Posts Tagged ‘Naked & Famous’

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

SxSW 2011 Day Two A/V

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangCheck out the day’s recap over here.

Emmylou Harris
– legendary country trailblazer who releases her latest album Hard Bargain on April 26.
Photos: Emmylou Harris @ The ACC Radio Day Stage – March 17, 2011
Video: Emmylou Harris – “Not Enough”

Still Corners
– London dreampop band newly signed to Sub Pop will have their debut full-length out before the end of the year.
Photos: Still Corners @ The ACC Dot Com Day Stage – March 17, 2011
MP3: Still Corners – “Cremora”
MP3: Still Corners – “History Of Love”
Video: Still Corners – “Wish”
Video: Still Corners – “Don’t Fall In Love”

– Swoony Denver-based Balkan-Mariachi quartet released their new record 100 Lovers earlier this month. Spinner and MSN have interviews with the band, who are at The Mod Club in Toronto on March 30.
Photos: DeVotchKa @ The ACC Radio Day Stage – March 17, 2011
MP3: DeVotchKa – “100 Other Lovers”
MP3: DeVotchKa – “Transliterator”
MP3: DeVotchKa – “Venus In Furs”
MP3: DeVotchKa – “You Love Me”
Video: DeVotchKa – “100 Other Lovers”
Video: DeVotchKa – “All The Sand In All The Sea”
Video: DeVotchKa – “Till The End Of Time”
Video: DeVotchKa – “How It Ends”

The Naked & Famous
– New Wave-ing New Zealanders whose debut Passive Me, Aggressive You, now available domestically, is making waves in North America. Music Snobbery has an interview with the band, who will be at The Phoenix on April 30 in support of Foals.
Photos: The Naked & Famous @ Lustre Pearl – March 17, 2011
Video: The Naked & Famous – “Young Blood”
Video: The Naked & Famous – “Punching In A Dream”
Video: The Naked & Famous – “Girls Like You”
Video: The Naked & Famous – “All Of This”

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

SxSW 2011 Day Two

DeVotchKa, Still Corners, The Naked & Famous and more at SxSW

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThough this was the seventh time I’d hit up SxSW, it was only the second wherein I was rocking a badge and besides the obvious benefits of being able to get in the express admission line at showcases and wear a picture of myself around my neck for four days, it allowed me to pass the gauntlet of gatekeeping volunteers at the Austin Convention Center and up the escalator to where the conference part of the festival was happening.

And in addition to the panels in conference rooms, there’s also a couple of stages for performances throughout the day. I had assumed, having never actually been to one, that these were basic setups for stripped-down shows but in fact, the ACC Radio Day Stage was a massive ballroom-type deal with seats for sitting, giant cushions for lounging, bars for imbibing and a giant, fully-appointed stage for performing. In short, the proper environs for a legendary artist such as Emmylou Harris.

At the festival in support of her forthcoming record Hard Bargain, out April 26, she started the day with a radio session and interview for WFUV. The musical part of the session was far too brief at only two songs, but the opportunity to hear that amazing voice live for however long was a gift. And the interview, wherein she talked about her formative years with Gram Parsons and her new record, was also great to witness. Short but special.

The Dot Com Day Stage next door was decidedly less fancifully set up than its neighbour, or at least I assumed so from what I could see. Which wasn’t much, as though I’d finally caught up with Still Corners, the target of my wild goose chase the day before, they had opted to play completely in the dark. To be fair, their usual setup had video projections shone overtop of them but the setup of the room didn’t allow this so while the films ran on the wall beside the stage, the band played with only whatever light from the hallway outside found its way in. And while this would normally be enough to get on my bad side, the London five-piece sounded so good that it was impossible to stay mad. Imagine a ’60s film score collaboration between Slowdive and Stereolab and you’re in the ballpark – it was a formula you’d think would sound more familiar but in their hands, at least, felt exceedingly fresh. Just-signed to SubPop, their debut full-length should be out in the Summer. I cannot wait to hear it.

At this point I left the safety of the Convention Center to forage for some food but soon returned to its air-conditioned, free-wified embrace, again to the Radio Day Stage, to see DeVotchKa. It had been three and a half years since I last saw the Denver quartet – here in Austin in September 2007 during ACL – but that’s only because they hadn’t returned to Toronto for a headlining show since Summer 2006. In any case, it was far too long. Their set had a goodly number of old favourites but leaned heavily on their new album 100 Lovers and rightly so – DeVotchKa have always had a unique formula of rock seasoned with mariachi and balkan sounds but on their last record A Mad And Faithful Telling it felt as though either it or they were getting tired. Lovers, happily, finds them sounding rejuvenated by recommitting to their aesthetic and taking it tighter and deeper while simultaneously expanding what DeVotchKa is, particularly rhythmically. In any sense, they reaffirmed their status as an excellent live band, the superb audio setup doing the intricacies of their sound many favours. The one point where the room didn’t work in their favour was near the end of the set when someone accidentally (?) hit the light switches and the many many many fluorescent panels in the ceiling began firing up… not especially rock’n’roll. They did get them switched off just in time for their finale, though, eliciting a smirk from frontman Nick Urata – maybe that’s what counted as a light show?

