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Posts Tagged ‘Grimes’

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Never Minding

Hooded Fang well past teething stage with Gravez

Photo By Sara Amroussi-GilissenSara Amroussi-GilissenWhen Toronto’s Hooded Fang first surfaced in early 2009, despite being over a year away from releasing their debut full-length Album, they seemed inescapable on the club circuit – I saw them thrice that year without trying at all. And because of that concentrated dose, and even though they were clearly still in the early stages of finding themselves, I assumed that sugary, ramshackle twee-pop would remain the bedrock of what they were about. Which was fine and fun, but not enough to hold my attention.

As it turns out, they were on an accelerated evolutionary track, with their second album Tosta Mista coming out barely a year after their first and pointing to a more focused and compact aesthetic that traded the “twee” modifier for “garage” and “surf”. Their third album Gravez, out tomorrow, brings even more changes as the band lineup has been whittled down from its original seven-piece collective to a lean quartet and in the process, getting louder, harder, and steering their sound towards more time-warped, psychedelic destinations. If you handed me this record four years ago and told me that this is what that instrument-swapping, glockenspiel-tapping, shambolically giddy outfit would become, I wouldn’t have believed you. And yet, here we are.

Exclaim and Cut From Steel have interviews and The Grid a video session with the band, who’ve just released a new video from Gravez. They play a hometown release show for the new record at The Horseshoe this Friday night, May 31.

Stream: Hooded Fang / Gravez
Video: Hooded Fang – “Ode To Subterrania”

Artrocker has an interview with Young Galaxy, who make their first post-Ultramarine Toronto appearance at Lee’s Palace on May 31.

The Coast interviews Hayden, who is participating in the Arts & Crafts Field Trip festival at Garrison Commons on June 8.

Also playing that fest as well as NXNE at BLK BOX on June 14 are Vancouver’s Gold & Youth; VUE and The Province have feature pieces on the band.

Though not out until August 20, Diana’s debut album won’t be self-titled after all, but carry the title of Perpetual Surrender, the change intended to head of potential legal issues. Exclaim explains why. Diana are doing NXNE at The Horseshoe on June 13, and then opening for Tegan & Sara and fun. at Downsview Park on July 6.

CBC Music, Exclaim, Montreal Gazette, and Dummy have feature pieces on Majical Cloudz, whose NXNE showcase comes June 15 at BLK BOX.

The Fly interviews Katie Stelmanis of Austra, whose new album Olympia comes out June 18.

Vancouver’s Lightning Dust have released a video and download for the first song from their new album Fantasy, out June 25.

MP3: Lightning Dust – “Diamond”
Video: Lightning Dust – “Diamond”

Diamond Rings gives Exclaim some hints as to the direction of album number three, due out sooner than you might think. They open up for OMD at The Danforth Music Hall on July 11 and 19.

Beatroute chats with The Belle Game, coming to town for the Soundclash Festival at Harbourfront Centre on July 13.

The Line Of Best Fit asks some questions of Sarah Neufeld, whose solo debut Hero Brother comes out August 20.

Suuns have released a new video from their latest, Images du Futur; The Province also has an interview.

Video: Suuns – “Sunspot”

Doldrums also have a new video from their debut album Lesser Evil.

Video: Doldrums – “Holographic Sandcastle”

Exclaim talks to Jim Guthrie about his excellent new solo record Takes Time.

Daytrotter has posted a session with Grimes.

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Break The Spell

Rachel Zeffira at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThough inconvenient and unfortunate in real terms, there was something appropriate about the fact that half of Rachel Zeffira’s first North American tour was canceled on account of visa issues. After all, her musical career only took the course that it did because of an overzealous British immigration officer refused her entry to the country, causing her to miss her an important music college audition. That all worked out for the best, of course, as it set her on the course to become half of Cat’s Eyes with Faris Badwan of The Horrors, and then the solo artist who dropped the stunning operatic/classical/indie genre-melding debut album The Deserters late last year in Europe, and this Spring in North America.

The aforementioned cancelation left Thursday night’s performance at The Drake Underground in Toronto as her sole show on this continent; thankfully getting her into Canada wasn’t an issue as she originally hails from the Kootenays in British Columbia. Given that it was a relatively low-key debut and the buzz around her hasn’t yet really begun bubbling over into broader consciousness, I wasn’t sure how much of a production this show would be; entering the Drake and seeing the stage absolutely jammed with gear, the answer was clearly, “a pretty big one”. And though the audience wasn’t overly large, they were attentive and helped create a welcoming atmosphere for Zeffira’s first-ever visit to Toronto, as a performer or otherwise.

