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Posts Tagged ‘Jenn Grant’

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

The First 5 Minutes

The Sadies have a new record and all is right with the world

Photo By Rick WhiteRick WhiteGiven that if you live in the Toronto area, it may seem like The Sadies never go away – they’re gigging machines whether they’re on a touring cycle or not, playing any number of festivals, one-offs, support slots, backing gigs – it’s actually been over three years since their last studio album, 2010′s Polaris shortlisted Darker Circles, was released. Sure, in the interim they’ve also put out Night & Day backing Chicago blues-R&B veteran Andre Williams and Dallas and Travis helped make The Good Family Album with their parents, but responding to the announcement that they’ve got a new album done and en route with anything less than great enthusiasm is unacceptable.

The new long-player is called Internal Sounds and will be out September 17, with a first track available to stream now. From note one it sounds exactly like what you expect The Sadies to sound like – psychedelically twangy rock highlighted by tight harmonies and ridiculous musicianship – but the songwriting is stronger than its ever been. It’s an aspect of the band that probably doesn’t get the respect it deserves, overshadowed by all the bands’ other strengths, but compare anything off their last few records with their earliest and marvel at how good they’ve gotten compositionally without ceding any ground in the performance. Go on, marvel.

Exclaim has details on the new release and a brace of Fall tour dates; their hometown commitments are currently limited to two Toronto Urban Roots Fest appearances – July 5 at Lee’s Palace and July 7 at Garrison Common – but sure as the sun rises in the east, they’ll have more to come this Fall and I’ll leak this one right now – they’ll be at The Horseshoe on New Year’s Eve. A-yup.

Stream: The Sadies – “The First 5 Minutes”

With the release today of Fantasy, the new album from Vancouver’s Lightning Dust, the band has just announced another batch of Fall tour dates which include a stop at The Drake Underground on September 10; tickets for that are $12.50 in advance.

MP3: Lightning Dust – “Diamond”

It’s a double-dose of new METZ – a new Chad VanGaalen-animated video from their self-titled debut and a new song from the Adult Swim singles series which you can stream at Consequence Of Sound. Their next local show is July 12 at Downsview Park opening for Weezer.

Video: METZ – “Get Off”
Stream: METZ – “Can’t Understand”

Rae Spoon has announced the August 13 release of his new record My Prairie Home. Hit Exclaim for specifics and stream one of the new songs below.

Stream: Rae Spoon – “I Will Be A Wall”

Kieran Adams and Joseph Shabason of Diana discuss their debut album Perpetual Surrender with Under The Radar. It comes out August 20.

Tone Deaf talks to Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz, who also talks a bit about the cockroach-heavy new video from Impersonator with NPR. He brings his hopefully roach-free show to Wrongbar on September 17.

Video: Majical Cloudz – “Bugs Don’t Buzz”

Jenn Grant is the latest Canadian artist to assume a new synth-rock persona; she talks to CBC Music talks to about her new project Aqua Alta, a few songs from which you can stream at their website. Grant performs as Grant previewing new material at Lee’s Palace on September 21.

Exclaim has posted online this month’s cover story on Austra; Tone Deaf and The Guardian also have interviews with bandleader Katie Stelmanis. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

We’re still waiting on details of Basia Bulat’s third album, but that she’s added some Fall dates to a smattering of Summer commitments implies that it’ll be here soon enough – perhaps in time to make her October 17 date at The Polish Combatants Hall a record release show?

MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”

Consequence Of Sound talks to Colin Stetson, who also talks about the new video from New History Warfare Vol 3: To See More Light at The New York Times.

Video: Colin Stetson – “Who The Waves Are Roaring For”

DIY and NBC San Diego have interviews and NYC Taper a recording of Hooded Fang’s show at The Mercury Lounge in New York at the start of the month.

The Calgary Herald interviews The Besnard Lakes.

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Show Yourself

Okkervil River invite you to climb the rope in The Silver Gymnasium

Photo By Ben SklarBen SklarIt’s rather de rigueur these days to sneak-announce the existence of new albums of note, eschewing the traditional long lead for the immediacy allowed by the internet and social media or whatnot, but in revealing the existence of a new Okkervil River record, Will Sheff went with the teasing route, playing a guessing game through last week in revealing a few letters of their new album’s title each day, eventually announcing The Silver Gymnasium this past Monday.

