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Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Richman’

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Canadian Musicfest 2013 Day Two

Sóley, Kool Thing, and more at Canadian Musicfest

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangShow cancellations are pretty much part and parcel of the Canadian Musicfest experience, particularly when you’re most keen on the international acts who’ve been duped coerced into playing the fest, but it’s especially disappointing when it’s a) one of the bands you most wanted to see, b) they were one of the very first acts confirmed for the fest in November, and c) it happens just hours before showtime.

But things like lymph node infections do happen, and with Efterklang singer Casper Clausen out of commission, their showcase at The Mod Club with Nightlands was nixed. I should be pleased for the band and their fans that Clausen recovered in time to pick up the tour in Montreal the next night and that Toronto was the only lost date, but I’m not really. So suddenly left with no plans for the evening, I opted for the in-store at Moog Audio presented by Scandiphile sites Nordic By Nature and Swede + Sour – even if I was going to miss out on the Danes, I could still get my Swede/Norwegian/Icelandic musical fix.

Sweden would get a bit of short shrift, unfortunately. Perhaps in keeping with their tight, Krautrock-influenced sound, Malmö’s This Is Head started precisely on time and I was running late, meaning I missed the first half of their set and was only able to take in a song and a half. Thankfully, their songs were pretty long and while their live sound was more of a conventional rock setup than I’d have expected from what I recalled of their 2010 debut 0001, it was still tight and grooving in the right places. I look forward to hearing their second album The Album ID when it gets released in North America later this Spring.

Photos: This Is Head @ Moog Audio – March 21, 2013
Video: This Is Head – “A-B Version”
Video: This Is Head – “De Trop”
Video: This Is Head – “0011”
Video: This Is Head – “0007”

Whatever it is in the water in the nordic countries that produces idiosyncratic female electro-pop artists, Sandra Kolstad has been drinking it. Fronting a three-piece band comprised of two keyboards and a percussionist, she turned in a set of energetic art-pop made of synths and tight, inventive percussion that may not have stood out from other artists doing similar things, but didn’t pale against them either. And while Kolstad was game for getting naked in her latest video, on this evening it was her drummer who stripped down for the appreciation of those who appreciate tall, half-naked, Scandinavian men.

Photos: Sandra Kolstad @ Moog Audio – March 21, 2013
Stream: Sandra Kolstad – “Right Now”
Video: Sandra Kolstad – “Run Away (Where Are We?)”
Video: Sandra Kolstad – “The Well (We Will Change It All”
Video: Sandra Kolstad – “Fire Burn, Blood Flow”
Video: Sandra Kolstad – “Circles (It’s Got Every Little Part Of Me Running In)”

As enjoyable as the other two acts were, it was mainly Sóley whom I was here to see. Though she had a few other sets over the course of the festival, all were in conflict with something else I wanted to see, so if there was a silver lining to Efterklang’s misfortunes, it was this. For me, at least. Her 2011 album We Sink has been doing regular duty in evoking reminiscences of Iceland for me, and listening to her recreate those songs live I found myself trying to decide if her delicate electro-folk sounded more like a fairy sporting a cybernetic exoskeleton or a space station overrun by moss and trees. With the sound of her layered vocals slowly permeating the room like ghostly echoes, Sóley was understatedly presented, yet sonically perfect. The National Post has an interview with Sóley Stefánsdóttir.

Photos: Sóley @ Moog Audio – March 21, 2013
MP3: Sóley – “Pretty Face”
MP3: Sóley – “Blue Leaves”
Video: Sóley – “I’ll Drown”
Video: Sóley – “Pretty Face”
Video: Sóley – “Smashed Birds”
Video: Sóley – “Blue Leaves”

The in-store complete, I engaged in the only club-hopping I’d do for the festival and hoofed it over to The Drake Underground to catch Irish-German outfit Kool Thing. As it turns out, I didn’t need to rush as their start time was delayed by some manner of broken gear – it’s never a good sign when everyone in the band are standing around, staring down at a single piece of equipment, talking. They eventually got underway, though, and I spent most of their abbreviated set trying to remember why I had wanted to see the duo of Jon Dark and Julie Chance (plus drummer) in the first place. This isn’t to say their faintly electro-goth sound wasn’t alright – their voices blended well and the guitar-keys recipe yielded some nice atmosphere – but it felt played out and obvious. A full set may have allowed them to better demonstrate what they could do, but that wasn’t in the cards this night. And with that, I was home just before – in a perfect world – Efterklang’s set would have begun. Sigh.

