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Posts Tagged ‘Exitmusic’

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Singers And The Endless Song

Iron & Wine & Local & Natives & NXNE & TURF & shows & stuff

Photo By Craig KiefCraig KiefSpring is only barely here – the past few days’ weather notwithstanding – but the concert announcement machine is already making eyes at Autumn with the unveiling of a couple of pretty high profile tours coming through town when the leaves start to change and the days get shorter.

Sam Beam, the walking epitome of bearded folk music, released Ghost On Ghost – his fifth album as Iron & Wine – last month, but until now only had Spring dates in the northeast and Europe confirmed on the itinerary. Come Fall, however, he and his band will traverse much of the middle of North America – the USA and Canada both – before wrapping things up in Toronto at The Sound Academy on September 28, advance tickets $30 for general admission and $40 for VIP balcony.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and New York Times have interviews with Sam Beam.

MP3: Iron & Wine – “Belated Promise Ring”
Video: Iron & Wine – “Joy”

Los Angeles’ Local Natives have already come through town once this year in support of their second album Hummingbird, but even a venue upgrade from The Opera House to The Phoenix wasn’t enough to meet demand. Hence, they’ve added a slew of dates that will take them around the planet and then some, stopping in Toronto at The Kool Haus on September 21, tickets $26.50. And if you’re thinking that you already saw them in March, know that they’ll have the quite excellent Wild Nothing along as support, touring behind last year’s Nocturne full-length and the just-released Empty Estate EP. There’s Local Natives feature pieces at The Huffington Post, Seattle Weekly, and Georgia Straight.

MP3: Local Natives – “You & I”
MP3: Wild Nothing – “Paradise”

Dialing things back to the Summer – and the festival circuit in particular – there were some updates of note over the last couple days. If you thought the otherwise comprehensive Arts & Crafts lineup for Field Trip had a conspicuous Dan Mangan-shaped hole in the lineup, you were right. And now it’s been filled by Dan Mangan himself; not just a similarly-bearded impersonator. That all goes down June 8 at Garrison Commons, and yes he’s still on the lineup for the Mumford-y “Gentlemen Of The Road Stopover” on August 23 out in Simcoe, Ontario.

MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”

NXNE revealed a bunch more acts for this year’s festival, descending on Toronto’s clubs from June 12 to 16, including Dan Deacon (despite his coming back a few weeks later to support Animal Collective’s make-up show), Still Corners (confirming they’re still doing festival dates in addition to the June 12 date supporting CHVRCHES at The Hoxton), and a slew of Canadian acts including Wintersleep, No Joy, The Super Friendz, Gold & Youth, and more – check out the artists page for a full list of current confirmed acts. I’ve also collated some of the where and when information, but there’s no point in sharing that ever-changing information until the official schedule is posted, which won’t be long because hey – the festival is less than a month away.

MP3: Dan Deacon – “Lots”
MP3: Still Corners – “Fireflies”
MP3: Wintersleep – “Resuscitate”

The Toronto Urban Roots Fest is mostly making waves as a multi-day, outdoor festival the likes of which Toronto hasn’t seen in some time, but its club-level happenings are turning out to be just as impressive, particularly if you’ve no love of multi-day, outdoor festivals. Running concurrently with the main festival, the club series will see the likes of Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys, The Wooden Sky, Dawes, and The Felice Brothers amongst others playing The Horseshoe and Lee’s Palace from July 4 to 7, tickets ranging from $20 to $30 including surcharges, on sale May 23. Some who where and when information is available at the TURF website.

MP3: Frank Turner – “The Roads”
MP3: Dawes – “If I Wanted Someone”
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”
Video: The Felice Brothers – “Ponzi”
Video: Alejandro Escovedo – “Sally Was A Cop” (live)

With their new record Planta set for a June 11 release and a new video from it just out, Brazil’s CSS have put together a North American tour that brings them to The Opera House on July 4, tickets $25.

MP3: CSS – “Hits Me Like A Rock”
Video: CSS – “Hangover”

There’s good news and bad news from the House Of Tomorrow: the good is that, with their new record Partygoing set to come out on June 4 (as well as the Memories of Love, Eternal Youth, and Partygoing. discography-collecting box set), Future Bible Heroes are undertaking a rare tour. The bad news is is that chief songwriter and personality Stephin Merritt will not be participating, though key members Claudia Gonson, Christopher Ewen, Shirley Simms, and Anthony Kaczynski will. So even without Merritt’s delicious dourness, a wonderful time should be had by all at Lee’s Palace on July 22. Tickets for that are $15.50.

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

The Fly talks to Chicago’s Smith Westerns about their new record Soft Will, which will be out June 25. They’ve released the first video and rolled out a batch of tour dates via Pitchfork; the Toronto date comes July 29 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $17.

