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Posts Tagged ‘Kathleen Edwards’

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Memoriam

Ohbijou says “au revoir”, throws going-away party

Photo via FacebookFacebookThere was some sad news last week announcement last week that local stalwarts Ohbijou were going on an indefinite hiatus. Sad because not only was the city losing one of its finest orch-folk bands after three lovely albums – 2006’s Swift Feet For Troubling Times, 2009’s Beacons, and 2011’s Metal Meets – but it felt like the closing of a chapter in the story of Toronto’s independent music scene, one of particular resonance for me.

After making their acquaintance when they opened the very first V Fest in September 2006, I went on to see the band many many many many times over the years and delighted in seeing them grow in leaps and bounds as a live band. Further, their debut Swift Feet topped my 2007 Polaris ballot and I felt Beacons was even better; I don’t recall why it didn’t make my 2010 Polaris ballot though coming out on the very first day of the eligibility period may have caused to get lost in the shuffle. All of which is to say that Ohbijou have been a very rewarding band to be a fan of over the years.

Further, it’s not without significance that they were the very first band to open that inaugural V Fest as Broken Social Scene closed the fest the next night; that was about the time that the initial Can-indie rock explosion was beginning to settle and if you were to draw a rough circle around the artists that represented Toronto across Canada and abroad in the post-Broken era, it could well be the Bellwoods musical community led largely and hosted literally by Ohbijou. You can’t look at the lineup of artists that they drew together for the two Friends In Bellwoods compilations in support of the Daily Bread Food Bank and not be impressed by the names involved: The Acorn, Basia Bulat, The Rural Alberta Advantage, the Diamond Rings-begetting D’Urbervilles, Forest City Lovers, Bruce Peninsula, Evening Hymns, Hooded Fang, the pre-Austra Katie Stelmanis, Snowblink, Timber Timbre, and The Wooden Sky, to name but a few. These are many of the bands that over the run of this blog, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing arise from playing tiny clubs or gallery spaces to much larger stages and acclaim, and have been proud to share an area code with.

And so even with so many of those acts soldiering on, with Ohbijou hanging it up for the foreseeable future it really does feel like the end of an era. But going out on a down note just wouldn’t be their style, so with this lovely video message from frontwoman Casey Mecija as an invitation, the band have announced a final show – with many of the aforementioned Bellwoods artists as guests – on September 7 at The Great Hall; tickets for the show are $20 in advance. I know everyone looked at the Arts & Crafts Field Trip fest as the year’s big celebration of Toronto’s emergence as a musical heavyweight; in its way, I think this matters as much.

MP3: Ohbijou – “Anser”
MP3: Ohbijou – “Mossy Lungs”
Video: Ohbijou – “Niagara”
Video: Ohbijou – “New Years”
Video: Ohbijou – “The Woods”

Braids have premiered a new video from their forthcoming Flourish//Perish; it’s out August 20.

Video: Braids – “In Kind”

The Weeknd appears to be totally over his camera-shyness, as evidenced by Abel Tesfaye plastering his face on the cover of the forthcoming Kiss Land, which can be seen at The Line Of Best Fit. And more relevantly, the release date for said record appears to be August 27 September 10; well ahead of his three-night stand at Massey Hall on October 17, 19, and 20.

Exclaim talks to Colin Stetson about getting another Polaris nod for his New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light and his contributions to the forthcoming Arcade Fire record. Stetson plays The Great Hall on September 5 as part of the Constellation Records touring caravan.

Lightning Dust have released another video from their latest Fantasy. They play The Drake Underground on September 10.

Video: Lightning Dust – “Loaded Gun”

Kathleen Edwards talks festival life from the artist’s perspective with CBC Music.

Loud & Quiet has an interview with METZ.

Indie88 talks with Young Galaxy.

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

New Summer

Review of Young Galaxy’s Ultramarine

Photo By Vanessa HeinsVanessa HeinsThey couldn’t have known it at the time, but when naming their 2011 album Shapeshifting, Montreal’s Young Galaxy were describing not only their sonic shift from well-worn dream-pop to sleek, futuristic disco, but in their fortunes as well. Their first couple records had failed to launch them into an orbit commensurate with their band name but Shapeshifting would make them, if not stars, then an act who were genuinely doing something fresh and interesting and well worth watching. It was a fresh start that not many artists get.

