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Posts Tagged ‘Kurt Vile’

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Echo Locate

Swearin’ are tourin’ and comin’ to town

Photo By Lance NelsonLance NelsonI won’t presume to have any insight into the relationship between Crutchfield sisters Katie and Allison, but it’s hard to imagine there isn’t at least a little competitiveness between the twins since they disbanded P.S. Eliot, the band they were in together, back in 2011 and re-emerged fronting Waxahatchee out of Philadelphia and Swearin’ in Brooklyn, respectively.

And while Katie pulled well ahead in the critical acclaim department earlier this year with the electrified folk sounds of Cerulean Salt, Allison is making a late-year run with Surfing Strange – a heady, hyper, and hooky slice of melodic punk-rock fuzz that recalls the likes of early Superchunk. Two excellent records that are similar enough to be “RIYL” for one another, but different enough to not have to choose sides.

In the battle of who’s coming to play Toronto first, though, Swearin’ wins. Though both acts spent most of the year on the road criss-crossing America and Europe – often together – a local date for Waxahatchee still hasn’t come together. Swearin’, however, have just announced a Winter tour that will bring them and their tunes to the cozy Parkdale basement we like to call The Shop Under Parts & Labour on March 14; ticket info still forthcoming.

Stereogum has an interview with Swearin’ while The San Francisco Examiner and Dots & Dashes profile Waxahatchee, who also play a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR.

And also worth noting is Great Thunder, a new project that brings Waxahatchee and Swearin’ together, but not in the sisterly way – instead, it pairs Katie Crutchfield with Swearin’ bassist Keith Spencer (who also plays in her band and is her boyfriend). They’ll release a double album in Groovy Kinda Love on December 10 and you can stream it below. As for the Crutchfield sisters together, they covered Grimes for Rookie back in May.

Stream: Swearin’ – “Watered Down”
Video: Swearin’ – “Gold In The Dust Sack”
Stream: Great Thunder / Groovy Kinda Love
Stream: Katie & Allison Crutchfield – “Oblivion”

A whole pile of other shows were announced yesterday, starting with Phosphorescent, who are taking advantage of the fact that their latest album Muchacho is popping up on – and topping – no shortage of year-end lists and have announced more Winter dates; they’ll be at The Mod Club on February 1, tickets $17.50. The Guardian also has an interview with Matthew Houck.

MP3: Phosphorescent – “Song For Zula”

It’s a trans-generational dose of Austin psychedelia as The Black Angels, who released Indigo Meadow back in April, team up with 13th Floor Elevator mastermind Roky Erickson, whose last album was the 2010 Okkervil River collab True Love Cast Out All Evil, for a Winter tour that stops in at The Phoenix on February 11. Tickets for that are $27.50.

MP3: The Black Angels – “Telephone”
Stream: Roky Erickson – “I Walked With A Zombie”

New Jersey electro-artist/producer Com Truise has announced the February 18 release of a new mini-album entitled Wave 1 – stream one of the songs below – and a Winter tour that comes to Wrongbar on February 12. Exclaim has full dates and release details.

Stream: Com Truise – “Declination”

Band Of Horses are setting out on an acoustic tour to coincide with the February 11 release of their unplugged Acoustic At The Ryman set, and will be at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on February 21, tickets $37.50 and $44.50 in advance.

MP3: Band Of Horses – “No One’s Gonna Love You”

With their first new album in three years – Wig Out At Jagbags – ready for release on January 7, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks are hitting the road with Philadelphia’s Disappears and will be at Lee’s Palace on February 22, tickets $26.50.

MP3: Disappears – “New Fast”
Lyric Video: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Lariat”

Xiu Xiu released their Nina Simone covers record Nina this week – stream it at USA Today – and have put together some Spring dates to support it. Look for them at The Garrison on March 9, tickets $10.

Video: Xiu Xiu – “You’d Be So Nice”
Stream: Xiu Xiu / Nina

Shearwater – who cover Xiu Xiu on their own new covers record Fellow Travelers – have announced their tourmates for their upcoming tour: On March 27 at The Horseshoe, they’ll be joined by Death Vessel, who are finally releasing a follow-up to 2008’s Nothing Is Precious Enough For Us in Island Intervals on February 25 – and Jesca Hoop, whose The House That Jack Built came out last year. Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater penned piece about the covers album for The Talkhouse.

