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Posts Tagged ‘Jens Lekman’

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Where You Come In

Review of Shout Out Louds’ Optica and giveaway

Photo By Frode & MarcusFrode & MarcusI get why people have such affection for Shout Out Louds’ 2005 debut Howl Howl Gaff Gaff; the way it tapped into the scrappy, garage-rock sound in vogue at the time but rather than the insouciant attitude that typically came with the aesthetic, it offered a wide-eyed and sincere charm and stood apart from the pack for it. That said, it was only with 2007’s Our Ill Wills, which polished up their pop and expanded it to widescreen dimensions, that I was personally won over by the band. Happily for me and less so for those on Team Howl, it’s been this template that has informed each Shout Out Louds record ever since, this year’s Optica being no exception.

They did tweak their approach a bit with 2010’s Work tweaked the formula by going for a more organic, live-off-the-floor sound, but while Optica lets things drift back to the more produced side of things a bit, those holding out hope that the band might let things get raucous again should probably just go and find themselves a new, charmingly rough Scandi-pop band to patronize. Shout Out Louds have got this elegant pop thing down pat – “Blue Ice” is tastefully orchestrated and “Walking In Your Footsteps” may offer the best flute hook of the year – and even when they get relatively dark or heavy, they do it more through tone and atmosphere than volume; “14th Of July” is the riffingest number on the record and it really just jangles. Mostly, though, Optica adopts a pleasant midtempo pace and relies on its immaculate popcraft and melodicism to win the listener over.

Shout Out Louds’ North American tour kicks off in early May and will stop in at The Opera House in Toronto on May 14. Tickets for the show are $18.50 in advance, but courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got three pairs of passes to give away to their show and as a bonus, courtesy of Big Hassle and Merge, a copy of the band’s “Blue Ice” 7″ – no, not the actual ice one, don’t be ridiculous. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to Shout Out Loud” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and if you would also like the 7″, say so and include your mailing address. Have all that to me by midnight, May 6.

Rolling Stone just premiered the newest video from Optica.

MP3: Shout Out Louds – “Blue Ice”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Illusions”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Walking In Your Footsteps”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Blue Ice”

Spin and The San Francisco Examiner check in with Palma Violets, coming to town on May 3 for a show at Lee’s Palace and again on August 3 as part of The Grove Fest at Garrison Commons.

Los Campesinos! have announced details of and a track from their first-ever live album, entitled A Good Night For A Fistfight, recorded last December and to be released digitally May 5. DIY has specifics and some words from Gareth Campesinos! about the recording.

MP3: Los Campesinos! – “We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed” (live at Islington Assembly Hall)

Noah & The Whale are streaming the title track from their forthcoming album Heart Of Nowhere, due out May 6, and it guest stars the wonderful Anna Calvi. The Yorkshire Evening Post and Gigwise have interviews with frontman Charlie Fink.

Stream: Noah & The Whale – “Heart Of Nowhere”

7 Digital interviews Victoria Hesketh of Little Boots about her second album Nocturnes, slated for a May 7 release.

MTV Hive gets to know Charli XCX; she opens for Marina & The Diamonds at Echo Beach on May 23.

The 405 interviews Elliphant, who is streaming a new song and making her local debut on June 7 supporting Twin Shadow at The Phoenix.

Stream: Elliphant – “Make A New Breed”

Interview chats with Jose Gonzalez of Junip, whose new self-titled album came out this week. They play The Great Hall on June 10.

While the May 13 UK release of Primal Scream’s new long-player More Light was long-confirmed, there’s only just come word that there’ll be a domestic release in North America, coming June 18. Details on that at Spin.

Under The Radar has an interview with Pet Shop Boys, whose new album Electric comes out in June.

Spin, eMusic, The 405, The Guardian, MTV, The Daily Beast, NPR, and Exclaim all have feature interviews with Phoenix with Exclaim offering a sidebar piece on the band, Spin the fruits of their photo shoot, and NPR a KCRW video session. Phoenix headline The Grove Fest at Garrison Commons on August 3.

