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Posts Tagged ‘Massive Attack’

Friday, May 7th, 2010

The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade

The Joy Formidable and The Dig at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo yeah, I see a lot of bands live. And as a result, the list of bands that I want to see and haven’t – at least amongst those artists currently on active duty – has gotten pretty small, made up mainly of smaller acts for whom North American touring is an economical improbability. I’d placed Welsh trio The Joy Formidable in this category since discovering them last February, and so was more than a little frustrated that the place I thought I might have a chance to see them – SxSW – just wouldn’t happen. They canceled their 2009 appearance and opted for a UK tour instead this year and while they’d made a few surgical strikes to New York, there never seemed to be a greater design for conquering America… until there was.

A modest plan, perhaps, but the North American release of their most excellent debut A Balloon Called Moaning – which was one of my favourites of last year and would have been noted as such in year-end lists had I not been so pedantic about albums versus EPs – in advance of the release of their first full-length later this year was certainly a good start. The short tour that brought them to the Horseshoe in Toronto on Tuesday for a free Nu Music Nite engagement was a fantastic next step.

Their tourmates for their first expedition through the wilds of the northeast of the continent were Brooklyn’s The Dig, who were themselves readying their debut in Electric Toys, slated for a June 8 release. My advance copy of the record hadn’t made a huge impression, coming across mainly as decent if not especially distinctive college rock, but live the differences between their strengths and weaknesses were clearer. At their best, they combined the pop sense and garage-y attitude of The Strokes with a musical approach built on insistent bass riffs and dreamy, atmospheric touches. At their worst, they turned in unremarkable and plodding rote bar/blues-rock. Sadly, these seemed to be the songs that were best-received. Here’s hoping that in the long run, The Dig don’t give the people what they want and instead, make interesting music.

Though I hadn’t noticed much chatter about this show going into the evening and most of the city’s Brit-rock fans were at the Opera House selling out the Frightened Rabbit show, there was a good-sized crowd in place to welcome The Joy Formidable to Toronto. And it’s a good thing, because their brand of big guitar rock really demands an audience for full effect. To my ears, A Balloon Called Moaning is a pretty much perfect blend of sugary pop hook, spiky attitude and aesthetics that are little too effervescent to count as shoegazey (though that influence is quite evident) and live, The Joy Formidable were somehow able to make it all sound even better. There were initially some technical problems – a broken strap here, a split drum skin there – but the band made up for those early lulls with extra intensity when they were able to get everything working and when there were no more equipment glitches, that energy just snowballed. Ritzy Bryan was a tiny but magnetic frontwoman, handling both vocal and Stratocaster sonic attack duties with aplomb, and while it was hard to take your eyes off her, much credit must also go to her bandmates Rhydian Dafydd on bass and backing vocals and Matt Thomas on drums for both laying the foundation for their monolithic wall of sound and lifting her up on top of it. Though their set was just 45 minutes or so, that was more than enough time to run through the Balloon material along with some new material, cement existing fans and completely win over new ones. So completely worth the wait and, with promises to return within months – presumably when the new album arrives later this Summer – the next wait won’t be quite so long.

Photos: The Joy Formidable, The Dig @ The Horseshoe – May 4, 2010
MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Whirring”
MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”
MP3: The Joy Formidable – “Greyhounds In The Slips”
MP3: The Dig – “You’re Already Gone”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Popinjay”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Whirring”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Austere”
Video: The Joy Formidable – “Cradle”
MySpace: The Joy Formidable

Clash talks to Editors guitarist Chris Urbanowicz about some of the most important events in his life.

The Riverfront Times and Chicago Tribune interview Frightened Rabbit.

Jez Williams of Doves looks back on the band’s career for Under The Radar.

eye interviews Massive Attack’s 3D in advance of their two shows at the Sound Academy, tonight and Sunday.

Kele has released a video for that first single from The Boxer, due out June 21. He plays the Mod Club on July 29.

Video: Kele – “Tenderoni”

Jon Wurster gives Stereogum an update on the new Superchunk record, which has been given the title of Majesty Shredding and will be out this Fall.

