Posts Tagged ‘Nick Cave’

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

They Done Wrong/We Done Wrong

White Rabbits pull MySpace session out of their hats

Photo By Lucy HamblinLucy HamblinRidiculous webhosting issues persist, so this one will be kept reasonably brief – who knows how long this window of opportunity of my site being up will remain. I’ve actually been told that the issues that’ve plagued the site for the past week or so have been resolved and am hoping that’s the case, but if’n you find that things are unbearably slow or down altogether, swing by my Twitter for all sorts of colourful cursing. Update: Right, issues are not resolved. Fuckity fuck.

While downloadable/streamable/watchable online sessions are becoming much more commonplace, MySpace Transmissions is setting themselves apart by not only making theirs available to download, but by providing the audio in wonderfully high-resolution 320kbps, a bitrate that the audiophile community refers to as “suh-weeeet”. Similarly, the streaming video is also happily smooth and clean. MySpace isn’t good for a whole lot these days, at least from a personal social networking sense, but if they can keep cranking out content like these, they’re welcome to stick around.

The latest session to go up comes from New York’s White Rabbits, whose It’s Frightening continues to worm its way into heavier rotation around these parts – just in time for their upcoming Fall tour which stops in at the Horseshoe in a few weeks on October 24 for a bill that also includes Suckers and The Balconies. Pure rock, guaranteed. The Aquarian has an interview with the band.

MP3: White Rabbits – “Percussion Gun” (live on MySpace Transmissions)
MP3: White Rabbits – “Rudie Fails” (live on MySpace Transmissions)

Spinner and The Skinny talk to John Darnielle about The Mountain Goats’ new, Biblically-inspired record The Life Of The World To Come. The Mountain Goats were also on The Colbert Report the other night – Canadians can watch the ep at The Comedy Network, Americans at Colbert Nation. Everyone else, can’t help ya.

John Vanderslice performs a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR.

BlogCritics talks to Mikael Jorgenson of Wilco, who’re in town for two nights at Massey Hall next week, October 14 and 15. And to the rest of Canada, rejoice – the band have announced a cross-Canada tour for next February which will not include Toronto but will include Hamilton and London for those in Toronto not averse to a road trip.

Jason Molina and Will Johnson, masterminds behind Magnolia Electric Co. and Centro-Matic respectively, have teamed up for a roots-rock dream team creatively named Molina and Johnson and will release their equally imaginatively-named debut album Molina and Johnson on November 3.

MP3: Molina and Johnson – “Twenty Cycles To The Ground”

And speaking of imaginatively-titled side-project albums, The Retribution Gospel Choir, which features Alan Sparhawk from Low, will release their second album 2 on January 26 via SubPop. Details at Pitchfork.

Pitchfork says that former Beulah frontman Miles Kurosky’s long-awaited solo record will be out in March 2010. I’ve been waiting for this record for so long I’ve forgotten why I’ve been waiting for it. But I’m still keen to hear what he’s been up to in the past, what, 15 years?

Devendra Banhart will release his new album and major label debut What Will Be on October 27 and follow that up with a North American tour which brings him to Toronto’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre on November 27.

Spinner has premiered one of the new videos that appears on Land Of Talk’s forthcoming Fun And Laughter EP, out October 27.

Video: Land Of Talk – “Troubled”

Two Hours Traffic will be playing an in-store at Soundscapes on October 16 at 5PM in advance of their show at Lee’s Palace that night. That night’s opener, Spiral Beach, is also in-storing it at Sonic Boom that night – their set starts at 7PM. Add in the Dan Mangan in-store at Criminal Records that night at 6PM, and you’ve got, well, a lot of free music for someone who’s swift on their bike or lucky with the TTC. And note that Soundscapes is having a 10th anniversary 10% off most everything sale this Saturday, October 10 (10/10, get it?).

Sloan will be playing a special benefit show at the Dakota Tavern (read: tiny) on October 19 with all proceeds going to War Child Canada – it may already be sold out by the time you read this, but tickets are/were available at Maple Music.

Spinner talks to Nick Cave about writing his new novel The Death Of Bunny Munro.

Monday, September 28th, 2009

It Feels So Good When I Stop

Joe Pernice and Kate Boothman at The Dakota Tavern in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe last time Joe Pernice took a Toronto stage, he promised that as a new resident of the city, he might find himself playing more gigs around town and that he’d see us soon.

That was over four years ago.

