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Posts Tagged ‘Memory Tapes’

Monday, January 14th, 2013

I'll Be Around

Review of Yo La Tengo’s Fade

Photo By Carlie ArmstronCarlie ArmstrongNot much stays fresh after 30 years, particularly something as fleeting as creativity, and not even a band that’s as stylistically rangy as Yo La Tengo is immune to the of feeling of repeating themselves. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as their last release – 2009’s Popular Songs – was an enjoyable summation of everything Yo La Tengo has done well over the past three decades or so, from concise poppers to sprawling rockers on the x-axis and quiet to loud on the y, but didn’t really offer much as a jumping-off point for where they’d could go next.

As it turned out, the “where” would be Chicago, to work with John McEntire of Tortoise, rather than Nashville and Roger Moutenot, who had been behind the boards for every one of their records since 1993’s Painful – that’s their last seven releases. And while it’s not necessarily clear that a change in producer would have that drastic an effect on a band that’s as assured in what they do and how they do it as Yo La Tengo, if they were looking to come away with something different, it’s reasonable to say that the fruits of those sessions – Fade, out tomorrow – accomplished that.

The songs still follow the familiar Yo La Tengo templates, but the presentation feels compressed. Not in the technical studio sense of being less dynamic, but it’s not hard to imagine bookend tracks “Ohm” and “Before We Run” stretching past the 10-minute mark on other records instead of being constrained to their relatively concise six-and-change running times here. And those are the longest tracks on the album – almost everything else clocks in at under five minutes. Not to get too hung up on matters of time – what’s more remarkable than the fact that the whole thing could be dubbed onto a single side of a 90-minute cassette is that it seems to have been done without compromising any of the band’s trademark atmospheric indulgences or rushing their gentler, languid tempos.

On the quiet side, “Two Trains” exists in a sumptuous, phase-shifted dream-state, and “I’ll Be Around” hums along, carried by whirring organs and Ira Kaplan’s fingerpicked guitarwork, yet maintain enough presence to avoid becoming pretty aural wallpaper, and at the other end of the spectrum, “Well You Better” and “Paddle Forward” are welcome additions to the crunchy pop nugget section of their songbook. Fade may not necessarily break any new ground for the band – that may well be mathematically impossible for them at this point – but it does offer a fresh perspective on much of what they do best.

Spin and DIY have interviews with Ira Kaplan. They’re at The Phoenix on February 9.

MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Stupid Things”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Ohm”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Before We Run”
Stream: Yo La Tengo / Fade

It’s not as good as, say, her own tour in support of a new album, but it’s worth noting that Nicole Atkins will be in town on February 25 opening up for Eels at The Phoenix.

MP3: Nicole Atkins – “Vultures”

And if you missed the post addendum last week, Low have announced a local date in support of their new record The Invisible Way. The album is out March 19 but they’ll be here a few days earlier, on March 16, at The Great Hall. Tickets for that are $18.50 and on sale now.

MP3: Low – “Just Make It Stop”

Chelsea Light Moving – aka Thurston Moore’s new post-Sonic Youth band – will be at Lee’s Palace on March 31 in support of their self-titled debut, out March 5. Tickets are $19.50, details on the release available at Matablog and there’s quite a bit of the new record available to preview; spoilers – it sounds like Thurston Moore.

MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Burroughs”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Frank O’Hara Hit”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Empire Of Time”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Groovy & Linda”

Los Angeles electro-pop outfit Fol Chen will be at The Drake Underground on April 7 in support of their new album The False Alarms, due out March 19.

MP3: Fol Chen – “Cable TV”
Stream: Fol Chen – “200 Words”

Good news for those anticipating/dreading the auction later this week for the new Replacements benefit EP, Songs For Slim; while that limited edition of 250 will still be auctioned off to raise money for former ‘Mats guitarist Slim Dunlap’s medical bills, a regular edition of the recordings will be made available for sale to the general public. Details on that at Consequence Of Sound.

NPR interviews Christopher Owens, whose solo debut Lysandre is out tomorrow and who hits The Mod Club this Friday night.

NPR has got the whole of the new Widowspeak album Almanac available to stream ahead of its January 22 release.

MP3: Widowspeak – “Ballad Of The Golden Hour”
Stream: Widowspeak / Almanac

Hit up Consequence Of Sound to hear a stream of a track from the new Guided By Voices EP Down By The Racetrack, due out January 22. Their next full-length English Little League will follow on April 30.

