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Posts Tagged ‘Magnolia Electric Co’

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Canadian Musicfest 2013 Day One

CHVRCHES and Diana at Canadian Musicfest

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI went into this year’s Canadian Musicfest with a pretty basic plan – see as little as possible. Okay, that’s not really accurate since that would have easily been accomplished by staying home and I was still out four nights in a row, but rather than engage in the club-hopping that the fest usually demands, I opted to choose one thing a night that I was genuinely interested in seeing rather than trek around the city hoping to shake something worthwhile out of the lineup. Wednesday night, that honour went to a show that was one of the more hotly-tipped of the festival, despite being able to count both bands on the bill’s officially-released songs on one hand.

Diana may have been a relatively new name on the Toronto scene, but the faces were quite familiar, featuring players whose CVs include Everything All The Time, Donlands & Mortimer, Bonjay, and Warm Myth, to name but a few, but the elevator pitch was that this was the sax player from Destroyer’s new synth-pop project with Carmen Elle of Army Girls on vocals and they’d already arguably gotten more buzz abroad than any of their past projects combined (Destroyer excepted, of course).

As someone who came to the band mainly through Army Girls – and was a bit resentful at them for taking Elle’s attention away from her rock project – it was unusual to hear her voice in such a context, surrounded by smooth synth tones and saxophone lines rather than her spiky guitarwork, her voice was more bruised than sultry. Whether by design or happenstance, it created an odd tension between the image she presented as frontwoman; as charming and charismatic as usual, but interestingly at odds with the music would have conventionally presumed. And that applied to Diana as a whole – slinky, soulful synth-pop, yes, but with something else going on in there and it’s that je ne sais quoi that will, unfortunately for me but great for Diana, probably keep Army Girls fans waiting for those albums a little longer.

Photos: Diana @ The Mod Club – March 20, 2013
MP3: Diana – “Born Again”
Stream: Diana – “Perpetual Surrender”

The hype around Scottish trio CHVRCHES has probably put some off of them entirely already, some six months from the release of their debut album, and that’s a shame. Because as far as I can tell, they’re not being posited as saviours of anything, just a new band with some really good songs. Or maybe that new – none of them are rookies in the music biz, with keyboardists Iain Cook and Martin Doherty having done duty in Aerogramme and Twilight Sad, respectively, and singer Lauren Mayberry formerly doing time in Blue Sky Archives. That past experience might explain why despite being a heavily-feted band on their first tour abroad, CHVRCHES were remarkably confident and assured in their Canadian debut. Taking the stage to the strains of an oddly pitch-shifted version of “Let’s Go Crazy”, they opened with last year’s debut single “Lies” and laid out very clearly what they were about – big synth sounds from the fellows and beguiling vocals from Mayberry.

CHRVCHES haven’t solved the the inherent problem of how to put on a compelling live show when you’re two blokes tethered to keyboards and girl singer who’s not Sarah Cracknell, but when you’ve got the songs, everything else becomes somewhat trivial. While a fairly static performer, Mayberry wasn’t a wallflower and offered up some charming banter – Ryan Gosling topped her list of things to thank Canada for – the best part of the show was the fact that it proved that their songwriting chops were equal to the hype. “Recover”, with its irresistible chorus, remained the high point of their works so far but everything was fairly bursting with hooks and melodies, led by Mayberry’s youthful and yearning vocals. It’s refreshing that at a time when synth acts are a dime a dozen, one can still stand out by sticking to the time-tested rules of pop music. After closing with “The Mother We Share”, they returned for a one-song encore that bookended the set with Prince salutations and their totally straight but still fun cover of “I Would Die 4 U”. And then they doused everyone with a bubble machine.

CBC Music and DIY have interviews with CHVRCHES while NPR has video of one of their sets at SXSW earlier this month. Update: And, just announced, CHVRCHES are back on June 12 at The Hoxton, possibly/probably a NXNE show.

