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Posts Tagged ‘Mum’

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Time Exists Only To Betray Us

Review of Keep Shelly In Athens’ At Home and giveaway

Photo By Tolis ElefantisTolis ElefantisGreek duo Keep Shelly In Athens first came to attention in late 2010 with a series of singles when “chillwave” was still a thing and sure, the washes of synths and gentle vocals of RΠЯ and Sarah P could merit the hashtag. But in the time its taken them to assemble their full-length debut last month – 2012’s In Love With Dusk / Our Own Dream was a compilation of their previously-released EPs – the label has largely gone from adjective to pejorative and probably not the best pony to hitch one’s wagon to. So it’s a good thing that At Home easily stands up on its own, without the aid of scenes or trends.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. While At Home is far more emotive and emphatic than most hazy bedroom-bred musical excursions, it’s still pretty on-the-sleeve with its influences. They strive to recreate the soulful shadows found at Portishead’s end of ’90s trip-hop but use sleek, ’80s synth luminescence as their light source to go with the dance-ready beats. But what elevates At Home above the pack are Sarah P’s vocal work – which is always engaged and gorgeous, whether evoking menace on “Time Exists Only To Betray Us” and “Knife” or crooning serenely on “Recollection” and “Sails” – and the melodies that she’s given to work with. Because whatever labels you choose to apply to At Home, under it all it’s pop music, and pretty great pop music. And pretty great pop music doesn’t need to much else to be worth your while.

Dime Store Saints and Prairie Moon have interviews with the duo, who kick off a North American tour as co-headliners with Chad Valley next week. Their Toronto show comes October 15 at Wrongbar, and courtesy of LiveNation I’ve got five pairs of passes to give away to the show. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to Keep Shelly In Athens” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, October 11.

Video: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Recollection”
Stream: Keep Shelly In Athens / At Home

PopMatters talks with The Naked & Famous, who are in town for an October 14 show at The Phoenix.

November 19 will see the release of a new 7″ from Iceage consisting of covers from Sinéad O’Connor and Bahamutsi Drama Group. Details at Pitchfork, streams of both sides below.

Stream: Iceage – “Jackie”
Stream: Iceage – “To The Comrades”

The Deer Tracks are marking the announcement of the North American tour which brings them to The Silver Dollar on November 28 with the final statement of their epic The Archer Trilogy with a stream of the appropriately-titled “Epilogue” at Filter.

Stream: The Deer Tracks – “Epilogue”

Australian rock machine Jagwar Ma have announced a North American tour for this Fall behind their debut Howlin’; it brings them to The Great Hall on November 28. Tickets are $15 in advance. Drowned In Sound, The San Francisco Chronicle, and San Francisco Examiner have interviews.

Video: Jagwar Ma – “Come Save Me”
Video: Jagwar Ma – “Man I Need”

Efterklang have released a new video from this year’s Piramida.

Video: Efterklang – “Monument”

The Line OF Best Fit has premiered the new video by múm, taken from their latest album Smilewound.

Video: múm – “Candlestick”

Under The Radar checks in with the Söderberg sisters of First Aid Kit.

Noisey interviews Nanna Fabricius of Oh Land.

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Lay Us Down

While I was out… featuring Holograms and things of a rest-of-the-world nature

Photo By KnotanKnotanI won’t deny that one of the reasons I was so keen to go to Stockholm on this last vacation was my affection for Swedish music, specifically the melancholically melodic indie-pop of that the likes of Jens Lekman, I Break Horses, and The Cardigans have done so well over the years. This is not at all how you’d describe Holograms, the quartet of 20-something Stockholmers who’ve just released their second album Forever; their tense and wiry post-punk has far more in common with the likes of Denmark’s Iceage than any of their countrymen, though their approach is a hair less nihilistic and more anthemic. Which is to say they’re marginally less likely to punch you in the face than Iceage.

Noisey posted an advance stream of Forever last week, but seeing as how the album’s now out, it’s not an advance stream anymore – just a stream. But what is new is a new video, premiered yesterday at Interview, and the announcement of a North American tour that hits The Garrison on December 8.

MP3: Holograms – “Flesh & Bone”
Video: Holograms – “Meditations”
Stream: Holograms / Forever

Empire Of The Sun have released a new, characteristically epic video from Ice On The Dune – just in time for their show at The Danforth Music Hall on September 9. The Huffington Post has an interview with bandleader Luke Steele.

