Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘Kate Jackson Group’

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Heart Is A Beating Drum

The Kills, JEFF The Brotherhood and Hunters at The Kool Haus in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt hasn’t escaped my notice that my live show schedule so far in 2012 has been pretty lean, and what there has been has been more on the sedate side. Which is fine – I dig the low key stuff and getting home well before midnight – but sometimes you get a fever for something bigger, louder and more rawk… and on those occasions, such as Tuesday night, the perfect prescription is The Kills.

The Amer-English duo were on the road for a second North American jaunt in support of last year’s Blood Pressures, but also to mark their tenth anniversary as a live act; the pair first took to the stage a decade prior to this show less a week. I can’t comment on how they were as performers way back when – the only time I’d seen them live was in 2008 in support of Midnight Boom – but considering the difference between that show and this one, I can only imagine that they’ve come a long, long way since that first gig.

I’m sure it was a longevity that first openers on the night, Brookyln’s Hunters, were aspiring to – goodness knows they’d clearly been taking other notes from the headliners, particularly in making good use of co-ed on-stage chemistry to put on an entertaining show. Derek Watson and Isabel Almeida were either trading off vocals and physically playing off each other over tunes that were garage-punk with a hint of bubblegum, and more adolescently hormonal than sophisticatedly seedy. Their stage presence more than compensated for some musical formulaicness and it was evident that their short set was enough to win them some fans, as Watson went for a set-closing crowd surf – not many openers can be assured of not being dropped.

Nashville sibling act JEFF The Brotherhood had been at it almost as long as The Kills, churning out six albums of psych-inflected garage rock over the past ten years and touring a hell of a lot over that time; it’s therefore not surprising that they already had a fanbase welcoming them back and cheering them on. The Orrall brothers specialize in and excel at a heavy but nimble brand of rock that’s more tuneful than you might think, a balance of sludgy stoner and spirited – if greasy – bar stylings. And they brought Alison Mosshart out to sing on their last song, so they also had that going for them.

At The Kills’ 2008 show, I was impressed how well Jamie Hince and Mosshart were able to put on a riveting show without needing to recruit a live band to back them up, so I was rather surprised to see their stage setup included a row of floor toms along the back – I presumed they weren’t just decorative and someone was actually going to play them. Two someones, as it turned out – a pair of drummers whose duties would include rhythm, clapping and choreography. A surprising break in the Kills aesthetic, but a beneficial one – you wouldn’t say they NEEDED the extra impact of those drums, either sonically or visually, but it didn’t hurt.

You could recruit a children’s choir and a symphony orchestra to back The Kills, though, and ultimately it’d just be about Hince and Mosshart – he of the untouchable guitar swagger and she of the feral intensity to match the giant leopard-print backdrop that hung above the stage, and both lubricating the stuttering mechanical rhythms that underpinned their sleazy electro-blues with sweat, blood, and whatever other fluids you might presume. Understand that I’d never suggest that that last show had been restrained in any way, but it seemed that the duo seemed even more confident and assured this time out – as if whereas before they were satisfied to be propelled by their raw charisma and chemistry, now they were steering it.

Unsurprisingly, the set leaned heaviest on Midnight Boom and Blood Pressures but those who wanted a more career-spanning show got a few bones in set opener “No Wow” – the only representative of their second album – and the two encore closers being pulled from their debut Keep On Your Mean Side. There were also a pair of covers – Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” and The Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes” – to rep their forthcoming “The Last Goodbye” 12″, due out at the end of the month.

The Kills aren’t a band I necessarily turn to a lot in my regular listening patterns, but if you need a kick in the ass, a grab in the groin or just a reminder of why you love rock’n’roll, seeing them live is just the thing to do it.

The National Post, Music Vice, and PostCity have reviews of the show and amNY a short interview with Mosshart.

