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Posts Tagged ‘Jonny’

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Yours, Mine and Ours

Joe Pernice & Norman Blake at The Dakota Tavern in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI don’t think Toronto necessarily has an international reputation as a destination for expatriate pop geniuses, but apparently Canadian women hold a certain appeal for them. Joe Pernice of Pernice Brothers has been up here for the better part of eight years while Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub moved to Kitchener a couple years ago – both on account of their Canadian wives – and on Friday night, they were on stage together at The Dakota Tavern for a low-key show together. It had been advertised as a Joe Pernice show with the promise of a “special guest”, and while a show from Joe alone would be worth pencilling into the calendar, once the faintly-veiled clues as to who said guest would be got out, it turned into a must-see.

Anyone expecting a high-falutin’ musical summit between two of the finest pop songwriters around would have done well to dial down their expectations, though. The show was much more of a back porch strumalong between two old friends who just happened to have one hell of a songbook to draw from and though it had its share of sloppy moments, that arguably made it even more special and memorable than if it had been meticulously rehearsed. Pernice started out with a short solo set that drew from his many projects – Pernice Brothers, Joe solo, Scud Mountain Boys – and included a new song entitled “Surf’s Up” that he revealed was from a new, just-completed Scuds record. Scoop!

Blake was then invited onstage and the two spent the rest of the show playing each other’s songs – Pernice on a standard acoustic, Blake on a Nashville-strung parlour-body – and reminding the gathered that they were two of the funniest stage banterers in the business with some great repartee. There was plenty of time for banter as Blake’s guitar required plenty of tuning and retuning – their first run through of “Baby Lee” went further out of tune with each strum and forced a do-over – but when they were able to get onto a song, it was grand if clearly not overly rehearsed. Even with a music stand overflowing with notes onto the floor between them, they were happy to do things off the cuff – Blake had to teach Pernice the chords to “You Was Me” from his Jonny side-project with Euros Childs on the fly (it turned out fine) and even though their take on Fanclub’s “I Don’t Want Control Of You” was a bit of a comedy of errors, they still made it tremendously entertaining.

The stuff that was more properly arranged, however, was nothing sort of sublime. Hearing them trade verses on “Everything Flows” was easily the highlight of the night and their finale of “Alcoholiday” not far behind. You obviously didn’t have the wall of harmonies that Teenage Fanclub proper can offer, but Pernice’s falsetto was a pretty good stand-in. It wasn’t just about the Fanclub material, mind, as their work on “Loving Kind” off the last Pernice Brothers album Goodbye Killer was stirring and their cover of The Zombies’ “The Butcher’s Tale” darkly affecting. Though they obviously could have kept going all night, a hard curfew forced them to cap things at 90 minutes though they were permitted an encore of Fanclub’s “Start Again” that was a divine finale.

It’s not clear if this tweet is a joke or a promise, but an actual collaboration between the two – or even some more of these casual-vibe shows – would be a great treat and a far better way to enjoy having these talents as locals than going through their trash.

The Calgary Herald has an interview with Joe Pernice about his plans to release two albums this year – the aforementioned new Scuds record and the long-promised new Pernice Brothers album.

Photos: Joe Pernice & Norman Blake @ The Dakota Tavern – June 22, 2012
MP3: Pernice Brothers – “Somerville”
MP3: Scud Mountain Boys – “Grudge Fuck”
MP3: Teenage Fanclub – “Baby Lee”
MP3: Teenage Fanclub – “It’s All In My Mind”
MP3: Teenage Fanclub – “Everything Flows”
MP3: Jonny – “Candyfloss”
MP3: Jonny – “Gloria”

Dirty Projectors are giving away a couple tracks from their forthcoming Swing Lo Magellan, out July 10. They play The Music Hall on July 6.

MP3: Dirty Projectors – “Dance For You”
MP3: Dirty Projectors – “Gun Has No Trigger”
Video: Dirty Projectors – “Gun Has No Trigger”

The Alternate Side has a session and Clash, Houston Press, and Indy Week have interviews with Lower Dens. They play Lee’s Palace on July 17.

Beirut has released a video for the title track of last year’s The Rip Tide. They are at The Sound Academy on July 19.

