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Posts Tagged ‘Iron & Wine’

Monday, September 30th, 2013

The Silver Gymnasium

Okkervil River and Torres at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangEveryone’s heard the old adage about how life is like a river, ever-changing, and in the case of Austin’s Okkervil River, it’s especially apt. The faces that make up the band have changed repeatedly over the years – singer-songwriter Will Sheff being the only real constant over their 14-year existence – and they’ve had their share of stylistic and thematic shifts over that time, albeit while hewing closely to the path marked folk-rock. And so it’s fitting that following their most rangy and experimental album in 2011’s aptly-titled I Am Very Far, they’d return to their roots – or the river to its source – with The Silver Gymnasium.

After Far‘s short story songbook, Gymnasium returns to the overarching album theme with a literary angle built around the memoir, focusing on Sheff’s ’80s youth in the small town of Meriden, New Hampshire. With that shift comes a musical realignment of sorts, with the more darker, exploratory sonics of Far put aside for a strummier sound with synth accents, perhaps meant to reflect the radio pop of the era or just draw in more listeners; in either case, these are the most accessible-sounding tunes Okkervil has turned out, right alongside the Stage Names/Stand-Ins set. The material may not be of the strata – at this point, time may well show that the years spanning Black Sheep Boy and The Stage Names to be the band’s creative pinnacle – it’s a solid collection that reflects the Okkervil River that most of their fans know and love best. And with it, Okkervil returned to town on Saturday night for their first Toronto show since June 2011.

The support slot for the tour marked another achievement in a year of highlights for 22-year old Nashville-based newcomer Mackenzie Scott who, when onstage, answers to Torres. She self-released her self-titled debut in January and since then, with the help of endorsements from the likes of Sharon Van Etten, has gotten to the point where her presence on the bill constituted an actual draw. Fronting a powerful yet tasteful rhythm section, Scott’s set was built around distorted fingerpicking and raw, snarled vocals that reared up to feedback-laden, combat boot-stomping rock heights in the opening and closing numbers. Those who like their confessional singer-songwriter material with some teeth, both lyrically and musically, would be impressed.

A consequence of the earlier comment that Okkervil may have already hit their creative and critical peak a few albums back was the fact that this show was decidedly not sold out, but not being a buzz band doesn’t mean that your real fanbase is any less solid or devoted; so while those in attendance might have had a little more elbow room than in the past, their enthusiasm was hardly diminished. The Silver Gymnasium‘s one-two of “It Was My Season” and “On A Balcony” opened things up before giving way to a Black Sheep Boy‘s still-powerful “For Real” and “Black”, setting the tone for the rest of the set – a solid showing from the new record but plenty of attention to the back catalog, with only Down The River Of Golden Dreams being omitted entirely and with The Stage Names being leaned on for the show-stopping moments.

The current lineup of Okkervil, which underwent a sea change with the last record, sounded more cohesive than on the Far tour. Lead guitarist Lauren Gurgiolo’s style of guitar now better integrated into the songs in the way that it took Nels Cline a little bit to properly sound part of Wilco, and the sound of the band has adjusted accordingly with the focus alternating between Sheff’s vocals to Gurgiolo’s leads rather than the Okkervil orchestra as a whole, or maybe it just seemed this was as I was parked directly in Gurgiolo’s amp’s line of fire. Also in the “things that are different” department was Sheff’s taking the stage not in one of his signature sport coats but a leather jacket, now looking more the part of student than professor. The glasses still only lasted half the energetic and sweaty set, though, so reality wasn’t that altered. And though Jonathan Meiburg officially left the band five years ago, his vocal presence is still missed – particularly since his harmonies still appear on the records. It was a nice nod to the Okkervil of old, though, when mid-show the band left just Sheff and bassist Patrick Pestorius, the other longest-serving member of the band, to play “No Key, No Plan” acoustically.

The thing that struck me the most over the course of the show was how I’d forgotten how much I loved this band not that long ago. From 2005 to 2008 or so, they were one of the outfits in the heaviest rotation possible and somehow, unnoticed, they or I drifted away. And while those days probably aren’t coming back – despite said I would be thrilled if there was another masterpiece rattling around in Will Sheff’s head – this show was an hour-forty reminder of those times. And isn’t The Silver Gymnasium all about remembering days past?

