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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Eitzel’

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

All The Time

The Strokes are all, “relax you guys, we still know how to sound like The Strokes”

Photo By Justin JayJustin JayThe Strokes has got themselves a nice little racket going. Most bands who’ve been at it for over a decade would be critically if not commercially pilloried for not changing up their style, but The Strokes get drubbed when they do. Luckily for them, they’re very good at doing what they do and they’re smart enough to know their business model as a band relies on actually doing just that while releasing a new album (or solo record that doesn’t fall too far from the tree) and some fitful, big paycheque touring.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t like to have a little fun with their fans, who are curiously anxious for such a consistent and predictable band. Case in point, the lead-up to their fifth album Comedown Machine. Considering they let five years elapse between their previous two albums, it’s a bit of a surprise that they’d have a follow-up to 2011’s Angles together so quickly. More surprising was their choice for a first preview, though, the synth- and falsetto-powered, to say nothing of a-ha-cribbing, “One Way Trigger”, which impressed some with its un-Strokes-iness but terrified other for the same reason.

The latter camp are probably feeling a lot more settled now, however, with yesterday’s release of a second preview of and first official single from the new record. “All The Time” is almost unremarkable in its boilerplate Strokes qualities, all insouciant vocals, precisely downstroked guitars, and unmistakable air of leather and denim, but while it’s not a song that’ll feature on any career-summing compilations, to those whose faith was shaken it probably sounded like hearing “The Modern Age” for the first time. Cue excitement, declarations that The Strokes are back and better than ever, etc, etc. Somewhere in New York, The Strokes are high-fiving each other or, at least, smirking.

Comedown Machine is set for a March 26 release.

MP3: The Strokes – “One Way Trigger”
Stream: The Strokes – “All The Time”

NOW and The Waterloo Record have interviews with Ken Stringfellow, who has released a new video from Danzig In The Moonlight, with Margaret Cho filling in for The Head & The Heart’s Charity Rose Thielen, who duets on the album. Stringfellow is at The Drake Underground on February 19; it’s unlikely either Cho or Thielen will join him.

Video: Ken Stringfellow – “Doesn’t It Remind You Of Something”

Black Cab Sessions takes Solange and Dev Hynes for a ride in exchange for a song. They drop her off (figuratively) at the Danforth Music Hall on February 22.

Stereogum talks to Alan Sparhawk of Low, whose new album The Invisible Way is out March 19. They play The Great Hall on March 16.

Pitchfork and aux.tv have interviews with Local Natives, who’ve just released a new video from Hummingbird. They play The Phoenix on March 28.

Video: Local Natives – “Heavy Feet”

New Orleans pop duo Generationals have put together an extensive tour behind their new record Haze, in stores April 2. They play The Garrison on May 2.

MP3: Generationals – “Greenleaf”

The Postal Service are streaming one of the unreleased tracks that will make the 10th anniversary edition of Give Up a must-buy for many when it comes out April 9.

Stream: The Postal Service – “A Tattered Piece Of String”

Spin has a chat with Hutch Harris about the first track from the new Thermals record Desperate Ground, out April 16. Watch the lyric video or trade your email for a download.

Lyric Video: The Thermals – “Born To Kill”

The Line Of Best Fit, Salon, and Spin talk to Jim James, who has a new video from Regions Of Light And Sound Of God to share. He’s at The Phoenix on April 24.

Video: Jim James – “A New Life”

New York singer-songwriter Jamie Seerman – aka Jaymay – pretty much fell off my radar completely following the release of her debut album Autumn Fallin’ some five years ago. And a pity, too, as her lyrically dense, emotionally overcast, yet melodically light folk-pop really caught my ear at the time. But to my surprise, she’s not only still active – she’s released a series of EPs since that first full-length – but she’s touring. She’ll be at The Drake Underground on April 28, tickets $10.50. And I just revisited Autumn Fallin’ – holds up quite nicely.

MP3: Jaymay – “Blue Skies”

If you thought rock artists assuming new identities for their synth-pop endeavours was a strictly Toronto phenomenon… you’re wrong. Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak will answer to Dungeonesse when discussing her solo debut of the same name when it comes out May 14. Exclaim has details, and you can stream one new song and watch a video for another.