Not that the announcement didn’t come with its share of surprise. Firstly, that it existed and would be out as soon as September 3 – to the casual observer, it seemed that Sheff was more occupied with his Lovestreams side project than recording the follow-up to Okkervil’s 2011 album I Am Very Far, and secondly, that the record sees the band leaving their longtime label of Jagjaguar for the Dave Matthews-founded ATO Records. But the new record is done and however it’s delivered, it’s good news.

More specifics are still forthcoming, but the album announcement also came with the itinerary for a Fall North America tour, which will bring the band back to town for the first time in over three years. They’ll be at The Phoenix on September 28 and tickets are $23.50 in advance.

MP3: Okkervil River – “Your Past Life As A Blast”

Elsewhere on the concert announcement circuit, Doldrums and Absolutely Free have been named as the Art Gallery of Ontario’s First Thursday performers next month on the evening of July 4. Tickets are $12 in advance.

MP3: Doldrums – “Jump Up”
MP3: Absolutely Free – “UFO”

Memoryhouse have announced a July 19 appearance at The Drake Underground, part of a very small handful of Canadian dates this Summer. Tickets for the Drake show are $10.25 in advance.

MP3: Memoryhouse – “Quiet America”

German ambient-electronic artist Ulrich Schnauss will be at The Drake on August 10; his latest A Long Way To Fall came out back in January. Advance tickets are $20.

Video: Ulrich Schnauss – “A Long Way To Fall”

With her solo debut Hero Brother coming out August 20, Arcade Fire violinist Sarah Neufeld has scheduled a live date at The Drake for August 22, tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: Sarah Neufeld – “Hero Brother”

Up-and-coming British soul singer Laura Mvula makes a return to town on September 7 at The Mod Club behind her debut album, Sing To The Moon. Tickets for the show are $20.

Video: Laura Mvula – “Green Garden”

They may have gone indie for their latest album Like Clockwork, but make no mistake – Queens Of The Stone Age are still a big-ass band. To wit – they’ll be at The Air Canada Center on September 10, tickets running at the $34.50, $49.50, and $59.50 price points. Full tour details can be had at Pitchfork.

Video: Queens Of The Stone Age – “I Appear Missing”

Jenn Grant is coming back to town play more songs from last year’s The Beautiful Wild, this time at Lee’s Palace on September 21. Tickets for that show are $15 in advance.

Video: Jenn Grant – “The Fighter”

With Austra’s new album Olympia coming next Tuesday, June 18, it’s high time for an advance stream courtesy of Exclaim, interviews with Katie Stelmanis at MusicOmh and Clash, and a Fall tour that includes a hometown show at The Phoenix on September 27, tickets $25.

Video: Austra – “Home”
Stream: Austra / Olympia

Norwegian singer-songwriter Jenny Havl has made a date at The Rivoli for September 27 in support of her latest album Innocence Is Kinky.

Stream: Jenny Havl – “Mephisto In The Water”

It may have been disappointing to many that Tricky had to cancel his Summer dates in support of his latest False Idols due to visa issues, but Toronto fans will be happy to know that the rescheduled dates now include a local date – October 6 at a venue to be announced. In the meantime, FasterLouder has an interview with Tricky.

MP3: Tricky – “Anti-Matter”

With a new album in Idle No More due out on September 3 via Merge, King Khan & The Shrines have announced a Fall tour that stops in at The Horseshoe on October 26 and offered a stream of one of the new songs via Stereogum.

Stream: King Khan & The Shrines – “Born To Die”

Continuing to stick to her habit of playing one small venue tour and one bigger venue tour per album, Kate Nash will bring Girl Talk back to Toronto for a night at The Phoenix on November 5, tickets $20 in advance.

Video: Kate Nash – “OHMYGOD!”

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Another Sunny Day

Belle & Sebastian ready to show off their urban, rootsy side at Toronto Urban Roots Festival

Photo By Reuben CoxReuben CoxThe Toronto Urban Roots Festival has existed under a shroud of mystery since its existence emerged late last month, and even with its grand unveiling last week, it still only had two acts on its opening night – She & Him and Camera Obscura – to its roster. A promising start, but still eliciting more questions than excitement.

That balance has arguably skewed in the other direction considerably with yesterday’s announcement of Belle & Sebastian as the headlining act on the festival’s closing night, July 7. That they’re coming to town isn’t a big surprise – their presence at the Montreal Jazz Festival a few days earlier was a matter of public record since the start of the year and the idea of their not playing Toronto was absurd – but it’s nice to be able to put a date and place to it. It will be quite a different setting from Massey Hall, which has hosted their finest moments in the city, but considering that without a new album to promote and a Summer itinerary of only big festivals, a set list packed with fan favourites from throughout their career seems likely – plus there’s something to be said for being able to get up and dance without worrying about venue security descending upon you. People, this will be great. And to further whet your Scots-pop appetites, PitchforkTV has created a documentary feature/oral history on the making If You’re Feeling Sinister.

