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Posts Tagged ‘James Blake’

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

It Is What It Is

Review of Blood Orange’s Cupid Deluxe

Photo By Stacey MarkStacey MarkTo say that following the musical career of Dev Hynes is an adventure is rather an understatement. Starting out with the deliberately sophomoric art-punk Test Icicles, he recast himself as an orch-folk troubadour on Falling Off The Lavender Bridge, his 2008 solo album under the Lightspeed Champion name. It was an identity he quickly found himself outgrowing, his second and last record in that guise – 2010’s Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You – had its share of high points but felt unfocused, like at a creative crossroads. Focus came with another new identity, Blood Orange, and 2011’s Coastal Grooves – a stripped-down and decidedly solo soul/disco record that sounded made in and for the bedroom that was criminally overlooked.

But crucially, while refining and redefining his own artistic identity, Hynes was becoming a highly sought-after producer, particularly after becoming Solange Knowles’ co-writer, producer, and sideman. That all-consuming role through most of this year, not to mention his other production duties, made it unclear if he’d be able to return to his own work anytime soon but somehow he still found time to not only record and release his second Blood Orange album Cupid Deluxe, out this week.

The most marked difference between Cupid and its predecessor is the sheer number of hands on deck. Coastal Grooves was entirely Hynes’ show, a fact emphatically made by his live shows – but Cupid finds Hynes more than happy to be allowing the likes of Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek, Friends’ Samantha Urbani, Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth from his indie rock world and Despot, Skepta, and Clams Casino from his hip-hop world take centre stage while he remains the producer and songwriter running the show. And that show is akin to a dazzlingly diverse r&b revue built around themes of both alienation and community in New York City, coupling heartfelt sentiment to slick grooves.

Dev Hynes has been making music now for almost a decade, and what in isolation might seem like random and disparate creative shifts, when viewed as a whole, paint the picture of an impressively complex and immensely talented artist. Cupid Deluxe is, thus far, the most cohesive assemblage of his gifts – ironic, since it overtly showcases him the least. I personally would have liked to have his guitarwork given a little more prominence – the man can shred, as anyone who’s ever seen him live can attest – but for the time being, the brilliant missed riff key change at 2:43 of “Uncle ACE” will keep me going.

Hynes talks influences with The New York Times and is the cover feature of The Fader, for whom he’s also assembled hour-long mixtape containing new material. But if you’re waiting on tour dates to support the new record, don’t hold your breath.

Video: Blood Orange – “Time Will Tell”
Video: Blood Orange – “Chamakay”

Noisey has premiered the video for the title track of Rose Elinor Dougall’s new EP Future Vanishes, out officially this week.

Video: Rose Elinor Dougall – “Future”

NME has got the new video from Beady Eye, taken from their second album BE which is apparently getting a North American release this week because North Americans have been clamouring for it…?

Video: Beady Eye – “Soul Love”

Rolling Stone is streaming another new song from Kele’s forthcoming Heartbreaker solo EP, out November 25.

Stream: Kele – “God Has A Way”

The Guardian and Drowned In Sound talk to Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon; she’s in town at The Drake Underground on January 21.

NME has details on the new album from Maxïmo Park, entitled Too Much Information and due out February 3. They’ve released a video for the first single, which you can also download in exchange for an email address from their website.

Video: Maxïmo Park – “Brain Cells”

Fanfarlo have announced details of their third studio album: Let’s Go Extinct will be out February 10, and of course there’s a trailer.

Trailer: Fanfarlo / Let’s Go Extinct

The Guardian talks to Lily Allen about her impending return to music with a separate piece about the brouhaha surrounding her comeback video.

Anna Calvi lists off ten life-changing albums for MusicRadar.

Metro has an interview with M.I.A., who has released a new video from her latest, Matangi.

Video: M.I.A. – “Y.A.L.A.”

Consequence Of Sound interviews Charli XCX.

Little Boots has made a couple of extended edits of songs from Nocturnes available to download via HungerTV.

MP3: Little Boots – “Broken Record” (Nocturnal version)
MP3: Little Boots – “Strangers” (Nocturnal version)

Franz Ferdinand salute Australia with a cover of The Go-Betweens in a video session for Triple J. They’ve also released a new official video from Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action.

Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Bullet”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Was There Anything I Could Do?” (live)

Black Book interviews CHVRCHES and The Alternate Side welcomes them for a session.

Drowned In Sound gets a look at Summer Camp’s tools of the trade (read: their musical gear).

The Huffington Post gets some EDM smack talk of out reigning Mercury Prize champ James Blake.

A Music Blog, Yea? talks to drummer Rick McMurray of Ash.

BrooklynVegan interviews Johnny Marr.

The Quietus revisits the first House Of Love album on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

Under The Radar talks to Mark Gardener and Andy Bell of Ride about the enduring legacy of their debut album Nowhere.

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Retrograde

James Blake wins Mercury Prize, hopes people will now stop asking him about tennis

Photo By Nabil ElderkinNabil ElderkinJames Blake is hardly an unknown in certain circles, but it’s understandable if he has some identity issues. He’s often mixed up with the American tennis player of the same name, and just last night at a gathering of British music industry types who ought to know better, he was introduced by BBC presenter Lauren Laverne as treacle-singing countryman James Blunt. It’s a good thing they got it right a few minutes later when he was announced winner of the 2013 Mercury Music Prize for his album Overgrown.

In doing so, he bested not only the heavily favoured (Laura Mvula), buzz bands (Disclosure), stars (Arctic Monkeys), legends (David Bowie), and underdogs (Jon Hopkins ), but allowed the genres of indie, pop, R&B, electronic, dubstep, and whatever else he might have been described as to claim victory. For a prize that inevitably leaves people crying unfair or out of touch for whatever reason, not a bad compromise. I only wish that he’d named the album after the first single so that we could make the easy – and accurate – joke about the Mercury being in Retrograde. Ah, opportunities missed.

And it makes Blake’s decision to cancel a few dates of his current North American tour to attend the Mercury ceremony look like a pretty smart move. He’s back across the pond after some celebrations, I’m sure, and will be taking the stage at The Kool Haus in Toronto on November 10. Under The Radar and Clash have conveniently-timed features on Blake

Video: Video: James Blake – “Retrograde”
Video: Video: James Blake – “Overgrown”

And though they didn’t win, some of the nominees were using the occasion and extra attention to unveil some goodies. David Bowie premiered a video for the James Murphy remix of “Love Is Lost” that appears on The Next Day Extra deluxe edition of his new record which comes out November 5; watch it below and read a little of the making-of for the clip via The Mirror. And five of the new songs that also appear on the Extra release are available to stream – for Canadians only – at CBC Music, although some enterprising internet-user has already ripped four of them to non-geoblocked YouTube; “God Bless The Girl” appeared on the Japanese release of The Next Day, so that doesn’t technically count as new, but you may as well stream that too.

Video: David Bowie – “Love Is Lost” (Hello Steve Reich Mix)
Stream: David Bowie – “Atomica”
Stream: David Bowie – “The Informer”
Stream: David Bowie – “Like A Rocket Man”
Stream: David Bowie – “Born In A UFO”
Stream: David Bowie – “God Bless The Girl”

Though surely relieved to have not won something they were clearly uncomfortable with, Savages still timed the release of a new video from Silence Yourself to coincide with the ceremony. Guitarist Gemma Thompson took to Tumblr to discuss the new Vonnegut-inspired clip and DIY has a cover story on the band.

Video: Savages – “Marshal Dear”

Although not Mercury-recognized, Frightened Rabbit also released a new clip from Pedestrian Verse via DIY.

Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Holy”

Los Campesinos! have put out a new video from their latest No Blues, which is out now in the UK but doesn’t get North American release until November 12. A Heart Is A Spade, Pitchfork, and Interview talk to the band about the new record.

Video: Los Campesinos! – “Avocado, Baby”

Daughter are using tour footage/their tour diary as the new video from If You Leave

Video: Daughter – “Amsterdam”

BrooklynVegan interviews Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, though the subject of his Mercury Prize conspiracy theories don’t come up. Shields leads MBV into the Kool Haus on November 5.

Blood Orange has released a lyric video for the second preview of his next record Cupid Deluxe, coming out November 19.

Lyric Video: Blood Orange – “You’re Not Good Enough”

Veronica Falls are now streaming the b-side of their new Australia/Japan tour 7″, being released to those not seeing them on said tour come December 9.

