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Posts Tagged ‘Neil Halstead’

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

No Medicine For Regret

Mogwai affirm promise of no more extensive touring by announcing extensive tour

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickI’m sure they meant it at the time, what with keeping up a heavy slate of performances worldwide for as long as anyone can remember and the added complications of drummer Martin Bulloch’s health issues and visa problems forcing cancellations in the past few years, but when Mogwai prefaced their second round of touring in support of Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will last year with a promise/warning that it would be “the last extensive touring we do for some time”, some who might have fallen into a habit of taking them for granted were spurred into getting off their asses and having their eardrums blasted by the Scottish post-rock masters (maybe) one last time – myself included.

Well, apparently “for some time” actually means “as long as it takes us to record a new record”, because hot on the heels of last week’s announcement of their eighth studio album Rave Tapes – coming out January 21 – they’ve announced a month-plus long North American tour for next Spring. And perhaps it was the promise of playing a different room that enticed them, because the Toronto date on May 13 will take place at the Danforth Music Hall – tickets $25.50 to $29.50 – instead of The Phoenix where they’ve played (I believe) every local show since a face-melting detour to Lee’s Palace in May 2002. They were supposed to play The Kool Haus in Fall 2008 circa The Hawk Is Howling but that show was one of the casualties of Bulloch’s medical issues, and the make-up show the following May was scheduled for – you got it – The Phoenix.

To be clear, there’s no word of complaint in the band NOT taking a proper hiatus from touring. Their shows may not surprise much, but they never disappoint. And hey, maybe getting to eat somewhere new pre-show will inspire them to even greater heights? It could happen.

MP3: Mogwai – “Remurdered”

With her new album finally out this week, M.I.A. has made Matangi available to stream via Consequence Of Sound; she’s also interviewed by Billboard and NPR about it.

Stream: M.I.A. / Matangi

Noisey chats with Charli XCX, in town November 5 at Wrongbar.

NPR has an advance stream of Cate Le Bon’s forthcoming album Mug Museum, out November 12. She’ll be at The Drake Underground on January 21 in the new year.

Stream: Cate Le Bon / Mug Museum

Rolling Stone are offering one of the tracks off Stornoway’s new EP You Don’t Know Anything for free download. The whole thing comes out on November 12.

MP3: Stornoway – “Tumbling Bay”

Peggy Sue have made a new EP available to download for free via Noisetrade, leading up to the release of their new album Choir of Echoes on January 27

White Lies have announced a return date in support of their latest Big TV – they’ll be at The Mod Club on February 27, tickets $35. Opening up will be Frankie Rose, who released Herein Wild earlier this Fall.

MP3: Frankie Rose – “Know Me”
Video: White Lies – “There Goes Our Love”

NME have premiered a new, self-described David Lynch-inspired video from Fanfarlo’s The Sea EP; a full-length will follow in the new year.

Video: Fanfarlo – “A Distance”

DIY has details on how you can hear Metronomy’s new song, which is a convoluted process involving smartphones, apps, credit cards, and outer space.

CHVRCHES have released a new video from their debug The Bones Of What You Believe.

Video: CHVRCHES – “Lies”

BrooklynVegan has videos from the recent Neil Halstead solo shows where he was joined by Rachel Goswell, sending the hearts of Slowdive and Mojave 3 fans a-flutter. And over at Under The Radar, Halstead and his Black Hearted Brother compadres offer a track-by-track guide to their debut Stars Are Our Home… which they’ve technically already done with MusicOmh but who’s counting?

Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin takes Drowned In Sound on a guided tour of her pedalboard.

NPR has a World Cafe session and The Georgia Straight an interview with Laura Marling.

Under The Radar got some Hallowe’en-themed questions answered by Still Corners.

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Time In The Machine

Review of Black Hearted Brother’s Stars Are Our Home

Photo By Frank YangSabine ScheckelWith all due respect to Mark Van Hoen and Nick Holton and their works with Seefeel and Holton’s Opulant Oog, respectively, it’s entirely reasonable to discuss Stars Are Our Home, the debut album from England’s Black Hearted Brother, almost entirely in terms of Neil Halstead. Because not only is it Halstead’s work in Slowdive, Mojave 3, and as a solo artist that’s going to sell this record, it’s his past work which offers the strongest reference points. And yet what fans of the aforementioned will get out of this record depends entirely on the expectations they come into it with, for despite a return to electric instruments, a band context, and the unapologetically cosmic allusions of the record, Stars occupies an orbit all its own that promises no return to Souvlaki Space Station.