MP3: Smith Westerns – “Still New”
Video: Smith Westerns – “Varsity”

With a new album in Pura Vida Conspiracy due out July 23, everyone’s favourite – and probably only – Gypsy punks Gogol Bordello have announced a massive tour that comes to Toronto for not one but two nights – August 19 and 20 at The Danforth Music Hall. Rolling Stone has a conversation with frontman Eugene Hutz.

Stream: Gogol Bordello – “Malandrino”

Pinback are back for a date at Lee’s Palace on September 7 in support of last year’s Information Retrieved; tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.

MP3: Pinback – “Proceed To Memory”

FIDLAR – whose name stands for “Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk”, if you were wondering – are teaming up with fellow Los Angelenos The Orwells for a Fall tour that hits The Hard Luck on October 18, tickets $13. FIDLAR released their self-titled debut earlier this year whereas The Orwells’ debut Remember When came out last year. DIY and The Clock have themselves FIDLAR features.

MP3: FIDLAR – “Cheap Beer”
MP3: The Orwells – “Other Voices”

Grantland and MusicOmh profile The National, whose new album Trouble Will Find Me is out on May 21 and who play Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.

It won’t be out in time for her July 13 date at The Kool Haus, but Spin has some info on Solange’s new album, which will be out this year on her own label under Sony.

Exitmusic have premiered a new video from last year’s debut Passage at NPR.

Video: Exitmusic – “White Noise”

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Human Being

Review of Cat Power’s Sun

Photo By Stefano GiovanniniStefano GiovanniniIt seems counter-intuitive to not look forward to hearing an artist’s first album of new material in half a decade – the follow-up to arguably her best work, no less – but then things are rarely straightforward when you’re talking about Cat Power. With all respect to those who’d bestow the honour on You Are Free or Moon Pix, but The Greatest was as good as its title as far as I was concerned. It may not have been as musically adventurous or emotionally bare as some of her other works, but I found the document of an artist trying something new with the Memphis soul style and sounding so in her element irresistible.

So why fear for the follow-up? Well, there was 2008’s Jukebox, which took the aesthetic of The Greatest and applied it to a selection of classic songs and somehow ended up feeling utterly bloodless, with Chan Marshall seemingly falling into the diva trap of now being an impressive voice overemoting the words of others; it was like the feeling of comfort that permeated The Greatest had turned into complacency. Further, while the two shows I saw in 2006 in support of The Greatest were, with a few hiccups, outstanding shows that seemed to put Marshall’s reputation as a shaky live bet to bed, her appearance at the 2007 Rogers Picnic was uneven and uncomfortable and while she was certainly more together at Matador at 21 in 2010, that set didn’t really point to her leaving her Dirty Delta comfort zone anytime soon. In other words, my greatest fear for Sun, promised as far back as 2007 but only arriving next Tuesday, would that it would be an overworked, underwhelming rock’n’soul pastiche that showcased Marshall’s voice but shortchanged her songwriting. And I didn’t want to hear that happen.

Well as it turns out, there was nothing to fear. Nothing. At. All. Marshall’s soulful rasp is as rich as it ever was, but there’s little trace of the gospel-blues singer that she wore a little too well. Sun is a wildly eclectic record, and even those who’ve kept up with Cat Power through her various creative phases may be taken aback by the introduction of electronic textures, programmed beats, and even some autotuning effects, but no one would dare dismiss this as genre tourism. It’s more as if Cat Power has been captured through a prism and refracted into a spectrum of musical colours – perhaps new and unfamiliar when taken in bits, but all still very much parts of the whole.

As tempting as it would be to make the new sonic direction the story of the record, or dwell on the remarkable fact that it was not only self-produced but that Marshall played virtually every instrument on the record, to do so would be to not focus on the most crucial aspect of Sun and that the songs are fantastic. The frailties of her early work have given way to a swaggering confidence that permeates everything; Marshall is focused, confident, and not only willing to take on anything, but determined to succeed. A closer examination of the lyrics reveals as much emotional honesty as she’s ever offered – after all, you can’t raise the sun without casting some shadows – but the darkness only adds depth, it never defines. Sun is an astonishing statement from Chan Marshall that shows that rather than banish the demons of her earlier work as The Greatest might have inferred, she’s utterly made them her bitches and put them to work.

The New York Times, News.com.au, and Spin have feature pieces on Cat Power and NPR is streaming Sun ahead of its release next week. She plays The Kool Haus on October 20.

MP3: Cat Power – “Cherokee”
MP3: Cat Power – “Ruin”
Stream: Cat Power / Sun

Another stellar effort from a veteran performer out next week is Silver Age from Bob Mould; it’s also now available to stream along with an interview at Rolling Stone. The first video from said record also surfaced last week.

Video: Bob Mould – “The Descent”
Stream: Bob Mould / Silver Age

To mark the release of the Divine Fits debut long-player A Thing Called Divine Fits this week, there’s feature interviews with Britt Daniel and/or Dan Boeckner at Consequence Of Sound, The 405, Interview, 680 News, Seattle Weekly, Pitchfork, The AV Club, and The National Post. Divine Fits play Lee’s Palace on September 5.