Photos: The Kills, JEFF The Brotherhood, Hunters @ The Kool Haus – February 7, 2012
MP3: The Kills – “DNA”
MP3: The Kills – “Future Starts Slow”
MP3: The Kills – “URA Fever”
MP3: The Kills – “Cheap & Cheerful”
MP3: The Kills – “Black Rooster”
MP3: The Kills – “Cat Claw”
Video: The Kills – “Last Goodbye”
Video: The Kills – “Baby Says”
Video: The Kills – “Future Starts Slow”
Video: The Kills – “Black Balloon”
Video: The Kills – “Tape Song”
Video: The Kills – “The Last Day Of Magic”
Video: The Kills – “Cheap & Cheerful”
Video: The Kills – “U.R.A. Fever”
Video: The Kills – “No Wow”
Video: The Kills – “Love Is A Deserter”
Video: The Kills – “The Good Ones”
Video: The Kills – “Wait”
Video: The Kills – “Fried My Little Brains”
Video: JEFF The Brotherhood – “Whatever I Want”
Video: JEFF The Brotherhood – “Hey Friend”
Video: JEFF The Brotherhood – “Mind Rides”
Video: JEFF The Brotherhood – “You Got The Look”
Video: JEFF The Brotherhood – “Bone Jam”
Video: JEFF The Brotherhood – “The Tropics”
Video: Hunters – “Acid Head”
Stream: Hunters / Hands On Fire

Those of you looking forward to the visit of another co-ed rock machine duo – I speak of Sleigh Bells – will have to wait a little longer. Pitchfork reports that rather than play The Phoenix on the evening of February 18, as they were supposed to, the pair will now be doing their pop-metal thing on Saturday Night Live instead. The Toronto show has been rescheduled for March 27, though their April 27 and 28 dates supporting Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Air Canada Centre are unchanged. Reign Of Terror – the new album – is out February 21 and there’s interviews with the band at The Palm Beach Post, The Orlando Sentinel, and Pensacola News Journal – yeah, I’d say the band are in Florida right now.

Peggy Sue, whose attempt to bring their second album Acrobats to town last November was stymied by some immigration issues with their tourmates, will try again as they’ve been added as support for First Aid Kit at The Great Hall on April 4.

MP3: Peggy Sue – “Cut My Teeth”

Though their debut My Head Is An Animal still won’t be out until April 3, Of Monsters & Men are clearly already one of Iceland’s biggest exports as demand for their April 16 show has moved it from The Mod Club to The Phoenix.

Sweden’s Niki & The Dove have a new video for a song which appeared on their 2011 12″ single and will presumably show up on their debut album whenever it arrives later this year.

Video: Niki & The Dove – “The Fox”

The Line Of Best Fit has posted a video session with Loney Dear.

Keeping today’s he-she/trans-Atlantic duo meme going, Big Deal have released a new video from their debut album Lights Out.

Video: Big Deal – “Talk”

Veronica Falls have made a new song available to stream – they were already playing new material on the road last year, you can bet we’ll hear some new tunes at The Garrison on February 14. NOW has an interview with the band in preview of that show.

Stream: Veronica Falls – “My Heart Beats”

Clash, Sloucher, and The Scotsman interview The Twilight Sad. They’re at Lee’s Palace on February 29.

Tindersticks have made a track from their new record The Something Rain, due out February 21.

MP3: Tindersticks – “Frozen”

DIY interviews Field Music, whose new album Plumb arrives next week.

Best news of the day? Richard Hawley has announced details of his new album. Standing At The Sky’s Edge will be out on May 7 and according to the press release at DIY, it will be more stripped-down affair than recent efforts, built on, “two guitars, bass, drums and rocket noises”.

Slate The Disco talks to Kate Jackson.

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Through The Dirt And The Gravel

Review of We Were Promised Jetpacks’ In The Pit Of The Stomach

Photo By Nic ShonfeldNic ShonfeldAlongside labelmates and countrymen The Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit, Glasgow-via-Edinburgh’s We Were Promised Jetpacks should have formed a 21st century dream team of new Scottish acts, dispensing their peoples’ distinctive brand of angst through their respective brands of rock. And yet while those other two won and maintain places in my heart, Jetpacks’ 2009 debut These Four Walls did’t quite win me over.