In fact, for all the echoes of Halstead’s past work that inhabit Stars, there’s little that’s reminiscent of Slowdive at their most beloved. The downbeat “Take Heart” comes closest to recreating a Souvlaki-esque sigh, but for the most part guitars have more psych and bite than swell and bloom, and the electronics at play leave little of the space that defined Pygmalion. The songwriting at its best captures the brighter, poppier side of Mojave 3 as well as the laid-back melodicism of solo Halstead – both “This Is How it Feels” and “UFO” combine these marvellously – and even when it’s not quite as refined – some of it feels jammier than you’d have ever found on a M3 or Slowdive record – the palpable enjoyment these long-time mates get out of playing together still carries it through.

As I mentioned the last time he came through town, Halstead’s gift for musical reinvention while remaining wholly himself is quite remarkable, and with Black Hearted Brother – who use their own past as influences, but still create something all-new – this continues.

Stars Are Our Home is out today, and MusicOmh gets a track-by-track walkthrough of the album from the band. Meanwhile, Exclaim! has an extensive interview with Halstead about not just Black Hearted Brother, but the plausibility of a Slowdive reunion (the door he opened last year remains reluctantly wide open) and the upcoming solo gigs at which Rachel Goswell will guest on vocals for a planned live record.

And further to the Halstead singularity in which we now find ourselves, a limited-edition 7″ featuring solo versions of “Alison” and “Yer Feet” will be made available for sale online this Friday, providing they don’t sell out at the London gigs. Which they really should.

Update: Also fun – the band have put out an introduction video for those not familiar with the principals.

MP3: Black Hearted Brother – “This Is How It Feels”
Video: Black Hearted Brother – “This Is How It Feels”

The Boston Herald, Boston Globe, and Metro profile Franz Ferdinand, coming to town for a show at The Kool Haus on October 24.

The 405 talks to Los Campesinos! about their new record No Blues, coming out next wek on October 29.

With the November 5 release of her new album Matangi a couple weeks away, Pitchfork, The Fader, and The Guardian all want to talk to M.I.A..

Clash has a stream of another new tune from Rose Elinor Dougall, who will release the Future Vanishes EP on November 18.

Stream: Rose Elinor Dougall – “Poison Ivy”

Toy have released a video for the title track of their new record Join The Dots, coming out December 9.

Video: Toy – “Join The Dots”

Slate The Disco and Leeds Music Scene talk to Lanterns On The Lake about their new album Until The Colours Run, which gets a North American release on January 14.

Thom Yorke’s Atoms For Peace has rolled out another video from AMOK and a making-of video for said video, viewable at Pitchfork.

Video: Atoms For Peace – “Before Your Very Eyes”

When Scottish rockers Idlewild announced a hiatus following 2010’s Post-Electric Blues, it certainly seemed like the permanent sort but this photo posted yesterday to their Facebook implies that they’re feeling it again, which is good news. Or they’re just messing around with the emotions of their Facebook page fans.

Guitar World talks to Noah & The Whale guitarist Tom Hobden about his world of guitars.

The Line Of Best Fit reports that Manic Street Preachers have unearthed some new Holy Bible-era material – not music, but archival material – and may include it in a 20th anniversary release.

Editors have a new video from The Weight Of Your Love.

Video: Editors – “Honesty”

The Fly chats with Yuck 2.0.

David Gedge of The Wedding Present discusses the return to Hit Parade with The Glasgow Evening Times and lists off the soundtrack of his life for High 50

NPR welcomes Daughter for a Tiny Desk Concert, while The List and Refinery 29 have interviews with frontwoman Elena Tonra.

Arctic Monkeys describe to Rolling Stone how they went reinvented themselves from being a chart-topping rock band to a chart-topping rock band.

And since this is where my head has been at lately, know that the 1993 Suede live concert film Love and Poison is available to watch in its entirety on YouTube; the VHS-transfered visuals aren’t amazing but the soundtrack is quite acceptable.

