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Posts Tagged ‘Laura Marling’

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

No Medicine For Regret

Mogwai affirm promise of no more extensive touring by announcing extensive tour

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickI’m sure they meant it at the time, what with keeping up a heavy slate of performances worldwide for as long as anyone can remember and the added complications of drummer Martin Bulloch’s health issues and visa problems forcing cancellations in the past few years, but when Mogwai prefaced their second round of touring in support of Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will last year with a promise/warning that it would be “the last extensive touring we do for some time”, some who might have fallen into a habit of taking them for granted were spurred into getting off their asses and having their eardrums blasted by the Scottish post-rock masters (maybe) one last time – myself included.

Well, apparently “for some time” actually means “as long as it takes us to record a new record”, because hot on the heels of last week’s announcement of their eighth studio album Rave Tapes – coming out January 21 – they’ve announced a month-plus long North American tour for next Spring. And perhaps it was the promise of playing a different room that enticed them, because the Toronto date on May 13 will take place at the Danforth Music Hall – tickets $25.50 to $29.50 – instead of The Phoenix where they’ve played (I believe) every local show since a face-melting detour to Lee’s Palace in May 2002. They were supposed to play The Kool Haus in Fall 2008 circa The Hawk Is Howling but that show was one of the casualties of Bulloch’s medical issues, and the make-up show the following May was scheduled for – you got it – The Phoenix.

To be clear, there’s no word of complaint in the band NOT taking a proper hiatus from touring. Their shows may not surprise much, but they never disappoint. And hey, maybe getting to eat somewhere new pre-show will inspire them to even greater heights? It could happen.

MP3: Mogwai – “Remurdered”

With her new album finally out this week, M.I.A. has made Matangi available to stream via Consequence Of Sound; she’s also interviewed by Billboard and NPR about it.

Stream: M.I.A. / Matangi

Noisey chats with Charli XCX, in town November 5 at Wrongbar.

NPR has an advance stream of Cate Le Bon’s forthcoming album Mug Museum, out November 12. She’ll be at The Drake Underground on January 21 in the new year.

Stream: Cate Le Bon / Mug Museum

Rolling Stone are offering one of the tracks off Stornoway’s new EP You Don’t Know Anything for free download. The whole thing comes out on November 12.

MP3: Stornoway – “Tumbling Bay”

Peggy Sue have made a new EP available to download for free via Noisetrade, leading up to the release of their new album Choir of Echoes on January 27

White Lies have announced a return date in support of their latest Big TV – they’ll be at The Mod Club on February 27, tickets $35. Opening up will be Frankie Rose, who released Herein Wild earlier this Fall.

MP3: Frankie Rose – “Know Me”
Video: White Lies – “There Goes Our Love”

NME have premiered a new, self-described David Lynch-inspired video from Fanfarlo’s The Sea EP; a full-length will follow in the new year.

Video: Fanfarlo – “A Distance”

DIY has details on how you can hear Metronomy’s new song, which is a convoluted process involving smartphones, apps, credit cards, and outer space.

CHVRCHES have released a new video from their debug The Bones Of What You Believe.

Video: CHVRCHES – “Lies”

BrooklynVegan has videos from the recent Neil Halstead solo shows where he was joined by Rachel Goswell, sending the hearts of Slowdive and Mojave 3 fans a-flutter. And over at Under The Radar, Halstead and his Black Hearted Brother compadres offer a track-by-track guide to their debut Stars Are Our Home… which they’ve technically already done with MusicOmh but who’s counting?

Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin takes Drowned In Sound on a guided tour of her pedalboard.

NPR has a World Cafe session and The Georgia Straight an interview with Laura Marling.

Under The Radar got some Hallowe’en-themed questions answered by Still Corners.

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action

Franz Ferdinand, Frankie Rose, and Casual Sex at The Kool Haus in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIn a way, I feel sorry for Franz Ferdinand. Almost without fail, general reaction to every album they’ve released since their 2004 self-titled debut has been, “yeah it’s alright but it’s not as good as their first one” – which may be true, but only by degrees. The Scottish quartet should really be commended for pulling off the difficult trick of maintaining their core recipe of rock guitar riffs, post-punk spikiness, new wave danciness, and art school archness without overtly repeating themselves from one record to the next. So the “return to form” talking point that accompanied their fourth album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, released at the end of Summer, was amusing because to my ears they’d never lost their form. Right Thoughts was a bit rawer and peppier than 2009’s Tonight, sure, but again – degrees.