The specifics of why aren’t entirely clear, but I suspect that it was just a little too shouty, too unrelenting. Granted, those are the band’s key strengths – guitarist/vocalist Adam Thompson’s bellows overtop the breakneck musical churn – but I found Walls a bit exhausting to get through. That hardly warranted writing the band off, however, so I was more than happy to give their sophomore effort In The Pit Of The Stomach, released last month, a few spins and it’s almost as though the band heard about my complaints and decided to meet me partway. Which is awful gracious of them.

To either casual followers or die-hard fans of the band, Stomach probably sounds perfectly familiar and satisfying. It’s still loud and punishing – album closer “Pear Tree” is a six-and-a-half minute flurry of face punches – but those crescendos are now better tempered with quieter passages and a greater emphasis on melody, both vocally and instrumentally. By reining things in a bit and singing rather than shouting while the drums and guitars steadily build, “Act On Impulse” comes across far more dynamically and interesting than anything I can recall on Walls. Similarly, the instrumental front half of “Sore Thumb” is evocative of Mogwai in their gentler moods before bringing the hammer down like Mogwai in their angrier moods; which is to say it’s kind of Mogwai-ish, in a good way.

In The Pit Of The Stomach evidences the sort of artistic growth and sophistication you’d hope a young band who’re probably not given to turning their sound upside down would develop. It certainly won’t lose them any fans but it may well sway some who had been on the fence onto their side. Trust me on this.

The Dallas Observer talks to the band about guitarist Michael Palmer’s cancer scare between albums one and two.

MP3: We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Act On Impulse”
Video: We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Human Error”

I now have a Valentine and her/their name is Veronica Falls. The London quartet will be back in town for a show at The Garrison on February 14, tickets $10.50 in advance. DIY has an A-to-Z with/of the band.

MP3: Veronica Falls – “Come On Over”
MP3: Veronica Falls – “Found Love In A Graveyard”

Arena-sized in the UK, club-sized in North America, Kasabian will bring their latest album Velociraptor to The Phoenix on March 29, tickets $24.50 in advance. Perhaps they’ll be able to commiserate with Toronto about the (lack of) wisdom in naming things after dinosaurs that were briefly in fashion 20 years ago.

Video: Kasabian – “Switchblade Smiles”

Drowned In Sound gets their turn in the Los Campesinos! media-go-round.

Clash checks in with Milo Cordell of The Big Pink as they put the finishing touches on their new record Future This, out January 17.

Slow Club have a new video from Paradise.

Video: Slow Club – “If We’re Still Alive”

Similarly, Noah & The Whale have released a new clip from Last Night On Earth

Video: Noah & The Whale – “Give It All Back”

Two videos – or animations, as they’re being called – from the new Kate Bush album 50 Words For Snow have been released. It’s reasonable to expect more.

Video: Kate Bush – “Misty”
Video: Kate Bush – “Wild Man”

The New York Times Q&A’s Noel Gallagher, who has just released a short film that uses three of the songs from his solo debut as accompaniment.

Video: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – “Ride The Tiger”

NME reports that Liam Gallagher has declared Oasis material may be on the table for future Beady Eye live performances.

The Guardian proxies questions from readers to Jarvis Cocker. The Jarv answers.

The Alternate Side has posted an Elbow studio session to watch and interview to read while Under The Radar reports that the band has been tapped to record the soundtrack to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.

Adele is capping off what’s been a pretty good year for her (except for all those canceled shows and throat surgery) with the release of the Live At The Royal Albert Hall DVD/BR today – Spin is streaming the audio from the document while you can watch 25 minutes of the thing at Vevo.

Stream: Adele / Live At The Royal Albert Hall
Video: Adele / Live At The Royal Albert Hall (excerpt)

Kate Jackson talks to NME about her post-Long Blondes solo ambitions.

State chats with Clock Opera, whose debut album should be out in the new year.

NME follows Wild Beasts around on tour for a while.

