Posts Tagged ‘Jonny’

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Canadian Musicfest 2011 Day Two

Karkwa, Esben & The Witch, Adam & The Amethysts and more at Canadian Musicfest

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe Friday night of Canadian Musicfest saw the only bit of club-hopping that I’d be engaging in over the weekend, but even that was just across a couple of blocks in Parkdale, and I took a streetcar. No, not so much with the spirit of the club-level festival.

Stop one was the Drake Underground for Olenka & The Autumn Lovers. I’d seen them just a few weeks prior, but while that show had been as a stripped-down four-piece, advance billing promised a full lineup for this one. But instead of the stage-filling configuration that played The Garrison in October 2009, this show was again Olenka Krakus with Sara Froese on violin, Kelly Wallraff on cello and Tyler Belluz on upright bass. And if there’s any trace of disappointment in that, it’s just because it meant that some of the songs from And Now We Sing that required a fuller presentation would again be left out of the set. And yes, this show was similar if not identical in structure to the Horseshoe show but actually probably better overall thanks to the more intimate setting encouraging a more conversational tone between Krakus and the attentive audience. Don’t get me wrong – I still love these songs and am happy to hear them however they’re presented, but if next time out they bring a drummer along… I won’t be upset.

Spinner has an interview with Olenka Krakus.

Photos: Olenka & The Autumn Lovers @ The Drake Underground – March 11, 2011
MP3: Olenka & The Autumn Lovers – “Odessa”

Montreal’s Adam & The Amethysts made a positive impression with their debut Amethyst Amulet back in 2008, but kind of fell off the radar since I saw them live that Summer. That looks to change with the impending release of their second album Flickering Flashlight, and while details of that release are still forthcoming their showcase did a good job of reminding why they were worth paying attention to in the first place. Their appreciation and affinity for classically-styled, music in the vein of The Zombies is still as sharp as ever, their songs all understated hooks and sneaky sophistication. I wasn’t able to stick around for the whole of their set but was there long enough to whet my appetite for the new record. Hope it gets out sooner rather than later.

Chart has thoughts on their set.

Photos: Adam & The Amethysts @ The Drake Underground – March 11, 2011
MP3: Adam & The Amethysts – “Prophecy”
Video: Adam & The Amethysts – “Gitche Gumee Yeah Yeah”

Then it was further into the dark heart of Parkdale to Wrongbar, where 2/3 of what would have been the best bill of the festival were ready to make an argument that it still was. Leading their case was reigning Polaris Music Prize winners Karkwa, who’d been spending no small amount of time since the win last September introducing themselves and the winning record Le chemins de verre to English Canada. And making those introductions by way of live performance was really putting their best foot forward as their show was nothing less than electrifying. I’d seen them play at the Polaris gala and while I didn’t know it at the time, that was Karkwa at their most subdued what with frontman Louis-Jean Cormier on piano – and while that was fine, having him brandish guitars as he did this night made for a very different sort of show.

My French hasn’t gotten any better since September so I still didn’t understand any of what they were singing, but the collective musicianship of the band and melodic and visceral impact of their songs needed no translation. Not even Le chemins de verre properly captured the intense dynamics and surprising amount of brutalism (a good thing) that was on display here. I know that there was a fair bit of head-scratching when Karkwa won the Polaris, both with respect to who they were and whether they deserved it. The former shouldn’t be an issue anymore and the latter? Just go see them live. And make sure the guitars are out.

Spinner and Chart were also on hand at the show while The Globe & Mail has a feature piece.

