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Posts Tagged ‘Little Dragon’

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Osheaga 2012 Day Two

The Jesus & Mary Chain, Kathleen Edwards, Garbage, and more at Osheaga

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangMy writeup of day one of Osheaga mentioned a few times how hot it was, but it bears repeating: it was hot. 40 Celsius with the humidity – that’s 104 Fahrenheit, my American friends – and not even much relief in the shade. Why is Friday’s heat relevant to Saturday’s recap? Because Saturday felt even hotter. And why is the heat relevant? I guess it’s not, really, but even days on I still feel like complaining about it. It was damn hot. But even though any rational person would have opted to stay indoors and air conditioned, tens of thousands still headed back onto Parc Jean-Drapeau in the middle of the St. Lawrence River for another day of music. In the heat.

And the earliest or most masochistic of those – your call – were there in time to see The Dø, arguably the best French/Finnish band going, do their thing to kick off the day. Having seen them on their previous to last visit to Toronto in Fall 2010 – their most recent visit being the night before – I remembered that their live experience was a much less eclectic one than you got from their records, focused more on their pop side. But there’s only so much smoothing out you can do for an outfit as artistically restless as they and throughout their set, their odder/proggier tendencies would manifest themselves in outros, jams, what have you. Singer Olivia Merilahti’s charisma works better as slinky than sweaty, but you take what you can get.

Photos: The Dø @ Scène de la rivière – August 4, 2012
MP3: The Dø – “Slippery Slope”
MP3: The Dø – “At Last”
MP3: The Dø – “Tammie”
Video: The Dø – “The Wicked & The Blind”
Video: The Dø – “Gonna Be Sick”
Video: The Dø – “Too Insistent”
Video: The Dø – “Slippery Slope”
Video: The Dø – “At Last”
Video: The Dø – “On My Shoulders”
Video: The Dø – “Playground Hustle”
Video: The Dø – “The Bridge Is Broken”

Immediately following on the Mountain stage and way at the opposite end of eccentric was Canada’s sweetheart 2012, Kathleen Edwards, with the first set of the weekend that came with a simple, “yeah it’s hot so why not lay back and soak it in” vibe. Indeed, looked at it from a different perspective, it was rather the perfect place for Edwards’ earnest and genial sort of roots-rock, bolstered by the fact that she’s pretty hellaciously funny – case in point, her comment to the stage hand turning the fire hose onto the audience: “hey, hose guy you and me have a date in 20 minutes”. I don’t see her live enough to not need to be reminded of this, but I did have enough of a reference point to notice that Edwards seemed happier and more content up there than I’d ever seen her, particularly in her older material which was represented by the singles though she did turn to her breakout Voyageur for some deep cuts. I don’t usually expect happiness to translate into great art, but Edwards wears and uses it well.

Huffington Post Music has a feature piece on Edwards.

Photos: Kathleen Edwards @ Scène de la montagne – August 4, 2012
MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “Change The Sheets”
MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “Asking For Flowers”
MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “In State”
MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “Back To Me”
MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “Copied Keys”
MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “One More Song The Radio Won’t Like”
MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “National Steel”
MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “Six O’Clock News”
Video: Kathleen Edwards – “Change The Sheets”
Video: Kathleen Edwards – “I Make The Dough, You Get The Glory”
Video: Kathleen Edwards – “The Cheapest Key”
Video: Kathleen Edwards – “In State”
Video: Kathleen Edwards – “Back To Me”
Video: Kathleen Edwards – “Hockey Skates”
Video: Kathleen Edwards – “One More Song The Radio Won’t Like”
Video: Kathleen Edwards – “Six O’Clock News”

Following Edwards – though with enough of a break between to allow a water run – was Calexico, who thanks to their Arizona roots probably didn’t even notice the heat, and if they had something to say about the humidity, they politely refrained from doing so. And indeed, if any artist on the lineup made music that sounded beaten down and bleached by the sun, it was Calexico. The usually workaholic band had been relatively quiet since 2008’s Carried To Dust, focusing on some archival reissues before getting around to making a new record in Algiers, due out September 11. But their set didn’t worry too much about proving they’d been making new music – opening with “Crystal Frontier” circa 2001’s Even My Sure Things Fall Through, they were much more about creating a deliciously parched, mariachi-tinged atmosphere and maybe getting people thinking, “hey, this heat thing isn’t so bad”. Methinks they succeeded.