Photos: CHVRCHES @ The Mod Club – March 20, 2013
MP3: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”
Stream: CHVRCHES – “Lies”
Video: CHVRCHES – “Recover”

Peace takes DIY on a walkthrough of their debut album In Love, out in the UK today. They’ll bring it to NXNE on June 15.

CBC Music has an interview with Charles Bradley and an advance stream of his new record Victim Of Love, out April 2, while Clash excerpts an interview with the man. He’ll be at the Phoenix on May 11.

Stream: Charles Bradley / Victim Of Love

Stereogum has an interview with Benjamin Michael Lerner of Telekinesis. Their new album Domarion is out April 2 but streaming now in whole at NPR. They’re at The Horseshoe on May 12.

MP3: Telekinesis – “Ghosts & Creatures”
Stream: Telekinesis / Domarion

A new Jessie Ware track taken from the inevitable deluxe edition of Devotion – the “Gold Edition” – is now available to stream. It’s out in the UK on April 15, the day before the regular (yet slightly enhanced) version of Devotion gets a North American release. She plays The Opera House on April 6.

Stream: Jessie Ware – “Imagine It Was Us”

A track from Kurt Vile’s new record Walkin’ On A Pretty Daze is now available to download. It’s out April 9 and he plays the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 7.

MP3: Kurt Vile – “Never Run Away”

The Postal Service has made another of the unreleased tracks from the 10th anniversary edition of Give Up available to stream. It’s out April 9 and they play The Air Canada Centre on June 11.

Stream: The Postal Service – “Turn Around”

Room 205 has posted the first of three video sessions with Redd Kross; they’re in town at The Horseshoe on April 11.

Loud & Quiet talks to Palma Violets, in town at Lee’s Palace on May 3.

Primal Scream are streaming the second single from their new album More Light, out May 6.

Stream: Primal Scream – “It’s Alright, It’s OK”

Deerhunter have announced the May 7 release of their new album Monomania. Typically cryptic details on the release can be found at 4AD.

Having let the dust settle from the announcement that their new album would be out in May and be followed by extensive touring, The National have revealed some more pertinent details – specifically that it’ll be called Trouble Will Find Me, that it will be out May 21, and the artwork and tracklisting look something like this. And additionally, in conversation with Gothamist, drummer Bryan Devendorf offers some insight into the recording sessions and what guest artists you’ll hear on the record. The National will headline Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14, and the tour documentary on the band Mistaken For Strangers will screen at Hot Docs on April 30, May 2, and May 5.

Stephin Merritt has turned his attention to his Future Bible Heroes project, announcing the June 4 release of their first album in over a decade, Partygoing. It’s available either on its own or part of the Memories of Love, Eternal Youth and Partygoing set which includes reissues of their first two albums as well as a bonus disc of rarities. Details on all that at Merge, first track from Partygoing to stream below.

Stream: Future Bible Heroes – “Living, Loving, Partygoing”

Flavorwire is streaming another track from John Vanderslice’s cover album of David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, which will accompany the June 11 release of his new album of original material, Dagger Beach.

Stream: John Vanderslice – “Diamanthunde”

The Quietus have confirmed a new Echo & The Bunnymen album is on the way. Ian McCulloch says that it’ll be called The Garden Of Meedlin’ and will be out before the year is out.

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session and The Georgia Straight an interview with Veronica Falls.

To mark the passing of Jason Molina last week, all of his recorded output as Songs: Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co, or Jason Molina is available to stream. The best way to remember him.

NYC Taper is sharing recordings of a Low show in New York last week while Drowned In Sound has a video session and interview with the band.

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Farewell Transmission

Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co. passes away at 39

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickSad news out of Indianapolis yesterday morning, as word got out that Jason Molina, had died. Unbelievably prolific from the late ’90s through the mid ’00s first as the skeletal Songs: Ohia and then the lushly-arranged Magnolia Electric Co., as well under his own name, he helped craft the template of raw yet elegant, emotionally bare and beautifully sad songwriting within the folk, blues, and roots-rock idioms.

