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Posts Tagged ‘Metric’

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Before Us

The Dog Day(s) of December are here

Photo By Seth SmithSeth SmithI’m not entirely sure when or why Halifax’s Dog Day fell off my radar; I was very much on board circa their 2007 debut Night Group and the 2009 follow-up Concentration, but missed out on 2011’s Deformer – which saw the quartet reconfigure themselves as just the duo of Seth Smith and Nancy Urich – completely.

But I’m on the ball with their new album Fade Out – which incidentally finds themselves a quartet again – and it’s nice to know that despite the personnel shuffles, out of the speakers not a lot has changed. Their roughly-hewn and downcast yet unfailingly melodic still evokes the spirit of their ’90s Maritime Can-rock forebears but those ingredients have also underpinned great rock music from many eras and locales. Dog Day sound very much like where they’re from but don’t confuse that with having only a regional appeal.

Fade Out is out December 10 and their eastern Canadian tour brings them to Toronto’s Cinecycle on December 14. Exclaim, The Halifax Chronicle Herald, and The Coast have interviews with Smith about the new album, which you can stream below.

MP3: Dog Day – “Wasted”
Stream: Dog Day / Fade Out

NOW gets to know No Joy, in town at The Garrison tomorrow night, December 5.

Rolling Stone has an advance stream of the new Neil Young archival release Live At The Cellar Door, which captures two acoustic shows in 1970. The album is out December 10.

Stream: Neil Young / Live At The Cellar Door

Pitchfork has surfaced a new song from Doldrums, currently without context but perhaps pointing towards a new release in 2014. Doldrums is at The Great Hall on December 13 for the second Long Winter.

Stream: Doldrums – “Dive Deep Pt 1”

The Drake Hotel has announced the lineup for this year’s What’s In The Box? mini-fest, which fills the Underground with the sounds of local bands and DJs for the five nights following Christmas at the non-inflationary price of $5. As always, there’s all sorts of up-and-coming talent on the bill, but readers of this site will want to circle December 27, when Alvvays take the stage, and December 30, when Rich Aucoin does his thing in a room he’s far too big to play in anymore.

MP3: Alvvays – “Adult Diversion”
MP3: Rich Aucoin – “It”

And speaking of musical holiday traditions, The Wooden Sky have announced details of their fourth annual holiday revue fundraiser to benefit the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank. It goes December 29 at 918 Bathurst and tickets will run $20, plus a donation of a canned good.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”

Stars are helping local radio station Indie88 celebrate their increased signal strength – which means I can now finally hear them in my car in downtown Toronto – with a rare club show at Lee’s Palace on January 18. Tickets are $8.81 and go on sale Friday.

MP3: Stars – “The Theory Of Relativity”

After touring their self-titled debut around North America straight though to the year’s final days, local punks PUP will take a little breather and come right back for a hometown show at The Garrison on January 31.

MP3: PUP – “Reservoir”

Toronto synth-goth artist Trust has announced a March 4 release date for his second album Joyland. Exclaim has details, inevitable trailer is below.

Trailer: Trust / Joyland

If you were holding off on going to see Arcade Fire at the Air Canada Centre on March 13 because the only costumes or formalwear you have are for warm weather, then rejoice – the band have announced a return engagement as part of some late Summer tour dates at the Molson Amphitheatre on August 29. Tickets range from $30.50 to $70.50 and go on sale December 13 at noon.

Video: Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”

Young Galaxy look set to run away with the record for most videos from an album that’s not really an album, namely the bonus disc of the Ultramarine Deluxe edition. They premiered the latest clip via Stereogum.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Hard To Tell”

Tone Deaf and The New Zealand Herald interview Metric, who’ve released another new video from Synthetica.

Video: Metric – “Lost Kitten”

A Music Blog, Yea has an interview with The Darcys while The Toronto Star finds out why their recent gigs have been at area high schools.

Beatroute, The Montreal Gazette, Seattle Weekly, The Georgia Straight, and Victoria News talk to Basia Bulat.

