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Posts Tagged ‘Florence & The Machine’

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Do It Again

This, that, and the new Camera Obscura single thing

Photo By Anna Isola CrollaAnna Isola CrollaIf you were thinking that Friday meant another housecleaning, link-aggregating post – this time from all points abroad – then you are correct. You get a cookie. From someone else. I have no cookies to give.

Nor do I technically have the new single from Camera Obscura to give, since it’s not mine to allocate, but since it was rolled out in streamable form to the internet earlier this week, I can certainly point you to it. It comes from their forthcoming fifth album Desire Lines, and while it’s been four years since My Maudlin Career, that time hasn’t been spent reinventing their sound. “Do It Again” is very much in keeping with the big, buoyant pop side of their skill set, but if you have a problem with more singles along the lines of “French Navy” or “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”, well God, Jed, I don’t even wanna know you.

Desire Lines is out June 4, and while the band had to cancel a brace of North American dates in March around SXSW, their Summer tour supporting She & Him is all systems go and will bring them to Garrison Commons at Fort York on July 4 to open the inaugural Toronto Urban Roots Fest.

Stream: Camera Obscura – “Do It Again”

Consequence Of Sound, Pretty Much Amazing, Gigwise, and DIY have interviews with Charli XCX, whose debut True Romance hit the shelves earlier this week. She opens for Marina & The Diamonds at Echo Beach on May 23.

Under The Radar and Billboard talk to Jessie Ware on the occasion of the North American release of Devotion earlier this week.

Pitchfork checks in with Anthony Gonzalez of M83 about the experience of scoring a big Hollywood film. Said film – Oblivion – is out today.

Sweden’s Junip have been streaming their forthcoming self-titled album over at Pitchfork ahead of its formal release on April 23. They’re in town at The Great Hall on May 10.

MP3: Junip – “Your Life Your Call”
MP3: Junip – “Line Of Fire”
Stream: Junip / Junip

Pitchfork and Stuff have feature interviews with Phoenix, who’ve gotten around to making their new album Bankrupt! available to stream via iTunes before it comes out on Tuesday, April 23. They headline the Grove Fest at Fort York on August 3.

Stream: Phoenix / Bankrupt!

Johnny Marr answers questions about Skrillex, Margaret Thatcher, and his solo record from Noisey, Rolling Stone, and The Chicago Tribune, respectively. He plays The Phoenix on April 27.

The Georgia Straight and Filter chat with Palma Violets, coming to town for a headline gig at Lee’s Palace on May 3 and again as part of The Grove Fest at Fort York on August 3.

The 405 interviews Victoria Hesketh of Little Boots about her new album Nocturnes, coming May 7.

Savages have released a new video from their forthcoming debut album Silence Yourself, coming May 7.

Video: Savages – “Shut Up”

Florence & The Machine’s contribution to The Great Gatsby soundtrack has been made available to stream. The album is out May 7, a few days before the film’s release on May 10.

Stream: Florence & The Machine – “Over The Love”

Swede-pop vetereans Club 8 have released the first video from their next record Above The City, coming out May 21.

Video: Club 8 – “Stop Taking My Time”

Spin points out a stream of another new song from Laura Marling’s next record Once I Was An Eagle, out May 28.

Stream: Laura Marling – “Master Hunter”

Spinner has an interview with Stone Roses biographer Simon Spence about researching his book The Stone Roses: War and Peace, while The Guardian has got a trailer for the Made Of Stone documentary coming out June 5 in the UK

Trailer: The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone

Billboard talks to Oliver Sim of The xx about the writing of their third album, Huffington Post to Romy Madley Croft about the band’s success, and Rolling Stone and MTV Hive have some words with Jamie Smith about his projects. They’re at Downsview Park with Grizzly Bear on June 6.

Empire Of The Sun are streaming the first complete sample of their new album Ice On The Dune, out June 17.

Stream: Empire Of The Sun – “Alive”

New Order details their strategy of releasing EPs of new material to justify their continued existence to Billboard.

The Quietus has an interview with Richard Thompson.

The AV Club gets Frightened Rabbit to step into their studio to cover Cheap Trick’s “Surrender”.

Veronica Falls have rolled out a new video from Waiting For Something To Happen.

Video: Veronica Falls – “Waiting For Something To Happen”

Rolling Stone checks in with the lads of Two Door Cinema Club, getting ready to work on album number three.

Filter has a conversation with Nick Cave.

Billboard has a video session and interview with Little Green Cars.

The Knife put out a new video from their latest, Shaking The Habitual.

Video: The Knife – “A Cherry On Top”

Very sad to hear about the passing of Storm Thorgerson, graphic designer of album art for the likes of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Catherine Wheel. This was always my favourite of his pieces. For purely artistic reasons, of course.

