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Posts Tagged ‘Golden Dogs’

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Saturation Complete

Fresh Snow and Mimico at The Boat in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI don’t spend nearly as much time in the clubs scouting out new local acts as I used to – and relative to some who do this, I never spent that much time on that beat anyways – but last Thursday night at The Boat, I was reminded of what I liked and disliked about it. The “dislike” basically comes down to set times that always run at least a half hour and more likely an hour behind and thus being out far later than I’d like, the generally terrible venue lighting, and the greater than usual odds of seeing music that just doesn’t do anything for you. And under “like”, you’ve really only got one point – the prospect of seeing something great emerge before your eyes and ears.

That wasn’t really the case with Mimico, whom I arrived in time to see but would have missed had things been running on time. The stuff I’d listened to from their self-titled EP wasn’t bad in a rough, Kraftwerk-y post-punk sort of way but they couldn’t translate it live. Perhaps if they’d had their MIA drummer, it’d have been more engaging but as a two-piece synth-guitar duo playing over tinny drum machine patterns, it was far more meandering and failed to come together. But the recordings are pretty good for what they are, so I’ll not write them off yet.

I actually shouldn’t pretend that I was simply out scouting for new blood on this night; I’d covered Fresh Snow in this year’s NXNE coverage and had seen them play a couple times in Spring 2012, when they were a much greener act – so decidedly known quantities. But the occasion of the release of their debut album I merited another writeup because a) the album is really quite good, and b) I needed something to blog about.

To the former point, the shorthand on Fresh Snow is that they’re an instrumental, kinda post-Krautrock band – and it’s true that they like the drone and the noise in equal measure. But sandwiched between I‘s bookends of “French Horse Hall Of Fame” and “Saturation Complete” – which amount to almost 30 minutes of the a glorious combination thereof – they also get positively pop (“Helix Pass”) and show off a deft touch for dreamy ambience (“Los Vientos Del Tempo”) en route to a solid initial statement. It’s made up of a lot of things you’ve heard before, but taken as the big picture, there’s enough dynamics and ideas that the Fresh Snow ethos feels remarkably original.

As for the show, it wasn’t far removed from the NXNE performance. Their instrumental intro took too long to coalesce into something coherent, but once they got their feet under them it was full steam ahead. For the numbers of synths they had on stage, they spent much of the show in a decidedly conventional guitar-bass-drums (plus violin) configuration that offered all the loud and driving rockists could want and made for a solid wrestling match of control and chaos. A few interruptions in the flow of the show – though nothing like the power outages in June – kept it from becoming the fully hypnotic experience it could have and should been, but as a record release and coming out party, it was an impressive one.

Photos: Fresh Snow, Mimico @ The Boat – August 8, 2013
MP3: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
MP3: Fresh Snow – “BMX Based Tactics”
Video: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
Stream: Mimico / Mimico

Snowblink reveals to NOW that their next release will be a death-themed covers EP called I Am a Hall Of Fame; Post City also has an interview. They play BLK BOX as part of the Summerworks music series on August 14.

MTV is streaming four tracks from Mass:Light, the new solo record from Murray Lightburn; it’ll be out August 20. EastScene also has an interview with the Dears frontman.

Braids are streaming another track from Flourish//Perish, though with its August 20 release date just around the corner, expect the whole thing to start streaming any moment now. They play BLK BOX on November 10.

Stream: Braids – “Freund”

NME introduces their readers to Diana, just in time for the August 20 release of Perpetual Surrender. They play The Great Hall on September 26.

Fucked Up have been announced as the musical guests for the September 5 edition of First Thursdays at the Art Gallery Of Ontario, an event which will also feature a live video chat with artist Ai Wei Wei.

MP3: Fucked Up – “A Little Death”

NPR is streaming one of two new Stars songs which will be released as a 7″ single on September 10.

Stream: Stars – “Wishful”

aux.tv and Beatroute have interviews with Louise Burns, who supports Lightning Dust at The Drake Underground on September 10.

The Chicago Tribune and Metro get to know Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz. They play Wrongbar on September 17.

Islands have premiered a second taste of their new album Ski Mask via Spin ahead of its September 17 release, while Chart also has a video session. They play The Garrison on October 10.

