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Posts Tagged ‘Hot Chip’

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Entertainment

Phoenix, Hot Chip, Girl Talk, and more at The Grove Fest in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThere’s been a narrative this Summer about Toronto’s music festival scene going through a sort of Renaissance, with events like Field Trip, TURF, Mad Decent’s Block Party, and Riot Fest establishing both the city’s niche in the greater festival hierarchy – solid second-tier, not-quite-destination events for under 10,000 people – as well as affirming Garrison Common at Fort York as the perfect venue for said events in terms of size and location (unless you live in one of the condos next door in which case too bad). This past Saturday’s The Grove Fest wasn’t originally part of this narrative when it was first announced back in March, being set an hour away in Niagara-On-The-Lake, but it was certainly of interest to festival-goers from the 416 what with an eclectic lineup drafting off those acts commuting between Lollapalooza in Chicago and Osheaga in Montreal, boasting acts like Phoenix and Hot Chip.

But while the multi-genre/demographic randomness of the performers was reminiscent of the Rogers Picnics of the mid-’00s – The Roots with the New Pornographers and Bad Brains? Animal Collective with City & Colour and Dizzee Rascal? – the Grove Fest quickly began to feel more like the chronically snakebit Virgin Fests of the same era. Barely a month after being announced, the festival was moved from Niagara to the aforementioned Garrison Common in downtown Toronto – no official reason was given though soft sales and local opposition are reasonable suspects – and three acts dropped off the bill, with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pretty Lights, and Bob Mould presumably taking advantages of out clauses in their contracts to book their own, more lucrative shows or just not bother. And just when it seemed the dust had settled, Swedish electro-party duo Icona Pop dropped off the bill earlier this week for their own unannounced reasons. Disappointing? Definitely. Disastrous? Not necessarily; the remaining lineup was still solid and guaranteed to put on a good show, and if enough people still showed up – and one would think the number of complimentary tickets circulating would more than make up for those who demanded refunds – it would still be a fun time.

Arriving a couple acts into the day – apologies Nightbox and Young Empires, had things to do – it was heartening to see that there was already a solid turnout, less concerned with the drama leading up to the day than the entertainment to follow. But things still weren’t quite clockwork – I thought I had arrived just in time to catch Wavves, as per the schedule on the festival website, but instead it was brash Brit newcomers Palma Violets who took the stage – the only thing more head-scratching than the switch was that hardly anyone seemed to notice or care.

This was Palma Violets’ third visit to Toronto since January, and it was good to see that their heavy touring schedule between then and now – to say nothing of actually releasing an album in 180 – had produced solid returns. Ironically, the rough-and-tumble pub rock persona that seemed a bit put-on in an actual bar came across much better on a large festival stage. Bassist “Chilli” Jesson had the moves for getting the audience engaged and the girls shrieking down pat, making up for guitarist Sam Fryer’s distraction at having to play through an amp that was buzzing louder than his actual guitar signal. As their set closer, they invited local political pundit and former punk rocker Warren Kinsella to contribute vocals on a cover by his old band, The Hot Nasties. Pretty sure no one knew who he was.

Photos: Palma Violets @ Garrison Common – August 3, 2013
Video: Palma Violets – “We Found Love”
Video: Palma Violets – “Step Up For The Cool Cats”
Video: Palma Violets – “Last Of The Summer Wine”
Video: Palma Violets – “Best Of Friends

I’d pretty much confirmed that Wavves and their stoner-garage-surf-pop wasn’t really my thing after seeing the at NXNE 2010, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t still be impressed at how they’ve improved as an outfit since then. Now a four-piece, with a second guitarist backing up frontman Nathan Williams, the material from their just-out third album Afraid Of Heights sounded more polished and sophisticated than their older stuff, but without sacrificing any of their stoned/snotty attitude – the melodies that had always been there were just moved more to the surface, and the songs benefitted for it. Their set was probably too short for some – it was just right for me – but those who want more should be pleased that Wavves are back for a headlining show at the Opera House on September 29 and Williams will probably be happy to be back with better on-stage sound.