And finally, noting that tomorrow is indeed Record Store Day, The Fly interviewed record collecting geeks in British Sea Power, The Joy Formidable, and TOY, amongst others.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Burn Baby Burn

Ash and Kestrals at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIf there’s any lessons a band can take from Ash, first and foremost would be a) to never mind fashion and stick to what you do well, and b) to get started young. The benefits of both of these points were on display Saturday night when the Northern Irish trio rolled into Lee’s Palace for their first Toronto show in seven years. To the former, they had a massive and impressive repertoire of high-energy, ultra-melodic punk/metal-laced pop to draw from and to the former, well if you’re so fortunate to be celebrating your twentieth anniversary as a band then you would probably want to be has as young and spry as the 35-year old Tim Wheeler, even with the flecks of grey in his beard.

While I can think of some acts I’d have rather seen open for Ash – former guitarist Charlotte Hatherley, say, or Wheeler’s girlfriend Emmy The Great – Halifax’s Kestrels were more than fine as well. As I wrote in July, their debut A Ghost History has more than enough ’90s-vintage college rock/shoegaze DNA in it to be a good fit, and there was even a formal connection what with Wheeler making a guest guitar appearance on the record. As is not unusual for bands of their ilk, their live show was exceedingly loud, and many of the pop-friendly nuances on the record were smothered with distortion and volume. The rhythm section, with its thick, fuzzy bass chords and nimble, 16th-note drumming, was an effective balance of heavy and agile and Chad Peck’s guitar leads were less melodic lines than bursts of noise run through a wah pedal. They probably could have done themselves a favour by turning down just a bit, but their enthusiasm was warranted – it was their last show of the year after touring heavily in support of their album and as Peck noted, Ash was his favourite band since forever so getting to open for them – and then take over Wheeler’s guitar roadie duties later – made for a pretty unique experience. If ever there was a night to leave it all on stage, it was this. And they did. Loudly.

Though chronologically, Ash fit right into the first wave of Britpop, I never really thought of them as such – and not just because Northern Ireland isn’t technically part of Britain, so the genre was a misnomer anyways. No, it was more their youthful energy and punkier inclinations didn’t really fit with the sort of Anglo sophistication that I wanted from the likes of Blur or Pulp, and so while I appreciated the singles I heard over the years, I didn’t start making up the lost time until recently. Definitely in time to thoroughly enjoy their show, though. Obviously feeling no inclination to be difficult, the set was wall-to-wall hits – both actual and should have beens – drawn from throughout their career but focusing largely on their 1996 debut 1977 with appropriate consideration given to 2001’s Free All Angels and 2004’s Meltdown, and ranging from the relatively gentle “Shining Light” to the positively raging “Clones”. And while not sold out, the show was well-attended with no small number of Irish fans and not singing along with anthems such as “Goldfinger” or “Girl From Mars” was simply not an option. They also drew heavily from their recent ambitious A-Z singles series – the triple vinyl North American release ostensibly the reason for the tour – and tracks like “Arcadia” and “Binary” proving that even after twenty years, their simple formula of riff and melody – and recently, the occasional electronic flourish – still pays tremendous dividends.

As you would expect a band with as many years and miles under their belts as Ash, they were unbelievably polished and powerful, bassist Mark Hamilton not missing a not while striking body-contorting rock poses through the whole night and Wheeler, when not singing, was bounding around the stage and confirming that the road case oddly placed front and centre stage was indeed for jumping on and rocking out. And after nineteen songs and 90 minutes, it was also the place for the trio to stand up and take a well-earned bow.

Oh, one more lesson bands can take from Ash? Flying Vs rawk.

Exclaim also has a review of the show and A Music Blog, Yea has an interview with Tim Wheeler.

Photos: Ash, Kestrels @ Lee’s Palace – November 17, 2012
MP3: Ash – “Return Of White Rabbit”
MP3: Ash – “Burn Baby Burn”
Video: Ash – “Carnal Love”
Video: Ash – “Binary”
Video: Ash – “Kamakura”
Video: Ash – “The Creeps”
Video: Ash – “War With Me”
Video: Ash – “Neon”
Video: Ash – “Ichiban”
Video: Ash – “Space Shot”
Video: Ash – “Pripyat”
Video: Ash – “Tracers”
Video: Ash – “Arcadia”
Video: Ash – “Joy Kicks Darkness”
Video: Ash – “True Love 1980”
Video: Ash – “Return Of White “
Video: Ash – “End Of The World”
Video: Ash – “Polaris”
Video: Ash – “You Can’t Have It All”
Video: Ash – “I Started A Fire”
Video: Ash – “Renegade Cavalcade”
Video: Ash – “Starcrossed”
Video: Ash – “Orpheus”
Video: Ash – “Clones”
Video: Ash – “There’s A Star”
Video: Ash – “Candy”
Video: Ash – “Sometimes”
Video: Ash – “Burn Baby Burn”
Video: Ash – “Shining Light”
Video: Ash – “Warmer Than Fire”
Video: Ash – “Wildsurf”
Video: Ash – “A Life Less Ordinary”
Video: Ash – “Oh Yeah”
Video: Ash – “Goldfinger”
Video: Ash – “Angel Interceptor”
Video: Ash – “Girl From Mars” (US)
Video: Ash – “Girl From Mars” (UK)
Video: Ash – “Kung Fu”
Video: Ash – “Uncle Pat”
Video: Kestrels – “The Past Rests”
Video: Kestrels – “There All The Time Without You”

