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Posts Tagged ‘Holograms’

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Divine Light

The Deer Tracks, Falls, and deVah Quartet at The Silver Dollar in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI had planned to lead off by saying that if there was one silver lining to Apple’s completely FUBAR-ed redo of their Music app in iOS7, it was that its insistence on playing all albums by an artist in sequence, ignoring the end of one album and the start of another, it was that I’d be able to listen to The Deer TracksArcher Trilogy as a single entity, uninterrupted by flipping vinyl discs and sides. But as it turns out, for whatever reason, my iPhone insists on sorting them in order of volume 1, 3, and 2, so that doesn’t work. Screw you, Apple.

But even if it takes a few more clicks or flips than ideal, it’s something to be able to experience the work as a whole. The expansive, uplifting moments crafted by the Swedish duo of David Lehnberg and Elin Lindfors that initially hooked me have lost none of their impact, but the spaces in between really do pull the over 100-minutes of grandiose synth-pop together and even if you don’t fully understand what it’s about – though there is a narrative – you certainly feel it. And though it’s not reasonable to expect the full scope of the work to come across in a live show, as evidenced by their local debut last June and their return visit nine months to the day before this last one, they certainly make a go of it.

There was some interesting local support on the bill for the visiting Swedes, starting with the deVah Quartet – a modern take on the classical string quartet combining electric instruments run through serious pedalboards and amplification, backed by a hard-hitting drummer, and boasting Varvatos-approved rock’n’roll style. So by the criteria of not sounding like every other band, they’d already won. And while not the most convincing rock singers or songwriters, they more than compensated with top-notch performance chops and arrangements. I couldn’t say who their audience is going to be – the connections between classical and rock are hardly unexplored but not often from this direction – but if and when they find them, they’ll be golden.

Swinging way back on the conventional side of things were Falls, who wanted nothing more than to be a radio-ready alternative rock band, and in that, they were successful. They were solid players and a tight unit – impressive considering their bassist was a substitute – but those positives were undermined by the general over-emoting and other such tropes of radio-ready alternative rock, perhaps best captured in their unnecessary and un-nuanced cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”. But unlike deVah, I know exactly who their audience is and they’re out and are legion. And so it goes.

There’s not that many ways to re-configure a duo, but somehow The Deer Tracks have managed to bring a different markedly different show to town three times now, in the past year and a half. After performing as a four-piece with touring keyboardist and drummer the previous two times, they were now a three-piece set up amidst a jungle of cables, stands, and LED lights, with Lehnberg assuming drum and percussion duties; this was after doing guitar/keys/vocals duties the first time and focusing on synths last time.

The net result of this reconfiguration, plus the necessary translation of the recorded work into a condensed live show of highlights, was a more percussive, visceral, and dramatic reading of The Archer Trilogy than one might have expected. Yet it did this without compromising the whimsy and delicacy of the material – this end of things remained well intact thanks to Lindfors’ vocals, as well her work on keys, saw, and melodica. The band’s resolutely DIY ethos is well-known to anyone who’s followed the band; the same drive and passion that compels them to create multi-part musical epics and undertake extensive international tours to slowly but steadily grow their fanbase also allows them to imbue something genuinely transformative into their performance. As in February, there weren’t a whole lot of people there but those that were got to experience something special.

Photos: The Deer Tracks, Falls, deVah Quartet @ The Silver Dollar – November 28, 2013
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Bucket Of Sunbeams”
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “W”
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Okta Crash”
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Dark Passenger”
Stream: Falls – “Rain Turn To Snow”
Stream: deVah Quartet – “Tell Me How You Really Feel”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Divine Light”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Lazarus”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Bucket Of Sunbeams”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Meant To Be”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Tiger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fall With Me”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fra Ro Raa / Ro Ra Fraa”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Ram Ram”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Slow Collision”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “12sxfrya”

AlbumStreams have a stream of the new live Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds record Live From KCRW, which gets a proper physical release as of today. They’re in town at The Sony Centre on July 31.

Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / Live At KCRW

Holograms have released a new video from Forever; they’re at The Garrison on December 8.

Video: Holograms – “Luminous”

TwentyFourBit has got a stream of José González’s contribution to the soundtrack of the new Secret Life Of Walter Mitty film, which opens Christmas Day.

