Posts Tagged ‘Land Of Talk’

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Wondaland

Janelle Monáe leads additions to Canadian Musicfest 2011

Photo via jmonae.comjmonae.comBack in mid-December, I pointed out that the website for the 2011 edition of Canadian Musicfest had gone live with the first batch of showcasing artists for the festival. And while there was enough in that initial list to get my attention, in the last couple of weeks the information available has really ramped up and, methinks, another round-up of acts who will be filling Toronto clubs from March 9 to 13 is in order.

Perhaps most exciting is the return of cyber-soul firecracker Janelle Monáe, though if you were hoping to see her play a conventional headlining show then “frustrating” might be the more accurate word. She made Canadian debut last Summer on Olympic Island as part of the Arcade Fire mini-fest and this time she’s performing as part of the CMW/CMF-associated Indie Awards, the exact mandate of which I’ve never understood. But whatever the reason, Monáe will top a bill that also includes Shad, Hollerado, Bombay Bicycle Club, Hannah Georgas and Desperate Union. Obviously, it’s an awards ceremony as well as a show, but my understanding is that Monáe, at least, will play a full set so the $30 ticket price would still be worth it; a festival wristband will also get you in. The Indies take place in the Canadian Room of the Royal York on March 12.

Other “big” shows that week: Land Of Talk, Hollerado, Cadence Weapon, Isis (ex. Thunderheist) and Little Scream show at the Opera House on March 10 (already reported I know), admission $18 or with a wristband. For those who like dudes with their hair hanging over their faces while they play guitar, the pairing of J Mascis and Kurt Vile at The Great Hall on March 11 is not to be missed – that one’s limited wristbands, advance tickets $27.50. It won’t get roots-rockier than Dawes and Deer Tick to say nothing of their Voltron-like supergroup Middle Brother (which includes Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit), all three of whom will be at the Opera House on March 11, all wristbands accepted or $18.50 for advance tickets.

Also noteworthy and festival-related if not necessarily in my wheelhouse – a Big Sugar reunion at the Sound Academy, Good Charlotte at the Phoenix, Melissa Etheridge at Massey Hall – all on the Friday, March 11 – and the can’t miss (with a rocket launcher, ideally) pairing of Buckcherry and Papa Roach at the Sound Academy on March 12. Something for everyone? And less renowned/reviled but of more interest to me – Brits Esben & The Witch (date/place TBA) and Anna Calvi (Wrongbar, March 11), Australians The Jezebels (Lee’s Palace, March 11) and surely many more that still haven’t been announced – they’re expecting some 800 showcasing bands when all’s said and done and the official artist list is only at around 560. Of course, as always, it’s logistics that will ultimately determine what I end up seeing – the schedule has just started going up and already, I’m seeing some tough choices that are going to have to be made about where to be and when.

And let’s not even get started on the fact that SxSW’s showcase listings are slowly coming together.

MP3: Land Of Talk – “Swift Coin”
MP3: Dawes – “Love Is All I Am”
MP3: Esben & The Witch – “Warpath”
MP3: Anna Calvi – “Jezebel”
MP3: The Jezebels – “Mace Spray”
Video: Janelle Monáe – “Tightrope”

I mentioned a little while back that the release of Bruce Peninsula’s second album was on the back burner while frontman Neil Haverty was being treated for acute promyelocytic leukemia; now his friends and bandmates are staging a fundraiser to help mitigate some of the financial burdens of being ill. On January 29, two fundraisers will be held at the Music Gallery – a matinee show with Snowblink, Kith & Kin, The Deep, Steve McKay and Lake Andrew Drowning and an evening show with Timber Timbre, Austra (former BP-er Katie Stelmanis newly signed to Domino) and Evening Hymns. Admission is a $10 suggested donation for the matinee and $20 for the evening show, or if you just want to donate a PayPal account has been set up. More details at the Facebook event.

MP3: Timber Timbre – “Demon Ghost”
MP3: Austra – “The Beat & The Pulse”
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Broken Rifle”
MP3: Snowblink – “Ambergris”

If Do Make Say Think’s show at the Drake Underground during Boxing Week was too big or expensive for you, take heart – they’ll be going smaller, cheaper (free with canned good) and just as below grade with an in-store at Sonic Boom on February 3.

