Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘Long Winters’

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Funtimes In Babylon

Father John Misty and Har Mar Superstar at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangCosmic questions: What makes an artist put a respectable if underappreciated solo career on hold in order to play drums for a band that’s sold hundreds of thousands of records and gone platinum in the UK? And what makes that same artist leave that band in order to not resurrect their former solo career but start a completely new one? Okay, the first one is kind of a no-brainer but the second one is more of a puzzle, one that Baltimore-born, Los Angeles-based Josh Tillman is uniquely positioned to answer. He was plugging away as J Tillman since 2005 before joining Fleet Foxes in 2008 to tour behind their self-titled debut and while he continued to release solo albums, following the end of the Helplessness Blues touring cycle he announced he was leaving the band – but not to go back to being J. Tillman; instead to begin being Father John Misty.

If you do find yourself in a position to pose the above questions to Tillman, don’t be surprised if by way of an answer he just hands you a copy of Fear Fun, the just-released Father John Misty debut because it does, indeed, tell you why. Whereas the J. Tillman-branded material was pretty easily slotted as acoustic singer-songwriter fare, Fear Fun is nowhere near as easy to categorize. Suffused with ’70s-era country-rock vibes , it sounds as though Tillman gathered inspiration on his drive home from Seattle by routing through Bakersfield, the Laurel Canyon, Joshua Tree National Park, and Reno, Nevada before pulling up in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip. Gram Parsons’ “cosmic American music” quote gets trotted out a lot when describing music with a country-rock lineage but it applies to Father John Misty more than anything I’ve heard in recent years. Parsons would have approved of the album art as well, I think. In short, it’s not called J. Tillman because it sounds nothing like J. Tillman. Or Fleet Foxes, for that matter, though you can bet that was the hook for many/most of those who piled into the Horseshoe on Monday night for the band’s Toronto debut.

Support came from another Tillman, the unrelated Sean who himself had a few musical projects to juggle. I had seen him with Sean Na Na when they opened up for The Hold Steady in this same room back in 2006, but rather than showing off that project’s classic rock stylings, he was here as Har Mar Superstar and he was going to take off his pants. But that’s getting a bit ahead of things. Things started with Tillman fully-dressed – overdressed, really – and fronting a four-piece band that included Josh Tillman on drums but as their set progressed and their funk-soul groove gathered steam, he stripped down item by item until, by the final song of their set, it was just Tillman in his short, sweaty, paunchy glory clad only in a pair of briefs (and socks and shoes). Even a cursory bit of research about Har Mar beforehand would have revealed this was what they were about but even if you knew what was coming, it was still something to behold. Like with Sean Na Na it was almost a shame that Tillman’s onstage persona overshadowed the music – which was more than legit – but the net entertainment value was nothing to complain about. Though I wish there was more breakdancing.

Besides being a superb drummer and vocalist, Josh Tillman’s main contribution to Fleet Foxes was as the comic relief during their live shows – the guy was all kinds of funny from behind the kit. So while seeing him up front with no instrument in hand was a bit odd, you at least knew that there’d be no feeling awkward about being the centre of attention and really, you can’t keep presence like his behind a drum kit. Tillman was a litany of stage moves – shimmies, points, mic stand dancing – while leading his five-piece band through bigger, more rockier renderings of the Fear Fun material that emphasized the psychedelic aspects of the material. And of course there was the banter, which was random and hilarious and came with the added bonus of Tillman feeling extra punchy thanks to the Pitchfork review of his album earlier in the day, which despite being positive caused great offense. Towards the end of the show, Tillman mentioned that he had been “way too stoned” for the entire show – and the band passed around a lit joint as emphasis – and while that might have explained some of the the more out-there comments he made through the night, it made how tight and note-on their performance was even more impressive. Some folks may have came to the show as J. Tillman fans, most were probably Fleet Foxes fans but by the end of the show, they were all Father John Misty fans.

NOW also has a review of the show and Father John Misty already have a return engagement scheduled for July 12, when they open for Youth Lagoon at the Opera House.

