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Posts Tagged ‘Foals’

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Wonder 2

My Bloody Valentine at The Kool Haus in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangMy Bloody Valentine’s last visit to Toronto in September 2008 was a singular event on a few levels. Besides being their first visit in over a decade and a half, it was in-the-flesh proof that one of the most improbable returns to active duty in recent years was actually happening; considering that the seemingly simple task of reissuing Isn’t Anything and Loveless was already months overdue at the time and would actually take another three and half years to come out, only the most optimistic would have expected them to get their act together enough to pull off a North American tour. But they did, and it was glorious.

And so Tuesday night’s show – again at the Kool Haus – in support of their long-promised third album mbv came without some of that weight of expectation that surrounded their previous visit, but was still cause for excitement – these were still legends, after all… But even legends are still human. Unexpected for a band as epically amplified as they, both Kevin Shields and drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig started off with acoustic guitars and Belinda Butcher on keyboards for a reading of “Sometimes” that kept drifting out of synch with itself, the basic click track underpinning it not quite up to the job of keeping everyone in time. Shields would comment, “We really fucked that up” when it was over and he wasn’t wrong.

But a few more missteps aside – most notably “Thorn” getting two false starts before being abandoned midway through a third shot, Shields blaming a guitar “in the wrong key” – it was another immensely satisfying show. For being expectedly and incredibly loud, the mix was surprisingly clear with drums, keys, and most importantly vocals being sufficiently audible over the six-string din (a third guitarist beefed things up even further when not covering on keys). That they achieved this in a room that can be unforgiving to less proficient sound techs was remarkable, and it allowed the beauty of their softer moments – like mbv‘s “New You” – to come through and allowed the more violent numbers to do their work with surgical elegance rather than just as blunt instruments.

The set list drew fairly evenly from their three albums and b-sides, showcasing both their elegant and aggressive sides, with highlights including a deliciously bent “Only Shallow”, an impressive “Wonder 2” that again brought Ó Cíosóig from behind the kit to add a guitar while a drum track kept time, and the still-irresistibly dancey “Soon”, to say nothing of the endless parade of offset-body Fender guitars. The usually silent Shields was a bit chattier than normal, if just to explain and apologize for their technical hiccups, with Butcher adding a polite “thank you” before their closing salvo of “Feed Me With Your Kiss” and the scorched-earth “You Made Me Realize”, though rather than try to top the 23-minute ‘holocaust’ section from 2008, they capped it at a reasonable nine. There’s not many bands that you’d actually feel some disappointment that they didn’t apply the aural equivalent of a dental cleaning with a space shuttle booster rocket for the length of a network sitcom, but there’s not many bands like My Bloody Valentine. Or any.

The Toronto Star, National Post, NOW, and Exclaim also have reviews of the show. The attached photo is from the 2008 photoset; no photography was permitted this time around.

Video: My Bloody Valentine – “Only Shallow”
Video: My Bloody Valentine- “Soon”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “To Here Knows When”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “Swallow”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “You Made Me Realise”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “Feed Me With Your Kiss”
Stream: My Bloody Valentine / mbv

DIY, Consequence Of Sound, Paper, and FasterLouder talk to Cut Copy about their just-released new album, Free Your Mind. They’re in town November 15 at The Danforth Music Hall.

Blood Orange is streaming the whole of his new album Cupid Deluxe, which will be available digitally next week on November 12 before coming out in physical formats on November 19.

Stream: Blood Orange / Cupid Deluxe

Artist Direct, The Telegraph, and Yahoo talk to Shane Meadows about directing the Made Of Stone documentary on The Stone Roses. It gets a Toronto premiere at both The Bloor and Cineplex Yonge-Dundas on November 22, and continues screening at YDS from November 24 to 28.

Drowned In Sound talks to Cate Le Bon about her new record Mug Museum, out November 12. She’ll be at The Drake Underground on January 21.

When it was announced that Until The Colours Run – the new record from Lanterns On The Lake – wasn’t getting a North American release until January 14 despite coming out in the UK in October, I hoped it meant that the record would get a much-deserved proper promotional push over here. And indeed, they’ve announced a North American tour for next year that brings them to the Drake Underground on February 1. Under The Radar has the full itinerary as well as a stream of a new song, but you can hear the whole thing via a link in my review of the record last month.

