Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘Kathryn Calder’

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

New House

Hear the (very near) future of Canadian music today, featuring Diana

Photo By Laurie KangLaurie KangA disproportionate number of intriguing Canadian indie releases scheduled for the 20th of August means a disproportionate number of intriguing Canadian indie advance streams the week prior to the 20th of August. And perhaps the most intriguing of these is Perpetual Surrender, the debut album from Toronto’s Diana, an outfit that barely existed a year ago and only started to gather notice locally last Fall, thanks to their connections to Destroyer – keyboardist/saxophonist Joseph Shabason was part of the Kaputt band – and Army Girls – frontwoman Carmen Elle’s main gig prior to this.

But clearly the time is right for ’80s-vintage, soft-focus synth-pop that sounds simultaneously luxurious and dissatisfied because Diana (sorry, won’t indulge the all-caps) are making impressive waves both at home and abroad and signing to esteemed label Jagjaguwar for the latter territories. They’ve opened for Fucked Up and Tegan & Sara, and went from being the undercard on one of the hottest shows at CMF to themselves being one of the big draws at NXNE. And while I will confess to feeling a slight bit of disappointment in Perpetual Surrender, that’s only because it delivers exactly what Diana has promised, and not anything more. That should be more than enough for most, though, and if Diana turn out to be Toronto’s new musical ambassadors to the world for the next while, hey – I’m okay with that.

Perpetual Surrender is streaming now at Pitchfork. They play The Great Hall on September 26.

MP3: Diana – “Born Again”
Stream: Diana / Perpetual Surrender

Just as predicted, Braids have made their new record Flourish//Perish available to stream ahead of its release next week, also via Pitchfork. And also as predicted, I’m enjoying it considerably more than I did their debut, so that’s something. Exclaim has an interview with Raphaelle Standell-Preston about the departure of keyboardist Katie Lee; they’re this month’s cover story, which should be online soon. And those attending their November 10 show originally scheduled for BLK BOX should note that it has moved upstairs and will now take place in The Great Hall proper.

Stream: Braids / Flourish//Perish

Pitchfork didn’t get the advance stream of Sarah Neufeld’s solo debut Hero Brother, though – that went to The Quietus. Exclaim talks to Neufeld about work outside Arcade Fire and she’s playing guest blogger at Elle this month, offering thoughts on touring, yoga, and other stuff. She plays The Drake Undergound on August 22.

MP3: Sarah Neufeld – “Hero Brother”
Stream: Sarah Neufeld / Hero Brother

Murray Lightburn has doubled down on Exclaim to get the word out on his solo debut Mass:Light; they’ve got both an interview feature on the Dears frontman but also the complete album stream.

MP3: Murray Lightburn – “Motherfuckers”
Stream: Murray Lightburn / Mass:Light

CBC Music talks to Kathryn Calder about A Matter Of Time, the documentary film about ALS at which she and her mother are at the centre, as well as what’s going on with her next solo record and the new New Pornographers album. She should be with the Pornos when they play the CNE on August 17.

The Georgia Straight and Beatroute interview Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz. They play Wrongbar on September 17.

The Irish Examiner talks to Katie Stelmanis of Austra about life on the road. She leads them into The Phoenix on September 27.

If you thought The Polish Combatants Hall was an awfully small room for Basia Bulat to mark the October 1 release of her new record Tall Tall Shadow, you’d be correct. An October 11 show has been added to the previously announced October 10 date, tickets for both are $20.

Stream: Basia Bulat – “Tall Tall Shadow”

Seeing as how in recent years, Great Lake Swimmers has ceased being a straight-up alias for frontman Tony Dekker and become a proper band, it makes sense that he might seek to go solo. And so he has, announcing an October 8 release date for his first record under his own name and performed entirely by himself, Prayer Of The Woods. Exclaim has details.

Relix has a video session with Hayden.

Gold & Youth play a video session for Exclaim.

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Do You Want To Die Together?

Stars want to sex you up on Spring tour. And also kill you.