Stream: Islands – “Becoming The Gunship”

Folks looking for an excuse to hang out in the park before Autumn well and truly rolls around should know about the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival, happening on September 21 and 22 at Christie Pits and featuring live music from the likes of The Golden Dogs, Memoryhouse, and Beams and two special secret headliners who – let’s face it – are almost sure to be Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene. Unless they’re not.

MP3: The Golden Dogs – “Travel Time”
MP3: Memoryhouse – “Quiet America”

Stereogum has an interview with Katie Stelmanis of Austra. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

Run Riot talks to Basia Bulat about her new record Tall Tall Shadow; it’s out October 1 and she plays The Polish Combatants Hall on October 10.

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan has announced details of their second album as well as sharing the first track, and Pitchfork is on it. Uzu will be out on October 29.

Stream: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “One”

Arcade Fire haven’t announced the title of their new album, out October 29, but the internet rumour mill is saying Reflektor and this website is certainly Arcade Fire-y in its crypticness. They’re less coy about the fact that they’re also scoring the new Spike Jonze film Her, because Pitchfork said so.

Dan Bejar is taking Destroyer back on the road this Fall with Pink Mountaintops as support but without a band. He’ll be exploring his songbook in solo style and also promises some new songs in the mix. Exclaim has full dates and details, including a November 9 date at The Great Hall.

MP3: Destroyer – “Chinatown”
MP3: Pink Mountaintops – “Vampire”

Spin has premiered the new (and first?) video from Born Ruffians’ latest album Birthmarks. They play The Danforth Music Hall on November 22.

Video: Born Ruffians – “Needle”

Rose Cousins has released a new video from last year’s wonderful We Have Made A Spark.

Video: Rose Cousins – “For The Best”

Evening Hymns have posted a complete livestream of a show in Kelowna, British Columbia last week. There’s also interviews with Jonas Bonetta at The Gate and The Edmonton Journal.

Chad VanGaalen fills in Exclaim on what he’s been up to.

Jim Guthrie road trips down to NPR to play a Tiny Desk Concert.

Earshot interviews Gold & Youth.

Dan Boeckner talks to Exclaim about his new project Operators, which he’ll presumably be more focused on once Britt Daniel puts Divine Fits on the back burner to concentrate on the next Spoon record.

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Follow Me Into The Hills

Review of Kathryn Calder’s Are You My Mother?

Photo By Caleb ByersCaleb ByersIt’s been a half-decade since Kathryn Calder joined The New Pornographers in 2005, and in that time she’s gone from handling the impossible task of pinch-hitting on tours for Neko Case to appearing on their last three albums and becoming an as integral part of the band – her parts may not have the force of personality as Case’s, but her more delicate approach offers an important contrast and gives Carl Newman another invaluable tool in assembling his power pop symphonies. But prior to joining the Pornographers, Calder had her own creative outlet in Immaculate Machine and while she retains a membership card for the Victoria-based band, she’s largely ceded that outfit to guitarist Brooke Gallupe. Which basically meant that a solo album was pretty much an inevitability, but that doesn’t make Are You My Mother? any less of a surprise.

My experience with Calder as a songwriter goes back as far as the first couple Immaculate Machine records and while they were decent enough pop records, they weren’t particularly exceptional within the realm of Canadian indie. The years of apprenticing to Carl Newman have clearly paid off, however, as Mother is a remarkably fully-realized solo debut, and while it features plentiful contributions from various Pornographers and other Vancouver-based musicians, Calder is clearly in the driver’s seat throughout. One might be forgiven for assuming that given her role as singer and keyboardist in the Pornographers, Calder solo might turn out a record of singer-songwriter-oriented girl-and-piano material. And while at its quieter moment Mother does strip things down to just that, numbers like album opener “Slip Away” and the barreling “Castor And Pollux” are as grandiose pop as anything the New Pornographers might create and just as instantly memorable. Mother is rangy and engaging, built around Calder’s crystalline, pitch-perfect yet expressive voice and perhaps more importantly, her impressive songwriting chops.

The New Pornographers are frequently called a “super-group”, implying that each of their members are as equally accomplished on their own as they are in the band – with Are You My Mother?, Kathryn Calder steps up and makes that even more true.

MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Arrow”
MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Slip Away”
Video: Kathryn Calder – “Slip Away”
MySpace: Kathryn Calder

If you missed North Carolina’s Lost In The Trees when they played a free show here back in June (which I previewed but did not manage to attend), they’re back on September 27 at the Drake Underground in support of Mercury shortlisted Irish act Villagers. They’ve also got a new Daytrotter session up for grabs.

MP3: Lost In The Trees – “Fireplace”
MP3: Lost In The Trees – “All Alone In An Empty House”

Winter Gloves will mark the September 7 release of their second album All Red with an acoustic in-store performance at Kops Records that same night at 5:30PM.

MP3: Winter Gloves – “Plastic Slides”

Toronto power-pop aficionados The Golden Dogs will follow up their September 17 show at the Drake Underground with a September 23 in-store performance at Soundscapes at 7PM. Their new record Coat Of Arms came out last month.

MP3: The Golden Dogs – “Permanent Record”

The Great Hall will certainly be the scene of mayhem on October 12 when the tour teaming Lightning Bolt and Dan Deacon hits Toronto. Those wanting to be out of the line of fire can take refuge on the stage because neither performer will be setting up there.

MP3: Lightning Bolt – “Colossus”
MP3: Dan Deacon – “Get Older”

LA duo No Age will be releasing their second album Everything In Between on September 28 and have announced an extensive Fall tour to support – the Toronto date comes November 18 at the Polish Combatants Hall.

MP3: No Age – “Glitter”

The Toronto Star talks to Peelander Yellow of Peelander-Z, in town to make things silly at the Velvet Underground on September 1 and The Silver Dollar on September 2.

Spinner talks to Lissie about the attention her penchant for covers has gotten her and her debut album Catching A Tiger; The Independent also has a feature. She’s at the El Mocambo on October 19.

Spinner talks to Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino and Black Book solicits a list of the band’s favourite NYC hang outs. The band’s self-titled effort will be out September 7 and they’ve just released a second video from it.

Video: Interpol – “Barricade”

Ted Leo talks to Billboard about the making of the off-off-off-off-Broadway video for “Bottled In Cork”.

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with LCD Soundsystem.

The Guardian salutes 4AD on the occasion of the legendary label’s 30th anniversary.

And a note to folks in Toronto that if you’re looking for something to do of the cinematic variety this week, you could do much worse than to check out No Heart Feelings at the Royal, where it’s screening through Thursday of this week. It’s a romantic comedy (but not really a rom-com) set in an eminently familiar Toronto from three local first-time directors and though imperfect – it suffers from the atmosphere-and-dialogue-in-lieu-of-plot vagueness that’s all too common in independent film – it’s still a winner thanks to its charm and authenticity (though I don’t do as much in and around the city nearly as much as their characters do, I have no problem believing that people actually DO these things and that I’m really just a shut-in). Don’t take my word for it, check out positive reviews in The Globe & Mail, The Toronto Star and The National Post.

Trailer: No Heart Feelings

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer

Review and giveaway of A.C. Newman's Get Guilty

Photo By Caleb BuyersCaleb BuyersLet’s be honest, there’s not a lot of reason for there to be a Carl Newman solo record. The man is the chief songwriter in The New Pornographers, an outfit that turns out material at a pretty decent rate all things considered, and it’s not as though he has a metal jones to itch that wouldn’t work in the context of the Pornographers – when he puts on the AC Newman hat, he’s still the consummate popsmith.

But the whys and wherefores are his business – for the rest of us, there’s no sense in looking a gift horse in the mouth. And in this case, that gift is entitled Get Guilty. Like 2004’s The Slow Wonder, any of the songs on Guilty could have easily appeared on a Pornographers record but unlike that record, which seemed to deliberately apply a more traditional rock band ethos to the proceedings, Guilty seems more willing to incorporate the more ornate flourishes that you’d associate with a proper Pornographers release.

That said, without having to balance out the large cast of players in the Pornographers, the AC Newman experience is leaner and punchier – more of a raiding party than the mothership of the New Pornographers. And for those wondering where all the fast songs that weren’t on Challengers went, well, at least some of them are here – “Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer” and “The Palace At 4AM” have a rhythmic drive and energy that hasn’t really been there on the last couple Pornographer records. Of course, whether they’d have fit is another discussion altogether – the important things is that they’re here now and they’re excellent, as is pretty much all of Guilty.