MP3: Do Make Say Think – “Other Truths album mix”

Halifax’s Jenn Grant will be bringing her shiny new record Honeymoon Punch – which finds her going a little less jazzy and a little more poppy with great results – at the Horseshoe on February 19, advance tickets $15. The National Post and aux.tv have features on Grant, who’s just released a new video from the album.

Video: Jenn Grant – “Getcha Good”

Broken Social Scene’s January 18 show at Terminal 5 in New York City will be broadcast live on YouTube starting at 9PM.

QTV has a video interview with Feist.

Volume 1 Brooklyn talks books with Owen Pallett.

eye puts Tokyo Police Club on this week’s cover and solicits their New Year’s resolutions in honour of Saturday’s show at the Kool Haus.

Beatroute has an interviews with Dan Bejar while NOW talks to one of the Toronto-based horn players who’s all over Destroyer’s new record Kaputt. out January 25. They’ll play Lee’s Palace on March 31.

Nils Edenloff of The Rural Alberta Advantage discusses the inspiration behind the song “Tornado ’87” with Spinner. Said song appears on their new album Departing, out March 1.

Fucked Up frontman Damian Abraham talks to eye about his new gig as veejay of MuchMusic’s back-from-the-dead alternative nation show The Wedge which returns to the air on January 26 at 10PM, and to Chart about the new Fucked Up record David Comes To Life, which could be out as soon as May.

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Straight Up The Dial

Wavelength turns 11, throws a party

Photo via MyspaceMyspace Toronto’s venerable Wavelength might have closed out their weekly showcase series last year in favour of intermittent events throughout the year, but they’ve not given up their tradition of throwing a killer birthday party or five. As they’ve done in years past, Wavelength Eleven (or event #515 if you’re keeping track) will commandeer venues around this city from February 16 through 20 and fill them with many of the finest acts the city and outlying regions have to offer, spanning all styles and genres, frequently on the same bill.

I missed last year’s festivities but hit up one of the 9th anniversary shows in 2009 and it’s interesting to see that one of the undercard acts at that show – Hooded Fang – has already graduated to headline status. This they’ve done on the strength of their debut Album, released last October to considerable praise. And indeed, it’s an impressive first effort that reflects the remarkable rate at which they’ve improved as a band since first making noise in late ’08/early ’09 – I saw them three times over the course of 2009 and each time, most flaws I’d have pointed out for the time before had been sorted without diminishing the amount of fun they were clearly having on stage. Album‘s orchestrally-inclined power pop still tends a bit more to the precious/twee side of things than I’d like and can feel a bit samey over the course of its dozen songs, but the degree of songwriting, musicianship and genuine joy it captures is undeniable. As was clear in each of those live reviews from 2009, big things seem an inevitability for this crew.

Hooded Fang will be closing out the Saturday night of Wavelength Eleven at The Great Hall. The rest of the week’s events look like this – tickets for the Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows are $11 while Wednesday and Sunday are PWYC. There is also a $33 all-access passes available. Check in at Wavelength for descriptions of each act. aux.tv has an interview with Hooded Fang.

Wednesday, February 16 @ Teranga – Anagram, Bruised Knees, The Guest Bedroom, The Jim Storie Juniors
Thursday, February 17 @ The Music Gallery РKite Hill, Eiyn Sof, Gordon Grdina’s East Van Strings, Not The Wind, Not The Flag
Friday, February 18 @ The Steam Whistle Roundhouse – Woodhands, Minotaurs, Pat Jordache, Romo Roto, Doldrums
Saturday, February 19 @ The Great Hall – Hooded Fang, Maylee Todd, Little Girls, Eric Chenaux Electric Trio, Grimes
Sunday, February 20 @ The Garrison – Lullabye Arkestra, Neon Windbreaker, Simply Saucer, Ghostlight

MP3: Hooded Fang – “Laughing”
MP3: Hooded Fang – “Mutant Beart”
MP3: Woodhands – “Dissembler”
MP3: Eric Chenaux – “Warm Charleston”
MP3: Little Girls – “Growing”
MP3: Lullabye Arkestra – “We Fuck The Night”

In other just-announced live music happenings – guitar goddess Marnie Stern and prog-rockers Tera Melos will be at Wrongbar on March 8 as part of an extensive North American tour.

