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Posts Tagged ‘Josh Ritter’

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

CONTEST – Josh Ritter @ The Danforth Music Hall – April 16, 2013

Photo By Laura WilsonLaura WilsonWho: Josh Ritter
What: American singer-songwriter who recently expanded his CV to include novelist – his debut effort Bright’s Passage came out in 2011 – but has returned to music with the recent release of his seventh album, The Beast In Its Tracks.
Why: Written in the wake of the dissolution of his marriage, Beast brings an extra personal dimension to his signature narrative songwriting. He would like to sing those songs for you.
When: Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Where: The Danforth Music Hall in Toronto
Who else: Alex Church will perform as a solo Sea Wolf to open up.
How: Tickets for the show are $29.50 in advance but courtesy of Indoor Recess, I’ve got two prize packs consisting of a pair of passes and a copy of The Beast In Its Tracks on vinyl to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want the Josh Ritter” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body, and have that to me by midnight, April 14.
What else: Exclaim has an interview with Ritter and you can download a live album at Noisetrade for free (or a donation).

Stream: Josh Ritter / The Beast In Its Tracks

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Losing You

Solange at The Danforth Music Hall in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSolange may have initially garnered attention thanks to her surname, but her recent ascension to the forefront of what’s being regarded as a new wave of R&B artists has been almost entirely on the back of her own talent; well, hers and Dev Hynes’. The Lightspeed Champion/Blood Orange producer-songwriter was my gateway drug to the work of Ms. Knowles; obviously, I knew who she was, but I suspect like more than few filling the Danforth Music Hall on Friday night for Solange’s Toronto debut, it wasn’t until her adoption by the indie nation with her EP True that I actually paid attention. Which is kind of funny, because as this show was proof of, she’s actually kind of impossible to ignore.

A full three hours after doors opened, she strode onstage in a dazzling dress and magnificent afro “Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work”, a sentiment clearly not directed at her band. The six-piece outfit, including two backup singers, were super-tight and struck the right balance between organic feel and synthetic texture to recreate True‘s smooth, throwback feel. It’s a vibe that fits Solange’s vocals and persona perfectly – a modest yet wholly confident blend of gorgeous and glamorous that was only as showy as it needed to be to impress. The whole show was slickly presented and immaculately choreographed without projecting any artificialness. In return, the audience responded with a degree of adoration that one would have expected for her big sister, conveyed through huge cheers and lots of happily un-self-conscious dancing. Good times were being had.

Some complaints about the sound were justified – while Solange’s vocals largely managed to rise above the mix, bass-heavy mix, Hynes’ suit was frustratingly often louder than his guitar – but the move from the much-smaller Hoxton to the Danforth was probably a good one, offering a classier setting and allowing more revelers while still feeling intimate. By the time the main set neared it’s conclusion and Solange’s invitation to “dance like there’s no tomorrow” for “Losing You” was more than enthusiastically accepted, it felt like you were in the closing prom scene of a high school rom-com, meant in the very best possible way. The band didn’t even bother leaving the stage before the encore, but Knowles still pulled off a bit of a surprise by inviting local internet dancing sensation Phil Villeneuve onstage to join her for “Sandcastle Disco”, having been brought to her attention for his interpretation of “Losing You” at the Bay-Bloor intersection. A wonderful, uniquely Toronto touch to a wrap a joyous show that ran just under an hour, but left nothing feeling wanting. It confirmed Solange as a talent that no matter who her family is, exists in no one’s shadow but radiates her own light.

Exclaim, The Grid, The National Post, BlogTO, and NOW also have reviews of the show; Entertainment Weekly grabbed an interview with Knowles.

And any Solange fans who haven’t yet heard Coastal Grooves by Blood Orange – aka Dev Hynes – you really gotta. It’s not just in your wheelhouse, it IS your wheelhouse.

Photos: Solange @ The Danforth Music Hall – February 22, 2013″
Video: Solange – “Losing You”
Video: Solange – “T.O.N.Y.”
Video: Solange – “Sandcastle Disco”
Video: Solange – “I Decided”
Video: Solange – “Feelin’ You”

DIY talks to Caitlin Rose, whose new album The Stand-In arrives next week. She plays The Garrison April 5.

With its March 5 release date almost upon us, Josh Ritter has made his new album The Beast In Its Tracks available to stream at NPR. He brings it to The Danforth Opera House on April 16.