Video: Suede / Love And Pain

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, May 17th, 2013

Stop Taking My Time

This is the new Club 8 record and now I am on holiday

Photo By Kjell B PerssonKjell B PerssonKnow what the worst thing about not going to SXSW this Spring was? Not missing SXSW, but not having my previously annual late-Winter vacation. In fact, save for a weekend jaunt to New York last November, the last time I got out of the 416 was Labour Day – that’s well over eight months ago, and right mental. And while I’d like to say that the European theme of this post is a hint as to where I’m getting away to, it unfortunately is not. I still hope to make it across the Atlantic later this Summer – who wants to go to Stockholm? – but for now, an extra-long weekend getaway to Chicago is going to have to scratch my “get out of EDT” itch. I’ll check back in before next week’s end, but we be going dark for a bit after this. Or after tomorrow, because I have a quick contest to put up. Anyways.

To keep you company – and to build up the Swedish travel karma – you can now stream in whole Above The City, the new near-perfect blend of dancefloor beats and indie-pop moping from Swede-pop veterans Club 8, which is officially out on May 21. And to go along with the stream, the Johan Angergård half of the band talks to Billboard about his and Karolina Komstedt’s first record in three years, the status of his other project The Legends, and what’s coming next from his label Labrador, and over at DIY he offers a track-by-track walkthrough of the record.

Stream: Club 8 / Above The City

With their debut album No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers out now, Copenhagen’s Vår have posted the thing up at Pitchfork for your streaming pleasure.

Stream: Vår / No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers

The Vancouver Sun and The Province interview Icelandic ambassadors Of Monsters & Men, in town at Echo Beach for CBCMusic.ca Fest at Echo Beach on May 25.

Camera Obscura have made another new track from their forthcoming Desire Lines available to stream. The record is out June 4 and they play Garrison Commons for TURF on July 4.

Stream: Camera Obscura – “Fifth In Line To The Throne”

Russell Lissack talks to The Miami New times about new music that Bloc Party might be releasing later this Summer. They play the Arts & Crafts Field Trip fest at Garrison Commons on June 8.

Though of small comfort to those of us who missed out on seeing it in person thanks to the illness that tanked their show during CMF, 4AD has announced they will release a live Efterklang album recorded in Fall 2012 with the Copenhagen Philharmonic. The Piramida Concert will be available as a digital download and vinyl package and be out June 10.

Stream: Efterklang – “The Living Layer + Vælv” (live)

Jónsi þór Birgisson gives Premier Guitar a guided tour of his live guitar rig with Sigur Rós. Their new record Kveikur is out June 18, and they’re on The Simpsons this Sunday night.

Stereogum talks to Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, whose new album More Light is out in North America on June 18.

The Los Angeles Times reports that former Belle & Sebastian bassist Stuart David will be writing his memoirs about his time in the band, which started from its very inception – he founded it with Stuart Murdoch in 1996 – through his departure following Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant in 2000.

aux.tv has a feature-length interview and NPR a video session with Savages, coming to town for a show at The Mod Club on July 16.

Billboard and USA Today check in with the ladies of Icona Pop, coming to town as part of the Grove Fest lineup at Garrison Common on August 3.

Franz Ferdinand have announced the August 27 release of their fourth record, Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action; The Line Of Best Fit has details and Domino has an album trailer, but the important thing is it’s only three more months until people can complain that the new record isn’t as good as their first.

Trailer: Franz Ferdinand / Right Thoughts, Right Words Right Action

Dreamy English folk-pop purveyors Lanterns On The Lake aren’t offering any specifics on their second album besides that it’ll be out later this year, but they have released a first video from it.

Video: Lanterns On The Lake – “Another Tale From Another English Town”

Melody’s Echo Chamber have a new video from last year’s self-titled debut.

Video: Melody’s Echo Chamber – “Some Time Alone, Alone”

The Quietus gets an interview with The Knife.

The Independent profiles Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.

The Line Of Best Fit grabs Neil Halstead for a video session.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews British Sea Power.

The Province, Seattle Weekly, and The San Francisco Examiner interview Kate Nash.

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

A Ton Of Love

Editors done editing new record and lineup, hope Love is worth the Weight

Photo By Matt SpaldingMatt SpaldingAt the risk of being overly literal, it probably goes without saying that a band called Editors would hardly be averse to making changes. But the Birmingham band’s decision to push synthesizers to the fore on their third album, 2009’s In This Light And On This Evening, might have been a little more stylistic revision than they or their fans bargained for. It didn’t fare nearly as well, commercially-speaking, as either of its predecessors – fans apparently preferred them when they were aping Joy Division rather than New Order, even if their instincts for all things dramatic and anthemic remained intact and Tom Smith sounded as overwrought and faintly ridiculous as ever – and when the dust settled founding guitarist Chris Urbanowicz had left the band.