Video: Jesca Hoop – “Ode To Banksy”
Stream: Death Vessel – “Ilsa Drown”

The War On Drugs have come clean on their new album, entitled Lost In The Dream and out March 18. You can stream a new song below, read an interview with Adam Granduciel at The Line Of Best Fit, and make plans around their Spring tour dates which include April 14 at The Horseshoe and/or April 15 at Lee’s Palace; probably not both. The band’s own website and PR says 14th at The ‘Shoe, so let’s circle that one. Update: It’s the Horseshoe, April 14, tickets $16.50.

Stream: The War On Drugs – “Red Eyes”

NPR has a video session with Darkside, who’re at Lee’s Palace on January 15.

Details are still vague, but The Line of Best Fit reports that the new St. Vincent album will be out on February 25.

Pitchfork has details on a new record from Brooklyn’s The Men; the optimistically-titled Tomorrow’s Hits comes out March 4.

Rolling Stone gets insight into the new Drive-By Truckers record, entitled English Oceans and coming March 4.

With this Fall’s Emancipated Hearts expressly called a mini-album, it’s technically accurate to call Dean Wareham’s forthcoming self-titled, Jim James-produced full-length his solo debut. It’s out March 11 and Consequence Of Sound has specifics.

Stereogum points out that The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have quietly rolled out a video for the title track of 2011’s Belong, serving as a pointed reminder that we’re well overdue for new material from them.

Video: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Belong”

Kurt Vile chats with Tone Deaf, Houston Press, and FasterLouder, and reacts to being named one of GQ‘s “Men Of The Year”.

The 405 and Metro Active have interviews with Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo.

NPR has a Tiny Desk Concert and Daytrotter a “stand behind whatever piece of furniture you like” session with The Dismemberment Plan.

Drowned In Sound meets Local Natives.

The AV Club gets a little more information from The Walkmen about their “extreme hiatus”, which begins after their show in Philadelphia tonight.

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

We Looked Like Giants

Death Cab For Cutie celebrate Transatlanticism‘s 10th with naked baby photos

Photo By Peter EllenbyPeter Ellenby2013 marks the tenth anniversary of all kinds of things – the US invasion of Iraq, Lost In Translation, the passing of both Johnny and June Carter Cash – but also the debut of a television show called The O.C. which hand to god I have never watched but know of because it catapulted one of my then-favourite bands in Death Cab For Cutie from bubbling-under buzz band into bona fide (indie-scale) stars. Well their endorsement, plus the momentum of Ben Gibbard’s other project The Postal Service, and also the release of the band’s most beloved album in Transatlanticism. I personally preferred its predecessor The Photo Album, but a generation of indie kids came of age to this record and so its decade anniversary is almost certainly making a lot of people feel really old right now; my world and welcome to it.

In any case, it’s a milestone that merits commemoration and the band’s former and spiritual home of Barsuk Records is doing so with the re-release of the album on double vinyl, after several years out of print, and as a bonus have released the original demos for the record alongside it. The set of song sketches comes as a download with the LP or can be purchased on its own. Both versions of the record are available to stream right now at NPR before being officially released next week on October 29.

Entertainment Weekly and Consequence of Sound have pieces on why the album endures, and if you’re more about living in the now than the past, Billboard reports that they’re back in the studio working on their next record.

MP3: Death Cab For Cutie – “Title and Registration”
Stream: Death Cab For Cutie / Transatlanticism 10th Anniversary Edition

Another tenth anniversary of a much sadder note came to pass this week; the passing of Elliott Smith a decade ago this week. Tributes abound online, but Pitchfork has assembled an impressive oral history of the songwriter’s career.

Spin has an advance stream of Widowspeak’s new EP The Swamps, which sees official release on October 29. They’re in town at The Silver Dollar on November 2.

Stream: Widowspeak / The Swamps

Paste talks to The Head & The Heart, in town for a show at the Danforth Music Hall on October 31.

Matablog has posted a new track from the forthcoming and inevitable deluxe edition of Kurt Vile’s last album Wakin’ On A Pretty Haze: Deluxe Edition (Post Haze), out November 19.

MP3: Kurt Vile – “Feel My Pain”

Tone Deaf chats with James McNew of Yo La Tengo. The deluxe edition of their latest album Fade comes out November 19.

