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Posts Tagged ‘Lou Reed’

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Chords I've Known

Tribute to Sparklehorse seeks tributes from fans

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSparklehorse were never an especially commercially successful band during their lifetime, their heartbroken transistor radio cosmic country finding only a cult audience, but a lot of that cult audience were other artists. And so almost four years after Mark Linkous took his own life, the Box Of Stars organization, which seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues through music, has gathered together an impressive roster of those fans for Last Box Of Sparklers: A Tribute To Mark Linkous.

Amongst the contributors you’ll find Sparklehorse forebears, contemporaries, and followers including The Flaming Lips, Dinosaur Jr, Cowboy Junkies, Phantogram, and The Joy Formidable. Financing for the release is currently being sourced through Indiegogo and with nine days to go, they’re 40% of the way to their $50,000 goal. It would be a shame on so many levels if this project didn’t happen so if you were a fan of Sparklehorse – or are a fan of any of the contributing artists and would like to be introduced to the sad and beautiful world of Sparklehorse – see about contributing.

Pitchfork has more details on the project and a stream of Mercury Rev’s track.

Stream: Mercury Rev – “Sea Of Teeth”
Trailer: Last Box Of Sparkers: A Tribute To Mark Linkous

The National have made their contribution to the new The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack – due out November 19 – available to stream and guitarist Aaron Dessner gives NME some insight into their plans for their next album.

Stream: The National – “Lean”

Unofficial ambassador of Arizona to the world – never mind that Walter White fellow – Howe Gelb has made a date at The Drake Underground on December 7 to play songs from his new solo record The Coincidentalist, his first visit since bringing the ‘Sno Angel Like You gospel project to Lee’s Palace in December 2006. Tickets for that will be $17.50.

Stream: Howe Gelb – “Vortexas”

Pitchfork and Rolling Stone talk to Stephen Malkmus about his new album with The Jicks, entitled Wig Out at Jagbags and due in January 7; details at Matablog, lyric video for a new song below. Sing along!

Lyric Video: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Lariat”

The whole of Warpaint’s set at the Pitchfork Paris festival earlier this month is available to watch online; I would expect some tracks from their new album Warpaint, out January 21, are included in the set.

Video: Warpaint live at Pitchfork Paris 2014

Though just here last last month, San Francisco’s Weekend are coming back to town and bringing Philadelphia’s unbelievably loud Nothing – themselves just here in August – for a show at The Garrison on January 21; tickets are $10.50 in advance.

MP3: Weekend – “Coma Summer”
Video: Nothing – “Downward Years To Come”

Le Tigre alumnus JD Samson & MEN are touring behind their new record Labor and will be at The Garrison on January 26. Noisey has an interview with Samson.

Video: JD Samson & MEN – “Making Art”

Rolling Stone has premiered a stream of the new song by Hospitality, taken from their sophomore album Trouble, coming out January 27.

Stream: Hospitality – “I Miss Your Bones”

Austin’s White Denim have announced Winter dates behind their new, Jeff Tweedy-produced album Corsicana Lemonade; dates and a stream of the album can be had at Exclaim, and they include a March 3 date at The Horseshoe, tickets $15.50. The Irish Examiner has an interview with the band and NPR a video session.

Stream: White Denim / Corsicana Lemonade
Video: White Denim – “Pretty Green”

Billboard talks to Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers about their new album, recorded in a fortnight and set for release in March of the new year.

We Are Scientists have slated a Spring tour behind their new EP Business Casual – which includes a cover of Berlin’s love theme from Top Gun which itself has a video – and they’ll be at Lee’s Palace on April 22.

Video: We Are Scientists – “Take My Breath Away”

Innocent Words has an interview with Tanya Donelly.

Superchunk have made the latest edition of their Clambake live album series – a 1996 vintage show in Melbourne – available to stream for free.

Stream: Superchunk / Clambakes Volume 7: Shut the F*ck Up!…No, We Love You – Live at the Corner Hotel 1996

NYC Taper is sharing a record of Built To Spill’s visit to Irving Plaza in New York last week.

PopMatters, The Georgia Straight, and San Francisco Examiner talk to Cameron Mesirow of Glasser.

