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Posts Tagged ‘Killers’

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Costume Characters Face Dangers In The Workplace

Mark Eitzel doesn’t want to be a Stranger

Photo By Cynthia WoodCynthia WoodA lot’s happened with Mark Eitzel since he last set foot on a Toronto stage. That would have been back in April 2008, when he was leading the reunited American Music Club on tour in support of their second album of the 21st century, The Golden Age. The American Music Club machine slowly wound down again and was officially declared on indefinite hiatus again by Eitzel last Fall, and he also released a couple more solo records in that time: Klamath in 2009 and Brannan Street the following year, both low-key in both presentation and distribution. Oh, and last Spring he had a heart attack (but is okay now).

But as has been the pattern over a career that has swung from the cultiest of cult artists to getting a modicum of the respect that his songwriting talent deserves, Eitzel again appears ready to step a little more into the spotlight. His new solo record Don’t Be A Stranger is coming out on Merge, who rightly believed those two AMC reunion albums deserved to be shepherded into the world, and Eitzel is undertaking what he’s dubbed “The Warm Gentle Rain Tour”, which will traverse North America and bring him to the Rivoli in Toronto on November 28, tickets for that $15.50 in advance. It’s hard to say what form the show will take, be it solo or with a band, but when I last saw Eitzel at SXSW 2011, it was just him and a keyboardist and he was singing AMC songs lounge/cabaret-style, so it could really be anything. What is certain is that it will be hilarious, depressing, and excellent.

After all – the promotional campaign for the record involves Eitzel getting career and performance advice from the experts on video; there’s clips of him consulting with Lady Gaga’s make-up artist Billy B. and at Gawker, you can watch him discuss his lyrics with comedienne Nadya Ginsburg. Yes, hilarity ensues.

Stream: Mark Eitzel – “I Love You But You’re Dead”

GQ, The Chicago Tribune, and Spinner talk to Bob Mould about what has turned out to be the year of the resurgence of Bob Mould.

Gothamist and Newsday talk to Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs, finally bringing their reunion tour to The Phoenix on October 3.

Consequence Of Sound, DIY, NOW, and Clash all talk to members of Dinosaur Jr about their new record I Bet On Sky. They’re at Lee’s Palace on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week.

Exclaim has specifics on the third Guided By Voices album of 2012, The Bears For Lunch, out November 13.

Salon, NPR, and Stereogum talk to Aimee Mann about hew new record Charmer, from which she’s just released a new video that has a few guest stars you might recognize and is a shot-for-shot remake of a video you might recognize if you’ve been following Aimee’s career from the outset… Don’t worry, I’ll help you out. You’re welcome. Aimee Mann is at The Danforth Music Hall on November 6.

Video: Aimee Mann – “Labrador”
Video: ‘Til Tuesday – “Voices Carry”

DIY, NOW, The Quietus, and Billboard all want to talk Shields with Grizzly Bear. They’re at Massey Hall on September 26.

Cat Power goes blonde zombie-fighting road warrior in the first video from Sun. Of course. She’s at The Kool Haus on October 20.

Video: Cat Power – “Cherokee”

The 405, DIY has a feature and The Line Of Best Fit a video session wtih Band Of Horses.

The Lab sends Saturday Night Live and Portlandia‘s Fred Armisen to interview St. Vincent, while The Montreal Gazette talks to both her and David Byrne. They’re at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre tomorrow night.

The AV Club talks to Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, and his right-hand guitarist Nels Cline will be at The Great Hall on November 2 as part of this year’s Sleepwalk Guitar Festival.

MP3: Nels Cline – “Don’t Threaten Me With Your Threats”

Dum Dum Girls are streaming their new EP End Of Daze over at Stereogum. It’s out next week, and Houston Press talks to Dee Dee about it.

MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Lord Knows”
Stream: Dum Dum Girls / End Of Daze

Titus Andronicus have unveiled the album art and first lyric video from their new record Local Business, coming October 22. See the art at Pitchfork and hear the first song from the new record below.

Lyric Video: Titus Andronicus – “In A Big City”

Trespassers William have released a video from their farewell compilation Cast.

Video: Trespassers William – “Believe Me”

Hospitality has released a new video from their self-titled debut.

Video: Hospitality – “Eighth Avenue”

NPR and Spoonfed chat with Calexico.

Check out the latest video from The Kills’ Blood Pressures.

