Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘First Aid Kit’

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Time Exists Only To Betray Us

Review of Keep Shelly In Athens’ At Home and giveaway

Photo By Tolis ElefantisTolis ElefantisGreek duo Keep Shelly In Athens first came to attention in late 2010 with a series of singles when “chillwave” was still a thing and sure, the washes of synths and gentle vocals of RΠЯ and Sarah P could merit the hashtag. But in the time its taken them to assemble their full-length debut last month – 2012’s In Love With Dusk / Our Own Dream was a compilation of their previously-released EPs – the label has largely gone from adjective to pejorative and probably not the best pony to hitch one’s wagon to. So it’s a good thing that At Home easily stands up on its own, without the aid of scenes or trends.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. While At Home is far more emotive and emphatic than most hazy bedroom-bred musical excursions, it’s still pretty on-the-sleeve with its influences. They strive to recreate the soulful shadows found at Portishead’s end of ’90s trip-hop but use sleek, ’80s synth luminescence as their light source to go with the dance-ready beats. But what elevates At Home above the pack are Sarah P’s vocal work – which is always engaged and gorgeous, whether evoking menace on “Time Exists Only To Betray Us” and “Knife” or crooning serenely on “Recollection” and “Sails” – and the melodies that she’s given to work with. Because whatever labels you choose to apply to At Home, under it all it’s pop music, and pretty great pop music. And pretty great pop music doesn’t need to much else to be worth your while.

Dime Store Saints and Prairie Moon have interviews with the duo, who kick off a North American tour as co-headliners with Chad Valley next week. Their Toronto show comes October 15 at Wrongbar, and courtesy of LiveNation I’ve got five pairs of passes to give away to the show. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to Keep Shelly In Athens” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, October 11.

Video: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Recollection”
Stream: Keep Shelly In Athens / At Home

PopMatters talks with The Naked & Famous, who are in town for an October 14 show at The Phoenix.

November 19 will see the release of a new 7″ from Iceage consisting of covers from Sinéad O’Connor and Bahamutsi Drama Group. Details at Pitchfork, streams of both sides below.

Stream: Iceage – “Jackie”
Stream: Iceage – “To The Comrades”

The Deer Tracks are marking the announcement of the North American tour which brings them to The Silver Dollar on November 28 with the final statement of their epic The Archer Trilogy with a stream of the appropriately-titled “Epilogue” at Filter.

Stream: The Deer Tracks – “Epilogue”

Australian rock machine Jagwar Ma have announced a North American tour for this Fall behind their debut Howlin’; it brings them to The Great Hall on November 28. Tickets are $15 in advance. Drowned In Sound, The San Francisco Chronicle, and San Francisco Examiner have interviews.

Video: Jagwar Ma – “Come Save Me”
Video: Jagwar Ma – “Man I Need”

Efterklang have released a new video from this year’s Piramida.

Video: Efterklang – “Monument”

The Line OF Best Fit has premiered the new video by múm, taken from their latest album Smilewound.

Video: múm – “Candlestick”

Under The Radar checks in with the Söderberg sisters of First Aid Kit.

Noisey interviews Nanna Fabricius of Oh Land.

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Blue Ice

Shout Out Louds softly whisper details of new album, tour

Photo By Frode & MarcusFrode & MarcusSweden’s Shout Out Louds generated a decent amount of WTF buzz last week with the announcement that they were releasing a limited edition 7″ made out of ice. Their label Merge ran a contest to give away one of the ten of these in existence, and while I thought that they were actually giving away the ice single – and after entering I really hoped I wouldn’t win because I know that I’d be the one who accidentally left it on the counter to melt or whose cat would end up eating it – but reading closer, it was actually a kit to produce the single at home. Which makes more sense.

In any case, with the publicity stunt out of the way, this week the band released a video for that first single as well as the details of their fourth album which will also mark their tenth anniversary as a band. Entitled Optica, it will be out on February 26 of next year, surely chock-full of the anthemically downcast jangle/synth-pop that’s made them one of Sweden’s most consistently enjoyable bands over the past decade. And if you’re into making plans half a year out, they’ve also announced their North American tour in support of the record, which brings them to Toronto on May 14 for a date at The Opera House. Tickets for that are $18.50 in advance.

Video: Shout Out Louds – “Blue Ice”

Interview talks to Mary Onettes frontman Philip Ekstr&omul;m about their new record Hit The Waves, out on March 12.

Veteran Labrador pop duo Club 8 have completed their new record, named it Above The City, and given it a release date of April 23. Don’t know ’em? They sound like this.

MP3: Club 8 – “Missing You”
MP3: Club 8 – “Shape Up!”

Spinner has a feature on Icona Pop. Their self-titled debut is due out in North America early next year.

