Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘Esben & The Witch’

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Given To The Wild

The Maccabees at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt was an odd thing to realize about a third of the way through The Maccabees’ debut Canadian performance at The Mod Club on Monday night, but it dawned on me that I wasn’t so much a fan of the band than their excellent latest album, last year’s Mercury-shortlisted Given To The Wild. Not that this points to any enmity towards the Brighton-based Brits, but I tend to form longish-term – or at least in-depth – relationships with the bands I like and go and see, but no such bond had been formed with The Maccabees and their almost decade-long history, perhaps because of their until-now reluctance to actively cultivate a North American fanbase.

This was not to say that they didn’t already have one. Though the show wasn’t sold out, the years of pent-up demand ensured that there was a strong showing of those who did have long-term relationships with the band. And while the set did feature an abundance of Wild material, fan service was very much in effect with their first two records Colour It In and Wall Of Arms very well-represented, with the mission statement being less about being a recital of Wild‘s carefully-crafted arc than just putting on a powerful show.

Observations on this new (to me) material from their catalog was that the elegant, atmospheric anthemicism of Wild seemed a bit of a left turn for the band, as the older material felt more straight-ahead with their roots in the Bloc Party-led post-punk scene of some years back clearly evident. It may have been less sophisticated, but it definitely helped make for an energized show with the band’s three-guitar attack helpfully turned up in the mix, though often to the point of obscuring vocalist Orlando Weeks’ powerfully delicate tenor.

Another new dimension to the band that I hadn’t picked up on from the record was that they were quite a charismatic rock band, particularly the shaggy hair and leather jacket-clad, guitar hero-posing White brothers. I don’t know why I had thought they’d be more conservative, art-rock aesthetes but I did and they certainly weren’t. They were unabashedly pleased to finally be playing in this country and the Toronto faction of their fanclub – or Facebook likers, I guess – were most pleased to have them. That said, I would have expected the show to go longer than the hour and change that it did but couldn’t complain about “Grew Up At Midnight” as a main set finale – almost as grandiose live as on record, even with Weeks taking a mulligan on it after botching the opening, nor about the “Heave”/”Pelican” double-header to wrap the encore. A solid show and plenty of incentive to have properly done my homework on the band by the time they return.

Exclaim also has a review of the show, and CBC Music and The National Post both have interviews with the band, though CBC goes one further offering a stream of Given To The Wild for the rest of week.

Photos: The Maccabees @ The Mod Club – February 11, 2013
MP3: The Maccabees – “Go”
Video: The Maccabees – “Ayla”
Video: The Maccabees – “Went Away”
Video: The Maccabees – “Feel To Follow”
Video: The Maccabees – “Feel To Follow” (alternate)
Video: The Maccabees – “Pelican”
Video: The Maccabees – “Empty Vessels”
Video: The Maccabees – “Can You Give It”
Video: The Maccabees – “Love You Better”
Video: The Maccabees – “No Kind Words”
Video: The Maccabees – “Toothpaste Kisses”
Video: The Maccabees – “Precious Time”
Video: The Maccabees – “About Your Dress”
Video: The Maccabees – “First Love”
Video: The Maccabees – “Latchmere”
Video: The Maccabees – “X-Ray”
Stream: The Maccabees / Given To The Wild

MTV Hive chats with Veronica Falls, in town at The Garrison on March 12.

Esben & The Witch have released a new video from their second album Wash The Sins Not Only The Face. They play The Drake Underground on March 25.

Video: Esben & The Witch – “When The Head Splits”

British Sea Power have posted a stream of the title track of their next album Machineries Of Joy, due out April 1.

Stream: British Sea Power – “Machineries Of Joy”

Cool Hunting interviews the directors of Foals’ video for “My Number”, off their just-released Holy Fire; they’ve gone super lo-tech – CCTV-style – for a new rehearsal space clip they’ve shared and are interviewed by BBC. Foals are at The Kool Haus on May 11.

Video: Foals – “Milk & Black Spiders” (CCTV)

Vogue gets Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes to strap on the Telecaster for an on-video, in-studio reading of “Marilyn”.