Photos: Father John Misty, Har Mar Superstar @ The Horseshoe – May 14, 2012
MP3: Father John Misty – “Nancy From Now On”
MP3: Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
MP3: Har Mar Superstar – “Cry 4 Help”
MP3: Har Mar Superstar – “Power Lunch”
MP3: Har Mar Superstar – “Brothers And Sisters”
Video: Father John Misty – “This Is Sally Hatchet”
Video: Father John Misty – “Nancy From Now On”
Video: Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
Video: Har Mar Superstar – “Tall Boy”
Video: Har Mar Superstar – “DUI”
Video: Har Mar Superstar – “Power Lunch”
Video: Har Mar Superstar – “EZ Pass”
Video: Har Mar Superstar – “Brothers & Sisters”
Video: Har Mar Superstar – “Body Request”

I don’t really know who Jonathan Coulton is – I gather he’s big on/via the internet – but the fact that he’s touring with John Roderick of The Long Winters makes the fact that said tour includes a June 6 date at The Mod Club worth noting. As is the fact that we are well overdue for a new Long Winters record.

MP3: Jonathan Coulton – “Washy Ad Jeffy”
MP3: The Long Winters – “Pushover”

The NXNE schedule is due out any day now, but word of some of the bigger shows are coming out a little beforehand. Like that White Rabbits and Vacationer will be at The Mod Club on June 14. The Independent ran a feature on the band a few weeks back.

MP3: White Rabbits – “Heavy Metal”
MP3: Vacationer – “Trip”

Your festival wristband will also be good for admission to see A Place To Bury Strangers at The El Mocambo on (I believe) June 14, where they’ll be previewing their new record Worship, out June 26. The Stool Pigeon has an interview with the band about the new record.

MP3: A Place To Bury Strangers – “You Are The One”

Rolling Stone is offering for download a version of the title track from Guided By Voices’ next record Class Clown Spots A UFO from when it was a Robert Pollard song. Which it still is, technically. The album is out June 19.

MP3: Robert Pollard – “Class Clown Spots A UFO”

State interviews Lower Dens, who’ve released a new video from Nootropics. They’re at Lee’s Palace on July 17.

Video: Lower Dens – “Nova Anthem”

DIY talks to Andrew Bird, who plays Echo Beach on July 19.

It being release week for Best Coast’s new one The Only Place, there’s plenty of press going around with Bethany Cosentino. Check out pieces at LA Weekly, The Guardian, Under The Radar, GQ, The Line Of Best Fit, and Vice. They play The Phoenix on July 21.

By the same token, lots of people are talking to Beach House about their just-released Bloom – people like The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Interview, and eMusic.

Loud & Quiet talks to Chairlift.

Daytrotter has a session with Shearwater and The AV Club an interview with Jonathan Meiburg.

Greg Dulli talks to The Village Voice and John Curley to Cincinnati.com about the Afghan Whigs reunion, which finally gets underway next week in New York.

NPR welcomes Magnetic Fields frontman Stephin Merritt for a WFUV video session.

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)

The Morning Benders want ice cream, may as well move to Toronto

Photo By Pieter van HattemPieter van HattemSo all manner of things have been piling up over the past week while I’ve been reminiscing about warm Summer sojourns to Chicago. Let’s get to them.

San Francisco’s Morning Benders are no strangers to Toronto this year, having already come through town twice – once in April for their own show just after their latest album Big Echo was released, and again in June opening up for Broken Bells. They’re back in a couple weeks supporting both Black Keys dates at the Kool Haus on August 3 and 4, but in addition to those performances, they’ve announced they’ll be playing a free acoustic show at the corner of College and Manning in Little Italy on August 4 at 5:30PM in what probably would have been a Soundscapes in-store had the weather not been so nice (or so everyone is hoping). There are rumours that there will be free BBQ and ice cream, but even without refreshments it’ll be a fine, free afternoon of pop music.

