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Posts Tagged ‘Mikal Cronin’

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Blackt Out

Stream of new Lee Ranaldo album declared essential service; continues despite US shutdown

Photo By John Von PamerJohn Von PamerThe United States government may be in shutdown mode over political wranglings, but it’s good to know that both sides of the aisle can agree that the people should be able to hear Last Night On Earth, the new album from once and hopefully future Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo and his new outfit The Dust, which also includes Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley.

Like bandmate Thurston Moore’s extra-cirricular activities in Chelsea Light Moving, Ranaldo’s vocals and guitar style are instantly recognizable and not far off from what he put on display with Sonic Youth, but whereas Moore took the opportunity of shedding expectations to go punker and heavier, Ranaldo goes in the poppier direction, with Night always melodic and downright pretty. But don’t think for a moment that means he’s gone soft – or get within range of his guitar and say so; they’ll set you straight.

Last Night On Earth is streaming now at Clash – you see they went with a UK-based website, just to be sure it was safe – and it’s out officially on October 8. His North American tour gets underway the same day and rolls into The Horseshoe not long after on October 11.

Stream: Lee Ranaldo & The Dust / Last Night On Earth

Clash has an interview with Sleigh Bells while Rolling Stone has an advance stream of Bitter Rivals before its official release next week on October 8. They play The Phoenix on November 13.

Stream: Sleigh Bells / Bitter Rivals

Pitchfork has the advance stream of the new of Montreal record lousy with sylvianbriar, out next week. The Fly talks to frontman Kevin Barnes about the new album.

Stream: of Montreal / Lousy With Sylvianbriar

Aquarium Drunkard talks to The Men about their Campfire Songs EP which comes out October 15. They also play The Horseshoe on October 20.

Buzzfeed has an interview with The Head & The Heart as well as a stream of a new track from Let’s Be Still, out October 15. They’re at The Danforth Music Hall on October 31.

Stream: The Head & The Heart – “Another Story”

Esquire has a video session with The Dismemberment Plan, whose first album in forever – Uncanney Valley – comes out October 15. Billboard and Denver Westword also have interviews with the band.

Frankie Rose, who made her name as drummer for Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, and Vivian Girls before stepping up as frontwoman and dreampop-leaning solo artist, has been announced as support for Franz Ferdinand at the Kool Haus on October 24. She just released her second album Herein Wild, which she talks to Stereogum and The Village Voice about.

Stream: Frankie Rose – “Street Of Dreams”
Stream: Frankie Rose – “Sorrow”

Widowspeak are streaming a new song that will appear on their The Swamps EP when it comes out October 29. Expect them to have copies for sale when they roll into The Silver Dollar on November 2.

Stream: Widowspeak – “Calico”

Albert Hammond Jr – aka the only Stroke who actually seems to still enjoy being a rock band – will be releasing a new solo EP in AHJ on October 8 and will be in town at The Phoenix on November 10 to play some songs from it, and hopefully some others since there’s only five of them. Tickets $20 in advance.

Stream: Albert Hammond Jr. – “Rude Customer”

Under The Radar has details on a new EP and tour from Denver duo Tennis; their Small Sound extended play will be available November 5 – stream a new song below – and they’ll be at The Garrison on November 10, tickets $16.

MP3: Tennis – “Take Me Somewhere”
Stream: Tennis – “Mean Streets”

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Lou Barlow of Sebadoh, coming to town for a November 8 show at The Horseshoe.

Crocodiles have premiered a new video from their latest album < em>Crimes Of Passion via Stereogum. They play Lee’s Palace on November 19.

Video: Crocodiles – “Teardrop Guitar”

Los Angeles’ Lord Huron has announced an extensive tour for next Winter that stops in at The Danforth Music Hall on February 1, tickets $22.50. Their last release was 2012’s Lonesome Dreams but they might well have a new release out in time for these shows.

MP3: Lord Huron – “The Stranger”

Bob Pollard offers The Utne Reader some life lessons; the next Guided By Voices album Motivational Jumpsuit will be out in late February.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Will Sheff of Okkervil River.

Stereogum has premiered the new Mary Timony-starring video from Mikal Cronin’s MCII.

Video: Mikal Cronin – “Peace Of Mine”

NYC Taper has posted recordings of Superchunk’s shows at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan last week.