Dan Bejar of Destroyer tells The Line Of Best Fit why he decided to make a record in Spanish. There’s also a video session with Destroyer at Dutch radio station 3voor12.

Beatroute checks in with Amber Webber of Lightning Dust.

CBC Music has video of Fucked Up’s tribute to the legendary Teenage Head show known as The Last Pogo, recorded at a very punk rock 9AM on a Saturday morning at The Horseshoe Tavern, scene of the original show in 1978.

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Catch My Breath

You, Me, NPR, and everyone we know

Photo By Laura Lynn PetrickLaura Lynn PetrickYou may recall last week that I mentioned that this week, an interview I gave NPR’s World Cafe as part of their “Sense Of Place” series on Toronto would be airing this week. And that it did on Wednesday – and let me tell you it’s goddamn weird seeing your own name and face show up in your RSS feed – though I haven’t actually listened to it yet… Nor am I likely to. I saw the hot dogs being made, y’know?

To recap – the theme of the interview was to list off five up and coming Toronto acts for NPR listeners to discover, and bits of the interview have been excerpted over the week for their blog along with a download from the band. So far, they’ve run pieces on Fresh Snow, PUP, The Elwins, and Beliefs – all of whom I think exemplify very different aspects of what’s going on, musically, in this city – and today we will have either Alvvays or Del Bel… hopefully both, though that’s out of my hands. We recorded bits on six bands as a safety in case there were any unforeseen issues. I’ll update with today’s post when it goes up later today. Update: Alvvays piece is up; Del Bel should be up tomorrow.

In any case, all six are worth your time whether you’re into psych-kraut, power-pop, punk, cinematic noir, jangle-indie, or shoegaze. Fresh Snow and Beliefs – pictured above – are both on the bill for the next installment of Long Winter, happening December 13 at The Great Hall, and Fresh Snow are also playing the next Steam Whistle Unsigned showcase at the Steam Whistle Roundhouse on November 29. PUP are finishing up an epic North American tour this weekend, the CMJ show of which is available to hear at NYC Taper; there’s also an interview at The Regina Leader=Post. The Elwins have a couple Ontario dates to close out the month but are gearing up to release their second album next year, as are Del Bel. Alvvays’ self-titled debut will finally be out early next year, and they’re opening up for Young Galaxy at The Hoxton tonight.

Just a few of the many, many, great sounds coming out of Toronto right now. I do hope you dig.

MP3: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
MP3: The Elwins – “Stuck In The Middle”
MP3: PUP – “Reservoir”
MP3: Beliefs – “Catch My Breath”
MP3: Del Bel – “Dusk Light”
MP3: Alvvays – “Adult Diversion”

Also recorded while they were in town, World Cafe has an acoustic session with James and Emily from Metric.

July Talk, who’ll be at the Sound Academy on December 3 opening up for Frank Turner, also recorded a World Cafe session and are interviewed in The Edmonton Journal, Georgia Straight, and Pique.

Young Galaxy have released yet another video from their Ultramarine Deluxe edition; that’s a remarkable amount of singles from material that didn’t make the original album. As mentioned, they’re at The Hoxton on November 22.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Crying My Heart Out”

The Quietus has a stream of Destroyer’s new Five Spanish Songs EP, coming out on Tuesday. Dan Bejar talks about the record with Reverb.

Stream: Destroyer / Five Spanish Songs

Thee Silver Mount Zion have announced a January 21 release date for their new album, Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything; details at Constellation Records, excerpt of one of the new songs and trailer for the record below.

Stream: Thee Silver Mount Zion – “Austerity Blues” (excerpt)
Trailer: Thee Silver Mount Zion / Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything

The Winnipeg Free Press, Metro, and aux.tv make with the chit-chat with Shad. He’s back in town January 31 at The Danforth Music Hall.

The Creators Project has revealed the actual official video for Arcade Fire’s “Afterlife”, taken from Reflektor – that live, Spike Jonze-directed YouTube Awards thing from a few weeks back was just a live, Spike Jonze-directed YouTube Awards thing. And because you apparently can’t get enough Arcade Fire, NME has video from a three-song French television performance. They play The Air Canada Centre on March 13.

