Posts Tagged ‘Love Is All’

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Living This Life

An introduction to The Dutchess & The Duke

Photo By Andrew WaitsAndrew WaitsIt doesn’t seem quite accurate to call this an “introduction” to Seattle’s The Dutchess & The Duke since I technically already wrote up the duo of Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison when I saw them during CMJ 2008, but whatever. My blog, and I can do what I like, and rather than do a review of either their 2008 debut She’s The Dutchess, He’s The Duke or last year’s follow-up Sunset/Sunrise, I’ll mash observations on both together since, thankfully, they’re not too far apart from one another.

The where of it is the fertile juncture where folk, blues and pop intersect and the when is the late ’60s, when the aforementioned stylistic crossroads was occupied by the likes of Dylan and The Rolling Stones and they were arguably making their greatest records. This isn’t to put The Dutchess & The Duke in that same rarefied air, but sonically, those are really the best reference points. Both records are filled with dark, sometimes black, lyricism mitigated by tight harmonies and sweet melodies overtop spare, occasionally sweeping, primarily acoustic arrangements filtered through pleasingly grainy production. It’s a timeless recipe that’s either not used nearly enough or not done nearly well enough but which The Dutchess & The Duke are doing a fine job of keeping alive and vital.

The Dutchess & The Duke are currently on tour and will be at Sneaky Dee’s on January 12. The Arkansas Times has an interview with Jesse Lortz. Update: Luxury Wafers just posted a live session – video and audio – with the band.

MP3: The Dutchess & The Duke – “Living This Life”
MP3: The Dutchess & The Duke – “Hands”
MP3: The Dutchess & The Duke – “Reservoir Park”
Video: The Dutchess & The Duke – “Mary”
MySpace: The Dutchess & The Duke

10,000 Birds has an ornithology-oriented interview with Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater. Their new record The Golden Archipelago is out February 23.

Stereogum has got a first MP3 from the new Rogue Wave album Permalight, due out March 2. They have a gig at the Mod Club on February 26.

Daytrotter serves up a session with Headlights.

Matador has announced that the forthcoming Pavement reunion will be accompanied by reissues of all their albums on LP and a new compilation album allowing all the youngn’s who don’t understand why all the oldsters are getting all worked up a crash course in Stockton, California’s finest. Quarantine The Past will be out March 9 and rather than announce the complete 23-song tracklist, they’re making a game of it and asking fans to submit their guesses of what the almost-two dozen selections will be and offering some pretty swank prizes in return. To get you started, these two are pretty much shoo-ins – the other 21 are up to you.

MP3: Pavement – “Gold Soundz”
MP3: Pavement – “Rattled By The Rush”

Paste talks to Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne about their Dark Side Of The Moon cover album.

On Monday I linked to an interview with Love Is All about their at-the-time still largely ambiguous third record, then yesterday there was the concert announcement that puts the Swedes at the Horsesehoe on April 3 with Japandroids, implying that the record might be out sooner rather than later and now today – via Pitchfork – are the official details and first sample of Two Thousand And Ten Injuries, out March 23 on Polyvinyl. I feel reasonably confident that there will be no Love Is All content tomorrow. Unless there is.

MP3: Love Is All – “Kungen”

A Place To Bury Strangers have released a new video from Exploding Head while 4AD has got a couple of studio performances from The Big Pink to watch. Both acts are at the Mod Club on March 24.

Video: A Place To Bury Strangers – “Keep Slipping Away”

UK dancey-rocky outfit Hadouken! have a date at the El Mocambo on February 9 in support of their new album For The Masses, due out February 2.

MP3: Hadouken! – “M.A.D.”

Prefix interviews Owen Clarke of Hot Chip. Their new one One Life Stand is out February 9 and they play the Kool Haus on April 20.

TwentyFourBit has details on a Davide Bowie tribute/War Child benefit album due out later this year, and featuring contributions from the likes of Chairlift, Vivian Girls and Keren Ann.