Exclaim reports that New York’s premier Anglo-Japanese shoegaze outfit Asobi Seksu have gone on indefinite hiatus. Thanks for the blown eardrums, guys.

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Drain

Whirr, Nothing, Breeze, and Dilly Dally at The Silver Dollar in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangA glance at the sandwich board outside the Silver Dollar on Saturday night would shown a bill of bands with largely vague and generic names, yet if one were to have stepped inside and takn in the bill, they’d have found the appellations remarkably descriptive and appropriate.

I’d seen locals Dilly Dally a few years ago at Halifax Pop Explosion 2010, and despite the rough edges – or maybe because of them – I liked what I heard and was happy to have the opportunity to check in with them again, what with their not having especially blown up in the interim. What had transpired between then and now, however, was a dialing down of the early ’00s garage rock snottiness in favour of a heavier, jerkier Pixies-esque sound and songwriting style. So while still rather on the nose with their influences, their material was definitely more distinctive and, should a record finally emerge, it should be interesting and an aural salve for anyone who feared sullenly tuneful indifference was a thing of the past.

I don’t know if Toronto really had a former great shoegazing hope amongst all the bands operating, but they’ve certainly got a next one in Breeze. Looking and sounding the part of the first wave of the genre – Jazzmasters, check; shaggy curly hair and striped shirts, check – their songs were simply structured, unfailingly melodic, and struck the right balance of soft, dreamy vocals and churning guitars that wisely saved their really noisy moments for the instrumental breaks. There wasn’t any specific aspect of them that marked them as burgeoning superstars but as a unit they were really strong on fundamentals, their drummer as solid as he wasn’t flashy. Signed to local label Hand Drawn Dracula, they’ve only got a couple singles out at the moment but a debut album is forthcoming and for fans of the genre, worth keep an eye out for.

Philadelphia’s Nothing were the front half of the touring bill that was anchoring this show, and though I hadn’t heard them before, their name was a pretty good indicator of where they were coming from. While you could technically argue they were in keeping with the shoegazing theme of the evening, they were less about having sound wash over you than hit you like a brickbat. Though punishingly loud, they avoided sonic incoherence and if you paid close attention, were fundamentally tuneful under it all – a trait which became clearer the few times they turned the distortion down. I’m kind of amazed how different they sound on their last release, the Downward Years To Come 12″ EP, which is much more classically shoegaze in conceit and execution. Though as it turned out, that Jekyll and Hyde phenomenon wasn’t isolated to them.

The first sign that this Whirr set might not be what I was expecting was that as Nothing tore down and they set up, the grinding feedback that closed the former’s performance continued to reverberate through the club until they began playing. The second was that there was no sign of singers Alexandra Morte, who appeared on their Pipe Dreams and Distressor albums, or Kristina Esfandiari who appeared on this year’s Around mini-LP. Considering the female vocals are a huge part of the band on record – their being the softness that buttresses against the band’s waves of sound – it was a pretty big absence. Not that they’d have necessarily been heard anyways, since the guitars and drums were so loud that the vocals were rendered completely inaudible. Seriously, they could have been lip-synching or singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” and you wouldn’t have known; given this, that Nothing’s singer jumped on stage to sing one song was kind of hilarious.

This is not to suggest the show lacked presence or impact; Whirr had a physicality onstage not often seen at shows of this ilk, with all five moving as though jerked by marionette strings or being impacted by the notes they were playing, but given that their ability to capture on record that My Bloody Valentine-esque dichotomy of sonic brutality and aural beauty is a huge part of the band’s appeal, that they’d choose not to indulge that at all was rather frustrating. An guitar line would occasionally surface that gave some indication of what song it was they were playing, but the live renditions were so far removed from the recordings – if the album versions were watercolours, live they were huge swathes of jet-black paint – that experiencing the show on anything but a purely visceral level was largely futile. And while that approach was satisfying in its way, it also got tedious after a while. I found it curious that the band would go through the trouble of writing, recording, releasing, and touring these songs only to opt to bludgeon them to death every night, but I suppose that’s their prerogative. I do hope, however, that some of the people who were impressed enough to buy records after their set take them home, put them on, and are confused by all the actual songs.

The Aquarian has a short interview with Whirr.

