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Posts Tagged ‘Little Scream’

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Fineshrine

Review of Purity Ring’s Shrines

Photo By Sebastian MlynarskiSebastian MlynarskiI expect there’s a lot of interest in drawing parallels between the success of Purity Ring with that of Grimes what with both being based out of Montreal – although Purity Ring’s Corin Roddick and Megan James originally hail from Edmonton – and releasing albums of electronic pop that seem to be the perfect soundtracks for the zeitgeist circa 2012, and on the same label outside of Canada, no less – the legendary 4AD.

But whereas Claire Boucher’s work is rather defined by its technicolor ADD-ness and her pixie-like vocals, Purity Ring’s debut Shrines is quite content to work within decidedly narrow aesthetic parameters. Beats are slow and with their reverse-decay treatment, seem to exist somewhere between a stutter and a throb, giving the record a very steady if uneasy pace. At the other end of the spectrum and separated by layers of thickly reverbed ’80s-vintage synth tones, you have James’ bright, clear, and girlish vocals – and only occasionally electronically sliced and diced – delivering major-key, singalong melodies and lyrics that are often playfully nonsensical, yet still somehow foreboding.

This contrast essentially sums up Purity Ring – a friendly yet fearful intersection of dreampop and R&B. The consistency of their style reminds me of The xx, who were also able to turn a seemingly limited palette of sounds and ideas into a unique sonic world all their own. They aren’t quite as able to avoid the nagging sense of sameness that’s the downside of such an approach – by the end of Shrines, there’s a distinct sense that you’ve heard these songs already – but the record possesses enough distinctiveness and ideas to largely justify all the attention being given to it.

What attention? Well, consider that the week of the record’s release – that’s this week – has yielded feature pieces in Exclaim, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Interview, Canada.com, The Edmonton Journal, The Montreal Gazette, and Stereogum. I’d say that counts as people paying attention.

MP3: Purity Ring – “Belispeak”
MP3: Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”
MP3: Purity Ring – “Obedear”
Video: Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”
Video: Purity Ring – “Belispeak”

Claire Boucher talks to MTV Hive about some creative directions she may want to take in the future, whether as Grimes or as something else. It’s as Grimes that she’ll be at Lee’s Palace on September 21.

Crystal Castles are putting the finishing touches on their third album – still untitled but due out late September, and with the first sample available to download and accompanying North American tour announced. Full dates plus some words from Ethan Kath about the new record are available at Exclaim. The hometown date on the itinerary is November 4 at the Kool Haus; Los Angeles’ HEALTH supports.

MP3: Crystal Castles – “Plague”

Dan Snaith’s multiple personality disorder appears to have reared its head again. After being forced to stop being Manitoba and become Caribou some years ago – occasionally transforming into the Caribou Vibration Ensemble – he’s announced his next release will be under the name Daphni, and be decidedly more electronic/dancey than his past efforts which were decidedly electronic/dancey to begin with. The album JIAOLONG will be out on October 16 – Pitchfork has details, the first video is below.

Video: Daphni – “Ye Ye”

Also at Pitchfork, Dan Bejar reviews some of the musical milestones of his life that turned him into Destroyer. He also talks to The Vancouver Sun and Victoria Times-Colonist about attempting to get Destroyer onto the jazz festival circuit this Summer.

That new Stars tune from North that was made available to stream earlier this week is now downloadable. The album is out on September 4 and they open up for Metric at the Air Canada Centre on November 14.

MP3: Stars – “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”

Shad talks to CBC Music about the ’90s-era samples and influences that went into his Melancholy & The Infinite Shadness mixtape.

Those who like their Can-rock bearded and retro-styled will like the looks of the lineup rolling into Echo Beach on September 15 – that’ll bring The Sheepdogs, The Sadies, Zeus, and Yukon Blonde to the waterfront stage. Tickets for that are $29.50 general admission and $45 VIP.

MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”
MP3: Zeus – “Anything You Want Dear”>
MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Fire”
Video: The Sheepdogs – “I Don’t Know”

The Acorn have taken a moment to update the world on what The Acorn has been up to and to share an unreleased tune. A new record is in the works and they’re playing the Paper Bag Records 10th anniversary show at The Great Hall on September 27.

Stream: The Acorn – “Shoot The Moon”

Daytrotter has a session and The Calgary Herald an interview with Cold Specks. She’s at The Great Hall on August 8.

Beatroute talks to Little Scream.

Exclaim has some details on the deluxe reissue of Sloan’s seminal Twice Removed, which will come as a triple-LP set with the album proper on one slab of vinyl, a demo version of the album on another, and a batch of era-correct outtakes on the third. Street date and complete recital tour dates are still to come – the already announced dates only get them as far as the midwest by late September… they gotta come home sometime.

Those of you who like free shows – I see you enter my contests, I know that’s pretty much all of you – should take note of a couple things going down next week courtesy of Scion Sessions. They’ve got their fingers in a few things including the Mad Decent Block Party taking over Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday, but there’s also a couple of shows – one headlined by Nosaj Thing at The Hoxton on August 2 and one led by Young Widows at Parts & Labour on August 3 that you can be at for just the cost of an RSVP. Follow the links above for details.

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

The Darkness

Review of Rose Cousins’ We Have Made A Spark

Photo By Shervin IainezShervin IainezRose Cousins is not a new artist. The Charlottetown by way of Halifax artist has been releasing music for the better part of a decade and I’ve technically heard her before as she’s guested on any number of Maritime-born records including Joel Plaskett’s, but I’d not heard any of her own material until her third full-length album We Have Made A Spark, released at the end of February. And clearly that’s been my loss.

It’s not a record that stops you in your tracks – describe it as singer-songwriter that’d be comfortable at an adult contemporary party and lists towards the rootsy end of things and you wouldn’t be wrong – but that wouldn’t give credit to the emotional richness that Cousins infuses her work with. Her voice has that special blend of wistfulness and resignation that’s put to good use throughout Spark and ably supported by the lean and tasteful arrangements. But the sense of something ineffably special about this record really emerges on the record’s back half, with “For The Best” and “This Light” acting as a particularly powerful one-two punch and the cover of Springsteen’s “If I Should Fall Behind” finishing the listener off. Predominantly slow and sad, yet still standing tall, Spark articulates the sorts of feelings and experiences that everyone has either known or will know soon enough.

Uptown and The Edmonton Journal have feature pieces on Cousins and Southern Souls recently posted a video session with her. She plays The Rivoli on May 3.

MP3: Rose Cousins – “The Darkness”

The Elwins are helping celebrate Record Store Day with an in-store at Soundscapes on the evening of April 21 at 7PM; details over at Facebook. They’ve also been added to the support bill for Zeus at The Phoenix on June 9.

MP3: The Elwins – “Stuck In The Middle”

Sonic Boom is also once again celebrating Record Store Day with their own in-store mini-festival; this year they’ll have Army Girls, The Darcys, Born Ruffians, Plants & Animals, Bloodshot Bill, Fresh Snow, Lioness, Eight And A Half, and Diemonds. Now that’s a lineup and the schedule for the day looks like this.

MP3: Plants & Animals – “Song For Love”
MP3: The Darcys – “Shaking Down The Old Bones”
Video: Diemonds – “Take On The Night”
Video: Eight And A Half – “Scissors”
Video: Lioness – “You’re My Heart”

Though she figures to be around six months pregnant by that time, Coeur de Pirate has made a date at The Opera House for June 1, tickets $22.50 in advance. Rock!

Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Golden Baby”

The 2012 LuminaTO arts festival schedule is out, and from the music end of things, it’s got quite a bit to offer, mostly for free. Highlights include a Rufus Wainwright show on June 10, a Dan Mangan/Kathleen Edwards double-bill on the afternoon of June 16 (hopefully Ms. Edwards’ voice will be back) and an Ohbijou show on the afternoon of June 17; all of these are at David Pecault Square and are free. And yes, that second weekend is the same time as NXNE. So much culture you’re going to choke. The Line Of Best Fit has a video session and interview and Black Cab Sessions do their thing with Wainwright and NPR has a Tiny Desk Concert and Beatroute and The Calgary Herald have feature stories on Kathleen Edwards.

MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “Change The Sheets”
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Oh Fortune”
MP3: Ohbijou – “Anser”
Video: Rufus Wainwright – “Out Of The Game”

The Great Hall gets dark and synthy on July 13 when it hosts a show featuring Toronto’s Trust and New York’s Light Asylum; tickets for that are $12.50 in advance.

MP3: Light Asylum – “A Certain Person”
Video: Trust – “Bulbform”

I don’t remember the last time Little Scream played her own headlining show hereabouts – has she ever? – but she has great luck with opening gigs, having been added as warm-up for Beirut at The Sound Academy on July 19.

MP3: Little Scream – “Cannons”

Kind of an mish-mash of a bill, both in terms of genre and geography, but you’ve got The Sam Roberts Band, Bombay Bicycle Club, and The Jezabels at Echo Beach on July 26 – tickets $39.50 for general admission and $55.00 for VIP.

MP3: The Jezabels – “Try Colour”
Video: Sam Roberts – “I Feel You”
Video: Bombay Bicycle Club – “Shuffle”

Beatroute, The Georgia Straight, and here profile Chains Of Love, who’re in town at The Great Hall opening up for Said The Whale on April 14.

With the release of the new Moonface record With Sinai: Heartbreaking Bravery nigh – it’s out April 17 – it’s time for some premieres; a new video over at Spin and a stream of the whole record at The AV Club.

MP3: Moonface – “Teary Eyes And Bloody Lips”
Video: Moonface – “Teary Eyes And Bloody Lips”
Stream: Moonface / With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery

The fourth part of The Wooden Sky’s Grace On A Hill video series has premiered at IFC. They’re at The Opera House on April 20.

Still no specifics on the “why”, if there are any, surrounding the Fucked Up show at The Power Plant on May 1, but the band have announced that it’ll be free. So the “why” now matters that much less than “when do we line up”, yes?

CBC Music has got a video session with PS I Love You wherein they preview material from Death Dreams ahead of its May 8 release. They’re at The Garrison on May 15.

JAM, The Victoria Times-Colonist, Banff Cragg & Canyon, and Beatroute talk to Joel Plaskett. He’s at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on May 18 and 19.

Spinner and The Globe & Mail chat with Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers, who’ve made a track from New Wild Everywhere available to download and also released a new video. There’s also clips from their performance at the Glenn Gould Studio last month at CBC Music. They play The Music Hall on June 2.

MP3: Great Lake Swimmers – “The Great Exhale”
Video: Great Lake Swimmers – “New Wild Everywhere”

Guelph disco-pop ensemble The Magic are streaming the first single from their debut Ragged Gold, due out June 25.

Stream: The Magic – “Mr. Hollywood”

Feist has released a new video from Metals.

Video: Feist – “Bittersweet Melodies”

NPR serves up a World Cafe session and Planet S an interview with John K Samson.

Daytrotter has posted a new session with Timber Timbre.

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Anything You Want Dear

Zeus release second album like it’s the Kraken or something

Photo By Derek BranscombeDerek Branscombe’70s-styled radio rock – the sort marked by tight multi-part harmonies, guitars that go from chunky rhythms to smooth leads like the peanut butter aisle, and a laid back sort of pop songcraft that’s inviting like a pitcher of beer on a hot Summer’s day – has been back in style lately, and no one’s done a better job of repping it locally than Zeus. Their 2010 debut Say Us won them plenty of fans both across Canada and abroad.

Somehow amidst all the touring the band did for their debut, they managed to write and record a new batch of songs and they’ve been collected as Busting Visions, which has been given a street date of March 27. To build anticipation, a couple of new songs have been released into the wild – a first MP3 is downloadable at Rolling Stone and another is streaming over at NPR.

