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Posts Tagged ‘Mew’

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Animal Heart

Nina Persson increases global levels of Nina Persson with solo album

Photo By Shervin LainezShervin LainezWhither Nina Persson? Despite fronting two bands, she’s made herself pretty scarce in recent years. The Cardigans haven’t released a new record since 2006’s Super Extra Gravity and A Camp, her project with Niclas Frisk, Mark Linkous, and Nathan Larson, was last heard of on 2009’s Colonia.

But she hasn’t just been taking some down time. She recently moved to New York, splitting time between there and Malmö, and as revealed in the 2011 Swedish documentary I Am My Own Dolly Parton, was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Fortunately, it was detected early and successfully removed – she discussed in in a 2011 interview with Sweden’s Express and roughly translated into English at Cardies fansite Plain Picture Parade – and she’s since become a mother. Pretty good reasons to have stepped away from making music for a while.

And now she’s back. The Cardigans are technically active again, performing a recital of Gran Turismo at a bunch of European and Asian festivals last year and playing some “greatest hits” dates in Asia and Russia as we speak – they’re actually in Osaka tonight. Whether this will lead to more dates or recording is unclear, but The Cardigans are out of mothballs, at least.

And as for looking forwards rather than back, Persson has just announced her first solo record, implying that the A Camp name is done. The album is entitled Animal Heart, written with Larson and Eric Johnson of the now-defunct Fruit Bats, recorded at her home in Harlem, and coming with “disco and eighties soul” reference points, will be released on February 10. Persson discusses the making of the album in the official bio and has released a video for the title track of the record.

Video: Nina Persson – “Animal Heart”
Trailer: I’m My Own Dolly Parton

New Zealand psych-pop-soul singer Connan Mockasin has announced a short North American tour behind his second album Caramel; he’ll be in Toronto at The Drake Underground on January 13, tickets $13. There’s features on him at The Line Of Best Fit, Interview, Red Bull, and eMusic, you can stream the new album via The Fader and watch a new video at Nowness.

MP3: Connan Mockasin – “Dolphin Love”
Video: Connan Mockasin – “I’m The Man, That Will Find You”
Stream: Connan Mockasin / Caramel

So my sleuthing around the precise release dates of I Break Horses’ new album have turned out to be a little off, but for the better – rather than the January 28 release I speculated on, Chiaroscuro will be out in North America on January 21, the day after it comes out in Europe. No staggered releases here!

Exclaim has details on the sophomore album from The Jezebels, entitled The Brink and due out February 18. Check out the first video from it below.

Video: The Jezabels – “The End”

Spain’s Delorean have premiered the new video from Apar at Nowness; they make up their previously canceled date in support of the record at The Hoxton on February 20.

Video: Delorean – “Unhold”

Icona Pop have released a new video from This Is Icona Pop and have announced a slew of tour dates which brings them back to Toronto on March 31… opening for Miley Cyrus at the Air Canada Centre.

Video: Icona Pop – “Just Another Night”

The Fly checks in with Bo Madesen of Mew.

DIY has a brief interview with Austra-Scandinavian outfit Kate Boy.

Greek duo Keep Shelley In Athens have released a new video from their debut full-length, At Home.

Video: Keep Shelley In Athens – “Oostende”

Noisey has premiered the new video from Japanese post-rockers Mono, taken from their latest album For My Parents.

Video: Mono – “Dream Odyssey”

Phoenix have premiered their new Sofia Coppola-directed video from Bankrupt! at the MoMA website.

Video: Phoenix – “Chloroform”

Spin is streaming a new song from M83, taken from the soundtrack to You And The Night, a French film about an orgy.

Stream: M83 – “Ali & Matthias”

eMusic, Billboard, and Exclaim have interviews with Cut Copy.

Paste talks Hunger Games and other matters with Of Monsters & Men.

Rolling Stone chats with Björk, and Time has dug up an old video of a young Björk explaining how a television works.

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Wonder 2

My Bloody Valentine at The Kool Haus in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangMy Bloody Valentine’s last visit to Toronto in September 2008 was a singular event on a few levels. Besides being their first visit in over a decade and a half, it was in-the-flesh proof that one of the most improbable returns to active duty in recent years was actually happening; considering that the seemingly simple task of reissuing Isn’t Anything and Loveless was already months overdue at the time and would actually take another three and half years to come out, only the most optimistic would have expected them to get their act together enough to pull off a North American tour. But they did, and it was glorious.