BBC has revealed their long list of candidates for the title of “The Sound of 2010”. I ended up paying quite a bit of attention to much of the class of 2009 so I should probably start getting acquainted with their picks for this year.

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010


Slow news day pushes Vampire Weekend tour announcement to top of post

Photo By Soren Solkaer StarbirdSoren Solkaer StarbirdActually that’s not entirely true – it was indeed slow yesterday morning when I decided to lead with the Vampire Weekend tour info despite my general indifference and/or distaste for the band, but since then a number of notable concert announcements have shown up in the ol’ inbox and RSS feed. But since the release of their second album Contra next week is, arguably, the first big album release of 2010 – and I already had the picture cropped and uploaded – I’ll run with it.

And so here’s the 411 – the North American tour kicks off March 14 in Edmonton (!) and takes a leisurely route eastwards, eventually stopping in Toronto at the Sound Academy on March 30. That’s right, Vampire Weekend are playing a 3000-capacity venue, and they’re charging $27.50 a head to see them do so. Tickets go on sale this Friday.

Considerably less costly is the opportunity to hear their new record a week before release. It’s currently streaming on their MySpace and additionally, PitchforkTV has a “Juan’s Basement” live video session to watch. Also worth noting is that folks who buy Contra at their local indie store rather than, say, Wal-Mart, will receive the Vampire Weekend Meets Toy Selectah bonus CD for their conscientious consumerism. Details on the what and where here. Spinner talks to bassist Chris Baio about the new record.

MP3: Vampire Weekend – “Horchata”
Video: Vampire Weekend – “Cousins”
Stream: Vampire Weekend / Contra

Certainly the most intriguing announcement of the day yesterday was that Charlotte Gainsbourg would be coming to town. Gainsbourg has many claims to fame – daughter of Serge, actress (The Science Of Sleep, Antichrist), singer – and it’s as the last of these that she will be at the Phoenix on January 29. Her third album IRM, out January 26, was produced by Beck, who also duets on the first single, and it’s his band that will be backing Gainsbourg on this tour. Tickets for the Toronto show are $21.50.

Video: Charlotte Gainsbourg – “Heaven Can Wait”

Fans of the now-defunct Be Your Own Pet may be interested to know that a couple of spin-off acts (who are not Jemina Pearl) are hitting the road this Winter. JEFF The Brotherhood, featuring former BYOP guitar and drums Jake and Jamin Orrall, are out and about including a January 29 date at Sneaky Dee’s in support of their record Heavy Days while Turbo Fruits, which is led by the BYOP guitarist and drummer at the time of their dissolution, are hitting the road in support of Echo Kid with Surfer Blood and will be at Sneaky Dee’s on March 6.

MP3: Turbo Fruits – “Pocket Full Of Thistles”
MP3: Surfer Blood – “Swim”
Video: JEFF The Brotherhood – “The Tropics”
Video: JEFF The Brotherhood – “Bone Jam”

Fucked Up have a date at the Opera House on February 26 with Kurt Vile as support, as part of a North(eastern) America tour. Fucked Up’s new singles comp Couple Tracks is out January 26.

MP3: Fucked Up – “Neat Parts”
MP3: Fucked Up – “No Epiphany”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Overnite Religion”
MP3: Kurt Vile – “Hunchback”

Cuff The Duke have a date at Lee’s Palace on March 20.

Video: Cuff The Duke – “Promises”

Nada Surf have yet to reveal full details of their forthcoming covers album but they have put a demo version of their redo of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence” on their MySpace and announced some live dates, including a March 29 date at Lee’s Palace – tickets $16.50. Update: Some details revealed – if i had a hi-fi will initially be available only at shows starting March 25. Regular retail info still to come.

