Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘Matt Mays’

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Toronto Urban Roots Fest Day Three

The Hold Steady, Frank Turner, Dawes, and more at TURF 2013

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWait, what happened to Toronto Urban Roots Fest day two? Exhaustion and a backlog of Hannibal happened, but I was mostly recharged and ready to go for the full-day programmes down at Fort York over this past weekend; Saturday, in particular, was not to be missed as it would be the day that the “R” in “TURF” would stop standing for “roots” and most definitely stand for “rock”.

Los Angeles’ Dawes straddled those two solitudes quite nicely, mind, with their sweet Laurel Canyon-inspired harmonies and songwriting and edge-of-jam-band – yet always totally tasteful – guitar solos courtesy of frontman Taylor Goldsmith; it was an ideal balance of crunchy and smooth, if you’re given to peanut butter analogies. But as solid a frontman as Taylor was, the band’s secret weapon was his brother Griffin, who contributed astonishing backing vocals from behind the kit along with some killer drummer face for good measure. They didn’t draw the biggest mid-afternoon crowd – possibly because they had another headlining show slated for Lee’s Palace later that night – but when those who were there were called on to sing along in “When My Time Comes”, they sounded legion. Very impressive.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has an interview with Dawes.

Photos: Dawes @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 6, 2013
MP3: Dawes – “If I Wanted Someone”
Video: Dawes – “From A Window Seat”
Video: Dawes – “When My Time Comes”
Video: Dawes – “Time Spent In Los Angeles”
Video: Dawes – “Love Is All I Am”

You could arguably file Dartmouth’s Matt Mays alongside Dawes in record stores where “roots-rock” is a distinct thing, but he definitely dwells far more toward the rock end of that spectrum – those who found Dawes a bit sedate or polite was probably delighted by the balls-out approach favoured by Mays and his crew. Though undoubtedly still shaken by the sudden passing of guitarist Jay Smith barely a month earlier, from a performance point of view they were firing on all cylinders with a stock of tunes tailor-made for playing loud in the Summer sun. Theirs was a set of dueling guitars and whipping sweaty hair, and I think my favourite part of their set was after a a particularly energetic number, Mays mouthed “how long?” to the stagehand and incredulously repeated, “Twenty-five minutes?!?” – they were not pacing themselves, and the show was all the better for it.

Photos: Matt Mays @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 6, 2013
Video: Matt Mays – “Indio”
Video: Matt Mays – “Take It On Faith”
Video: Matt Mays – “City Of Lakes”
Video: Matt Mays – “Cocaine Cowgirl”
Video: Matt Mays & El Torpedo – “On The Hood”
Video: Matt Mays & El Torpedo – “Tall Trees”

Though as I understand it, he’s a pretty big star in the UK now, I’d somehow managed to never hear Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls before their set, and all I had to go on was that apparently he gets compared to Billy Bragg a lot. Which is cool, because I like Billy Bragg. As it turns out, that’s not the best reference point because Turner really doesn’t sound like Billy Bragg. Handsome and poshly-accented, his songs sound political but are far vaguer than anything Bragg has ever penned, favouring pub-friendly anthemicism to fiery activism and commentary; more Pogues than Clash. But while it’s unlikely to incite a revolution, that everyman approach makes for some rousing music and there’s no debating his ability to stir up a crowd. Energetic and charismatic, he was quick with the banter and expressing his appreciation for the city – he’s no stranger to Toronto stages – and curried some domestic favour with a sharp cover of The Weakerthans’ “A Plea From A Cat Named Virtue”; a canny move, as everyone loves a cat song.

RTE has an interview with Turner.

Photos: Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 6, 2013
MP3: Frank Turner – “The Roads”
Stream: Frank Turner – “Plea From A Cat Named Virtue”
Video: Frank Turner – “The Way I Tend To Be”
Video: Frank Turner – “Recovery”
Video: Frank Turner – “Four Simple Words”
Video: Frank Turner – “Sailor’s Boots”
Video: Frank Turner – “Wessex Boy”
Video: Frank Turner – “If I Ever Stray”
Video: Frank Turner – “Peggy Sang The Blues”
Video: Frank Turner – “I Still Believe”
Video: Frank Turner – “Try This At Home”
Video: Frank Turner – “Isabel”
Video: Frank Turner – “Poetry Of The Deed”
Video: Frank Turner – “The Road”
Video: Frank Turner – “Long Live The Queen”
Video: Frank Turner – “I Knew Prufrock Before He Was Famous”
Video: Frank Turner – “Reasons Not To Be An Idiot”
Video: Frank Turner – “Photosynthesis”
Video: Frank Turner – “The Real Damage”
Video: Frank Turner – “Vital Signs”
Video: Frank Turner – “Casanova Lament”

