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Posts Tagged ‘My Bloody Valentine’

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

2013

Chromewaves’ favourite albums of 2013

2013Image by Christine KwanChristine Kwan

If it’s the year’s end and this is a list, then this must be a year-end list. You should all know the drill by now: ten albums released this year, listed alphabetically and not in order of preference, that largely reflects my listening habits for the year. No promises that all of these records will remain in favour as the years pass – goodness knows that past lists don’t bat 1.000 for shelf life – but I’ll take honesty over prognostication.

There’s only one debut in the batch, but a few sophomore efforts that reinforce the fact that the artists are no flash in the pans, and that’s arguably more exciting than some rookie who tears up the league the first time out and then fades away. Two – or three, depending on definition – reunion/comeback albums as well, which is also surprising considering most records of this ilk are half-hearted excuses to stage cash-grab tours. Which I’m not inherently against, but to have artists back as genuine creative forces and not just nostalgia machines is obviously better, no?

Either way, pretty good year for music. And many thanks to Christine Kwan for taking the chore of making graphics for this list off my hamfisted hands from concept to execution and dressing them in seasonal finery.

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Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Wonder 2

My Bloody Valentine at The Kool Haus in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangMy Bloody Valentine’s last visit to Toronto in September 2008 was a singular event on a few levels. Besides being their first visit in over a decade and a half, it was in-the-flesh proof that one of the most improbable returns to active duty in recent years was actually happening; considering that the seemingly simple task of reissuing Isn’t Anything and Loveless was already months overdue at the time and would actually take another three and half years to come out, only the most optimistic would have expected them to get their act together enough to pull off a North American tour. But they did, and it was glorious.

And so Tuesday night’s show – again at the Kool Haus – in support of their long-promised third album mbv came without some of that weight of expectation that surrounded their previous visit, but was still cause for excitement – these were still legends, after all… But even legends are still human. Unexpected for a band as epically amplified as they, both Kevin Shields and drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig started off with acoustic guitars and Belinda Butcher on keyboards for a reading of “Sometimes” that kept drifting out of synch with itself, the basic click track underpinning it not quite up to the job of keeping everyone in time. Shields would comment, “We really fucked that up” when it was over and he wasn’t wrong.

But a few more missteps aside – most notably “Thorn” getting two false starts before being abandoned midway through a third shot, Shields blaming a guitar “in the wrong key” – it was another immensely satisfying show. For being expectedly and incredibly loud, the mix was surprisingly clear with drums, keys, and most importantly vocals being sufficiently audible over the six-string din (a third guitarist beefed things up even further when not covering on keys). That they achieved this in a room that can be unforgiving to less proficient sound techs was remarkable, and it allowed the beauty of their softer moments – like mbv‘s “New You” – to come through and allowed the more violent numbers to do their work with surgical elegance rather than just as blunt instruments.

The set list drew fairly evenly from their three albums and b-sides, showcasing both their elegant and aggressive sides, with highlights including a deliciously bent “Only Shallow”, an impressive “Wonder 2″ that again brought Ó Cíosóig from behind the kit to add a guitar while a drum track kept time, and the still-irresistibly dancey “Soon”, to say nothing of the endless parade of offset-body Fender guitars. The usually silent Shields was a bit chattier than normal, if just to explain and apologize for their technical hiccups, with Butcher adding a polite “thank you” before their closing salvo of “Feed Me With Your Kiss” and the scorched-earth “You Made Me Realize”, though rather than try to top the 23-minute ‘holocaust’ section from 2008, they capped it at a reasonable nine. There’s not many bands that you’d actually feel some disappointment that they didn’t apply the aural equivalent of a dental cleaning with a space shuttle booster rocket for the length of a network sitcom, but there’s not many bands like My Bloody Valentine. Or any.

The Toronto Star, National Post, NOW, and Exclaim also have reviews of the show. The attached photo is from the 2008 photoset; no photography was permitted this time around.

