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Posts Tagged ‘Luna’

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

"Dancing Days"

Luna covers Led Zeppelin

Photo via WikipediaWikipediaTrue story – I was letting my iTunes run on random a couple weeks ago, and when the opening guitar riff to this week’s selection rang out, I sat up and thought, “why do I have Stone Temple Pilots in my music library?”. Because, you see, I never listened to Led Zeppelin as a young’n – like really never – and only knew “Dancing Days” because it was released as a single from 1995’s Encomium, a Zep tribute album.

But no, it was my beloved Luna and the track was one that I had forgotten existed, one of the bonuses that came with the late-era Luna digital reissues from earlier this year – their final two studio albums Rendezvous and Romantica, and the Close Cover Before Striking EP, to which this track was appended. It’s pretty faithful in structure – that riff must be lots of fun to play – but is so very Luna from top to bottom. The drums are bigger than you’d usually expect, but Dean Wareham’s slightly detached and deadpan vocals and the swirling, fuzzy guitar tones makes me miss the band so very much.

Celebration Day, the live document of the 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion show, is out on CD and DVD on November 19. If and when we have a Luna reunion, it will probably be a little smaller in scale… but until then, we have Wareham’s first solo record – currently being recorded – to look forward to.

MP3: Luna – “Dancing Days”
Stream: Led Zeppelin – “Dancing Days”

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Until I Am Whole

New album news from (Mountain) Goats, and (Band Of) Horses, and (Grizzly) Bear(s) – oh my!

Photo By DL AndersonD.L. AndersonA veritable deluge of new album information came across the desk in the last day or so, though it could well have been delivered in a box of animal crackers.

First and least expectedly – at least I wasn’t expecting one – is a new Mountain Goats album entitled Transcendental Youth due out on October 2. There’s no sample track yet – not even one of those album trailers that are de rigeur these days – but instead and arguably better are a couple of essays about the album, one by John Darnielle, and another by way of the official bio by John Hodgman.

You can see the full album art over at Exclaim and, as something to listen to and keeping with the animal theme, a track from their 2000 album The Coroner’s Gambit.

MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Baboon”

Having teased that it was coming but not offering much in the way of specifics, Band Of Horses have spilled the beans on album number four, to be entitled Mirage Rock and due out on September 18; it certainly gives some context to their show at Echo Beach on August 15 opening up for My Morning Jacket. Pitchfork has some specifics and the first video from the album is available below.

Video: Band Of Horses – “Knock Knock”

And while Grizzly Bear had gone so far as to not only confirm a release date for their next record – also September 18 – and book a tour – Massey Hall on September 26 – they’d been coy about the actual title of the record until now. It’s going to be called Shields and you can see the album art and track listing over at Gigwise.

MP3: Grizzly Bear – “Sleeping Ute”

And while I’m not a fan, it’d be kind of ridiculous to not note that Animal Collective have a new one entitled Centipede Hz; it’s out September 4 and the first single is available to stream.

Stream: Animal Collective – “Honeycomb”

Ty Segall isn’t named for any kind of animal but he works like a mule; Pitchfork has details on his third album of the year – Twins is out October 9, giving some context to his show with Thee Oh Sees at The Hoxton on September 26.

San Diego garage-poppers The Soft Pack have announced a couple dates at The Garrison on October 9 and 10 as part of a tour in support of their second full-length Strapped, due out September 25. The first single is available to stream.

Stream: The Soft Pack – “Saratoga”

And shifting gears to some more concert announcements: After selling the hell out of Lee’s Palace back in April before their debut Boys & Girls was even out – the show was a week after the release date but every ticket was gone weeks before then – Alabama Shakes are coming back for a gig at the much more spacious Kool Haus on October 2, tickets for that $26.50 in advance. Full Fall dates over at Pollstar.

MP3: Alabama Shakes – “I Found You”
MP3: Alabama Shakes – “You Ain’t Alone”
MP3: Alabama Shakes – “Hold On”

Of all the band hats that he has to choose from, Conor Oberst has decided to hit the road as Conor Oberst for a show at Massey Hall on December 8. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10AM and run from $39.50 to $60.50.