My relationship with Toronto’s own Lowest of The Low is a long one. Anyone who knew me in my late teens/early twenties – or read this post from 2007 knew that they were easily my favourite band going and hugely important to me, and so when they announced that after their 2000 reunion turned into a going concern, they were again hanging it up for good with a final hometown show that December, it stirred all kinds of memories and nostalgia and whatever, and I bid them farewell. Well, of course they didn’t actually split up, as some 2010 one-off shows turned into tours and more shows and though I probably wouldn’t have gone to them anyways, I felt that I needed to boycott them on principle. Happily, I’ve gotten over myself and allowed that the band is allowed to do whatever the hell they want, and thankfully was able to actually enjoy their TURF set rather than grumble about it.

Interestingly, they were back down to a four-piece – founding bassist David Alexander remained absent, but utility player Lawrence Nichols was no longer in the fold – and while they did roll out some new songs, noting that they were going back into the studio to record a fourth album, it was the old tunes that made the day. I still know all the words to “Eternal Fatalist”, “Bleed A Little While Tonight”, and “Rosy & Grey” and probably will until the day I die – and even though Stephen Stanley’s guitar was nearly inaudible in the mix for the first half of the set, I was able to hum every solo as well. They weren’t that tight up there, certainly not compared to the full-time touring outfits sharing the bill with them, but were good enough for rock’n’roll and Hawkins is still a sharp and funny frontman. Not sure about that hair, though, Ron.

Photos: The Lowest Of The Low @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 6, 2013
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “Gamble”
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “The Dogs Of February”
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “Bleed A Little While Tonight”
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “Subversives”
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “The Unbearable Lightness Of Jean” (live)
Video: The Lowest Of The Low – “Rosy & Grey” (live)
Video: The Lowest Of The Low – “The Last Recidivist”
Video: The Lowest Of The Low – “Eternal Fatalist”

And then The Hold Steady. Because I’d seen them so so so many times in a three-year span, I didn’t realize that it had actually been over four years since I saw Craig Finn and the boys do their thing. The upside of this is that it made our reunion at TURF all that more joyous, though anything Hold Steady is bound to be joyous regardless.

After a series of introductions – festival organizer intro-ed sportscaster Dave Hodge who intro-ed superfan Frank Turner who finally intro-ed the band before running down into the pit to rock out to the show – The Hold Steady took the stage to the biggest cheers of the day and put on a clinic about the power and celebratory spirit of rock’n’roll. Powering through a seventeen-song set that gave about equal time to all their records including the new one they’d be going into the studio to record this week, the band were in excellent form with Finn in extra-good spirits from seeing his Minnesota Twins shut out the hometown Blue Jays down the street earlier in the afternoon. Having missed the Heaven Is Whenever tour entirely, it was my first time seeing them without keyboardist Franz Nicolay, and while his keyboard flourishes and sartorial flair were missed, new guitarist Steve Selvidge endeared himself with some Thin Lizzy-esque lead lines with Tad Kubler. And even after it was done, it wasn’t as the roaring audience demanded that rarest of beasts – an encore from anyone but the last act of the night, they rip-roared through “Stay Positive”; Frank Turner leapt onstage to add vocals, but we all knew the “whoa-oh-oh”s. Exhausting and exhilarating.

