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Posts Tagged ‘Love Is All’

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Soulgazing

Review of Gregory & The Hawk’s Leche

Photo By Annie RaczAnnie RaczI liked Gregory & The Hawk’s last record, 2008’s Moenie & Kitchi. Really, I did. The combination of New Yorker Meredith Godreau’s sweet, girlish voice and her gentle, mostly-acoustic, semi-orchestral folk-pop is like kryptonite to me and maybe that’s why I was able to resist it – it’s the sort of record I’ve bought a dozen times before and while it’s not a style that I’m necessarily tired of, it is one that requires some above and beyond to really impress me. Which is why, I guess, I hung onto the record but didn’t write it up or make the 10-minute walk – or 5-minute bike ride – to see them at the El Mocambo last May.

The just-released follow-up Leche won’t be so easily ignored, though. While Goudreau hasn’t changed appreciably changed her approach, the new record is an impressive step forward in pretty much all departments. The arrangements are broader this time out, adding more percussion and both electric and electronic textures in just the right amounts to enhance but not obscure the songs’ simple charms. Not that the songs are as simple this time out; they still have the child-like sense of whimsy and fantastical edge to them, but have more dynamic and emotional range and even offer a whiff of darkness or anger that wasn’t present on Moenie. Add to this more immediate and memorable melodies and an unexpected crib of Cutting Crew’s ’80s hit “(I Just) Died In Your Arms”, and you’ve got a record that demands your attention for its own merits, and not just because it sounds like stuff you already like.

Sloucher has an interview with Goudreau.

MP3: Gregory & The Hawk – “Landscapes”
Video: Gregory & The Hawk – “Soulgazing”
Video: Gregory & The Hawk – “For The Best”
Myspace: Gregory & The Hawk

Spinner talks to Nicole Atkins about her new album Mondo Amore, out January 25, and offers a first look at the album art. Stereogum, meanwhile, has the b-side of her recent “Vultures” single – a Can cover – available to download.

Under The Radar has an interview with Sharon Van Etten.

Pitchfork brings word of a Joanna Newsom tribute album with the terrific title of Versions Of Joanna and featuring contributions fromM Ward, Owen Pallett and Billy Bragg, though the first two are previously released recordings and Bragg’s contribution presumably comes from his contribution to the Voice Project. It will be released digitally in December.

BBC Radio 6 and Pitchfork talk to Lykke Li about her new album, due out on March 1 of next year, which will carry the title Wounded Rhymes. She’s at The Phoenix on May 22.

Prefix talks to The Concretes. They’re at The Horseshoe on January 18.

Love Is All have released a new video from their latest, Two Thousand And Ten Injuries.

Video: Love Is All – “Bigger Bolder”

NPR is streaming the whole of Josni’s recent show at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC.

Daytrotter has got a session up with Suuns; they play the Silver Dollar on November 26.

Exclaim talks to Fucked Up drummer Jonah Falco about how progress is coming on their new record.

The Globe & Mail talks to the director of the Feist documentary Look At What The Light Did Now, screening at the ROM this Sunday night and coming out on DVD/CD on December 7.

Good news: in advance of their show at the Sound Academy that night opening up for Broken Social Scene, Superchunk will be playing an in-store at Sonic Boom on the afternoon of December 9. Bad news: it will be happening at 3PM, making it difficult or impossible to attend if you have a 9-5 job… unless you cut out early like some kind of slack motherfucker.

MP3: Superchunk – “Digging For Something”

Baths, Braids and Star Slinger are teaming up for a show at the El Mocambo on February 19, tickets $12. Baths’ debut Cerulean was released this past Summer, Braids’ debut Native Speaker is out January 18.

MP3: Baths – “Maximalist”
MP3: Braids – “Lemonade”

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Wooden Walls Of This Forest Church

An introduction to Lost In The Trees

Photo By D.L. AndersonD.L. AndersonA lot of bands these days lay claim to the adjective of “orchestral” – and indeed, the tasteful addition of some strings, brass and/or woodwinds to one’s aural palette can set one apart from the pack. Those following this path should know, however, that the bar for these sorts of stylings has been raised by North Carolina’s Lost In The Trees. By a lot.