Photo By Norman WongNorman WongConsidering their fanbases intersect pretty heavily, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to think that Stars’ Autumn jaunt supporting Metric across Canada’s finest arenas would constitute the bulk of their touring in support of their latest effort The North. Not unreasonable, but also incorrect.

Following forays to Europe and Australasia this Winter, Stars will embark on another transcontinental tour in the Spring with certain cities hosting a two-night stand that the band promise will be more than just repeated sets. They’ve dubbed these shows “Evenings Of Sex & Death” and will be plumbing their discographies for songs relating to each topic – not difficult, certainly – to create themed evenings. And if that means super-fans will want to attend both nights rather than just choose one or another, then all the better. Though let’s be honest, they would have anyways. Toronto plays host to one of the two-parters on March 20 and 21 at the Danforth Music Hall, with tickets for individual nights going for $29.50 a piece or $50 for both evenings. These go on sale this Saturday at 10AM.

Canada.com has an interview with Amy Millan.

MP3: Stars – “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”
MP3: Stars – “The Theory Of Relativity”

The Drake Hotel has released details of this year’s What’s In The Box Boxing Week concert series, which they’ve been doing since 2006 and sees five bands and/or DJs playing the Underground each night from December 26 to 30 with a modest $5 cover for all. There’s still some TBAs in the itinerary, but with names like July Talk, Born Ruffians frontman Luke Lalonde, Dusted, and Zeus in the mix, you know they’re going to be sold out regardless of who else gets added.

MP3: Zeus – “Anything You Want Dear”
MP3: Dusted – “(Into The) Atmosphere”
Stream: Luke Lalonde – “(Grand) Rhythmnals”
Video: July Talk – “Paper Girl”

Looking ahead to the new year, Basia Bulat – who will have a new record out in 2013 – will be performing at the January installment of the Art Gallery Of Ontario’s 1st Thursday monthly programme on January 3. If you’re not familiar with it – and I wasn’t until I went to this month’s – $10 gets you not only the show, but run of the AGO’s exhibits with the addition of impromptu dance clubs, taco bars, and drop-in life-drawing classes. It’s good fun, but know that it will sell out so advance tickets are recommended and people get quite dressed up for it. Except for the ones who are naked.

MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – who incidentally played this month’s 1st Thursday – will be at The Garrison on January 18, part of a compact Ontario tour. Dazed & Confused has an interview with band principals Alaska and Ruby.

Video: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – “Hoshi Neko”

Fucked Up have squeezed another video out of David Comes To Life. They headline their Long Winter show at The Great Hall on Friday and will also open up the Alexisonfire farewell show at The Sound Academy on December 27.

Video: Fucked Up – “Inside A Frame”

DIY has details on the European release of Woodpigeon’s new album Thumbtacks & Glue, which is perhaps fitting since Mark Hamilton is now an Austria-residing ex-pat. It’s out February 25 over there, and should be released around then in Canada via Boompa. You can stream one of the new songs right now. Update: Under The Radar confirms February 26 as the North American release and has another new track to download.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Red Rover, Red Rover”
Stream: Woodpigeon – “Sufferin’ Suckatash”

PEI power-poppers Two Hours Traffic have announced details of their next album, entitled Foolish Blood and due out February 19. Head over to Exclaim for details and stream the first single below.

Stream: Two Hours Traffic – “Last Star”

Chains Of Love have made a single from their forthcoming second album – now revealed to be called Misery Makers and due out in the Spring – available to download.

MP3: Chains Of Love – “Pretend”

Beatroute and The Chicago Tribune talk to Japandroids.

The Line Of Best Fit has released this year’s holiday edition of their Oh! Canada compilation – or Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada – for free download, featuring holiday-themed original songs from the likes of The Wilderness Of Manitoba, The Acorn, and Del Bel amongst many others. One of those others being Kathryn Calder, who has upped the ante with a video for her contribution, which is intended as a fundraiser for Plan Canada’s Because I Am A Girl charity – read Calder’s message for the video at The Line Of Best Fit.