Filter hangs out with the girls of Icona Pop. You can do the same at The Grove Fest at Garrison Commons on August 3.

MTV Hive takes fashion tips from Hot Chip, also playing The Grove Fest on August 3.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are streaming one of the tracks that appeared on their Record Store Day 7″ release.

Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Animal X”

Mystery Jets have made their Record Store Day release, the self-explanatory Live At The Royal Festival Hall, available to stream for those who missed out on getting a copy on Saturday or who never even had the opportunity what with it only being available in the UK and all.

Stream: Mystery Jets / Live At The Royal Festival Hall

Kate Nash has released a new video for the a-side from her Record Store Day 7″, and later this week she’ll roll out the next clip from Girl Talk. But not yet.

Video: Kate Nash – “Free My Pussy”

Clash gets into the heads of British Sea Power.

The Big Takeover has an interview with Veronica Falls.

PopMatters and Black Book interview Ólafur Arnalds.

Stereogum points out a stream of a new Jens Lekman song, written for an Esopus magazine compilation and about a fan who mailed him a dead bird.

Stream: Jens Lekman – “Regarding A Package”

Rolling Stone sits down with Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich to talk about Atoms For Peace and the state of dance music, and somehow the conversation drifts to the topic of Radiohead.

Rolling Stone got a moment of Jason Pierce’s time at Coachella to talk about things of a Spiritualized nature.

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

I Follow You

Review of Melody’s Echo Chamber’s Melody’s Echo Chamber

Photo By Diane SagnierDiane SagnierTame Impala’s second album Lonerism topped more than a few 2012 year-end lists, and while it doesn’t do much for me – despite on paper being exactly the sort of thing I should like – if you were to say that Kevin Parker was behind one of the year’s finest psychedelic pop records, I would be inclined to agree with you. Except that I would be talking about Melody’s Echo Chamber.

Describing Melody’s Echo Chamber as the sound of Broadcast’s first album being played at volume in a Parisian apartment with the reverberations captured by a vintage ’60s microphone and run through Kevin Parker’s pedalboard might sound like hyperbolic metaphor, but it could also be a literal account of how the record was made. With words – a combination of French, English, and a made-up language called “Melodese” – voice – a combination of sweet girlishness and continental sophistication – and songs provided by Parisian Melody Prochet, both Prochet and Parker contributing instrumentation, and Parker assuming production and mixing roles, the record is a shining, staticy, psychedelic swirl that sounds indelibly retro yet thoroughly modern at the same time.

Those who’ve found love in Lonerism‘s otherworldly textures should find Melody’s Echo Chamber a worthy companion piece and those who found Parker’s opus unsatisfying – that’s my hand in the air, there – shouldn’t discount it as more of the same because it’s different enough to stand on its own, and Prochet’s voice should be able to convince even the most skeptical. I’m sorry I missed her live Toronto debut last Fall when they opened up for The Raveonettes, but am hopeful that they’ll be here again this year – perhaps opening up for Tame Impala’s Spring tour? It would just kind of make sense.

Drowned In Sound, The Line Of Best Fit and Under The Radar both have extensive feature pieces on Prochet and the creative process behind Melody’s Echo Chamber. Bowlegs also has an interview.

Stream: Melody’s Echo Chamber – “Crystallized”
Video: Melody’s Echo Chamber – “You Won’t Be Missing That Part Of Me”
Video: Melody’s Echo Chamber – “I Follow You”

The first video from the new Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album Push The Sky Away, out February 19. Know what’s odd? I still can’t figure out who’s releasing this in North America. I do know that they’re at Massey Hall on March 23, though, so there’s that.

Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “We No Who U R”

A new song from Shugo Tokumaru’s new album In Focus? is available to stream. It’s out February 22.

Stream: Shugo Tokumaru – “Katachi”

A new track from the forthcoming Shout Out Louds album Optica has debuted to stream over at The Line Of Best Fit. The album is out February 26 and they play The Opera House on May 14.