Here’s one to file under “happy coincidences”. Just yesterday morning, I was listening to The Joy Formidable and thinking that it had been too long since I saw them live, having skipped their show in April and also planning to give next Sunday night’s support slot for The Gaslight Anthem a pass. And then, lo and behold, they announce a last-minute headline gig at The Mod Club for next Monday, November 26. It’s a free show as part of CFNY’s holiday concert series, so head to theedge.ca for details on how to win tickets. Expect to hear material from their new album Wolf’s Law, out January 22.

MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Wolf’s Law”

Kate Nash has announced her Death Proof EP will indeed be out this Fall as promised – as of right now, in fact. DIY has details on the release, which will be out on November 19, and Consequence Of Sound has some specifics on Nash’s third studio album, entitled Girl Talk and targeted for a March 2013 release. Spin talks to her about her new video for the title track of the new EP.

Video: Kate Nash – “Death Proof”

Florence & The Machine have squeezed another video out of Ceremonials and premiered it over at Nowness.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “Lover To Lover”

Played the new Veronica Falls track to death already? Head over to They Shoot Music where the band play a live version for a video session in addition to an old song. The new album Waiting For Something To Happen is out February 12.

4AD has details on the second album from Stornoway, to be entitled Tales From Terra Firma and due out on March 11.

Pitchfork has a Takeaway Show with Jessie Ware, filmed last month in Paris.

Blurt talks to Beth Orton.

The first track from Foals’ new album Holy Fire, out February 12, is now available to download.

MP3: Foals – “Inhaler”

Esben & The Witch are also giving away the first teaser of their second album Wash The Sins Not Only The Face, out January 21.

MP3: Esben & The Witch – “Deathwaltz”

For Folks Sake and The Stool Pigeon talk to Neil Halstead.

The Guardian asks the question so many have wondered – how did Mumford & Sons get so damn big?

Wales Online reports that Manic Street Preachers have gotten to work on a new album, though it won’t be out until 2014 at least.

Blur have released a clip from their not-farewell Hyde Park concert, documented on the forthcoming CD/DVD Parklive set. It’s out December 3.

Video: Blur – “Under The Westway” (live at Hyde Park)

Wired reports that Beautiful Noise, the documentary film on the shoegazing movement featuring interviews with many principals of the scene that has seemingly been in production forever, is finally finished and turning to Kickstarter to fund its distribution. $25 gets you a copy of the DVD… and you know you want it.

Trailer: Beautiful Noise

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Don't Stare At The Sun

Richard Hawley gets view of Mercury from Sky’s Edge

Photo By FacebookFacebookThe twelve album shortlist for the 2012 Mercury Prize, awarded to the best – by whatever standard the judges choose to use – British or Irish album of the past twelve months was announced yesterday, and I was pleased to see that Richard Hawley made the cut because I get to use the clever (by my standards, at least) post title above and use this sharp photo of Mr. Hawley adjusting his specs.

Truth be told, I’m a bit surprised that Standing at the Sky’s Edge made the cut. Hawley shortlisted before with 2006’s Cole’s Corner, which is as perfect example of what he’s come to be known for in his solo career – classically-styled and richly-adorned romantic pop showcasing his deep baritone and twanging guitarwork – so to recognize him again for a record that seeks to distance itself from that stereotype by way of psychedelic rock jams is a touch unexpected. I personally like the record as it really lets Hawley rip on guitar in a way that he doesn’t typically – it’s louder and rawer but still unimpeachably tasteful – but I do hope it’s more a stylistic sidebar rather than new direction because, well, everyone likes the croony Rich.

To hear both sides impeccably presented, I highly recommend cueing up this live performance at the BBC last weekend where Hawley, in his hometown of Sheffield, is accompanied for two career-spanning sets by the BBC Philharmonic. It’s as gorgeous sounding as it would appear on paper, and as BBC doesn’t like to archive their stuff indefinitely, it’s only available to stream for a couple more days. Hopefully eventually it’ll be given a live release because, well, it should. Hop to the 32 minute mark to hear Jarvis Cocker’s introduction – Jarvis should always be heard – or to the 35th minute for the start of the show. And while you’re at it, read these features interviews at Toast, The Sheffield Telegraph, and The Belfast Telegraph. Also, watch this studio session video for his new single.