Though she surely could have impressed with just her soaring soprano, a keyboard, and maybe some choice samples, Zeffira fronted a seven-piece band with a three-piece mini-orchestra of cello, oboe, and trumpet, a drummer, and two backup singers – while she herself moved between keys, organ, and vibraphone. But really, the full band was the only way to do The Deserters justice – while the album isn’t especially busy, when it calls for a trumpet flourish or cello line, it demands it. And so while the extra players often sat quietly while Zeffira led the proceedings, when they were called on, you couldn’t imagine them not being there.

While reproducing the album arrangements was the strategy for much of the set, the massive organ which apparently took nine people to move into the Drake’s basement was used to give “Here On In” a decidedly gothier makeover, and the vibes – essential for “Waiting For Sylvia” – were also put to good use on a gorgeous cover of The Beatles’ “Because” alongside Zeffira and her singers’ harmonies. The show was a touch short, the main set wrapping at the 40-minute mark, it had the perfect grace note as Zeffira returned to the organ for the encore and played Cat’s Eyes swinger “Over You”. A nice treat for those of us who came to her solo work via that project and perhaps an enticement for newer fans to discover her other works, and a solid finale to an impressive if too-short debut.

Exclaim and NOW also have reviews of the show; The Globe & Mail, NOW, The Toronto Star also had interviews with Zeffira ahead of the show while The Village Voice did the same without knowing her New York show was canceled. Vogue also has an interview.

Photos: Rachel Zeffira @ The Drake Underground – May 2, 2013
Video: Rachel Zeffira – “Here On In”
Video: Rachel Zeffira – “The Deserters”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Face In The Crowd”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “The Best Person I Know”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Over You”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Cat’s Eyes”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Love You Anyways”

Exclaim talks to Gold & Youth about their forthcoming debut album Beyond Wilderness, out May 14, which they also happen to have to stream. How convenient. They’re also playing Field Trip at Garrison Commons on June 8.

Stream: Gold & Youth / Beyond Wilderness

The Denver Post has a chat with METZ, coming home to Lee’s Palace on May 17.

Though she’s done promoting Visions, Grimes can still give her debut album Geidi Primes – conveniently reissued last year – a nudge by posting a heretofore unreleased video to her Tumblr.

Video: Grimes – “Venus In Fleurs”

For Folk’s Sake has an interview with Jonas Bonetta of Evening Hymns.

The Calgary Herald checks in with Carl Newman of The New Porongraphers, who are getting ready to head back into the studio to record a new record.

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Among The Sef

Colin Stetson has made some movies to show you what his music looks like

Photo By Robert NetheryRobert NetheryAnd the theme of today’s post is videos. Domestic videos if you’re Canadian, and exotic foreign ones if you’re not. And led off by Mr. Colin Stetson – who is in fact American by birth but Canadian by immigration – because he will be releasing his new album New History Warfare Vol 3: To See More Light next week on April 30, and because the man has a big horn.

He’s actually rolled out a few clips over the past few weeks – one doing double-duty for a couple More Light songs debuted at Pitchfork, and another clip surfaced this week at Interview, so if you were wondering what sort of visuals go with intense, experimental jazz performed on bass saxophone, now you know.

The Skinny also has a feature interview with Stetson, who will be at The Great Hall in Toronto on May 19.

Video: Colin Stetson – “Among The Sef”
Video: Colin Stetson – “In Mirrors”/”And In Truth”

The Wilderness Of Manitoba have released a new video from their second full-length Island Of Echoes, while Baeble Music has premiered the performance video for one of the tracks from their new Leslieville Sessions EP. Their next local show comes this weekend, on April 28 at The Campbell House Museum.

Video: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Echoes”

Toronto’s Hooded Fang have put out a clip for the sort-of title track of their new album Gravez, coming out May 28. They play a hometown release show for it at The Horseshoe on May 31.

Video: Hooded Fang – “Graves”

Young Galaxy have put out the first video from their just-released new record Ultramarine and discuss the new record with The Fly, Exclaim, Toro, The Montreal Gazette, and CBC Music. They bring it to Lee’s Palace on May 31.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Pretty Boy”

Hayden has made a new video taken from Us Alone, coinciding with the announcement of a handful more Canadian tour dates which you can find at Exclaim. However, the only Toronto date remains his appearance at the Field Trip festival at Garrison Commons on June 8.

