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Posts Tagged ‘Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s’

Monday, March 26th, 2012

SXSW 2012 Day Four

The Roots, Bob Mould, Blitzen Trapper and more at SXSW

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIf you were to ask me what I thought MOG did – and for the life of me I can’t imagine why you would – the best I could offer is that they excel at getting my exhausted ass out of bed early on the Saturday of SXSW to go line up at The Mohawk so I can stand around for hours on end. They did it last year with a bill of Smith Westerns, Wild Flag, Okkervil River and TV On The Radio (I didn’t stick around for Big Boi but most everyone else did) and this year, the promised headlining double-bill of Bob Mould playing Copper Blue and The Roots was too much to resist.

The lineup was great but that also meant the line up would be long, meaning that despite getting what was by my standards an early jump on the day, I didn’t get into The Mohawk until lead-off hitter Gary Clark, Jr. was already a little ways into his set. I wasn’t specifically familiar with Clark, but you didn’t need to read his Wikipedia page to know what he was about – the man was a modern/classic guitar hero in the Hendrix vein, blending blues, rock, soul and psychedelia into a lean, impressive package. Impressive not just for his chops, which were formidable, but because the man could also write a song, sing with feeling and inject his music with a genuine sense of urgency and excitement without being showy – no mean feat for a guitar slinger. I’ve always thought the best thing about Hendrix was not his guitar playing, but his ability to write a song; Clark gets that.

On average, my appreciation for The War On Drugs lasts for about 30 minutes; that’s why their in-store at Soundscapes last August was the perfect set for me to enjoy their spacey guitar jams and not get bored. Their set here was about 45 minutes and almost on cue, at about the half-hour mark the hypnotic effect of their really loud chill-out started to wear off. Until that point, it was quite a nice soundtrack for a sunny afternoon of standing around but still feeling like you’re going somewhere. But after that… well, email started getting checked.

Even so, they were an inspired one-two punch with Portland’s Blitzen Trapper, whose music shares a sense of quintessential American-ness, but theirs is a more wide-eyed and rambling take on it. It’s as though The War On Drugs take the highway while Blitzen Trapper opt to roam the woods. It’d been a while since I’d seen them live – way back when their buds in Fleet Foxes were just of opener status – but their recipe of big, Band-esque jams and extended guitar solos hasn’t changed too much. I have to say that while their albums tend to ramble a bit more than I’d like and haven’t managed to really get any staying power in my ears, they remain a good time live.

All of that was preamble, however, to what for me was the day’s main draw – Bob Mould playing Copper Blue. I’ve no doubt that most in attendance didn’t appreciate the significance of either the record or the fact that they were about to see it played live – even twenty years on from its release, not nearly enough recognize its rightful status as one of the best American rock albums of the ’90s – but those of us who did were, as the kids say, stoked. It was rightly billed as Bob and not a reunited Sugar, but Dave Barbe and Malcolm Travis had more than capable substitutes in Jason Narducy and Jon Wurster. Being a bit pinched for time, they wasted no time in getting set up and tearing into “The Act We Act” and if anyone ever wanted a picture of me losing my shit, that’d have been a good place to get it. Not that anyone would have expected it to, but age hasn’t slowed down or quieted Mould at all, with the recital running non-stop and even faster than the original recordings. Mould seemed to be having a good time of it, offering a few smiles when he wasn’t bellowing into the mic or unleashing hell via his old Stratocaster. A few glances around confirmed that most people weren’t really getting it, but for every handful of quizzical or bored faces, there was one in a state of ecstasy so that was good enough. It was a bit of a shame that they had to skip “Slick” due to time – hardly my favourite song but still part of the album – but having “Helpless”, “Changes” and “Hoover Dam” blasted in my face was as good as I’d hoped.