Video: Richard Hawley – “Seek It” (live at Yellow Arch Studios)

As for the rest of the Mercury nominees, they line up as follows. And as has become a habit, more than a few of them are coming through town in the next few weeks – Alt-J at Wrongbar on September 19, Ben Howard at Sound Academy on September 24, and Django Django at Wrongbar on September 25. Not Hawley though – he hasn’t been back since December 2007, but hey – we can hope.

Billboard and The Quietus collect some nominee reactions. The winner of the 2012 Mercury Prize will be announced on November 1.

Alt-J / An Awesome Wave / MP3: “Tessalate”
Django Django / Django Django / MP3: “Default”
Field Music / Plumb / MP3: “A New Town”
Ben Howard / Every Kingdom / Video: “Keep Your Head Up”
Richard Hawley / Standing at the Sky’s Edge / MP3: “Down In The Woods”
Michael Kiwanuka / Home Again / MP3: “Tell Me A Tale”
Lianne La Havas / Is Your Love Big Enough? / Video: “Lost & Found”
Sam Lee / Ground of its Own / Stream: “George Collins”
The Maccabees / Given To The Wild / MP3: “Go”
Plan B / Ill Manors / Video: “Ill Manors”
Roller Trio / Roller Trio / Video: “R-O-R'”
Jessie Ware / Devotion / Video: “Wildest Moments”

The Guardian has an interview, MTV a bluffer’s guide, and Baeble Music a video session with Alt-J, who’ve just debuted a new video and are presently favoured to win the big prize.

Video: Alt-J – “Fitzpleasure”

Pitchfork has details on Field Music’s forthcoming covers mini-album Playm, due out later this Fall.

Mumford & Sons have released a video from their new album Babel, due out September 25.

Video: Mumford & Sons – “I Will Wait”

Rolling Stone has premiered a track from Tim Burgess of The Charlatans’ new solo record Oh No I Love You, out October 1 in the UK. The Independent also has an interview with Burgess, who reveals that a new Charlatans album will be on the way sometime next year.

MP3: Tim Burgess – “A Case For Vinyl”
Video: Tim Burgess – “White”

Neil Halstead has released a video from his new album Palindrome Hunches, and it gives you a pretty good idea of what his show at The Dakota on October 8 will look like.

Video: Neil Halstead – “Digging Shelters”

Frightened Rabbit are previewing their new State Hospital EP every which way ahead of its release on September 25. The video for the title track was revealed a couple weeks back and now Drowned In Sound has an acoustic video performance of that same tune and DIY has an acoustic demo video of the song, “Boxing Night”. The band are at The Mod Club on October 10 and Mark Grainger writes and Clash have interviews with Scott Hutchison.

Billboard and State talk to Two Door Cinema Club, in town at the Sound Academy on October 11.

The Guardian talks to Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes. Her new album The Haunted Man is out October 23.

Consequence Of Sound has the full routing of the Saint Etienne Fall North American tour, which kicks off October 24 in Toronto at the Opera House, and adds an interview with singer Sarah Cracknell for good measure.

The Joy Formidable have offered the first video from their new album Wolf’s Law, due out in January. That’s right – the song of the same name for which they released a video last month won’t actually appear on the album.

Video: The Joy Formidable – “Cholla”

Clash meets Hot Chip. Pretty sure they’ve met before, but whatever. Exclaim and The Georgia Straight also have chats.

DIY and Uncut celebrate the 20th anniversary of Ride’s seminal Going Blank Again by talk to Mark Gardener and Andy Bell, respectively.

The Quietus gets an update from Brett Anderson about how recording sessions for that new Suede album are going. How well? Well enough that Brett Anderson is willing to talk about it.

Noel Gallagher gives NME some odds for an Oasis reunion – not good.

Spinner talks to Stevie Jackson about going it solo for a bit.

Wild Peace, the dreampoppy debut from London’s Echo Lake has been out for a while but due to tragic circumstances – drummer Pete Hayes passed away days before it was released in June – so they’re just getting back to doing press for it now. Drowned In Sound has a complete stream of the album along with song-by-song annotations by the band.

Video: Echo Lake – “Wild Peace”
Video: Echo Lake – “In Dreams”
Stream: Echo Lake / Wild Peace

Spinner chats with Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine.

NPR welcomes Bloc Party for a KCRW session.

Elbow bassist Pete Turner talks to NME about their just-released Dead In The Boot b-sides comp, as well as their plans for their next proper studio album.

Under The Radar presents a video session with Anna Calvi comprised of original instrumentals recorded at and inspired by works in the Tate Modern in London.

