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Posts Tagged ‘Justin Townes Earle’

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

CONTEST – Toronto Urban Roots Fest @ Garrison Common – July 4-7, 2013

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhat: Toronto Urban Roots Fest, the inaugural edition of a new multi-day festival that’s aiming to do what Bluesfest does for Ottawa and the Jazz Festival does for Montreal – namely bring in a lot of bands that have little to nothing to do with the festival’s titular genre but make great music. And let’s not get pedantic about the “urban” part, hey?
Who: Arkells, The Barr Brothers, Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Neko Case, The Cat Empire, Dawes, Justin Townes Earle, Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys, The Felice Brothers, Fitz & The Tantrums, Flogging Molly, Hannah Georgas, The Hold Steady, Larry and his Flask, The Lowest Of The Low, Matt Mays, JD McPherson, The Joel Plaskett Emergency, Xavier Rudd, The Sadies, She & Him, Skydiggers, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Whitehorse, The Wooden Sky, Yo La Tengo
When: July 4 to 7, 2013
Where: Garrison Common at Fort York, Toronto
How: Single-day tickets for the show range from $50 to $60 in advance, but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got one pairs of passes for each day of the festival to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to TURF” in the subject line and your full name in the body along with which days, in order of preference, you’d like to attend – consult the schedule for who’s playing when. Contest closes at midnight, July 2, 2013.

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Think You Can Wait

The National have a new album and are headlining NXNE. Your argument is invalid.

Photo By Deirdre O'CallaghanDeirdre O’CallaghanSometimes the best kinds of surprises are the ones you already knew were coming. For example – everyone knew The National was making a new record. High Violet came out way back in Spring 2010, touring behind it wrapped in late 2011, and they’ve since been posting updates from the studio via Instagram. Everyone knows they’ve not been idle, and yet it was hard not to feel a shiver when the official press release arrived in the inbox, announcing the album was done and would be out in May. No other details about the release like title or precise release date, but for now it was enough. Well, almost – it also revealed some Spring/Summer tour dates including the fact that The National would be the Yonge-Dundas Square headliner at NXNE.

I had wondered why NXNE was making their first official festival lineup announcement so early – last year’s Flaming Lips reveal didn’t come until mid-April – but I guess when one of your biggest act is going to let the cat out of the bag anyways, why not get on board? And so you can officially circle Friday, June 14, on your calendar as that evening The National will perform a free show for anyone and everyone who cares to listen at Yonge-Dundas Square. It won’t be the multi-sensory spectacle as The Lips offered last year, but it will be gorgeous, showered, and blue-blazered.

A whole batch of acts was announced alongside The National with some of the other high-profile acts coming to town including: Tuscon desert-rock stalwarts Calexico at The Mod Club on June 12, which explains why they’ve taken so long to come to town behind last year’s Algiers; Copenhagen post-punks Iceage at locations to be determined on June 15 and 16, which is why their current tour behind You’re Nothing has a curious Toronto-shaped gap in it despite there being time and space to fit it; one of the two Black Flag reunions – FLAG, featuring Keith Morris and Chuck Dukowski – are at The Opera House on June 14; ascendant Californian garage-rocker Mikal Cronin, whose second album MCII is out May 7, assumes the Silver Dollar residency from June 13 to 15; and the touring bill of Milk Music and Merchandise will play showcases perhaps together, perhaps not.

It’s interesting that with a couple exceptions, most of what was announced yesterday tends to the loud, punk side of things. Perhaps the festival just wants to make an impactful first impression? Certainly did for me, and they’ve got almost four more months to roll out some more rangy acts. Can’t wait.

MP3: The National – “Think You Can Wait”
MP3: Calexico – “Para”
MP3: Iceage – “Coalition”
MP3: Milk Music – “I’ve Got A Wild Feeling”
Stream: Mikal Cronin – “Shout It Out”

Austra took to Twitter to announce themselves as a rather late add to Canadian Musicfest; they’ll be playing The Danforth Music Hall on the evening of March 23. Austinist has an interview with frontwoman Katie Stelmanis.

MP3: Austra – “Lose It”

Stepping out of festival-y stuff for a moment, I’m excited that Stornoway are at The Horseshoe on May 9 in support of their second album Tales From Terra Firma, out March 19. Tickets for that are $15 in advance.