Photos: Wavves @ Garrison Common – August 3, 2013
MP3: Wavves – “Hippies Is Punks”
MP3: Wavves – “I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl”
MP3: Wavves – “Cool Jumper”
MP3: Wavves – “TV Luv Song”
MP3: Wavves – “Horse Shoes”
MP3: Wavves – “Mutant”
Video: Wavves – “That’s On Me”
Video: Wavves – “Afraid Of Heights”
Video: Wavves – “Demon To Lean On”
Video: Wavves – “Sail To The Sun”
Video: Wavves – “No Waves”
Video: Wavves – “Post Acid”
Video: Wavves – “Bug”
Video: Wavves – “King Of The Beach”
Video: Wavves – “So Bored”
Video: Wavves – “No Hope Kids”

As mentioned, the original Grove lineup was a commendably diverse one and it’s a unfortunate that when the dust settled, it was basically split into half guitar rawk acts and half electro-dance acts, and sandwiched in the middle was Earl Sweatshirt. For those not up on their hip-hop who’s whos, Thebe Kgositsile was claimed to be the most talented of the Odd Future crew and after releasing his debut Earl mixtape in 2010, was sent to a boarding school in Samoa until his 18th birthday and basically disappeared from sight… until he didn’t. At any rate, Sweatshirt is now firmly back in the public eye with a new album in Doris ready for release in a couple weeks on August 20. If his mother was intending to deter him from a music career, she clearly failed. And if you thought that an act whose setup should have only required a live mic and a laptop plugged into the PA would have had the easiest setup of the fest, you’d have been wrong. Technical issues delayed the start of Sweatshirt’s set by a good 10 minutes, or a third of his allotted time. They eventually got things going and Sweatshirt delivered a set from the edge of the stage, his delivery low-key but intense and his short songs wrapped in a fair bit of conversational banter. It felt more like an introduction than a proper set, but if there was one thing the Grove was getting right, it was keeping on schedule, so on things went.

The Los Angeles Times and MTV have feature pieces on Earl.

Photos: Earl Sweatshirt @ Garrison Common – August 3, 2013
MP3: Earl Sweatshirt – “Between Friends”
MP3: Earl Sweatshirt – “Chum”
Video: Earl Sweatshirt – “Hive”
Video: Earl Sweatshirt – “Whoa”
Video: Earl Sweatshirt – “Chum”
Video: Earl Sweatshirt – “Earl”

It was easy to tell who the Gaslight Anthem fans were, because of all the acts they were the ones whose fans proudly wore their t-shirts, no doubt purchased at the many previous Gaslight Anthem shows they’d attended, including their show at the Sound Academy just last December. All of which is to say that the New Jersey outfit has clearly garnered a loyal fanbase over its seven-year, four-album existence. That said, this would be my first time seeing them and it’s kind of a shame that frontman Brian Fallon appears to be wearying of the E-Street allusions because likening them to a punk rock Springsteen is neither insult nor inaccurate, at least from a superficial, first-impression perspective. It was easy to see how the big, riff-fueld anthems of resolutely meat-and-potato rock’n’roll could engender such fan loyalty; it’s designed for rebellion, disaffection, and just being young. So while being an old person I didn’t necessarily feel it, I totally understood it. Kids, I was once like you.

Photos: The Gaslight Anthem @ Garrison Common – August 3, 2013
Video: The Gaslight Anthem – “Here Comes My Man”
Video: The Gaslight Anthem – “Handwritten”
Video: The Gaslight Anthem – “45”
Video: The Gaslight Anthem – “Bring It On”
Video: The Gaslight Anthem – “American Slang”
Video: The Gaslight Anthem – “Great Expectations”
Video: The Gaslight Anthem – “Old White Lincoln”
Video: The Gaslight Anthem – “The ’59 Sound”
Video: The Gaslight Anthem – “I’da Called You Woody, Joe”
Video: The Gaslight Anthem – “Drive”

The setting for my previous and only Girl Talk experience couldn’t have been more different from this one, but even if there’s no comparing a 4AM set on the shores of the Mediterranean to a 7PM set in the shadow of the Gardiner Expressway, one thing was certain – it’d be a whole lot of fun. Bringing dancers from the crowd to fill out the stage while he kept the top 40/classic rock/hip-hop mash-up machine going, Gregg Gillis and company doused the audience in confetti, toilet paper, balloons, and good vibes. What’s to say? If you’ve seen/been to a Girl Talk show, you know exactly what it was. If you haven’t seen/been to a Girl Talk show, you should really see/go to a Girl Talk show.

The Stranger talks to Gillis about the art of the mash-up.