But you know what? As great as that was, it wasn’t the highlight. Even if Bob had brought out Greg Norton and Grant Hart to play all of Candy Apple Grey, it’d have probably taken a back seat to The Roots. I have to say that I’ve never seen The Roots live, or listened to a Roots record, or even watched the Jimmy Fallon show. I don’t even follow Questlove on Twitter. You would be hard-pressed to find someone less familiar with The Roots than me, but even with all that their 90-minute show was one of the best things I’d seen in forever, and I’d just seen Bruce Springsteen less than 48 hours prior. Of course, in a sense that makes it easier – I can’t comment on what they played (though the cover quotes of Guns’N’Roses, George Thorogood and Led Zeppelin were obviously identifiable) but can describe the whole experience as an explosion of music where we were invited to dance in the fallout. It was a hip-hop show, a rock show, a soul revue all at once and a exhibition of amazing musicianship and showmanship throughout. Perhaps the most amazing thing was that as incredible as it was to be witnessing all this from up close, the band looked like they were the ones having the best time – you cannot fake the kind of joy that they were radiating. The performance went pretty much non-stop for about an hour fifteen before the rest of the band took a breather and Questlove and F. Knuckles invited DJ Jazzy Jeff – yeah, that Jazzy Jeff – onstage for a 3-man drum-off, before everyone returned for the big finish. The Roots. Holy shit. If the festival ended right there, I’d have been just fine with it

But of course it didn’t; one more night to go.

Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields talks to Kelly Hogan for The Chicago Reader (Hogan covers The Magnetic Fields amongst others on her new record I Like to Keep Myself in Pain, out June 5, details at Exclaim) and to LA Weekly. The Magnetic Fields are at The Sound Academy on March 30.

M. Ward’s new one A Wasteland Companion is up and doing the stream thing at NPR ahead of its release next week, April 3.

Stream: M. Ward / A Wasteland Companion

Paste is all about Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s, post a video session to go with their feature piece. The band are at The Garrison on April 5.

East Village Boys sends Michael Stipe to interview Perfume Genius’ Mike Hadreas while The Los Angeles Times, Dallas Voice, and San Diego City Beat don’t need to celebrity proxies. Perfume Genius is at The Drake on April 8.

DIY has details on The Flaming Lips’ contribution to this year’s Record Store Day exclusives – The Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends celebrity collaboration album. Look for it (and probably not find it as it’s sold right out) on April 21.

Also coming out for Record Store Day are the first three Uncle Tupelo albums for the first time on vinyl since they were originally pressed back in the early ’90s (I assume – maybe they went straight to CD?). Until now, you could get Anodyne and the Anthology on wax, but not No Depression, Still Feel Gone or March 16-20, 1992 and also the literally-titled The Seven Inch Singles box set of four 7″ singles.. So this is good. Details at Exclaim.

Lower Dens are streaming a new track from their forthcoming Nootropics, out May 1.

Stream: Lower Dens – “Propogation”

S. Carey has posted a song from his new EP Hoyas to download. It’s out May 8.

MP3: S. Carey – “Two Angles”

Deer Tick are coming to town for a show at Lee’s Palace on June 11 in support of last year’s Divine Providence.

MP3: Deer Tick – “Miss K”

Drowned In Sound talks to James Mercer of The Shins and gets to know those who are now his bandmates. The Shins are at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 4.

Blurt interviews Andrew Bird.

Pitchfork is streaming a new tune from Sharon Van Etten, the b-side to her “Leonard” single. The Georgia Straight and San Francisco Bay Guardian also have conversations with her.

Stream: Sharon Van Etten – “Life Of His Own”

Daytrotter has posted a session with Wye Oak.

Blurt profiles Of Montreal.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

SXSW 2012 Day Two

Savoir Adore, Alabama Shakes, Big Deal and more at SXSW

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangKnow what makes it a bit difficult to concentrate on covering stuff in the afternoon? Finding out in the morning that you’ve won a ticket to see Bruce Springsteen in an intimate theatre show that night. Not bragging – okay, a little – just adding some context. And bragging. Yeah.