Video: Beirut – “The Rip Tide”

The Antlers are streaming a track from their forthcoming EP Undersea, due out July 24.

Stream: The Antlers – “Drift Dive”

The Shins have rolled out a new video from Port Of Morrow; they’re in town August 4 opening up for The Black Keys at The Molson Amphitheatre.

Video: The Shins – “No Way Down”

Pitchfork talks to Cat Power about her new record Sun, due for release on September 4.

Aimee Mann has given Rolling Stone the title track of her new record Charmer to stream. It’s out September 18.

Stream: Aimee Mann – “Charmer”

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion has taken their reunion from the stage into the studio and are set to release their first new album since 2004’s Damage in Meat & Bone, out September 18. Then they’ll take in back to the stage with a series of live dates that includes an October 18 appearance at The Horseshoe in Toronto. Stream one of the new songs below.

Stream: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – “Black Mold”

San Fransciso goth-gazers The Soft Moon will be at The Drake Underground on September 22, tickets $11.50 in advance.

MP3: The Soft Moon – “Tiny Spiders”
MP3: The Soft Moon – “Breathe The Fire”

Michael Gira’s Swans will make an appearance at Lee’s Palace on October 25 in support of their new double-record We Rose From Your Bed With The Sun In Our Head, tickets for that $26.50 in advance.

MP3: Swans – “Sex God Sex”

Matt & Kim are preparing for the Fall release of their new record Let’s Go with a video for the title track.

Video: Matt & Kim – “Let’s Go”

Boulder Weekly has a tete-a-tete with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco while The Daily Herald and Missoulian chat with Nels Cline.

Interview talks to Munaf Rayani of Explosions In The Sky.

Spinner documents a typical day in the life of The Flaming Lips, assuming that playing a free show in downtown Toronto as part of NXNE counts as typical for these guys. Maybe it does. You don’t know.

Okay, gotta go. San Francisco beckons.

Monday, June 6th, 2011

Wich Is Wich

Jonny and Apex Manor at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhat’s in a name? If you were at The Drake Underground on Friday or Saturday nights, possibly a lot. Over those two nights the marquee outside the front doors read Jonny and Apex Manor, as the two acts were kicking off their North American tour with a two-night stand in Toronto, but had the top billing read Teenage Fanclub and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci – as Jonny is the collaboration of those two bands’ Norman Blake and Euros Childs – then maybe there’d have been a little less elbow room for those who were in the know enough to show up.

The identity issue might have also applied to the support, as Apex Manor is the new band of Ross Flournoy, who used to front Los Angeles power pop outfit The Broken West, who once upon a time were called The Brokedown. Got that? Good. Though advance listings had stated that this show would feature Apex Manor as an acoustic duo – presumably Flournoy and bassist Brian Whelan, also from The Broken West – but when things got underway it was just Flournoy, his Martin acoustic and a brace of songs drawn mostly from Apex Manor’s debut The Year Of Magical Drinking. And though the stripped-down nature of the set necessarily diminished the “power” half of the equation, the “pop” of things was still very much in effect thanks to the sophisticated hookiness of the material. It was good to be reminded of how good a band The Broken West were – particularly when Flournoy busted out their song “Down In The Valley” – and satisfying to see that carried over into their new incarnation.

No one would accuse Jonny of being an overly serious side-project, but assuming that Childs and Blake – the former with a couple of keyboards to go with his acoustic guitar and the latter handling guitar, drum machine and laptop duties – would treat it as a joke would have been a mistake. Okay, that’s not entirely accurate; there were plenty of jokes as the duo bantered back and forth in a manner worthy of a seasoned stand-up duo, their ultimately aborted attempt to cover the Saxons’ “It Ain’t Right” was more comedy sketch than musical performance and there were running gags of a sort with Childs’ collapsing homemade keyboard stands and Blake’s orchestration of the drum machine, but with the talents on hand, even the silliest songs were immaculately executed.

Considering the Jonny album barely clocks in at 40 minutes, their set was considerably longer than you might have expected. Of course some of that was for the aforementioned between-song back-and-forth, but they also included a number of non-album songs and made what could have been a brief-ish affair not only feel like a full and proper set, but one that reinforced Jonny as its own entity, separate and distinct from the resumes of the two artists who made the band up. Not so much, however, that one of the biggest highlights of the show was the encore wherein each of them busted out a couple of the former/other bands’ tunes. Jonny was charming and all, but hearing “I Don’t Want Control Of You” and “Spanish Dance Troupe” was the guaranteed way to close the night on the highest possible note.