Stream: Veronica Falls – “Ned You Around”

Yuck v2.0 makes their Toronto debut behind their second album Glow & Behold at The Garrison on January 17, part of a full North American tour.

Video: Yuck – “Middle Sea”

Mogwai have announced a January 21 release date for their new studio album Rave Tapes; stream the first song from it below.

Stream: Mogwai – “Remurdered”

Former Mercury Prize winners Elbow have given their new record – already locked in for a March 10 release – the title of Carry Her Carry Me; details at Exclaim.

Daytrotter has a session with Fanfarlo, who’ve just released their The Sea EP ahead of a new full-length due out next year.

The 405 has an interview with Kele Okereke of Bloc Party.

The Guardian has premiered a mini-documentary film of The Vaccines on the road.

Summer Camp share their top ten favourite horror films with Consequence Of Sound – just in time for American Thanksgiving!

And to bring it all around, Clash wonders if the Mercury Prize might be better if it were more like Canada’s Polaris Prize.

Friday, September 13th, 2013

The Stars Are Out Tonight

The 2013 Mercury Prize shortlist includes David Bowie and nine acts who are not David Bowie

Photo By Jimmy KingJimmy KingSo the shortlist for the 2013 Mercury Prize – awarded to the best British or Irish album of the year – was announced the other day, and contrary to the odds reported by NME earlier this week, London Grammar – favoured to win – was nowhere to be found. Nor, out of their top ten, were Steve Mason, Daughter, Primal Scream, or CHVRCHES. Not that I have any idea how bookmakers come up with their odds, nor how accurate they’ve been in the past. But to list an album at 15:8 to win and not even have it make the shortlist, well that’s some questionable prognostication.

The ten records that did make the list are as follows, and I’m mildly surprised that I’ve heard more of these than I usually have – a fact which kind of supports those who complain that the Mercury has gotten safe or predictable. I’m personally pulling for Bowie, if you hadn’t guessed; the release of The Next Day instigated a year of Bowie discovery, which included a deeper appreciation for has last two records Heathen and Reality along with the more classic material and a pilgrimage to his old digs in Berlin (though that wasn’t the main reason for the trip, that would be ridiculous). Plus there’s the David Bowie Is exhibit opening at the Art Gallery of Ontario later this month – let’s face it, this is the year of Bowie. The Mercury should just accept it and fall in line. The winner of this year’s prize will be announced on October 30.

Oh, and Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine has some choice words for the Mercury Prize, and they’re not positive. The Guardian has that.

Arctic Monkeys / AM / Video: “Do I Wanna Know?”
David Bowie / The Next Day / Video: “The Next Day”
Disclosure / Settle / Video: “When A Fire Starts To Burn”
Foals / Holy Fire / Video: “Late Night”
Jake Bugg / Jake Bugg / Video: “Lightning Bolt”
James Blake / Overgrown / Video: “Retrograde”
Jon Hopkins / Immunity / Video: “Open Eye Signal”
Laura Marling / Once I Was An Eagle / Video: “Master Hunter”
Laura Mvula / Sing To The Moon / Video: “Green Garden”
Rudimental / Home / Video: “Waiting All Night”
Savages / Silence Yourself / Video: “Shut Up”
Villagers / Awayland / Video: “Nothing Arrived”

Summer Camp’s Elizabeth Sankey takes Clash behind the scenes of the video for “Fresh”, taken from their just-released new record Summer Camp.

NOW checks in with Arctic Monkeys, who kick off their North American tour on September 15 at The Kool Haus.

The Skinny and philly.com get to know CHVRCHES, who play The Danforth Music Hall on September 15. Their debut The Bones Of What You Believe is out September 24.

Filter talks to Elvis Costello and ?uestlove of The Roots about their new collaborative album Wise Up Ghost, which comes out September 17.

Icona Pop have released a new video from their forthcoming kinda-but-not-really debut This Is… Icona Pop, out September 24.

Video: Icona Pop – “All Night”

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with London Grammar, who will be at The Great Hall on October 4.

Under The Radar has posted their recent cover story on Charli XCX, who makes her local headlining debut at Wrongbar on November 9.

Dev Hynes is a dancing machine in the new Blood Orange video, which also serves as the first taste of his new record Cupid Deluxe. It should be out this year.

Video: Blood Orange – “Chamakay”

A Music Blog, Yea interviews The Vaccines.

