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Posts Tagged ‘Hooded Fang’

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Reservoir

Review of PUP’s PUP

Photo By Frank YangAmanda FotesSo a few weekends ago, the good folks from NPR’s World Cafe programme were in town exploring Toronto for their Sense Of Place series, and one of their stops was my dining room. They had somehow gotten it into their heads that I was the right person to recommend some up and coming 416/905 bands and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that my days of being out in the trenches (read: clubs) seeing fresh-faced new acts were long behind me. But I think I still managed to put together a solid list of recommendations, most of whom are familiar to the pages of this blog; one who was not, however, was PUP. So before my segment airs (next Wednesday around 5PM, I think), let’s rectify that.

I think in my elevator pitch for PUP, I described as something akin to pop-punk without the shopping mall baggage of that genre. Emphasis on “I think”, because I was blathering pretty badly throughout the interview. What I meant was that the band and their debut album PUP was loud, brash, and melodic, but without the disaffected ennui or sophomoric snottiness that I’d otherwise associate with the label. Powered by the friction of disappointment and defiance that’s the territory of youth, PUP balances snarling vocals with singalong choruses and bristling with riffs metallic without being quite metal. PUP may not have made it into these pages before this because, well, big loud rock is young people music but man, if I were some years younger, this would be the shit.

There’s features on the band at Exclaim, The Edmonton Sun, and Planet S; Exclaim also has a video session with the band.

Video: PUP – “Reservoir
Stream: PUP / PUP

It’s not entirely clear what the just-announced Fucked Up, S.H.I.T, and Odonis Odonis show at The Garrison on November 20 is about, but from the looks of this RSVP form, it’s sponsored by Vice, possibly free, and as cuss-worthy as you can get. If only “odonis” were a swear.

MP3: Fucked Up – “A Little Death”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Better”
Stream: S.H.I.T. / Equalizing Distort Radio Session

And speaking of Fucked Up things, the lineup for the December edition of Long Winter – taking place December 13 at The Great Hall – has just been announced, and while the event’s patrons are again not on the bill, it is still pretty stacked with performances by Doldrums, Hooded Fang, Fresh Snow, and Beliefs (the last two – spoiler alert! – also making an appearance in my NPR segment) amongst many, many others. As always, the event will be pay-what-you-can, multi-disciplinary, and wonderful.

MP3: Doldrums – “I’m Homesick Sittin’ Up Here In My Satellite”
MP3: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
Video: Hooded Fang – “Ode To Subterrania”
Video: Beliefs – “Catch My Breath”

Great Lake Swimmers leader Tony Dekker will be at Yorkville’s Heliconian Hall for two shows on January 24 in support of his solo album Prayer Of The Woods; tickets for each performance are $20.

Video: Tony Dekker – “Prayer Of The Woods”

Vancouver’s Belle Game – just in town a couple weeks back – have already set a return date behind their debut Ritual Tradition Habit; they’ll be at The Horseshoe on February 8, tickets $13.50 in advance. There’s features on the band at The Vancouver Sun and The Province.

MP3: The Belle Game – “River”

And I guess people have been waiting for this one for a while; Arcade Fire have revealed the dates for their North American tour in support of Reflektor. Toronto gets to put on their mandatory costumes and fancy dress to file into the Air Canada Centre on March 13, tickets ranging from $30.50 to $70.50 plus fees.

Video: Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”

Austra have released a new video from Olympia.

Video: Austra – “Forgive Me”

Noisey has premiered the new video from Louise Burns’ latest album The Midnight Mass.

Video: Louse Burns – “Jasper”

Tokyo Police Club gives Exclaim an update on their next album, targeted for an early 2014 release.

Southern Souls chats with Chad VanGaalen.

Spencer Krug of Moonface lists off some favourite albums for Chart; he also gives an interview to Exclaim.

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

The First 5 Minutes

The Sadies have a new record and all is right with the world

Photo By Rick WhiteRick WhiteGiven that if you live in the Toronto area, it may seem like The Sadies never go away – they’re gigging machines whether they’re on a touring cycle or not, playing any number of festivals, one-offs, support slots, backing gigs – it’s actually been over three years since their last studio album, 2010’s Polaris shortlisted Darker Circles, was released. Sure, in the interim they’ve also put out Night & Day backing Chicago blues-R&B veteran Andre Williams and Dallas and Travis helped make The Good Family Album with their parents, but responding to the announcement that they’ve got a new album done and en route with anything less than great enthusiasm is unacceptable.

The new long-player is called Internal Sounds and will be out September 17, with a first track available to stream now. From note one it sounds exactly like what you expect The Sadies to sound like – psychedelically twangy rock highlighted by tight harmonies and ridiculous musicianship – but the songwriting is stronger than its ever been. It’s an aspect of the band that probably doesn’t get the respect it deserves, overshadowed by all the bands’ other strengths, but compare anything off their last few records with their earliest and marvel at how good they’ve gotten compositionally without ceding any ground in the performance. Go on, marvel.

