Posts Tagged ‘Islands’

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

CONTEST – Islands @ The Music Gallery – February 28, 2012

Photo By Liam MaloneyLiam MaloneyWho: Islands
What: Endlessly malleable Montreal pop outfit led by Nick Thorburn.
Why: Their latest album A Sleep & A Forgetting, an uncharacteristically dark and stark meditation on love and loss, was released earlier this week.
When: Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Where: The Music Gallery / St. George the Martyr Church in Toronto (all-ages)
Who else: Kentucky’s Idiot Glee support.
How: Tickets for the show are $22.50 in advance but courtesy of Union Events, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to see Islands” in the subject line and your full name in the body; contest closes at midnight, February 23.
What else: There’s interviews with Thorburn at Exclaim, The Ottawa Citizen, Sticky, and The National Post while MTV asks for some advice on dating indie rockers (don’t) and The Los Angeles Times solicits a playlist of sad songs.

MP3: Islands – “This Is Not A Song”

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Anything You Want Dear

Zeus release second album like it’s the Kraken or something

Photo By Derek BranscombeDerek Branscombe’70s-styled radio rock – the sort marked by tight multi-part harmonies, guitars that go from chunky rhythms to smooth leads like the peanut butter aisle, and a laid back sort of pop songcraft that’s inviting like a pitcher of beer on a hot Summer’s day – has been back in style lately, and no one’s done a better job of repping it locally than Zeus. Their 2010 debut Say Us won them plenty of fans both across Canada and abroad.

Somehow amidst all the touring the band did for their debut, they managed to write and record a new batch of songs and they’ve been collected as Busting Visions, which has been given a street date of March 27. To build anticipation, a couple of new songs have been released into the wild – a first MP3 is downloadable at Rolling Stone and another is streaming over at NPR.

If you want to hear the new songs – and probably some old ones – previewed live in front of a hometown crowd, Zeus have been announced as the headliner at the Horseshoe on the Friday night of Canadian Musicfest. That’s March 23 and they’re slated to go on at 1AM, but be prepared to be there at doors if you’re planning to see them because the ‘Shoe always fills up during CMW regardless of who’s playing and this will surely not be any different. Advance tickets will guarantee you entry and cost $15, otherwise you can try your luck with a festival wristband.

And I’m not saying that they’re related at all, but it’s interesting that Say Us came out just a couple months before Clash Of The Titans and now Busting Visions hits days before Wrath Of The Titans. At least I think so.

MP3: Zeus – “Anything You Want Dear”
Stream: Zeus – “Are You Gonna Waste My Time?”

The Darcys – another Toronto band with a pronounced affection for the “me” decade – have released a video from their Steely Dan cover record Aja. It’s premiered over at and drummer Wes Marskell talks about it with Interview. The band are at The Phoenix on March 1 opening for Bombay Bicycle Club and are on the bill of Edgefest at Downsview Park on July 12.

Video: The Darcys – “Josie”

PunkNews has an interview with Damian Abraham of Fucked Up, whose new Chinese zodiac single “Year Of The Tiger” is now available to stream – all fifteen minutes of it. They’re at Steam Whistle Brewing on February 17 as part of Wavelength 12.

Stream: Fucked Up – “Year Of The Tiger”

Also part of the Wavelength anniversary fest, though two nights later on February 19 at The Garrison, are PS I Love You. They’ve finally completed their second album and on May 8, will be wishing Death Dreams on everyone. How kind. Chart has more info on the record.

Exclaim has got the new Islands record A Sleep & A Forgetting available to stream ahead of its physical release next Tuesday. They’re at The Music Gallery on February 28 and Nick Thorburn discusses the new record with New York Magazine and

MP3: Islands – “This Is Not A Song”
Stream: Islands / A Sleep & A Forgetting

Spin has made a new MP3 from Plants & Animals’ forthcoming The End Of That available to download. It’s out February 28 and the Montrealers are at Lee’s Palace on April 21.

MP3: Plants & Animals – “Song For Love”

Spinner has premiered a new video from Little Scream’s 2010 debut The Golden Record. She’s at The Great Hall on March 1 opening for The Barr Brothers.