MP3: Marnie Stern – “For Ash”
MP3: Tera Melos – “Frozen Zoo”

We’re still some ways out from having a Canadian Musicfest schedule to pore over, but you’d be just silly to not keep staying at the Opera House all night – that’s the Billions showcase – circled on your calendar. The lineup will read like Land Of Talk, Hollerado, Cadence Weapon, Isis (ex. Thunderheist) and Little Scream, so while club-hopping is part of the CMF experience, there’s something to be said for staying put all night.

MP3: Land Of Talk – “Quarry Hymns”
MP3: Hollerado – “Americanarama”
MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Real Estate”

And I’m very excited that Sharon Van Etten, after many visits in a support capacity, will be playing her first headlining show here at the Drake on April 12 with Little Scream supporting – there’s a recording of her show at the Bowery in New York City last week up at NYC Taper. You may recall that her epic was one of my favourite albums of 2010, and she’s already started work on the follow-up with Aaron Dessner of The National.

MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Love More”

The New Zealand Herald talks to The National’s Matt Berninger about their breakout year of 2010.

There’s a new video from Retribution Gospel Choir’s album 2.

Video: Retribution Gospel Choir – “Your Bird”

The Skinny talks to Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam about his new record Kiss Each Other Clean, due out January 25.

Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance discuss their visual artistic pursuits with Design Sponge.

Inara George of The Bird & The Bee chats with Spinner.

Pitchfork has a feature interview with Dan Bejar of Destroyer. His sax-y new album Kaputt arrives January 25 and he plays Lee’s Palace on March 31.

The Line Of Best Fit and NOW talk to Jonas Bonnetta of Evening Hymns about their new, nude video for “Dead Deer” from Spirit Guides. The band are currently out in the wilds of Ontario somewhere recording their next album, already dubbed Spectral Dusk – the proceedings are being documented on their Tumblr.

Video: Evening Hymns – “Dead Deer”

Diamond Rings’ John O’Regan discusses the therapeutic aspects of music with Spinner. He’s at the Sound Academy January 26 opening up for Robyn.

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Ten for '10

Chromewaves’ favourite albums of 2010

2010Image via WikipediaFrank Yang

Well this was certainly a better year than last year, on pretty much every level. Of course, it would have required something on the scale of low-yield nuclear detonation in my bathtub – while I was in it – for it to have been worse, but I’ll take it. Musically, it was actually something of a banner year with what seemed like every active artist that I liked not only putting out new records, but good to great records. More hiatuses ended than started and despite intending to slow down the show-going, I ended up going to even more life-affirming, if not -changing, concerts than in any calendar year I can recall. In short, 2010 brought it.

So you’d think that with such a wealth of great records to choose from, assembling a short list of ten faves should have been easier than a year without as many worthy candidates but if anything, it’s tougher. Acts that release records that meet expectations, however high, are held to extra scrutiny; it’s like, “yeah this record was good but so was the last one – where’s that next level?” which of course is completely unreasonable. And conversely, acts heretofore unknown to me had the element of surprise on their side when it came to triggering the ineffable “wow” reflex. All of which is to say that, like past years, there’s nothing scientific nor quantitative about these selections – they’re alphabetical by artist and represent what I could get behind as of the first weekend of December, 2010, and strongly motivated by a desire to get this list over and done with.

So here they are, after the jump, or if you want to peer closely at my little photoshop project above (click for a bigger version) you can try and guess who made the cut before seeing the answers. Because I know the suspense is delicious.

(more…)

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Half Light

The hottest bands in Canada 2010

Photo via FacebookFacebookA bit of a “wow” moment last night when I went archive digging and found that I Heart Music had been running his “Hottest Bands In Canada” poll for five years running already, making the 2010 edition – unveiled last week – the sixth one. An impressive feat that I’d like to salute Matthew for before proceeding. Okay, done.