Video: My Bloody Valentine – “Only Shallow”
Video: My Bloody Valentine- “Soon”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “To Here Knows When”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “Swallow”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “You Made Me Realise”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “Feed Me With Your Kiss”
Stream: My Bloody Valentine / mbv

DIY, Consequence Of Sound, Paper, and FasterLouder talk to Cut Copy about their just-released new album, Free Your Mind. They’re in town November 15 at The Danforth Music Hall.

Blood Orange is streaming the whole of his new album Cupid Deluxe, which will be available digitally next week on November 12 before coming out in physical formats on November 19.

Stream: Blood Orange / Cupid Deluxe

Artist Direct, The Telegraph, and Yahoo talk to Shane Meadows about directing the Made Of Stone documentary on The Stone Roses. It gets a Toronto premiere at both The Bloor and Cineplex Yonge-Dundas on November 22, and continues screening at YDS from November 24 to 28.

Drowned In Sound talks to Cate Le Bon about her new record Mug Museum, out November 12. She’ll be at The Drake Underground on January 21.

When it was announced that Until The Colours Run – the new record from Lanterns On The Lake – wasn’t getting a North American release until January 14 despite coming out in the UK in October, I hoped it meant that the record would get a much-deserved proper promotional push over here. And indeed, they’ve announced a North American tour for next year that brings them to the Drake Underground on February 1. Under The Radar has the full itinerary as well as a stream of a new song, but you can hear the whole thing via a link in my review of the record last month.

Stream: Lanterns On The Lake – “The Buffalo Days”

Johnny Flynn has released a new video from Country Mile as well as some North American tour dates in the first part of next year. Interestingly, there’s no Toronto date but there is a Montreal one on January 21 and several days off around it, so I’m guessing it will be announced sooner or later.

Video: Johnny Flynn – “Gypsy Hymn”

Drowned In Sound, The Jakarta Post, and The Star find out what Danish prog-rockers Mew are up to, besides working on a new album.

The Line Of Best Fit checks in with The Raveonettes, who will begin recording a new record in the new year.

The Sydney Morning Herald talks to Anna Calvi, who has released a video for the opening track of her new record, One Breath.

Video: Anna Calvi – “Suddenly”

Patrick Wolf has released a new video for the Sundark & Riverlight version of “The Libertine”, premiered at artforfreedom.com in support of LGBT rights at the Sochi Olympics.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “The Libertine”

Exclaim talks to Neil Halstead about Black Hearted Brother and the band, as a unit, list some of their most influential albums for MusicOmh.

DIY talks to Foals.

PopMatters has an interview with Los Campesinos!.

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Retrograde

James Blake wins Mercury Prize, hopes people will now stop asking him about tennis

Photo By Nabil ElderkinNabil ElderkinJames Blake is hardly an unknown in certain circles, but it’s understandable if he has some identity issues. He’s often mixed up with the American tennis player of the same name, and just last night at a gathering of British music industry types who ought to know better, he was introduced by BBC presenter Lauren Laverne as treacle-singing countryman James Blunt. It’s a good thing they got it right a few minutes later when he was announced winner of the 2013 Mercury Music Prize for his album Overgrown.

In doing so, he bested not only the heavily favoured (Laura Mvula), buzz bands (Disclosure), stars (Arctic Monkeys), legends (David Bowie), and underdogs (Jon Hopkins ), but allowed the genres of indie, pop, R&B, electronic, dubstep, and whatever else he might have been described as to claim victory. For a prize that inevitably leaves people crying unfair or out of touch for whatever reason, not a bad compromise. I only wish that he’d named the album after the first single so that we could make the easy – and accurate – joke about the Mercury being in Retrograde. Ah, opportunities missed.

And it makes Blake’s decision to cancel a few dates of his current North American tour to attend the Mercury ceremony look like a pretty smart move. He’s back across the pond after some celebrations, I’m sure, and will be taking the stage at The Kool Haus in Toronto on November 10. Under The Radar and Clash have conveniently-timed features on Blake

Video: Video: James Blake – “Retrograde”
Video: Video: James Blake – “Overgrown”

And though they didn’t win, some of the nominees were using the occasion and extra attention to unveil some goodies. David Bowie premiered a video for the James Murphy remix of “Love Is Lost” that appears on The Next Day Extra deluxe edition of his new record which comes out November 5; watch it below and read a little of the making-of for the clip via The Mirror. And five of the new songs that also appear on the Extra release are available to stream – for Canadians only – at CBC Music, although some enterprising internet-user has already ripped four of them to non-geoblocked YouTube; “God Bless The Girl” appeared on the Japanese release of The Next Day, so that doesn’t technically count as new, but you may as well stream that too.