Being fair, Joe has hardly been idle in that time. He released another Pernice Brothers record in Live A Little, became a father and wrote his first novel It Feels So Good When I Stop, which was the occasion for him to again get up, guitar in hand, in front of an audience of his neighbours – literally, as the Dakota Tavern was stumbling distance from his west-end digs.

Opening up was Kate Boothman, a local who had accompanied Joe on a couple of the US dates of this brief tour. Her short set didn’t do much for me, her folkish compositions failing to take off mostly on account of her rather flat vocal phrasing. The one tune she did with Julie Fader on harmonies fared better, so perhaps she works better when fronting her band Sunbear – people who’d stick around would find out as she’d be playing a full-band set after Joe went on.

Seeing as how the occasion for the show was both the release of the book and Joe’s latest record – a soundtrack of sorts to the book comprised of covers of songs mentioned in the book – the evening was being billed as a combination performance/reading, a format which actually worked really well. The evening started with Pernice, looking not a little like a fitter Elvis Costello, reading a passage from the novel and though he’d thank us at the end for being patient with him for doing so, it was our pleasure – his dry delivery really gave the book (which I have but still haven’t read sorry sorry sorry) life and I, for one, found it wholly engaging. This was followed by a set of covers from the soundtrack record and another reading, all interspersed with Pernice’s razor-sharp and self-effacing wit. Though his songwriting persona is famously bummed out (or “exquisitely sad”, he is truly one funny guy.

The real gold came next, though, as Pernice followed up with a lengthy set of his own material. The solo acoustic configuration precluded a lot of the regular Pernice Brothers material, as rich and full band-arranged as those tend to be, so instead the Dakota was treated to a trove of riches from the other eddies of Pernice’s career – the Big Tobacco solo record, the Chappaquiddick Skyline one-off project and to close it out, a suite of Scud Mountain Boys tunes that reinforced just how wonderful and consistent Pernice’s songwriting has been for so long. All told, Pernice played for nearly two hours – remarkable considering that Pernice Brothers live tended towards shorter sets – filled with songs, stories and banter. And before leaving the stage, he once again mentioned that now that he’s a Torontonian, maybe he’d play some more gigs around town. Alone or with band, book it and we’ll be there Joe. Just don’t wait another four years to do so.

The Globe & Mail has a feature piece on Joe and his book with outtakes from the interview available over at Zoilus. NOW and The Los Angeles Times also have pieces on Pernice. Now that the promotional rounds for the book are about done, Pernice is getting back to work on the already-started next Pernice Brothers record. Look for that sometime in the new year.

Photos: Joe Pernice, Kate Boothman @ The Dakota Tavern – September 24, 2009
MP3: Pernice Brothers – “Somerville”
Video: Pernice Brothers – “Somerville”
Video: Pernice Brothers – “Baby In Two”
Video: Pernice Brothers – “The Weakest Shade Of Blue”
Video: Pernice Brothers – “Working Girls”
MySpace: Pernice Brothers

Nick Cave is another musician whose recent foray into fiction – in his case his second novel The Death Of Bunny Munro – has been generating press. There’s conversations with Cave about the book at The Winnipeg Free Press, Time, CBC, The Toronto Star, The National Post and The Montreal Gazette, which also offers a full transcript of the interview. The Ampersand also got a musical endorsement for Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers.

The Times talks to Steve Earle, who is working on his first novel I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive.

NPR talks to Fanfarlo about their literary inspirations (their name comes from Baudelaire) while Tourdates also has an interview with frontman Simon Balthazar and if you’ve still not heard it (shame!), Clash is streaming the album right now.

Stream: Fanfarlo / Reservoir

This Is Nottingham has an interview with Charlotte Hatherley, who has released a video for the second single from her third album New Worlds. It will be out October 20.

Video: Charlotte Hatherley – “Alexander”

The Dodos have a new video from Time To Die. Look for them at Lee’s Palace on October 17.

Video: The Dodos – “Fables”

The Rural Alberta Advantage stopped in at Minnesota Public Radio for a streaming session and gave an interview to Decider. They’re also in the new issue of Spin but that piece isn’t online yet. They play Lee’s Palace on November 4.

The first MP3 from El Perro Del Mar’s new album Love Is Not Pop, out October 20, is now available to download. There’s also an interview at the Buenos Aires Herald. She opens for Peter Bjorn & John at the Phoenix on November 11.

MP3: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart”

Daily Finance chats with Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance of Merge Records about their 20th anniversary as an independent music label. Babelgum is also hosting a whole slew of video footage from the XX Merge festival in Carrboro back in July.

The National Post has a nice little feature on Canadian sportscasting legend and inveterate music fan – that IS him you see at all those gigs around town – Dave Hodge.