Video: Stornoway – “Knock Me On The Head”

Keeping with the festival additions theme, Stars have been added to the Arts & Crafts past-and-present Field Trip lineup playing Garrison Commons at Fort York on June 8. Right now they’re a little further abroad, hence interviews at AsiaOne and The Sydney Morning Herald

MP3: Stars – “The Theory Of Relativity”

The Toronto Urban Roots Fest continues to make good on their promise to reveal a few more acts every week; this week’s adds to the four-day fest at Garrison Commons from July 4 to 7 include The Hold Steady, Justin Townes Earle, Frank Turner, The Lowest Of The Low, and The Skydiggers. Info on which specific date each act is playing and ticket on-sales are still a few weeks out, but if the festival’s intent is to keep building excitement each week until it lets details out… I think it’s working.

MP3: The Hold Steady – “Stuck Between Stations”
MP3: Justin Townes Earle – “Harlem River Blues”
MP3: Frank Turner – “The Roads”
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “Bleed A Little While Tonight”
MP3: The Skydiggers – “Alice Graham” (live)

And not a festival, but still sort-of keeping in theme as a new addition to an existing event and happening on an outdoor stage… more than a month out from their Sound Academy show, and Alt-J have already announced a return engagement on September 11 at Echo Beach, tickets $34.50 general admission and $50 VIP.

MP3: Alt-J – “Matilda”

And in non-concert announcement business… Low have made another track from The Invisible Way available to download. They play The Great Hall on March 16 and the album is out March 19.

MP3: Low – “So Blue”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs have made the first single from Mosquito available to stream, largely putting to rest fears that the album art would accurately reflect the contents. It’s out April 16.

Stream: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege”

Rolling Stone has a stream of another song from the new Iron & Wine album Ghost on Ghost, out April 16.

Stream: Iron & Wine – “Grace For Saints And Ramblers”

Clash talks to Jim James, paying a visit to The Phoenix on April 24.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Beach House.

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Hair

Ty Segall and White Fence to get Hair-y

Photo By Ruth SwansonRuth SwansonSeeing San Francisco’s Ty Segall at Halifax Pop Explosion 2010 was one of the most unexpectedly rowdy/violent shows I’ve ever been in the middle of, which was a bit surprising considering that as rough and garage-y as his stuff is, it’s not all that heavy. Certainly not the obvious soundtrack for the bedlam that ensued that evening. Maybe it was just Halifax. Anyways, despite enjoying his music well enough, I’ve made a point of avoiding his shows as the odds of me getting kicked in the head seem to increase exponentially when we’re in the same room.

So you won’t be finding me at The Horseshoe on May 12, as that’s the day that Segall and Tim Presley, who plays in Los Angeles’s Darker My Love but also operates solo as the mellow if trippy ’60s psych-rock act White Fence, roll into town. The show will be in support of their forthcoming California garage rock summit LP Hair, as well as their respective latest releases. Segall put out Goodbye Bread last Summer, White Fence will release the two-volume Family Perfume set in April and Hair is due out in late April.

Spin talks to Segall about the collaborative record. Tickets for the show – which also feature Austin’s Strange Boys on the bill – are $16.50 in advance, and do not cover first aid costs for if you get kicked in the head. Update: Full tour dates now up at Pitchfork.

MP3: Ty Segall – “You Make The Sun Fry”
MP3: White Fence – “It Will Never Be”
MP3: The Strange Boys – “Me And You”

And if the garage rock isn’t your speed, that same evening will find Justin Townes Earle at The Opera House to play songs from his new record Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now, out March 27. It’s part of a massive world tour and will cost you $18.50 to get in.

MP3: Justin Townes Earle – “Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now”

Good news! Portland’s Blouse, who were featured in the first post of this year, are coming to town on May 5 as support for Bear In Heaven at The Garrison. Bad news! It’s the same night as Spiritualized at The Phoenix. I will be making catching them at SXSW a priority, but if you’re free that evening I’d highly recommend this bill.

MP3: Blouse – “Into Black”

And speaking of Bear In Heaven, they released a regular-speed preview of their new record I Love You, It’s Cool a few weeks ago. It’s out April 3.

MP3: Bear In Heaven – “The Reflection Of You”

NPR has premiered the first video from The Magnetic Fields’ forthcoming long-player Love At The Bottom Of The Sea, due out March 6. They play The Sound Academy on March 30.

Video: The Magnetic Fields – “Andrew In Drag”

The first taste of M. Ward’s new one A Wasteland Companion comes by way of a video. The record is out April 10.

Video: M. Ward – “The First Time I Ran Away”

NOW, The Boston Globe, Metro, The Montreal Mirror and Washington Examiner interview The Kills, in town at The Kool Haus on February 7. And if you want a preview of it, NPR will have a stream of last night’s show in Washington DC up in the next few hours.