Stream: Lanterns On The Lake – “The Buffalo Days”

Johnny Flynn has released a new video from Country Mile as well as some North American tour dates in the first part of next year. Interestingly, there’s no Toronto date but there is a Montreal one on January 21 and several days off around it, so I’m guessing it will be announced sooner or later.

Video: Johnny Flynn – “Gypsy Hymn”

Drowned In Sound, The Jakarta Post, and The Star find out what Danish prog-rockers Mew are up to, besides working on a new album.

The Line Of Best Fit checks in with The Raveonettes, who will begin recording a new record in the new year.

The Sydney Morning Herald talks to Anna Calvi, who has released a video for the opening track of her new record, One Breath.

Video: Anna Calvi – “Suddenly”

Patrick Wolf has released a new video for the Sundark & Riverlight version of “The Libertine”, premiered at artforfreedom.com in support of LGBT rights at the Sochi Olympics.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “The Libertine”

Exclaim talks to Neil Halstead about Black Hearted Brother and the band, as a unit, list some of their most influential albums for MusicOmh.

DIY talks to Foals.

PopMatters has an interview with Los Campesinos!.

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Electric

Pet Shop Boys at The Sony Centre in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI can pinpoint the exact date, time, and place that I became a Pet Shop Boys fan – 8PM on August 30, 2009 at the Molson Amphitheatre. That was when they took the stage – the penultimate act of the final V Fest in Toronto and part of the “Pandemonium” tour in support of that year’s Yes – to the sampled voices of “Heart” and kicked off one of the most ridiculously entertaining hours of live music I can remember. I’d known the songs, of course – everyone knows many of those songs even if they don’t – but the marriage of their perfect pop and over-the-top, technicoloured building block visuals was impossible to resist, and since that too-short festival-length performance, I’ve been waiting for them to come back for their own full-length show.

It didn’t happen for last year’s Elysium, but for its strengths – maybe I liked it more than most because it was the first new PSB record to come out with me as a card-carrying member of their fanbase – its relatively low-key presentation may not have been the strongest foot to launch a world tour from. So thank goodness for this year’s unexpectedly fast follow-up Electric, a far more danceable and banging companion album that would get the Boys back on the road with the festival circuit in the Summer, and North America this Fall, stopping in at The Sony Centre in Toronto on Wednesday night.

With no opening act, the sold-out house waited and chattered patiently until the house lights dropped and screaming (the good kind) commenced. With projections of geometric abstractions and speeding tunnels on the giant scrim covering front of the stage, Messrs Tennant and Lowe took the stage behind giant glowing silhouettes, and ping-ponged from present to past with Electric opener “Axis”, Actually‘s “One More Chance”, and Elysium – all obscured behind trippy visuals – before dropping the scrim for “Opportunities” and bidding the crowd a proper “hello” with the first of many, many shouts of, “Toronto!”.

Even though the visuals of this tour were completely different from the Pandemonium tour – the Lego-esque aesthetic put aside for lasers, strobes, and the aforementioned giant projections, all tied together by a printed circuit board aesthetic – the structure was quite similar. Visually, you had Chris Lowe expressionless at his keyboard station handling the music, Neil Tennant roaming the stage in excellent voice, sometimes accompanied by a pair of dancers, and all in a dazzling and nonsensical array of costumes involving but certainly not limited to giant antlered animal masks, finely-tailored suits, disco ball helmets, and tinsel bodysuits on pogo sticks.

Musically, they tied songs together into suites with corresponding choreography, and as per the opening numbers, they focused mainly on their last two albums and their platinum-selling early records, although Behaviour was curiously left out completely. Also curious was the omission of two of Electric‘s highlights – new single “Love Is a Bourgeois Construct” and Springsteen cover “The Last To Die”. But you can’t have everything, I suppose, so wishing that some more of their ’90s singles had also made the cut in lieu of the early ’00s tracks is really besides the point. Even with a near two-hour show, a band with a catalog of classic songs as deep as Pet Shop Boys as well as very worthy current records to promote is going to leave someone’s favourites out. Probably best to focus on the fact that even so, no one was having anything but a great time and even though the Sony Centre’s seats weren’t the most conducive to dancing, we did what we could.