Flagpole talks to David Gedge of The Wedding Present about taking their 1991/92 Hit Parade collection on tour.

Keyboardist Gillian Gilbert and graphic designer Peter Saville reminisce about the making of New Order’s “Blue Monday” to The Guardian.

Pitchfork is doing the advance stream thing for Iceage’s new album You’re Nothing, out next Tuesday.

MP3: Iceage – “Coalition”
Stream: Iceage / You’re Nothing

Efterklang have released a new video from last year’s Piramida. Look for them at The Mod Club on March 21.

Video: Efterklang – “The Living Layer”

Indians film a Takeaway Show for Le Blogotheque. They play The Drake on March 4.

Phoenix have come clean on some details of their next album, Bankrupt!. It’s out April 22 and Rolling Stone has the artwork and track listing.

And it hardly answers all the questions raised a couple week back, but the Toronto Urban Roots Fest now has a website and more information for the curious. Like how the already-announced She & Him and Camera Obscura bill of July 4 is only the first of four days – two evenings and two full days – taking place largely at Fort York’s Garrison Commons, though with some club-level overflow. New acts will be announced every week for the new couple months, but if you’re doing some digging then checking out who’s playing Montreal’s Jazz Festival and Ottawa’s Bluesfest are probably good starting points. Think about it.

Monday, February 4th, 2013

only tomorrow

This is your (new) My Bloody Valentine

Photo via last.fmlast.fmAnd just like that, it was ours.

After the years – nay, decades – of rumours, promises, lies, delays, reverbs, reverse reverbs, bankruptcies, breakdowns, break-ups, reunions, side-projects, remasters, reissues, chinchillas, and endless myth-making, at the stroke of midnight GMT Saturday night, My Bloody Valentine released m b v, the long-awaited (to put it mildly) follow-up to 1991’s epochal Loveless.

Available immediately as digital downloads and in a few weeks as physical CDs and LPs, it’s a record that everyone believed existed – and has in some form since the previous century – but few thought would ever be heard, thanks to mastermind Kevin Shields’ perfectionism and unwillingness to exist in the same temporality as the rest of us. But here it is, all breathy vocals overtop churning, gliding guitars as if the past twenty years never happened. Some may wonder why Shields hasn’t seen fit to come up with new ideas in all that time – clearly it’s because he wasn’t done exploring these ones. m b v is very much the sequel to Loveless that a generation of shoegazers have longed for, a return to sonic territory that many have since tried to navigate but to which only Shields has the true map and compass. It’s hard to justify anything being worth a 20-year wait, this record makes a pretty good argument.

If you’re a My Bloody Valentine fan, your day has arrived. If not, give the album stream a listen and become one. Or don’t. That’s your business.

Stream: My Bloody Valentine / m b v

DIY reports that Primal Scream – who’ve counted both Shields and bassist Deb Googe as members over the past few years – have confirmed a May 6 release date for their new album More Light.

Suede are probably thinking they picked the absolute worst moment – late Saturday night – to unveil the first official video and single from their own comeback record Bloodsports, out March 18.

Video: Suede – “It Starts And Ends With You”

Spin and Clash have interviews with Johnny Marr, who has announced the itinerary for the North American tour in support of The Messenger, out February 26; look for him in Toronto at The Phoenix on April 27.

Video: Johnny Marr – “Upstarts”

Rolling Stone has another of those New Order/Joy Division dirt-digging/mud-slinging interviews with Peter Hook. It’s almost like he’s got a book to sell or something.

Matablog has confirmed a North American tour for Brighton’s Esben & The Witch behind their second album Wash The Sins Not Only The Face; they’re at The Drake Underground on March 25.

MP3: Esben & The Witch – “Deathwaltz”

Craig Finn of The Hold Steady offers praise for Frightened Rabbit in the pages of Clash, while over at DIY they’ve got both an interview and video session with the band, and The Daily Record also has a chat. Pedestrian Verse is out tomorrow and they’re at The Phoenix on March 31.

eMusic talks to indie-pop MBV-acolytes The History Of Apple Pie.

