Posts Tagged ‘Monotonix’

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Penny Sparkle

Blonde Redhead at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI loved Blonde Redhead’s 23. Lots of people did. All churning guitars, delicate vocals and big, danceable rhythms, it was like a lost, great Creation Records album and ably scratched an itch that few had been able to reach in years and years. So I understand where people are coming from in not feeling this year’s follow-up, Penny Sparkle, and its synths-first dedication to atmosphere. And the complaints that the record sort of wandered aimlessly and lacked the drive and direction of its predecessor? Truth there as well. But I find that to be one of the album’s strengths, rather than a weakness – if you were going to go for an aimless wander, which I certainly advocate as an activity now and again, I can think of worse soundtracks than Penny Sparkle and its gauzy charms. Point being, it is its own thing and on the terms that it was intended, it’s a pretty good record.

Either way, “aimless” was not going to be a word to describe their performance at The Phoenix on Sunday night. Even before they took the stage, it was clear they were here on business. Their elaborate set dressings included smoke machines, numerous spotlights, decorative overhead reflector umbrellas and numerous incandescent light bulbs with flickering filaments similar in shape to their album artwork – it all looked quite fabulous, though it was a nightmare to shoot in. When they finally did come out to play – 25 minutes later than scheduled – it was with plenty of direction, and that direction was clearly in your face with the bass. Over an hour-long set that went back and forth between 23 and Penny Sparkle like the two sides of the same coin they really are, the trio – occasionally a quartet with the help of a second keyboardist – followed a deep, continuous groove that alternately showcased Kazu Makino’s keening vocals and sinewy dance moves, Amedeo Pace’s otherworldy guitarwork, twin Simone Pace’s acoustic and electronic drum mastery or all at once.

As you’d expect, the Penny Sparkle material was much heavier live, thanks in no small part to the massive amounts of low end being pumped into the decently-filled Phoenix. It was actually excessive and to the sound’s detriment at a few points, but you had to be impressed at the amount of bass a band without a bassist produced. The band was very much in the zone and while that meant that chit-chat was off the agenda – besides some quick hellos and thanks, there was no audience interaction – the musical payoff was worth it. Long-time fans were rewarded with the encore, which I can only assume delved further back into their catalog because a) I didn’t recognize the selections and b) they were much more unhinged than the familiar, recent stuff and certainly sounded like I imagine Blonde Redhead did in their noisier days, before bringing things back to the present for a gentle denouement. And then a final wave and goodbye.

Chart also has a review of the show.

Photos: Blonde Redhead @ The Phoenix – October 17, 2010
MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Here Sometimes”
MP3: Blonde Redhead – “23”
MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Not Getting There”
MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Misery Is A Butterfly”
MP3: Blonde Redhead – “In Particular”
MP3: Blonde Redhead – “A Cure”
MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Missile”
MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Distilled”
Video: Blonde Redhead – “My Impure Hair”
Video: Blonde Redhead – “Top Ranking”
Video: Blonde Redhead – “The Dress”
Video: Blonde Redhead – “Silently”
Video: Blonde Redhead – “23”
Video: Blonde Redhead – “Melody”
Video: Blonde Redhead – “Equus”
MySpace: Blonde Redhead

Exclaim reports that The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have set a March 2011 release date for their as-yet untitled second album.

Anyone who’s wanted to see Chicago punks Smith Westerns but not trek to (or pay for) the Sound Academy to see them support Florence & The Machine on November 3, take heart – following their opening set they’ll head across town to Parts & Labour the headline their own sweaty show – admission $6 at the door.

MP3: Smith Westerns – “Imagine, Pt 3”

The New York Times talks to Sufjan Stevens.

The title of R.E.M.’s next album has been revealed – Collapse Into Now will be out early next year.

Check out Titus Andronicus turning in a performance of “The Battle of Hampton Roads” in a video session for For No One.

The whole of Warpaint’s debut The Fool is available to stream at Hype Machine a week before its release next Tuesday. The Telegraph has an interview with the band.

Stream: Warpaint / The Fool

NYCTaper is sharing a recording of a live Built To Spill show.

The Los Angeles Times examines the concept of middle-aged rock bands using Superchunk and The Vaselines as case studies; both are coming to town soon(ish) – The Vaselines at The Horseshoe on October 30 and Superchunk at The Sound Academy on December 9, supporting Broken Social Scene. Clash also talks to the Scottish duo about the dangers of nostalgia.

Frightened Rabbit have a new video from The Winter Of Mixed Drinks.

Video: Frightened Rabbit – “The Loneliness And The Scream”

Spinner, Canada.com and USA Today profile Mumford & Sons, who are playing a sold-out show at The Sound Academy on November 13.