Video: The Kills – “Wild Charms”

I speculated that The Killers’ show at the Sound Academy this weekend was a precursor to something bigger, and I was right. Las Vegas’ favourite sons return for a show at the Air Canada Centre on December 15, tickets ranging from $39.50 to $65.00.

Video: The Killers – “Runaways”

A Place To Bury Strangers have a new video from Worship.

Video: A Place To Bury Strangers – “Leaving Tomorrow”

Benjamin Gibbard – he’s only Ben when he’s in a band, apparently – discusses his solo album Other Lives with Stereogum. It’s out October 16 and he’s at The Danforth Music Hall a couple days earlier, on October 14.

Magnet welcomes Beachwood Sparks to their website editor’s chair with a Q&A.

You Me & Charlie interviews Josh Tillman of Father John Misty. He plays Lee’s Palace on October 27.

The Quietus interviews James Murphy.

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Human Being

Review of Cat Power’s Sun

Photo By Stefano GiovanniniStefano GiovanniniIt seems counter-intuitive to not look forward to hearing an artist’s first album of new material in half a decade – the follow-up to arguably her best work, no less – but then things are rarely straightforward when you’re talking about Cat Power. With all respect to those who’d bestow the honour on You Are Free or Moon Pix, but The Greatest was as good as its title as far as I was concerned. It may not have been as musically adventurous or emotionally bare as some of her other works, but I found the document of an artist trying something new with the Memphis soul style and sounding so in her element irresistible.

So why fear for the follow-up? Well, there was 2008’s Jukebox, which took the aesthetic of The Greatest and applied it to a selection of classic songs and somehow ended up feeling utterly bloodless, with Chan Marshall seemingly falling into the diva trap of now being an impressive voice overemoting the words of others; it was like the feeling of comfort that permeated The Greatest had turned into complacency. Further, while the two shows I saw in 2006 in support of The Greatest were, with a few hiccups, outstanding shows that seemed to put Marshall’s reputation as a shaky live bet to bed, her appearance at the 2007 Rogers Picnic was uneven and uncomfortable and while she was certainly more together at Matador at 21 in 2010, that set didn’t really point to her leaving her Dirty Delta comfort zone anytime soon. In other words, my greatest fear for Sun, promised as far back as 2007 but only arriving next Tuesday, would that it would be an overworked, underwhelming rock’n’soul pastiche that showcased Marshall’s voice but shortchanged her songwriting. And I didn’t want to hear that happen.

Well as it turns out, there was nothing to fear. Nothing. At. All. Marshall’s soulful rasp is as rich as it ever was, but there’s little trace of the gospel-blues singer that she wore a little too well. Sun is a wildly eclectic record, and even those who’ve kept up with Cat Power through her various creative phases may be taken aback by the introduction of electronic textures, programmed beats, and even some autotuning effects, but no one would dare dismiss this as genre tourism. It’s more as if Cat Power has been captured through a prism and refracted into a spectrum of musical colours – perhaps new and unfamiliar when taken in bits, but all still very much parts of the whole.

As tempting as it would be to make the new sonic direction the story of the record, or dwell on the remarkable fact that it was not only self-produced but that Marshall played virtually every instrument on the record, to do so would be to not focus on the most crucial aspect of Sun and that the songs are fantastic. The frailties of her early work have given way to a swaggering confidence that permeates everything; Marshall is focused, confident, and not only willing to take on anything, but determined to succeed. A closer examination of the lyrics reveals as much emotional honesty as she’s ever offered – after all, you can’t raise the sun without casting some shadows – but the darkness only adds depth, it never defines. Sun is an astonishing statement from Chan Marshall that shows that rather than banish the demons of her earlier work as The Greatest might have inferred, she’s utterly made them her bitches and put them to work.

The New York Times, News.com.au, and Spin have feature pieces on Cat Power and NPR is streaming Sun ahead of its release next week. She plays The Kool Haus on October 20.

MP3: Cat Power – “Cherokee”
MP3: Cat Power – “Ruin”
Stream: Cat Power / Sun

Another stellar effort from a veteran performer out next week is Silver Age from Bob Mould; it’s also now available to stream along with an interview at Rolling Stone. The first video from said record also surfaced last week.

Video: Bob Mould – “The Descent”
Stream: Bob Mould / Silver Age

To mark the release of the Divine Fits debut long-player A Thing Called Divine Fits this week, there’s feature interviews with Britt Daniel and/or Dan Boeckner at Consequence Of Sound, The 405, Interview, 680 News, Seattle Weekly, Pitchfork, The AV Club, and The National Post. Divine Fits play Lee’s Palace on September 5.

