Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘John Vanderslice’

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Blame The Muse

Tanya Donelly’s Swan Song is anything but

Illustration By Louisa BertmanLouisa BertmanIt’s understandable if you’d thought we’d heard the last in the way of new music from Tanya Donelly. Output from the former Throwing Muse/Breeder/Belly frontwoman gone solo basically stopped with 2006’s recorded-live This Hungry Life, and when Spin went knocking in 2010, she revealed that following the birth of her second child, she’d embarked on a new career as a postpartum doula because, well, pretty much anything pays better than professional musician – even one with a CV as impressive as hers.

She didn’t go completely silent, though. Besides intermittently appearing on American Laundromat’s endless stream of tribute albums and compilations, she was heard in lovely form on in duet with Bill Janovitz on Buffalo Tom’s 2011 effort Skins, and this past May was seen as well as heard when she made an appearance on stage with The Breeders in Boston to sing on a couple songs. So pleasant surprises but hardly evidence of any sort of full-fledged return to making music.

But she has been making music; oh how she’s been making music. This week saw the release of the first volume in what she’s calling the Swan Song Series – a series of EPs being released every month for at least the next three months. The songs – which may or may not all be available to stream via Soundcloud right now – aren’t just home-recorded sketches, either; they’re fully-arranged and -produced songs with a host of guest contributors including Janovitz and The Magnetic Fields’ Claudia Gonson. They’re very much keeping in tone with her last couple solo records – lightly jazzy and sophisticated but immediately and directly melodic – and all impeccably lovely. Tanya Donelly is back and the world is a better place for it.

Video: Tanya Donelly – “Mass Ave”
Stream: Tanya Donelly / Swan Song Series

Vue Weekly has a cover story on Neko Case, who has made another song from The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You available to preview via lyric video. It’s out September 3.

Lyric Video: Neko Case – “Night Still Comes”

The Line Of Best Fit has details on the release of the second Boardwalk Empire soundtrack album, which will find the likes of The National and Patti Smith, amongst others, covering prohibition-era songs which will appear in the HBO series. The National’s contribution has been available to download for a while and Rolling Stone has a stream of Smith’s contribution. The album is out September 3, the new season of Boardwalk Empire begins September 8. Patti Smith plays Massey Hall on September 6. City Pages and Rolling Stone have interviews with The National, who have made one of the performances from their upcoming episode of The Artist’s Den available to watch.

MP3: The National – “I’ll See You In My Dreams”
Stream: Patti Smith – “I Ain’t Got Nobody”

Esquire has premiered a stream of the new song from Okkervil River’s forthcoming The Silver Gymnasium. It’s out September 3 and they play The Phoenix on September 28.

Stream: Okkervil River – “Stay Young”

My Daily, BBC News, and Clash have interviews and NPR has a World Cafe session with Lissie, whose new record Return To Forever comes out September 10.

Creative Loafing and Consequence Of Sound talk to Speedy Ortiz, who’re in town at The Horseshoe on September 15 supporting Chelsea Light Moving.

Panic Manual talks to a pre-meltdown Father John Misty; a post-meltdown FJM returns for a solo show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 15.

Also at Esquire is a stream of the first sample of the new Head & The Heart record Let’s Be Still, due out October 15. They’re at The Danforth Music Hall on October 31.

Stream: The Head & The Heart – “Shake”

The Line Of Best Fit has good news and bad news for Midlake fans. The good news is their first album since 2010’s The Courage Of Others will be called Antiphon and is out November 5. The bad news is that singer and songwriter Tim Smith isn’t on it, having left the band. Guitarist Eric Pulido has stepped up as frontman and you can hear Midlake mk2 on the title track of the new album, which is available to stream.

Stream: Midlake – “Antiphon”

Savoir Adore have released a new video from their reissued Our Nature.

Video: Savoir Adore – “Regalia”

Pitchfork gets behind the scenes of Yo La Tengo’s last video from Fade and premieres the next one.

Video: Yo La Tengo – “Is That Enough”

John Vanderslice is streaming the A-side of a new 7″ single released earlier this week. On topic, Engadget gets a tour of his Tiny Telephone studio in San Francisco.