Photos: Jonny, Apex Manor @ The Drake Underground – June 4, 2011
MP3: Jonny – “Candyfloss”
MP3: Jonny – “Gloria”
MP3: Apex Manor – “Under The Gun”
Video: Jonny – “You Was Me”
Video: Jonny – “Candyfloss”
Video: Apex Manor – “My My Mind”
ZIP: Jonny / Free

With reunions must come reissues, and so Pitchfork reports that Pulp’s first three albums – It, Freaks and Separations – will be reissued with bonus material come August 8.

The Independent finds out Elbow frontman Guy Garvey’s secrets to staying grounded while The Sydney Morning Herald chats with guitarist Mark Potter.

Emmy The Great offers a guide to staying virtuous to Clash. Her new album Virtue is out next week.

Exclaim and Metro interview James Blake, in town at The Phoenix on September 30.

Gruff Rhys has released a new video from Hotel Shampoo, just in time to wrap up the North American tour that hits The Horseshoe on June 11.

Video: Gruff Rhys – “Honey All Over”

TapeDek gets The Vaccines to indulge in some old-school Britpop trash talk. The National Post also has a chat.

Clash interviews Ladytron, whose new album Gravity The Seducer arrives September 13.

Beatroute interviews The Raveonettes.

Billboard has got a live video session from Peter Bjorn & John, while Metro, The Province and OC Weekly have interviews. They play Lee’s Palace on September 2 and 3.

aux.tv talks to The Naked & Famous, in town at Lee’s Palace on August 9.

Austin’s Ume have finally announced details of their new long-player; The AV Club has all the details but the key information is that it will be called Phantoms, be released on August 30 and the band will be in town on June 15 at the Drake Underground as part of NXNE. This is not a song from the new record but a good reminder of why they’re a band worth getting excited about.

MP3: Ume – “The Conductor”

The War On Drugs, last seen hereabouts opening up for Destroyer back in April will be back on August 24 at a venue to be named in support of their new record Slave Ambient, out August 16. Pitchfork has full dates and check out the Springsteen-ish first MP3 below.

MP3: The War On Drugs – “Baby Missiles”

Peter Hook brings his new band the Light and their rather questionable re-production of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures to The Phoenix on September 24. “Atmosphere” isn’t from Unknown Pleasures but this video should give you an idea of how they’re doing it. The Spectator has an interview with Hook.

Video: Peter Hook & The Light featuring Rowetta – “Atmosphere”

Once again announcing a new show before their last one has actually happened yet, Foster The People will be at The Sound Academy on October 1, tickets $23.50. More immediately, they’re at The Mod Club on June 18 but that’s sold out.

MP3: Foster The People – “Pumped Up Kicks”

Officially back from Europe/vacation, and let me tell you I am thrilled about it. THRILLED.

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Rolling In The Deep

Adele at The Air Canada Centre

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt happens far too infrequently, but sometimes the good guys win. Sometimes immense talent, great songs and hard work can triumph over image and marketing and when it does, you get improbably wonderful things like Adele becoming and more importantly remaining pretty much the biggest artist in music for 2011 for months on end, on the strength of her sophomore album 21. Granted, her story is hardly one of an out of nowhere dark horse – her debut 19 already made her a star and garnered her two Grammy awards – but the degree to which 21 has catapulted her into the stratosphere is still remarkable.

That the Toronto stop of her North American tour on Wednesday night was originally booked into the Kool Haus – considerably smaller than the posh environs of Massey Hall where she last performed in 2009 – certainly seemed to imply that people were underestimating her draw, and that the show was moved to the many times larger Air Canada Centre after selling out instantly was representative of just how much bigger – and faster – her fanbase was growing. Granted, it was in theatre configuration, accommodating approximately 5200 patrons instead of the 16000 of the full arena, but if you don’t think she could have easily sold a few thousand more tickets then you’re just not paying attention.