Photos: Kool Thing @ The Drake Underground – March 21, 2013
Stream: Kool Thing – “TV Tower”
Video: Kool Thing – “PLAN.LIFE.GO”
Video: Kool Thing – “Light Games”
Video: Kool Thing – “The Sign”

Sigur Rós have added some extra context to the North American tour which brings them to the Air Canada Centre on March 30; instead of a second tour in support of last year’s ambient Valtari, it’s now a pre-release tour in support of their next album, the much heavier Kveikur, due out June 18. Pitchfork has details on the release and the first video from the album can be watched below.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Brennisteinn”

The Guardian and Billboard talk to The Knife about their new record Shaking The Habitual, due out April 9.

April 9 will also be the release date for the soundtrack from the new Tom Cruise vehicle Oblivion, which is only noteworthy in that M83 is doing the score. Pitchfork is streaming the theme song from the film, featuring Norwegian singer Susanne Sundfør.

Stream: M83 featuring Susanne Sundfør – “Oblivion”

The Fly has an interview with Junip, who’ve made a new track from their forthcoming self-titled album, out April 23, available to download. They’ll be at The Great Hall on June 10.

MP3: Junip – “Your Life Your Call”

Swedish pop veterans Club 8 have made the first track from their forthcoming album Above The City available to download. It’s out May 21.

Stream: Club 8 – “Stop Taking My Time”

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with Of Monsters & Men. They co-headline the CBC Music Festival at Echo Beach on May 25.

Totally Stockholm interviews Elliphant, in town June 7 at The Phoenix opening up for Twin Shadow.

Exclaim and Filter talk to Iceage, coming to Toronto for NXNE on June 15 and 16.

And just because this week’s roundup of concert announcements got pushed down to second-billing to the CMW writeup, don’t think that means that nothing good was revealed. For instance – Memory Tapes will be bring last year’s Grace/Confusion to Wrongbar on April 11. Tickets for that will be $12 in advance.

MP3: Memory Tapes – “Sheila”

Austin’s Pure X – specialists in doing it slow and dreamy – will be at The Silver Dollar on May 7 as part of a North American tour in support of their new album Crawling up the Stairs, out May 14. Tickets for the show are $12.50 in advance.

MP3: Pure X – “Someone Else”
MP3: Pure X – “Things In My Head”

Los Angeles trio Sir Sly – whom I’m not going to pretend I know much about but who seemed to emerge from SXSW as one of the talked-about acts – will be in town at Wrongbar on May 14 as part of a Spring tour. Tickets for that are $10.

MP3: Sir Sly – “Ghost”

Portland’s Thermals have announced the dates for their Spring tour in support of Desperate Ground via Stereogum, and also debuted the first video from the album, out April 16. Look for them at The Horseshoe on May 21, tickets $15.

MP3: The Thermals – “Now We Can See”
Video: The Thermals – “Born To Kill”

British folk sister act The Staves will be at The Great Hall on May 23, presumably as part of a tour in support of the North American release of their debut Dead & Born & Grown, out this month. Tickets for the show are $14.50. Hit Fix, Blogcritics, and examiner.com have interviews with the Staveley-Taylor sisters.

Video: The Staves – “Facing West”

Jonathan Richman, who continues to not have anything resembling an official internet presence in 2013, will be doing things in meatspace at The Great Hall on June 5 and 6.

Stream: Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – “Roadrunner”

If you were thinking CHVRCHES were just here, you were right. But they’re coming back as part of a Summer tour, and while the June 12 date at The Hoxton may make you think it’s a NXNE show, so far there are no indications that it is – so maybe pony up the $16 for a ticket instead of waving your wristband around. And while that show is still months ahead of their debut album’s release in September, their Recover EP is out now and streaming over at Pitchfork.

MP3: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”
Stream: CHVRCHES / Recover

What IS part of NXNE – and still venue-less at the time of writing – is the June 14 return of Still Corners, whose new album Strange Pleasures will be out May 7.

MP3: Still Corners – “Fireflies”

Space-surf pioneers Man Or Astro-man? are hitting the road and have made a date at Lee’s Palace for June 17, tickets $17.50.

Video: Man Or Astro-Man? – “Spferic Waves”

Darkwavers Cold Cave haven’t said specifically when their new EP Oceans With No End will be coming out, but presumably it’ll be around the time they roll their Summer tour into the Shop Under Parts & Labour – June 26. But Cold Cave isn’t the only thing that Wes Eisold has on the go – his old hardcore band American Nightmare is getting back into action and according to this Exclaim piece, one of the two reunion shows confirmed so far will be on June 6 in Toronto at a venue to be announced The Phoenix.

