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Posts Tagged ‘jj’

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Ratchet

Bloc Party exchange extended play for extended hiatus

Photo By Marley KateMarley KateI don’t know if anyone has pointed this out to Bloc Party, but four years isn’t really an abnormally long time for a veteran rock band to go between albums. So the dramatics that played out in the media between 2008’s Intimacy and last year’s Four – Kele’s gone solo! Kele’s been fired! Kele’s back in the band! – really weren’t necessary; they could have just quietly gone about their individual business and regrouped when they felt like it and no one really would have batted an eye or wagged a tongue. But that’s not their style, I guess, so it’s not a big surprise that they announced earlier this month that when this Summer’s festival circuit draws to a close, they’d be going back on a hiatus. Kind of like most bands do when their promotional commitments are done.

But however long this break lasts, at least they’re leaving parting gifts. A few weeks after their last scheduled gig in mid-July – August 13, to be precise – they’ll release a new five-song EP in The Nextwave Sessions, which gives some of the new songs they’d been performing throughout the Four tours a properly-recorded incarnation. Pitchfork has specifics, and you can watch the trippy first video from it below. If this is indeed their swan song – I don’t believe it, personally, but why not indulge their dramatics – then it’s a pretty strong note to go out on.

Video: Bloc Party – “Ratchet”

Camera Obscura talks to Filter, The Colorado Springs Independent, Denver Post, and Georgia Straight about their new album Desire Lines. They play The Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Common on July 4.

M.I.A. has followed up the first stream from her new album Matangi with a new video. The album is out sometime this year, but more definitely she plays The Danforth Music Hall on July 18.

Video: M.I.A. – “Bring The Noize”

The Lab talks to Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes; she’s here at The Molson Amphitheatre on September 1 opening for Depeche Mode.

Glasvegas have given their latest effort Later…When The TV Turns To Static a North American release date of September 3, with tour dates to follow. You can stream a track from the new album below and read an interview with the band at The Glaswegian.

Stream: Glasvegas – “If”

German cheery pop duo BOY have slated their third show in Toronto – four if you count both their CMF appearances – in seven months behind their debut Mutual Friend with a show at The Mod Club on October 11.

Video: BOY – “Little Numbers”

The Line Of Best Fit helpfully points to video of an acoustic Jessie Ware show from atop The Gherkin in London. She’s in town at The Sound Academy on November 6.

Swedish duo jj have released some details on their next album V – mainly that it exists and will be out later this year – but are also giving the first track from it away to download, and there’s a trailer for the new record if you’re into that sort of thing.

MP3: jj – “Fågelsången”
Trailer: jj / V

Swede dance-pop star Robyn isn’t quite ready to announce details of her follow-up to 2010’s Body Talk, but this new single at least confirms that something is coming. And Snoop Dogg is part of it. Update: old song, new video. Apologies for my Robyn ignorance.

Video: Robyn – “U Should Know Better”

DIY, The Scotsman, and Spin talk to Empire Of The Sun about their just-released second album Ice On The Dune; they play some of the new songs in a video session for Yahoo Music. And oh, the band will also apparently be scoring Dumb & Dumber 2, because of course they are.

The Von Pip Musical Express talks to Ladytron’s Helen Marnie – aka Marnie – about her solo record Crystal World, which is officially out digitally and in the process of being manufactured in physical media.

Paste and Time talk to Sigur Rós about their new record Kveikur.

Sigur Rós collaborators Amiina discuss their new record The Lighthouse Project with The Line Of Best Fit.

Tone Deaf chats with Iceland’s Of Monsters & Men.

The Line Of Best Fit has premiered the new and characteristically fantastical video from Swedish duo The Deer Tracks, taken from their latest The Archer Trilogy, Pt. 3.

Video: The Deer Tracks – “W”

DIY has premiered the new video from British Sea Power’s latest effort Machineries Of Joy.

Video: British Sea Power – “Loving Animals”

Tone Deaf interviews Beady Eye drummer Chris Sharrock.

The Alternate Side has an interview and session with Still Corners.

Caught In The Carousel talks to Carol Van Dyk of Bettie Serveert.