NPR has a Tiny Desk Concert with Taken By Trees.

DIY talks to First Aid Kit.

Indians will be at The Drake Underground on March 4 as part of a Spring tour in support of their debut album Somewhere Else, due out January 29. The Village Voice has a feature piece on band mainman Søen Løkke Juul.

MP3: Indians – “Cakelakers”

The Arts Desk has a Q&A with Björk.

Icelandic composer Olafur Arnalds has given his forthcoming album For Now I Am Winter a precise release date of February 25. The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with Arnalds recorded in his Reykjavik studio during Iceland Airwaves this year.

Norway’s Team Me have just released a Christmas EP entitled Female Lead and are giving away one of the tracks via The Line Of Best Fit.

MP3: Team Me – “Sixteen Steps”

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds just announced the existence of their new album Push The Sky Away a week ago, but they’ve already followed up with a stream of the album opener by way of Rolling Stone and announced a North American tour with Sharon Van Etten opening all dates, bringing them to Massey Hall on March 23. Tickets range from $32.50 to $69.50 plus fees, and presale goes today at 10AM via nickcave.com. Regular on-sale is Thursday.

MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Serpents”
Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “We No Who U R”

Spinner talks to Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. They’re at The Kool Haus on March 9.

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

We Real Cool

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are back to set you straight. About what? EVERYTHING.

Photo By Cat StevensCat StevensLots of interesting news came down the pipe from all around the world yesterday, but tops was this from down under – the new Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds record is coming. It’s called Push The Sky Away and will be out on February 19 in North America, though interestingly I can’t confirm the label. The last few Bad Seeds releases as well as the two Grinderman records were out here on Anti, but their web presence has been conspicuously silent with regards to this release.

In any case, expectations are high for this one – their last effort Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! was one of my favourite releases of 2008 and as much as Grinderman is a funhouse mirror version of the Bad Seeds, they weren’t the Bad Seeds. Pitchfork has details and the nine-song track listing, and while we won’t get to hear the first single till next week, they’ve offered a trailer comprised of studio footage of the band at work.

Trailer: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / Push The Sky Away

Also coming from Australia: Tame Impala make a return engagement on the back of LonerismNME‘s album of the year – for a date at the Kool Haus on March 9, tickets $25 in advance.

Video: Tame Impala – “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”

A ways north in the Pacific, Japan’s Mono have made another track from their latest album For My Parents available to download via The Quietus.

MP3: Mono – “Dream Odyssey”

Exclaim reports that pop savant Shugo Tokamaru will get a North American release for his latest album In Focus? on January 22. You may recall I quite liked his last effort Port Entropy… but probably not. Anyways, there’s a video from the new one to enjoy.

Video: Shugo Tokamaru – “Decorate”

And now to Scandinavia! Nothing But Hope And Passion has specifics on Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds’ new record For Now I Am Winter, due out in February. Arnalds recently took to Facebook to explain to his fans why the record would be coming out on a major label – Mercury – rather than indie Erased Tapes, which had released all his records to this point. Iceland Review has an interview with Arnalds.

Shout Out Louds are garnering a fair bit of attention for the first single from their forthcoming new record – as Pitchfork reports, it’s coming out on a 7″ single made of ice. Yeah. For those who don’t have a turntable they’re willing to allow to become waterlogged, you can also just stream the song below. The album should be out in February or so.

Stream: Shout Out Louds – “Blue Ice”

Wears The Trousers has an interview with Sarah Assbring of El Perro Del Mar.

The Mary Onettes have release a video for the first single from Hit The Waves, out on March 12. You may recall I talked about it last week. But probably not.

Video: The Mary Onettes – “Evil Coast”

The Telegraph and BBC talk to the Soderberg sisters of First Aid Kit.

Denmark’s Efterklang are a pretty good first act to be announced for Canadian Musicfest next year; they’ll be at The Mod Club on March 21 as part of the festival and in support of this year’s Piramida. Exclaim has full North American dates and video of a radio session wherein they play a number of the new songs is available to watch.

MP3: Efterklang – “Apples”
Video: Efterklang – “FM4 Radio Session” (live)

Interview has an interview and Wild Honey Pie a video session with Indians, whose debut album Somewhere Else is out January 29.

Friday, September 28th, 2012

In Other Words

Taken By Trees reveals Other Worlds

Photo By Amanda MarsalisAmanda MarsalisCognizant, perhaps, of the fact that Other Worlds, her third album as Taken By Trees, comes out the exact same day that her North American tour supporting both it and Jens Lekman begins – that’d be next Tuesday, October 2 – Victoria Bergsman has thoughtfully made the album available to stream in its entirety; you can hear it over at Prefix.