The show’s finale was heralded by a string of the biggest tunes – “It’s A Sin”, “Domino Dancing”, “Always On My Mind”, and “Go West” are the very definition of show stoppers – but the final number was Electric closing number “Vocal”; not a classic like the others – at least not yet – but certainly a banger and if you wanted to send a giddy crowd into the night understanding that even after more than a quarter century, you’re still writing and releasing great, great songs to go with your great, great shows, you could do far worse.

Global News, Panic Manual, and Live In Limbo also have reviews of the show, and Philly.com and The New Statesman interviews.

Photos: Pet Shop Boys @ The Sony Centre For The Performing Arts – September 25, 2013
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Vocal”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Axis”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Leaving”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Winner”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Invisible”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Together”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “All Over The World”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Did You See Me Coming?”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Love Etc.”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Numb”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Minimal”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “I’m With Stupid”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Flamboyant”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Miracles”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “London”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “I Get Along”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Home and Dry”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “New York City Boy”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “I Don’t Know What You Want But I Can’t Give It Anymore”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Somewhere”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “A Red Letter Day”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Single-Bilingual”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Se a vida ´ (That’s the Way Life Is)”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Before”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Paninaro 95”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Yesterday, When I Was Mad”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Liberation”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind of Thing”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Go West”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Can You Forgive Her?”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “DJ Culture”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Jealousy”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can’t Take My Eyes off You)”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously?”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Being Boring”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “So Hard”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “It’s Alright”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Left To My Own Devices”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Domino Dancing”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Heart”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Always On My Mind”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Rent”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “What Have I Done To Deserve This?”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “It’s A Sin”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Paninaro”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Suburbia”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Love Comes Quickly”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” (version 2)
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” (version 1)
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “West End Girls”

The New York Times has the advance stream of Yuck’s second album Glow & Behold, being released September 30.

Stream: Yuck / Glow & Behold

Also out next week is Johnny Flynn’s new long-player Country Mile, which is available to preview at For Folks Sake. And if that’s not enough, there’s the sampler A Recapitulation Of Johnny Flynn EP which is available to download for free (or a donation).

Stream: Johnny Flynn / Country Mile

Clash, MIPro, and New Statesman talk to Anna Calvi about her new album One Breath, which is out October 7 and from which a new song is available to stream.

Stream: Anna Calvi – “Suddenly”

The History Of Apple Pie are streaming the a-side of a new 7″-single, out October 14 to coincide with their hop across the Atlantic to play CMJ.

Stream: The History Of Apple Pie – “Don’t You Wanna Be Mine”

Clash premiered a stream of the first new Fanfarlo music in a while; it comes from their new EP The Sea, which will be released on October 14.

Stream: Fanfarlo – “A Distance”

Daytrotter has a session with Kate Nash, who plays The Phoenix on November 5.

Though her debut album True Romance is still only a few months old, Charli XCX has released a video for a new song from her next album, which she obviously hopes will be out sooner rather than later. She plays Wrongbar on November 9.

Video: Charli XCX – “Superlove”

The Guardian examines the new wave of psych-rock bands coming out of the UK including Temples, who are at The Horseshoe on November 20 ahead of releasing their full-length debut next year.

Foals have a new clip from their latest, Holy Fire.

Video: Foals – “Out Of The Woods”

Savages have released a new video from Silence Yourself.

Video: Savages – “Husbands”

Sky Larkin share their favourite mottos with Clash, while ZME Music settles for a regular old interview.

NPR has a video session and Exclaim an interview with CHVRCHES.

Spin talks to Elvis Costello and Questlove of The Roots about their collaborative record Wise Up Ghost.

Wild Honey Pie have posted a video session with Camera Obscura.

As part of their ongoing 4AD week – marking the release of Facing The Other Way, a new book about the legendary label, Drowned In Sound talks to Vaughan Oliver, the graphic artist responsible for the 4AD’s signature visual style.

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Newsworthy

Sky Larkin share new Motto

Photo via FacebookFacebookFrequently when an artist announces a new album a number of years on from when its predecessor came out, the question of, “where’ve you been?” is a natural ones. In the case of Sky Larkin principal Katie Harkin, the answer is simply “everywhere”. Since her band wrapped up touring commitments behind 2010’s Kaleide, she signed on as a touring member of Wild Beasts for their Smother tour (which stopped here in October 2011).