Photos: Girl Talk @ Garrison Common – August 3, 2013
MP3: Girl Talk & Jim Jones – “Believe In Magic”
Video: Girl Talk – “All Day”

Some would argue that it was an injustice giving Hot Chip just a 40-minute set; surely with five albums of fantastic electro-pop to their name and a reputation for stellar live shows, they should have gotten a little more time in? Perhaps, in the original Grove configuration of two stages tag-teaming sets it could have happened, but as it was, they – like everyone else playing – was up against the clock. But if there was a positive side to this, it was that they opted to fill every minute of the time they were given with the hits – less the ballads – and nothing but. I’d last seen them in April 2010 behind One Life Stand – I missed last Summer’s tour for In Our Heads – so my data points aren’t complete, but I daresay I’d not seen the band be so energized and into the performance before – it was like they were more into putting on a show than just soundtracking the party. And so despite sound complaints – prevalent throughout the day but especially critical for Hot Chip’s set – partying did occur.

Tom Tom has an interview with Hot Chip’s (relatively) new drummer, Sarah Jones, formerly of New Young Pony Club. If you were wondering. I was.

Photos: Hot Chip @ Garrison Common – August 3, 2013
Video: Hot Chip – “Don’t Deny Your Heart”
Video: Hot Chip – “Night & Day”
Video: Hot Chip – “Look At Where We Are”
Video: Hot Chip – “How Do You Do”
Video: Hot Chip – “Flutes”
Video: Hot Chip – “I Feel Better”
Video: Hot Chip – “One Life Stand”
Video: Hot Chip – “One Pure Thought”
Video: Hot Chip – “Ready For The Floor”
Video: Hot Chip – “The Warning”
Video: Hot Chip – “Over And Over”
Video: Hot Chip – “Colours”
Video: Hot Chip – “And I Was A Boy From School”
Video: Hot Chip – “Playboy”

The rise of Phoenix from likeable but hardly beloved indie-pop band to massive worldwide stars post-Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix and, with the release of this year’s Bankrupt!, top-tier festival headliners, has been fascinating to watch. There’s those who don’t believe the band deserve it and are akin to one-hit wonders hanging out at the rock’n’roll hall of fame – and it’s true, with their ascent built largely on the back of one massive album or, more specifically, a couple of massive songs, their path to the biggest poster font is markedly different from those legacy acts with decades-long careers, even if their best work is inarguably behind them. But what that also means is that Phoenix’s fans are young and thus far less jaded or weary of festivals – so yeah, with the band having been off the road and out of sight for more than a couple years, their base is excited and sure as heck buying tickets to see them. The onus, really, is on the band to prove that they belong there. And based on their pulverizing one-hour, Grove-closing set, Phoenix belong.

Starting a bit late on account of setting up their massive light show gear, their set opened with a blazing “Entertainment” and, perhaps wanting to prove they didn’t need to hold their biggest songs back, were onto “Lisztomania” by the third number. What’s interesting is that fundamentally, Phoenix’s live show hadn’t really changed since I last saw them in June 2009 – Thomas Mars still climbs the monitors, gladhands the audience, and basically gives it his all while his five bandmates are as tight as tight gets – but the scale of the presentation has been necessarily amped up and what impresses is how naturally they’ve grown with it. They don’t seem at all out of place in the big spotlight, on the big stage, and if anything, they look as though they’ve been there all along and were just waiting for everyone to catch up with them. Even with just an hour to work with, they crammed in a baker’s dozen songs – including “Sunskrupt!”, their amalgam of instrumental “Love Like A Sunset” and mostly-instrumental “Bankrupt!” – as well as a huge finale/reprise of “Entertainment” to close the show. Phoenix skeptics may have a point in the long term; Bankrupt! is a solid record but hasn’t reached Wolfgang-level heights, so come their next album, it’s no sure thing that Coachella, Lollapalooza, et al will be calling, but for now, in 2013, this is where they belong.

The Grid grabbed an interview with Phoenix prior to the festival.

Photos: Phoenix @ Garrison Common – August 3, 2013
Video: Phoenix – “Trying To Be Cool”
Video: Phoenix – “Entertainment”
Video: Phoenix – “1901”
Video: Phoenix – “Lisztomania”
Video: Phoenix – “Consolation Prize”
Video: Phoenix – “If I Ever Feel Better”
Video: Phoenix – “Long Distance Call”
Video: Phoenix – “Twenty-One One Zero”
Video: Phoenix – “Run Run Run”

NOW, BlogTO, and The National Post also have reviews of the fest.

