Posts Tagged ‘Friendly Fires’

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Ex(x) Lover

Friendly Fires and The XX at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhen I caught Friendly Fires at Lee’s Palace back at the end of March, they were here as support for White Lies and their high-energy disco party easily stole the show from the angst-ridden headliners. And while their profile has since grown to the point that they were able to play their fourth local show in just over a year on Wednesday night at the Phoenix, buzz-wise the shoe was on the other foot – the gig was sold out, but that was largely because the show also marked the Toronto debut of the astonishingly-hyped (including in these parts, yes) London outfit, The xx.

The band’s narrative had taken a turn over the past month, gone from focusing on their slinky and skeletal blend of R&B and indie rock to the departure of guitarist Baria Qureshi and their subsequent reconfiguration as a trio, not that any of the off-stage drama had dampened anyone’s enthusiasm for the performance. Very few were playing the “show up late, nuts to the opener” game this evening and when The xx strode onstage, you’d be forgiven if you thought, from the response that they were the main attraction. Coming in, I’d heard that the band were both extremely dull and amazing live – and I can see how both points of view could be reached. To the former, they don’t really do much. Jamie Smith perches behind a DJ booth emblazoned with glowing band logos working the sampler and drum machine while Romy Croft and Oliver Sim stand on either side with guitar and bass, respectively, and do their sleepy, seductive thing. The thing is, what should they be doing? Their music isn’t the sort that requires a lot of visual accompaniment, and if either of them were to act out, it would be completely at odds with their aesthetic. No, gentle swaying and the occasional sideways glance was pretty much what was demanded of them and their performance matches the atmosphere of the music perfectly.

Musically, they struck a perfect balance between reproducing the spaces and textures of XX and stretching out a bit – when you’re working with structures as minimalist as they, moving something around a little makes a big difference. Obviously I’ve no point of comparison, but it was hard to imagine where Qureshi’s contributions would have gone – Croft seemed able to cover all the necessary guitar parts with no problem, and intertwined seamlessly with Sim’s basslines and Smith’s real-time drum machining (is there a word for that?). Playing the triggers live rather than relying on loops or samples kept things from feeling overly mechanical, for as much as technology underpins their sound, the net result is wholly organic. Their set ran just over half an hour – short and efficient, but not unreasonable considering the amount of material they had to draw on – but most importantly, it established that they could weave the same magic live as they do on record. Definitely looking forward to their April 20 return engagement at the Kool Haus in support of Hot Chip.

I’d heard that at other stops on the tour, much of the crowd cleared out after the opener and left no doubt who they were there to see. I was pleased to see that that wasn’t the case here, because really – even if you wanted to see The xx, you paid for the ticket, were already here and unless you were truly committed to the art of the mope, you couldn’t not enjoy Friendly Fires live. As they did in March, they delivered a set that was absurdly tight, pure discofied fun though this time they brought along a little extra in the form of a horn section to go with their manic percussion, synth and guitar maelstrom. In addition to extra players, another benefit of the larger tour was the real estate – frontman Ed Macfarlane took full advantage of the larger Phoenix stage in busting out his uniquely undulating dance moves, all shake and shimmy and equally awesome and ridiculous to behold.

Like the openers, their set was brief by conventional rock show standards – 50 minutes including encore – but in that span they put more sweat and kinetic energy they put into their performance than most bands do in twice the time. And anyways, they played the entirety of their Mercury-nominated self-titled debut plus latest single “Kiss Of Life” – pretty much their whole repertoire. I’d challenge anyone complaining about the length of the show to tell me what else they’d have expected to hear, but really, I don’t think I’d have been able to find anyone complaining. Come for The xx, stay for the Friendly Fires, leave completely satisfied.

Panic Manual, Exclaim and eye were both in attendance and have reviews. has an interview with Friendly Fires while AUX.TV has a video interview, eye, Metro, Time Out and Rolling Stone print features and MPR a streamable session.