As always, Matt put out the call to an assortment of Canadian and Canuckophile music writers and bloggers to submit their top ten acts with Canadian passports that they would declare to be “the hottest” by whatever standard they chose to use, the rankings weighted and enumerated and the top 33 artists tallied. Not nearly as mysterious or intensive as the Polaris process, but a good barometer of what folks are talking about approximately midway through that prize’s eligibility period. And, more importantly, it allows me to use my already-written ballot as the basis for a post, thus freeing up more time to watch television. Everybody wins. And off we go.

1. Arcade Fire – It was almost a scientifically controlled experiment with the three biggest indie bands in Canada releasing new albums in the span of three months, and as much attention as the New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene records got, it was nothing compared to the appetite for The Suburbs. Arcade Fire = hottest band in Canada. QED.

Video: Arcade Fire – “We Used To Wait”

2. K’Naan – There’s not much bigger stage than the World Cup and the only thing better than having your song used as its official anthem is having it be a song that remains uplifting even after being played a billion times over a month. K’Naan did this.

Video: K’Naan – “Waving Flag”

3. Diamond Rings – No one expected a D’Urbervilles solo project to get the attention that it did, but over the past year John O’Reagan’s electro-glam alter ego has become a bona fide phenomenon and his debut album Special Affections has somehow managed to live up to the hype.

MP3: Diamond Rings – “Something Else”

4. Karkwa – In terms of increased profile over the last year, no one can top Karkwa because before they surprised many by taking this year’s Polaris Music Prize, most of English Canada had never even heard of them. Can’t say that anymore.

Video: Karkwa – “Le pyromane”

5. Shad – The downside of being the presumptive best record in Canada for months and then not winning – for the second time – is perhaps being cast ast the Susan Lucci of the Polaris Prize. The upside is that TSOL was called the best record in Canada for months, and people heard it – the praise and the album. Not a bad consolation prize.

MP3: Shad – “Yaa I Get It”

6. Dan Mangan – Though some may argue that there’s nothing really special about Mangan’s everyman singer-songwriter, they can’t argue that there’s few who work or social network as hard as Mangan and its paid off in a huge and loyal fanbase.

MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”

7. Land Of Talk – After a few false starts, Land Of Talk’s new record Cloak & Cipher should allow them to drop the “next” from their perpetual “next big thing” status, though if their career stays true to form they’ll blow up via the slow burn.

MP3: Land Of Talk – “Quarry Hymns”

8. Metric – They’ve always had their eyes set on the big time and what with getting tapped to record the new Twilight theme song and playing multi-night stands at theatres and outdoor amphitheatres, they might well have finally gotten there.

Video: Metric – “Black Sheep”

9. Broken Social Scene
This slot could have gone to any of BSS, Wolf Parade, Stars, New Pornographers or any other Canadian A-list band who released a solid but hardly game-changing record. But BSS managed to get a Polaris short-list spot out of theirs, so circle gets the square.

MP3: Broken Social Scene – “World Sick”

10. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Relatively quiet in 2010, but deserving of a mention if just for topping last year’s poll; their second album is in the can and there’s been enough touring to remind people of why they love this band so.

MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Don’t Haunt This Place”

Arcade Fire’s Will Butler talks to The Wall Street Journal and Win and R&eacute.gine to Clash.

Toronto’s Hooded Fang, who scored the #23 spot on the poll despite having just released their debut Album, will be promoting said record with an in-store at Sonic Boom this Saturday, November 13, at 6PM and then following an Ontario tour through November, play a hometown release show for the record at The Drake on December 9.

MP3: Hooded Fang – “Laughing”

Elliott Brood and The Sadies may not have been ranked, but that won’t stop them from continuing their New Year’s Eve traditions by ringing in 2011 at Lee’s Palace and The Horseshoe, respectively. Tickets for the Elliott Brood show are $20 in advance, Sadies ticket info forthcoming.

MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”
Video: Elliott Brood – “Fingers & Tongues”

Julie Doiron, who didn’t place on the poll herself but whose Daniel Fred & Julie bandmate Daniel Romano tied for 27, has set a date at the Horseshoe for February 3, tickets $12 in advance.