Stream: Shout Out Louds – “Walking In Your Footsteps”

What happens when you give Jens Lekman’s keyboard player a ride from New York to Boston post-Hurricane Sandy so he can catch up with the rest of the band on tour? He writes you a song. And shares it with the world. Congratulations, Olivia and Maddy, you have eleven minutes and eighteen seconds of fame left.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “Olivia & Maddy”

Wears The Trousers and MXDWN talk to Victoria Bergsman of Taken By Trees.

The Village Voice interviews Malin Dahlström of Niki & The Dove; they’re in town at Wrongbar on January 16.

NPR is streaming the whole of Somewhere Else, the debut from Denmark’s Søen Løkke Juul as Indians. The album is out January 29 and they play The Drake on March 4.

MP3: Indians – “Cakelakers”
Stream: Indians / Somewhere Else

Iceage have offered a song from their new album You’re Nothing, out on February 19. They also announced a North American tour but while there’s no Toronto date at the moment, that four-day gap between Pittsburgh and Vermont is a bit conspicuous. Just saying.

MP3: Iceage – “Coalition”

Filter interviews Björk.

Monday, December 10th, 2012

2012

Chromewaves’ favourite albums of 2012

2012

I’ve always said when compiling my year-end list that I don’t choose my favourite albums of the year so much as they declare themselves to me. If it requires too much thought, it’s probably more a case of trying to justify adding something that I know probably doesn’t belong. But those albums that do pass muster are not, as you might think, necessarily the albums that I can’t stop listening to. Rather, they’re often the ones that I try to listen to the least, or at least sparingly, lest that intangible magic that I feel within its notes should evaporate with growing familiarity and what I thought was special turns out to be more ordinary. This happens more often than I’d like, but then there are those that don’t only sparkle on the surface, that offer up more the further you delve into them, the records that contain multitudes.

These are not ten of those records. Some of them are, but to expect more than a handful of those a year to cross my path and get the attention they demand/deserve would be asking too much. The rest are simply albums that, be they challenging or comforting, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this year. Which ones are which is for me to know and you to guess – as always, they’re ordered alphabetically rather than by rank – but were the world to indeed end in a couple of weeks like the gullible and lunatic among us believe, they’d comprise ten records that I’d be content clutching as the skies rained down fire upon us.

And I tried to do something more ambitious with the graphic treatment of this year’s list, but as it turns out my Photoshop skills – which have always kind of sucked – are actually getting worse. So alas, this is all we get.

(more…)

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Love's Taking Strange Ways

The Mary Onettes: Same lousy name, shiny new sound

Photo via LabradorLabradorAs predisposed as I am towards things Swedish, melancholic, and anthemic, it took me a little bit to warm to Jönköping’s Mary Onettes because, well, their name is pretty awful; thankfully, their music is most definitely not. Their 2009 album Islands was a glorious thing, all Cure-meets-Bunnymen ’80s romantic angst in stadium dress. And as happy as I’d have been to have more of the same, the band has other ideas.

Their Love Forever EP released back in February made public the first fruits of their sessions with Swedish über-producer Dan Lissvik, probably best known in these parts for helping make Shapeshifter a game-changing record for Montreal’s Young Galaxy. While it doesn’t sound as though he’s been as transformative with The Mary Onettes, Lissvik’s fingerprints are clearly audible from the distinctive gleam about each sonic element – it doesn’t sound so much like the ’80s as what the ’80s thought the future might sound like.

Love Forever did fine as a teaser, and we won’t have to wait long for the main feature. Their third album Hit The Waves will be released on March 12 and a track from it has been made available to stream. Give it a listen below, along with the Love Forever material, and get anxious.

MP3: The Mary Onettes – “Love’s Taking Strange Ways”
Stream: The Mary Onettes – “Evil Coast”
Stream: The Mary Onettes / Love Forever

Correctly interpreting their sold-out show at The Drake in October as demand, Niki & The Dove are responding with supply via a North American tour that brings them back for a show at Wrongbar on January 16, tickets $15 in advance. There’s also a feature interview at Filter.