Video: Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”

The Grid, The Toronto Star, and BlogTO chat with Owen Pallett, who talks a bit about his new album In Conflict, due early next year, amongst other topics including his new ballet. Exclaim has a helpful round up of everything that’s currently known about the follow-up to Heartland.

The Globe and Mail, San Francisco Examiner, and PopMatters talk to Spencer Krug of Moonface.

Majical Cloudz have made a studio version of a live favourite available to stream; Matablog has some background on the track.

Stream: Majical Cloudz – “Savage”

Oh Comely has a chat with Diana.

Exclaim has details in the next installment in Sloan’s vinyl bootleg series – the 500-piece limited edition of Tokyo Japan 2002 went on sale on Wednesday, so if you wanted one but were counting on me to let you know about it, then you need to re-evaluate your news-gathering strategies.

aux.tv takes a fascinating look at Fucked Up guitarist Ben Cook’s career as a child actor.

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Bye Bye

A CanCon post, since there’s absolutely nothing newsworthy happening in Canada or Toronto right now

Photo By Ted BoisTed BoisYup, quiet as hell up here. Though I heard from somewhere that people have been waiting for a video of some kind to surface…? Well here’s five new ones.

Stereogum has premiered the new chicken farm-set clip from Destroyer, taken from Dan Bejar’s forthcoming Five Spanish Songs EP which will be out on November 25. He’ll be on stage at The Opera House – not The Great Hall, as originally scheduled – all by his Bejar-ness, on November 9.

Video: Destroyer – “Bye Bye”

Or there’s the new video from Metric, for the title track of last year’s Synthetica, which got unveiled to the world via Rolling Stone.

Video: Metric – “Synthetica”

Young Galaxy also have a new video, squeezed out of the new tracks on the Ultramarine Deluxe reissue. They play The Hoxton on November 22.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Privileged Poor”

Islands have a new video from their latest release Ski Mask. There’s also interviews at The Coast, The Chronicle-Herald, and The Aquarian.

Video: Islands – “Wave Forms”

And Vancouver’s Brasstronaut have a new clip from last year’s Mean Sun.

Video: Brasstronaut – “The Grove”

And in non-video/crack-related news, Kashka is marking the release of Bound – her debut album as Kashka – by streaming the whole thing, and it’s lovely. Anyone who was sad about the end of Forest City Lovers will have reason to be happy again. There’ll be a record release show at The Great Hall on December 5.

Stream: Kashka / Bound

No Joy have just released their Pastel And Pass Out EP and are streaming another song from it for your enjoyment. They’ll play The Garrison on December 6.

Stream: No Joy – “Second Spine”

Exclaim has an advance stream of the new Misery Makers Vol. 1 EP from Chains Of Love, out as of this week.

Stream: Chains Of Love / Misery Makers Vol. 1

Exclaim talks to Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, whose Alaska B lists off her favourite video game soundtracks for Chart. They’re celebrating the release of Uzu tonight at The Garrison.

Beatroute talks to Shad; he’s back in town at The Danforth Music Hall on January 31.

Vancouver electronic-industrial pioneers Skinny Puppy have announced a date at The Sound Academy on February 18 in support of their latest release, Weapon, released earlier this year.

Stream: Skinny Puppy / Weeapon

The Quietus, aux.tv, and Beatroute talk to Spencer Krug of Moonface.

NOW has an interview with Braids.

Vue profiles The Darcys.

Magnet interviews Basia Bulat as a precursor to her taking over their website for the week.

Altar TV has a video session and The Calgary Herald an interview with The Belle Game.

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Ritual Tradition Habit

The Belle Game and Bear Mountain at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’d mentioned back in April that Vancouver’s Belle Game – purveyors of soulful, atmospheric pop – had taken their own sweet time in releasing their debut album Ritual Tradition Habit, and they were lucky that it was as good as it was, lest the more impatient among us pettily punish the record for taking so long to exist. Instead, those of us seeking something to grouse about could turn our attention to how long it was taking them to come play a live show in Toronto. It seemed odd that an act with the stars seemingly aligning would have missed out on both CMW and NXNE (though, to be fair, they’d been here for those fests in 2011 and 2012), and while they did play a free show at Harbourfront Centre in July for the SoundClash fest, I missed it so in my egocentric worldview, it didn’t happen. All of which is to say that Friday night’s show at The Drake Underground – which caught the band headed home after a successful CMJ in New York – took long enough to happen.