NPR, The Los Angeles Times, Digital Spy, and PopMatters interview Pet Shop Boys about their new album Elysium.

There’s a video for the first new Dubstar song in forever – it was originally released in time for Record Store Day in the Spring. A new album is allegedly in the works.

Video: Dubstar – “Circle Turns”

State chats with The Futureheads.

The Grid and The National Post talk to The xx.

DIY and Spinner have features on The Vaccines.

Spinner has an interview and The Line Of Best Fit a video session with Charli XCX.

Clash and The Quietus have features on TOY, but don’t use the all-caps presentation so since I presume they’d know better than I, henceforth neither shall I. Toy. There you still. Still a rubbish name.

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

I've Got Your Music

Saint Etienne to deliver Words & Music in person

Photo By Elaine ConstantineElaine ConstantineThe show was only announced last night, but I’m just going to go ahead and say that I don’t think people are nearly as excited about Saint Etienne’s first show back in Toronto in, if my calculations are correct, in almost a decade. I know this a) because I made note of this in the very salad days of this blog, and b) because I’ve regretted my indifference to that show since I finally wised up to the dance-popping glory of the London trio.

Granted, they met me a little of the way in, what with them moving away from being just a dancefloor concern to a properly brilliant pop band. Of course that’s not really an excuse since that transition started as early as their second album, So Tough, but in my defence for the longest time I only really knew their discotheque-friendly debut Foxbase Alpha and guys, this was in the ’90s when buying imported UK albums was effin’ expensive. Also, my musical tastes were less refined in my twenties; Saint Etienne were far too happy for my tastes. Yeah, I know. I inevitably saw the error of my ways when I picked up a copy of their 1996 Too Young To Die compilation, but that was too late to catch that November 2002 show at The Opera House in support of Finisterre.

So hooray for second chances, even if they’re a while in coming. The band are returning to North America for some dates in support of this year’s Words & Music By Saint Etienne, and it includes an October 24 date at The Mod Club, tickets $28.50. The tour – I don’t have the other dates yet, sorry, but understand it’ll run from October into November so it’s not that short – also coincides with the DVD release of the What Have You Done Today, Mervyn Day? documentary. The 2005 film was written by and featured a soundtrack by the band and examined the Lower Lea Valley area of London, much of which became the site of the 2012 Olympics. A precise date for the release is still forthcoming, but details on it can be had at Pitchfork.

MP3: Saint Etienne – “Downey, CA”
Video: Saint Etienne – “Tonight”
Video: Saint Etienne – “I’ve Got Your Music”
Trailer: What Have You Done Today, Mervyn Day?

Also a pleasant surprise – less so because he never visits, because he does, but because when the dates for Neil Halstead’s Fall tour were announced, we weren’t on there. Happily that’s been rectified and Neil will be here with songs from his new solo album Palindrome Hunches – out September 11 – and snappy rejoinders to anyone who yells out a Slowdive request. And lest that discourage you from attending, know that he’s generous with forays into the Mojave 3 songbook – so at least there’s that. He’s at The Dakota Tavern on October 8, so if you don’t have plans for Thanksgiving Monday and $22.50 burning a hole in your pocket, you’re all set.

MP3: Neil Halstead – “Full Moon Rising”

Spinner talks to Bloc Party about some of the influences that went into their latest effort Four, out today. They play two nights at The Danforth Music Hall on September 10 and 11.

Paste has a quick chat with The Heavy and debuts the new video from The Glorious Dead, out today. They’re at Lee’s Palace on September 23.

Video: The Heavy – “What Makes A Good Man”

It could have been a hat trick of excellent concert announcements from across the pond yesterday if, say, Richard Hawley announced a jaunt to support the North American release of his latest Standing At The Sky’s Edge – out next week – but no luck. We’ll have to make do with the fact that it no longer costs an arm and a leg for a physical copy and a free MP3 from the record courtesy of Rolling Stone. And also this interview with the man at The Yorkshire Evening Post.

MP3: Richard Hawley – “Down In The Woods”

Tender Trap have a new video from their new album Songs About Girls, out September 10.

Video: Tender Trap – “Step One”

Frightened Rabbit have released a video for the title track of their new EP, behind which they’re touring North America this Fall. State Hospital is out September 25 and they play The Mod Club on October 10. Forres Gazette chats with frontman Scott Hutchison about the Rabbit’s return.

Video: Frightened Rabbit – “State Hospital”

The Guardian sees what Little Boots is up to; announcing details about her second album, due out this Fall, is not one of those things.

Spinner interviews Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine.