Photos: Friendly Fires, The XX @ The Phoenix – December 2, 2009
MP3: Friendly Fires – “Jump In The Pool”
MP3: Friendly Fires – “Paris” (Aeroplane Remix)
MP3: The xx – “Basic Space”
Video: Friendly Fires – “Kiss Of Life”
Video: Friendly Fires – “Skeleton Boy”
Video: Friendly Fires – “Paris”
Video: Friendly Fires – “Jump In The Pool”
Video: Friendly Fires – “On Board”
Video: The xx – “Basic Space”
Video: The xx – “Crystalised”
MySpace: Friendly Fires
MySpace: The xx

The Village Voice talks to The Big Pink’s Robbie Furze.

AUX.TV has a video interview with Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine, The Irish Independent a profile.

Lots of new videos coming out of the UK – Richard Hawley has one from the second single off of Truelove’s Gutter

Video: Richard Hawley – “Open Up Your Door”

The Twilight Sad have released a new clip from Forget The Night Ahead.

Video: The Twilight Sad – “Seven Days Of Letters”

Have a first look and listen at Lightspeed Champion’s next album Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You, out February 16.

Video: Lightspeed Champion – “Marlene”

Good news – Fanfarlo has released a new video from Reservoir. Bad news – both Canadian dates have disappeared from their tour itinerary. Actually, make that “terrible news”. The only upside is that I can now go see Blue Roses at the Drake that night, but it’s small comfort. Boo. The Houston Chronicle interviews bassist Justin Finch.

Video: Fanfarlo – “Harold T. Wilkins”

Liam Gallagher tells This Is London that he may well continue on with Noel as Oasis. An album’s worth of Liam compositions. That can’t possibly go wrong.

The Age talks to Patrick Wolf.

They Shoot Music has a video session with Camera Obscura. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Jackson Free Press and St. Louis Today have interviews with various band members.

Despite having their Fall US tour scuppered by the IRS, Echo & The Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch tells Spinner that they intend to return to this continent in the Spring and following the success of the Ocean Rain shows, perhaps play both Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here in their entirety. If you’re a fan of Porcupine, however, you are SOL. Sorry.

Adam Franklin & The Bolts Of Melody have scheduled a North American tour, including a January 31 date at the Drake Underground, that’ll probably cover their 2009 release Spent Bullets and their just-completed new record I Could Sleep For A Thousand Years, out sometime in 2010.

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Blue Skies

Noah & The Whale and Robert Francis at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhen Noah & The Whale made their debut Toronto appearance back in September of last year, I noted how effectively they were able to offset the inherent twee-ness of their debut Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down in a live setting simply by turning up the rock – not only did those songs survive being run through a distortion pedal, they actually benefited from it. That being said, the gig still only rated about an “all right” – they were a band who wrote some good pop songs and delivered them well, but I didn’t sense that certain something that implied they could be more than that.

Their second record First Days Of Spring certainly went a long way to changing that opinion. Both the emotional rawness of the subject matter and the spare, orchestral dressings were unexpected and certainly earned the band a re-think in these parts, so Saturday was dedicated to seeing them perform not once, but twice in Toronto. The first opportunity came courtesy an in-store performance at Criminal Records bright and early at noon – convenient for those with Hallowe’en plans that night but a bit of an ordeal for those unaccustomed to having to be doing anything, anywhere at that time on a Saturday. This apparently included the band, who looked a bit bleary-eyed as they got up to play in front of a fairly packed store of fans, including no shortage of under-agers who wouldn’t be able to attend the show later that night. Their set was short – four songs, I think – but sweet and highlighted by Spring‘s “Love Of An Orchestra”, which one would have expected to be the most difficult to translate live with just a five-piece band but which they managed to do quite well. This boded well for the full show.

