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Posts Tagged ‘Jason Collett’

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Half Light II

2011 Polaris Music Prize long list is long

Photo By Anton CorbijnAnton CorbijnIt only took about six minutes via Twitter to announce the forty albums long-listed for the sixth edition of the Polaris Music Prize, we’ll have the next three weeks to argue over their relative merits and come July 6, when the ten record-strong short list is announced, another couple months to hash those out before the September 19 gala in Toronto when a yet-to-be-determined grand jury declares their pick for the best Canadian album of the past year. And there’s more at stake this year than in the past, literally-speaking – the grand prize purse has been increased from $20000 to $30000 and for the first time, the other short listed artists will go home with more than a poster and an understanding of how Shad feels; they’ll all take home $2000 prizes.

I’ve no doubt that much of the aforementioned debate will center around a certain record from a certain Montreal outfit that’s cleaned up at major awards worldwide. It almost seems like a foregone conclusion that they’ll do the same here, but if there’s one thing that past Polaris winners have shown, it’s that the jury likes the underdog and the more successful you are, the less likely you are to add this particular statuette to your mantle. If there was a statuette, that is. Having served my grand juror duty back in 2008, I’m happy that I won’t have to be part of the decision-making process on this one, but I would love to be a fly on the wall of the creepy jury room in the Masonic Temple that Monday evening in September, you bet your sweet bippy.

As for my part in this process, it’s just about done – four of my five picks made the long list, which means that I have to revisit my ballot and pick a longlisted record to replace the one that failed to garner quite enough journo love country-wide. And without going back over past ballot posts to see if this is redundant or not, I’ll quickly outline my personal criteria for my picks. Beyond the obvious, “do I like it a lot?”, I ask myself if the record is or feels “important”, whether for music, Canadian music or just the artist’s own narrative. If that sounds nebulous, that’s because it is. I know some people agonize over these sorts of lists, but honestly I find them pretty simple – I don’t pick the records I think are worthy, they tell me if they are. And so, without further ado, here was my Polaris long list ballot for 2011 with some explanations.

1. Arcade Fire / The Suburbs
Even though this wasn’t even amongst my favourite albums of 2010, taking into the Polaris mandate of rewarding the album with the greatest artistic merit I accepted that this had to be at the top of my list. It’s an album with thematic and musical ambitions that you simply don’t see much of or often enough. And while its reach does exceed its grasp at a few points, said grasp is still higher than most would even consider aspiring to, and the end result strikes a universal chord you can’t deny.
Video: Arcade Fire – “We Used To Wait”

2. Destroyer / Kaputt
Destroyer has always made excellent records, so that the most un-Destroyer record yet would also be maybe the best one is something not many saw coming. But by going lounge and trading (some) guitars for smooth synths and saxes, Dan Bejar has created an immersive sonic world that’s sleek, sad and sexy.
MP3: Destroyer – “Chinatown”

3. Miracle Fortress / Was I The Wave?
By the time I heard this record in early March, the Polaris-judging part of my brain was just about full and most of my ballot complete – or so I thought. Graham Van Pelt’s retro-futuristic sophomore effort refused release my attention though, holding it like some irresistibly shiny object dancing hypnotically in front of my eyes/ears. Which it essentially is.
MP3: Miracle Fortress – “Raw Spectacle”

4. Olenka & The Autumn Lovers / And Now We Sing
About as small and local a release as you’re likely to find discussed in Polaris circles, I didn’t really expect this one to make the long list, but certainly not because it’s not as good or better than the albums that did. Time has proven that my last-minute, gut-instinct inclusion of Sing on my 2010 year-end list was justified; it’s a special record, more people simply need to hear it.
MP3: Olenka & The Autumn Lovers – “Odessa”

5. Sloan / The Double Cross
If the Polaris was awarded to the the best first three songs on a record, then everyone else could just go home – Sloan would take it in a cake walk. The pop veterans celebrated their twentieth anniversary by making their strongest record in a decade and reminding anyone who’s taken them for granted – which is to say everyone – just how good they could be.
MP3: Sloan – “The Answer Was You”

I have a little while to rejig my ballot to replace the Olenka record with something else off the long list. I have a few options I’m weighing. Maybe I’ll fill you in when a decision is made. Maybe.