If you want to hear the new songs – and probably some old ones – previewed live in front of a hometown crowd, Zeus have been announced as the headliner at the Horseshoe on the Friday night of Canadian Musicfest. That’s March 23 and they’re slated to go on at 1AM, but be prepared to be there at doors if you’re planning to see them because the ‘Shoe always fills up during CMW regardless of who’s playing and this will surely not be any different. Advance tickets will guarantee you entry and cost $15, otherwise you can try your luck with a festival wristband.

And I’m not saying that they’re related at all, but it’s interesting that Say Us came out just a couple months before Clash Of The Titans and now Busting Visions hits days before Wrath Of The Titans. At least I think so.

MP3: Zeus – “Anything You Want Dear”
Stream: Zeus – “Are You Gonna Waste My Time?”

The Darcys – another Toronto band with a pronounced affection for the “me” decade – have released a video from their Steely Dan cover record Aja. It’s premiered over at aux.tv and drummer Wes Marskell talks about it with Interview. The band are at The Phoenix on March 1 opening for Bombay Bicycle Club and are on the bill of Edgefest at Downsview Park on July 12.

Video: The Darcys – “Josie”

PunkNews has an interview with Damian Abraham of Fucked Up, whose new Chinese zodiac single “Year Of The Tiger” is now available to stream – all fifteen minutes of it. They’re at Steam Whistle Brewing on February 17 as part of Wavelength 12.

Stream: Fucked Up – “Year Of The Tiger”

Also part of the Wavelength anniversary fest, though two nights later on February 19 at The Garrison, are PS I Love You. They’ve finally completed their second album and on May 8, will be wishing Death Dreams on everyone. How kind. Chart has more info on the record.

Exclaim has got the new Islands record A Sleep & A Forgetting available to stream ahead of its physical release next Tuesday. They’re at The Music Gallery on February 28 and Nick Thorburn discusses the new record with New York Magazine and hour.ca.

MP3: Islands – “This Is Not A Song”
Stream: Islands / A Sleep & A Forgetting

Spin has made a new MP3 from Plants & Animals’ forthcoming The End Of That available to download. It’s out February 28 and the Montrealers are at Lee’s Palace on April 21.

MP3: Plants & Animals – “Song For Love”

Spinner has premiered a new video from Little Scream’s 2010 debut The Golden Record. She’s at The Great Hall on March 1 opening for The Barr Brothers.

Video: Little Scream – “Boatman”

Vancouver retro-soul outfit Chains Of Love have finally announced details of their full-length debut, to be entitled Strange Grey Days and due out on March 13. Specifics and a first taste is available to stream over at Exclaim, and the band have a couple of local dates coming up – a March 24 date at The Horseshoe as part of Canadian Musicfest (they’re on at 9:20) and then one on April 13 at The Great Hall opening up for Said The Whale.

Stream: Chains Of Love – “He’s Leaving (With Me)”

Beatroute has an interview and Exclaim a video session in two parts with John K Samson, in town at The Great Hall on March 22 for Canadian Musicfest.

NPR has posted video of a KEXP radio session and The New Zealand Herald an interview with Austra.

Stereogum has posted streams of a few selections from the Leonard Cohen covers CD currently gracing – which is to say glued to – the cover of Mojo. Hear Cohen redos by the likes of Cass McCombs, Field Music and Bill Callahan.

The Line Of Best Fit has unleashed their 20th Oh Canada compilation. Have at it.

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Turn Up The Radio

Review of Camp Radio’s Campista Socialista

Photo via KillbeatKillbeatIf we were to spool up the Wayback Machine to November 2006, you’d find a post where I confessed that sending me a lovely slab of vinyl was a pretty good way to get to the top of my “to listen to” pile… something that apparently still holds true over a half decade later. But as I pointed out even way back then, a listen is not the same as a writeup so I find it comforting to know that Camp Radio still has the goods to impress in whatever format they’re auditioned on.