Stream: Josh Ritter / The Beast In Its Tracks

Youth Lagoon’s new record Wondrous Bughouse is also out next week and streaming over at NPR. Expect to hear lots of it when they play The Great Hall on May 13.

Stream: Youth Lagoon / Wondrous Bughouse

Magnet sits down with Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, who brings their latest We The Common to Lee’s Palace on March 27. A new track from the album is now available to download.

MP3: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “We Don’t Call”

Rolling Stone talks to Charles Bradley about his second album, Victim Of Love. It’s out April 2 and he brings it to The Phoenix on May 11.

You can now stream a new Okkervil River song, taken from Reasons To Believe, the new tribute album to Tim Hardin, out today. Hardin and Okkervil have a long-standing connection, of course, the former’s “Black Sheep Boy” providing the inspiration for Okkervil’s best album cycle so far.

Stream: Okkervil River – “It’ll Never Happen Again”

Billboard talks to John Vanderslice about turning to Kickstarter to fund his next record, Dagger Beach. It should be out this Summer.

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Keep Believing

Bob Mould leaves the Blue, brings the Silver

Photo By Peter EllenbyPeter EllenbyWhen Bob Mould looks back on his 2012, he should be able to reflect on a very busy and productive year. First, he released his memoirs See A Little Light – a very direct and enlightening, if somewhat dryly written, accounting of his professional and personal life over the past half-century, back in June. Shortly thereafter came the release of the complete output of his second most-important power trio in Sugar, which he’d also marked by playing the entirety of the seminal Copper Blue on tour throughout the year. And oh yeah, on top of all that, he released his first album of new material since 2009’s Life & Times in The Silver Age, rightly heralded as his strongest – and most all-out rocking – work in some time.

One thing Mould didn’t get time to do this year, though, was come north of the border to play some shows. It would have been great to have one of the Copper Blue shows up here, but it didn’t happen – which makes me feel extra-fortunate that I was able to catch on at SXSW, not that that does the rest of his Toronto fanbase much good. But while it seems improbably that 2013 will be as busy for Bob as 2012, he’s added a few more dates including his first local show since Fall 2009, on March 1 at The Horseshoe. Yes he could easily play a bigger room – which is why this will be extra-great. It won’t be a Copper Blue recital – he officially retired that in November – but one of the perks of having thirty years worth of material to draw from is that he can assemble a near-infinite number of different set lists and they’ll all be fantastic. Bob will bring the tunes, you bring the earplugs. Tickets for the show are $24.50, on sale tomorrow.

Another thing Mould has been doing this year? Turning to Kickstarter to fund a release of the See A Little Light: A Celebration of the Music and Legacy of Bob Mould concert film recorded in Los Angeles last November, wherein a collection of musicians including Dave Grohl, Britt Daniel, Craig Finn, and Britt Daniel came together to perform works from Mould’s entire career. Sound like something you’d want to see? Me too – so chip in if you can.

And finally – last thing – Mould is doing a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” on Monday, December 17, starting at 1PM. So if there’s something you’ve been wanting to ask him – that’s your chance.

Video: Bob Mould – “The Descent”

Also hellaciously busy this year were Guided By Voices, with the reunited indie rock icons releasing fully three new albums in barely 11 months. So what do you do for an encore? As Tobin Sprout tells Ghettoblaster, one more album and an EP in January for sure, and maybe another album after that.

The Afghan Whigs, who set stages on fire (figuratively) with their reunion tour through much of this year, play a video session for NPR.

It would be reasonable to assume that Alan Sparhawk would be focusing on Low next year, what with a new album in The Invisible Way coming out March 19, but no – his Retribution Gospel Choir will release a two-track, Nels Cline-starring third album entitled 3 on January 22, with some touring scheduled for the early part of the year. A warm-up for Low, I guess. Details on the release over here. And back to Low, there’s a mini-documentary film at BYUtv about the band’s 20-year history together.

NYCTaper has recordings of the first two nights of Yo La Tengo’s Hannukah shows at Maxwell’s this week. New album Fade is out January 15 and they’re at The Phoenix on February 9.

Funny Or Die has got a pretty damn funny video short featuring Cat Power singing to a class of second-graders while being Cat Power.

Josh Ritter has announced the return of Josh Ritter in both recorded and live formats. To the former, his new record The Beast In In Tracks will be out March 5 – stream a new song below – and to the latter, he’s announced a Spring tour that brings him to the Danforth Music Hall on April 16.

Stream: Josh Ritter – “Joy To You Baby”

Widowspeak have premiered a stream of another new song from Almanac over at Paste. The album is out January 22.