Photos: Okkervil River, Torres @ The Phoenix – September 28, 2013
MP3: Okkervil River – “Wake And Be Fine”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Mermaid”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Lost Coastlines”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe”
MP3: Okkervil River – “The President’s Dead”
MP3: Okkervil River – “No Key, No Plan”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Black”
MP3: Okkervil River – “It Ends With A Fall”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Kansas City”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Listening To Otis Redding At Home During Christmas”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Red”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Westfall”
Stream: Torres – “Honey”
Video: Okkervil River – “Your Past Life As A Blast”
Video: Okkervil River – “Wake And Be Fine”
Video: Okkervil River – “Lost Coastlines”
Video: Okkervil River – “Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe”
Video: Okkervil River – “Girl In Port”
Video: Okkervil River – “For Real”

Stereogum have premiered a stream of a new Phantogram song, taken – as they’ve just revealed – from a new self-titled EP that will be out on September 30, which is to say today. Their second full-length is coming next year.

Stream: Phnatogram – “Celebrating Nothing”

Polar and Billboard have interviews with Cameron Mesirow of Glasser, whose new album Interiors comes out October 8 and is streaming at The Guardian. She plays The Drake Underground come October 13.

Stream: Glasser / Interiors

Billboard and Vulture talk to Sleigh Bells about their new record Bitter Rivals. It’s out October 8 and they play The Phoenix on November 13.

Dean Wareham has made available for preorder his new solo mini-album Emancipated Hearts, which will be out as a 10″ LP on October 15.

Interview talks to Mazzy Star, who have marked the release this week of their new record Seasons Of Your Day with a new video. They play The Danforth Music Hall on November 16.

Video: Mazzy Star – “California”

Though rumours that the current Guided By Voices reunion will be winding down have been floating basically since it began, they’ve confirmed that they’ll be releasing a fourth studio album in Motivational Jumpsuit late next February, amidst a slew of other Bob Pollard-related releases. Stereogum has all the details.

Rolling Stone reports that Television have had a new studio album in the can since 2007 – presumably after Richard Lloyd left and Jimmy Rip replaced him – but that it won’t see the light of day until Tom Verlaine decides he wants to, if ever. So do with that information what you will.

Modern Farmer talks to John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats about goats.

Magnet turns their website over to Superchunk/Mountain Goats drummer Jon Wurster with a Q&A, while Washington City Paper chats with Mac McCaughan.

The National discusses their inclusion on the soundtrack of the new Hunger Games soundtrack with NME.

The Quietus reflects on the 20th anniversary of The Afghan Whigs’ Gentlemen.

Gaper’s Block, Des Moines Register, and NOW chat with Sam Beam of Iron & Wine.

aux.tv has an interview with Kurt Vile.

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Sacrilege

Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Echo Beach in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s just about scientific fact that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs don’t put on a bad show. The New York punk rock/New Wave trio have built and cemented this reputation since their inception in 2000, and though I missed their earliest visits to Toronto, I can testify to the spectacularness of their last two visits – an undersized semi-private TIFF party at the Berkeley Church in September 2007 circa their Is Is EP and their two-night stand at The Kool Haus in support of It’s Blitz! in August 2009. And so while their fourth long-player Mosquito is a relative disappointment – the high points are decent and the rest largely forgettable – their show at Echo Beach on Monday night behind it was plenty of reason to get excited, even if the long weekend timing meant that Echo Beach wasn’t even half full to greet them.

The band’s elevation towards the top of festival lineups this Summer meant that regular tour routing was largely out the window and as such, this date – announced barely a month ago – felt squeezed in between other commitments, and the relative spartan-ness of their set dressing – there basically was none – added to this feeling, though if that meant that we didn’t have to look at a giant backdrop of the Mosquito album art, then that was hardly a bad thing. And if any band could feel confident about having to come out and get by on the strength of their songbook, it’s the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And having Karen O as a frontwoman certainly doesn’t hurt.

Because let’s be honest, even if they’d gone full Flaming Lips with their stage show, no one would be looking at anything but Karen O. As her bandmates – guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase, plus live utility player David Pajo of Slint and Interpol fame – got down to business, O bounded around the stage as magnetic a performer as you’ll find in rock music today. Decked out in a tasseled white outfit and with a headlamp strapped to her forehead, presumably keeping in theme with show opener “Under The Earth”, O kept the energy levels and audience enthusiasm in the red, even when the confetti cannon that should have doused everyone in glitter at the peak of “Black Tongue” failed to go off.