On top of the Belle & Sebastian add, TURF will also feature Neko Case, The Joel Plaskett Emergency, and Flogging Molly amongst their performers. Neko – who could well have a new record out by then because goodness knows it’s been long enough – will also be playing on July 7, while Plaskett and Flogging Molly (Flogging? The Flogs?) have yet to confirm which of the four days they’ll be slotted on. In any case, all this – plus the promise of another 25+ acts – makes the $99.50 early bird, four-day pass seem like a pretty good deal when it goes on sale in mid-March.

MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “The Boy With The Arab Strap”
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Another Sunny Day”
MP3: Neko Case – “People Got A Lotta Nerve”
MP3: Joel Plaskett – “When I Go”
Video: Belle & Sebastian: If You’re Feeling Sinister

Those concerned about being able to get into UK post-punk buzz-band Savages’ March 23 Canadian Musicfest showcase at Lee’s Palace on March 23 should take note that they’ve added a second showcase the night before, March 22, at The Horseshoe. Not that Horseshoe shoes are any easier to get into during CMF, but still.

Stream: Savages – “Flying To Berlin”

Jenn Grant is at The Horseshoe on April 13, still touring last year’s The Beautiful Wild. Tickets for that show are $15 in advance.

Video: Jenn Grant – “The Fighter”

Widowspeak have finally plotted out a North American tour in support of their excellent second album Almanac; catch them at The Garrison on April 14, tickets $10.50 in advance.

MP3: Widowspeak – “Ballad Of The Golden Hour”

Marnie Stern will be at Parts & Labour on April 16 behind her new record The Chronicles Of Marnia. Hit up Pitchfork for full dates and a stream of a new track.

MP3: Marnie Stern – “Transparency Is The New Mystery”

EmptyMansions, aka the solo project of Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino, will release their debut album snakes/vultures/sulfate on April 2 and be at Garrison on April 30 in support. Toneluster has an interview with Fogarino about the project and Rolling Stone has premiered the first video from the record.

Video: EmptyMansions – “ThatMan”

Booking two shows three months apart isn’t usually considered prudent – they just played The Phoenix at the start of February – but arguably Purity Ring still have the demand to do it. Plus, they’re bringing along Blue Hawaii – side-project of Braids frontwoman Raphaelle Standell-Preston – to sweeten the bill. They’re at The Danforth Music Hall on May 5, tickets $22.50 for floors and $20.00 for balcony.

MP3: Purity Ring – “Belispeak”
MP3: Blue Hawaii – “In Two II”

And in long-awaited – as in ten years or so – news, The Postal Service are finally coming to Toronto. To mark the 10th anniversary of the release of Give Up – a decade ago this past Monday, to be exact – they’ve announced a massive North American tour that brings them to the Air Canada Centre on June 11, tickets $49.50 to $59.50, on sale February 25 (presale) and 28 (general onsale). And to the FAQ section: yes, it will be in theatre configuration but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that expand if demand outstrips the 6000 or so seats that allows – remember, they sold out the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn in a heartbeat; yes, Jenny Lewis will be along for the ride to sing her parts and presumably cover Jen Wood’s parts for “Nothing Better”; yes, the album is only 45 minutes long but think of all the extra material that the April 9 deluxe edition of Give Up will bring. It’ll run an hour at least.

MP3: The Postal Service – “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”
MP3: The Postal Service – “Such Great Heights”

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Maple Serum

Rheostatics ready reunion as roadhouse reaches retirement age

Photo via rheostatics.carheostatics.caIt was a pretty sweet get for Toronto’s Legendary Horseshoe Tavern to enlist Joel Plaskett for five nights of shows from December 12 to 16 to mark its 65th birthday, but they weren’t done. Canadian art-pop icons Rheostatics, who formally disbanded after eleven studio albums, four live albums, and a farewell show at Massey Hall in 2007, are getting back together for two nights at The ‘Shoe on December 5 and 6.

It’s not quite the record-setting twelve shows in twelve nights “Fall Nationals” concert series they held at the venue for four years straight starting in 2001, but it’s an absolutely fitting way to wish the fabled room a “happy birthday”. They’ve gotten together once before since splitting, to salute friend and author Paul Quarrington in 2009, but that was a one-off and the promise of new material from Martin Tielli, Dave Bidini, Tim Vesely, and Dave Clark at this show implies that despite each of them having no shortage of other projects to concentrate on, this reunion might have some legs. But for now, these two nights are a certainty. Tickets are $29.50 in advance and go on sale this Thursday at 10AM at the usual outlets.