DIY has a feature interview with Veronica Falls, whose second album Waiting For Something To Happen is out February 12. They play The Garrison March 12.

And as a nice tie-together of many/most of the artists featured in today’s post – or their musical offspring – the whole of the 2010 documentary film Upside-Down: The Creation Records Story is available to watch on YouTube. It’s fascinating stuff, do take the time to give it a view.

Video: Upside-Down: The Creation Records Story

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Step Up For The Cool Cats

Palma Violets, Decades, and Always at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFor those not in the business of keeping up with the buzz bands of the moment, Palma Violets may not yet have appeared on your radar. Though the release of their debut album 180 is still a month out, they’ve already been heralded as the vanguard of the return of guitar rock – I didn’t realize it had ever gone away – and various permutations of This Year’s Model. A title which, while a tremendously helpful leg up as far as getting people interested goes, is also a decidedly two-edged thing as by its very definition, it means that next year it’ll be someone else. Perhaps this is was why they opted to stage a North American tour before their record was out or the buzz had necessarily carried over the Atlantic except to the most devout Anglophiles; they built their name in the UK based on their live show, so why not do the same over here? And so, motivated by curiosity and an urge to get the first show of 2013 in the books, even in the tail end of a frigid cold snap, it was to the Horseshoe I went last Thursday night.

Opening up were some familiar faces in Always – very familiar, as they’d also supported the last few shows I caught at the end of 2012; such ubiquity from an act that had done its best to keep as low a profile online as possible. Each time out had been a little different, however – the full five-piece lineup that opened for The Joy Formidable was back following the stripped-down trio configuration that supported Joel Plaskett, and superficially frontwoman Molly Rankin was now very blonde. The tunes, as always, were indie-pop gems and with the full band back in place, it was a chance to again appreciate how well-arranged and fully-formed the songs were and their selection of The Primitives’ 1988 UK hit “Crash” as a cover was perfectly suited. Perhaps best of all, the online demos that went AWOL shortly after my first writeup on the band have now been replaced with properly-recorded versions that are meant for public ears to hear, so you don’t have to take my word for anything anymore – just go listen.

I’d spent the weeks leading up to the show assuming that the middle band on the will was this Decades – a metal band from Albany, New York – and not this Decades from right here in Toronto. Bands, let this be a warning for you and your generic names. Even when the five-piece took the stage and clearly weren’t metal-punk bros, their wildly-mixed aesthetic – flowery shirts, fedoras, medallions, hoodies, eyeliner – didn’t offer much guidance as to what to expect. When they started playing, however, it all came together as a well-studied blend of goth and New Wave that struck a good balance between concise and atmospheric and was over and done in under 30 minutes. They’d have benefitted from a cleaner mix – particular on the vocals and guitar – and a decision to either commit to or dispense with a look, but were enjoyable well beyond simply not being what I feared/expected.

The problem, as Palma Violets are likely to find as their coming-out party progresses through 2013, is the question that will be asked will not simply be “are they good?” but “do they live up to the hype?”. And based on the three singles they’ve released to date and this show, the answer from this quarter to the former will be “not bad,” but to the latter, “no”. Frontmen Sam Fryer and Chilli Jesson have a great energy and chemistry onstage and do a good job of engaging a favourably disposed audience, but they don’t have the same facility for melody or anthemicism as the band they’re most frequently compared to, The Libertines. Their approach is punkier and more willing to descend into noisier, thuggish territory which goes to the band’s good live reputation but ultimately and most importantly, the songs aren’t very memorable. Their biggest single to date – “Best Of Friends” – succeeded in inciting a bit of laddish dancing and singalongs, but there wasn’t much sense that they brought anything more to the game than all the bands that held their place in the spotlight in years past. This isn’t to say that 180 won’t still surprise and reveal new depths, but whether their career trajectory will go more the way of The Vaccines or Brother remains unclear.