And so The Grove. While many aspects of the fest were well-conceived and seemed to be undone by pure bad luck, although that doesn’t excuse other issues with the event – poor communication, dodgy sound, expensive concessions – that promoters with the experience that Goldenvoice have (they do Coachella) should have avoided. It seemed that by show time, the organizers were just trying to keep their heads down and get it over with without anyone dying or losing more money and even if much of the audience weren’t actual paying attendees, they still deserved better. There’s no question that there exists an opportunity for a festival in Toronto on the same weekend as Lollapalooza and Osheaga – pretty much every band playing both will be driving down the 401 that August long weekend – but it’s hardly the no-brainer it might appear. Any event would be at the scheduling mercy of those two big players, and considering that both – especially Osheaga – counts a strong Toronto demographic in their attendees, there’s not a lot of incentive to make it easy for acts to play all three cities, not that it’s necessarily easy in the first place – logistics are a bitch. Still, I hope/believe that something will rise up to fill this niche – whether it’s The Grove, valuable lessons learned and ready for another round, or someone else who thinks they can get it right, we shall see. And if someone does try, they’d be well advised to consult The Grid‘s helpful roundup of some of the music festivals that have tried – and failed – to make it work in the 416. Man, this town.

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

The Way We Are

Win passes to see Kate Boy; find out who Kate Boy are

Photo via FacebookFacebookLike the act they’re frequently compared to – The Knife circa Silent Shout – Aussie-fronted Swedes Kate Boy put a lot of stock in image and mystery, and the intersection of the two. And so while assumptions might be that the band’s name is a pseudonym for frontwoman Kate Akhurst, they in fact insist it represents an entirely fictional fifth member because why not. Their visual aesthetic also speaks to the strength of the concept behind it, their greyscaled, silhouetted, and baseball-capped guises being well-maintained through their press photos and three videos.

But it’s their sound that has elicited the Knife comparisons, and yeah – there’s definitely something of the Dreijer siblings’ influence in their spooky, yet hooky, electro-pop built on synth tones whose square waves have the edges left on. Whether there’s more to them than that remains to be seen – three singles do not an identity make, but it is enough to create a solid amount of buzz. A full-length is expected out before year’s end and the band just played their first show ever a month ago, but they’ve already got a short North American tour booked and will be in Toronto at Wrongbar on Sunday night, June 9.

Tickets for the show are $12.50 in advance but courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see Kate Boy” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that to me by midnight, June 6. And if you’re curious how their look translates live, Pitchfork has some photos from a show in Berlin last week.

MP3: Kate Boy – “Northern Lights”
Video: Kate Boy – “The Way We Are”
Video: Kate Boy – “In Your Eyes”
Video: Kate Boy – “Northern Lights”

Consequence Of Sound and Interview talk to Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura, whose new album Desire Lines is out today. They play the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Common on July 4.

Mr. Porter solicits some musical suggestions from Jamie Smith of The xx. They play Echo Beach on Thursday night, June 6. Denver Westword also grabs an interview.

Pet Shop Boys are streaming a second single from their new album Electric, lined up for a July 15 release date. They’re here at The Sony Centre on September 25.

Stream: Pet Shop Boys – “Vocal”

Exclaim has a pair of features gleaned from an interview with Jehnny Beth of Savages. She leads her band into The Mod Club on July 16.

A new, non-album single from Hot Chip has been made available to stream; Pitchfork has details on the 12″ or 10″ EP, depending on where you live, which will be released July 22. Hot Chip are in Toronto to play The Grove Fest at Garrison Common on August 3.

Stream: Hot Chip – “Dark & Stormy”

English gloom merchants White Lies have announced an August 21 release date for their third album, Big TV. The Line Of Best Fit has details and the first track is available to download below.

MP3: White Lies – “Getting Even”

There’s Something Hard In There has an interview with Carol and Peter of Bettie Serveert.

NPR welcomes Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for a World Cafe session.