Stream: John Vanderslice – “Song For Clay Miller”

Our Scattered Words and The Calgary Herald have interviews with Sharon Van Etten.

NPR are streaming The Mountain Goats’ set from the Newport Folk Festival last month.

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists visit The AV Club to cover The Ramones for their AV Club Undercover series.

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Amanaemonesia

Chairlift at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAs mentioned when this show was originally announced in May, I was quite pleased to see that New York’s Chairlift were coming back to town as part of Harbourfront Centre’s Soundclash festival because I didn’t realize how much I liked their second album Something until they had finished touring it. And that’s largely because I found their 2008 debut Does You Inspire You? intermittently entertaining but largely uninteresting, the overall quality not matching their iTunes advert-elevated profile. I didn’t appreciate how much better they got after founding member Aaron Pfenning left, leaving the duo of Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly to regroup and realize ditching the cutesy/goofy songwriting o the debut for an approach that understood Polachek’s remarkable vocals were better cast in a more soulful, yet more synthesized context, would produce much stronger work.

So of course they opened up with an opera number. Or operatic, at the least. I’m not sure if it was an original composition, but if the intention was to grab the attention of passers-by out for walk along the waterfront with a riveting vocal performance, it did the job. “Sidewalk Safari” immediately followed to reassure fans they weren’t, in fact, at the wrong show, and the next song, a slinky slow-burner, was one of a few new songs in that vein. Compared to the recent and new material, the simple singalong pop of “Bruises” sounded almost quaint and emphasized how much more sophisticated of a band they had become, but there was no disputing its crowd-pleasingess, hence its inclusion though rather earlier in the show than one might have thought. And though they cited “I Belong In Your Arms” as a request, I can’t believe it’d have been omitted from the show otherwise – surely there’s consensus that it’s one of the best songs in their repertoire?

Chairlift on this evening were a three-piece, with a guitarist/keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist augmenting the core duo. Apparently they’ve toured as a larger live band in the past, allowing Polachek to focus on frontwoman duties rather than anchor herself to a keyboard for parts of the set, but even so she was still a presence on stage, all tassels and shampoo commercial hair – to say nothing of her remarkable vocals, even rangier and more expressive live than on record – as she roamed the stage and danced. The audience, in typically polite Toronto fashion, was appreciative but it took a direct invitation from Polachek to dance to get up out of their seats. I’d like to think, however, that they’d have done so on their own by the time the show closed with “Amanaemonesia”. A terrific way to spend a Summer’s evening, and cement my appreciation for the band, if somewhat late to the party.

Photos: Chairlift @ Harbourfront Centre – July 12, 2013
MP3: Chairlift – “I Belong In Your Arms”
MP3: Chairlift – “Lift Cool As A Fire”
MP3: Chairlift – “Garbage”
Video: Chairlift – “Met Before”
Video: Chairlift – “Amanaemonesia”
Video: Chairlift – “Bruises”
Video: Chairlift – “Evident Utensil”

American experi-folk collective Akron/Family are coming to southern Ontario for some Hillside Festival action, but aren’t forgetting their Toronto fans – they’ll play a free in-store at Sonic Boom on July 26 at 8PM.

MP3: Akron/Family – “So It Goes”

eMusic and Pitchfork have features on Northampton, Massachusetts’ Speedy Ortiz, who’ve been making a lot of noise – literal and figurative – with their wonderfully ’90s-vintage jagged-edge melodic rock on Major Arcana; they’ve just been confirmed as support for Thurston Moore’s Chelsea Light Moving at The Horseshoe on September 15 so that’s gone from can’t miss to CAN’T MISS.

MP3: Speedy Ortiz – “No Below”
MP3: Speedy Ortiz – “Tiger Tank”

Though they’re down a number of members since becoming band du jour in 2005, Philadelphia’s Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are still a going concern and will be at Lee’s Palace on September 28 to prove it. Tickets for the show are $22.50 in advance.

MP3: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Same Mistake”

Brooklyn surf-punk-garage quartet Obits have readied a new long-player in Beds & Bugs, given it a September 10 release date and will be at The Horseshoe on October 4 as part of a North American tour, tickets $13.50. Hear one of the songs from the new record below.