Video: Empire Of The Sun – “DNA”

The Quietus and The Line Of Best Fit have everything you need with respect to Emiliana Torrini’s new record Tookah – the former has an advance stream ahead of its release next Tuesday, September 10, and the latter has a track-by-track walkthrough by Torrini herself. The Quietus also solicited a list of Torrini’s favourite albums.

Stream: Emiliana Torrini / Tookah

Pitchfork have an advance stream of Apar, the new album from Spanish electro-pop ensemble Delorean, while Filter and Stereogum have feature interviews. The new record is out September 10 and they play The Horseshoe on October 17.

Stream: Delorean / Apar

Clash has an advance stream of múm’s new long-player Smilewound, which also has a new video. It’s out September 10.

Video: múm – “Toothwheels”
Stream: múm / Smilewound

Icona Pop are streaming another new song from their international debut This Is… Icona Pop, out September 24.

Stream: Icona Pop – “My Party”

Danish electro-pop artist Nanna Øland Fabricius, aka Oh Land, has a new album in Wish Bone coming out September 24. She’s premiered the first video at Rolling Stone and announced a North American tour that brings her to The Great Hall on September 30, tickets $15.

Video: Oh Land – “Renaissance Girls”

Le Blogotheque films a Still Room Session with Of Monsters & Men in Rome while Iceland Review interviews the band.

Also at Le Blogotheque, a Take Away Show with Phoenix filmed in front of the Palace of Versailles. There’s also an interview at A Heart Is A Spade and they enter the wayback machine with Noisey to discuss their first hit, “If I Ever Feel Better”.

Noisey talks to Kate Boy’s Kate Akhurst while Vogue takes her shopping.

The Guardian Q&As Björk.

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, September 17th, 2012

Black White & Blue

Ladyhawke and Computer Magic at The Hoxton in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt would have been nice to think that the many well-dressed folks milling about on King West Saturday evening were winding their way to The Hoxton, where New Zealand’s Pip Browne – aka Ladyhawke – was set to make her first Toronto appearance in almost three years exactly. But no, they were probably just out taking in the final night of TIFF, because The Hoxton was basically empty when I got there.

Being an early show with a curfew, waiting around for the more fashionably late wasn’t an option to Computer Magic got to play for a mere handful of people. The project of Brooklyite Danielle Johnson, they played as a two-piece with Johnson on keys and vox and a drummer. It wasn’t much and their on-stage mobility was decidedly limited, but they more than made do. Johnson’s synth-pop melodies were both hooky and interesting, and while her drummer favoured the pads on his hybrid acoustic/electronic drum kit, the fact that he could hit the conventional drums and hit them hard gave it all a lot more power and presence than you would have expected. My understanding is that some live versions of the band have guitar and bass to fill things out, and while I don’t doubt the extra bodies make for a more compelling live show, Computer Magic as a duo had all they really needed to make a good impression – namely, solid tunes.

For reasons entirely not her fault, Ladyhawke’s first Toronto show in September 2009 was something of a clusterfuck. It was part of a seemingly-cursed tour presented by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, beset by low attendance, a patchwork bill, and a self-destructing headliner in Ida Maria who bailed from the tour entirely the day of the Toronto show. Ladyhawke’s first set as the de facto sole headliner of the tour was actually fine, showcasing the ridiculously catchy ’80s-styled pop of her self-titled debut, but it’s hard to separate the performance in memory from the circus that surrounded it.

This outing came without the sideshow, thankfully, but also without the degree of buzz that was there the first time around. Her second album Anxiety has been rather unjustly dismissed for being built more on guitars than synths, but the electro-pop movement that she was lumped into back in 2009 was no longer fashionable anyways and if she’d stuck with the same formula, the complaints would probably be that she was sounding dated. Fact is, the change in instrumentation is more cosmetic than fundamental; the songs on Anxiety are less immediate than those on Ladyhawke, but also less obvious. Pip Browne’s melodic instincts are still more than intact, though, and it’s a solid work that will age quite nicely.

It also meant that the couple hundred people in attendance – the room had thankfully filled in some – were genuine fans, else three years behind on hearing what was supposed to be hip. Fronting a five-piece band where, perhaps fittingly given their shift in direction, the massive drum sounds and big, fuzzy guitars often drowned out the keyboardist, the Ladyhawke live experience hadn’t necessarily become more exciting. Though friendly, they’re still very businesslike on stage, having evidently drawn on plenty of glittery/glammy ’80s sonic influence but not the excess of presentation. Browne’s vintage Bryan Adams t-shirt got the most audience approval and the guitarist Danny Blanco provided most of the on-stage animation, which wasn’t really much. But the low-key presentation meant that they were able to power through an extensive set list, cramming eighteen songs into an hour and change including an unexpected cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” to open the encore. See, she knows her ’60s as well! And she knows how to write great songs that don’t need the benefit of a gossip blogger patron or fleeting musical fashionability to impress.