It’s a record that keeps the wanderlust feel of its predecessor, East Of Eden, as filtered through Bergsman’s signature shy, sleepy vocals. But where that album immersed itself in the sounds and spirit of Pakistan, Worlds draws influences from a variety of places, from the Mediterranean to Caribbean to South Pacific, to create a gentle, yet danceable aural vacation.

Taken By Trees are at The Phoenix on October 4. Work has a brief Q&A with Bergsman.

Stream: Taken By Trees / Other Worlds

Room 205 has poste the third and final video from their session with I Break Horses. You can also just stream the audio of the session via Soundcloud if you don’t want to deal with the… interesting camera work.

Video: I Break Horses – “Load Your Eyes”
Stream: I Break Horses @ Room 205

Stereogum and The Toronto Star have interviews with First Aid Kit.

DIY gets to know Icona Pop.

Sigur Rós have released another instalment from their Valtari “Mystery Film Experiment” series.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Ekki múkk”

In conversation with Drowned In Sound, Andy Bell discusses what’s next for Beady Eye, what was for Ride and Oasis, and what probably should never have been with Hurricane #1.

DIY, Cool Hunting, and Drowned In Sound talk to Efterklang.

Still Corners have released a new single to precede a Fall European tour. It’s pretty.

MP3: Still Corners – “Fireflies”

CBC Music talks to Beth Orton, in town at the Mod Club on Sunday night in support of Sugaring Season, out Tuesday.

Paste is streaming Don’t Be A Stranger, the new album from Mark Eitzel, ahead of its official release date next Tuesday. He’s at The Rivoli on November 28 and another career advice video is up at SF Weekly.

MP3: Mark Eitzel – “I Love You But You’re Dead”
Stream: Mark Eitzel / Don’t Be A Stranger

Exclaim and The National Post have features on Grizzly Bear, who’ve released a new video and download from Shields.

MP3: Grizzly Bear – “Speak In Rounds”
Video: Grizzly Bear – “Yet Again”

Annie Clark of St. Vincent submits to an Exclaim questionnaire.

CBC Music and SF Weekly talk to Victoria Legrand and The Georgia Straight to Alex Scally of Beach House; they’re at The Kool Haus on October 13.

A couple of noteworthy support acts announced this week – Jason Lytle will be peddling his new solo record Dept. Of Disappearance at Massey Hall on December 5 before Band Of Horses take the stage. The album is out October 16, and a new song is available to stream.

Stream: Jason Lytle – “Get Up And Go”

And DIIV are back again, warming up for Japandroids at The Phoenix on December 11.

MP3: DIIV – “Sometime”

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Tesselate

Alt-J and JBM at Wrongbar in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangCambridge, England quartet Alt-J couldn’t have known how prescient they were when they named their debut album An Awesome Wave, as that’s pretty much what they’ve been riding through 2012. Released across the pond in May, it only came out over here officially this past Tuesday – timed to coincide with their inaugural North American tour – but in the interim that wave of buzz had quite definitively crossed the Atlantic, ensuring that arrived on these shores more like heroes than an act with something to prove.

For most, anyways. Despite being more than predisposed to bands possessing UK passports, the appeal of Alt-J largely escapes me. Or more accurately, I get why some people would like them; I don’t get why so many people like them. I’d have thought their oddly bloodless, art rock – which I’d liken to a celibate Wild Beasts or a very politely English Grizzly Bear – would find a niche audience at best, but somehow they’ve connected to such an extent that they’re the odds-on favourite to win the Mercury Prize at the start of November. And that’s basically why I was at Wrongbar on Wednesday night to catch their Toronto debut – how often do you get the chance to see the buzziest new act out of the UK play a small club? And perhaps they were amazing performers who would win me over live. You never knew.

It didn’t take much to figure out what openers JBM were about. Named for the initials of frontman Jesse Marchant, their game as slow, broody singer-songwriter material made interesting by tastefully sparse and atmospheric arrangements, mainly courtesy of their understatedly dextrous drummer. In the demerit column were the echoes of the sort of brooding that had been left behind in the ’90s but at least they’d had the good sense to trade their plaid flannels for some gothic country livery. A touch more dynamicism and variety would have gone a long way to offset their more plodding instincts and Marchant’s vocals aren’t really expressive enough to carry what its trying to, but alright for passing a half hour or so.

However the rest of Alt-J’s Toronto debut would go, it didn’t have the most auspicious start. Opening, as Wave does, with “Intro”, the audience heard less of their jangly, intertwined, out-of-phase fingerpicked guitar movements and more of booming feedback that it took them almost the length of the song to tame – lead singer Joe Newman might have commented on it but his mic was also basically inaudible. Everything was mostly under control by the time they reached the first ‘proper’ song of the set, “Tesselate”, and from that point forwards it was smooth sailing. Some might say too smooth.