Stream: Widowspeak – “The Dark Age”

Also doing the preview stream thing is Ra Ra Riot; Entertainment Weekly brings you the second taste of Beta Love, out January 22. They’re at Lee’s Palace on March 6 and there’s an interview with the band at The Shreveport Times.

Stream: Ra Ra Riot – “When I Dream”

Spinner chats with Christopher Owens about his solo debut Lysandre. It’s out January 15 and he plays The Mod Club on January 18.

PopMatters interviews Savoir Adore.

Chairlift are giving away an EP’s worth of demos for Something via Soundcloud.

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Sounds Like Hallelujah

The Head & The Heart at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe technology woes that made the end of last week so unexpectedly… interesting have largely been resolved – hello from my new laptop – but Thursday night was most definitely an evening that I was perfectly fine with not having anything to do with anything electronic. In other words, an ideal time for The Head & The Heart.

The acoustically-inclined Seattle six-piece’s self-titled debut was originally self-released last year but being rootsy, harmonious and from the Pacific northwest it was inevitable that Sub Pop would come a-calling. And so it was that between the digital re-release of the record back in January and its physical re-release on April 16, the band were on a transcontinental tour, both as support for the likes of Dr. Dog and The Walkmen and as headliners, as they were this evening. So even though the full promotional push for the record was probably yet to come, word had clearly already gotten out to some degree and a decently-sized crowd as in place to welcome them to Toronto for the first time.

It’d be easy and not entirely inaccurate to assume from the beards and toques that The Head & The Heart would be easily comparable to their geographic and label brethren in Fleet Foxes or Band Of Horses – certainly they’d be listed as RIYLs – but to my ears the best reference point comes a few thousand miles southeast and a decade in the past – specifically, Pneumonia-era Whiskeytown. Though they build their sound on Kenny Hensley’s piano rather than with guitars, there’s more than a bit of Ryan Adams twang in frontman Joseph Russel’s voice and Charity Rose Thielen’s contributions on vocals and violin are reminiscent of Caitlin Cary and her fiddle. And more than that, their songs share the sort of rich and finely-arranged melodicism that Whiskeytown achieved on their swan song once the punk-rock raggedness was fully contained.

But that’s just a reference point, and doesn’t account for the fact that rather than evoke the sort of weariness that Whiskeytown did – even when smoothed out – The Head & The Heart come from a much more wide-eyed and optimistic place, and the enthusiasm that goes along with that was fully on display in performance. You wouldn’t think that they were dancing in the studio while recording the record but after seeing them play, you can’t imagine that they weren’t – rarely were they stationary while playing, instead stepping and sliding around the stage, moved by the music. With Josiah Johnson and Russel alternating lead vocals – the former’s croon contrasting nicely with the latter’s rasp – or together with Thielen filling out the three-part harmony, often delivered with a gospel-ish fervor. Though the record only clocks in at around 35 minutes, they managed to fill out an impressive and energized hour-long set with a couple new songs and humble, charming and appreciative banter. A superb local debut from an act that we will be hearing much more of in the future.

Creative Loafing and Seattle’s City Arts have interviews with the band.

Photos: The Head & The Heart @ The Horseshoe – February 24, 2011
MP3: The Head & The Heart – “Down In The Valley”

Filter pits tourmates Josh Ritter and Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison in an interview throw-down.

Spinner talks to Lissie.

Paste catches up with Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, who’re at the Sound Academy on March 13.

Incendiary interviews Wye Oak, whose new record Civilian is out on March 8 and available to stream at NPR right now. They play The El Mocambo on April 9.

Stream: Wye Oak / Civilian

Also streaming at NPR is The Mountain Goats’ latest All Eternals Deck, even though it’s not out for over a month – it has a street date of March 29. They’ll be at The Opera House on April 3.

Stream: The Mountain Goats / All Eternals Deck

Portugal. The Man, whose latest American Ghetto came out last year, have put together a Spring tour that stops in at Lee’s Palace on May 27.

MP3: Portugal. The Man – “People Say”

Spinner chats with J Mascis, whose new solo record Several Shades Of Why is out on March 15 and who has a couple of performances on tap in Toronto for March 11 – an in-store at Sonic Boom at 5PM and a full and proper show at The Great Hall later that evening.

Drive-By Truckers work the media as Patterson Hood of talks to Jambands, Mike Cooley chats with The Lincoln Journal-Star and Shona Tucker with The Las Vegas Review Journal, all for their latest album Go-Go Boots.