And so Tuesday night’s show – again at the Kool Haus – in support of their long-promised third album mbv came without some of that weight of expectation that surrounded their previous visit, but was still cause for excitement – these were still legends, after all… But even legends are still human. Unexpected for a band as epically amplified as they, both Kevin Shields and drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig started off with acoustic guitars and Belinda Butcher on keyboards for a reading of “Sometimes” that kept drifting out of synch with itself, the basic click track underpinning it not quite up to the job of keeping everyone in time. Shields would comment, “We really fucked that up” when it was over and he wasn’t wrong.

But a few more missteps aside – most notably “Thorn” getting two false starts before being abandoned midway through a third shot, Shields blaming a guitar “in the wrong key” – it was another immensely satisfying show. For being expectedly and incredibly loud, the mix was surprisingly clear with drums, keys, and most importantly vocals being sufficiently audible over the six-string din (a third guitarist beefed things up even further when not covering on keys). That they achieved this in a room that can be unforgiving to less proficient sound techs was remarkable, and it allowed the beauty of their softer moments – like mbv‘s “New You” – to come through and allowed the more violent numbers to do their work with surgical elegance rather than just as blunt instruments.

The set list drew fairly evenly from their three albums and b-sides, showcasing both their elegant and aggressive sides, with highlights including a deliciously bent “Only Shallow”, an impressive “Wonder 2” that again brought Ó Cíosóig from behind the kit to add a guitar while a drum track kept time, and the still-irresistibly dancey “Soon”, to say nothing of the endless parade of offset-body Fender guitars. The usually silent Shields was a bit chattier than normal, if just to explain and apologize for their technical hiccups, with Butcher adding a polite “thank you” before their closing salvo of “Feed Me With Your Kiss” and the scorched-earth “You Made Me Realize”, though rather than try to top the 23-minute ‘holocaust’ section from 2008, they capped it at a reasonable nine. There’s not many bands that you’d actually feel some disappointment that they didn’t apply the aural equivalent of a dental cleaning with a space shuttle booster rocket for the length of a network sitcom, but there’s not many bands like My Bloody Valentine. Or any.

The Toronto Star, National Post, NOW, and Exclaim also have reviews of the show. The attached photo is from the 2008 photoset; no photography was permitted this time around.

Video: My Bloody Valentine – “Only Shallow”
Video: My Bloody Valentine- “Soon”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “To Here Knows When”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “Swallow”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “You Made Me Realise”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “Feed Me With Your Kiss”
Stream: My Bloody Valentine / mbv

DIY, Consequence Of Sound, Paper, and FasterLouder talk to Cut Copy about their just-released new album, Free Your Mind. They’re in town November 15 at The Danforth Music Hall.

Blood Orange is streaming the whole of his new album Cupid Deluxe, which will be available digitally next week on November 12 before coming out in physical formats on November 19.

Stream: Blood Orange / Cupid Deluxe

Artist Direct, The Telegraph, and Yahoo talk to Shane Meadows about directing the Made Of Stone documentary on The Stone Roses. It gets a Toronto premiere at both The Bloor and Cineplex Yonge-Dundas on November 22, and continues screening at YDS from November 24 to 28.

Drowned In Sound talks to Cate Le Bon about her new record Mug Museum, out November 12. She’ll be at The Drake Underground on January 21.

When it was announced that Until The Colours Run – the new record from Lanterns On The Lake – wasn’t getting a North American release until January 14 despite coming out in the UK in October, I hoped it meant that the record would get a much-deserved proper promotional push over here. And indeed, they’ve announced a North American tour for next year that brings them to the Drake Underground on February 1. Under The Radar has the full itinerary as well as a stream of a new song, but you can hear the whole thing via a link in my review of the record last month.

Stream: Lanterns On The Lake – “The Buffalo Days”

Johnny Flynn has released a new video from Country Mile as well as some North American tour dates in the first part of next year. Interestingly, there’s no Toronto date but there is a Montreal one on January 21 and several days off around it, so I’m guessing it will be announced sooner or later.

Video: Johnny Flynn – “Gypsy Hymn”

Drowned In Sound, The Jakarta Post, and The Star find out what Danish prog-rockers Mew are up to, besides working on a new album.

The Line Of Best Fit checks in with The Raveonettes, who will begin recording a new record in the new year.

The Sydney Morning Herald talks to Anna Calvi, who has released a video for the opening track of her new record, One Breath.

Video: Anna Calvi – “Suddenly”

Patrick Wolf has released a new video for the Sundark & Riverlight version of “The Libertine”, premiered at artforfreedom.com in support of LGBT rights at the Sochi Olympics.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “The Libertine”

Exclaim talks to Neil Halstead about Black Hearted Brother and the band, as a unit, list some of their most influential albums for MusicOmh.