So while it may have taken a little while longer than usual to regroup, the band have done just that – they’re now a five-piece – and will release their fourth album The Weight Of Your Love on July 1 in the UK. They’ve made the first single available to preview by way of a video, and it certainly seems to indicate a return to a guitar-based sound – mayhap Urbanowicz’s issues with their creative direction weren’t what you might expect – as well as an increased appreciation for all things U2. Altsounds sums up the press release for the new record and DIY has an in-studio chat with the band about the new record.

Video: Editors – “A Ton Of Love”

The Guardian has an extensive feature interview with Savages, whose debut Silence Yourself is out this week.

The Huffington Post, Boston Globe, and Bullett mark the release of Little Boots’ second album Nocturnes today with feature interviews.

Noah & The Whale are profiled by The Guardian, The Independent, and The Boar on the occasion of the release of their new record Heart Of Nowhere this week.

A Heart Is A Spade, Junkee, and MusicFeeds chat with Charli XCX, in town at Echo Beach on May 23 supporting Marina & The Diamonds.

Laura Marling has released the first video from new album Once I Was An Eagle, which will be released on May 28. She plays 99 Sudbury in Toronto on May 25.

Video: Laura Marling – “Master Hunter”

DIY talks to Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream. Their new record More Light is out this week in the UK and on June 18 in North America.

Quip Q&As Polly Scattergood about her new record Arrows, out June 18.

Buzzfeed has a sit-down with Stuart Murdoch about Belle & Sebastian and his God Help The Girl feature film. They will close out the final night of the Toronto Urban Roots Fest on July 7 at Garrison Commons.

Pitchfork has a stream of a new song from Sky Larkin, who have an as-yet untitled album done and ready for release later this Summer.

Stream: Sky Larkin – “Motto”

Spin finds out what Yuck are up to now that frontman Daniel Blumberg has left the band and is now operating under the name Hebronix. Their second album is due out in the Fall and the first Hebronix album – Unreal – is out July 9; you can stream the title track below.

Stream: Hebronix – “Unreal”

MTV Hive checks in with Dev Hynes about getting back to business as Blood Orange; a second album is hopefully coming this year but with all the other projects on the go that Hynes mentioned, holding one’s breath isn’t necessarily recommended.

Under The Radar and Rolling Stone have interviews with Johnny Marr about his solo work, while The Daily Mail talks to him about the 30th anniversary of The Smiths and specifically, the writing of their first single “Hand In Glove”. Marr marked the anniversary in a way at a recent New York show, staging a half-reunion when Smiths bassist Andy Rourke joined him onstage for the show-closing “How Soon Is Now”.

The Fly has a video session with Veronica Falls.

State and entertainment.ie interview British Sea Power.

Billboard has an interview and NPR a World Cafe session with Billy Bragg.

Exclaim has a feature interview with James Blake.

The Line Of Best Fit is streaming a re-recorded, full band-boasting version of a track from Neil Halstead’s 2012 album Palindrome Hunches. It sounds great, but would probably sound better slowed down, drenched in reverb and delay, and with Rachel Goswell singing harmonies.

Stream: Neil Halstead – “Spin The Bottle”

DIY reports that Damon Albarn told a Hong Kong audience that, having had shows in Japan this week postponed, Blur will while away the time in Hong Kong by trying to record a new album. Which is encouraging, because it’s one thing to bait nosy journalists, but unsolicited declarations to thousands of fans is quite another.

So ever since I posted this five years ago, I’ve periodically tried to find out what British singer-songwriter Candie Payne has been up to, looking for either word of a follow-up to I Wish I Could Have Loved You More or confirmation that she’s retired so that I can stop trying to find out what she’s been up to. As it turns out, she’s formed a band called The Big House with a former member of The Zutons and has been working on some of that boy-girl Californian country-pop stuff that the kids are all about these days. Still not a whole lot to show for it, but at least it’s something.

Video: The Big House – “Canyon Home In The Sun”
Video: Candie Payne – “One More Chance”