Labrador Records is celebrating the onset of Summer with a current label sampler which you can stream below or download for keeping.

Stream: Labrador Records Summer Sampler 2013

Monday, June 25th, 2012

Death Rays

Mogwai and Odonis Odonis at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt seems a bit perverse to use the phrase, “comfort food” with respect to veteran Scottish post-rock giants Mogwai, but there’s real truth in it. There’s no question that they’ve grown as musicians and songwriters over their seven studio albums, but its been a gradual, evolutionary pace that’s not done much to shock or shake loose (m)any of their fans along the way. Their touring regimen has also been similarly predictable, with typically two North American tours per album and each of those shows being rather understated from a visual point of view but offering a sonic experience akin to a really loud, usually abrasive and occasionally beautiful hug by a sledgehammer.

It’s always a satisfying show, make no mistake, but it can get to the point that you don’t necessarily fret about missing one because a) they’d be back soon enough and b) it’s probably not too different from the last one you saw. Those days of taking the band for granted, however, may be coming to an end. When announcing this latest leg of touring for 2011’s Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, the band mused that this would be “the last extensive touring we do for some time”; perhaps there was a bit of salesmanship in that but one could also believe that the band were indeed wearying of life on the road and weren’t planning to spend as much of theirs on it. So even though I had been perfectly fine missing their last visit in Spring of 2011, I would definitely find the time to make it out to this one at The Phoenix last Monday.

I’m sure that scheduled opener Balam Acab had every intention of making it as well, but he was kept out of the country for the second time in a month – he missed out opening for Active Child in May – and locals Odonis Odonis were tapped to fill in. I’d seen them back in February opening up for The Twilight Sad and while I decided I didn’t dislike them, I wasn’t especially chuffed to see them again so soon; this probably explained why I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed them this time out. Certainly the addition of a second guitarist was a big change for the band, but it didn’t explain how much tighter and more melodic they sounded this time out. No one will confiscating their aggressive, post-punk credentials anytime soon, mind, but they were inarguably much more listenable. I’d read a capsule review of their NXNE showcase a few days earlier mentioning that they were much improved since this same time last year; I’ll go one better and say they’re much improved from four months ago.

Mogwai took the stage casually and opened with, “Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home” off their debut Young Team – no big deal, done it a thousand times – but to a far more enthusiastic respons than I’d have expected. And it’s about now that I realized how young the crowd looked. Typically for a band that’s been around a decade and a half, the audience will look as though they’ve aged along with them but at least from my vantage point, it was a really student-looking demographic who may very well have been at their first Mogwai show. I calculated that this was my sixth and spontaneously aged about a million years. With their enthusiasm, unfortunately, came some obnoxiousness and the one mook calling out for “X-Mas Steps” throughout the show went from amusing to annoying in about the amount of time it took for him to call out, “Christmas Steps!” the second time. He was clearly getting on Stuart Braithwaite’s tit as well – always dangerous – as the de facto frontman stepped to the edge of the stage at one point to try and stare him down and then later called him out saying that they could should whatever they wanted between songs, but not during. And they weren’t going to play “X-Mas Steps” so just quit it already.

Audience observations and interactions aside, it was certainly one of the more monolithic Mogwai sets I’ve seen, getting fists pumping and pants flapping through much of the set. “Rano Pano” and “Mexican Grand Prix” offered some nimbleness and acceleration to the proceedings, but most of the set list favoured the band’s more lumbering and apocalyptic selections. And while I may seem like I’m all “oh Mogwai again”, that doesn’t mean it’s not still exciting – the main set-closing pair of “Like Herod” and “Glasgow Megasnake” were still as powerful as if i was seeing them for the first time. It’s important to note that even though their albums have have transitioned from visceral to cinematic over time, their live shows still manage to capture both facets magnificently. If Mogwai are indeed dialing down their touring commitments, understand that it’s not because they’ve lost a step on stage. No way.

The National Post also has a review of the show and Clash reports that the band will release a new remix album based on Hardcore entitled A Wretched Virile Lore; this will be their first remix collection since 1998’s Kicking a Dead Pig.

