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Posts Tagged ‘Neon Windbreaker’

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Hear It Is

Oh my gawd!!! …The Flaming Lips are free for NXNE!

Photo By J. Michelle Martin-CoyneJ. Michelle Martin-CoyneSo what are you doing June 16? Are you one of those so conditioned by years of Toronto Radiohead shows selling out in a heartbeat that you tripped over yourself getting tickets for their Downsview gig as soon as they went on sale, even though the new venue was over twice the size of the Amphitheatre and general admission? Or are you one of those conscious of the fact that this is a King Of Limbs tour and realistically speaking, they probably won’t be playing the stuff you like most and anyways that’s the day the reunited Archers Of Loaf are finally coming to town and there’s no place you’d rather be that night than The Phoenix? Or were you waiting to hear what NXNE had up their sleeves since that’s when the Yonge-Dundas Square mainstage traditionally hosts the biggest name of the fest playing for free? If you chose option c), then congratulations on wanting to make an informed decision. And I’m sorry to say that Radiohead is now sold out so all your strategizing was for naught.

But you’ve hardly lost out as NXNE finally announced their first batch of acts playing the festival this year, and the Saturday night mainstage headliners will be none other than The Flaming Lips. The Oklahoman psychedelic-rockers, last here in July 2010, will endeavour to transform Yonge-Dundas Square into a garish, technicolor assault on the senses… so pretty much what it is every day, but with a bubble walk. Kidding aside, it will be pretty exciting to see a lot of people who’ve presumably never seen the Lips perform (or even know who they are) witness one of the most ridiculous and entertaining live shows going. Laser hands! And hey – since Yonge-Dundas isn’t far from The Phoenix, you can technically do both The Lips and Archers Of Loaf. I will, anyways.

As for the other confirmed acts, there’s a pretty impressive collection of both buzz bands and veterans coming to Toronto the weekend of June 14 to 17 – certainly more than a few that I’ve either been waiting to see come to town or are quite curious about. And because I’m a big dork, as I’ve done the past couple years, I’ve tried to discern the when and where of as many showcases as possible based on tour routing, previous announcements, what have you. There’s not quite as much info floating around right now as in past years, but if you wanted to get a jump start on trying to resolve inevitable scheduling conflicts, it’s something. Of course, all of this is unconfirmed until the official schedule is unveiled and certainly subject to change – I’ll probably keep updating it until that happens, if just for my own reference – but my sources are credible.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Hayes Carll, July Talk @ The Horseshoe
Eternal Summers @ The Drake Underground

Thursday, June 14, 2012
Bad Religion, No Use For A Name, Good Riddance @ Yonge-Dundas Square
White Rabbits, Vacationer, Nash @ The Mod Club
Bran Van 3000, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Violens, Hooded Fang @ The Horseshoe
The Men, Grass Widow, The Black Belles, Mac DeMarco, Gap Dream @ The Garrison
Young Magic, Purity Ring, Moon King, Exitmusic, The Hundreds in The Hands @ Wrongbar
The Danks, Vinyl Williams @ The Drake Underground
Bleached @ The Silver Dollar
Mean Jeans @ The Shop Under Parts & Labour
The Seedy Seeds @ The Painted Lady
Larry & His Flask, The Schomberg Fair @ Sneaky Dee’s

Friday, June 15, 2012
Matthew Good, Plants & Animals, Eight And A Half @ Yonge-Dundas Square
2:54, Friends, Oberhofer @ Lee’s Palace
The Smoking Popes @ The Great Hall
The Sadies & Andre Williams, Reigning Sound, The Black Belles, The Coppertone @ The Horseshoe
Widowspeak, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Art Vs. Science @ The Garrison
The Men, Bass Drum Of Death, DZ Deathrays, The Death Set, Metz @ Wrongbar
Bleached, Parlovr, Hooded Fang, Goose Hut @ The Silver Dollar
Rah Rah @ The Dakota Tavern
Phèdre, Odonis Odonis, Beta Frontiers, Cartoons, Hellaluya, Hussy, Times Neue Roman @ Sneaky Dee’s
Brasstronaut, Útidúr @ TBA

