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Posts Tagged ‘Horse Feathers’

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

FME 2012 Day Two

Feist, Louis-Jean Cormier, and more at Festival de musique émergente 2012

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo yesterday I talked about where and what Rouyn-Noranda was; today I will do the same for FME. You don’t need to be bilingual to discern that “Festival de musique émergente” implies a mandate of focusing on new and upcoming artists, primarily but not exclusively from Québec, with a few relatively big names to bring in the less musically adventurous. It was started ten years ago when the organizers were tired of driving to Montréal eight hours away to see shows and so they started a festival as a pretence to bring bands to them.

From drawing around 3000 people in its first year to an estimated 20,000 this year, it’s concentrated on growing in scale while maintaining its intimate and sometimes impromptu vibe and also become an important showcase for European festival bookers to discover Francophone talent. It’s definitely a grassroots/boutique-type festival – think Hillside meets Iceland Airwaves, but much smaller – that brings a few days of great music and arts to a community that has an immense appetite for it but is well away from conventional touring routes and for Anglophones like myself, provide a fascinating window into the often opaque world of Québec popular music.

After a Friday morning spent ziplining in a forest a little out of town – no broken bones! A triumph! – it was into town to catch some of their “5 á 7” series of free day shows. Well, one of them – they were all at 5PM so conflicts were going to happen. I hit up Avec pas d’casque at Salle Evolu-Son on account of their latest Astronomie having made the Polaris long list this year, giving them more name recognition than anyone else playing. Lost list benefits in action! But while I knew who they were, I didn’t actually know what they sounded like so their slightly creaky country-pop was a total surprise to me. Of course, if they’d been a straightahead rock band or metal-reggae group, I’d have been just as surprised so whatever. Their down-home songwriting was augmented by some interesting instrument choices – steel and bowed guitars, a euphonium, autoharp, and kazoo were all drafted into service at some point in their set and while they demonstrated the ability to make their sound swell dramatically if they wanted to, they mostly kept it pretty mellow.

Photos: Avec pas d’casque @ Salle Evolu-Son – August 31, 2012
Video: Avec pas d’casque – “En attendant que ça paye”
Video: Avec pas d’casque – “Talent”
Video: Avec pas d’casque – “Dans les bras de la femme bionique”
Video: Avec pas d’casque – “Dans la nature jusqu’au cou”

For the evening programme, there wasn’t really anywhere else to be than the outdoor stage erected on 7e rue – this was where the festival’s headliner, save the special Sunday night performance, was going to be. Louis-Jean Cormier would have known what it was to be one of FME’s main draws – his band Karkwa had played the fest a number of times (their manager being the founder), most recently in 2010 – the year they won the Polaris Prize. With the band on the backburner for the foreseeable future, Cormier was using this occasion to showcase material which would appear on his solo debut, out on September 18, and while I’d seen him perform a number of times, it was always in the context of trying to introduce himself to unfamiliar audiences and win them over; it was quite different to see him in front of those who were already won over. Playing in a light, steady rain and fronting a five-piece band, Cormier gave ample proof that he was the melodic, pop heart of Karkwa. His stuff was more immediate and the fussier elements, while still present, were dialed down significantly. It was guitar pop of the sort that you didn’t need to understand the lyrics to enjoy, though the closing number’s chorus of “Goodbye Charest” made its sentiment pretty clear, along with Cormier’s political leanings and from the shouts of approval, the audience’s as well.

Photos: Louis-Jean Cormier @ Scène extérieur desjardins 7e rue – August 31, 2012
Stream: Louis-Jean Cormier – “L’ascenseur”

Being an international star, Feist has played a lot of places in Canada and abroad but it was probably safe to say she’d never played Rouyn-Noranda before. That, plus the fact that it was a festival headlining set towards the end of the touring cycle for Metals made me wonder if she might deviate from the consistent (read: same) set she’d been performing for most of the past year and maybe acquiesce to playing a few more of the hits? Not that I’d seen the set in question; I’d caught a bit of her at Osheaga but the last time I saw her perform was last October at the CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio, and that was a decidedly unique and guest star-laden show.

One look at the stage showed at least one way in which this would be different; Mountain Man, the trio who had been Feist’s backing singers for the entirety of the Metals tours, were absent and instead it was a four-piece band who would be playing tonight, though both Brian LeBarton and Charles Spearin’s musical workstations flanking Feist’s spot centre-stage were loaded with gear. They may have been small, but they were hardly unequipped.