And that kind of set the tone for the front half of the show – trying their best but not quite clicking. There were several missed cues, the usually super-tight band felt a little out of step with each other, and midway through the set, O declared she’d forgotten the words to “Down Boy”. Being followed by the largely aimless “Subway”, it was starting to feel like this might be a rare off night for the band. They might have felt it as well, as “Maps” – as much of a sure thing in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs arsenal as you’re likely to find – got an extended intro where O dedicated the song to everyone she could think of that perhaps allowed the band to regroup.

If that’s indeed what they did, then it worked. Current single “Despair” was given a reading that put the album version to shame, and the double-whammy of “Y Control” and “Turn Into” elevated things to a far more characteristic Yeah Yeah Yeahs level; Zinner’s guitar solo in the latter was especially fiery. Again, perhaps symbolically, when O stomped on the confetti cannon trigger in jubilant main set-closer “Heads Will Roll”, that shit went off. The first encore opened with one of their finest pop confections – “Cheated Hearts” – amusingly featuring pretty much the whole of the front row being passed the mic to sing (badly) the “oooh ooooh”s in the bridge – and closed with a razor-edged “Tick”, and though by this point much of the crowd had begun inching towards the exit, those who stayed up close got an eyeful in second encore as in “Date With The Night”, O shoved the microphone down her pants and then into her mouth. As you do.

At well under an hour and a half, the show felt a bit slight in length and, compared to the terrifying Berkeley Church and triumphant Kool Haus shows, in substance. But if it failed to deliver in awe, it still more than did so in fun and the only reservations, really, come from the fact that while Yeah Yeah Yeahs don’t ever put on a bad show, they have put on better.

The National Post, Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, and NOW also have reviews of the show.

Photos: Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Echo Beach – July 1, 2013
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Date With The Night”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Machine”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Miles Away”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Art Star”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Despair”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Mosquito”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Skeletons”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Heads Will Roll”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Zero”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Cheated Hearts”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Turn Into”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Gold Lion”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Y Control”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Pin”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Date With The Night”

Given that putting out a record on New York label Captured Tracks is becoming as much a sign of quality in the ’00s as doing the same on, say, 4AD, was in the ’80s – some/many will be pleased to know that Los Angeles-based duo Soft Metals are coming to The Drake on August 16 in support of their forthcoming Lenses LP, out July 16. They’ll also be pleased to know admission is $10.

MP3: Soft Metals – “The Cold World Melts”
MP3: Soft Metals – “Psychic Driving”

It’s been a while since North Carolina alt.country songstress Tift Merritt has been through town – Spring 2008 in support of Another Country, I think – but she’s here at The Drake on September 6 in support of last year’s Traveling Alone. Tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.

Video: Tift Merritt – “Virginia, No One Can Warn You”

Chicago folksinger Angel Olsen has been getting a lot of attention for her debut album Half Way Home, originally released last Fall and reissued in May, and she’s just announced a Fall tour that brings her to The Drake on September 26, tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: Angel Olsen – “Always Half Strange” (live at Saki)
MP3: Angel Olsen – “Free” (live at Saki)

Nashville singer-songwriter Mackenzie Scott trades under the name Torres and her self-released, self-titled debut has garnered enough praise and turned the right heads to get her added as support to Okkervil River’s Fall tour, which means she’s in town at The Phoenix on September 27. Do yourself a favour and get to know her before then.

Video: Torres – “When Winter’s Over” (live in studio)
Video: Torres – “Jealousy & I” (live in studio)

Even though tales of their… troubles on the road continue to pile up, Los Angeles’ Foxygen continue to tour behind their debut We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace And Magic; they’re back in Toronto for the third time this year with a show at The Hoxton on October 1, tickets $15.

MP3: Foxygen – “Waitin’ 4 U”

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Wilco’s no-request set at their Solid Sound festival last month; they’ll play a shortened version of the set at The Molson Amphitheatre on July 15 whilst opening for Bob Dylan.

Billboard talks to Mac McCaughan of Superchunk and Merge Records about Superchunk and Merge Records. The latter releases the new album from the former, I Hate Music, on August 20.

The Guardian talks to Janelle Monáe about her new album The Electric Lady, which is out September 10 and has just produced a new video.

Video: Janelle Monáe – “Dance Apocalyptic”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Iron & Wine. They play The Sound Academy on September 28.