Hitting up New Zealand’s most hotly-tipped outfit at the fest, The Naked & Famous, it required a trek to the dustiest corner of downtown they call Lustre Pearl, and by and large they were worth it. Not the most original sounding outfit but a good representative of bands for whom using synths doesn’t necessarily mean they have to forgo the more traditional implements of rock. Their high-energy sound had keyboards underpinning everything, but you could have replaced the synthetic textures with organic instruments or even done away with them entirely and they’d have still sounded right. For The Naked & Famous, the danceability was not the ends but just the means to having a good time, and good times were had.

Finally, to wrap the daytime portion of the Thursday, it was back to the Convention Center for a panel on “How To Build A Festival”, featuring the people who started Bonnaroo, Burning Man and the Northside Festival. Not that I have any intention on starting my own fest, but because I was genuinely curious about how things of that nature worked. And while there wasn’t any sort of insider information offered that you wouldn’t have been able to guess, it was interesting hearing some of the anecdotes the panelists had on their experiences in getting their ventures started and did give me a sense of why Toronto has been incapable of starting and maintaining a large-scale festival (besides CMW/NXNE) – the amount of energy and dedication required is more than any entity in the 416 has been able or willing to offer, and not unreasonably. But maybe someday?

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

After Glow

Foals giddy-up back to America

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickThe last time Oxford’s Foals were in town back in September, guitarist Jimmy Smith’s constantly malfunctioning amp and pedals provided frontman Yann Philippakis with enough rage-fuel to transform a technical disaster into a seething, edge-of-violent triumph, much to the delight of the completely jam-packed Lee’s Palace.

One expects they’ll have the state of their gear checked and double-checked before their return engagement on April 30 at the Phoenix (tickets $16.50), though. And that’s fine because as memorable as that last show was, it’ll be nice to hear them showcase their Mercury Prize-shortlisted record Total Life Forever with two fully functioning guitars.

The date is part of a Spring tour that is presumably built around a Coachella appearance and will feature a rather odd bill of Foals, Brooklyn twee-poppers Freelance Whales, still touring last year’s Weathervanes, and hotly-tipped New Zealanders The Naked & Famous, whose debut Passive Me, Aggressive You will be out on March 15.

MP3: Foals – “Spanish Sahara”
MP3: Freelance Whales – “Generator Second Floor”
Video: The Naked & Famous – “Young Blood”

Other Mercury Prize alumni coming back to town are Friendly Fires, who’ve made a May 30 date at The Phoenix, tickets $20. There’s been no official announcement about the release of their second album but one assumes that it will be out before they head over here. Update: Full North American dates are up, album has working title of Pala.

MP3: Friendly Fires – “Jump In The Pool”

Australia’s Cut Copy have slated a North American tour in support of their new record Zonoscope, due out February 8. Look for them at The Sound Academy on April 7 and download a track from the new record over here.

MP3: Cut Copy – “Lights & Music”

Last week they announced the April 4 release of their new record Blood Pressures and now, via NME are this Spring’s world tour dates for The Kills; Toronto gets them May 1 at the Sound Academy. That’s right, groan away. I’ll wait.

MP3: The Kills – “URA Fever”

Milo Cordell of The Big Pink tells NME they’re considering a hip-hop direction for their second album.

The Scotland Herald talks to Stuart Braithwaite ofMogwai in Japan. Their new record Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will arrives February 15 and there’s a new MP3 and video from said record available to download. Mogwai play The Phoenix on April 26.

MP3: Mogwai – “San Pedro”
Video: Mogwai – “Pano Rano”

The Guardian has a feature piece on British Sea Power. They play Lee’s Palace on March 30.

“The World Is Yours”, the lead track from Glasvegas’ Euphoric Heartbreak, is currently available to stream – the record is out April 4.

Music For Kids Who Can’t Read Good wins today’s Patrick Wolf news prize – they’ve got the name of Wolf’s new record – Lupercalia – and a download of the first single from the record, “Time Of My Life”. A quick look on the Twitter indicates that said album has been given a May 23 release date in the UK and a stream of the second single, “The City”, is available on Soundcloud. I daresay that if these songs are indicative of what the album will be like, Mr. Wolf has managed to outdo himself yet again.

Baeble Music has a Guest Apartment session and The Herald-Sun an interview with Kate Nash.

The Fly has an acoustic video session with The Joy Formidable, whose debut The Big Roar is out in the UK next week and in North America March 15.

Elly Jackson of La Roux discusses collaboration plans for album number two with NME.

Clash interviews Adele, whose second record 21 arrives February 22.

MusicOMH talks to Anna Calvi, whose self-titled debut arrives March 1 and who plays Wrongbar on March 11.

NPR has a second video from PJ Harvey’s forthcoming Let England Shake, due out February 15.

Video: PJ Harvey – “The Words That Maketh Murder”

In talking to Gigwise, Blur’s Dave Rowntree confirms the band will do “something” this year, but offers no more information than that. And yes, as I was typing that out I realized how pointless a news item this was but whatever.

MusicOmh has words with Richard Thompson.

And do swing by the recently-launched Aggregation Magazine, whose mandate is simple but too long for me to recap here but whose latest issue includes contributions from yours truly on topics that have nothing to do with music. And the latest issue of Under The Radar – the Sufjan cover – has an interview with myself and other music bloggers on the topic of blog hype; the issue has been out since December but I only just got a copy so I made sure I didn’t sound like a total ass before mentioning it. Only a partial ass, as per usual. End self-promo/flagellation.