Stream: Dungeonesse – “Shucks”
Video: Dungeonesse – “Drive You Crazy”

NPR has a video session with Wild Nothing, who’ve put out a new video from Nocturne.

Video: Wild Nothing – “Only Heather”

NOW talked to Yo La Tengo ahead of last weekend’s show at The Phoenix, from which Mechanical Forest Sound is sharing some recordings. NPR also welcomed the band for a World Cafe session and NorthJersey.com had a chat.

Those catching Mark Eitzel on tour in Europe this Winter may notice an album of new material entitled Glory for sale at the merch table. It won’t be made available in stores but remaining copies will be available online starting in April.

The 405 talks to Dinosaur Jr.

Vogue welcomes Widowspeak for a Valentine-themed video session.

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

I Love You But You're Dead

Mark Eitzel at The Rivoli in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s less accurate to say that Mark Eitzel was/is/ever shall be the frontman for American Music Club than it is to simply say Mark Eitzel is American Music Club. Over both of the band’s incarnations – their original run from 1982 to 1994 and the reunion from 2004 to 2009 – Eitzel released solo records whose songbooks intersected liberally with AMC but roamed more musically, most curiously on The Ugly American, which saw him arranging old songs for traditional Greek instruments, and Candy Ass, which took him electronic.

His latest Don’t Be A Stranger isn’t one of those sidebar releases, being both his first record for Merge and first since the book was formally closed on American Music Club for the second and probably final time. It also provided occasion for Eitzel’s first visit to Toronto since leading AMC through an excellent but lightly-attended show in Spring 2008. Despite Stranger being a fully-produced affair, Eitzel was touring light – just himself and a piano player, the same setup I saw him with during SXSW 2011.

Given that he was performing to his own, appreciative fans rather than drive-by hipster festival-goers, Eitzel was in a decidedly better mood than that show. Even though the dour dimension gave that performance a memorable intensity, it was nice to have him be able to show off his more jovial side instead with his humour thankfully stayed on the right side of the self-deprecating/self-loathing line. The set list was impressively career-spanning, offering four selections from the new record amongst old AMC favourites like show opener, “What Holds The World Together” off of San Francisco, and “Apology For An Accident” and “Hollywood 4-5-92” from personal favourite Mercury, all dramatically rearranged for the cabaret show configuration but still just as powerful as in their rock band format, thanks in no small part to Eitzel’s massive and emotive vocals – the mic often seemed more stage prop than necessary sound reinforcement. He may have only gotten through a baker’s dozen worth of songs in the hour-fifteen show, but most were accompanied by anecdotes that offered illuminating insights into the song. It was amazing how many of Eitzel’s songs are actually literal rather than allegorical; aspiring songwriters could do far worse than to study his works to learn how to transform daily experiences into compelling lyrical works.

Eitzel had to take a mulligan on the encore after a monologue hilariously derailed things, but wrapped up strongly with “We All Have To Find Our Own Way Out” off of Stranger, and closing with “Chanel No. 5”, a song that’s so much an essential part of the AMC canon that I’m astonished it was only released as a b-side. Mark Eitzel doesn’t come through town very often – he’d do well to take the advice of this album’s title – but when he does, it’s always special.

Back To The World also has an excellent review of the show. The Plain Dealer and Columbus Alive have interviews with Eitzel.

Photos: Mark Eitzel @ The Rivoli – November 28, 2012
MP3: Mark Eitzel – “I Love You But You’re Dead”
MP3: American Music Club – “Only Love Can Set You Free”
MP3: American Music Club – “All The Lost Souls Welcome You To San Francisco”
Video: American Music Club – “All The Lost Souls Welcome You To San Francisco”
Video: American Music Club – “Rise”
Video: American Music Club – “Wish The World Away”
Video: American Music Club – “Electric Light”

The new Memory Tapes album Grace/Confusion is available to stream in whole right now; it’s out on Tuesday.

MP3: Memory Tapes – “Shelia”
Stream: Memory Tapes / Grace/Confusion

Pitchfork compiles an oral history of Interpol’s Turn On The Bright Lights, the deluxe edition of which is out this Tuesday.