Computer Magic has a bunch of EPs available for free download.

Photos: Ladyhawke, Computer Magic @ The Hoxton – September 15, 2012
MP3: Ladyhawke – “Sunday Drive”
MP3: Ladyhawke – “Sunday Drive” (acoustic)
MP3: Ladyhawke – “Black White & Blue” (acoustic)
MP3: Computer Magic – “Grand Junction”
MP3: Computer Magic – “Electric Fences”
Video: Ladyhawke – “Blue Eyes”
Video: Ladyhawke – “Sunday Drive”
Video: Ladyhawke – “Black White & Blue”
Video: Ladyhawke – “Magic”
Video: Ladyhawke – “Paris Is Burning”
Video: Ladyhawke – “My Delirium”
Video: Ladyhawke – “Dusk Till Dawn”
Video: Ladyhawke – “Back Of The Van”
Video: Computer Magic – “Trinity”
Video: Computer Magic – “The End Of Time”

Evidently with a little time to kill before hitting the stage at The Great Hall on the evening of September 18, DIIV will be setting up at Sonic Boom’s Kensington location for an in-store on Tuesday afternoon at 5PM. They just released a new video from their debut Oshin last week.

MP3: DIIV – “Sometime”
Video: DIIV – “Doused”

Australian folkies Husky have a date at The Drake Underground on November 12 in support of their debut Forever So. They were here back during Canadian Musicfest, if you think you might had seen or heard them before. A Daytrotter session with the band also just went up.

MP3: Husky – “Tidal Wave”
MP3: Husky – “History’s Door”

NPR’s big-deal advance album stream this week is Piramida, the latest from Denmark’s Efterklang. It’s out September 25.

MP3: Efterklang – “Apples”
Stream: Efterklang / Pirmada

Even though their latest Observator just came out, Sune Rose Wagner of The Raveonettes tells Paste he’s already compiling ideas for their next album. They’re at The Phoenix on October 2.

Interview has an interview and I Love Sweden a video session with Amanda Mair.

The Quietus has an exit interview with the retiring Soundtrack Of Our Lives.

Interview talks to ascendent Swedish electro-pop duo Icona Pop.

PopMatters poses twenty questions to múm.

Rolling Stone has premiered a new video from Of Monsters & Men’s debut My Head Is An Animal.

Video: Of Monsters & Men – “Mountain Sound”

Dash Shaw and John Cameron Mitchell offer more a short film than video as their contribution to Sigur Rós’ Valtari “Mystery Film Experiment”, using both “Rembihnútur” and “Ekki múkk” as a soundtrack to their clip.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Seraph”

Laetitia Sadier has premiered a new video from Silencio. She plays The Drake on September 18 and Laetitia Sadier – “Find Me The Pulse Of The Universe”

NPR is streaming M83’s recent concert at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Loney Blues

Loney Dear at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangGetting back and forth from Sweden to North America isn’t cheap – trust me, I’ve looked – so having already been through town in November for last year’s chart-topping Hall Music, I really didn’t expect Loney Dear to be coming back anytime soon even though history has shown them to be more willing to tour through North America than many of their countrymen. So the unexpected announcement of a handful of Summer dates including Sunday night at The Horseshoe felt more like a gift than anything else.

That said, and as wonderful as that show at The Drake last Fall was, I really hoped it wouldn’t be a repeat performance. Which is to say that while Emil Svanängen totally managed to beguile as a solo performer (aided by a studio’s worth of gear onstage), Loney Dear shines brightest as a full band – anyone at their previous visit to the ‘Shoe in October 2009 or their Toronto debut at Lee’s in June 2007 could testify to that. So it was pretty nice to walk into the venue and see the stage covered with more gear than one person could possibly play on their own, even though last time out Svanängen certainly gave it a shot.