Under The Radar talks to Still Corners.

Junip have released a new video from this year’s self-titled album.

Video: Junip – “Walking Lightly”

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Misty's Nightmares 1 & 2

The Father John Misty prescription for touring burnout? More touring, of course

Photo By Emma GarrEmma GarrUntil now, it’s been kind of funny ha ha how Josh Tillman has kept the Father John Misty touring roadshow going for so long – after all, he’s hardly been off the road since his post-Fleet Foxes debut Fear Fun came out last May, having come to Toronto alone no less than five times since then, starting with a show at the Horseshoe shortly thereafter and, as both headliner and undercard, working his way through Lee’s Palace, The Opera House, The Phoenix, and this past Saturday night at The Danforth Music Hall (his second time there; he opened for The Walkmen there in January).

But things apparently got a little more funny weird at said show; I wasn’t there as I was busy being kicked in the head by crowdsurfing Phoenix fans at The Grove Fest, but according to NOW and corroborated by acquaintances in attendance and Twitter, Tillman started the encore with a monologue about feeling increasingly detached from his songs – perhaps because he’s been playing them live almost every night for 15 months? – and then perhaps pushed over the edge by constant heckling through the night, smashed his guitar and stormed off stage, ending the show. Uncomfortable for everyone, and maybe a sign that Tillman needs to take a little break?

Or maybe he just needs to get back on the horse. Clearly he believes the latter, because with the pieces of his guitar barely picked up off the Danforth stage, he’s announced another return engagement – that’s six times in seventeen months which has to be some kind of record – this time on October 15 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, tickets running $21.50 to $29.50. This will be part of his previously announced solo variety tour with comedian Kate Berlant as support, and for those who like his decidedly out-there stage banter, this show should be a delight; those who like his interpretive dancing might not be so happy since that’s a little weird in a solo setting. But then, nothing’s too weird for Father John Misty.

Earlier this year, Paste ran a story about what they called “J. Tillman’s brilliant, antagonistic relationship with his audience”; it may be relevant reading.

MP3: Father John Misty- “Nancy From Now On”
MP3: Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
Video: Father John Misty – “Funtimes In Babylon”
Video: Father John Misty – “Nancy From Now On”
Video: Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”

English trio London Grammar, whose chilled-out atmospheric pop recalls a Florence-fronted xx which is probably exactly the point, have announced a North American tour behind their debut album If You Wait, which comes out September 10. They’re in Toronto at BLK BOX on October 4 and there’s features on the band at Fortitude Magazine, Consequence Of Sound, and Gigwise.

Video: London Grammar – “Strong”
Video: London Grammar – “Wasting My Young Years”

Teenage New Zealand electro-soul up-and-comer Ella Yelich-O’Connor, aka Lorde, is looking to make inroads in North America and is playing some Fall dates behind the September 30 release of her debut, including October 6 at The Hoxton; tickets are $20 in advance. The Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post have feature interviews.

Video: Lorde – “Tennis Courts”
Video: Lorde – “Royals”

Chillwave survivors – or at least they certainly hope they are – Keep Shelly In Athens and Chad Valley, hailing from Greece and the UK respectively, have teamed up for a North American tour that hits Wrongbar in Toronto on October 15, tickets $15 in advance. Keep Shelly In Athens’ debut At Home comes out September 17, and a couple tracks from it are available to stream.

MP3: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Running Out Of You”
MP3: Chad Valley – “I Want Your Love”
Stream: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Oostende”
Stream: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Recollection”

I can’t say as I understand the logic of the pairing, but Brian Wilson – along with fellow founding Beach Boys Al Jardine and David Marks – and English guitar hero Jeff Beck for a Fall tour that stops in at The Sony Centre on October 26. It seems Beck will sit in with Wilson as well as playing his own set, so if you’ve always thought that Pet Sounds could have used more jazz fusion/metal guitar, your ship has come in.

Video: Brian Wilson – “Heroes & Villains”
Video: Jeff Beck – “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers”

With his appearance at OVO Fest in the books and completely overshadowed by the likes of Kanye, Ma$e, Diddy, and TLC, James Blake has filled in the Toronto-shaped hole in his previously-announced Fall tour itinerary with a show at The Kool Haus on November 10, tickets $30. 3News and The Age have interviews.