Even if stripped down to just main composer Ari Picker, Lost In The Trees would be a worthy of note – his songwriting is lyrically evocative and his voice capable of ranging from an introspective grumble to a plaintive yelp – but his ambitions go far beyond folk or singer-songwriter. Their third album All Alone In An Empty House – originally released in 2008 but re-recorded and set to be re-released on August 10 – wraps him and his songs in gorgeous tapestries of strings and chorals that are clearly informed by Picker’s Berklee training in classical composition, with the vocal pieces giving way on multiple occasions to full-on insturmental suites. Mixing those in with the more austere numbers and occasional electrified rockers could – and probably should – make for a jarring listening experience but Picker and company – seven in total in the touring configuration but numbering more than a dozen in the studio – make it all blend beautifully. Those other bands can keep calling themselves orchestral – Lost In The Trees are symphonic.

Lost In The Trees are currently on tour and will be in Toronto this coming Tuesday, June 15, for a free show at the El Mocambo. That’s right – the price of admission is the effort it takes to show up. There’s interviews with Ari Picker at The Washington Examiner and hour.ca.

MP3: Lost In The Trees – “Fireplace”
MP3: Lost In The Trees – “All Alone In An Empty House”
MP3: Lost In The Trees – “Time Taunts Me”
MySpace: Lost In The Trees

QRD talks guitars with Anna-Lynne Wiliams of Trespassers William.

Author Michael Chabon offers an eloquent tribute to power pop in general and Big Star in particular.

Drive-By Truckers have a new video from The Big To-Do.

Video: Drive-By Truckers – “After The Scene Dies”

Spinner talks to Tift Merritt about her new record See You On The Moon.

eye‘s cover feature this week welcomes the Pavement reunion to town next Saturday on Toronto Island without actually talking to anyone in the band. It was just announced that the reunion is having a reunion of its own – the band’s June 24 show in their former hometown of Stockton, California will feature their original drummer Gary Young behind the kit. Stockton fans got excited, until they remembered that Young wasn’t a very good drummer.

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem talks to Spinner.

Phantogram check in at Daytrotter for studio session and with The Visalia Times Delta for an interview; they’ll be at Wrongbar on July 8.

Spin checks in with Of Montreal, presently in the studio recording a new record.

The Drums talk to Spinner and BBC about their self-titled debut, out digitally now, and on vinyl come August 10 and on CD in September.

Sky Larkin have nailed down the release date for their second album Kaleide – it will be available in the UK on August 9.

PopMatters chats with Gareth Campesinos! of Los Campesinos!.

Exclaim reports that The Vaselines will release their first new album in some 20 years on September 14 with Sex With An X, the first MP3 of which you can get from their website.

The Telegraph interviews Richard Thompson, whose new recorded-live-in-front-of-an-audience album Dream Attic is out August 31.

New fatherhood may have kept bassist Ted Malmros from participating in the Shout Out Louds’ recent North American tour, but he kept busy producing a new video from Work. Blast and The Days Of Yore also have interviews with Shout Out Loud-ers.

Video: Shout Out Louds – “Show Me Something New”

Drowned In Sound meets Love Is All.

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Your Head Is On Fire

Broken Bells announce North American tour and a bunch of other stuff about stuff

Photo via Broken BellsBroken BellsSo I’m sitting here on Wednesday night with a headache and a pile of links and no particular idea what I’m going to do with them. Got some contests and the last of the SxSW stuff to dole out over the long weekend, but for today, it’s gonna be one of those housecleaning posts.

Starting with the announcement of Broken Bells’ first North American tour, which includes a June 2 date at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto. The collaboration between workaholic producer Danger Mouse and Shins frontman James Mercer yielded a self-titled debut last month and while the little bit I heard of it at SxSW – from the street while they played in a parking garage – didn’t especially wow me, it’s been reasonably well-received and I feel like I should, as a Shins fan, at least give it a fair shake. The band’s set at the NPR showcase from SxSW is available to stream for anyone wondering how it translates live. Support on this tour will come from The Morning Benders, who themselves are presently on tour and will be in town at The Drake on April 14.

Video: Broken Bells – “The High Road”

Moving on to stuff coming through town over the next few months – Serena-Maneesh’s appearance tomorrow night has been moved from The Great Hall to the Drake Underground; appropriate since the Norwegians’ new record S-M 2: Abyss In B Minor was recorded in a cave. Cave? Underground? Get it? Bah.

Rolling Stone declares Swedes Love Is All to be “breaking” and talks to frontwoman Josephine Olausson. They bring their new record Two Thousand and Ten Injuries to the Horseshoe on Saturday night, April 3.