I had the privilege of seeing Adele at an MTV Live taping back in March and so had a sense of how she was live – which is to say wonderfully warm and engaging, with no sense of the stage fright she’s supposedly afflicted with – but that was a short set in front of a maybe a couple hundred people. This would be considerably more on every level, and yet Adele Adkins somehow managed to make an arena show in front of thousands feel just as intimate as that studio performance.

Things opened with a touch of theatricality – with Adele starting “Hometown Glory” from behind a curtain before stepping onstage to rafter-shaking shrieks – but for most of the show, it was all about simple, direct and genuine connection between Adele and her fans, which for all of her prodigious artistic gifts may be her greatest strength. Chatty, conversational and more than a little crude between songs, punctuated by a huge and endearing cackle, Adele was able to make a massive room feel as intimate as a small club or even more like a private performance for some friends in the front room. It’s impossible to overstate the intensity of the personal rapport that seemed to exist between she and almost every one of the thousands in the audience – it’s hard to imagine any other artist of her stature taking stage time to talk about the experiences that informed her songs, her affection for her pet dachshund or gush about bands she’s currently listening to (incidentally, she gave big props to Toronto R&B outfit The Weeknd).

As entertaining as it would likely be to just sit and chat for an hour and a half with Adele, there was no forgetting that music was the order of the evening. Improvisation wasn’t on the menu, save for a few subtle shifts in arrangements, with the emphasis on her huge, expressive voice and playing the songs everyone wanted to hear the way they knew them, but with plenty of verve and as singalong-able as possible – something the house happily obliged, at times creating an almost choral effect. Backed by a seven-piece band, Adele delivered exactly the sort of set you’d expect, comprising most of 21 – often introduced as “new songs” as though they were something to be politely endured before she got to the old favourites instead of the material that brought both her and her fans here on this evening – and a decent amount of 19. The show built to a finale that was completely predictable – “Chasing Pavements” and “Make You Feel My Love” to close the main set and “Someone Like You” and “Rolling In The Deep” making up the encore – but also completely rousing. You don’t need to surprise when you’re this good. Adele is like the friend who goes onto great things, but never forgets where she came from – not “is like”, but “is” – and though musically she trades in broken hearts, there was nothing but love at the ACC on this night.

The Globe & Mail has a feature piece on Adele and also a review of the show. The Toronto Sun, National Post, Toronto Star and Exclaim also have writeups of the evening.

Photos: Adele @ The Air Canada Centre – May 18, 2011
Video: Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”
Video: Adele – “Make You Feel My Love”
Video: Adele – “Chasing Pavements”
Video: Adele – “Cold Shoulder”

Interview has a brief talk with Anna Calvi, who has a date at The El Mocambo on May 27.

PJ Harvey discusses the visual side of her art with Spinner.

Pitchfork has an extensive interview with Kate Bush, who released her first album in over five years this week with Director’s Cut. The record is streaming in whole over at NPR.

Stream: Kate Bush / Director’s Cut

New York Magazine and The Chicago Tribune talk to Will Sergeant of Echo & The Bunnymen while The Aquarian chats with Ian McCulloch.

Johnny Marr talks up his upcoming projects with Billboard.

The Guardian talks to Brett Anderson and Mat Osman about why the reunited Suede are so fashionable again – just in time for Brett Anderson (the solo artist) to announce the September 26 release of his next record, Black Rainbows. Details on the album at NME.

The second single from Patrick Wolf’s forthcoming Lupercalia now has a video and it indeed confirms that, on this record, Wolf is in his happy place. It’s out June 20.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “House”

Foals discuss possible directions of their next record with aux.tv.

The Guardian, Gigwise and Clash have feature pieces on Friendly Fires, whose new record Pala is out next week and are in town at The Phoenix on May 30.

NME gets some information on the next Muse record from rhythm section Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme.

The Aquarian talks to Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner. They’re at The Kool Haus on Saturday and their new album Suck It And See is out June 7.

Also on the bill are The Vaccines, who have a new video from their debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines, due out May 31.

Video: The Vaccines – “All In White”

NPR have posted a WFUV radio session with Noah & The Whale, with whom North Country Times, Oregon Music News, The Telegraph and The Edinburgh Evening News have interviews.

James Blake has a new video from James Blake.