Anyways, after doing my victory dance (don’t pretend you don’t have a victory dance) I did get out into the world to check out a day show at Jackalope run by fellow blogger Rawkblog that featured one of the bands I was set on catching this week, trans-Atlantic duo Big Deal, whose debut Lights Out I enjoyed back in January. And as much as their combo of loud and soft was a nice way to start the day, they were a bit of a case study in what works well on record doesn’t necessarily work live. As on record, Kacey Underwood and Alice Costelloe strummed their guitars and sang their songs but what came across as intimate in the headphones was just underwhelming on stage, not helped by the duo’s general lack of charisma. Underwood tried to engage the audience by making some drummer jokes – the meta-joke perhaps being that they didn’t have a drummer – but considering how much their cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen” sped up and slowed down, maybe they should have considered getting one.

You’ll have to fast-forward a couple hours for the day’s next act as I spent some time catching up with friends and just hanging out, but things pick up at Stubb’s for Alabama Shakes. They were one of the festival’s busiest and buzziest bands and based on the half of their set I caught, all the attention was deserved and they were seizing the moment with two hands. Brittany Howard was a dynamic frontwoman and with her cohorts, turned out big, brassy southern-fried rock richly informed by gospel, soul and attitude. Their debut Boys & Girls is out April 10 and they’re at Lee’s Palace on April 17.

Since missing their NXNE show in June of 2010, I’ve been patiently waiting for New York’s Savior Adore to come back to town; that hasn’t happened so seeing them in Texas was the next best thing. Showing up a little late to their set at Red Eyed Fly, the band – ostensibly the duo of Deirdre Muro and Paul Hammer but operating as a five-piece – were already in top gear and quite surprised me with how big and polished their performance was. I expected something a little more studio-y based on the sheen of their debut In The Wooded Forest, but they were like a full-on power pop band up there, complete with dance moves echoed by the audience. Good times all around, and I can’t wait for a second album, local show or ideally both.

I can’t exactly say why I decided to see London’s Charli XCX – probably a combination of her only other show being at the sure-to-be-jammed Pitchfork showcase, her having just signed to Los Angeles label IAMSOUND, who’d incubated the likes of Florence & The Machine and Little Boots, or simply the fact that I was already there. Probably mostly that last one but definitely some of the first two as well. Having not had much time to do my homework on her, I didn’t really know what to expect and after her short set was done, I wasn’t really sure what I just saw. Her gothy/glammy electro pop didn’t necessarily have enough charisma, voice, songs or creativity alone to propel her to stardom but a savvy combination of all of the above could well do it… and then I could say I saw her when. Until then, though, it was just something random to keep me busy until my date with Bruce later that night.

So hey that new Shins record Port Of Morrow is out today and it’s up to stream at Spinner. To mark the occasion, James Mercer has been chatting with a media outlet or two as evidenced by features at The New York Times, NPR (who also have a World Cafe session), Clash, The Sydney Morning Herald, The National Post, and Spinner. The Shins are at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 4.

Stream: The Shins / Port Of Morrow

The new Margot & The Nuclear So & So’s album Rot Gut, Domestic is out today and available to stream at Spinner, who’ve also premiered the new video from said record. They’re at The Garrison on April 5.

MP3: Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s – “Shannon”
Video: Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s – “Shannon”
Stream: Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s / Rot Gut, Domestic

The second part of the video feature at Dirty Laundry with Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers is now up. And over at Austinist, Crooked Fingers drummer Jeremy Wheatley gets a chance to speak his mind.

Interview, The Portland Press Herald, am New York, and The Detroit Free Press spend some time with The Head & The Heart.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Andrew Bird as well as a stream of his set at Stubb’s at SXSW last week.

Spinner welcomes Sharon Van Etten for an Interface session and NPR is also streaming her SXSW show at Stubb’s last week.

Tiny Mix Tapes chats with Doug Martsch of Built To Spill. I walked right past Doug Martsch on Red River St last week. True story.

Titus Andronicus have assembled a mixtape consisting of live material, covers, demos and a new song from a forthcoming 7″ in “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape with the Flood of Detritus”. And you can download it for free, because they’re just that generous.

Louisville’s Young Widows will be at Sneaky Dee’s on April 19 in support of last year’s In And Out Of Youth And Lightness.

MP3: Young Widows – “Future Heart”
MP3: Young Widows – “Old Skin”

Gogol Bordello return for a date at The Sound Academy on May 27, part of a North American tour. Tickets are $28.50 in advance.