Stream: José González – “Step Out”

Exclaim has details on Sigur Rós’ attempt to make Christmas shopping easy for the Sigur Rós fan in your life – a nine-disc vinyl box set of their last album Kveikur, which features each track of their album on an individual 45RPM 12″ with an instrumental mix of the same song as the b-side. And the set is now sold out, so this entire paragraph is moot.

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Lay Us Down

While I was out… featuring Holograms and things of a rest-of-the-world nature

Photo By KnotanKnotanI won’t deny that one of the reasons I was so keen to go to Stockholm on this last vacation was my affection for Swedish music, specifically the melancholically melodic indie-pop of that the likes of Jens Lekman, I Break Horses, and The Cardigans have done so well over the years. This is not at all how you’d describe Holograms, the quartet of 20-something Stockholmers who’ve just released their second album Forever; their tense and wiry post-punk has far more in common with the likes of Denmark’s Iceage than any of their countrymen, though their approach is a hair less nihilistic and more anthemic. Which is to say they’re marginally less likely to punch you in the face than Iceage.

Noisey posted an advance stream of Forever last week, but seeing as how the album’s now out, it’s not an advance stream anymore – just a stream. But what is new is a new video, premiered yesterday at Interview, and the announcement of a North American tour that hits The Garrison on December 8.

MP3: Holograms – “Flesh & Bone”
Video: Holograms – “Meditations”
Stream: Holograms / Forever

Empire Of The Sun have released a new, characteristically epic video from Ice On The Dune – just in time for their show at The Danforth Music Hall on September 9. The Huffington Post has an interview with bandleader Luke Steele.

Video: Empire Of The Sun – “DNA”

The Quietus and The Line Of Best Fit have everything you need with respect to Emiliana Torrini’s new record Tookah – the former has an advance stream ahead of its release next Tuesday, September 10, and the latter has a track-by-track walkthrough by Torrini herself. The Quietus also solicited a list of Torrini’s favourite albums.

Stream: Emiliana Torrini / Tookah

Pitchfork have an advance stream of Apar, the new album from Spanish electro-pop ensemble Delorean, while Filter and Stereogum have feature interviews. The new record is out September 10 and they play The Horseshoe on October 17.

Stream: Delorean / Apar

Clash has an advance stream of múm’s new long-player Smilewound, which also has a new video. It’s out September 10.

Video: múm – “Toothwheels”
Stream: múm / Smilewound

Icona Pop are streaming another new song from their international debut This Is… Icona Pop, out September 24.

Stream: Icona Pop – “My Party”

Danish electro-pop artist Nanna Øland Fabricius, aka Oh Land, has a new album in Wish Bone coming out September 24. She’s premiered the first video at Rolling Stone and announced a North American tour that brings her to The Great Hall on September 30, tickets $15.

Video: Oh Land – “Renaissance Girls”

Le Blogotheque films a Still Room Session with Of Monsters & Men in Rome while Iceland Review interviews the band.

Also at Le Blogotheque, a Take Away Show with Phoenix filmed in front of the Palace of Versailles. There’s also an interview at A Heart Is A Spade and they enter the wayback machine with Noisey to discuss their first hit, “If I Ever Feel Better”.

Noisey talks to Kate Boy’s Kate Akhurst while Vogue takes her shopping.

The Guardian Q&As Björk.

Friday, July 5th, 2013

We Got The World

Icona Pop continue to love it, encourage others to love it

Photo By Fredrik EtoallFredrik EtoallIf nothing else, Swedish electro-pop duo Icona Pop deserve some sort of prize for getting as far as they have without having to release their debut album. Okay, not technically true, since their self-titled debut came out in Sweden last Fall, but it remains resolutely unavailable outside of their native country and probably will remain so – in a new interview with EQ Music, Aino Jawo makes it sound as that their first international release will be an all-new record, leaving the disc that spawned their first mega-hit “I Love It” unheard by many of their fans.

Not that that seems to be eliciting many complaints from said followers. Their ubiquitous Charli XCX-penned single “I Love It” just topped the UK charts, despite hardly being a new track; it was already out there when the duo first landed on my radar last May, but thanks to placements in ads, video games, and Girls, has remained in the public consciousness and has now proven itself a pretty great Summer soundtrack as well, at least for those who do, indeed, love it – to wit, it just topped the UK singles charts and is certified gold or platinum all over the place. Not bad for a song that’s basically a slice of mindless fun.