Video: James Blake – “Lindesfarne”

Artrocker has a piece from Clock Opera frontman Guy Connelly about writing their latest single “Belongings”, for which they’ve just released a video and are streaming both sides at Soundcloud. DIY also solicits an alphabetized list of… stuff from the band. These guys were one of the more exciting discoveries at SXSW and the lead-up to their debut album verifies that the excitement is justified.

Video: Clock Opera – “Belongings”

Ladytron are streaming the first single from new album Gravity The Seducer at Soundcloud, well in advance of its September 13 release date.

Art Brut are streaming their new record Brilliant! Tragic! over at Paste. They play The Mod Club on June 17 for NXNE.

Stream: Art Brut / Brilliant! Tragic!

And according to Under The Radar, the Friday night of NXNE – June 17 – will also bring Oxford’s Swervedriver back to town for the first time since, well, NXNE 2008. Venue still to be announced but this should be one of the highlights of the festival.

MP3: Swervedriver – “Duel” (live)

IFC has both an interview with Euros and Norman of Jonny and premiered a new video from the duo. They are at The Drake Underground on June 3 and 4.

Video: Jonny – “You Was Me”

They Shoot Music has a video session with Gruff Ryhs, and he’s also the subject of features at Nashville Scene, The Village Voice and Today Online. He has a date at The Horseshoe for June 11.

NPR has posted a World Cafe session with The Joy Formidable.

And with that, folks, things go into vacation mode over the next couple weeks. There’ll still be updates and whatnot, just maybe fewer, probably leaner and almost certainly at odd hours. And any last-minute suggestions of things to see and do in Barcelona are welcome.

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Candyfloss

Review of Jonny’s Jonny and giveaway

Photo By Mei LewisMei LewisIn case it wasn’t obvious from the name, Jonny is the musical marriage of Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and former Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci Euros Childs. It’s perhaps not a pairing that people have been clamouring for – it never even occurred to me that the two might work together before it was announced that they were – but it’s not out of left field either. In fact, the more I think about it, the more logical it gets – Blake led the Fannies through two decades of power pop perfection while Childs’ now-defunct Mynci made their name with a unique blend of psychedelia and folk that proudly wore their Welsh heritage on their sleeves; there’s really no reason that the meeting of these minds shouldn’t produce something worthy.

And their self-titled debut, released earlier this Spring, is very much worthy. It’s not a record that necessarily aspires to greatness – the vibe is much more casual and off-the-cuff with a healthy dose of goofiness added in for good measure – but the combination of Childs’ distinctively fantastical songwriting and Blake’s immaculate songcraft can’t help but be a winning combination. Jonny offers both the spot-on harmonies and indelible melodies you’d expect from a Fanclub record but also some of the musical unpredictability that Gorky’s were known for. Not everything hits – opener “Wich is Wich” is pretty much a throwaway and there’s no reason “Cave Dance” needed to run over ten minutes, but songs like “Circling The Sun” and “Candyfloss” are the sort of gems that might represent the career highwater marks of lesser artists. Their name might be nigh-on meaningless but their music makes an impression.

The record is currently available to stream in whole at Merge, and their introductory EP – consisting of non-album material – is still available to download for free. They will be kicking off a North American tour with two nights at the Drake Underground in Toronto – fun fact, Blake now resides in Kitchener, Ontario – on June 3 and 4. Tickets for each show are $21.50 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts and Merge, I’ve got a couple of prize packs to give away. There’s one for each night and they consist of a pair of passes to the show, a copy of Jonny on CD and a pink balloon that was given away to those who pre-ordered the album. Why? Why not? To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to meet Jonny” in the subject line and your full name in the body along with your mailing address and a note as to which night you’d prefer or if you’ve no preference, say you have no preference. Contest closes at midnight, May 19.

MP3: Jonny – “Candyfloss”
Video: Jonny – “You Was Me”
Video: Jonny – “Candyfloss”
Stream: Jonny / Jonny
ZIP: Jonny / Free

Keeping with both the “streaming new records from Merge” and “bands made up of people from other bands” memes, we have Amor de Días – aka Alisdair from The Clientele and Lupe of Pipas – and their debut full-length Street Of The Love Of Days, which is out next week. The record is streaming at Merge, a new video from said record has just been released, the band is on the road and at The Horseshoe on May 25 and Design Sponge has an interview with Lupe Núñez-Fernández.

