Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘Mono’

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.

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Givin Em What They Love

Janelle Monáe is ready for prime time with Fall tour

Photo By Marc BaptisteMarc BaptisteWhile the awesomeness of Janelle Monáe as a live performer is a matter of public record, she’s not necessarily been a road warrior in building that reputation, at least not from a Torontonian’s perspective. Yeah, the unclassifiable-but-let’s-say-R&B star was here twice last year, but the Toronto Jazz Festival show was a very dear $70 ticket and the Elton John-powered Fashion Cares event was inherently exclusive, so it’s not unreasonable to say that her fanbase didn’t have much chance to see her. And her two previous visits – Canadian Musicfest 2011 and as part of the Arcade Fire’s 2010 Olympic Island jamboree – were parts of festival bills, so also not exactly conventional shows. All of which is to say that it’s kind of impressive that Monáe has gotten where she is without having really ever played a conventional show here.

Until now, anyways. With the September 10 release of her hotly-anticipated new record The Electric Lady almost upon us, Monáe has put together what may be her most comprehensive North American tour to date and it includes a Toronto date at The Kool Haus on October 19. And while it can be argued that Monáe’s live show is worth it at any price, that tickets for this one are a most reasonable $25 is good news. Pitchfork has the full itinerary and another new track, this one featuring nu-R&B star Miguel, has been made available to stream.

Video: Janelle Monáe – “Dance Apocalyptic”
Stream: Janelle Monáe featuring Miguel – “Primetime”

Because sometimes advance notice isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and even though their album probably won’t be out until next year, The New Mendicants – that’s Joe Pernice of Pernice Brothers, Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub, and Mike Belitsky of The Sadies – have announced a show at The Dakota Tavern for next Monday, August 26, just because. Tickets are $12 in advance and it’s an early show – 8:15 start – because Joe wants to watch the Red Sox game that night. Yeah. Anyone who was at the first Pernice/Blake show at the same room last June knows that it will be fun and hilarious, so get on that.

Stream: The New Mendicants – “This Time”

Stars are headlining a free show at Nathan Philips Square on September 1 as part of Unifest, intended to inaugurate the formation of a new workers union, so if you’re a fan of romantic synth-pop but also a die-hard right-wing conservative, I feel for you. But not that much.

MP3: Stars – “The Theory Of Relativity”

American electro-r&b artist How To Dress Well is in town at The Garrison on November 2 behind last year’s Total Loss; tickets for that are $15.

MP3: How To Dress Well – “Ready For The World”

Sebadoh have announced a Fall tour in support of Defend Yourself, their first new record in almost a decade and a half, coming September 17. Lou Barlow and company will be at The Horseshoe on November 8, tickets $20 in advance. Rolling Stone talks to Lou Barlow about the release.

Video: Sebadoh – “All Kinds”

While they’ve not yet completed the follow-up to last year’s For My Parents – epic Japanese post-rock doesn’t come quick, you know – Mono have announced a North American tour that brings them back to The Horseshoe on November 15. Tickets for that are $15.

MP3: Mono – “Dream Odyssey”

It’s kind of hit-or-miss which buzzy British independent acts choose to tour North America – no inexpensive proposition – but English retro-psychedelics Temples are taking the plunge, even without a debut album to push. Full dates are still to come but they will be at The Horseshoe on November 20, tickets $11.50. Drowned In Sound had a feature on the band back in the Spring.

Video: Temples – “Colours To Life”
Video: Temples – “Shelter Song”

And in the debits column of this week’s concert news, Charli XCX has cancelled her Fall North American tour in order to support Paramore in the UK. That includes her September 16 show at The Hoxton, which will be rescheduled with all the others.

Rolling Stone talks to Laura Ballance and Exclaim to Jon Wurster of Superchunk about their just-released new record I Hate Music, from which they’ve just released a new video. And over at Spin, there’s a piece about what Superchunk and Merge Records have meant for their hometown of Durham, North Carolina.