MP3: Love Is All – “Bigger, Bolder”

NOW, hour.ca and The Chicago Tribune interview The xx, in town at the Phoenix on April 4 and again at the Kool Haus on April 20.

In addition to two shows at Lee’s Palace next week – April 6 and 7 – the Drive-By Truckers will be doing an in-store across the street at Sonic Boom on the 7th at 5PM in what’s being billed as “Patterson Hood & Members of Drive By Truckers”. In other words, expect to see Hood with an acoustic guitar and a passel of songs, and maybe some of his bandmates will show up if they feel so inclined. I warn you though, Cooley, that if you try to stand on the monitors while taking a solo you WILL hit your head on the ceiling – you can have that one for free. Spinner has a chat with Hood about his Southern roots.

State and Owen Pallett, who plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 8.

Donewaiting interviews Fanfarlo frontman Simon Balthazar. They play Lee’s Palace on April 9.

Plants & Animals are celebrating the April 20 release of their second album La La Land with a free show at the Horseshoe that night. Beatroute has an interview.

The Province and The Montreal Gazette profile Dan Mangan, in town at the Horseshoe on April 22.

The Fly and MOG talk to Jonsi about his new solo record Go, which is due out next Tuesday. The whole album is currently streaming at NPR and he has two dates at the Sound Academy on April 30 and May 1.

Stream: Jonsi / Go

The Fly talks to Caribou main man Dan Snaith about his new record Swim. It’s out April 20 and he plays the Phoenix on May 3.

The Joy Formidable frontwoman Ritzy Bryan gives The Fly a sneak preview of their upcoming full-length follow-up to last year’s A Balloon Called Moaning; a record which is getting a North American release on May 4, the same day they play a free, sure to be awesome show at the Horseshoe. Strange Glue has the remainder of their North American tour dates.

Bad Veins have been added as support for Two Door Cinema Club’s show at Wrongbar on May 17. This will be their first time in Toronto, after their show with Now Now Every Children last Summer was snookered by a dead van. Spinner has an interview with the Cincinnati duo.

MP3: Bad Veins – “Gold & Warm”
MP3: Bad Veins – “Go Home”

The Sadies will celebrate the release of their new record Dark Circles with a show at Lee’s Palace on May 22; tickets $18 in advance. They’ll also be your Canada Day entertainment at Harbourfront Centre – July 1, yo.

Exclaim converses with John K Samson of The Weakerthans, who play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on May 26.

Spin has a stream of a new song from the second Born Ruffians record Say It, due June 1, and they also note that there’ll be a show at the Horseshoe in Toronto on May 28.

German electronica duo Mouse On Mars have a date at the Drake Underground on June 1, though their next record isn’t due out until next year. Sometimes you just have to get out of the house, I guess.

Video: Mouse On Mars – “Actionist Respoke”

His two nights at the Drake Underground on June 11 and 12 will be super-cozy, but Robyn Hitchcock takes intimate a step further in this Black Cab Session.

Tiger Weekly talks to Ted Leo, who brings his Pharmacists to Lee’s Palace on June 26.

And now to the stuff not coming through town in the next while – Black Mountain frontman Stephen McBean gives Exclaim a sneak preview of their next album, tentatively entitled Wilderness Heart and due out later in the Summer.

Soundproof and Spinner talk to Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon, who has offered a tribute to Alex Chilton in the form of a cover of “Thirteen”.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Thirteen”

Bad Panda Records Q&A’s Great Lake Swimmer Tony Dekker and offers up a free live track to download.

MP3: Great Lake Swimmers – “Gonna Make It Through This Year” (live)

Woodhands have released a new video for the best tune – in my humble opinion – from Remorsecapade.

Video: Woodhands – “Dissembler”

The Line Of Best Fit and Drowned In Sound talk to Joel Gibb of The Hidden Cameras.

Tokyo Police Club have set a June 8 release date for their second album Champ and are giving away the first MP3 from it on their website; The Brock Press talks to keyboardist Graham Wright about the new record.

An acoustic version of one of the tracks from Bettie Serveert’s new record Pharmacy Of Love is up for grabs.

MP3: Bettie Serveert – “Semaphore” (acoustic)

Yours Truly has a video session with Taken By Trees.

4AD reports that Camera Obscura and Richard Hawley will be releasing a split-7″ on May 17 wherein the former covers the latter’s “The Nights Are Cold” while the latter remixes the former’s “The Sweetest Thing”. Clearly, I must have this.

NME reports that Glasvegas drummer Caroline McKay has left the band.

The Line Of Best Fit and The Fly have interviews with Laura Marling, whose I Speak Because I Can is out next week in North America, though for now it doesn’t appear there’s any vinyl edition of said album on the horizon. Bah.

Editors bassist Russell Leetch talks to The Line Of Best Fit.

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Heart Of Gold

Chromewaves co-presents Paper Bag Records showcase at SXSW 2010

Photo By Todd DuymTodd DuymI can appreciate that relations between Canada and the United States might be a bit strained today, following last night’s Olympic men’s hockey gold medal game – or at least between Canada and the dozen or so Americans who care about hockey – but perhaps this gesture of musical ambassadorship will help ease tensions a little bit.

When I head down to SxSW each year, going to see Canadian acts is usually near the bottom of my list of things to do. Not because it’s not worthy of my attention – far from it – but living in Toronto, I get more than my share of opportunities to see the best of Canadian talent so to fly all the way down to Texas to see those same acts seems… inefficient. But that in no way, shape or form means that I don’t heartily endorse those who aren’t so fortunate as to live in one of the major hubs of Canadian music to take the Sx opportunity to see said acts – so with that in mind, I’m very pleased to be co-presenting the official Paper Bag Records showcase at SxSW this year.

The show will kick off at 8PM with Montreal’s CFCF, though he’ll be handling DJ duties rather than performing pieces from his album Continent. Then it will be the one non-PBR act on the bill, Toronto’s choral-gospel blues choir Bruce Peninsula at 9PM, followed by Montreal electro-pop outfit Winter Gloves at 10PM. Toronto lo-fi rock outfit Little Girls showcases their debut Concepts at 11 and then it’s an all-out electro-rock dance party to wind things out, first with Woodhands and their latest Remorscapade at midnight and Vancouver’s disco-rock heroes You Say Party! We Say Die!, who are finally allowed back into the US following some immigration misunderstandings a few years ago, just in time for them to introduce their latest xxxx to America. Update: Well, my description on how the night will arc won’t be quite right – some set times have moved around, and it will now go: CFCF @ 8, BP @ 9, LG @ 10, WH @ 11, WG @ 12, YSPWSD @ 1. Everything else remains true.

To those headed to Austin in mid-March, the Paper Bag showcase will be taking place on Thursday, March 18 at Speakeasy, located at 412 South Congress Ave at West 5th St. And to those not, some/all of the acts on the bill may be coming to you. YSP!WSD! are making the most of their US visas with dates all over America through March before coming back to Canada including an April 2 date at the Horseshoe. Woodhands are crossing the continent through April, including a hometown show at the Opera House on March 13. Bruce Peninsula are making a couple of US stops en route to Austin and have a handful of Ontario dates in the Spring, including a March 25 show at The Garrison. YSP!WSD! are featured are Blogcritics and Sentimentalist. Uptown and See talk to Woodhands.

MP3: You Say Party! We Say Die! – “Laura Palmer’s Prom”
MP3: Woodhands – “Dissembler”
MP3: Little Girls – “Growing”
MP3: Winter Gloves – “Factories” (alternate)
MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Crabapples”
MP3: CFCF – “Monolith”

Also noteworthy on the SxSW front is a day show taking place on Thursday, March 18 at the Flamingo Cantina on East 6th St at Red River and co-presented by Team Clermont and my associates at MBV Music. That show, which kicks off at noon, will feature Venice Is Sinking, Jeremy Jay, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, Jookabox, Dengue Fever and Califone. Plus a special guest headliner whom, if it’s who I’ve heard it might be, will be a hell of a finish. So yeah, drop by. Have a drink. It’ll be a good time.

MP3: Califone – “Funeral Singers”
MP3: Dengue Fever – “Sober Driver”
MP3: Jookabox – “You Cried Me”
MP3: Collections Of Colonies Of Bees – “Flocks 1”
MP3: Jeremy Jay – “Breaking The Ice”
MP3: Venice Is Sinking – “Compass”

Okay, back to now and not Spring Break. There’s a new video available from Love Is All’s forthcoming Two Thousand and Ten Injuries, out March 23. They’re at the Horseshoe on April 3.

Video: Love Is All – “Kungen”

jj have a new video for the first single from No 3, due out March 9. They’re at the Phoenix on April 4.

Video: jj – “Let Go”

To anyone curious as to what Jonsi has in store for his two night stand at the Sound Academy on April 30 and May 1, check out this video about the making of his stage set. His solo debut Go is out March 23.

