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Posts Tagged ‘Here We Go Magic’

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Human Being

Review of Cat Power’s Sun

Photo By Stefano GiovanniniStefano GiovanniniIt seems counter-intuitive to not look forward to hearing an artist’s first album of new material in half a decade – the follow-up to arguably her best work, no less – but then things are rarely straightforward when you’re talking about Cat Power. With all respect to those who’d bestow the honour on You Are Free or Moon Pix, but The Greatest was as good as its title as far as I was concerned. It may not have been as musically adventurous or emotionally bare as some of her other works, but I found the document of an artist trying something new with the Memphis soul style and sounding so in her element irresistible.

So why fear for the follow-up? Well, there was 2008’s Jukebox, which took the aesthetic of The Greatest and applied it to a selection of classic songs and somehow ended up feeling utterly bloodless, with Chan Marshall seemingly falling into the diva trap of now being an impressive voice overemoting the words of others; it was like the feeling of comfort that permeated The Greatest had turned into complacency. Further, while the two shows I saw in 2006 in support of The Greatest were, with a few hiccups, outstanding shows that seemed to put Marshall’s reputation as a shaky live bet to bed, her appearance at the 2007 Rogers Picnic was uneven and uncomfortable and while she was certainly more together at Matador at 21 in 2010, that set didn’t really point to her leaving her Dirty Delta comfort zone anytime soon. In other words, my greatest fear for Sun, promised as far back as 2007 but only arriving next Tuesday, would that it would be an overworked, underwhelming rock’n’soul pastiche that showcased Marshall’s voice but shortchanged her songwriting. And I didn’t want to hear that happen.

Well as it turns out, there was nothing to fear. Nothing. At. All. Marshall’s soulful rasp is as rich as it ever was, but there’s little trace of the gospel-blues singer that she wore a little too well. Sun is a wildly eclectic record, and even those who’ve kept up with Cat Power through her various creative phases may be taken aback by the introduction of electronic textures, programmed beats, and even some autotuning effects, but no one would dare dismiss this as genre tourism. It’s more as if Cat Power has been captured through a prism and refracted into a spectrum of musical colours – perhaps new and unfamiliar when taken in bits, but all still very much parts of the whole.

As tempting as it would be to make the new sonic direction the story of the record, or dwell on the remarkable fact that it was not only self-produced but that Marshall played virtually every instrument on the record, to do so would be to not focus on the most crucial aspect of Sun and that the songs are fantastic. The frailties of her early work have given way to a swaggering confidence that permeates everything; Marshall is focused, confident, and not only willing to take on anything, but determined to succeed. A closer examination of the lyrics reveals as much emotional honesty as she’s ever offered – after all, you can’t raise the sun without casting some shadows – but the darkness only adds depth, it never defines. Sun is an astonishing statement from Chan Marshall that shows that rather than banish the demons of her earlier work as The Greatest might have inferred, she’s utterly made them her bitches and put them to work.

The New York Times, News.com.au, and Spin have feature pieces on Cat Power and NPR is streaming Sun ahead of its release next week. She plays The Kool Haus on October 20.

MP3: Cat Power – “Cherokee”
MP3: Cat Power – “Ruin”
Stream: Cat Power / Sun

Another stellar effort from a veteran performer out next week is Silver Age from Bob Mould; it’s also now available to stream along with an interview at Rolling Stone. The first video from said record also surfaced last week.

Video: Bob Mould – “The Descent”
Stream: Bob Mould / Silver Age

To mark the release of the Divine Fits debut long-player A Thing Called Divine Fits this week, there’s feature interviews with Britt Daniel and/or Dan Boeckner at Consequence Of Sound, The 405, Interview, 680 News, Seattle Weekly, Pitchfork, The AV Club, and The National Post. Divine Fits play Lee’s Palace on September 5.

Also out this week was Nocturne, the second album from Wild Nothing. Accompanying that were features at eMusic, The Fader, Clash, DIY, Austinist, The Line Of Best Fit, and Paste. They’re at The Great Hall on September 18.