Exclaim has details on the new release and a brace of Fall tour dates; their hometown commitments are currently limited to two Toronto Urban Roots Fest appearances – July 5 at Lee’s Palace and July 7 at Garrison Common – but sure as the sun rises in the east, they’ll have more to come this Fall and I’ll leak this one right now – they’ll be at The Horseshoe on New Year’s Eve. A-yup.

Stream: The Sadies – “The First 5 Minutes”

With the release today of Fantasy, the new album from Vancouver’s Lightning Dust, the band has just announced another batch of Fall tour dates which include a stop at The Drake Underground on September 10; tickets for that are $12.50 in advance.

MP3: Lightning Dust – “Diamond”

It’s a double-dose of new METZ – a new Chad VanGaalen-animated video from their self-titled debut and a new song from the Adult Swim singles series which you can stream at Consequence Of Sound. Their next local show is July 12 at Downsview Park opening for Weezer.

Video: METZ – “Get Off”
Stream: METZ – “Can’t Understand”

Rae Spoon has announced the August 13 release of his new record My Prairie Home. Hit Exclaim for specifics and stream one of the new songs below.

Stream: Rae Spoon – “I Will Be A Wall”

Kieran Adams and Joseph Shabason of Diana discuss their debut album Perpetual Surrender with Under The Radar. It comes out August 20.

Tone Deaf talks to Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz, who also talks a bit about the cockroach-heavy new video from Impersonator with NPR. He brings his hopefully roach-free show to Wrongbar on September 17.

Video: Majical Cloudz – “Bugs Don’t Buzz”

Jenn Grant is the latest Canadian artist to assume a new synth-rock persona; she talks to CBC Music talks to about her new project Aqua Alta, a few songs from which you can stream at their website. Grant performs as Grant previewing new material at Lee’s Palace on September 21.

Exclaim has posted online this month’s cover story on Austra; Tone Deaf and The Guardian also have interviews with bandleader Katie Stelmanis. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

We’re still waiting on details of Basia Bulat’s third album, but that she’s added some Fall dates to a smattering of Summer commitments implies that it’ll be here soon enough – perhaps in time to make her October 17 date at The Polish Combatants Hall a record release show?

MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”

Consequence Of Sound talks to Colin Stetson, who also talks about the new video from New History Warfare Vol 3: To See More Light at The New York Times.

Video: Colin Stetson – “Who The Waves Are Roaring For”

DIY and NBC San Diego have interviews and NYC Taper a recording of Hooded Fang’s show at The Mercury Lounge in New York at the start of the month.

The Calgary Herald interviews The Besnard Lakes.

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Taking My Time

Jim Guthrie Takes his Time making it onto the 2013 Polaris Prize long list

Photo By Colin MedleyColin MedleyThe 2013 Polaris Prize long list was announced yesterday, and unlike past years where there were a number of obvious frontrunners for inclusion, whether because they were by the biggest artists or had the biggest buzz over the preceding twelve months, there actually didn’t seem to be a lot of “gimmes” amongst the records eligible this year. Rather than the field having a few standouts and a lot of dark horses, it instead felt very wide and flat, which meant that guessing who’d be amongst the forty longlisted records was anyone’s guess.

And now, even with the pool of candidates narrowed from every Canadian album released in the past year down to forty, it’s difficult to speculate at who will survive onto the short list of ten albums when it’s announced on July 16; the only thing that’s certain is that this year’s Polaris – the eighth – could be the most exciting one yet, at least if you’re the sort of person who derives excitement from music awards-spotting. I’m going to refrain from any sort of guessing until at least then because truly I have no idea what the temperature of the jury at large is. But I can tell you what my ballot was, besides four-for-five at making the long list. And so I’ve got one more longlisted album to insert into my ballot before my Polaris duties for this year are done, and to be honest I have no idea what it’s going to be. Guess I’ve got some more homework to do.

The Polaris Prize will be awarded at a gala at the Carlu in Toronto on September 23.

1) Evening Hymns / Spectral Dusk (Shuffling Feet)

My connection to this record is well-documented, but even without that personal angle, it’s still a gorgeously written, performed, and recorded piece of folk-rock that succeeds at being both intensely personal, and yet universally relatable. I can usually say that from one Polaris to the next, that I don’t really have a dog in the fight, but not this year. This is my dog.

MP3: Evening Hymns – “Arrows”
Video: Evening Hymns – “Family Tree”

2) Godspeed You! Black Emperor / ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (Constellation)

Despite being the act that least likely to even acknowledge being nominated, Godspeed’s unexpected comeback record was maybe the closest thing to a sure thing I could think of. Besides the engaging narrative around the band’s return to active duty and their sneak release of the album, there’s the simple fact that the Godspeed formula still works amazingly well, particularly when they’ve got something to be angry about. Which they do.