Video: Superchunk – “Me & You & Jackie Mitoo”

David Roback of Mazzy Star talks to Rolling Stone about their new record Seasons Of Your Day, out September 24, and others that may or may not have already been recorded and may or may not be released.

The Guitar Magazine talks shop with Steve Earle. He and The Dukes play Massey Hall on October 29.

Grantland gets Charles Bissell of The Wrens to update them on the state of their next record – a decade in coming – and comment on why its taking so damn long.

Pitchfork goes lightning round in questions for John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

DIY checks in with Zachary Cole Smith of DIIV.

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

We Real Cool

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are back to set you straight. About what? EVERYTHING.

Photo By Cat StevensCat StevensLots of interesting news came down the pipe from all around the world yesterday, but tops was this from down under – the new Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds record is coming. It’s called Push The Sky Away and will be out on February 19 in North America, though interestingly I can’t confirm the label. The last few Bad Seeds releases as well as the two Grinderman records were out here on Anti, but their web presence has been conspicuously silent with regards to this release.

In any case, expectations are high for this one – their last effort Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! was one of my favourite releases of 2008 and as much as Grinderman is a funhouse mirror version of the Bad Seeds, they weren’t the Bad Seeds. Pitchfork has details and the nine-song track listing, and while we won’t get to hear the first single till next week, they’ve offered a trailer comprised of studio footage of the band at work.

Trailer: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / Push The Sky Away

Also coming from Australia: Tame Impala make a return engagement on the back of LonerismNME‘s album of the year – for a date at the Kool Haus on March 9, tickets $25 in advance.

Video: Tame Impala – “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”

A ways north in the Pacific, Japan’s Mono have made another track from their latest album For My Parents available to download via The Quietus.

MP3: Mono – “Dream Odyssey”

Exclaim reports that pop savant Shugo Tokamaru will get a North American release for his latest album In Focus? on January 22. You may recall I quite liked his last effort Port Entropy… but probably not. Anyways, there’s a video from the new one to enjoy.

Video: Shugo Tokamaru – “Decorate”

And now to Scandinavia! Nothing But Hope And Passion has specifics on Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds’ new record For Now I Am Winter, due out in February. Arnalds recently took to Facebook to explain to his fans why the record would be coming out on a major label – Mercury – rather than indie Erased Tapes, which had released all his records to this point. Iceland Review has an interview with Arnalds.

Shout Out Louds are garnering a fair bit of attention for the first single from their forthcoming new record – as Pitchfork reports, it’s coming out on a 7″ single made of ice. Yeah. For those who don’t have a turntable they’re willing to allow to become waterlogged, you can also just stream the song below. The album should be out in February or so.

Stream: Shout Out Louds – “Blue Ice”

Wears The Trousers has an interview with Sarah Assbring of El Perro Del Mar.

The Mary Onettes have release a video for the first single from Hit The Waves, out on March 12. You may recall I talked about it last week. But probably not.

Video: The Mary Onettes – “Evil Coast”

The Telegraph and BBC talk to the Soderberg sisters of First Aid Kit.

Denmark’s Efterklang are a pretty good first act to be announced for Canadian Musicfest next year; they’ll be at The Mod Club on March 21 as part of the festival and in support of this year’s Piramida. Exclaim has full North American dates and video of a radio session wherein they play a number of the new songs is available to watch.

MP3: Efterklang – “Apples”
Video: Efterklang – “FM4 Radio Session” (live)

Interview has an interview and Wild Honey Pie a video session with Indians, whose debut album Somewhere Else is out January 29.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

The End Of The World Is Bigger Than Love

Review of Jens Lekman’s I Know What Love Isn’t

Photo By Kristen LidellKristen LidellMany adjectives can and have been used to describe the songwriting of Swedish troubadour Jens Lekman – wry, witty, classic, charming, hilarious, to list but a very few – but “personal” is not necessarily one of the first you’d use. He’s a masterful storyteller in song, and no doubt the seeds of many of his songs come from his own life experiences or observations, but in crafting his perfect little narratives he’s usually able to distance himself from them, always a character whether he’s operating in the third person or the first. This isn’t any sort of condemnation – I’d not want “A Letter To Nina” or “You Are The Light” any other way – but is necessary to point out to understand why his third proper album, I Know What Love Isn’t, feels subtly but significatly different.