Video: Kathryn Calder – “Little Ones”

And whilst talking about charitable Christmas compilations, Zunior has assembled a tribute album to surf rock heroes The Ventures’ 1965 release The Ventures Christmas Album, featuring names like Sister and Super Friendz. All proceeds from the comp will go to The Daily Bread Food Bank.

And if you hadn’t taken a boo yet, the first batch of names who will be in town from March 19 to 24 for Canadian Musicfest were rolled out last week. Putting aside the big names like Nick Cave and Rihanna who clearly are not in town for Canadian Musicfest but will be admitting approximately one lucky wristband holder for marketing purposes, I look forward to seeing acts like… ok I’ll get back to you.

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Laura Palmer's Prom

No one tell Paper Bag Records that the traditional 10th anniversary gift isn’t three nights of shows

Photo via FacebookFacebookCustom dictates that for tenth anniversaries, the traditional gift is something made from tin and the modern equivalent is aluminum. Or diamond. How on earth do you get from tin to diamond? Happily, Toronto’s Paper Bag Records pays no attention to such convention and to mark their tenth year of releasing great music from both Canada and abroad, they’ve opted to put together three nights of shows at The Great Hall from September 27 to 29 and featuring the best of their current roster as well as a surprise and welcome return – You Say Party.

The Vancouver dance-rock band were riding high on their third album, 2009’s XXXX, when their drummer Devon Clifford suddenly and tragically died onstage in April 2010. They soldiered on for another year and then, promotional duties done, went on indefinite hiatus – a hiatus that would last a year and a half, as they state on their website, “Over the course of the last year, we came to realize a simple truth: that the four of us missed making music together”. Their appearance on the third night of the PBR anniversary shows will mark their first step back and as a four-piece, reconfiguring their old songs to fit and presumably crafting new ones.

Their return will surely be a highlight of that third night, which also features Young Galaxy, The Luyas, and a special guest that you probably don’t need to do too much thinking to guess who it will but all three evenings are pretty stacked. Thursday night features Elliott Brood, Born Ruffians, Woodhands, and The Acorn and Friday brings in The Rural Alberta Advantage, Cuff The Duke, PS I Love You, and Slim Twig.

Tickets for each night are $25 and a three-day pass comes in at $60, on sale now. The Great Hall isn’t that big so if you’re thinking this is something you should be at, turning thought into action soon is recommended.

MP3: The Acorn – “Restoration”
MP3: Born Ruffians – “Sole Brother”
MP3: Cuff The Duke – “Standing On The Edge”
MP3: Elliott Brood – “Northern Air”
MP3: The Luyas – “Too Beautiful To Work”
MP3: PS I Love You – “2012”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”
MP3: Slim Twig – “Young Hussies”
MP3: Woodhands – “Dissembler”
MP3: You Say Party! – “Laura Palmer’s Prom”
MP3: Young Galaxy – “Peripheral Visionaries”

Under The Radar chats with Torq Campbell of Stars, who released their first albums on Paper Bag and will put their sixth album North out on September 4. They’ve made a new track from said record available to stream and will be at the Air Canada Centre on November 14 supporting Metric.

Stream: Stars – “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”

The New York Times has a feature piece on Purity Ring, whose much-anticipated debut Shrines is out this week and who’ve made another track from it available to download.

MP3: Purity Ring – “Belispeak”

Damian Abraham of Fucked Up rattles off his favourite records of the past two decades for CBC Music. They’re at Historic Fort York on September 9 as part of Riot Fest.

Melancholy & The Infinite Shadness is the name of a new mixtape from Shad that you need in your life. Get it for free.

ZIP: Shad / Melancholoy & The Infinite Shadness

The Georgia Straight and The Victoria Times-Colonist talks to Kathryn Calder.

CBC Music has five tracks to preview for the forthcoming live Dears album Never Destroy Us, due out this Fall.

Patrick Watson gives Spinner his thoughts on and ambitions for the music video medium; he also chats with Vermont’s Seven Days. He’s at Massey Hall on December 6.

