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Posts Tagged ‘Modern Superstitions’

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Fade

Happy holidays from Yo La Tengo and also me but mostly Yo La Tengo

Photo By Carlie ArmstrongCarlie ArmstrongSo here’s one last housecleaning post before basically winding down for the holidays. Which isn’t to say I won’t pop back next week, but let’s not assume so.

Happily, Yo La Tengo have made it easy to wrap things up – whereas most quiet down in December, the trio traditionally have their busiest run of the year thanks to their eight-night run of Hannukah shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken. The combination of a tiny room and ridiculously cool opening acts and special guests have made the events instant sellouts, so those of us who don’t reside in or around the New Jersey area can thank NYC Taper for doing their best to document and share the proceedings.

This year, they captured seven of the eight shows and have made them all available to download, so when you’re sick of Christmas carols, pick one and turn it up. And if you want more, Matablog reports that special mix CDs compiled by the band from their own record collections and made available at the shows will be put on sale online today and tomorrow with all proceeds going to Norton Records, whose Brooklyn warehouse was basically destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. Update: And night six is up. Collect them all!

Looking ahead to the January 15 release of their new album Fade, a new video from the record was just released – yes, it’s a time-lapse of a tree not entirely dissimilar to the one on the album cover; it serves as a nice companion piece to the “Before We Run” clip released last month. There’s also a short interview with Ira Kaplan about the new record at DIY, and a gentle reminder that the band are in town at The Phoenix on February 9.

And to keep it seasonal, here’s the Jan Terri cover that led off their 2002 Merry Christmas From Yo La Tengo EP. Because it’s fun.

MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Rock’N’Roll Santa”
Video: Yo La Tengo – “Ohm”

Exclaim has some details on the new Guided By Voices EP coming in the new year. It’s called Down By The Racetrack and will be available as of January 22.

Fast Company Create talks to J Mascis and mixer John Agnello and Village Voice to Lou Barlow about why the Dinosaur Jr reunion has been so successful.

Earlier this week, Bob Mould stopped by Reddit for an “Ask Me Anything” session. On March 1, he stops by The Horseshoe for face-tearing rock session.

Some show announcements before people stop paying attention entirely… American lo-fi soul saviour Cody ChesnuTT brings his 2012 release Landing On A Hundred to Wrongbar on February 10, tickets $19.50 in advance.

Video: Cody ChesnuTT – “Till I Met Thee”

Nashville’s Caitlin Rose is at The Garrison on April 5 as part of a Spring tour in support of her new album The Stand-In, due out February 25. A couple of tracks from the record are available to stream.

Stream: Caitlin Rose – “No One To Call”
Stream: Caitlin Rose – “I Was Cruel”

Brooklyn’s Caveman aren’t saying much about their follow-up to last year’s debut Coco Beware besides that it will be out this Spring, but they’ve already announced a tour to promote it. Look for them at Lee’s Palace on March 1, tickets $10.50.

MP3: Caveman – “Easy Water”
MP3: Caveman – “Thankful”

Memphis’ Lucero have graduated to the big rooms – the March 26 date of their Spring tour, still in support of this year’s Women & Work, will have them at The Phoenix. Tickets for that are $20.

Video: Lucero – “Women & Work”

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Sharon Van Etten’s secret show in Brooklyn last week and The Sydney Morning Herald a short interview. She’s here at Massey Hall on March 23 opening up for Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

She & Him get animated in a video for last year’s A Very She & Him Christmas, confirming that releasing a Christmas album is one of the best business decisions – if also one of the worst artistic decisions – a musician can make.

Video: She & Him – “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

The 405 talks to Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing.

It shouldn’t be a point of surprise – they were due – but it’s still exciting that Yeah Yeah Yeahs have confirmed a new album will be out in the Spring via Twitter.

Bat For Lashes have released a third video from The Haunted Man. The Guardian talks to Natasha Khan about her 2012.

Video: Bat For Lashes – “A Wall”

Interview and The Village Voice talk to METZ.

Not sure why it took so long, but Modern Superstitions’ solidly garage-rocking self-titled debut is now available to stream. And buy.

MP3: Modern Superstitions – “Bad Habit”
Stream: Modern Superstitions / Modern Superstitions

Stereogum goes record-listening with John O’Regan of Diamond Rings. The Calgary Herald also has an interview.

That’s it, hopper’s about empty. Have a happy and safe holiday season everyone.