MP3: Nada Surf – “See These Bones”

Philadelphia dream-pop outfit A Sunny Day In Glasgow will make their Toronto debut on April 2 at the Garrison; tickets $10. I didn’t take to their 2007 debut Scribble Mural Comic Journal nearly as much as I thought I would/should, but am willing to give last year’s follow-up Ashes Grammar a shot, especially with a live date in the offing. Anyone care to comment on the live Sunny Day In Glasgow experience? I would imagine that reproducing the cut-and-paste sonics of the records verbatim isn’t on the agenda. There’s interviews with the band circa their US tour last month at The Village Voice, Express Night Out and Washington City Paper.

MP3: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “Ashes Grammar/Ashes Math”
MP3: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “Best Summer Ever”
MP3: A Sunny Day In Glasgow – “Watery (Drowning is Just Another Word for Being Buried Alive Under Water)”

Toronto’s Japandroids and Sweden’s Love Is All will make the Horseshoe loud and sweaty on April 3. Tickets $12.

MP3: Japandroids – “Young Hearts Spark Fire”
MP3: Love Is All – “Wishing Well”

With next Tuesday’s Mod Club show well and truly sold out, Owen Pallett has scheduled another hometown date for April 8 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre – tickets $25. XTRA and Reuters have interviews with Pallett, whose Heartland is out next week.

And though there’s no Toronto date to announce right now, Pitchfork’s list of Joanna Newsom tour dates has a very conspicuous three-day gap between Grand Rapids and Montreal. It does not take three days to drive from Grand Rapids to Montreal.

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Camp Out

An Horse continue to inspect every venue in Toronto

Photo By Amelia ShawAmelia ShawBrisbane is a long way from Toronto. So long that many Australian artists barely make it over here once in their careers, let alone as many times as An Horse have been here in just the last 10 months. The duo of Kate Cooper and Damon Cox brought their scrappy two-piece pop to town five – that’s FIVE – times in 2009 at venues of all sizes; in March at the Tranzac as part of Canadian Musicfest, at the Horseshoe in April and again in June supporting The Appleseed Cast and Telekinesis respectively, they had their own show at the Drake Underground in September and were again in the support slot in October at the massive Sound Academy with Silversun Pickups. Sufficed to say, if you didn’t see them live last year, it’s because you were actively trying not to.

And if you want to keep that An Horse-less streak alive – and I can’t imagine why you would, they’re a charming and entertaining band and their debut Rearrange Beds well worth a listen – you’d best avoid Massey Hall on January 19 and Criminal Records on January 20. That’s because the first night they’ll be at the grand old lady of Shuter Street opening up for Tegan & Sara and then they’ll go from one of the biggest stages in the city to one of the smallest – really, it’s a floor – when they play an in-store at Criminal Records the next night at 6PM.

Auto Straddle has an interview with Cooper, who now apparently resides in Montreal. So I suppose her commute is easier, at least.

MP3: An Horse – “Postcards”
MP3: An Horse – “Camp Out”
Video: An Horse – “Camp Out”

Quiet and lovely will be the watchwords on January 21 at the Garrison when the bill will feature The Wilderness Of Manitoba, Ghost Bees and Ohbijou’s Casey Mecija. Admission $8 at the door.

MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Bluebirds”
MP3: Ghost Bees – “Vampires Of The West Coast”
MP3: Ohbijou – “Black Ice”

Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers talks to Spinner about their new album The Big To-Do, out March 16.

Guitar International talks guitars and songwriting with Joel Plaskett.

The Mountain Goats perform a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR.

Under The Radar talks to Love Is All’s Josephine Olausson about their just-completed third album, due out in the Spring.

The Brother Kite have completed their new album and while details like label and release date are still to be determined, it has a title – Isolation – and a companion EP entitled The Eye To Eye EP. As I make a point of saying every opportunity I get, their last effort Waiting For The Time To Be Right was one of my favourite albums of the last decade so expectations are high for this one. If you have a label and want to put out an awesome record, get in touch (with them, not me).

