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Posts Tagged ‘Hives’

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

1000 Answers

The Hives and object lessons in venue relativism

Photo By Tobias SutterTobias SutterThings that are true about live music rooms in Toronto: 1) Everyone hates the Sound Academy, for reasons that don’t really need to be expounded on; 2) a lot of people hate The Phoenix when it represents a tipping point for ascendant acts moving out of clubs and into bigger rooms; 3) a lot of people love The Phoenix when it offers a relatively intimate setting for who might normally play larger rooms but for whatever reason – choice or circumstance – are downsizing.

It’s that third category that I was front of mind yesterday as a batch of concert announcements rolled in. Already scheduled for two dates at The Air Canada Centre supporting Pink on November 30 and December 2, Swedish garage rock heroes The Hives have decided days off are for chumps and have scheduled their own show at The Phoenix for December 1, tickets $29.50. Their last headlining show in support of last year’s Lex Hives was in July 2012 and at The Sound Academy, so their playing a room one-third the size is rather a boon for their fans, at least those who didn’t rush out to buy Pink tickets to see them. Which I would think would include all of them.

Video: The Hives – “Wait A Minute”

New Zealand electro-poppers The Naked & Famous, on the other hand, may be finding out that they’re neither sufficiently naked or famous to fill the Sound Academy as they’ve downgraded their October 14 show in support of their just-released second album In Rolling Waves from there to The Phoenix. Playing the room wasn’t overreaching as their last show in support of their hit debut Passive Me, Aggressive You was there and was their fourth local performance in a year, no less, but kids these days have short attention spans. Remaining tickets for the show are $28.50 in advance. BBC has an interview with the band as does Noisey, along with a stream of the new record.

Video: The Naked & Famous – “Hearts Like Ours”
Stream: The Naked & Famous / In Rolling Waves

When British soul singer Jessie Ware made her local debut at The Opera House in April, it seemed a foregone conclusion that her next visit would be in a much bigger room. And while I won’t suggest that her upwards trajectory has stalled – she and Devotion are just too good to be denied – I was surprised to see that her November 6 show at The Sound Academy had also been downsized to The Phoenix. On the plus side, I already know a few people for whom this show has gone from “ugh” to “ooh”, so it should still be a good and full house when she and The Invisible return to town. Whatever tickets remain for that one are $25 in advance. Interestingly, one of her New York shows on this tour was also downsized from a 3000+ room to a 1000 but a Brooklyn show was also added, so maybe this is as much about the experience as soft sales. Or not. Anyways, if you were on the fence then it’s time to get to a ticket outlet.

Video: Jessie Ware – “Wildest Moments”

The Rural Alberta Advantage have been fairly quiet of late, presumably working on a follow-up to 2011’s Departing – their last local show was last Fall with Dan Mangan at The Danforth Music Hall – but they’ll be taking the stage at the Adelaide Music Hall on October 18 as part of Indie Week, which is apparently a thing. You can get in with a festival wristband or paying $25 for an advance ticket.

MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”

Widowspeak fans dismayed that their only opportunity to see them this Fall was as support for Iron & Wine at The Sound Academy – that place again! – on September 28 will be pleased to know that they’ll be back soon enough in support of their new EP The Swamps, out October 29, for a show at The Silver Dollar on November 2 with Pure Bathing Culture and tickets running a very reasonable $12.50.

MP3: Widowspeak – “The Devil Knows”

Baltimore’s Future Islands haven’t announced anything about a follow-up to 2011’s On The Water, but they’re still hitting the road and will be at The Drake Underground on November 10, tickets $15.50.

MP3: Future Islands – “Before The Bridge”

At some point, the release of Illinois roots-pop artist Lissie’s second album got pushed back a few weeks, but they’ve now committed to both an October 8 street date for Back To Forever as well as a Fall tour to support it. Ms Maurus will be at the Adelaide Music Hall on November 21, tickets for the show $22.50 in advance.

Video: Lissie – “Further Away (Romance Police)”

They may not have been crowned Polaris champs on Monday night, but Young Galaxy can still announce themselves as 2013 shortlisters when they take the stage at The Hoxton on November 22. Not that they would or should; that’s kind of gauche. Tickets for that one are $18 in advance.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Pretty Boy”

If you missed fantastical Swedish synth-pop duo The Deer Tracks when they were here in March – and mathematically, most all of you did – then you can rectify that when they bring their opus The Archer Trilogy back to North America for a victory lap. They’ll be back at The Silver Dollar on November 28.