Saturday, June 16, 2012
The Flaming Lips, Of Montreal, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, Ceremony, Art Vs. Science, Oberhofer, Parlovr, Hollerado @ Yonge-Dundas Square
Archers Of Loaf, Metz @ The Phoenix
Catl, Young Empires @ The Horseshoe
Killer Mike, Death Grips, Ceremony, Doldrums, Trae Tha Truth @ Wrongbar
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan @ Sneaky Dee’s
Holly McNarland, The Deer Tracks @ The Rivoli
Limblifter, Shellshag, Our Brother The Native, Neon Windbreaker, International Zombies OF Love @ El Mocambo
Kontravoid, Automelodi, Bleached, Prince Innocence, Ell V Gore, Mac DeMarco, Cellphone, Dutch Toko @ The Silver Dollar
Sean Rowe @ The Dakota Tavern
WAZU @ The Painted Lady
Carnival Moon @ Czehoski
DJ Jonathan Toubin @ TBA

Sunday, June 17, 2012
Raekwon & Ghostface Killah @ Yonge-Dundas Square

The full list of announced acts – including those without a venue or exact date that I can pin down – can be grokked over here but definitely catching my eye are Rival Schools and Porcelain Raft (June 14 or 15). Not a bad start at all, lots more to come.

MP3: Archers Of Loaf – “Harnessed In Slums”
MP3: Ceremony – “Hysteria”
MP3: Death Grips – “Spread Eagle Cross The Block”
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Dark Passenger”
MP3: Mac DeMarco – “Baby’s Wearin’ Blue Jeans”
MP3: Doldrums – “I’m Homesick Sittin’ Up Here In My Satellite”
MP3: Hollerado – “Americanarama”
MP3: The Men – “Ex-Dreams”
MP3: Oberhofer – “Away Frm U”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Coquet Coquette”
MP3: The Soundtrack Of Our Lives – “Karmageddon”
MP3: Widowspeak – “Harsh Realm”
MP3: Andrew Williams – “Dirt”
Video: Bad Religion – “21st Century Digital Boy”
Video: The Black Belles – “What Can I Do”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Fight Test”
Video: Friends – “Friend Crush”
Video: Ghostface Killah – “2getha Baby”
Video: Matthew Good – “Everything Is Automatic”
Video: Raekwon – “House Of Flying Daggers”
Video: 2:54 – “You’re Early”

And speaking of The Flaming Lips, their Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends album is out this Saturday for Record Store Day – if you can get your hands on one – and Wayne Coyne talks about it to The Huffington Post. They’ve also released a video from it – NSFW, of course. Lips don’t do clothes.

Video: The Flaming Lips and New Fumes – “Girl, You’re So Weird”

Electronic Anthology Project is the brainchild of Built To Spill’s Brett Netson wherein he takes songs from artists who aren’t especially electronic – like, say, Dinosaur Jr – and recreates them in synth-y, new wave style and actually makes it work. Of course it helps when you can get the likes of J Mascis to re-record some vocals for the project… The Electronic Anthology Project of Dinosaur Jr will be released on CD for Record Store Day but you can stream the whole thing right now at Stereogum.

Stream: Electronic Anthology Project – “Tarpit”
Stream: Electronic Anthology Project of Dinosaur Jr

Stereogum checks in with Jana Hunter of Lower Dens to see how things are coming on their next album Nootropics, out May 1.

Beach House are streaming another new song from Bloom, out May 15. It’ll be available on 7″ for Record Store Day this Saturday.

Stream: Beach House – “Lazuli”

Spin interviews Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, whose new record The Only Place is out on May 15. They play The Phoenix on July 21.

Though Mark Kozelek has a habit of booking and then cancelling shows, he’s planning to be in Toronto at The Great Hall on October 3 to promote the new Sun Kil Moon record Among The Leaves, out May 29. Tickets are $20 in advance and refunds will be available at the point of purchase.

MP3: Sun Kil Moon – “UK Blues”
MP3: Sun Kil Moon – “Carry Me Ohio”
MP3: Sun Kil Moon – “Sunshine In Chicago”

Exclaim reports that the second Guided By Voices album of 2012 – Class Clown Spots a UFO – will be out on June 21 and a third GBV album entitled Bears For Lunch should be out in November. Most prolific reunion ever?

That Nintendo-premiered new video from The Shins is finally available to watch online. They’re at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 4 supporting The Black Keys.

Video: The Shins – “The Rifle’s Spiral”

Craig Finn tells Rolling Stone that The Hold Steady will begin work on a new record this Summer, but he’s not quite done with the solo thing yet – Paste has premiered a new video as part of a fundraising campaign for Big Brother/Big Sisters of America.