MP3: Niki & The Dove – “Tomorrow”

NPR has a video session with Jens Lekman, who also chats with The Phoenix New Times and The Dallas Observer.

Culture Fly has an interview with Amanda Mair.

Icona Pop have released a new video from their self-titled debut, out now in Sweden and sometime next year in the rest of the world. They’re also interviewed by The Daily Beast and Buzzine, and will be at The Kool Haus on December 1 opening up for Marina & The Diamonds.

Video: Icona Pop – “We Got The World”

Matador has announced the signing of Danish post-punk young’ns Iceage. Their as-yet untitled second album will be out on February 19.

The Line Of Best Fit has an interview with Björk.

Sigur Rós are almost done with their Valtari Mystery Film Experient – this “Varúð” clip is the second-last one, and the final one should be out before they’re screened in film form in a couple weeks including December 8 at The Bloor. They play The Air Canada Centre on March 30.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Varúð”

Bowery Presents got Of Monsters & Men to perform an acoustic session on the rooftop of the Music Hall of Williamsburg way back in the Spring. But they’ve only posted it now.

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Candles

Daughter, Choir Of Young Believers, and Little Green Cars at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI guess I should blame Letterman. When it was announced that English trio Daughter were doing a short North American tour around their CMJ appearance, I was quite excited as I figured with their full-length debut not due out until the new year, and only a couple of low profile EPs in The Wild Youth and His Young Heart to their name, their Monday night showcase at The Drake would be a intimate, even secret, occasion for those of us in the know. After all – what’s the point of going all the way to Texas to be wowed by them at SXSW if not to be able to be ahead of the curve if just by one show? But then Letterman goes off and has them on The Late Show a couple weeks ago and then, all of a sudden, the show is not only sold out but people are being told very explicitly that there are no more tickets, anywhere, so stop asking. Somehow my little low-key performance has become the hot ticket in town.

Not that it was necessarily all thanks to Daughter. The bill featured two other acts from abroad, both with their own momentum coming out of CMJ, and both also making their Toronto/Canadian debuts. Dublin’s Little Green Cars curiously don’t have much of an online footprint, despite having signed to Glassnote (their debut is out early next year) and having been on tour across America for the last few weeks; this show was their last in the New World – and the first where they were legally allowed to drink, all being of the tender ago of 20 – so it was reasonable to expect they’d make it a good one. And maybe a drunk one. Coming out a cute pre-show, side-stage huddle, they went not for their instruments but straight to their mics to open with an impressive a capella number showcasing their five-part harmonies. Now the more cynical might say that we’re all full up with boisterously earnest folk-rock bands from the British Isles, thanks very much – and they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong – but Little Green Cars won’t be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Their roots show, no doubt, but there’s also enough ’50s-vintage rock’n’roll, gospel soul, and jangle-pop in the mix to make it stand out without becoming pastiche. Their sound hasn’t fully cohered yet, but as mentioned they’re crazy young. It’ll get there.

Copenhagen’s Choir Of Young Believers were talked about hereabouts last week, and having spent a moderate amount of time with their latest Rhine Gold, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. A precise idea, as it turned out, as the five-piece lineup did a pretty remarkable job of recreating the tones and textures of the album almost note-perfectly – and only almost because the cello was way low in the mix and the keys up, leaving the sonic balance tilted in favour of their New Wave tendencies, and Jannis Noya Makrigiannis took some more extended and free-form guitar excursions. It sounded quite good – the sadness and yearning of the material was more keenly felt live – but I didn’t detect it quite connecting with the audience, who responded more politely than passionately. If they’d gotten the crowd fully behind them, I suspect it could have felt epic but as it was, it was just alright.

It was genuine excitement that rippled through the packed Drake Underground by the time Daughter came out to set up for their set. They may not have had the personnel numbers of the preceding acts, but they did have some impressively complex pedalboards to help balance that out. You wouldn’t think so much technology would be needed for their dark folk-pop, but as with all aspects of the band, still waters run deep. Daughter may have initially been a pseudonym for frontwoman Elena Tonra, but it’s impossible to imagine how they’d sound without Igor Haefeli’s intricately layers of guitar atmosphere or Remi Aguilella’s spare but creatively treated drums and percussion.