MP3: Obits – “Taste The Diff”

Unclassifiable Ameri-Parisian sister act CocoRosie have assembled a North American tour behind their latest album Tales Of A GrassWidow and will be at The Phoenix on October 15. Exclaim has the full tour itinerary.

Video: CocoRosie – “Gravedigress”

If you were concerned because Ty Segall hasn’t been through town in a few months, don’t worry – he’s coming back as part of his psychedelic FUZZ project for a date at Parts & Labour on October 16 following the October 1 release of their self-titled debut album; Exclaim has all the dates. And don’t worry, the August 20 release of Sleeper, his next album under his own name, is still on track so expect some dates behind that sooner rather than later.

MP3: FUZZ – “Loose Sutres”

Brooklyn rock machine The Men have finally set a local date behind this year’s surprisingly Americana-ish but still fierce New Moon. They’ll be at The Horseshoe on October 20 and the rest of their Fall dates are up at Consequence Of Sound.

MP3: The Men – “Open Your Heart”

You don’t often see bands play support in rooms smaller than they headline, but with their date at Lee’s Palace opening for Wire in the books, NEVER MIND THAT PART. Minus The Bear have announced a show at The Opera House on October 20, tickets $25. This is partly but not really in support of their crowdfunded acoustic-versions record Acoustics II – they’re promising to play an acoustic mini-set as part of a fully-plugged in show.

MP3: Minus The Bear – “Hooray”

If you chose either Foals or The Breeders over Charles Bradley in this past May’s show-mageddon with the expectation that he’d be back before the others, congratulations – Bradley and his Extraordinaires are bringing No Time For Dreaming to The Kool Haus on December 12, tickets $25.50. As a bonus, you get this video session from NPR as well as a World Cafe session.

Video: Charles Bradley – “Strictly Reserved For You”

Superchunk are streaming a new tune from their new record, I Hate Music, due out August 20.

Stream: Superchunk – “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo”

Pitchfork have details of the new record from Of Montreallousy with sylvianbriar is out October 8, and the first single sounds like this.

Stream: Of Montreal – “fugitive air”

Widowspeak have announced the release of a new EP entitled The Swamps on October 29. Details at Pitchfork, lead track from said EP below.

Stream: Widowspeak – “True Believer”

NPR has premiered the new video from John Vanderslice’s latest album, Dagger Beach.

Video: John Vanderslice – “How The West Was Won”

Sterophile interviews Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

NXNE 2013 Day Two

The National, Still Corners, Hayden, and more at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWish as we might, the day show still hasn’t quite taken hold of NXNE the way it has its heavyweight south by southwestern cousin, but there are things worth seeing and doing in the daylight hours if you look. And sometimes those things will take you to places like Urban Outfitters, who were hosting a honey of an in-store on the Friday of the festival. And sometimes, if you take the time to actually look at the address of the Urban Outfitters in question, you’ll get there on the first try, rather than use process of elimination, which is what I did. Aside: there are too many Urban Outfitters in this city.

Still, I made it to the correct Queen West UO location in time to see Florida’s Beach Day – cover boys and girls of my NXNE preview – setting up for the first of four shows they’d play in town this weekend. With their debut album Trip Trap Attack due the the following week – today, actually – they were primed to show off what they had to whomever would listen. And what they had was a fun and infectious retro-garage/surf pop sound that fit their name perfectly, though if you were to call them “Dum Dum Girls’ Little Archies”, you wouldn’t be wrong either. Besides the visual and stylistic similarities, singer-guitarist Kimmy Drake also has a Chrissie Hynde-like delivery not unlike Dee Dee Penny’s, and while their music doesn’t have the New Wave sophistication that elevates Dum Dum Girls above their peers, they do have a lot of youthful exuberance that also goes a long way. They play in an old style but do it like it’s brand new.