Photos: Whirr, Nothing, Breeze, Dilly Dally @ The Silver Dollar – August 17, 2013
MP3: Dilly Dally – “Helen Hunt”
MP3: Dilly Dally – “Pretty Pretty Pictures”
Stream: Whirr – “Drain”
Stream: Whirr – “Swoon”
Stream: Nothing / Downward Years To Come
Stream: Breeze – “Paradise (In a While)”
Stream: Breeze – “Repent”
Stream: Dilly Dally – “Tip Toes”
Stream: Dilly Dally – “Green”
Stream: Dilly Dally – “Killing Time”
Stream: Dilly Dally – “Candy Mountain”

Grantland, The AV Club, and The Fly talk to Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan, whose new album I Hate Music is out this week.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has the low-down on the players replacing the missing Replacements at Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson’s side at Riot Fest at Garrison Commons on August 25.

Neko Case has made her new album The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You available to stream a full two weeks ahead of its September 3 release via NPR.

Stream: Neko Case / The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

USA Today has premiered the next performance video from Okkervil River’s forthcoming The Silver Gymnasium, this one of which finds Will Sheff playing in the titular gymnasium of his old grade school. The record comes out September 3 and they play The Phoenix on September 28.

Video: Okkervil River – “Lido Pier Suicide Car” (live in the Silver Gymnasium)

Consequence Of Sound have a stream of another track from the new of Montreal album lousy with sylvianbriar, out October 8.

Stream: of Montreal – “She Ain’t Speakin’ Now”

Matablog has details on Lee Ranaldo’s new solo record; credited to Lee Ranaldo & The Dust, Last Night On Earth will be out on October 8 and you can stream the first track from it below. This offers some context to Ranaldo’s previously-announced date at The Horseshoe on October 11.

Stream: Lee Ranaldo & The Dust – “Lecce, Leaving”

Magnet spends some (a lot) of time with Josh Tillman of Father John Misty. You can do the same when he plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre solo on October 15.

Pitchfork has a new sort-of performance video from Fiona Apple and Blake Mills, whose co-tour comes to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 17.

We Talk You Die interviews new Midlake frontman Eric Pulido about their new record Antiphon, coming November 5.

The Alternate Side has a session and interview with Yo La Tengo.

KCRW is streaming an acoustic studio session with The National.

NPR welcomes Mikal Cronin for a World Cafe session; Spoonfed also has an interview.

MTV Hive and Glamour talk to Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee.

Monday, June 17th, 2013

NXNE 2013 Day One

Mikal Cronin, Diana, Moon King, and more at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI acknowledge that most coverage of NXNE referencing “night one” would be referring to the actual first night of the festival – that being last Wednesday night – but since instead of being out at the clubs, I spent that evening dealing with plumbing issues and catching up on Game Of Thrones, “night one” hereabouts will refer to the first night I got out of the house, which is to say Thursday, which is most others’ “night two”. None of which really matters to anyone; this I also acknowledge. So let’s move on. To The Horseshoe.

I’d flagged Moon King as one of the most interesting new acts in the city since seeing them open up for Niki & The Dove last Fall, a judgement confirmed by the first two thirds of their Obsession EP trilogy. The band is generally flagged as psych-pop – which is accurate – but the way they blend melody, texture, and innocence reminds me a lot of the early shoegaze bands and I’d rate them closer in spirit and execution than most because it’s clear they’re not even trying to be.

And so I was pretty happy to start the festival by seeing how far they’d come in the past nine months. Not that they were a green outfit by any means – band principals Maddy Wilde and Daniel Woodhead cut their teeth years ago as half of Spiral Beach – but Moon King still provided a new dynamic, with Woodhead moving from drums to frontman and Wilde putting the keyboards away to focus on guitar. Still, there was a perceptible difference in their performance this time out – they sounded heavier, yet more assured; their playful side now augmented by a sense of danger, which was a good look, at least in theory. The tail end of the show got a bit too literal with that as the shop lights – you know, the yellow ones with the “DANGER EXTREMELY HOT” warning stickers on them – they were using as stage lights got knocked over during an attempted stage dive, and those of us in the front row spent the remainder of the show trying to ensure that the various things that came in contact with them and started smoking – ie, mic cables and the Horseshoe stage carpeting – didn’t erupt into flame and Great White us all. Because that would have sucked and definitely would have garnered a more negative review.