MP3: The Morning Benders – “Promises”
Video: The Morning Benders – “Promises”

At long last, after watching her Lilith Fair, Of Montreal and own dates skip us over, Toronto has a date with soul/r&b superstar-in-waiting Janelle Monáe – she is joining The Sadies in supporting Arcade Fire on the Toronto Islands on August 14. Why yes, that is a wacky-ass bill, how good of you to notice. But also an excellent one. Watch this video and tell me that Arcade Fire doesn’t run a real risk of being upstaged by her.

Video: Janelle Monáe – “Tightrope”

Unpronouncable Californian dance-punk outfit !!! (chk chk chk to their friends) have slated a North America tour in support of their forthcoming album Strange Weather Isn’t It?, due out on August 24. Grab an MP3 from their website and look for them at Lee’s Palace on September 26, tickets $16.50 in advance.

MP3: !!! – “Must Be The Moon”
Video: !!! – “AM/FM”

The Dears look to be about done with the follow up to 2008’s Missiles as they’ve scheduled a three-night stand at the Garrison from October 13 to 15 where they’ll surely be previewing new material; tickets on sale Friday (via Singing Lamb). Update: Their label reports that they’ll play the entire new album at the shows and the record isn’t due out till early 2011.

MP3: The Dears – “Disclaimer”

Only in town last month, Swedish sister act First Aid Kit are coming back to North America and will be at the El Mocambo in Toronto on October 15.

MP3: First Aid Kit – “I Met Up With The King”

Blonde Redhead have plotted a North American tour in support of their forthcoming album Penny Sparkle, due September 14. They’ll be at the Phoenix on October 17 with Pantha Du Prince as support; tickets $24.

MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Here Sometimes”
MP3: Pantha Du Prince – “The Splendour”

Helmet are still around and will be at Lee’s Palace on October 17 in support of a new album, Seeing Eye Dog, out September 7.

Video: Helmet – “Unsung”

There are apparently still enough people who want to see The Dandy Warhols live that they can not only book The Phoenix for them, but charge $30 a head. They’re there November 1.

Video: The Dandy Warhols – “Bohemian Like You”

Delorean are back on November 18 for a date at the Mod Club with Lemonade as support.

MP3: Delorean – “Real Love”
Video: Lemonade – “Big Weekend”

Blitzen Trapper tell Spinner that even though Destroyer Of The Void only came out last month, they’re already writing its follow-up. Look for them at the Opera House on August 3.

If it ever looks like Ben Curtis of School Of Seven Bells is sleepwalking through a show, it’s because he may very well be. Hopefully their new live drummer will keep him on his toes when they play the Mod Club on September 15. He also chats with New York Magazine.

Chart has a chat with Beach House; they’re at the Molson Amphitheatre on September 27.

Spinner serves up an Interface session with Stars. They play Massey Hall on October 23.

NPR has a World Cafe session with The National.

Jeff Tweedy talks to Billboard about Wilco’s future as an independent band.

Their own major label experiment come to an ignoble end, Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s will release Buzzard on September 21 on their own.

Paste catches up with John Roderick of The Long Winters, who are so overdue for a new album it’s not funny.

Interview talks to She & Him’s Matt Ward and Zooey Deschanel.

Spinner interviews Holly Miranda.

Rest in peace, Andy Hummel of Big Star.

The final volume of Scott Pilgrim came out this week – The Toronto Star and National Post look at the comic book phenomenon and the film that will be released on August 13, while Exclaim looks at the movie’s soundtrack.

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

This Is Happening

LCD Soundsystem at The Kool Haus in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI was there. In 2010. On a Tuesday night in May at the Kool Haus in Toronto. I was there when LCD Soundsystem, here from New York City, played what might have been their last show in the city. I saw them support of their third album, This Is Happening. I was there when LCD Soundsystem took my recollection of the only other time I’ve seen them, at Austin City Limits in 2007 which I found, maybe because of the early afternoon set time, kind of passive and unengaging but still entertaining. I was there when they showed me how very wrong I was, except for the entertaining part. And even that was gross understatement. Because LCD Soundsystem, at least on this night, was nothing short of amazing.