Video: Hayden – “Oh Memory”

This video from Montreal’s Valleys isn’t technically very new – it debuted in early March – but seeing as how I haven’t talked about the band before and their debut Are You Going To Stand There And Talk Weird All Night? comes out next week and is available to stream in whole at Exclaim… I figured I’d post both. Because it’s a good record that does the icy/moody/emotive cinematic electro-pop thing a la Chromatics quite well. So yeah, you haven’t heard about them hereabouts before now, but henceforth you most certainly will.

Video: Valleys – “Undream A Year”
Stream: Valleys / Are You Going To Stand There And Talk Weird All Night?

The Good Family don’t have a new video – though you can bet that home movie footage of Dallas and Travis as toddlers wouldn’t go viral – they are streaming The Good Family Album at Exclaim ahead of its release next week on April 30. The family reunion show runs two nights at The Dakota on May 9 and 10.

Stream: The Good Family / The Good Family Album

Beatroute has words with METZ, coming home to Lee’s Palace on May 17.

DIY talks with No Joy about their just-released Wait To Pleasure.

Spinner talks to Metric about being three-time winners at this year’s Juno Awards.

Grimes has taken to her Tumblr to post a pretty strong statement against the sexism in the music industry that she and many others still have to deal with in 2013.

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Emeralds Shatter

Louise Burns continues to be Louise Burns despite not sounding as much like Louise Burns as you might expect

Photo By Renata RakshaRenata RakshaLouise Burns must not have gotten the memo. You know, the one that stated that any Canadian artist who sought to change up their sound by trading guitars for synths had to adopt a new stage persona to go with it. Or maybe it’s just a Toronto thing? In any case, anyone expecting The Midnight Mass – the follow-up to her 2011 Polaris long-listed debut Mellow Drama – to stick to the same template on account of her name appearing on both records might be a touch surprised.

On the surface, Mellow Drama sounded like a slice of throwback country-pop, but to pigeonhole it as such was to ignore the lead guitar lines which sounded as though they’d been lifted from an early Pretenders session, all jangle and chorus and belying an affection and affinity for ’80s New Wave. If the first sample from Midnight Mass, due out July 9, is any indication, album number two will flip that equation on its head, bringing those ’80s Brit-accented sounds and textures to the fore and running any residual twang through layers of period-correct reverb. What should remain unchanged, though, is Burns’ stellar vocals and songwriting, and her continued ascension as one of the country’s most exciting new talents, whatever name she chooses to operate under.

Of course, it’s possible Burns was able to check off “new band name” on her Can-indie Bingo card when she became a full member of Vancouver’s Gold & Youth between releasing her debut and recording the new record. And it’s not unreasonable to think that her time touring and recording their debut full-length Beyond Wilderness, coming May 14, influenced the direction of Midnight Mass. It also proudly displays its ’80s roots, equally sleek and gloomy and danceable if your preferred dance move is a downcast shuffle or some varient thereof. Anticipation for this full-length has been building for some time – their “Time To Kill / City of Quartz” came out back in November but The Guardian was singing their praises almost a year ago. If both Beyond Wilderness and Midnight Mass take off this Summer, Burns won’t need a new identity as much as clones to help promote them both to the extent they deserve. Not a bad problem to have.

Exclaim has some more details on the new record and We’re A Big Deal has a quick chat with her about her tenure in Gold & Youth.

Stream: Louise Burns – “Emeralds Shatter”
Stream: Gold & Youth – “Jewel”

No Joy discuss their new record Wait To Pleasure, out this week, with Exclaim. They’re at The Garrison tomorrow night supporting Clinic.

That music runs through The Sadies’ veins goes without saying, and anyone who’s seen them live knows not to be surprised if either of Dallas and Travis’ parents or uncle from The Good Brothers joined them on stage. But it is a bit of a surprise that it’s taken this long to officially make a record together. That day has come, however, and on April 30 The Good Family will release The Good Family Album and beyond that, they’ll be playing a couple of shows on May 9 and 10 at The Dakota Tavern. And if you’re thinking that the room is small enough capacity-wise before having to factor in their family-heavy guest list, then you also know not to dawdle on tickets – $15 in advance and on sale now.

Stream: The Good Family – “Coal Black Hills”

NPR has the advance stream of the new Colin Stetson album New History Warfare Vol 3: To See More Light, coming out April 30. He performs songs from it at The Great Hall on May 19.