Stream: Guided By Voices – “Copy Zero”

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Caitlin Rose, whose second album The Stand-In is out February 25 and who plays The Garrison on April 5.

Charles Bradley has given his second album Victim Of Love an April 2 release date. Details over at Exclaim.

The Flaming Lips have announced plans to release their 1997 mind-fuck opus Zaireeka as a vinyl reissue for Record Store Day this year, which is to say April 20. Which sounds great but when you factor in the fact that you’d not only need four turntables instead of the original issue’s quad-CD player setup, but you’d need to swap sides and records for each disc… yeah. No.

Memory Tapes have released a new video from last year’s Grace/Confusion.

Video: Memory Tapes – “Sheila”

The Alternate Side has a studio session with Dinosaur Jr.

Glasswerk have a video session with Crooked Fingers.

Elle Canada has an interview with Janelle Monáe.

Popmatters talks to Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum.

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Zumm Zumm

Django Django are are coming coming to to town town

Photo By Pavla KopecnaPavla KopecnaIn mentioning yesterday that winning the Mercury Prize allowed Alt-J to graduate from playing Wrongbar in September to playing The Phoenix in March, we can also scientifically see what only getting nominated to the shortlist gets you. Django Django, who were shortlisted on the strength of their self-titled debut, also played Wrongbar in late September and have also just scheduled a Spring tour that brings them back to town in March – March 12, specifically, and at The Opera House. So based on the capacities of these two rooms, what can we discern? Winning the Mercury lets you play to about 200 more people. QED. Tickets are $17.50.

DIY has an interview with Django Django, who’ve just released a new video from the aforementioned Mercury-nominated album. There’s also a World Cafe session up at NPR.

MP3: Django Django – “Default”
Video: Django Django – “Life’s A Beach”

Also just announced – Ken Stringfellow of The Posies, R.E.M., and Big Star will be in town as just Ken Stringfellow – solo artist who released Danzig In The Moonlight in October – for a date at The Drake Underground on February 19. Tickets for that are $15, and God Is In The TV has an interview.

MP3: Ken Stringfellow – “Doesn’t It Remind You Of Something”

Chapel Hill’s rootsy Mount Moriah – recently signed to Merge and getting a lot of good press – will release their second album Miracle Temple on February 26 and be in town at The Drake on March 20 to celebrate; that’ll be part of Canadian Music Week, if you were wondering.

Stream: Mount Moriah – “Lament”

The Get Down Stay Down are at Lee’s Palace on March 27 in support of their new album We The Common, due out February 5. Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside support, tickets are $17.50 in advance. Full tour dates at Exclaim.

MP3: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “Know Better Learn Faster”

And if you hadn’t heard and were interested, the reunited but still Christine McVie-less Fleetwod Mac will be at the Air Canada Centre on April 16. Stevie Nicks talks to The Los Angeles Times about the upcoming tour, while Rolling Stone also loops in Lindsey Buckingham for a Q&A.

Video: Fleetwood Mac – “Go Your Own Way”

Pitchfork and Rolling Stone talk to ex-Girls frontman Christopher Owens about his solo debut Lysandre, out January 15. He plays The Mod Club on January 18.

DIY has an interview and The Alternate Side a session with The Antlers.

The AV Club have premiered a new video from Crooked Fingers’ 2011 effort Breaks In The Armor and The Line Of Best Fit also has a video session on offer.

Video: Crooked Fingers – “Bad Blood”

DIY talks to Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius.

Stereogum has an interview with Dayve Hawk of Memory Tapes.

DIY talks to Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum.

The Austin Chronicle, Phoenix New Times, and Dallas Observer interview John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Stars.

Spin, ABC News, The New Zealand Herald, DIY, and The Daily Swarm talk to Claire Boucher of Grimes.

The Grid and NOW preview Joel Plaskett’s upcoming five-night stand at The Horseshoe next week. That’s December 12 to 16.

Spinner finds out why a Raveonettes-mixed new No Joy album won’t be winding its way to you anytime soon. Or ever.

Modern Superstitions talk to aux.tv about their self-titled debut.

DIY has a quick chat with Wild Beasts.

The Fly has a video session with 2:54.

TOY are interviewed as part of DIY‘s year-end wrap.

Pitchfork reports that Phoenix are planning to rise again with a new album in or around April. That there’s the sound of Two Door Cinema Club’s business model collapsing.

M83 have released the fourth video from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.