Once they got started – the skies had cleared and a full moon shone – another benefit to the smaller band became evident: it gave them space. It’s difficult to be spontaneous with a big band but a lean unit – particularly one that’s been playing countless show for months – can turn on a dime and given this freedom and the casual vibe of the festival, Feist turned in an energized, exuberant set that proved that she stil knew where her indie rock roots were. Unsurprisingly, Metals material made up the bulk of the set, some of the selections had already mutated into new forms from the past year of live interpretations. I would have expected her French to be better given the time spent in Paris, but Feist was still able to engage the audience and invite them to act as choral vocalists on a few songs. The outro of “How Come You Never Go There” went alright – “whoa whoa” isn’t too hard to do – but the multi-octave harmonies on “So Sorry” were well beyond their abilities and were a kind of charming disaster.

It was the older material that really stood out, though, and not just because it was more familiar. “My Moon My Man” was a near-rager, replete with healthy guitar abuse, and “Feel It All” was a veritable punk rock number. The encore kept this up, with Feist and LeBarton – swapping keys for drums – turning “When I Was A Young Girl” into a garage rock-y White Stripes tribute and, with the rest of the band back on stage, making “Sea Lion Woman” a free-form jam before ending with an impressively big, “Let It Die”. It will probably be a while before Feist ever returns to Rouyn, but until then she left the town with a lot of lasting musical memories.

Spinner grabbed an interview with Feist prior to the show.

Photos: Feist @ Scène extérieur desjardins 7e rue – August 31, 2012
Video: Feist – “Anti-Pioneer”
Video: Feist – “Cicadas & Gulls”
Video: Feist – “The Bad In Each Other”
Video: Feist – “I Feel It All”
Video: Feist – “Honey Honey”
Video: Feist – “My Moon My Man”
Video: Feist – “Mushaboom”
Video: Feist – “1, 2, 3, 4”
Video: Feist – “One Evening”
Video: Feist – “It’s Cool To Love Your Family”

It would be hard to top that show, so Kandle’s midnight set at Agora des arts was doomed to pale by comparison, but even if that hadn’t been the context it probably still would have underwhelmed. The offspring of 54-40 frontman Neil Osbourne, Kandle Osborne should be commended for trying something completely different musically, but the moody, country-noir sound she’s going for is, for now at least, beyond her reach. Her voice may have the right smoky timbre but she didn’t demonstrate any of the range necessary to imbue it with emotion and her songwriting also lacked the maturity and sophistication needed to sell it. Maybe with time and experience, both musical and life, she’ll get more convincing but for now she comes across as an ingenue trying to play the femme fatale role and it’s not working.

And then we went for poutine.

Photos: Kandle @ Agora des arts – August 31, 2012
Video: Kandle – “Small”
Video: Kandle – “Knew You’d Never”
Video: Kandle – “Know My Name”

A brace of concert announcements following the long weekend yesterday. Starting with the quick and free, know that Bloc Party will augment their two-night stand at the Danforth Music Hall with a free show at Sugar Beach – that’s down at the Corus/CFNY/Edge building on Lakeshore – on September 11 at 7:30PM. Details at Arts & Crafts.

Video: Bloc Party – “Octopus”

West coast lo-fi fellows Craft Spells have a date at The Shop under Parts & Labour on September 23, tickets $12.50 for those who plan ahead.

MP3: Craft Spells – “You Should Close The Door”
MP3: Craft Spells – “Party Talk”

Aussies enamoured of their Kiwi neighbours’ jangle-pop traditions – read: Flying Nun et al – The Twerps will be at The Silver Dollar on October 22. Don’t know who they are? eMusic finds out.

Video: The Twerps – “Through The Day”

Portland’s Blitzen Trapper will find some time amidst their tour with Brandi Carlile to play a headlining show of their own at Lee’s Palace on October 22. Tickets $17.50.

MP3: Blitzen Trapper – “Black River Killer”
MP3: Blitzen Trapper – “Love The Way You Walk Away”

Texas psych-rock pioneer Roky Erickson is at Lee’s Palace on November 3, tickets $29.50. His last release was 2010’s Will Sheff-produced, Okkervil River-backed True Love Cast Out All Evil. The Advocate talks to Sheff about working with Erickson and what’s next for Okkervil.