Also out this week was Nocturne, the second album from Wild Nothing. Accompanying that were features at eMusic, The Fader, Clash, DIY, Austinist, The Line Of Best Fit, and Paste. They’re at The Great Hall on September 18.

A goodly number of show announcements to get through. We’ll start with The Killers, because statistically speaking some of you must be fans, just as some of your must be human and others dancer. Their new record Battle Born is out September 18 and they’re at The Sound Academy on September 22, tickets $54.50. That seems undersized for them so I figure this counts as the “intimate club gig” before they return in a few months at the arena level.

Video: The Killers – “Runaways”

Presumably having sorted themselves out following the departure of bassist Jen Turner, Here We Go Magic will be at The Garrison on September 23 as part of a tour support of their latest record A Different Ship. Tickets for that are $12.50 in advance. Spin has a feature on the band.

MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Casual”

Having been through for festivals and as support, Exitmusic finally have their own proper headlining show in support of their debut Passage. They’re at The Horseshoe on October 1, tickets $10.50.

MP3: Exitmusic – “The Sea”

Californian psych-poppers Woods will have a new record in Bend Beyond out on September 18, and they’d like to play some of it for you. Be at The Garrison on October 2 if you’ld like that too; tickets are $12.50 in advance.

MP3: Woods – “Wind Was The Wine”

There’s no measure by which this isn’t a strange tour, but it must make sense to someone. That’d be The Psychedelic Furs, The Lemonheads, and Juliana Hatfield, who will also be reprising her Ray-era bass duties in The Lemonheads. She’ll sort of have a new record to push in her self-titled cover album, a sort of companion piece to The Lemonheads’ last release, the all-cover Varshons. Wouldn’t it be weird if both their sets were all covers? Or maybe all Psychedelic Furs covers? Yeah I have no idea what this is, besides at The Danforth Music Hall on October 16. Ticket info still forthcoming.

Video: The Psychedelic Furs – “Love My Way”
Video: The Lemonheads – “It’s A Shame About Ray”
Video: Juliana Hatfield Three – “My Sister”

They are from Brooklyn, they are seventeen members strong, they are disco, they are Escort, their 2011 debut album was also Escort, I hear they were awesome at SXSW, and they’re at The Horseshoe on November 10. Tickets are $16.50 – that’s less than a dollar a band member!

MP3: Escort – “Starlight”

Yellow Ostrich are at The Garrison on November 12 in support of their second album Strange Land. $12 gets you in the door, full dates at Plug In Music.

MP3: Yellow Ostrich – “The Shakedown”

San Diego’s Pinback return with their first album in five years in Information Retrieved, and are touring in support. Said tour wraps up at Lee’s Palace on November 21, tickets $16.50.

MP3: Pinback – “From Nothing To Nowhere”

Rolling Stone has premiered the surprisingly dark new video from Bob Dylan’s forthcoming Tempest. It’s out September 11 and the man hits the Air Canada Centre on November 14.

Video: Bob Dylan – “Duquesne Whistle”

Exclaimtalks to Lou Barlow about the new Dinosaur Jr album I Bet On Sky, out September 18. They play three nights at Lee’s Palace from September 24 to 26.

The first video from Band Of Horses’ forthcoming Mirage Rock is now available to watch. It’s out September 18.

Video: Band Of Horses – “Knock Knock”

Stereogum chats with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. Their new record Transcendental Youth is out October 2, they play The Phoenix on October 20.

Benjamin Gibbard – you may know him as just Ben – has released the first sample of his forthcoming solo record Former Lives, out October 16. He plays The Danforth Music Hall on October 14.

MP3: Benjamin Gibbard – “Teardrop Windows”

Exclaim has details on a new release from Andrew Bird, a companion piece to this year’s Break It Yourself. Hands Of Glory is out October 30.

Sleigh Bells’ Reign Of Terror has yielded another new video.

Video: Sleigh Bells – “End Of The Line”

NPR welcomes Beachwood Sparks for a video session. LA Weekly also has a feature on the band.

The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, SF Weekly, The Pitch, Colorado Daily, and Boulder Weekly have interviews with Sharon Van Etten.

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Get Outta Town!