A goodly number of show announcements to get through. We’ll start with The Killers, because statistically speaking some of you must be fans, just as some of your must be human and others dancer. Their new record Battle Born is out September 18 and they’re at The Sound Academy on September 22, tickets $54.50. That seems undersized for them so I figure this counts as the “intimate club gig” before they return in a few months at the arena level.

Video: The Killers – “Runaways”

Presumably having sorted themselves out following the departure of bassist Jen Turner, Here We Go Magic will be at The Garrison on September 23 as part of a tour support of their latest record A Different Ship. Tickets for that are $12.50 in advance. Spin has a feature on the band.

MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Casual”

Having been through for festivals and as support, Exitmusic finally have their own proper headlining show in support of their debut Passage. They’re at The Horseshoe on October 1, tickets $10.50.

MP3: Exitmusic – “The Sea”

Californian psych-poppers Woods will have a new record in Bend Beyond out on September 18, and they’d like to play some of it for you. Be at The Garrison on October 2 if you’ld like that too; tickets are $12.50 in advance.

MP3: Woods – “Wind Was The Wine”

There’s no measure by which this isn’t a strange tour, but it must make sense to someone. That’d be The Psychedelic Furs, The Lemonheads, and Juliana Hatfield, who will also be reprising her Ray-era bass duties in The Lemonheads. She’ll sort of have a new record to push in her self-titled cover album, a sort of companion piece to The Lemonheads’ last release, the all-cover Varshons. Wouldn’t it be weird if both their sets were all covers? Or maybe all Psychedelic Furs covers? Yeah I have no idea what this is, besides at The Danforth Music Hall on October 16. Ticket info still forthcoming.

Video: The Psychedelic Furs – “Love My Way”
Video: The Lemonheads – “It’s A Shame About Ray”
Video: Juliana Hatfield Three – “My Sister”

They are from Brooklyn, they are seventeen members strong, they are disco, they are Escort, their 2011 debut album was also Escort, I hear they were awesome at SXSW, and they’re at The Horseshoe on November 10. Tickets are $16.50 – that’s less than a dollar a band member!

MP3: Escort – “Starlight”

Yellow Ostrich are at The Garrison on November 12 in support of their second album Strange Land. $12 gets you in the door, full dates at Plug In Music.

MP3: Yellow Ostrich – “The Shakedown”

San Diego’s Pinback return with their first album in five years in Information Retrieved, and are touring in support. Said tour wraps up at Lee’s Palace on November 21, tickets $16.50.

MP3: Pinback – “From Nothing To Nowhere”

Rolling Stone has premiered the surprisingly dark new video from Bob Dylan’s forthcoming Tempest. It’s out September 11 and the man hits the Air Canada Centre on November 14.

Video: Bob Dylan – “Duquesne Whistle”

Exclaimtalks to Lou Barlow about the new Dinosaur Jr album I Bet On Sky, out September 18. They play three nights at Lee’s Palace from September 24 to 26.

The first video from Band Of Horses’ forthcoming Mirage Rock is now available to watch. It’s out September 18.

Video: Band Of Horses – “Knock Knock”

Stereogum chats with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. Their new record Transcendental Youth is out October 2, they play The Phoenix on October 20.

Benjamin Gibbard – you may know him as just Ben – has released the first sample of his forthcoming solo record Former Lives, out October 16. He plays The Danforth Music Hall on October 14.

MP3: Benjamin Gibbard – “Teardrop Windows”

Exclaim has details on a new release from Andrew Bird, a companion piece to this year’s Break It Yourself. Hands Of Glory is out October 30.

Sleigh Bells’ Reign Of Terror has yielded another new video.

Video: Sleigh Bells – “End Of The Line”

NPR welcomes Beachwood Sparks for a video session. LA Weekly also has a feature on the band.

The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, SF Weekly, The Pitch, Colorado Daily, and Boulder Weekly have interviews with Sharon Van Etten.