BBC6 talks to The National’s Matt Berninger about High Violet, out Tuesday, while Vanity Fair has a rather pointless piece wondering if The National are America’s Radiohead… yeah. Nice photos, though. The National are at Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.

Drowned In Sound meets Band Of Horses, whose Infinite Arms arrive May 18 and who play the Toronto Islands on June 19.

Spinner welcomes The Hold Steady to their studios for an Interface session, while Paste and The Herald have interviews. They play the Kool Haus on July 18.

Daytrotter is offering a session with Lambchop.

Grab “Babelonia”, the first MP3 from the new School Of Seven Bells record Disconnect From Desire, by signing up for their mailing list. The record is out July 13.

Karen Elson – who may well be known as a singer-songwriter first and foremost but for now will have to settle for being a top model and Mrs Jack White – has a date at the El Mocambo on June 16 as part of a tour in support of her solo debut The Ghost Who Walks, out May 25 in the UK and later this year in North America. Tickets for the show are $15 in advance. Black Book has an interview.

Video: Karen Elson – “The Ghost Who Walks”

The Fiery Furnaces, who seem to have played every room – big and small – in the city, will be doing the small when they return on June 21 for a show at the Drake Underground. Their last release was 2009’s I’m Going Away.

MP3: The Fiery Furnaces – “The End Is Near”

Maps & Atlases – just here on Tuesday opening for Frightened Rabbit – return for a show at the Horseshoe on August 7 in support of their new record Perch Patchwork, out June 29.

MP3: Maps & Atlases – “Solid Ground”

Spin talks to Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons about their just-announced new record Swanlights, which will be out October 5.

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

One Life Stand

Hot Chip and The xx at the Kool Haus in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt doesn’t seem so long ago – say, last August – that everyone wanted to know when those responsible for the mope-out/make-out soundtrack of 2009 – The xx – were going to make it to Toronto. They made that long-awaited debut in December in support of Friendly Fires but before that show had even passed, they’d booked a return engagement for this past Tuesday at the Kool Haus supporting Hot Chip and then not long after that announcement, a third local show was slated for earlier this month with jj; talk about feast or famine. Of the two April performances, I opted to hit up the later one – yes, it meant passing up their first headlining slot, but I was much keener to see Hot Chip than jj, particularly after hearing how lacklustre their live sets were at SxSW.

There were definitely parallels between this show and the one in December; both found The xx’s significant buzz drowned out by that of the more established headliners and thus, still with significant swathes of the audience to win over. Working against them was the fact that the Hot Chip fans were clearly here for a party and The xx’s mood music had some trouble getting their attention, at least those standing in my vicinity. And it’s too bad that they found talking about their rec softball leagues more stimulating than what was coming off the stage, because in a short amount of time, The xx have become a much more compelling live act.

They brought none of the fancy stage dressings I’d heard about from their headlining show – even the glowing “X” DJ booth had apparently been traded in for a non-luminous model – but the polish and confidence of their relentless touring schedule was clear. In the past, I’ve defended the band against complaints that their live show was boring by asking what those naysayers would have them do – their stage presence might be low-key but it suits the atmosphere of their music perfectly – but even I was pleased to see that they had become just a little bit more visually compelling. Mostly that was bassist Oliver Sims, who seemed to now be letting the music do with him what it would, and that was making him swing pendulously around the stage while laying down the low end. It was a little thing, but quite noticeable. Musically, they also mixed things up a bit, with new and unexpected breakdowns in “Crystal” and “Basic Space”; for any other band, you’d say they were jamming things out a bit, but The xx are pretty much the antithesis of a jamming band – their aesthetic requires everything be meticulously considered and arranged, so while I’d have been perfectly happy hearing XX reproduced, their adding in something new was pleasantly surprising. And now I’d like them to stop touring – finally – and go write a new record.