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Where You Come In

Review of Shout Out Louds’ Optica and giveaway

Photo By Frode & MarcusFrode & MarcusI get why people have such affection for Shout Out Louds’ 2005 debut Howl Howl Gaff Gaff; the way it tapped into the scrappy, garage-rock sound in vogue at the time but rather than the insouciant attitude that typically came with the aesthetic, it offered a wide-eyed and sincere charm and stood apart from the pack for it. That said, it was only with 2007’s Our Ill Wills, which polished up their pop and expanded it to widescreen dimensions, that I was personally won over by the band. Happily for me and less so for those on Team Howl, it’s been this template that has informed each Shout Out Louds record ever since, this year’s Optica being no exception.

They did tweak their approach a bit with 2010’s Work tweaked the formula by going for a more organic, live-off-the-floor sound, but while Optica lets things drift back to the more produced side of things a bit, those holding out hope that the band might let things get raucous again should probably just go and find themselves a new, charmingly rough Scandi-pop band to patronize. Shout Out Louds have got this elegant pop thing down pat – “Blue Ice” is tastefully orchestrated and “Walking In Your Footsteps” may offer the best flute hook of the year – and even when they get relatively dark or heavy, they do it more through tone and atmosphere than volume; “14th Of July” is the riffingest number on the record and it really just jangles. Mostly, though, Optica adopts a pleasant midtempo pace and relies on its immaculate popcraft and melodicism to win the listener over.

Shout Out Louds’ North American tour kicks off in early May and will stop in at The Opera House in Toronto on May 14. Tickets for the show are $18.50 in advance, but courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got three pairs of passes to give away to their show and as a bonus, courtesy of Big Hassle and Merge, a copy of the band’s “Blue Ice” 7″ – no, not the actual ice one, don’t be ridiculous. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to Shout Out Loud” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and if you would also like the 7″, say so and include your mailing address. Have all that to me by midnight, May 6.

Rolling Stone just premiered the newest video from Optica.

MP3: Shout Out Louds – “Blue Ice”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Illusions”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Walking In Your Footsteps”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Blue Ice”

Spin and The San Francisco Examiner check in with Palma Violets, coming to town on May 3 for a show at Lee’s Palace and again on August 3 as part of The Grove Fest at Garrison Commons.

Los Campesinos! have announced details of and a track from their first-ever live album, entitled A Good Night For A Fistfight, recorded last December and to be released digitally May 5. DIY has specifics and some words from Gareth Campesinos! about the recording.

MP3: Los Campesinos! – “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed” (live at Islington Assembly Hall)

Noah & The Whale are streaming the title track from their forthcoming album Heart Of Nowhere, due out May 6, and it guest stars the wonderful Anna Calvi. The Yorkshire Evening Post and Gigwise have interviews with frontman Charlie Fink.

Stream: Noah & The Whale – “Heart Of Nowhere”

7 Digital interviews Victoria Hesketh of Little Boots about her second album Nocturnes, slated for a May 7 release.

MTV Hive gets to know Charli XCX; she opens for Marina & The Diamonds at Echo Beach on May 23.

The 405 interviews Elliphant, who is streaming a new song and making her local debut on June 7 supporting Twin Shadow at The Phoenix.

Stream: Elliphant – “Make A New Breed”

Interview chats with Jose Gonzalez of Junip, whose new self-titled album came out this week. They play The Great Hall on June 10.

While the May 13 UK release of Primal Scream’s new long-player More Light was long-confirmed, there’s only just come word that there’ll be a domestic release in North America, coming June 18. Details on that at Spin.

Under The Radar has an interview with Pet Shop Boys, whose new album Electric comes out in June.

Spin, eMusic, The 405, The Guardian, MTV, The Daily Beast, NPR, and Exclaim all have feature interviews with Phoenix with Exclaim offering a sidebar piece on the band, Spin the fruits of their photo shoot, and NPR a KCRW video session. Phoenix headline The Grove Fest at Garrison Commons on August 3.

Filter hangs out with the girls of Icona Pop. You can do the same at The Grove Fest at Garrison Commons on August 3.

MTV Hive takes fashion tips from Hot Chip, also playing The Grove Fest on August 3.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are streaming one of the tracks that appeared on their Record Store Day 7″ release.

Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Animal X”

Mystery Jets have made their Record Store Day release, the self-explanatory Live At The Royal Festival Hall, available to stream for those who missed out on getting a copy on Saturday or who never even had the opportunity what with it only being available in the UK and all.

Stream: Mystery Jets / Live At The Royal Festival Hall

Kate Nash has released a new video for the a-side from her Record Store Day 7″, and later this week she’ll roll out the next clip from Girl Talk. But not yet.