Photos: Karkwa @ Wrongbar – March 11, 2011
MP3: Karkwa – “Dors Dans Mon Sang”
Video: Karkwa – “Le pyromane”
Video: Karkwa – “Echapper au sort”
Video: Karkwa – “Marie tu pleures”
Video: Karkwa – “Oublie pas”
Video: Karkwa – “Échapper au sor”
Video: Karkwa – “À la chaîne”
Video: Karkwa – “Combien”
Video: Karkwa – “La facade”
Video: Karkwa – “La fuite”
Video: Karkwa – “Vrai”
Video: Karkwa – “Le coup d’etat”
Video: Karkwa – “Poisson cru”

It took a while to tear down after Karkwa’s set – to say they’ve got a lot of gear is an understatement – it didn’t take long to get Brighton’s Esben & The Witch, who don’t need a whole lot in the way of equipment to build their dark, atmospheric sound, to get ready to go. This show was considerably different from their local debut supporting Foals back in September; whereas that one came across as decidedly primal and amorphous with its heavy percussion and free-form vocals, this performance had much more structure, dynamics and overall intent – as though the building blocks that had been present but strewn about in the Fall had now been assembled into something using their debut Violet Cries as a blueprint. But even though it was more controlled, there was still plenty of intensity on offer be it from Daniel Copeman’s hair-whipping guitarwork, Rachel Davies’ plaintive vocals or any or all of the band beating the bejesus out of a single floor tom. Though Esben in general isn’t really my thing, I think I still prefer the album to the live show – it offers up their songs in their most fully-formed state – but neither form is boring.

Chart also has a review of the show.

Photos: Esben & The Witch @ Wrongbar – March 11, 2011
MP3: Esben & The Witch – “Warpath”
Video: Esben & The Witch – “Warpath”
Video: Esben & The Witch – “Marching Song”

Spin chats with Noah & The Whale before soliciting a video performance from the band. Their new record Last Night On Earth is out today and they play The Mod Club on March 24.

British Sea Power have released a new video from Valhalla Dancehall, just in time for their North American tour, which starts next week and hits Lee’s Palace on March 24.

Video: British Sea Power – “Who’s In Control”

Clash has an interview with Ritzy Bryan of The Joy Formidable, whose The Big Roar is now officially out in North America. They’re at The Horseshoe on April 2.

Another video from Mogwai’s latest Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will has been released. The band are at The Phoenix on April 26.

Video: Mogwai – “San Pedro”

Drowned In Sound meets Yuck, who’re giving away their single to download. They’re at The Phoenix on May 1.

MP3: Yuck – “Get Away”

NPR has a World Cafe session and JAM an interview with chart-topper Adele. Her May 18 show at the Kool Haus is looking mighty undersized and intimate right about now, eh?

With the April 12 release of their self-titled debut just about here, Jonny – aka Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci’s Euros Childs – have announced a North American tour that kicks off with two nights at the Drake Underground in Toronto on June 3 and 4.

Video: Jonny – “Candyfloss”

Elvis Costello’s tour in support of last year’s National Ransom brings him to the Sony Centre on June 23.

The Quietus has details on the extensive series of Suede remasters and reissues that will be getting rolled out starting May 30 and ending June 22. I am loathe to re-buy these albums, particularly on CD, but man I can’t imagine not having the “definitive” Dog Man Star. Damn you, Suede.

PopMatters and Under The Radar talk to Elbow’s Pete Turner and Guy Garvey respectively about the band’s stunning new record build a rocket boys!.

The title track from PJ Harvey’s latest Let England Shake is now available to download.

MP3: PJ Harvey – “Let England Shake”

Mumford & Sons tells Rolling Stone they’re intending to record album number two this year.

DIY talks to Ladytron’s Reuben Wu. Their Best of Ladytron: 00-10 is out March 29.

The Creators Project Q&As Mica Levi of Micachu.

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Four Letter Word

My laptop died last night so as karmic retribution, you get Beady Eye

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickSo good times, my laptop died last night after 3.5 years of service due to a failed hard drive. I had planned on replacing it this year anyways, but hoped to squeeze a little more out of it – like a week. Fittingly, it died just as I was looking at the new upgraded Macbook Pros on the Apple site so… yeah. Anyways. Just some stuff from the old world to clear out before the weekend, so…

Beady Eye. Their debut Different Gear, Still Speeding is out over here on March 1 and kind of surprisingly, advance word seems to be that it’s not terrible. Not any kind of groundbreaking, being mostly bog-standard retro-styled Brit rock, but pretty alright for what it is. I haven’t heard it, this is just what I’m hearing. Anyways, I do hope it does okay if just for Andy Bell’s sake, and I get the sense that they’ll be doing a proper North American promotional push and that should include touring, perhaps come Fall. Anyways. The Guardian, BBC, Spinner and Exclaim all have features on the band.