Leading up to this show, I’d heard more than a few people comment on how Hot Chip were a great live band, a sentiment I found this somewhat odd considering that I’d seen them at Lollapalooza 2006 and, while I apparently enjoyed their set, the impression I’ve carried with me from that set was that they were kind of… dry in a live setting. Well, apparently it’s not fair to judge a band based on a mid-day, festival side-stage set because here, in front of a sold-out, ready to go audience of their own fans, they were fantastic. Now, I’ve only been peripherally acquainted with Hot Chip’s works until their latest, the comparatively sedate One Life Stand, but I’d always thought of them as a cerebral electro-pop band that you could also dance to if so inclined, but as it turns out they’re also a dancey electro-pop band that you can sit and wrap your head around, and on this night, it was the dancing that ruled.

Even though Toronto has a reputation as a town that likes to stand around at shows – arm-crossing optional – I’ve seen folks dance before. Never, however, quite like at this show. Most of the masses engaged in the bouncing and arm-waving that tends to be all once can get away with in big crowds, but out on the periphery there were people taking advantage of the open space to dance and dance elaborately, and not to be seen but just to let the music move them. And the dance party wasn’t just happening in the audience; on stage and despite being largely tethered to their keyboards and percussion setups, the London six-piece was in a celebratory mood and themselves dancing up a storm, helped along by the fact it was lead singer Alexis Taylor’s 30th birthday. Over the 80-minute set, they served up much of One Life Stand and most of the hits of their earlier records – thus making it a set for which I was actually able to recognize the bulk of the material – and did so with tremendous energy and big smiles, to boot. Hot Chip? Great live band.

Exclaim and Panic Manual also have reviews of the show. The xx have just released a new video for “Islands” and NPR will be webcasting both Hot Chip and The xx’s sets from Washington D.C. on April 24.

Photos: Hot Chip, The xx @ The Kool Haus – April 20, 2010
MP3: The xx – “Basic Space”
Video: Hot Chip – “I Feel Better”
Video: Hot Chip – “One Life Stand”
Video: Hot Chip – “One Pure Thought”
Video: Hot Chip – “Ready For The Floor”
Video: Hot Chip – “The Warning”
Video: Hot Chip – “Over And Over”
Video: Hot Chip – “Colours”
Video: Hot Chip – “And I Was A Boy From School”
Video: Hot Chip – “Playboy”
Video: The xx – “Islands”
Video: The xx – “Basic Space”
Video: The xx – “Crystalised”
MySpace: Hot Chip
MySpace: The xx

PopMatters talks to Daddy G of Massive Attack, who have two nights at the Sound Academy on May 7 and 9.

Editors have released two new videos – one from In This Light & On This Evening and one for the track they released on a 7″ for Record Store Day last week.

Video: Editors – “Eat Raw Meat = Blood Drool”
Video: Editors – “Last Day”

BBC talks to The Futureheads about their new record The Chaos, due out June 1 and to be followed by a June 10 date at the Mod Club.

Paste declares We Were Promised Jetpacks amongst the “best of what’s next”.

The Dallas Observer talks to Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit, whom after almost a week of volcano-induced delays are now on a plane and en route to salvage their North American tour, meaning their May 4 show at the Opera House is a go.

Barring any more Icelandic ash spewing, Kate Nash will also make it over here in time to begin her North American tour in support of My Best Friend Is You at the Mod Club next Monday night. BBC, Seattle Post-Intelligencier and Spinner all talk to Nash about her sophomore effort.

The Daily Growl solicits a list of seven significant songs from Lucky Soul.

Gwenno Saunders of The Pipettes talks to Spinner about the band’s lineup changes; their new record Earth Vs. the Pipettes, due out June 28.

Oh, and I’ve started one of those Formspring things. Ask me questions! Or, y’know, don’t. S’cool.

