Posts Tagged ‘jj’

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

A Token Of Gratitude

Review of The Radio Dept.’s Clinging To A Scheme

Photo By Max WeilandMax WeilandFor so long has Clinging To A Scheme, the third album from Sweden’s The Radio Dept, been promised and not delivered that it’s become something of a myth – if someone were to tell me that when it was finally to be released unto the world that it would be delivered by Axl Rose and Kevin Shields riding unicorns, I’d probably believe it.

But it finally arrives in stores next week, and fans who’ve been waiting for upwards of four years for another Radio Dept record will find that it… is another Radio Dept record. The trio haven’t used the time away to reinvent themselves or their sound, but with only two records to their names over twelve years of existence, you can hardly accuse them of having fallen into a holding pattern or phoning it in. They’ve simply adhering to the template laid out in their two masterpieces so far, Lesser Matters and Pet Grief, and written (and discarded and rewritten) songs until coming up with a collection they were happy with, and this is how long its taken. While it’s true that wrapping pop songs built on strings and electronics in fuzzy blankets of sound isn’t unique in and of itself, very few have managed to strike as perfect a balance between shimmer and static as The Radio Dept, and that’s even before you factor in their distinctly Scandinavian melancholy.

Within the boundaries of what makes a Radio Dept album, however, there are some adjustments from past works. Sonically, it largely retains the cleanliness of Pet Grief but some of the rough edges of Lesser Matters has crept back into the mix – welcomely, I might add – creating a blended texture that’s quantitatively different from but more quintessentially characteristic than anything they’ve done before. The mood of Clinging is also lighter, with a handful of genuinely bouncy numbers that would probably have felt out of place on the beautifully downbeat Pet Grief, but overall it moves at the pace of a thoughtful stroll and the vibe is that of someone trying their best to have a good time and be happy and not really succeeding. And it’s that contrast and combination of smiling whilst frowning that’s the source of much of The Radio Dept’s magic, a magic which is present in abundance on Clinging To A Scheme. Yes, it sounds just like The Radio Dept, but that’s all we ever asked for.

Penny Black talks to frontman Johan Duncanson about the long road to the record and what lies ahead for the band.

MP3: The Radio Dept – “Never Follow Suit”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “Heaven’s On Fire”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “David”

The Mary Onettes are releasing a new 7″ for Record Store Day and for those who won’t be able to get their hands on a copy, they’re giving away the a-side for free.

MP3: The Mary Onettes – “The Night Before The Funeral”

Interview interviews jj.

Jens Lekman recalls the state of Swedish indie in the ’90s to The Jakarta Post.

The Vancouver Sun, Bay Area Reporter and The AV Club have conversations with Jonsi, while Grapevine talks to him and collaborator Nico Muhly. Jonsi plays the Sound Academy on April 30 and May 1.

The Telegraph and Houston Chronicle talk to Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison. They’re at the Opera House on May 4.

LCD Soundsystem have put up a stream of their new record This Is Happening, weeks ahead of its May 18 release date. They will be at the Kool Haus on May 25.

Stream: LCD Soundsystem / This Is Happening

The Toronto Star and CNN chat with Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss of Quasi. They’ll be at The Horseshoe on Sunday night, April 18.

The jokers at MBV Music have posted the cover art to the new Pernice Brothers record, which is coming out on June 15 with the cheery title of Goodbye Killer.

Spin talks to Stephen Malkmus on how the Pavement reunion came to be while North County Times chats with rhythm section Bob Nastanovich and Mark Ibold. Said reunion rolls into the Toronto Islands on June 19.

Beach House are giving away one of the tracks on their Record Store Day 12″ EP. Get it – if you’re early and lucky – this Saturday. They’re also playing the Toronto Islands on June 19.

MP3: Beach House – “Zebra” (UK Edit)

Filler has an interview and fashion spread with Holly Miranda. She plays the El Mocambo on May 20.

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Heart Of Gold

Chromewaves co-presents Paper Bag Records showcase at SXSW 2010

Photo By Todd DuymTodd DuymI can appreciate that relations between Canada and the United States might be a bit strained today, following last night’s Olympic men’s hockey gold medal game – or at least between Canada and the dozen or so Americans who care about hockey – but perhaps this gesture of musical ambassadorship will help ease tensions a little bit.