MP3: Colin Stetson – “High Above A Grey Green Sea”
Stream: Colin Stetson / New History Warfare Vol 3: To See More Light

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of METZ’s show at The Bowery Ballroom in New York last week. They play Lee’s Palace on May 17.

The last time The Besnard Lakes were in town, it was for CMF and they were previewing their new record Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO, which was still a couple weeks away from release. The next time they’re in town will again be for a festival – though the date was redacted from the Canadian tour itinerary announced by Exclaim – presumably to allow the festival to make the announcement themselves – the band should be playing NXNE on June 13 with Toronto’s July Talk before hitting the road together. And tangentially, Spinner gets head Besnard Jace Lasek to talk about how he came to host an Arcade Fire secret show at his studio last December while The 405 solicits his thoughts on why the Canadian music industry is turning out so much interesting work (The 405 are British so they’re curious).

Exclaim and Teen Vogue get to know Born Ruffians.

Billboard and Rolling Stone both tracked Grimes down at Coachella to ask about how her next album is coming. It’s expected either late this year or early next.

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Here On In

Review of Rachel Zeffira’s The Deserters

Photo via last.fmlast.fmIn some ways, being introduced to British Columbia-born/London-based Rachel Zeffira by way of Cat’s Eyes did less to prepare one for her solo debut The Deserters than coming to it completely cold. That 2011 collaboration with Horrors frontman Faris Badwan presented her as a sweetly-voiced ingenue, and since its strong throwback/girl-group aesthetic was so far removed from The Horrors’ grinding shoegaze, one could reasonably assume that it better reflected where Zeffira’s own influences lay.

It isn’t that The Deserters presents her in a dramatically different light, it’s more that it presents her in a much more revealing one and; one that so much better demonstrates the full breadth of her talents. Her operatic training, only implied by Cat’s Eyes, is much more to the fore here but is never the point. Her voice – a lovely, lilting thing that effortlessly soars when called upon – is a formidable instrument to be sure, but just one of them. While voice and piano do form the foundation of the album, orchestral and electronic flourishes surface throughout and the numbers built around more conventional rock band configurations – with contributions from TOY and S.C.U.M. – add extra dimensions to the album without jarring its flow. Impossibly elegant and beguiling throughout, The Deserters is a timeless, otherworldly, and utterly remarkable debut.

The Fader has an advance stream of the album, out in North America next Tuesday. CBC Music, Violent Success, and The Edmonton Journal all have features on the Canadian ex-pat.

Video: Rachel Zeffira – “Here On In”
Video: Rachel Zeffira – “The Deserters”
Stream: Rachel Zeffira / The Deserters

The Line Of Best Fit has an interview with Al Spx of Cold Specks, performing at The Kool Haus on March 22 for the Canadian Music Week Indie awards, and at Fort York on June 7 as part of the Field Trip festival.

The Fly has a interview with Suuns, who are playing Lee’s Palace on March 23 for Canadian Musicfest.

The StarPhoenix, The Calgary Herald has an interview with John O’Regan of Diamond Rings, also playing the aforementioned Indies on March 22 and then opening for OMD at The Danforth Music Hall on July 11 and 19.

Vancouverites The Belle Game have released a new video from their forthcoming debut Ritual Tradition Habit, coming April 16.

Video: The Belle Game – “Wait For You”

Exclaim has details on appropriately-titled Takes Time, the first new record that’s not a video game soundtrack from Jim Guthrie since 2003. It’s out May 7 and a first single is available to stream.

Stream: Jim Guthrie – “The Rest Is Yet To Come”

The Fly, Edinburgh Journal, and Exclaim have interviews with Doldrums’ Airick Woodhead. He plays The Horseshoe on May 11.

Toronto-Vancouver electro-pop outfit Gold & Youth caught my ear last Fall but are only getting around to releasing their first album this Spring. Beyond Wilderness will be out May 14 and a first track is available to preview courtesy of Noisey.

Stream: Gold & Youth – “Jewel”

The Skinny and DIY talk to Toronto’s METZ, who’ve premiered a new video from their self-titled debut at Stereogum. They bring all it back home to Lee’s Palace on May 17.

Video: METZ – “Wasted”

Beatroute talks to Hayden.

Toro has an interview with Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon.

The Darcys are working on a new studio album, but that doesn’t mean they can’t release a new video via Under The Radar to remind you of last year’s Aja cover album.

Video: The Darcys – “I Got The News”

Clash talks fashion with Claire Boucher of Grimes.

And finally, RIP Stompin’ Tom Connors.