Video: Craig Finn – “Respective Coasts”

Spin chats with M. Ward.

Chart talks to Nada Surf frontman Matthew Caws.

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Dig You Out

Male Bonding, Love Inks, Neon Windbreaker and Huddle at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangA number of things I hadn’t done in a while: gone to a show; gone to a show at The Horseshoe; gone to a show whose bill was filled with bands I’d never seen before. Friday night, I kicked off Labour Day weekend by addressing all three of these things by seeing London’s Male Bonding, Austin’s Love Inks and locals Neon Windbreaker and Huddle. At the ‘Shoe. In case that wasn’t clear. This isn’t to say I had no backstory with the bands. I was in a band with one of Huddle’s guitarists for some years, years ago, and have a couple of friends in the Neon Windbreaker camp – the fact that I’d yet to see either of them play before, despite ample opportunity, kind of speaks volumes about how good a friend I am. But I digress.

I’d been sent a few tracks from Huddle’s Fault Lines EP some time ago and been impressed by how sophisticated it sounded for a band that hadn’t been around for very long, though it was comprised of some experienced players. Since they recorded that sampler, they’ve finished a very accomplished full-length in All These Fires – a debut that’s insidiously catchy at times – and were looking to bring some of that studio savvy onto the stage. And indeed, one of the first things I noticed was the sophistication and attention to detail in their arrangements – little flourishes in the percussion and keyboards that you might not consciously notice but definitely feel in the bigger picture. The electro-pop sheen that’s up front on the recordings was pleasantly roughed up a bit live and the band have got things covered in the polish and pop hooks departments; if there’s a shortcoming it’s in the overall presence – though plenty friendly, they didn’t offer a whole lot of personality up there. This isn’t to suggest that a contrived image would be a step up, but with the songs and musicianship well covered, that would be something to look at next.

And way over at the opposite end of spectrum with a surplus of personality dwells Neon Windbreaker. Originally conceived as a hardcore concept/novelty act, it’s grown – perhaps despite themselves – into a real(ish) band with actual songs and musical proficiency. Well, somewhat – everyone can clearly play even if it’s not called for in this outfit – it’s unclear if frontman Eric Warner can actually sing but he’s got the screaming thing down pretty well – and when they let the anarchic aesthetic drop and allow something genuinely tuneful to come through, it’s surprising and confusing. Again, this may be the point. In any case, they were entertaining and didn’t overstay their welcome, though I suspect their cover of Harvey Danger’s “Flagpole Sitta” was a bit sloppier than even they intended. Or not.

The stage presence yo-yo went back to its other extreme for the third act of the night, Texan trio Love Inks, and one can only presume their opening cover of David Essex’s “Rock On” was ironic as rocking on was rather the last thing they had in mind. Their sound as captured on debut album ESP is built on live bass and guitar over skeletal, sequenced beats and since Kevin Dehan and Adam Linnell prefer to tend to their duties while standing off the the stage sides, safely ensconced in shadow, the figurative and literal spotlight fell on singer/drum machine triggerer Sherry LaBlanc. Thankfully, her vocal approach is not icy and detached, as so many who ply simliar terrain are, but wide-eyed and emotive and imbuing their songs with some genuine feeling. That said, they were still very low-key in presentation and considering most were there for their decidedly punked-up tourmates, it was just as well their set ran a very efficient half-hour.

On any given day, I might say that Male Bonding are too lo-fi for my tastes, but with the increased sonic clarity and bigger pop hooks on their just-released second album Endless Now over their debut Nothing Hurts, they were very much what I was in the mood for this evening. But though they may have tidied things up in the studio a bit this time out, live they tilted very much back towards the punk side of their equation while retaining just the right amount of airiness in their harmonies and hooks. With the addition of a second guitarist, things were decidedly weightier and louder for both new material and old – the set was split about evenly between both – and propelled by the relentless drumming of Robin Christian. He wasn’t hugely fancy or varied back there, but was unquestionably huge as he laid down a monstrous groove for his bandmates to work in and the four-piece powered through a set of meaty, punk-pop with the unquestionable highlight being the irresistible “Bones”, which must have been exhausting for both the band on stage and dancers in the audience. How they managed to keep playing after that marathon is beyond me, but they did and closed out with a rare (according to them) encore. Then I imagine they went backstage and collapsed.