Get Guilty is out today, and courtesy of Last Gang Records, I’ve got copies on CD to give away to five lucky Canadians (sorry Americans, you’ll have to console yourselves today with a new president). To enter, leave me a comment below telling me something you’re guilty of and make sure your email is there, spam-proofed as need be, so I can contact you. Contest closes at midnight, January 26. Also remember that AC Newman are heading out on tour in February, including a March 11 date at Lee’s Palace in Toronto.

NPR has a short interview with Newman, Magnet a longer one, and Allmusic has traced out his musical history from the early days with Superconductor through to the present. Update: Stereogum has another live session video from Newman to follow up the one premiered at Pitchfork last week. Update 2: The whole album is streaming at Spinner.

MP3: AC Newman – “There Are Maybe Ten Or Twelve”
MP3: AC Newman – “Submarines Of Stockholm”
Stream: AC Newman / Get Guilty
MySpace: AC Newman

Co-Pornographer Neko Case will release Middle Cyclones on March 3 and blow into town for two dates at Trinity-St Paul’s on April 17 and 18. Tickets for each of those shows are $35.50.

MP3: Neko Case – “People Got A Lotta Nerve”

And Neko’s ex-Boyfriends The Sadies will be Jon Langford’s band when he plays the Horseshoe on February 27 – tickets are $12.50 and that gets you not one but TWO sets of country rocking goodness.

Not your speed but still seeking something to do that night? The Music Tapes, featuring ex-Neutral Milk Hotelier Julian Koster, will be at Lee’s Palace that same night in support of last year’s Get Guilty. Like 2004’s Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes. Tickets also $12.50.

MP3: The Music Tapes – “Majesty”
Video: The Music Tapes – “Majesty”
Video: The Music Tapes – “Ministry Of Longitude”

There’ll be a lovely little show taking place at The Central in Mirvish Village next Thursday night, January 29, featuring the songwriters from a few of Toronto’s finest bands in a solo and acoustic setting – Casey Mecija of Ohbijou, Kat Burns of Forest City Lovers, Jonas Bonnetta of Evening Hymns and Gavin Gardiner of The Wooden Sky. Admission is pay-what-you-can.

The Coast are heading over to the UK for some dates next month and Clash has not only conducted a feature interview with the the Toronto boys, but set up a fancy little microsite about the band. And they’re making available to download a Born Ruffians remix of “All The Boys” from Expatriate.

MP3: The Coast – “All The Boys” (Born Ruffians remix)

The schedule for Canadian Musicfest (why do I think I’m going to be the only one not calling it Canadian Music Week?) is partially up, and by partially I mean barely. But there’s still some good information on lineups now available, foremost those of the Chart-sponsored shows at the Horseshoe. And they’re kinda stacked. Just a little. Thursday, March 12 you’ve got Chad Van Gaalen, Gentleman Reg, Women, $100, The Lovely Feathers, The Delinquints and Quest For Fire. The Friday night bill will be led by Handsome Furs and also feature Human Highway, The Bicycles, Daniel Wesley, Dinosaur Bones, Hot Panda and The Schomberg Fair. And finally, Saturday will wrap things up with The Golden Dogs, Two Hours Traffic, Young Galaxy, Rebekah Higgs, The Hundreds And Thousands, Vancougar and Hexes & Ohs. Admission to these shows is via CMF wristbands and needless to say, get there early. Of course, once in you probably won’t be able to leave but really, why would you want to?

But if you do, there’s a few other dates and venues to note. Malajube, who will release Labyrinthes on February 10, are at the El Mocambo on March 12. That same night both Angela Desveaux and The Rural Alberta Advantage are at the Gladstone and 6 Day Riot are at Rancho Relaxo. On the Saturday, Basia Bulat and Herman Dune are at Lee’s Palace while The Ting Tings are at the Mod Club. Still more to come, obviously, but things look to be shaping up alright.

Joel Plaskett will play Massey Hall – yes, Massey Hall – on May 23. Tickets from $29.50 to $39.50.

BlogTO talks to the members of Bruce Peninsula, who have a string of local dates surrounding the February 3 release of A Mountain Is A Mouth. There’s a January 31 date at the Horseshoe, a February 4 in-store at Soundscapes and the February 22 album release party at the Polish Combatants Hall.