The Stool Pigeon chats with Robyn Hitchcock.

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Moving Further Away

Review of The Horrors’ Skying

Photo By Neil KrugNeil KrugThose of us who dismissed The Horrors as gimmicky flash in the pans based on their 2007 debut Strange House were left eating our words with their follow up, 2009’s massive and grinding Primary Colours. With the assistance of producer Geoff Barrow, all the band’s cartoonish aspects (stage surnames included) were jettisoned in favour of a goth-y and raw, yet melodic aesthetic that evoked the most aggressive aspects of ’80s British New Wave and ’90s shoegaze. As far as reinventions went, this was a pretty damned successful one and if the band continued to use Primary Colours as a template for future works, no one would be surprised or disappointed.

What Skying, the band’s third effort, proves however is that remaining creatively stationary is not in the game plan. Self-produced this time out, it uses Primary Colours as a jumping-off point but despite utilizing a similar palette of sounds, it paints a markedly different picture. It comes across both less aggressively and less immediately pop than its predecessor and while you might reasonably wonder what that leaves, the answer is plenty. Skying retains enough of the deliciously abrasive guitar textures and swooping synths that roped in so many last time out, but the songs are more midtempo and laden with a romantic lushness that should be familiar to those who’ve heard frontman Faris Badwan’s throwback pop side-project Cat’s Eyes (and if you haven’t, you should).

This is not to say that Skying is soft – numbers like “I Can See Through You” and plenty other moments cut like anything they’ve ever done – but there’s a greater willingness to explore the nuances of what they’re doing, and that makes for a deeper and more challenging but ultimately more rewarding listen. But perhaps more exciting than the album itself is the realization that The Horrors have no shortage of ideas or inspiration and perhaps most importantly, no desire to repeat themselves.

Skying is out in North America next Tuesday, August 9. Their North American tour kicks off in just over a month and hits Lee’s Palace in Toronto on September 27. The Skinny has an interview with the band about making the new record.

MP3: The Horrors – “Moving Further Away”
Video: The Horrors – “Still Life”
Stream: The Horrors / Skying

Male Bonding will warm up for their September 2 show at The Horseshoe on September 2 with an in-store down the street at Kops Records at 6PM that same evening. Their new album Endless Now is out August 30.

MP3: Male Bonding – “Bones”

UK dubstep DJ SBTRKT will play a live show at The Hoxton – formerly known as but still located at 69 Bathurst – on November 3. Odds of Drake showing up as a surprise guest on “Wildfire” as he did at Wrongbar last month? Probably not great. BUT YOU NEVER KNOW.

MP3: SBTRKT – “Wildfire”
Video: SBTRKT – “Wildfire”

NPR and Spinner talks to James Blake, who will be at The Phoenix on September 30.

USA Today acquaints its readers with the works of Friendly Fires, in town for a make-up show at The Phoenix on October 23. Time Out Hong Kong also has a feature piece.

Pitchfork has an interview with WU LYF, who recently announced a November 12 show at The Horseshoe.

DIY talks to Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, whose debut album Coastal Grooves is due out August 30.

Blurt talks to Vincent Moon about directing the Burning live concert film for Mogwai.

Last week I pointed you at a stream of the first finished recording from former Long Blonde Kate Jackson; said track is now available to download and keep and repeat. Also check out some demos at her Soundcloud.

MP3: Kate Jackson Group – “Date With Dawn”

They’re refusing to call it an Arab Strap reunion, but Malcolm Middleton and Aidan Moffat did get together again for the purpose of recording a characteristically grim cover of Slow Club’s new single – stream it and read some commentary from Moffat at The Quietus. Slow Club’s Paradise – from which the original song is taken – is out September 12.

Pitchfork is won over by a new track from I Break Horses’ debut Hearts, out August 30 in Europe.

MP3: I Break Horses – “Winter Beats”

The Line Of Best Fit is streaming another gorgeous new Loney Dear song from the forthcoming Hall Music. It’s out October 4 and they play The Drake on November 4.