Spin has a video of Death Cab For Cutie playing “You Are A Tourist” on PBS’ Live from the Artists Den, the full episode of which is set to air February 17. Death Cab are at Massey Hall on April 19.

NPR welcomes Centro-Matic over for a World Cafe session. Pegasus News talks to Will Johnson about the Woody Guthrie tribute project with Anders Parker, Jay Farrar and Jim James called New Multitudes which will release an album of the same name on February 28.

NPR is streaming a KCRW session with Ryan Adams.

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

When No One's Watching

Craig Finn lets Full Eyes stream

Photo By Jeremy BaldersonJeremy BaldersonAt first, it’s hard to imagine what need there is for a Craig Finn solo album. After all, he gets to run roughshod over The Hold Steady records with as many words as he can manage to pair with their classic rock attack – has he really got a backlog of ideas that don’t fit that broad and welcoming template? As Clear Heart, Full Eyes, out next Tuesday but now available to stream in whole at NPR demonstrates, yeah he does.

It’s not as though any of these songs couldn’t have easily been made into Hold Steady numbers; Finn’s character-driven songwriting style is still immediately recognizable. But the mood is more thoughtful and the musical accompaniments chosen are simpler and slower – though not acoustic and strummy, it should be made clear – and allow Finn to occupy enough of a different timbre and cadence to clearly distinguish him from the manic character who fronts The Hold Steady. It’s the sort of record that fans will enjoy for its own merits but also make them appreciate the next Hold Steady record even more.

Clash gets into the literary inspiration that goes into his work while Pitchfork and Hitfix talk to him about going solo and what’s next for The Hold Steady.

MP3: Craig Finn – “Honolulu Blues”
Stream: Craig Finn / Clear Heart Full Eyes

School Of Seven Bells have revealed details of a Spring tour in support of Ghostory, out February 28. The Toronto date is May 2 at The Hoxton.

MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “Lafaye”
MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “The Night”

Hospitality were just here last week but they’ve already scheduled a return date for February 29 when they’ll be supporting Tennis at The Horseshoe. Their self-titled debut is out January 31.

MP3: Hospitality – “Friends Of Friends”

Beirut have announced a July 19 date at The Sound Academy, part of a Canadian tour in support of last year’s The Rip Tide. Tickets are $35 general admission, $50 VIP.

Video: Beirut – “Santa Fe”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Real Estate, who play a sold-out show at Lee’s Palace this Friday. The Boston Globe and Montreal Mirror have interviews.

Nada Surf has made their new record The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy available to stream ahead of its release next week over at NPR. They play the Opera House on April 4.

MP3: Nada Surf – “When I Was Young”
Stream: Nada Surf / The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy

Stuff like iTunes sessions don’t typically get my attention, but one coming out on January 24 does – because a) it’s by Wilco and b) it’s all of eight songs long, picked from all throughout their existence and featuring a cover of “Cruel To Be Kind” with Nick Lowe. So yeah, maybe I’ll buy that. Details on the release at Consequence Of Sound, and there’s interviews with Jeff Tweedy at The Denver Post and Glenn Kotche at The Los Angeles Times.

The Stool Pigeon talks to Chairlift about their new record Something, out January 24 and followed by a show at The Horseshoe on March 28.

Stereogum checks in with Sharon Van Etten about the state of her new album Tramp, out February 7. She plays Lee’s Palace on February 21.

Opening up that show are Shearwater, who’ve offered up another track from their new one Animal Joy. It’s out February 14.

MP3: Shearwater – “You As You Were”

The first official preview of Sleigh Bells’ forthcoming Reign Of Terror is now available to hear. It’s out February 21 and they play The Phoenix February 18.

Stream: Sleigh Bells – “Comeback Kid”

Another tune from the new Lambchop record Mr. M is available to download ahead of its February 21 release date.

MP3: Lambchop – “Gone Tomorrow”

The Boston Herald, Boston Phoenix, and Metro talk to Joe Pernice about the Scud Mountain Boys reunion tour, which kicked off this week in Boston and hits Lee’s Palace on February 25.

The Decemberists will be entering their hiatus in grand fashion, with the released of their first live album, the double-disc We All Raise Our Voices To The Air (Live Songs 04.11-08.11). It will be out on March 13; Rolling Stone has specifics.