With them were fellow Vancouverites Bear Mountain, whom I knew nothing about but kind of hoped would be some unholy combination of Grizzly Bear and Black Mountain. Which they could still be described as if someone had never heard of either act and assumed they made peppy, disco-inflected electro-pop. Showing off their debut album XO, it was evident that in the Bear Mountain mandate, maintaining the party vibe was paramount and in that, they succeeded admirably. To this end, they utilized such tools as a keytar in its intended purpose of rocking out synth solos, a maybe-ironic cover of Tears For Fears’ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” with the original video projected on their stage decor screens, in case you weren’t sure, and some cheesy but effective crowd-rousing banter. Oh and some catchy if kind of lightweight songs. Assured in what they were doing and entertaining, they weren’t a band that you’d leave saying you’d seen the future of anything, but you would say you had fun.

As mentioned, The Belle Game had a pretty good amount of buzz around them leading up to Ritual Tradition Habit‘s release this Spring, so it’s not unreasonable that they’d have drawn a good crowd based strictly on that… but being on Pitchfork’s radar? I’m sure that didn’t hurt either. But however they got there, room was comfortably filled with punters – especially for an early show – when the band took the stage. Though offering less instant gratification than Bear Mountain, they established their atmosphere quickly and effectively. Not an especially showy sextet, they were largely focused on the task at hand – while demonstrating terrific individual musicianship and chemistry as a unit – with frontwoman Andrea Lo shouldering the duty of engaging the audience. Luckily for her, all she needed to do to accomplish this was let loose with her formidable voice.

If the show had kept to that level throughout, it’d have been perfectly fine if not overwhelming, but as it progressed, it became clear that they were actually capable of more. Moments where the aforementioned musical chemistry seemed more akin to alchemy in creating something powerful; of a new slow jam of a song that pointed to an intriguing new dimension for the band; readings of “River” and “Wait For You” both impressively looser and more intense than the recorded versions; an unexpectedly raucous cover of Nirvana’s “All Apologies” as an encore. And oh yeah, local Broken Social Scenester Kevin Drew showed up to provide guest vocals on another new song. So, all in, a show that both satisfied but also left you eager to see the next stage in the band’s evolution; if that means having to wait a little while until they come back again, then it may well be worth it.

Photos: The Belle Game, Bear Mountain @ The Drake Underground – October 25, 2013
MP3: The Belle Game – “Blame Fiction”
MP3: The Belle Game – “River”
Video: The Belle Game -“River”
Video: The Belle Game – “Wait For You”
Video: Bear Mountain – “Faded”
Stream: Bear Mountain / XO

The Guardian and Canada.com talk to Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and NPR to Butler and Regine Chassagne about Reflektor, which is finally out today. And their live webcast performance from last night is available to stream on-demand at NPR.

The Montreal Gazette talks to Spencer Krug of Moonface about his new record Julia With Blue Jeans On, officially out as of today, along with a new video.

Video: Moonface – “Barbarian”

Also at the Montreal Gazette and out today are features on Yamantaka//Sonic Titan and their new album Uzu, respectively. They play The Garrison on November 6.

Beatroute gets to know July Talk, while Huffington Post gets some background on the recording of “Guns & Ammunition”; they’re at The Sound Academy on December 3 opening up for Frank Turner.

A sad day for fans of domestically-grown power-pop: PEI’s Two Hours Traffic are calling it a day. But as Exclaim reports, they’re doing it with a farewell tour that kicks off in Toronto at Lee’s Palace on December 12; tickets for that are $15.

MP3: Two Hours Traffic – “Stuck For The Summer”

Emily Haines of Metric remembers Lou Reed, with whom the band both played live with and recorded, at Rolling Stone.