Video: Kate Nash – “Free My Pussy”

Clash gets into the heads of British Sea Power.

The Big Takeover has an interview with Veronica Falls.

PopMatters and Black Book interview Ólafur Arnalds.

Stereogum points out a stream of a new Jens Lekman song, written for an Esopus magazine compilation and about a fan who mailed him a dead bird.

Stream: Jens Lekman – “Regarding A Package”

Rolling Stone sits down with Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich to talk about Atoms For Peace and the state of dance music, and somehow the conversation drifts to the topic of Radiohead.

Rolling Stone got a moment of Jason Pierce’s time at Coachella to talk about things of a Spiritualized nature.

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Oblique City

Phoenix rises with new festival and cross-border shopping opportunities

Photo By Arnaud PotierArnaud PotierAs It’s been kind of funny to see the incredulity that has that has met the announcement of Phoenix as a top-billed act as the Summer’s festival lineups are rolled out in the US and Europe, with people scoffing “since when are Phoenix festival headliners?”. The answer, of course, being “since they began headlining festivals” – which is to say this year, following the massive success of 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix and in anticipation of the April 23 release of Bankrupt!.

This elevation is obviously good news for those headed to Coachella, Primavera, or what have you – as well as for the French band, who are finding themselves in the enviable position of being able to gold plate anything they like – but is less good news for cities who don’t host big A-list Summer festivals… which includes Toronto. And while the return of something even on the scale of Virgin Fest seems unlikely – though you may recall Phoenix played the first one way back in 2006 with a decidedly non-headlining, early afternoon slot – we’re actually doing pretty well with somewhat smaller to-dos, particularly ones that are in a position to align with more established festivals relatively nearby. This year’s inaugural Toronto Urban Roots Fest is drafting quite nicely off of Ottawa Bluesfest and Montreal Jazz Fest, and yesterday’s announcement of The Grove Fest, taking place August 3 at The Commons at Butler’s Barracks in Niagara-On-The-Lake – looks to take full advantage of being located midway between Montreal and Chicago on Osheaga/Lollapalooza weekend.

Phoenix will headline this event – if that wasn’t obvious from the opening paragraph – and be joined by a diverse bill including Girl Talk, Hot Chip, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pretty Lights, The Gaslight Anthem, Bob Mould, Earl Sweatshirt, Wavves, Icona Pop, Palma Violets, Young Empires, and Nightbox. It’s a lineup that spans the globe, is heavy on the dance party vibe but with a decent dollop of guitar angst. The bill actually feels like those Rogers Picnics that ran for a few years down at Fort York in that there’s something to satisfy everyone and something to annoy everyone – mostly Macklemore, I would imagine.

Early bird tickets go on sale today at 10AM for $74.50, and after those are gone regular passes are $79.50; VIP tickets are available for $140. And no, Niagara-On-The-Lake is NOT in Toronto, but a 90-minute straight shot down the QEW isn’t bad, and if you want to make a long weekend getaway out of it, Buffalo is just across the border. And you know you’ve been looking for an excuse to go to Buffalo.

The Line Of Best Fit has an interview with Phoenix.

Video: Phoenix – “Lisztomania”
Video: Girl Talk – “All Day”
Video: Hot Chip – “Night & Day”
Video: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – “Thrift Shop”
Video: Pretty Lights – “So Bright” (live)
Video: The Gaslight Anthem – “45”
Video: Bob Mould – “The Descent”
Video: Earl Sweatshirt – “Chum”
Video: Wavves – “Sail To The Sun”
Video: Icona Pop – “I Love It”
Video: Palma Violets – “Best Of Friends
Video: Young Empires – “White Doves”
Video: Nightbox – “Relocate You”

And just as the likes of Field Trip and TURF further entrench Garrison Commons at Fort York as one of Toronto’s go-to Summer concert venues and former War Of 1812 battlegrounds as great places to throw parties – if only Olympic Island had seen bloodshed, perhaps it would have remaind in favour – southern Ontario concertgoers may want to keep Niagara-On-The-Lake’s Butler’s Barracks in their GPS. On June 29, it will also hosting a one-day mini-fest headlined by City & Colour and supported by Metric, Jimmy Eat World, Serena Ryder, and Yukon Blonde. Tickets for that are $64.75 and on sale now.