DIY talks to Foals.

PopMatters has an interview with Los Campesinos!.

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Let Them

jj mixes, tapes, kills

Photo By Malin BernaltMalin Bernalt>Swedish outfit jj had an interesting 2010. At year’s start, the mysterious duo was one of the more hotly tipped acts around, their mysterious, r&b-inflected/narcotic-influenced dream-pop scoring them a support slot for The xx’s first headlining North American tour and a Stateside release for their debut album No. 2 as well as its imminent follow-up, No. 3.

It all started to go wrong when they rolled into SxSW, though, when it was discovered that their live shows were perplexing, awkward affairs with Elin Kastlander singing overtop pre-recorded backing tracks while co-conspirator Joakim Benon just stood there. Not exactly the sort of impression that bands usually want to make in Austin in March, but jj seemed to come into things with an approach that was either performance art, contempt or both. The subsequent shows with The xx proved their indifferent approach to live performance wasn’t a fluke and after No. 3 failed to garner the sort of rave reviews its predecessor did – though to my ears it sounded similar enough that the backlash was puzzling – the buzz surrounding them seemed to dissipate significantly.

After being left along through much of the Fall, jj returned in the tail end of the year and they came bearing gifts. First in November, a free two-track digital single entitled Let Them and then on Christmas eve, a full-length mixtape entitled Kills, also available gratis. This wasn’t a TDK SA90 of their favourite tracks for your stocking – the kind of mix tape I’m familiar with – but one of the hip-hop variety wherein the band sample, remixe and otherwise jam out overtop a variety of other peoples’ tunes. If I were better versed with contemporary hip-hop I might better appreciate whatever alchemy they work on Kills but even without knowing my Kanye from my Jay-Z, it’s an entertaining listen thanks to Kastlander’s beguiling vocals.

Some acts just aren’t meant for the stage – as long as they keep making interesting music and giving it away, I think we can forgive them that.

MP3: jj – “Let Them”
MP3: jj – “I’m The One/Money On My Mind”
MP3: jj – “New Work”
Video: jj – “Kill Them”

Under The Radar reports that next Tuesday, Danish art-rockers Mew will give their career-spanning compilation Eggs Are Funny a North American release. In addition to their greatest hits, there’s one new track which you can hear over at Soundcloud.

The Line Of Best fit has a studio performance from and Under The Radar an interview with The Concretes. They’re at the Horseshoe on January 17.

Fanfarlo’s contribution to the latest Twilight soundtrack has yielded a video. They’re currently writing album number two. Patience.

Video: Fanfarlo – “Atlas”

MusicOmh, The Irish Independent and The Guardian have features on British Sea Power, whose Valhalla Dancehall comes out on Tuesday. A new MP3 from the record has just been made available.

MP3: British Sea Power – “Who’s In Control”

The first MP3 from Mogwai’s forthcoming Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will was made available via email widget back in November, but now it’s up for grabs for even the email-submitting-averse. Their new album is out February 15 and is better than you think it will be, no matter how good you think it will be. They’re at the Phoenix on April 26.

MP3: Mogwai – “Pano Rano”

Stereogum solicits a status report on PJ Harvey’s next record Let England Shake, though considering the first single “The Words That Maketh The Murder” will be out on January 17 and the album is due in a little over a month on February 15, the only status that should be getting reports is, “It’s done. Leave me alone”.

Pitchfork introduces you to Jonny, made up of Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake and Euros Childs, formerly of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. Their debut self-titled album will be out April 12 but in the meantime, there’s a video and a free EP of non-album tracks to get you acclimated.

Video: Jonny – “Candyfloss”
ZIP: Jonny / Free EP

The Quietus recounts Geoff Barrow’s Twitter-disseminated list of what NOT to expect of the new Portishead record, whenever it comes out this year.

The terrible interface of the Folio magazine online edition is worth enduring to read the interview about the Britpop era with former Sleeper frontwoman and eternal crush object Louise Wener by Summer Camp chanteuse Elizabeth Sankey. Picking up a copy of Wener’s autobiography Different For Girls when I’m in the UK this Summer is on my to-do list.

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

For Almost Ever

Bill Fox to help Kelp Records celebrate 16th birthday

Photo via Last.FMLast.fmSo apparently there’s this guy – based in Ohio but sings with an affected British accent, played in a band with his brother for a while, has a habit of writing amazing pop songs and recording them onto 4-track cassette and is worshipped by those in the know. I’m talking, of course, about Bill Fox. Why, who were you thinking of?