The Alternate Side has a session with The Dismemberment Plan.

eMusic, Paste, and Filter have interviews with Midlake, who also offer instructions on how to make an old-fashioned.

Noisey talks to Josh Tillman of Father John Misty.

Spin and The Fly talk to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

The 405 interviews The Men.

Rolling Stone has a eulogy for Lou Reed by his wife Laurie Anderson, as well as video of his final interview.

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Love Is To Die

Warpaint put their warpaint back on with Warpaint

Photo by Chris CunninghamChris CunninghamConsidering how busy they were leading up to and around the release of their 2010 debut album The Foolfive Toronto shows in the span of 18 months, for example – it was eminently understandable that Los Angeles’ Warpaint would want to take some time off before getting back at it.

But three years is quite long enough, thanks, so news of their second album is welcome indeed. The record will be called Warpaint, but don’t look for any title track as the song “Warpaint” already showed up on The Fool, though I suppose there’s no rule that you can’t write more than one song of the same name. Hell, they could call every song on the album “Warpaint” if they like, so long as they’re as reality-bendingly mesmerizing as everything they’ve done so far, and from the first new song that’s been made available to stream – definitively not called “Warpaint” – they will be.

Pitchfork has details on the album – co-produced by the band and Flood and mixed by Flood and Nigel Godrich – which is out January 21 in the new year, while The Fly talked to drummer Stella Mozgawa about how the sessions went. In addition to the new song stream, there’s a trailer for something of the same name – the song, the album, a video, a documentary, it’s not clear – by director Chris Cunningham, who documented the band at work over the last two years.

Stream: Warpaint – “Love Is To Die”
Trailer: Warpaint – “Love Is To Die”

Clash and The Irish Examiner talk to Midlake v2.0, who are streaming their new album Antiphon at NPR ahead of its official release on November 5.

Stream: Midlake / Antiphon

PopDose talks to Tanya Donelly about her Swan Song Series of EPs, of which there are currently three volumes with a fourth on schedule for release in the next week or so.

Under The Radar interviews Sebadoh, coming to town for a show at The Horseshoe on November 8.

Albert Hammond Jr talks to Rolling Stone and Washington Square News about matters both solo and Strokes; he’s here in the former context at The Phoenix on November 10.

Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils have made a date at The Horseshoe for November 17 in support of their new album Clash The Truth, from which they’ve just released a new vid. Tickets for that are $14.50 in advance.

MP3: Beach Fossils – “Shallow”
Video: Beach Fossils – “Generational Synthetic”

Spin is streaming another song from the Beachwood Sparks issue of their previously unreleased debut album Desert Skies, coming November 20.

Stream: Beachwood Sparks – “Watery Moonlight”

Le Blogotheque has posted a Take-Away Show with Charles Bradley, who returns to town for a show at The Kool Haus on December 12.

Stereogum checks in with Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls about how their next record is coming along; it should be out early next year.

Rolling Stone talks to Josh Tillman about the next Father John Misty record.

Rolling Stone has premiered the new video from Okkervil River’s The Silver Gymnasium and Spin has a second video for a remix of the same song done by Will Sheff’s Lovestreams alter ego – you can also download said remix. There’s also an interview at The Province and over at Gawker, Sheff has penned a tribute to the late Lou Reed.

MP3: Okkervil River – “Stay Young” (Lovestreams remix)
Video: Okkervil River – “Stay Young”
Video: Okkervil River – “Stay Young” (Lovestreams remix)

Also with a Reed eulogy worth reading is Dean Wareham over at Salon; Wareham opened up for the Velvet Underground reunion in the ’90s while fronting Luna.

Drowned In Sound interviews of Montreal.

Under The Radar has posted an interview with Neko Case as well as an extra piece chock full of bonus material.