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Celebration Rock

Japandroids and Cadence Weapon at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThere’s a point in the arc of the breakout band where long-time fans who’ve supported and encouraged the artist through those early days find themselves in the odd position of rubbing elbows not with the faithful but newbs and tourists, interested not in hearing the songs that soundtracked crucial points in their life but that one tune they heard on the radio. For fans of Vancouver duo Japandroids, that time has come and for those in Toronto, that specific moment was Saturday night where on the strength of their second album Celebration Rock, they not only proved they could play clubs the size of Lee’s Palace, but jam it to the gills. And I report on this not as one of those die-hards but one of the newbs.

It wasn’t quite the top-40 scenario sketched out above, but it is true that while I didn’t care for the duo’s 2009 debut Post-Nothing, I was wholly and unexpectedly taken with Celebration Rock and its righteous classic rockism. And I was hardly the only one as the band’s story has turned from having almost called it quits prior to making this record into being one of the most talked-about rock bands of the moment, to say nothing of a spot on the 2012 Polaris Prize longlist with more than reasonable chances of making the short. Yeah, they’re having a pretty good year.

And if they needed someone to discuss the spotlight with, then they could do worse than their tourmate Rollie Pemberton, aka Cadence Weapon, who had himself made the Polaris long list with his third album Hope In Dirt City and who had previously shortlisted with his 2005 debut Breaking Kayfabe. The bill had just completed tours together in the UK and US and as Japandroids guitarist explained as he took the mic before their set, he’d taken to introducing Cadence Weapon to their audience as a way of explaining why a crowd who’d come to see a white noise rock band was about to be warmed up by a hip-hop artist. He did, however, also acknowledge that this was their first show together in Canada and that Cadence Weapon probably didn’t need any hype man in his home country; indeed, to hear Pemberton tell it on Dirt City, he “don’t need a fuckin’ hype man” at all.

In any case, Pemberton performed as though he was thrilled to be playing to audiences where he didn’t necessarily have to justify his presence. His set was part performance, part conversation where he would offer some backstory, some anecdote or otherwise just chat between songs – good for engagement, not so great for pacing or keeping the momentum going. It did get going though, thanks to the crowd getting more and more into it as the show progressed, and while the spartan beats that work well on the Dirt City recordings sounded a bit thin in the live setting, that was more than offset by the amount of energy and expression that Pemberton threw into the performance.

Building momentum wasn’t any kind of problem for Japandroids’ set. Though some have cited Celebration Rock‘s unrelenting pace as a shortcoming – not unreasonably – it was nothing but a positive for their live show, as after another short introduction by King, he and drummer David Prowse – not David Prowse – burst out of the gates with “The Boys Are Leaving Town” and basically didn’t let up with the fist pumping adrenaline or hand clapping anthemicism for the next 80 minutes or so. This was my first Japandroids show ever – see above about newbiness – and even though I’d seen two-piece acts before, the massiveness of their sound was really impressive. The dual Fender Twins/Marshall full stack/Ampeg SVT backline that King plugs his Telecaster into sound massive and also looks it – perfect for doing guitar hero poses in front of, particularly when you’ve got a fan situated sidestage providing windswept hair effects (and cooling things off, of course) to go with the Springsteen-approved white button-down and blue jeans look.

You couldn’t escape the Springsteen-ness of the music, either. Though the older material still sounded a bit generic to my ears, the Celebration Rock stuff translated as well from record to stage as impressively as you could hope, particularly with hundreds of fans singing along. Sweaty and rank fans, certainly – I had to flee their churning mosh pit after four songs – but absolutely devout and unquestionably enthusiastic. And young. Their new record may be a celebration of rock but it’s also a celebration of youth, and I can appreciate how while it just sounds like a great rock record to me, it can connect on a much deeper level to their demographic. It was quite something see; I just didn’t need to be in the middle of it anymore.

If his emcee role earlier in the evening wasn’t a hint, Brian King made it clear pretty quickly he liked to talk to the audience when he wasn’t rocking their faces off, explaining the songs, recounting tour stories, and thanking the fans. You definitely got the sense that he wasn’t taking their recent successes for granted and was genuinely grateful for it all; I’ve little doubt that this is going to be a momentous couple years for the duo as the record propels them forward – it’s good to see that they’re going into this with the right attitude.