MP3: Beady Eye – “The Roller”

Under The Radar talks to Andy Bell’s former compatriot Mark Gardener on the occasion of Ride’s 20th anniversary and yes, the reunion question comes up and no, there are not plans for it but as the Bieb says – never say never.

Captain’s Dead has rounded up a bunch of Lush’s Black Sessions MP3s for your shoegazing nostalgia purposes. Another band highly unlikely to ever get back together.

Drowned In Sound talks to Yan of British Sea Power. They’re at Lee’s Palace on March 24.

Spinner talks to Norman Blake of Jonny, whose self-titled debut is due out in North America on April 12.

Spinner has an interview with Ellie Goulding, whose debut Lights gets a US release on March 8 and who is at The Phoenix on March 27.

The Mirror reports that Duffy, disappointed in the disappointment surrounding her disappointing second record Endlessly, is considering ending her music career.

Exclaim has made PJ Harvey their cover story for the month.

The Independent and Tour Dates chat with Patrick Wolf, whose new record Lupercalia is out May 23.

The Quietus, Irish Independent and Irish Times interview Guy Garvey of Elbow, whose build a rocket boys! is out March 8 in the UK but not until April 12 in North America.

Glasvegas have released a new video from their second album Euphoric Heartbreak, due out April 4. Guitarist Rab Allan talks to The Scotsman while James Allan offers a track-by-track overview of the record to The Daily Record.

Video: Glasvegas – “Euphoria, Take My Hand”

Also with a new clip are White Lies, taken from Ritual. Dose has an interview with the band.

Video: White Lies – “Strangers”

The Quietus reports that Wild Beasts have given their new record a title of Smother and release date of May 10.

Secret Sessions has a solo acoustic video session and interview with Tim Compton of The High Wire.

PitchforkTV has a Tunnelvision session with Yuck, who also have their self-title up to stream at Soundcloud. They play The Phoenix on May 1 and Gigwise has an interview.

Stream: Yuck / Yuck

Lykke Li talks to Spinner and Billboard and names off her dream band to The Independent. Her new record Wounded Rhymes is out on Tuesday and she plays The Phoenix on May 22.

Shockhound, Consequence Of Sound and Spinner chat with The Radio Dept, who just picked up their second Best New Whatevs in less than a year from Pitchfork. They’re at The Horseshoe on May 29.

Peter Bjorn & John have a new vid from Gimme Some, out March 29. They play Lee’s Palace on May 6.

Video: Peter Bjorn & John – “Second Chance”

The Megaphonic Thrift have rolled out a new vid from Decay Decoy, out March 8.

Video: The Megaphonic Thrift – “Talks Like A Weed King”

Keren Ann’s new record 101 is now streamable in advance of its March 22 release. She plays The Drake Underground on June 28.

Stream: Keren Ann / 101

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

In The Dark Places

PJ Harvey Shakes out preview of new record

Photo By Seamus MurphySeamus MurphyThroughout her career, Polly Jean Harvey has managed the difficult feat of being artistically chameleon-like from one to the next, each often stylistically miles removed from that which came before it, while remaining consistently interesting and by and large excellent throughout. Her last effort, 2007’s fragile piano-led White Chalk, certainly didn’t hint at what Let England Shake – out next week – has to offer.