Following the release of Molina and Johnson, his 2009 collaboration with Will Johnson of Centro-Matic, Molina seemed to disappear from sight – most unusual for someone whose release and touring schedule rarely let up. An update finally came in September 2011, revealing that Molina’s battle with substance abuse had kept him creatively sidelined but positive steps were occurring; another update in May of last year from Molina himself was even more encouraging and some new music in the form of Autumn Bird Songs, a 10″ accompanying a book of artwork from William Shaff. And then, yesterday, the sad announcement that despite these positive signs, Molina had passed.

I was fortunate to have caught Molina live twice, in Fall 2004 and again in August 2005, right around the switchover in identity from Songs: Ohia to Magnolia Electric Co. Re-reading my writeups, it was clear that while I liked some of what he did, it didn’t connect with me fully. Now, reading over the many, many tributes from fans and other musicians for whom Molina’s work resonated at a deep, fundamental frequency, I feel like I need to revisit his work and be thankful for those shows, even if I didn’t wholly appreciate it at the time.

Secretly Canadian, the label for whom Molina recorded his entire career and who put out his “One Pronunciation Of Glory” 7″ as their second-ever release, has a fond remembrance of the man; Chunklet and NPR also have tributes. As their memorial, Drowned In Sound has offered up a beginner’s guide to Molina’s expansive catalog, though if you want to, you could just hit play down below.

MP3: Molina & Johnson – “Almost Let You In”
MP3: Molina & Johnson – “Twenty Cycles To The Ground”
MP3: Jason Molina – “Get Out Get Out Get Out”
MP3: Magnolia Electric Co. – “Josephine”
MP3: Magnolia Electric Co. – “Little Sad Eyes”
MP3: Magnolia Electric Co. – “Lonesome Valley”
MP3: Magnolia Electric Co. – “The Dark Don’t Hide It”
MP3: Magnolia Electric Co. – “Farewell Transmission”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Two Blue Lights”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Steve Albini’s Blues”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Untitled 2”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Untitled 1”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Body Burned Away”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Lightning Risked It All”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Lioness”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Tigress”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “How To Be Perfect Men”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Captain Badass”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “East Heart Divided”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “East’s Last Heart”
MP3: Songs:Ohia – “Cabwaylingo”

Clash and DIY mark today’s release of The Invisible Way with feature pieces on Low while The Line Of Best Fit and The AV Club do their part with video sessions; note that the rest of the videos for the AV Club session are linked the bottom of the post.

With a week to go before the release of Comedown Machine, Pitchfork has drawn the “advance album stream” card for the new Strokes record.

MP3: The Strokes – “One Way Trigger”
Stream: The Strokes / Comedown Machine

NPR has a World Cafe session with Local Natives. They play The Phoenix on March 28.

One of those new Telekinesis tracks from Domarion, out April 2, is now available to download. They hit The Horseshoe on May 12.

MP3 Telekinesis – “Ghosts & Creatures”

The Flaming Lips used one of their SXSW appearances to perform their new album The Terror in its entirety, which must have been great for those in attendance since it’s not even out until April 16 – yeah, it has been pushed back a fortnight – and everyone knows there’s nothing better than a complete album recital of a record you’ve never heard. Regardless, the whole performance is available to hear/watch over at Stereogum.

Yo La Tengo have a feature in Clash and turn in a World Cafe session for NPR and kick off the new season of The AV Club’s Undercover series, covering The Supremes’ “Come See About Me” – the “core emotion” they get out of it is decidedly different from the one The Afghan Whigs squeezed out of their version. Yo La Tengo play the Toronto Urban Roots Fest on July 7 at Garrison Commons.

Tangentially, a track from the first of James McNew’s Dump vinyl reissues – Superpowerless is out today – is available to download. I Can Hear Music follows April 16.