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Scrappy Happiness

Joel Plaskett Emergency and Always at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangA little piece of trivia that surprised even me when I learned it (and is really of no relevance to anything save this opening paragraph) – save for his two appearances at the Polaris Prize galas in 2007 and 2009, I’d never seen I’d never seen Joel Plaskett live. And it certainly hasn’t been for lack of opportunity – while it’s highly unlikely Plaskett will ever uproot himself from his beloved Halifax, he’s played Toronto enough to claim honourary residency.

No, it’s been partially deliberate on account of the fact that while I like Plaskett’s stuff, I’m in the seemingly minuscule group that just likes it and doesn’t love it. I’ve heard a number of – but not all – of his records and respect the work ethic that’s made him one of this country’s most beloved artists (at least in the demographic that I run with), but the breadth of his catalog and the passion of his fanbase has made the prospect of finally going to one of his shows a daunting one. Would I know (m)any songs? Would I enjoy it? If I didn’t and said so, would his street team put a hit out on me? Real concerns, people. But with the man setting up shop at The Horseshoe for five straight nights in honour of the bar’s 65th birthday and the fact that I really quite like his latest effort, this year’s Scrappy Happiness, I decided it was finally time. But of course I waited until the very last show – partly because it was an early show being a Sunday night, and partly because Always was opening.

I’d seen them a few weeks ago supporting The Joy Formidable, but while I went into that show thinking, “Always?” on account of not knowing who they were, I went into this one thinking, “Always!” on account of knowing who they were and liking what they did. Notes from that past show mostly still applied this time out, but it’s worth noting that even though they were a rhythm section-less three-piece this time out, the songs didn’t seem to suffer at all for it. The sequencer pinch-hitting in laying down backing tracks kept in the spirit and sound of their janglesome old-school indie-pop aesthetic just fine, and the simple beats kept things sprightly. The demos I originally linked to in that last review are now hidden from prying ears – apparently they weren’t for public consumption – but hopefully something finished will be revealed soon and y’all can hear – and decide – for yourselves.

Even though I freely admit to not having heard all of Plaskett’s oeuvre, I know that you don’t really have to have to know what he’s about. From grunge-pop beginnings with Thrush Hermit, he’s spent two decades establishing himself as a sort of Canuck Springsteen, specializing in The Boss’ nostalgic anthems of youth with a certain Maritime bent and intrinsically Canadian reliability – kind of an arena rock/kitchen party hybrid. You don’t have to listen long to note his habit of repeating references to people and places, but rather than sounding repetitive, it helps create and define the world his songs and their loose autobiographical narrative exist within. He believes in the purity of the rhyme and riff – particularly of the ’70s rock vintage – and the power of the “la la la” singalong. It’s not a complicated formula, but that’s what makes it so difficult to get right. And as Plaskett showed me, he’s gotten it right and makes it look easy.

Though his voice did show some of the strain of the past nights’ performances – and their respective afterparties, I’m sure – Plaskett’s energy was unflagging for the two hours he was up there. After all, it was their last show of the year; if ever there was a time to leave it all on the stage, this was it. With a couple of animatronic monkey toys adding a little Disneyworld/Chuck-E-Cheese flavour to the evening, Plaskett proved a terrific and engaging performer. Whether the acoustic troubadour crooning sensitively or the electrified preacher ripping guitar solos – with plenty of entertaining banter for either guise – he was every bit the showman without getting overly showy and selling the flair with his total earnestness.

Not being intimately familiar with the catalog proved not to be an issue, either, as there were enough tunes I knew and liked to keep me fully engaged and, for reasons noted above, the ones I didn’t were hardly difficult to get into and enjoy – though being in a big crowd who seemed to know every word to everything helped with that. And you need that kind of fanbase if you’re going to encore with an iPod-assisted musical history lesson as a lead-in to a partially-lip synced dance routine, as he did for “Fashionable People”, or turn a jam into a freestyle not-rap tribute with 65-beat count-up to mark The Horseshoe’s anniversary. As first-time Joel Plaskett shows goes, I think I could have done much, much worse.

Panic Manual has an interview with Joel Plaskett.

Photos: The Joel Plaskett Emergency, Always @ The Horseshoe – December 16, 2012
MP3: Joel Plaskett – “When I Go”
MP3: Joel Plaskett – “Deny Deny Deny”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Somewhere Else”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “Through & Through & Through”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “You Let Me Down”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Fashionable People”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “Happen Now”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “Natural Disaster”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “Paralyzed”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Work Out Fine”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Come On Teacher”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “True Patriot Love”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Maybe We Should Just Go Home”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Clueless Wonder”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “She Made A Wreck Outta Me”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “News Of Your Son”
Video: Thrush Hermit – “The Day We Hit The Coast”
Video: Thrush Hermit – “On The Sneak”
Video: Thrush Hermit – “French Inhale”

Electro-goth locals Trust have made a date for February 22 at Lee’s Palace and also released a new video from their debut TRST.