Video: Little Scream – “Boatman”

Vancouver retro-soul outfit Chains Of Love have finally announced details of their full-length debut, to be entitled Strange Grey Days and due out on March 13. Specifics and a first taste is available to stream over at Exclaim, and the band have a couple of local dates coming up – a March 24 date at The Horseshoe as part of Canadian Musicfest (they’re on at 9:20) and then one on April 13 at The Great Hall opening up for Said The Whale.

Stream: Chains Of Love – “He’s Leaving (With Me)”

Beatroute has an interview and Exclaim a video session in two parts with John K Samson, in town at The Great Hall on March 22 for Canadian Musicfest.

NPR has posted video of a KEXP radio session and The New Zealand Herald an interview with Austra.

Stereogum has posted streams of a few selections from the Leonard Cohen covers CD currently gracing – which is to say glued to – the cover of Mojo. Hear Cohen redos by the likes of Cass McCombs, Field Music and Bill Callahan.

The Line Of Best Fit has unleashed their 20th Oh Canada compilation. Have at it.

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012


John K. Samson at Soundscapes in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThough his punk credentials are beyond reproach thans to his tenure in Propagandhi, John K. Samson has always cut a bit of a curious figure in front of The Weakerthans. While his bandmates are more than willing and able to play the part of rockers in turning out muscular guitar riffs and solos, Samson by comparison has always been a bit slight of stature, reedy of voice, sheepish of grin; the thoughtful and verbose folksinger who somehow ended up fronting a rock band. I don’t know if the contrast between he and his mates has especially struck anyone else, but it’s always been one of those things I’ve noticed – particularly live – and been one of the key facets to The Weakerthans’ collective charms.

So the idea of Samson taking a solo sidebar, as he does for the first time on the just-released Provincial, is an interesting one. His songwriting style – photographically-detailed and emotionally evocative vignettes of everyday life in distinctly Canadian settings – is a well-established and well-loved one by this point, but what it would sound like without the extra sonic heft that the rest of The Weakerthans could be counted on to bring to the table? Not too different, as it turns out. Although it still has a lot of range amidst its dozen compositions and “Longitudinal Centre” comes wrapped in some nasty fuzztone, Provincial doesn’t get as punchy as a proper Weakerthans record might. It lays back some and moves at a more casual pace that feels different, but also entirely natural; it might be heretical to say, but Samson solo seems to suit Samson better than Samson as bandleader does. This is in no way a wish for the end of The Weakerthans, but if Samson wants to be himself for a little while longer, it’s alright with me.

It was Samson himself and alone who was marking the release day for Provincial with an acoustic in-store performance at Soundscapes last night, following up a reading from his also just-released Lyrics and Poems: 1997-2012 at Type the night before. It wasn’t a long set, as the clock ticked, but Samson still managed to showcase half his new record and reaffirm himself as a special kind of performer whose show you can go into knowing exactly what you’re going to get, get exactly that, and still somehow find yourself marvelling at how it was still somehow better than you expected. I’d listened to “Heart Of The Continent” and “The Last And” through the album quite a lot in the past month or so, and yet hearing it straight from his mouth still revealed unknown details. The album might be called Provincial but there’s no question that Samson is a national treasure.

There’s features on Samson and Provincial at Uptown, The Winnipeg Free Press, and Spinner while Exclaim and CBC talk to him about his lyrics book. Mechanical Forest Sound is sharing a recording of one of the songs from the in-store. Samson returns with a full band for a show at the Great Hall on March 22.

Photos: John K. Samson @ Soundscapes – January 24, 2012
Stream: John K. Samson – “Letter In Icelandic From The Ninette San”
Stream: John K Samson – “When I Write My Master’s Thesis”

Ohbijou are helping The Drake Hotel mark its eighth anniversary by playing a special, intimate show at The Underground on February 8 – tickets for the super-intimate show are $20 in advance.

MP3: Ohbijou – “Anser”

The Elwins will celebrate the February 21 self-release of their debut full-length And We Thank You with a release show on February 24 at The Burroghes Building at Queen and Bathurst (no, not the new CB2 – beside it), with support from The Meligrove Band and The Bicycles. Tickets $8 in advance.

MP3: The Elwins – “Stuck In The Middle”
MP3: The Meligrove Band – “Halflight”

And down the street the same night, Hooded Fang will be at The Great Hall; if you think that’s a bit of an ambitiously-sized room for them to try and fill, note that they’re bringing a lot of friends and only charging $10 in advance.