MP3: Dump – “Superpowerless”

A Music Blog, Yea checks in with Texas’ Midlake, who should have a new record out sometime this year.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Art Of Almost

Wilco and Nick Lowe at Massey Hall in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangBands are always compared to other bands. For new acts, it can be helpful for targeting a sympathetic audience but can also be a hinderance, providing an excuse to be ignored should someone not care for some arbitrary reference point. And should they be so fortunate to endure long enough to define their own identity, a new risk arises – being compared to yourself. That comes in a few flavours – there’s “it sounds like all their other stuff” or “it doesn’t sound as good as their older stuff”, and I’d go so far as to say the former is the more damning as it comes with the distinct whiff of indifference.

This, arguably, is the territory that Wilco have been treading towards over their last couple records. Both Sky Blue Sky and Wilco (The Album) were perfectly fine albums but were more pretty and pleasant than exciting – I argued their merits with those who dismissed the band as “dad-rock” but didn’t explicitly disagree with them. And to be fair, Jeff Tweedy’s had a long career that’s covered a lot of bases and volume levels, and if his muse just wants to sit back and strum the guitar then that’s his prerogative. But one of the downsides of being a successful band, I suppose, is the fact that instead of being able to just bang out a record to document where your head’s at and move on, you have to spend a couple of years touring it around the world before you can try something else.

Trying something new isn’t quite accurate with respect to their new record The Whole Love, out next Tuesday but streaming now at NPR, but that its closest reference point in their catalog is Summerteeth should be enough to get the attention of anyone who’d assumed they were set on cruise control down the middle of the road. It’s certainly their most sonically interesting record in some time, and not in the found-sound Jim O’Rourke sense, as well as containing some of their most pop and experimental efforts in a while. With only a handful of listens from advance streams it’s clearly too early to say where it will eventually settle in the hierarchy of Wilco discography greatness, but it certainly has a good start right out of the blocks.

The band also got a head start on their touring cycle, hitting the road over a week before the new album was released and settling into their now-customary two-night stand at Massey Hall in Toronto last weekend for the second stop of the tour. It’d been almost two years since the last visit but Jeff Tweedy stopped by for a couple solo nights back in March so fans had at least had a fix of hearing their favourite songs live recently, not that that stopped them from packing the theatre again, and twice.

And early. Wilco has toured with a number of acts over the years, both established and not, but I’d never seen so many people in their seats for the opener before… but they’ve never had an opener as legendary as Nick Lowe. Performing solo and acoustic in support of his just-released new album The Old Magic, the former power-pop architect turned professor of sophisticated pop had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand as he charmed with both his banter and songs. His newer material showed his talent for turning a memorable phrase and melody hasn’t dimmed a bit with age, in fact his wit may be even more incisive now with the benefit of wisdom of his years to back it up. But even so, it was his classic material that everyone wanted to hear and he graciously obliged, offering up a run of hits from “All Men Are Liars” and its still somehow timely Rick Astley dig through the irresistible “Cruel To Be Kind” and then an unexpected and gorgeous cover of Elvis Costello’s “Alison”, sounding more poignant with Lowe’s middle-aged vocals than Costello has maybe ever managed. From that highlight he ended even stronger with “When I Write The Book” and finally a plaintive “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding” that had the audience on their feet, allowing him to depart with a standing ovation, each and every clap deserved.

Being on hand for the first three songs of Friday night (photos are from the first show but writeup from the second), I got to witness the mind-bending greatness of their opening with The Whole Love‘s lead track “Art Of Almost”. It’s a song that, had it set the template for the entire album, might well have forced a complete redefinition of what Wilco are about. Whereas in recent records they seemed content to let Nels Cline’s guitar leads contribute any and all weirdness to their songs, “Almost” finds all six members pushing boundaries in different directions, simultaneously and reminding me of early ’00s Radiohead – remember when Wilco were “America’s Radiohead”? – in the best way. Even from the very first listen, it’s a stunning declaration of what Wilco can do, and live it’s exponentially heavier than on album. It’s a hell of a thing. And for Saturday night, we had to wait until song two.