Photos: Beach Day @ Urban Outfitters – June 14, 2013
MP3: Beach Day – “Love Is Strange”
Video: Beach Day – “Beach Day”
Video: Beach Day – “Boys”

Following them from about as far as you could get, geographically and stylistically, were London’s Still Corners whose presence on the bill is what got me to take the day off work so as to be able to see them. It had been a long time since their local debut in October 2011 and neither their show a couple nights earlier opening for CHVRCHES nor their showcase that evening at The Horseshoe was logistically workable for me, so this was my best chance to hear Strange Pleasures live. Though the record’s ’80s-beholden, synth-heavy sound was quite a shift from the ’60s atmosphere of their debut Creatures Of An Hour, I’ve found myself liking it as much if not more. The band opted to not try and recreate their standard live show for the in-store setup, however, pre-apologizing if their messing with the set structure didn’t work as well as they hoped when they thought it up. They opened with three selections from Strange Pleasures with just band principals Tessa Murray on vocals and sequencer and Greg Hughes on guitar overtop some canned beats, the lushness of the new material’s recorded versions being traded in for some of the barer beauty more akin to the aesthetic of their debut, even when the rest of the band joined them for the remainder of the set. While they quite obviously weren’t unplugged, the performance had a similar intent with a greater emphasis put on Murray’s lovely vocals and allowing Hughes to show off some of his guitar chops. I do still wish I’d been able to hear the bigger, louder version of the show that those who saw their evening shows caught, but this was pretty special too.

The Boston Globe has an interview with Still Corners.

Photos: Still Corners @ Urban Outfitters – June 14, 2013
MP3: Still Corners – “Berlin Lovers”
MP3: Still Corners – “Fireflies”
MP3: Still Corners – “Eyes”
MP3: Still Corners – “Into The Woods”
MP3: Still Corners – “Cuckoo”
MP3: Still Corners – “Endless Summer”
Video: Still Corners – “Berlin Lovers”
Video: Still Corners – “Cuckoo”
Video: Still Corners – “Into The Trees”
Video: Still Corners – “Endless Summer”

After taking a few hours to tend to this and that – which is to say napping – it was off to Yonge-Dundas Square for the festival’s ostensible headlining act, and said act’s ostensible opener. That would be Hayden, a last-minute reveal given his appearance at Arts & Crafts’ Field Trip festival the weekend before, but not really a surprise considering their history together – Hayden Desser joined The National for a cover of his “Dynamite Walls” when they played The Phoenix in October 2007 and he also interviewed frontman Matt Berninger earlier this Spring. My own history with Hayden is pretty long as well – I first saw him at the Humanities Theatre in Waterloo back in 1996, and again opening for Juliana Hatfield at Guelph’s Trasheteria in 1998… but not since. To be honest, while I’ve always appreciated what Hayden did, I was never the biggest fan – his simple and genial brand folk-pop never quite resonated with me the way it did some, and this year’s Us Alone was the first of his releases I’ve listened to in almost forever (and I like it fine). But hearing those songs played out in the open air as the sun just began to set was really an ideal way to be reminded of the power of simplicity. Leading a trio and starting out on keyboards, he worked through an unhurried set of new tunes and old favourites – occasionally punctuated by a Crazy Horse-esque noise flourish lest you start to nod off – but mostly just comfortable and enjoyable. And hearing the songs with which he first garnered attention – Everything I Long For‘s “Bad As They Seem” and “In September” took be back the nearly 20 years since I first heard them, as well as appreciate how far his songwriting has evolved while staying in the same mould. And also that the throat-shredding gruffness he needs to affect for “In September” must really hurt.

Post-City has a feature piece on Hayden.

Photos: Hayden @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 14, 2013
MP3: Hayden – “Old Dreams”
Video: Hayden – “Oh Memory”
Video: Hayden – “Rainy Saturday”
Video: Hayden – “Barely Friends”
Video: Hayden – “Where & When”
Video: Hayden – “All In One Move”
Video: Hayden – “Carried Away”
Video: Hayden – “Dynamite Walls”
Video: Hayden – “The Closer I Get”
Video: Hayden – “Bad As They Seem”

While the Yonge-Dundas Square mainstage of NXNE is fantastic in theory – free shows in the heart of the city with big names that help give a club-level festival a little major-league cachet – in practice it’s… less than fantastic. The built-in stage offers poor sightlines, made worse by the number of sponsors tents and beer cordons so that many in attendance are lucky to get some line of sight to one of the two video screens, never mind the stage. Add in massive crowds, many of whom are only there for something to do rather than actual fans and will think nothing of talking loudly through the whole set, and, well, maybe you’d be better off at the clubs. Unless, of course, the big-name headliner for this evening is one of your favourite bands of the past decade, in which case you suck up whatever complaints you might otherwise have and you see The National.