Spin has got a 30-minute Arcade Fire video feature from MuchMusic’s The Wedge, wherein the band are interviewed by Damian Abraham, frontman for 2009 Polaris champs Fucked Up. Fucked Up are also featured in Blare, Spin, NOW and Spinner. Their two NXNE appearances now done, their next local show will be on August 9 at the Air Canada Centre opening up for Foo Fighters.

While on the topic of former Polaris recipients, since they’ll be in town to hand over the title of “reigning Polaris Music Prize winner” on the 19th of September, Karkwa have scheduled a Canadian tour that includes show at Lee’s Palace for September 17, tickets $12.

MP3: Karkwa – “Dors Dans Mon Sang”

Though they’ve got two NXNE showcases this week – tonight at The Garrison, tomorrow at The Great Hall, long-listers Braids have scheduled another as part of a Fall tour – they’ll be at The Horseshoe on October 14. Spinner has an interview.

MP3: Braids – “Lemonade”

The Quietus and Sydney Morning Herald interview Dan Bejar of Destroyer.

NOW talks NXNE with PS I Love You, whose debut Meet Me At The Muster Station made the long list cut.

All three acts playing the free show at Yonge-Dundas Square tonight made the 2011 long list; The National Post talks to Stars, Spinner and The National Post chat with Land Of Talk’s Liz Powell and The Grid profiles John O’Reagan of Diamond Rings. The Diamond Rings remix rainbow project has also just released a reimagining of a NOW Handsome Furs tune. Stars have a new video.

MP3: Diamond Rings – “What About Us” (Diamond Rings remix)
Video: Stars – “We Don’t Want Your Body”

The Grid has an interview with the aforementioned NOW Handsome Furs, who are at The Garrison on Saturday night and The Horseshoe on August 1.

All three acts who played The Music Gallery last night also got some NXNE media attention; NOW profiled Snowblink, Blare got Evening Hymns’ Jonas Bonetta to give Tom Petty’s Wildflowers some love and The National Post and Post-City talked to Forest City Lovers’ Kat Burns.

Spinner talks to No Joy.

Spinner and NOW have interviews with Chad VanGaalen, who is playing The Great Hall on Saturday night.

Friday nights at Yonge-Dundas Square have been declared as “Indie Friday” and will host a weekly series of free shows to earn the title; particularly notable are shows from The Sadies on July 22 and the double-bill of Zeus and Jason Collett on September 9. All shows are free free free.

MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”
MP3: Jason Collett – “Bitter Beauty”
MP3: Zeus – “Marching Through Your Head”

On July 28, The Tranzac will host the pretty terrific double-bill of Gentleman Reg and Rae Spoon; tickets for the show just $10.

MP3: Gentleman Reg – “We’re In A Thunderstorm”
MP3: Rae Spoon – “Death By Elektro”

And just in time for Summer/Polaris/NXNE/whatever June 17 means to you, The Line Of Best Fit have released their seventeenth (!!!) Oh! Canada downloadable mix.

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Walls Of Dry Clouds

An introduction to Heartbeat Hotel

Photo via FacebookFacebookI am going to go out on a limb and say that Fetus Dreams, the debut full-length from Toronto’s Heartbeat Hotel, is the best free complete album you can and should download today. And not just because all it’ll cost you is 78 MB of hard disk space and a half hour of your time

The ambient/electro psychedelic pop of Fetus Dreams has got some of that meandering Grizzly Projector Collective vibe that the kids are so into these days – probably a selling point for some but not really for me – but they maintain focus sufficiently to make sure that the pop side of things doesn’t take a back seat to the trippy. There’s a few punchy guitar rock moments that speak to the shoegazer in me but what I find most compelling is how they manage to so effortlessly evoke the golden era of Elephant 6, particularly the Olivia Tremor Control camp, without sounding like they’re trying. In fact I would be surprised if asking them whether they preferred the songs of Will Cullen Hart or Bill Doss was met with a blank stare (though I also wouldn’t be surprised if the had a shrine erected to them in their rehearsal space).