A show for which I missed most of opener Robert Francis’ set, thanks to a mix-up regarding set times. The couple of songs I did catch from the Los Angeles native, who’s just released his second album Nightfall, sounded alright in the earnest, rock-radio singer-songwriter sense, but didn’t make me especially wish I’d arrived earlier. And it meant a shorter wait for Noah & The Whale and an earlier finish time, both of which were alright with me. In the spirit of the season, the band had invited fans to come dressed as their favourite dead celebrity and for their part, they took the stage in simple but suitably corpse-like whiteface makeup and perhaps intended to satisfy the dead celebrity part of the theme with the covers that opened their set. Certainly Buddy Holly (“Everyday”) and Jackson C Frank (“Blues Run The Game”) no longer walk amongst us, but it’s not clear how “You Are Always On My Mind” was supposed to fit the meme – Brenda Lee, Willie Nelson and Pet Shop Boys are all decidedly alive. Maybe they were going for Elvis? Hard to say.

Following that opening trick-or-treat, it was all Noah & The Whale. They began with “Give A Little Love” from Peaceful but the bulk of the show would be devoted to First Days Of Spring, and Noah & The Whale are obviously believers in the adage of every problem looking like a nail when all you have is a hammer. In this case, the nail being the question of how to recreate their songs effectively on stage and the hammer being, well, volume. Just as they were able to beef up the older material and avoid having their lunch money stolen with a heavier approach last time, they were able to recreate the sense of scale of the new material, if not the delicacy, by turning up. This is not to say they bludgeoned the songs, far from it. Instead they showed just how effective a guitar, piano, bass, fiddle and drums could be when properly and dynamically arranged. And just as the depth of emotion underpinning the songs helped First Days Of Spring transcend some of Charlie Fink’s barer, more awkward lyricism, it also made the noisier interludes of the show feel more cathartic than indulgent. So while the show had a quotient of angst, it was still primarily a fun affair – there was no “Five Years Time” but it’s saying something that even without playing their biggest song, Noah & The Whale didn’t leave anyone wanting.

Mix talks to Fink about the recording of the record, there’s a video acoustic session with the band at They Shoot Music and Spinner reports back from a screening of the film portion of The First Days of Spring in New York.

Photos: Noah & The Whale @ Criminal Records – October 31, 2009
Photos: Noah & The Whale, Robert Francis @ The Horseshoe – October 31, 2009
MP3: Noah & The Whale – “The First Days Of Spring”
MP3: Noah & The Whale – “Blue Skies” (Twelves remix)
MP3: Noah & The Whale – “Blue Skies” (Yacht remix)
MP3: Noah & The Whale – “2 Bodies 1 Heart”
Video: Noah & The Whale – “Love Of An Orchestra”
Video: Noah & The Whale – “Blue Skies”
Video: Noah & The Whale – “Five Years Time”
Video: Noah & The Whale – “2 Bodies 1 Heart”
Video: Noah & The Whale – “Shape Of My Heart”
Video: Robert Francis – “Nightfall”
MySpace: Noah & The Whale
MySpace: Robert Francis

Laundromatinee welcomes The Twilight Sad to their studios for an acoustic session. Acoustic Twilight Sad. Yes.

Friendly Fires tell BBC they’re working on album number two and are targeting a May release date. Expect to hear some of the new material when they play the Phoenix on December 2.

JAM, The Toronto Star and The Boston Herald interview The Swell Season, who’ve just released a new video and are at Massey Hall tonight.

Video: The Swell Season – “Low Rising”

Paste talks to Sufjan Stevens, whom they credit with creating the best album of the decade. Oh I’m sorry, did I ruin the list for you? NPR also has a short feature.

Pitchfork has details on the next Spoon record, entitled Transference and out January 26. Britt Daniel talked to Spinner about what to expect from the new album.

The Antlers are featured in a downloadable Daytrotter session.

Loft Life gets a tour of the fabled Wilco loft.

A gentle reminder that Austin’s Ume, interviewed recently by The Brock Press, are in town tonight for a free show at the Horseshoe. They’re on at 10:50PM – be there and have your face rocked off.

Austin City Limits (the television show) is streaming videos of performances from their shows online – check out this one featuring M Ward and Okkervil River or this one with Andrew Bird and St. Vincent to get started. And yes indeed, those archives do go back.

A note to Canadians that the Beautiful Noise concerts that were recorded at the Berkeley Church in Toronto last Spring are now airing on SunTV on Saturday nights. Almost makes me wish I had cable so I could watch them.