Photos: Calxico @ Scène de la montagne – August 4, 2012
MP3: Calexico – “Para”
MP3: Calexico – “Two Silver Trees”
MP3: Calexico – “History Of Lovers”
MP3: Calexico – “Cruel”
MP3: Calexico – “Alone Again Or”
MP3: Calexico – “Black Heart”
MP3: Calexico – “Quattro (World Drifts In)”
MP3: Calexico – “Crystal Frontier”
MP3: Calexico – “Ballad Of Cable Hogue”
MP3: Calexico – “Service And Repair”
MP3: Calexico – “Frontera”
MP3: Calexico – “Spokes”
Video: Calexico – “Para”
Video: Calexico – “Two Silver Trees”
Video: Calexico – “Cruel”

Considering they were a local band whose last album Shapeshifter had been a real breakout record – it certainly got me onside after years of indifference – I was a little surprised that Young Galaxy had drawn a mid-day time slot on the festival’s smallest stage. But considering they’d spent much of 2012 writing and recording the follow-up to said record in Sweden – though their Rockethub campaign didn’t reach its target, they made it over anyways? – perhaps they wanted to ease back into the live thing. In any case, they weren’t helped out by the fact that the technical difficulties that plagued the acts I saw on the Forest stage on Friday persisted, the overall mix rather shoddy, or the fact that Young Galaxy have never been the best live act, but the vibrancy of the Shapeshifter material still came through. Interestingly, their live sound seemed more built on conventional instruments and less reliant on electronics than I remembered; it remains to be seen if this was just happenstance for this performance or if it marks another change in direction… the one new song they offered up didn’t stray far from the Shapeshifter formula but I wouldn’t assume what was heard onstage necessarily resembles that which came out of Dan Lissvik’s Gothenburg studio. I look forward to hearing it.

Daytrotter recently posted up a session with the band.

Photos: Young Galaxy @ Scène des arbes – August 4, 2012
MP3: Young Galaxy – “Youth Is Wasted On The Young”
MP3: Young Galaxy – “Peripheral Visionaries”
MP3: Young Galaxy – “We Have Everything”
MP3: Young Galaxy – “Cover Your Tracks”
MP3: Young Galaxy – “Outside The City”
MP3: Young Galaxy – “Come And See”
MP3: Young Galaxy – “Swing Your Heartache”
Video: Young Galaxy – “Phantoms”
Video: Young Galaxy – “Peripheral Visionaries”
Video: Young Galaxy – “Blown Minded”
Video: Young Galaxy – “We Have Everything”
Video: Young Galaxy – “The Alchemy Between Us”
Video: Young Galaxy – “Outside The City”
Video: Young Galaxy – “Come And See”

Back at the mainstage, it was soon time for Garbage. As much as I hate people who equate bands falling off their own radar with having ceased to exist at all, I have to admit that I had completely forgotten they’d released two albums this century; I thought this year’s Not Your Kind Of People had been their first record in much more than seven years. I wasn’t even really a fan back in the ’90s and had not paid any attention to the Toronto stop of their tour earlier this year, but festival math is different and in this setting, Garbage were a must-see for me if for no other reason than I never had before and I’d surely know a lot of the songs. After all, they weren’t a cult band by any measure, but genuinely successful across their first two albums and ubiquitous across radio and television. Not that any of that necessarily meant anything to much of the Osheaga demographic, who were probably in primary school when Garbage were at their apex, but I digress.