MP3: Conor Oberst – “Danny Callahan”
MP3: Bright Eyes – “Lover I Don’t Have To Love”
MP3: Desaparecidos – “The Happiest Place On Earth”

Major, the second album from Fang Island, is streaming over at NPR ahead of its official release on July 24.

MP3: Fang Island – “Sisterly”
MP3: Fang Island – “Asunder”
Stream: Fang Island / Major

The title track of Matt & Kim’s next album Let’s Go – release date still to be determined – is now available to download.

MP3: Matt & Kim – “Let’s Go”

NPR and The New York Times have interviews with James Murphy, who reveals that LCD Soundsystem may not be quite completely dead just yet. But close. And then, luggage. The LCD doc Shut Up And Play The Hits is back in Toronto for a couple screenings next week at The Bloor Cinema, on July 18 and 19.

As promised, Luna’s seminal 1992 album Bewitched is getting its first-ever pressing on vinyl this Summer. It’s out August 21 and is limited to an edition of 2000, so it’s a good thing you can pre-order it now.

MP3: Luna – “Tiger Lily”

A Heart Is A Spade asks a few quick questions of Peggy from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.

The Shins have a new video from Port Of Morrow. They open up for The Black Keys at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 4.

Video: The Shins – “It’s Only Life”

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with Sharon Van Etten, who’s in town at the Phoenix on July 31.

PopMatters talks to Ira Elliot of Nada Surf.

Rolling Stone and The Boston Globe talk to Mission Of Burma about their new record Unsound, out now and streaming in full at Spinner.

MP3: Mission Of Burma – “Second Television”
Stream: Mission of Burma / Unsound

The Village Voice talks to Eric Bachmann of Archers Of Loaf.

PopMatters interviews Eisley.

Spin has posted their latest cover story on Cali power couple Best Coast and Wavves and thrown in a photo shoot gallery for good measure. Best Coast are at The Phoenix on July 21.

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

"Sweet Child O' Mine"

Luna covers Guns N’ Roses

Image via WikipediaWikipediaDespite their having a great number of great and interesting covers to their name, I genuinely didn’t think I’d have occasion to post any more Luna on account of the fact that they ceased to exist seven years ago as of this past February and the ’90s reunion bandwagon has not yet rolled through Luna-ville, nor is it likely to anytime soon. So with that in mind, the fact that the last two Luna albums – 2002’s Romantica and 2004’s Rendezvous will be getting released on vinyl for the first time this Friday for Record Store Day as part of a reissue campaign is as good an excuse as any.

Not that 1999’s The Days Of Our Nights, which this Guns N’ Roses cover closed, is part of those reissues. I don’t know if there are rights issues to the record, what with it being issued on an imprint of an imprint of a major label that ceased to exist shortly after this album came out or if it’s just not high enough in the hierarchy of popular Luna releases, but I do know that it was hard enough to find when it was technically in print – I had to go all the way to Dean Wareham’s old stomping grounds of Cambridge, Massachusetts to get my copy (okay, I didn’t go expressly to buy it there but that’s where I found it). In any case, it’s a rare occasion of a cover being included on an album proper rather than saved for b-sides, but as the interview with Dean and Sean preceding the live version also included below indicates, it was supposed to catapult the band to fame and fortune. Or not.

The half of Luna that was Dean and Britta carry on as Dean & Britta, and have been busying themselves with their 13 Most Beautiful and Plays Galaxie 500 shows, though one would think that some new material of their own is percolating. Sean Eden and Lee Wall also seem to be keeping busy.

As for GN’R, you’ve probably heard the kerfuffle that ensued when questions of would the original lineup of the band reunite to play the induction ceremony last night were downgraded to would they even show up together and then even those were dashed earlier this week when Axl announced via Facebook that he was declining the induction altogether. They inducted him anyways. I would like to think that if/when Luna are inducted to the Hall Of Fame, they’ll reunite for the occasion. They’re eligible in 2017.