MP3: Hooded Fang – “ESP”
MP3: Hooded Fang – “Den Of Love”

Treble Charger aren’t the only band from my college years getting back together for Canadian Musicfest; The Inbreds are digging their bass and drums out of the attic for a reunion show at Lee’s Palace on March 24.

Video: The Inbreds – “Any Sense Of Time”

Montreal’s Plants & Animals will follow up the February 28 release of The End Of That with an immense Spring tour; the April 21 show at Lee’s Palace will be the end of that. Tickets are $15 in advance and oh, there’s a cover they did of a Wolf Parade tune that’s making the rounds, have a boo.

MP3: Plants & Animals – “Lightshow”
Video: Plants & Animals – “I’ll Believe In Anything”

Clearly, it was all the saxophone on Kaputt that did it; Destroyer is coming back to town for a show at The Opera House on June 23 as part of The Toronto Jazz Festival – tickets are $22.50 in advance.

MP3: Destroyer – “Chinatown”

Exclaim has some details on a show at The Horseshoe on February 4 as part of Junofest 2012. I’m not really sure what it is but it involves people who play in bands like Sloan, Fucked Up and Broken Social Scene doing stuff together. I dunno, read the piece and you tell me.

Kathleen Edwards continues to rack up the press clippings with Voyageur – there’s pieces on her at Paste,, The Grid, NPR, eMusic, and The Globe & Mail. With this kind of momentum, her February 11 show at The Phoenix will be sold out right soon.

The Balconies have released a video for the title track of their Kill Count EP, which will get a physical release on February 28.

Video: The Balconies – “Kill Count”

Islands are streaming another new track from A Sleep & A Forgetting. It’s out February 14 and they’re at The Music Gallery on February 28.

Stream: Islands – “Hallways”

The Boston Globe has a feature piece on The Darcys, whose cover album of Steely Dan’s Aja is, like their self-titled debut, available to download for free from their website – or stream if you don’t want to commit – and to buy on LP. Consequence Of Sound has also premiered an alternate version of “Josie” for your listening pleasure. They’re at The Phoenix on March 1 opening for Bombay Bicycle Club and are also part of Edgefest at Downsview Park on July 12.

MP3: The Darcys – “Josie”
MP3: The Darcys – “Josie (Vol 2)”
Stream: The Darcys / Aja

CBC Radio 3 talks writing method with Dan Mangan. He’s at The Royal York on March 24 as part of the CMW Indie Awards.

Paste has premiered the first video from Great Lake Swimmers’ new album New Wild Everywhere. It’s out April 3 and they’re at The Music Hall June 2.

Video: Great Lake Swimmers – “Easy Come Easy Go”

The Line Of Best Fit has a feature interview with Bruce Peninsula, and also premiere a new video from Open Flames and are offering a mixtape of all the artists who’ve been part of the band.

Video: Bruce Peninsula – “In Your Light”

Xtra and Calgary Herald talk to Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon on the occasion of the release of their new EP For Paolo.

Mike Haliechuk of Fucked Up talks to Eater about eating.

The Guardian talks to Leonard Cohen and Drowned In Sound reports on a tete-a-tete between he and Jarvis Cocker about his new record Old Ideas, out next Tuesday and streaming in whole now at NPR.

Stream: Leonard Cohen / Old Ideas

Neil Young in the news – MTV reports that he still hates digital music but likes Mumford & Sons, while Rolling Stone reveals that he’s been working on a new album with Crazy Horse.

If you enjoyed last year’s video session collaboration between Southern Souls and Paper Bag Records, you’ll be pleased to know that the recordings have been collected into a compilation entitled Paper Bag Sessions and it’s available to download and keep for free.

And because that’s what the CBC is for, CBC Radio 3 has compiled a list of all the notable Canadian releases due out in the first half of 2012.

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Count The Clock In 2012

Wavelength announces lineup for 12th anniversary festivities

Photo via FacebookFacebookNestled amidst some concert announcements in a post last week were a couple of odd one-offs for No Joy and PS I Love You which were not part of any announced tour or timely promotional cycle. It didn’t occur to me to ask why, but just a little bit of thought would have made the answer obvious – Wavelength. The dates of their shows corresponded to the four-day weekend of the Toronto music series’ twelfth anniversary festival, and though neither of those acts is properly local – they hail from Montreal and Kingston, respectively – it makes perfect sense that they’d be invited to perform.