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

A Design For Life

Manic Street Preachers at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFashion has never been the Manic Street Preachers’ strong suit, and that’s not just with regards to Nicky Wire’s penchant for heavy eye makeup and dresses. From their early glam-punk days through the bleakness of The Holy Bible and guitarist/songwriter Richey Edwards’ subsequent disappearance through their rise as one of the UK’s biggest arena acts in the mid-’90s, the Manics always seemed set apart from their contemporaries, many or most of whom would dissolve, reform and dissolve again while the Manics steadfastly carried on. Overtly political, unabashedly intellectual, unashamed of grandstanding guitar solos and not at all above slagging off other bands, the Manics would remain a cult band at heart, no matter how big they got.

And nowhere was that truer than in the US, a land that seemed to simultaneously enamor and repel the band. They were infatuated with the American mythology of rock’n’roll, in the life- and world-altering power of music, but their socialist values were fundamentally at odds with the States’ capitalist ideology – America inspired their dreams, drew their scorn and has always permeated their work. So the fact that they hadn’t crossed the Atlantic in over a decade – their last visit to North America was in 2001 when they performed in Cuba in front of an audience that included Fidel Castro – was curious, to say the least. No, they never achieved the sort of commercial success that some of their peers did, but they had a few singles gain traction in the wider consciousness and had the sort of devoted fanbase that some bands who had toured over here could only dream of. But whatever the reason – recent interviews indicated the band couldn’t even fully explain it – the Manics were finally, unexpectedly but fantastically, coming over for a modest tour of a dozen dates around the continent, including this past Sunday night at the Phoenix in Toronto.

The Manics continue to play arenas and massive festivals in the UK, but in North America they were undertaking a club tour, playing rooms many, many times smaller than to which they were accustomed. The Phoenix was full though not sold out, and by most reports boasted the largest crowd of the tour. But even if the audience could be generously counted at a thousand, the energy and anticipation in the crowd felt much greater. Though the tour was ostensibly in support of their ninth and newest album Journal For Plague Lovers, a stunning return to form featuring lyrics left behind by Edwards days before he vanished, all the shows had been much more career retrospectives, a reward to their fans for their patience and a reminder of why they still cared.

And from the moment James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore took the stage to huge roars and returned the favour with the equally huge roar of “Motorcycle Emptiness”, for the next 90 minutes there was no other band in the world. Playing with an energy and vigor that would have been impressive coming from musicians half their age, the Manics tore through a career-spanning set list that offered something from almost everything, but at the same time seemed to not feature enough from anything. Only two songs from The Holy Bible? Just a pair from Everything Must Go? Not one selection from Lifeblood? But going down the “why didn’t they play such and such” can only lead to tears, and this show was the furthest thing from that. It was a steady stream of someone’s favourite song followed by someone else’s favourite song, a celebration of the Manic Street Preachers, of their lost brother Richey Edwards and a life dedicated to making anthemic, intelligent and above all ass-kicking rock music.

Though more accustomed to playing much larger stages, the Manics relished the more intimate environs and being in closer contact to the zealous audience which Bradfield called, ” the loudest on the tour so far”. In return, they paid tribute to their favourite Torontonians with Bradfield playing the intro to “The Spirit Of Radio” before segueing into “Faster” and Wire later quoting lyrics from said same song. If there was a spot where the show waned a bit, it was when Bradfield took a solo acoustic turn on “This Is Yesterday” and “The Everlasting”, a move which I suspect works better in front of much more massive crowds, but that dip was only relative to the unflagging highs of the rest of the set, which would culminate in a glorious “Motown Junk”, never truer “You Love Us” and anthem of anthems show-closer “A Design For Life”. It was a fitting finale to a show that took my sky-high expectations and showed me that they weren’t nearly high enough.

Long. Live. The Manics.

Panic Manual, Fazer and ChartAttack have weighed in with their reviews of the show while The Denver Post, Metro and Boston Herald have interviews with the band.

And sorry about the massive video list… the Manics just upped high-quality versions of all their videos to YouTube and I got a mite carried away going through it all. But good stuff there. Gooooood stuff. And I forgot I had this remix of “Motorcycle Emptiness” lying around – it was a b-side to the “Australia” single circa Everything Must Go and sounds majestic. Strings!