Point being, while they don’t necessarily transcend their influences, they use them well while hanging onto their own personalities. They’re on to something and that something is good. There’s no local dates on the horizon but I’ll be keeping an eye out.

MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “Fins Of A Shark”
MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “Walls Of Dry Clouds”
MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “The Hello Barrel”
Album: Heartbeat Hotel / Fetus Dreams
MySpace: Heartbeat Hotel

The Georgia Straight profiles Wolf Parade.

Radio Free Canuckistan offers some ruminations on hanging out with Arcade Fire on the (figurative) eve of release of The Suburbs while The New York Times has a feature and Exclaim talks to bassist Tim Kinsbury. The official release date is this coming Tuesday but local retailers appear to have the go-ahead to start selling the double-vinyl this weekend. Arcade Fire play the Toronto Islands on August 14 and their show at Madison Square Garden next Thursday will be streamed live on YouTube starting at 10PM EDT, and the show will be directed by Terry Gilliam – which means you can expect a giant foot to come down and crush the band at the climax of “Power Out”.

The Sadies have released a new video from Darker Circles. They join Arcade Fire on the Island on August 14.

Video: The Sadies – “Cut Corners”

Sarah Harmer has released a new video from Oh Little Fire

Video: Sarah Harmer – “Captive”

FFWD profiles Dan Mangan.

Chart talks to Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon about his upcoming record(s). The vinyl edition of Balladeer, which was originally released as a companion disc to this year’s Die Stadt Muzikanten, now exists and will be available for sale soon. Woodpigeon play a noon-hour show at Yonge-Dundas Square on October 6.

Jason Collett will make up for his cancelled show at Mod which was supposed to happen last week with a solo acoustic date at the Church Of The Redeemer on November 11, part of his coast-to-coast “Undressed Tour”.

MP3: Jason Collett – “Love Is A Dirty Word”

Spin asks Metric where they got their name. Metric explains.

They were originally supposed to unveil a new video from Forgiveness Rock Record, but Broken Social Scene have decided to keep that under wraps until next week. PitchforkTV has your BSS video fix, though, as the band is featured in the debut of a new interactive multi-camera video session series called POV.

The Line Of Best Fit and A Pocket Full Of Seeds talk to Tokyo Police Club. There’s also a video session with the band at Baeble Music.

Born Ruffians tell Chart that they dig Bill Murray. And if you do too, then this interview at GQ and this bit of satire (yes) at Christwire. Because they’re funny.

Black Mountain are sharing a couple MP3s from the forthcoming Wilderness Heart, out September 14.

MP3: Black Mountain – “Hair Song”
MP3: Black Mountain – “Old Fangs”

Boise Weekly talks to The New Pornographers’ Carl Newman.

Caribou talks to aux.tv whilst dropping a new video from Swim.

Video: Caribou – “Sun”

Spinner talks to Holy Fuck.

Pitchfork is streaming Fucked Up’s new epic-length single “The Year Of The Ox”, which will be out on 12″ come September 28.

The Toronto Star talks to Daniel Lanois about the new Neil Young record, which he is producing. He intends to premiere some of the new songs at Nuit Blanche in October. The Guardian also has some details on the forthcoming Archives : Volume Two due out… oh let’s not even play that game.

Scott Pilgrim Vs The World director Edgar Wright is the cover story in this month’s Exclaim and CTV has a feature piece on the comic. And head over here for a sweet Google Maps mashup of Scott Pilgrim’s Toronto.

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Our Own Pretty Ways

First Aid Kit and Samantha Crain at The Rivoli in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThis past Saturday night was one of those evenings with absolutely no shortage of options for Toronto concert-goers – and that’s even before Arcade Fire showed up to siphon off another 1000 people or so to the east end – so I wasn’t sure how well the Toronto debut for both Sweden’s First Aid Kit and Oklahoma’s Samantha Crain at The Rivoli would do, particularly since I heard that First Aid Kit’s free in-store at Criminal Records earlier that afternoon – which I had to miss – was only lightly attended. Any concerns about possibly being the only one there, however, evaporated when I got to the Rivoli’s back room and literally had to squeeze my way through throngs of attendees to get near the front. Yeah, people were there.