But Harkin has gotten back to her own business, and with a new lineup in place – original bassist Doug Adams amicably departed the band and was replaced and a second guitarist added – they’ve announced a September 16 release of their third album, entitled Motto. A new track from it is available to stream via The Guardian and offers a lighter counterpoint to the more pummelling first taste – now revealed as the album’s title track – which surfaced back in May and more than affirms their recipe of sleekly ragged guitars and sneakily sophisticated melodicism is still a most effective one. I look forward to their return.

Stream: Sky Larkin – “Loom”
Stream: Sky Larkin – “Motto”

Annie has released a new video from her just-out A&R EP; Idolator talks to Richard X – the EP’s producer and “R” namesake – about the record.

Video: Annie – “Back Together”

Clash and NME talk to White Lies about their new album Big TV, out August 21. They play The Opera House on October 1.

Rolling Stone talks to Martin Gore of Depeche Mode about the impending North American tour that brings them to the Molson Amphitheatre on September 1.

Manic Street Preachers have unveiled a new video from their next album Rewind The Film, out September 16.

Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Show Me The Wonder”

The Line Of Best Fit reports that English folkie Johnny Flynn has given his new record Country Mile a September 30 release date. The first song from it is available to preview via lyric video.

Lyric Video: Johnny Flynn – “The Lady Is Risen”

Charli XCX walks aux.tv through her video for “What I Like”. She plays The Hoxton on September 16.

Australia’s The Naked & Famous have announced the September 17 release of their second In Rolling Waves, offering some context for their already-announced date at the Sound Academy on October 14. The first video from the new record is also out.

Video: The Naked & Famous – “Hearts Like Ours”

Under The Radar reports that former Mercury Prize nominees The Invisible have been named as support for Jessie Ware on her North American tour, starting November 6 at The Sound Academy. The pairing makes perfect sense since Invisible frontman Dave Okumu co-wrote and produced much of Ware’s Devotion; their last album was 2012’s Rispah.

MP3: The Invisible – “London Girl”

Page 31 talks to Caroline Hjelt and Windy City Media to Aino Jawo of Icona Pop. Their album This Is… comes out September 24.

The Horrors tell NME that any expectations of a new record in 2013 are unfounded and their next release will come in early 2014.

The Quietus has both an interview with and the first new music from Rose Elinor Dougall in far too long; with luck a second album isn’t too far behind.

Stream: Rose Elinor Dougall – “Strange Warnings”

The High Wire have released a video for their latest single, which quite effectively leverages footage from the film Ashes, starring Ray Winstone. The Guardian has more information about the film.

Video: The High Wire -“LNOE”

The Guardian talks to Daniel Blumburg, formerly of Yuck, about his new project as Hebronix and the debut album Unreal.

Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream unloads to NME about the state of festivals in 2013.

Baeble Music has a video session with Foals and NME gets Yannis Philippakis’ thoughts on US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Cut Copy have made a new single, released last month in limited edition at the Pitchfork Music Festival, available to stream for all to hear.

Stream: Cut Copy – “Let Me Show You”

NPR has video from a KCRW session with Savages.

The Quietus catches up with David Lewis Gedge of The Wedding Present.

The Skinny finds out what Emma Pollock has been up to since the 2010 release of The Law Of Large Numbers, namely setting up a studio engineering course for aspiring producers.

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Toronto Urban Roots Fest Day Four

Belle & Sebastian, Neko Case, Yo La Tengo, and more at TURF 2013

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWith the first three days of the inaugural Toronto Urban Roots Fest having gone swimmingly, certainly the fourth and final day – boasting inarguably the strongest lineup of them all – would be the best? Well it turns out “swimmingly” would be kind of the wrong word to use, but everything started out enough.

Though as per usual I missed the first few acts of the day, I was there in time to see Kurt Vile make his first local appearance in support of his new record Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze, which has garnered pretty much universal acclaim, though I only go as far as saying I like it more than his last one. I’ve always found Vile’s stuff to be pretty same-y in that lightly psychedelic laid-back drone-pop way – an impression confirmed and amplified when I saw him at Pitchfork 2010 – but if you’re in the right mindset, it’s pretty pleasantly trippy. As with that show, this performance mainly had Vile in two modes – huge rug of hair draped over the mic stand while he sang, or huge rug of hair draped over his guitar while he soloed. His bandmates in the Violators did mix things up somewhat by adding mandolins and 6-string basses into the mix, and Vile was equally comfortable ripping leads on electric or acoustic, but a few noisey bursts aside, Vile was pretty content to just let the set mosey along at its pace and his fans were content to mosey right alongside him.