It would also put whatever they did next under a next-level degree of scrutiny to see if Shapeshifting genuinely the start of a fruitful new direction for the band or just a lucky aberration. Doing everything they could to ensure the former and acknowledging that Swedish producer Dan Lissvik’s job mixing Shapeshifting was an essential part of the record’s magic and success, Young Galaxy doubled down on his input and traveled to Gothenburg to record with him fully-credited as producer, and it’s a gamble that has paid off handsomely. To say an album sounds like its predecessor is usually interpreted as a sign of creative stagnation, but for Ultramarine to be considered an equal to Shapeshifting is actually rather high praise.

The space-age, synthesized aesthetic that so surprised on its predecessor still feels fresh and more importantly, natural. It provides the perfect setting for now-sole vocalist Catherine McCandless’ vocals and their peripheral iciness, but also allows draws out some of her most affecting performances to date, particularly on album bookends “Pretty Boy” and “Sleepwalk With Me”. Also interestingly, Ultramarine doesn’t find the band venturing any further into dancey territory despite being tooled up for it, funky expedition “Out The Gate Backwards” being the notable exception but even that does its work by way of Madchester, rather than via any contemporary EDM affectations. Ultramarine is a strong record that cements Young Galaxy’s place in the Can-rock firmament, and if Shapeshifting posited the question of, “this is Young Galaxy?”, Ultramarine definitively answers it with “this is Young Galaxy”.

Exclaim talks to Catherine McCandless and The Advocate to drummer Andrea Silver about the making of Ultramarine. It’s out April 23 but streaming now in whole at Pitchfork. They play Lee’s Palace on May 31.

Stream: Young Galaxy / Ultramarine

Odonis Odonis have released a video for the title track of their just-out new EP Better. They’re at Lee’s Palace on May 17 supporting METZ.

Video: Odonis Odonis – “Better”

PopMatters talks to Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene and Arts & Crafts about the label’s tenth anniversary. The corresponding compilation Arts & Crafts 2003-2013 is now available to stream in its two-CD entirety at CBC Music, and the festival to go along with the comp – Field Trip – hits Garrison Commons on June 8.

Stream: various artists / Arts & Crafts 2003-2013

Spin has posted a stream of Moon King’s new Obsession II EP, though the Soundcloud link below is a bit more reliable in performance. Speaking of in performance, their NXNE appearances have been confirmed – look for them on June 13 at The Garrison, June 14 at The Drake, and June 15 at Yonge-Dundas Square.

MP3: Moon King – “Appel”
Stream: Moon King / Obsession II

Paste gets to know Born Ruffians, whose new record Birthmarks came out this week.

The Belle Game are celebrating this week’s release of their debut Tradition Ritual Habit by giving away another download from the album via Rolling Stone.

MP3: The Belle Game – “Blame Fiction”

The Line Of Best Fit interviews No Joy, who are streaming their new album Wait To Pleasure ahead of its April 23 release date over at Pitchfork. They’re also at The Garrison that night opening for Clinic.

Stream: No Joy / Wait To Pleasure

Stereogum talks to Colin Stetson about his forthcoming New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light, out April 30. He and his lungs are at The Great Hall on May 19.

Arts Journal and NPR talk to Rachel Zeffira, who makes her local debut at The Drake Underground on May 2.

NPR has posted a Mountain Stage video session with Kathleen Edwards, who is part of the CBC Music Fest at Echo Beach on May 25.

Japandroids are coming back to town for a show at the Adelaide Music Hall on June 17, tickets $25. What the hell is the Adelaide Music Hall, you ask? Don’t worry – The Grid is on it.

MP3: Japandroids – “Younger Us”
MP3: Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built”

Patrick Watson will be playing a free show at Pecault Square on June 20 as part of this year’s LuminaTO festivities.

MP3: Patrick Watson – “Words In The Fire”
MP3: Patrick Watson – “Into Giants”

BrooklynVegan has premiered a Moog Sound Lab video with Diamond Rings, who’s opening up for OMD at the Danforth on July 11 and 19.

The Vancouver Sun and Georgia Straight have feature interviews with Two Hours Traffic.