Video: Gogol Bordello – “Trans-Continental Shuffle”

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Four Hours (Away)

Young Prisms at Sonic Boom in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangA little time off can be nice, but as much as I was enjoying the very unusual but welcome two-week break from show leading up to SXSW this week, it was also making me a bit antsy. Thank goodness for the Young Prisms in-store at the new Kensington Market location of Sonic Boom, in advance of their show that evening at The Drake. It would give me a quick, convenient way of scratching the live music itch and also let me pick up some LP sleeves. Everybody wins.

I saw the San Francisco outfit last February opening up for The Radio Dept., and while their dream-pop tended more to the murkier side than I’d like, they were a charming crew and so young that they could have grown plenty in the elapsed time. After all, In Between – the follow-up to their 2011 debut Friends For Now – was already done and coming out in a few weeks; it seemed highly unlikely that they would still be the same band as they were a year ago.

Turns out that was true in the literal sense – they were now a five-piece with the addition of guitarist/vocalist Ashley Thomas to the mix, and while her presence didn’t totally invert their sound, it made a difference. They still sounded very much like My Blood Valentine mixed with morphine – the opiate, not the band – being loud and fuzzy yet not especially aggressive, but the tunefulness that they previously seemed to prefer buried was now being allowed to surface. The second guitar was able to pick out melodies overtop of the churning bed of glider guitar and pounding rhythm section and when Thomas and lead vocalist Steph Hodapp harmonized as they did on new song, “Four Hours (Away)”, well it was clear that Young Prisms had a potent new instrument at their disposal.

Based on a few songs, it’s hard to say too definitively how far Young Prisms have come – the new record isn’t out until March 27 – but it sounds as though they’re mixing some Slowdive romanticism into their MBV sonic stew, and that can only be a good thing. And if these reference points have no meaning or interest to you, then you’d best just move along.

NYCTaper is sharing a recording of the band’s show in New York last week.

Photos: Young Prisms @ Sonic Boom (Kensington) – March 10, 2012
MP3: Young Prisms – “Floating In Blue”
MP3: Young Prisms – “Sugar”
MP3: Young Prisms – “Weekends And Treehouses”
Video: Young Prisms – “Floating In Blue”
Video: Young Prisms – “These Daze”
Video: Young Prisms – “Breathless”
Video: Young Prisms – “Sugar”

Rot Gut, Domestic – the new album from Margot & The Nuclear So & So’s – is out March 20 and a new MP3 is available to download. They play The Garrison on April 5.

MP3: Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s – “Shannon”

NPR is streaming a complete Shins concert in New York last week while JAM and The Line Of Best Fit share interviews with James Mercer; their new record Port Of Morrow is out March 20 and they’re at The Molson Amphitheatre August 4.

eMusic talks to Bowerbirds. They play The Garrison on March 27.

Le Blogotheque has posted a Take-Away Show with Perfume Genius; he plays The Drake Underground on April 8.

Billboard and Rolling Stone talk to M. Ward about his new record A Wasteland Companion, due out April 10.

J Tillman has released a new video from Fear Fun, his debut under the Father John Misty marque. It’s out May 1 and he is at The Horseshoe on May 14.

Video: Father John Misty – “Nancy From Now On”

Ramona Falls, aka the side-project of Menomena’s Brent Knopf, will release their second album Prophet on May 1 and follow it with a show at The Drake Underground on June 8.

MP3: Ramona Falls – “Spore”

Hey, remember Garbage? They certainly hope so. They’ve got a new album called Not Your Kind Of People coming out May 15 and will be embarking on a short tour that ends at The Phoenix in Toronto on May 28.

Video: Garbage – “Vow”

Class Clown Spots A UFO – the second album of the reunited Guided By Voices era is coming in June and the first sample is available to stream. It’s gorgeous. Details on the release and Bob Pollards new solo record – of course there’s another new Bob record – are available at Pitchfork.

Stream: Guided By Voices – “Keep It In Motion”

Pitchfork reports that Bob Mould has signed to Merge records for his next solo record, due out this Fall.