I was there when despite being surrounded by a legion of players and a forest of gear and despite looking more like a high school gym teacher than a rock star, James Murphy made bellowing into an old-school, CB-style microphone with either his talk-singing or Bowie-crooning vocals the most riveting thing you’ve ever seen. Never mind working the drums or the cowbell. I saw the rock kids and the dance kids and the punkers and the ravers and the jocks and the hipsters came together for almost two hours of insanely tight and irresistibly rhythmic common ground and make it feel like this discofied union is how things should always be. I heard James Murphy make the case for LCD as music for moving the ass while stimulating the brain. I heard James Murphy make the case for LCD as music for deep thought while shaking the ass. I was there when he made the case for being old as being awesome. I saw LCD Soundsystem turn a concert into a party.

I heard Murphy touchingly dedicate a stirring rendition of “All My Friends” to legendary and beloved Toronto artist and impresario Will Munro, who passed away from cancer this weekend. I was there when they busted out the laser show. I was there during the encore when things got a little rough up front and Murphy had to stop “Losing My Edge” to let security do their thing. I saw him ask the audience, while emphasizing that he was coming from the most positive place, to bring their enthusiasm down just a notch so as to not hurt anyone. I was there when they closed out with “New York I Love You” and its “Empire State of Mind” coda and despite this being Toronto, we felt that love and returned it.

I was there. And it was awesome.

Panic Manual was there. Chart was there. eye was there. Exclaim was there. The Georgia Straight and Montreal Gazette weren’t there but they have interviews.

Photos: LCD Soundsystem @ The Kool Haus – May 25, 2010
Video: LCD Soundsystem – “Drunk Girls”
Video: LCD Soundsystem – “All My Friends”
Video: LCD Soundsystem – “Someone Great”
Video: LCD Soundsystem – “North American Scum”
Video: LCD Soundsystem – “Tribulations”
Video: LCD Soundsystem – “Daft Punk Is Playing”
Video: LCD Soundsystem – “Movement”
Video: LCD Soundsystem – “Losing My Edge”
MySpace: LCD Soundsystem

Baltimore-based but Anglo-influenced synth-pop trio Future Islands will be at Double Double Land (209 Augusta in Kensington Market – it’s okay, I had to look it up too) on June 7. Their debut album In The Air came out earlier this month. Apparently they’re quite good live, and are Guardian-approved. The Santa Barbara Independent has an interview.

MP3: Future Islands – “Tin Man”
MP3: Future Islands – “In The Fall”
Video: Future Islands – “Tin Man”

Philadelphia Weekly, The Sydney Star Observer and The Village Voice chat with Holly Miranda.

Pitchfork has details on The Orchard, the sophomore record from Ra Ra Riot, due August 24. They are at the Molson Amphitheatre on August 28 supporting Tegan & Sara and City & Colour.

The Daily Emerald talks to John Roderick of The Long Winters.

The AV Club talks to Ben Bridwell of Band Of Horses, who are playing the Toronto Islands on June 19.

Paste talks to Broken Social Scene drummer Justin Peroff. BSS play the Toronto Islands on June 19. The trailer for the Bruce MacDonald-helmed Broken-themed/set/soundtracked-yet-fictional film This Movie Is Broken is now available to view; the movie opens on June 25, details over at Exclaim.

Trailer: This Movie Is Broken

Carl Newman of The New Pornographers may now reside in America, but he’s still Canadian enough to teach The New York Times a thing or two about maple syrup. The New Pornographers are at the Sound Academy on June 15.

NME reports that Arcade Fire’s third album will be entitled The Suburbs and be out on August 2 in the UK, presumably August 3 in North America. It looks like this. The single for the title track is out today. It is streaming at their website. They play the Toronto Islands on August 14.

Chromeo are at the Phoenix on August 3 with Holy Ghost! – who opened up for LCD on Tuesday – as support. Their new record Business Casual drops August 17.