Photos: Mogwai, Odonis Odonis @ The Phoenix – June 18, 2012
MP3: Mogwai – “San Pedro”
MP3: Mogwai – “Rano Pano”
MP3: Mogwai – “The Sun Smells Too Loud”
MP3: Mogwai – “Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home”
MP3: Mogwai – “Tracy”
MP3: Mogwai – “Dial: Revenge”
MP3: Mogwai – “Hunted By A Freak”
MP3: Mogwai – “7:25”
MP3: Odonis Odonis – “Ledged Up”
Video: Mogwai – “San Pedro”
Video: Mogwai – “Mexican Grand Prix”
Video: Mogwai – “How To Be A Werewolf”
Video: Mogwai – “I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead”
Video: Mogwai – “Batcat”
Video: Mogwai – “Travel Is Dangerous”
Video: Mogwai – “Friend Of The Night”
Video: Mogwai – “Hunted By A Freak”
Video: Mogwai – “Dial: Revenge”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Ledged Up”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Blood Feast”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Mr. Smith”

Spin, The Japan Times, Paste, and eMusic have features on Hot Chip, in town at The Sound Academy on July 15.

Daytrotter has posted up a session with The Cribs and The San Francisco Examiner a (very) quick chat.

Blur have finally fessed up as to what the cryptic clues pointing to something happening on July 2 are all about. Via a video message viewable at DIY, Alex James explains that the band will perform two new songs – “Under The Westway” and “The Puritan” – live on Twitter from a rooftop in London. I don’t know what “live on Twitter” means – maybe Damon will sing 140 characters at a time – but a world premiere like this sounds like a great way to summon the fail whale.

Exclaim has details on the new Two Door Cinema Club record, entitled Beacon and due out on September 4. And yes, there’s an album trailer.

Trailer: Two Door Cinema Club / Beacon

DIY has a feature piece on Wild Beasts.

Simian Mobile Disco have long had a DJ date scheduled for The Hoxton on July 12, but they’ve just announced they’ll be back at that same room on December 14 with instruments in tow for a proper live show in support of their new album Unpatterns.

MP3: Simian Mobile Disco – “Seraphim”

Beth Jeans Houghton stops in at Daytrotter for a session.

To build up some anticipation for their new album No Hope For The Vaccines due out September 3, The Vaccines are giving a download of a new live EP recorded in Brighton entitled Live In Brighton.

MTV talks to Mika Levi of Micachu & The Shapes; their new album Never is due out July 24.

Prefix gets to know some of Laura Marling’s influences. The San Francisco Examiner also has an interview and Seattle Weekly gets a tour of her iPod.

Spin explains why music is better off if Lily Allen does indeed make a third album, as she’s gone back to the studio to begin.

Only just behind last week’s Afghan Whigs announcement as far as concert announcements I’m excited as hell about is confirmation of I Break Horses’ headlining Fall tour, and that’s only because I saw them last month supporting M83. They’ll be at The Drake Underground on September 19, tickets $13 in advance.

MP3: I Break Horses – “Winter Beats”

It’s hard not to feel a little bad for a label whose highest-profile act keeps giving away all their music as free downloads and refuses to/is incapable of touring. But Sincerely Yours seem perfectly happy to keep enabling jj, who’ve just made their High Summer EP available for free.

ZIP: jj / High Summer

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with Anna Ternheim.

The National Post, Toronto Star, and FasterLouder interview The Hives, hitting up the Sound Academy tomorrow night.

Clash interviews Sigur Rós, in town at Echo Beach on August 1.

Pitchfork has some details on the new Mono album, to be called For My Parents and out September 4.

Trailer: Mono / For My Parents

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

God Of Loneliness

Emmy The Great gets even more Virtue-ous

Photo By Gabriel BruceGabriel BruceI’m no fan of the deluxe reissue trend – at least not with respect to an album that came out less than a year ago – as it tends to punish the biggest fans, those who would have bought the original issue and most want whatever bonus materials are applied to the reissue. So while I don’t greet the news that Emmy The Great is doing this with last year’s Virtue – one of my faves of 2011 – I at least appreciate that some of the bonus material will be made available separately.