And if I thought that seeing them play an arena – albeit theatre-configured – in December 2011 was a headtrip, then seeing them in such a setting was just mental considering I still clearly remember our first meeting in March 2006 at The Horseshoe. Their environs were a touch amusing to the band, as well, with Matt Berninger commenting on the giant Beyonce H&M ads directly in his line of sight on the Eaton Centre, and Aaron Dessner noting the Blue Jays game was playing on another giant screen behind them. But they were here to do a job and do it they did.

Trouble Will Find Me lead track “I Should Live In Salt” set the tone for the evening, all stately melancholia, and certainly a far cry from the merry bedlam The Flaming Lips brought to the same stage the year prior. Even as their stages have gotten bigger, their show has remained pretty consistent – Berninger anchored centre stage, microphone gripped tightly, Dessner twins flanking him on guitars and the Devendorff rhythm section laying back and tending to business. The Dessners did alternately step out towards the audience whilst powering the band’s crescendos, but Berninger didn’t venture out to meet the audience until “England”. And while the public square is arguably the least acoustically favourable place they’ve played in the city, there was something special about hearing the likes of “Apartment Story” and “Fake Empire” ring out and off of the steel and glass surroundings.

The set naturally favoured Trouble and High Violet, but long-time fans were treated with “About Today” off of 2005’s Cherry Tree EP. Alligator has sadly gotten to the point of only being represented by the obvious “Abel” and “Mr. November”, though I will admit the latter takes on some new life when Berninger is now able to actually plunge into the crowd and be carried on the arms of, if not cheerleaders, then festival-goers. Having missed the end of their Air Canada Centre performance, their show-closing “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” was unexpected and powerful – pulling off an unplugged singalong can be difficult in a club or theatre setting; doing it on an outdoor urban stage? Nearly impossible. So of course they did, and with ease.

Some may grouse about the aforementioned problems of shows such as this and even used them as excuses to skip it, particularly knowing that the band will certainly return before long to do a proper ticketed show in a more personable venue. I took that as an extra reason to go to this show and appreciate its uniqueness, niggles aside. After all – R.E.M.’s free noon-hour show at the very same intersection in 2001 was also hardly an ideal concert setting, but it’s not one I’ll ever forget. I can’t say this one will be as indelible, all said and done, but for what it was, it was still great.

CBC Music and aux.tv have interviews with The National and NPR a World Cafe session.

Photos: The National @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 14, 2013
MP3: The National – “I’ll See You In My Dreams”
MP3: The National – “Twenty Miles To NH (Part 2)”
MP3: The National – “Exile Vilify”
MP3: The National – “Think You Can Wait”
MP3: The National – “Afraid Of Everyone”
MP3: The National – “Bloodbuzz Ohio”
MP3: The National – “So Far Around The Bend”
MP3: The National – “Fake Empire”
MP3: The National – “90 Mile Water Wall”
MP3: The National – “Cold Girl Fever”
MP3: The National – “Son”
MP3: The National – “Beautiful Head”
Video: The National – “Sea Of Love”
Video: The National – “Demons”
Video: The National – “Exile Vilify”
Video: The National – “Think You Can Wait”
Video: The National – “Conversation 16”
Video: The National – “Terrible Love”
Video: The National – “Bloodbuzz Ohio”
Video: The National – “So Far Around The Bend” (live)
Video: The National – “Mistaken For Strangers”
Video: The National – “Apartment Story”
Video: The National – “Abel”
Video: The National – “Lit Up”
Video: The National – “Daughters Of The Soho Riots”
Video: The National – “Sugar Wife”
Video: The National – “Son”

Exclaim has details on the new Scud Mountain Boys album, entitled Do You Love the Sun and out July 9 digitally and August 6 on vinyl.

Esquire talks the festival life with Father John Misty. He plays a non-festival at The Danforth Music Hall on August 3.