Video: M83 – “Wait”

DIY interviews Tame Impala, in town at The Kool Haus on March 9.

Sigur Rós have released the final installment of their Valtari Mystery Film Experiment – just in time for the screenings happening worldwide and at The Bloor Cinema on Saturday. This one’s another short film rather than conventional video, and is directed by Floria Sigismondi and stars Elle Fanning and John Hawkes. Save the best – or at least biggest-named – for last, yeah? Sigur Rós are at The Air Canada Centre on March 30.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Leaning Towards Solace”

And with that, everything I’ve had in my blog drafts hopper is gone. It’s empty! There’s nothing left! You know what that means? Me neither. I’m scared.

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.

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

"Kill The Turkey"

The National watches TV. They’re just like us!

Photo via FoxFoxSunday night’s television lineup got a healthy injection of The National this week, both directly and indirectly. In the Thanksgiving episode of Bob’s Burgers, viewers were treated to a holiday-themed song by Linda in abbreviated form and in full over the closing credits, and shortly thereafter The Vulture surfaced with a version of the song rendered in Matt Berninger’s distinctive baritone over appropriately tasteful backing. They had to take it down, unfortunately, but this is the internet – nothing ever dies.

Boardwalk Empire viewers didn’t have to do nearly as much legwork to hear the band’s contribution to this week’s episode – they just had to sit through the credits. As has been the custom for the Steve Buscemi vehicle, the band – assisted by Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks – covered a period-correct song to play while the best boys and gaffers got their due; this one was a 1924 song originally recorded by Isham Jones and The Ray Miller Orchestra. I didn’t know that – full credit goes to Fuck Yeah The National for pulling the background together on that one.

Stream: The National – “I’ll See You In My Dreams”
Stream: The National – “Bob’s Burgers Thanksgiving Song”

Freelance Whales, who just released their second album in Diluvia, and Hundred Waters, whose self-titled debut came out in September, will be at The Mod Club on January 17, tickets $16. Spinner and The Daily Tar Heel have Freelance Whales features.

Video: Freelance Whales – “Spitting Image”
Video: Hundred Waters – “Thistle”

Christopher Owens – aka the guy from Girls who was basically the entirety of Girls and who recently left Girls – will be at The Mod Club on January 18 as part of a North American tour in support of his solo debut Lysandre, out January 14.

Stream: Christopher Owens – “Lysandre’s Theme / Here We Go”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Titus Andronicus, and The Chicago Tribune, Denver Westword, and 77 Square have features. They’re at Lee’s Palace next Tuesday, November 27.

A new track from Memory Tapes’ forthcoming Grace/Confusion is now available to stream, as is a mish-mash of b-sides, unreleased material, and whatnot in mixtape form. The album is out December 4.

Stream: Memory Tapes – “Neighbourhood Watch”
Stream: Memory Tapes – “Displaced Mix”

Spinner talks to Paul Banks about Interpol turning ten. The decade-anniversary edition of Turn On The Bright Lights is out December 4 and one of the bonus tracks is now available to download. Las Vegas Weekly and Denver Post also talk to Paul Banks about his solo thing.

MP3: Interpol – “Roland” (first demo)

Yo La Tengo have released a video from their next record Fade, due out January 15. They play The Phoenix on February 9.

Video: Yo La Tengo – “Before We Run”

NPR welcomes Father John Misty to the World Cafe; MTV Hive also has an interview. He’s at The Danforth Music Hall supporting The Walkmen on January 16.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of a Widowspeak show from earlier this month. There’s some new Almanac material to hear before the album is released on January 22.

Rolling Stone talks to Jim James about his forthcoming solo debut, Regions of Light and Sound of God. It’s out February 5.

Beach House have released a new video from Bloom.

Video: Beach House – “Wild”

R.E.M. may be gone, but they’re still able to remind you they’ve got some Hollywood-type friends, such as with this video for the final song from their final album, Collapse Into Now, directed by James Franco and starring Lindsay Lohan.

Video: R.E.M. – “Blue”

American Songwriter talks to Britt Daniel of Divine Fits.

The Fly and MusicOmh have interviews with Sharon Van Etten.

Stereogum talks to Steve Drozd of The Flaming Lips about how work is coming on their new album, at last check entitled The Terror and earmarked for release this Fall though that’s probably not happening. They could have asked Wayne Coyne, but he was otherwise occupied being detained by the TSA.

Happy Thanksgiving, America. Happy Thursday, rest of the world.

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.