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Osheaga 2012 Day One

Florence & The Machine, Sigur Rós, The Weeknd, and more at Osheaga

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI had decided a little while ago that I was done with big, outdoor music festivals. My last go-around was Pitchfork 2010 – not even what could be considered a “big” festival in the grand scheme of things – and even then, I was really feeling the “I am too old for this”-ness of the experience. But two years is a long time, or at least long enough to forget those aches and pains, and so when the opportunity arose at the last minute to hit Montrél’s Osheaga – Canada’ biggest and last multi-day, all-day outdoor music fest – I said, “why not”. After all, I’ve done fests all over the US and even in Europe – to not have been to the one closest to home (aside from the late Toronto V’s) seemed silly, and this year they’d assembled a pretty impressive lineup by drafting off of Lollapalooza. And so I went.

When I first saw Londoner Charli XCX back at SXSW, the buzz around here was very much in the embryonic stage – people were talking about her but with very little actual music released, it wasn’t entirely clear why they were talking about her. Her short, low-key, afternoon set in the front room of Red Eyed Fly didn’t do much to clarify that either though to be fair, it clearly wasn’t her ideal setting. Which isn’t to say that opening up a festival under the blazing sun and smothering humidity was her element, but it was certainly closer. With a drummer, keyboardist, and no shortage of backing tracks behind her, she led things off with an energized set of clubby electro-pop that went over well with the smattering of early birds gathering in front of the Parc Jean-Drapeau mainstage. Sometimes said backing tracks were more audible than the live instrumentation, but the balance of things eventually settled down and that Charli XCX had a strong voice, capable of conveying both playfulness and drama, was evident – she was no ingenue up there, and though her sound is very much for the kids, her respectable cover of Echo & The Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon” went some way to endearing her to the oldsters in the audience.

Digital Spy and Paper have interviews with Charli XCX.

Photos: Charli XCX @ Scène de la montagne – August 3, 2012
MP3: Charli XCX – “I’ll Never Know”
MP3: Charli XCX – “Valentine”
MP3: Charli XCX – “Nuclear Seasons”
Video: Charli XCX – “Nuclear Seasons”
Video: Charli XCX – “You’re The One”

Typically, bands playing festivals have to agree to a radius clause that prevents them from playing any other local shows for a certain amount of time. Australia’s Jezabels, on the other hand, were playing their second Montrél show in less than 24 hours having played a club show the night before for MMOI, an event running parallel/in conjunction with Osheaga tasked with putting a spotlight on specific acts from around the world. But if they were feeling the effects of the hectic schedule, it didn’t show. Already rising stars down under, they’ve been working hard at making a similar dent in North America on the back of their debut album Prisoner and though their set started over 10 minutes late due to soundchecking issues, they used the remaining time to showcase their stadium rock ambitions with frontwoman Hayley Mary’s soaring vocals and arm-waving choruses.

Zimbio has a feature interview with the band, and they’ve just announced a date at The Mod Club on October 24.

Photos: The Jezabels @ Scène des arbes – August 3, 2012
MP3: The Jezabels – “Try Colour”
MP3: The Jezabels – “Endless Summer”
MP3: The Jezabels – “Mace Spray”
Video: The Jezabels – “Rosebud”
Video: The Jezabels – “Try Colour”
Video: The Jezabels – “Endless Summer”
Video: The Jezabels – “Mace Spray”
Video: The Jezabels – “Easy To Love”
Video: The Jezabels – “Hurt Me”

Following up on the same stage were California’s Dum Dum Girls, who were also plagued with technical problems – the first big cheer of the day went not for their retro garage pop, but when they were finally able to get bassist Malia James’ mic working. Still on the road for last year’s Only In Dreams but also in advance of their new EP End Of Daze, out September 25, they put on an energetic set that wasn’t too different from the times I saw them last year at NXNE and at SXSW – right down to the sweltering heat making their make-up run – but their harmonies sounded more up front this time and, oh – both Dee Dee and Malia changed their hair colours, if that’s the sort of thing you’re keeping track of. Though the myriad technical issues persisted through their set – at times there were as many techs on stage as band members – they soldiered through for a solid set.

Photos: Dum Dum Girls @ Scène des arbes – August 3, 2012
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Lord Knows”
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Bedroom Eyes”
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Coming Down”
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “He Gets Me High”
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Bhang Bhang I’m A Burnout”
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “D.A.L.”
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Jail La La”
Video: Dum Dum Girls – “Coming Down”
Video: Dum Dum Girls – “Bedroom Eyes”
Video: Dum Dum Girls – “He Gets Me High”
Video: Dum Dum Girls – “Bhang Bhang I’m A Burnout”
Video: Dum Dum Girls – “Jail La La”

It seems I only see Franz Ferdinand at festivals – the last time being Toronto’s final V Fest in 2009 – but that’s okay, as they’re a fantastic festival band. The timing was a bit odd as there’s been no official word on a follow-up to 2009’s Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, though a release sometime this year has been promised for a while and new songs have been trickling out in live sets. In any case, it’s probably safe to say that no one cared that there wasn’t a new record out because they wanted to hear the old stuff, which Franz delivered with gusto. Opening with “Dark Of The Matinée” and powering through basically non-stop disco-rock anthems before closing with, “This Fire”, theirs was the first set that made the day feel like it was entering prime time. There was one new song, thrown in for good measure and sounding for lack of a better description very Franz. Also new was Alex Kapranos’ moustache which, even with his formidable swagger, I don’t think he pulled off. Can’t win ’em all, guys.