Greg Dulli talks to Rolling Stone about rediscovering The Afghan Whigs – just in time for their reunion this year.

Interview has an interview and NPR a World Cafe session with Sharon Van Etten.

Billboard and Spinner talk to Jay Farrar about the New Multitudes Woody Guthrie project; the project also stopped in at Daytrotter for a session.

Patterson Hood reflects on the making of Drive-By Truckers’ 2001 masterpiece Southern Rock Opera to Boulder Weekly.

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

I'll Never Live Up To You

John Vanderslice gives away EP, consolidates status as swell guy

Photo By Elizabeth WeibergElizabeth WeibergA note: I’m presently barely conscious after staying up way too late the other night doing the Polaris post-game, so I’m just going to start tossing up stuff that’s been collecting in the hopper over the last few days until I pass out.

And we’ll kick off with a new batch of fully realized, produced and presented songs from the inimitable John Vanderslice, collected under the title of Green Grow The Rushes. It’s being given away for exactly zero dollars in both high-quality MP3 and uncompressed WAV format over at his website. Why? Because he’s got these songs he wants you to hear and because he’s great. But if you want to thank the ‘Slice in some monetary way, perhaps pick up a copy of his last full-length Romanian Names? It’s not quite as free but still a great record.

MP3: John Vanderslice – “Thule Fog”
MP3: John Vanderslice – “I’ll Never Live Up To You”
ZIP: John Vanderslice / Green Grow The Rushes

Exclaim has some details on the new Iron & Wine album, entitled Kiss Each Other Clean and due out in early 2011.

Michael Benjamin Lerner of Telekinesis chats with The Washington Post.

The Thermals have released a new single from Personal Life which, in the parlance of our time, means that there’s a new MP3 to download.

MP3: The Thermals – “Never Listen To Me”

The Line Of Best Fit and Spinner talk to Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of The Posies. Their new record Blood/Candy is out September 28.

The Boston Herald talks to drummer Bob Nastanovich of Pavement. NYC Taper has also got a recording of their Williamsburg show to share.

Clash interviews Local Natives, in town at the Mod Club on October 19.

Spin declares Lissie to be “breaking out”. She’s at the El Mocambo on October 19.

Spin gets to the root of Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s name, while Filter has a track from their new record Buzzard available to download.

MP3: Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s – “Lunatic, Lunatic, Lunatic”

Spinner serves up an Interface session with Drive-By Truckers.

R.E.M. has completed work on album number 15 and are targeting a Spring 2011 release for it.

Drowned In Sound talks to Will Sheff of Okkervil River about working with Roky Erikson on this year’s True Love Casts Out All Evil.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Spoon’s show in the teeny tiny Cake Shop last week.

The new Deerhunter record Halcyon Digest is streaming at NPR in advance of its release next week. They’re at Lee’s Palace the Opera House on October 19.

Stream: Deerhunter / Halcyon Digest

The AV Club, American Songwriter, The Boston Herald, Pinnastorm, The Awl and NPR have interviews with Superchunk. NPR is also streaming their show in Washington DC last week and NYC Taper offering downloads of the Brooklyn show, giving you a taste of what to expect when they return to Toronto to play the Sound Academy on December 9 opening up for Broken Social Scene; you’ll just have to imagine the pogoing.

The Sydney Morning Herald talks to Interpol.

PitchforkTV has posted a POV session with The Hold Steady.

Clash declares Holly Miranda “One To Watch”.

New York Magazine talks to Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner.

Spin gets a live preview of Nicole Atkins’ new record Mondo Amore, due out on January 25 of next year, and you can download a new track from the record over at Nicole’s website.

Daytrotter has posted a session with Ra Ra Riot, who have made good on their promise to come back to town in December – they’ll be at the Mod Club on the first of that month, tickets $16.

MP3: Ra Ra Riot – “Boy”

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)

The Morning Benders want ice cream, may as well move to Toronto

Photo By Pieter van HattemPieter van HattemSo all manner of things have been piling up over the past week while I’ve been reminiscing about warm Summer sojourns to Chicago. Let’s get to them.