Nuvo has an interview with Jason Lytle, who’s just released a new video from Dept. Of Disappearance. He’s at Massey Hall on December 5 opening up for Band Of Horses.

Video: Jason Lytle – “Somewhere There’s A Someone”

The Fader talks to Christopher Owens about the end of Girls. His solo record Lysandre is out January 15 and he plays The Mod Club on January 18.

Eater talks food with Yo La Tengo. Their new album Fade is out January 15 and they play The Phoenix on February 9.

Spin talks to Ra Ra Riot, whose new album Beta Love is out January 22 and who are at Lee’s Palace on March 6.

Local Natives have released a video from their next album Hummingbird, due out January 29. They play The Opera House on March 28 and talk to NME about what it was like to make the record with Aaron Dessner of The National.

Video: Local Natives – “Breakers”

Ameri-Kiwi psych-rock outfit Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Los Angeles’ Foxygen are teaming up for a North American tour in support of their new albums – UMO’s II is out February 5 and Foxygen’s We Are The 21st Century Ambassarors Of Peace & Magic is out January 22. They’re at Wrongbar on March 4, tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “I’ll Come Back 4 U”
MP3: Foxygen – “Make It Known”

Jukebox The Ghost and Matt Pond are in town for a show at The Horseshoe on March 11. Jukebox released Safe Travels earlier this year and Pond has a new one in The Lives Inside The Lines Of Your Hand due out on February 15.

MP3: Matt Pond PA – “The Hollows”
Video: Jukebox The Ghost – “Don’t Let Me Fall Behind”

Low have announced details about their next album – The Invisible Way was produced by Jeff Tweedy and will be out on March 19. Check out the trailer below and inspect details – and also exchange your email for a live six-song set – over at Pitchfork.

Trailer: Low / The Invisible Way

Spinner talks to Jeff Tweedy of Wilco.

That song The National recorded for Boardwalk Empire last week is now available to download.

MP3: The National – “I’ll See You In My Dreams”

Rolling Stone has premiered another James Franco-directed – and starring – video from R.E.M.’s final album Collapse Into Now, and if you prefer your Stipe & co a little more vintage, Slicing Up Eyeballs has video of a complete R.E.M. live show from Atlanta circa 1981 available to stream.

Video: R.E.M. – “That Someone Is You”

DIY chats with Sharon Van Etten about her exceptionally good year.

Under The Radar has an interview with Oliver Ackerman of A Place To Bury Strangers.

Nashville Scene and The Arizona Daily Wildcat talk to John Darnielle and Peter Hughes of The Mountain Goats, respectively.

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Gentlemen

The Afghan Whigs and Crocodiles at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’m old enough to have lived through The Afghan Whigs in their heyday, but I still missed them completely. Okay, not completely – I had a copy of Gentlemen on cassette because, well, Spin and such told me that I should – but it never really spoke to high school me. In 1993, I was all R.E.M. and Smashing Pumpkins and Radiohead, at the artier end of the guitar rock spectrum, and the Whigs’ inherent seediness, the blackness of their soul, didn’t resonate; it probably scared me.

Fast-forward to late last year when it was announced that the 2012 edition of the ’90s rock reunion renaissance would feature the Afghan Whigs and on a whim, I decided to revisit their back catalog. And apparently my life has gotten much seedier or my soul much blacker in the past 20 years because damned if they haven’t become my most listened-to artist this year; not a fact that will be reflected in the old year-end list, but certainly merits mention. And it also offers some context as to why last Wednesday night’s show at The Phoenix – their only Canadian stop on the reunion tour – was probably my most-anticipated show of the year. The list of bands that I’m super-into and whom I haven’t been able to see live by this point is a pretty short one and for the last while, The Afghan Whigs have been at the very top of it. And while I thought I’d have been far from the only one – the band’s return to active duty had been met with great enthusiasm at almost all their European and American dates so far – but The Phoenix was far from full to welcome the Whigs back to town for the first time this century. Surprising and disappointing, but mostly unfortunate for those who missed it.