DIY and Under The Radar talk to The Besnard Lakes.

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Welcome to My World

Depeche Mode announce North American tour to show off new album, sunglasses

Photo via FacebookFacebookMost bands of a certain vintage these days have at least one of a break-up, extended hiatus, reunion, core lineup turnover, artistic irrelevance, diminishing fanbase, or becoming a nostalgia act in their narrative. Depeche Mode, however, largely bucks that trend. At it – it being one of the most influential electronic/alternative bands going – for more than three decades now, their output may have slowed a bit following their opening pace of six albums in seven years, but since 1987’s massive Music For The Masses, they’ve kept a remarkably steady cycle of releasing a new record every three or four years – all critically well-received – with attendant world tours of impressively consistent (large) scale. And the core trio of Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher has stayed intact since the departure of Alan Wilder in 1995.

All of which is to say that no one should be at all surprised that following last Autumn’s announcement of their thirteenth studio album Delta Machine, due out March 26, and corresponding Spring European dates, that there would be a North American tour to follow in the Fall. Not that fans shouldn’t be excited that the band are returning for their first dates on this side of the pond since 2009; Pitchfork has the full itinerary, which includes a return to the Molson Amphitheatre on September 1. Ticketing info is appropriately confusing, but even though the public onsale is officially April 4, there is a plethora of presale options to try and make sense of. So I leave you to that.

Exclaim talks to Andy Fletcher and Billboard to Dave Gahan about the new record, and the first single has a video to go with it.

Video: Depeche Mode – “Heaven”

If I’d waited a few days to post my writeup of Rachel Zeffira’s debut album The Deserters – out today – then I could have included the fact that she’ll be playing a show at The Drake Underground on May 2, tickets $15.50, but no – now I have to make a separate item for it. Alas.

Video: Rachel Zeffira – “The Deserters”

London-based dramatists The Veils have announced a North American tour in support of their new record Time Stays, We Go, due out on April 23. Look for them at The Drake Underground on May 4, tickets $15.

MP3: The Veils – “The Wishbone”
Stream: The Veils – “Through The Deep Dark Wood”

Having reaped the benefits of being on one of the most stacked buzz bills of the year a couple weeks ago with Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Wampire, Los Angeles’ Foxygen have already made a return date in support of their debut We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace And Magic – they’re at Wrongbar again on May 9. The Oklahoman has a feature piece.

MP3: Foxygen – “Waitin’ 4 U”

Flying Lotus has announced another leg of touring behind last year’s Until The Quiet Comes; see him at The Sound Academy on May 15. Tickets for that will run $24.

MP3: Flying Lotus – “Between Friends”
MP3: Flying Lotus – “Such A Square”

While the “TBA” Of Monsters & Men date revealed earlier this month clearly hinted at being part of something bigger, it didn’t tip off that they’d be the sole international act on the bill for the inaugural CBCMusic.ca Festival, happening May 25 at Echo Beach. They’ll co-headline with The Sam Roberts Band, and be joined by Kathleen Edwards, Sloan, and a pile more CBC-approved Canadian artists; your tax dollars at work! Tickets are $59.50 and go on sale Saturday. So continue to complain, if you will, about the absence of a top-tier music festival in the GTA but don’t say you don’t have ample options for standing around all day in the sun watching a bunch of bands play short sets.

MP3: Of Monsters & Men – “Little Talks”
MP3: Sloan – “The Answer Was You”
Video: Sam Roberts – “Bridge To Nowhere”
Video: Kathleen Edwards – “Chameleon/Comedian”

Jose Gonzalez-led Swedes Junip have announced a North American tour in support of their self-titled new record, due out April 22. Look for them at The Great Hall on June 10, tickets $16.50. The first single from the record is also now available to download courtesy of Boing Boing.

MP3: Junip – “Line Of Fire”

That same night – June 10, if you don’t read these posts sequentially – San Francisco dance-punk unpronounceables !!! will be down the street at The Horseshoe, tickets also $16.50. They were here last July, yes, but this time they’ll have a new record in the wonderfully-titled Thr!!!er to push; it’s out April 30.

MP3: !!! – “Hello? Is This Thing On?”