Sub Pop is really emphasizing the “Pop” with the release of a Low/Shearwater split 7″ for Black Friday Record Store Day on November 29; the a-side will feature Low’s already-released Rihanna cover, while the b-side unveils Shearwater’s take on Frank Ocean. Proceeds go to charity, vinyl is limited to 3500 copies, and both tracks will be made available digitally.

Stream: Low – “Stay”

Pixies have released another video from their recent EP-1, which they’re using to justify their show at Massey Hall on January 15.

Video: Pixies – “Andro Queen”

Electronic duo Darkside have released a new video from Psychic; they’re at Lee’s Palace on January 15.

Video: Darkside – “Metatron”

Brooklyn’s Hospitality have announced a January 27 release date for their second album Trouble; check out a trailer for it and check out their 2012 self-titled debut if you don’t know why they’re a good band.

Trailer: Hospitality / Trouble

The reunited Dismemberment Plan continue to be a topic of discussion with MTV Hive, Stereogum, Paste, and The 405, and NYC Taper has posted a recording of their recent Terminal 5 show in New York.

Dean Wareham has released a video from his solo mini-album Emancipated Hearts.

Video: Dean Wareham – “Love Is Colder Than Death”

Jim James has put out another video from his solo record Regions Of Light and Sound Of God.

Video: Jim James – “State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)”

DIY talks to Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal.

Will Sheff of Okkervil River talks to The Guardian.

The Big Takeover and examiner.com interview Charlie Hilton of Blouse.

To celebrate their 20,000th Twitter follower, Superchunk have posted an acoustic version of “Breaking Down”, which appears fully electrified on their latest I Hate Music.

Stream: Superchunk – “Breaking Down” (acoustic)

Aquarium Drunkard interviews the Kadane/Johnson/Bazan-powered beast that is Overseas.

Monday, September 30th, 2013

The Silver Gymnasium

Okkervil River and Torres at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangEveryone’s heard the old adage about how life is like a river, ever-changing, and in the case of Austin’s Okkervil River, it’s especially apt. The faces that make up the band have changed repeatedly over the years – singer-songwriter Will Sheff being the only real constant over their 14-year existence – and they’ve had their share of stylistic and thematic shifts over that time, albeit while hewing closely to the path marked folk-rock. And so it’s fitting that following their most rangy and experimental album in 2011’s aptly-titled I Am Very Far, they’d return to their roots – or the river to its source – with The Silver Gymnasium.

After Far‘s short story songbook, Gymnasium returns to the overarching album theme with a literary angle built around the memoir, focusing on Sheff’s ’80s youth in the small town of Meriden, New Hampshire. With that shift comes a musical realignment of sorts, with the more darker, exploratory sonics of Far put aside for a strummier sound with synth accents, perhaps meant to reflect the radio pop of the era or just draw in more listeners; in either case, these are the most accessible-sounding tunes Okkervil has turned out, right alongside the Stage Names/Stand-Ins set. The material may not be of the strata – at this point, time may well show that the years spanning Black Sheep Boy and The Stage Names to be the band’s creative pinnacle – it’s a solid collection that reflects the Okkervil River that most of their fans know and love best. And with it, Okkervil returned to town on Saturday night for their first Toronto show since June 2011.

The support slot for the tour marked another achievement in a year of highlights for 22-year old Nashville-based newcomer Mackenzie Scott who, when onstage, answers to Torres. She self-released her self-titled debut in January and since then, with the help of endorsements from the likes of Sharon Van Etten, has gotten to the point where her presence on the bill constituted an actual draw. Fronting a powerful yet tasteful rhythm section, Scott’s set was built around distorted fingerpicking and raw, snarled vocals that reared up to feedback-laden, combat boot-stomping rock heights in the opening and closing numbers. Those who like their confessional singer-songwriter material with some teeth, both lyrically and musically, would be impressed.

A consequence of the earlier comment that Okkervil may have already hit their creative and critical peak a few albums back was the fact that this show was decidedly not sold out, but not being a buzz band doesn’t mean that your real fanbase is any less solid or devoted; so while those in attendance might have had a little more elbow room than in the past, their enthusiasm was hardly diminished. The Silver Gymnasium‘s one-two of “It Was My Season” and “On A Balcony” opened things up before giving way to a Black Sheep Boy‘s still-powerful “For Real” and “Black”, setting the tone for the rest of the set – a solid showing from the new record but plenty of attention to the back catalog, with only Down The River Of Golden Dreams being omitted entirely and with The Stage Names being leaned on for the show-stopping moments.