DIY gets to know Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee.

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Daddy Was A Real Good Dancer

The Dismemberment Plan still have a plan to dismember you. And a new record.

Photo By Shervin Lainez Shervin Lainez 2013 has been a pretty great year for reunited/formerly retired acts releasing good to excellent new albums after many, many years – hat tip to David Bowie and My Bloody Valentine – and now it’s time to hope that Washington DC’s Dismemberment Plan keeps that streak going. This isn’t to suggest that the D-Plan are or ever were of the status of those others; a unique and spazzy/funky amalgam of post-punk, hardcore, and experimental art-pop, they were never fated to be more than a cult act but those who liked them, liked them a lot.

Still, they disbanded in 2003 and after frontman Travis Morrison’s solo debut Travistan was Pitchfork-ed through the heart, the odds of hearing from him again in any context seemed unlikely. There was a one-off D-Plan reunion show in 2007, sure, but in 2009 Morrison, after one more solo album in All Y’All, declared himself retired from music. Of course that proved to be untrue, and the Plan reunited for sporadic shows in 2011, continuing into 2012 with some new material thrown in the mix.

Which brings us to Uncanney Valley, the band’s fifth album and first in 12 years since 2001’s Change, out October 15. The Dismemberment Plan was always so unique and no one ever replicated what they did so well – or even tried – that a new record might well prove to simultaneously be a very welcome breath of fresh air and a blast from the past. Pitchfork has details on the new record as well as an interview with Morrison – nice to see no grudges are held – and while no samples of the new record have been released, we can still dig up some classic tunes and tilt the expectation-o-meter a little more towards excitement than trepidation.

And one can only hope that the new album will result in more touring – the band’s final Toronto show at Rockit in July 2003 and the “Death & Dismemberment” tour with Death Cab For Cutie at The Reverb in early 2002 were off-the-charts fun. Would love the opportunity to see them again (without hopping on a plane).

MP3: The Dismemberment Plan – “It’s So You”
MP3: The Dismemberment Plan – “You Are Invited”
MP3: The Dismemberment Plan – “The Things That Matter”
MP3: The Dismemberment Plan – “Superpowers”

Calexico has released a new EP led by a track from last year’s Algiers and intended for physical sale – at least for the moment – on their European tour only, though they promise a North American release is to come and you can get it digitally as of June 29. But you can stream Maybe On Monday right now, including its covers of Elvis Costello’s “Shabby Doll” and The Replacements’ “Unsatisfied”.

Stream: Calexico / Maybe On Monday

Yeah Yeah Yeahs have become the first band to record a video atop the Empire State Building and proven that the only thing you can really do atop the Empire State Building is run around it. The song is the latest single from Mosquito and the band are at Echo Beach on July 1.

Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Despair”

Spin has got a stream of Iron & Wine’s contribution to the soundtrack to The Lone Ranger. The soundtrack is out July 2, the movie July 3, and Iron & Wine play The Sound Academy on September 28.

Stream: Iron & Wine – “Rattling Bone”

You can now hear a couple songs from the new Scud Mountain Boys record Do You Love The Sun? courtesy of BrooklynVegan. The record is out July 9.

MP3: Scud Mountain Boys – “Double Bed”
Stream: Scud Mountain Boys – “Do You Love The Sun?”

NYC Taper has got a recording of Wilco’s amazing all-request, mostly-covers set at their Solid Sound festival last weekend. Look at that set list and tell me you don’t want to spend the time it’ll take to download it. I imagine we’ll get a more conventional show when they play The Molson Amphitheatre supporting Bob Dylan on July 15.

The next record from Explosions In The Sky won’t be a proper follow-up to 2011’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, but the soundtrack to the Paul Rudd film Prince Avalanche. The film is out August 9, the soundtrack August 6, and one of the songs – written with composer David Wingo – has a video. Explosions In The Sky play The Air Canada Centre on October 4 opening for Nine Inch Nails.

Video: Explosions In The Sky w David Wingo – “Wading”

Under The Radar has more specifics on Okkervil River’s new full-length The Silver Gymnasium, out September 3. They play The Phoenix on September 28.

Matablog offers details on Kim Gordon’s first post/side-Sonic Youth project, entitled Body/Head and releasing their first album Coming Apart on September 10.