Ca Va Cool interviews Shout Out Louds. They play The Mod Club on May 8.

The Hamilton Spectator has a feature piece on Owen Pallett, who plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 8.

Volume 8 of The Line Of Best Fit’s Oh! Canada mixtape series is now up for grabs.

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

It Is Something (To Have Wept)

Review of El Perro Del Mar’s Love Is Not Pop

Photo via The Control GroupThe Control GroupSadness is Sarah Assbring’s stock in trade, a point I’ve rather drilled home in my reviews of her output as El Perro Del Mar – the 2007 self-title and 2008’s From The Valley To The Stars. While both records were beautiful in their downbeat demeanor, you couldn’t help but hope that Assbring would find a way to cheer up, if only for her own emotional well-being.

Unfortunately for Assbring – but fortunately for her listeners – delectable heartache is still the order of the day, and her third album Love Is Not Pop is again chock full of it, but the record stands a good distance apart from its predecessors for other reasons. Rather than the spare, ’50s doo-wop stylings that defined her previous work, Pop draws on a distinctly different aural palette. The core songwriting style and Assbring’s signature forlorn vocals remain, but the introduction of electronic textures and rhythms and Shields-y glider guitar overtop the spare (but occasionally orchestrated) arrangements is unexpected and welcome. Of course, the fact that the album proper is only seven tracks long, and the rest is padded out with remixes adds to the impression that this is a fresher, more sonically adventurous and dance-friendlier El Perro Del Mar. Actually, danceable might be a bit of a reach, but the extra tracks do showcase Assbring with an extra spring in her shuffle.

El Perro Del Mar is at the Mod Club on February 21 as part of a co-headlining tour with fellow Swede Taken By Trees, with the latter closing out this particular show. This is exciting as Victoria Bergsman – she who is Taken By Trees – isn’t especially predisposed to life on the road and hasn’t been to Toronto since the last visit from The Concretes. Unfortunately, it’s meant that Anna Ternheim, previously slated to open for El Perro Del Mar, will no longer be appearing. But maybe it’s a bit of a consolation that another MP3 from Taken By Trees’ East Of Eden is now up for grabs and is, appropriately enough, entitled “Anna”.

MP3: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart”
MP3: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart” (Rakamonie Remix)
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Anna”
Video: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart”
MySpace: El Perro Del Mar

Also Swedish but totally not sad are Love Is All. Their new record Two Thousand and Ten Injuries is out MArch 23 and they’re at the Horseshoe on April 3. Check out another track from the new album.

MP3: Love Is All – “Repetition”

Danish orchestral post-rock outfit Under Byen will release a new album in Alt Er Tabt on April 6.

Magnet Q&As Los Campesinos!, whom they’ve made guest editors of their site this week. Hope they hid all the breakables. Spinner, Islington Tribune, CMJ and Wales Online also have conversations, but don’t hand over the keys to the car. Los Campesinos! are at the Phoenix on April 20.

Laura Marling talks to NOW, The Visalia Times Delta and The San Francisco Examiner about making her new album I Speak Because I Can, out April 6. She plays Lee’s Palace on Tuesday night.

Chart, The Georgia Straight, The National Post, The Aquarian, San Jose Mercury News and The San Francisco Examiner talk to various members of Editors, who play the Phoenix on February 16.

Spin asks Dev Hynes about the secret origin of Lightspeed Champion. His second album Life Is Sweet! Pleased To Meet You, out February 16.

State has a word with Massive Attack, who’ve released a new video from Heligoland, out next week.

Video: Massive Attack – “Splitting The Atom”

Ska fans prepare to skank: The Specials reunion tour will include a stop in Toronto – the two-tone pioneers play the Sound Academy on April 19 – tickets $36.50 for floors, $46.50 for VIP balcony and The English Beat have a date at Lee’s Palace on May 18, tickets $23.50.

Video: The Specials – “Message To You Rudy”
Video: The English Beat – “Mirror In The Bathroom”

Pitchfork talks to Phoenix’s Thomas Mars about how it feels to be a Grammy Award winner.

The Music Fix has details on the next batch of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds reissues, which will arrive in 5.1 surround sound and with a plethora of bonus goodies, on April 5.

Aux.tv has assembled a guide to the many, many online video session sites out there in the wilds of the internet. Not comprehensive – five more started up while I was typing this sentence – but a good start.