Spinner looks at the trend of uber-fancy CD packaging, as practiced recently by The Flaming Lips and Pixies. The Quietus has a conversation with one of the men responsible for the latter’s ridiculously fancy Minotaur box set (and the unique style of 4AD in general), Vaughan Oliver of 23 envelope/v23.

Friday, June 26th, 2009

What We Know

A lazy day of link dumping featuring Sonic Youth, Pernice Brothers, Phoenix and more

Photo By Michael SchmellingMichael SchmellingI warned you this’d be another one of those days heavy on links, light on context. Let’s begin.

Sonic Youth’s current tour in support of The Eternal has predictably yielded a lot of interviews with various band members. The Quietus scores face time with all save drummer Steve Shelley, while The Detroit Free Press talks only to Shelley. Spinner chats with Lee Ranaldo and Kim Gordon while Time Out Chicago, The Chicago Tribune and Paste each have interviews with Thurston Moore. I could only be called a casual SY fan at best, but The Eternal does continue their late-career streak of releasing albums that I am quite enjoying, balancing their noisier, experimental excursions with more structured songcraft. I approve, and am quite looking forward to seeing them at Massey Hall next Tuesday. Pitchfork has information on forthcoming Sonic Youth box set about which details are slim, but which will contain a cassette tape recording of Beck covering their EVOL album.

The Pernice Brothers website has some more information on the promotional activities – namely combination solo acoustic show and book reading – that will surround the release of Joe’s new novel It Feels So Good When I Stop, and the accompanying soundtrack/covers album of the same name, both out the week of August 4. The most exciting part of the update is the part that says, “we will add a Toronto date at some point”, thus finally making me shut up about the fact that despite Joe’s having lived here for many years now, he’s played live here almost not at all. I guess they’re just working out the intense logistical difficulties of getting him to walk from his house to a venue – any venue – with a guitar. Streetcars may have to be involved.

Pitchfork has an interview with Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars while Minnesota Public Radio welcomed the band to their studios for a session. There’s also feature pieces at The Denver Daily News, PopMatters and The San Francisco Examiner. Apparently they’ve been wowing everyone on this tour just as much as they did in Toronto. Good for them.

To no one’s surprise, Alberta’s media – namely Vue, See, The Calgary Herald and FFWD – all line up to welcome The Rural Alberta Advantage to Alberta. Hometowns gets its re-release on July 7 and the band will play a hometown release show on July 30 at the Horseshoe.

The Dears will be playing a free show at Harbourfront Centre on July 26 as part of their Canadian Voices festival, whose lineup already features performances from Jenn Grant, Gentleman Reg and Amy Millan earlier in the weekend. Reg is also playing Pride this weekend – eye has an interview.

Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler tells NME that the band have begun work on their next album.

Decider talks to Michael Benjamin Lerner of Telekinesis.

A couple Daytrotter sessions of note went up this week. This one featuring White Lies was recorded at SxSW – they’re back in North America this Fall including a date at the Phoenix on September 28 – and this one features Love Is All.

Paste gets to know School Of Seven Bells.

PitchforkTV has a couple new videos – one from The Depreciation Guild, who will be in town on September 7 at the Horseshoe accompanying The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, and Jenny Lewis has released her second video from last year’s Acid Tongue in just over a week. Did she just realize the record was getting old?

Video: The Depreciation Guild – “Dream About Me”
Video: Jenny Lewis – “Carpetbaggers”

Also at PFTVDinosaur Jr’s set from last year’s Pitchfork Festival. They’re at the Phoenix on September 30.

Filter has posted online their recent feature piece on Antony & The Johnsons. They’re releasing a double a-side single on August 4, one of which will be a Beyonce cover. Details at Exclaim.

NME reports that Editors’ next album In This Light And On This Evening has been given a September 21 release date.

Virgin Music has a two-part video interview with Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine, whose debut Lungs is out in the UK on July 6 and October 13 in North America.

Noah & The Whale have set an August 31 release date for their new album First Day Of Spring, and are offering a free download of the title track.