Photo ByLibi PedderSo – I’m currently in a weird sort of position where after a fairly hectic few weeks of wholly bloggable stuff, I’ve finally gotten a chance to take a breath and have realized that I have nothing to blog about. Which is not to say that there’s nothing worthwhile happening in music, just that I’ve not had the chance to listen to anything in the last while sufficiently that I feel compelled to write about it nor is anything especially newsworthy happening that I can run with (besides Chinese Democracy! November 23!).

And so, instead, I’ll tread water for a day and look ahead to next week, when I jet off to New York City for CMJ though not for CMJ. As previously mentioned, I am going to witness the North American debut of Lucky Soul, which just happens to be part of the CMJ Music Marathon. You may recall that their retro-pop-tacular debut The Great Unwanted was one of my top albums of last year and even a year and a half later, it remains an absolute delight. And considering how difficult it is for them to cross the pond, this is an opportunity not to be missed. They’re actually playing two shows – the official showcase on the 23rd at what is apparently a brand new venue called The Studio At Webster Hall and then a headlining show of their own the following evening at Joe’s Pub as presented by Music Snobbery. And, around these two must-see shows I’m hoping to squeeze in a few more – currently on the calendar I’ve got The Brother Kite at Lit on the 23rd (immediately following Lucky Soul’s show a few blocks away) and then Emmy The Great is apparently doing a day show of some sort at The Delancey on the Saturday.

If I can fit all that in, I will declare the weekend to be a triumph. Anything on top of that is gravy. I’m also hoping to squeeze in a bit of touristing whilst I’m there – the last time I was in New York a couple years back, I managed to hit most areas in Manhattan except for Soho and the Lower East Side. This time, excepting a midtown pilgrimage to B&H, I don’t expect to leave that area. Anything particularly noteworthy to see around there? This is probably the last trip of any sort I’m taking for a good long while, probably till SxSW in March, so I’d like to make the most of it.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “The Great Unwanted”
Video: Lucky Soul – “Lips Are Unhappy”
Video: Lucky Soul – “My Brittle Heart”
Video: Lucky Soul – “Add Your Light To Mine, Baby”
MySpace: Lucky Soul

Ex-Pipette Rosay – now just Rose Elinor Dougall – has made her first single as a solo artist available for grabsies. It’ll be released as an ultra-limited 7″ single on December 8. The Von Pip Musical Express has an interview with Dougall about going solo. Oh, and the new lineup of the Pipettes look a little like this.

MP3: Rose Elinor Dougall – “Another Version Of Pop Song”

Paste talks reunion with Simon Jones of The Verve. I finally picked up a copy of Forth this weekend – used, natch – and to my surprise it’s not nearly as weak as I’d been led to believe. Not a classic by any stretch and it definitely has a potent case of the meanders, but still pretty listenable if in a wallpaper-y way. It doesn’t hurt my ears, though if I never ever hear the phrase “A latte, double shot” used in a song lyric again, it’ll be too soon.

The Quietus considers a recent Jarvis Cocker lecture on the importance of songwriting and comes up with a list of the 20 worst lyrics ever committed to, um, voice? And not even Dylan or Morrissey escape unscathed.

Billy Bragg sings Woody Guthrie to a lobster puppet for the CBC at the ANTI blog. Why ask why?

NME reports that Franz Ferdinand will release their third album Tonight on January 27.

The Killers are at Massey Hall on November 18.

Drowned In Sound talks to Murray Lightburn of The Dears about the difficult birth of Missiles, out next Tuesday. And I should clarify something that was pointed out to me after I talked about the record a few weeks back – though the previous lineup of the band is obviously now dissolved, some of them did play on the new record. From the sounds of the interview, probably Patrick Krief, now plying his trade as Black Diamond Bay and, incidentally, playing a gig at the Annex Wreck Room tonight.

MP3: Patrick Krief – “Worries Are Over”

Centro-Matic have released a new video from the Dual Hawks double-record. Will Johnson is in town tonight at Lee’s Palace as a pinch-hitter guitarist in The New Year.

Video: Centro-Matic – “Rat Patrol & DJs”

As they’ve done the past few years, the Toronto Public Library is injecting some hot rock into the stacks with their Make Some Noise program, basically an invitation to turn a library – in this case the North York Central branch – into a rock venue. On November 15, they’ll host a free show featuring Slim Twig, Masia One, Winter Gloves and Gentleman Reg and according to Soundscapes, there’ll be some workshops the following week covering topics such as breaking into the music business and DIY show booking. Tickets for the show are available now, first-come first-serve at Soundscapes and certain Toronto Public Library branches. Details here.