MP3: Metric – “Gimme Sympathy”
MP3: Jimmy Eat World – “Bleed American”
MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Fire”
Video: City & Colour – “Comin’ Home”
Video: Serena Ryder – “Stomps”

And back to TURF, another batch of acts has been announced for the four-day event running July 4 to 7. We’ve got Yo La Tengo, who will be playing on the 7th since they will follow headliners Belle & Sebastian on tour after that, and also JD McPherson, The Barr Brothers, and Larry and his Flask. Each week finds the lineup getting stronger and more eclectic; by the time the schedule and ticket information is released later this month, it should be a doozy.

MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Stupid Things”
Video: JD McPherson – “Fire Bug”
Video: Larry & His Flask – “Call It What You Will”
Video: The Barr Brothers – “Beggar In The Morning”

And in club show announcements – no, not everything is happening at a national historic site: Peter Murphy will mark the 35th anniversary of Bauhaus with a set comprised entirely of material of his old band. That happens May 10 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $29.50 in advance.

Video: Bauhaus – “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”

Doldrums will play his first show in town since last week’s release of Lesser Evil at The Horseshoe on May 11 – you know, in case there wasn’t enough going on that night with Foals, Charles Bradley, and The Breeders elsewhere in town. Tickets are $10 in advance.

MP3: Doldrums – “Jump Up”

If you’ve been waiting for Los Angeles buzz band Haim to come to town and are a Vampire Weekend fan, congratulations – the sister act have been named as support for their May 16 show at The Sony Centre. And if you’re not a Vampire Weekend fan… sorry, but you can at least take comfort in the knowledge that you’re not a Vampire Weekend fan.

Video: Haim – “Falling”

While it’s all well and good that Laura Stevenson is coming back to town – I enjoyed her set opening for Maps & Atlases back in August 2010 – I’m more excited that Brooklyn’s Field Mouse will be opening up for her at The Drake on May 21; verily do they hit my indie-pop sweet spot. Tickets for that are $12.50 in advance.

Video: Laura Stevenson – “Master Of Art”
Video: Field Mouse – “Glass”

The Shins have decided to take last year’s Port Of Morrow for another spin – they’ll be at The Sound Academy on May 22, tickets $34.50 general admission and $44.50 VIP.

MP3: The Shins – “Know Your Onion!”

It’s like a cross-generational synth-pop summit; Diamond Rings will open up for Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark at the Danforth Music Hall, both on the previously announced July 11 date and the just-announced July 19 second date. Tickets for both are $35 in advance.

MP3: Diamond Rings – “I’m Just Me”

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

This Ladder Is Ours

The Joy Formidable and Always at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangEven since they were very small and giving away downloads of their debut mini-album A Balloon Called Moaning for free in February 2009, The Joy Formidable have been huge. Huge in ambition, both sound- and career-wise, as evidenced by their massive-sounding full-length debut The Big Roar and the relentless touring schedule that surrounded it. Since their local debut in May 2010, they’ve been through Toronto a half-dozen times, including two nights this past week – Sunday night opening for The Gaslight Anthem at The Sound Academy and then on Monday with at a last-minute showcase at The Mod Club.

Since I’d seen the Welsh trio at their first three local shows, I was alright with missing their April gig at Lee’s Palace and the Gaslight show, but was pretty excited about the Mod Club one – they’d finally be showcasing some new material, what with a second album in Wolf’s Law already done and due out on January 22, and I had a feeling that their days of playing rooms as small as Mod were quickly drawing to a close.

Local openers Always have done a pretty good job of keeping their internet presence the polar opposite of the ubiquity implied by their name, but they’re actually far from anonymous, particularly if you’ve an ear for east coast pop. Frontwoman Molly Rankin had/has a burgeoning solo career in addition to being part of Nova Scotia’s most famous musical family, and guitarist Alec O’Hanley toured across the country countless times as part of Two Hours Traffic before departing last year. Assuming that their sound would be some mathematical combination of their respective roots- and power-pop histories would be unimaginative, though. Their experience with writing hooks and melodies was well-evident, but it was delivered in a vintage indie jangle-pop form, striking a good balance between low-key and bubbly and taking full advantage of Rankin’s Victora Legrand-ish sleepy vocal timbre – someone call Slumberland A&R, stat. Over the course of their set, they went from complete mystery to one of my top bands to watch in the city. For warm-ups, you can’t do much better than that.