MP3: The Deer Tracks – “W”

His Toronto debut a couple weeks ago having completely sold out even after being upgraded from The Drake to Wrongbar, Archy Marshall – aka King Krule – will bring his album Six Feet Beneath The Moon back as part of a larger tour and will be at Lee’s Palace on December 9, tickets $20. The New York Times has a feature piece on the artist.

Video: King Krule – “Octopus”

Interview, MTV, and Rolling Stone have features on Swedish electro-pop sensations Icona Pop, whose North American debut This Is… Icona Pop is out this week.

MTV Hive, Elle, and Interview chat with Nanna Øland Fabricius of Oh Land, whose new album Wish Bone is also out this week and is available to stream courtesy of The Line Of Best Fit. Esquire also has a video session with the artist, who plays The Great Hall on September 30.

Stream: Oh Land / Wish Bone

Indians have rolled out a new video from their/his debut Somewhere Else.

Video: Indians – “La Femme”

The New Strait Times, South China Morning Post, and Electronic Musician have interviews with Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds.

Le Blogotheque serves up an Empty Spaces session with Sigur Rós filmed in the catacombs of Paris.

A Heart Is A Spade interviews Kate Boy.

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Terribly Dark

Review of Frida Hyvönen’s The The Soul

Photo By KnotanKnotanArtists lose record deals; it happens all the time. But when it happens to an international artist and rather than find a new deal, they disappear off your radar entirely, well that’s just a shame. Swedish singer-songwriter Frida Hyvönen was represented by Secretly Canadian for her first two albums, 2005’s Until Death Comes and 2008’s Silence Is Wild, but after that they parted ways and as such, the release of her third pop album To The Soul back in April escaped my notice completely.

Which is a shame, because I quite liked both of Hyvönen’s other releases (the above ‘pop’ distinction is necessary because her two albums under the Frida Hyvönen gives you: marque are soundtracks for a poodle-inspired dance recital and photographic exhibition and outside the scope of my experience). Death was a more skeletal affair, built largely around Hyvönen’s voice, piano, and idiosyncratic worldview, but when she toured behind it in Spring 2007, it was perfectly suited for her to perform solo, showcasing both her musical talents and genuinely eccentric personality. Silence, in comparison, filled out her sound with both bigger pop numbers and more pointedly personal compositions and I’m genuinely disappointed that she didn’t come back on tour with it – I would have loved to hear “London!” and “Dirty Dancing” live.

That disappointment pales to having to not hearing the follow-up until some four months after it was released not just because I couldn’t find a copy, but because I didn’t even know it existed. To The Soul continues the trajectory marked by the previous two data points in Hyvönen’s discography, taking her songwriting into sonically and emotionally richer territory while she’s arguably never been in finer voice. There’s more variety between her jaunty pop and sweeping ballads, as she swaps piano for synth textures on the New Wave-y “Terribly Dark” and enlists orchestral assistance on the dramatic “In Every Crowd”. Most striking about Soul is how the sort of material which was presented as grandiose pop on Silence has evolved to become almost theatrical in scale; it’s no stretch to imagine “Saying Goodbye” or “Gold” as a show-stopper in a Broadway production, and it’s not just in the presentation – the songs are just that big. The only bigger shame than the fact that the album is only available in North America via iTunes is that people probably don’t even know that much. So if you’re any kind of Hyvönen fan, know that To The Soul is out there and that it’s worth the hunt.

PSL has a video session with Hyvönen. Yes, it’s in Swedish.

Video: Frida Hyvönen – “Terribly Dark”

Pitchfork has details on Pale Fire, the finally-confirmed new record from El Perro Del Mar Pale Fire. It’s out November 13, a new single is available to stream, and tour dates are apparently forthcoming. Huzzah.

Stream: El Perro Del Mar – “Walk On By”

For Folk’s Sake talks to Anna Ternheim about her new record The Night Visitor.

The Alternate Side has a session with Niki & The Dove, with whom DIY caught a word with at Reading & Leeds Festival. They play the slightly smaller Drake Underground on October 2.

Jens Lekman talks to MTV, Playground, and The Sydney Morning Herald about his glorious new album I Know What Love Isn’t, out September 4 and arguably his best record yet. Yes, better than those other ones you love so much. Don’t believe me? The Quietus is streaming the whole thing right now. He plays The Phoenix on October 4. And if you need a refresher as to why all of Lekman’s records are so good, Paste has compiled a list of his best lyrical turns of phrase.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “Erica America”
Stream: Jens Lekman / I Know What Love Isn’t

NPR has a World Cafe session with The Tallest Man On Earth.