MP3: James Blake – “I Never Learnt To Share”

With the August 20 release of their new album Crimes Of Passion almost nigh, Crocodiles have released a new video via Rolling Stone and tour dates via Exclaim. The Toronto date comes on November 19 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $13.50.

Video: Crocodiles – “Cockroach”

Born Ruffians have announced a hometown show in support of their latest effort Birthmarks; they’re at The Danforth Music Hall on November 22, tickets $18.50 to $20.

MP3: Born Ruffians – “Sole Brother”

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Every Weekday

Camera Obscura defeats the slow news day with Desire Lines stream

Photo By Anna Isola CrollaAnna Isola CrollaWith yesterday being both Memorial Day in the US and a Bank Holiday in the UK, the internet was understandably reasonably quiet, at least from a music news perspective. If you covered, say, municipal affairs in Toronto, then it was far from it. But I digress.

If you were to have only one noteworthy item to lead off a post, however, you could do far worse than to announce that Scotland’s Camera Obscura have made their new long-player of elegant indie-pop Desire Lines – the first since 2009’s My Maudlin Career – available to stream in whole via NPR before its formal release date of next Tuesday, June 4. And the perfect accompaniment for that listening session would be these feature pieces on the band in The Scotsman and The List, and the knowledge that in just over a month’s time – July 4 – they’ll be in town opening up for She & Him on the first night of the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons.

MP3: Camera Obscura – “Fifth In Line To The Throne”
Stream: Camera Obscura / Desire Lines

Consequence Of Sound interviews Laura Marling as her new record Once I Was An Eagle is officially out in North America as of today.

Beady Eye have released a second video from their second album BE, due out in the UK on June 10.

Video: Beady Eye – “Second Bite Of The Apple”

CHVRCHES have rolled out another track that will presumably appear on their forthcoming debut album when it comes out this Fall. Which also means you will recognize one more song they play at The Hoxton on June 12. Counteract has an interview with the band.

Stream: CHVRCHES – “Gun”

Iceage explains to aux.tv why they’re not fascists, which really, is exactly what a fascist would say. They’re at The Horseshoe on June 15 for NXNE.

Spin, The Scotsman, and Liverpool Echo talk to Bobby Gillespie about the new Primal Scream album More Light – out now abroad and June 18 in North America – while The Guardian welcomes the band for an acoustic video session.

MTV Hive chats with Palma Violets, who’ve released a new video from their debut 180. They make their third local appearance of the year on August 3 at Garrison Commons as part of The Grove Fest.

Video: Palma Violets – “Best Of Friends”

Thomas Mars of Phoenix – who are headlining The Grove Fest at Garrison Commons on August 3 – recounts the soundtrack of his life for The Guardian.

Consequence Of Sound and The Boston Globe talk to James Blake, who has been announced as one of the featured acts at this year’s Drake-assembled OVO Fest at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 4. NPR is also streaming a complete concert in HD from DC recently.

By way of Elizabeth Sankey’s blog, Summer Camp report that their second album is done, with release details still to come.

The Daily Star reports that Manic Street Preachers will break their hiatus which began after 2010’s Postcards From a Young Man with two new albums, being recorded simultaneously – one mostly acoustic, the other mostly not.

Brett Anderson discusses the success of the Suede reunion with Drowned In Sound.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Frightened Rabbit.

MusicOmh interviews Victoria Hesketh of Little Boots.

NOW previewed Charli XCX’s visit last week with an interview, while Stereogum captured a Backstreet Boys cover in a video session. She also just released a new video from her debut True Romance.

Video: Charli XCX – “Take My Hand”

Rolling Stone grabbed a wide-ranging Q&A with Damon Albarn before Blur’s Coachella appearances last month where he reflects on projects past and future, including a new Blur record and his first solo album.

British Sea Power have rolled out a new video from their latest album, Machineries Of Joy.

Video: British Sea Power – “Hail Holy Queen”

Allo Darlin’ unveil a new song via a video session for BalconyTV.

The Alternate Side has a session and interview with and The Georgia Straight a feature piece on Daughter.

Daytrotter has a session with Billy Bragg.

CBC Music got to know Iceland’s Of Monsters & Men before they played their festival this past weekend.

The 405 meets The Raveonettes.

The Fly has a feature piece on Denmark’s Vår.