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

CONTEST – Here We Go Magic @ The Horseshoe – May 11, 2011

Photo By Maxine FauconnierMaxine FauconnierWho: Here We Go Magic
What: Brooklyn prog-pop band that evolved out of frontman Luke Temple’s folkier-inclined solo project.
Why: Their 2010 sophomore effort Pigeons was followed up with The January EP, though it was in fact released in late March. Practically April. And now they’re touring.
When: Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Where: The Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto (19+)
Who else: AroarA – aka Andrew Whiteman of Broken Social Scene’s latest project – opens things up.
How: Tickets for the show are $13.50 in advance, but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got a pair of passes to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to Go Magic” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, May 9.
What else: Sonic Scoop talks to guitarist/bassist Jennifer Turner.

MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Hands In The Sky”
MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Casual”

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Doors Unlocked And Open

We interrupt our SxSW reportage to bring you Death Cab For Cutie tour dates

Photo By Danny ClinchDanny ClinchNot that Death Cab For Cutie tour dates are “stop the presses” type news in any universe, but the fact that the fan presale for said shows begins tomorrow, I figured I should put my Austin reminiscences on hold for a day to post the info and maybe clear out some other tour dates and whatnot.

The tour is noteworthy, however, in that it’s kicking off a few weeks ahead of the release of their new record Codes & Keys, out May 31, and will be happening in rooms much smaller than they normally play. The first date of the tour, for example, will be May 18 at The Phoenix in Toronto which is a fraction of the size (1/3) of the Sound Academy, where they were back in Spring 2009 and many times smaller than the Toronto Islands show in Summer 2008, though that one was bolstered by Stars. All of which is to say that ticket demand will greatly outstrip supply for this show, so this presale – which opens at noon on Thursday to fan club members – could be your best friend if you want to see them in relatively cozy environs. And really, isn’t getting cozy with Ben Gibbard what it’s all about? No? Really? Okay.

And while logic dictates that this is a precursor to a much larger tour later in the Summer, this interview with Spin implies that their interest in living on the road is waning as the band enters middle age. So yeah, this presale. And if you miss the presale, regular on-sale goes Saturday at 10AM. Tickets are $39.50 plus fees will be the new-fangled paperless dealies and be limited to two per order. Man, I think the last time Death Cab played a club show on this scale was the Opera House in 2003, and I remember I had an extra ticket that I couldn’t give away. Eventually sold it to a scalper for $10. MEMORIES. Rolling Stone also has an interview with guitarist Chris Walla about the new record.

MP3: Death Cab For Cutie – “Soul Meets Body”

After easily selling out The Garrison back in February, Biffy Clyro return for a show at the more appropriately-sized Mod Club on April 23, tickets $20 in advance.

Video: Biffy Clyro – “God And Satan”

Portland instrumentalists Grails are in town at Sneaky Dee’s on April 28 in support of their new record Deep Politics.

MP3: Grails – “I Led Three Lives”

I didn’t realize that Here We Go Magic’s previously announced April 2 show at the El Mocambo disappeared like magic, but a new date for May 11 at The Horseshoe has just been announced, tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Casual”
MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Collector”

The Vaccines have been announced as support for the Arctic Monkeys’ North American tour which stops in at the Kool Haus on May 21. Their debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines will have a May 31 North American release date. The Spectator has an interview with the band.

MP3: The Vaccines – “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)”

Brooklyn droners Crystal Stilts have put together a North American tour in support of their new record In Love With Oblivion, out April 12. The final date of the tour will be at Sneaky Dee’s on May 22. Full details on the record and tour at Exclaim.

Video: Crystal Stilts – “Through The Floor”

My Morning Jacket haven’t given their new record Circuital a proper release date yet, but that doesn’t mean they’re not doing a lot of releasing – the band are giving away live recordings from their New York residency last Fall each week, leading up to the unveil of a song from the new record on April 12. Sign up to their mailing list to access them all. They’ve also released a Summer tour itinerary which includes a July 11 date at the Kool Haus, tickets $40.50 in advance.

MP3: My Morning Jacket – “One Big Holiday”

Back to Texas tomorrow, which reminds me: what the hell is with this snow? Damnation.

