – “Lifetime”

Two good things about the announcement of a Shad show at The Opera House on October 19. One, it means that his next album Flying Colours will be out sooner rather than later, and two, it means that anyone who wants to see him perform no longer needs to go see him open up for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at Echo Beach on August 2. CBC has a check-in with the rapper.

Video: Shad – “It Ain’t Over”

Seattle folkies The Head & The Heart have completed their second album, entitled Let’s Be Still and set for an October 15 release, and have put together a pretty extensive tour covering the eastern half of the continent. They’re celebrating Hallowe’en in Toronto with an October 31 date at The Danforth Music Hall – tickets $20 to $25.50 – and the very worthy Thao & The Get Down Stay Down will support.

MP3: The Head & The Heart – “Down In The Valley”
MP3: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “Holy Roller”

New York synth-pop duo Holy Ghost! will release their second album Dynamics on September 10, and to get people stoked – as the kids say – they’ve put out a video for a track already made available to download and will be hitting the road later this Fall, rolling into The Hoxton on November 6, tickets $16.

MP3: Holy Ghost! – “Teenagers In Heat”
Video: Holy Ghost! – “Teenagers In Heat”

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

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

In Your Eyes

Kate Boy and Gold & Youth at Wrongbar in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt might seem like an act of massive hubris for a brand-new band from abroad to book a North American tour with no official release, not even a handful of released songs, and barely a month’s worth of experience performing live, but Sweden’s Kate Boy did just that in rolling into Wrongbar on Sunday night for the third of six dates on this continent. But when each of those three singles and videos have been met with immensely positive response and the right outlets are paying attention, maybe it’s less an act of starry-eyed optimism than a canny first move in a well-orchestrated, long-term marketing strategy.

Though I was intrigued by the aforementioned singles – particular with them on repeat whilst writing this – it took the announcement of Vancouver’s Gold & Youth as support to cement my attendance. Though they were hardly going to be strangers to Toronto stages over this week, opening up the Arts & Crafts Field Trip fest on Saturday and also playing NXNE, the odds of my catching any of those shows was going to slim. And I wanted to see them – their just-released debut Beyond Wilderness being a solid if not life-altering document of ’80s-ish synth-pop that I suspected would come across stronger live than on record. And indeed, it did. Utilizing a conventional band lineup augmented by synths and samples, rather than the other way around, their live show was more energetic and brought their musicianship to the fore, if also laying bare their Cure, New Order, and Depeche Mode influences. Danceable without being dance music, the affirmed themselves as a band with a great if familiar sound, and good to very good songs that should just get better.

Just as it wouldn’t have surprised me if Wrongbar had been empty for Kate Boy’s Canadian debut, it also didn’t surprise me that there was a very respectable-sized crowd by the time the foursome took the stage, uniform of black t-shirts and baseball caps intact. I was surprised, though, that much of the audience seemed not to be the curious out to be convinced, but genuine fans wanting to have their belief confirmed – looks like three songs can really go a long way. Thankfully, the band had more than that in their repertoire, and their 40-minute set was tightly choreographed and impressively crafted – what was that about having only played their first-ever gig in May? The three singles were spaced out so as to be able to keep the momentum up, and basically performed live as extended remixes to effectively balance familiarity and freshness. The rest of the material adhered to the same formula of big heavy beats and even bigger choruses, so if you liked one you were pretty much going to like them all.

While her bandmates kept their Scandinavian cool whilst manning their synths, drums, and bass with laser focus, frontwoman Kate Akhurst was all smiles and arm-waving dance moves, clearly less concerned with maintaining their icy aesthetic than having and giving a good time. And it’s a pretty safe bet that for everyone in attendance, a good time was had. There’s probably not ever going to be a narrative around Kate Boy that casts them as the scrappy, DIY upstarts. There’s something very calculated about their career trajectory so far, and even though they’re currently signed to Los Angeles indie IAMSOUND for their singles, five will get you six that like label alumnus Florence & The Machine, Charli XCX, and Little Boots, their debut will be on a major. Not that that matters, really – all that does is they’ve got the look, they’ve got the sound, and they’ve got the show. Everything is going according to plan.