I was there to see the headliners but the addition of Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers to the bill – which required them to drive for 14 hours straight following their set at Bonnaroo the night before – actually had me more excited. I’d been hearing great things about Crain for over a year – before last year’s SxSW, I think – but had managed to not get around to hearing any of her music beyond a few drive-by MySpace visits, so her set promised to combine the joy of a new discovery with the assurance that it’d be good. And it was. Classifying Crain as a folk-pop singer-songwriter type is technically accurate, but really doesn’t do the scope of her talents justice. As her set ably demonstrated, in addition to writing songs that are both melodic and affecting, she delivers them in a voice rich with soul and a touch of twang and on top of all that, she’s a fierce guitarist – acoustic and electric, thanks. And she’s funny. Needless to say, everyone who’s been telling me that she’s great over the last however long – you were right. And to everyone who hasn’t heard her yet… you should. Her latest album is the just-released You (Understood). Seek it out.

Crain might have set the bar high, and First Aid Kit were well-set to clear it, thanks in no small part to being frighteningly tall. Both Klara and Johanna Söderberg measure in at close to six feet tall (the former just shorter, the latter a good deal taller) and considering they’re just 20 and 17 years old respectively, they might have a spurt or two left in them. But even so, their statures aren’t the most remarkable things about them – that’d be their voices. I’ve talked about how their respective quirks complimented each other perfectly on record, but it’s live that you really can’t help but be impressed by how perfect their pitch was – hearing them sing was like a master class in harmony. Accompanying themselves simply but effectively on acoustic guitar and keyboard (and occasionally accordion and autoharp), the duo and touring drummer showcased material from their debut Drunken Trees EP and the full-length follow-up The Big Black & The Blue, punctuated by sharp and sassy between-song banter (“we’d like to do a cover by a band called Fleet…. wood Mac”). The set highlight came about midway through when they stepped away from the mics to sing the beautifully sad “Ghost Town” unamplified to the full house. A close second was their encore, for which they brought out Samantha Crain and performed her “Dam Song”, complete with absurdly great three-part harmonies. There may have been plenty of other higher-profile entertainment options in town on Saturday, but I don’t think any of the hundred or so people who chose to hit the Rivoli had any regrets.

First Aid Kit have added another installment to their Filter tour blog (though the Toronto show only gets a passing mention – apparently we have nice architecture). Samantha Crain is profiled by The San Francisco Examiner, Oklahoma Gazette and The Oklahoman and also recently recorded a session for Daytrotter.

Photos: First Aid Kit, Samantha Crain @ The Rivoli – June 12, 2010
MP3: First Aid Kit – “I Met Up With The King”
MP3: First Aid Kit – “You’re Not Coming Home Tonight”
MP3: Samantha Crain – “Traipsing Through The Aisles”
Video: First Aid Kit – “Hard Believer”
Video: First Aid Kit – “I Met Up With The King”
Video: Samantha Crain – “Santa Fe”
Video: Samantha Crain – “Traipsing Through The Aisles”
MySpace: Samantha Crain

The St. Louis Tribune, Uptown and AV Club talk to John Darnielle and Peter Hughes of The Mountain Goats.

Spinner talks to Joe Pernice about the new Pernice Brothers record, Goodbye, Killer. It’s out today and available to stream for the next week at Spinner.

Stream: Pernice Brothers / Goodbye, Killer

The Flaming Lips have a new video from Embryonic available to gawk at. You can gawk at the band in real life at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 8 and get a preview of what to expect via this NPR stream of this past weekend’s Bonnaroo set, though you really need to get all your senses in play when experiencing a Flaming Lips show.

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

The Books will be on tour this Fall in support of their new record The Way Out, out July 20, and will be at the Mod Club on October 25.

MP3: The Books – “Beautiful People”

PitchforkTV solicits a live performance of “The Sweet Part Of The City” from The Hold Steady. They have a July 17 date at the Kool Haus.

Spinner is hosting a series of web videos from Fanfarlo entitled Under The Reservoir.