And yet, it still all comes down to Tonra. Demure and hiding under her fringe, a shy girl with a sly smile, she seemed flustered by the attention yet her songs – elegant and reserved on the surface, yet clearly roiling just underneath with regrets, confessions, and accusations – are not the work of someone who prefers to stay silent or play things close to the vest. I was wholly impressed with the first impressions back in March, but having had time to get to know the songs and then see them performed, it took things to another level. Tonra did an exceptional job of tempering the intensity with charm, modestly introducing a solo reading of “The Woods” by saying that if it didn’t go well, to pretend it didn’t happen and then of course absolutely destroying it, and at the set’s close, thanking everyone for letting them in the building. The correct response, of course, was to thank her for letting us into her songs.

Photos: Daughter, Choir Of Young Believers, Little Green Cars @ The Drake Underground – October 22, 2012
MP3: Daughter – “Love”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Sedated”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Patricia’s Thirst”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Nye Nummber Et”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Paint New Horrors”
MP3: Little Green Cars – “It’s A Long Way To Tipperary”
Stream: Daughter – “Run”
Stream: Daughter – “Smother”
Video: Little Green Cars – “The John Wayne”

Dazed, Pitchfork, Planet Notion, eMusic, Interview, and Consequence Of Sound all want to talk to Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan with the release of her third album The Haunted Man. She also goes through the album track-by-track in a video piece for Billboard.

Ábrete De Orejas interviews David Gedge of The Wedding Present, and if you thought that this year’s Seamonsters recitals mean that it was time for Watusi to take centre stage… nope. They’ve announced a handful of 2013 dates in the US and will be playing George Best and their Hit Parade A-sides. Those of us waiting for the return of Cinerama material will have to keep waiting.

NPR has a KCRW session with Hot Chip.

DIY reports that Foals have given their third album, due out next year, a name – Holy Fire.

A Music Blog, Yea? has some questions for The Twilight Sad, in town at The Horseshoe on November 18.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Ritzy Bryan of The Joy Formidable, whose new album Wolf’s Law comes out January 23. They play The Sound Academy on November 25 supporting The Gaslight Anthem.

Hayden Thorpe of Wild Beasts talks to The New Statesman about starting work on their new album.

Fab talks to Patrick Wolf.

Loud & Quiet have got a full, marvelously-shot and sounding Horrors show from their hometown of Southend-on-Sea available to watch.

State gets to know Clock Opera, who perform a video session for They Shoot Music and have released a new video from their album Ways To Forget.

Video: Clock Opera – “The Lost Buoys”

Beth Orton lists off some of her favourite albums for The Quietus.

The Village Voice and NOW have features on The xx.

Interview and Billboard talk to Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner of New Order, while The Quietus talks to Peter Hook – formerly of New Order. Do you think the subject of one another comes up? Noew Order plays the second of two nights at The Sony Centre tonight.

Clash asks Guy Garvey of Elbow what he’d do with the last day of his life.

The Daily Mail offers an update on David Bowie’s ongoing retirement. And that is he’s still retired.

That Marina & The Diamonds/Icona Pop show originally scheduled for December 3 at The Phoenix has been moved to The Kool Haus. Adjust your bus schedules accordingly.

The Capilano Courier talks to Søen Løkke Juul of Indians; their debut Somewhere Else is out January 29 and they’re at The Horseshoe on November 23 supporting Other Lives.

The Raveonettes have released a new video from Observator. Stereogum has some thoughts from directors about the clip.

Video: The Raveonettes – “Curse The Night”

The Alternate Side has a session with The Tallest Man On Earth.

The Fader has a video session with Jens Lekman recorded in a New York bakery.

Sambassadeur is teasing a new album due out in 2013 with a new limited edition 7″ out on November 20.

MP3: Sambassadeur – “Memories”

Sigur Rós have rolled out a couple more videos from their Valtari “Mystery Film Experiment”.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Fjögur píanó”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varðeldur”