Boasting surely the most spartan stage setup of anyone at the festival – there was almost no gear onstage – they turned in a thoroughly polished performance befitting the 3/4 of the band who’re studio perfectionists and with frontwoman Shirley Manson responsible for providing any and all rawness, which she did with aplomb. Looking as fierce and confrontational as ever – and probably thankful they had an early evening timeslot for even SPF10000 sunblock couldn’t have prevented her paleness from spontaneously combusting at high noon – Manson prowled and strutted around the stage like she owned it; time hasn’t diminished her charisma, that’s for certain. Their tunes have also aged surprisingly well; though their electro-grunge pop sound is inseparable from its era, the hooks and melodies are forever. And I appreciated their seeing the Pretenders’ “Talk Of The Town” quote in the outro of “Special” – probably my all-time favourite Garbage moment alongside the hard-panned guitars on “Vow” – and raising it an extra few lines from “I Go To Sleep”. A nice moment in one of my unexpectedly favourite sets of the weekend.

The Montreal Gazette and Huffington Post have interviews with Shirley Manson and Rolling Stone analyzes her distinctive fashion sense over the years.

Photos: Garbage @ Scène de la rivière – August 4, 2012
Video: Garbage – “Blood For Poppies”
Video: Garbage – “Tell Me Where It Hurts”
Video: Garbage – “Run Baby Run”
Video: Garbage – “Sex Is Not The Enemy”
Video: Garbage – “Bleed Like Me”
Video: Garbage – “Why Do You Love Me”
Video: Garbage – “Shut Your Mouth”
Video: Garbage – “Breaking Up The Girl”
Video: Garbage – “Cherry Lips”
Video: Garbage – “Androgyny”
Video: Garbage – “You Look So Fine”
Video: Garbage – “The Trick Is To Keep Breathing”
Video: Garbage – “When I Grow Up”
Video: Garbage – “Special”
Video: Garbage – “I Think I’m Paranoid”
Video: Garbage – “Push It”
Video: Garbage – “Milk”
Video: Garbage – “Stupid Girl”
Video: Garbage – “Only Happy When It Rains”
Video: Garbage – “Queer”
Video: Garbage – “Vow”

En route from the mainstages to the far end of the festival grounds, I made my first and only stop at Osheaga’s electronic stage in order to see Sweden’s Little Dragon. I was there well in time but the band were extra-late in getting set up and underway, thus limiting my time to get acquainted with them. I hadn’t really heard much from them before, but an elevator pitch of three Swedes fronted by a little Japanese girl while cranking out beat-heavy electro-soul was enough to get me interested. For the few songs I was able to stick around and with frontwoman Yukimi Nagano was all over the stage, dancing and going to town on her tambourine, they certainly delivered what I’d hoped for and did with a good deal more energy and ferocity than I expected. As I said, I’d have liked to stay and watch more, but I had a long-standing appointment to keep.

Fuse and Rolling Stone have feature pieces on Little Dragon.

Photos: Little Dragon @ Scène Piknick Électronik – August 4, 2012
Video: Little Dragon – “Crystalfilm”
Video: Little Dragon – “Brush The Heat”
Video: Little Dragon – “When I Go Out”
Video: Little Dragon – “Fortune”
Video: Little Dragon – “My Step”
Video: Little Dragon – “Never Never”
Video: Little Dragon – “After The Rain”
Video: Little Dragon – “Twice”
Video: Little Dragon – “Constant Surprises”

An appointment that dated back to March, when I got to within ten people or so of seeing The Jesus & Mary Chain in Austin at SXSW, but no closer. This was before they made it clear that they’d be on the road for much of 2012, mind, so being shut out and listening to them from the street felt extra painful at the time; needless to say, missing them again was simply not in the cards. Though if I had any fears about the Green stage being jammed before I got there, they were unfounded – the band may have been legends to many, but there weren’t more than a few hundred people gathered to see them close out the night, most of a certain generation and more than a few with kids in tow. No doubt a club show, as they’d sold out in Toronto the night before, would have better suited but this was what it was, and what it was was pretty great.