Stream: Roky Erickson – “Be And Bring Me Home”

More Portlanders coming to town in the form of ornate folk outfit Horse Feathers. Their latest Cynics New Year came out in the Spring and they’ll be playing selections from it at The Drake on November 8, tickets $15.

MP3: Horse Feathers – “Fit Against The Country”
MP3: Horse Feathers – “Cascades”

And again from Australia, Tame Impala have announced a local date in support of their new record Lonerism, out October 9. Look for them and their psychedelically jammy ways at The Phoenix on November 12, tickets $20. SF Weekly has an interview.

MP3: Tame Impala – “Runway, Houses, City, Clouds”

The Twilight Sad brought No One Can Ever Know to town back in March and they’ll do so again with fellow Scots Errors in tow for a show at The Horseshoe on November 18, tickets $13.50.

MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Another Bed”
Video: Errors – “Ammaboa Glass”

Spinner talks Lawless with Nick Cave, screenwriter.

The Vinyl District interviews Pip Browne of Ladyhawke. She’s at The Hoxton on September 15.

The National Post interviews Torq Campbell of Stars. They support Metric at The Air Canada Centre on November 24.

Daytrotter sessions up an a capella Futureheads.

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

We Are Fine

Sharon Van Etten Tramp stamps the internet

Photo By Dusdin CondrenDusdin CondrenI’m not playing “firsties” here, but I’ve always known that Sharon Van Etten would go on to big things since writing up her debut Because I Was In Love back in October 2009, and following 2010’s excellent epic it seemed pretty clear that her third album Tramp – released yesterday – would be the one that would see her break out in a big way.

That said, I’m still surprised at just how much press coverage Van Etten has been getting with this album, beyond just record reviews – those have been pretty uniformly glowing, by the way. My own thoughts will have to wait as I’m still processing; you can expect impressions sometime around the writeup for her show at Lee’s Palace on February 21 – but for now, wade through feature interviews with the New Jersey native at and and all of The Washington Post, Nylon, Billboard, New York Magazine, eMusic, Spinner, Beatroute, Blurt, The AV Club, NPR – who also have a conversation with her specifically about the track, “We Are Fine” – and Pitchfork solicits a guest list.

And if you’d rather listen than read, check out a sampler of live and studio tracks collected over at Largehearted Boy, a stream of the album and new to download as of yesterday is a demo version of Tramp highlight “Serpents”.

MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Serpents” (demo)
MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Serpents”
Stream: Sharon Van Etten / Tramp

Also on that February 21 bill at Lee’s is Shearwater and their new album Animal Joy is now streaming at NPR ahead of its release next Tuesday; there’s also a radio session with KDHX available to stream and an interview with Jonathan Meiburg at The Wesleyan Argus. And I’ll tell you this for free – you can file the show under, “gigs of the Winter” and the album under, “records of the year”.

MP3: Shearwater – “You As You Were”
MP3: Shearwater – “Breaking The Yearlings”
Stream: Shearwater / Animal Joy

Margot & The Nuclear So & So’s are prepping the March 20 release of their new record Rot Gut, Domestic and will be at The Garrison on April 5 to play some songs from it. Tickets are $11.50 in advance and you can preview the new material by way of the first video.

Video: Margot & The Nuclear So & So’s – “Prozac Rock”

Portland’s Horse Feathers – who were one of the unexpected highlights of NXNE 2011 – will be releasing a new album in Cynic’s New Year on April 17 and will be at The Horseshoe on April 29, tickets $10.50. If you like beautiful things, you should be there.

MP3: Horse Feathers – “Belly Of June”

Hospitality celebrated the release of their self-titled debut last week with a hometown show in Brooklyn and NYC Taper was there to record it. There’s also features on the band at The Village Voice and Capital, and a session and interview at The Alternate Side. They’re at The Horseshoe on February 29 opening up for Tennis.

And speaking of Tennis, their new record Young And Old is now available to stream at The Line Of Best Fit ahead of its official release next week.

Stream: Tennis / Young & Old

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of a recent show by Blouse, who’re at The Garrison on May 5 opening up for Bear In Heaven.

DIY chats with Chairlift, hitting the Horseshoe on March 28.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Girls.