Stream: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Mladic”

Jim Guthrie / Takes Time (Static Clang)

Another unexpected record but a wholly welcome one was Jim Guthrie’s first proper singer-songwriter record in a decade, and one that affirmed his status as one of this country’s greatest melodicists. While it seems like just a collection of pop songs, pretty much every song is a master class in arrangement and songwriting efficiency; Guthrie knows exactly how much to give and when and makes it look and sound effortless. Whether it shortlists or wins or not, the best prize would be not having to wait another ten years for its follow-up. The Huffington Post has an interview with Guthrie about the record.

Video: Jim Guthrie – “Bring On The Night”
Video: Jim Guthrie – “The Rest Is Yet To Come”

Rachel Zeffira / The Deserters (Paper Bag)

My one selection that didn’t make the long list, and I’m not really surprised it didn’t. While I think its classical-operatic-indie hybrid is as good as anything else on the list, and arguably more interesting, London-based Zeffira’s distance from the Canadian scene at large and lack of wide promotion – one lightly-attended North American show to date – probably doomed it.

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

Young Galaxy / Ultramarine (Paper Bag)

It may have been the last record to make my ballot, but the fact that it’s here at all considering that for the longest time, I had no time for Young Galaxy, says a lot. I often bemoan the general lack of stylistic or artistic revolution amongst Canadian bands – more often it seems they prefer to continue refining what’s been proven to work – but Young Galaxy have successfully reinvented themselves and that impresses me. The record’s pretty damn good as well. They’ve just released a new, Bruckheimer-esque video from it.

Video: Young Galaxy – “New Summer”
Video: Young Galaxy – “Pretty Boy”

NOW meets the band formerly known as Always but now know as Alvvays; they show off their new official name tonight, June 14, at 10PM at The Silver Dollar.

Toro gets to know Toronto country-pop newcomers Beams. Their NXNE showcase is at 11PM tonight, June 14, at The Central.

Spin talks to Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz. They play BLK BOX for NXNE on June 15 at midnight.

The National Post catches up with Gentleman Reg, who did his NXNE duties Wednesday night.

YOUNXT hada pre-NXNE interview with Olenka & The Autumn Lovers, who played a couple of shows yesterday.

aux.tv interviews No Joy, who played NXNE last night.

Exclaim talks to Katie Stelmanis of Austra, whose new record Olympia comes out June 18. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

Hooded Fang have released a new video from their latest, Gravez.

Video: Hooded Fang – “Bye Bye Land”

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Capture The Flag

Break a leg, Broken Social Scene

Photo By Danielle St. LaurentDanielle St. LaurentI suspect that I will be one of the only people in any way related to the Toronto music scene not on hand at Garrison Common tomorrow for Field Trip, the day-long festival marking the 10th anniversary of the Arts & Crafts label, headlined by the “reunited” (having only been inactive for less than two years, they get the air quotes) Broken Social Scene playing in full their watershed 2002 album You Forgot It In People.

It’s not that I wasn’t tempted. This blog was in existence barely a month before People was released, and there’s no denying that it – and the emergence of Toronto and Canada on the indie rock world stage in its wake – made the 416 beat an infinitely more interesting place to cover. But you know, you see a band as many times as I did in those early years and you can get a bit burnt out – their headlining slot to close out the first Virgin Fest in 2006 was pretty much the last time I would make any kind of effort to see the band, and with Amy, Emily, and Leslie all singing “Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl” together, it was really the right note to go out on. Not that our paths wouldn’t cross again – there was one stop of their 2010 in-store tour and then again that December – mainly to see Superchunk, but also to affirm that hey, we had some good times but I think we’re done. There’s just not enough nostalgia in my tank to spend a day seeing a lineup of bands I’ve seen a million times already. So everyone else in the city, have a great time tomorrow, happy anniversary Arts & Crafts, have a great show Broken Social Scene. I’ll be at home installing some blinds.

But if you’re in the spirit of the occasion, do read this piece in Rolling Stone about the BSS “reunion” and A&C anniversary, another in Huffington Post, as well as this one in Interview with Brendan Canning about those same topics as well as what he’s up to at the moment. And also this week’s cover story in The Grid about the evolution of the independent music scene in Toronto over the past decades – not just post-BSS – and the companion piece by author Michael Barclay at his own Radio Free Canuckistan. And you can watch last night’s “reunion” warm-up performances of “Almost Crimes” and “7/4 Shoreline” on Jimmy Fallon at Pitchfork. Update: A full transcript of the interview with Kevin Drew that went into the Rolling Stone piece is up courtesy of the author.