Janelle Monáe’s new album finally has a release date; The Electric Lady will be in stores on September 10. And damn, is her handwriting nice.

Willis Earl Beal has announced details of his second album, Nobody Knows. It’s out September 10 and a first track is available to stream below. More details at Under The Radar.

Stream: Willis Earl Beal – “Everything Unwinds”

Spin has compiled an oral history of Liz Phair’s landmark Exile In Guyville on the occasion of the record’s 20th anniversary.

I’ve been meaning to give Katie Crutchfield’s Waxahatchee and her second album Cerulean Salt a proper write-up for a little while now, but just haven’t gotten around to it. But given that with the record’s European release, it’s available to stream in whole at NME right now, you may as well just go and listen to it and not worry about what I have to say about it save that it’s really terrific. There’s feature interviews with Crutchfield at The Guardian, The Line Of Best Fit, NPR, and Time.

Video: Waxahatchee – “Coast To Coast”
Stream: Waxahatchee / Cerulean Salt

Also from NYC Taper and Solid Sound is Low’s set from the festival, as well as one from Brooklyn a few days earlier.

Chart talks to Fred Thomas of Saturday Looks Good To Me.

It was more shrugs than tears when it was announced Kim Deal was leaving Pixies earlier this month, what with the band having been more nostalgia profiteers than trailblazing artists since their reunion in 2004, but with the surprise drop of a new song – with Deal on it – this morning, we are reminded of how great they still could have been in the 21st century had they wanted to, and yes, a tear. Unless, of course, this isn’t the end but some sort of beginning…?

MP3: Pixies – “Bagboy”
Video: Pixies – “Bagboy”

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Tomorrow Is Yesterday

An introduction to Field Mouse

Photo By Shervin LainezShervin LainezIf it were as recently as last year, I would be spending this post – hell, yesterday’s post – talking about how after arriving in Chicago last Saturday, I went almost straight to Beat Kitchen to see Laura Stevenson and Field Mouse play, on account of missing the Toronto show of their tour this past Tuesday because of this little vacation. But because I’ve grown as a person and am no longer spending all my time and energy trying to make it to shows and write about them, I have nothing to say about that show because I didn’t make it anywhere near the club, though I can’t say that I didn’t look up where it was and write it in my calendar. Just in case.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the acquaintance of either of the acts. Stevenson I wrote about way in August 2010 – her new album Wheel is plenty solid, by the way, fans of country-pop would do well to check it out – but Brooklyn duo Field Mouse have had but a passing mention here, and I’d like to give them a little bit more because if your musical tastes align with mine – and why would you be here otherwise – they’re worth a listen.

Their name brings to mind – or is maybe confused for – English twee-pop forebears Field Mice, but while there are some points of intersection, particularly in their facility with melody and dreamy texture, the singular edition of Rachel Browne (vocals, guitar) and Andrew Futral (guitars) is much less navel-gazing and their shoegazey roots give their sound some wonderfully shimmering bite without overwhelming their tunefulness. It’s a formula that’s all about balance, and Field Mouse get it right. With a discography limited to just a few singles right now, they’re prepping their full-length debut for release later this year and have released a new video – presumably from said full-length – via Spin and recorded a video session for BrooklynVegan; as always, don’t read the comments. But do, however, hope they keep touring and make their way back to town soon, ideally when I’m also in town.

MP3: Field Mouse – “Tomorrow Is Yesterday”
MP3: Field Mouse – “Glass”
Stream: Field Mouse – “You Guys Are Gonna Wake Up My Mom”
Stream: Field Mouse – “Happy”
Video: Field Mouse – “Revenge Is Yesterday”

WNYC has a stream of one of the new Savoir Adore songs that will appear on the wide-release edition of their latest Our Nature when it comes out on June 4.

Stream: Savoir Adore – “Beating Hearts

Pitchfork has rightly devoted one of their fancily-presented cover story in-depth features to The National, and The Irish Times, The Hollywood Reporter, and 680 News also have features. They play Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.

Spin has premiered a new song from Florida’s Beach Day, whose debut Trip Trap Attack is out June 18 and who are here for NXNE on June 15 with a show at Handlebar in Kensington Market. DIY has a feature.

Stream: Beach Day – “Stay”

Exclaim has details on the new full-length from Crocodiles; Crimes of Passion is out August 20 and there’s a first track to hear courtesy of Stereogum. They’ll preview the album at the Adelaide Music Hall on June 17 when they support Japandroids.