IFC is showing off a clip of St. Vincent’s recent appearance on Portlandia and also a performance from her 4AD Session, while Prefix points out a video session she recorded for CBC’s Q, presumably when visiting last December. And oh, there’s a new video from Strange Mercy to grok at. And speaking of Portlandia, CBC Radio 3 has an interview with Carrie Brownstein about working both Wild Flag and the show.

Video: St. Vincent – “Cheerleader”

Drowned In Sound, The Kansas City Star and Chicago Reader meet Craig Finn.

The Line Of Best Fit, Clash, Consequence Of Sound, and eMusic profile Of Montreal and their new album Paralytic Stalks.

The Wilco episode of Austin City Limits is now available to stream in full.

A new installment of the Old Ideas With New Friends video series is now up, with Mountain Goats man John Darnielle covering Leonard Cohen’s “The Smokey Life” over at Consequence Of Sound.

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

NXNE 2011 Day Four

Horse Feathers, Louise Burns, Cults and more at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangOne perennial highlight – okay, for two years – of my SXSW adventures was throwing day parties where we could invite Japanese Action Comic Punk outfit Peelander-Z to wreak havoc. So it was nice to see that not only were the Peelanders in town for NXNE, but they had an all-ages afternoon show scheduled at Sneaky Dee’s on the Saturday.

I guess Toronto’s still getting used to the idea of having shows when it’s still daylight out, because the gig was only attended by a few dozen – including some kids in cute homemade Peelander t-shirts – but I suspect that even faced with an audience of one, Peelander-Z would give it their all (and make said individual very uncomfortable). The show was a little different from when they were here in September, with Peelander Pink a little more involved in the proceedings and a dance number at the end, but the chewy centre was classic Peelander with human bowling, band swapping and squid costume jump rope/limbo line amongst other shenanigans. Tonnes of fun, but I couldn’t help wondering how insane it would have been if they’d been put on at Yonge-Dundas Square, with its throngs of unsuspecting bystanders and eminently climbable stage. Maybe next time.

Spinner has a surprisingly coherent interview with Peelander Yellow.

Photos: Peelander-Z @ Sneaky Dee’s – June 18, 2011
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Tacos Tacos Tacos”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “E-I-E-I-O”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “S.T.E.A.K.”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Rocket Gold Star”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Champion”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Panda Punk”
Video: Peelander-Z – “E-I-E-I-O”
Video: Peelander-Z – “Ninja High Schooool”
Video: Peelander-Z – “S.T.E.A.K.”
Video: Peelander-Z – “Mad Tiger”

Bridging the day and night programming at Yonge-Dundas Square was uber-buzz band of the hour, New York’s Cults. I’d seen them last Summer when their hype was still more of the underground variety and been somewhat underwhelmed, appreciating the style of what they were doing and some of their songs but overall felt that they were still too green to be touring the continent. Fast forward a year and their self-titled debut is garnering decent reviews and me? Still not overly impressed. Their onstage presence is better, but Madeline Follin still looks uncomfortable as a frontwoman, though maybe she was just unaccustomed to such a large stage in daylight. In any case the songs were more fully-realized and the audience was certainly responsive though anyone looking for electricity would be left wanting. Don’t get me wrong – they’re fine and all, but I find the raves they’re getting disproportionate to what they’re actually doing. And once again, I would like to point out that sadly departed Saturday Looks Good To Me did the Motown/retro-pop revival thing SO much better and more interestingly not that long ago. Every Night, people. Every. Night.

NOW, New York Magazine and NPR have feature pieces on Cults.

Photos: Cults @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 18, 2011
MP3: Cults – “Go Outside”
MP3: Cults – “Most Wanted”
Video: Cults – “Abducted”
Video: Cults – “Oh My God”

I encouraged everyone to make Louise Burns’ Saturday gig a must-see on their schedule, and considering that between that post and the show her debut Mellow Drama was also long-listed for the Polaris, I assumed that it’d be standing-room only in Supermarket’s back room and while a decently-sized crowd showed up, sitting or even lying down was also an option. This is what you get for being scheduled against DEVO, I guess. Still, Burns and her band The Moonshiners – five players including backing vocalist – impressed those who were there with a solid set that proved that despite the innate twang of her voice, pigeonholing Burns as a retro/rootsy-type artist is really insufficient – in fact the combination of Burns’ deftly melodic basslines and the dual chiming Telecasters had me drawing Smiths comparisons; I’ll wager anything that she’s got a healthy collection of ’80s Anglo-indie at home. I’ll also wager that Burns’ star will continue to rise over the coming months – excess elbow room at her shows will not be a problem.