Also out this week was Nocturne, the second album from Wild Nothing. Accompanying that were features at eMusic, The Fader, Clash, DIY, Austinist, The Line Of Best Fit, and Paste. They’re at The Great Hall on September 18.

A goodly number of show announcements to get through. We’ll start with The Killers, because statistically speaking some of you must be fans, just as some of your must be human and others dancer. Their new record Battle Born is out September 18 and they’re at The Sound Academy on September 22, tickets $54.50. That seems undersized for them so I figure this counts as the “intimate club gig” before they return in a few months at the arena level.

Video: The Killers – “Runaways”

Presumably having sorted themselves out following the departure of bassist Jen Turner, Here We Go Magic will be at The Garrison on September 23 as part of a tour support of their latest record A Different Ship. Tickets for that are $12.50 in advance. Spin has a feature on the band.

MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Casual”

Having been through for festivals and as support, Exitmusic finally have their own proper headlining show in support of their debut Passage. They’re at The Horseshoe on October 1, tickets $10.50.

MP3: Exitmusic – “The Sea”

Californian psych-poppers Woods will have a new record in Bend Beyond out on September 18, and they’d like to play some of it for you. Be at The Garrison on October 2 if you’ld like that too; tickets are $12.50 in advance.

MP3: Woods – “Wind Was The Wine”

There’s no measure by which this isn’t a strange tour, but it must make sense to someone. That’d be The Psychedelic Furs, The Lemonheads, and Juliana Hatfield, who will also be reprising her Ray-era bass duties in The Lemonheads. She’ll sort of have a new record to push in her self-titled cover album, a sort of companion piece to The Lemonheads’ last release, the all-cover Varshons. Wouldn’t it be weird if both their sets were all covers? Or maybe all Psychedelic Furs covers? Yeah I have no idea what this is, besides at The Danforth Music Hall on October 16. Ticket info still forthcoming.

Video: The Psychedelic Furs – “Love My Way”
Video: The Lemonheads – “It’s A Shame About Ray”
Video: Juliana Hatfield Three – “My Sister”

They are from Brooklyn, they are seventeen members strong, they are disco, they are Escort, their 2011 debut album was also Escort, I hear they were awesome at SXSW, and they’re at The Horseshoe on November 10. Tickets are $16.50 – that’s less than a dollar a band member!

MP3: Escort – “Starlight”

Yellow Ostrich are at The Garrison on November 12 in support of their second album Strange Land. $12 gets you in the door, full dates at Plug In Music.

MP3: Yellow Ostrich – “The Shakedown”

San Diego’s Pinback return with their first album in five years in Information Retrieved, and are touring in support. Said tour wraps up at Lee’s Palace on November 21, tickets $16.50.

MP3: Pinback – “From Nothing To Nowhere”

Rolling Stone has premiered the surprisingly dark new video from Bob Dylan’s forthcoming Tempest. It’s out September 11 and the man hits the Air Canada Centre on November 14.

Video: Bob Dylan – “Duquesne Whistle”

Exclaimtalks to Lou Barlow about the new Dinosaur Jr album I Bet On Sky, out September 18. They play three nights at Lee’s Palace from September 24 to 26.

The first video from Band Of Horses’ forthcoming Mirage Rock is now available to watch. It’s out September 18.

Video: Band Of Horses – “Knock Knock”

Stereogum chats with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. Their new record Transcendental Youth is out October 2, they play The Phoenix on October 20.

Benjamin Gibbard – you may know him as just Ben – has released the first sample of his forthcoming solo record Former Lives, out October 16. He plays The Danforth Music Hall on October 14.

MP3: Benjamin Gibbard – “Teardrop Windows”

Exclaim has details on a new release from Andrew Bird, a companion piece to this year’s Break It Yourself. Hands Of Glory is out October 30.

Sleigh Bells’ Reign Of Terror has yielded another new video.

Video: Sleigh Bells – “End Of The Line”

NPR welcomes Beachwood Sparks for a video session. LA Weekly also has a feature on the band.

The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, SF Weekly, The Pitch, Colorado Daily, and Boulder Weekly have interviews with Sharon Van Etten.

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Ram Ram

Let The Deer Tracks guide you around NXNE this year

Photo By Sofia StolpeSofia StolpeNXNE-spotting happens on two levels: there’s the micro, where you pore over the year’s lineup and try to figure out how you’ll spend the four hopefully-warm nights in June club-hopping and seeing bands new and familiar; and there’s the macro, where you see how this year’s festival as a whole experience measures up against past years and assess how the event is trending as Toronto’s flagbearer in a world where cities are increasingly judged by the quality of their music festivals. Or at least, that’s how I look at things. I may well be a freak.