Their appearance at The Grove Fest at Garrison Common on August 3 won’t be their Toronto debut – they opened for Marina & The Diamonds at the Kool Haus in December – but will be their first visit since they became some degree of international stars, so that will be interesting. And one can’t help look at their Fall North American tour and note the three days off between Cleveland and Boston, and figure that their first headlining date won’t be announced shortly after The Grove wraps up.

Noisey gets lessons in being poor from the duo, BBC has an introductory interview, NME talks to Charli XCX about having no regrets about giving them the song rather than keeping it for herself and The Daily Star gets Icona Pop’s angle on the collaboration, and using their success as a jumping-off point, The Line Of Best Fit has compiled a list of the next wave of female Scandinavian artists they expect to make a wide impact.

Video: Icona Pop – “I Love It” (featuring Charli XCX)

The Skinny talks to Thomas Mars of Phoenix, who have released a second video from their latest, Bankrupt!. You can also stream the whole of their Glastonbury 2013 set, which offers a taste of what they’ll do when they headline The Grove Fest at Garrison Common on August 3.

Video: Phoenix – “Trying To Be Cool”
Video: Phoenix @ Glastonbury 2013

Swedish post-punk outfit Holograms have made a track from their forthcoming album Forever, out September 3, available to stream.

Stream: Holograms – “Meditations”

Idolator talks with Swedish electro-pop artist Elliphant.

Despite having just gotten back on peoples’ radars with a new video, Robyn tells The Guardian that her new record is far from being finished.

The 405 is streaming a new track from Efterklang.

Stream: Efterklang – “Look Up”

Ólafur Arnalds has released a new video from his latest effort, For Now I Am Winter.

Video: Ólafur Arnalds – “This Place Was A Shelter”

Sigur Rós have made their recent 360° concert webstream from Dresden, Germany available to watch on demand.

The Knife have turned to their reportedly batshit live show for the newest video from Shaking The Habitual.

Video: The Knife – “Raging Lung” (live)

Friday, April 12th, 2013

What I Like

Stream Charli XCX’s True Romance. Or don’t. Whatever.

Photo By Dan CurwinDan CurwinAs much as I’d like to be able to claim to have seen Charli XCX’s latent stardom from the get-go, a quick look back at my writeup from SXSW 2012 confirms that I was not, in fact, overly impressed with the set I caught, but this also acknowledges that performing in a stripped-down setting accompanied only by a keyboardist isn’t really putting an electro-pop artist’s best foot forward. She came across much better five months later at Osheaga, kicking off the festival with a good balance of energy, songs, and showmanship – plus a solid cover of “The Killing Moon”.

The young Englishwoman’s star has steadily continued to rise since then, and the buzz will come to a head – for now, at least – with the release next week of her debut album True Romance, a convincing collection of party-friendly, synth-built anthems with plenty of confidence and personality. As is the custom, the record is getting an advance stream before its release, this time courtesy of Pitchfork. There’s also feature interviews with the Charlotte Aitchison at MXDWN and Idolator. She is in town at Echo Beach on May 23 opening up for Marina & The Diamonds.

MP3: Charli XCX – “Nuclear Seasons”
Stream: Charli XCX / True Romance

NOW and A Music Blog, Yea? talk to The Joy Formidable ahead of their show at The Phoenix tonight, April 12.

Mashable is streaming the M83-powered soundtrack to the new Tom Cruise flick Oblivion. The soundtrack came out this week but the film doesn’t open until the 19th of this month.

Stream: M83 / Oblivion soundtrack

Spin and KQED talk to Jessie Ware, who finally gets a North American release for her debut Devotion next week, on April 16.

The Line Of Best Fit has premiered the new video from the Junip self-title, coming out April 23. They play The Great Hall on June 10.

Video: Junip – “Your Life Your Call”

Filter and Billboard have feature pieces on Phoenix, whose new album Bankrupt! comes out April 23. They’ve just released an acoustic performance video from it and will headline The Grove Fest at Garrison Common on August 3.

Video: Phoenix – “Entertainment!” (acoustic)

Palma Violets have released a new video from their debut 180. They’re also interviewed by WhatCulture and have a headlining show at Lee’s Palace on May 3 as well as being part of The Grove Fest lineup.