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Good Evening

The Concretes and Hooray For Earth at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAfter a much-needed break from live music with a month spent watching television instead of bands, it was back out to the clubs on Monday night for the first gig of 2011, and it was one that as recently as a couple weeks ago I hadn’t planned on attending – The Concretes at The Horseshoe. From passing listens to the singles, I didn’t expect much of their latest WYWH but a proper sit-down with their second post-Victoria Bergsman album happily proved me wrong. And so I went.

Helping that decision along was the presence of New York’s Hooray For Earth as support. I’d meant to investigate their 2010 debut EP Momo further but never did, so seeing them live in advance of their full-length debut True Loves‘ release on May 3 seemed like a good way to make up for that. Unfortunately, and perhaps as a result of a traumatic border-crossing experience alluded to by singer Noel Heroux, the band didn’t seem to be at the top of their game, seeming distracted or even disinterested as they ran through their half-hour set. The quality of their songs – catchy New Waved numbers marked by big ’80s synths and (over)-effected vocals – was evident despite that, but the pep of their recorded sound was decided muted.

I was there the last the the sandwich board outside The ‘Shoe declared, “The Concretes” back in May 2006, but a half-decade one, it was a completely different band who took the stage. Singer Victoria Bergsman departed shortly after that show – that’s been well-documented – and rather than call it a day, drummer Lisa Milberg moved into the role of frontwoman but what was surprising was that Maria Erikson – guitarist, vocalist and co-founder of the band with Milberg and Bergsman – was not amongst the half-dozen Concretes who’d crossed the Atlantic. Or maybe not so surprising considering her credits on the new record amount to “backing vocals”. But either way, this was now Milberg’s show.

And as WYWH would dictate, it was a disco show, but without much dancing. Despite the dancefloor grooves and textures of the new record, it’s still a downbeat record and accordingly, a rather restrained performance. The live renderings were actually sped up some from the album version, perhaps to give them a little more zip or perhaps to help them sit alongside the older material better. Yes, they still did the older material – fair game considering Milberg co-wrote most of it – but what was more surprising than that it wasn’t verboten was how natural those songs still sounded without Bergsman’s distinctively sleepy vocals. And if you think about it, Milberg’s voice might have a different timbre from her former bandmate but it has a similar wounded quality about it that helps maintain the songs’ spirit.

With such disparate-sounding material rubbing elbows on the set list, the flow of the show was a little odd at times but the balance of new material and key singles from The Concretes and In Colour made for a solid batch of songs. And while it was hard to not recall the glorious rotating lead vocals from Bergsman, Milberg and Erikson the last time they played main set closer “Song For The Songs”, these new Concretes had already established their 2011 bona fides. And for that, bravo.

Photos: The Concretes, Hooray For Earth @ The Horseshoe – January 17, 2010
MP3: The Concretes – “All Day”
MP3: The Concretes – “Good Evening”
MP3: Hooray For Earth – “Surrounded By Your Friends”
Video: The Concretes – “Kids”
Video: The Concretes – “All Day”
Video: The Concretes – “Keep Yours”
Video: The Concretes – “Seems Fine”
Video: The Concretes – “Oh Boy”
Video: The Concretes – “Chosen One”
Video: The Concretes – “On The Radio”
Video: The Concretes – “Say Something New”
Video: The Concretes – “You Can’t Hurry Love”
Video: The Concretes – “Warm Night”
Video: Hooray For Earth – “Surrounded By Your Friends”
Video: Hooray For Earth – “Form”
Video: Hooray For Earth – “Rolling/Nectarine”
Video: Hooray For Earth – “Get Home”
Myspace: The Concretes
Myspace: Hooray For Earth

Lykke Li has released a new video from her forthcoming record Wounded Rhymes, out on March 1 – BBC has an interview with her about the new record. She will be at The Phoenix on May 22.

Video: Lykke Li – “I Follow Rivers”

Also straight outta Sweden with a new vid are Peter Bjorn & John – it’s the first sample of their forthcoming Gimme Some, due out March 29, which you can also download over here. They have a talk with Spinner about the new record.

Video: Peter Bjorn & John – “Breaker Breaker”

There were a crapload of show announcements yesterday… and a crapload today. Starting with Suuns, who’ll be playing an in-store at Sonic Boom on January 29 at 4PM. As always, it’s a free show but food bank donations are encouraged.