One of the good things about Wave is how the band are able to take their combination of Newman’s strangely nasal voice, almost medieval-sounding group harmonies, and contrasting cloud-like guitar parts and whirring keyboards and envelop it all with a real sense of mysteriousness. Live, with the four young English lads going about their business and recreating the album with minimal fanfare or showmanship, that veil was lifted and it’s hard to argue the music was any better for it. Not that I could have convinced most of the people around me of that.

Just as I found the critical and popular response to Wave disproportionate to what I thought it offered, the enthusiasm of the audience more than made up for the band’s reserve. Not that they were literally freaking out – there’s no measure by which this was music for freaking out to – but they sang along loudly despite there not really being any obvious singalong parts in the songs, dancing without need for heavy or steady rhythms, and waving their arms in the air just because. “Matilda”, one of the few songs with a conventional chorus, was greeted like a stadium-scale anthem. Even though by this point they must be used to big crowds at home, Alt-J seemed taken aback by the response they were getting – though mostly unflappable, Newman lost his place in “Breezeblocks” after getting distracted by the fan reaction.

Playing for 45 minutes – no encore – and covering most of Wave, it was a solid enough show that gave fans what they wanted but wasn’t the sort of performance that would change minds or sway doubters – I left with basically the same opinion that I went in with, and I’d like to think that I was open to being convinced. That’s okay, though, because Alt-J have clearly convinced more than enough people already.

The Independent has a profile piece on Alt-J and their probably impending coronation as Mercury Prize champs.

Photos: Alt-J, JBM @ Wrongbar – September 19, 2012
MP3: Alt-J – “Breezeblocks”
MP3: Alt-J – “Hand-Made”
MP3: Alt-J – “Matilda”
MP3: Alt-J – “Tesselate”
Video: Alt-J – “Something Good”
Video: Alt-J – “Fitzpleasure”
Video: Alt-J – “Breezeblocks”
Video: Alt-J – “Matilda”
Video: Alt-J – “Tessellate”
Video: JBM – “On Fire On A Tightrope”
Video: JBM – “In A Different Time”

Filter, BBC, and Edinburgh Evening News talk to another arty British band whose debut is up for the Mercury, is about to get released in North America, and are playing Wrongbar soon – that’s Django Django, whose self-title is out next Tuesday, and who are at Wrongbar on September 29.

Spotify talks to Sam Halliday of Two Door Cinema club. They’re at Sound Academy on October 11.

NOW has an interview and Daytrotter a session with Patrick Wolf, who is at The Music Gallery next Tuesday – September 25. His new album Sunlight & Riverdark is already available digitally via iTunes and will get a physical release on October 16. The Guardian has a studio video performance of the new arrangement of “Teignmouth”, which originally appeared on his second album Wind In The Wires.

Stereogum talks to Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes about her forthcoming record The Haunted Man. It’s out October 23 and a new song from it is available to stream.

Stream: Bat For Lashes – “All Your Gold”

Gaz Coombes has released a video from his solo debut Here Come The Bombs.

Video: Gaz Coombes – “White Noise”

NME has premiered the new video from Allo Darlin’, taken from this year’s lovely Europe.

Video: Allo Darlin’ – “Northern Lights”

Spotify interviews Hot Chip, who’ve just announced an expanded edition of their latest album In Our Heads. Exclaim has details on the double-disc set, due out on November 19.

Russell Lissack of Bloc Party talks to DIY about the band’s road from hiatus to Four.

The Fly profiles Toy.

It’s worth noting that I wasn’t even supposed to be at the Alt-J show – Wednesday night was supposed to be the night of I Break Horses’ triumphant return to Toronto… right up until they canceled the tour. The second of their three session videos for Room 205 is a little bit of comfort on that front.

Video: I Break Horses – “Hearts” (live at Room 205)

Huffington Post talks to Sarah Assbring of El Perro Del Mar, whose new album Pale Fire is out November 13.

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Efterklang. Their new album Piramida is out on Tuesday.

Daytrotter has a session with First Aid Kit, who’ve released a new video from The Lion’s Roar. They’re at The Danforth Music Hall on September 26.

Video: First Aid Kit – “Wolf”

A Music Blog, Yea finds out what Ida Maria has been up to.

From the El Mocambo to the Kool Haus in twelve months isn’t bad – Of Monsters & Men makes their third visit to Toronto in almost a year exactly when they hit the Kool Haus on November 15. Tickets $25 in advance. Update: And a second show has been added for November 16. Mental.

MP3: Of Monsters & Men – “Little Talks”

Tame Impala have released a video from their new album Lonerism. It’s out October 9 and they play The Phoenix November 12.

Video: Tame Impala – “Elephant”

The AV Club talks to Nick Cave about his screenwriting endeavours.