Photos: Manic Street Preachers @ The Phoenix – October 4, 2009
MP3: Manic Street Preachers – “Motorcycle Emptiness” (Stealth Sonic Orchestra remix)
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Jackie Collins Existential Question Time”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Your Love Alone Is Not Enough”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Indian Summer”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Autumnsong”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “The Love Of Richard Nixon”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Empty Souls”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “There By The Grace Of God”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Ocean Spray”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Found That Soul”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “So Why So Sad”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Let Robeson Sing”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “The Masses Against The Classes”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “The Everlasting”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Tsunami”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Ready For Drowning”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “A Design For Life”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Everything Must Go”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Kevin Carter”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “She Is Suffering”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Revol”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Faster”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Roses In The Hospital”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “La Tristesse Durera (A Scream To A Sigh)”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Little Baby Nothing”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Stay Beautiful”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Motorcycle Emptiness”
MySpace: Manic Street Preachers

Los Campesinos! have released a video from their as-yet untitled third album, due out in the early part of 2010.

Video: Los Campesinos! – “These Are Listed Buildings”

The National Post talks to Muse frontman Matt Bellamy about their new record The Resistance.

Video: Muse – “Uprising”

Mumford & Sons talk to Clash about their just-released debut Sigh No More.

Leeds’ Grammatics, who caught my attention last year before I was, I dunno, distracted by a shiny object, are building interest for a new single out in November and second album to follow in the year year by releasing an MP3 from their self-titled debut from earlier this year. And it’s worked as far as encouraging me to put the album on my iPhone so I can forget to listen to it while at work, not just at home. The track also features vocals from Laura Groves of Blue Roses, whom I’ve also meant to pay more attention to.

MP3: Grammatics – “Inkjet Lakes”

The Quietus and Spinner have interviews with Echo & The Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch. Their new record The Fountain is out October 12 and they play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 20.

MP3: Echo & The Bunnymen – “I Think I Need It Too”

The Skinny has a feature piece on Franz Ferdinand.

New York Press talks to The Twilight Sad and also to We Were Promised Jetpacks, both of whom are at the El Mocambo this Saturday night.

Their labelmates and countrymen Frightened Rabbit are releasing a new single entitled “Swim Until You Can’t See Land” on November 16 and which will appear on their next record, due out in early 2010. The two sides are currently streaming at their label website.

Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai tells BBC their next album, due next year, will be self-released. Exclaim also reports that they’ve got a live album and film coming out sooner rather than later.

Though it’s been all the rage digitally and was made available for sale in Canada a few weeks ago, The xx’s debut XX is out in the US today and is streaming at Spinner. They’re at the Phoenix on December 2 in support of Friendy Fires.

Stream: The xx / XX

And Baeble Music is streaming video of a full Friendy Fires show in New York City.

Clash and Spinner have interviews with Massive Attack, whose new Splitting The Atom EP is available to stream.

Stream: Massive Attack / Splitting The Atom

And sorry about the heinous outages/slow load times/general crappiness of the site lately. My hosting has been kind of shit lately. Looking into it.

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

The Kids Are Sick Again

Review of Maximo Park's Quicken The Heart

Photo via BeboBeboThough it came out back in May, I had intended to hold off on reviewing Maximo Park’s latest Quicken The Heart until next month when they were scheduled to play Lee’s Palace, but seeing as how they’ve just cancelled the whole North American tour – first The Charlatans, now Maximo, it’s been a bad week for Anglophiles over here – that seems a bit pointless. The other reason I was procrastinating on putting thoughts to paper (such as it were) was that I wanted to give it time to grow on me. Because if I’d tossed off a review when I first got a copy of the album back in the Spring, it probably wouldn’t have been too kind.

Here was an album that I’d been quite looking forward to from a band that had a pretty decent track record – though I was one of the few who preferred the follow-up Our Earthly Pleasures over their debut A Certain Trigger, both were undeniably solid records and even the b-sides compilation Missing Songs was better than many bands’ proper albums. So why did Quicken seem to drift by without leaving much impression at all? Best I can come up with is this.