Photos: Kurt Vile @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 7, 2013
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Never Run Away”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Wakin’ On A Pretty Day”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Jesus Fever”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Baby’s Arms”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “In My Time”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “The Creature”
Video: Kurt Vile – “KV Crimes”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Never Run Away”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Jesus Fever”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Baby’s Arms”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Runner Ups”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Freak Train”

It was with some regret that I skipped Yo La Tengo’s stop at The Phoenix back in February in support of their latest Fade, but the confidence they’d put on a solid show couldn’t win out over the fact that I’d seen them play said solid show many times before – most recently in 2010 in Vegas at Matador at 21 – that I gave it a pass. Happily, their return for this festival meant that I’d still get to hear the new tunes, and not have to make any special effort to do so. Win! And as nice as it can be to hear Yo La Tengo stretch out live, there’s really something to be said for imposing strict time constraints on them; though they sounded quite the opposite of rushed, the blend of new songs – which sounded really terrific live, perfectly suited to the hazy afternoon – and old favourites done perfectly and without the excesses the band sometimes fall prey to, in some cases twice as “Autumn Sweater” came unravelled early on in the set with a blown amp fuse and had to be returned to later on.

NYC Taper has got the Yo La Tengo’s set from the Wilco-run Solid Sound fest a few weekends ago available to download. The Boston Globe, Metro, and Cincinnati CityBeat have interviews.

Photos: Yo La Tengo @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 7, 2013
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Stupid Things”
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Nuclear War”
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Here To Fall”
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Periodically Double Or Triple”
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Don’t Have To Be So Sad”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Ohm”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Ohm” (tree)
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Before We Run”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “When It’s Dark”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Nothing To Hide”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Avalon Or Someone Very Similar”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Periodically Double Or Triple”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Here To Fall”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Sugarcube”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Tom Courtenay”

I’d never given either Luke Doucet or Melissa McClelland much concern with their solo careers, so when they came together as Whitehorse I still didn’t pay any attention, at least until their second album The Fate Of The World Depends On This Kiss made it onto this year’s Polaris Prize long list. And while the adult contemporary-skewing roots-rock that’s the foundation of their sound isn’t normally what I’d be into (even if, phrased like that, you think it might) I found the record pretty enjoyable in a Steve Earle “chick song” sort of way, though rather slicker in execution; that’s why I expected that their live setup would involve a polished band comprised of session player types, not just the two of them and a garage sale’s worth of instruments and microphones. Okay, so the setup was meticulously arranged for exactly that DIY effect with telephone handsets and old-school shockmounted mics installed just so, but there was no faking the way the two built up the structures of each song by sampling acoustic instruments and looking stylish while doing it. They spent the first part of their set entrenched in their fortress of gear, but eventually strutted out to the front of the stage and sang together into a single mic armed just with guitar and bass. Straight, simple, and to their strengths.

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald has a feature piece on the band.

Photos: Whitehorse @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 7, 2013
Video: Whitehorse – “Achilles’ Desire”

If you’re looking for writeups of either The Cat Empire or Xavier Rudd, I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere. I spent their sets huddled under a leaky ATM tent hiding from the deluge that resulted when the skies opened up right around dinnertime. The rain eventually eased up, but not before turning the whole of the festival grounds into some manner of swamp. Not really an ideal setting for anything, let alone enjoying Neko Case’s set, but looked at another way, if there’s anything out there worth enduring this sort of weather for – after a short dry spell, the skies opened up even harder a couple songs in – it’s Neko Case.