The Jezabels are sharing the first MP3 from their new record Prisoner, even though it’s not out until Spring of next year. At least you can hear it and other new tunes when the band plays The Phoenix on November 24 opening up for Hey Rosetta!.

MP3: The Jezabels – “Endless Summer”

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

The It Girl

Review of Louise Wener’s Just For One Day: Adventures In Britpop

Photo via The IndependentThe IndependentOne thing that should have been well-established over the run of this blog is that I am an irredeemable Britpop kid, having come of musical age in the mid-’90s with my nose buried in issues of Select and spending too much money I really couldn’t spare on import CDs on their breathless recommendations. Many were pretty terribly, in retrospect, or even worse just wholly unremarkable, but one of my enduring favourites beyond the Oasis/Blur/Pulp triumvirate is Sleeper, whose three albums of scrappy pop have aged quite nicely, unlike some of their peers.

Since splitting just before the collapse of the scene, frontwoman Louise Wener has turned her pen from song lyrics to fiction and written some well-received novels – I’ve read a few, they’re pretty good – but her memoirs, released last year as Different For Girls: A Girl’s Own True-Life Adventures In Pop and re-released last month as the more descriptive Just For One Day: Adventures In Britpop is the tome that fans have been waiting for.

Rather than attempt to document the scene, it follows Wener from her seemingly well-adjusted suburban London adolescence of wanting more than anything to be a pop star to getting swept up in the Britpop wave and managing to actually become a pop star and then walking away when it became clear their time in the spotlight was done. Aside from the breaking up with the guitarist to go out with the drummer thing, it’s not particularly rife with scandal or gossip – Sleeper were never quite on the inside of the Britpop royal court and while there was plenty of drugs and alcohol, they didn’t become casualties of it. I do question the authenticity of all the quotes used in the text – either they’re liberally paraphrased or Wener has an astonishing memory – but nothing libelous is attributed to anyone and they work well with Wener’s writing style, which is brisk and fun with the right amount of self-deprecation. It’s almost too brisk and self-deprecating at points and all over too soon, but perhaps that’s befitting the whirlwind nature of their career – their three albums came out over the minuscule span of three years. But Wener’s perspective is clear-eyed and while she looks back on things fondly, it’s pretty obvious there won’t be a reunion any time soon or ever, and that’s just fine. We’ve got the records, we’ve got the videos and we’ve got the book.

And oh, I’ve got two copies of the book – accidentally bought it under both titles – so Different For Girls is an official lending copy since it’s pretty much impossible to find on this side of the pond. And if anyone has an MP3 of Elvis Costello covering “What Do I Do Now” from the All This Useless Beauty b-sides as a bit of quid pro quo or just a gift, I’d love to get a hold of it…

MP3: Sleeper – “Statuesque”
Video: Sleeper – “She’s A Good Girl”
Video: Sleeper – “Nice Guy Eddie”
Video: Sleeper – “Sale Of The Century”
Video: Sleeper – “What Do I Do Now”
Video: Sleeper – “Vegas”
Video: Sleeper – “Inbetweener”
Video: Sleeper – “Delicious”
Video: Sleeper – “Swallow”

One of my other favourite pieces of Britpop-related literature is the Phonogram comic series. They’re sticking to their guns of not doing any more than any more series beyond Rue Britannia and The Singles Club, but writer Kieron Gillen has released the complete script for the first issue of The Singles Club, the first issue of which is also available online in its entirety to compare and contrast. I don’t recall what the official Phonogram position on Sleeper was… hopefully kinder than to Echobelly.

The Fly has a courtyard video session with Slow Club, who’re prepping their second album Paradise for a September 12 release.

Clash are offering a taste of the new Peggy Sue album, entitled Acrobats and due out on September 12 in the UK.

MP3: Peggy Sue – “Cut My Teeth”

They made their local debut back in May as support for Tame Impala and tacked an in-store set onto the visit, but Yuck have taken a surprisingly long time to bring their more ’90s than ’90s fuzz-pop to town for a headlining show. That will be rectified as of September 25, when they play The Horseshoe – tickets $13.50 in advance. eMusic has an interview with the London outfit.