I actually can’t pretend to be one of those aforementioned “in the know”, however. Prior to a few weeks ago, the first I’d heard of Bill Fox was via the first sample of Nada Surf’s forthcoming covers record, if i had a hi-fi, and “Electrocution” offered a terrific first impression – both of the Nada Surf record and the songwriting talent behind that song. And then a copy of his 1998 record Transit Byzantium was forwarded on to me by the folks at Ottawa-based Kelp Records, both for my own musical edification and by way of invitation to help them celebrate their 16th anniversary.

Apparently the traditional 16th anniversary gift is silver holloware, but who doesn’t have enough of that cluttering up their homes? Instead, Kelp – who has been and still is home to such acts as The Acorn, Hilotrons and Jim Bryson, is marking their 16th by throwing a series of parties in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, featuring Mr Bill Fox and a variety of Kelp friends and family. For my part, I’m pleased to be co-presenting the Toronto show which will take place on Wednesday, May 12, and feature sets by Andrew Vincent, Chris Page, Leif Vollebekk and of course, Bill Fox.

Obviously I cannot pretend that I’m anything resembling an old-school fan of Bill Fox or his old band The Mice, but my crash course in his story and works has been a wholly enjoyable one: The Mice are terrific scrappy power pop and Fox’s solo works more folkish and thoughtful but just as melodic. And so I’m happy to be able to associate my name with a Canadian label that’s been fighting the good fight for so long and a show that is no doubt bringing much happiness to those out there who ARE old-school Bill Fox fans. For a while Fox had dropped almost completely out of sight – his Wikipedia page more or less tells the tale – and while he’s now playing live more and his catalog is slowly being reissued courtesy of Scat Records, the man doesn’t really tour so this is, as they say, an opportunity.

Tickets for the Toronto show are $10 in advance. Grab a free sampler of Kelp artists at Bandcamp.

MP3: The Mice – “Not Proud Of The USA”
MP3: The Mice – “More Than I Can Talk About”
MP3: Nada Surf – “Electrocution”

Stereogum has premiered the new video from Born Ruffians’ forthcoming Say It, due out June 1. They play The Horseshoe on May 28.

Video: Born Ruffians – “What To Say”

The New Pornographers are streaming Together in its entirety at Exclaim, a week ahead of its May 4 release. They will be at the Sound Academy on June 15.

Stream: The New Pornographers / Together

School Of Seven Bells have finally put a release date on their second album, Disconnect From Desire. Pitchfork has the vitals on the new record, which will out on July 13.

Alison Mosshart of The Kills tells BBC 6 that their new record is more than halfway complete.

The Fly interviews James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, whose This Is Happening is out May 18 and who are at the Kool Haus on May 25. Slowly, but surely, I am starting to get LCD. It’s fun like parties, right? I get that.

Shout Out Louds are taking over the editors desk at Magnet this week as they gear up for their North American tour which brings them to the Mod Club on May 8.

Mew have released a typically weird new video from No More Stories.

Video: Mew – “Beach”

In concert news, the June 9 She & Him show has been moved from the Phoenix to the Sound Academy. I’m somewhat surprised at this, as the show has been sold out for well over a month and I figured if a move was in the offing, it’d have happened sooner. But so it is that Matt and Zooey will now be visiting in the most despised room in the city, but look on the bright side – it’s now all-ages so at least some of the 2000 more people who can attend won’t be very tall. And no, there’s no info on getting refunds because you have the new room. Sorry.

MP3: She & Him – “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?”

Their free record release show last week having been a huge (crushing) success, Plants & Animals will be returning for a June 24 show at the Opera House; unfortunately this one you have to pay for. They’re featured in The Montreal Mirror, The Montreal Gazette, Chart and The Toronto Sun.

MP3: Plants & Animals – “Tom Cruz”

Could one band who hasn’t been here in ages and another who just visited make up the bill of the Summer? When it’s The Flaming Lips and Spoon, maybe so. The pair will be at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 8 and considering the show starts at 6:45 and curfew is 11PM, it seems the Lips will finally be making up for their 15-minute V Fest set in 2006. Tickets go on sale Saturday at 10AM and range from $52.50 for GA floors (and the privilege of being in Wayne Coyne’s bubble walk route) to $29.50 for lawns (unlikely he’ll make it up there but you never know).

Video: The Flaming Lips – “Powerless”
Video: Spoon – “Written In Reverse”

The Swell Season will be coming back to town on July 12 for a show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, tickets $39.50 to $42.50. It sounds as though Glen Hansard is getting The Frames out of mothballs for their 20th anniversary, so this could be your last chance to see him in a quieter headspace, not to mention Marketa Irglova.