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Ritual Tradition Habit

The Belle Game and Bear Mountain at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’d mentioned back in April that Vancouver’s Belle Game – purveyors of soulful, atmospheric pop – had taken their own sweet time in releasing their debut album Ritual Tradition Habit, and they were lucky that it was as good as it was, lest the more impatient among us pettily punish the record for taking so long to exist. Instead, those of us seeking something to grouse about could turn our attention to how long it was taking them to come play a live show in Toronto. It seemed odd that an act with the stars seemingly aligning would have missed out on both CMW and NXNE (though, to be fair, they’d been here for those fests in 2011 and 2012), and while they did play a free show at Harbourfront Centre in July for the SoundClash fest, I missed it so in my egocentric worldview, it didn’t happen. All of which is to say that Friday night’s show at The Drake Underground – which caught the band headed home after a successful CMJ in New York – took long enough to happen.

With them were fellow Vancouverites Bear Mountain, whom I knew nothing about but kind of hoped would be some unholy combination of Grizzly Bear and Black Mountain. Which they could still be described as if someone had never heard of either act and assumed they made peppy, disco-inflected electro-pop. Showing off their debut album XO, it was evident that in the Bear Mountain mandate, maintaining the party vibe was paramount and in that, they succeeded admirably. To this end, they utilized such tools as a keytar in its intended purpose of rocking out synth solos, a maybe-ironic cover of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” with the original video projected on their stage decor screens, in case you weren’t sure, and some cheesy but effective crowd-rousing banter. Oh and some catchy if kind of lightweight songs. Assured in what they were doing and entertaining, they weren’t a band that you’d leave saying you’d seen the future of anything, but you would say you had fun.

As mentioned, The Belle Game had a pretty good amount of buzz around them leading up to Ritual Tradition Habit‘s release this Spring, so it’s not unreasonable that they’d have drawn a good crowd based strictly on that… but being on Pitchfork’s radar? I’m sure that didn’t hurt either. But however they got there, room was comfortably filled with punters – especially for an early show – when the band took the stage. Though offering less instant gratification than Bear Mountain, they established their atmosphere quickly and effectively. Not an especially showy sextet, they were largely focused on the task at hand – while demonstrating terrific individual musicianship and chemistry as a unit – with frontwoman Andrea Lo shouldering the duty of engaging the audience. Luckily for her, all she needed to do to accomplish this was let loose with her formidable voice.

If the show had kept to that level throughout, it’d have been perfectly fine if not overwhelming, but as it progressed, it became clear that they were actually capable of more. Moments where the aforementioned musical chemistry seemed more akin to alchemy in creating something powerful; of a new slow jam of a song that pointed to an intriguing new dimension for the band; readings of “River” and “Wait For You” both impressively looser and more intense than the recorded versions; an unexpectedly raucous cover of Nirvana’s “All Apologies” as an encore. And oh yeah, local Broken Social Scenester Kevin Drew showed up to provide guest vocals on another new song. So, all in, a show that both satisfied but also left you eager to see the next stage in the band’s evolution; if that means having to wait a little while until they come back again, then it may well be worth it.

Photos: The Belle Game, Bear Mountain @ The Drake Underground – October 25, 2013
MP3: The Belle Game – “Blame Fiction”
MP3: The Belle Game – “River”
Video: The Belle Game -“River”
Video: The Belle Game – “Wait For You”
Video: Bear Mountain – “Faded”
Stream: Bear Mountain / XO

The Guardian and Canada.com talk to Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and NPR to Butler and Regine Chassagne about Reflektor, which is finally out today. And their live webcast performance from last night is available to stream on-demand at NPR.

The Montreal Gazette talks to Spencer Krug of Moonface about his new record Julia With Blue Jeans On, officially out as of today, along with a new video.

Video: Moonface – “Barbarian”

Also at the Montreal Gazette and out today are features on Yamantaka//Sonic Titan and their new album Uzu, respectively. They play The Garrison on November 6.

Beatroute gets to know July Talk, while Huffington Post gets some background on the recording of “Guns & Ammunition”; they’re at The Sound Academy on December 3 opening up for Frank Turner.

A sad day for fans of domestically-grown power-pop: PEI’s Two Hours Traffic are calling it a day. But as Exclaim reports, they’re doing it with a farewell tour that kicks off in Toronto at Lee’s Palace on December 12; tickets for that are $15.

MP3: Two Hours Traffic – “Stuck For The Summer”

Emily Haines of Metric remembers Lou Reed, with whom the band both played live with and recorded, at Rolling Stone.

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.