First, the bands my strongest recommendation for the fest because it’d have be strong enough to convince you to a) miss a whole hell of a lot of great stuff including part of that free Flaming Lips show and b) brave the shitshow that will be a closed-off Queen St. W as MuchMusic tools up for the Bieber-fied MMVAs the following night. But that said, I still think that seeing Sweden’s Deer Tracks would be worth it. The duo of David Lehnberg and Elin Lindfors craft the sort of eclectically airy, hybrid electronic-orchestral pop that might have you looking for the Morr logo on the spine (they’re actually on The Control Group, if it matters), but tied together and given both weight and lift by their buoyant melodies and harmonies. If I can be allowed to invoke some Scandinavian stereotypes, they marry the otherworldliness one would expect of Icelandic acts with the impeccable pop sense of the best the Swedes have to offer.

They’re in the midst of a three-part album cycle entitled The Archer Trilogy, Part 2 with the third part coming later this year. It’s kind of a shame that their tour is hitting during NXNE because had it been any other time of year, or even any other night or time slot of the fest, they’d be getting a lot more attention. But as it is, if you find your way to The Rivoli at 10PM on Saturday, June 16, I suspect it’ll be worth your time and effort. The Georgia Straight had an interview with them ahead of their Vancouver show earlier this week.

MP3: The Deer Tracks – “W”
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Dark Passenger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Meant To Be”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Tiger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fall With Me”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fra Ro Raa / Ro Ra Fraa”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Ram Ram”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Slow Collision”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “12sxfrya”

And the official though surely incomplete day-by-day, hour-by-hour, “hey you should maybe go to some of these” is as follows:

Tuesday, June 12
The Weather Station @ Kops/Lavish & Squalor, 4PM – Another highlight of this year’s CMF, Tamara Lindeman will play selections from her excellent All Of It Was Mine at this in-store before her official show at The Great Hall Lower Theatre at 10PM Wednesday night.
MP3: The Weather Station – “Everything I Saw”

Wednesday, June 13
Army Girls @ Supermarket, 9PM – I can’t foresee a day when I won’t recommend you go see this Toronto duo, though hopefully soon enough my recommendation won’t be necessary – everyone will just know. They’re also at Jang Bang the afternoon of the 14th for a day show, The El Mocamobo at 10PM that night, and a day show in Trinity Bellwoods on Sunday afternoon at 3:45PM. And don’t be surprised if they add a few more appearances before the week is done – the benefits of traveling light and rocking hard.
MP3: Army Girls – “T W I C E”

Eternal Summers @ The Drake Underground, 10PM – Virginia-based trio who make hazy, lo-fi pop that doesn’t care that Altered Zones doesn’t exist anymore. Their second album Correct Behavior will be out July 24.
Video: Eternal Summers – “Millions”

July Talk @ The Horseshoe, 10PM – Toronto punkabilly outfit who flat-out stole the show/fest at this year’s Canadian Musicfest; can they do it again? Don’t bet against them. They’re also at Lee’s Palace on Saturday night at 9:30PM.
M4A: July Talk – “Paper Girl”

Porcelain Raft @ The Drake Underground, 12AM – Pseudonym of New York-based Mauro Remiddi who crafted his debut Strange Weekend from a lifetime of globetrotting, sound-collecting and genre-defying. So what does he do for a follow-up?
MP3: Porcelain Raft – “Unless You Speak From The Heart”

Thursday, June 14
The Men @ Grasshopper Records, 3PM – New York band whose latest effort Open Your Heart sounds like the best of Sonic Youth and Mission Of Burma being mashed into your eardrums with extreme prejudice. A can’t-miss for the fest, and besides this in-store – if you haven’t heard of the store, consult The Grid – they also have official showcases Thursday night at The Garrison at 1AM and Friday night at Wrongbar at 12AM, and will also be appearing at the NXNEXPERIMENT BBQ on Friday afternoon.
MP3: The Men – “Ex-Dreams”

Smith Westerns @ Gibralter Point, 5:30PM – We don’t see many acts being shipped in for one-off, non-festival parties but that’s what’s happening with this Noisey/Jansport to-do on the Toronto Islands where Chicago’s glam-garage punks will do their thing amongst what is sure to be tastefully-executed branding.
MP3: Smith Westerns – “Still New”

Boxer The Horse @ The El Mocambo Upstairs, 8PM – Scrappy guitar pop from Prince Edward Island that’s a happy blend of Plaskett and Malkmus; their second full-length French Residency was released back in March.
MP3: Boxer The Horse – “Rattle Your Cage”

The Seedy Seeds @ The Painted Lady, 10PM – Trio proves that smart pop can be fun and fun pop can be smart and good bands have come from Cincinnati since The Afghan Whigs. Their last record Verb Noun came out in early 2011 and it’s still turning out videos.
Video: The Seedy Seeds – “Telephone The Constrictor”

Exitmusic @ Wrongbar, 10PM – Darkly cinematic electro-pop from a husband-and-wife duo based out of New York (but half-Canadian!). They were just here in May but have since released their debut full-length Passage, so hey – welcome back.
MP3: Exitmusic – “The Sea”