Maximo Park made their name with wonderfully hyperactive and angular post-punk tunes served up with a healthy dose of melodicism and literate, heartfelt lyricism. Though the sharp edges were smoothed out a bit for the second record, they could still cut and the hooks and anthemic delivery more than compensated. On Quicken, however, the balance tilts too heavily towards articulating singer-songwriter Paul Smith’s emotional issues and the finished product just sags under the weight. Rather than lean and nimble as they are at their best, the songs feel like they’re distended to accommodate the words and while there’s still some solid melodies and hooks, they’re just not big enough this time out. Extended listens over the Summer have softened my opinion of the record as there’s certainly decent songs on offer, but the absence of an irresistible single or two to prop the whole thing up is keenly felt.

Even so, there wasn’t any doubt that they’d put on a good show – their last visit in 2007 was killer – so the fact that they’ve nixed this jaunt is a bummer, regardless of how good the last record is. Here’s hoping they’re good to their word and make it up in 2010.

MP3: Maximo Park – “Wraithlike”
MP3: Maximo Park – “Let’s Get Clinical”
Video: Maximo Park – “Questing, Not Coasting”
MySpace: Maximo Park

Speaking of cancellations, here’s one that apparently was and then wasn’t. For The Records pointed out that a September visit from Micachu had appeared briefly on their MySpace and then disappeared – and some digging revealed this piece at the Phoenix New Times which seemed to confirm that a tour had been planned and then canned. But apparently not the whole thing – Micachu & The Shapes will indeed be in town on September 29 for a show at the El Mocambo, where they totally impressed back in July. Tickets are $13 in advance.

MP3: Micachu – “Lips”

The Times talks to members of The xx about the possibility of the school that they and numerous other current UK artists attended closing its doors while asks them about their taste in covers. The xx will release their debut XX on October 20 and play the Phoenix on December 2.

That gig is in support of Friendly Fires, who are the subject of interviews with The Advertiser and The Guardian.

Charlie Fink of Noah & The Whale tells The Guardian about the heartbreak that informs the whole of their new album First Days Of Spring, out domestically on October 6. He also contributes a piece about creating the film component of the record and there’s another interview at I Like Music. Fall North American tour dates are forthcoming – in the meantime, check out the first video and grab the title track courtesy of The Times.

MP3: Noah & The Whale – “The First Days Of Spring” (.zip)
Video: Noah & The Whale – “Blue Skies”

Bat For Lashes will be releasing a deluxe edition of Two Suns that comes with a documentary DVD and eight bonus tracks. Well, I suppose if you’re going to milk the fan for every penny they’re worth, you may as well offer some value. The new package is out September 7 in the UK with North American and worldwide release dates forthcoming – assuming the DVD will have various video formats and regions, fans are recommended to wait for their own domestic release before buying. The Georgia Straight has an interview with Natasha Khan.

JAM, Billboard talk to Arctic Monkeys about their new album Humbug, out today. They’re at the Kool Haus on September 29.

Elvis Costello may be in town this Friday night at stately Massey Hall, but Exclaim reports that an upcoming series of live bootleg reissues – I guess they’ve finally given up on re-re-re-re-releasing his studio albums – will kick off with Elvis’ oft-bootlegged 1978 appearance at T.O.’s El Mocambo. Live at the El Mocambo was previously released as part of the 2-1/2 Years box set but will finally see a wide release on its own as of September 29. What do you think the odds of Declan snarling, “these guys got the right idea they’re standing UP” on Friday are? Yeah, not great. And oh yeah, happy 55th birthday Dec.

MP3: Elvis Costello & The Attractions – “Radio Radio” (live at the El Mocambo)

The National Post talks to Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, who will be playing day one of V Fest this Saturday at the Molson Amphitheatre.

And playing day two will be Mew, whose new album No More Stories is out today and who are featured in a Daytrotter.