Reports from Friday night were that the band had to cut The Whole Love‘s closing song, the meditative “One Sunday Morning”, on account of curfew restrictions and so it seems they simply decided to roll it over to open the following night’s set. And it’s a beautiful song – one of the album’s highlights even though it dwells at the completely opposite end of the world of music from “Almost”, but certainly doesn’t pack the same visceral impact. But as said, that only had to wait until song two and then it was off to the races. Past Wilco setlists have been relatively predictable things; always entertainingly performed but I have to admit that recently, the notion of maybe not needing to see them every time through town had entered my mind. Perhaps anticipating this, they served up an unexpected set list that in addition to the new material, leaned more to the turn of the century material – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Summerteeth – than any in recent memory with Sky Blue Sky only contributed one song, albeit a jaw-dropping even by Nels’ standards “Impossible Germany”, and Wilco (The Album) was ignored completely.

But it was the first encore that really truly sealed this as one of the great Toronto Wilco shows; opening up with a epically crashing “Misunderstood” – anyone count the “NOTHINGS!”? – and followed with a “Jesus Etc” that Tweedy allowed the audience to sing most of and then a “California Stars” that everyone sang along to. And then. THEN. A one-two Being There punch of “Monday” and “Outtasite (Outta Mind)” which basically laid me out flat. This lineup, those songs, holy shit. It wasn’t quite the songbook romp that they pulled out the second night opening for Neil Young back in 2008, but that show was also without – and thanks to – Glenn Kotche (their rotation of substitute drummers got to pick the set list for that show). The one-song, second encore of “I’m A Wheel” was almost pointless – there was no topping what had just happened – but at least Pat Sansone got to do his windmills.

In the fifteen or sixteen times I’ve seen them, over all the different lineups, Wilco have never been anything less than consummate professionals on stage. But there was definitely an extra bit of something in this show, even beyond the song selection, that seemed special. The band were extra energized and invigorated – whether because it was early on in the tour or the excitement of playing new material, I don’t know – but if you thought that the band’s best days were behind them or they were getting too settled in, do yourself a favour and see them on this tour and stay at least as long as “Art Of Almost”. Then tell me they’re done.

The Toronto Sun and National Post were on hand for Friday night’s show while Buffalo News, Spin and NOW were also on hand for Saturday’s show. The Wall Street Journal has an interview with Jeff Tweedy, Drowned In Sound with Mikael Jorgensen and The Los Angeles Times with Pat Sansone while Spinner has a chat and NPR a World Cafe session with Nick Lowe. And Wilcoworld has a talk with Bob Ludwig, the mastering engineer who worked on The Whole Love.

Photos: Wilco @ Massey Hall – September 16, 2011
MP3: Wilco – “What Light”
Video: Wilco – “Born Alone”
Video: Wilco – “I Love My Label”
Video: Wilco – “What Light”
Video: Wilco – “Outtasite (Outta Mind)”
Video: Wilco – “Box Full Of Letters”
Video: Wilco – “I Must Be High”
Video: Nick Lowe – “All Men Are Liars”
Video: Nick Lowe – “I Knew The Bride When She Used To Rock And Roll)”
Video: Nick Lowe – “Half A Boy And Half A Man”
Video: Nick Lowe – “Cruel To Be Kind”
Video: Nick Lowe – “Crackin’ Up”
Stream: Wilco / The Whole Love

Mojo reports that the classic Guided By Voices lineup has found time to record a new album amidst the past year of touring and will release Let’s Go Eat The Factory on January 1 (which is a Sunday?). Good thing Bob had some songs lying around!

Paste puts The Jayhawks on their electronic edition cover in honour of their new album Mockingbird Time; they’ve also just released a video from it.

Video: The Jayhawks – “She Walks In So Many Ways”

NYC Taper has a set from The Hold Steady in New York last weekend available to download.