Photos: Louise Burns @ Supermarket – June 18, 2011
MP3: Louise Burns – “What Do You Wanna Do?”
MP3: Louise Burns – “Drop Names Not Bombs”
Video: Louise Burns – “What Do You Wanna Do?”

The final night of NXNE had no shortage of high-profile shows sure to draw big crowds and fill up early. Which is why I opted to avoid all of them and camp out in the cozy underground shelter of The Dakota Tavern to wind out the festival. Traffic woes – even on a bike – meant it took longer to get from A to B than it should have, but I still made it in time to catch most of the Smoke Fairies’ set. The London-based duo play English folk with American blues undertones built around haunting haunting harmonies and intertwined guitar lines; though quite young, they made a convincingly old sound. In between songs from their new record Through Low Light And Trees, they offered stories about being stoned on Nyquil, disturbing Ben Mulroney and visitng island petting zoos. Entertaining? Rather.

Photos: Smoke Fairies @ The Dakota Tavern – June 18, 2011
MP3: Smoke Fairies – “Strange Moon Rising”
Video: Smoke Fairies – “Living With Ghosts”
Video: Smoke Fairies – “Hotel Room”
Video: Smoke Fairies – “Strange Moon Rising”
Video: Smoke Fairies – “Frozen Heart”

I didn’t know much about the next act, Portland’s Horse Feathers, save for that they were on Kill Rock Stars and presumably decent. That would prove to be the understatement of the festival. The quartet, led by singer-songwriter Justin Ringle put on a jaw-droppingly beautful showcase of dramatically orchestrated country/folk music, the dexterity of which was remarkable for the delicacy of the arrangements. There was no way that something so intricate should have carried so much weight, and yet it did. A pity it wasn’t quite breathtaking enough to shut up some of the talkers who insisted on jabbering throughout the set, but even they couldn’t ruin the performance. Easily one of the discoveries of the festival and you can bet I now own a copy of last year’s Thistled Spring.

Photos: Horse Feathers @ The Dakota Tavern – June 18, 2011
MP3: Horse Feathers – “Thistled Spring”
MP3: Horse Feathers – “Curs In The Weeds”
MP3: Horse Feathers – “Belly Of June”
MP3: Horse Feathers – “Drain You”
Video: Horse Feathers – “Belly Of June”
Video: Horse Feathers – “Curs In The Weeds”

North Dakota’s Secret Cities were the main band that I had wanted to come to The Dakota to see, but by this point I’d rather forgotten that. Their set, showcasing their new record Strange Hearts, did a good job of reminding me of that fact. The recorded versions of their songs happily exist in a fuzzy, mid-fi state, reminiscent of the heyday of the Elephant 6, but live things have a more necessary clarity and considerably more volume, thanks to clattering double drums, layered vocals, and hooks a-plenty. A melange of almost every pop styling imaginable, they ably offset proggier inclinations with a genial goofiness and general all-around charm.

Photos: Secret Cities @ The Dakota Tavern – June 18, 2011
MP3: Secret Cities – “The Park”
MP3: Secret Cities – “Boyfriends”
MP3: Secret Cities – “Luv Crime”
MP3: Secret Cities – “On Holiday”
MP3: Secret Cities – “Bright Teeth”
MP3: Secret Cities – “PG Pt 1”
MP3: Secret Cities – “Pink City”
Video: Secret Cities – “Always Friends”
Video: Secret Cities – “Pink City”

And closing the festival out were locals New Country Rehab who, as their name might imply, were a pretty much down-home country band who didn’t need a festival as an excuse to play a honky-tonk like The Dakota. Opening with a cover of Springsteen’s “State Trooper”, they took an obvious respect for traditional country, infused with some fresh energy to say nothing of ridiculous musicianship and stopped just short of entering alt.country/country-rock territory. Just enough to get the people dancing, which they most surely did. I stuck around long enough to enjoy their take on Creedence’s “Effigy” and then called it a day/night/festival. THAT’S IT.

Spinner has an interview with the band.