Video: Amor de Dias – “Late Morning”
Stream: Amor de Dias / Amor de Dias

Also out next week is Nursing Home, the second album from London’s Let’s Wrestle. Paste has the whole thing available to listen in advance of its release next Tuesday, May 17.

Stream: Let’s Wrestle / Nursing Home

Not out on Merge but definitely out soon – May 24 to be precise – and up and streaming at Hype Machine is Pala, the second effort from Friendly Fires. You can also download an MP3 over there and see them at The Phoenix on May 30.

Stream: Friendly Fires / Pala

The Fly and The Phoenix checks in with Arctic Monkeys about their forthcoming album Suck It And See, out June 7. Spin has also got a new track from the record available to stream. They play The Kool Haus on May 21.

Opening up that show are The Vaccines, who have got a Daytrotter session up, are interviewed by Buzznet and whose debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines is out May 31. And oh yeah, they’re giving away a live track.

MP3: The Vaccines – “Norgaard” (live)

Black Book gets Paul Banks of Interpol to interview Anna Calvi while Mojo just sends some guy to do the same. She is at The El Mocambo on May 27.

Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit talks about the importance of music blogs at The Pop Cop. They’re at The Molson Amphitheatre on July 29, opening for Death Cab For Cutie.

DIY, The Guardian, The Skinny, The Australian, Clash, Paste and The Quietus all get some time with Wild Beasts about their new record Smother.

The AV Club talks to Stuart Staples of Tindersticks about the art of scoring. Movies. Scoring movies.

Clash welcomes the British festival season with a conversation with Elbow.

Drowned In Sound meets Graham Coxon.

Dev Hynes’ Blood Orange has released a new video for the A-side from his debut 7″ and put the b-side up on Soundcloud to stream.

Video: Blood Orange – “Dinner”

The Twilight Sad are giving away an acoustic EP to anyone who hands over their email address; the sign-up form is up on their website, as is a set of videos from the recording session.

Pitchfork reports that Upside Down, the documentary about Creation Records, has gotten a DVD release as of this week and comes packaged with a two-CD soundtrack/sampler of Creation artists. Which would be great if not for the the fact that it’s only PAL and region-2. Would someone please bring this film to North America in some watchable form?

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

The Bold Arrow Of Time

Tame Impala and Yuck at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe city’s music critics had to be a little disappointed upon arriving at the Phoenix on Sunday night and seeing signs informing them that Chicago’s Yawn had cancelled their appearance because of car trouble in Montreal – after all, had their set been anything less than impressive, the review would have written itself. But the opportunity to be simultaneously succinct and lazy still presented itself with London’s Yuck, not that it was needed.

I saw the quartet back at SXSW, where they were one of the festival’s buzz bands thanks to the made-in-a-world-where-Bandwagonesque-trumped-Nevermind melodic fuzz pop of their self-titled debut and, perhaps looking a little too firmly through the lens of a photographer, wasn’t impressed. For an outfit riding a surge of interest that most bands would give a limb for, they seemed exceedingly bored with the whole thing – and this was on the very first night of a week packed with shows. But that didn’t give them enough credit for how they sounded, which was pretty great – any perceived indifference didn’t apply to their playing, which mitigated any disappointment in their lack of stage diving.

In any case, it seems that the time on the road has done the band a lot of good in pretty much every department. They still seem to have a running contest amongst themselves to see who can look the most expressionless but there were a few earnest if awkward attempts at audience banter and in performance, they weren’t inanimate, allowing themselves to bob up and down with the beat or wander around the stage – singer Daniel Blumberg even contributing a few convincing screams where called for. Musically, the songs have evolved some from their recorded versions, incorporating extended musical segues or in the case of set closer “Rubber”, devolving into a sludgy dirge (meant in a mostly positive sense). But it’s the songs that are Yuck’s greatest strengths, so filled with hooks and melodies that owe much to the ’90s but are also timelessly pop. And unlike some of their distortion pedal fetishist contemporaries who use the noise to bury rather than buoy, Yuck sound almost hi-fi in their sonic clarity. Almost. But still plenty fuzzy.