The rest of the lineup was announced earlier this week and as with every year it’s a doozie, occupying a different venue around the city each night and boasting a loaded and eclectic bill of bands. Tickets are available for each show or you can get a festival pass for $36, which is a bargain any way you look at it. They go on sale January 17 and the schedule shakes out as follows – for the “who they are / where they’re from / what they do”, head over to the Wavelength website.

Thursday, February 16 @ Parts & Labour: Metz, Odonis Odonis, Slim Twig, Man Made Hill, Eucalyptus ($10 advance)
Friday, February 17 @ Steam Whistle Brewing: Fucked Up, Bonjay, Catl, Silver Dapple, Hut ($17 advance)
Saturday, February 18 @ The Great Hall: No Joy , Sandro Perri, Nat Baldwin, Off The International Radar, The Weather Station ($12 advance)
Sunday, February 19 @ The Garrison: PS I Love You, Burning Love, Army Girls, Mötem, Most People ($10 advance)

MP3: Nat Baldwin – “Weights”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”
MP3: No Joy – “Hawaii”
MP3: Sandro Perri – “Love And Light”
MP3: PS I Love You – “Get Over”
MP3: The Weather Station – “Everything I Saw”
Video: Bonjay – “Stumble”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Blood Feast”
Video: Off The International Radar – “Sans Olo”
Video: Silver Dapple – “(Pauses)”

Islands are going small for their tour in support of A Sleep & A Forgetting, due out February 14 – the Toronto date is February 28 at the tiny Music Gallery, tickets for that are $22.50 in advance.

MP3: Islands – “This Is Not A Song”

Hot on the heels of the release of their self-titled debut, The Darcys have announced the release of their next album, a redo of Steely Dan’s Aja. The record will be available on January 24 and Rolling Stone has got the first MP3 from it available to download, while NOW asks drummer Wes Marskell, “why Aja?”. They play The Phoenix on March 1 in support of Bombay Bicycle Club and are also on the bill for Edgefest at Downsview Park on July 12.

MP3: The Darcys – “Josie”

The video surfaced at the end of last year, but the title track from Woodpigeon’s new For Paolo EP is now available to download.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “For Paolo”

Spinner spends some quality time chatting with The Wilderness Of Manitoba.

NPR is streaming the whole of Kathleen Edwards’ new record Voyageur ahead of its release date next Tuesday. She plays The Phoenix on February 11.

Stream: Kathleen Edwards / Voyageur

Austra has released a new video from the breakout Feel It Break, and if that’s not enough there’s also an interview and session at The Alternate Side to read and watch.

Video: Austra – “Spellwork”

Yours Truly has a video session with Grimes to share. Visions is out February 21 and she plays The Horseshoe on March 19.

NPR welcomes Kathryn Calder for a World Cafe session while The Province has posted an interview.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of a recent Suuns show in New York.

The second single from Leonard Cohen’s new album Old Ideas is available to stream. It’s out January 31.

Stream: Leonard Cohen – “Darkness”

Monday, November 14th, 2011


Coeur de Pirate at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe last few years have seen a bit of a renaissance with respect to Francophone Canadian bands making inroads both in English-speaking Canada and internationally, thanks in no small part to there generally being at least one such act on every year’s Polaris Music Prize shortlist. And circa 2009, I certainly expected Montreal’s Béatrice Martin – aka Coeur de Pirate – to be leading the charge. Her 2008 self-titled debut made the long list that year, but hardly needed the boost – she was already a star in many French-speaking parts of the world and had even gotten some high-profile boosterism from American media types such as Perez Hilton and Good Morning America. And, oh, the fact that she was young, beautiful, completely bilingual, and her album a mesmerizing slice of piano-led pop certainly didn’t hurt her odds for success.

But rather than leverage that into ubiquity, Coeur de Pirate opted to play it coy with Anglo Canada, playing festival dates but never booking her own headlining show at a club or theatre. This made gauging her fanbase in Toronto, at least, a bit difficult – her NXNE 2009 showcase was nigh-on impossible to get into but also held at the tiny Dakota Tavern, whereas being tapped to open up day two of that year’s V Fest saw her playing to a mostly-empty Molson Amphitheatre to a brace of Nine Inch Nails die-hards. And earlier this year, when she was booked to play a free show at Harbourfront Centre, her potential audience was probably affected at least a little by another free show downtown by one Aretha Franklin.