It was amusing to hear him call album closer, “Continuous Thunder” a “slow jam” but I suppose that relative to most everything else in their repertoire, it was the thoughtful, contemplative mid-tempo number. They closed with their cover of The Gun Club’s “For The Love Of Ivy”, warning in advance that there would be no encore as they intended to give it their all. The same could have been said about their entire show and no, they weren’t kidding. Intense.

The National Post was also on hand for a review. The double bill has rightfully been leaving quite a trail of press clippings in their wake. There’s Japandroids features at The Phoenix, Denver Westword, Post City, Vulture, The Montreal Mirror, Cleveland.com, and The New York Times while Pemberton talks to The AV Club, The Grid, The Winnipeg Free Press, The National Post (who also take him shopping in Toronto), The Montreal Gazette, and The Edmonton Journal.

Photos: Japandroids, Cadence Weapon @ Lee’s Palace – June 23, 2012
MP3: Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built”
MP3: Japandroids – “Young Hearts Spark Fire”
MP3: Japandroids – “Wet Hair”
MP3: Japandroids – “Heavenward Grand Prix”
MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Conditioning”
MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Real Estate”
Video: Cadence Weapon – “Get On Down”
Video: Cadence Weapon – “Conditioning”
Video: Cadence Weapon – “Real Estate”
Video: Cadence Weapon – “Sharks”

Billboard talks to Neil Young and director Jonathan Demme about the Neil Young: Journeys documentary that’s coming out June 29. Young leads Crazy Horse into the ACC on November 24.

And just announced as openers for that Neil Young show and others on the tour – ladies and gentlemen, The Sadies.

MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”

Over at The National Post, Nils Edenloff of The Rural Alberta Advantage explains why opening up for The Tragically Hip at Burl’s Creek on Canada Day next weekend is such a big deal for him. He also talks to The Barrie Advance about the show.

Ragged Gold, the debut album from Guelph disco-pop brother act The Magic is out this week and available to stream in its entirety, along with track-by-track band annotations at DIY. They’re opening up for Hot Chip at The Sound Academy on July 15 and will play their own show at The Theatre Centre on August 10 as part of Summerworks.

MP3: The Magic – “Door To Door”
Stream: The Magic / Ragged Gold

Edmonton’s Purity Ring have released another taste of their forthcoming debut Shrines. They’re at The Music Hall on July 6 supporting Dirty Projectors and are featured by The National Post and Spinner.

MP3: Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”

Macleans has posted the full Q&A of their interview with Don Pyle of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, whose reunion hits Lee’s Palace on July 14, and Exclaim has a video of one of their comeback gigs at St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club.

MP3: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – “13”

DIY has a video session with and aux.tv some video commentary from Al Spx of Cold Specks. She leads her band into The Great Hall on August 8.

Opening up that show is Snowblink and they’ll be previewing material from their just-confirmed new album Inner Classics. It’s due out September 11 and details on the release can be found at Exclaim, and a first track can be downloaded below.

MP3: Snowblink – “Black & White Mountain”

Each Note Secure chats with Great Lake Swimmers, opening up for Blue Rodeo at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 20.

Stars have revealed details of their next album – it will be called The North, be out September 4, and at least one song will sound like this. As for details of their next tour…

MP3: Stars – “The Theory Of Relativity”

…They will be hooking up with Metric for a cross-Canada tour that brings them to the Air Canada Centre on November 24. Not quite stadium love, but arena ain’t bad. The Globe & Mail and eMusic have feature pieces on the band and DIY and The Line Of Best Fit chip in video sessions. And another track from Synthetica has been made available to download.

MP3: Metric – “Clone”
MP3: Metric – “Artificial Nocturne”

Spinner gets a preview on the visual and audio direction that Diamond Rings will be taking with his second album; a video for the first single from it was just released.