Video: Trust – “Heaven”

aux.tv has premiered the new video from Modern Superstitions’ own self-titled debut.

Video: Modern Superstitions – “Last Night’s Dress”

The Grid declares locals Moon King as “one to watch”; having seen them back in October, I concur. They’re at The Drake on December 28 as part of the $5 “What’s In The Box” concert series.

Japandroids talk to Pitchfork about making the video for “The House That Heaven Built”, to CBC Music about making their #1 rock record of the year, and The Calgary Herald, StarPhoenix, and The National Post about whatever.

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, September 10th, 2012

My Love Is Real

Divine Fits at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangTo call Divine Fits and their debut, A Thing Called Divine Fits, formulaic will probably be interpreted as a slight, but it shouldn’t. The album is rather exactly the sum of its songwriting parts – half Spoon, half Handsome Furs; a taut and lean thing built on spikes of square waves – be they made by synthesizers or fuzz pedals – and beats so tight they may as well have been quantized through state-of-the-art technology (though they almost certainly weren’t).

That it’s not more magical than that is probably more the fault of those with heightened expectations of what a Britt Daniel-Dan Boeckner collaboration might sound like, and one would have to question where they got those expectations from in the first place – it’s probably safe to say that the first people who thought that Daniel and Boeckner should work together were Daniel and Boeckner. In fact, it’s more remarkable that Divine Fits is as consistent and solid as it is, considering how relatively quickly it was written and recorded, with its high points ranking amongst anything they’ve done with their other bands. Boeckner’s contributions are arguably the more potent ones, not surprising considering the circumstances in which they were written, but none of the songwriting is b-list or cast-off material.

But what may have been mathematical in the studio was more akin to alchemy on the stage. Eschewing traditional tour routing for their first shows – their debut performances were in each of the band principals’ hometowns of Austin, Montréal, and Columbus – they played their twelfth-ever show last Wednesday night at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, a day after playing Los Angeles. Both Boeckner and Daniel have played much larger rooms in the city – the former with Wolf Parade, at least – so it was less a surprise that the room was fairly jammed than the fact that it wasn’t completely sold out.

As a band boasting the two lankiest frontmen in indie rock, Divine Fits have a striking visual presence, made moreso by their decision to dress with Boeckner in all black and Daniel in all white, sartorial etiquette be damned. And while they contrasted visually, live the complimentary nature of their musical aesthetics was so much more pronounced. Swapping guitar and bass duties as well as lead vocals – sometimes touring keyboardist Alex Fischel would cover on bass when a double-guitar attack was needed – they brought a strut and swagger to the show, but also a sincere sense of gratitude for everyone coming to see them – they didn’t take peoples’ attention for granted based on their past works. And while it was impossible to take your eyes off of Daniel and Boeckner, drummer Sam Brown’s contributions were surely felt. He may suffer from being the guy from the band the fewest people have heard of (though I did see someone in a New Bomb Turks t-shirt in rural Québec last weekend, so there’s that), but hearing him lay down the complex beats of the album on only acoustic drums gave the songs a more deliciously primal feel without coming at the expense of any of its rhythmic precision.

With the acoustic drums and heavier reliance on guitars than on the album, Divine Fits sounded almost uncannily Spoon-like at points, with less of the egalitarian Handsome Spoon sonic balance of the album even though it seemed that Boeckner took more lead vocal turns. They played the whole of Divine Fits with a couple of covers – The Wipers and Tom Petty – thrown in to round proceedings out to a full hour, with most songs remaining true to their recorded versions and letting the live arrangements make them into new things, energized and animated by sweat and rock’n’roll. If anyone was lukewarm on the record, the show would have made them believers and if they were already converted, it was nothing short of divine.

The National Post, Post City, and BlogTO were also at the show and have thoughts. Divine Fits are one of the music stories of the Fall, so it’s no surprise there’s feature pieces at – deep figurative breath – Spinner, NOW, JAM, Rolling Stone, The Line Of Best Fit, The National Post, The Toronto Star, The Globe & Mail, and CBC Radio 3.

Photos: Divine Fits @ Lee’s Palace – September 5, 2012
MP3: Divine Fits – “Would That Not Be Nice”
Stream: Divine Fits / A Thing Called Divine Fits

Rolling Stone talks to Fucked Up about the success of David Comes To Life and their plans for what comes next.

Beatroute, The Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, and Exclaim talk to Sloan about the twentieth anniversary of Twice Removed and their plans – tour and reissue – to mark the occasion.