MP3: Crocodiles – “Cockroach”

Chicago talks to Smith Westerns, who are streaming another new song from their forthcoming Soft Will. It’s out June 25 and they play Lee’s Palace on July 29.

Stream: Smith Westerns – “3AM Spiritual”

She & Him keep up the cutesy on the new video from Volume 3. They headline the first night of the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 4.

Video: She & Him – “I Could’ve Been Your Girl”

Beatroute and The Georgia Straight have interviews and NPR a session with Yo La Tengo, playing the final day of TURF at Garrison Commons on July 7. DIY also has an interview with bassist James McNew about the reissue series for his Dump side-project.

Loud & Quiet and The Fly have features on Kurt Vile, also here for TURF day four at Garrison Common on July 7.

Merge has announced a deluxe reissue of the last, great lo-fi Mountain Goats album All Hail West Texas on July 23, which is great new if for no other reason as it gives these imaginary liner notes by comics scribe a reason to exist, if only online.

Because he never needs to rest, Ty Segall has announced an August 20 release of his next album, entitled Sleeper. Details on the release at Consequence Of Sound, trailer below.

Trailer: Ty Segall / Sleeper

Pitchfork has details on the new record from The Dodos, entitled Carrier and out August 27.

Stream: The Dodos – “Confidence”

Noisey talks to Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing, who have a date at The Kool Haus on September 21 supporting Local Natives.

The Journal News chats with Sam Beam of Iron & Wine, in town at The Sound Academy on September 28.

Kevin Barnes talks to Rolling Stone about the next of Montreal record Lousy with Sylvianbriar, due out sometime this Fall.

Jim James tells Rolling Stone that My Morning Jacket plan to return to the studio to record their next record in October.

Rolling Stone Q&As Thurston Moore of Chelsea Light Moving, who’ve released a new video from their self-titled debut.

Video: Chelsea Light Moving – “Lip”

The 405 talks to Jon Ehrens and eMusic and City Paper to Jenn Wasner, who together are Dungeonesse.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has an interview and Rolling Stone an acoustic video session with The Thermals, who’ve just released a video for the decidedly non-acoustic new single from their latest, Desperate Ground.

Video: The Thermals – “The Sunset”

Spin has an oral history of The Breeders’ Last Splash on the occasion of the record’s 20th anniversary.

And Mike Mills uses the occasion of the Green quarter-century reissue to tell Rolling Stone that when R.E.M. said no reunion, they meant no reunion. So no reunion.

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Singers And The Endless Song

Iron & Wine & Local & Natives & NXNE & TURF & shows & stuff

Photo By Craig KiefCraig KiefSpring is only barely here – the past few days’ weather notwithstanding – but the concert announcement machine is already making eyes at Autumn with the unveiling of a couple of pretty high profile tours coming through town when the leaves start to change and the days get shorter.

Sam Beam, the walking epitome of bearded folk music, released Ghost On Ghost – his fifth album as Iron & Wine – last month, but until now only had Spring dates in the northeast and Europe confirmed on the itinerary. Come Fall, however, he and his band will traverse much of the middle of North America – the USA and Canada both – before wrapping things up in Toronto at The Sound Academy on September 28, advance tickets $30 for general admission and $40 for VIP balcony.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and New York Times have interviews with Sam Beam.

MP3: Iron & Wine – “Belated Promise Ring”
Video: Iron & Wine – “Joy”

Los Angeles’ Local Natives have already come through town once this year in support of their second album Hummingbird, but even a venue upgrade from The Opera House to The Phoenix wasn’t enough to meet demand. Hence, they’ve added a slew of dates that will take them around the planet and then some, stopping in Toronto at The Kool Haus on September 21, tickets $26.50. And if you’re thinking that you already saw them in March, know that they’ll have the quite excellent Wild Nothing along as support, touring behind last year’s Nocturne full-length and the just-released Empty Estate EP. There’s Local Natives feature pieces at The Huffington Post, Seattle Weekly, and Georgia Straight.

MP3: Local Natives – “You & I”
MP3: Wild Nothing – “Paradise”

Dialing things back to the Summer – and the festival circuit in particular – there were some updates of note over the last couple days. If you thought the otherwise comprehensive Arts & Crafts lineup for Field Trip had a conspicuous Dan Mangan-shaped hole in the lineup, you were right. And now it’s been filled by Dan Mangan himself; not just a similarly-bearded impersonator. That all goes down June 8 at Garrison Commons, and yes he’s still on the lineup for the Mumford-y “Gentlemen Of The Road Stopover” on August 23 out in Simcoe, Ontario.

MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”

NXNE revealed a bunch more acts for this year’s festival, descending on Toronto’s clubs from June 12 to 16, including Dan Deacon (despite his coming back a few weeks later to support Animal Collective’s make-up show), Still Corners (confirming they’re still doing festival dates in addition to the June 12 date supporting CHVRCHES at The Hoxton), and a slew of Canadian acts including Wintersleep, No Joy, The Super Friendz, Gold & Youth, and more – check out the artists page for a full list of current confirmed acts. I’ve also collated some of the where and when information, but there’s no point in sharing that ever-changing information until the official schedule is posted, which won’t be long because hey – the festival is less than a month away.

MP3: Dan Deacon – “Lots”
MP3: Still Corners – “Fireflies”
MP3: Wintersleep – “Resuscitate”

The Toronto Urban Roots Fest is mostly making waves as a multi-day, outdoor festival the likes of which Toronto hasn’t seen in some time, but its club-level happenings are turning out to be just as impressive, particularly if you’ve no love of multi-day, outdoor festivals. Running concurrently with the main festival, the club series will see the likes of Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys, The Wooden Sky, Dawes, and The Felice Brothers amongst others playing The Horseshoe and Lee’s Palace from July 4 to 7, tickets ranging from $20 to $30 including surcharges, on sale May 23. Some who where and when information is available at the TURF website.

MP3: Frank Turner – “The Roads”
MP3: Dawes – “If I Wanted Someone”
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”
Video: The Felice Brothers – “Ponzi”
Video: Alejandro Escovedo – “Sally Was A Cop” (live)

With their new record Planta set for a June 11 release and a new video from it just out, Brazil’s CSS have put together a North American tour that brings them to The Opera House on July 4, tickets $25.

MP3: CSS – “Hits Me Like A Rock”
Video: CSS – “Hangover”

There’s good news and bad news from the House Of Tomorrow: the good is that, with their new record Partygoing set to come out on June 4 (as well as the Memories of Love, Eternal Youth, and Partygoing. discography-collecting box set), Future Bible Heroes are undertaking a rare tour. The bad news is is that chief songwriter and personality Stephin Merritt will not be participating, though key members Claudia Gonson, Christopher Ewen, Shirley Simms, and Anthony Kaczynski will. So even without Merritt’s delicious dourness, a wonderful time should be had by all at Lee’s Palace on July 22. Tickets for that are $15.50.

Stream: Future Bible Heroes – “Living, Loving, Partygoing”

The Fly talks to Chicago’s Smith Westerns about their new record Soft Will, which will be out June 25. They’ve released the first video and rolled out a batch of tour dates via Pitchfork; the Toronto date comes July 29 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $17.

MP3: Smith Westerns – “Still New”
Video: Smith Westerns – “Varsity”

With a new album in Pura Vida Conspiracy due out July 23, everyone’s favourite – and probably only – Gypsy punks Gogol Bordello have announced a massive tour that comes to Toronto for not one but two nights – August 19 and 20 at The Danforth Music Hall. Rolling Stone has a conversation with frontman Eugene Hutz.

Stream: Gogol Bordello – “Malandrino”

Pinback are back for a date at Lee’s Palace on September 7 in support of last year’s Information Retrieved; tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.

MP3: Pinback – “Proceed To Memory”

FIDLAR – whose name stands for “Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk”, if you were wondering – are teaming up with fellow Los Angelenos The Orwells for a Fall tour that hits The Hard Luck on October 18, tickets $13. FIDLAR released their self-titled debut earlier this year whereas The Orwells’ debut Remember When came out last year. DIY and The Clock have themselves FIDLAR features.

MP3: FIDLAR – “Cheap Beer”
MP3: The Orwells – “Other Voices”

Grantland and MusicOmh profile The National, whose new album Trouble Will Find Me is out on May 21 and who play Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.

It won’t be out in time for her July 13 date at The Kool Haus, but Spin has some info on Solange’s new album, which will be out this year on her own label under Sony.

Exitmusic have premiered a new video from last year’s debut Passage at NPR.

Video: Exitmusic – “White Noise”