If you were to drop someone from the ’80s in front of the stage, they probably wouldn’t have had any idea who they were looking at – William Reid may have looked similar to how he did back then, albeit heavier-set, but Jim Reid’s wild shock of hair has long been traded for a rather office-looking cut and it’s hard to imagine the younger him wearing a red Flying Burrito Brothers t-shirt onstage as he did. The time-traveler might also ask why Phil King of Lush was there on bass. And just as they didn’t look like they once did, they didn’t entirely sound like they did either – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While still exceptionally loud, the white noise screech that was their signature circa Psychocandy was localized mainly to Reid’s guitar as opposed to across the entire sonic spectrum and the melodic pop polish that they’d achieved by the end of their recording career (1999’s Munki) was applied to all of their career-spanning set. And while the younger Reid may have looked rather more proper than he once did, his voice still had that Glaswegian sneer and the misanthropic spirit of his lyrics remained – it’s hard to sugarcoat a song like “Reverence”, after all.

We didn’t get to hear Jim Reid berate his brother for messing up at all as I’ve heard he’s done at other shows – some things never change – but he did apologize to the audience for forgetting the words to “Happy When It Rains” and forcing a start-over (the second time that day I’d heard a Scottish person sing about how they enjoy the rain, coincidentally). And while I’m sure they intended having Mad Men actress and Montréal native Jessica Paré come out to sing backups on “Just Like Honey” and cover Hope Sandoval’s parts on “Sometimes Always” as a surprise, the fact that she’d done the same at the previous Buffalo and Toronto shows kind of took some of the wow factor out of it. Unsurprisingly, that’s what most of the reviews of the show focused on but the real important take-away was that even if they never make a new record – and maybe we don’t even want one – The Jesus & Mary Chain still sound amazing and still don’t give a fuck. All hail.

Photos: The Jesus & Mary Chain @ Scène verte – August 4, 2012
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “I Love Rock’N’Roll”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Cracking Up”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “I Hate Rock’N’Roll”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Come On”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Sometimes Always”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Almost Gold”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Something I Can Have”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Far Gone And Out”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Teenage Lust”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Reverence”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Head On”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Blues From A Gun”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Darklands”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Happy When It Rains”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Some Candy Talking”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “April Skies”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Just Like Honey”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “You Trip Me Up”

Some other things that you may want to know about… Cat Power has announced the North American tour dates in support of Sun, out September 4. She’ll be at The Kool Haus on October 20, tickets $34.50 in advance, and a second track from the new record is now available to download.

MP3: Cat Power – “Cherokee”

Bob Mould is streaming the first single from his new one The Silver Age, out September 4. It sounds like going through those Sugar reissues reinspired him in the very best way, and if you’re unfamiliar with Mould’s extensive body of song but want to start investigating, The AV Club has a helpful beginner’s guide.

Stream: Bob Mould – “The Descent”

Rolling Stone has some details on the 25th anniversary reissue of R.E.M.’s Document, due out on September 25.

Paste, LA Weekly, and The Village Voice talk to Jeff McDonald of Redd Kross, who’ve just released a new video and download from their excellent new record Researching The Blues.

MP3: Redd Kross – “Stay Away From Downtown”
Video: Redd Kross – “Stay Away From Downtown”

Circuital may be over a year old, but that doesn’t mean that My Morning Jacket can’t release a new animated, Galifianakis-powered video from it to coincide with their tour which brings them to Echo Beach next Wednesday, August 15.

Video: My Morning Jacket – “Outta My System”

Lower Dens also have a new video from Nootropics. There’s also interviews at DCist and The Village Voice.

Video: Lower Dens – “Candy”

Tom Waits had everyone convinced last week that he’d be announcing his first tour in forever this week. He didn’t, he just released a new video from Bad Like Me. Never before has such a cool video been met with so much disappointment.

Video: Tom Waits – “Hell Broke Luce”

Rolling Stone talks to John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats about their new record Transcendental Youth. It’s out October 2 and brings them to The Phoenix on October 20.

Britt Daniel chats with Exclaim about his new band Divine Fits, his old band Spoon, and about his other new band, Spl:t S:ngle. A Thing Called Divine Fits is out August 28 and they’re at Lee’s Palace September 5.

Fang Island gives aux.tv a track-by-track walkthrough of their latest Major.

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Hello Sadness

Los Campesinos’ sadness. See it. Hear it.