Just posted to stream in its entirety at NPR, it’s a strange yet immediately compelling collection built around themes of nationalism and war. While has echoes of her past works – the urgency of her early records, the melody of her middle-period works and the stark beauty of recent recordings – it sounds completely fresh, with Harvey favouring the higher registers of her voice in a way that I, at least, haven’t heard before. I’m only a few listens in and already I’m finding myself connecting with it in way that I haven’t with her stuff before. This is an exciting development.

She’s only got three North American tour dates scheduled right now (Los Angeles, Coachella and New York) but considering she’s not toured over here properly in forever – her last Toronto date was in 2004 – I have to think or at least hope that more will be coming.

MP3: PJ Harvey – “Written On The Forehead”
Stream: PJ Harvey / Let England Shake

The Guardian and State interview Anna Calvi, whose self-titled debut is due out on March 1 and who will be at Wrongbar on March 11 as part of Canadian Musicfest.

The Quietus goes over their debut Violet Cries track by track with Esben & The Witch while Drowned In Sound gave them the keys to their whole website last week. Paste just interviews them. They’re also at Wrongbar on March 11 for Canadian Musicfest.

Billboard has a cover story on Adele in advance of the February 22 release of 21. NPR is streaming the album in its entirety as well as a half-hour live performance from the singer, who’s just announced a North American tour in suport of album number two, including a May 18 date at The Kool Haus in Toronto.

Stream: Adele / 21

NPR has a World Cafe session with Duffy.

PopMatters interviews Kate Nash.

Spinner talks to Mira Aroyo of Ladytron about their forthcoming Best of Ladytron: 00-10 compilation, due out March 29.

Micachu & The Shapes are still working on the follow-up to 2009’s left-field gem Jewellery, but in the interim will be releasing Chopped & Screwed, a collaboration with The London Sinfonetta that will be coming out on March 22. What’s it sound like? Click below and read this piece on the collaboration at Clash.

MP3: Micachu – “Everything”

Pitchfork talks to Jamie Smith of The xx about stuff both xx and not xx.

The Fly checks in with Friendly Fires, who are finishing up their second record Pala, due out in the Spring – certainly before their May 30 date at The Phoenix.

The Fly and The Scotsman profile The Joy Formidable, who follow up the North American release of The Big Roar with a date at The Horseshoe on April 2.

Magnet handed over the editorial chair of their website to White Lies last week. The Mirror has an interview.

The Boxer Rebellion have made a date at The Horseshoe for April 18 in support of their new record The Cold Still; tickets $13.50.

Video: The Boxer Rebellion – “Step Out Of The Car”

State, Exclaim and Clash interview The Go! Team, who bring their new record Rolling Blackouts to The Opera House on April 10. They’ve released a couple new videos and an MP3 from said record.

MP3: The Go! Team – “T.O.R.N.A.D.O.”
Video: The Go! Team – “Super Triangle”
Video: The Go! Team – “Secretary Song”

Guy Garvey discusses Elbow’s forthcoming new record build a rocket boys!, out March 8, with The Quietus.

Toronto fans disappointed there’s no official stop here for the upcoming Trash Can Sinatras tour would do well to look at their itinerary, email the address noted on the right and ask themselves just how much seeing them play an intimate house show is worth to them.

Liam Gallagher of Beady Eye discusses his new band’s debut Different Gear, Still Speeding with Spin. The record is out March 1.

Spinner reports that Manic Street Preachers bassist Nicky Wire is disappointed that their last single didn’t chart in the UK; perhaps they overestimated the appeal of an Ian McCulloch duet? Time to dig up Nina Persson’s phone number again, methinks.

The Quietus contemplates the legacy of Teenage Fanclub while The Line Of Best Fit has an acoustic session with Fanny side-project Jonny. Their self-titled debut is out April 12.

Billboard profiles Mumford & Sons.

NPR puts folk-rock legend Richard Thompson behind a Tiny Desk and makes him play a concert. The indignity.