Exclaim also has a writeup of the show and The Liverpool Echo has an interview with Love Inks.

Photos: Male Bonding, Love Inks, Neon Windbreaker, Huddle @ The Horseshoe – September 2, 2011
MP3: Male Bonding – “Tame The Sun”
MP3: Male Bonding – “Bones”
MP3: Male Bonding – “Franklin”
MP3: Male Bonding – “Year’s Not Long”
MP3: Love Inks – “Blackeye”
MP3: Neon Windbreaker – “Furniture”
MP3: Huddle – “Islands”
Video: Male Bonding – “All Things This Way”
Video: Male Bonding – “Pirate Key”
Video: Male Bonding – “Weird Feelings”
Video: Male Bonding – “Year’s Not Long”
Video: Love Inks – “Blackeye”
Video: Love Inks – “Leather Glove”

With next week being one of the big new release days of the Fall, there’s plenty of much-anticipated records available to preview by way of streams. First, there’s St. Vincent’s latest Strange Mercy, which is up over at NPR. Pitchfork also has a feature interview.

Stream: St. Vincent / Strange Mercy

The New York Times has paired their feature piece on Laura Marling with a stream of her latest A Creature I Don’t Know. She is at The Great Hall on September 23.

Stream: Laura Marling / A Creature I Don’t Know

If you were at all intrigued by my writeup of Slow Club’s new record Paradise from last week, it’s up for listening over at NME.

Stream: Slow Club / Paradise

The second single from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is now available to stream at NME. It’s on the strength of this and the rest of the self-titled debut, out November 8, that Gallagher will be playing two shows at Massey Hall on November 7 and 8.

Stream: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – “AKA… What A Life!”

Not technically an album stream and certainly not a new release, but video of Bettie Serveert’s recital of their debut Palomine at the Into The Great Wide Open festival in The Netherlands this past weekend is available to watch online. Oh ’90s.

Baeble Music is streaming a video interview and session with Ellie Goulding.

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Sleep Patterns

Canadian Musicfest 2011 suggestions that I won’t be taking

Photo By Samantha CardowSamantha CardowWith festivals come hard choices, and for this year’s edition of Canadian Musicfest, getting underway with a handful of events tonight and in earnest as of tomorrow, I am choosing to eschew the club-hopping-ness that typically comes with these sorts of fest and largely plant myself in one place for each evening. Hard choice or lazy choice? A little of both.

But just because I am staying put doesn’t mean that I recommend others do the same. So by way of festival preview, here’s a list of stuff that I almost certainly won’t be going to but that you should, or at least should investigate. As for what I am going to be seeing over the next few nights, well you can wait for the post-mortem for that.

Wednesday, March 9
Snowblink @ The Painted Lady, 10PM – their release party for the beauteous album Long Live this past weekend apparently a carnivalesque success, the Toronto duo have announced their festival showcase. If you missed the Music Gallery show, as I did, you should make this one, as I will not.
MP3: Snowblink – “The Tired Bees”

Alcoholic Faith Mission @ Rancho Relaxo, 12AM – acoustically-inclined pop-rock comprised of Danes who met in Brooklyn will be all over Toronto this week, following this show with a midnight engagement at The Dakota Tavern on Friday night and an 8PM opening slot at The El Mocambo on Saturday night.
MP3: Alcoholic Faith Mission – “Running With Insanity”

Thursday, March 10
Modern Superstitions @ The Horseshoe, 8:30PM – this local quartet delivers scrappy garage rock with a healthy dose of hooks, attitude and not a little sex appeal. Only an EP to their name right now but more and better will come.
MP3: Modern Superstitions – “Visions Of You”

Molly Rankin @ The Horseshoe, 9:20PM – caught a bit of this Nova Scotia native – yes, of those Rankins – during a BBQ at NXNE last year, and her rootsy power-pop made an impression, even over the sound of me eating a tasty burger. She has members of Two Hours Traffic in her band, presumably voluntarily.
MP3: Molly Rankin – “Bombshell”

Heartbeat Hotel @ The Silver Dollar, 10PM – rising locals continue to refine their heady brew of psychedelic pop, and hopefully their live show will be as good as their recorded works – maybe it’ll happen this evening!
MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “Fins Of A Shark”