Photo via FacebookFacebookRoving gang of musical Welsh nogoodniks Los Campesinos! announced the existence of their fourth album Hello Sadness just last week, but they’ve already followed up that news with both the first downloadable MP3 from the record and video, both for the record’s leadoff track – a song which despite the band’s supposed claims to welcoming despair into their lives, sound pretty damn peppy. Or shouty, at least.

And while you’re getting down to that, they’ve also announced a handful of – well, four – American tour dates to preview the record. Note that doesn’t the crew won’t be crossing the border north of the US this time, but seeing as how they’ve never been averse to visiting Toronto and Canada repeatedly, expect a date when broader touring plans are announced.

MP3: Los Campesinos! – “By Your Hand”
Video: Los Campesinos! – “By Your Hand”

Noah & The Whale – who proved their ability to get super-sad with second album First Days Of Spring – return to town to party like it’s the Last Night On Earth at The Phoenix on November 8, part of a full North American tour; admission is $20 in advance. Interview has a chat with violinist Tom Hobden.

MP3: Noah & The Whale – “The First Days Of Spring”
Video: Noah & The Whale – “Tonight’s The Kind Of Night”

Baeble Music has a Guest Apartment interview and session with Laura Marling. A Creature I Don’t Know is out Tuesday and she plays The Great Hall on September 23.

Beatroute, The Edmonton Journal, OC Weekly and The Calgary Herald have feature pieces on The Joy Formidable.

Even though there’s really no need to reissue an album that was just released in February, Yuck will get a deluxe edition of their self-titled debut on October 11 that includes a 6-track bonus CD – you can stream one of the new offerings at Pitchfork. They play The Horseshoe on September 27.

Stream: Yuck – “Cousin Corona”

The Guardian is streaming Mogwai’s new EP Earth Division, out next Tuesday, as well as notes from Stuart Braithwaite. So go and stream it and read. Go.

Stream: Mogwai / Earth Division

Also streaming and out next week is Acrobat, the second album from Peggy Sue.

MP3: Peggy Sue – “Cut My Teeth”
Stream: Peggy Sue / Acrobats

Music Broke My Bones and The Whiteboard Project have interviews with Slow Club, the latter of which is hilariously conducted via whiteboard. Paradise is out next week.

Grantland sends Chuck Klosterman to interview Noel Gallagher. A pretty great read regardless of your opinions of either character ensues. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds release their debut album on November 7 and play Massey Hall on November 7 and 8.

Wears The Trousers chat with Esben & The Witch.

DIY has a feature interview with Patrick Wolf and the singer-songwriter fesses up to Clash about his love of waterslides.

Though he’s supposed to be gearing up for the Horrors tour which brings him to Lee’s Palace on September 27, Faris Badwan tells Exclaim that his side-project Cat’s Eyes plans to release two more records in 2012. Which is good news because Cat’s Eyes was great. And Badwan talks Horrors with The Illinois Entertainer.

Beatroute has an interview with Arctic Monkeys.

Artrocker has the new video from Sons & Daughters, taken from their latest Mirror Mirror.

Video: Sons & Daughters – “Rose Red”

Goth godfather Peter Murphy brings his new solo record Ninth to town for a show at Lee’s Palace on November 23, tickets $29.50.

MP3: Peter Murphy – “I Spit Roses”

Though the media cycle on New Order of late has mainly been about irrevocably rent asunder they are with the acrimonious departure of bassist Peter Hook, Spinner reports that it’s a bit of a zero-sum game as original keyboardist Gillian Gilbert is back in the fold for a couple of charity gigs in October. Unsurprisingly, Hooky is unimpressed. Which makes me wish that Ian Curtis was capable of issuing press releases so we could find out what he thinks about what Peter Hook is up to.

Fanfarlo have completed their second album and while it’s still untitled and has no release date, it does have a video for the leadoff track.

Video: Fanfarlo – “Replicate”

The Line Of Best Fit goes on an in-depth expedition into The Radio Dept.’s discography with founders Johan Duncanson and Martin Larson as sherpas. The Radio Dept are at The Mod Club on November 17.

Exclaim has some details of Swedish sister act First Aid Kit’s second album; The Lion’s Roar will be out on January 24 of the new year and you can see them supporting Lykke Li at The Sound Academy on November 15.