The fancy edition of Virtue will be out on May 7 and include three unreleased songs from the sessions for the album and a cover of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”. One of those songs – “God Of Loneliness” – will also be released that day as a single with the Mazzy Star cover as a b-side so if you don’t want to repurchase Virtue, there’s that option. Though you know those other two tracks will indeed taunt you with their very existence. To also go along with the occasion, they’ve also commissioned four comic strips to go with it all – the first is up at The Line Of Best Fit – and four remixes that are being made available to download for free. And oh, there’s a video/black comedy mini-movie for the single.

MP3: Emmy The Great – “Exit Night” (Banjo or Freakout remix)
Video: Emmy The Great – “God Of Loneliness”

Already out in the UK but now getting a proper North American release is Dry The River’s own debut Shallow Bed. Spinner has an interview with the band and a stream of the album.

MP3: Dry The River – “New Ceremony”
Stream: Dry The River / Shallow Bed

Clock Opera’s debut album Ways To Forget is now streaming in whole at Hype Machine; it’s out April 23 in the UK and The Line Of Best Fit talks to the band about it.

MP3: Clock Opera – “Once And For All”
Stream: Clock Opera / Ways To Forget

Radio Free Canuckistan has posted the complete transcript of the interview with Nick Lowe that went into the Macleans piece; The Star-Tribune also has an interview. Lowe plays The Phoenix on April 23.

The Guardian, Spinner, and NPR talk to Jason Pierce of Spiritualized, whose Sweet Heart Sweet Light is finally out. They’re at The Phoenix on May 5.

Interview talks to Anthony Gonzalez of M83, who’re in town not once but twice this Summer – May 6 for a headlining show at the Sound Academy and August 4 at Historic Fort York co-headlining the HARD festival with Justice.

Pitchfork reports that jj have commissioned a video to go with their latest release jj n° 4, out on May 8.

Video: jj – “Beautiful Life”

Prefix is streaming the whole of We Are Serenades’ debut Criminal Heaven, out now. They’re at The Garrison on May 14.

MP3: We Are Serenades – “Birds”
MP3: We Are Serenades – “Oceans”
Stream: We Are Serenades / Criminal Heaven

Anglo-Basque electro-rock outfit Crystal Fighters have made a date at Wrongbar on May 26 in support of their debut album Star Of Love, out April 24. Examiner.com has an interview with the band.

Video: Crystal Fighters – “Plage”

Hot Chip are streaming a second single from their new record In Our Heads, It’s out June 12 and they’re at the Sound Academy on July 15.

Stream: Hot Chip – “Night & Day”

Blurt talks to Laura Marling, in town for a show at The Phoenix on June 17.

Le Blogotheque has posted a Take-Away Show with Michael Kiwanuka and The Express has an interview. He plays The Great Hall on June 19.

Graham Coxon has released a new video from A+E.

Video: Graham Coxon – “Ooh, Yeh Yeh”

Le Sigh chats with Veronica Falls.

Stereogum has dug up an interview conducted with The Twilight Sad just before the release of their latest, No One Can Ever Know. Better late than never, yeah?

Rolling Stone and examiner.com get a moment of Noel Gallagher’s time.

If you’re one of the unlucky many who haven’t gotten to see Pulp on their reunion tour, here’s the next best thing – a couple of complete, professionally-shot videos of their sets at Reading Festival last Summer and Coachella this past weekend.

Video: Pulp @ Reading Festival – August 27, 2011
Video: Pulp @ Coachella – April 13, 2012

And while we’re at it, here’s Coachella sets from Radiohead and Wild Beasts. Just like being there, but without the heat stroke.