Photos: Palma Violets, Decades, Always @ The Horseshoe – January 24, 2013
Video: Palma Violets – “Step Up For The Cool Cats”
Video: Palma Violets – “Last Of The Summer Wine”
Video: Palma Violets – “Best Of Friends”
Stream: Decades – “Celebrate”
Stream: Decades – “Can You Love Me Now”
Stream: Always – “Next Of Kin”
Stream: Always – “The Ones Who Love You”

DIY gets to know The History Of Apple Pie, whose debut Out Of View is out this week.

The Guardian, Clash, and Spin profile Frightened Rabbit and their new album Pedestrian Verse. It’s out next week on February 5, but is available to stream at The Guardian right now. They’re at The Phoenix on March 31.

Stream: Frightened Rabbit / Pedestrian Verse

NME reports that British Sea Power have completed work on their next album and will release Machineries Of Joy on April 1.

If you’d been hoping that the new old Pulp song that surfaced at the very end of last year might become available to purchase legitimately, rejoice – Artrocker reports that it should be available for iTunes download as of today (though not there at the moment, as far as I can tell). But if you’re happy with the stream, that’s cool too. Jarv ain’t fussed.

Stream: Pulp – “After You”

DIY and Elle interview The Joy Formidable. They’re at The Phoenix on April 12.

Rolling Stone talks to guitarist Earl Slick about the secret recording sessions that produced the new David Bowie record The Next Day, out March 12.

Richard Thompson’s new Electric album is up to stream at NPR; it’s out next week and he plays Massey Hall supporting Emmylou Harris on March 22.

Stream: Richard Thompson / Electric

Clash and The Quietus talk to Esben & The Witch.

SF Weekly interviews Patrick Wolf.

Interview catches up with Emmy The Great at the Sundance Film Festival, where the film Austenland – which she scored – premiered.

And normally I wouldn’t file a single tweet as news, but when it recounts Kevin Shields saying at last night’s My Bloody Valentine show as saying their new album would be available in “two to three days”… that’s news. You missed your 2012 deadline, Kev, but come through on this promise and all is forgiven.

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Feel To Follow

Review of The Maccabees’ Given To The Wild and giveaway

Photo via themaccabees.co.ukthemaccabees.co.ukIt never seemed that Brighton’s Maccabees ever worked themselves into the position of British buzz band of the moment from a North American perspecitve, despite it seeming so easy to do so these days. Whether this was by design or misfortune isn’t really clear, but if idea was to make a proper first impression with their third album, last year’s Given To The Wild, then it was a bloody good idea.

The stylistic touchstones on Wild will be familiar to those who keep up with contemporary British indie – Foals-y tension, Wild Beasts-ish sensuality, Bloc Party-approved rhythms, Elbow-esque stateliness – but what it lacks in boundary-pushing, it makes up for with a remarkable balance of lush atmosphere, technical precision, and grand emotional evocations, all conveyed with impeccable classiness. Singer Orlando Weeks’ vocals, alternately shifting from choirboy falsetto to Win Butler-ish yelp, float above guitars that move from liquid placidity to dangerous churn, all impressively grand yet only going big – as in really big – when necessary. The Maccabees haven’t sought to redefine what Brit-rock is, but offer up an excellent representation of what it can be.

I had been concerned that last Fall’s North American dates supporting Florence & The Machine would represent the whole of the band’s North American agenda for this record, but they’re spending pretty much the entire month of February exploring our highways and byways. They’re at The Mod Club on Monday, February 11, and courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got three pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to see The Maccabees” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me by midnight, January 31.

MP3: The Maccabees – “Go”
Video: The Maccabees – “Ayla”
Video: The Maccabees – “Went Away”
Video: The Maccabees – “Feel To Follow”
Video: The Maccabees – “Feel To Follow” (alternate)
Video: The Maccabees – “Pelican”

Allo Darlin’ have made the whole of their Covers EP available to stream; it’s available for sale as a limited-edition 10″ or as, you know, MP3s. There’s only 300 copies of the vinyl, which collects their versions of tunes by The French, Bruce Springsteen, and AC/DC amongst others, but there’s at most 299 copies left for sale. FYI.