When I head down to SxSW each year, going to see Canadian acts is usually near the bottom of my list of things to do. Not because it’s not worthy of my attention – far from it – but living in Toronto, I get more than my share of opportunities to see the best of Canadian talent so to fly all the way down to Texas to see those same acts seems… inefficient. But that in no way, shape or form means that I don’t heartily endorse those who aren’t so fortunate as to live in one of the major hubs of Canadian music to take the Sx opportunity to see said acts – so with that in mind, I’m very pleased to be co-presenting the official Paper Bag Records showcase at SxSW this year.

The show will kick off at 8PM with Montreal’s CFCF, though he’ll be handling DJ duties rather than performing pieces from his album Continent. Then it will be the one non-PBR act on the bill, Toronto’s choral-gospel blues choir Bruce Peninsula at 9PM, followed by Montreal electro-pop outfit Winter Gloves at 10PM. Toronto lo-fi rock outfit Little Girls showcases their debut Concepts at 11 and then it’s an all-out electro-rock dance party to wind things out, first with Woodhands and their latest Remorscapade at midnight and Vancouver’s disco-rock heroes You Say Party! We Say Die!, who are finally allowed back into the US following some immigration misunderstandings a few years ago, just in time for them to introduce their latest xxxx to America. Update: Well, my description on how the night will arc won’t be quite right – some set times have moved around, and it will now go: CFCF @ 8, BP @ 9, LG @ 10, WH @ 11, WG @ 12, YSPWSD @ 1. Everything else remains true.

To those headed to Austin in mid-March, the Paper Bag showcase will be taking place on Thursday, March 18 at Speakeasy, located at 412 South Congress Ave at West 5th St. And to those not, some/all of the acts on the bill may be coming to you. YSP!WSD! are making the most of their US visas with dates all over America through March before coming back to Canada including an April 2 date at the Horseshoe. Woodhands are crossing the continent through April, including a hometown show at the Opera House on March 13. Bruce Peninsula are making a couple of US stops en route to Austin and have a handful of Ontario dates in the Spring, including a March 25 show at The Garrison. YSP!WSD! are featured are Blogcritics and Sentimentalist. Uptown and See talk to Woodhands.

MP3: You Say Party! We Say Die! – “Laura Palmer’s Prom”
MP3: Woodhands – “Dissembler”
MP3: Little Girls – “Growing”
MP3: Winter Gloves – “Factories” (alternate)
MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Crabapples”
MP3: CFCF – “Monolith”

Also noteworthy on the SxSW front is a day show taking place on Thursday, March 18 at the Flamingo Cantina on East 6th St at Red River and co-presented by Team Clermont and my associates at MBV Music. That show, which kicks off at noon, will feature Venice Is Sinking, Jeremy Jay, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, Jookabox, Dengue Fever and Califone. Plus a special guest headliner whom, if it’s who I’ve heard it might be, will be a hell of a finish. So yeah, drop by. Have a drink. It’ll be a good time.

MP3: Califone – “Funeral Singers”
MP3: Dengue Fever – “Sober Driver”
MP3: Jookabox – “You Cried Me”
MP3: Collections Of Colonies Of Bees – “Flocks 1”
MP3: Jeremy Jay – “Breaking The Ice”
MP3: Venice Is Sinking – “Compass”

Okay, back to now and not Spring Break. There’s a new video available from Love Is All’s forthcoming Two Thousand and Ten Injuries, out March 23. They’re at the Horseshoe on April 3.

Video: Love Is All – “Kungen”

jj have a new video for the first single from No 3, due out March 9. They’re at the Phoenix on April 4.

Video: jj – “Let Go”

To anyone curious as to what Jonsi has in store for his two night stand at the Sound Academy on April 30 and May 1, check out this video about the making of his stage set. His solo debut Go is out March 23.

Ca Va Cool interviews Shout Out Louds. They play The Mod Club on May 8.

The Hamilton Spectator has a feature piece on Owen Pallett, who plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 8.

Volume 8 of The Line Of Best Fit’s Oh! Canada mixtape series is now up for grabs.

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Memory Loss

The Radio Dept. promise new record for March. Seriously. They mean it.

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceIt’s not the firm, 100% release date that you’d want to see before getting excited, but this update from The Radio Dept. declaring that their third record Clinging To A Scheme – constantly rescheduled and delayed since September 2008 – will be available on CD and LP via Labrador in March is the most official thing we’ve seen yet.

Past target dates have come from their label and they’ve had to backpedal on each one, but this one comes from the band, and they’ve sealed it with a stream of a new song, album art and even a tracklisting! It seems the 2008 single “Freddie & The Trojan Horse” didn’t end up making the cut but their entire 2009 output – “David” – did. Either way, I’m allowing myself to hope this time the record will finally become reality and it somehow is worth the almost four-year wait since Pet Grief and year and a half delay from its originally-promised date. And I won’t hold my breath for live dates.