Photos: Moon King @ The Horseshoe – June 13, 2013
MP3: Moon King – “Appel”
MP3: Moon King – “Only Child”
Video: Moon King – “Only Child”
Video: Moon King – “Sleeping In My Car”

Having just seen Diana back in March, I didn’t expect too much of a different show than last time, but considering in the interim they’d signed to Paper Bag at home and Jagjaguwar in the US for the August 20 release of their debut Perpetual Surrender, the attention they’ve been garnering has certainly increased. But if anyone was worried that their ascent has gotten to their heads, fear not – they may have started late, but it was because they were scrambling looking for a MIDI cable rather than trying to keep anyone waiting. And so while the set might have started a bit discombobulated, it was nice watching it all quickly fall into place and the band get their feet under them. And assuming a couple months didn’t make that big a difference in the live show proved to be wrong – Diana demonstrated some legitimate funk and disco moves to go with their smooth synth-pop soul stylings, and Carmen Elle seems much more at ease fronting the band and now more convincingly inhabits the character of the songs – not that that precludes her dropping to her knees and ripping an impressive guitar solo. Good to see you can take the girl out of the Army, but you can’t take the army out of the girl.

Photos: Diana @ The Horseshoe – June 13, 2013
MP3: Diana – “Born Again”
Video: Diana – “Born Again”

At this point I abandoned the sure-thing-ness offered by The Horseshoe, both room and lineup, and trekked up to Kensington to inspect a new venue called Handlebar and a new band called Valleys. Okay, not that new as I’ve commented on the solidity of their debut album Are You Going To Stand There And Talk Weird All Night?, but still. Sadly, both were some degree of disappointment. Handlebar for being basically being pitch-black by photographic standards, and Valleys for just being a generally lacklustre live show. I appreciate that the difference in being a studio project and live band can be immense, but the disservice that Valleys did their really quite good debut was unfortunate. With Marc St. Louis on guitar and Matilda Perks on keys playing of backing tracks, it was the least interesting path from recording to stage one could take and both seemed decidedly disinterested in making even that sound compelling. Tempos were off, pitch was off, the mix was off… perhaps it was an off night, perhaps the problems with the venue extended to the sound and not just the light, but based on this showing, I’d still recommend hearing Talk Weird and its synthetically cinematic charms, but skipping the show.

Photos: Valleys @ Handlebar – June 13, 2013
Video: Valleys – “Undream A Year”

A list-minute decision to see if I could get into The Silver Dollar to see Californian Mikal Cronin start his three-night stand – it turned out I could – would still allow me to close the night on an up note -a VERY up note. I’d only just gotten around to hearing Cronin’s second album MCII a couple weeks ago, and its Big Muff-drenched power-pop was impossible not to fall for immediately. Not just for me, but for many – I was glad I’d gotten there just a little early, because by show time the Dollar was jammed with garage rock fans looking to blow off a little steam. And indeed, Cronin and his crew provided the perfect soundtrack for their mosh-pitting, beer-tossing, crowd-surfing tomfoolery. It did get rowdy, but stayed good-natured, just like Cronin’s music – plenty of fuzzy edges but warm and chewy inside. Loud, energetic, and fun, it was exactly the way to close out the night and Cronin’s promises of Limp Bizkit and Smash Mouth covers on the following nights was almost enough to get me to go back.

Photos: Mikal Cronin @ The Silver Dollar – June 13, 2013
MP3: Mikal Cronin – “Apathy”
MP3: Mikal Cronin – “Get Along”
Video: Mikal Cronin – “Change”

BlogTO has an interview with Japandroids, who inaugurate the new Adelaide Music Hall with a show tonight. And if you wanted to know more about Toronto’s newest venue – which is Opera House-sized, if you were wondering – The Grid is on it.

DIY, The Line Of Best Fit, and Spin have features on Sigur Rós in advance of the release of their new album Kveikur on June 18.

Exclaim has details on Smilewound, the new album from múm; it’s out September 17 and there’s a new video from it.

Video: múm – “Toothwheels”

Ólafur Arnalds has released a new video from his latest album For Now I Am Winter.

Video: Ólafur Arnalds – “Only The Winds”

Beatroute and Creative Loafing talk to Copenhagen’s Iceage.