The current lineup of Okkervil, which underwent a sea change with the last record, sounded more cohesive than on the Far tour. Lead guitarist Lauren Gurgiolo’s style of guitar now better integrated into the songs in the way that it took Nels Cline a little bit to properly sound part of Wilco, and the sound of the band has adjusted accordingly with the focus alternating between Sheff’s vocals to Gurgiolo’s leads rather than the Okkervil orchestra as a whole, or maybe it just seemed this was as I was parked directly in Gurgiolo’s amp’s line of fire. Also in the “things that are different” department was Sheff’s taking the stage not in one of his signature sport coats but a leather jacket, now looking more the part of student than professor. The glasses still only lasted half the energetic and sweaty set, though, so reality wasn’t that altered. And though Jonathan Meiburg officially left the band five years ago, his vocal presence is still missed – particularly since his harmonies still appear on the records. It was a nice nod to the Okkervil of old, though, when mid-show the band left just Sheff and bassist Patrick Pestorius, the other longest-serving member of the band, to play “No Key, No Plan” acoustically.

The thing that struck me the most over the course of the show was how I’d forgotten how much I loved this band not that long ago. From 2005 to 2008 or so, they were one of the outfits in the heaviest rotation possible and somehow, unnoticed, they or I drifted away. And while those days probably aren’t coming back – despite said I would be thrilled if there was another masterpiece rattling around in Will Sheff’s head – this show was an hour-forty reminder of those times. And isn’t The Silver Gymnasium all about remembering days past?

Photos: Okkervil River, Torres @ The Phoenix – September 28, 2013
MP3: Okkervil River – “Wake And Be Fine”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Mermaid”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Lost Coastlines”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe”
MP3: Okkervil River – “The President’s Dead”
MP3: Okkervil River – “No Key, No Plan”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Black”
MP3: Okkervil River – “It Ends With A Fall”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Kansas City”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Listening To Otis Redding At Home During Christmas”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Red”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Westfall”
Stream: Torres – “Honey”
Video: Okkervil River – “Your Past Life As A Blast”
Video: Okkervil River – “Wake And Be Fine”
Video: Okkervil River – “Lost Coastlines”
Video: Okkervil River – “Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe”
Video: Okkervil River – “Girl In Port”
Video: Okkervil River – “For Real”

Stereogum have premiered a stream of a new Phantogram song, taken – as they’ve just revealed – from a new self-titled EP that will be out on September 30, which is to say today. Their second full-length is coming next year.

Stream: Phnatogram – “Celebrating Nothing”

Polar and Billboard have interviews with Cameron Mesirow of Glasser, whose new album Interiors comes out October 8 and is streaming at The Guardian. She plays The Drake Underground come October 13.

Stream: Glasser / Interiors

Billboard and Vulture talk to Sleigh Bells about their new record Bitter Rivals. It’s out October 8 and they play The Phoenix on November 13.

Dean Wareham has made available for preorder his new solo mini-album Emancipated Hearts, which will be out as a 10″ LP on October 15.

Interview talks to Mazzy Star, who have marked the release this week of their new record Seasons Of Your Day with a new video. They play The Danforth Music Hall on November 16.

Video: Mazzy Star – “California”

Though rumours that the current Guided By Voices reunion will be winding down have been floating basically since it began, they’ve confirmed that they’ll be releasing a fourth studio album in Motivational Jumpsuit late next February, amidst a slew of other Bob Pollard-related releases. Stereogum has all the details.

Rolling Stone reports that Television have had a new studio album in the can since 2007 – presumably after Richard Lloyd left and Jimmy Rip replaced him – but that it won’t see the light of day until Tom Verlaine decides he wants to, if ever. So do with that information what you will.

Modern Farmer talks to John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats about goats.

Magnet turns their website over to Superchunk/Mountain Goats drummer Jon Wurster with a Q&A, while Washington City Paper chats with Mac McCaughan.

The National discusses their inclusion on the soundtrack of the new Hunger Games soundtrack with NME.

The Quietus reflects on the 20th anniversary of The Afghan Whigs’ Gentlemen.

Gaper’s Block, Des Moines Register, and NOW chat with Sam Beam of Iron & Wine.

aux.tv has an interview with Kurt Vile.