Video: Chromeo – “Night By Night”

MusicOmh and Chart interview Holy Fuck. They are at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 9 opening up for Metric.

Tiny Mix Tapes, SEE and The Washington Post talk to Dan Snaith of Caribou.

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Being On Our Own

Review of Fruit Bats’ The Ruminant Band

Photo By Annie BeedyAnnie BeedyThe last time Seattle’s Fruit Bats visited was way back in 2005, opening up for Son Volt at the Opera House and in support of their album Spelled In Bones. At the time, I couldn’t help but be disappointed in the album and show not for what they were, but what they weren’t – namely their previous effort Mouthfuls and the cozy little show at the long-defunct B-Side in 2003.

And as I stated at the time, it was mainly the departure of vocalist Gillian Lisee from the Fruit Bats lineup that I had trouble with, having been such a fan of the way she and main Bat-man Eric Johnson’s parts played off one another on that earlier record. Objectively speaking, Johnson and the new Fruit Bats lineup did just fine on their own in crafting winning and winsome folk-pop – perhaps even better, with a less sleepy and more dynamic sound – but at the time I was having none of it and subsequently paid little attention to them over the next few years. Which worked out well, as the Fruit Bats went on a hiatus of sorts shortly thereafter with Johnson bringing home paycheques as a member of The Shins. And though James Mercer has cleaned house somewhat since The Shins’ last record, at last check Johnson was not only still a member, but Fruit Bats bassist Ron Lewis had also been recruited as a Shin.

Fruit Bats has continued as an ongoing proposition, however, and this past Summer they returned with a new album in The Ruminant Band. And with the benefit of a few years perspective, it’s easier to appreciate what Johnson has done since Mouthfuls – the new record is another terrific collection of feel-good, classically-styled pop that goes down real easy. Those who like some bitter with their sweet would be well advised to look elsewhere, because angst and melancholy aren’t part of the Fruit Bats recipe – just head-nodding, toe-tapping and melody to spare. Not to say that some female harmonies wouldn’t be the perfect compliment at a few points, but that’s neither here nor there.

And Fruit Bats will be here for the first time since that Opera House show with Son Volt – they’ll be at The Horseshoe on March 24, tickets $10. Usually doctor’s orders are to hole up for at least a week post-SxSW to handle the breakfast taco withdrawal, but here an exception might be in order.

MP3: Fruit Bats – “The Ruminant Band”
MP3: Fruit Bats – “My Unusual Friend”
Video: Fruit Bats – “The Ruminant Band”
MySpace: The Fruit Bats

While the new Shins record has no more precise target than sometime in 2010, James Mercer’s side-project with the ubiquitous Dangermouse – Broken Bells – is much more real. The album isn’t out till March 8 but the duo are giving away an MP3 of “The High Road” for one day only – today – in exchange for your email address. Head over to their website to submit and receive. There’s more details on the project at Exclaim.

Paste checks in with The Long Winters’ John Roderick about an upcoming collaboration with Kathleen Edwards, which should see the light of day after the next Long Winters album is completed. Which can’t be soon enough.

Penny Black interviews Trespassers William, who also recently recorded a video session with Off The Beaten Tracks, featuring a couple of songs from Trespassers William side projects but performed by both principals of Trespassers William. Which sort of makes them covers but not. Trespassers William are recording a new album this year.

The second installment of Paste‘s “Moog Sessions” is up and features a performance from White Rabbits.

NPR is streaming a radio session with Monsters Of Folk.

Exclaim reports that the Flaming Lips cover album of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon will have the excessive but factually accurate title of The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing the Dark Side of the Moon. It will be released digitally only – tomorrow on iTunes and next Tuesday at other online retailers. Pitchfork talks to Wayne Coyne and his nephew Dennis (of the titular Star Death and The White Dwarfs) about their decision to remake the classic rock staple. NPR also has an interview with The Flaming Lips frontman about their other “proper” album, Embryonic.