MP3: Suuns – “Up Past The Nursery”

Ty Segall will be anchoring the Wrongbar lineup for Canadian Musicfest on the Saturday night, March 12.

MP3: Ty Segall – “Girlfriend”

I would have thought that they’d be playing bigger rooms by now, but that just means that Warpaint’s show at Wrongbar on March 26 – which they packed last August well before their debut The Fool came out and got all those rave reviews – will be that much more of a hot ticket. You’ve been warned. Full tour dates up at Beggars USA and support for the show will be Australia’s PVT.

MP3: Warpaint – “Undertow”
MP3: PVT – “Quick Mile”

After a too-long absence – I’m not counting their set opening for Gogol Bordello last Spring because a) it was at The Sound Academy and b) I couldn’t go – DeVotchKa are coming back to town. Their last headlining show was way back in June 2006, so that they’ll bring their new record 100 Lovers to the Mod Club on March 30 is welcome news indeed; tickets $19 in advance.

MP3: DeVotchKa – “Along The Way”

Luke Temple’s Here We Go Magic have made a date at the El Mocambo for April 2, tickets $13.50. Their last record Pigeons came out last Summer.

MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Casual”
MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Collector”

I don’t know if John Darnielle thought Toronto wouldn’t notice that The Mountain Goats skipped us over entirely whilst touring their last record The Life Of The World To Come, but it’s good to know we won’t be slighted when All Eternals Deck comes out on March 29 – they’ll be here just five days later, April 3, with Megafaun in tow, for a show at the Opera Hosue – tickets $17.50 in advance. Pitchfork has a chat with Darnielle about the new album and there’s a campaign to get The Mountain Goats on Law & Order: SVU so obviously you should go and get behind that.

MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Tyler Lambert’s Grave”

Following an extensive North American tour, Kingston’s PS I Love You will play an almost-hometown show at The Garrison on April 7.

MP3: PS I Love You – “Get Over”

And looking waaaaay ahead, Keren Ann will follow up the March 22 release of her new record 101 with Summer dates that include an appearance at the Drake Underground on June 28, tickets $16.50. She’s just released a video from said record.

Video: Keren Ann – “My Name Is Trouble”

Aquarium Drunkard, Artinfo, The Fader and Prefix talk to Dan Bejar of Destroyer, whose new record Kaputt is out next week but streaming right now at Hype Machine. Destroyer plays Lee’s Palace on March 31.

Stream: Destroyer / Kaputt

The Line Of Best Fit and The AV Club interview Jenny Conlee and Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, respectively. The Polaroid portfolio which was a part of deluxe editions of The King Is Dead is available to peruse at New York Magazine with commentary from photographer Autumn de Wilde. Further, the band’s hometown show in Portland will be webcast tonight on NPR starting at 3PM EST. The Decemberists are at The Sound Academy on February 1.

And the only relevance that the Coachella lineup has to my life is the fact that Elbow and Suede are on this continent in April…

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Electric Bloom

An introduction to Foals (for me)

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickI’m sitting here trying to figure out why I never listened to Oxford’s Foals. It’s not that I hadn’t heard of them – I made note of both tours they undertook a couple years ago in support of their debut Antidotes, but don’t think I gave them any sort of listen beyond the sample MP3 and maybe a MySpace drive-by. Maybe it was the saxophones that turned me off. But I’m revisiting them – both Antidotes and this year’s follow-up Total Life Forever – and it’s doing it for me.

I wouldn’t have thought that I needed another tense, new-wavey/post-punky English band in my life but Foals feel different enough from the stereotype to warrant some attention. They’re certainly pointy in all the right places, but don’t really get as frantic on the dance floor as some of their peers, opting instead to dwell moodily in the corner. I appreciate the moody dwellers, and there’s much more of this side of their personality evident on Total Life Forever. I can sort of see why I might have passed over Antidotes but the extra bit of groove and sophistication on Total Life Forever is pretty much demanding further listens.

And so I won’t be missing them when they come through town a third time – Filter reports that the quintet are coming over to North America for a Fall tour, and that includes a September 27 date at Lee’s Palace. See you there.