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011


The Joy Formidable Roar now over there, Roar later over here

Photo via TJFthejoyformidable.comProving that cliches are both true and false, Welsh trio The Joy Formidable are setting out to prove that good things do indeed come to those who wait but also that sometimes you can’t get too much of a good thing. To the former, there’s the fact that while those in the UK were able to celebrate “Big Roar Day” yesterday in honour of the release of their debut album The Big Roar, North Americans will have to wait until March 15 for the domestically-released edition. And while I appreciate the necessity of staggered release dates in different territories from a business point of view – there’s only so much press and promo a band is able to do in a given time frame – the fact that it’s so easy to get records irrespective of where you live (legally, of course) makes the notion that something is available elsewhere but not where you are hard to swallow. And don’t get me started on geoblocked videos… but I digress.

But the upside to the exercise in delayed gratification is the fact that the North American release will be accompanied by a North American tour, anchored by appearances at SxSW and Coachella, that brings them back to Toronto for their third date at The Horseshoe in less than a year on April 2, tickets $13.50. It’s hard to believe that not too long ago I was afraid I’d never get the chance to catch them live and nearly flew to New York on one occasion and rescheduled a work trip around making sure I was able to see them last May. Not that I’ve any complaint about their regular visits – both shows here were barnburners and I expect no less of this next one.

Virtual Festivals and Stereoboard have interviews with the band, while Rolling Stone declares them “Band Of The Week” and The Quietus has a video session.

MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”

Daytrotter has posted up a session with Little Boots.

Spinner learns the rather unsustainable source of Adele’s songwriting inspiration. Her second album 21 arrives February 22.

Arriving just a smidge to late to piggyback on last week’s tour announcement, Stereogum is streaming the whole of Esben & The Witch’s debut album Violet Cries a week ahead of its January 31 UK release and a bit longer ahead of the February 8 North American street date. Clash has also declared them a “band to watch”.

Stream: Esben & The Witch / Violet Cries

Also up for stream early is the debut album from Gorky’s Fanclub side-project Jonny. Well, early for North America – in another case of territorial differences, the self-titled effort is out in the UK next Monday but not until April 12 over here.

Stream: Jonny / Jonny

Lucky Soul get animated in the video for the final single to be taken from their terrific A Coming Of Age. The band are taking a bit of a break while Andrew and Ali have a baby then it’s back to work for record number three.

Video: Lucky Soul – “Upon Hilly Fields”

Patrick Wolf has released the first proper video from his forthcoming Lupercalia, a beach-frolicking little number shot in Santa Monica, California. The record is out May 23.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “The City”

Spin talks to Andy Bell and Liam Gallagher of Beady Eye about their debut album Different Gear, Still Speeding, which will get a North American release on March 1. I keep reporting on this for Andy’s sake. You know that.

MP3: Beady Eye – “The Roller”

Brett Anderson tells XFM he’d like to take a mulligan on the last Suede record, the eminently forgettable A New Morning. Where’s the positivity, Brett? This, of course, opens the question of a new record from the reformed band but first they’re going to reissue the whole of their back catalog – including A New Morning – with previously unheard rarities and participation in the archive diving from prodigal guitarist Bernard Butler but perplexingly there don’t appear to be plans for vinyl editions of any of the records. The band will also be diving into storage to dig up their “The London Suede” merch as they’re making their first trip to the US in probably at least a decade for an appearance at Coachella, though hopefully that’s not their only show on these shores. HINT HINT.

A British band who knows how to treat their audio/analogphile fans are Spiritualized, whom Exclaim reports are putting out their first two record Lazer Guided Melodies and Pure Phase on vinyl later this month. And rumours persist that a new record will be arriving from Mr. Pierce/Spaceman before the year is out.

Having successfully brought the complete Ocean Rain to Toronto in October 2009, Echo & The Bunnymen will return with their first and fourth records Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here rehearsed and ready for recital on May 16 at The Phoenix, tickets $37.50. Full dates at Pitchfork.