Video: Radiohead @ Coachella – April 14, 2012
Video: Wild Beasts @ Coachella – April 15, 2012

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

The Warmth Of The Sun

Review of Lightships’ Electric Cables

Photo By Cat StevensloresCat StevensloresThe general assumption as to whoy Teenage Fanclub release albums so infrequently – 2010’s Shadows was just their third effort in the 21st century, assuming you count 2000 as part of this millenium – is that despite having three superb songwriters in their ranks, they just work very, very slowly; if this is true, then clearly bassist Gerard Love isn’t the limiting factor. Based on Electric Cables, the debut album from his solo project as Lightships, he has no shortage of songs at the ready and most are as good as anything he’s contributed to the Fannies over the past decade.

Backed by a band of Scottish all-stars recruited from Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian and The Pastels, Love has crafted a record of gorgeously bucolic pop songs marked by Love’s airy vocals and guitar and flute lines gently bouncing off of one another. The notes aren’t content to simply jangle and decay, but rather hang suspended, shimmering in the air. Cables possesses enough energy and buzz to keep from coming across as too ephemeral, but the prevailing vibe is the return of and a return to nature and given the prevalence of pastoral themes in the song titles – “Photosynthesis”, “Sunlight To The Dawn”, “Muddy Rivers” to name a few – one can only assume that this is deliberate and not just a happy coincidence.

Let this be your soundtrack to Spring, and if it just so happens to linger in your ears through the rest of the seasons, then so be it. Norman Blake may have been first with his breezy Jonny side-project and while he’s not fronting it, it’s good to see Raymond McGinley active extra-circularly in Snowgoose, but Lightships is what every Fannies fan hopes for in a Teenage Fanclub side-project in that it sounds like Teenage Fanclub. Which is to say beautiful.

Video: Lightships – “Sweetness In Her Spark”
Video: Lightships – “Two Lines”
Stream: Lightships / Electric Cables

NPR is streaming the whole of Spiritualized’s Sweet Heart Sweet Light ahead of its release next week. Rolling Stone talks to Jason Pierce about the new album and Pitchfork finds out what he was thinking when he selected the album art. They play The Phoenix on May 5.

Stream: Spiritualized / Sweet Heart Sweet Light

JAM, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Georgia Straight talk to Elvis Costello about busting out the “The Spectacular Spinning Songbook” for his recent tours, though it won’t be in play when he’s at Casino Rama on April 19 – guess they prefer people do their gambling on the casino floor than in the theatre. The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook live CD/DVD culled from the Summer 2011 leg of the tour came out last week.

Pitchfork points out that Field Music are streaming their contribution to this year’s Record Store Day release schedule; a 7″ featuring a cover of Pet Shop Boys’ “Rent”, which kicked off a mini PSB marathon over these parts; never a bad thing.

Stream: Field Music – “Rent”

Daytrotter has posted a session with Clock Opera, whose debut Ways To Forget was supposed to be out now but has been pushed back until April 23 in the UK.

DIY talks to Mystery Jets about their new album Radlands, due out April 30. They’re at The Sound Academy on June 19 in support of Keane.

Interview talks to Hot Chip about their new record In Our Heads, coming out June 12 and justifying a visit to the Sound Academy on July 15.

Stylist talks fashion with Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine. She’s at the Molson Amphitheatre on August 2.

Loud & Quiet talks to Trailer Trash Tracys.

Django Django have released a new video from their self-titled debut.

Video: Django Django – “Storm”

The Quietus tags along with British Sea Power as the band plays a concert at the CERN project in Switzerland.

Slicing Up Eyeballs has complete video of one of The Wedding Present’s shows at SXSW last month.

In the, “karmic balance for Anglophiles” department: Jarvis Cocker and Kevin Shields, in conversation with Shortlist and Pitchfork respectively, reveal that new material from both Pulp and My Bloody Valentine could be in the works – Pulp were also on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night – but Damon Albarn tells The Guardian in very few uncertain terms that Blur – and Gorillaz if you care about Gorillaz – are probably over following a final single and the Hyde Park show this Summer. DIY looks at what the definitive end of Blur would mean for the band’s legacy.

New to my ears lately are Swedish duo The Deer Tracks, whose two mini-albums so far – The Archer Trilogy P1 1 and The Archer Trilogy Pt. 2 (part three is out this Fall) – remind me not a little of early Múm, which is a good thing indeed. Also good is their North American tour this Summer is missing a Toronto date at the moment, but there’s a conspicuous two-day gap between Chicago and Montreal that just happens to fall during NXNE. So yeah.

MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Dark Passenger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Ram Ram”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fra Ro Raa / Ro Ra Fraa”

Pitchfork reports that another co-ed Swedish duo with a penchant for electronics – jj – will release a new single/EP/something entitled jj n° 4 on May 8, and the first track from it is now available to download.

MP3: jj – “Beautiful Life”

Anna Ternheim has announced the June 5 North American release of her new record The Night Visitor and offered a first sample for downloading and listening purposes.

MP3: Anna Ternheim – “The Longer The Waiting (The Sweeter The Kiss)”

Knox Road, The Boston Herald, Metro, and USA Today speak with Of Monsters & Men, in town at The Phoenix on April 12.

The second video from Ladyhawke’s Anxiety, out May 29, is now available to watch.

Video: Ladyhawke – “Sunday Drive”

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Youth Knows No Pain

Lykke Li finds Lost Sessions

Photo By Roger DeckkerRoger DeckkerA little before the holidays rolled in, Swedish songstress Lykke Li gave her fans an early Christmas gift by releasing a three-song EP of stripped-down versions of this year’s Wounded Rhymes. They’re decidedly spare and more downbeat than the finished versions, but if you liked the moodiness that pervaded her second album, then you might well like these versions better than the album versions because they’ve got shadowy atmosphere to spare.

And if the version of “Jerome” sounds familiar, it’s because a video of the performance of “Jerome” came out in the early part of the year – which implies that there might well be more videos lurking in her vaults, just as the Volume 1 implies there might be more songs to give away; perhaps to keep folks interested while she works on album number three.

MP3: Lykke Li – “I Follow Rivers” (The Lost Sessions, Vol. 1)
MP3: Lykke Li – “Jerome” (The Lost Sessions, Vol. 1)
MP3: Lykke Li – “Youth Knows No Pain” (The Lost Sessions, Vol. 1)
Video: Lykke Li – “Jerome” (The Lost Sessions, Vol. 1)
Stream: Lykke Li / The Lost Sessions, Vol. 1

Also offering gifts from Sweden were Stockholm pop outfit Acid House Kings, who offered a free download (and a remix) of one of the highlights of their delicious 2011 release The Music Sounds Better With You, a record I didn’t get around to reviewing but which is, indeed, delicious. And with this offering, that’s three of the album’s ten tracks available as free downloads via Labrador… those Swedes are generous folk.

MP3: Acid House Kings – “Are We Lovers Or Are We Friends?”
MP3: Acid House Kings – “Would You Say Stop?”
MP3: Acid House Kings – “(I’m In) A Chorus Line”
MP3: Acid House Kings – “(I’m In) A Chorus Line” (Dave DaG remix)

Filter chats with Adam Olenius and Markus Krunegård of Serenades.

jj have released a new video. Yes, it’s weird.

Video: jj – “VI”

“Lúppulagið” – the one new song included on Sigur Ros’ Inni live album – is now available to download.

MP3: Sigur Ros – “Lúppulagið”

And Jonsi has released a video for one of the songs on the We Bought A Zoo original soundtrack. Have you seen the film? I think they buy a zoo.

Video: Jonsi – “Gathering Stories”

The Irish Times, Daily Record, and The Skinny talk to Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream.

Bandstand Busking reaches back to the Summer for a session with Veronica Falls; they’re at The Garrison on February 14.

Lanterns On The Lake offer a list of their favourite records to DIY, chats with The Irish Independent and play a session for Beatcast.

The Quietus marks the twentieth anniversary of Teenage Fanclub’s classic Bandwagonesque.

Want to hear an early demo version of a new xx song? No? Then don’t click on the link below. And then the play button on the page that link leads to.

Stream: The xx – “Open Eyes”

Elbow have announced deluxe reissues of their second and third albums for next year; 2003’s Cast Of Thousands and 2005’s Leaders Of The Free World will be released on March 5 with a second disc of period-correct bonus material and a DVD of videos and live performances.