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Toronto Urban Roots Fest Day Four

Belle & Sebastian, Neko Case, Yo La Tengo, and more at TURF 2013

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWith the first three days of the inaugural Toronto Urban Roots Fest having gone swimmingly, certainly the fourth and final day – boasting inarguably the strongest lineup of them all – would be the best? Well it turns out “swimmingly” would be kind of the wrong word to use, but everything started out enough.

Though as per usual I missed the first few acts of the day, I was there in time to see Kurt Vile make his first local appearance in support of his new record Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze, which has garnered pretty much universal acclaim, though I only go as far as saying I like it more than his last one. I’ve always found Vile’s stuff to be pretty same-y in that lightly psychedelic laid-back drone-pop way – an impression confirmed and amplified when I saw him at Pitchfork 2010 – but if you’re in the right mindset, it’s pretty pleasantly trippy. As with that show, this performance mainly had Vile in two modes – huge rug of hair draped over the mic stand while he sang, or huge rug of hair draped over his guitar while he soloed. His bandmates in the Violators did mix things up somewhat by adding mandolins and 6-string basses into the mix, and Vile was equally comfortable ripping leads on electric or acoustic, but a few noisey bursts aside, Vile was pretty content to just let the set mosey along at its pace and his fans were content to mosey right alongside him.

Photos: Kurt Vile @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 7, 2013
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Never Run Away”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Wakin’ On A Pretty Day”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Jesus Fever”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Baby’s Arms”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “In My Time”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “The Creature”
Video: Kurt Vile – “KV Crimes”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Never Run Away”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Jesus Fever”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Baby’s Arms”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Runner Ups”
Video: Kurt Vile – “Freak Train”

It was with some regret that I skipped Yo La Tengo’s stop at The Phoenix back in February in support of their latest Fade, but the confidence they’d put on a solid show couldn’t win out over the fact that I’d seen them play said solid show many times before – most recently in 2010 in Vegas at Matador at 21 – that I gave it a pass. Happily, their return for this festival meant that I’d still get to hear the new tunes, and not have to make any special effort to do so. Win! And as nice as it can be to hear Yo La Tengo stretch out live, there’s really something to be said for imposing strict time constraints on them; though they sounded quite the opposite of rushed, the blend of new songs – which sounded really terrific live, perfectly suited to the hazy afternoon – and old favourites done perfectly and without the excesses the band sometimes fall prey to, in some cases twice as “Autumn Sweater” came unravelled early on in the set with a blown amp fuse and had to be returned to later on.

NYC Taper has got the Yo La Tengo’s set from the Wilco-run Solid Sound fest a few weekends ago available to download. The Boston Globe, Metro, and Cincinnati CityBeat have interviews.

Photos: Yo La Tengo @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 7, 2013
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Stupid Things”
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Nuclear War”
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Here To Fall”
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Periodically Double Or Triple”
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Don’t Have To Be So Sad”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Ohm”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Ohm” (tree)
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Before We Run”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “When It’s Dark”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Nothing To Hide”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Avalon Or Someone Very Similar”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Periodically Double Or Triple”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Here To Fall”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Sugarcube”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Tom Courtenay”

I’d never given either Luke Doucet or Melissa McClelland much concern with their solo careers, so when they came together as Whitehorse I still didn’t pay any attention, at least until their second album The Fate Of The World Depends On This Kiss made it onto this year’s Polaris Prize long list. And while the adult contemporary-skewing roots-rock that’s the foundation of their sound isn’t normally what I’d be into (even if, phrased like that, you think it might) I found the record pretty enjoyable in a Steve Earle “chick song” sort of way, though rather slicker in execution; that’s why I expected that their live setup would involve a polished band comprised of session player types, not just the two of them and a garage sale’s worth of instruments and microphones. Okay, so the setup was meticulously arranged for exactly that DIY effect with telephone handsets and old-school shockmounted mics installed just so, but there was no faking the way the two built up the structures of each song by sampling acoustic instruments and looking stylish while doing it. They spent the first part of their set entrenched in their fortress of gear, but eventually strutted out to the front of the stage and sang together into a single mic armed just with guitar and bass. Straight, simple, and to their strengths.

The Halifax Chronicle-Herald has a feature piece on the band.

Photos: Whitehorse @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 7, 2013
Video: Whitehorse – “Achilles’ Desire”

If you’re looking for writeups of either The Cat Empire or Xavier Rudd, I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere. I spent their sets huddled under a leaky ATM tent hiding from the deluge that resulted when the skies opened up right around dinnertime. The rain eventually eased up, but not before turning the whole of the festival grounds into some manner of swamp. Not really an ideal setting for anything, let alone enjoying Neko Case’s set, but looked at another way, if there’s anything out there worth enduring this sort of weather for – after a short dry spell, the skies opened up even harder a couple songs in – it’s Neko Case.