Video: David Bowie – “Love Is Lost” (Hello Steve Reich Mix)
Stream: David Bowie – “Atomica”
Stream: David Bowie – “The Informer”
Stream: David Bowie – “Like A Rocket Man”
Stream: David Bowie – “Born In A UFO”
Stream: David Bowie – “God Bless The Girl”

Though surely relieved to have not won something they were clearly uncomfortable with, Savages still timed the release of a new video from Silence Yourself to coincide with the ceremony. Guitarist Gemma Thompson took to Tumblr to discuss the new Vonnegut-inspired clip and DIY has a cover story on the band.

Video: Savages – “Marshal Dear”

Although not Mercury-recognized, Frightened Rabbit also released a new clip from Pedestrian Verse via DIY.

Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Holy”

Los Campesinos! have put out a new video from their latest No Blues, which is out now in the UK but doesn’t get North American release until November 12. A Heart Is A Spade, Pitchfork, and Interview talk to the band about the new record.

Video: Los Campesinos! – “Avocado, Baby”

Daughter are using tour footage/their tour diary as the new video from If You Leave

Video: Daughter – “Amsterdam”

BrooklynVegan interviews Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, though the subject of his Mercury Prize conspiracy theories don’t come up. Shields leads MBV into the Kool Haus on November 5.

Blood Orange has released a lyric video for the second preview of his next record Cupid Deluxe, coming out November 19.

Lyric Video: Blood Orange – “You’re Not Good Enough”

Veronica Falls are now streaming the b-side of their new Australia/Japan tour 7″, being released to those not seeing them on said tour come December 9.

Stream: Veronica Falls – “Ned You Around”

Yuck v2.0 makes their Toronto debut behind their second album Glow & Behold at The Garrison on January 17, part of a full North American tour.

Video: Yuck – “Middle Sea”

Mogwai have announced a January 21 release date for their new studio album Rave Tapes; stream the first song from it below.

Stream: Mogwai – “Remurdered”

Former Mercury Prize winners Elbow have given their new record – already locked in for a March 10 release – the title of Carry Her Carry Me; details at Exclaim.

Daytrotter has a session with Fanfarlo, who’ve just released their The Sea EP ahead of a new full-length due out next year.

The 405 has an interview with Kele Okereke of Bloc Party.

The Guardian has premiered a mini-documentary film of The Vaccines on the road.

Summer Camp share their top ten favourite horror films with Consequence Of Sound – just in time for American Thanksgiving!

And to bring it all around, Clash wonders if the Mercury Prize might be better if it were more like Canada’s Polaris Prize.

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Nightcall

London Grammar and Jaymes Young at The Great Hall in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAs noted in my review of their debut album If You Wait, London Grammar should be commended for countering any cynicism about their sound being a little too of-the-moment – add one part Florence and one part Daughter to two parts xx, bake for 45 minutes, serve smouldering – by applying it to solid, affecting songs that should resonate with the lovelorn for years to come while still leaving plenty of room to grow. It wasn’t quite enough to make them the Mercury Prize favourites that their champions expected – they didn’t even make the shortlist – but even without that accolade, their inaugural North American tour was doing quite well, thank you very much, with Friday night’s Toronto date quickly getting the upgrade from the originally booked BLK BOX to the more spacious and appropriately elegant Great Hall upstairs.