San Diego’s Crocodiles were on their own headlining tour in support of their second album Endless Flowers but took the support slot for this show, making for a bill that was impressive on paper but maybe a bit mismatched in practice. Not stylistically, but demographically – the Whigs fans would be out for their band, and an act with their own following, as Crocodiles had, probably would have been better off in front of their own audience. Those out early were largely impassive to their performance, but to be fair it wasn’t their best foot forward. I had been much more impressed seeing them at NXNE 2011 in the close quarters of the Silver Dollar, but here they weren’t as snotty or explosive with their balance of melody and noise far from optimal; they were good and loud but came across more generic than they should have. As with that NXNE show, watching guitarist Charles Rowell work was still the highlight, particularly when he managed to berate an audience member up front mid-song for being on his phone rather than watching the show. Okay, maybe they were still a bit snotty.

The Afghan Whigs setlists for the reunion tour had commendably changed things up from show to show, incorporating requests and just keeping things interesting, but most times the shows had opened with cinematic Black Love leadoff track “Crime Scene, Part One” and why not? It was the perfect way to kick things off, from slow burning introduction to impassioned chorus and so as predictable as it might have been to start this show, it was no less thrilling. Any concerns that Greg Dulli’s voice wouldn’t be what it once was – in recordings of the earliest live performances from the Spring, he came across more ragged and raspy than he probably should have – proved to be unfounded as except for a little bit of ducking on the toughest parts, he sounded every bit of whiskey, cigarette, and sex-shredded fantastic.

Given the rotating drum throne of the ’90s-era Afghan Whigs, the 2012 reunion technically only meant Dulli, guitarist Rick McCollum, and bassist John Curley were there from the original records, but with the rest of the band made up of Dave Rosser (guitar), Rick Nelson (strings/keys), and Cully Symington (drums) – all of whom had played with Dulli in The Twilight Singers – this edition had plenty of legitimacy and more importantly, chemistry. The songs had been masterfully re-arranged for three guitars, sounding massive without any player ever stepping on the others’ parts, as well as tastefully incorporating violin and cello to make the Whigs an intricate and elegant sonic bludgeon.

After the Black Love opener, the set list moved through all points of their discography, giving due to early works Congregation and Up In It – “Turn On The Water” was used to accomodate a shouted request for a cover of, “Helter Skelter” complete with Dulli yelling, “I got blisters on my fingers!” at its close – but the bulk of the show was justly dedicated to the triumvirate of Gentlemen, Black Love, and 1965, kicking it into especially high-gear with a sublime mid-set run of “Gentlemen”, “Crazy”, “My Enemy”, and “Somethin’ Hot”, each sounding as fiercely swaggering as they did a decade and a half ago.

While his bandmates were mostly content to lay back and go about their business – McCollum and Rosser’s guitar kingdom was curiously set about halfway back on the stage – Dulli was engaging and chatty through the show, bantering with the audience and complimenting Toronto on our beautiful women, perhaps intending to add emphasis to this when he got into the crowd to go after them a couple songs later during, “See And Don’t See”, after which he got on the piano for the Frank Ocean cover of “Love Crimes”. This covered their officially-released new recordings since reuniting, but the eagle-eared would have noticed another new song – “Dead Body” – appended onto “We Two Parted”. Their main set ran for an hour twenty, capped by a searing “Fountain and Fairfax”, and while I can understand those calling out for “Miles Iz Dead” in the encore – it would have been great to hear, for sure – their decision to close things bookend-style out with the epic Black Love suite of “Bulletproof”, “Summer’s Kiss”, and “Faded” – complete with “Purple Rain” quote in the outro – was damned near perfect, as was the show.

Exclaim also has a review of the show.