And so we’re clear: The Horseshoe is not retiring, being retired, pining for the fjords, or anything of the sort. Just some alliterative fun on my part. It will outlive us all.

Video: Rheostatics – “The Tarleks”
Video: Rheostatics – “PIN”
Video: Rheostatics – “A Bad Time To Be Poor”
Video: Rheostatics – “Claire”
Video: Rheostatics – “Shaved Head”
Video: Rheostatics – “Record Body Count”
Video: Rheostatics – “Aliens (Christmas 1988)”
Video: Rheostatics – “The Ballad Of Wendel Clark, Parts I and II”"

Diamond Rings celebrates the release day for Free Expression – that’s today – with a new video and profile pieces at CBC Music and The National Post. He plays The Mod Club on November 29.

Video: Diamond Rings – “Runaway Love”

Dorkshelf interviews Daniela Gesundheit of Snowblink, who are opening up for Saint Etienne at The Opera House tomorrow night.

Spinner talks to Dan Mangan about the What Happens Next mini-documentary about the artist, who plays The Danforth Music Hall on October 25. The doc aired on CBC this past weekend; and is now available to watch online.

Video: What Happens Next: The Dan Mangan Documentary

Also of appeal to those who grew up on the Can-rock of the ’90s; CBC Music gets Matt Murphy of The Super Friendz to list off his five favourite albums of the past 20 years while The Coast gets Charles Austin to reminisce about the good old days. The reunited Haligonians hit Lee’s Palace on November 16.

Rolling Stone has premiered a new video from Stars, taken from The North. They’re at The Air Canada Centre on November 24 supporting Metric.

Video: Stars – “Backlines”

Canada.com has an interview with and CBC Music has a new video from Jenn Grant. She brings her latest The Beautiful Wild to The Winter Garden Theatre on November 24.

Video: Jenn Grant – “The Fighter”

Interview and NJ.com talk to A.C. Newman.

Kathleen Edwards talks to Exclaim and CBC Music about winning this year’s ECHO songwriting prize for her song, “A Soft Place To Land”. She also tells Exclaim about a new, all-female, all-star, all-sexy, Can-indie band she’s forming called Modern Beaver. She’s probably not serious but she has had the Twitter handle since last year and if it’s on Twitter, it has to be true. I read that on Twitter.

The Stool Pigeon talks to Dan Snaith about his Daphni project.

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Their Helicopters' Sing

Review of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

Photo By Yannick GrandmontYannick GrandmontUntil recently, Montréal’s Godspeed You! Black Emperor has been inexorably associated with a very certain moment in time, specifically the end of the last century and the dawn of this one. In addition to emerging at a time when post-rock was still an amorphous musical concept which was better felt than explained and Canada was only beginning to take steps towards becoming an international presence as home to exciting new music, Godspeed’s trilogy of albums – F# A#, Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven, and Yanqui U.X.O. rather perfectly captured the millennial tension of the time. By turns anxious, angstful, and angry, sounding simultaneously beautiful and terrifying, their mysteriousness gave Godspeed a sense of universality that spoke to people without the use of words. So while many were disappointed when the band went on hiatus in 2003, it also felt like a logical thing to do; their moment was ending.

One couldn’t help but wonder how they would have soundtracked the 21st century, though, what with society arguably declining further in disarray and injustice on so many fronts – if they were angry about the state of the world then, surely they’d be furious now. When they unexpectedly returned to action with live performances in 2010, it was mostly with old material that gave a generation of fans who’d only grown up with the legend a taste of what the reality was like. And though unfamiliar compositions did appear in their live sets, the band’s steadfast refusal to do interviews or offer any sort of public comment gave no hint if or when they would do anything further with them. Which, of course, was precisely how they liked it – else they wouldn’t have had the satisfaction of watching a portion of the internet blow up when they announced just last week that their fourth album, ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, not only existed but was already available for sale at their live shows and would be out worldwide in a fortnight.

As ever, describing Godspeed remains a largely futile task. At least with the live shows, one could attempt to articulate the visceral experience of being assaulted with sound for night on three hours. Discussing the album, and what its intentions are, is much more difficult. Comprised of two 20-minute compositions and two six-minute drones – provided on vinyl via a 12″ and 7″ intended to be played in alternating sides – it’s unquestionably a Godspeed record from the first moment: a sample of what sounds to be a preacher leading into an electric guitar drone with violin lines dancing overtop, all evocative of a gathering storm.