Rolling Stone talks to Tommy Stinson about the Replacements reunion which kicks off August 25 at Riot Fest in Toronto at Garrison Common.

The first song from the new Okkervil River album The Silver Gymnasium is now available to stream via lyric video. The record is out September 3 and they play The Phoenix on September 28.

Stream: Okkervil River – “It Was My Season”

The Quietus gets to know former Okkervil River-er and current Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg in his capacity as an ornithologist.

Beatroute chats with Explosions In The Sky, in town supporting Nine Inch Nails at The Air Canada Centre on October 4.

NPR has premiered the new video from Low’s latest, The Invisible Way, while Drowned In Sound has posted a video session and interview with the Minnesotans.

Video: Low – “Plastic Cup”

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of The Mountain Goats show at the soon-to-be-late Maxwell’s in Hoboken a couple weeks ago.

NPR and SF Weekly talk to John Vanderslice about making his latest record Dagger Beach.

NYC Taper has a recording of an Antlers show in New York last week.

Beatroute gets to know The Thermals.

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

The Sound Of Giving Way

Who needs to see Overseas when you can hear Overseas

Image By Frank YangFrank YangTo the best of my knowledge, there does not exist a remotely official image of the outfit calling themselves Overseas, but anyone who’s paid any sort of attention to the American indie rock scene over the past twenty-some years knows exactly what they look like, and that’s because the each of the band’s members has a formidable resume behind them: Will Johnson of Centro-Matic, South San Gabriel, Will Johnson, and Monsters Of Folk; David Bazan of Pedro The Lion and David Bazan; and Matt and Bubba Kadane of Bedhead and The New Year. And if you don’t know any of those acts but are assuming they’re a bunch of white, bearded dudes with guitars… well, yeah.

As to the more important question of what Overseas sound like, their self-titled debut sounds pretty much exactly as you’d expect given the personalities involved, with either Johnson’s weary rasp or Bazan’s mournful growl – they trade off lead vocal duties – overtop the steady whirlpool created by the Kadanes’ signature slow, spidery guitars. Or, in a word and if you’re predisposed to what any of the principals do, gorgeous. Even though the project was announced over a year ago, the finished product is only going to coming out next week, on June 11, and Paste has the advance stream of the whole thing. Do listen. A handful of live dates are planned for August but I’m not holding my breath for more extensive itineraries.

D Magazine has an interview with Bazan about the for-lack-of-a-better-term, “supergroup”.

MP3: Overseas – “Old Love”
Video: Overseas – “Ghost To Be”
Stream: Overseas / Overseas

Paste has an advance stream of John Vanderslice’s new joint, Dagger Beach – it’s out on June 11. The Bay Bridged talks to Vanderslice about the 15th anniversary of his Tiny Telephone studio.

MP3: John Vanderslice – “Raw Wood”
Stream: John Vanderslice / Dagger Beach

NOW, Spin, Interview, Black Book, and DIY have interviews with The National, whose Perfume Genius cover – released as bonus track on the Japanese edition of Trouble Will Find Me – is streaming and well worth hearing. They headline Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.

Stream: The National – “Learning”

Sebadoh have come clean on details of their first new album in 14 years; following the June 25 release of The Secret EP,the new full-length Defend Yourself will be out September 17. Joyful Noise – who are releasing the album – have a Q&A with Lou Barlow about the new record and Spin also has an interview and stream of the EP.

Stream: Sebadoh / The Secret EP

Stereogum talks to Smith Westerns about their forthcoming Soft Will, out June 25. They play Lee’s on July 29.

Salon chats with Stephin Merritt about the new Future Bible Heroes album Partygoing, and Vulture has an animated Merritt dressed as an elephant singing a song about Thomas Edison from Bob’s Burgers because of course they do. Future Bible Heroes are at Lee’s Palace on July 22; Merritt will not be with them.

Spin reports that Divine Fits are putting out some new tunes in the form a 12″ single due out July 23, though digital formats are available now. You can hear the new tunes performed live on Conan via Pitchfork.

Spin and Vita.mn get to know Father John Misty, who has just released a new video from last year’s Fear Fun and will be at The Danforth Music Hall on August 3.