On the surface, it’s not dissimilar to his earlier efforts. Lightly but exquisitely arranged orchestral pop, albeit better-recorded this time out, and a suite of songs filled with witty couplets, brilliant plays on words, and songs about and to girls. But while the female leads in his tales have a number of different names – Danae, Catherine, Samantha, Erica, Jennifer, take a bow – there’s a sense they’re all perspectives of the same woman. As the album title implies, What Love Isn’t is a break-up album and whether Lekman sought to only use the failed romance as inspiration and not fuel is known only to him, that sadness sublimates its way into the entire record and makes the fourth wall translucent, giving it an emotional potency that his other records can’t lay claim to.

Opening with the simple, piano-led instrumental “Every Little Hair Knows Your Name” – reprised in vocal form to close the record – the front end of Love finds Lekman indulging his more emo side. Lead single “Erica America” is a smoky, jazzy piece equally tinged with nostalgia and regret and while “Become Someone Else’s” brightens up marginally thanks to a chipper piano line, it and “She Just Doesn’t Want To Be With You Anymore” wear their sentiments openly in their titles. It would be understandable for Lekman to choose to inhabit this end of the musical spectrum to work through things, but also overly obvious. And heavens forfend Lekman be obvious.

It turns out he’s playing the (relatively) long game with this record, allowing it to gradually build in tempo, and brighten in outlook as it progresses and by the time it reaches the triumvirate of “The World Moves On”, “The End Of The World Is Bigger Than Love”, and “I Know What Love Isn’t”, it’s Lekman at his best, spinning vignettes and telling tales over some of his most indelible melodies, memorable choruses, and richest arrangements to date, all combining for his most cohesive and satisfying album yet. I Know What Love Isn’t may sound like a typically Lekman play on words, but it also speaks to a truth of lessons learned the hard way – the couplet “you don’t get over a broken heart/you just learn to carry it gracefully” from “The World Moves On” is the album’s thesis and triumph, and while you don’t have to have had your heart broken to appreciate it, but it doesn’t hurt.

Rolling Stone, Exclaim, DIY, Tiny Mix Tapes, eMusic, RCRDLBL, and Interview, The Quietus talk to Lekman about his new record, while The Line Of Best Fit and Pitchfork also cajole a video session. Lekman is at The Phoenix on October 4.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “Erica America”
Video: Jens Lekman – “I Know What Love Isn’t”
Video: Jens Lekman – “Erica America”

Opening up that show at The Phoenix is Taken By Trees, and they’ve just released a stream of another new song from Other Worlds, set for release on October 2.

Stream: Taken By Trees – “Large”

Maria Lindén of I Break Horses gives DIY some insight to where she’s headed with album number two. Room 205 has also posted the first installment of a video session with the band that gives you an idea of what the live incarnation of the band sounds like (awesome). The next two will follow over the next fortnight.

Video: I Break Horses – “Wired” (live at Room 205)

Clash has got a download of Amanda Mair performing an acoustic version of “Doubt”, from her self-titled debut.

MP3: Amanda Mair – “Doubt” (acoustic)

Rolling Stone gets to know Swedish electro-pop duo Icona Pop. They have a new single which they’re thoughtfully streaming for all to hear.

Stream: Icona Pop – “Ready For The Weekend”

Spin, The Georgia Straight, and Seattle Weekly talks to Niki & The Dove, in town at The Drake on October 2.

Efterklang have made a track from their new album Piramida available to download, sample, and savour. It’s out September 25.

MP3: Efterklang – “Apples”

4AD has announced the signing of Denmark’s Søen Løkke Juul – aka Indians – by way of a 4AD Session. Their full-length debut won’t be out until early in the new year, but he and his band will introduce themselves at The Horseshoe on November 23 in support of Other Lives.