Exclaim also has a review of the show while Idolator and Chicago Now have posted interviews with the band. MSN gets to know Louise Burns as both a member of Gold & Youth and solo artist, whose second album The Midnight Mass comes out July 9.

Photos: Kate Boy, Gold & Youth @ Wrongbar – June 9, 2013
MP3: Kate Boy – “Northern Lights”
Video: Kate Boy – “The Way We Are”
Video: Kate Boy – “In Your Eyes”
Video: Kate Boy – “Northern Lights”
Video: Gold & Youth – “Jewel”
Video: Gold & Youth – “Time To Kill”

Exclaim has an advance stream of Beady Eye album BE, though since the album is now out as of this week – in the UK, at least – it’s not so advance. The Independent has an interview with Liam Gallagher where he sounds off on this and that.

Stream: Beady Eye / BE

Drowned In Sound talks to CHVRCHES, in town tomorrow night – June 12 – for a show at The Hoxton.

Sigur Rós have turned to their live show projections for the video to the title track and to CBC Music to host an advance stream of their new album Kveikur, coming June 18. The stream is probably geoblocked to Canada, but rest of the world can be sure that their territories will be attended to shortly. Update: Try Amazon.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Kveikur”
Stream: Sigur Rós / Kveikur

Rolling Stone and Refinery 29 have feature pieces on Empire Of The Sun and their new album Ice On The Dune, out June 18 and available to stream now at Rolling Stone. Yahoo, meanwhile, gets a look behind the scenes at the band’s visual presentation.

Stream: Empire Of The Sun / Ice On The Dune

Also out next week – at least domestically in North America – and doing the advance stream thing now is More Light, the new record from Primal Scream. That’s up at NPR.

Stream: Primal Scream / More Light

Editors are streaming a new b-side from the first single for their forthcoming The Weight Of Your Love. The new album is out July 1.

Stream: Editors – “The Sting”

TOY and Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan have teamed up for a cover of Iranian artist Amir Rassaei. It’s out on July 1 as a 7″ single. More details at Pitchfork.

Stream: TOY with Natasha Khan – “The Bride”

The Line Of Best Fit gets to know Camera Obscura. They play the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Common on July 4.

Icona Pop discuss the inspiration behind their hit, “I Don’t Care”, with MTV. They play Garrison Common on August 3 as part of The Grove Fest.

Beatroute, Scout Magazine, and Vita.mn have interviews with José González of Junip.

The National Post and Canada.com have interviews with The xx, who premiered a new video from Coexist last week via Noisey.

Video: The xx – “Fiction”

Metro interviews Bloc Party, who tell Canada.com that following this Summer’s touring commitments, they’re going back on indefinite hiatus.

NME talks to the director of the new video from Billy Bragg’s Tooth & Nail; NPR also has a Mountain Stage video session with the singer-songwriter.

Video: Billy Bragg – “Handyman’s Blues”

DIY has a feature interview with Laura Marling.

The Guardian welcomes Suede to their studios for a video session.

The Joy Formidable have released a live video of them performing an acoustic cover of Echo & The Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon”.

Video: The Joy Formidable – “The Killing Moon” (live)

Clash invites Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison to take a swing at some of the songs currently on the UK charts.

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Beginning To Blue

Still Corners, Savages, Little Boots lead streams from across the pond

Photo By Chona KasingerChona KasingerNext week is a pretty big week for new album releases, particularly if you’re favourably inclined towards records coming out of the UK, which means that this week is a pretty big week for advance album streams.

And while it’s not the one that everyone will tell you you should be paying attention to, Still Corners’ second record Strange Pleasures is one you shouldn’t overlook – particularly if you assumed you knew what they were all about from their 2011 debut Creatures Of An Hour. Clearly they felt they’d mined the Broadcast-y throwback atmospheric pop thing as far as they could, because they’ve stripped the band down to just principals Tessa Murray and Greg Hughes and gone in for a more ’80s-flavoured, synth-heavy sound. But despite the pretty thorough stylistic reboot, they’ve kept and built on their core strengths – the songwriting and Murray’s elegant coo of a voice – to create a record that’s wholly different yet just as winning. No mean feat.