When she was here last in December 2011 opening up for The National at the Air Canada Centre, the assumption seemed to be that if she was back on the road, then her new record – the long-awaited follow-up to 2009’s Middle Cyclone – must be close to being done. Not, as it turned out, so much. But nineteen months later, she was back and this time the new record – The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You – was done, locked, and loaded for a September 3 release. The set contained a few of those new songs, all of which sounded of the same high calibre of lead sample “Man”, and a solid tour of her repertoire – “Red Tide”, with its “I hate the rain” lyrics, was especially topical – and always-entertaining banter with backing singer Kelly Hogan. With the time she takes between records, it can be easy to forget just how amazing a talent Neko is; call her alt.country or folk-rock or jangle-pop or whatever you like, her voice and songwriting transcends all labels. And the only thing better than being reminded how good she is was the promise to return for another show sometime in the next six months. Ideally indoors.

Photos: Neko Case @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 7, 2013
MP3: Neko Case – “People Got A Lotta Nerve”
Video: Neko Case – “People Got A Lotta Nerve”
Video: Neko Case – “Maybe Sparrow”
Video: Neko Case – “Furnace Room Lullabye”

Finally, with the rain seemingly past though the resultant mud pits remained, it was time for Belle & Sebastian. It’s remarkable how the mysterious mystique the band cultivated in their early years still persists to some degree, and even though they’ve toured North America behind pretty much every album this century, their live shows are breathlessly anticipated like once-in-a-lifetime unicorn herd migrations. Of course, those studio albums are fewer and further between than most would like – their last visit was October 2010 behind Write About Love – so with no new record on the horizon, the fact that they were still coming to town to play a show apart from the usual promotional cycle was actually unicorn-rare, and as is often the case when the artist doesn’t have anything specific they need to push, offered the promise of being a much more unique show.

That this wouldn’t be a typical show was confirmed from the opening number, as instead of one of their obvious (but still beloved) songs, it was the electronic instrumental b-side “Judy Is A Dick Slap”. Anyone who says they had that in the “what’ll be the first song?” pool without consulting previous set lists is lying. “I’m A Cuckoo” then let Stuart Murdoch properly take centre stage and show off his dance moves, slippery stage be damned, “Another Sunny Day” was rolled out as a musical anodyne to the weather, and Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win earlier in the day saluted with “Stars Of Track And Field”. The catalog-hopping trajectory of that first salvo of selections delightfully carried on through the show, and while hardcore fans might suggest they could have gone for deeper cuts, I was more than happy to hear “The Model” and “Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner” dug out of the archives.

If it wasn’t quite a greatest hits set song-wise, it certainly was with their audience participation exercises. There was the girl brought onstage to read Isobel Campbell’s spoken word outro overtop “Dirty Dream Number Two” (she sang it, but whatever), the other girl who managed to fit a dance routine amidst playing Scrabble against the band onstage during “The Model”, the girl (sensing a trend? Oh, Stuart) who applied makeup to his face during “Lord Anthony”, the bevy of dancers brought onstage for “The Boy With The Arab Strap”… there was no lobbing of autographed footballs into the audience this time, but the rain probably would have washed the signatures off anyways. The between-song shenanigans might have taken up time that could have gone to another song or two, but you’d have had to be a serious grump to complain about the love-in vibe that they generated. And we should all count ourselves lucky that no one brought onstage insisted on singing one of her own songs. No, what we got was a joyous show that felt like a gift, wrapped a terrific inaugural TURF, and just about made you forget that you probably had trench foot. No mean feat.

The Huffington Post and Pittsburgh CityPaper have interviews with keyboardist Chris Geddes about the current tour and their plans to write their next record when it’s wrapped. The band’s new collection of b-sides and rarities, The Third Eye Centre, comes out August 27.

Photos: Belle & Sebastian @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 7, 2013
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Write About Love”
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Another Sunny Day”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “I Want The World To Stop”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “White Collar Boy”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “The Blues Are Still Blue”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Funny Little Frog”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Wrapped Up In Books”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “I’m A Cuckoo”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Step Into My Office Baby”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Jonathan David”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Jonathan David” (70s version)
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “The Wrong Girl”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Legal Man”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “This Is Just A Modern Rock Song”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “A Century Of Fakers”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Is It Wicked Not To Care?”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Dirty Dream #2”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Lazy Line Painter Jane”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Dog On Wheels”

CBC Music have got the Canada-only stream of the new Pet Shop Boys album Electric, out July 16. Americans can hit Pandora and Brits can use Rdio via The Guardian. They play The Sony Centre on September 25, and Spin, Huffington Post, and Metro have interviews with Neil Tennant about going indie on their latest record.