Friday, February 26th, 2010

And This Is What We Call Progress

Toronto in-store announcements galore, including The Besnard Lakes, The Balconies and Tinariwen

Photo By Chris GergleyChris GergleyOne of my very favourite developments in the Toronto music scene over the past few years has been the rise of the in-store performance – whereas not so long ago there were maybe just a handful a year, they’re now occurring all the time at most of the independent record stores in the city and featuring bigger and bigger acts. Not only is it giving fans the opportunity to see artists in an intimate setting, it’s also often the only chance for underagers to see them live. And while I’ve often bemoaned the lack of a day show culture during either of the two major music festivals during the year, in-stores have done a good job of adding that extra layer of excitement to the official proceedings, with most stores hosting at least a few events during the weeks of festivities.

And Criminal Records is doing a good job of keeping that trend going through this year’s Canadian Musicfest. In addition to the triple-bill of Aidan Knight, Dan Mangan and Hollerado on Saturday March 13, announced last week, they’ve landed The Besnard Lakes to perform on March 10 at 6:30PM, their first show post-release of their new record The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night the day before. Their official festival showcase goes the following night, March 11, at the Horseshoe at midnight. Jace Lasek of the band talks to The Fly, Chart and Exclaim about the new record, which is epic. But with the Besnards, epic kind of goes without saying.

MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “Albatross”

Further, their Friday night lineup will kick off at 5PM and feature locals faves The Balconies and Calgary’s Ghostkeeper. The Balconies’ official Canadian Musicfest show is at 9:20PM the Horseshoe on Saturday night while Ghostkeeper can be found on the 11th at Bread & Circus at 11PM and the 12th at The Garrison at 8PM.

MP3: The Balconies – “Serious Bedtime”
MP3: Ghostkeeper – “By Morning”

And a reminder that Kurt Vile is playing at Criminal tonight at 6:30PM. eye, hour.ca and NOW have interviews.

Not presently hosting anything during CMF but also not being left out is Sonic Boom, who’ve got some different but exciting fare lineup next week. On March 3, time TBA, they’ll have Malian legends Tinariwen in the house and the next evening at 6:30PM, Tuvan throat singers Huun Huur Tu will perform. Admission is free with the donation of a canned good. Tinariwen will be at the Phoenix on March 4 and Huun Huur Tu will be at the Mod Club on March 5. The Province has a feature piece on Tinariwen.

Video: Tinariwen – “Lulla”

Soundscapes’ upcoming in-store schedule has only one entry, but it’s a good one – Zeus on March 6 at 6PM. They’re the co-cover boys of this month’s Exclaim, alongside sometime bandleader and tourmate Jason Collett, while Metro has a piece on Zeus alone. Both are at Lee’s Palace on March 10.

Filter has some initial impressions of Born Ruffians’ new album Say It, due June 1 on Paper Bag in Canada and Warp elsewhere – check out the first MP3 below. They’ve got a show at the Phoenix on March 14.

MP3: Born Ruffians – “Sole Brother”

CBC, Vue, FFWD and The Gateway profile Basia Bulat.

PopMatters has not one but two interviews with The Hidden Cameras.

Singing Lamb chats with Gentleman Reg.

The Music Slut asks 8 questions of Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham. They play the Opera House tonight.

California girl Best Coast, recently named by Paste as one of the “Best Of What’s Next”, is hitting the road and has a date at The Garrison on April 13. We All Want Someone To Shout For has an interview with Beth Cosentino.

Los Angeles post-rockers Red Sparrowes are at The Garrison on April 17 presenting their new album The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer, which is out April 6.

MP3: Red Sparrowes – “Giving Birth To Imagined Saviors”

Dead Meadow have a date at Lee’s Palace on April 22. Their new record/soundtrack/film Three Kings is out March 23.

MP3: Dead Meadow – “I’m Gone”
MP3: Dead Meadow – “What Needs Must Be”

With the Sex Pistols reunion perhaps providing diminishing returns, John Lydon has kicked Public Image LTD back into gear. A North American tour has been announced and brings them to the Kool Haus in Toronto on May 7.

Video: Public Image Ltd – “(This Is Not A) Love Song”

Massive Attack are bringing their latest Heligoland across the pond for a North American tour which will kick off with two nights in Toronto at the Sound Academy, May 7 and 9. On the 8th, they will be going to Dave & Busters to play skee-ball.