The three-piece comprised of Ottawa scene veterans released Campista Socialista last Fall but the five-year gap between it and their 2006 self-titled debut shouldn’t be attributed to overthinking or obsessive tweaking – Campista sounds like it was tossed off in an afternoon, and that’s meant in the very best way. It’s a short and spirited collection of guitar-driven power pop that’s high on energy and melody and low on frills, more than a little reminiscent of the sounds of American college rock circa the mid-’90s that are back in vogue. Sure, some of the harmonies might be imperfect but they’re well-intentioned and endearing in their wobbles and most importantly, they sound great while you, they, everyone, is pogoing around.

Camp Radio play The Horseshoe tomorrow night as part of Nu Music Nite. As always, it’s free and worth your while – they’re on at 9PM sharp.

MP3: Camp Radio – “The Girl Who Stole My Motorbike”
MP3: Camp Radio – “Turn Up The Radio”

Exclaim, Beatroute and CBC Radio 3 talk to The Darcys, performing at The Phoenix on March 1 in support of Bombay Bicycle Club and July 12 at Downsview Park for Edgefest.

The AV Club, Yahoo, and JAM talk to John K. Samson. He’s premiered the first video from Provincial over at IFC and will be at The Great Hall on March 22.

Video: John K. Samson – “Longitudinal Centre”

Le Blogotheque stages a Take-Away Show with Woodpigeon.

Exclaim reports that Patrick Watson will be releasing their new album Adventures In Your Own Backyard on April 30, and the first MP3 from it is already available to download.

MP3: Patrick Watson – “Into Giants”

Under The Radar talks to Graham Van Pelt about what 2011 meant for Miracle Fortress.

A second and much more in-character taste of Memoryhouse’s debut The Slideshow Effect is now up for grabs. The album is out February 28.

MP3: Memoryhouse – “Walk With Me”

Hooded Fang have released a new video from Tosta Mista, just in time – well almost – for their show at The Great Hall on February 24.

Video: Hooded Fang – “Vacationation”

DIY has a video session with Kathleen Edwards, while hour.ca and The Courier-Journal have interviews. She plays The Phoenix on February 11.

The New Zealand Herald has an interview with Feist. And oh, new video.

Video: Feist – “The Bad In Each Other”

The L has a video session with Little Scream, who’s just announced a date at The Great Hall on March 1 opening up for The Barr Brothers.

MP3: Little Scream – “Cannons”

Jenn Grant has rolled out a sweet, split-screened new video from last year’s Honeymoon Punch.

Video: Jenn Grant – “Baby’s Been Away”

NOW talks to Rae Spoon.

And if you’ve ever wondered what it sounds like when Neil Young and Crazy Horse get together – that is, outside of the countless albums they’ve recorded together – head to Neil’s website to hear a 37-minute jam that’s presumably taken from their ongoing recording sessions.

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Racing Like A Pro

The National and Mumford & Sons officially graduate to arena rock status

Photo By Keith KlenowskiKeith KlenowskiJust to be clear: filling Massey Hall for two nights in a row is no mean feat. Not many bands can do it once, let alone twice, but when The National did just that last June in support of their breakout album High Violet, it felt like an arrival – the best and most natural setting for a band that had graduated from the bar circuit and were taking their rightful place in the city’s most hallowed room, hopefully for years to come.

Except clearly, they weren’t done. A year and a half on from their last album’s release, though a couple of high-profile singles released over this Summer as well as plenty of touring have kept them front of mind, The National have gotten big enough that their next North American tour will bring them to the Air Canada Centre on December 8. Granted, it will probably be the approximately 5200-capacity theatre configuration, which is about the same size as their Massey shows held, but still – it’s a remarkable thing (and a depressing thing for those who hate arena shows). The band are apparently conscious of the fact that their fanbase may not be especially keen on seeing them play such a large room, so they’ve sweetened the deal via the support acts – joining them for this show will be none other than Neko Case and Wye Oak. Yeah, that ACC isn’t looking so unappealing anymore, is it? Tickets range from $43.50 to $59.50 plus fees and presale goes Wednesday morning, public onsale Friday.

Express Night Out chats with bassist Scott Devendorff while NME gets the Dessner twins on camera talking about this and that, including their next record.