Stream: Pet Shop Boys / Electric

Fashion retailer Mr. Porter has an interview and fashion shoot with Kele Okereke of Bloc Party; their Nextwave Sessions EP is due out August 13.

Mumford & Sons have released a video for the title track of last year’s Babel. They’re at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 24.

Video: Mumford & Sons – “Babel”

Hot on the heels of those advance streams, Franz Ferdinand have released the video for the sort-of title track of their new album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. It’s out August 27 and they play The Kool Haus October 24.

Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Right Action”

Exclaim and The Daily Beast interview CHVRCHES about their forthcoming debut album The Bones of What You Believe, out September 24. They play The Danforth Music Hall on September 15, and if you need something new and CHVRCH-y to listen to before then, there’s this Haim cover they recorded for BBC.

Stream: CHVRCHES – “Falling” (Haim cover)

Manic Street Preachers have announced details of one of the two new records they’ve got in the can. Based on the title track, largely sung by the inimitable Richard Hawley, Rewind The Film is the largely acoustic album that had been previously mentioned; it’s out September 16 and more specifics on it can be had at DIY. James Dean Bradfield also talks to NME about the other album that’s been recorded alongside it, due out in Spring of next year.

Video: Manic Street Preachers w Richard Hawley – “Rewind The Film”

Veteran British folk-rock outfit The Waterboys are making their first return to town in some years to kick off a major North American tour; they’ll be here on September 17 at a venue to be announced, but last time through in 2007 it was at The Danforth, so presumably it’ll be somewhere similar.

Video: The Waterboys – “The Whole Of The Moon”

With their self-titled debut due out in September, up-and-coming UK outfit The 1975 will be at The Mod Club on October 13 as part of their first major North American tour.

Video: The 1975 – “Sex”

Belfast post-rock firebrands And So I Watch You From Afar and Oxford math-rock trio TTNG – formerly This Town Needs Guns before they thought better of it – are teaming up for a co-headlining tour that hits The Horseshoe on November 9, tickets $15.50. ASIWYFA released their third album All Hail Bright Futures this past Spring, TTNG’s second long-player 13.0.0.0.0 came out in January.

Stream: And So I Watch You From Afar / All Hail Bright Futures
Stream: TTNG / 13.0.0.0.0

The Skinny talks to Yannis Philipakkis of Foals.

Tone Deaf and Clash have interviews with Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie.

DIY wonders aloud something I’ve periodically wondered to myself – whither The Rumble Strips?

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Brief Encounters

Franz Ferdinand, Frightened Rabbit, and Travis lead an Autumn Scottish invasion

Photo By Andrew KnowlesAndrew KnowlesIt was amusing to me to hear portions of the internet get all worked up a few weeks ago when Franz Ferdinand announced the August 27 release of their fourth album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, because those people most excited are almost certainly the same ones who will be first to declare it to be, for the third time, inferior to their 2004 self-titled debut. And it may well be true, but it’s strange that those who’d purport to be the Scottish quartet’s biggest fans are also the first to be disappointed by them. I feel for the band, I do.

But it could also be they’re less excited about the prospect of new songs than the band heaving an excuse to hit the road again – after all, whatever you think of their records, there’s no denying that the band remain a phenomenal live band – this I was reminded of last Summer when I saw them at Osheaga. And so fans will be pleased to know the band have announced a Fall tour that brings them back to Toronto for the first time since V Fest 2009; they’ll be at The Kool Haus on October 24, tickets $35 in advance.

The band have not offered an official taste of the new record, but they did just release a little behind-the-scenes video featurette to whet your appetite, assuming your appetite is whetted by things like this.

Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Walk Away”
Video: Franz Ferdinand’s A Weekend In Glasgow

Buzzy Scots CHVRCHES have just released details about their debut album. The Bones of What You Believe, as well as more North American dates including September 15 at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. The album is out on September 24 and this is the newest video from it. The Guardian also has an interview.

MP3: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”
Video: CHVRCHES – “Gun”

Veteran Scots Travis have also regrouped for a new album, their first since 2008’s Ode To J. Smith. Where You Stand will be released on August 19 and be accompanied by a North American tour; their first Toronto show in over four years will be on September 25 at the Sound Academy, tickets $30 general admission and $45 VIP.

