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Posts Tagged ‘Kate Jackson’

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

The Right Thing Right

Johnny Marr dispatches The Messenger early

Photo By Jon ShardJon ShardIt’s been a while since both Morrissey and Johnny Marr have been in the news simultaneously, and not just issuing denials of Smiths reunions. Moz, unfortunately, is making headlines for his health issues and resulting tour cancellations – though that’s probably better than for making outrageously offensive comments – but Marr’s press cycle is decidedly more positive as he’s now just a week out from the release of his new record The Messenger.

It’s not entirely clear to me why The Messenger is being called his solo debut; even though 2003’s Boomslang was credited to Johnny Marr & The Healers, I don’t think anyone looked at it as a songwriting partnership between Marr and Zak Starkey. Of course, the fact that that record wasn’t very good may play a part in why they’d rather present The Messenger as its own standalone thing rather than a follow-up. In any case, with the February 26 release date of the new record almost upon us, the whole of it is now available for advance stream at Rolling Stone.

I’m not sure what general expectations around the record are. It’s great to have Marr and his guitar back and not just playing sideman, even though that’s the role through which his legend was largely formed. For my part, I just wanted it to be better than Boomslang which was disappointingly lacking in personality and sounded like a late-era Britpop also-ran. The Messenger feels sprightlier, more melodic, and more classically Marr – more jangle than riff. Whereas I couldn’t wait for Boomslang to be over, I’ve been hitting repeat on The Messenger – consider it endorsed?

Pitchfork, Clash, and Time have interviews with Marr and NME got him to play “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Know” for the first time in a quarter-century by way of a guitar lesson. Marr’s North American tour – backed by The Healers but not the same Boomslang Healers – kicks off in April and will stop in Toronto at The Phoenix on April 27.

Stream: Johnny Marr / The Messenger

The Sun, The Guardian, and eMusic have features on Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds on the occasion of the release of Push The Sky Away today. They play Massey Hall on March 23.

The Fly interviews Iceage. Their new album You’re Nothing is out today.

Esquire has an interview with Thom Yorke, usually of Radiohead but lately of Atoms For Peace. Yorke and his AFP compatriots hosted a Reddit AMA yesterday in advance of the release of AMOK on February 26, and have also begun streaming the new album in whole at NPR. Oh, and if a Thom Yorke-Flea collaboration doesn’t float your boat, know that Radiohead will be reconvening this year to work on a new album.

Stream: Atoms For Peace / AMOK

NPR is streaming Shout Out Louds’ latest effort Optica ahead of its February 26 release date. They play The Opera House on May 14.

Stream: Shout Out Louds / Optica

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Søen Løkke Juul of Indians, who are at The Drake on March 5.

The Independent talks to Kate Nash about her third album Girl Talk, due out on March 5. She plays The Horseshoe on March 15.

For Folks Sake talks to Stornoway about their second album Tales From Terra Firma, coming March 19. They’ve just released the first video from the album.

Video: Stornoway – “Knock Me On The Head”

Clash interviews The Joy Formidable about their new record Wolf’s Law, which they bring to The Phoenix on April 12.

Phoenix have premiered the first sample of Bankrupt! at Pitchfork by way of lyric video, and yes it sounds like Phoenix. Bankrupt! is out April 22.

Lyric Video: Phoenix – “Entertainment”

Primal Scream have released the first video from their new record More Light, which is due out on May 6.

Video: Primal Scream – “2013”

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Foals, in town at The Kool Haus on May 11.

Though there’s maddeningly no word on an actual full-length release, Kate Jackson – ex-Long Blondes – has made the whole of her recording sessions with Bernard Butler available to stream. Which will have to suffice for the foreseeable future.

NPR welcomes Bat For Lashes for a World Cafe session.

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Sadness Is A Blessing

Lykke Li and First Aid Kit at The Sound Academy in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s a little bit of bragging when I point out that our blogger posse had Lykke Li close out the second day of our Hot Freaks! party at SXSW 2008 before her star became ascendant. But the fact is that it was almost entirely Gorilla Vs Bear’s doing, with most of the rest of us having no idea who Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson was at the time. And not too many did, as only a modest number of people came out to Club DeVille to see play that afternoon. So you’d think that it would have been the perfect opportunity to get ahead of the curve on her, but the fact was I didn’t love her stuff and that opinion extended to her debut album Youth Novels; it was fine and all but hardly stopped me in my tracks. Which is why despite her having come through town a number of times between now and then, I’d not seen Lykke Li live since.