Photos: New Country Rehab @ The Dakota Tavern – June 18, 2011
MP3: New Country Rehab – “Angel Of Death”

As I wrap up this year’s NXNE coverage, a few pre-festival interviews that I missed earlier, all courtesy of Torontoist – this one with The Balconies, this one with Olenka & The Autumn Lovers and this one with Snowblink.

Details on the first official Memoryhouse release from SubPop have been revealed, and it’s not going to be their debut album. Instead, their debut EP The Years has been rerecorded, remixed and remastered and had a couple extra tracks added on; it will be given wide release on September 13, presumably pushing their proper debut album back until 2012.

MP3: Memoryhouse – “Modern, Normal”

Ohbijou have announced details of their third album, entitled Metal Meets and due out on September 27. Exclaim has details and a teaser video.

NPR welcomes The Rural Alberta Advantage to their studios for a World Cafe session while Metro offers up an interview.

Chart talks to Jay Ferguson of Sloan.

There doesn’t look like there’ll be any Olympic Island concerts this year, but a just-announced free show from Sarah Harmer, Serena Ryder and Skydiggers on July 16 on Centre Island is nothing to shake a stick at. It’s part of Parks Day, presented by Parks Canada, and is – as mentioned – free. Your tax dollars at work!

Video: Sarah Harmer – “Captive”
Video: Serena Ryder – “Little Bit Of Red”
Video: Skydiggers – “I Will Give You Everything”

The Boot talks to Neil Young about his just-released archival release A Treasure.

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Four Night Rider

The Rural Alberta Advantage make it home for the holidays

Photo by Joe FudaJoe FudaAnd now, a bunch of stuff that has nothing to do with a certain record label that is now old enough to drink in the US.

Starting locally, with The Rural Alberta Advantage. After one of the best and busiest 2009s on record, the trio has been relatively quiet through most of this year working on the follow-up to their debut Hometowns, as these photos (sort of) attest. But you can only keep road warriors in one place for so long and they’ll be on the road again starting at the end of this month with a pretty extensive Fall tour that takes them out across the prairies to the west coast of Canada, across the Atlantic for a slew of European and UK dates and then, finally, back home to Toronto for a show at Lee’s Palace on December 16 – their first proper local show in over a year. It’ll be good to hear some of the new material that will appear on album number two when it hits sometime next year, but mostly it’ll just be nice to see them again. Tickets for the show are $15 in advance.

MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Frank, AB”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Don’t Haunt This Place”

And more to the show announcements from the past week or so – Avi Buffalo will precede their October 18 show at the Horseshoe with an in-store at Soundscapes on October 17 at 7PM. It’ll be interesting to see if Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg can tear it up as fiercely on acoustic as he does electric. I am guessing yes.

MP3: Avi Buffalo – “Remember Last Time”
MP3: Avi Buffalo – “What’s In It For?”

Also doing it free for the kids is PS I Love You, whose just-released debut Meet Me At The Muster Station has been getting some impressive Pitchfork-love. They’ll be at Soundscapes on October 26 at 7PM before heading down to The Garrison to open up for Diamond Rings. The duo are profiled in The Province, National Post, Chart and Exclaim.

MP3: PS I Love You – “2012”
MP3: PS I Love You – “Butterflies & Boners”
MP3: PS I Love You – “Facelove”

Forest City Lovers have set a date at The Horseshoe for November 5, amidst a smattering of Fall dates. They’ve also just put out a new pensive-to-party video from Carriage.

MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Light You Up”
Video: Forest City Lovers – “Tell Me Cancer”

Horse Feathers and Anaïs Mitchell will team up for a show at the Drake Underground on November 8.

MP3: Horse Feathers – “Curs In The Weeds”
MP3: Anaïs Mitchell – “Flowers (Eurydice’s Song)”

The Balconies, who like The RAA were omni-present in 2009 but relatively quiet in 2010, are back for a show at The Horseshoe on November 9 – hopefully as a precursor to a second album.

MP3: The Balconies – “Serious Bedtime”

The Meligrove Band have put together both a North American tour for and a video from their just-released new record Shimmering Lights. They’re at The Great Hall on November 12 and there’s interviews at The National Post and dose.

MP3: The Meligrove Band – “Bones Attack!!!”
MP3: The Meligrove Band – “Halflight”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Racing To Shimmering Lights”

Rufus Wainwright has a date at Massey Hall on December 4.