Video: Massive Attack – “Paradise Circus”
Video: Massive Attack – “Splitting The Atom”

Thee Silver Mount Zion will take their new record Kollaps Tradixionales out on tour with a stop at Lee’s Palace on May 29, tickets $15.

MP3: Thee Silver Mount Zion – “I Built Myself A Metal Bird” (Live VIdeo Version)

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers will play the Air Canada Centre on August 25 with Crosby Stills & Nash. I’ve never seen Tom Petty live. I should do something about that. Their new album Mojo is due out this Spring.

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Colours

Review of Charlotte Hatherley’s New Worlds

Photo via MyspaceMySpaceI don’t remember if I read somewhere that Charlotte Hatherley has synesthesia (the condition wherein your visual cognition is tied to your aural and, amongst other symptoms, you see colours or shapes when you hear sounds – experienced by the likes of Lightspeed Champion and Ida Maria, amongst others), but even if she doesn’t you could be forgiven if you assumed she did. Her first two solo records, Grey Will Fade and The Deep Blue, obviously referenced colours in their titles and her while her third record New Worlds has no chromatic reference in its name, the music within is fairly obsessed with all the shades of the rainbow.

Almost every song references a colour, either as literal, metaphor or adjective, and that theme acts as a common thread between the ten songs which run a stylistic gamut from spiky rockers (“Colours”) to dreamy ballads (the front half of “Alexander”l) with forays into circus music (the unexpected “Firebird”). Whereas her debut was a pretty straight-ahead, hooktacular bit of power pop, The Deep Blue dialed down much of the instant gratification quotient in favour of songs that favoured a more leisurely and eccentric New Wave-friendly approach. While it was unfailingly melodic, full of tasty guitarwork and with its share of high points, its eclecticism came at the expense of some cohesion. New Worlds hangs together much better, making it a much smoother and enjoyable ride as it twists and turns from hook to hook and successfully balances Grey‘s pop/rock-friendliness with Blue‘s more experimental inclinations. To do either well is difficult enough; to do them both as naturally and effortlessly as Hatherley has proven herself able with record number three is a feat.

New Worlds was supposed to be the first Charlotte Hatherley album to get North American distribution but that’s shaken out to be just digital (eMusic and iTunes in the US, iTune-only in Canada), so those of use still enamored with physical media had to go the import route anyways. Still, rumours persist of some North American (read: US) tour dates in the new year – a Charlotte show is on the list of things I would get on a plane for. Okay, it’s not an especially exclusive list, but still.

MP3: Charlotte Hatherley – “Colours”
MP3: Charlotte Hatherley – “White”
Video: Charlotte Hatherley – “Alexander”
Video: Charlotte Hatherley – “White”
MySpace: Charlotte Hatherley

Spin declares Fanfarlo to be a “hot new band”, and if that’s not enough to convince you to come out and see them at the El Mocambo on December 15, then I don’t know what is.

I asked (rhetorically) what reason Billy Bragg had to be touring Canada this month – well besides serenading the masses, he’s also found the time to address Parliament on the subject of copyright and perform for picketers outside the Canadian Museum of Civilization. He also chatted with The Vancouver Sun.

Same Some has an extensive interview with Patrick Wolf.

Pitchfork talks to the director of the video for Jarvis Cocker’s “Further Complications” about the making of the clip.

Video: Jarvis Cocker – “Further Complications”

The Line Of Best Fit has details on Massive Attack’s next album, entitled Heligoland and due out on February 8.

Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce talks to The Quietus about how working on the 10th anniversary reissue of Ladies & Gentleman We Are Floating In Space influenced the writing of the next Spiritualized record, currently in progress. The reissue is out December 9 in a variety of formats, including this ridiculously cool blister pack edition.

Adam Franklin discusses the feelings around Swervedriver’s first hometown show in over a decade with The Oxford Mail. Oxford being their hometown. If that wasn’t clear.

The Independent profiles Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine.