MP3: Travis – “Driftwood”
Video: Travis – “Where You Stand”

Frightened Rabbit aren’t as firm believers in absence making the heart grow fonder as their countrymen; Selkirk’s most famous rock band will be back for their third visit in a year with a show at The Kool Haus on October 17, still in support of this year’s Pedestrian Verse. Tickets for that are $25 in advance and Under The Radar has the rest of their tour itinerary. They culled through some live footage recorded on an Australian tour for their latest video.

MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Scottish Winds”
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Late March, Death March”

M.I.A. may continue to have problems getting her fourth album Matangi released – Maya Arulpragasam talks to The Guardian about why she thinks that is – but she’s still released the first single to stream and is undertaking a small North American tour, including a stop at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall on July 18; tickets $35 in advance.

Stream: M.I.A. – “Bring The Noize”

Up-and-coming British electronic duo AlunaGeorge have put together a North American tour in support of their debut album Body Music, which comes out July 29 and has just yielded a new video. Exclaim has the full dates, which include a September 9 stop at The Hoxton. Admission will be $20 in advance.

MP3: AlunaGeorge – “You Know You Like It”
Video: AlunaGeorge – “You Know You Like It”

After high-profile supporting slots for M83 last summer and Marina & The Diamonds last month, Charli XCX is finally ready for the spotlight – she’ll make her local headlining debut in support of True Romance on September 16 at The Hoxton, tickets $15. Exclaim has the complete dates and Billboard and Idolator have conversations with the singer.

MP3: Charli XCX – “Glow”

Editors have released a new video from their forthcoming The Weight Of Your Love, out July 2.

Video: Editors – “The Weight”

Aquarium Drunkard, Willamette Weekly, The Portland Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, and Santa Barbara Independent have interviews with Camera Obscura. They play Garrison Common for the Toronto Urban Roots Fest on July 4.

Guitar Player has an interview with Richard Thompson, who opens up the Bob Dylan/Wilco/My Morning Jacket tour that hits The Molson Amphitheatre on July 15.

Pet Shop Boys have released a new video from their forthcoming Electric, out July 16. They play The Sony Centre on September 25.

Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Vocal”

White Lies are streaming another song from their new record Big TV, out August 21. They play The Opera House on October 1.

Stream: White Lies – “There Goes Our Love”

Bella Union has offered details on the second album from orch-pop ensemble Lanterns On The Lake. Until The Colours Run will be out on September 9.

Also out September 9 will be Summer Camp, the second album from Summer Camp. The Line Of Best Fit have details on the release, or you can just watch the trailer.

Trailer: Summer Camp / Summer Camp

Daughter have released a new video from If You Leave; they play The Phoenix on September 29.

Video: Daughter – “Youth”

They’re not tipping their hat as to a new album that it be taken from, but Arctic Monkeys have released a video to go with a brand new new single.

Video: Arctic Monkeys – “Do I Wanna Know?”

Fans of top-notch dreampop in the Mojave 3 vein take note: Pigeons & Planes has premiered a new song from Anglo-Canadian dreampop outfit The High Wire, with details of a new full-length hopefully to come soon.

Stream: The High Wire – “LNOE”

Gigwise gets Richard Hawley to share his true feelings about festivals like Glastonbury – spoiler alert, not positively – and also about his contributions to the new Manic Street Preachers albums, whenever they come out.

And whilst on the topic of Manic Street Preachers, The Guardian talks to James Dean Bradfield and Tone Deaf to Sean Moore about rugby and music.

Despite being one of the busiest producers and sidemen going, DIY reports that Dev Hynes will release a second Blood Orange record this year, possibly with the title of Cupid Deluxe.

Noisey meets Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, whose latest More Light got a North American release this week.

Alex James confirms to Contact Music that Blur did, indeed, hit the studio in Hong Kong recently and that the sessions went “very well”.

Clash and GQ chat with the lads of Beady Eye about their new album BE.

The Guardian has premiered the new video from Foals, taken from this year’s Holy Fire.

Video: Foals – “Bad Habit”

NPR has posted a Tiny Desk Concert with Billy Bragg.

The Guardian chats with Stornoway frontman Brian Briggs.

Figure 8 chats with Dave Gedge of The Wedding Present.