Stream: Allo Darlin’ / Covers

The Dumbing Of America has an interview with London newcomers The History Of Apple Pie, whose debut album Out Of View – a winning blend of sugary pop vocals and abrasive guitarwork – is out next week but streaming now at Clash. Recommended for anyone who thinks on the ’90s fondly.

Video: The History Of Apple Pie – “Mallory”
Video: The History Of Apple Pie – “You’re So Cool”
Stream: The History Of Apple Pie / Out Of View

The Fader gets to know Scottish buzz(y synth) band CHVRCHES. They’re in town at Mod Club on March 20, and while details of their debut North American EP are still forthcoming, another track to preview has surfaced to stream.

Stream: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”

Ireland’s folk-pop outfit Little Green Cars, who along with CHVRCHES were on the BBC’s Sound of 2013 list, though unlike them they didn’t finish in the top 5. They are, however, still embarking on their own North American tour and will be at The Drake – where they opened for Daughter in October – on March 28, tickets $10.

Video: Little Green Cars – “The John Wayne”

The Scotland Herald and Gainsborough Standard profile Frightened Rabbit, and The Line Of Best Fit a video session. Their new record Pedestrian Verse is out February 5 and they play The Phoenix March 31.

The Joy Formidable talks to Under The Radar about their 2012, Filter about their new album Wolf’s Law, out this Tuesday, and give DIY a track-by-track walkthrough of it. All Saints also has a two-song video session with the band recorded in one of their stores’ basements.

Yannis Philippakis of Foals talks to Drowned In Sound about their new record Holy Fire, out February 12.

The 405 and DIY interview Esben & The Witch, whose second album Wash The Sins Not Only The Face is out January 22. That’s tomorrow.

The Line Of Best Fit reports that last week, Little Boots leaked a new song under the cryptic alias of LB. As in Little Boots. Okay, not that cryptic. She’s still not offering any specifics on her second album but speculation is that it’ll be out around March. Victoria Hesketh gave her hometown Blackpool Gazette an interview.

Stream: Little Boots – “Superstitious Heart”

Ladytron’s Helen Marnie talks to The Electricity Club about how things are progressing on her forthcoming solo record.

Slicing Up Eyeballs has details on Billy Bragg’s new album Tooth & Nail, out March 18, and an extensive North American tour which somehow doesn’t include Toronto at the moment, and given the routing I don’t think it will, at least this time around. Alas.

Richard Thompson’s new record is Electric in both title and execution, and will be out February 5. A song from it is available to stream, Exclaim has details, and he’s undertaking a North American tour supporting Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell which brings him to Massey Hall on March 22 for his first visit since September 2011. RT and Emmylou? Yeah, that’s a night of music. The St. Augustine Record also has an interview with the man.

Stream: Richard Thompson – “Good Things Happen To Bad People”

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Fri-End?

Kate Nash taking Girl Talk on the road; boys also welcome but they have to sit quietly.

Photo By Christopher DadeyChristopher DadeyConsidering that touring North American is an expensive proposition for a British artist, it’s pretty commendable that for her first two albums – her 2007 debut Made Of Bricks and 2010’s My Best Friend Is YouKate Nash managed to not only come through town twice, but first play a relatively intimate club show for her devoted fanbase before stepping up to a bigger room the second time around (Mod Club then Phoenix, both times).

Considering that she no longer has major label dollars backing her – she bought herself out of her record contract after finishing up with Friend in favour of crowdfunding and self-releasing future efforts – it might not be reasonable to expect the pattern to continue, but apparently it might. Hot on the heels of announcing the March 5 release of her third album Girl Talk, Nash has scheduled a North American tour that brings her to town on March 15 to play her smallest stage yet, The Horseshoe Tavern. Tickets for that show are $18.50, on sale this Friday, and interpreting the cozier room as an indication her fanbase is shrinking is probably a mistake – that Best Friend Mod Club show in April 2010 was jammed, and not by folks who seemed like an uneven sophomore effort would diminish their devotion.