MP3: Julie Doiron – “Consolation Prize”

Hannah Georgas (number 17) talks to QRO; she is at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on November 26.

And though Feist is unsurprisingly nowhere to be found on the list – not releasing an album in three years does temper one’s hotness – expect her to be back at or near the top next year, as she’s getting back into action. Starting with the release of the Look At What The Light Did Now documentary film, which is coming out as a DVD/CD package on December 7 but will be screening at The Royal Ontario Museum on November 21, followed by a Q&A with Miss Leslie herself. Limited tickets are $20, on sale now.

Trailer: Look At What The Light Did Now

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Jailbird Blues

Ohbijou, Rock Plaza Central and $100 rally to raise funds for Tranzac Club

Photo By Jess BaumungJess BaumungToronto’s Tranzac may have been founded as the gathering place for the Toronto Australia New Zealand Club, but for the city’s musical community its role extends far beyond a place to discuss the mysteries of the Coriolis effect. It’s also one of the city’s all-ages venues and as such, has been both an incubator for many of Toronto’s up-and-coming acts and a low-key stop for bands touring through town.

I personally have fond memories of seeing Beach House’s first show here in November 2006 with about a dozen people in the building’s front room, an intimate performance from then-reigning Polaris winner Final Fantasy in February 2007, a matinee throw-down to maybe 30 people by Matt & Kim later that May, the release show for Evening Hymns’ debut Spirit Guides just last Fall – a lot of great stuff has gone down in that room

And, like many/most/all things run for love over profit, it needs money. The hows and whys of its finances go well beyond its role as a music venue, but needless to say if the city were to lose the venue, it’d be poorer for it. So with an eye towards doing what they can, a number of bands are returning to their roots over the next couple months by holding some fundraiser shows. On November 19, Rock Plaza Central will come out of their vague hiatus for a show of their own songs and collaborations with other city musicians – tickets $12 in advance, $15 at the door. The following evening, November 20, Ohbijou will hopefully offer a preview of their forthcoming third record in what is, I believe, their only hometown show of the year. Support comes from Lisa Bozikovic and tickets are $15 in advance, $17 at the door. And a couple weeks later, $100 will get up close and personal in the venue’s tiny Southern Cross Lounge, supported by Doug Paisley – tickets $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

So whatever incentive works for you, be it the opportunity to see some acts who’ve generally graduated to playing bigger rooms in more intimate environs or just helping out a local cultural hub while getting some entertainment out of the deal, hit up one/some/all of these shows if you can. It’s the right thing to do and the easy way to do it.

MP3: Ohbijou – “Black Ice”
MP3: Rock Plaza Central – “Handsome Men”

Vancouver’s Yukon Blonde will be making the most of their stop in Toronto on their Fall tour, adding an in-store performance at Sonic Boom at 3:30 on November 6 before their show across the street at Lee’s Palace later that night with The Wooden Sky. Admission to the in-store is free with a donation of canned good.

MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Wind Blows”

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Diamond Rings’ short set at CMJ in New York last week. He’s the subject of feature pieces in The Toronto Sun, Vancouver Sun, Montreal Mirror and Queens Journal.

Uptown and The Gateway get into the head of Owen Pallett.

Liz Powell tells Spin how Land Of Talk got their name.

Look At What The Light Did Now, the documentary film on Feist, is still without a Toronto screening date and it appears that fans might get to watch the film in the comfort of their own homes before they see it in a theatre – Exclaim reports that the DVD edition of the film will be released on December 7 and come with a 13-track bonus CD. Just in time for Christmas – fancy that.

Daytrotter has posted up a session with Tokyo Police Club.

aux.tv asks Hallowe’en-related things of Fucked Up’s Damien Abraham.

NOW devoted this week’s cover story to visiting Vancouverites Black Mountain.

The Take and Sticky talk to Dan Mangan while eye tries to figure out why he’s so darned popular.

This weekend, The Toronto Star ran a terrific feature about the realities of being a touring musician in Canada – the main feature is worth a read, as are the side-pieces including a Q&A with Dallas Good of The Sadies, the collection of touring stories, collection of road-related health risks and piece on the problems with not being on the road.