MP3: The National – “Bloodbuzz Ohio”
MP3: Neko Case – “Middle Cyclone”
MP3: Wye Oak – “Civilian”

By the same token, people were incredulous when Mumford & Sons sold the hell out of the Sound Academy last Fall – hadn’t they just played Lee’s Palace that February? – but indeed, they were really that popular and now it seems they’re even more popular. Again, it’s probably the theatre configuration, but that doesn’t change the fact that when Mumford & Sons hit the Air Canada Centre on October 25, they’ll have taken their bluegrass-pop anthems arena-scale. And just to prove it’s not a fluke, they’re doing the same thing down the 401 in Hamilton when they play Copp’s Coliseum the following night and then Montreal’s Bell Centre the night after that. Maybe their quickie Canadian tour is just them trying to catch some hockey games? Tickets for both Ontario shows are $34.50 and $49.50 plus fees.

Video: Mumford & Sons – “The Cave”

Certainly not on the same scale of “really” but still a bit surprising is Coeur de Pirate making what I think is her first regular and proper club show in Toronto at a room the size of The Mod Club on November 11. I assume this means that her new album Blonde, out November 8, will be getting a hefty push to get folks interested before then. Tickets for the show are $21 in advance and they’ve released a little trailer for the new record.

Trailer: Coeur de Pirate / Blonde
Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Comme des enfants”

The Rural Alberta Advantage, on the other hand, seem to have settled quite comfortably into The Phoenix as their home away from home while at home – November 17 will be their third show in a row there, I think. Don’t think there’s any particular occasion for this show besides, well, why not? Tickets are $20 in advance.

MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “North Star”

Zeus will be at Lee’s Palace on November 24, tickets $15 in advance.

MP3: Zeus – “Marching Through Your Head”

Formerly operating as Harbourcoats, former Constantines frontman Bry Webb has decided to go with his own name for his solo debut Provider, which will be out on November 15. And he’ll be introducing the songs live in a pretty daunting setting – he’s opening for Feist at Massey Hall on December 1.

And finally, as far as show announcements yesterday go, Tokyo Police Club will be rolling into The Phoenix on December 8 leading a Can-rocking bill that also features Born Ruffians and Said The Whale. Tickets for that are $25 in advance. Northern Star chats with TPC drummer Greg Alsop.

MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Party In The USA”
MP3: Born Ruffians – “Sole Brother”
MP3: Said The Whale – “Camilo (The Magician)”

Pitchfork has an interview with Carl Newman of The New Pornographers, who’ve put out a new video from last year’s Together.

Video: The New Pornographers – “Up In The Dark”

Also with a new video is Diamond Rings, from Special Affections. He’s at The Mod Club on October 3.

Video: Diamond Rings – “You And Me”

Exclaim has got a new track from Ohbijou’s forthcoming Metal Meets, out September 27. They play Trinity-St. Paul’s in honour of its release on September 30 and PostCity chats with bandleader Casey Mecija about the new record.

MP3: Ohbijou – “Anser”

Pitchfork has a stream of Kathleen Edwards’ first new material in a while which will be released on 7″ on September 27 and oh yeah, features contributions from some guy who goes by Bon Iver.

Stream: Kathleen Edwards – “Wapusk”

The Line Of Best Fit chats with the sisters of Tasseomancy, whose record release show for Ulalame happens at The Great Hall on October 20. They also open up for Austra at The Phoenix on December 1. And speaking of Austra, a new b-side is available to stream, which is noteworthy because it’s kind of as good as their a-sides, and Prague Post has an interview with Katie Stelmanis.

Stream: Austra – “Identity”

The new Memoryhouse EP The Years has been available to stream for a while before its release today, but Drowned In Sound has sweetened their stream with track-by-track commentary from the band.

Southern Souls has an interview with Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon.

Canadian Blast chats with The Wilderness Of Manitoba.

Le Blogotheque has a Take-Away Show filmed in Toronto with Little Scream.

Rockerzine chats with Sloan bassist Chris Murphy.

Under The Radar and The Victoria Times-Colonist interview Handsome Furs.