There’s a trio of Noah & The Whale remixes for “Love Of An Orchestra” available to grab for free – enjoy reinterpretations by Max Tundra, Night Waves and Gold Panda.

Both Drowned In Sound and The Skinny declare that 2010 will be the year of the (Frightened) Rabbit. Their new album The Winter Of Mixed Drinks is out March 1 and Stereogum has radio rips of a couple new songs to download.

JAM talks to Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos.

Camera Obscura’s forthcoming Christmas single is now available to stream over at 4AD. The Jim Reeves cover is out on 7″ and digitally on December 8 and they play the Phoenix this Thursday night – congratulations to Scott and Andrea, who won passes to the show.

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

A Design For Life

Manic Street Preachers at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFashion has never been the Manic Street Preachers’ strong suit, and that’s not just with regards to Nicky Wire’s penchant for heavy eye makeup and dresses. From their early glam-punk days through the bleakness of The Holy Bible and guitarist/songwriter Richey Edwards’ subsequent disappearance through their rise as one of the UK’s biggest arena acts in the mid-’90s, the Manics always seemed set apart from their contemporaries, many or most of whom would dissolve, reform and dissolve again while the Manics steadfastly carried on. Overtly political, unabashedly intellectual, unashamed of grandstanding guitar solos and not at all above slagging off other bands, the Manics would remain a cult band at heart, no matter how big they got.

And nowhere was that truer than in the US, a land that seemed to simultaneously enamor and repel the band. They were infatuated with the American mythology of rock’n’roll, in the life- and world-altering power of music, but their socialist values were fundamentally at odds with the States’ capitalist ideology – America inspired their dreams, drew their scorn and has always permeated their work. So the fact that they hadn’t crossed the Atlantic in over a decade – their last visit to North America was in 2001 when they performed in Cuba in front of an audience that included Fidel Castro – was curious, to say the least. No, they never achieved the sort of commercial success that some of their peers did, but they had a few singles gain traction in the wider consciousness and had the sort of devoted fanbase that some bands who had toured over here could only dream of. But whatever the reason – recent interviews indicated the band couldn’t even fully explain it – the Manics were finally, unexpectedly but fantastically, coming over for a modest tour of a dozen dates around the continent, including this past Sunday night at the Phoenix in Toronto.

The Manics continue to play arenas and massive festivals in the UK, but in North America they were undertaking a club tour, playing rooms many, many times smaller than to which they were accustomed. The Phoenix was full though not sold out, and by most reports boasted the largest crowd of the tour. But even if the audience could be generously counted at a thousand, the energy and anticipation in the crowd felt much greater. Though the tour was ostensibly in support of their ninth and newest album Journal For Plague Lovers, a stunning return to form featuring lyrics left behind by Edwards days before he vanished, all the shows had been much more career retrospectives, a reward to their fans for their patience and a reminder of why they still cared.

And from the moment James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore took the stage to huge roars and returned the favour with the equally huge roar of “Motorcycle Emptiness”, for the next 90 minutes there was no other band in the world. Playing with an energy and vigor that would have been impressive coming from musicians half their age, the Manics tore through a career-spanning set list that offered something from almost everything, but at the same time seemed to not feature enough from anything. Only two songs from The Holy Bible? Just a pair from Everything Must Go? Not one selection from Lifeblood? But going down the “why didn’t they play such and such” can only lead to tears, and this show was the furthest thing from that. It was a steady stream of someone’s favourite song followed by someone else’s favourite song, a celebration of the Manic Street Preachers, of their lost brother Richey Edwards and a life dedicated to making anthemic, intelligent and above all ass-kicking rock music.