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

No Brakes

Little Boots and Yes Giantess at Wrongbar in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt could be inferred from last week’s review of Little Boots’ debut Hands that I felt that she’d failed to deliver on the immense expectations foisted on her at the start of the year, what with everyone in the media ready to crown Ms Victoria Hesketh the queen of pop for 2009 and so her failure to utterly dominate every aspect of the music industry could only be viewed as a disappointment. This is, in fact, not necessarily my view – I think Hands is a tremendously fun and catchy record. I was just interpreting the general tenor of the press, which had been ready to attend her coronation just months ago.

Well it may have come a little later than expected but Monday night’s show at Wrongbar in Toronto – the first of her North American tour – could well have been mistaken for one. You’d have had trouble finding anyone in the packed, sweaty club who wasn’t ready to declare the pint-sized electro-pop artist the greatest thing to happen to music since the invention of the Victrola. Okay, perhaps that’s a bit of an overstatement but people were indeed excited and anxious. And as the wait dragged on, restless and bored.

Openers Yes Giantess from Boston had done a decent job of warming things up. Collegiate-looking and casually dressed in t-shirts and plaid shirts, the quartet looked like they should be strapping on guitars and playing disaffected garage rock but instead, they were three keyboards and a drummer and turned out punchy, catchy synth-pop that offered more enthusiasm than sophistication but was enjoyable nonetheless. Over the course of their short set – barely a half hour if even that – the club had begun to fill in nicely and as they loaded out, the room began to pack in.

Exactly why it took an hour to set up the stage for a three-piece band, two-thirds of which were synths, is unclear, but as the clock ticked past 11:30 – half an hour past the scheduled start time – the anxiousness was palpable. Surely it wasn’t some ploy to build more anticipation? Does that actually work? Apparently it does. When her band finally took their places and they opened up with “Meddle”, the place went nuts, and didn’t stop for pretty much the duration of her set. Unsurprisingly, she stayed away from the slower numbers from Hands and stuck to the big, anthemic dancefloor bangers and while that made for a shorter set than you may have wanted for the price of admission, there was no skimping on the energy of the show.

Hesketh was pretty much always in motion, dancing and working both sides of the room when not tending to her keyboard, theremin and tambourine. Her signature Tenori-On and Stylophone were also on hand but as with the two previous times I’d seen her play, exactly what they did remained a mystery. She complained that the Tenori-On wasn’t working before the start of main set closer “Remedy” but they went on to play it exactly as I’d have expected it to sound if it was all systems go. Following a short break, they returned for their cover of Freddie Mercury and Giorgio Moroder’s “Love Kills” before going into an extended “Stuck On Repeat” which was as close to a jam as a largely synthesized and sequenced band could get. The only disappointment on the night was “Symmetry”, in which the absence of duet partner Philip Oakey was keenly felt. Both Hesketh’s drummer and keyboardist were mic-ed and tried to cover the boy parts, but were too low in the mix and un-Oakey-ish to properly compensate. But that’s a minor complaint, and was to be expected.

As they proved at SxSW, Little Boots sets a fine example for electro-pop acts hoping to succeed in the live setting – bring a live drummer, a willingness to keep the energy levels dimed for the duration of the show and oh yeah, have some terrific tunes. Worth the wait, and if the reception at the other stops on the tour come close to the one she got in Toronto, critics may want to reconsider writing Little Boots off.

Chartrigger, Time Out Chicago and Time Out Dubai have interviews with Hesketh.

Photos: Little Boots, Yes Giantess @ Wrongbar – September 14, 2009
MP3: Little Boots – “Love Kills” (Buffetlibre vs Sidechains remix)
MP3: Little Boots – “Meddle” (remix)
MP3: Little Boots – “Earthquake” (Yes Giantess remix)
MP3: Yes Giantess – “You Were Young”
Video: Little Boots – “Remedy”
Video: Little Boots – “New In Town”
MySpace: Little Boots
MySpace: Yes Giantess

The Star Observer talks to Elly Jackson of La Roux.

Check out the new video from Glasvegas, who are not making a stop in Toronto on this current Fall tour even though they totally could. There’s an interview with drummer Caroline McKay at JAM.

Video: Glasvegas – “It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry”

PitchforkTV visits DC Comics HQ with Eddie Argos of Art Brut.

The Globe & Mail talks to Nick Cave about his new novel The Death Of Bunny Munro. He’s at the Indigo in the Eaton Centre this evening for a Q&A and reading.