Video: Echo & The Bunnymen – “Crocodiles” (live)

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Let Them

jj mixes, tapes, kills

Photo By Malin BernaltMalin Bernalt>Swedish outfit jj had an interesting 2010. At year’s start, the mysterious duo was one of the more hotly tipped acts around, their mysterious, r&b-inflected/narcotic-influenced dream-pop scoring them a support slot for The xx’s first headlining North American tour and a Stateside release for their debut album No. 2 as well as its imminent follow-up, No. 3.

It all started to go wrong when they rolled into SxSW, though, when it was discovered that their live shows were perplexing, awkward affairs with Elin Kastlander singing overtop pre-recorded backing tracks while co-conspirator Joakim Benon just stood there. Not exactly the sort of impression that bands usually want to make in Austin in March, but jj seemed to come into things with an approach that was either performance art, contempt or both. The subsequent shows with The xx proved their indifferent approach to live performance wasn’t a fluke and after No. 3 failed to garner the sort of rave reviews its predecessor did – though to my ears it sounded similar enough that the backlash was puzzling – the buzz surrounding them seemed to dissipate significantly.

After being left along through much of the Fall, jj returned in the tail end of the year and they came bearing gifts. First in November, a free two-track digital single entitled Let Them and then on Christmas eve, a full-length mixtape entitled Kills, also available gratis. This wasn’t a TDK SA90 of their favourite tracks for your stocking – the kind of mix tape I’m familiar with – but one of the hip-hop variety wherein the band sample, remixe and otherwise jam out overtop a variety of other peoples’ tunes. If I were better versed with contemporary hip-hop I might better appreciate whatever alchemy they work on Kills but even without knowing my Kanye from my Jay-Z, it’s an entertaining listen thanks to Kastlander’s beguiling vocals.

Some acts just aren’t meant for the stage – as long as they keep making interesting music and giving it away, I think we can forgive them that.

MP3: jj – “Let Them”
MP3: jj – “I’m The One/Money On My Mind”
MP3: jj – “New Work”
Video: jj – “Kill Them”

Under The Radar reports that next Tuesday, Danish art-rockers Mew will give their career-spanning compilation Eggs Are Funny a North American release. In addition to their greatest hits, there’s one new track which you can hear over at Soundcloud.

The Line Of Best fit has a studio performance from and Under The Radar an interview with The Concretes. They’re at the Horseshoe on January 17.

Fanfarlo’s contribution to the latest Twilight soundtrack has yielded a video. They’re currently writing album number two. Patience.

Video: Fanfarlo – “Atlas”

MusicOmh, The Irish Independent and The Guardian have features on British Sea Power, whose Valhalla Dancehall comes out on Tuesday. A new MP3 from the record has just been made available.

MP3: British Sea Power – “Who’s In Control”

The first MP3 from Mogwai’s forthcoming Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will was made available via email widget back in November, but now it’s up for grabs for even the email-submitting-averse. Their new album is out February 15 and is better than you think it will be, no matter how good you think it will be. They’re at the Phoenix on April 26.

MP3: Mogwai – “Pano Rano”

Stereogum solicits a status report on PJ Harvey’s next record Let England Shake, though considering the first single “The Words That Maketh The Murder” will be out on January 17 and the album is due in a little over a month on February 15, the only status that should be getting reports is, “It’s done. Leave me alone”.

Pitchfork introduces you to Jonny, made up of Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and Euros Childs, formerly of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. Their debut self-titled album will be out April 12 but in the meantime, there’s a video and a free EP of non-album tracks to get you acclimated.

Video: Jonny – “Candyfloss”
ZIP: Jonny / Free EP

The Quietus recounts Geoff Barrow’s Twitter-disseminated list of what NOT to expect of the new Portishead record, whenever it comes out this year.

The terrible interface of the Folio magazine online edition is worth enduring to read the interview about the Britpop era with former Sleeper frontwoman and eternal crush object Louise Wener by Summer Camp chanteuse Elizabeth Sankey. Picking up a copy of Wener’s autobiography Different For Girls when I’m in the UK this Summer is on my to-do list.