Little Dragon have released a new video from Ritual Union; they’re at The Hoxton on October 12.

Video: Little Dragon – “Brush The Heat”

Pitchfork has a new video from Sigur Ros taken from their Inni live film and album, due out November.

Video: Sigur Ros – “Klippa”

If you like Howling Bells and are willing to admit as much via Facebook, you’ll be able to stream their new record The Loudest Engine. It’s out Monday.

Stream: Howling Bells / The Loudest Engine

NME talks to Empire Of The Sun’s Luke Steele about their plans for album number two. But before that, they will play The Sound Academy on Tuesday evening, September 13.

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Nobody Knows You

Summer Camp set to open in time for Fall

Photo via AltsoundsAltsoundsLondon’s Summer Camp are clearly believers in the long game. Since emerging in the Fall of 2009 with their identities shrouded in mystery – they were originally thought to be a Swedish collective – they’ve gradually revealed more and more about themselves while keeping up a steady stream of ’80s-worshipping, in both sound and theme, infectious electro-pop.

Now, almost two years since first causing a fuss, the duo of Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey are ready to release their full-length debut which they’ve christened Welcome To Condale and set for a decidedly un-Summery October 31 release. Financed via Pledgemusic fan support and produced by Pulp’s Steve Mackey, the 12-track long-player only carries over one track from last year’s Young EP and that most likely re-recorded. And that’s probably just as well – as delectable as that release was, they’ve certainly had enough time to write all-new material and goodness we want some new tunes.

Clash has details on the release and you can stream the first single over at long-time band supporter Gorilla Vs Bear; some of the older material is available to hear and watch below. And while it’s probably a bit much to hope for any touring on this side of the Atlantic, it’s worth pointing out that despite their two-piece, heavily programmed configuration not seeming like it’d lend itself to a compelling live show, they were one of the uncontested highlights of SXSW this year.

MP3: Summer Camp – “I Want You”
MP3: Summer Camp – “Ghost Train”
MP3: Summer Camp – “Veronica Sawyer”
Stream: Summer Camp – “Better Off Without You”
Video: Summer Camp – “Ghost Train”
Video: Summer Camp – “Round The Moon”

Also announcing album release details this week was Florence & The Machine. Clearly hoping to find its way under Christmas trees, Ms Welch and company’s second album will be out on November 8, and while it still doesn’t have a title, it does have a video for the first single. Check it out and read an interview with Welch about the new record at Pitchfork.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “What The Water Gave Me”

If you, like me, are thinking about going to see Londonites Male Bonding at The Horseshoe next Friday night – September 2 – but want a head start on hearing their new record Endless Now before it’s officially out on August 30, head over to Punk News as it’s streaming in whole right now, while Spin has a chat and a tune available to download. And if you can’t make the show or it’s not enough, the band are also playing an instore at Kops that evening at 6PM.

MP3: Male Bonding – “Tame The Sun”
Stream: Male Bonding / Endless Now

One of the more hilariously reviled British guitar bands of recent memory – Viva Brother (formerly just Brother) – will put Toronto’s Anglophilia to the test when they bring their debut Famous First Words to the Horseshoe on October 13, tickets $13. There’s interviews at The Belfast Telegraph and BBC.

Video: Viva Brother – “Darling Buds Of May”

You cannot understand how happy I was to hear that Anna Calvi – whose Toronto debut in May I missed due to being in Spain – was coming back for a show at Lee’s Palace on December 8, tickets $15. I was, like, super-happy. Also making me super-happy is this set of videos of Calvi performing on the rooftop at Spin.

MP3: Anna Calvi – “Blackout”

NPR has a World Cafe session with James Blake, who will be at The Phoenix on September 30. And if you’re curious about the Fall Creek Boys Choir project he’s working on with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, The Quietus has a stream of the first taste of the collaboration.

Stereogum checks in with Ladytron on the status of their new record Gravity The Seducer, due out September 13. They play The Phoenix on October 5.

Lucky talks sartorial style with Emmy The Great.

Via a blog post, Billy Bragg responds to the London riots by declaring it high time that people started making political music again.