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

'Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

Godspeed You! Black Emperor win 2013 Polaris Music Prize; speechless seems an appropriate reaction

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWell I certainly didn’t expect that.

Even though Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s surprise comeback record‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! was high on my own ballot and certainly a worthy record by any standard – refer back to my review last October – I had expected that some combination of the band’s own refusal to interact with the media (and thus any of the jury), the relative bleakness/impenetrableness of their music, and just their lack of profile outside of old-school indie circles to stack the odds against them. Apparently not. Proving that predicting the Polaris Music Prize is a tricky, tricky pastime, the name that last year’s winner Leslie Feist read from winner’s envelope wasn’t Zaki Ibrahim or A Tribe Called Red or any of the other acts who were widely expected to walk away with the $30,000 in this unusually wide-open year, but Godspeed.

No one was sure if they’d even acknowledge the nomination though it was a pretty sure thing they wouldn’t show up to the ceremony, and indeed they didn’t. American music journalist Jessica Hopper said a few short words at the gala to acknowledge their nomination and Ian Ilavsky of Constellation Records, Godspeed’s label, said a few words after their win, thanking the jurors and announcing that the winnings would be donated to a program to bring music and instruments to Quebec prisons. There was no giant novelty cheque. And this morning, the band made their own official statement on the win and manage to be entirely gracious while remaining entirely Godspeed.

As to the rest of the gala, it was an eminently enjoyable affair in its fancy new home at The Carlu. Shad and Kathleen Edwards were fine hosts, with the requisite costume skits and making light of the fact that they were both two-time Polaris losers (including both of them in 2008 when my Grand Jury gave the prize to Caribou), as well as leveraging Edwards’ renowned potty mouth towards collecting money for charity via a swear jar on each guest table whenever she cussed. Which was often.

The performances opened with Purity Ring bringing their trademark cocoon lantern stage show to accompany their squelchy electro-pop, followed by and impressive set by R&B artist Zaki Ibrahim with costumes and dancers that was probably revelatory for most in attendance, since she’s hardly if ever performed live in Canada. As they did in 2009, Metric opted to perform acoustic as just the core duo of Emily and James but bringing in a grand piano to fancy things up a bit helped avoid the coffee house vibe of that previous showing.

What with having been sidelined very recently with a broken hand, solo saxophonist Colin Stetson was a surprise performer on the night but showed no ill effects fresh off the DL, turning in the most raw, elemental performance of the night and maybe the history of the Polaris Prize. Tegan & Sara also surprised, not by showing up and performing but by having Toronto’s Choir! Choir! Choir! sub in with a brilliant and buoyant version of “Closer”.

Whitehorse only played one song when they could have easily done two in their allotted time, but that one more than ably showcased their abilities and appeal, with Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland’s intricately choreographed instrument swapping and looping an impressive demonstration of musicality and chemistry. And it speaks to the diversity of nominees on this year’s short list that Young Galaxy’s set would come across as unusual, what with them being a conventional rock band simply performing a couple of their songs.

A fancy-dress gala might have been an odd first time to see local punk heroes METZ, but their loud and loud and awesome and loud set successfully transformed the Carlu from a storied concert hall that once hosted Frank Sinatra and Glenn Gould into every dirty, grungy basement venue in the world, albeit a really well-lit one. And finally, to wrap the night, A Tribe Called Red added some visual interest to their three-DJ performance with a native break/hoop dancer who, while no Gary the pole dancer, certainly put on a memorable and unique performance.

And then they gave the prize to Godspeed. It’s funny – of all the years the Polaris has been a thing, this was the year I felt least invested in. The couple of records I would have really loved to see make the final round having not, I had a lot of difficulty getting interested in this year’s edition beyond an academic level. And of course, it turns out the album I was pulling for but had basically assumed was out of contention wins, and the gala features some of the very best performances I’ve seen at these things. The Polaris – you just never know. Photos from the gala and a reminder of who the shortlist was below.