All of which made her show at The Mod Club last Friday night to celebrate the release earlier that week of her second album Blonde of particular interest as it would be, as far as I knew, the first opportunity for local fans to actually buy tickets to a Coeur concert and show their support quantitatively. Which they did en masse, as the performance was completely sold out. It still would have been interesting to break them down demographically between long-time fans, ones who’d come to her via Armistice, her English-language side-project with Bedouin Soundclash Jay Malinowski, and how many had simple heard Blonde and been bowled over.

The last of those is eminently plausible as the new record is, in a word, amazing. The girlish, chanson-derived charms of Coeur de Pirate have blossomed into widescreen, swinging-’60s full-band pop gems with Martin functioning less as a singer-songwriter than a full-on bandleader. It was a role that Martin played perfectly on Friday night, alternately playing standing up behind her piano – no sitting! – or stepping out and up to the mic alone. Some pianist-frontpersons might feel uncomfortable or exposed away from their instruments, but Martin performed like a seasoned professional which, even though she’s just 22, I suppose she already is.

The full-band presentation not only did a fine job of bringing Blonde to life but also reinvented the Coeur de Pirate material, muscling up the arrangements and tempos and replacing its ingénue qualities with sass and sophistication. The middle portion of the set turned the time machine back from the ’60s back to the ’40s for a more melancholic vibe, but there was no way to make the show – which also included a couple of Armistice tunes with Malinowski showing up to play duet partner, an abridged version of her cover of The Weeknd’s “Wicked Games” and an unexpected mass audience singalong on “Comme des enfants” – anything less than a giddy celebration and coming-out party. It was a complete understatement when near the night’s end, Martin declared, “it’s been a good show”. It was a great show, and hopefully the first of many more to come.

The Grid, NOW, Exclaim, The National Post and Montreal Mirror all have features on Coeur de Pirate while NOW also has a writeup of the show.

Photos: Coeur de Pirate @ The Mod Club – November 11, 2011
Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Adieu”
Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Ensemble”
Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Francis”
Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Comme des enfants”
Video: Armistice – “Mission Bells”

The Vanguard has a chat with Jenn Grant, who has just scheduled a show at Hugh’s Room on November 23.

Video: Jenn Grant – “Getcha Good”

Beatroute and The Seattle Times have features on Feist, whose KCRW session is available to stream at NPR and whose show at the Glenn Gould Studio in October is available to stream on demand at CBC Radio 2 for a limited time – listen while you can! She’s at Massey Hall on December 1.

Opening up that show for Feist will be Bry Webb, who previewed a couple of new songs from his solo debut Provider for an Exclaim video session. The album is out tomorrow.

Spinner tries to sort out if Broken Social Scene is indeed broken up now or if they’re just on a really long break.

In conversation with Spinner,Damian Abraham of Fucked Up mused about his long-term future with the band, and shortly after that piece ran, Abraham took to Twitter to report that any doubts about continuing on had been put to rest. So that’s that. Elsewhere, NOW reports back from a Polaris Salon where FU drummer Jonah Falco offered some thoughts on David Comes To Life.

Press clippings follow Ohbijou as they tour across the country: there’s feature pieces with the band at Beatroute, CBC Radio 3, Here, Planet S, Uptown, and The Star-Phoenix while CBC Radio 3 also has their release show for Metal Meets at Toronto’s Trinity-St. Paul’s in September available to stream.

Dan Mangan is profiled in feature pieces in Beatroute. The Vancouver Sun, Monday, and The Calgary Herald.

The Walrus looks at the effect that Arcade Fire’s success has had on the Montreal music scene as a whole.

Nick Diamonds of Islands talks to Spinner about their new record A Sleep & A Forgetting, due out on February 14 of next year.

Sloan continue the 20th anniversary celebrations with the release of a Is That All That I Get, a 1993-vintage live bootleg recorded in Winnipeg and being pressed in a limited run of 300 pieces of green marbled vinyl.

Martyr interviews The Balconies.

Author Michael Barclay talks to Exclaim about the Have Not Been The Same ’90s Can-rock tribute compilation Too Cool to Live, Too Smart to Die, which is officially out tomorrow but which I just bought right now. And so can you. Details and tracklist of who covers who available at Radio Free Canuckistan.