The important thing is that it’s another strong record and gave the band a reason to come back to Toronto with Thursday night’s show at The Kool Haus being both the final night of the North American tour and their first local appearance since V Fest in 2009, having declined to make the trip last Summer even though they were just a few hours away in Montreal playing Osheaga. And for me, it’d be my first time seeing them indoors in a club – albeit large club – setting since they made their local debut nearly a decade ago at The Horseshoe in February 2004. Yes, I’m old. What of it.

You could be forgiven for expecting the worst of opening act Casual Sex, what with a moniker that you would only expect to find on university coffee house flyers billed alongside other such clever names as Free Beer and Hot Chicks. But to dismiss them for that would have been a mistake, as the Glaswegian quartet was quite impressive. Led by confident and cheeky frontman Sam Smith, their stabby/dancey/scratchy art-rock sounds sharing roots with the headliners but evolving without any of the arena aspirations and for that, was interesting without being inaccessible.

I’ve often heard 4AD and/or shoegaze descriptors applied to the works of Brooklyn’s Frankie Rose, but those comparisons have always struck me as being a bit surface – after all, stepping on a chorus pedal doesn’t make you the Cocteau Twins. But perhaps compared to the Vivian Girls/Dum Dum Girls/Crystal Stilts garage-rock CV that Rose boasted before striking out on her own, both 2012’s Interstellar and this year’s Herein Wild seemed like ornately-produced space-rock epics. What’s key is that both of those records were filled with shimmery, ’80s-friendly guitar pop that showcased Rose’s lovely vocals and gift for melody. On stage, the presentation was a bit too laid back to even attempt to steal the show, still sounded great with extra respect going to lead guitarist Drew Citron, who managed to recreate the bulk of the textures of the album, leaving Rose to concentrate on singing.

While there may be debate amongst fans about the relative merits of each of the Franz albums – save the debut, which is pretty much accepted as the gold standard – there’s little contention that Franz live are about as sure a thing as you can get. Unlike The Strokes or Interpol, whom they were originally framed as the British answer for when they first emerged, any internal Franz drama has been kept behind closed doors and it never seems like they’re ever having anything but the best time, which is what they bring to the stage. With said stage decked out in strobes, smoke machines, and custom “Right Thoughts”, “Right Words”, and “Right Action” amp housings, Alex Kapranos and Nick McCarthy – proudly sporting a Canadian tuxedo for the occasion – have charisma to spare and channel it through kicks, jumps, and stage moves a-plenty, to say nothing of the always-charming banter. The room may not have been sold out, but the enthusiasm was equivalent to as if it had been double-booked.

And oh yeah, the songs. The set list was suitably Right Thought-heavy, and while they may have left out my favourites “Strawberries” and “The Universe Expanded”, it’s a testament to the solidity of the album that the energy didn’t dip at all throughout. But being a band that’s mastered the art of giving the fans what they want, the rest of the selections were exactly what you’d expect/demand, with a trio of singles from each of Tonight and You Could Have It So Much Better and the debut providing the big moments. It’s impressive that after a decade, those songs still feel fresh and energized and watching the crowd bounce up and down in time with the breakdown of “Take Me Out” is still great fun. There may well be a segment of Franz Ferdinand fans who wish for more deep cuts, more creative left turns, but they’re not being heard – probably because of all the cheering from everyone else.

Exclaim also has a review of the show, while JAM and Rolling Stone have interviews with Franz Ferdinand.

Photos: Franz Ferdinand, Frankie Rose, Casual Sex @ The Kool Haus – October 24, 2013
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Evil Eye”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Love Illumination”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Right Action”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Can’t Stop Feeling”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “No You Girls”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Ulysses”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Eleanor Put Your Boots On”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Jeremy Fraser”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Wine In The Afternoon”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “L. Wells”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Fallen”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Walk Away”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Do You Want To”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “This Fire”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Michael”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “The Dark Of The Matinee”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Take Me Out”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Darts Of Pleasure”
Video: Frankie Rose – “Know Me”
Video: Frankie Rose – “Night Swim”
Video: Frankie Rose – “Gospel/Grace”
Video: Casual Sex – “Nothing On Earth”
Video: Casual Sex – “Stroh 80″
MP3: Frankie Rose – “Know Me”
MP3: Frankie Rose – “Thee Only One”

Los Campesinos! are streaming their new record No Blues over at Pitchfork ahead of its release tomorrow, at which point it’ll probably be taken down.

Stream: Los Campesinos! / No Blues

Las Vegas Weekly has an interview with Charli XCX, in town at Wrongbar on November 9.

The Guardian profiles Arctic Monkeys, who have released a new video from AM.

Video: Arctic Monkeys – “One For The Road”

The Guardian talks to Bernard Butler about the decision to get back in a band with Trans.