MP3: Yuck – “Get Away”
MP3: Yuck – “Georgia”

Laura Marling will follow the September 13 release of her third album A Creature I Don’t Know with what she’s calling the “When The Bell Tolls” tour; it includes a stop at The Great Hall on September 23, tickets $20 in advance on sale Friday. For a two-time Mercury shortlister, she’s had a habit of playing drastically undersized venues here – her 2008 debut was at the tiny Rivoli and her last visit last February at Lee’s Palace, a month before I Speak Because I Can was released, was originally supposed to be at the Drake. All of which is to say that tickets for this show will go quickly. NME has a track-by-track breakdown of her new record, one song of which is available to stream via the YouTubes.

MP3: Laura Marling – “Ghosts”
Stream: Laura Marling – “Sophia”

Stereogum and The Telegraph talk to The Horrors, who’ve released an MP3 from their new album Skying – it gets an August 9 release in North America. The Horrors are at Lee’s Palace on September 27.

MP3: The Horrors – “Moving Further Away”

Welsh singer Anika – protege of Portishead’s Geoff Barrow and Nico soundalike – will be at Wrongbar on October 8 in support of her 2010 self-titled debut, which is available to stream on her website. eMusic has an interview.

MP3: Anika – “Yang Yang”
Stream: Anika / Anika

And given that Barrow will be in town the next two nights at The Sound Academy with Portishead – October 9 and 10 – it’s not unreasonable to assume that he’ll be at Anika’s show. Pitchfork talks Geoff Barrow about the band’s upcoming North American tour.

NPR has a KCRW radio session with Friendly Fires, in town at The Phoenix on October 23.

Noel Gallagher has finally unveiled his debut solo single and listening to it and what Beady Eye have done, it’s really no wonder that Oasis fell apart. Even if the brothers Gallagher didn’t hate each other, their creative directions were pretty clearly on opposite trajectories. Think Liam would have stood for those horns? No, I don’t think so. Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds will be out on November 8 stateside.

Video: Noel Gallagher & The High Flying Birds – “The Death Of You And Me”

The Von Pip Musical Express chats with Emma-Lee Moss, aka Emmy The Great.

Gorilla Vs Bear is streaming one of the new songs from Summer Camp’s forthcoming debut album – due out whenever it’s fully funded via Pledge Music.

The first proper recording from The Kate Jackson Group – fronted by the former Long Blondes singer – is available to stream at God Is In The TV and it’s kind of fantastic. I had some concerns about Jackson’s solo output considering that Dorian Cox was the primary songwriter in that band, but if this is an indication of what Jackson can do on her own, those concerns are unfounded. Bring on the album.

The Sydney Morning Herald checks in with Kele Okereke of Bloc Party, who will be coming off hiatus later this Fall.

Fanfarlo frontman Simon Balthazar gives Paste an update on the progress of album number two, due out in the early part of next year.

I was happy enough to hear confirmed details on the new Loney Dear record Hall Music, out October 4, but to know that Emil Svanäaut;ngen and company will be back in town on November 5 for a show at the Drake Underground? That’s even better. Tickets are $13.50 in advance.

MP3: Loney Dear – “My Heart”

Lykke Li is coming back to town this Fall are part of a North American tour and she’ll be accompanied by fellow Swedes, sister act First Aid Kit. They’ll be at The Sound Academy on November 15, tickets $30 for general admission and $40 for VIP balcony. DIY talks to First Aid Kit about how work is coming on their second album.

MP3: Lykke Li – “Youth Knows No Pain”
MP3: First Aid Kit – “I Met Up With The King”

The Quietus and Billboard have feature interviews with Bjork while Billboard also chats with Michel Gondry, who directed her just-released new video. A track from her new album Biophilia is available to download; it’s out on September 27.

MP3: Bjork – “Cosmogony”
Video: Bjork – “Crystalline”