Memoryhouse @ The Great Hall, 10:45PM – hey, didja hear? The local dreampop duo has signed to Sub Pop. Not that you need the validation of some big American indie label to know that these guys are great and worth seeing. No, you’re smarter than that.
MP3: Memoryhouse – “Lately (Deuxieme)”

The High Dials @ Hard Luck, 11PM – this venue is pretty new but I’m reasonably certain it’s not a drug front for the mob. The High Dials, on the other hand, have been around for ages and I am certain they’re still putting out some of the sharpest power-pop around.
MP3: The High Dials – “Chinese Boxes”

The Darcys @ The Silver Dollar, 11PM – long one of the city’s most bursting-with-potential as well as sort-of snakebit bands, their new - and first? - second album is done and should finally deliver on their immense promise. Appreciate their ubiquitousness on local stages while you can.
MP3: The Darcys – “The House Built Around Your Voice”

Halves @ The Hideout, 12AM – these Dublliners were playing at Whelan’s Pub in Dublin the very same night I was there in 2008. I didn’t go upstairs to see them, drank a Guinness instead. TRUE STORY. They cultivate a gorgeous, post-rock with vocals vibe reminiscent of Early Day Miners and are also playing Friday at The Comfort Zone at 8PM.
Video: Halves – “Medals”

Austra @ Wrongbar, 1AM – the artist formerly known as Private Life formerly known as Stelmanis formerly known as Katie Stelmanis has finally settled on an identity and a sound – dark electro-pop – and is reaping the benefits and buzz from it. Her debut Feel It Break is out in May.
MP3: Austra – “The Beat & The Pulse”

The Butterfly Explosion @ The Hideout, 2AM – the Irish shoegazers have visited before and broken up and reformed in the interim, and have now drawn an unenviable insomniac/unemployed time slot. If you’re still out and about at that hour and looking for something to see, they won’t disappoint.
MP3: The Butterfly Explosion – “Sophia”

Friday, March 11
Rebekah Higgs @ Supermarket, 9PM – Haligonian songwriter constantly trying to reconcile her folkish roots and electronic inclinations with tuneful results. Her Little Voice EP offers a taste of the new full-length coming soon.
MP3: Rebekah Higgs – “Asleep All Winter”

Aidan Knight @ The Rivoli, 10PM – BC singer-songwriter whose debut album Versicolour is an understated gem, and whose live show is charmingly goofy. Also playing a day show out Trinity-Bellwoods way at 4:40PM on Saturday.
MP3: Aidan Knight – “Friendly Fires”

The Jezabels @ Lee’s Palace, 10PM – Australian rock act here all the way from Australia. Dark, dramatic, crunchy and Australian. Did I mention they’re Australian?
MP3: The Jezabels – “Mace Spray”

Monogrenade @ The El Mocambo, 10:30PM – we all took French in grade school and high school, so language shouldn’t be a barrier to appreciating these rangy Montrealers, who’ve got the acoustic/orchestral smoulder thing down pat. Yeah, that’s a thing.
Video: Monogrenade – “Ce Soir”

Imaginary Cities @ The Garrison, 11:30PM – if an act as legendary as Pixies saw fit to invite these Winnapeggers along for their North American tour and see/hear them every night, then surely they’re worth an hour of your time? They’re also playing on Thursday night at Lee’s Palace at 10:30PM.
MP3: Imaginary Cities – “Hummingbird”

Bombay Bicycle Club @ Lee’s Palace, 12AM – every year it seems there’s a token buzzy Brit band who makes a festival appearance – this year it’s Bombay Bicycle Club. But if you’re of the Anglophile persuasion, you’ve probably already decided to be at this show.
Video: Bombay Bicycle Club – “Evening/Morning”

The Meligrove Band @ Sneaky Dee’s 1AM – local power-pop veterans will be showcasing songs from their latest album Shimmering Lights; always a spirited and rollicking good time.
MP3: The Meligrove Band – “Halflight”

Saturday, March 12
The Balconies @ Lee’s Palace, 10PM – local faves have been holed away writing album number two all Winter – surely there’ll be some new songs in the set? And no you don’t have to stay for Electric Six.
MP3: The Balconies – “300 Pages”

Neon Windbreaker @ The Silver Dollar, 11PM – at first they weren’t a real band, then not a serious band, and now they’re a band with a work ethic that shames career bands that’s playing all over the place both here and at SxSW with a penchant for covering ’90s Canadian alt-rock standards. So you may as well.
MP3: Neon Windbreaker – “Furniture”