The Guardian interviews Elvis Costello. His new record National Ransom will be out November 2.

Under The Radar has a feature on the sisters of First Aid Kit.

Israel’s Monotonix are better known for their anarchic live shows than anything they’ve ever committed to tape, so even though their new album Not Yet isn’t coming out until January 25 of next year, they’re staging a two-legged North American tour this Fall that will test the structural integrity of Sneaky Dee’s on December 11. I doubt many will be complaining that they don’t know the words to the new material, but one sample of the new record can be had below.

MP3: Monotonix – “Give Me More”

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

There's A Window

Hope Sandoval, Monotonix, Avett Brothers and The Rakes coming to town, though not together – that would be crazy

Photo via hopesandoval.comhopesandoval.comIt’s been over a month since word came that the reclusive Hope Sandoval was returning to active duty – she had not only completed a new Warm Intentions album with My Bloody Valentine’s Colm O CĂ­osoig, but was also putting finishing touches on a new record from Mazzy Star. Now there’s been no further word on what would be her and David Roback’s first album since 1996, but the new Warm Inventions album Through The Devil Softly is definitely happening, albeit with a September 29 release date instead of the originally announced September 15.

Also promised at the time was a tour to support the new record, and Under The Radar has a goodly number of the North American dates, though the gaps in the schedule imply there might be some more to come. Locals will be pleased to see she’s got a Toronto date at the Mod Club on October 7, her first appearance in these parts since an August 2002 date at Lee’s Palace which got some mixed reviews but of which a recording exists.

And speaking of recordings, Entertainment Weekly is streaming a new song from Through The Devil Softly to go along with the MP3 which was previously released. Update: Actually that EW track is also now available to download.

MP3: Hope Sandoval & The Warm Intentions – “Trouble”
MP3: Hope Sandoval & The Warm Intentions – “Blanchard”

Also with a new album out on September 29 are The Avett Brothers, who will be releasing their latest I And Love And You. They’ll be in town at the Horseshoe the next night, September 30, to support – tickets $17.50 – but what has me doing a double-take is their tour routing thereabouts. They’re in Dallas on September 27, Toronto on September 30, and then New Orleans on October 1? Those two cities are 20 hours apart. If this schedule is correct, I have no idea how they’re going to pull that off, nor why you’d even try. Anyways, The Boston Globe has a feature and Rolling Stone declares the trio, who’ve been putting out records since 2000, an “artist to watch”.

MP3: The Avett Brothers – “I And Love And You”

And also in town on October 7 – referencing back to the Hope Sandoval bit here – are Israeli nutjobs Monotonix, famous for their absurd and insane live shows. Their Fall North American tour includes an October 7 date at the Velvet Underground, tickets $10. Their debut full-length Where Were You When It Happened is out August 31 – details at Strange Glue.

MP3: Monotonix – “Ride”
MP3: Monotonix – “Body Language”

Presumably part of a larger North American tour and presumably implying their latest album Klang, out since March in the UK, is getting a release over here, The Rakes will be at the Mod Club on November 9.

Video: The Rakes – “1989”

The Sadies have made a date at the Horseshoe for September 12, tickets $15. It’s not part of any particular tour but the Sadies need as much excuse to play the ‘Shoe as you need to breathe.

MP3: The Sadies – “Anna Leigh”

Both They Shoot Music and aux.tv have posted up video sessions with Malajube, who are this week’s featured Polaris Prize nominee, which basically means you can download an MP3 for free via the Polaris website. And speaking of free, you can also enter this contest to win a trip to Toronto for the September 21 Polaris Prize awards gala – all ten nominees will be performing this year!

Exclaim has details on the new Do Make Say Think record Other Truths, out October 20, while Stereogum is steaming a first preview track from it. Do Make Say Think are at the Polish Combatants Hall tonight for the Bicycle Film Festival launch party – congrats to Evan for winning my contest for passes.

Time Out and The Sydney Morning Herald talk to Aimee Mann.

The first MP3 from Headlights’ new album Wildlife, out October 6, is now available over at RCRDLBL.

Elvis Perkins In Dearland will release a new EP on October 20 entitled Doomsday, featuring five new tracks in addition to the title track taken from their self-titled album.

MP3: Elvis Perkins In Dearland – “Slow Doomsday”

Yet another video from Yo La Tengo’s new album Popular Songs has emerged. The record is out September 8 and they play The Opera House on October 3.

Video: Yo La Tengo – “Nothing To Hide”

Pitchfork has details on the new R.E.M. live album Live At The Olympia, which will feature 39 songs across two CDs recorded in Dublin in 2007. Look for it October 26.