In the year or so since I saw them last, The Joy Formidable have had quite the apprenticeship in playing arena-scale venues opening for the likes of Foo Fighters and Muse, and when you take into consideration the fact that they were a pretty explosive live act to begin with, it was reasonable to expect some fireworks. And based on the physical evidence, at least, they were equipped to do so. Having once again taken an interest in inspecting/dissecting guitarist rigs, it was hard not to notice that frontwoman Ritzy Bryan had traded her lone, albeit overflowing, pedalboard and single combo amp for a sleek, space-age floorboard with touchscreen tablet controls and an amplification setup that powered some 18 speakers. Arenas, remember?

But what makes The Joy Formidable so, well, formidable, isn’t the hardware – it’s the massive rock it’s used to move. Shoegaze with the wallflower personality excised in favour of extroversion, given shape in Bryan’s diminutive form (and crazy eyes) and huge guitar chops, with rhythm section Rhydian Dafydd and Matt Thomas doing commendable work in just keeping up. Their hour-fifteen set was split about evenly between Balloon/Roar material and previews of Wolf’s Law, although already being a couple singles deep into the album, they weren’t necessarily unfamiliar. And though the new stuff was arguably heavier and more indebted to classic British metal than the old, it all fit very nicely with the template that The Joy Formidable have been riding to success thus far. They might not necessarily be filling rooms much bigger than this normally, but they did an outstanding job of making the couple hundred in attendance feel like they were seeing something massive in an uncommonly intimate setting, and while I can’t say they’ll ever have the fanbase to fill a stadium, by god they already play like they do.

And if you didn’t manage to score tickets to this show, fear not – Bryan announced that they’d be back in April.

PureVolume has an interview with Ritzy Bryan.

Photos: The Joy Formidable, Always @ The Mod Club – November 26, 2012
MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Wolf’s Law”
MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Whirring”
MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”
MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Greyhounds In The Slips”
MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Cradle”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “The Ladder Is Ours”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Cholla”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Wolf’s Law”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Whirring” (new)
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “I Don’t Want To See You Like This”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Popinjay”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Whirring” (original)
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Austere” (original)
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Cradle”

One of the early picks for UK buzz band 2013 – Palma Violets – are setting their sights on North America early; they’ll be at The Horseshoe on January 29 – tickets $12.50 – well before their debut album arrives on February 25. They’ve got kind of a Libertines thing going on, which I guess is about due to be fashionable again what with next year slated to be the “Year of the guitar” or some such nonsense.

Video: Palma Violets – “Last Of The Summer Wine”
Video: Palma Violets – “Best Of Friends”

Veronica Falls are keeping the fires of anticipation stoked before their second album Waiting For Something To Happen is finally released on February 12 – they’ve announced a North American tour for next Winter – look for them March 12 at The Garrison – and released a video for the first single from the new record.

Video: Veronica Falls – “Teenage”

Hot Chip have rolled out a new clip from this year’s In Our Heads.

Video: Hot Chip – “Don’t Deny Your Heart”

Loud & Quiet have an interview with Elena Tonra of Daughter.

The Quietus talks to Charlotte Hatherley about Sylver Tongue.

The latest Charli XCX single from her Super Ultra Mixtape now comes with a video.

Video: Charli XCX – “Cloud Aura”

Guy Garvey talks to Metro just ahead of Elbow’s promised year-long hiatus.

The Quietus talks to Mogwai about their latest projects, including soundtracking a French zombie television show. Because someone has to.

Those hoping that that last couple years’ Pulp reunion might be an ongoing concern or even yield some new music, sorry – NME reports that Jarvis Cocker has basically declared it as having run its course. We’ll always have Spain.

But wait, Britpop fans refusing to stop reliving their youth cry out, what about Blur? They’re not breaking up! No, but as The Line Of Best Fit reports, Graham Coxon put the kibosh on a new Blur record; that’s fine – intermittent singles the quality of the last ones will do. Definitely coming out next week is Parklive, the live document of this Summer’s Hyde Park show in London, and they’ve released a video clip of the final song from that show; if they had indeed called it a day, well and forever, with this show, these would have been the perfect notes to finish up on.

Video: Blur – “The Universal” (live at Hyde Park)

The Quietus and Spin chat with Johnny Marr, who releases his solo debut The Messenger on February 26.

Consequence Of Sound interviews Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris of New Order.