Rolling Stone has an MP3 from Threads, the new record for Minneapolis’ Now, Now. It’s out March 16 and they may or may not be opening for The Naked & Famous at The Sound Academy on April 5 – I’ve seen both that they are and aren’t.

MP3: Now, Now – “School Friends”

Rolling Stone has got an MP3 from the new Justin Townes Earle album Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now available to download. The record is out March 27.

MP3: Justin Townes Earle – “Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now”

DIY profiles Howler, who are at The Drake Underground on April 5. They’ve also released a live session video recorded at the Rough Trade store in London.

Video: Howler – “Back Of Your Neck” (live at Rough Trade)

Wayne Coyne talks to Rolling Stone about a new The Flaming Lips record that will be made up of collaborations with other artists such as Bon Iver (who, let’s be honest, would probably agree to collaborate with anyone who asked) and which may be out as soon as April.

Lower Dens have announced a new record – look for Nootropics on May 1 – and also released the first MP3 from it, which is kind of great.

MP3: Lower Dens – “Brains”

DIY has a feature piece on Guided By Voices, who aim to release their second reunion album Class Clown Spots A UFO in or around May.

Ryan Adams has released a new video from Ashes & Fire.

Video: Ryan Adams – “Chains Of Love”

There’s also a new video from Death Cab For Cutie’s Codes & Keys.

Video: Death Cab For Cutie – “Underneath The Sycamore”

aux.tv talks to Annie Clark of St. Vincent.

Dean Wareham gives an interview to Music Times Two and offers some thoughts on a Luna reunion (not likely, but not impossible).

Filter has a two-part feature piece on Tom Waits.

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

Ghost

Jeff Mangum and Andrew, Scott & Laura at Trinity-St. Paul’s in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIf we’re being completely honest, there’s a not-insubstantial part of me that wishes that this past weekend’s shows by Neutral Milk Hotel bandleader Jeff Mangum at Trinity-St. Paul’s had never happened. There was just something poetic about the disappearing act he pulled following In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, as though the album-closing sounds of the guitar being set down, chair being pushed back and footsteps into the distance was of him leaving this plane and taking his rightful place in some cosmic musical pantheon, having created one of the more perfect records of recent memory.

Of course, I suspect it’s over-romanticized shit like that that’s exactly why Mangum has finally emerged from seclusion. In the thirteen years since he disbanded Neutral Milk Hotel, his story has taken on mythic proportions as a new generation of the indie-inclined discover his masterpiece but can find no trace of its auteur – just field recordings of Bulgarian folk music, sound collages, very occasional guest appearances on the records of his Elephant 6 compatriots and rumours. So many rumours. Even if Mangum wanted to make a return to recording, releasing and performing music, surely the weight of expectation that would surround whatever came next would be unbearable.

So may as well just get it over with. Mangum sightings haven’t been unheard of in recent years, but a surprise Brooklyn loft show last December had the scent of something more than just a one-off; it felt more like carefully laying the groundwork for something bigger and within months, a relatively full-scale comeback was in place – both playing and curating some ATP Festival shows in the UK and US and headlining a number of east coast dates from the late Summer through the Fall. When the Toronto shows were announced, I theorized that this was Mangum’s effort to deconstruct the mythology around himself, to remind people that he was just a guy with a guitar and some songs and maybe, just maybe, not all that big a deal.

If that was the intent, mind you, maybe booking two nights in a church wasn’t the best way to make the point. For the Friday night show, the lineups began just after noon and by the time doors opened, stretched around more than a couple city blocks. And after all were admitted and dutifully took their places in the pews, it would still be an extended wait in the sweltering chapel before the show got underway. For support, Mangum brought along some old friends performing as Scott, Andrew & Laura – as in Scott Spillane of The Gerbils and Andrew Reiger and Laura Carter of Elf Power; certainly not household names but well-appreciated by those who knew them. Their set saw them trading off instruments and playing selections from their respective repertoires, striking a typically Elephant 6 balance of musical proficiency and primitivism but it was impossible to not be impressed by their final song, a Gerbils composition which had Spillane bellowing mournfully while Carter played trumpet unamplified into the church ceiling.

Just how reclusive has Jeff Mangum been? So much so that between sets, when a lanky figure in a light checked shirt and long brown hair tucked under a pageboy cap strode out on stage to check the four guitars set up around a chair, hardly anyone noticed that this was the man that they’d been waiting for months to years to forever in breathless anticipation to see live. They noticed when he came out the second time though – the dimmed lights must have helped – and he was welcomed back to Toronto, to the stage, with huge applause. And with the first strummed chords of “Oh Comely”, it began.