MP3: Foals – “Spanish Sahara”
MP3: Foals – “Balloons”
Video: Foals – “Miami”
Video: Foals – “Spanish Sahara”
Video: Foals – “This Orient”
Video: Foals – “Cassius”
Video: Foals – “Balloons”
Video: Foals – “Hummer”
Video: Foals – “Mathletics”
MySpace: Foals

And speaking of third time’s the charm, you can’t say The Charlatans ever give up. Just as they’ve managed to outlive pretty much every other Madchester and Britpop band, they keep trying to come back to North America. They were going to come in October 2008, then canceled almost immediately. Then they slated a tour for September of last year, which got nixed a month before as drummer Jon Brookes required shoulder surgery. Some might take this as a sign, but they’ve just announced a North American tour in support of a new record entitled Who We Touch, out September 14, and it again includes a Toronto date for September 17 at Lee’s Palace. The two cancelled engagements were supposed to be at the Mod Club; maybe they’re hoping the change of venue changes their fortunes. And all joking aside, I do hope they make it over here this time, as there’s not a lot of shows that I can go to and still feel like one of the younger people in the room.

MP3: The Charlatans – “Oh! Vanity”
MP3: The Charlatans – “You Cross My Path”

They mentioned that it was their first time in Canada when they opened up for Spoon back in March, but Austin’s Strange Boys certainly haven’t been strangers around town since then. I think they played another gig that weekend, were back during NXNE and now they’re coming back with a date at The Garrison on September 22.

Video: The Strange Boys – “Be Brave”

It’s a solid bill from top to bottom as Rogue Wave, Midlake and Peter Wolf Crier team up for a Fall tour that includes a September 24 date at the Opera House.

MP3: Rogue Wave – “Good Morning”
MP3: Midlake – “Acts Of Man”
MP3: Peter Wolf Crier – “Crutch & Cane”

James have compiled a couple of recent mini-albums for the North American market and will release them as the double-set The Morning After The Night Before on September 14, to be accompanied by a North American tour alongside Ed Harcourt that includes a stop at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto on September 30.

Video: James – “Sometimes (Lester Piggot)”
Video: Ed Harcourt – “Born In The ’70s”

Dr. Dog, who’ve just released a new record in Shame, Shame, will be hitting the road in support and bringing Here We Go Magic with them. Look for them at the Phoenix on October 16.

MP3: Dr. Dog – “Stranger”
MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Casual”

Florence & The Machine should probably be working on album number two, which is targeted for an early 2011 release, but instead she’s coming back to North America this Fall, perhaps looking to leverage an appearance on the Twilight soundtrack (the same appearance which has put a Volvo ad on her website… sigh). The itinerary is still taking shape, but in addition to dates in New York and New Orleans, she’ll be in Toronto at the Sound Academy on November 3. Tickets are $30, on sale next Friday, but Rogers Wireless customers have a $20 presale starting Thursday – kind of makes up for that monthly system access fee, doesn’t it?

MP3: Florence & The Machine – “Kiss With A Fist”

Bust out your surgical masks – Clinic are releasing a new album in Bubblegum on October 5 and crossing the Atlantic to promote it. Look for them at Lee’s Palace on November 10.

MP3: Clinic – “Family”

Richard Ashcroft tells The Guardian why this last, past Verve reunion is/was the final one.

Filter and Paste chat with Teenage Fanclub, kicking off their Fall tour with two nights at the Horseshoe on September 22 and 23.

Blurt talks to Joe Boyd, producer of R.E.M.’s Fables Of The Reconstruction. Their third record is being rereleased in double deluxe form today and you can stream it over at Spinner. Only the album, though – none of the bonus goodies.

Stream: R.E.M. / Fables Of The Reconstruction

Spin is offering up another track from Versus’ forthcoming On The Ones And Threes, due out September 14. They’re at Lee’s Palace on August 13.

Under The Radar talks to The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt.

Steve Earle talks to Offbeat about his role on Treme, his Emmy nomination and New Orleans.

Spinner talks to Sharin Foo of The Raveonettes.