MP3: Cold Cave – “The Great Pan Is Dead”

And this week’s Toronto Urban Roots Fest additions come from near and far – the (relatively) near being Toronto’s own The Wooden Sky and Nova Scotia’s Matt Mays & El Torpedo, and the absolutely far being Australians The Cat Empire and Xavier Rudd. Early-bird deals on multi-day tickets end tonight at 10PM, and single-day tickets go on sale this Thursday; the day-by-day breakdown is on their schedule.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”
Video: The Cat Empire – “Brighter Than Gold”
Video: Xavier Rudd – “Bow Down”
Video: Matt Mays – “Take It On Faith”

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Shadow, Follow Me

Review of Centro-Matic’s Candidate Waltz

Photo by Matt PenceMatt PenceConsistency is a fine trait for an artist to possess; so is prolificity. And yet possessing both in great measure isn’t always a formula for greatness as there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Consider Denton, Texas’ Centro-Matic – I discovered them circa 2004’s Love You Just The Same and instantly fell for its ragged and anthemic rock, proceeding pretty much immediately to search out most of their back catalog as one did back in the day when instantly downloading everything wasn’t quite as easy as it is now. There was a good long while that Will Johnson’s rasp was a fixture in my ears.

But keeping up with Johnson’s post Love You releases in his various guises – there was Centro-Matic, South San Gabriel for his gentler songs and his own name for compositions that somehow didn’t fit either – for whatever reason didn’t yield the same rewards and by the time the project-crossing Centro/San Gabriel double set Dual Hawks was released in 2008, my ability to distinguish one record from the last had gotten rather blurry. Each was sure to contain a solid batch of songs but when you’re staring at a dozen CD spines trying to decide which one to listen to, the level playing field can be a bit maddening (and for the record, Love You Just The Same would usually get the nod).

All that said, the latest Centro-Matic album Candidate Waltz sets itself apart from its peers from note one by opening not with a thickly distorted guitar chord or dry, declarative drum hit but an insistent motorik pulse the likes of which I certainly never thought I’d hear on a Centro-Matic record. Granted, the guitar riff and Johnson’s distinctive vocals follow close behind, but already the tenth Centro-Matic album has already made a statement that it’s not going to be business as usual. They’re still in the same business, make no mistake, but there’s a leanness and hunger in Candidate Waltz that I certainly haven’t heard in the last few records. Though uncharacteristically brief with its 32-minute running time, each of Waltz‘s nine songs are standouts in their own way, possessing a distinct personality that makes it the most engaging and satisfying release from any of Johnson’s projects in some time. And the best part is, having had Candidate Waltz on repeat for the last few weeks has made me hungry to re-explore their other records… and it turns out I’ve got a tonne of them.

Quick DFW, The Dallas Observer, NBC and Illinois Entertainer all have feature pieces on Centro-Matic.

MP3: Centro-Matic – “Only In My Double Mind”
Video: Centro-Matic – “Iso-Residue”

Pitchfork reports that Drive-By Truckers will have their eleven-year, nine-album legacy condensed down into 16 tracks on the forthcoming compilation Ugly Buildings, Whores & Politicians: Greatest Hits 1998-2009, due out August 2.

MP3: Drive-By Truckers – “Zip City”

4AD Sessions offers a set of performances from Iron & Wine. They play The Sound Academy on October 15.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Okkervil River.

Jonathan Richman will be in town for a couple nights as part of a Fall tour, camping out at Revival on the evenings of October 5 and 6.

Video: Jonathan Richman – “New England” (live on Top Of The Pops)

Prefix, The Chicago Tribune, Madison Square and The Phoenix interview Erika Anderson of EMA, in town at The Garrison this Saturday night, July 23.

Stereogum talks influences with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, because the contents of their record collections is so inscrutable based on the music they make. They play an in-store at Sonic Boom on August 1 and a show at The Opera House on August 2.

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

A Window

The Radio Dept come to America, still refuse to release new record

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceSo, yes – my head is a wee bit fried right now from endless photo processing. And on top of that, I actually had no planned posts, per se, for after SxSW – just a mess of links that have accumulated over the past week. So I’ll just vomit some of those out for you to get through the day. ‘Kay?