The Guardian gets to know the ladies of Icona Pop, coming to town to play The Grove Fest at Garrison Common on August 3.

Interview gets to know Nick Cave.

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Walking On The Streets

Live every day of NXNE like it’s Beach Day

Photo By Scott WitterScott WitterOh hey, it’s that time of year again where I realize it’s NXNE week and I try to throw together some sort of list of recommendations of acts to go see starting next Wednesday and through the weekend at Toronto’s many clubs and club-like venues. And probably because I’m just not as good at keeping up with what’s new and interesting as perhaps I once was, it’s not escaped my notice that a lot of the recommendations are pretty familiar names hereabouts. Sorry about that.

But maybe Beach Day will be a new name to you; they certainly have been to me. Their sound is kind of old – the surf/girl-group/garage sounds they mine are pretty vintage and even the indie rock revival of said genres probably peaked a few years ago – but the Florida trio justifies themselves quite well with sharp, concise songwriting and s/punky attitude. Their debut album Trip Trap Attack comes out next Tuesday, June 18, and they’ll be spending the weekend leading up to it gigging all around Toronto. In addition to their official showcase at Handlebar on Saturday, June 15 at 11PM, they’re also playing an afternoon in-store at Urban Outfitters on Yonge St. on Friday, June 14, at 2PM and another the Sunday evening of June 16 at Kops Records on Queen St West at 6:30PM.

Austin Town Hall, Donkey Jaw, and The G-Man have interviews with the band.

MP3: Beach Day – “Love Is Strange”
Video: Beach Day – “Beach Day”
Video: Beach Day – “Boys”

And now, the day-by-day recommends:

Wednesday, June 12

Bernice @ The Piston, 8PM – Dreamy, jazzy pop from Toronto singer Robin Dann with assistance from Owen Pallett collaborator Thom Gill. Not often mentioned as part of the new wave of R&B, but really should be.
Stream: Bernice / When I Know How To Climb

Calexico @ The Mod Club, 10PM – One of the gimmes of the fest, Tejano-infused desert-rockers Calexico never put on a bad show. This will mark their first Toronto visit in support of last year’s Algeirs and first time back in town since 2010.
MP3: Calexico – “Para”

Golden Bloom @ The Painted Lady, 11PM – For times when only singalong melodies and fuzzy guitars will do, there are bands like Golden Bloom. Their latest No Day Like Today is classic power-pop at its finest.
MP3: Golden Bloom – “Flying Mountain”

Thursday, June 13

KASHKA @ Wrongbar, 9PM – New electronic and all-caps incarnation of former Forest City Lovers frontwoman Kat Burns. Guitars may have been traded in for synths, but the songwriting remains as strong as ever.
Video: KASHKA – “Winter Light”

Moon King @ The Horseshoe, 9PM – One of Toronto’s most exciting new acts, the Spiral Beach alumnus are releasing their psych-pop debut Obsession as a series of three EPs, with two out and the third still to come. They also play Wrongbar on Friday at 9PM and Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday at 5PM.
MP3: Moon King – “Appel”

William Tyler @ The Garrison, 9PM – Solo instrumental guitarist whose new album Impossible Truth remembers that it’s about songs and feeling over virtuosity, though there’s plenty of the latter as well.
Stream: William Tyler – “Cadillac Desert”

Camera @ The Drake Underground, 10PM – Big, emotive Brit-rock out of Wales that should push all the right buttons for those partial to big, emotive Brit-rock. Their second album is For When You Wake.
Video: Camera – “Happiness”

Diana @ The Horseshoe, 11PM – Ascendant synth-pop outfit assembled from pieces of Destroyer, Army Girls, Bonjay, and a dozen other Toronto stalwarts. Their debut Perpetual Surrender will be coming out on August 20.
MP3: Diana – “Born Again”

Cœur de pirate @ The Great Hall, 11PM – Having taken some time off since last Fall to focus on motherhood, Beatrice Martin is back on the road with songs from 2011’s Blonde and perhaps some new material as well.
Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Place de la République”

Valleys @ Handlebar, 11PM – Montreal duo whose debut Are You Going To Stand There And Talk Weird All Night? is a solid and occasionally sublime piece of cinematic synth-pop. May as well put them on your radar now because they’re going to get there eventually. They’re also playing The Garrison on Friday night at 10.
Video: Valleys – “Undream A Year”