So if you choose to interpret my trekking down to the Sound Academy on Tuesday night to see her as meaning that I was stopped in my tracks by her second album Wounded Rhymes, well that might be a little hyperbolic but it’s not far off. I understand how Lykke Li’s breathy vocals and the coquettish tone of the lyrics were the source of Youth Novels‘ appeal for many, but to me they were the main points of complaint – the record felt slight, like it was all surface. Rhymes, on the other hand, with its combination of girl-group/doo-wop touchpoints, a dash of gospel and altogether rawer and heavier themes tapped into something much deeper both sonically and emotionally. Novels was flirtatious; Rhymes was lustful. Yeah I was going to see this record performed live.

Opening up this tour were fellow Swedes and sister folk act First Aid Kit – combined with Sunday night’s all-Icelandic bill, this was turning into quite the Scandinavian revue week. I’d seen them last Summer when they stopped in at the comfy and cozy Rivoli – about as diametrically opposed a venue from the cavernous Sound Academy as you can get. And yet without changing up their simple presentation – the Söderberg sisters switching up on guitar, keys and autoharp and harmonies and Mattias Bergqvist on drums – were more than able to step up to the occasion, sounding confident and punchy. In addition to drawing from their 2010 debut The Big Black & The Blue, they previewed material from their forthcoming second album The Lion’s Roar – out January 24 – and when heard side-by-side with the older material, it was remarkable how far they’ve come as songwriters, the new songs being both more melodic and dramatic at the same time. Though there was some headbanging, you couldn’t say they rocked – that’s not their game – but the did impress.

Lykke Li’s arrival was heralded by an extended strobe light and smoke machine intro which highlighted the sweeping black and white stage dressing for this tour, an aesthetic mirrored in her outfit for the night – a black robe/gown and dark eye make-up. “Witchy” and/or “goth” are not adjectives one would have typically thought to apply to Lykke Li, but there it was. Opening with “Jerome”, the depth and dramatics of the new record were clearly going to be translated to the stage with Lykke Li an exceptionally expressive and dynamic presence from the get-go.

Danciness is a key element of Lykke Li’s sound, but what sets her apart from others operating in that space is her reliance on live and acoustic instruments, particularly drums and percussion, and it was easy to get caught up in the pounding, rhythmic grooves she and her band created and her voice would ride upon. Though she’s not what you’d call a powerhouse singer, her delivery has a strength and soulfulness that’s irresistible and thankfully shuns your standard diva moves; on her cover of “Unchained Melody”, whereas other singers might have gone for a solo moment at its peak, Lykke Li instead turned to her band for multi-part harmonies that were unexpected and beautiful.

The set was split about evenly between the two albums but with the older material sonically beefed up to match the current aesthetic and all the better for it. And while I clearly favoured the new material, the sea of cellphones raised aloft during “Little Bit” was ample evidence that many of the fans there were old school. Excepting a couple moments of feedback, the sound throughout the night had been pretty good but as things moved towards the finale – perhaps in an attempt to make things even heavier – the bass began turning to mud on “Youth Knows No Pain” and sadly robbed it of its impact, only being salvaged by the extended percussion, chanting and megaphone-powered (and Kanye “Power”-quoting) coda. But things recovered enough that set closer “Get Some” satisfied and one-song encore of “Unrequited Love” the perfect, bruised cap on the evening. I now regret somewhat not keeping up with Lykke Li following that SXSW show and missing out on her more intimately-scaled performances, but if she keeps putting out records as strong as Wounded Rhymes, then this won’t be the last time I’ll be making up for lost time.

The National Post was also on hand for the show and have a review. And with this show done, First Aid Kit have announced their own headlining gig at The Great Hall on April 4 of next year.

Photos: Lykke Li, First Aid Kit @ The Sound Academy – November 15, 2011
MP3: Lykke Li – “Youth Knows No Pain”
MP3: Lykke Li – “Get Some”
MP3: First Aid Kit – “I Met Up With The King”
Video: Lykke Li – “Sadness Is A Blessing”
Video: Lykke Li – “I Follow Rivers”
Video: Lykke Li – “Get Some”
Video: Lykke Li – “Little Bit”
Video: Lykke Li – “I’m Good I’m Gone”
Video: Lykke Li – “Breaking It Up”
Video: First Aid Kit – “The Lion’s Roar”
Video: First Aid Kit – “Hard Believer”
Video: First Aid Kit – “I Met Up With The King”

The Quietus explores the sad and beautiful world of Loney Dear.

DIY chats with Alec Olenius of Serenades.

The Raveonettes have released a video for the new single from their latest album Raven In The Grave.

Video: The Raveonettes – “Let Me On Out”

Rolling Stone talks to Ritzy Bryan of The Joy Formidable, who have begun work on album number two and hope to have it out in the new year.