Nadia von Hahn @ The Library Bar 11:30PM – smooth and sassy retro-pop from the west coast with loungey and doo-wop accents. Also doing a Daytime Living Room session for The Toronto Institute For The Enjoyment Of Music out Trinity-Bellwoods way at 2PM that afternoon.
Video: Nadia von Hahn – “This Holy Night”

Writers’ Strike @ Rancho Relaxo, 12AM – scrappy and kinda snotty pop-punk from Halifax, not really offering anything new but doing what they do well and with vigor.
MP3: Writers’ Strike – “Bad Time”

The White Wires @ Wrongbar, 2AM – highly regarded new purveyors of old-school garage rock from Ottawa, they may well be worth dealing with Parkdale at 2AM on a Saturday night to see. Seriously.
MP3: White Wires – “Be True To Your School (Until You Get Kicked Out)”

Did you notice the fest is really front-loaded this year? Yeah, me too.

Of course, besides the showcases there’s plenty else going on that doesn’t necessarily require a badge or wristband or even a cover charge – Dorkshelf has rounded some of them up. There’s the three-day in-store mini-fest happening at Sonic Boom, which will feature sets from the likes of The Balconies, The Most Serene Republic, Bombay Bicycle Club, J Mascis, James Vincent McMorrow and Karkwa, among many many others – the full list and schedule is up at the Sonic Boom website.

Criminal Records will also be hosting an in-store with a west coast flavour on Friday night at 7PM, featuring Aidan Knight – complimented above – and We Are The City.

MP3: We Are The City – “Happy New Year”

There’s also a full list of performers and times for the Living Room Sessions noted a couple times above – all performances are free and all-ages.

Memoryhouse discusses their background and aesthetics with Spinner.

The Toronto Star talks to The Darcys about their near-death and rebirth.

Spinner talks to The Wilderness Of Manitoba, who are opening up Thursday night’s bill at Lee’s Palace as well as playing a Living Room Session at 5:20 on Saturday.

She Does The City asks random questions of Young Galaxy’s Stephen Ramsay. They’re the headliner on the Thursday night Lee’s Palace bill, going on at 11:30PM.

Citeeze talks to Laurel Sprengelmeyer, aka Little Scream, whose debut album The Golden Record has been released on iTunes as of this week, well ahead of the physical edition’s April 12 street date. A new MP3 from said record is also available to download. She is opening things up at The Opera House on Thursday night at 8:30, and note that she will no longer be supporting Sharon Van Etten at The Drake on April 12.

MP3: Little Scream – “Cannons”

The National Post chats with Karkwa, who are at Wrongbar on Friday night with a set time of 10PM.

J Mascis’ new solo record Several Shades Of Why, which you can expect to hear when he headlines The Great Hall on Friday night, is streaming over at Spin ahead of its March 15 release.

Stream: J Mascis / Several Shades Of Why

The Globe & Mail previews Canadian Music Week by chatting with Jenn Grant, Imaginary Cities and Hollerado.

Chad VanGaalen’s next record Diaper Island will be out May 17; details at Chart.

Mumford & Sons might be getting the headlines for their railroad tour through the southwest this Spring, but a similar excursion – though presumably by good old Via Rail rather than some retro-fied locomotive – is happening across Canada and is bringing Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon, Magali Meagher of The Phonemes and Jon Janes of The Mountains & The Trees to 16 station stops from coast to coast. The Toronto date is April 21 at The Tranzac.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Empty-Hall Sing-Along”
MP3: The Mountains & The Trees – “More & More & More”

And if this hasn’t been quite enough Canadian music to get you through the day/week/month, head over to The Line Of Best Fit for another Oh! Canada mix to download.

Whew. Effin’ festivals.

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Straight Up The Dial

Wavelength turns 11, throws a party

Photo via MyspaceMyspace Toronto’s venerable Wavelength might have closed out their weekly showcase series last year in favour of intermittent events throughout the year, but they’ve not given up their tradition of throwing a killer birthday party or five. As they’ve done in years past, Wavelength Eleven (or event #515 if you’re keeping track) will commandeer venues around this city from February 16 through 20 and fill them with many of the finest acts the city and outlying regions have to offer, spanning all styles and genres, frequently on the same bill.