Video: Diamond Rings – “I’m Just Me”

The Grid chatted with Dan Bejar of Destroyer ahead of last weekend’s show at The Opera House.

Chains Of Love have released a new video from Strange Grey Days and if you head over to Nylon, you can grab another track from the album to download. Note that it’s uncompressed so have some disk space open…

AIFF: Chains Of Love – “Mistake Lover”
Video: Chains Of Love – “He’s Leaving With Me”

Daytrotter has a session with Kathryn Calder.

CBC Music solicits PS I Love You frontman Paul Saulnier’s five favourite songs of the last 20 years.

The Take chats with The Elwins.

Friday, June 15th, 2012

A Star Over Pureland

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan and 39 other artists are your 2012 Polaris Music Prize long list

Photo By Derrick BelchamDerrick BelchamIt figures that the first year that I would have been able to actually attend the long-list unveiling for the Polaris Music Prize, they up and move it from its usual home atop the Drake clear across the country to give Vancouver a taste of what the grand unveiling of the 40 albums selected as the top musical achievements in Canada over the past 12 months is like. But that’s alright because as it turns out, this was also the first year that I don’t need to make any changes to my ballot as all five of the records I submitted have made it onto the long list so unless I have some massive change of heart about which record is more artistically achieving than another, my role in this year’s Polaris is done.

Which is a surprise because at the start of this year’s eligibility period, I’d have only been able to predict one – maybe two – of my nominations. One of them I’d have sworn I’d never get behind and one I’d never even heard of. And yet. That said, the long list itself is simultaneously one of the most varied in recent memory, from a stylistic and profile point of view, and also one of the most predictable if you’ve been privy to the internal discussions of the 200+ jurors (or at least the ones who participate in the Google group). In any case, nows the time for forty artists to enjoy their time in the large-ish spotlight, send out press releases and update their Wikipedia pages; the short list is announced on July 17 and that, I’m far less confident in my ability to predict. Then, come September 24, there will only be one.

And as I do every year, here are what made my final ballot and why. There was more indecision and last-minute jockeying than there usually is, but I’m pretty comfortable with my picks and also with the fact that two of my three runners-up also made the long list. What can I say, this was just the year that I was wholly in sync with the zeitgeist or something.

1. Fucked Up / David Comes To Life
As with Arcade Fire’s eventual champion The Suburbs last year, this one felt like a no-brainer for the number one slot if for no other reason than it aspired to more, artistically, than most of its peers and arguably succeeded far more than it fell short. Certainly, questions abound: Does the rock opera narrative hold up? Is it hardcore anymore? Will this be the year an artist finally repeats as Polaris champ? To these questions, I have no answer, but I do know this: those guitar riffs friggin’ shoot for the moon.
MP3: Fucked Up – “The Other Shoe”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Ship Of Fools”
MP3: Fucked Up – “A Little Death”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”
Video: Fucked Up – “Turn The Season”
Video: Fucked Up – “The Other Shoe”
Video: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”

2. Yamantaka//Sonic Titan / YT//ST
I fully expected to hate this band and this record. I mean, how much more pretentious can you get than a bio like, “the pan-Asian cultural collective, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan has crafted a debut LP that sets new standards for the creative heights and satisfactions of genre fusion. They call it Noh-Wave”. And yet that may very well be what they’ve done. Within it’s barely-qualifying seven tracks (really six) and 30 minutes, there’s incredibly deft moves through rock, metal, no-wave, and jazz, all with a genuine Eastern flavour that’s more than just affectation; by rights, it should collapse under the weight of its conceit but instead it soars. It’s operatic, metallic, exotic, and fantastic.
Video: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – “Hoshi Neko”
Stream: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan / YT//ST

3. Bry Webb / Provider
Never the biggest Constantines fan, I didn’t have much in the way of expectations of their frontman’s solo career, and with its low-key production and ruminations on age and family and life, Provider doesn’t seem like it’s necessarily expecting you to expect much from it. And yet it’s an unquestionably powerful and resonant work, with Webb’s rich, rasp of a voice proving to be just as effective – if not more – in a conversational tone as it was as a defiant bark.
MP3: Bry Webb – “Rivers Of Gold”