MP3: Luna – “Sweet Child O’ Mine”
MP3: Luna – “Sweet Child O’ Mine” (live on World Cafe)
Video: Guns N’ Roses – “Sweet Child O’ Mine

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Reappear

Review of School Of Seven Bells’ Ghostory

Photo By Justin HollarJustin HollarI had actually forgotten how weird Alpinisms, the 2008 debut from New York’s School Of Seven Bells was. It basically inverted the balance of pop-to-experimentalism of the Deheza sisters’ former outfit On! Air! Library! and made itself it much more accessible than O!A!L!’s self-titled effort but was still willing to forgo the pop in parts to play with textures, exotic sounds and the interesting harmonies that their twin frontwomen could create.

2010’s Disconnect From Desire was decidedly slicker, dancier and more straight-ahead in comparison – at least relatively speaking in a dream-pop/post-shoegaze frame of reference. It successfully grew their audience but not without cost – keyboardist/vocalist Claudia Deheza left the band in the middle of a Fall tour that year, leaving the official band lineup as just sister Alejandra and guitarist Ben Curtis, replacing the musical chemistry between the two with another singer being pretty much impossible.

You would think that losing a third of the band would have more dramatic impact on their sound, but had you no knowledge of the personnel changes and just came to their just-released third album Ghostory with a familiarity of their previous efforts, you would be forgiven for assuming that everything was business as usual. Losing their keyboardist hasn’t meant losing the keys as the album still leans heavily on sequenced rhythms and synthetic atmosphere and through the magic of overdubs the band’s signature harmonies are superficially intact if less inherently magical. In fact, though the band is officially now a pair of guitarists, Ghostory is arguably less guitar-driven than before, instead favouring a more ’80s-era 4AD sheen than any overt ’90s shoegaze aesthetic; anyone who still wants to pigeonhole them as such is working with outdated information.

Perhaps the most notable thing about Ghostory is how steady on it finds the band in what they do despite the upheavals. Parsing the lyrics, which ostensibly center around a young girl literally haunted by ghosts, you can find traces of deeper, more personal emotions – loss, regret, what have you – but this is not music meant for soundtracking deep introspection. It’s for drifting, dreaming, dancing. No more, no less. The school may experience staff turnover but the lesson plan remains the same.

Ghostory is out today and available to stream in full at Spinner. After a jaunt in Europe, their North American tour brings the band to The Hoxton in Toronto on May 2. Alejandra Deheza talks to Spin about her interest in tarot cards and to Rolling Stone about the just-released first video from the album.

MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “Lafaye”
MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “The Night”
Video: School Of Seven Bells – “Lafaye”
Stream: School Of Seven Bells / Ghostory

Blurt chats with Amber Papini of Hospitality, in town at The Horseshoe on February 29 and The Garrison on May 4 in support of Tennis and Eleanor Friedberger, respectively.

Stereogum is streaming in whole The Clearing, the new album from Bowerbirds, out next Tuesday. They play The Garrison on March 27.

MP3: Bowerbirds – “Tuck The Darkness In”
MP3: Bowerbirds – “In The Yard”
Stream: Bowerbirds / The Clearing

NPR is streaming the whole of Milk Famous, the new one from White Rabbits, a week ahead of its March 6 release date.

MP3: White Rabbits – “Heavy Metal”
Stream: White Rabbits / Milk Famous

Young Prisms will warm up for their March 10 show at The Drake Underground with an in-store at the Kensington location of Sonic Boom that afternoon at 5PM. Their second album In Between is out March 27 and Stereogum just premiered the first video.

MP3: Young Prisms – “Floating In Blue”
Video: Young Prisms – “Floating In Blue”

James Mercer of The Shins stops in at The Alternate Side for an interview and video session. Port Of Morrow comes out March 20.

Spin has posted online the Sleigh Bells cover story from the all-new, redesigned magazine, and dang is it pretty. The magazine, not the story, but if Alexis Krauss does it for you, then it’s both. There’s also features at eMusic, AltSounds, The Guardian, and The Stool Pigeon. Sleigh Bells are at The Phoenix on March 26 and The Air Canada Centre on April 27 and 28 with Red Hot Chili Peppers.