Just this weekend, some friends and I were wondering what the usually prolific Magnolia Electric Co were up to; Secretly Canadian has the answer, and it’s not a great one – if you’re a fan of Jason Molina and his work, do help him out with a donation.

Interview talks to Christopher Owens of Girls, who have a new video from Father Son Holy Ghost and will be at The Mod Club on September 27.

Video: Girls – “Honey Bunny”

Paste has a feature piece on Mates Of State while NPR has premiered the latest video from Mountaintops. They’re at The Phoenix on September 28.

Video: Mates Of State – “Palomino”

Daytrotter have posted a session with Low.

EMA has also had their Daytrotter session posted, and up the ante with a new video as well.

Video: EMA – “Marked”

The AV Club has got a stream of the new Dum Dum Girls record Only In Dreams ahead of its September 27 release. They are at Lee’s Palace on October 16.

MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Bedroom Eyes”
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Coming Down”
Stream: Dum Dum Girls – “Only In Dreams”

The Financial Times have a feature piece on Warpaint, whose beautifully-shot and performed Rough Trade Sessions is available to watch over at The Fader.

Wears The Trousers interviews Annie Clark of St. Vincent.

The whole of Ivy’s new record All Hours is available to stream.

MP3: Ivy – “Distant Lights”
Stream: Ivy / All Hours

Asobi Seksu have a new video from Fluorescence; they’re at Lee’s Palace opening up for Boris on October 23.

Video: Asobi Seksu – “Perfectly Crystal”

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Dimmer

Review of Bishop Allen’s Grr… and giveaway

Photo By Sebastian MlynarskiSebastian MlynarskiLet it never be said I’m beholden to the traditional press cycle when it comes to reviews. At least not when it comes to Brooklyn’s Bishop Allen. I only got around to writing up their second album, The Broken String last December, almost a year and a half after it was released, and here I am now just getting to their latest Grr… though in this case, the delay is a mere seven months. Almost eight. At least I got the review of their show here in January up within days.

With regards to the lag times, for The Broken String the defense was that, well, I didn’t really know the band but had hung onto the CD for just that long because I had a hunch I’d like it. Why I didn’t just spin the thing sooner and find out is an excellent question. I have a team of experts researching that right now. But for Grr…, it was simply a matter of waiting for the record to win me over the way its predecessor did. And waiting. And waiting. See, what I appreciated about The Broken String was the collegiate cleverness, tempered with open-hearted earnestness and mated with terrific singalong melodies.

And while you can still sing along with Grr…, the band seems to have regressed to a simpler state as far as songwriting goes. This doesn’t seem to be an accident, but a deliberate stylistic shift – the lyrical density and detailed storytelling has given way to more impressionistic wordplay and sometimes nonsensical rhymes. The production is much drier and leaner, often emphasizing just Justin Rice’s voice and Christian Rudder’s guitar, and even the album title and art is primary school basic and playful. And maybe that’s the point of this record, to step back from The Broken String, strip things down to and get back to basics for a spell. If so, job well done. Grr… is a study in simplicity, doing more with less and seeing just how far you can go powered just by melody. It was personally a bit frustrating to have a band I’d just gotten into shelve from those characteristics that drew me to them in the first place, but Grr… is still a pop treat by more objective standards.

The band is currently on tour and will be at the El Mocambo in Toronto on Friday night, October 30. Tickets are $15 in advance but courtesy of REMG, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to go Grrr” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, October 28.

MP3: Bishop Allen – “Dimmer”
MP3: Bishop Allen – “The Ancient Commonsense Of Things”
Video: Bishop Allen – “Shanghaied”
Video: Bishop Allen – “Dimmer”
MySpace: Bishop Allen

Pitchfork and Offbeat have interviews with Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

PopMatters and The AV Club chat with Thao Nguyen, namesake of Thao with The Get Down Stay Down. They’re at the El Mocambo this Sunday, November 1, and passes and CDs are still up for grabs.