It’s probably only really relevant to discuss Godspeed in terms relative to Godspeed. From that perspective, ‘Allelujah is surprisingly concise and impressively powerful, condensing the sprawl and swirl of Skinny Fists and eschewing the hazy ambiguity of Yanqui into two focused movements that build steadily and determinedly, but also surprisingly melodically. There’s still plenty of their signature unease, but as the main compositions build, they become more anthemic and, one might almost say, optimistic. Only almost, mind you. To Ascend may be the destination, but ‘Allelujah makes it no easy trip – the two drone pieces might seem superfluous, but really do serve a purpose – “Their Helicopters’ Sing” as base camps of a sort, to regroup and recover, and “Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable” as the view from the summit. Unexpected but wholly welcome, with ‘Allelujah, Godspeed You! Black Emperor prove they not only continue to have their fingers on the pulse of our present, but actually offer some hope for the future.

‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! is out next Tuesday, October 16, but available to stream in its entirety right now at Exclaim. And, against all expectation, the band have given an insightful interview to The Guardian about the band, their music, their politics, and their return. The full transcript of the email exchange is damn near poetry. Even the part about being “stoked”.

Stream: Godspeed You! Black Emperor / ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

The impressive demand to see The Weeknd live continues – they’ve added a fourth night at The Sound Academy for November 5, tickets $34.50. The physical release of his three mixtapes – Trilogy – is out November 12, and a new video was recently released.

MP3: The Weeknd – “Life Of The Party”
Video: The Weeknd – “Rolling Stone”

Army Girls have announced a November 14 date at The Garrison, tickets $8. Still no sign of those multiple full-lengths we were promised in the Summer, though.

MP3: Army Girls – “Cold & Alcohol”

Quiet for most of this year, Ohbijou will be at Lee’s Palace on December 1, tickets $15. This is a benefit show; specifics are still forthcoming. And tangentially, Ohbijou spin-off Warm Myth has released a new video.

MP3: Ohbijou – “Anser”
Video: Warm Myth – “Working”

Purity Ring have spent most of this year blowing up on the back of their debut Shrines, but really haven’t played a proper Toronto show to capitalize – their last appearances were opening for Dirty Projectors and an undersized NXNE showcase. They’re rectifying that if not soon, but on a large scale, wrapping up a North American tour at The Phoenix on February 1 of next year, tickets $15. The Creator’s Project talks to them about the lightshow that will surely accompany their performance, and they’ve also just released a collaboration of sorts with hip-hop artist Danny Brown.

MP3: Purity Ring – “Belispeak”
Stream: Purity Ring – “Belispeak” (with Danny Brown)

The Dumbing Of America, The Grid, The Line Of Best Fit, NOW, The Globe & Mail, and Pitchfork all talk to Toronto’s METZ about their self-titled debut, which has spawned a new video and gets a hometown release show at The Horseshoe on Friday night, October 12.

Video: METZ – “Wet Blanket”

Spin and The Winnipeg Free Press talk to Caribou’s Dan Snaith about his Daphni alter-ego and its debut album Jiaolong, out October 16.

Exclaim talk to A.C. Newman, who kicks off the tour for his new record Shut Down The Streets at Lee’s Palace on October 21.

The Guardian has an interview with Neil Young, who has released an epic-length video from Psychedelic Pill, out October 30. He and Crazy Horse play The Air Canada Centre on November 19.

Video: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Ramada Inn”

Jenn Grant lists of five of her favourite songs of the last 20 years for CBC Music and also talks to The Edmonton Journal. She’s at The Winter Garden Theatre on November 24.

The Wooden Sky goes over Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun track by track with The Line Of Best Fit. They’re at The Phoenix on December 1.

Snowblink have put out a new video from Inner Classics. Daniela Gesundheit lists off her five favourite albums for The 405 and also chats with The Cornell Daily Sun.

Video: Snowblink – “Goodbye Eyes”

Maisonneuve talks to Alaska B of Yamantaka/Sonic Titan.

The Austin Chronicle profiles Grimes.

Exclaim has details on a new compilation of rarities and being released as a soundtrack of sorts for Have Not Been The Same, the definitive tome of Can-rock in the ’90s. It’s out November 13 and features tracks from Sloan, Doughboys, Skydiggers, and other bands of that vintage, and all proceeds will go to Kids Help Phone.