Update: Aaaaand they manage to push it back yet again. But the official new release date is April 20 in North America, April 21 in Europe. EXCITED.

MP3: The Radio Dept. – “David”

And keeping on the theme of reclusive Swedes finally getting into sharing, jj have let slip not only some images of themselves, but a couple new songs via a free digital single – one of which will also appear on their forthcoming album No. 3, out March 9. They’ll be at the Phoenix on April 4, on stage for all to see. Unless they turn off the lights. Which they probably will.

MP3: jj – “Let Go”
MP3: jj – “My Way”

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Philip Ekstrom of The Mary Onettes.

The Raveonettes have made a video for the cryptically-titled new single from In And Out Of Control, “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)”. I think there might be a message here; I’m not sure.

Video: The Raveonettes – “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)”

The Varsity chats with Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth.

NOW has words with J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. They’ve got an in-store at Sonic Boom tonight at 6:30 – be there early with an item of canned food for admission – and a sold-out show at the Phoenix afterward. eye also has an interview with Lou Barlow in the context of solo artist and opener for himself tonight.

Paste talks to Ted Leo, who is preparing his next record with The Pharmacists in The Brutalist Bricks, due out March 9.

Scout Niblett has set a March 17 date at the Horseshoe as part of a Spring tour in support of her new record The Calcination of Scout Niblett, out next week. Tickets for the show are $11.50 in advance.

MP3: Scout Niblett – “The Calcination Of Scout Niblett”

Last week I mentioned the release next week of El May, the debut album from Lara Meyerratken – well an MP3 from the album is now available to grab.

MP3: El May – “Don’t You”

Matablog has announced the next New Pornographers record will be entitled Together and be out May 4. And yes, both Dan and Neko are on board again.

Canadian Press gets some information from Amy Millan about the new Broken Social Scene record, including the fact that all of she, Emily Haines and Leslie Feist are appearing on the album and one track will feature all three singing together. It was reported that the album would be out in May, in time for their big Spinner Canada is streaming Basia Bulat’s new album Heart Of My Own – it’s in stores next Tuesday.

Stream: Basia Bulat / Heart Of My Own

The Hidden Cameras have rolled out a new video from Origin: Orphan.

Video: The Hidden Cameras – “Underage”

Via MySpace blog, Oh No Forest Fires have offered more explanation for their decision to disband, revealed that their doubling their recorded legacy with a second (mini) album that will be made available for free when it’s ready, offered a first track from said album to download (below), and announced that this Saturday’s final show at the Horseshoe will also be a benefit fundraiser for Haiti, with all proceeds from the $7 cover going to Partners In Health to assist the disaster-ridden country.

MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “Spontaneous Changes In Isolated Systems (Song For Bobby)”

SubPop is giving away a big-ass MP3 mix of their Winter 2010 releases. Go get.

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Ibi Dreams Of Pavement

Pavement, Broken Social Scene and Band Of Horses play Toronto Islands 2010

Photo By Marcus Roth/Paolo Proserpio Marcus Roth/Paolo ProserpioI should start setting aside Tuesday posts for concert announcements – every Monday brings an absolute deluge of them, yesterday through to this morning being no exception. But even on a day filled with big announcements, there was this.

Toronto Island Concert isn’t the catchiest name – apparently calling it the Olympic Island Festival is now verboten? – but it really doesn’t matter what you brand a show that features Pavement, Broken Social Scene and Band Of Horses because everyone with a lick of sense will simply call it “awesome”. The show is only the third North American date officially confirmed for the reformed indie rock legends, after Sasquatch in May and the four-night stand in New York’s Central Park in September, though word is they’re also headlining this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, probably in mid-July. I tend to vacillate between indifference and great love for Pavement, depending on my mood. Right now it’s all love, and I would say that even with more acts to be added to the bill, this has already more than made up for last year’s canceled BSS/Explosions In The Sky event.

The show will go June 19, which is a bit ill-timed as it falls on the last day of NXNE but really, there’s no choice to be made. This must happen. Tickets will be $49.50 (plus $1.50 facility fee and $6.50 ferry admission) and go on sale next Friday, January 22 though a pre-sale through Arts & Crafts’ online store starts January 18 and also gets you a $5 credit towards their merch. So why wouldn’t you.