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session and The Fly has an interview with with Chairlift, who are at The Horseshoe on March 28.

Pitchfork has a +1 interview and video session with Perfume Genius while Stereogum gets Mike Hadreas on the phone for an interview about Put Your Back N 2 It. He plays The Drake Underground on April 8.

Maps & Atlases have made a May 16 date at The Horseshoe in support of their forthcoming album Beware And Be Grateful; the album is out April 17, tickets for the show are $11.50 and the first MP3 is available to download courtesy of Rolling Stone.

MP3: Maps & Atlases – “Winter”

It’s happy news that the Luna back catalog is finally going to be reissued on vinyl, at least some of it. Record Store Day will see their last two albums, Romantica and Rendezvous, come out on wax (that’s April 21) and there’s plans to press my personal favourite Bewitched in early Summer and Penthouse will eventually follow. I said I was largely done re-buying albums I already owned on LP, but this is an exception. Oh yes. And coincidentally, the band played their final show seven years ago today. Sigh.

MP3: Luna – “Black Postcards”

Lower Dens have released a video for the first single from their forthcoming album Nootropics; it’s out May 1.

Video: Lower Dens – “Brains”

A visit to France has yielded some live Blouse videos worth watching; a full show at arte.tv and a session for Faits Divers; there’s also one recorded stateside at Yours Truly and an interview with the band at Drowned In Sound. Blouse are at The Garrison on May 5.

The original release has since been redacted – someone broke embargo, apparently – but it seems likely that the new Beach House album will be out on May 15 and be called Bloom. Unless, of course, it’s not – in which case, it’s another case of “oh, internet!”.

Girls have gone to Conan O’Brien to premiere the new video from Father, Son, Holy Ghost.

Video: Girls – “My Ma”

Bon Iver has released a new video from Bon Iver.

Video: Bon Iver – “Towers”

NPR has got a World Cafe session with Real Estate.

Daytrotter has posted a session with CANT.

CBC Radio 3 and CNN have conversations with The Kills, who are streaming the Velvet Underground cover that appears on the “Last Goodbye” 10″.

Stream: The Kills – “Pale Blue Eyes”

Annie Clark of St. Vincent talks to The New Zealand Herald, The Guardian, and Drowned In Sound while the director for her “Cheerleader” video explains the clip to Pitchfork.

Culture Mob talks to Ume.

Pitchfork talks to James Murphy about his life post-LCD Soundsystem.

Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs talks to Spin about the band’s reunion. No word of lie, there is no show announcement I await more eagerly than this one.

Billboard talks to Bob Mould about Sugar’s Copper Blue, which he’s taken to performing in its entirety for a handful of mostly European shows.

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Hysterical Strength

Review of St. Vincent’s Strange Mercy

Photo By Tina TyrellTina TyrellIt’s saying something when Annie Clark’s looks rank a ways down the list of things she has going for her as St. Vincent. If we’re keeping score, then you’d have to put her angelic, crystalline coo of a voice and virtuosic, elliptical guitar skills right at the top (though which of the two should come first is grist for hours of debate). And of course neither would be anything without her songwriting acumen, which nimbly treads the terrain between odd and accessible, between abstract and evocative.

But underpinning all of that, and what I’d put forward as her most important quality, is her restlessness, as showcased in fine form on her third album Strange Mercy. That constant desire – or maybe compulsion – to fill her work with idiosyncratic touches that range from quirky accents – such as the adorable vocal hiccups in opener “Chloe In The Afternoon” – to dissonent, square-waved guitar breaks, also in the same song. One can’t help wonder about her process, and whether she writes the pretty first and then deliberately takes it off-road, or if that’s simply intuits both halves as necessary parts of the whole. Was the wonderfully random and unabashedly ’70s prog guitar/synth line that closes out “Surgeon” a result of Clark stepping back and thinking, “you know what would be interesting here?” or more, “of course that’s the outro. Duh”.