Photos: The Afghan Whigs, Crocodiles @ The Phoenix – October 3, 2012
MP3: The Afghan Whigs – “Lovecrimes”
MP3: The Afghan Whigs – “See And Don’t See”
MP3: Crocodiles – “Sunday (Psychic Conversation #9)”
MP3: Crocodiles – “Sleep Forever”
Video: The Afghan Whigs – “Going To Town”
Video: The Afghan Whigs – “Somethin’ Hot”
Video: The Afghan Whigs – “Honky’s Ladder”
Video: The Afghan Whigs – “Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe”
Video: The Afghan Whigs – “Gentlemen”
Video: The Afghan Whigs – “Debonair”
Video: The Afghan Whigs – “Come See About Me”
Video: The Afghan Whigs – “Conjure Me”
Video: The Afghan Whigs – “Turn On The Water”
Video: The Afghan Whigs – “You My Flower”
Video: The Afghan Whigs – “Miles Iz Dead”
Video: The Afghan Whigs – “Sister, Brother”
Video: Crocodiles – “Endless Flowers”
Video: Crocodiles – “Hearts Of Love”
Video: Crocodiles – “Sleep Forever”

Ohio State University newspaper The Lantern talks to The National about their decision to actively support the Obama campaign, and some of the grief they’re taking for it.

Sadie chats with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

MTV Hive reports that even though they’re pretty busy with the Turn On The Bright Lights tenth anniversary edition and Paul Banks with his new solo record Banks on top of that, Interpol has started work on their fifth studio album. And over at DIY and Clash, Banks talks about Banks.

Filter and The Calgary Herald talk to Dean Wareham about the Galaxie 500 legacy and Andy Warhol, respectively.

Loud & Quiet talk to J. and Lou of Dinosaur Jr.

Stereogum talks to Mark Eitzel, in town at The Rivoli on November 28.

Jason Lytle has handed his new record Dept. Of Disappearance over to NPR to stream a week before its release on October 16 and offers an interview to The Irish Times. He opens up for Band OF Horses at Massey Hall on December 5.

Stream: Jason Lytle / Dept. Of Disappearance

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Titus Andronicus VS. the Absurd Universe (3rd Round KO)

Titus Andronicus say it’s time for Local Business; it’s Local Business time

Photo By Kyle Dean ReinfordKyle Dean ReinfordMuch has changed for New Jersey punks Titus Andronicus since they unleashed the grandiose historical allegory/saga of The Monitor on the world in 2010. On the plus side, the success of that record raised their profile by an exponential degree, expanding their audience well beyond the dudes looking for a soundtrack to their mosh pit demographic. But on the down side, after they wrapped the heavy touring regimen in support of The Monitor, guitarist Amy Klein – who despite not being on the record was a crucial part of their intense live shows – left the band for her own project in Leda. And on top of that, an ill-fated late 2011 rehearsal left them down one mighty beard when frontman Patrick Stickles was electrocuted. He survived; the facial hair did not.

STill, they’ve soldiered on and already made a new record which they’ve dubbed Local Business, and while there’s little chance that it’ll will be quite as epic in scope or ambition as The Monitor – that’s not mathematically possible – it should offer more than the requisite amount of furious melody, righteous riffing, and dense lyricism. And it also gives them an excuse to get back on the road. The record is out October 22 and they’ve already put together a Fall tour and are bringing New York Bay area punks Ceremony with them for the ride. They’re at Lee’s Palace on November 27, tickets $18.50.

MP3: Titus Andronicus – “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape with the Flood of Detritus”
MP3: Ceremony – “Hysteria”
Lyric Video: Titus Andronicus – “In A Big City”

That new Yo La Tengo single “Stupid Things” is now available to download. The new full-length is out next January.

MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Stupid Things”

Perfume Genius has released a new video from Put Your Back N 2 It, just in time for tonight’s show at 918 Bathurst. Pitchfork talks to Mike Hadreas about the video.

Video: Perfume Genius – “Take Me Home”

Paste are streaming a new song from Savoir Adore’s forthcoming Our Nature, out October 16, and God Is In The TV has a video session with the band. They’re in town at Rancho Relaxo on October 13.

Stream: Savoir Adore – “Empire Of Light”

The Atlantic, Interview, Buzzfeed, Stereogum, Pitchfork, and The Thread all have features on The Mountain Goats as they mark the release of their latest album, Transcendental Youth. They play The Phoenix on October 20.

Spinner, The Wall Street Journal, The Irish Independent, HitFix, and Denver Westword talk to Aimee Mann. She’s at The Danforth Music Hall on November 6.