The Alternate Side has a video session with Art Brut while The San Francisco Examiner talks comics with Eddie Argos.

Sweden’s Little Dragon will bring their acclaimed third album Ritual Union to town for a show at the somewhat less acclaimed Hoxton venue – nee 69 Bathurst – on October 12. Many are hoping that demand for this show forces it into a larger venue… There’s a session with Little Dragon over at NPR.

MP3: Little Dragon – “Feather”
Video: Little Dragon – “When I Go Out”

Back to the mysterious duo meme for a moment, jj continue to disregard conventions of album cycles, getting paid for their work or song title length by posting a new MP3 on their blog this week for free download.

MP3: jj – “You Don’t Know How Much It Would Hurt Me If You Said That You Were In Love With Me”

NPR have posted a KEXP session with Peter Bjorn & John, in town at Lee’s Palace on September 2 and 3. Cleveland.com also has an interview.

France’s Revolver appear set to make a return to Toronto, having scheduled a show at The Horseshoe for October 16.

MP3: Revolver – “Get Around Town”

Jane Birkin will be performing the songs of Serge Gainsbourg at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on December 7, tickets $34.50 in advance.

Video: Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg – “Je t’aime”

And coincidentally – or maybe not so – their daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg has released a new video for the title track of her forthcoming Terrible Angels EP, out September 6 – details on the release at Pitchfork. A new double-album, Stage Whisper, will follow on November 8.

Video: Charlotte Gainsbourg – “Terrible Angels”

And once more with the Euro duos. Disco-pop outfit Keep Shelly In Athens, who actually hail from the Athens in Greece and not Georgia – usually a no-brainer except when you’re talking indie-centric music – will be embarking on their first North American tour this Fall, including a November 16 date at Wrongbar in Toronto. Tickets are $15 in advance but you can win some by posting when and where you’d like to see them on their Facebook.

MP3: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Running Out On You”
MP3: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Fokionos Negri Street”

Monday, October 5th, 2009

All Delighted People

Sufjan Stevens and Cryptacize at Lee's Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIn a recent interview posted to the Asthamtic Kitty website in which Sufjan Stevens interviewed former bandmate and now labelmate Shannon Stephens, Stevens (note spelling) said, “I’m at a point where I no longer have a deep desire to share my music with anyone, having spent many years imparting my songs to the public”. A curious sentiment that might have seemed truthful a couple months ago, when he was still largely a recluse, choosing not to follow up his 2005 opus Illinois with anything resembling a conventional record, instead favouring multimedia projects and reissues. But you couldn’t say he wasn’t much for sharing with him midway through a short, surprise tour that saw him playing venues many times smaller than his patient and devoted fanbase could easily fill and playing a wealth of new material that wasn’t really ready what you’d call “finished”. Not that anyone in the beyond-sold out Lee’s Palace on Thursday night cared.

Support came from Los Angeles’ Cryptacize, whose second record Mythomania has found its way in and out of rotation over the Summer. Some of it I find beguiling, some of it boring, but it’s generally an interesting listen, like a stack of girl group, surf, Bossa Nova and prog-rock 7″s were left out on a beach in the California sun and melted together. Fronted by the classic and crystalline voice of Nedelle Torrisi, who would also cover keys and backing vocals in Stevens’ band, their set was generally enjoyable – they certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves – but probably ran a bit long for the anxious crowd, many of whom had been standing in line since late afternoon to get a prime vantage point for Stevens.

Stevens’ last two Toronto appearances in November 2004 and September 2005 were full and proper productions for Michigan/Seven Swans and Illinois respectively, complete with costumes and synchronized stage moves, so it was evident that this night was going to be something different when the band came out in regular casual street clothes and roadied their own gear, Stevens included, to the sound of much shrieking. And “casual” would be the key word for the night, followed closely by “beautiful”, “intimate” and, well, “sloppy”. The “beautiful” is a given for anyone who’s familiar with Stevens’ orchestral folk-pop compositions and the “intimate” aspect of the show has already been covered. As for the “sloppy”, well that’s not necessarily a criticism because if anyone can make missed cues and barely-remembered lyrics endearing, it’s Stevens. But even as far into the tour as they were, it was clear they were still feeling out the new material – mostly via extended jamming with Stevens taking the opportunity to show off his electric guitar chops – and getting reacquainted with the old.