Cousins @ The Velvet Underground, 11PM – Halifax lo-fi garage-pop duo whose The Palm At The End Of The Mind is making friends and annoying neighbours everywhere. They’re doing a double-header Thursday night, with a 2AM show at The Annex Live.
Stream: Cousins / The Palm At The End Of The Mind

The Hundred In The Hands @ Wrongbar, 12AM – Los Angeles synth-rock duo whose new record Red Night arrives this Tuesday, just in time for the festival. Clash has a feature on the band and Hype Machine is streaming the album, though that metaphorical baton may get passed to another site once the album is officially out tomorrow.
MP3: The Hundred In The Hands – “Keep It Low”
Stream: The Hundred In The Hands / Red Night

A Place To Bury Strangers @ The El Mocambo, 1AM – Legendarily loud and strobe-happy New York industri-rock outfit who will be previewing their new record Worship, due out on June 26 and from which they’ve begun streaming another new song. Pity the band who’re supposed to be playing upstairs from them at the same time slot (that’d be Revolvers, who deserve better).
MP3: A Place To Bury Strangers – “You Are The One”
Stream: A Place To Bury Strangers – “And I’m Up”

Friday, June 15
2:54 @ Lee’s Palace, 9PM – British sister act bringing the spirit of dark, goth-gaze guitar-pop from the ’80s and ’90s back on their just-released self-titled debut. There’s interviews at Loud & Quiet and NOW and Daytrotter just posted a session.
MP3: 2:54 – “The March”

The Danks @ The Dakota Tavern, 10PM – Garage-y pop from the Two Hours Traffic family who’re getting an awful lot of mileage out of their 2009 debut Are You Afraid Of The Danks?, though apparently it’s just come out in the US so I guess they’re excused.
MP3: The Danks – “Die Young”

Hooded Fang @ The Silver Dollar, 10PM – One of Toronto’s premiere retro-pop fun factories in band form, their second album Tosta Mista is nearly a year old so they’ve surely got five or six more albums ready to go. They’re also playing The Horseshoe on Thursday night at 10PM.
MP3: Hooded Fang – “Den Of Love”

Útidúr @ The Gladstone, 11PM – Even if I didn’t simply like upping Icelandic acts (and writing out their wonderful accents), I’d be endorsing this Reykjavik collective because the big, Beirut-y/Fanfarlo-y orch-folk sounds of their debut This Mess We’ve Made is all kinds of charming.
Stream: Útidúr / This Mess We’ve Made

Friends @ Lee’s Palace, 11PM – Brooklyn outfit specializing in buzz of both the synth and hype varieties have just dropped their debut album Manifest! and will be looking to make Lee’s look like Bedford Station on a Saturday night. Vulture has an interview with singer Samantha Urbani and The Guardian has a stream of the album.
Video: Friends – “Mind Control”
Stream: Friends / Manifest!

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan @ The Garrison, 12AM – Audaciously arty and yet visceral Montreal collective whose debut YT//ST will probably be celebrating a Polaris long list nomination by the time they take the stage. And odds are that’ll only be the beginning. They’ve also got an in-store at Sonic Boom confirmed though dates and times for those have still to be confirmed.
Stream: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan / YT//ST

Widowspeak @ The Garrison, 1AM – Brooklyn quartet whose self-titled debut ahs made my long-term dreams of forming a country/shoegaze band and creating a genre called “bootgaze” utterly redundant. Thanks a lot, Widowspeak.
MP3: Widowspeak – “Harsh Realm”

John Maus @ Lee’s Palace, 1AM – Unintentionally controversial university professor and electro-classical composer whose last album We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves came out in the Fall.
MP3: John Maus – “Head For The Country”

Saturday, June 16
Brasstronaut @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 1PM – Vancouver prog-pop outfit whose second album Mean Sun came out just last month. They’re also at The Gladstone on Friday night at midnight and The Vancouver Sun, Spinner, NOW have interviews.
MP3: Brasstronaut – “Hollow Trees”

Zulu Winter @ Urban Outfitters, 2PM – A rare UK signing to Arts & Crafts, this Oxfordshire-bred band’s peppy, guitar-and-synth-laden debut Language – out June 19 – files nicely alongside the likes of Phoenix and Bombay Bicycle Club. In other words, “stuff the kids like”. They’ve also got evening showcases at The Rivoli on June 14 at 12AM and Lee’s Palace on June 15 at 2AM.
Video: Zulu Winter – “Silver Tongue”

Of Montreal @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 7PM – Veteran Athens, GA, Elephant 6 survivor psych-freaks who’d have made a mind-bending one-two punch with The Flaming Lips if someone hadn’t gone and booked Portugal. The Man between them. Pssh. Their latest Paralytic Stalks came out earlier this year.
MP3: Of Montreal – “Wintered Debts”