Pavement have a best-of in Quarantine The Past and series of vinyl reissues coming March 9. Broken Social Scene’s new record is supposed to arrive in May. Band Of Horses’ third album has a title of Night Rainbows and is due out sometime this year. Pavement drummer Bob Nastanovich talks to The Courier-Journal about the impending reunion tour and basically confirms the Pitchfork Festival appearance.

MP3: Pavement – “Gold Soundz”
MP3: Pavement – “Rattled By The Rush”
MP3: Broken Social Scene presents Brendan Canning – “Hit The Wall”
MP3: Broken Social Scene presents Kevin Drew – “TBTF”
MP3: Band Of Horses – “No One’s Gonna Love You”
MP3: Band Of Horses – “Is There A Ghost”
MP3: Band Of Horses – “The Great Salt Lake”
MP3: Band Of Horses – “The Funeral”

And everything else that came out yesterday, in chronological order:

Mumford & Sons’ February 15 show has been moved from the El Mocambo to Lee’s Palace due to overwhelming demand for bluegrass-ish music. Sigh No More gets a North American release on March 15.

Norwegian ambassadors of chillax, the Kings Of Convenience, will be at the Phoenix on February 18 in support of last year’s Declaration Of Dependence. Tickets are $21.50. The Independent has a feature on the duo.

MP3: Kings Of Convenience – “Boat Behind”
Video: Kings Of Convenience – “Boat Behind”

Born Ruffians have set a date at the Phoenix for March 14. Their new record Say It will be out sometime.

Well it looks like I won’t be going a half decade without seeing Spoon – in addition to headlining Stubb’s on the first night of SxSW, they’ve announced a full North American tour – they’ll be at the Sound Academy on March 29 with Deerhunter and The Strange Boys. Tickets are $24.50 for general admission, $33.50 for VIP balcony spots. Apparently this is what it will take to get me back to the Sound Academy. Transference is out next Tuesday and is streaming in its entirety right now at NPR. Deerhunter made an entire album available for free download last December.

MP3: Spoon – “The Underdog”
MP3: Deerhunter – “Rainwater Cassette Exchange”
MP3: The Strange Boys – “Heard You Wanna Beat Me Up”
Stream: Spoon / Transference

Beach House will finally make up their canceled appearance at last year’s Olympic Island show on their Spring North American tour – it brings them to the Opera House on March 30 with Bachelorette, tickets $14. Their new album Teen Dream is out January 26.

MP3: Beach House – “Norway”

Almost as exciting – or maybe even moreso – as the Pavement announcement was that of the April 1 date at Lee’s Palace for the amazing double bill of Shearwater and Wye Oak, part of a North American tour. Shearwater’s epic The Golden Archipelago is out February 23 and Wye Oak are still supporting last year’s excellent The Knot.

MP3: Shearwater – “Castaways”
MP3: Wye Oak – “Take It In”

The Black Lips are setting up for a two-night stand at the Horseshoe on March 27 and 28, tickets for each night are $15.50. I seem to recall hearing tales of anarchy the last time they played there – no reason to believe this time will be any different. Demon Claws and Box Elders support.

MP3: The Black Lips – “Lock & Key” (live at Amoeba)

Already posted but now official – The xx and jj at the Phoenix on April 4, admission $20. jj’s No 3 is out March 9, Creative Review has a look at the recently unveiled video sculpture for their debut album.

MP3: The xx – “Basic Space”
MP3: jj – “Ecstasy”

The Low Anthem will bring their Oh My God, Charlie Darwin to the Church Of The Redeemer on April 10.

MP3: The Low Anthem – “Charlie Darwin”
MP3: The Low Anthem – “To Ohio”

The Wedding Present have announced the dates for their tour commemorating the 21st anniversary of Bizarro and that includes an April 14 date at the Horseshoe.

Quasi have set a February 23 release date for their new record American Gong and are hitting the road to promote – look for them April 18 at the Horseshoe. And I could be wrong on this, but I think this is their first time back in town since 2001. That’s almost as long as, um, Pavement!

MP3: Quasi – “Repulsion”

Shout Out Louds are crossing the Atlantic this Spring to support new album Work, out February 23. They’ll be in Toronto at the Mod Club on May 8 and have just released a new video.