Daytrotter has got a massive session with The Magnolia Electric Co available to download.

Stereogum points out that a the CBC’s QTV has been compiling a series of video guitar lessons from musical guests passing through their studios, including The National and Vampire Weekend. Did I just stop writing to dust of the guitar and learn to play, “Fake Empire”? Maybe I did. Maybe I did. Also discovered I lost my capo. No “Slow Show” for me.

Neither of these are officially confirmed, but February 9 may see a new record from Shearwater entitled The Golden Archipelago appear in stores. Jonathan Meiburg provided some details on the record this Summer to Michael Hoinski and chimed in on the band’s message boards to discuss some of the possible forms the album would be appearing in – namely different tracklistings and running orders for the CD and LP editions, with the LP coming out as a longer entity than the CD.

PitchforkTV coaxes Yo La Tengo onto a rooftop to play some songs. Or else.

The California Literary Review has an extensive feature on Nicole Atkins, currently on the road with her band The Black Sea road-testing material for album number two, set to be recorded this Winter and released next year.

NPR has a World Cafe session with New York’s Freelance Whales, who will be touring with Fanfarlo this Fall including their December 9 date at the El Mocambo so if you’re planning on being at that show – which you obviously should – make their acquaintance now. Stereogum also declared them a band to watch back in September.

Check out the third new video appearing on the Land Of Talk EP Fun & Laughter, out today. It’s stunning.

Video: Land Of Talk – “It’s Okay”

Basia Bulat will lead up to the January 26 release of her new record Heart Of My Own with her biggest and fanciest Toronto show yet, playing Trinity-St. Paul’s on January 16. Tickets are $20 in advance, on sale Thursday.

MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”

The Line Of Best Fit has details on the next Los Campesinos record Romance Is Boring, due out January 26.

Interview has a short chat with The xx. They’re at the Phoenix on December 2.

Elbow’s Guy Garvey gives Drowned In Sound a track-by-track blow-by-blow of the deluxe edition reissue of their debut Asleep In The Back, due out on November 10.

As much as I want to put stock in this typically sensationalistic NME piece on a possible Pulp reunion for Glastonbury next year, I’m far more inclined to side with Idolator’s take on it. Jarvis is much too canny to let something as huge as that slip in that manner. And on second thought, I hope it’s false because I don’t want to have to really face the question of just how far (distance, expense, camping in mud) would I be willing to go to see Pulp live. I suspect the answer is not as far as would be necessary.

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

The Way It Is

Nicole Atkins changes labels, band names, salutes Jacko

Photo By Lucia HolmLucia HolmIt’s been not quite two years since the release of Nicole Atkins’ debut album Neptune City and even taking into account the relentless touring that followed, you’d think she’s about due for a new record soon, right? As she tells Spinner, work on the follow-up is well underway with 38 songs written set to be pared down to a baker’s dozen for the record. But whenever it does come out, don’t look for it on Columbia Records; according to the New Jersey singer, she and the storied label “got divorced” and while she hasn’t settled on a new home, she’s looking to the indie route this time around. Also on the topic of change, her band The Sea has decided to adopt and adjective and they’ll now be known as Nicole Atkins & The Black Sea.

But until the new album is done and has a new home, Atkins is keeping busy – she was an integral part of AC Newman’s last studio and touring bands, she’s been playing gigs at JFK Airport, keeping a blog, rocking the Twitter and taking the time to record a little tribute to the late Michael Jackson. It would have been interesting to hear her try one of the funkier numbers, but a torch song to a rat works as well.

MP3: Nicole Atkins – “Ben”

Also about due for a new record is Lightspeed Champion. He’s got a shiny new website and therein, says “The album is in the hands of the label for whenever they want to release it..but they’re good with that kind a thing, it’s their job! No idea when that will be though.” Which at least implies that it’s completed though it doesn’t give much hope that the October 2009 release date I had written down is still a go. But in the meanwhile, he’s offered a new song to those who register on his site entitled “Heavy Purple”, which is of a decidedly different flavour from anything found on Falling Off The Lavender Bridge.