Video: Father John Misty – “Funtimes In Babylon”

The first track from Superchunk’s new record I Hate Music is now available to stream; it’s out August 20.

Stream: Superchunk – “FOH”

Confirming the life cycle of profitable farewell tour to profitable reunion tour at barely four years, Nine Inch Nails will return with a new album in Hesitation Marks on September 3 – stream the first single below – and have scheduled an extensive North American arena tour to support. The Toronto date comes October 4 at The Air Canada Centre with Explosions In The Sky opening up.

MP3: Nine Inch Nails – “Starsuckers, Inc.”
MP3: Explosions In The Sky – “Memorial”
Stream: Nine Inch Nails – “Came Back Haunted”

Drowned In Sound has an interview and NPR a video session with Wild Nothing, in town supporting Local Natives at The Kool Haus on September 21.

The context is a little weird – a compilation released by Toyota automobile imprint Scion – but hey, a new Chromatics tune is a new Chromatics tune.

MP3: Chromatics – “Red Car”

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Canadian Musicfest 2013 Day One

CHVRCHES and Diana at Canadian Musicfest

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI went into this year’s Canadian Musicfest with a pretty basic plan – see as little as possible. Okay, that’s not really accurate since that would have easily been accomplished by staying home and I was still out four nights in a row, but rather than engage in the club-hopping that the fest usually demands, I opted to choose one thing a night that I was genuinely interested in seeing rather than trek around the city hoping to shake something worthwhile out of the lineup. Wednesday night, that honour went to a show that was one of the more hotly-tipped of the festival, despite being able to count both bands on the bill’s officially-released songs on one hand.

Diana may have been a relatively new name on the Toronto scene, but the faces were quite familiar, featuring players whose CVs include Everything All The Time, Donlands & Mortimer, Bonjay, and Warm Myth, to name but a few, but the elevator pitch was that this was the sax player from Destroyer’s new synth-pop project with Carmen Elle of Army Girls on vocals and they’d already arguably gotten more buzz abroad than any of their past projects combined (Destroyer excepted, of course).

As someone who came to the band mainly through Army Girls – and was a bit resentful at them for taking Elle’s attention away from her rock project – it was unusual to hear her voice in such a context, surrounded by smooth synth tones and saxophone lines rather than her spiky guitarwork, her voice was more bruised than sultry. Whether by design or happenstance, it created an odd tension between the image she presented as frontwoman; as charming and charismatic as usual, but interestingly at odds with the music would have conventionally presumed. And that applied to Diana as a whole – slinky, soulful synth-pop, yes, but with something else going on in there and it’s that je ne sais quoi that will, unfortunately for me but great for Diana, probably keep Army Girls fans waiting for those albums a little longer.

Photos: Diana @ The Mod Club – March 20, 2013
MP3: Diana – “Born Again”
Stream: Diana – “Perpetual Surrender”

The hype around Scottish trio CHVRCHES has probably put some off of them entirely already, some six months from the release of their debut album, and that’s a shame. Because as far as I can tell, they’re not being posited as saviours of anything, just a new band with some really good songs. Or maybe that new – none of them are rookies in the music biz, with keyboardists Iain Cook and Martin Doherty having done duty in Aerogramme and Twilight Sad, respectively, and singer Lauren Mayberry formerly doing time in Blue Sky Archives. That past experience might explain why despite being a heavily-feted band on their first tour abroad, CHVRCHES were remarkably confident and assured in their Canadian debut. Taking the stage to the strains of an oddly pitch-shifted version of “Let’s Go Crazy”, they opened with last year’s debut single “Lies” and laid out very clearly what they were about – big synth sounds from the fellows and beguiling vocals from Mayberry.

CHRVCHES haven’t solved the the inherent problem of how to put on a compelling live show when you’re two blokes tethered to keyboards and girl singer who’s not Sarah Cracknell, but when you’ve got the songs, everything else becomes somewhat trivial. While a fairly static performer, Mayberry wasn’t a wallflower and offered up some charming banter – Ryan Gosling topped her list of things to thank Canada for – the best part of the show was the fact that it proved that their songwriting chops were equal to the hype. “Recover”, with its irresistible chorus, remained the high point of their works so far but everything was fairly bursting with hooks and melodies, led by Mayberry’s youthful and yearning vocals. It’s refreshing that at a time when synth acts are a dime a dozen, one can still stand out by sticking to the time-tested rules of pop music. After closing with “The Mother We Share”, they returned for a one-song encore that bookended the set with Prince salutations and their totally straight but still fun cover of “I Would Die 4 U”. And then they doused everyone with a bubble machine.