Paste has a feature piece on Los Campesinos! and over at Nerve, bassist Ellen Campesinos! dishes on what it’s like to be a female musician looking to get some while on the road.

Fact talks to Kate Jackson about her nascent but promising solo career.

NME has details on the second album from The Big Pink; it will be entitled Future This and come out on January 16 of next year. This is the first single and video.

Video: The Big Pink – “Hit The Ground (Superman)”

Though just here a few weeks ago, Metronomy have scheduled a Spring North American tour that brings them back to town on April 2 for a show at The Hoxton.

Video: Metronomy – “Everything Goes My Way”

Exclaim reports that New Order will release an album of studio outtakes from Waiting For The Sirens Call as Lost Sirens sometime in December.

Similarly, Pet Shop Boys will collect 13 years of b-sides as the double-disc collection Format and put that out on February 7; Slicing Up Eyeballs has specifics.

Q talks to Dev Hynes of Blood Orange.

Paste, The Phoenix and PopMatters interview Anthony Gonzalez of M83, in town for a sold-out show at Lee’s Palace tomorrow night.

Proving that Toronto’s appetite for things naked and famous shows no signs of abating, Kiwis The Naked & Famous will be back for their fourth show in less than a year, returning for an engagement at The Sound Academy on April 5 of next year; tickets $22.50 in advance.

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

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Not Miserable

Review of Frightened Rabbit’s The Winter Of Mixed Drinks

Photo By David GourleyDavid GourleyFrightened Rabbit’s 2008 album The Midnight Organ Fight earned itself many adjectives – “grand”, “anthemic” and “gobsmacking” from these parts, and less subjectively, “folk-rock” from most everyone. It certainly wasn’t afraid to get loud and electrified, but the foundation of the record was homespun and acoustic and the Scots rode that formula to great acclaim and a place as one of my favourites of the year.

For this year’s follow-up The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, the sonic dressings have received a significant bump in density and volume. More of the instrumentation is plugged in and turned up and the songs delivered with more aggression and intensity. The extra bombast and general tumult in the production can make for a bit of an exhausting listen and does take a while to adjust to, but thankfully Scott Hutchinson’s familiar thick brogue and the sentiments of angst and melancholy that it delivers are there to anchor things. And just as Mixed Drinks is the most musically confident thing the band has done, the lyrics offer a patina of hopefulness over their signature emotionally fragile core. Whereas Organ Fight was gloriously wracked with self-doubt, Mixed Drinks finds there’s nothing better to bolster one’s confidence than a brace of songs that cry out for mass sing-alongs and dares to stand up, even if its uncertain what it’s going to do once upright.

Though they missed a few dates due to the Icelandic volcanic eruption, Frightened Rabbit’s North American tour is now underway and they have a sold-out show at the Opera House in Toronto next Tuesday, May 4. There’s features on the band at Death & Taxes, NOW and The Boston Herald.

MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Nothing Like You”
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Nothing Like You” (alternate version)
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”

And if you didn’t get tickets to said Frabbits show or are looking for something else to do the evening of the 4th, let me again make by strongest recommendation for Welsh trio The Joy Formidable, whose debut mini-album A Balloon Called Moaning will officially be out in North America that day and who are making their Toronto debut with a free show at the Horseshoe that night.

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

Under The Radar talk to The Big Pink, who are giving away a free remix EP right now.

ZIP: The Big Pink / Tonight Remix EP

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with The Clientele. They’re promising a new release soon, as well as more shows – some west coast dates are already up, hopefully they come east again as well.

Hot Chip guitarist Al Doyle discusses their latest album One Life Stand with The Quietus.

Over at her MySpace, Kate Jackson is offering a taste of what she’s been up to since the dissolution of The Long Blondes last year – namely hanging out on Twitter, working with Bernard Butler and piecing together her solo debut. There’s no timetable as to when said record might be finished, but if “Homeward Bound” accurately sets the tone then it will be worth whatever the wait is.

Ian McCulloch of Echo & The Bunnymen talks to Spinner about his feud with Bono in the ’80s about who had the tallest hair.

QRO and Interview talk to a random sample of Los Campesinos!.

Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine gives BBC an update on how sessions for album number two are going.

Doves tell Spinner that following the shows in support of their new best-of compilation The Places Between, they’ll be taking a break of around two years.

Public Image Limited’s May 7 show has been moved from the Kool Haus to The Phoenix.

Pitchfork endorses the brilliant Phonogram comics series, both volumes of which are now available in trade paperback form – on sale no less. The complete first issue of volume two is available to preview online. Also note that artist Jamie McKelvie will be in town next weekend for the Toronto Comics Arts Festival at the Toronto Reference Library, so if you like, swing by and say hi.