Interestingly, though Loney Dear was a four-piece this time, Svanängen’s station remained the same as when he was on his own – a chair surrounded by looping equipment, organ pedals, percussion instruments, extra mics – each of his bandmates also had a similarly complex setup; the stage was an incomprehensible morass of boxes, cables and stands. Apparently rather than spread out the workload of recreating his compositions, he was going to increase it exponentially. The core of it may well have been what Svanängen brought in the Fall – even with a drummer on hand, the looped drum and cymbal tricks remained in the mix – the addition of the rhythm section and Malin Ståhlberg on keys, accordian, and backing vocals added a whole new dimension to the songs live. And yet for all the sonic tools at their disposal, the front half of the show – dedicated to Hall Music material – felt intimate, baroque, and elegiac in tone, successfully translating the songs inspired by and meant to be played with Swedish chamber orchestras to a bar in North America, performed without any strings at all. The grand swelling choruses that defined the earlier records felt a thousand miles away.

The older material did come, though, albeit thoroughly recontextualized: “Saturday Waits” was given to Ståhlberg to take lead vocals on; “Ignorant Boy, Beautiful Girl” built to gorgeous heights around the steady “Na Ma Na Ma” vocal lines; “Dear John” was rendered spare and jazzily with an emphasis on some improvised vocal acrobatics. All were markedly different from their recorded versions, yet still immediately familiar and just as beautiful in their way. The gathered crowd wasn’t especially large but it was appreciative, such that after finishing their main set with “Violent”, the band didn’t even leave the stage – they just bowed a few times and acquiesced to play a few more songs. They attempted to make it interactive for “I Fought The Battle Of Trinidad & Tobago” but Svanängen had far too much confidence in the audience’s collective abilities to execute multi-part harmonies, but were content to allow us to bask in “Sinister In A State Of Hope” and “I Was Only Going Out”. I hope some audience member took Svanängen up on his invitation to drink the band under the tables; they’d earned it.

Loney Dear is one of the artists featured in Swedish Music Landscape, a new photographic book focusing on Swedish pop musicians and their environment; I’ve ordered a copy, I’ll let you know if it’s swell.

Photos: Loney Dear @ The Horseshoe – July 8, 2012
MP3: Loney Dear – “Name”
MP3: Loney Dear – “My Heart”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Loney Blues”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Calm Down”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Maria, Is That You?”
MP3: Loney Dear – “D Major”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Largo”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Young Hearts”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Durmoll”
MP3: Loney Dear – “What Have I Become”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Ignorant Boy, Beautiful Girl”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Airport Surroundings”
MP3: Loney Dear – “I Was Only Going Out”
MP3: Loney, Dear – “I Am John”
MP3: Loney, Dear – “A Few Good Men”
Video: Loney Dear – “Loney Blues” (European)
Video: Loney Dear – “Loney Blues” (American)
Video: Loney Dear – “Young Hearts”
Video: Loney Dear – “I Was Only Going Out”
Video: Loney Dear – “Airport Surroundings”
Video: Loney, Dear – “I Am John”
Video: Loney, Dear – “Saturday Waits”

The Line Of Best Fit points to a cover First Aid Kit did of The Rolling Stones for BBC6. They’re at The Danforth Music Hall on September 26.

Stream: First Aid Kit – “Play With Fire”

The lead single from Jens Lekman’s forthcoming I Know What Love Isn’t is available to download; he plays The Phoenix on October 4.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “Erica America”

It may technically be a commercial, but this video performance of The Tallest Man On Earth for Carmel Guitars is worth watching, even if you’re not in the market for a new acoustic.

Video: The Tallest Man On Earth – “Leading Me Now” (live)

Clash finds out what Hives frontman Pelle Almqvist would do if it were his last day on earth.

Pitchfork takes Icona Pop out for a night of karaoke; karaoke ensues. Idolator also has a feature on the duo and Fader pokes through their handbags.

With their early days compilation Early Birds out on July 17, Múm have released both an MP3 and a video from it for your approval.

MP3: Múm – “0,000Orð”
Video: Múm – “Hvernig á að særa vini sína”

Pitchfork has a new track from the forthcoming Raveonettes album Observator, out September 11, available to stream. The play The Phoenix on October 2.

Stream: The Raveonettes – “She Owns The Streets”

Good news for Frightened Rabbit fans: the band’s fourth album is complete! Bad news: it’s not out until 2012. Good news: they’ll be releasing a new EP on September 25 to satiate your appetites. More good news: they’re also touring. Catch them at The Mod Club on October 10, tickets $21.50 in advance. Good news wins!

MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”

What F***ing Ian Guy interview James Graham of The Twilight Sad.

The Wedding Present’s David Gedge chats with The Medway Broadside.