Clash offers their complete guide to Suede while The Fly, The Telegraph, and Burton Mail have chats with Brett Anderson.

Interview talks to the three principals of Black Hearted Brother.

Still Corners have made a random b-side available to stream.

Stream: Still Corners – “We Have The Future On Tape”

Under The Radar has an interview with Laura Marling

CBC Music talks to Travis.

Exclaim reports that Stuart Murdoch’s God Help The Girl film has been completed and will be premiering in early 2014 on the festival circuit and should get some kind of limited release in the Summer before arriving on DVD in the Fall.

Clash talks to Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne about his new book Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story Of Modern Pop.

And a farewell to Lou Reed, who passed away yesterday at the age of 71. Tributes abound, many worth reading, but Sasha Frere-Jones’ piece at The New Yorker, Robert Christgau’s at Spin, and Michael Barclay’s at Radio Free Canuckistan are good places to start.

Friday, October 11th, 2013

In The Meantime

Happy Thanksgiving; have a serving of Spacehog

Photo By Lee ClowerLee ClowerThere’s nothing like going into the long weekend with a healthy dose of WTF, so we’ll run with this – a concert announcement either torn from the playlists of Alternative Nation circa 2005 or the dollar bins of CD stores for pretty much every year after that. That’d be the double-bill of Leeds-born, New York-based glam-rock revivalists Spacehog and Detroit’s post-grunge champions Sponge, who will take the stage at Lee’s Palace on December 11, tickets $23 (that’s about $15 in 1995 dollars, if you were wondering).

Also, if you were wondering, they do both have new material that they’re ostensibly promoting. Though they basically split in 2001, Spacehog reunited in 2008 and released a new record in As It Is On Earth at the start of this year. Sponge, remarkably, never actually broke up and have been chugging along since their commercial peak with Wax Estatic and put out and Stop The Bleeding last month. But it’s okay if you don’t care; they probably know you don’t. But they know you wanna hear those old singles so you’re just going to have to deal.

The Nottingham Post has a quick interview with one of Spacehog’s Langdon brothers. It’s not really clear which one.

Stream: Spacehog – “Try To Remember”
Stream: Spacehog – “Glad To Know”
Video: Spacehog – “In The Meantime”
Video: Sponge – “Wax Ecstatic (To Sell Angelina)”

While it’s disappointing that Keep Shelly In Athens had to cancel their Toronto date at Wrongbar next week due to visa issues, their co-headliner Chad Valley will still be coming to town and be playing for free at The Horseshoe on October 15, set time 11:40PM.

MP3: Chad Valley – “I Want Your Love”

English producer Darren Williams has already toured through a couple times in the past two years as Star Slinger, will release his debut album next year – he’s offered a taste to stream below – but not before he puts together another tour that will bring him to the Drake Underground on November 16, tickets $15.

Stream: Star Slinger – “Free”

English singer-songwriter Jake Bugg may have to wait until the end of the month to learn if he’s going to win the Mercury Prize, but he’s already thinking big, following up this past August’s local debut at The Mod Club with a new date at The Sound Academy on January 14, tickets $29.50. Though the fact that his second album Shangri La will be out on November 19 might also have something to do with the tour.

Video: Jake Bugg – “What Doesn’t Kill You”

With a new album in Mug Museum due out on November 12, Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon has announced a North American tour that brings her to The Drake Underground on January 21 of the new year, tickets $12.50 in advance.

Stream: Cate Le Bon with Perfume Genius – “I Think I Knew”
Stream: Cate Le Bon – “Are You With Me Now”

The Line Of Best Fit, The Fly, and DIY have interviews with Anna Calvi about her new record One Breath, which came out this week.

If you missed the album stream that went with the UK release of Summer Camp’s second album back in September, Interview is hosting another preview of Summer Camp ahead of its US release next week on October 15.

Stream: Summer Camp / Summer Camp

The Neil Halstead-fronted Black Hearted Brother have released a new video from their debut Stars Are Our Home, due out October 22.

Video: Black Hearted Brother – “This Is How It Feels”

Los Campesinos! have made available a stream of a new song from No Blues, their forthcoming album due out October 29.

Stream: Los Campesinos! – “Avocado, Baby”

Posting of remixes is usually verboten around here but when it involves David Bowie, exceptions can be made. LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy’s remix of “Love Is Lost” is one of the main selling points of The Next Day Extra, being released November 4, and it was premiered yesterday via Pitchfork but if you have the inclination, the rip of the BBC premiere is worth hearing for the short interview with Murphy that precedes it. And the version of “Sound & Vision” that soundtracked a cellphone commercial earlier this year is also available to hear (and buy, if you like) – Exclaim explains that one.