As expected, the the nearly two-hour set drew from Stevens’ last four records – including Illinois outtakes collection The Avalanche – and four new songs. I’d originally thought there were five, but the one I thought the best of the bunch, the Simon & Garfunkel-quoting “All Delighted People”, actually dates back to 2000 though the version performed was almost unrecognizable against the original. By and large, the new material, which was described by Stevens as “long-form”, demonstrated that he has lost none of his flair for grandiose musical statements and is enjoying working without the constraints of a theme (or state) to write around. By no means did any of it feel ready – if it were released on an album in their present form, they’d probably be met largely with head-scratching – but as a teaser of where he’s going and what’s possibly to come, it was tantalizing. And the old material was, as stated, beautiful. I’d forgotten how stunning Stevens’ voice was live, so fragile yet powerful, and moments like “To Be Alone With You”, “Casimir Pulaski Day” and the still-chilling encore of “John Wayne Gacy, Jr” were jaw-dropping if not quite audience-silencing. With no sign as to when a new record will be forthcoming, let alone when he’ll undertake another proper tour, this show would have to keep Stevens’ fans satisfied for possibly a long time. And as much as you can be satisfied while never wanting it to end, it delivered.

There’s further reviews of the show at Exclaim and Panic Manual. Cryptacize are heading back on tour next month with The Fiery Furnaces and will be at the El Mocambo on November 7. Sufjan Stevens’ film in tribute to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway – The BQE – will be screening for one night only at Innis Town Hall at the University of Toronto on October 25 at 7:30, tickets $10 in advance online or at Soundscapes. Stevens’ Run Rabbit Run is out tomorrow and the The BQE is out on October 20.

Photos: Sufjan Stevens, Cryptacize @ Lee’s Palace – October 1, 2009
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “Movement VI—Isorhythmic Night Dance With Interchanges”
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “The Henney Buggy Band”
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “The Man Of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts”
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “Casimir Pulaski Day”
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “Sister”
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “Holland”
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “Year Of The Dog”
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “Year Of The Tiger”
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “Demetrius”
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “A Winner Needs A Wand”
MP3: Cryptacize – “Blue Tears”
MP3: Cryptacize – “One Block Wonders”
MP3: Cryptacize – “Mini-Mythomania” (C Spencer Yeh remix)
MP3: Cryptacize – “Tail And Mane”
MP3: Cryptacize – “Cosmic Sing Along”
MP3: Cryptacize – “No Coins”
Video: Cryptacize – “Tail And Mane”
Video: Cryptacize – “Blue Tears”
Video: Cryptacize – “Cosmic Sing Along”
MySpace: Sufjan Stevens
MySpace: Cryptacize

The Riverfront Times talks to St Vincent’s Annie Clark, who released the first part of a tour video, compiled from footage taken over the Summer.

The Mountain Goats have released a first video from The Life Of The World To Come, out tomorrow. The record is also up to stream:

Video: The Mountain Goats – “Ezekiel 7 and the Permanent Efficacy of Grace”
Stream: The Mountain Goats / The Life Of The World To Come

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with Death Cab For Cutie.

Dog Day are releasing a super-limited, vinyl-only EP entitled Elder Schoolhouse, out in late October. No digital versions of the songs are planned, save for the MP3 and live video below, so if you want, get yourself a turntable. Dog Day play the Horseshoe on November 5.

MP3: Dog Dag – “Synastry”
Video: Dog Day – “Neighbour” and “Sleeping Waiting” (live at Elder Schoolhouse)

Swedish electro-pop outfit Little Dragon have booked a North American tour in support of new record Machine Dreams, out domestically on October 20, and that includes a date at Wrongbar in Toronto on November 18.

MP3: Little Dragon – “Blinking Pigs”

Zero 7 have set a date at the Phoenix for December 3 in support of their new record Yeah Ghost.