If you were wondering who the big hip-hop NXNE closing act this year was going to be, wonder no more – Big Boi will play the free, Sunday night show at Yonge-Dundas Square on June 16 this year as part of his “Shoes For Running” tour with Killer Mike.

MP3: Killer Mike – “Go!”
Video: Big Boi – “In The A”

Alabama Shakes have done gone put together a Summer tour which brings them to Echo Beach on June 20, tickets for which are $37.50 in advance.

MP3: Alabama Shakes – “You Ain’t Alone”
MP3: Alabama Shakes – “Hold On”

And in this week’s Toronto Urban Roots Fest lineup additions, we’ve got Kurt Vile & The Violators, with Vile’s new record Walkin’ On A Pretty Daze due out April 9. Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys in support of last year’s Big Station, The Felice Brothers still working 2011’s Celebration, Florida, and our very own Sadies, because it’s not physically possible to erect a stage anywhere in the 416 without The Sadies showing up to play it within 48 hours. It’s like boxes and cats. And with that, we’ve got almost 2/3 of the complete lineup announced – theoretically enough to convince people to buy a four-day pass? Those go on sale this Thursday at 1PM, with general admission passes going for $99.50 and VIP passes $299.50.

MP3: Kurt Vile – “In My Time”
MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”
Video: The Felice Brothers – “Celebration, Florida”
Video: Alejandro Escovedo – “Sally Was A Cop” (live)

If you were one of those disappointed by the abrupt cancellation of Animal Collective’s show at The Danforth Music Hall last Saturday night – attributed to a “sudden illness” that also claimed the next four shows, know that a make-up date has already been announced – your tickets are good for the new show on July 9, same venue, and if you can’t make it you can get a refund at the point of purchase.

MP3: Animal Collective – “Peacebone”
MP3: Animal Collective – “Water Curses”

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that Montreal’s Osheaga announced this year’s lineup last night, both for Torontonians who might want to make the road trip up the 401 the weekend of August 2 to 4 for Canada’s only top-tier outdoor festival, and for people engaged in the noble sport of Lollapalooza-spotting, since the two fests traditionally share a goodly percentage of their lineups. Headlining this year are The Cure and Mumford & Sons, New Order, and Phoenix, followed by a solid lineup of usual suspects for the season. Some of the acts are already making an area stop at The Grove Fest in Niagara-On-The-Lake on August 3, but I’m hoping some of the others have a Toronto date on their itinerary between Montreal and Chicago. The Cure, in particular, I’ve never seen live and I wouldn’t mind getting the opportunity to rectify that – I expect a Molson Amphitheatre date would make sense?

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Appel

Moon King lead this week’s cross-Canada wrap-up

Photo By Jonathon BernsteinJonathon BernsteinAs I mentioned back in October, in a few years – or even sooner – the late Spiral Beach could well be regarded as an important touchstone in the recent history of the Toronto independent scene. Bassist Dorian Wolf now holds down those same duties in internationally-noted electronic act Austra, guitarist Airick Woodhead is garnering heaps of attention as the circuit-bending Doldrums, and the remaining two members – keyboardist/vocalist Maddy Wilde and drummer Daniel Woodhead – have slowly but surely been turning heads as the dreampop-peddling Moon King.

Their debut EP Obsession I came out last Summer and offered them the pretence to start gigging and making a (new) name for themselves, and Exclaim reports the follow-up EP – Obsession II, of course – will arrive April 16. That’s just in time for their North American tour supporting Born Ruffians; a tour which doesn’t currently have a Toronto date, but if you think these two acts aren’t doing a hometown show shortly after that last official date in Detroit in late May, you’re nuts.

A track from the new EP has been made available to download, and you can still stream the first Obsession as well as watch/download the lead single from it.

MP3: Moon King – “Appel”
MP3: Moon King – “Only Child”
Video: Moon King – “Only Child”
Stream: Moon King / Obsession I

All that said, Doldrums is unquestionably the Beach alumnus of the hour: CBC Music, The Montreal Gazette, and Interview have interviews with Woodhead and they’ve just put out a new video from the just-released Lesser Evil.

Video: Doldrums – “She Is The Wave”

Bruce Peninsula are known for trotting big lineups – like double-digit head counts – onstage for their live shows, but it will be the core trio of Neil Haverty, Misha Bower, and Matt Cully who will represent at a special show on March 10 at the Campbell House Museum in Toronto, tickets $20 at the door.

MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “In Your Light”

As promised, the Fucked Up-curated Long Winter series will return for a fifth instalment this month and feature a twang-tacular lineup led by The Sadies and Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet. That goes down March 23 at The Great Hall.

MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”
MP3: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – “13”

DIY has an interview with Suuns, whose new album Images du Futur is streaming over at CBC Music ahead of its official release next Tuesday, March 5. They play Lee’s Palace on March 23 for Canadian Musicfest.

MP3: Suuns – “Edie’s Dream”
Stream: Suuns / Images du Futur

The Coast talks to Two Hours Traffic about their new album Foolish Blood. Their Canadian Musicfest appearance is March 21 at Lee’s Palace.

Exclaim has the new video from Woodpigeon’s just-released Thumbtacks & Glue.

Video: Woodpigeon – “Red Rover, Red Rover”

Kathleen Edwards has released a new video from last year’s Voyageur.

Video: Kathleen Edwards – “Chameleon/Comedian”

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan talk to Spinner about what they’ve got planned for their next album.

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Violent Youth

This Crystal Castles album stream was brought to you by the letter “C” and the number (III)

Photo By Marc PannozzoMarc PannozzoIt’s true that Crystal Castles had to push the release of their third album (III) back a week from this past Tuesday to next, but they only barely needed the extra time. The record went up as an advance stream earlier this week at MuchMusic, offering further evidence that the Toronto duo of Alice Glass and Ethan Kath have come a long way since the glitchy, more spectacle than songcraft hype of their 2008 self-titled debut. (III) is still built on bent beats, shrieked vocals, and chopped-up synths, but is far less confrontational, far more melodic and sophisticated, and is arguably more about something – talking points around the record are decidedly social-political – than just acting out. And you can still dance to it like a spaz.

Pitchfork has an interview with the duo. It went better than The Village Voice’s.

MP3: Crystal Castles – “Wrath Of God”
MP3: Crystal Castles – “Plague”
Stream: Crystal Castles / (III)

The 405 meets Japandroids, back in town at The Phoenix on December 11.

Blurt and The Georgia Straight meet METZ.

PS I Love You have released a new video from Death Dreams, and CBC Music has both an interview and video featurette on the making of the clip.

Video: PS I Love You – “Saskatoon”

The Alternate Side has a session, and Beatroute and The Santa Cruz Sentinel interviews with Diamond Rings, back home for a show at The Mod Club on November 29.

The Province, The Globe & Mail, Beatroute talks Metric, headlining the Air Canada Centre on November 24.

Billboard and Beatroute have features on Stars, who are opening up that Metric show at the ACC.

Evening Hymns are giving away an EP of live recordings made on their recent European tour via Facebook; warning – you may have to “like” them. Forewarned. They play The Church Of The Redeemer on December 15.

Daphni have released a video from Jiaolong.

Video: Daphni – “Ahora”

DIY talks to Chains Of Love.

Brasstronaut have released a new video from their latest record Mean Sun.

Video: Brasstronaut – “Mean Sun”

Poster boys for, “never believe us when we say we’re breaking up again”, The Lowest Of the Low are the latest Canadian institutions who’ll be helping The Horseshoe turn 65, setting up shop at the bar for two nights, December 19 and 20, tickets $26.50 in advance.

MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “Bleed A Little While Tonight”

DIY talked to Damian, Jonah, and Sandy of Fucked Up prior to this year’s Polaris Prize gala, while CBC Music gets Mike Haliechuk to talk about his writing process for the band. They play The Great Hall tonight for the first installment of Long Winter.

The Vancouver Sun, Georgia Straight, Beatroute chats with A.C. Newman.

DIY has a video session with Patrick Watson. He plays Massey Hall on December 6.

Beatroute and The Vancouver Sun chat with Rose Cousins.

DIY has an interview with Kathleen Edwards.

Exclaim have got a stream of Have Not Been The Same, the compilation of Canadian indie rock rarities from the likes of Sloan, Weeping Tile, and Doughboys, and companion to Have Not Been The Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985-1995, due out next week.

Stream: various artists / Have Not Been The Same