Jarvis Cocker is also giving away the tunes – you can grab a different edit of Futher Complications’ “You’re In My Eyes (Discosong)” from his website. Hey Jarv, don’t think I haven’t noticed you didn’t add any more North American tour dates. ‘Cause I totally did.

Beatroute talks to The Decemberists’ guitarist Chris Funk and JAM to drummer Jon Moen. They’re at the Kool Haus on August 3.

Spin has excerpted a portion of this month’s Wilco cover story online and NewsOK has a conversation with Jeff Tweedy about how the band’s five-night stand at the Riviera in Chicago in December 2007 was a defining moment for the current lineup.

As the September 8 release of Yo La Tengo’s new album Popular Songs draws nearer, they’ve released information about the bonuses tied into the Buy Early Get Now pre-order promotion, the full Fall tour itinerary surrounding the previously-announced October 3 date at the Opera House in Toronto has been unveiled and there’s a second MP3 from the album now available for grabs.

MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Here To Fall”

M83’s Anthony Gonzalez tells The Riverfront Times exactly what it takes to get slapped by a Frenchman.

The Soulsavers, the latest project fronted by Screaming Tree/Gutter Twin/general man about town Mark Lanegan have slated a Fall North American tour including a September 25 date at the Mod Club in support of their new album Broken, out August 18.

eMusic, The Dallas Observer and Express Night Out talk to Jason Molina of The Magnolia Electric Co, who just released their new album Josephine and are sharing a new MP3 from it.

MP3: Magnolia Electric Co – “Little Sad Eyes”

Here’s a guy who hasn’t been sighted in these pages lately – Sufjan Stevens. Some are waiting for part the third in his albums saluting the fifty states; they can keep waiting, because he’s turned his sights on a geographical topic a bit more micro than that – the Brookyln-Queens Expressway. He staged the musical/cinematic/whatever production live in November of 2007 and come October 20, he’ll release a multimedia package consisting of a CD of the show, a DVD of the film portions and a ViewMaster slide of… well, unless you have a ViewMaster you’ll never know. He’s also re-releasing an old electronic album dedicated to the best (read: mine) year of the Chinese Zodiac entitled Enjoy Your Rabbit on October 6, so either of these could be the filling out his set when he hits the road this Fall, and yes, there should be a Toronto date. Probably right around the time he plays Pop Montreal. Keep an eye out.

Video: The BQE- A Film By Sufjan Stevens

There’s a new video from the new Hidden Cameras record Origin:Orphan, due out September 22.

Video: The Hidden Cameras – “In The NA”

The National Post talks to The Rural Alberta Advantage. They’re at the Horseshoe on July 30.

Julian Plenti is the solo pseudonym of Paul Banks, lead singer of Interpol. The record is called Julian Plenti Is… Skyscraper and is out August 4. Whether or not a solo record from the lead singer of Interpol is necessary is unclear.

MP3: Julian Plenti – “Games For Days”
MP3: Julian Plenti – “Fun That We Have”

The Tripwire have a feature piece on Dinosaur Jr. They’re playing the Phoenix on September 30.

Daytrotter has a session and Cincinnati City Beat an interview with Bad Veins. They’re in town at the El Mocambo on August 2.

Buffalo News and Creative Loafing have interviews with Jason Lytle.

Chart has details on the second Flight Of The Conchords album, due out October 20 and bearing the title of I Told You I Was Freaky. It’ll contain all the songs featured in season two of the HBO show and while the second series got off to an alarmingly slow start, both comedically and musically, it took a serious upswing about midway through – right around the time that Michel Gondry sat in the director’s chair and gave us this bit of brilliance.

Video: Flight Of The Conchords – “Too Many Dicks On The Dance Floor”