Robyn Dell’Unto @ The Cameron House, 8PM – Mississauga-based pop singer who impressed when guesting with Rose Cousins at The Rivoli last monthI’m Here Every Night came out in 2010 – I did, it’s fun. You should too.
Video: Robyn Dell’Unto – “Just A Bird”

The Flaming Lips @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 9PM – If you need an introduction to The Flaming Lips then clearly you’ve gotten to this website by accident. Note that the allotted 20 minute set up time between the preceding act and theirs is ridiculous and I wouldn’t expect Wayne Coyne’s bubble walk to begin any earlier than 9:15. There’s Lips interviews at NOW, Spinner, and The Toronto Star, Coyne writes a piece about creativity for NPR, and while their Record Store Day-exclusive collaborative album Heady Fwends – amongst whom Erykah Badu no longer counts herself – will be getting a wide release June 26, The Lips are also planning a proper (?) studio album for release later this year.
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Fight Test”

Revolver @ The Gladstone, 10PM – A relatively late addition to the fest, the French pop outfit known for multi-part harmonies and cellos will be showing off their latest album Let Go, released back in March. The schedule also has them on at 1AM at The Painted Lady that same night, though it’s in conflict with another band’s set so…
MP3: Revolver – “Get Around Town”

The Lumineers @ The Horseshoe, 11PM – Denver-based trio whose self-titled debut has made them one of the alt.country/folk/roots stories of the year. The Horseshoe is kind of the perfect place for them.
Video: The Lumineers – “Ho Hey”

Limblifter @ The El Mocambo, 12AM – It’s not a festival without some kind of ’90s reunion; this year it’s Limblifter, which is several steps up from last year’s Rusty. Yes it is. Spinner talks to Ryan Dahle about getting the old band out of mothballs.
Video: Limblifter – “Tinfoil”

Bleached @ The Silver Dollar, 1AM – The three-night, garage-rock Silver Dollar residency is kind of a NXNE/CMF fixture now, and this year that honour goes to California’s Clavin sisters in Bleached. In addition to the Silver Dollar dates – the Thursday and Friday shows are at midnight, as opposed the 1AM slot on Saturday – they’re playing the Bruise Cruise the afternoon of the 16th, bringing the rock to the Toronto harbour.
Video: Bleached – “Think Of You”

Sunday, June 17
Raekwon & Ghostface Killah @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 9PM – Things are mostly wound down on Sunday but the traditional hip-hopping of the Yonge-Dundas mainstage continues with a little Wu-Tang flavour; Raekwon the Chef recently relocated to Toronto so there’s a hometown angle to this one as well.
Video: Raekwon featuring Ghostface Killah – “New Wu”

That’s just a handful – okay, a couple handfuls – of recommendations for the week; there’s certainly more to see and for more tips, check out these festival minisites at Spinner and NOW and the feature pieces at The Grid, The AV Club, BlogTO, and Hype Machine.

As for what I was saying earlier about how NXNE is faring as a festival, the fact that there’s many more day shows than even last year, which had more than the year before that, is an encouraging trend. We’re not yet seeing conventional venues opening up during the day, but the number of in-stores, parties in unconventional spaces, and just more stuff going on during the day before the official programme starts up – it’s all very encouraging and while those who seek to compare NXNE to its similarly-acronymed Texan cousin will still find it pales in comparison, it’s getting pretty damn good up here; all we need is a better infrastructure for tracking and disseminating information about them. There’s a list of officially-endorsed/recognized day shows at NXNE.com and BlogTO has rounded up some more events. And Unofficial NXNE is also good.

And if I’m allowed a bit of self-promotion, I’m one of the photographers with some work on display at the #Hashtag Gallery this week for Live @ NXNE, a photographic exhibition of NXNE artists, past and present. The exhibition runs till June 27 but the opening party thing is Tuesday night at 7PM. Drop by, have a look. If you like.

And remember – particularly if you’re planning on getting around via transit or taxi or otherwise street-bound vehicle, College St. is closed Friday and Saturday nights from Bathurst to Shaw for Taste Of Little Italy and Queen St. W is closed between Beverley and McCaul on Friday and Saturday nights to set up for the MMVAs.

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Choose To Play

Redd Kross have the Blues

Photo By Jon KropJon KropI don’t think anyone necessarily expected anything more from Redd Kross than what they’d been offering since reconvening after a decade apart in 2006. Which is to say sporadic live shows – mainly at festivals like NXNE 2008 – where they made their fanbase feel like they were teenagers again by way of their prototypical Californian bubblegum power-pop, as captured on classics of the genre like Phaseshifter and Neurotica. Nothing wrong with that, not at all.

But there’s also nothing wrong with taking a time-tested formula and whipping up another batch of what works so come August 7, Merge Records – who are taking their role as home for wayward ’90s rock acts seriously – will release Researching The Blues, the band’s seventh album and first since 1997’s Show World. It features the Neurotica-era lineup of Jeff McDonald, Steven McDonald, Robert Hecker and Roy McDonald and using the just-released title track MP3 as a reference, it’s pretty evident that the band are capable of sounding as snotty, riffy and hooky in their 40s as they did in their teens. Which is great.