Video: Rufus Wainwright – “Zebulon”

Damon Gough, aka Badly Drawn Boy, has slated a North American tour in support of his new record It’s What I’m Thinking Pt.1 — Photographing Snowflakes. The record is out next Tuesday and will be available in a variety of deluxe and standard packages, as detailed at Exclaim. The Toronto date of the aforementioned tour is December 8 at The Great Hall, tickets $27.50 in advance.

Video: Badly Drawn Boy – “Too Many Miracles”

Interpol will be making good on the support slot for U2 this past Summer which was canceled along with the entire tour when Bono realized he was an old man. They’ll be at the Air Canada Centre on July 11 of next year.

MP3: Interpol – “Lights”

BeatRoute discusses The Age Of Adz with Sufjan Stevens. The record is out October 12 and he plays Massey Hall on October 13.

Murray Lightburn of The Dears talks to eye in advance of the band’s three-night residency at The Garrison next week, October 13 through 15, where they’ll play all of their new, as-yet untitled and release date-less album, start to finish.

The Oklahoma Daily and Austinist talk to members of Local Natives, who’ve put out a new video and have a sold-out show at the Mod Club on October 19.

Video: Local Natives – “Wide Eyes”

Spinner has an interview with Lissie, who brings her full-length debut Catching A Tiger to the El Mocambo on October 19. There’s also a new video from said record.

Video: Lissie – “Everywhere I Go”

Uptown and The Ottawa Citizen profile Rae Spoon, in town for a show at the Gladstone on October 21.

Stars, who are playing Massey Hall on October 26, are interviewed by BeatRoute and The Huffington Post.

Spinner talks to Black Mountain. They’ll be dressing up as a band playing The Phoenix on Hallowe’en.

Thanks Captain Obvious, The Village Voice and Spinner talk to Sharon Van Etten about her new record Epic. She is at Lee’s Palace on November 5 supporting Junip.

The Wooden Sky, who’ve got a date at Lee’s Palace on November 6, have just been featured in a Daytrotter session and a Gateway interview.

Wolf Parade have rolled out a new video from Expo 86. They’ll be at the Sound Academy on November 26.

Video: Wolf Parade – “Yulia”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Ra Ra Riot, in town for a show at the Mod Club on December 1. There’s also interviews at The Omaha World-Herald and Wall Street Journal.

Kevin Drew tells Spin why Broken Social Scene are called Broken Social Scene while Brendan Canning talks to The Georgia Straight and Andrew Whiteman to The Gateway. They are at the Sound Academy on December 9.

BeatRoute chats with Owen Pallett.

Pitchfork interviews Arcade Fire.

Spinner, The Gateway, See and BeatRoute talk to Holy Fuck.

Over at YouTube, Daniel Lanois offers a track-by-track analysis of Neil Young’s Le Noise from the view of the producer’s chair.

Didn’t The Flaming Lips just release a video from Embryonic last week? Yes they did. But here’s another one anyways.

Video: The Flaming Lips – “The Sparrow Looks Up At The Machine”

How do you know Of Montreal were just in the UK? Interviews with Kevin Barnes at Drowned In Sound, The Quietus and The Line Of Best Fit.

The Fly talks to the ladies of Warpaint about their forthcoming debut The Fool, hitting the streets on October 26.

MOVE talks to Mountain Goat Peter Hughes.

Craig Finn of The Hold Steady discusses the benefits of getting older with The Boston Globe.

And seriously, this isn’t even nearly everything I’ve had backlogged to post over the past week.

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Walk In The Park

Beach House lead additions to Toronto Island Concert

Photo By Jason NocitoJason NocitoFolks were justifiably disappointed when last year’s Broken Social Scene/Explosions In The Sky mini-festival on the Toronto Islands were Molson Indy-ed out, but in hindsight it seems to have worked out for the best. First Broken made up for it in July with a free show at Harbourfront that’s pretty much legendary now (or so I’ve been told – I missed it), and now they’ve bolstered this year’s edition of the Toronto Island Concert – already a must-see thanks to the presence of BSS, who will be able to showcase their new record Forgiveness Rock Record after its May 4 release, the reunited Pavement and Band Of Horses – with Beach House.