Photos: The Hold Steady @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 6, 2013
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Hurricane J”
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Sequestered In Memphis”
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Stay Positive”
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Chips Ahoy!”
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Stuck Between Stations”
Video: The Hold Steady – “Stay Positive”
Video: The Hold Steady – “Chips Ahoy!”
Video: The Hold Steady – “Stuck Between Stations”
Video: The Hold Steady – “Your Little Hoodrat Friend”
Video: The Hold Steady – “The Swish”

Speaking of rock… Drive-By Truckers haven’t been through town in a while – not since November 2011 behind their last full-length Go-Go Boots, what with both Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley working on solo projects and the departures of bassist Shona Tucker and guitarist John Neff, but the Truckers are back on the road and will be at The Phoenix on November 2 with Old 97’s, who themselves haven’t been to town since Spring 2011, along as support. Not sure if this means there’s new records on the way from either of them, but I get the feeling folks will be perfectly happy to hear the old stuff. NYC Taper has posted a recording of an Old 97s show in Brooklyn last week, if you want to hear what Rhett and the boys are sounding like these days.

MP3: Drive-By Truckers – “Used To Be A Cop”
MP3: Old 97’s – “Brown-Haired Daughter”

Exclaim has specifics on the new double-album from Quasi, who are marking their twentieth anniversary as a band with Mole City, out October 1. There’s a trailer and advance MP3 to inspect.

MP3: Quasi – “You Can Stay But You Got To Go”
Trailer: Quasi / Mole City

Cincinnati CityBeat welcomes home native sons The National with a feature interview.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, who also just rolled out a new video from Specter At The Feast.

Video: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Hate The Taste”

Daytrotter has posted a session with Saturday Looks Good To Me.

Future Bible Heroes have released a new video from their latest album Partygoing, which will surely make up for the sting of knowing that their show at Lee’s Palace, originally set for later this month, has been canceled. But that happened ages ago, so you already knew that, right? Right.

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

Titus Andronicus have rolled out a new album from last year’s Local Business and are already taking preorders for their fourth album, due for release next year.

Video: Titus Andronicus – “Still Life With Hot Deuce And Silver Platter”

Under The Radar interviews Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

Consequence Of Sound has compiled and impressive oral history of Big Star.

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

CONTEST – Toronto Urban Roots Fest @ Garrison Common – July 4-7, 2013

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhat: Toronto Urban Roots Fest, the inaugural edition of a new multi-day festival that’s aiming to do what Bluesfest does for Ottawa and the Jazz Festival does for Montreal – namely bring in a lot of bands that have little to nothing to do with the festival’s titular genre but make great music. And let’s not get pedantic about the “urban” part, hey?
Who: Arkells, The Barr Brothers, Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, Neko Case, The Cat Empire, Dawes, Justin Townes Earle, Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys, The Felice Brothers, Fitz & The Tantrums, Flogging Molly, Hannah Georgas, The Hold Steady, Larry and his Flask, The Lowest Of The Low, Matt Mays, JD McPherson, The Joel Plaskett Emergency, Xavier Rudd, The Sadies, She & Him, Skydiggers, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Whitehorse, The Wooden Sky, Yo La Tengo
When: July 4 to 7, 2013
Where: Garrison Common at Fort York, Toronto
How: Single-day tickets for the show range from $50 to $60 in advance, but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got one pairs of passes for each day of the festival to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to TURF” in the subject line and your full name in the body along with which days, in order of preference, you’d like to attend – consult the schedule for who’s playing when. Contest closes at midnight, July 2, 2013.

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Canadian Musicfest 2013 Day Two

Sóley, Kool Thing, and more at Canadian Musicfest

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangShow cancellations are pretty much part and parcel of the Canadian Musicfest experience, particularly when you’re most keen on the international acts who’ve been duped coerced into playing the fest, but it’s especially disappointing when it’s a) one of the bands you most wanted to see, b) they were one of the very first acts confirmed for the fest in November, and c) it happens just hours before showtime.

But things like lymph node infections do happen, and with Efterklang singer Casper Clausen out of commission, their showcase at The Mod Club with Nightlands was nixed. I should be pleased for the band and their fans that Clausen recovered in time to pick up the tour in Montreal the next night and that Toronto was the only lost date, but I’m not really. So suddenly left with no plans for the evening, I opted for the in-store at Moog Audio presented by Scandiphile sites Nordic By Nature and Swede + Sour – even if I was going to miss out on the Danes, I could still get my Swede/Norwegian/Icelandic musical fix.

Sweden would get a bit of short shrift, unfortunately. Perhaps in keeping with their tight, Krautrock-influenced sound, Malmö’s This Is Head started precisely on time and I was running late, meaning I missed the first half of their set and was only able to take in a song and a half. Thankfully, their songs were pretty long and while their live sound was more of a conventional rock setup than I’d have expected from what I recalled of their 2010 debut 0001, it was still tight and grooving in the right places. I look forward to hearing their second album The Album ID when it gets released in North America later this Spring.