Video: Palma Violets – “We Found Love”

James Blake has released a video for the title track of his just-released new album Overgrown. He plays The Danforth Music Hall on May 4.

Video: James Blake – “Overgrown”

Topman Magazine talks to Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie about their forthcoming album More Light, out May 13.

Pigeons & Planes have premiered the new video from Elliphant, making her local debut on June 7 supporting Twin Shadow at The Phoenix.

Video: Elliphant – “Make It Juicy”

NME confirms details of the new Beady Eye album, which will be called BE – acronym or shouting, take your pick – and be out June 10.

CHVRCHES have released a new live video. They play The Hoxton on June 12 and their debut is out in September.

Video: CHVRCHES – “Lies” (live)

The Line Of Best Fit has an interview with Iceage and Matablog has got a new studio performance video and download from their latest, You’re Noting. They’ll be in Toronto for NXNE on June 15, and Iceage spin-off Vår is streaming a new track from their debut No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers, coming out May 14.

MP3: Iceage – “Morals”
Video: Iceage – “Morals” (live)
Stream: Vår – “The World Fell”

DIY and Glamour get to know Icona Pop, who will be playing the aforementioned Grove Festival at Garrison Common on August 3.

Swedish punks Holograms are streaming the first track from their second album Forever, now confirmed for a September 3 release.

Stream: Holograms – “Flesh And Bone”

Loud & Quiet, Dazed, and MTV Hive all have feature pieces on The Knife.

Daytrotter has posted a session and A Heart Is A Spade, Fractured Air, and Buzzine interviews with Ólafur Arnalds.

Efterklang performs a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR.

The AV Club talks to Nick Cave.

And thanks to PopMatters for unearthing an excellent quality video of an almost-complete concert from the very end days of Catherine Wheel. Never forget.

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Shaker Hymns

Dry The River dry the Shallow Bed

Photo via Dry The RiverDry The RiverLondon’s Dry The River may not have had quite the world-conquering 2012 that I’d predicted for them back in the Spring, but they’ve still had a very good year, their debut album Shallow Bed delivering on the buzz that they’d built up at home and also translating trans-Atlantically, justifying a couple of North American tours. Not quite Mumford-level triumphs for the folk-rockers, but pretty damn good for a first outing.

So good, that they’ve recorded the album all over again. They’ve released an all-acoustic version of Shallow Bed entitled Shallow Bed Acoustic, and it may be just the thing for those who found the dramatically-produced original version a touch over the top, or maybe just want to be able to focus on the band’s impressive multi-part harmonies without all those crashing guitars. Either way, it’s a thing, you can buy it digitally, and it’s streaming in whole right now over at Clash. Give a listen, and maybe read this interview with frontman Peter Liddle at Nuvo.

Stream: Dry The River / Shallow The Bed Acoustic

London’s Citizens! – making a name for themselves amongst those who like their pop electro and dancey are making good on the title of their debut album Here We Are by being here – at Wrongbar, specifically – on March 7. Tickets $15 in advance.

Video: Citizens! – “True Romance”

The Line Of Best Fit has details on the debut album from the hotly-tipped British newcomers Palma Violets. Entitled 180, it will be out on 25 February of next year, so it’s unlikely there’ll be copies for sale when they play The Horseshoe on January 24… and yet somehow, I’m betting everyone there will have heard it. Magic!

The Quietus has some more details on the new House Of Love album She Paints Words In Red, direct from Guy Chadwick’s mouth. They’ve also got the release date – April 1.

Express Milwaukee talks to The Joy Formidable. Their new record Wolf’s Law is out January 22.

Pitchfork has got a three-part documentary video on The xx streaming on their site. If that’s your thing.

Time Out asks Emmy The Great how to write a great Christmas song. Because, if you’ll recall, last year she – with Ash’s Tim Wheeler – released an album’s worth. And they’ve just released a video from it – any resemblance between it and an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer are purely intentional, I’m sure.

Video: Emmy The Great & Tim Wheeler – “Zombie Christmas”

Of Monsters & Men talk to Rolling Stone about their plans for album number two.

The Raveonettes, on the other hand, tell The Von Pip Musical Express they may be done with the album form entirely despite being one of the more prolific bands of recent memory.

Artrocker talks to Swedish post-punks Holograms.