The Baltimore duo were part of last year’s ill-fated lineup as well, but at the time were positioned in the lineup largely in a supporting role rather than as a big draw. But now coming off the release of Teen Dream this past January and the pretty much universally acclaim that’s followed, Beach House has been elevated from a band to watch to a band that’s arrived. Like most, I’m of the opinion that Teen Dream represents a big leap forward for the duo – it’s far more engaged, awake and interesting a record than either of their previous releases, which I appreciated but only when I was in the mood for something dozy. If this record was a conscious effort by Beach House to reach for the brass ring, then congratulations to them – it worked.

Beach House’s March 30 date at the Opera House is now sold out, so if you procrastinated, your only option is now to head out to the lovely Toronto Islands on June 19 and enjoy their hazy dream-pop under the Summer sun (or torrential rain, one never knows). Life is so hard, I know. Still, quite a difference from their first visit to Toronto back in November 2006 where they played in front of maybe 20 people in the front room of the Tranzac by a roaring fire. I’ll freely admit I fell asleep during the show – I think that was entirely the point. Anyways, tickets for the Island show are $49.50 plus attendant fees and looking at prices for all the other Pavement shows announced so far, I daresay this is the best value of any of them, save for maybe Pitchfork Festival. And that one doesn’t let you ride a BOAT.

Spin and The Irish Times have feature pieces on Beach House and vinylphiles rejoice – not only has their self-titled debut been remastered and reissued on fancy heavy vinyl, they’re releasing a limited-edition 7″ EP for Record Store Day 2010 on April 17. Be the envy of all your friends with a copy of either/each on your phonograph.

MP3: Beach House – “Norway”
Video: Beach House – “Silver Soul”

Also added to the Toronto Islands show yesterday were Timber Timbre, whom I hope will recruit a band of some sort to make his blues-folk ruminations audible on the big stage, and local stalwarts Zeus, Flash Lightnin’ and The Beauties, under the collective banner of “Toronto Revue”. What’s that mean, exactly? I’ll tell you on June 20.

MP3: Timber Timbre – “Demon Ghost”
MP3: Zeus – “Marching Through Your Head”
MP3: The Beauties – “Wastin’ Time”

As for the Island festival headliners, Pavement kicked off their much-anticipated reunion tour the other night in New Zealand. Spin has a report from the show including career-spanning set list, Matablog checks in with Spiral Stairs on how rehearsals for the tour went and GQ sent pop culture essayist Chuck Klosterman to interview Stephen Malkmus. Quarantine The Past, the Pavement best-of, is out next week and let me tell you – hearing songs which had always been presented in the context of their respective albums in a mish-mash running order is weird. Unless you’ve always made Pavement mixes in which case it’ll probably seem perfectly natural.

Elsewhere in the wonderful world of concert announcements, Fucked Up have been announced as one of the kick-off bands for this year’s Canadian Musicfest – they will play the El Mocambo on March 10. Tickets are $15 with limited wristbands admitted. Chaos guaranteed.

MP3: Fucked Up – “No Epiphany”

Former Dead Kennedy leader Jello Biafra will be coming to town with his new musical (not spoken word) project The Guantanamo School Of Medicine for a show at the Opera House on April 4. They released their debut album The Audacity Of Hype last year. This will be Biafra’s first appearance with band in Toronto in some 25-plus years; tickets are $22.50 in advance.

Portland’s Horse Feathers have scheduled a date at the Drake Underground on April 28. Their listed tour dates also indicate they’ll be back in the area in July for Hillside.

MP3: Horse Feathers – “Curs In The Weeds”

Austin’s Harlem have slated a slew of dates in support of their second album Hippies, due out April 6. Look for them on April 28 at the Horseshoe.

MP3: Harlem – “Friendly Ghost”

Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now!, the new project from Art Brut leader Eddie Argos, has set a date for the El Mocambo on May 8, tickets $10. Their debut album Fixin’ The Charts, Volume One, came out late last year.

Video: Everybody Was In The French Resistance… Now! – “G.I.R.L.F.R.E.N.”

A correction to last week’s a-ha farewell tour announcement – the Toronto show at Massey Hall is scheduled for May 10, not 11. Tickets are $49.50 and $55.50, on sale Saturday at noon.

With their just-announced show a the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on May 26, The Weakerthans will be undertaking that most curious of musical events: a live show in support of a live album. Their CD/DVD set Live At The Burton Cummings Theatre is due out March 23. Tickets for the show are $35.

MP3: The Weakerthans – “Sun In An Empty Room”
MP3: The Weakerthans – “Night Windows”