Photos: This Is Head @ Moog Audio – March 21, 2013
Video: This Is Head – “A-B Version”
Video: This Is Head – “De Trop”
Video: This Is Head – “0011”
Video: This Is Head – “0007”

Whatever it is in the water in the nordic countries that produces idiosyncratic female electro-pop artists, Sandra Kolstad has been drinking it. Fronting a three-piece band comprised of two keyboards and a percussionist, she turned in a set of energetic art-pop made of synths and tight, inventive percussion that may not have stood out from other artists doing similar things, but didn’t pale against them either. And while Kolstad was game for getting naked in her latest video, on this evening it was her drummer who stripped down for the appreciation of those who appreciate tall, half-naked, Scandinavian men.

Photos: Sandra Kolstad @ Moog Audio – March 21, 2013
Stream: Sandra Kolstad – “Right Now”
Video: Sandra Kolstad – “Run Away (Where Are We?)”
Video: Sandra Kolstad – “The Well (We Will Change It All”
Video: Sandra Kolstad – “Fire Burn, Blood Flow”
Video: Sandra Kolstad – “Circles (It’s Got Every Little Part Of Me Running In)”

As enjoyable as the other two acts were, it was mainly Sóley whom I was here to see. Though she had a few other sets over the course of the festival, all were in conflict with something else I wanted to see, so if there was a silver lining to Efterklang’s misfortunes, it was this. For me, at least. Her 2011 album We Sink has been doing regular duty in evoking reminiscences of Iceland for me, and listening to her recreate those songs live I found myself trying to decide if her delicate electro-folk sounded more like a fairy sporting a cybernetic exoskeleton or a space station overrun by moss and trees. With the sound of her layered vocals slowly permeating the room like ghostly echoes, Sóley was understatedly presented, yet sonically perfect. The National Post has an interview with Sóley Stefánsdóttir.

Photos: Sóley @ Moog Audio – March 21, 2013
MP3: Sóley – “Pretty Face”
MP3: Sóley – “Blue Leaves”
Video: Sóley – “I’ll Drown”
Video: Sóley – “Pretty Face”
Video: Sóley – “Smashed Birds”
Video: Sóley – “Blue Leaves”

The in-store complete, I engaged in the only club-hopping I’d do for the festival and hoofed it over to The Drake Underground to catch Irish-German outfit Kool Thing. As it turns out, I didn’t need to rush as their start time was delayed by some manner of broken gear – it’s never a good sign when everyone in the band are standing around, staring down at a single piece of equipment, talking. They eventually got underway, though, and I spent most of their abbreviated set trying to remember why I had wanted to see the duo of Jon Dark and Julie Chance (plus drummer) in the first place. This isn’t to say their faintly electro-goth sound wasn’t alright – their voices blended well and the guitar-keys recipe yielded some nice atmosphere – but it felt played out and obvious. A full set may have allowed them to better demonstrate what they could do, but that wasn’t in the cards this night. And with that, I was home just before – in a perfect world – Efterklang’s set would have begun. Sigh.

Photos: Kool Thing @ The Drake Underground – March 21, 2013
Stream: Kool Thing – “TV Tower”
Video: Kool Thing – “PLAN.LIFE.GO”
Video: Kool Thing – “Light Games”
Video: Kool Thing – “The Sign”

Sigur Rós have added some extra context to the North American tour which brings them to the Air Canada Centre on March 30; instead of a second tour in support of last year’s ambient Valtari, it’s now a pre-release tour in support of their next album, the much heavier Kveikur, due out June 18. Pitchfork has details on the release and the first video from the album can be watched below.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Brennisteinn”

The Guardian and Billboard talk to The Knife about their new record Shaking The Habitual, due out April 9.

April 9 will also be the release date for the soundtrack from the new Tom Cruise vehicle Oblivion, which is only noteworthy in that M83 is doing the score. Pitchfork is streaming the theme song from the film, featuring Norwegian singer Susanne Sundfør.