The Hives have released a new video from Lex Hives.

Video: The Hives – “Wait A Minute”

Denmark’s Choir Of Young Believers will be at The Drake on October 22 supporting Daughter. Their latest Rhine Gold came out back in March. Full tour dates at BrooklynVegan.

MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Sedated”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Patricia’s Thirst”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Nye Nummber Et”

Danish disco outfit The Asteroids Galaxy Tour return to a North American orbit for a show at The Danforth Music Hall on November 5, tickets $20. Their second album Out Of Frequency came out back in January.

MP3: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – “Major”
MP3: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – “Around The Bend”

DIY has a video session with Of Monsters & Men, and DigitalSpy, The Bay Bridged, Tone Deaf, and The Guardian have interviews.

German ambient-electronic duo Mouse On Mars will be at Lee’s Palace on October 19 in support of their new EP Wow, even though it’s not out until November 2. Tickets for that are $15.

Video: Mouse On Mars – “They Know Your Name”

Daytrotter has a session with The Jezabels, in town at The Mod Club on October 24.

The Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone talk to Nick Cave about writing and scoring the film Lawless.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Loney Blues

Loney Dear at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangGetting back and forth from Sweden to North America isn’t cheap – trust me, I’ve looked – so having already been through town in November for last year’s chart-topping Hall Music, I really didn’t expect Loney Dear to be coming back anytime soon even though history has shown them to be more willing to tour through North America than many of their countrymen. So the unexpected announcement of a handful of Summer dates including Sunday night at The Horseshoe felt more like a gift than anything else.

That said, and as wonderful as that show at The Drake last Fall was, I really hoped it wouldn’t be a repeat performance. Which is to say that while Emil Svanängen totally managed to beguile as a solo performer (aided by a studio’s worth of gear onstage), Loney Dear shines brightest as a full band – anyone at their previous visit to the ‘Shoe in October 2009 or their Toronto debut at Lee’s in June 2007 could testify to that. So it was pretty nice to walk into the venue and see the stage covered with more gear than one person could possibly play on their own, even though last time out Svanängen certainly gave it a shot.

Interestingly, though Loney Dear was a four-piece this time, Svanängen’s station remained the same as when he was on his own – a chair surrounded by looping equipment, organ pedals, percussion instruments, extra mics – each of his bandmates also had a similarly complex setup; the stage was an incomprehensible morass of boxes, cables and stands. Apparently rather than spread out the workload of recreating his compositions, he was going to increase it exponentially. The core of it may well have been what Svanängen brought in the Fall – even with a drummer on hand, the looped drum and cymbal tricks remained in the mix – the addition of the rhythm section and Malin Ståhlberg on keys, accordian, and backing vocals added a whole new dimension to the songs live. And yet for all the sonic tools at their disposal, the front half of the show – dedicated to Hall Music material – felt intimate, baroque, and elegiac in tone, successfully translating the songs inspired by and meant to be played with Swedish chamber orchestras to a bar in North America, performed without any strings at all. The grand swelling choruses that defined the earlier records felt a thousand miles away.

The older material did come, though, albeit thoroughly recontextualized: “Saturday Waits” was given to Ståhlberg to take lead vocals on; “Ignorant Boy, Beautiful Girl” built to gorgeous heights around the steady “Na Ma Na Ma” vocal lines; “Dear John” was rendered spare and jazzily with an emphasis on some improvised vocal acrobatics. All were markedly different from their recorded versions, yet still immediately familiar and just as beautiful in their way. The gathered crowd wasn’t especially large but it was appreciative, such that after finishing their main set with “Violent”, the band didn’t even leave the stage – they just bowed a few times and acquiesced to play a few more songs. They attempted to make it interactive for “I Fought The Battle Of Trinidad & Tobago” but Svanängen had far too much confidence in the audience’s collective abilities to execute multi-part harmonies, but were content to allow us to bask in “Sinister In A State Of Hope” and “I Was Only Going Out”. I hope some audience member took Svanängen up on his invitation to drink the band under the tables; they’d earned it.

Loney Dear is one of the artists featured in Swedish Music Landscape, a new photographic book focusing on Swedish pop musicians and their environment; I’ve ordered a copy, I’ll let you know if it’s swell.