Olenka & The Autumn Lovers @ The Great Hall, 12AM – London folk-pop collective who’ve yet to properly follow-up 2010’s And Now We Sing, but whose two recent EPs Hard Times and It’s Alright make fine stopgaps until it comes. As do their shows. They also play an acoustic set that afternoon in Bellwoods at 4PM.
Stream: Olenka & The Autumn Lovers / It’s Alright

Mikal Cronin @ The Silver Dollar, 12AM – This year’s rock’n’roll residency goes to San the Francisco-based singer-songwriter who accents his gleaming pop compositions with just the right amount of garage-harvested fuzz, as evidenced by his second album MCII. He also plays June 14 at 12AM and June 15 at 1AM. Catch one or all; you won’t regret it. Missoulian, SF Weekly, and Red Eye have features.
Video: Mikal Cronin – “Change”

No Joy @ BLK BOX, 12AM – Montreal trio who infuse their shoegaze roots with a healthy dose of punk rock aggression; be glad they’re looking at their shoes because eye contact probably means they’re gonna fight you. Their second album Wait To Pleasure came out a couple months ago.
Video: No Joy – “Hare Tarot Lies”

Del Bel @ The Great Hall, 1AM – Local film noir-inspired collective who should have some new material to show off; they’ve been working on the follow-up to 2011’s Oneiric for a while now.
Stream: Del Bel / Oneiric

Friday, June 14

Decades @ Urban Outfitters, 12PM – Toronto glam/New Wave newcomers who’ve got a really solid self-titled debut to show off will kick off a great day show lineup ahead of their set at The Silver Dollar that night at 11PM.
Video: Decades – “In Sequins”

Still Corners @ Urban Outfitters, 3PM – English dreampop outfit who’ve recast their band lineup and sound between 2011’s Creatures Of An Hour and this year’s Strange Pleasures and somehow come out out just as good, if not better. Their official showcase goes later this night at The Horseshoe at 10PM.
MP3: Still Corners – “Berlin Lovers”

Hayden @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 8:30PM – Announced as the opener for The National during his set at Field Trip this past Saturday, it looks like NXNE is doubling down on gravel-voiced melancholy as what the fans are after.
MP3: Hayden – “Old Dreams”

The National @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 9:30PM – Oh yeah, these guys. They’re alright. May as well see them – it’s free, after all.
MP3: The National – “Fake Empire”

July Talk @ The Mod Club, 10PM – Torontonians whose country-punk with a dash of New Wave formula makes for a great live show and, as their self-titled debut proves, a great record as well.
Video: July Talk – “Guns & Ammunition”

Always @ The Silver Dollar, 10PM – It’s not entirely clear whether these transplanted Maritimers are going by Always or Alwaayz or Alvvays, but that question is less important than when we’ll finally get an official release from these relative newcomers. Some of the finest indie-pop to come out of the 416 in some time.
Stream: Always – “Next Of Kin”

The Magic @ BLK BOX, 11PM – Whether it’s because they took so long to finally release their debut Ragged Gold or the general un-searchability of their name, it is a damn shame that more people are not hot to this Guelph outfit’s smooth and sexy disco-pop. ‘Cause it’s smooth and sexy.
MP3: The Magic – “Door To Door”

The Super Friendz @ The Great Hall, 11PM – Sloan’s Peppermint recital set might be the big draw at the Murderrecords showcase, but miss seeing these intermittently-reunited power-pop mavens at your peril. Matt Murphy is still a hell of a frontman and the songs oh so hold up.
Video: The Super Friendz – “10 Lbs”

The Soft Moon @ The Garrison, 12AM – Bay Area band whose brand of icy post-punk comes with the “darkwave” hashtag. This show’s mandatory for those seeking some gloomy quarters in the warm, June night.
MP3: The Soft Moon – “Breathe The Fire”

Brazos @ Sneaky Dee’s, 12AM – Elegant and melodic indie pop hailing from and named for a street in Austin, Texas; they just released their second album Saltwater. Also playing at the St. James Gazebo on Saturday at 6PM and supporting Villagers at The Great Hall that night at 11PM.
MP3: Brazos – “How The Ranks Was Won”