The Grates discus their new record Teeth Lost, Hearts Won – now out in North America – with Blurt.

Paste asks Karen O about her work on the soundtrack for Where The Wild Things Are, the new trailer for which was released this week. The movie is out October 16.

Trailer: Where The Wild Things Are

The Chicago Sun-Times chats with Ida Maria, who apparently had a breakdown of some kind in Boston the other night… here’s hoping she gets it together in time for tomorrow night’s show at the Opera House. Co-headlining that show is Ladyhawke, who is the subject of features at Flavorwire and The Independent. There’s also a remix contest going on over at Filter, where you can have your way with “My Delirium”

Check out the title track from Thao with The Get Down Stay Down’s forthcoming album Know Better Learn Faster, and note that pre-orders of the album – out October 13 – will come with a ticket to a show on their upcoming tour including the November 1 date at the El Mocambo in Toronto.

MP3: Thao With The Get Down Stay Down – “Know Better Learn Faster”

The Daredevil Christopher Wright, whom you may recall from this post, will return for a show at the Free Times Cafe on October 7.

MP3: The Daredevil Christopher Wright – “The East Coast”

Vampire Weekend – who just announced details of their second album Contra, due out January 12 of next year – will preview the new record with a pair of Canadian dates including an October 8 date at the Horseshoe. Word is tickets go on sale tomorrow morning via Ticketmaster only.

MP3: Vampire Weekend – “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”

Also pending further details is Fucked Up’s fourth annual Fucked Up Fest, happening over Hallowe’en weekend – information on participants and dates at Exclaim.

Florence & The Machine will make their Toronto debut on November 2 at the Mod Club, thus scuppering my plans of seeing Monsters Of Folk make their Toronto debut at Massey Hall that same night. Tough call, but I think I have to go with Flo. And M Ward wouldn’t let me take pictures anyways. Tickets $15.

MP3: Florence & The Machine – “Kiss With A Fist”

The Rural Alberta Advantage have set a date for Lee’s Palace on November 4, tickets $15. Lee’s! They grow up so fast!

Apostle Of Hustle will also be doing a hometown show at Lee’s – look for them on November 19.

MP3: Apostle Of Hustle – “Perfect Fit”

And here’s an interesting/exciting announcement – DEVO is coming to town for the first time in a quarter-century. They’ll be at the Phoenix on November 23 and 24, playing Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO! and Freedom Of Choice in their entirety, respectively. And there’s no reason to believe the energy domes will not be along for the ride. Tickets will be $48.25 with premium tickets including a meet and greet with the band available for $99.75. Either price tier will get you a bundle of demo MP3s to download. Those will go on sale on September 18.

Video: DEVO – “Whip It!”

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros will be at the El Mocambo on November 24, tickets $12.50. There’s a session with the band at Daytrotter and a Q&A at Denver Westword.

MP3: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – “40 Day Dream”

Their last gig at the Phoenix being such a triumph, Phoenix will return for a show at the Sound Academy on December 5 and to make sure things go just as well as they did that show, they’re even bringing Amazing Baby back to open. Tickets for that are $28.

MP3: Amazing Baby – “Bayonets”
Video: Phoenix – “Lisztomania”

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

We Call Upon The Author

Nick Cave writes novel, talks about novel, reads from novel

Photo By Gavin EvansGavin EvansToday marks Nick Cave’s second foray into the world of fiction – at least in the printed form – with the release of The Death Of Bunny Munro, his follow-up novel to 1989’s And The Ass Saw The Angel. I’ve read neither of these works, but considering the dark and seedy places where his musical muse takes him, I have trouble imagining his prose will be anything but blackly hilarious and disturbing.

And while I’ve never been an audiobook sort – I prefer to multitask and listen to music while reading, and listening to a book leaves my eyes with nothing to do – but the audio version of Bunny Munro offers a certain temptation. Besides having Cave himself read his work, it features musical accompaniment by Cave and Warren Ellis – the Bad Seed, not the comic scribe, though he himself is no stranger to things dark and seedy. The book’s website has audio clips of Cave reading the first four chapters of the book, video footage of him reading four chapters with more to come and Spinner has a text excerpt available. The audio book will come on 7 CDs with a DVD from whence the above video clips are taken, as an iPhone version – prose app or audio download – and in an old-fashioned dead-tree edition. Multi-platform much?

Cave talks to The Times and Scotland On Sunday about the novel and to The Guardian about going with the iPhone as a means of distribution. And if the recorded and printed Cave isn’t enough, he’ll be doing readings and signings in the UK, US and Canada – September 16 at 7PM at the Indigo in the Eaton Centre in Toronto and September 17 at 7PM in Ottawa at the Ottawa Writer’s Festival at St Brigid’s Centre.