The Los Angeles Times talks to Steven McDonald about taking the reunion from the stage into the studio.

MP3: Redd Kross – “Researching The Blues”

Their names may sound like they’re taken from a guidebook on how to name your band in a quintessentially nonsensical ’00s manner, but both of New York’s Bear Hands and Fort Lean come with a legitimate amount of buzz – so it could be worth heading to The Drake on July 25 to see them.

MP3: Bear Hands – “What A Drag”
MP3: Fort Lean – “Sunsick”

Speaking of veterans of the ’90s college rock scene – we were, try to keep up – Sebadoh is back in action, with plans to release a new EP this Summer, follow that with a North American tour that stops at The Horseshoe on August 20 and then release their first new full-length since 1999’s The Sebadoh early next year.

MP3: Sebadoh – “Skull”

Interview and Elle talk to Exitmusic, in town at Wrongbar on June 16 for NXNE. They’ve put out a video from their just-released debut Passage.

Video: Exitmusic – “The Night”

Also at NXNE and with a new video are A Place To Bury Strangers; here’s an interview with the band at NXNE, they’re at The El Mocambo on June 14, and their new record Worship is out June 26.

Video: A Place To Bury Strangers – “You Are One”

Daytrotter has a session with Father John Misty, back in town at The Opera House on July 12 opening for Youth Lagoon. There’s also features at The Dallas Observer and Creative Loafing.

The Stool Pigeon talks to Bethany Cosentino and The Aspen Times to Bobb Bruno, both of Best Coast. They’re at The Phoenix on July 21.

Bob Mould tells The Quietus why the Sugar reissues – their three albums are being re-released in expanded and remastered form come July 24 – is being accompanied by a new incarnation of the Bob Mould band rather than a proper Sugar reunion, and it’s not because he, David Barbe and Malcolm Travis don’t get along.

Jim James talks to Rolling Stone about his plans for the next Yim Yames solo record. He will be with My Morning Jacket at Echo Beach on August 15.

Pitchfork talks to Mark Kozelek about the new Sun Kil Moon record Among The Leaves, out Tuesday. Kozelek still hasn’t canceled his October 3 date at The Great Hall.

Room 205 has posted the first installment of a video session with Blouse.

CNN interviews Derek Miller of Sleigh Bells, who have a new video from Reign Of Terror.

Video: Sleigh Bells – “Demons”

Retribution Gospel Choir have also got a new video, this one taken from their Revolution EP.

Video: Retribution Gospel Choir – “Maharisha”

NPR has begun checking in with Neko Case as she gets to work on her first new album since 2009’s Middle Cyclone.

Pitchfork has a stream of a new song from The National, taken from the Game Of Thrones soundtrack. Not sure how I feel about them taking up the banner for House Lannister.

Stream: The National – “The Rains Of Castomere”

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Myth

Review of Beach House’s Bloom

Photo By Liz FlyntzLiz FlyntzIf we can regard Beach House literally as their namesake, which is to say as a holiday getaway, a reliably stolid place to escape from the real world, then the amount of adoration they’ve gotten for largely sticking to their skeletal formula through four albums now is understandable. Their fans don’t want them to reinvent themselves with each outing; they want that comforting blanket of Victoria Legrand’s narcoleptic vocals and whirring keyboard interwoven with Alex Scally’s languid slide guitar, and across their first two records – their 2006 self-titled debut and 2007’s Devotion – that’s almost exactly what they got, seasoned with some rudimentary percussion both electronic and organic.

The closest thing they’re ever likely to come to a revolution was with 2010’s Teen Dream, which managed to take a relatively huge leap forward with the production and songwriting, making interesting rhythms and pop hooks a front burner concern without compromising their core sound. A risk, perhaps, but one that paid off immensely in the form of their strongest and most critically and commercially successful work. So with that in mind, it’s not surprising that Bloom – out next Tuesday – opts to stay the course laid out by its predecessor. Surprises simply aren’t Beach House’s style.

Gorgeousness is, however. It took the aforementioned embrace of bigger sounds on Teen Dream to really make me appreciate Beach House – prior to that, I had to be in a very particular mood to listen to them for any period of time – and now they’re a band for all occasions. Having touring drummer Daniel Franz play on the whole of the record, a third member of the band even if he’s not formerly acknowledged as such, helps both ground and propel Bloom while Legrand and Scally do their thing in crafting the haunting textures and melodies that are the foundation of Beach House. And while we’re being literal about things, Bloom is an exceptionally appropriate name for this collection as there’s moments that simply burst outwards. To even suggest that the band be capable of this sort of dynamicism circa their debut would have seemed absurd, and yet just six years later, here we are – and without compromising their identity, no less.