I missed last year’s festivities but hit up one of the 9th anniversary shows in 2009 and it’s interesting to see that one of the undercard acts at that show – Hooded Fang – has already graduated to headline status. This they’ve done on the strength of their debut Album, released last October to considerable praise. And indeed, it’s an impressive first effort that reflects the remarkable rate at which they’ve improved as a band since first making noise in late ’08/early ’09 – I saw them three times over the course of 2009 and each time, most flaws I’d have pointed out for the time before had been sorted without diminishing the amount of fun they were clearly having on stage. Album‘s orchestrally-inclined power pop still tends a bit more to the precious/twee side of things than I’d like and can feel a bit samey over the course of its dozen songs, but the degree of songwriting, musicianship and genuine joy it captures is undeniable. As was clear in each of those live reviews from 2009, big things seem an inevitability for this crew.

Hooded Fang will be closing out the Saturday night of Wavelength Eleven at The Great Hall. The rest of the week’s events look like this – tickets for the Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows are $11 while Wednesday and Sunday are PWYC. There is also a $33 all-access passes available. Check in at Wavelength for descriptions of each act. aux.tv has an interview with Hooded Fang.

Wednesday, February 16 @ Teranga – Anagram, Bruised Knees, The Guest Bedroom, The Jim Storie Juniors
Thursday, February 17 @ The Music Gallery – Kite Hill, Eiyn Sof, Gordon Grdina’s East Van Strings, Not The Wind, Not The Flag
Friday, February 18 @ The Steam Whistle Roundhouse – Woodhands, Minotaurs, Pat Jordache, Romo Roto, Doldrums
Saturday, February 19 @ The Great Hall – Hooded Fang, Maylee Todd, Little Girls, Eric Chenaux Electric Trio, Grimes
Sunday, February 20 @ The Garrison – Lullabye Arkestra, Neon Windbreaker, Simply Saucer, Ghostlight

MP3: Hooded Fang – “Laughing”
MP3: Hooded Fang – “Mutant Beart”
MP3: Woodhands – “Dissembler”
MP3: Eric Chenaux – “Warm Charleston”
MP3: Little Girls – “Growing”
MP3: Lullabye Arkestra – “We Fuck The Night”

In other just-announced live music happenings – guitar goddess Marnie Stern and prog-rockers Tera Melos will be at Wrongbar on March 8 as part of an extensive North American tour.

MP3: Marnie Stern – “For Ash”
MP3: Tera Melos – “Frozen Zoo”

We’re still some ways out from having a Canadian Musicfest schedule to pore over, but you’d be just silly to not keep staying at the Opera House all night – that’s the Billions showcase – circled on your calendar. The lineup will read like Land Of Talk, Hollerado, Cadence Weapon, Isis (ex. Thunderheist) and Little Scream, so while club-hopping is part of the CMF experience, there’s something to be said for staying put all night.

MP3: Land Of Talk – “Quarry Hymns”
MP3: Hollerado – “Americanarama”
MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Real Estate”

And I’m very excited that Sharon Van Etten, after many visits in a support capacity, will be playing her first headlining show here at the Drake on April 12 with Little Scream supporting – there’s a recording of her show at the Bowery in New York City last week up at NYC Taper. You may recall that her epic was one of my favourite albums of 2010, and she’s already started work on the follow-up with Aaron Dessner of The National.

MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Love More”

The New Zealand Herald talks to The National’s Matt Berninger about their breakout year of 2010.

There’s a new video from Retribution Gospel Choir’s album 2.

Video: Retribution Gospel Choir – “Your Bird”

The Skinny talks to Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam about his new record Kiss Each Other Clean, due out January 25.

Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance discuss their visual artistic pursuits with Design Sponge.

Inara George of The Bird & The Bee chats with Spinner.

Pitchfork has a feature interview with Dan Bejar of Destroyer. His sax-y new album Kaputt arrives January 25 and he plays Lee’s Palace on March 31.

The Line Of Best Fit and NOW talk to Jonas Bonnetta of Evening Hymns about their new, nude video for “Dead Deer” from Spirit Guides. The band are currently out in the wilds of Ontario somewhere recording their next album, already dubbed Spectral Dusk – the proceedings are being documented on their Tumblr.

Video: Evening Hymns – “Dead Deer”

Diamond Rings’ John O’Regan discusses the therapeutic aspects of music with Spinner. He’s at the Sound Academy January 26 opening up for Robyn.