When she was here last in December 2011 opening up for The National at the Air Canada Centre, the assumption seemed to be that if she was back on the road, then her new record – the long-awaited follow-up to 2009’s Middle Cyclone – must be close to being done. Not, as it turned out, so much. But nineteen months later, she was back and this time the new record – The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You – was done, locked, and loaded for a September 3 release. The set contained a few of those new songs, all of which sounded of the same high calibre of lead sample “Man”, and a solid tour of her repertoire – “Red Tide”, with its “I hate the rain” lyrics, was especially topical – and always-entertaining banter with backing singer Kelly Hogan. With the time she takes between records, it can be easy to forget just how amazing a talent Neko is; call her alt.country or folk-rock or jangle-pop or whatever you like, her voice and songwriting transcends all labels. And the only thing better than being reminded how good she is was the promise to return for another show sometime in the next six months. Ideally indoors.

Photos: Neko Case @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 7, 2013
MP3: Neko Case – “People Got A Lotta Nerve”
Video: Neko Case – “People Got A Lotta Nerve”
Video: Neko Case – “Maybe Sparrow”
Video: Neko Case – “Furnace Room Lullabye”

Finally, with the rain seemingly past though the resultant mud pits remained, it was time for Belle & Sebastian. It’s remarkable how the mysterious mystique the band cultivated in their early years still persists to some degree, and even though they’ve toured North America behind pretty much every album this century, their live shows are breathlessly anticipated like once-in-a-lifetime unicorn herd migrations. Of course, those studio albums are fewer and further between than most would like – their last visit was October 2010 behind Write About Love – so with no new record on the horizon, the fact that they were still coming to town to play a show apart from the usual promotional cycle was actually unicorn-rare, and as is often the case when the artist doesn’t have anything specific they need to push, offered the promise of being a much more unique show.

That this wouldn’t be a typical show was confirmed from the opening number, as instead of one of their obvious (but still beloved) songs, it was the electronic instrumental b-side “Judy Is A Dick Slap”. Anyone who says they had that in the “what’ll be the first song?” pool without consulting previous set lists is lying. “I’m A Cuckoo” then let Stuart Murdoch properly take centre stage and show off his dance moves, slippery stage be damned, “Another Sunny Day” was rolled out as a musical anodyne to the weather, and Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win earlier in the day saluted with “Stars Of Track And Field”. The catalog-hopping trajectory of that first salvo of selections delightfully carried on through the show, and while hardcore fans might suggest they could have gone for deeper cuts, I was more than happy to hear “The Model” and “Loneliness Of A Middle Distance Runner” dug out of the archives.

If it wasn’t quite a greatest hits set song-wise, it certainly was with their audience participation exercises. There was the girl brought onstage to read Isobel Campbell’s spoken word outro overtop “Dirty Dream Number Two” (she sang it, but whatever), the other girl who managed to fit a dance routine amidst playing Scrabble against the band onstage during “The Model”, the girl (sensing a trend? Oh, Stuart) who applied makeup to his face during “Lord Anthony”, the bevy of dancers brought onstage for “The Boy With The Arab Strap”… there was no lobbing of autographed footballs into the audience this time, but the rain probably would have washed the signatures off anyways. The between-song shenanigans might have taken up time that could have gone to another song or two, but you’d have had to be a serious grump to complain about the love-in vibe that they generated. And we should all count ourselves lucky that no one brought onstage insisted on singing one of her own songs. No, what we got was a joyous show that felt like a gift, wrapped a terrific inaugural TURF, and just about made you forget that you probably had trench foot. No mean feat.

The Huffington Post and Pittsburgh CityPaper have interviews with keyboardist Chris Geddes about the current tour and their plans to write their next record when it’s wrapped. The band’s new collection of b-sides and rarities, The Third Eye Centre, comes out August 27.