The 405 has got a stream of the first new Saturday Looks Good To Me song in who knows how long, available on 7″ come November 6 and presumably appearing on their new record One Kiss Ends It All, which is slated for a Spring 2013 release.

Stream: Saturday Looks Good To Me – “Sunglasses”

Rumours of a new Sufjan Stevens Christmas set have been kicking around for a little while, and now they’re confirmed. The super-fancy Silver & Gold box set of five EPs – yes, just like the Songs For Christmas set – will be out November 13. Stream one of the selections below.

Stream: Sufjan Stevens – “Christmas Unicorn”

I’m not entirely sure what the deal with Death Grips is, but people seem to care when they spontaneously cancel entire tours or leak their new album without telling their label first. So those same people may be interested to know that they’re hitting the road – unless they cancel again – and will be at Wrongbar on November 18.

MP3: Death Grips – “Deep Web”

Critical Mob and The Awl talk to Mark Eitzel, coming to town for a show at The Rivoli on November 28.

Pitchfork has details on the new record from Memory Tapes, to be entitled Grace/Confusion and due out on December 4. A first MP3 from the album is already available to download.

MP3: Memory Tapes – “Shelia”

Band Of Horses chat with Drowned In Sound and Metro Pulse. They play Massey Hall on December 5.

Paul Westerberg has told Rolling Stone that he and Tommy Stinson – the only Replacements still alive and active in music – have recorded a limited edition covers EP which will be auctioned off later this year to raise funds for former guitarist Slim Dunlap, who suffered a stroke back in February. And yeah, I guess they’re calling it The Replacements – so that’s happened.

Divine Fits have released a first video from their debut, A Thing Called Divine Fits.

Video: Divine Fits – “Would That Not Be Nice”

Vulture delves into the life, times, and finances of Grizzly Bear. The Skinny, Portland Monthly, and Pitchfork also have features.

Spin has posted an extensive feature piece on Dinosaur Jr, including a sidebar about how J Mascis almost joined Nirvana and Built To Spill back in the day.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Beachwood Sparks.

Monday, October 1st, 2012

The New

Interpol mark 10th anniversary of debut album and the fact that you are old

Photo By ExumExumThings that happened in 2002: Spider-Man the movie was released, the Queen Mother died, this blog started, and Interpol released their debut Turn On The Bright Lights, furthering the work started by The Strokes the year before in entrenching New York as the coolest music city going and making the world safe for post-punk bands in sharp suits and asymmetrical haircuts to wear their Chameleons fan club pins without fear of reprisals.

While the follow-up Antics sold and charted better and they continue on a decade later (less one iconic bassist), the band never recaptured the same sense of embodying the zeitgeist the way they did with Bright Lights. And so as the tenth anniversary of that record’s release comes and goes – it technically turned ten on August 19 – Matador has announced plans to reissue the album, remastered and expanded with a bonus disc of demos and b-sides for both CD and LP editions and both coming with a DVD with the album’s videos and period-correct live footage. It will be out November 19.

Guitarist Daniel Kessler left a note about the impending reissue on the band’s Facebook.

MP3: Interpol – “NYC”
Video: Interpol – “NYC”
Video: Interpol – “Obstacle 1”
Video: Interpol – “PDA”

Back in the present, Interpol frontman Paul Banks is returning his attention to his solo project but has shed the silly Julian Plenti monicker that branded his 2009 debut Is… Skyscraper; this time out he will simply be Paul Banks and the album will even more simply be Banks. It’s out October 23, the first tune from it sounds like this, and there’s a short documentary about what it is to be Paul Banks over at Noisey.

MP3: Paul Banks – “The Base”

Pitchfork, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Philly Burbs gets a status report on their new album from Yo La Tengo; the still-untitled long-player will be out in late January 2013. They released their new Stupid Things 12″ last week and made the title track available to stream, but only on the annoyingly geoblocked Spotify – pretty stupid indeed. It took a while but I’ve found a regular stream to share thanks to Yagotamullet’s Song Of The Day.

Stream: Yo La Tengo – “Stupid Things”

The Quietus talks to Mark Eitzel about life post-American Music Club (again) and life in general. His new record Don’t Be A Stranger is out tomorrow and he plays The Rivoli on November 28.