Jeff Mangum is often held up as the archetype for nasally-voiced indie-folk singers, but my first impression of hearing him in person was just how refined and powerful that voice was; Neutral Milk may have favoured a lo-fi, ramshackle aesthetic for their recordings but it certainly wasn’t to cover up the vocals. Of course, with this being a Mangum solo show and not a Neutral Milk reunion, that aesthetic was shelved anyways as the only flourishes on the voice and acoustic guitar configuration came courtesy of Spillane and Carter, who stepped up to add some crucial horn and clarinet parts to songs like “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” and “Ghost”. But for the most part, it was just Mangum and the rapt silence of his audience – a silence that burst into huge ovations when each and every song ended, as though they’d just witnessed the greatest thing ever and really, who’s to say they hadn’t?

Between songs, Mangum certainly didn’t come off like a recluse or eccentric, coming off chatty and friendly; at one point he asked, “Are you guys happy?” to an overwhelmingly positive response before having that question returned to him (he said he was). Also in the far-from-precious department, his requests – nay, demands – that the house sing along with him – further proof that he didn’t want our reverence, he wanted us to celebrate with him. There may not have been as much sincerity behind a full house singing “I love you Jesus Christ” as there would be when Trinity was actually serving as a conventional house of worship, but there was no denying that there was some genuine transfiguration occurring – or more accurately, a reverse-transfiguration with a musical demigod happily becoming just a man.

Though he apparently confirmed on Saturday night that he had been writing, no new songs were introduced. The hour-long set including one-song “Engine” encore encompassed selections from both Neutral Milk albums – though curiously no “Two-Headed Boy, Part One” on either night – and a cover of Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You In The End” wrought so lovely that I almost believed it could be true. But considering I’d just see Jeff Mangum perform live, I think one wish fulfilled on the evening was plenty.

NOW, Spin and The National Post was also on hand Friday while The Grid, The Globe & Mail and Exclaim have writeups of the very-similar Saturday night show; Southern Souls has also some audio from Saturday. And oh, there was no photography permitted at the show hence my sketch of the artist gracing the top of this post; it’s been a long time since I’ve drawn, and in that time I clearly forgot that a) I need light to draw, b) an eraser can be a handy tool and c) I was never very good at drawing. But anyways.

MP3: Neutral Milk Hotel – “Holland 1945”

Paste is streaming the Stephin Merritt rarities collection Obscurities a week before its August 23 release. This release marks the return of Merritt to Merge Records and the next Magnetic Fields record will be out on the same label next year.

MP3: Stephin Merritt – “Forever And A Day”
Stream: Stephin Merritt / Obscurities

DIY has a feature interview with Stephen Malkmus on the occasion of the release of Mirror Traffic next week. The album is up to stream in its entirety over at NPR; Malkmus and The Jicks play The Phoenix on September 23.

MP3: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Tigers”
MP3: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Senator”
Stream: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks / Mirror Traffic

Tuscaloosa News and Birmingham Box talk to Justin Townes Earle, in town at The Horseshoe on August 26.

KDHX talks to Laruen Larson of Ume; their new record Phantoms is out August 30.

Spin has posted online their cover story on St. Vincent for next month’s “Style Issue” – and if you think that means lots of snazzy pictures of Annie Clark to go with the interview, you’d be right. Her new record Strange Mercy arrives September 13.

Wilco have released a video teaser for the song “Almost” off their new album The Whole Love, which shows if nothing else that this album proves they’ve found the “Beautifully ugly” setting on Nels Cline. The album is out September 27 and they play Massey Hall on September 16 and 17.

Rolling Stone talks to Matthew Sweet about his new album Modern Art, due out September 27.

MP3: Matthew Sweet – “She Walks The Night”

Making good on his promise in July to return when the new record was out, Eric Bachmann will bring Crooked Fingers back to town for a show at the Drake Underground on November 8 in support of Breaks In The Armor, out October 11. Merge has the full tour itinerary, for which Strand Of Oaks will be supporting.

MP3: Crooked Fingers – “Phony Revolutions”
MP3: Strand Of Oaks – “Bonfire”

Portland’s Blind Pilot will follow up the September 13 release of We Are The Tide with a tour that brings them to Lee’s Palace on November 10, tickets $15.50 in advance.

MP3: Blind Pilot – “Keep You Right”

Warpaint dish to NME about their plans for album number two.

NPR has got a World Cafe session with TV On The Radio.