Photos: Franz Ferdinand @ Scène de la rivière – August 3, 2012
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Can’t Stop Feeling”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “No You Girls”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Ulysses”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Eleanor Put Your Boots On”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Jeremy Fraser”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Wine In The Afternoon”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “L. Wells”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Fallen”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Walk Away”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Do You Want To”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “This Fire”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Michael”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “The Dark Of The Matinee”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Take Me Out”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Darts Of Pleasure”

Abel Tesfaye – the Toronto-based R&B singer known professionally as The Weeknd – spent most of 2011 shrouded in mystery, eschewing interviews and overt publicity and riding his trilogy of mixtapes – House Of Balloons/Thursday/Echoes Of Silence – to huge acclaim and a place on that year’s Polaris Prize shortlist. But seeing as how internet acclaim doesn’t put food on the table, it was only a matter of time before Tesfaye stepped out of the shadows and onto the stage. Specifically, big festival stages like at Osheaga. Fronting a five-piece band and facing a massive crowd of enthusiastic fans, Tesfaye certainly didn’t come across as someone who would shy away from attention. Though he wasn’t a showy performer, he was charismatic and in great voice. It was interesting to see how big a smile he wore considering how dark a perspective he frequently writes from, but I suppose it’s hard to be glum when you’ve got thousands of people – many of them young women – screaming for you. His set went overtime with a drawn-out, vocally acrobatic version of “Wicked Games” and was one of the many points in the weekend when the tag-team setup of the Osheaga mainstages made for an interesting contrast, with half the crowd swooning and the other half, waiting for Florence & The Machine’s set to begin, stewing.

Photos: The Weeknd @ Scène de la montagnes – August 3, 2012
MP3: The Weeknd – “Loft Music”
MP3: The Weeknd – “Life Of The Party”
MP3: The Weeknd – “The Zone”
MP3: The Weeknd – “House Of Balloons – Glass Table Girls”
MP3: The Weeknd – “What Do You Need”
MP3: The Weeknd – “D.D.”
MP3: The Weeknd – “The Fall”
MP3: The Weeknd – “The Birds (Part 1)”
MP3: The Weeknd – “High For This”
MP3: The Weeknd – “Initiation”
MP3: The Weeknd – “Wicked Games”
MP3: The Weeknd – “Montreal”
MP3: The Weeknd – “Outside”
MP3: The Weeknd – “XO/The Host”
MP3: The Weeknd – “Same Old Song”
MP3: The Weeknd – “The Morning”
MP3: The Weeknd – “Rolling Stone”
MP3: The Weeknd – “The Birds (Part 2)”
MP3: The Weeknd – “Heaven Or Las Vegas”
MP3: The Weeknd – “The Knowing”
MP3: The Weeknd – “Coming Down”
Video: The Weeknd – “The Knowing”

Florence & The Machine could only been delayed, however, not denied. I regard it as a statement of fact rather than boast that I was on board with Florence Welch way early on, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Her first releases painted her as a sort of crazy art-rock eccentric with prodigious vocal gifts but seemingly no inclination to use them conventionally or consistently – which may and well have been the plan at first, but at some point it became evident that big, roof-rattling anthems would be better use for her talents to say nothing of more marketable. Her debut Lungs somewhat split the difference between the two directions, albeit with the older material polished up so as to not embarrass their siblings, but her second album Ceremonials was all bombastic singles with little use for variety or restraint, and it’s hard to argue with the success of that direction – fully half the album has been released as singles and she’s a massive star worldwide, as her marquee billing at festivals like this testified.

Though not the Friday closer, Florence certainly drew the largest crowd of the day and taking the ornately-decorated stage in a billowing blue dress, she was certainly up for the occasion. Sweeping from one side of the stage to other so as to not neglect anyone, the dramatic flourishes and stage moves I commented on at her Toronto debut in November 2009 have only gotten bigger in the interim (I’ve missed all her local shows since) but she tempers the grandiosity of the presentation with appreciation and affection for her fans and playful moves like leaping up and down onstage, heels be damned. It’s possible that it’s all rehearsed and routine, but from my vantage point up front, her huge smile was genuine. It was nice. And it may seem odd to say, but losing her voice as she did a couple weeks ago may have been good for Welch – a complaint I’ve had about her live performance before was that her vocal power would come at the expense of pitch – read: she was flat a lot – but this time out, she was demonstrating more restraint in her delivery, perhaps intending to save her voice but reaping the benefits of being more controlled, more in key, and more dynamic as a result. Whatever it was, even though I don’t necessarily count myself a big fan anymore, I thoroughly enjoyed her set. Some artists are made for festivals.