MP3: Shout Out Louds – “Walls”
Video: Shout Out Louds – “Fall Hard”

And to close with something completely different – if you aren’t following my Twitter feed and didn’t hear the collective cry of fear/rage yesterday afternoon from the geek nation, it was announced that Spider-Man 4 – which as early as yesterday morning appeared to have confirmed John Malkovich as the Vulture – will instead be a complete reboot, jettisoning Tobey Maguire in the lead role and Sam Raimi in the director’s chair, and bring in a whole new cast while heading back to a high school setting for Peter Parker. I didn’t think it’d be possible to make a worse film than Spider-Man 3 but it seems they’ve found a way.

Friday, January 8th, 2010

White Russian Doll

Lucky Soul release and annotate new video

Photo By Glen WilkinsGlen WilkinsWhile most peoples’ “most anticipated albums of 2010” lists read something like “Arcade Fire Interpol Strokes Fleet Foxes etc”, damn near the top of my list you’ll find A Coming Of Age, the sophomore effort from London’s Lucky Soul. Their 2007 debut The Great Unwanted, an irresistible piece of Motown/Northern soul-channeling pop glory, remains one of my favourite records of the past decade, so the follow-up has some mighty big shoes to fill but judging from the first couple of tastes, it’ll manage that just fine.

Last March brought the first single in the disco-fied “Whoa Billy!”, which was as good as anything on Unwanted if not better, and they’ve just released a video for their new single “White Russian Doll” – out in the UK on Monday – which brings a little bit (ok a lot) of Smiths into the mix. The clip was filmed on location in Berlin and features frontwoman Ali Howard dancing and karaoke-ing her way through the city, and Lucky Soul guitarist Andrew Laidlaw has put up a blog post detailing the mostly commando-style filming of the clip. That’s commando as in run-and-gun, on-location, no-permit; not as in rescue pre-teen Alyssa Milano from Dan Hedaya with lots of gunplay. Though that’d make for an excellent follow-up video.

A Coming Of Age is due out in March.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “Whoa Billy!”
Video: Lucky Soul – “White Russian Doll”

Questions about whether The xx would be appearing with jj on the Toronto date of their North American tour – just two weeks before their already scheduled date supporting Hot Chip – have been answered by their booking agency and yes, indeed, Toronto gets a double-shot of The xx in just over a fortnight – April 4 at The Phoenix (apparently moved from the original venue of Lee’s Palace) with jj and again on April 20 at the Kool Haus with Hot Chip. Expect precise details on the show next week.

MP3: The xx – “Basic Space”

Paste talks to Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor about their new record One Life Stand, out February 2.

For Folks Sake has details on Laura Marling’s second album, entitled I Speak Because I Can and due out on March 1. Expect to hear lots of new stuff when she plays the Drake Underground on February 9.

Battery In Your Leg interviews The Joy Formidable, who are making their North American debut this weekend with a slew of shows in New York, none of which I will be at – a fact which saddens me. They are looking to have their first proper full-length out in the first part of 2010.

Beatroute and ABC News talk to Gareth Campesinos! of Los Campesinos!, whose Romance Is Boring comes out January 27.

Reigning Mercury Prize winner Speech Debelle will make her Toronto debut at Wrongbar Revival on March 10 as part of Canadian Music Fst. Tickets are $15 in advance.

MP3: Speech Debelle – “Better Days” revox featuring Wiley
Video: Speech Debelle – “Better Days” featuring Micachu

List talks to Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison about The Winter Of Mixed Drinks. The new album isn’t out till March 16 but Stereogum has both their new single and its b-side available to stream right now.

PitchforkTV has a Tunnelvision video session with A Sunny Day In Glasgow, who are at the Garrison on April 2.

Beatroute and SF Station talk to Asobi Seksu about going acoustic on Rewolf. It’s unplugged they’ll be when they play the Drake Underground on February 1.

Filter gets to know Yo La Tengo.

The New York Times has a feature piece on Spoon. Transference is out on January 19.

Joe Pernice appears to be making good on his promise to play around town more often, as he’s scheduled a date at the Dakota Tavern for February 16. His show there in September was terrific, but I think I’m going to miss it in favour of seeing Editors and The Antlers at the Phoenix that same night. Which is funny, because last time I skipped seeing The Antlers at the Horseshoe in favour of Joe Pernice. Full tour dates and a new album update can be found over here.

Not sure what’s greater – Mac McCaughan and a children’s choir (okay, maybe not quite a choir) channeling Dan Bejar on a Destroyer cover by Portastatic, taken from the Make It Sound In Tune digital EP for charity, or the accompanying image by Ryan Catbirdseat over at MBV Music, where you can download the track.

And also great – all the illustrations accompanying Hype Machine’s 2009 zeitgeist list of artists. Amazing, every one.