It’s too early to say if Bloom is better than Teen Dream, but by the quantitative measure of how many times I’ve felt compelled to listen to it, it’s already well ahead. At worst, it’s as good as its predecessor and at best, its even better. In either case, it’s hard to imagine liking one and not the other and regardless of where you rank it relative to Beach House’s earlier output, despite really just being more of the same – or perhaps because of it – it’s excellent.

NPR has an advance stream of the new record and DIY, The Line Of Best Fit, The Orlando Sentinel, and Pitchfork have interviews with the band.

MP3: Beach House – “Myth”
Stream: Beach House / Bloom

Also streaming at NPR but two weeks ahead of release are The Only Place, the second album from Best Coast, and Passage, the debut from Exitmusic. Best Coast are at The Phoenix on July 21 and Exitmusic have a NXNE showcase at Wrongbar on June 14.

Stream: Best Coast / The Only Place
Stream: Exitmusic / Passage

S. Carey’s new EP Hoyas came out this week – stream it at Stereogum and read interviews with Sean Carey about the record at The Leader Telegram and Volume One.

MP3: S. Carey – “Two Angles”
Stream: S. Carey / Hoyas

In concert announcements, Joe Pernice will stretch his legs and take a mosey to The Dakota Tavern on June 22, maybe play some songs.

MP3: Pernice Brothers – “Somerville”

Having sold out Lee’s Palace their last time through, Youth Lagoon will be at The Opera House on July 12 with Father John Misty, who still has to get through Monday night’s show at the Horseshoe before he can make a return engagement. Tickets are $15.50 in advance.

MP3: Youth Lagoon – “July”
MP3: Father John Misty – “Nancy From Now On”

If part of Liars’ to-do list in preparation for the June 5 release of WIXIW was slate a North American tour, they can cross it off – they’ll be at Lee’s Palace on July 21, tickets $15. They can also check off releasing the first video from the new album.

MP3: Liars – “Scissor”
Video: Liars – “No. 1 Against The Rush”

Twin Shadow is also hitting the road in support of a new record – with Confess due out July 9, George Lewis Jr will be at Lee’s Palace on July 30 and 31, tickets $20.

MP3: Twin Shadow – “Five Seconds”
MP3: Twin Shadow – “Slow”

Merge has released a companion album to Crooked Fingers’ 2011 album Breaks In The Armor comprised of acoustic demos of the album. It’s out now and you can stream one of the tracks at Donewaiting.

Stream: Crooked Fingers – “Bad Blood” (acoustic)

Exclaim reports that some of The Mountain Goats’ early cassette releases from the early ’90s – The Hound Chronicles and Hot Garden Stomp, specifically – will be released on a single CD on June 26.

Fang Island have announced that their second album Major will be out on July 12; details at Spin.

Pop Etc have released a video from their self-titled debut, out June 12.

Video: Pop Etc – “Live It Up”

Explosions In The Sky have released a second video from last year’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care.

Video: Explosions In The Sky – “Postcard From 1952”

America Give Up has yielded another video from Minneapolis’ Howler.

Video: Howler – “This One’s Different”

Rolling Stone has premiered a new video from Mates Of State, off of last year’s Mountaintops.

Video: Mates Of State – “Unless I’m Led”

The Magnetic Fields have released a second video from Love At The Bottom Of The Sea.

Video: The Magnetic Fields – “Quick!”

Interview talks to Molly Hamilton of Widowspeak, in town at The Garrison on June 15 for NXNE.

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with Of Montreal, in town for NXNE on June 16 at Yonge-Dundas Square.

Artrocker and Drowned In Sound talk to A Place To Bury Strangers about their forthcoming album Worship, out June 26.

Red Eye and The Detroit Free Press talk to Andrew Bird, in town at Echo Beach on July 19.

Sharon Van Etten plays a video session for WBEZ; she’s at The Phoenix on July 31.

Pitchfork talks to Merrill Garbus and the director of the recent tUnE-yArDs video for “My Country”. She plays The Phoenix on August 1.

SF Weekly chats with John Vanderslice.

Reverb interviews Kurt Wagner of Lambchop.

NPR is streaming a KCRW radio session with M. Ward.

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Savoir Adore.

Ra Ra Riot talks to Spin about what they’ve got planned for album number three and to Grantland about their appreciation for hockey.

NPR has a WFUV session with Shearwater.

Spin gets a progress report on the next Dinosaur Jr album, due out later this Summer.

Greg Dulli takes The Skinny on a guided tour of The Afghan Whigs’ catalog.

Spin talks to Bob Mould about the 20th anniversary of Sugar’s Copper Blue and the single, “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” in particular. Slicing Up Eyeballs reports that two of Mould’s ’90s albums – Bob Mould and The Last Dog & Pony Show – will be getting released as a three-disc set in the UK on June 18 with the third disc consisting of a live 1998 show.

The Atlantic reflects on the significance of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot on the occasion of its tenth anniversary.

The AV Club has posted the fourth part of their look at the history of R.E.M..