CBC Music and DIY have interviews with CHVRCHES while NPR has video of one of their sets at SXSW earlier this month. Update: And, just announced, CHVRCHES are back on June 12 at The Hoxton, possibly/probably a NXNE show.

Photos: CHVRCHES @ The Mod Club – March 20, 2013
MP3: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”
Stream: CHVRCHES – “Lies”
Video: CHVRCHES – “Recover”

Peace takes DIY on a walkthrough of their debut album In Love, out in the UK today. They’ll bring it to NXNE on June 15.

CBC Music has an interview with Charles Bradley and an advance stream of his new record Victim Of Love, out April 2, while Clash excerpts an interview with the man. He’ll be at the Phoenix on May 11.

Stream: Charles Bradley / Victim Of Love

Stereogum has an interview with Benjamin Michael Lerner of Telekinesis. Their new album Domarion is out April 2 but streaming now in whole at NPR. They’re at The Horseshoe on May 12.

MP3: Telekinesis – “Ghosts & Creatures”
Stream: Telekinesis / Domarion

A new Jessie Ware track taken from the inevitable deluxe edition of Devotion – the “Gold Edition” – is now available to stream. It’s out in the UK on April 15, the day before the regular (yet slightly enhanced) version of Devotion gets a North American release. She plays The Opera House on April 6.

Stream: Jessie Ware – “Imagine It Was Us”

A track from Kurt Vile’s new record Walkin’ On A Pretty Daze is now available to download. It’s out April 9 and he plays the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 7.

MP3: Kurt Vile – “Never Run Away”

The Postal Service has made another of the unreleased tracks from the 10th anniversary edition of Give Up available to stream. It’s out April 9 and they play The Air Canada Centre on June 11.

Stream: The Postal Service – “Turn Around”

Room 205 has posted the first of three video sessions with Redd Kross; they’re in town at The Horseshoe on April 11.

Loud & Quiet talks to Palma Violets, in town at Lee’s Palace on May 3.

Primal Scream are streaming the second single from their new album More Light, out May 6.

Stream: Primal Scream – “It’s Alright, It’s OK”

Deerhunter have announced the May 7 release of their new album Monomania. Typically cryptic details on the release can be found at 4AD.

Having let the dust settle from the announcement that their new album would be out in May and be followed by extensive touring, The National have revealed some more pertinent details – specifically that it’ll be called Trouble Will Find Me, that it will be out May 21, and the artwork and tracklisting look something like this. And additionally, in conversation with Gothamist, drummer Bryan Devendorf offers some insight into the recording sessions and what guest artists you’ll hear on the record. The National will headline Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14, and the tour documentary on the band Mistaken For Strangers will screen at Hot Docs on April 30, May 2, and May 5.

Stephin Merritt has turned his attention to his Future Bible Heroes project, announcing the June 4 release of their first album in over a decade, Partygoing. It’s available either on its own or part of the Memories of Love, Eternal Youth and Partygoing set which includes reissues of their first two albums as well as a bonus disc of rarities. Details on all that at Merge, first track from Partygoing to stream below.

Stream: Future Bible Heroes – “Living, Loving, Partygoing”

Flavorwire is streaming another track from John Vanderslice’s cover album of David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, which will accompany the June 11 release of his new album of original material, Dagger Beach.

Stream: John Vanderslice – “Diamanthunde”

The Quietus have confirmed a new Echo & The Bunnymen album is on the way. Ian McCulloch says that it’ll be called The Garden Of Meedlin’ and will be out before the year is out.

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session and The Georgia Straight an interview with Veronica Falls.

To mark the passing of Jason Molina last week, all of his recorded output as Songs: Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co, or Jason Molina is available to stream. The best way to remember him.

NYC Taper is sharing recordings of a Low show in New York last week while Drowned In Sound has a video session and interview with the band.