4. Patrick Watson / Adventures In Your Own Backyard
I will refer you back to this post in order to fully appreciate how remarkable I must think Adventures is for it to be on my ballot. And really, he’s not doing anything substantially different than he’s done on his earlier records – elegantly arranged and executed art-pop that’s content to just be lovely. And that he’s dialed down the fussiness a bit and dialed up the beauty a lot has apparently been enough to win me right over.
MP3: Patrick Watson – “Words In The Fire”
MP3: Patrick Watson – “Into Giants”
Video: Patrick Watson – “Into Giants”

5. Kathryn Calder / Bright & Vivid
I liked Calder’s first record a lot and loved her second, and yet was reluctant for a long while to put it on my ballot. Why? Because it’s pop music – pure and simple – without any particular stylistic angle or backstory, and pure pop is frequently dismissed or denigrated for aspiring to nothing more than creating indelible, earwormy melodies. Well you know what? That’s an incredibly hard thing to do, and to do it as well as Calder does on just her second time out? That deserves recognition.
MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Who Are You”
Video: Kathryn Calder – “Turn A Light On”
Video: Kathryn Calder – “Who Are You”

Plants & Animals have released a new video from The End Of That. Their NXNE schedule puts them at Yonge-Dundas Square tonight at 8:30PM for a free show.

Video: Plants & Animals – “H.C.”

NOW and The Ottawa Citizen talk to Yamantaka//Sonic Titan as they gear up for NXNE; they’ll be at The Garrison tonight at 12AM, will play an in-store at Sonic Boom on Saturday at 3PM and if you’re still up and about late Saturday night, maybe you’ll need a soundtrack for some nachos…

Toronto’s METZ – who have been fixtures around the city seemingly forever – have finally announced details of their debut full-length, which is still untitled but will be out on October 9 via Sub Pop. They talk to Exclaim about it, and will be at Wrongbar tonight and The Phoenix opening for Archers Of Loaf tomorrow.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian, City Arts, Denver Westword, Washington City Paper, Willamette Weekly, The Phoenix New Times, and Vice discover Destroyer’s Dan Bejar isn’t so media-averse after all. He’s at The Opera House on June 23.

Consequence Of Sound and Spin have features on Japandroids, in town at Lee’s Palace on June 23.

Reg Vermue has been pretty busy in the guise of Regina The Gentlelady in Light Fires, but Gentleman Reg is not being neglected; Exclaim reports that Reg will be releasing a new album entitled Leisure Life as a series of three digital EPs, the first arriving July 3 and all of which will be collected in physical form in the Fall. The first track from the collection has been made available to stream.

Stream: Gentleman Reg – “Waiting Around For Gold”

Basia Bulat will be opening up for Andrew Bird at Echo Beach on July 19.

MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”

CBC Music asks Bry Webb to name his five favourite records of the last 20 years; The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Uptown, and Regina Leader-Post. Webb plays The Theatre Centre on August 18 as part of the Summerworks festival, the lineup of which was just announced this week and also features the likes of Evening Hymns and Buck 65 in special performances that promise to better integrate the theatrical side of the festival; should be interesting. Dates and performer information can be had at Exclaim.

The National Post talks to Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers; they’re opening up for Blue Rodeo at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 18.

Exclaim, eMusic, National Post, and Spinner have features on Metric and The Alternate Side a video session to mark the release of Synthetica. The band have a new video from it as well.

Video: Metric – “Youth Without Youth”

PS I Love You have released another video in their Paper Bag Sessions series. The Halifax Chronicle-Herald and McMaster Silhouette have interviews.

Video: PS I Love You – “Death Dreams Pt 1 & 2”

Spin talks to Spencer Krug about the new Moonface record With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery, from which a new video has just been released.

Video: Moonface – “Faraway Lightning”

Macleans investigates why John K Samson is so popular in Germany. Check the Hasselhoff jokes, people. Just don’t.