Magnet talks to Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake as the Fannies prepare to take over the editor’s desk of their website this week. Blake also talks to The AV Club about their new record Shadows and to Metro about moving to Canada (he now resides in Kitchener-Waterloo).

Spinner talks to The Joy Formidable about making their debut EP A Balloon Called Moaning.

Kele gives an interview to The Quietus and eye about his solo debut The Boxer, due out next week. He’s at the Mod Club on July 29.

Chart sics Narduwar on Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine.

That The xx are coming back to town isn’t remarkable in and of itself – they’ve already been here thrice since last December. What is remarkable is that for their Fall tour, they’ve booked their September 29 date… for Massey Hall. Tickets will be $25 to $45 with presale starting tomorrow, regular onsale come Friday. Presumably there’ll be a new record released between now and then, and say what you will about their suitability for such a not-so-basic space, but there’s no question that their show will sound great. Their Bonnaroo set is also up to stream at NPR.

MP3: The xx – “Basic Space”

Islands have set a date at the Mod Club for July 14 – tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: Islands – “Vapours”

July 21 brings Jason Collett out for a show at the Mod Club supported by Daniel, Fred & Julie; tickets $16.50 in advance.

MP3: Jason Collett – “Love Is A Dirty Word”
MP3: Daniel, Fred & Julie – “The Gambler & His Bride”

With his own show at the Opera House last Saturday in the books, Shad has been announced as support for K’Naan’s October 1 show at the Kool Haus. Best of Canadian hip-hop, anyone?

Miike Snow have a date at the Kool Haus on October 9, tickets $25.

Video: Miike Snow – “Black & Blue”

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

No Ghost

New records from The Acorn, Wolf Parade and Stars promise paranormal activity

Photo via Stage FrightStage FrightThere seems to be a fixation with the supernatural running through Canadian indie circles right now – or at least through their naming processes – if a few upcoming, high-profile releases are any indication. First off, you’ve got Ottawa’s Acorn, whose long-awaited follow-up to 2007’s Glory Hope Mountain will be out on June 1 and carry the title of No Ghost. Their interest in the spirit world isn’t new, however, as their 2004 debut – albeit by a decidedly different Acorn than exists today – was called The Pink Ghosts, so perhaps the new record is some response to that? Yeah, probably not. The MP3 for the title track of the new record is available now to share and enjoy and they play Lee’s Palace on June 11.

MP3: The Acorn – “No Ghost”

Montreal’s Stars are five-upping The Acorn – or maybe infinite-upping them, considering their album title implies null ghosts – by calling their new record The Five Ghosts. Even though the album isn’t out until June 22 and, as Amy Millan admits to Chart, touring a record so far ahead of its release is probably insane, they’re setting out on an extensive North American tour where they’ll play the whole thing in its entirety starting at the Mod Club in Toronto – congratulations go out to Tony, Jacob and Mike for winning my contest for passes.

The title of Wolf Parade’s new record Expo 86 doesn’t have anything to do with ghosts – except maybe those of Worlds Fairs past – but in addition to an interview, Spencer Krug gives Pitchfork a sneak preview of the new album with a pair of downloads, one of which is called – wait for it – “Ghost Pressure”. Would five ghosts exert more pressure than no ghosts, considering they’re inherently intangible and thus incapable of exerting any pressure at all? HMM. Expo 86 is out June 29 and is notable as the first Wolf Parade album to not have terrible album art. Spinner also talks to drummer Arlen Thompson.

MP3: Wolf Parade – “Ghost Pressure”
MP3: Wolf Parade – “What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had To Go This Way)

Forest City Lovers have set a June 29 release for their third album Carriage – check out the first MP3 below.

MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Light You Up”

The Wilderness Of Manitoba have announced details and a first sample from their debut full-length When You Left The Fire, due out on June 22. Expect a proper record release show, but for now their hometown dates are of the support variety – May 12 at the Mod Club with Matthew Barber and June 4 at The Phoenix with Basia Bulat and Julie Doiron.

MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Hermit”

TwentyFourBit reports that Daniel Lanois is producing the next Neil Young record – this could well be fantastic. Or not. But the potential for greatness is definitely there.