MP3: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!”

Another musician gone author is Joe Pernice, with his debut novel It Feels So Good When I Stop. Though not being promoted as elaborately as Cave’s book, it’s also more than just a book – it has a soundtrack CD that includes a couple of spoken word passages of Pernice reading from his book and the handful of live dates will be combination shows and readings. I fully intend to have read the book before his September 24 date at the Dakota Tavern. Seriously, I will. There’s interviews with Pernice at The National and The AV Club, and there’s a bunch of video session performances available at KEXP’s YouTube channel.

That September 24 date is circled in ink on the ol’ calendar (figuratively speaking, of course), but it’s not without a bit of regret as it means missing seeing The Antlers at the Horseshoe that same night – especially now that Holly Miranda has been announced as opener for the tour.

Resonancity talked to drummer Paul Banwatt of The Rural Alberta Advantage at V Fest this past weekend. I also talked to Paul, but our conversation was along the lines of, “hey how’s it going,” “alright, how’re you?”. Not really worth transcribing. Much more noteworthy is the fact that the band recorded a session for Daytrotter on their last jaunt through the midwest US and that session, featuring two new songs, is now available to download.

Other conversations taking place at V Fest had Fazer and Spinner chatting with members of Mew. ArtistDirect also has an interview, though conducted elsewhere.

Coeur de Pirate performed a new song on CBC’s Q. Metro talks to Beatrice Martin.

Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Place de la Republique” (live on Q)

Brooklyn’s White Rabbits have finally made a local date in support of their latest album It’s Frightening – catch them at the Drake Underground on October 24, tickets $15.50. And also check out their WOXY session from earlier this Summer.

MP3: White Rabbits – “Percussion Gun”
Video: White Rabbits – “Percussion Gun”

Yo La Tengo’s new record Popular Songs isn’t out until next week but it’s currently streaming in its entirety over at NPR and they’ve also released yet another video from the record. And Pitchfork has a chat with Dario Robleto, who crafted the art that adorns the album cover. Yo La Tengo are at the Opera House on October 3.

Video: Yo La Tengo – “When It’s Dark”
Stream: Yo La Tengo / Popular Songs

And support for Yo La Tengo’s Canadian dates has been announced as Chicago outfit The Horse’s Ha. They sound something like this.

MP3: The Horse’s Ha – “Asleep In A Waterfall”
MP3: The Horse’s Ha – “The Piss Choir”

Maxim has an interview with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. No bikini photo shoot, though. Probably for the best. Wilco are at Massey Hall on October 14 and 15.

If you thought Neil Young was going to take a break from his Archives now that the first box set has been released, think again. Rolling Stone reports that November 2 will see the release of Dreamin’ Man, a live album collecting solo recordings of Harvest Moon circa 1992. Neil will be making an appearance at Yonge-Dundas Square on September 14. He may bring his guitar. He may play it.

eye talks to members of The Depreciation Guild, in town at the Horseshoe on September 7 opening up for The Pains Of Being Pure Of Heart, with whom NOW has a chat. The Chicago Tribune talks to the third band on the bill, Cymbals Eat Guitars.

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

Nick Cave covers Neil Young

Photo via Amazonamazon.comYesterday afternoon at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square, 1623 people gathered to try and break the Guinness World Record for largest guitar ensemble by playing Neil Young’s “Helpless”, en masse, as part of the Luminato arts festival, the song chosen via a poll to determine the festival’s “Great Canadian Tune”. They failed.

Obviously in pure quantitative terms, Nick Cave would have only made the shortfall 178 bodies rather than 179, but in terms of pure cool, Cave would easily have counted for a couple hundred normal people. But then, Nick only sang on his contribution to the 1989 tribute album to Young, The Bridge – it was a couple of now-former Bad Seeds, Kid Congo Powers and Mick Harvey, who handled the instrumentation. Still, Nick knows his way around a guitar and probably could have strummed along with the others.

Neil’s Archives, Volume One finally – at long last – was released last week and implausibly yet inevitably, it appears to have been both worth the wait and the price. Cave is going through a reissue program of his own, the first three of his albums with the Bad Seeds having been remastered and rereleased with bonus goodies back in March and the rest of his catalog to follow in the near future.

MP3: Nick Cave – “Helpless”
Video: Neil Young & The Band – “Helpless”
Video: 1623 would-be world record holders – “Helpless”