Photos: Belle & Sebastian @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 7, 2013
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Write About Love”
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Another Sunny Day”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “I Want The World To Stop”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “White Collar Boy”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “The Blues Are Still Blue”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Funny Little Frog”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Wrapped Up In Books”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “I’m A Cuckoo”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Step Into My Office Baby”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Jonathan David”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Jonathan David” (70s version)
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “The Wrong Girl”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Legal Man”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “This Is Just A Modern Rock Song”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “A Century Of Fakers”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Is It Wicked Not To Care?”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Dirty Dream #2”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Lazy Line Painter Jane”
Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Dog On Wheels”

CBC Music have got the Canada-only stream of the new Pet Shop Boys album Electric, out July 16. Americans can hit Pandora and Brits can use Rdio via The Guardian. They play The Sony Centre on September 25, and Spin, Huffington Post, and Metro have interviews with Neil Tennant about going indie on their latest record.

Stream: Pet Shop Boys / Electric

Fashion retailer Mr. Porter has an interview and fashion shoot with Kele Okereke of Bloc Party; their Nextwave Sessions EP is due out August 13.

Mumford & Sons have released a video for the title track of last year’s Babel. They’re at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 24.

Video: Mumford & Sons – “Babel”

Hot on the heels of those advance streams, Franz Ferdinand have released the video for the sort-of title track of their new album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action. It’s out August 27 and they play The Kool Haus October 24.

Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Right Action”

Exclaim and The Daily Beast interview CHVRCHES about their forthcoming debut album The Bones of What You Believe, out September 24. They play The Danforth Music Hall on September 15, and if you need something new and CHVRCH-y to listen to before then, there’s this Haim cover they recorded for BBC.

Stream: CHVRCHES – “Falling” (Haim cover)

Manic Street Preachers have announced details of one of the two new records they’ve got in the can. Based on the title track, largely sung by the inimitable Richard Hawley, Rewind The Film is the largely acoustic album that had been previously mentioned; it’s out September 16 and more specifics on it can be had at DIY. James Dean Bradfield also talks to NME about the other album that’s been recorded alongside it, due out in Spring of next year.

Video: Manic Street Preachers w Richard Hawley – “Rewind The Film”

Veteran British folk-rock outfit The Waterboys are making their first return to town in some years to kick off a major North American tour; they’ll be here on September 17 at a venue to be announced, but last time through in 2007 it was at The Danforth, so presumably it’ll be somewhere similar.

Video: The Waterboys – “The Whole Of The Moon”

With their self-titled debut due out in September, up-and-coming UK outfit The 1975 will be at The Mod Club on October 13 as part of their first major North American tour.

Video: The 1975 – “Sex”

Belfast post-rock firebrands And So I Watch You From Afar and Oxford math-rock trio TTNG – formerly This Town Needs Guns before they thought better of it – are teaming up for a co-headlining tour that hits The Horseshoe on November 9, tickets $15.50. ASIWYFA released their third album All Hail Bright Futures this past Spring, TTNG’s second long-player 13.0.0.0.0 came out in January.

Stream: And So I Watch You From Afar / All Hail Bright Futures
Stream: TTNG / 13.0.0.0.0

The Skinny talks to Yannis Philipakkis of Foals.

Tone Deaf and Clash have interviews with Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie.

DIY wonders aloud something I’ve periodically wondered to myself – whither The Rumble Strips?

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

CONTEST – Toronto Urban Roots Fest @ Garrison Common – July 4-7, 2013

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhat: Toronto Urban Roots Fest, the inaugural edition of a new multi-day festival that’s aiming to do what Bluesfest does for Ottawa and the Jazz Festival does for Montreal – namely bring in a lot of bands that have little to nothing to do with the festival’s titular genre but make great music. And let’s not get pedantic about the “urban” part, hey?
Who: Arkells, The Barr Brothers, Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Neko Case, The Cat Empire, Dawes, Justin Townes Earle, Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys, The Felice Brothers, Fitz & The Tantrums, Flogging Molly, Hannah Georgas, The Hold Steady, Larry and his Flask, The Lowest Of The Low, Matt Mays, JD McPherson, The Joel Plaskett Emergency, Xavier Rudd, The Sadies, She & Him, Skydiggers, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Whitehorse, The Wooden Sky, Yo La Tengo
When: July 4 to 7, 2013
Where: Garrison Common at Fort York, Toronto
How: Single-day tickets for the show range from $50 to $60 in advance, but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got one pairs of passes for each day of the festival to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to TURF” in the subject line and your full name in the body along with which days, in order of preference, you’d like to attend – consult the schedule for who’s playing when. Contest closes at midnight, July 2, 2013.