And speaking of V Fest this weekend, the schedule is up and everyone who was anxious about possibly losing their seats in running between stages can relax – pretty much everyone is playing the main stage. Set lengths have surely been truncated a bit relative to what they’d have been with a proper two-stage setup at Burl’s Creek, but they’re still pretty reasonable. And I have to say I’m pleased to see that both Nine Inch Nails and Pet Shop Boys are playing back to back because if there are two fanbases that need to be mashed together, its theirs. And if anyone is wondering, the forecast currently calls for 10 to 15 mm of rain on Saturday and 5 mm on Sunday, though the Saturday forecast dropped from 40mm in the last 15 minutes so it’s probably not too reliable. However if it proves true, everyone moaning about the move to the Amphitheatre may find themselves thankful for the canopy. Those on the lawns will still find themselves wet.

Finally, The Dumbing Of America has posted a little interview conducted with yours truly a couple weeks back. It’s gripping stuff, really.

Friday, July 24th, 2009

Say Please

Monsters Of Folk to stage monstrously folky tour

Photo By Jennifer TzarJennifer TzarSo how exactly does a band who’ve not yet even released an album yet get to play arguably the most storied venue in Toronto – Massey Hall – their first time out? The kind that’s made up of My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, M Ward’s Matt Ward, Conor Oberst’s Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes’ Mike Mogis, also known as the Monsters Of Folk.

As reported earlier this week, the supergroup will release their self-titled debut album on September 22, but it was announced yesterday that they would also be undertaking an extensive tour first across North America and then Europe, with $1 from each North American date ticket sale going to a worthy charity local to that city via philanthropic organization Air Traffic Control . The Toronto date falls on November 2 at Massey Hall and the charity selected to receive the proceeds is Foodshare Toronto. Ticket presale goes July 28, regular onsale July 31 – check back at for more information. Tickets for the Toronto show range from $36.50 to $49.50 plus charges.

And congrats to Lousiville, Kentucky for drawing the Halloween date – I expect everyone who attends that show to dress up as their favourite folk monster. Werewolf Woody Guthries, Zombie Pete Seegers. You know.

MP3: Monsters Of Folk – “Say Please”
MySpace: Monsters Of Folk

Woodpigeon have bid farewell to Michael Jackson by way of a cover. I hadn’t intended to post any MJ covers and yet here’s two, two days in a row. Hrm.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Say Say Say”

The Singing Lamb has an interview with The Most Serene Republic about their new album …And The Ever Expanding Universe. They’re at the Mod Club on October 15.

MP3: The Most Serene Repbulic – “Heavens To Purgatory”

Matt & Kim are coming back to town for a show at the Reverb on October 1, tickets $13.50.

MP3: Matt & Kim – “Yea Yeah”

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age talk to Friendly Fires, who have released a video for their new single, which will be appended to the deluxe reissue of their self-titled debut, coming September 9. They’re at Lee’s Palace on August 10 and I will bet that as soon as that date passes, the December 2 slot on their Fall itinerary will magically fill up. Just watch.

Video: Friendly Fires – “Kiss Of Life”

BBC talks to Little Boots about her new video for “Remedy”, which they are also premiering. She is at Wrongbar on September 13.

Video: Little Boots – “Remedy”

MPR has a session with Sonic Youth. There’s also an interview at The Georgia Straight and The Stranger nominates some of the best tracks from their career.

Drowned In Sound spends some time with St Vincent. You can do the same next Saturday night, August 8, at the Horseshoe.

Pitchfork has details on a new EP coming from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – look for four new songs packaged as Higher Than The Stars come September 22. The Georgia Straight and LAist have interviews with the band, who’re at the Horseshoe on September 7.

Opening up that POBPAH show are Cymbals Eat GuitarsThe Line Of Best Fit has an interview with the band and Baeble has a live video performance from the Cake Shop in New York. They’re also interviewed by altsounds.

Daytrotter and Noisevox have audio and video sessions with The Thermals, respectively.

Yours Truly has Loney Dear in for a video session. They’re at the Horseshoe on October 13.

PitchforkTV welcomes Andrew Bird to their Cemetery Gates series for a live performance.