Gold & Youth @ BLK BOX, 1AM – Vancouver synth-pop band whose debut Beyond Wilderness delivers on a lot of promise and still promises more. This show offers solid, “I saw them when” bragging rights potential.
Video: Gold & Youth – “Jewel”

Odonis Odonis @ The Garrison, 1AM – The growth of these Torontonians from curiousity to compelling has been pretty remarkable to see. I’m still not entirely sure how to describe their particular post-punk niche, but it is definitely getting more and more interesting.
Video: Odonis Odonis – “New World”

Saturday, June 15

Villagers @ Side Door, 8PM – Irish Mercury Prize nominees who’ve got a fresh new album out in {Awayland}. This showcase is an acoustic set; if you want the full band experience, be sure to catch their Great Hall show that same night at midnight.
Video: Villagers – “Passing A Message”

Data Romance @ Supermarket, 10PM – West coast duo that likes to inject a little sexy somethin’ somethin’ into their electro-pop, with sexy results.
MP3: Data Romance – “Spark”

The Sour Notes @ Sneaky Dee’s, 12AM – I’d not heard of this Austin band until a friend said that their co-ed harmonies overtop richly-arranged, yet effortlessly light pop tunes was exactly the sort of thing I’d like. And it was, and so maybe it is for you as well. They’ve also got a NXNE warm-up show at the Horseshoe tomorrow night; it’s free and they’re on at 12:20AM.
MP3: The Sour Notes – “Two Hands Wait”

Majical Cloudz @ The Great Hall, 12AM – On the strength of the confessional electronica of Impersonator, the Montreal duo of Devon Welsh and Matthew Otto have become one of Canada’s most talked-about new acts. So of course this showcase will be hard to get into and yet worth trying anyways.
MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Childhood’s End”

Iceage @ The Horseshoe, 12AM – These Danes barely out of their teens will be declaring their propensity for taut, angular post-punk and inciting sweaty, rowdy, and occasionally violent live shows at customs. And I have no information that they will be the Special Guest at The Garrison on Sunday night at midnight, but…
MP3: Iceage – “New Brigade”

Fresh Snow @ Creatures Creating, 1AM – This show kicks off the Wavelength Road Show which takes Toronto’s new krautrock hopes, as well as Del Bel and Most People, around Ontario and Quebec.
Video: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”

Fucked Up @ The Horseshoe, 1AM – It’s Fucked Up in the Horseshoe. What else do you need to know?
MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”

Lower @ Cherry Cola’s, 2AM – Iceage’s countrymen and tourmates also do the Scandi-post-punk thing, but are less fury, more menace. They also play The Garrison on Sunday night, June 16, at 11PM.
Stream: Lower – “Someone’s Got It In For Me”

Sunday, June 16

Mickey Avalon @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 3PM – Alls I know is that I couldn’t stop laughing at the scene in Harold & Kumar Go To Guantanamo Bay soundtracked by this song, and the prospect that it might be blasting out of the YDS PA at all the Eaton Centre shoppers is kind of great.
Video: Mickey Avalon – “My Dick”

And as befits a proper citywide festival, there’s a number of day shows and whatnot happening this week: The Arts & Crafts pop-up shop at Queen and Dovercourt which coincided with this past weekend’s Field Trip fest will remain popped up with shows and DJ sets every night; there’s the aforementioned Urban Outfitters day show on the 14th; the now-annual Bruise Cruise which takes you, a bunch of other festival-goers and a few choice bands on a tour around the islands; they’ve not yet announced details but it seems implausible that Sonic Boom won’t have at least a day of in-stores. And if you like records and buying records and watching other people buy records, do hit up the Independent Label Market going on at the Ryerson campus all day Saturday.

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Think You Can Wait

The National have a new album and are headlining NXNE. Your argument is invalid.

Photo By Deirdre O'CallaghanDeirdre O’CallaghanSometimes the best kinds of surprises are the ones you already knew were coming. For example – everyone knew The National was making a new record. High Violet came out way back in Spring 2010, touring behind it wrapped in late 2011, and they’ve since been posting updates from the studio via Instagram. Everyone knows they’ve not been idle, and yet it was hard not to feel a shiver when the official press release arrived in the inbox, announcing the album was done and would be out in May. No other details about the release like title or precise release date, but for now it was enough. Well, almost – it also revealed some Spring/Summer tour dates including the fact that The National would be the Yonge-Dundas Square headliner at NXNE.