MP3: Indians – “I Am Haunted”
Video: Indians – “Magic Kids”
Video: Indians – “New”

NPR and DIY interview The Raveonettes. Observator is out today – they’ve released a new video for the occasion – and they’re at The Phoenix on October 2.

Video: The Raveonettes – “The Enemy”

DIY, Spinner, and Clash say “what’s up” to Of Monsters & Men

The 405 and Under The Radar interview Laetitia Sadier. She plays The Drake on September 18.

Nick Cave is still in screenwriter mode, but in discussing Lawless conversation inevitably turns to music and it’s been confirmed that a new Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album is already complete and is due out in February of next year. Exclaim has some details.

The Wall Street Journal interviews Takaakira Goto of Mono, who bring their new record For My Parents to the Horseshoe tomorrow night.

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Varðeldur

Sigur Rós and Perfume Genius at Echo Beach in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFor a band for whom a large part of their appeal is being unknowable and otherworldly, there’s been a high degree of predictability with Sigur Ros, at least when it comes to their Toronto shows. For over a decade, they’ve come through town in support of each record for an exquisite show at Massey Hall that would send 2700 or so of their fans dazed into the night. For the last time they set up anywhere besides the Grand Old Lady of Shuter Street, you’d have to go back to May 2001 when they made their local debut with a legendary show at Palais Royale. On Wednesday night, it was back to the shores of Lake Ontario they returned with a show at Echo Beach, the outdoor setting ensuring that the vibe of things would be different than what we were used to, to say nothing of allowing more than twice as many people as usual to witness the Icelanders in action.

Support for their short run of headlining dates before entering the festival circuit came from Perfume Genius, an unexpected but welcome choice. Mike Hadreas’ work elicits many of the same adjectives as Sigur Rós – beautiful, heartbreaking, transcendent, what have you – but whereas the they work in mystery and epic-scale sounds, Perfume Genius is all about being laid bare and raw in small, perfectly imperfect pieces. Though distracted by the planes coming in to land at the island airport and suffering from a cold – though he mentioned that he could still “smell weed and pork” – Hadreas proved that the intimate piano songs which would have seemed to be tailor-made for cozy rooms like the Drake, where he was in April, or 918 Bathurst, where he’ll be on October 5, also sounded great loud; the drums on “Dark Part” were particularly dramatic at that volume. The set was mainly comprised of material from this year’s excellent Put Your Back N 2 It and his 2010 debut Learning, as well as a couple covers – Madonna’s “Oh Father” and a surprisingly perfect cover of Neil Young’s “Helpless”, Hadreas’ vulnerable warble and piano phrasing doing the near-impossible and making the classic almost seem like it was his own.

Leave it to Sigur Rós to release their most ambient and abstract record in a decade with Valtari and then take it on the road not to the theatre settings that it might be best served live, but to the big outdoor stages of fests and amphitheatres where its intricacies would most certainly not be appreciated. Or so you’d think. Opening up with two selections from the new record, Sigur Rós took advantage of the fact that their audience would be so enraptured with their first local appearance in almost four years that they’d just stand there and take it all in – which they did. “Ekki Múkk” and “Varúð” were met with as close to total silence as you’ll likely get from 6000 people. Then they turned back and up for “Ný Batterí” from Ágætis Byrjun and it was within their back catalog that they would remain for most of the rest of the night.

Though core member Kjartan Sveinsson elected to sit this tour out, the band were hardly shorthanded – performing as an 11-piece, with horns and strings and all the trimmings, it was as big-sounding a Sigur Ró as we’d ever seen in these parts, performing on a stage lit with incandescent bulbs and projections shone onto three sides of the band. And yet for all the power at their fingertips, the prevailing mood of the evening was of serenity and celebration – a perfect fit for a warm Summer’s night with a breeze off the lake and a full moon in the sky. There were certainly dramatic moments, often courtesy of Jonsi’s bowed Les Paul, but even those were more of the awe-inspiring majesty of nature sort, like a glacier cutting through land and centuries.