Exclaim has the advance stream of the record. They’re in town on June 12 supporting CHVRCHES at The Hoxton and hopefully will also make a NXNE appearance or two.

MP3: Still Corners – “Fireflies”
MP3: Still Corners – “Berlin Lovers”
Stream: Still Corners / Strange Pleasures

The British album coming out next week that everyone will be expecting you to pay attention to is Silence Yourself, the debut album from Savages. And contrary to most peoples’ experiences, I’ve found myself more impressed with the record than I was by their live show because it still captures much of that tense and abrasive live energy, but also affirms that they’ve got songs – not something I definitively took away from the performance. The band are streaming their album on their own site – kudos on maintaining their independent, DIY attitude – and are the subject of feature pieces at Pitchfork and The Skinny.

Stream: Savages / Silence Yourself

Little Boots’ second album Nocturnes finally comes out on May 7, and Pitchfork has got the stream, while Teezfm and The San Francisco Examiner have interviews and Noisey gets Victoria Hesketh to revisit some of her many looks over the years.

MP3: Little Boots – “Motorway”
MP3: Little Boots – “Every Night I Say A Prayer”
Stream: Little Boots / Nocturnes

London guitar-pop It Hugs Back have turned to The Big Takeover for the advance stream of their third album Recommended Record, out next week.

Stream: It Hugs Back / Recommended Record

The Line Of Best Fit and The Quietus talk to Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, whose new album More Light is out May 6 in the UK but not until June 18 in North America.

Charlie Fink of Noah & The Whale chats with DIY about their new record Heart Of Nowhere, coming out next week.

Interview talks to Elena Tonra of Daughter, coming to town for a show at The Great Hall on May 7.

Stornoway have released a new video from Tales From Terra Firma, just in time for their show at The Horseshoe on May 9.

Video: Stornoway – “The Bigger Picture”

Not only are Marina & The Diamonds and Charli XCX tourmates, they’re also now recording buddies. Marina Diamandis and Charlotte Aitchison have collaborated on a new song which they’re giving away to the masses; odds of them performing it together when they hit Echo Beach on May 23? Probably pretty good. Elsewhere, The Province has an interview with Diamandis.

MP3: Charli XCX and Marina & The Diamonds – “Just Desserts”

Beady Eye are streaming another new, wholly un-Oasis-like song from their second album BE, due out June 10. Liam Gallagher talks a bit to NME about the new record.

Stream: Beady Eye – “Second Bite Of The Apple”

Billboard reports that following an impressive scavenger hunt of sorts, Scottish electronic act Boards Of Canada have confirmed a June 11 release of their new record Tomorrow’s Harvest.

Empire Of The Sun have released the first, typically over the top video from their new record Ice On The Dune, coming out June 17.

Video: Empire Of The Sun – “Alive”

Sigur Rós have released a lyric video for the second preview of their new album Kveikur, out June 18. Sing along with Jonsi!

Lyric Video: Sigur Ros – “Ísjaki”

The Toronto Sun interview the Frenchmen of Phoenix, while The Talkhouse gets Bob Mould to review their new record Bankrupt!. He likes it, though apparently not enough to have stayed part of The Grove Fest lineup, which Phoenix headlines on August 3 at Garrison Commons.

Norwegian electro-pop princess Annie has a new video for a new song which probably comes from a new album, which we’ll eventually find out more about.

Video: Annie – “Tube Stops And Lonely Hearts”

BrooklynVegan is hosting a The Tallest Man On Earth video session for Moog Sound Labs.

Folks who want to see the new Kate Nash from Girl Talk can hit up DIY if they’re in the UK or MTVU if they’re in the US. Everyone else can thank this guy on YouTube for upping a non-geoblocked version.

Video: Kate Nash – “OMYGOD!”

Taken By Trees have put out a new video from last year’s Other Worlds.

Video: Taken By Trees – “Only You”

The National Post interviews Johnny Marr.

Spin has compiled an oral history of PJ Harvey’s landmark Rid Of Me, now all of 20 years old.