Stream: M83 featuring Susanne Sundfør – “Oblivion”

The Fly has an interview with Junip, who’ve made a new track from their forthcoming self-titled album, out April 23, available to download. They’ll be at The Great Hall on June 10.

MP3: Junip – “Your Life Your Call”

Swedish pop veterans Club 8 have made the first track from their forthcoming album Above The City available to download. It’s out May 21.

Stream: Club 8 – “Stop Taking My Time”

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with Of Monsters & Men. They co-headline the CBC Music Festival at Echo Beach on May 25.

Totally Stockholm interviews Elliphant, in town June 7 at The Phoenix opening up for Twin Shadow.

Exclaim and Filter talk to Iceage, coming to Toronto for NXNE on June 15 and 16.

And just because this week’s roundup of concert announcements got pushed down to second-billing to the CMW writeup, don’t think that means that nothing good was revealed. For instance – Memory Tapes will be bring last year’s Grace/Confusion to Wrongbar on April 11. Tickets for that will be $12 in advance.

MP3: Memory Tapes – “Sheila”

Austin’s Pure X – specialists in doing it slow and dreamy – will be at The Silver Dollar on May 7 as part of a North American tour in support of their new album Crawling up the Stairs, out May 14. Tickets for the show are $12.50 in advance.

MP3: Pure X – “Someone Else”
MP3: Pure X – “Things In My Head”

Los Angeles trio Sir Sly – whom I’m not going to pretend I know much about but who seemed to emerge from SXSW as one of the talked-about acts – will be in town at Wrongbar on May 14 as part of a Spring tour. Tickets for that are $10.

MP3: Sir Sly – “Ghost”

Portland’s Thermals have announced the dates for their Spring tour in support of Desperate Ground via Stereogum, and also debuted the first video from the album, out April 16. Look for them at The Horseshoe on May 21, tickets $15.

MP3: The Thermals – “Now We Can See”
Video: The Thermals – “Born To Kill”

British folk sister act The Staves will be at The Great Hall on May 23, presumably as part of a tour in support of the North American release of their debut Dead & Born & Grown, out this month. Tickets for the show are $14.50. Hit Fix, Blogcritics, and examiner.com have interviews with the Staveley-Taylor sisters.

Video: The Staves – “Facing West”

Jonathan Richman, who continues to not have anything resembling an official internet presence in 2013, will be doing things in meatspace at The Great Hall on June 5 and 6.

Stream: Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers – “Roadrunner”

If you were thinking CHVRCHES were just here, you were right. But they’re coming back as part of a Summer tour, and while the June 12 date at The Hoxton may make you think it’s a NXNE show, so far there are no indications that it is – so maybe pony up the $16 for a ticket instead of waving your wristband around. And while that show is still months ahead of their debut album’s release in September, their Recover EP is out now and streaming over at Pitchfork.

MP3: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”
Stream: CHVRCHES / Recover

What IS part of NXNE – and still venue-less at the time of writing – is the June 14 return of Still Corners, whose new album Strange Pleasures will be out May 7.

MP3: Still Corners – “Fireflies”

Space-surf pioneers Man Or Astro-man? are hitting the road and have made a date at Lee’s Palace for June 17, tickets $17.50.

Video: Man Or Astro-Man? – “Spferic Waves”

Darkwavers Cold Cave haven’t said specifically when their new EP Oceans With No End will be coming out, but presumably it’ll be around the time they roll their Summer tour into the Shop Under Parts & Labour – June 26. But Cold Cave isn’t the only thing that Wes Eisold has on the go – his old hardcore band American Nightmare is getting back into action and according to this Exclaim piece, one of the two reunion shows confirmed so far will be on June 6 in Toronto at a venue to be announced The Phoenix.

MP3: Cold Cave – “The Great Pan Is Dead”

And this week’s Toronto Urban Roots Fest additions come from near and far – the (relatively) near being Toronto’s own The Wooden Sky and Nova Scotia’s Matt Mays & El Torpedo, and the absolutely far being Australians The Cat Empire and Xavier Rudd. Early-bird deals on multi-day tickets end tonight at 10PM, and single-day tickets go on sale this Thursday; the day-by-day breakdown is on their schedule.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”
Video: The Cat Empire – “Brighter Than Gold”
Video: Xavier Rudd – “Bow Down”
Video: Matt Mays – “Take It On Faith”