MP3: Broken Social Scene – “Deathcock”
MP3: Broken Social Scene – “World Sick”

The Music Nerd Chronicles and The Independent talk to Hayden, who’s also playing Field Trip and got in touch with his crafty side in a video feature for Etsy.

Pitchfork are streaming the new Braids EP “In Kind//Amends”, out June 11. They play The Comfort Zone for NXNE on June 15 and the new full-length Flourish//Perish is out August 20.

Stream: Braids / In Kind//Amends

DIY gets to know Diana; they’re at The Horseshoe on June 13 for NXNE, opening for Tegan & Sara and fun. at Downsview Park on July 6, and will release their debut full-length Perpetual Surrender on August 20.

Exclaim gets a bit of context to that Halifax-heavy showcase happening at The Great Hall on the Friday night of NXNE, June 14; it’s to mark the 21st anniversary of Murderrecords, and will feature Sloan performing their debut Peppermint EP in its entirety (plus some other songs because the EP is only like 23 minutes long), and will also have the first-ever vinyl pressing of The Super Friendz’s debut Mock Up, Scale Down available for sale – I may prevail upon someone to grab me a copy since I probably won’t make it to the show – and the release of a commemorative book about the label. For those not rocking NXNE wristbands, advance tickets are $23 and available now.

Nylon has a feature piece on Majical Cloudz, doing the NXNE thing on June 15 at BLK BOX.

Lightning Dust are streaming another new song from their forthcoming Fantasy, out June 25.

Stream: Lightning Dust – “Loaded Gun”

Exclaim is streaming another new song from Louise Burns’ forthcoming solo record The Midnight Mass, out July 9.

Stream: Louise Burns – “Jasper”

The Grid and Huffington Post check in with Tokyo Police Club about the status of their next album, possibly/probably due out in the Fall.

Muso’s Guide interviews Hooded Fang.

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Amends

End the week with new Braids (by attrition)

Photo By Victoria MastersVictoria MastersSo I’m sitting here with a handful of bits and bobs to string together into a blog post, and find that most of the artists have already been featured hereabouts in recent months. So what’s that mean? Braids, you’re up.

I’m not a tremendous fan of the Montreal-based trio, the things I liked about their 2011 debut Native Speaker outweighed by the things I didn’t – that a frequent reference point for the band is Animal Collective is really all you need to know about that. But that it garnered them a sizeable fanbase, as well as a place on that year’s Polaris shortlist, is not up for debate so when they finally announce details of their sophomore album, it’s newsworthy.

First, there’s the new stream of the flipside of their new 12″ “In Kind//Amends” due out June 11, both songs of which will be appearing on the full-length Flourish//Perish. Exclaim has all the specifics of the new record, which will be coming out August 20 and finds the band trading their guitars for keyboards for an electronically-driven sound. And while it’s hardly a ringing endorsement, I will say these new songs aren’t annoying me. Whether that’ll still hold over a complete album remains to be seen, but it’s a positive step.

It remains to be seen if they’ll be rearranging all the old material to work guitar-less live, or if they’ll just travel with a whole lot of gear. People who attend their NXNE showcase at The Comfort Zone on June 15 will be able to report back on that.

Stream: Braids – “In Kind”
Stream: Braids – “Amends”

NOW and Exclaim talk to Hooded Fang, who are holding the record release party for their new album Gravez at The Horseshoe tonight.

NOW also previews Young Galaxy’s show at Lee’s Palace tonight.

Get your Murderrecords t-shirts out of storage! The Great Hall will turn warp both time and space to become Halifax in the mid-’90s for NXNE, proffering a lineup of Sloan, The Super Friendz, and former Inbred Mike O’Neill on June 14. Admission by festival wristband only.

MP3: Sloan – “The Answer Was You”
Video: The Super Friendz – “Up And Running”
Stream: Mike O’Neill – “This Is Who I Am”

Aritzia has an interview, Pitchfork a guest list and Le Blogotheque a Takeaway Show with Majical Cloudz, whose NXNE showcase goes June 15 at BLK BOX.

Though he probably could have just called it a Dears record and no one would have thought anything of it, Under The Radar reports that Murray Lightburn will release his first solo record Mass:Light on June 16, and that it’ll be available on vinyl only via mail order. And there’s also a new Dears record in the works.

Austra is streaming a second – and arguably more characteristic – sample from Olympia, due out June 18.

Stream: Austra – “Painful Like”

I Like Music has an interview with Born Ruffians, who’re streaming a new track not found on their latest Birthmarks, just because. They play a free show at Harbourfront Centre on July 13.

Stream: Born Ruffians – “With An Ax”

Beatroute talks to Nils Edenloff of The Rural Alberta Advantage.

Loud & Quiet interviews Suuns.