To begin – this post at BrooklynVegan made me first do a double-take, and then fire up Expedia to check prices for flights to New York City over the May long weekend. Why? The Radio Dept are coming to North America. It’s just a single show so far on May 16 at the Bell House in Brooklyn as part of NYC Popfest, but this interview with the band at Ca Va Cool reveals there’s one more NYC date to come and maybe – maybe – some more North American touring come Fall. But I will say this – if I’m not Barcelona-bound at the end of May, I could very well be en route to Brooklyn for the May 2-4. Hell, maybe even either way. Who wants to come?

To say that the ways of the Radio Dept are mysterious doesn’t even begin to cover it, as there’s been no word in many months as to the status of their third album Clinging To A Scheme, originally scheduled for a September 2008 release and then pulled. And so we wait. And we wait. The aforementioned bit about Autumn touring implies that it should be finished and out by then, but who knows. It’s not all bleakness for fans of their gorgeous Scandanavian synth-pop, though – they’ve made a complete live recording from last May available to download on their site. It’s not the finest audio quality – it sounds like a fan recording rather than soundboard – but it’s mostly listenable and the set contains a few new songs. There’s also a variety of live material available for download on their website but for whatever reason, some of the best stuff is inaccessible. How Radio Dept typical.

MP3: The Radio Dept – “Freddie and the Trojan Horse”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “The Worst Taste in Music”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “A Window”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “Pulling Our Weight”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “Why Won’t You Talk About It?”
ZIP: The Radio Dept / Live In Lund – May 18, 2008

Clash, Irish Times and Black Book talk to Nina Persson of A Camp. Colonia is out domestically on April 28 and they play the Mod Club on June 1.

Clash and New York Magazine talk to Peter Bjorn & John, whose Living Thing is out next week but streaming at their MySpace. They’re at the Phoenix on April 25.

Stream: Peter Bjorn & John / Living Thing

Pitchfork reports that Norway’s Ida Maria will give her 2008 debut Fortress Around My Heart a North America release on April 14. She was originally supposed to play two SxSW showcases last week but missed them both due to visa issues. She was also supposed to open up the whole of Glasvegas’ North American tour, including the April 3 date at the Mod Club in Toronto. Now she’s only with them as far as the March 31 show in Boston. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she was doing her best to avoid me.

Video: Ida Maria – “Oh My God”
Video: Ida Maria – “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”
Video: Ida Maria – “Stella”

Le Blogotheque features a Take-Away Show with Sigur Ros in a French cafe. Loverly.

Patrick Wolf has released the first video from The Bachelor, out June 1, and if it were a film it’d have a big ‘ol NC-17 rating attached to it. Oh my. Stereogum gets an update from Wolf on how the album is coming along.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “Vulture”

Drowned In Sound meets Doves, whose Kingdom Of Rust is out April 7 and who are at the Kool Haus on June 1.

Filter and The Times have features on White Lies, in town next Tuesday at Lee’s Palace.

CMJ reports that Elvis Costello is suddenly prolific again, with a new country-Americana album in Secret, Profane And Sugarcane set for release on June 2. The last time he walked this stylistic path, we go the sublime King Of America. Can he do it again? If he even comes close, it’ll be a worthy record.

Manic Street Preachers will release the Albini-produced, Edwards-penned Journal For Plague Lovers on May 18. Details at The Quietus.

The new album from The Rumble Strips has a name and release date. Look for Welcome To The Walk Alone on June 8. Details at NME.

The rumour mill has a Metric show at the Mod Club on April 14 with Holy Fuck as support. They said they had something special planned for the April 7 release of Fantasies – I think a little club show would qualify. Will confirm that when I can but in the meantime, watch their new video. And read this interview at Clash.

Video: Metric – “Gimme Sympathy”

French Kicks are at the Horseshoe on April 27, tickets $10.50.

MP3: French Kicks – “Also Ran”

New York state folk duo Gregory & The Hawk have a date at the El Mocambo on May 2. They were recently featured on Bandstand Busking.

BrooklynVegan reports that Jonathan Richman and Vic Chesnutt are hitting the road together this Summer, and that tour includes a June 25 date at The Great Hall in Toronto.

Camera Obscura have announced a North American tour in support of My Maudlin Career, out April 21. The Toronto date finds them at Lee’s Palace on June 27, a considerably smaller venue than their last couple visits, which were to the Opera House and Phoenix. Expect this to sell out super-quick.

Jay Reatard will be at the Mod Club on June 29.

Crystal Castles have a July 25 date at the Sound Academy as part of the TIME Festival.

Due to “personal medical issues”, Passion Pit have cancelled their April 3 date at Lee’s Palace, which in turn was a make-up date for their January 24 date at the Horseshoe, which was cancelled due to visa issues. Their debut Manners is out May 26.