Tiny Mix Tapes talks to some of the performers taking part in the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour that rolls into Lee’s Palace on March 18.

The Wall Street Journal profiles DeVotchKa, who release their new record 100 Lovers tomorrow. They play The Mod Club on March 30.

R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills talks to Billboard about why the band won’t be touring behind their new record Collapse Into Now after it’s released on March 8. A stream of the record will be posted at NPR tomorrow at 2PM EST.

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Love More

Review of Sharon Van Etten’s Epic

Photo By Allison KayeAllison KayeIt’s hard to reconcile Sharon Van Etten with the exquisitely sad character who crafted her gorgeous debut album Because I Was In Love. On stage and in person, she’s a friendly and outgoing young woman who seems worlds removed from the bruised soul who inhabits her songs, but there’s no questioning the honesty behind the record – built around Van Etten’s skeletal guitarwork, raw lyrics and stunningly emotive voice, it was impossible to imagine that something that came across so intimately and personal could have any guile around it.

It was also a record that as great as it was, for the artist’s sake, you hoped she wouldn’t be able to create a similarly inspired follow-up; navigating the emotional terrain that informed the debut wasn’t the sort of thing you’d wish on anyone twice, and yet there was no denying the want or need to hear more from her, of her voice. Where do you go from there? To Epic. Though clocking in at just seven tracks and barely 32 minutes, it doesn’t quantitatively measure up to its name, the emotional breadth of the music contained therein actually makes the title something of an understatement. Whereas Love‘s voice and primarily acoustic guitar aesthetic suited the material perfectly, Epic takes the necessary step of filling out the arrangements with a full band. It’s a sound that we got a taste of when she last played Toronto in April and tourmates Megafaun backed her up for one song and the greatness of the configuration is borne out by the richer sounds of Epic, and allows her to more fully delve into particular styles, like the rock drive of “Peace Sign” and steel-enhanced country of “Save Yourself”.

But more important than the sonic growth on Epic is the lyrical and emotional growth; whereas Love focused on the titular subject and its aftermath, the follow-up gets up, dusts itself off and fights back. There is a distinct snarl about Epic that’s surprising but also quite welcome, fitting nicely with the more dynamic arrangements and reinforcing the sense of strength that permeates the album without losing any of Van Etten’s trademark vulnerability. Though they only number seven, each song on Epic has a distinct vibe that sets it apart from its peers and together, they make for a complete musical and emotional journey that ends, fittingly, on the gorgeous and hopeful “Love More”; a song which, like the rest of the album, makes any working heart simultaneously break and soar.

Rollo & Grady and Kevchino interview Sharon, who will be opening up for Junip on their Fall tour including the November 5 show at Lee’s Palace in Toronto.

MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Love More”
MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Don’t Do It”
MySpace: Sharon Van Etten

Two weeks before it’s due to be released on October 12, Sufjan Stevens’ new album The Age Of Adz is up to stream at NPR. Stevens and company play Massey Hall on October 13.

Stream: Sufjan Stevens / The Age Of Adz

DCist talks to Amy Klein and The Washington Post to Patrick Stickles, both of Titus Andronicus.

Drowned In Sound meets Josh Ritter, who’ll be at the Phoenix on October 26.

The Flaming Lips have released another nudity-replete, NSFW video from Embryonic. Know what would be really groundbreaking from these guys? A clip where everyone keeps their clothes on. Mind. Blown.

Video: The Flaming Lips – “See The Leaves”

Spin checks in with Chris Walla on how the new Death Cab For Cutie album is coming. Don’t expect anything before 2011, obviously.

Incendiary talks to Warpaint, who will be at Massey Hall opening up for The xx on Wednesday night and will release their debut album The Fool on October 26.

NYC Taper was on-hand for at least two of Pavement’s many New York City shows this week – check out recordings from two of the Central Park shows and NPR’s interview with Matthew of Fluxblog about attending all five of the band’s recent New York shows. Update: All five shows are up on NYC Taper’s site.

The Courier-Journal talks inspiration and influence with The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn, who has just written an anthem for the Minnesota Twins – details and a stream at Spin.

eMusic chats with Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai.

Southern Souls have posted a video session with The Dø, recorded on their recent visit to Toronto.

Drowned In Sound spends some time with the non-Nick Cave members of Grinderman. They are at the Phoenix on November 11. With Cave. Don’t Worry.