Modern Superstitions have released the first MP3 from their (presumably) self-titled debut album, due out October 23, and I’d say it augurs well.

MP3: Modern Superstitions – “Bad Habit”

NPR has a video session with Diamond Rings. The new album Free Dimensional is out October 22.

Ex-Forest City Lover gone synthpop Kat Burns’ new project Kaska has released a video for the title track of her debut album Vichada, and will also play a hometown record release show for it on October 5 at The Drake, capping off a short run of Canadian shows. Dates and details available at Exclaim, and there’s an interview with Burns at Aside/Beside.

Video: Kashka – “Vichada”

The KW Record interviews Daniela Gesundheit of Snowblink about their new record Inner Classics, out tomorrow. They play the Bicycle Music Festival at Christie Pits on September 15 and have a record release show at The Music Gallery on September 27.

Stereogum, The Montreal Gazette, and Spin chat with Stars. They open for Metric at The Air Canada Centre on November 24.

Le Blogotheque presents a Take-Away Show with Cold Specks

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Lights Changing Colour

You, too, can be a star. Or at least win Stars.

Photo By Norman WongNorman WongOkay, since I am posting this from the north of Quebec – okay, not really that north, but considerably further north than Bloor St. in Rouyn-Noranda for this year’s Festival de musique émergente – I figure this is as good a time as any to run a pretty sweet giveaway for – wait for it – The North. As in the new record from Stars, out this coming Tuesday.

Thanks to the folks at Universal Music Canada, I have numerous copies of The North to give away in both analog and digital formats – the the former, a pair of LPs on blue vinyl, and to the latter, five silver CDs. To enter, leave a comment below with your email (it will be hidden from prying eyes), album format in order of preference, and tell me the furthest north point in Canada you’ve ever been. If you want to be precise, Google will tell you the latitude of anywhere if you ask nicely. Interestingly, Rouyn-Noranda is one degree further south than Vancouver, making that my northernmost sojourn in our fine country. Anyways, the contest is open to residents of Canada only and winners will be chosen on September 15.

The North was made available to preview via NPR stream at the start of this week, but The National Post has made their hosted stream worth checking out by adding track-by-track commentary from Torq Campbell. Consequence Of Sound also talks to Campbell about the new record.

Stars open up for Metric at The Air Canada Centre on November 24.

MP3: Stars – “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”
MP3: Stars – “The Theory Of Relativity”
Stream: Stars / The North

The Wilderness Of Manitoba’s second album Island Of Echoes will be coming out on September 18 and they’ve booked a hometown record release show at Trinity-St. Paul’s for October 26. Fancy!

MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Morning Sun”

The Wooden Sky have been touring their latest Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun over hill and through the dale since its release back in February, and they’re bringing it back home for a show at The Phoenix on December 1, tickets $17.50.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Child Of The Valley”

Andrew Scott of Sloan lists his five favourite records of the past two decades for CBC Music. Their super-deluxe Twice Removed reissue arrives September 4.

Exclaim has some details on the next album/project/thing from Yamantaka/Sonic Titan. The 33 // 渦 rock opera will debut at Pop Montreal on September 21; no details on encore performances more local to here or a recording release, but we can hope. Their YT//ST gets a re-release on September 11.

Pitchfork talks to Grimes about the making of her latest video for “Genesis”. She plays two nights at Lee’s Palace, September 21 and 22.

How excited is Woodpigeon to be opening for Patrick Wolf on his upcoming North American tour, including September 25 at the Music Gallery? So excited that there’ll be a new, tour-only album entitled Diamonds for sale throughout the journey and they’re giving away a cover of Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney’s “Say Say Say”. That’s pretty excited.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Say Say Say”

Talk Rock To Me chats with Paul Saulnier of PS I Love You. They play the Friday night of the Paper Bag Records 10th anniversary shows at The Great Hall, September 28.

Toronto Life has an extensive feature piece on Diamond Rings, and Macleans solicits some scholastic advice from John O for those just starting school. The new album Free Dimensional will be out on October 23 and to support that release, he will be on Letterman on October 26. That is bananas. B-a-n-a-n-a-s.

Modern Superstitions’ self-titled debut album finally has a release date – it’ll be out and about on October 23.

Shad has released a video from his recent Melancholy & The Infinite Shadness mixtape.

Video: Shad – “A Milli Vanilli”

MTV lists off some things you may not have known about Coeur de Pirate.

Moonface have a new video from With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery.

Video: Moonface – “I’m Not The Phoenix Yet”

They Shoot Music has a video session with Memoryhouse.