Le Blogotheque has a Take-Away Show from the streets of Montreal featuring Jason Collett and Zeus, the latter of whom’s Mike O’Brien is the subject of an interview at Bring Back The Boom Box.

Cornershop Studios talks to Dan Mangan.

The Vancouver Sun and The Globe & Mail talk to Carl Newman of The New Pornographers, whose Together is out today. They’re at the Sound Academy on June 15.

Resonancity, The Montreal Mirror and Montreal Gazette interview Dan Snaith of Caribou.

More show announcements – a bill made up of bands whose names I see a lot in my RSS reader are coming to town – Austin’s This Will Destroy You, Chicago’s Light Pollution and Brooklyn’s Slow Six sound like they’ll make up a pretty psych/post-rocking good time at the Rivoli on June 5.

MP3: This Will Destroy You – “The World Is”
MP3: Light Pollution – “Good Feelings”
MP3: Slow Six – “The Night You Left New York”

English folkers Peggy Sue – who visited last Fall – will be back for a show at Sneaky Dee’s on June 13. Their full-length debut Fossils & Other Phantoms is due out June 1 – check out their Daytrotter session from last year for a preview of the new material.

Video: Peggy Sue – “Watchman”

Angsty Scots We Were Promised Jetpacks will be setting down at the Horseshoe on July 3, tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Quiet Little Voices”

With their new record Sea Of Cowards due out next Tuesday, The Dead Weather have slated a North American tour that stops in at the Sound Academy on July 15, tickets $35 for general admission and $45 for VIP balcony. Spinner talks to Alison Mosshart about the new record, which is streaming over at NPR and the band also streamed a live performance of the album performed in its entirety last night at their MySpace and it’s still available to watch.

Stream: The Dead Weather / Sea Of Cowards
Stream: The Dead Weather / Sea Of Cowards (live)

Those Black Mountain dates announced a little while ago that ended in London, Ontario before cutting over to Europe for a week have been extended and a second North American leg kicks off July 23 at the Horseshoe in Toronto before cutting west across the US. Expect to hear lots of material from their next record at these shows – it’s tentatively called Wilderness Heart and targeted for a late Summer release.

MP3: Black Mountain – “Tyrants”

(Former?) Bloc Party frontman Kele (Okereke) will bring his solo debut The Boxer, to The Mod Club on July 29, tickets $20 in advance. And if you were wondering – as I was – it’s not as terrible as some have said, but certainly not something I’d take over Bloc Party, given the choice.

Perhaps by way of apology for canceling their April show, The Specials have added a second show at the Sound Academy following the August 27 make-up date – they’ll also be there on August 28.

And if you needed a final reminder to head out to the Horseshoe tonight for the free Joy Formidable show, here’s a recording of the band’s set at the Truck America festival in upstate New York this past weekend, courtesy of NYC Taper – he’s also got a recording of their set in New York from January to share, and you can also stream their debut mini-album A Balloon Called Moaning, released in North America today, at Spinner. The Joy Formidable are on at 11 – be there.

Stream: The Joy Formidable / A Balloon Called Moaning

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

CONTEST – This Book Is Broken at Harbourfront Centre – October 30, 2009

Image via AmazonAmazonYes, the “I” in IFOA stands for “International” (the rest of it is “Festival Of Authors”), but that’s no reason we can’t celebrate writers that hail from somewhat closer to home, and that’s why eye and Pitchfork scribe Stuart Berman will be the featured guest at the Harbourfront Centre’s Lakeside Terrace this Friday night, October 30, to be interviewed by The Toronto Star’s Ben Rayner about his recent book This Book Is Broken: The Broken Social Scene Story, the biography of Broken Social Scene. Also joining the music scribes in the talk will be Arts & Crafts honcho Jeffrey Remedios and Broken Social principals Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning and the discussion will be followed by a performance from BSS guitarist Jason Collett.

Tickets for the all-ages event are $15 or free for students with a valid student ID, but courtesy of the IFOA, I’ve got a pair of passes to give away for the evening. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want my book broken” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, October 28.