It will be interesting to see where Girl Talk takes Nash. Best Friend found her torn between the sassy-catchy piano-pop that she excels at, and the riot grrrl-inspired punk that she’s rather less good at but also clearly determined to stick to. Last Fall’s Death Proof EP had far more guitars than piano, but checked the abrasiveness for melody so the optimist might see this as evidence that a happy balance could still be found. A speculative track listing for Girl Talk doesn’t make it seem like her pen has gotten any less pointed, but hopefully there’ll be more singing that shrieking. The first single from the new record, made available to stream last week, is certainly promising.

Stream: Kate Nash – “3AM”
Video: Kate Nash – “Death Proof”
Video: Kate Nash – “Fri-End?”

Canadian Musicfest is usually all filled up with – wait for it – Canadian music, but the ever-expanding list of showcasing artists has got a pretty strong international flavour this year; certainly more than recent years… assuming that there isn’t a spate of last-minute cancellations like last year. There’s a solid Scandinavian bloc of acts that I’ll talk about at a later date, but also a couple of BBC Sound of 2013 finalists coming to town. Scottish electro-pop trio CHVRCHES – who came in fifth in the BBC polling – will headline The Mod Club on March 20, and post-punk stabby-guitar quintet Savages are at Lee’s Palace on March 23. Advance tickets will be available for both, and festival wristbands will also get you in. If they don’t sell out via tickets first. Clash and DIY have introductory features on CHVRCHES.

Video: CHVRCHES – “Lies”
Video: Savages – “I Am Here” (live)

If you were thinking that with The Joy Formidable’s new album Wolf’s Law due out next week that an advance stream should be showing up soon, then you would be correct, and Rolling Stone has it. Mancunian Matters has an interview with frontwoman Ritzy Bryan.

Stream: The Joy Formidable / Wolf’s Law

Pitchfork has got the whole of Esben & The Witch’s second album Wash The Sins Not Only The Face available to stream. It’s out January 22.

MP3: Esben & The Witch – “Deathwaltz”
Stream: Esben & The Witch / Wash The Sins Not Only The Face

Bloc Party have released a new video from last year’s Four. They’re at Fort York on June 8 as part of the Arts & Crafts Field Trip festival.

Video: Bloc Party – “Truth”

Under The Radar points to a stream of a new song from Still Corners, the b-side of their “Fireflies” 7″.

Stream: Still Corners – “Hearts Of Fools”

The Stool Pigeon has an interview with Veronica Falls, whose new album Waiting For Something To Happen is out February 12. They’re also releasing a limited-edition covers EP on or around the same day, and I warn you – of the 300 copies being made, at most only 299 remain. They’re at The Garrison on March 12.

Flavorpill has a video session with Bat For Lashes.

The Line Of Best Fit has all the specifics about the new Suede album Bloodsports, including artwork, tracklisting, and release date – March 18.

Drowned In Sound, news.com.au, and The Liverpool Echo interview Mr. Richard Hawley.

PopMatters has an interview with Tindersticks.

Amor de Días have released the first video from their new album The House at Sea, out January 29.

Video: Amor de Días – “Jean’s Waving”

Johnny Marr has released a new video from his forthcoming solo debut The Messenger, out February 26.

Video: Johnny Marr – “Upstarts”

Rolling Stone has got a stream of the new old New Order record Lost Sirens, comprised of unreleased material from their last studio album Waiting For The Sirens’ Call.

Stream: New Order / Lost Sirens

And if you like your Marr and Sumner together in one convenient package – perhaps with a side of Pet Shop Boys – then Slicing Up Eyeballs is pleased to report that the 1991 debut from Electronic will be getting a double-disc reissue on April 8, enhanced with bonus tracks.

Video: Electronic – “Getting Away With It”

Finally, because there’s no shortage of interesting David Bowie surfacing every day, there’s interviews with producer Tony Visconti and guitarist Earl Slick about the recording sessions for The Next Day at The Guardian and Rolling Stone. Bowie himself may not be interested in talking about the new album, out March 12, but his collaborators certainly are. And additionally, The Quietus challenges the myth that Bowie had turned into a recluse over the past 10 years while The Line Of Best Fit has helpfully compiled clips of Bowie’s best musical moments over the past 20 years – because despite conventional wisdom, there were more than a few.