Photos: Loney Dear @ The Horseshoe – July 8, 2012
MP3: Loney Dear – “Name”
MP3: Loney Dear – “My Heart”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Loney Blues”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Calm Down”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Maria, Is That You?”
MP3: Loney Dear – “D Major”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Largo”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Young Hearts”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Durmoll”
MP3: Loney Dear – “What Have I Become”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Ignorant Boy, Beautiful Girl”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Airport Surroundings”
MP3: Loney Dear – “I Was Only Going Out”
MP3: Loney, Dear – “I Am John”
MP3: Loney, Dear – “A Few Good Men”
Video: Loney Dear – “Loney Blues” (European)
Video: Loney Dear – “Loney Blues” (American)
Video: Loney Dear – “Young Hearts”
Video: Loney Dear – “I Was Only Going Out”
Video: Loney Dear – “Airport Surroundings”
Video: Loney, Dear – “I Am John”
Video: Loney, Dear – “Saturday Waits”

The Line Of Best Fit points to a cover First Aid Kit did of The Rolling Stones for BBC6. They’re at The Danforth Music Hall on September 26.

Stream: First Aid Kit – “Play With Fire”

The lead single from Jens Lekman’s forthcoming I Know What Love Isn’t is available to download; he plays The Phoenix on October 4.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “Erica America”

It may technically be a commercial, but this video performance of The Tallest Man On Earth for Carmel Guitars is worth watching, even if you’re not in the market for a new acoustic.

Video: The Tallest Man On Earth – “Leading Me Now” (live)

Clash finds out what Hives frontman Pelle Almqvist would do if it were his last day on earth.

Pitchfork takes Icona Pop out for a night of karaoke; karaoke ensues. Idolator also has a feature on the duo and Fader pokes through their handbags.

With their early days compilation Early Birds out on July 17, Múm have released both an MP3 and a video from it for your approval.

MP3: Múm – “0,000Orð”
Video: Múm – “Hvernig á að særa vini sína”

Pitchfork has a new track from the forthcoming Raveonettes album Observator, out September 11, available to stream. The play The Phoenix on October 2.

Stream: The Raveonettes – “She Owns The Streets”

Good news for Frightened Rabbit fans: the band’s fourth album is complete! Bad news: it’s not out until 2012. Good news: they’ll be releasing a new EP on September 25 to satiate your appetites. More good news: they’re also touring. Catch them at The Mod Club on October 10, tickets $21.50 in advance. Good news wins!

MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”

What F***ing Ian Guy interview James Graham of The Twilight Sad.

The Wedding Present’s David Gedge chats with The Medway Broadside.

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

An Argument With Myself

Jens Lekman to tour, finally acknowledge he’s got more than a couple hundred fans

Photo By Kristin Lidell Kristin LidellIt may sound a bit heretical at first but there’ve been genuine problems with Jens Lekman’s visits to Toronto. These aren’t to do with the performances themselves, which have more than ably showcased the droll with and songcraft that have earned the Swedish troubadour legions of fans worldwide, or even a comment on the fact that they’ve been so few and far between, with just three shows in the past seven years.

No, the real problem is that despite having no shortage of those aforementioned legions of fans located in Hogtown, he’s always chosen to play rooms that can’t possibly hold them all and while the lucky ones who get tickets are treated to a lovely and intimate evening, many more are left out in the cold (perhaps literally, given his penchant for playing encores out on the street). His March 2005 Wavelength show packed Sneaky Dee’s and when he returned as promised for a show the following Summer, it was at the even-smaller Music Gallery. His return in April 2008 in support of Night Falls On Kortedala was originally supposed to be two nights at the Music Gallery but was condensed into a single night at The Great Hall; better, but still not nearly capable of meeting demand – especially with no less than Owen Pallett opening up.

All of which is to say that even though I like the cozy shows as much as anyone, it’s a relief that the Fall tour that he’s just announced to coincide with the September 4 release of his new record I Know What Love Isn’t will be at The Phoenix on October 4. Yeah, it’s a room bigger than the other three he’s played here combined and probably no one’s favourite venue in the city but at least you’ll probably be able to get a ticket.

Though don’t take that for granted. Supporting him on this tour is an artist with no small amount of cachet herself, country(wo)man and new labelmate Victoria Bergsmann, aka Taken By Trees, who will have her own new record in Other Worlds to promote. She was last here in February 2010 so you know her own not-inconsiderable fanbase will be itching to get a spot.