Photos: The Polaris Music Prize 2013 Gala @ The Carlu – September 23, 2013

A Tribe Called Red / Nation II Nation (Pirate’s Blend)
Video: A Tribe Called Red – “Electric Pow Wow Drum”

Godspeed You! Black Emperor / ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (Constellation)
Stream: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Mladic”

Zaki Ibrahim / Every Opposite (Motif)
Video: Zaki Ibrahim – “Go Widdit”

Metric / Synthetica (Metric Music International)
MP3: Metric – “Clone”

METZ / METZ (Sub Pop)
MP3: METZ – “Wet Blanket”

Purity Ring / Shrines (Last Gang)
MP3: Purity Ring – “Obedear”

Colin Stetson / New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light (Constellation)
MP3: Colin Stetson – “High Above A Grey Green Sea”

Tegan & Sara / Heartthrob (Warner Music)
Video: Tegan & Sara – “Closer”

Whitehorse / The Fate of the World Depends On This Kiss (Six Shooter)
Video: Whitehorse – “Achilles’ Desire”

Young Galaxy / Ultramarine (Paper Bag)
Video: Young Galaxy – “New Summer”

Young Galaxy have premiered a stream of another of the new tracks on their Ultramarine deluxe edition, out today, at Stereogum. The Edmonton Journal and Metro have interviews with the band.

Stream: Young Galaxy – “Talk To Her”

The Lab interviews Katie Stelmanis of Austra, who brings their 2014 Polaris-likely second album Olympia to The Phoenix on September 27.

The AV Club is offering an advance stream of Basia Bulat’s new album Tall Tall Shadow before its release next Tuesday, October 1. She plays three nights at the Polish Combatants Hall on October 10 through 12.

Stream: Basia Bulat / Tall Tall Shadow

Beatroute, The Montreal Gazette and CBC Music talk to Nick Thorburn of Islands about their new album Ski Mask. They play The Garrison on October 10.

Noisey have premiered the new video from The Darcys’ new record Warring, while B-Insider has an interview. They play the Adelaide Music Hall on October 11.

Video: The Darcys – “Muzzle Blast”

Shad discusses his new album Flying Colours with Respect. It’s out October 15 and he’s at The Opera House on October 19.

The Weeknd has premiered another video from Kiss Land; his three-night stand at Massey Hall begins October 17.

Video: The Weeknd – “Pretty”

NOW talks to Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, who’ve released a first video from their new record Uzu, coming out October 29.

Video: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “One”

Consequence Of Sound reports that Arcade Fire will follow-up their September 27 appearance on Saturday Night Live with a 30-minute concert performance to be shown on NBC – so that’s 1AM EDT, if it was unclear. Elsewhere, Richard Reed Perry tells NME how David Bowie ended up on “Reflektor” and Under The Radar has got a stream of their cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Games Without Frontiers”, appearing on the forthcoming All I’ll Scratch Yours tribute album, out this week. Arcade Fire’s own Reflektor is in stores October 29.

Stream: Arcade Fire – “Games Without Frontiers”

Also streaming from the Peter Gabriel tribute is this track from Feist featuring Timber Timbre; whether you choose to imagine a video featuring Leslie and Taylor clinging to each other for warmth for four minutes is your business.

Stream: Feist with Timber Timbre – “Don’t Give Up”

Destroyer has announced the release of Five Spanish Songs, an EP of songs by Spanish musician Antonio Luque of the band Sr. Chinarro, due out November 29. You may hear some of these songs when Dan Bejar plays The Great Hall solo on November 9. Or you may not.

Stereogum are streaming a new song from Odonis Odonis, presumably from a new album in the works or coming soon or something. They’ve not said.

Stream: Odonis Odonis – “Are We Friends”

Pitchfork welcomes Majical Cloudz for a City Of Music video session.

No Joy have released a new video from their latest, Wait To Pleasure.

Video: No Joy – “Blue Neck Riviera”

aux.tv has an interview with METZ.

Exclaim reports that the limited edition vinyl pressing of the first Super Friendz record Mock Up Scale Down is now a little less limited but more easy to buy, being on sale via murderrecords directly.