San Francisco’s Morning Benders are no strangers to Toronto this year, having already come through town twice – once in April for their own show just after their latest album Big Echo was released, and again in June opening up for Broken Bells. They’re back in a couple weeks supporting both Black Keys dates at the Kool Haus on August 3 and 4, but in addition to those performances, they’ve announced they’ll be playing a free acoustic show at the corner of College and Manning in Little Italy on August 4 at 5:30PM in what probably would have been a Soundscapes in-store had the weather not been so nice (or so everyone is hoping). There are rumours that there will be free BBQ and ice cream, but even without refreshments it’ll be a fine, free afternoon of pop music.

MP3: The Morning Benders – “Promises”
Video: The Morning Benders – “Promises”

At long last, after watching her Lilith Fair, Of Montreal and own dates skip us over, Toronto has a date with soul/r&b superstar-in-waiting Janelle Monáe – she is joining The Sadies in supporting Arcade Fire on the Toronto Islands on August 14. Why yes, that is a wacky-ass bill, how good of you to notice. But also an excellent one. Watch this video and tell me that Arcade Fire doesn’t run a real risk of being upstaged by her.

Video: Janelle Monáe – “Tightrope”

Unpronouncable Californian dance-punk outfit !!! (chk chk chk to their friends) have slated a North America tour in support of their forthcoming album Strange Weather Isn’t It?, due out on August 24. Grab an MP3 from their website and look for them at Lee’s Palace on September 26, tickets $16.50 in advance.

MP3: !!! – “Must Be The Moon”
Video: !!! – “AM/FM”

The Dears look to be about done with the follow up to 2008’s Missiles as they’ve scheduled a three-night stand at the Garrison from October 13 to 15 where they’ll surely be previewing new material; tickets on sale Friday (via Singing Lamb). Update: Their label reports that they’ll play the entire new album at the shows and the record isn’t due out till early 2011.

MP3: The Dears – “Disclaimer”

Only in town last month, Swedish sister act First Aid Kit are coming back to North America and will be at the El Mocambo in Toronto on October 15.

MP3: First Aid Kit – “I Met Up With The King”

Blonde Redhead have plotted a North American tour in support of their forthcoming album Penny Sparkle, due September 14. They’ll be at the Phoenix on October 17 with Pantha Du Prince as support; tickets $24.

MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Here Sometimes”
MP3: Pantha Du Prince – “The Splendour”

Helmet are still around and will be at Lee’s Palace on October 17 in support of a new album, Seeing Eye Dog, out September 7.

Video: Helmet – “Unsung”

There are apparently still enough people who want to see The Dandy Warhols live that they can not only book The Phoenix for them, but charge $30 a head. They’re there November 1.

Video: The Dandy Warhols – “Bohemian Like You”

Delorean are back on November 18 for a date at the Mod Club with Lemonade as support.

MP3: Delorean – “Real Love”
Video: Lemonade – “Big Weekend”

Blitzen Trapper tell Spinner that even though Destroyer Of The Void only came out last month, they’re already writing its follow-up. Look for them at the Opera House on August 3.

If it ever looks like Ben Curtis of School Of Seven Bells is sleepwalking through a show, it’s because he may very well be. Hopefully their new live drummer will keep him on his toes when they play the Mod Club on September 15. He also chats with New York Magazine.

Chart has a chat with Beach House; they’re at the Molson Amphitheatre on September 27.

Spinner serves up an Interface session with Stars. They play Massey Hall on October 23.

NPR has a World Cafe session with The National.

Jeff Tweedy talks to Billboard about Wilco’s future as an independent band.

Their own major label experiment come to an ignoble end, Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s will release Buzzard on September 21 on their own.

Paste catches up with John Roderick of The Long Winters, who are so overdue for a new album it’s not funny.

Interview talks to She & Him’s Matt Ward and Zooey Deschanel.

Spinner interviews Holly Miranda.

Rest in peace, Andy Hummel of Big Star.

The final volume of Scott Pilgrim came out this week – The Toronto Star and National Post look at the comic book phenomenon and the film that will be released on August 13, while Exclaim looks at the movie’s soundtrack.