I had wondered why NXNE was making their first official festival lineup announcement so early – last year’s Flaming Lips reveal didn’t come until mid-April – but I guess when one of your biggest act is going to let the cat out of the bag anyways, why not get on board? And so you can officially circle Friday, June 14, on your calendar as that evening The National will perform a free show for anyone and everyone who cares to listen at Yonge-Dundas Square. It won’t be the multi-sensory spectacle as The Lips offered last year, but it will be gorgeous, showered, and blue-blazered.

A whole batch of acts was announced alongside The National with some of the other high-profile acts coming to town including: Tuscon desert-rock stalwarts Calexico at The Mod Club on June 12, which explains why they’ve taken so long to come to town behind last year’s Algiers; Copenhagen post-punks Iceage at locations to be determined on June 15 and 16, which is why their current tour behind You’re Nothing has a curious Toronto-shaped gap in it despite there being time and space to fit it; one of the two Black Flag reunions – FLAG, featuring Keith Morris and Chuck Dukowski – are at The Opera House on June 14; ascendant Californian garage-rocker Mikal Cronin, whose second album MCII is out May 7, assumes the Silver Dollar residency from June 13 to 15; and the touring bill of Milk Music and Merchandise will play showcases perhaps together, perhaps not.

It’s interesting that with a couple exceptions, most of what was announced yesterday tends to the loud, punk side of things. Perhaps the festival just wants to make an impactful first impression? Certainly did for me, and they’ve got almost four more months to roll out some more rangy acts. Can’t wait.

MP3: The National – “Think You Can Wait”
MP3: Calexico – “Para”
MP3: Iceage – “Coalition”
MP3: Milk Music – “I’ve Got A Wild Feeling”
Stream: Mikal Cronin – “Shout It Out”

Austra took to Twitter to announce themselves as a rather late add to Canadian Musicfest; they’ll be playing The Danforth Music Hall on the evening of March 23. Austinist has an interview with frontwoman Katie Stelmanis.

MP3: Austra – “Lose It”

Stepping out of festival-y stuff for a moment, I’m excited that Stornoway are at The Horseshoe on May 9 in support of their second album Tales From Terra Firma, out March 19. Tickets for that are $15 in advance.

Video: Stornoway – “Knock Me On The Head”

Keeping with the festival additions theme, Stars have been added to the Arts & Crafts past-and-present Field Trip lineup playing Garrison Commons at Fort York on June 8. Right now they’re a little further abroad, hence interviews at AsiaOne and The Sydney Morning Herald

MP3: Stars – “The Theory Of Relativity”

The Toronto Urban Roots Fest continues to make good on their promise to reveal a few more acts every week; this week’s adds to the four-day fest at Garrison Commons from July 4 to 7 include The Hold Steady, Justin Townes Earle, Frank Turner, The Lowest Of The Low, and The Skydiggers. Info on which specific date each act is playing and ticket on-sales are still a few weeks out, but if the festival’s intent is to keep building excitement each week until it lets details out… I think it’s working.

MP3: The Hold Steady – “Stuck Between Stations”
MP3: Justin Townes Earle – “Harlem River Blues”
MP3: Frank Turner – “The Roads”
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “Bleed A Little While Tonight”
MP3: The Skydiggers – “Alice Graham” (live)

And not a festival, but still sort-of keeping in theme as a new addition to an existing event and happening on an outdoor stage… more than a month out from their Sound Academy show, and Alt-J have already announced a return engagement on September 11 at Echo Beach, tickets $34.50 general admission and $50 VIP.

MP3: Alt-J – “Matilda”

And in non-concert announcement business… Low have made another track from The Invisible Way available to download. They play The Great Hall on March 16 and the album is out March 19.

MP3: Low – “So Blue”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs have made the first single from Mosquito available to stream, largely putting to rest fears that the album art would accurately reflect the contents. It’s out April 16.

Stream: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege”

Rolling Stone has a stream of another song from the new Iron & Wine album Ghost on Ghost, out April 16.

Stream: Iron & Wine – “Grace For Saints And Ramblers”

Clash talks to Jim James, paying a visit to The Phoenix on April 24.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Beach House.