Same Same talks to Patrick Wolf.

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Ah! Melody

Review of Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire de Melody Nelson and giveaway

Photo via Cuaderno ContableCuaderno ContableThough Pitchfork’s double-whammy today of a perfect 10.0 score and “Best New Music” laurel certainly don’t hurt, the legend of Serge Gainsbourg’s 1971 album Le histoire de Melody Nelson was well-established. Tremendously influential and infamously lecherous, the musical tale of an affair between an older French gentleman and teenage girl is a notorious one – even if you haven’t heard the record, you’ve heard OF the record.

It’s difficult to come up with words to describe the album. The proper adjectives – seedy, creepy, sleazy, debauched – all seem like negative descriptors but in this context, they imply perfection. It’s all deliberate and perfectly arranged with the orchestral strings, greasy funk guitar and most importantly Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin’s voices – the embodiment of lech and ingenue respectively – bring their story vividly to life. Even if you don’t speak French, and I don’t think that they would have taught me the necessary vocabulary in my 9th grade class, the record gets the message across musically and by the end of its sub-30 minute running time, you’re left feeling not a little bit dirty. Which I suspect is entirely the point.

Though it’s been almost 40 years since the album’s release, it’s only just been released in North America for the first time in deluxe CD form, with extensive liner notes, and heavyweight vinyl. And, courtesy of Light In The Attic, I’ve got a prize pack consisting of both the digital and analog forms of the album, along with a limited-edition poster, to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT with “Je veux l’histoire de Melody Nelson” in the subject line and your full name and address in the body. Contest is open to residents of North America and notes that though the CD was released this week, the LP has been delayed till mid-May so if you win, that’ll come a bit later. But in the meantime, watch the video clips made for each song on the album by Jean-Christophe Averty. And then wash your hands.

Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Melody”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Ballade de Melody Nelson”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Valse de Melody”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Ah Melody”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “L’Hotel particulier”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “En Melody”
Video: Serge Gainsbourg – “Cargo Culte”

There’s an MP3 from the new Grizzly Bear’s forthcoming album Veckatimest. It’s out May 26 and they’re at the Phoenix on June 5.

MP3: Grizzly Bear – “Cheerleader”

Kyle from Information Leafblower interviews Bloc Party for DCist. Express Night Out and Boston Music Spotlight also have interviews.

Explosions In The Sky give Filter their guide to Austin, Texas. Well that would have been handy… a week ago.

NPR profiles Elvis Perkins In Dearland, who will be at the Horseshoe on April 29.

Prefix has an interview with Marissa Nadler, who has a date at the El Mocambo on April 21 as support for The Handsome Family.

MP3: Marissa Nadler – “River Of Dirt”

The National Post interviews Decemberist Colin Meloy.

Thanks to a commenter yesterday for pointing out that the forthcoming Wilco live doc Ashes Of American Flags, out on DVD April 18, will be getting a couple theatrical screenings in Toronto in May as part of Hot Docs. The band have also posted a bit of a news update with regards to the new album, narrowing down the release date to “late June” (which I’m guessing means June 23) and a track listing, though not in sequence.

Bry Webb of Constantines discusses getting older with The Toronto Sun. Here’s hoping his old bones hold up over their three-night stand at the Phoenix on March 31, April 1 and April 2.

Sky Larkin’s The Golden Spike will be getting a North American release on April 14. They’re at the Opera House on April 1 as support for Los Campesinos!.

St Vincent’s Annie Clark discusses her forthcoming album Actor with Spinner. The record is out May 5.

The AV Club gets a Drive-By Truckers update from Patterson Hood, including a progress report on their new album(s).

The Toronto Star and Chart chat with Cut Off Your Hands, in town for a show at the Horseshoe this Monday night. interviews White Lies. They’re at Lee’s Palace on Tuesday night for a sold-out show.

Filter gets to know Love Is All.

Santigold is at the Phoenix with a full band on June 3.