Stream: David Bowie – “Love Is Lost” (Hello Steve Reich mix)
Stream: David Bowie – “Sound & Vision” (Sonjay prabhakar mix)

There didn’t end up being a local Stone Roses date this year as I’d prophesied – sorry to anyone who believed me – but the Made Of Stone documentary film about their legacy and reunion definitely is. It’ll screen at The Bloor Cinema on November 22, so circle that one if you’re interested.

Trailer: The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone

Bowlegs has a video session with Lanterns On The Lake, whose wonderful new record Until The Colours Run doesn’t get a North American release until January 14.

The 405 have got a stream of the new Peggy Sue album Choir of Echoes, due out on January 27 of the new year.

Stream: Peggy Sue – “Idle”

The Fly checks in with The Horrors, at work in the studio on their next album.

Filter talks to Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream.

Manic Street Preachers have released a poignant new video from their latest, Rewind The Film.

Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Anthem For A Lost Cause”

Camera Obscura have released a new old-school sci-fi video from Desire Lines.

Video: Camera Obscura – “Troublemaker”

Noisey chats up London Grammar about their current North American tour

Under The Radar has an interview with Savages.

A Music Blog, Yea grabbed an interview with Daughter when they were in town a couple weeks back.

In excerpting the book Isle Of Noises: Conversations With Great British Songwriters, Clash gets some insights into the processes of Laura Marling and Johnny Marr.

Noisey sends Emmy The Great to find out how much it would cost to be A$AP Rocky’s girlfriend a la the prerequisites in “Fashion Killa”; hilarity ensues.

Anyone who had “founding a company dedicated to building and restoring early 1990s Porches” in the, “What has former Catherine Wheel frontman Rob Dickinson been doing since releasing his first and only solo record Fresh Wine For The Horses way back in 2005″ pool, congratulations – you win. Hypebeast has a video interview with Dickinson, who sadly doesn’t sound like a man who misses strapping on a Stratocaster and singing “Black Metallic”.

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

You Caught The Light

Review of CHVRCHES’ The Bones Of What You Believe

Photo By Eliot Lee HazelEliot Lee HazelIf hype were actual currency, you could trade in copies of Scottish trio CHVRCHES’ debut album The Bones Of What You Believe for bars of gold, their buzz-versus-time graph having steadily grown over the last year, successfully buoying them through three North American tours of increasing stature and scale before their first full-length was in stores.

These heightened expectations might seem to demand a big record, but those who were in attendance at the band’s first Toronto show in March – hardly a powerhouse live show with two-thirds of the band anchored to their keyboard stations and frontwoman Lauren Mayberry personable but not exactly owning the stage with her presence – can attest that it’s the small aspects of the band that give them their charm, an opinion borne out by Bones.

The karaoke versions of these songs might easily be mistaken for M83 numbers, with their big synth textures and singalong melodies reaching unashamedly skywards, Mayberry’s sweet voice and the melancholic-to-miserable sentiments it delivers keeps things grounded and resonant at a human scale. It’s understandable if the lyrics aren’t the first things that the listener notices – the big gleaming hooks around them, both instrumental and vocal, do tend to grab one’s attention – but they do offer welcome substance to the proceedings and add an extra dimension that helps them exceed expectations. To be clear: even if Mayberry was singing nonsensical verses about squirrels and tapioca these songs would be earworms of the highest order, but that there’s heart and intelligence here as well makes Bones a record that will merit plays well after the hype machine has moved onto the next big thing.

The Bones Of What You Believe is out this week on September 24 and NPR has a stream of the album. Consequence Of Sound, Billboard, The Wall Street Journal, and The Scotsman have features on the band and their ascent and CBC Music has a video session.

MP3: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”
Video: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”
Video: CHVRCHES – “Gun”
Video: CHVRCHES – “Recover”
Stream: CHVRCHES / The Bones Of What You Believe

The Independent gets to know Daughter, in town for a show at The Phoenix on September 29.

MusicOmh talks to Johnny Flynn, who is streaming a new song from his forthcoming album Country Mile, hitting stores September 30.

Stream: Johnny Flynn – “Fol-De-Rol”

Yuck have released a new video from their forthcoming second record Glow & Behold, out September 30.

Video: Yuck – “Middle Sea”

Rolling Stone has made another song from the Neil Hasltead-fronted Black Hearted Brother available to download; their debut Stars Are Our Home comes out October 22.

MP3: Black Hearted Brother – “This Is How It Feels”

Under The Radar has posted the excerpts of the interview with Charli XCX that went into last issue’s cover story. She plays Wrongbar on November 9.