All of which is to say when the $20 tickets go on sale this morning, don’t dilly-dally. But if you take a few minutes to watch the first video from Love – premiered at Spin and featuring Jens fully embracing his inevitable baldness to say nothing of some “Careless Whisper”-level sax stylings – that’s probably okay.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “An Argument With Myself”
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Anna”
Video: Jens Lekman – “Erica America”

It won’t end well if you don’t hurry to get tickets for Bloc Party’s own return to town on September 10 at The Music Hall. Their own hiatus – which ends with the release of Four on August 21 – hasn’t been so long that their fanbase has diminished much if at all and they were playing much bigger rooms than this before. Tickets are $25 and $35, on sale tomorrow at 10AM.

MP3: Bloc Party – “Banquet”

Australian electronic duo The Presets are also back with a new record entitled Pacifica on September 14 and it comes with its own promotional website – youthintrouble.com – and a North American tour that hits the Music Hall on October 23.

Video: The Presets – “If I Know You”

Sigur Rós takes Filter through the making of Valtari, track-by-track, video-style. They’re at Echo Beach on August 1.

Rolling Stone has got a stream of a new song from The Raveonettes’ forthcoming album Observator. It’s out on September 11 and they’re at The Phoenix on October 2.

Stream: The Raveonettes – “Observations”

Efterklang have assigned a September 25 release date to their new record Piramida; Exclaim has details and there’s a trailer.

Trailer: Efterklang / Piramida

Spin talks to Swedish electro-pop duo Icona Pop.

The Hives play a studio session for AOL Music and talk turkey with Spin.

Daytrotter sessions up with Mystery Jets.

Laura Marling chats with The Owl and mentions that album number four is written, currently being recorded, and may well be released before the end of the world year.

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Death Rays

Mogwai and Odonis Odonis at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt seems a bit perverse to use the phrase, “comfort food” with respect to veteran Scottish post-rock giants Mogwai, but there’s real truth in it. There’s no question that they’ve grown as musicians and songwriters over their seven studio albums, but its been a gradual, evolutionary pace that’s not done much to shock or shake loose (m)any of their fans along the way. Their touring regimen has also been similarly predictable, with typically two North American tours per album and each of those shows being rather understated from a visual point of view but offering a sonic experience akin to a really loud, usually abrasive and occasionally beautiful hug by a sledgehammer.

It’s always a satisfying show, make no mistake, but it can get to the point that you don’t necessarily fret about missing one because a) they’d be back soon enough and b) it’s probably not too different from the last one you saw. Those days of taking the band for granted, however, may be coming to an end. When announcing this latest leg of touring for 2011’s Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, the band mused that this would be “the last extensive touring we do for some time”; perhaps there was a bit of salesmanship in that but one could also believe that the band were indeed wearying of life on the road and weren’t planning to spend as much of theirs on it. So even though I had been perfectly fine missing their last visit in Spring of 2011, I would definitely find the time to make it out to this one at The Phoenix last Monday.

I’m sure that scheduled opener Balam Acab had every intention of making it as well, but he was kept out of the country for the second time in a month – he missed out opening for Active Child in May – and locals Odonis Odonis were tapped to fill in. I’d seen them back in February opening up for The Twilight Sad and while I decided I didn’t dislike them, I wasn’t especially chuffed to see them again so soon; this probably explained why I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed them this time out. Certainly the addition of a second guitarist was a big change for the band, but it didn’t explain how much tighter and more melodic they sounded this time out. No one will confiscating their aggressive, post-punk credentials anytime soon, mind, but they were inarguably much more listenable. I’d read a capsule review of their NXNE showcase a few days earlier mentioning that they were much improved since this same time last year; I’ll go one better and say they’re much improved from four months ago.

Mogwai took the stage casually and opened with, “Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home” off their debut Young Team – no big deal, done it a thousand times – but to a far more enthusiastic respons than I’d have expected. And it’s about now that I realized how young the crowd looked. Typically for a band that’s been around a decade and a half, the audience will look as though they’ve aged along with them but at least from my vantage point, it was a really student-looking demographic who may very well have been at their first Mogwai show. I calculated that this was my sixth and spontaneously aged about a million years. With their enthusiasm, unfortunately, came some obnoxiousness and the one mook calling out for “X-Mas Steps” throughout the show went from amusing to annoying in about the amount of time it took for him to call out, “Christmas Steps!” the second time. He was clearly getting on Stuart Braithwaite’s tit as well – always dangerous – as the de facto frontman stepped to the edge of the stage at one point to try and stare him down and then later called him out saying that they could should whatever they wanted between songs, but not during. And they weren’t going to play “X-Mas Steps” so just quit it already.