Support came from Seattle’s Jaymes Young, who for his well-crafted and performed songs, didn’t quite manage to transcend his reference points to the same degree. The vaguely yearning vocals over echoey guitar tones with electronic flourishes sounded like a distillation of 2013 indie, and as such remained largely anonymous. And using a slow, soulful cover of Haddaway’s “What Is Love” as an audience-rallying moment was an odd move, considering that most in attendance weren’t allowed to stay up until 11:30 when The Roxbury Guys were a thing on Saturday Night Live. But maybe that was to his advantage as undoubtedly some in the audience thought the song was his own and were impressed.

New bands get a bit of leeway with regards to their effectiveness as a live act, particularly when they’ve potentially gotten swept up in a wave of buzz that might short circuit their normal development curve as performers. Happily for all involved, London Grammar didn’t need to be cut this slack. I was pleasantly surprised they didn’t bring any additional players with them as the trio of guitarist Dan Rothman, vocalist Hannah Reid, and multi-instrumentalist Dot Major set up across the front of the stage and set to recreating the space and texture of their debut with just the tools at hand – guitar, keys, and loops while occasionally turning to bongos or a drum kit for extra dynamics. The de facto visual and aural focal point of the band, Reid would get a bit showier with her vocals in pushing the melodies around – somewhat surprising given how the album seemed to make an effort to keep things in check, but such excursions were relatively modest and didn’t detract from the proceedings; if anything, they demonstrated the impressive degree of confidence with which the band were operating.

And if they didn’t come to the stage with that confidence, the audience would have given it to them. In one of their many between-song asides to the crowd, they commented on their willingness to cheer at everything – an observation which was, of course, met with cheers. Their 45-minute set encompassed most of, but not all, of If You Stay, with the pairing of “Strong” and “Metal & Dust” as a powerful closing couplet, followed by a on-the-mark cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” as an encore. A solid performance that decidedly increased my appreciation for the band.

Metro, The Sydney Morning Herald, and entertainment.ie have interviews with London Grammar.

Photos: London Grammar, Jaymes Young @ The Great Hall – October 4, 2013
Video: London Grammar – “Strong”
Video: London Grammar – “Wasting My Young Years”
ZIP: Jaymes Young / Dark Star

The Guardian and MusicOhm talk to Anna Calvi about her new album One Breath, which is out on Tuesday and from which she’s just put out a new video.

Video: Anna Calvi – “Sing To Me”

Drowned In Sound meets Peace, who have two local dates next week on October 14 at The Mod Club and October 15 at The Danforth Music Hall, both in support of Two Door Cinema Club.

The Quietus has a stream of Tindersticks’ forthcoming anniversary album Across Six Leap Years, coming out next week on October 14.

Stream: Tindersticks / Across Six Leap Years

It’s a touch late to actually act on the information, but Consequence Of Sound reports that Neil Halstead will be recording a couple of shows in London later this month on October 23 and 24 for release as a live record, and amongst the promised “special guests” will be Rachel Goswell, which means that both Slowdive and Mojave 3 move ever-so-slightly into the “active” column” but more importantly, that Goswell is healthy enough again to perform again – even if it is just for a few songs.

DIY goes behind the scenes of the new Los Campesinos! video, set to debut later this week. It’s taken from their new album No Blues, out October 29.

The Guardian has an extensive interview with Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine, who return for a show at The Kool Haus on November 5.

Stornoway will release a companion EP to this year’s Tales From Terra Firma – from which they’ve just released a new video – with the five-song You Don’t Know Anything, out November 12.

Video: Stornoway – “Farewell Appalachia”

DIY has confirmed details of Working Out, the debut album from London’s Arthur Beatrice. It’s out February 3 and they’ve released a first official video from the long-player.

Video: Arthur Beatrice – “Grand Union”

David Gedge has dusted off the Cinerama monicker under which he traded for several years between Wedding Present incarnations for occasional recent live shows, but has just issued the project’s first new release since 2002′s Torino with a tour-only 7″ with a new song and a live Disco Volante track recorded in 2012 – you can stream it and order the single below.

Stream: Cinerama – “I Wake Up Screaming”
Stream: Cinerama – “Unzip” (live)

Noisey talks to Yuck’s new frontman Max Bloom about having to become Yuck’s new frontman. DIY also has a feature interview.