The Fader is streaming a new song from London’s Arthur Beatrice – introduced back in July – taken from their full-length debut, due out early next year.

Stream: Arthur Beatrice – “Grand Union”

Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin talks to DIY and The Yorkshire Evening Post about their new album Motto.

The Guardian, Exclaim, The National Post, and Stereogum talk to Elvis Costello and The Roots about their just-released collaborative album Wise Up Ghost.

Summer Camp takes The Quietus on a track-by-track tour of their new record Summer Camp.

JAM and Pitchfork have feature interviews with Arctic Monkeys.

The Wall Street Journal has a video session with Laura Marling, who has just released a new video from her latest album Once I Was An Eagle.

Video: Laura Marling – “Devil’s Resting Place”

Noisey, The Georgia Straight, and City Pages interview Savages.

PopMatters talks to Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura, who just gave birth to her first child. Congratulations!

Metro finds out what Johnny Marr thinks of Queen.

The Toronto Star caught up with Peter Hook before his visit to town last week.

Berlin Beat talks to David Lewis Gedge of The Wedding Present.

Friday, September 13th, 2013

The Stars Are Out Tonight

The 2013 Mercury Prize shortlist includes David Bowie and nine acts who are not David Bowie

Photo By Jimmy KingJimmy KingSo the shortlist for the 2013 Mercury Prize – awarded to the best British or Irish album of the year – was announced the other day, and contrary to the odds reported by NME earlier this week, London Grammar – favoured to win – was nowhere to be found. Nor, out of their top ten, were Steve Mason, Daughter, Primal Scream, or CHVRCHES. Not that I have any idea how bookmakers come up with their odds, nor how accurate they’ve been in the past. But to list an album at 15:8 to win and not even have it make the shortlist, well that’s some questionable prognostication.

The ten records that did make the list are as follows, and I’m mildly surprised that I’ve heard more of these than I usually have – a fact which kind of supports those who complain that the Mercury has gotten safe or predictable. I’m personally pulling for Bowie, if you hadn’t guessed; the release of The Next Day instigated a year of Bowie discovery, which included a deeper appreciation for has last two records Heathen and Reality along with the more classic material and a pilgrimage to his old digs in Berlin (though that wasn’t the main reason for the trip, that would be ridiculous). Plus there’s the David Bowie Is exhibit opening at the Art Gallery of Ontario later this month – let’s face it, this is the year of Bowie. The Mercury should just accept it and fall in line. The winner of this year’s prize will be announced on October 30.

Oh, and Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine has some choice words for the Mercury Prize, and they’re not positive. The Guardian has that.

Arctic Monkeys / AM / Video: “Do I Wanna Know?”
David Bowie / The Next Day / Video: “The Next Day”
Disclosure / Settle / Video: “When A Fire Starts To Burn”
Foals / Holy Fire / Video: “Late Night”
Jake Bugg / Jake Bugg / Video: “Lightning Bolt”
James Blake / Overgrown / Video: “Retrograde”
Jon Hopkins / Immunity / Video: “Open Eye Signal”
Laura Marling / Once I Was An Eagle / Video: “Master Hunter”
Laura Mvula / Sing To The Moon / Video: “Green Garden”
Rudimental / Home / Video: “Waiting All Night”
Savages / Silence Yourself / Video: “Shut Up”
Villagers / Awayland / Video: “Nothing Arrived”

Summer Camp’s Elizabeth Sankey takes Clash behind the scenes of the video for “Fresh”, taken from their just-released new record Summer Camp.

NOW checks in with Arctic Monkeys, who kick off their North American tour on September 15 at The Kool Haus.

The Skinny and philly.com get to know CHVRCHES, who play The Danforth Music Hall on September 15. Their debut The Bones Of What You Believe is out September 24.

Filter talks to Elvis Costello and ?uestlove of The Roots about their new collaborative album Wise Up Ghost, which comes out September 17.

Icona Pop have released a new video from their forthcoming kinda-but-not-really debut This Is… Icona Pop, out September 24.

Video: Icona Pop – “All Night”

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with London Grammar, who will be at The Great Hall on October 4.

Under The Radar has posted their recent cover story on Charli XCX, who makes her local headlining debut at Wrongbar on November 9.

Dev Hynes is a dancing machine in the new Blood Orange video, which also serves as the first taste of his new record Cupid Deluxe. It should be out this year.

Video: Blood Orange – “Chamakay”

A Music Blog, Yea interviews The Vaccines.

Under The Radar talks to Still Corners.

Junip have released a new video from this year’s self-titled album.

Video: Junip – “Walking Lightly”