The breadth of the catalog was well-represented, though Ágætis Byrjun did get extra attention, perhaps at the expense of the lighter tones of Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, which was represented only – but well, thanks to a horn-powered finale – by “Festival”. Some may have bemoaned the absence of “Gobbledigook”, but perhaps it was for the best – if it hadn’t ended in a massive explosion of confetti the way it did at Massey in September 2008, it would have felt a touch disappointing.

And disappointing is not a word that should ever be associated with a Sigur Rós show. For almost two hours, and benefitting from really immaculate sound – no compromises with an outdoor venue here, thankfully – it was as good a show as they’ve ever put on here, but thanks to the setting, even for those with an extensive catalog of live Sigur Rós memories, it will be a standout.

The Toronto Sun, BlogTO, and National Post were also in attendance. NPR has their show from Tuesday night in Brooklyn available to stream and Stereogum and The Montreal Gazette have interviews.

Photos: Sigur Ros, Perfume Genius @ Echo Beach – August 1, 2012
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Gobbledigook”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Hoppípolla”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Popplagio / The Pop Song”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Staralfur”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Svefn-G-Englar”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Nýja lagið”
MP3: Perfume Genius – “Rusty Chains”
MP3: Perfume Genius – “Hood”
MP3: Perfume Genius – “Dark Parts”
MP3: Perfume Genius – “All Waters”
MP3: Perfume Genius – “Learning”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Rembihnútur”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Fjögur Píanó”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varúð” (version two)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varúð” (version one)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Ég anda” (version two)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Ég anda” (version one)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Ekki Múkk”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Við Spilum Endalaust “
Video: Sigur Rós – “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Gobbledigook”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Sæglópur”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Hoppípolla”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Glósóli”
Video: Sigur Rós – “(Vaka)”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Viðrar vel til loftárása”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Svefn-G-Englar”
Video: Perfume Genius – “Dark Parts”
Video: Perfume Genius – “Hood”
Video: Perfume Genius – “Lookout, Lookout”

Sessions From The Box is streaming a studio session with The Deer Tracks.

Drowned In Sound talks to Maria Lindén of I Break Horses, who are aiming to have their second album out in Spring of next year.

Maxïmo Park gives The Line Of Best Fit a track-by-track walkthrough of their latest album The National Health.

Ellie Goulding has announced an October 9 release date for her second album, entitled Halcyon. She recently released an Active Child cover because why not and has also been declared one of Rolling Stone‘s “Women Who Rock”.

MP3: Ellie Goulding – “Hanging On”

The San Francisco Examiner and DIY get to know Alt-J, in town at Wrongbar on September 19.

DIY checks in with Mica Levy of Micachu. A couple more tracks from Never have also been made available to download.

MP3: Micachu & The Shapes – “Low Dogg”
MP3: Micachu & The Shapes – “You Know”

Kele Okereke talks to Spin about how cracking a joke turned into a productive crisis for Bloc Party in completing their new album Four, out August 21. This hot on the heels of another quote he gave The Music about this maybe being the band’s last record, which he’s already taken to his blog to clarify. Oh, Kele. Bloc Party are at The Danforth Music Hall on September 10 and their gig at Terminal 5 in New York next week, August 8, will be streaming live on YouTube.

Rolling Stone has a video of Neil Halstead playing a song off his new solo record Palindrome Hunches, out September 11.

Elbow namedrops some very tasty reference points to The Worksop Guardian with regards to their next studio album. Their Dead In The Boot rarities comp is out August 27.

Spinner chats with Lætitia Sadier, in town for a show at The Drake on September 18. She’s just released a new video from Silencio.

Video: Lætitia Sadier – “The Rules Of The Game”

DIY investigates the many creative phases of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds; kudos to them for not making it about his facial hair.

Mono turns to Iceland for inspiration in the new video from For My Parents, out September 4. It’s enough to make you want to hop on a plane to Reykjavik – which I wholly endorse – but maybe wait until after their show at The Horseshoe on September 12.

Video: Mono – “Legend”