Johnny Flynn lists off some of the influences that went into the making of his new album Country Mile for The Line Of Best Fit.

Billboard has an interview and video session with CHVRCHES.

Rolling Stone has premiered the new video from Palma Violets’ debut 180.

Video: Palma Violets – “Rattlesnake Highway”

Clash chats with Kele Okerke of Bloc Party.

The Skinny talks to Elena Tonra of Daughter.

Paste has an interview with Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys.

The Quietus talks about the history and state of pop music with Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne, who incidentally has a new book on the topic in Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story Of Modern Pop.

Friday, September 13th, 2013

The Stars Are Out Tonight

The 2013 Mercury Prize shortlist includes David Bowie and nine acts who are not David Bowie

Photo By Jimmy KingJimmy KingSo the shortlist for the 2013 Mercury Prize – awarded to the best British or Irish album of the year – was announced the other day, and contrary to the odds reported by NME earlier this week, London Grammar – favoured to win – was nowhere to be found. Nor, out of their top ten, were Steve Mason, Daughter, Primal Scream, or CHVRCHES. Not that I have any idea how bookmakers come up with their odds, nor how accurate they’ve been in the past. But to list an album at 15:8 to win and not even have it make the shortlist, well that’s some questionable prognostication.

The ten records that did make the list are as follows, and I’m mildly surprised that I’ve heard more of these than I usually have – a fact which kind of supports those who complain that the Mercury has gotten safe or predictable. I’m personally pulling for Bowie, if you hadn’t guessed; the release of The Next Day instigated a year of Bowie discovery, which included a deeper appreciation for has last two records Heathen and Reality along with the more classic material and a pilgrimage to his old digs in Berlin (though that wasn’t the main reason for the trip, that would be ridiculous). Plus there’s the David Bowie Is exhibit opening at the Art Gallery of Ontario later this month – let’s face it, this is the year of Bowie. The Mercury should just accept it and fall in line. The winner of this year’s prize will be announced on October 30.

Oh, and Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine has some choice words for the Mercury Prize, and they’re not positive. The Guardian has that.

Arctic Monkeys / AM / Video: “Do I Wanna Know?”
David Bowie / The Next Day / Video: “The Next Day”
Disclosure / Settle / Video: “When A Fire Starts To Burn”
Foals / Holy Fire / Video: “Late Night”
Jake Bugg / Jake Bugg / Video: “Lightning Bolt”
James Blake / Overgrown / Video: “Retrograde”
Jon Hopkins / Immunity / Video: “Open Eye Signal”
Laura Marling / Once I Was An Eagle / Video: “Master Hunter”
Laura Mvula / Sing To The Moon / Video: “Green Garden”
Rudimental / Home / Video: “Waiting All Night”
Savages / Silence Yourself / Video: “Shut Up”
Villagers / Awayland / Video: “Nothing Arrived”

Summer Camp’s Elizabeth Sankey takes Clash behind the scenes of the video for “Fresh”, taken from their just-released new record Summer Camp.

NOW checks in with Arctic Monkeys, who kick off their North American tour on September 15 at The Kool Haus.

The Skinny and philly.com get to know CHVRCHES, who play The Danforth Music Hall on September 15. Their debut The Bones Of What You Believe is out September 24.

Filter talks to Elvis Costello and ?uestlove of The Roots about their new collaborative album Wise Up Ghost, which comes out September 17.

Icona Pop have released a new video from their forthcoming kinda-but-not-really debut This Is… Icona Pop, out September 24.

Video: Icona Pop – “All Night”

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with London Grammar, who will be at The Great Hall on October 4.

Under The Radar has posted their recent cover story on Charli XCX, who makes her local headlining debut at Wrongbar on November 9.

Dev Hynes is a dancing machine in the new Blood Orange video, which also serves as the first taste of his new record Cupid Deluxe. It should be out this year.

Video: Blood Orange – “Chamakay”

A Music Blog, Yea interviews The Vaccines.

Under The Radar talks to Still Corners.

Junip have released a new video from this year’s self-titled album.

Video: Junip – “Walking Lightly”