Audience observations and interactions aside, it was certainly one of the more monolithic Mogwai sets I’ve seen, getting fists pumping and pants flapping through much of the set. “Rano Pano” and “Mexican Grand Prix” offered some nimbleness and acceleration to the proceedings, but most of the set list favoured the band’s more lumbering and apocalyptic selections. And while I may seem like I’m all “oh Mogwai again”, that doesn’t mean it’s not still exciting – the main set-closing pair of “Like Herod” and “Glasgow Megasnake” were still as powerful as if i was seeing them for the first time. It’s important to note that even though their albums have have transitioned from visceral to cinematic over time, their live shows still manage to capture both facets magnificently. If Mogwai are indeed dialing down their touring commitments, understand that it’s not because they’ve lost a step on stage. No way.

The National Post also has a review of the show and Clash reports that the band will release a new remix album based on Hardcore entitled A Wretched Virile Lore; this will be their first remix collection since 1998’s Kicking a Dead Pig.

Photos: Mogwai, Odonis Odonis @ The Phoenix – June 18, 2012
MP3: Mogwai – “San Pedro”
MP3: Mogwai – “Rano Pano”
MP3: Mogwai – “The Sun Smells Too Loud”
MP3: Mogwai – “Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home”
MP3: Mogwai – “Tracy”
MP3: Mogwai – “Dial: Revenge”
MP3: Mogwai – “Hunted By A Freak”
MP3: Mogwai – “7:25”
MP3: Odonis Odonis – “Ledged Up”
Video: Mogwai – “San Pedro”
Video: Mogwai – “Mexican Grand Prix”
Video: Mogwai – “How To Be A Werewolf”
Video: Mogwai – “I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead”
Video: Mogwai – “Batcat”
Video: Mogwai – “Travel Is Dangerous”
Video: Mogwai – “Friend Of The Night”
Video: Mogwai – “Hunted By A Freak”
Video: Mogwai – “Dial: Revenge”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Ledged Up”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Blood Feast”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Mr. Smith”

Spin, The Japan Times, Paste, and eMusic have features on Hot Chip, in town at The Sound Academy on July 15.

Daytrotter has posted up a session with The Cribs and The San Francisco Examiner a (very) quick chat.

Blur have finally fessed up as to what the cryptic clues pointing to something happening on July 2 are all about. Via a video message viewable at DIY, Alex James explains that the band will perform two new songs – “Under The Westway” and “The Puritan” – live on Twitter from a rooftop in London. I don’t know what “live on Twitter” means – maybe Damon will sing 140 characters at a time – but a world premiere like this sounds like a great way to summon the fail whale.

Exclaim has details on the new Two Door Cinema Club record, entitled Beacon and due out on September 4. And yes, there’s an album trailer.

Trailer: Two Door Cinema Club / Beacon

DIY has a feature piece on Wild Beasts.

Simian Mobile Disco have long had a DJ date scheduled for The Hoxton on July 12, but they’ve just announced they’ll be back at that same room on December 14 with instruments in tow for a proper live show in support of their new album Unpatterns.

MP3: Simian Mobile Disco – “Seraphim”

Beth Jeans Houghton stops in at Daytrotter for a session.

To build up some anticipation for their new album No Hope For The Vaccines due out September 3, The Vaccines are giving a download of a new live EP recorded in Brighton entitled Live In Brighton.

MTV talks to Mika Levi of Micachu & The Shapes; their new album Never is due out July 24.

Prefix gets to know some of Laura Marling’s influences. The San Francisco Examiner also has an interview and Seattle Weekly gets a tour of her iPod.

Spin explains why music is better off if Lily Allen does indeed make a third album, as she’s gone back to the studio to begin.

Only just behind last week’s Afghan Whigs announcement as far as concert announcements I’m excited as hell about is confirmation of I Break Horses’ headlining Fall tour, and that’s only because I saw them last month supporting M83. They’ll be at The Drake Underground on September 19, tickets $13 in advance.

MP3: I Break Horses – “Winter Beats”

It’s hard not to feel a little bad for a label whose highest-profile act keeps giving away all their music as free downloads and refuses to/is incapable of touring. But Sincerely Yours seem perfectly happy to keep enabling jj, who’ve just made their High Summer EP available for free.

ZIP: jj / High Summer

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with Anna Ternheim.

The National Post, Toronto Star, and FasterLouder interview The Hives, hitting up the Sound Academy tomorrow night.

Clash interviews Sigur Rós, in town at Echo Beach on August 1.

Pitchfork has some details on the new Mono album, to be called For My Parents and out September 4.

Trailer: Mono / For My Parents