Australian headliners Tame Impala also know their way around a pedalboard, as evidenced by last year’s psych-rock standout debut Innerspeaker, but clarity is not at the top of their mission statement. In wrapping frontman Kevin Parker’s voice in a distinctive echo-reverb, they effectively conjure up the ghosts of Barrett-era Pink Floyd but grafted onto big guitar and synth riffs and propelled by massive, grooving rhythms, Tame Impala are very much their own beast. Most importantly, though, they brings songs to the table – something that’s too often overlooked by acts in this particular niche of rock’n’roll, more concerned they are with sonic mayhem than actual substance. But armed with well-crafted, melodic and memorable songs, Tame Impala are the complete psych-rock package and even with just one album to their name, they set the standard.

And they put on a pretty terrific show, too. Their hour-fifteen long, encore-less set showcased their ability to marry hooks with grooves and jam without sounding jammy, always keeping focus and never losing the plot. A particular highlight was their cover of Massive Attack’s “Angel”, which introduced some darkness to their sound by maintaining the mystery and menace of the original. I’m also used to bands of their ilk performing in the dark and aloofly preferring to let their music speak for them and while they hardly busted out a light show, the oscilloscope on acid projected behind them offered some extra visual interest. The set was also punctuated with friendly banter, though it got a touch odd when they announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed (to confused applause) and dedicated buoyant instrumental “Jeremy’s Storm” to him, which they apologized for afterwards, lest anyone think it was in tribute. An odd and memorable moment in a show that was plenty memorable enough already.

Exclaim and NOW have reviews of the show and The Globe & Mail an interview with Tame Impala. The Boston Herald and Philly.com have features on Yuck.

Photos: Tame Impala, Yuck @ The Phoenix – May 1, 2011
MP3: Tame Impala – “Runway, Houses, City, Clouds”
MP3: Yuck – “Get Away”
MP3: Yuck – “Georgia”
MP3: Yuck – “Automatic”
MP3: Yuck – “Daughter”
MP3: Yuck – “Coconut Bible”
Video: Tame Impala – “Expectation”
Video: Tame Impala – “Lucidity”
Video: Tame Impala – “Solitude Is Bliss”
Video: Yuck – “Get Away”
Video: Yuck – “Holing Out”

An Horse have just released their second album Walls and will be playing a free in-store at Criminal Records on May 15 at a time TBD in advance of their show at Mod Club the following evening opening up for Manchester Orchestra.

Video: An Horse – “Dressed Sharply”

Their commitments opening up for Foals completed as of this past weekend, Kiwis The Naked & Famous have set their own headlining date at Lee’s Palace for August 9, tickets $15 in advance. Blast has an interview with the band.

Video: The Naked & Famous – “Girls Like You”

Australia’s Sia and Denmark’s Oh Land are teaming up for a tour that brings them to The Phoenix on July 24, tickets $24.50 in advance. Sia’s latest We Are Born came out last year while Oh Land’s self-titled debut came out in March. The Los Angeles Times talks to Oh Land’s Nanna Øland Fabricius about her work.

Video: Sia – “Clap Your Hands”
Video: Oh Land – “Son Of A Gun”

Spin reports that Ida Maria is done with album number two and is even sharing a new tune from the record – look for Katla on June 7.

MP3: Ida Maria – “Cherry Red”

Italian radio show Maps has a downloadable radio session from Allo Darlin’, who will be at The El Mocambo on June 11.

MP3: Allo Darlin’ – “If Loneliness Was Art” (live on Maps)

Under The Radar is streaming the whole of the new Wild Beasts record Smother a week ahead of its May 10 release. Interview has an interview.

Stream: Wild Beasts / Smother

Mogwai talk to aux.tv about their plans to release a new EP this Fall, tentatively titled Earth Division. The AV Club also has an interview with Stuart Braithwaite.

Rolling Stone declares Anna Calvi an artist to watch, and you can do just that as a recent show in Paris is available to watch in its entirety at ARTE. It should give you an idea of what you will see – and what I’ll be missing – when she’s at the El Mocambo on May 27.

Pitchfork talks to Stanley Donwood, the artist responsible for the artwork and packaging for Radiohead’s The King Of Limbs.

Aquarium Drunkard chats with Norman Blake of Jonny, who kick off their North American tour with two nights at The Drake Underground on June 3 and 4.