Though more accustomed to playing much larger stages, the Manics relished the more intimate environs and being in closer contact to the zealous audience which Bradfield called, ” the loudest on the tour so far”. In return, they paid tribute to their favourite Torontonians with Bradfield playing the intro to “The Spirit Of Radio” before segueing into “Faster” and Wire later quoting lyrics from said same song. If there was a spot where the show waned a bit, it was when Bradfield took a solo acoustic turn on “This Is Yesterday” and “The Everlasting”, a move which I suspect works better in front of much more massive crowds, but that dip was only relative to the unflagging highs of the rest of the set, which would culminate in a glorious “Motown Junk”, never truer “You Love Us” and anthem of anthems show-closer “A Design For Life”. It was a fitting finale to a show that took my sky-high expectations and showed me that they weren’t nearly high enough.

Long. Live. The Manics.

Panic Manual, Fazer and ChartAttack have weighed in with their reviews of the show while The Denver Post, Metro and Boston Herald have interviews with the band.

And sorry about the massive video list… the Manics just upped high-quality versions of all their videos to YouTube and I got a mite carried away going through it all. But good stuff there. Gooooood stuff. And I forgot I had this remix of “Motorcycle Emptiness” lying around – it was a b-side to the “Australia” single circa Everything Must Go and sounds majestic. Strings!

Photos: Manic Street Preachers @ The Phoenix – October 4, 2009
MP3: Manic Street Preachers – “Motorcycle Emptiness” (Stealth Sonic Orchestra remix)
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Jackie Collins Existential Question Time”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Your Love Alone Is Not Enough”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Indian Summer”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Autumnsong”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “The Love Of Richard Nixon”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Empty Souls”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “There By The Grace Of God”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Ocean Spray”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Found That Soul”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “So Why So Sad”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Let Robeson Sing”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “The Masses Against The Classes”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “The Everlasting”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Tsunami”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Ready For Drowning”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “A Design For Life”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Everything Must Go”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Kevin Carter”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “She Is Suffering”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Revol”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Faster”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Roses In The Hospital”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “La Tristesse Durera (A Scream To A Sigh)”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Little Baby Nothing”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Stay Beautiful”
Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Motorcycle Emptiness”
MySpace: Manic Street Preachers

Los Campesinos! have released a video from their as-yet untitled third album, due out in the early part of 2010.

Video: Los Campesinos! – “These Are Listed Buildings”

The National Post talks to Muse frontman Matt Bellamy about their new record The Resistance.

Video: Muse – “Uprising”

Mumford & Sons talk to Clash about their just-released debut Sigh No More.

Leeds’ Grammatics, who caught my attention last year before I was, I dunno, distracted by a shiny object, are building interest for a new single out in November and second album to follow in the year year by releasing an MP3 from their self-titled debut from earlier this year. And it’s worked as far as encouraging me to put the album on my iPhone so I can forget to listen to it while at work, not just at home. The track also features vocals from Laura Groves of Blue Roses, whom I’ve also meant to pay more attention to.

MP3: Grammatics – “Inkjet Lakes”

The Quietus and Spinner have interviews with Echo & The Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch. Their new record The Fountain is out October 12 and they play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 20.

MP3: Echo & The Bunnymen – “I Think I Need It Too”

The Skinny has a feature piece on Franz Ferdinand.

New York Press talks to The Twilight Sad and also to We Were Promised Jetpacks, both of whom are at the El Mocambo this Saturday night.

Their labelmates and countrymen Frightened Rabbit are releasing a new single entitled “Swim Until You Can’t See Land” on November 16 and which will appear on their next record, due out in early 2010. The two sides are currently streaming at their label website.

Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai tells BBC their next album, due next year, will be self-released. Exclaim also reports that they’ve got a live album and film coming out sooner rather than later.

Though it’s been all the rage digitally and was made available for sale in Canada a few weeks ago, The xx’s debut XX is out in the US today and is streaming at Spinner. They’re at the Phoenix on December 2 in support of Friendy Fires.

Stream: The xx / XX

And Baeble Music is streaming video of a full Friendy Fires show in New York City.

Clash and Spinner have interviews with Massive Attack, whose new Splitting The Atom EP is available to stream.

Stream: Massive Attack / Splitting The Atom

And sorry about the heinous outages/slow load times/general crappiness of the site lately. My hosting has been kind of shit lately. Looking into it.