Compared to the ambitiously orchestrated Actor, Mercy is more of a guitar-heavy affair, with the contrast between Clark’s sumptuous voice and her favoured abrasive guitar tones played up throughout. Some find Clark’s penchant for abruptly shifting gears or marrying brutality with beauty if just to see what happens off-putting, but that unpredictability is rather key to the experience. Like its predecessors, it’s a touch more cerebral and considered than I might like, but the way Clark is able to sound confessional and emotionally bare without sometimes seeming to reveal anything at all and always maintaining a distance is, I suppose, perfectly in keeping with the duality of St. Vincent. And whether you genuinely love what she does or are just fascinated by it, you can’t help coming back.

The Guardian, Interview, Consequence Of Sound and The Village Voice have feature interviews with Clark, while 4AD Sessions and The AV Club have videos of some in-studio live performances and NPR is streaming her show in DC from earlier this week. She is at The Phoenix on December 15.

MP3: St. Vincent – “Surgeon”
Video: St. Vincent – “Cruel”

After bringing The Black Sea along with her in February to support Mondo Amore, Nicole Atkins returns for a solo show at The Drake Underground on December 3 – tickets $15 in advance.

MP3: Nicole Atkins – “Vultures”

The Kills are also planning a return engagement as part of a Winter tour in support of their latest Blood Pressures, setting a date at The Kool Haus for February 7 of next year. Tickets $26.50 in advance. They’ve also released a new video from said record.

MP3: The Kills – “DNA”
Video: The Kills – “Baby Says”

After trickling out streams of most of the songs from their Long Live The King EP – another went up at The Huffington Post earlier this week – The Decemberists are streaming the whole thing at Spinner.

Stream: The Decemberists – “Sonnet”
Stream: The Decemberists / Long Live The King

Hey, you know that 24-hour Flaming Lips song? No? Well they recorded one, it’s called “7 Skies H3″ and it’s streaming at flaminglipstwentyfourhoursong.com. And it’s also available for sale encased in one of 13 real human skulls for the reasonable price of $5000. Pitchfork has details and Flaming Lips completists have my sympathy.

The Columbia Free Times talks to Ted Leo.

Doug Martsch of Built To Spill updates Rolling Stone on the status of their next album. Which is not to say anyone should expect it soon, but it is – you know – coming.

Pitchfork reports that The Antlers will release a new EP entitled (together), comprised of some remixes, collaborative reinterpretations of songs and an XX cover. It’s out November 22.

It’s certainly not a reunion or a new album – I hold no hopes of either of those things ever happening – but there’s a bit of Luna news to report. Their last two albums and EP – which had the misfortune of coming out on fly-by-night labels – have been digitally reissued with a handful of bonus tracks added on. Details and an opportunity to grab a cover of Kraftwerk’s “Neon Lights”, taken from the Close Cover Before Striking EP, can be had at Full Of Wishes – yeah you have to give your email address for the download, but how much mail do you really expect to get from a band that’s been defunct for six years? There’s interviews with Dean Wareham at Polaroids For Androids and 130BPM.

The first official single from the new Guided By Voices album Let’s All Eat The Factory is now available to stream and will be available on 7″ come November 28. All 1:44 of it. The album is out January 1.

Stream: Guided By Voices – “Doughtnut For A Snowman”

Caithlin de Marrais – the former voice of Rainer Maria – will release her solo debut Red Coats on Tuesday and in advance, Magnet is streaming the whole thing.

MP3: Caithlin de Marrais – “Belong”
Video: Caithlin de Marrais – “Birds”
Stream: Caithlin de Marrais / Red Coats

Mates Of State have released a new video from their latest, Mountaintops, and Playback has an interview with the Jason Hammel half of the duo.

Video: Mates Of State – “Sway”

Exclaim reports that Brassland Records is celebrating their tenth anniversary with gifts – in the form of a free song a day, one of which is this early demo by The National. To get at the downloads, engage the label in some social media love via Facebook or Twitter – details over here.

Stream: The National – “High Beams” (demo)