The National Post, Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette, and The Globe & Mail have interviews with Welch.

Photos: Florence & The Machine @ Scène de la rivière – August 3, 2012
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Breaking Down”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Spectrum (Say My Name)”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Breath Of Life”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Never Let Me Go”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “No Light, No Light”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Shake It Out”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “What The Water Gave Me”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Heavy In Your Arms”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Cosmic Love”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “You’ve Got The Love”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Drumming Song”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Kiss With A Fist”
Video: Florence & The Machine – “Dog Days Are Over”

To paraphrase Winston Zeddemore, when someone asks you if you want to see Sigur Rós twice in 72 hours, you say YES. So a couple days after seeing their blissful set at Echo Beach in Toronto, I was lucky enough to see Iceland’s finest once again. And as great as their Osheaga set was, it really made me thankful that I saw that Toronto show as it was nearly twice as long and far better-paced to allow the beauty of what they do to come through. In a festival setting and limited to a set time of just an hour, they had to dispense with most of the slower, more ambient parts of their show in favour of a more compressed, impactful set list. I appreciated that it wasn’t necessarily their own audience they were playing in front of – I’m sure many didn’t even know who they were – but I did hope that for those unfamiliar, their set would be a gateway of sorts to something magical and otherworldly. Judging from the chants of, “Justice! Justice” that grew from the other half of the mainstage area as their set drew to a close, that probably wasn’t the case. Alas.

The National Post has an interview.

Photos: Sigur Rós @ Scène de la montagne – August 3, 2012
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Gobbledigook”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Hoppípolla”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Popplagio / The Pop Song”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Staralfur”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Svefn-G-Englar”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Nýja lagið”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Rembihnútur”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Fjögur Píanó”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varúð” (version two)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varúð” (version one)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Ég anda” (version two)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Ég anda” (version one)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Ekki Múkk”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Við Spilum Endalaust “
Video: Sigur Rós – “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Gobbledigook”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Sæglópur”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Hoppípolla”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Glósóli”
Video: Sigur Rós – “(Vaka)”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Viðrar vel til loftárása”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Svefn-G-Englar”

And finally, there was Justice for all. At least all who were left. Though the ostensible headliners, the French disco-rock duo had a markedly smaller audience than Florence did but they were still legion and really, that just meant more room to dance. The pair set up atop/behind their signature wall of electronic consoles and wings of Marshall stacks – and giant glowing cross, yes – but from the angle up close it looked more ridiculous than impressive, with Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay looking like little more than severed heads sitting atop their setup. Certainly there was no way to see what they were actually doing up there, whether DJing records or playing Pac-Man, but no one seemed to care. They had a raging dance party to engage in, and rage they did. Justice provided an excellent soundtrack to ending a long, hot day of great music and also for walking to the subway.

The Montreal Gazette and NOW have interviews.

Photos: Justice @ Scène de la rivière – August 3, 2012
MP3: Justice – “On’N’On”
Video: Justice – “New Lands”
Video: Justice – “On’N’On”
Video: Justice – “Audio, Video, Disco”
Video: Justice – “Civilization”
Video: Justice – “Phantom Pt. II”
Video: Justice – “Stress”
Video: Justice – “DVNO”
Video: Justice – “D.A.N.C.E.”

And a few concert announcements that may be relevant to your interests. Just here in May, LA’s Grouplove are back in support of Never Trust A Happy Song for a show at The Phoenix on November 5, tickets $24 in advance.

Video: Grouplove – “Colours”

Aimee Mann has announced a Fall tour behind her new album Charmer, out September 18, and is bringing an expected tourmate with her – Ted Leo. I assume he’s leaving the Pharmacists at home for this outing and will be dialing down the punk a bit so as to not scare Mann’s audience, but it’s an interesting pairing. The Toronto show is November 6 at the Danforth Music Hall, tickets $27.50 and $32.50.

MP3: Aimee Mann – “Charmer”
MP3: Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – “Bottled In Cork”

After expressing surprise that Yeasayer were big enough to play the Sound Academy, as they were meant to on August 21, it appears that they in fact aren’t. On either count. Their new album Fragrant World is still out that day, but they’ll not be in Toronto until November 9 and it will be at the markedly smaller Danforth Music Hall. Anyone who says they are upset about the change in venue is lying and should not be allowed near small children.

Rachael Yamagata has made a date at The Mod Club for December 1, tickets $15. Her latest album Chesapeake came out last Fall.

Video: Rachael Yamagata – “Even If I Don’t”