MP3: The Swell Season – “In These Arms”

Ween are coming to town – look for them at the Kool Haus on July 20, tickets $35. Is it wrong that this is my favourite Ween composition?

MP3: Ween – “Where’d The Cheese Go?”

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Empty-Hall Sing-Along

Woodpigeon prepare third fourth fifth album, tour

Photo By Leigh RightonLeigh RightonFor a band that’s so good at doing things quietly, Calgary’s Woodpigeon certainly has a thing for volume. Their debut Songbook was originally released in 2006 in Canada and Japan, then reissued in Europe in 2008 to great critical acclaim. Their next release Treasury Library Canada wasn’t even intended to be a proper follow-up – just a collection of outtakes and leftovers from Songbook intended for sale as a limited run direct from the band. Thankfully, it became clear very quickly that it was too good a collection to not be made available to all – an opinion backed up by its eventual Polaris Prize longlisting – and it was reissued in early 2009, itself with another complete album appended as a bonus in Houndstooth Europa.

Which brings us to the impending release of their next album Die Stadt Muzikanten. Weighing in at 16 tracks and filled with orchestral pop finery, it’s no slight musical statement but again, Woodpigeon are all about value and North American and Japanese editions will come with Balladeer / To All The Guys I’ve Loved Before, described as an EP but at a dozen tracks and over 47 minutes, is pretty much another proper album recorded with Howard Bilerman, Steve Albini and Husky Hoskulds. And this round-up doesn’t even include all the one-offs, covers and whatnot that are regularly given away on their website. Sufficed to say, if you’re a Woodpigeon fan, you are never short of material to listen to.

Hearing said material live, however, is less easy – at least if you live in Ontario. Though the band has staged extensive tours throughout Europe, where they remain a much bigger draw than their home and native land, they rarely seem to make it out this way. Since 2007 they’ve only visited Toronto twice, opening for Calexico in July 2007 and an appearance at this Summer NxNE 2009. They’re looking to rectify that somewhat this Winter and have booked a fairly extensive tour through southern Ontario and Quebec, locally stopping at the Drake Underground on February 11.

Die Stadt Muzikanten is out on January 12 in Canada and Japan, March 1 in Europe and March 9 in the US, with Treasury Library Canada being made available domestically in the US for the first time as of that date as well. A sample track from Die Stadt is available below along with a holiday tune for the, well, holidays. Woodpigeon’s Mark Hamilton gave Ragged Words a list of his albums of the decade.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Empty-Hall Sing-Along”
MP3: Woodpigeon – “xoxmas”

NYCTaper is sharing a recording of Final Fantasy’s recent show in New York, chock full of material from Heartland. Said album is out January 12 and the show that night at the Mod Club is sold right out. Way to dither.

Southern Souls has a video session with Olenka & The Autumn Lovers.

Spinner gets a rundown from Diamond Rings’ John O’Regan about how the Sony takedown kerfuffle last week shook out.

Stereogum talks to Born Ruffians about how the drummer situation that resulted in founding member Steve Hamelin giving up the throne for a spell this year was resolved, just in time to record sophomore album Say It, out early next year.

Joel Plaskett discusses the Thrush Hermit reunion with Spinner. That hits Lee’s Palace for two nights in March, the 26 and 27.

aux.tv recorded a video interview with The Rural Alberta Advantage at their instore last month at Soundscapes; The Portland Mercury also has a chat.

Toro y Moi and The Ruby Suns have a date at the Drake Underground on March 30. The former’s Causers Of This and the latter have a new one entitled Fight Softly and due out March 10.

MP3: Toro y Moi – “Blessa”
MP3: The Ruby Suns – “Tane Mahuta”

Swedes ahoy! Pitchfork reports that Taken By Trees will join Anna Ternheim as support for El Perro Del Mar on their upcoming North American tour, which stops in at the Mod Club on February 21. The Skinny talks to Victoria Bergsman.

MP3: Taken By Trees – “My Boys”
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Watch The Waves”
Video: Taken By Trees – “My Boys”

Denmark’s Efterklang have a date at the El Mocambo on March 6 as part of a North American tour in support of Magic Chairs, out February 22.

MP3: Efterklang – “Modern Drift”

The National Post talks to Bo Madsen of Mew.

Bettie Serveert will return with a new album in Pharmacy Of Love on March 23. There’s already a video for the first single.

Video: Bettie Serveert – “Deny All”

Filter solicits a list of Lightspeed Champion’s ten favourite things of 2009. Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You – which has good odds of being one of my favourite things of 2010 – is out February 16.

Fanfarlo plays a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR.