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Posts Tagged ‘No Age’

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Follow Me Into The Hills

Review of Kathryn Calder’s Are You My Mother?

Photo By Caleb ByersCaleb ByersIt’s been a half-decade since Kathryn Calder joined The New Pornographers in 2005, and in that time she’s gone from handling the impossible task of pinch-hitting on tours for Neko Case to appearing on their last three albums and becoming an as integral part of the band – her parts may not have the force of personality as Case’s, but her more delicate approach offers an important contrast and gives Carl Newman another invaluable tool in assembling his power pop symphonies. But prior to joining the Pornographers, Calder had her own creative outlet in Immaculate Machine and while she retains a membership card for the Victoria-based band, she’s largely ceded that outfit to guitarist Brooke Gallupe. Which basically meant that a solo album was pretty much an inevitability, but that doesn’t make Are You My Mother? any less of a surprise.

My experience with Calder as a songwriter goes back as far as the first couple Immaculate Machine records and while they were decent enough pop records, they weren’t particularly exceptional within the realm of Canadian indie. The years of apprenticing to Carl Newman have clearly paid off, however, as Mother is a remarkably fully-realized solo debut, and while it features plentiful contributions from various Pornographers and other Vancouver-based musicians, Calder is clearly in the driver’s seat throughout. One might be forgiven for assuming that given her role as singer and keyboardist in the Pornographers, Calder solo might turn out a record of singer-songwriter-oriented girl-and-piano material. And while at its quieter moment Mother does strip things down to just that, numbers like album opener “Slip Away” and the barreling “Castor And Pollux” are as grandiose pop as anything the New Pornographers might create and just as instantly memorable. Mother is rangy and engaging, built around Calder’s crystalline, pitch-perfect yet expressive voice and perhaps more importantly, her impressive songwriting chops.

The New Pornographers are frequently called a “super-group”, implying that each of their members are as equally accomplished on their own as they are in the band – with Are You My Mother?, Kathryn Calder steps up and makes that even more true.

MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Arrow”
MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Slip Away”
Video: Kathryn Calder – “Slip Away”
MySpace: Kathryn Calder

If you missed North Carolina’s Lost In The Trees when they played a free show here back in June (which I previewed but did not manage to attend), they’re back on September 27 at the Drake Underground in support of Mercury shortlisted Irish act Villagers. They’ve also got a new Daytrotter session up for grabs.

MP3: Lost In The Trees – “Fireplace”
MP3: Lost In The Trees – “All Alone In An Empty House”

Winter Gloves will mark the September 7 release of their second album All Red with an acoustic in-store performance at Kops Records that same night at 5:30PM.

MP3: Winter Gloves – “Plastic Slides”

Toronto power-pop aficionados The Golden Dogs will follow up their September 17 show at the Drake Underground with a September 23 in-store performance at Soundscapes at 7PM. Their new record Coat Of Arms came out last month.

MP3: The Golden Dogs – “Permanent Record”

The Great Hall will certainly be the scene of mayhem on October 12 when the tour teaming Lightning Bolt and Dan Deacon hits Toronto. Those wanting to be out of the line of fire can take refuge on the stage because neither performer will be setting up there.

MP3: Lightning Bolt – “Colossus”
MP3: Dan Deacon – “Get Older”

LA duo No Age will be releasing their second album Everything In Between on September 28 and have announced an extensive Fall tour to support – the Toronto date comes November 18 at the Polish Combatants Hall.

MP3: No Age – “Glitter”

The Toronto Star talks to Peelander Yellow of Peelander-Z, in town to make things silly at the Velvet Underground on September 1 and The Silver Dollar on September 2.

Spinner talks to Lissie about the attention her penchant for covers has gotten her and her debut album Catching A Tiger; The Independent also has a feature. She’s at the El Mocambo on October 19.

Spinner talks to Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino and Black Book solicits a list of the band’s favourite NYC hang outs. The band’s self-titled effort will be out September 7 and they’ve just released a second video from it.

Video: Interpol – “Barricade”

Ted Leo talks to Billboard about the making of the off-off-off-off-Broadway video for “Bottled In Cork”.

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with LCD Soundsystem.

The Guardian salutes 4AD on the occasion of the legendary label’s 30th anniversary.

And a note to folks in Toronto that if you’re looking for something to do of the cinematic variety this week, you could do much worse than to check out No Heart Feelings at the Royal, where it’s screening through Thursday of this week. It’s a romantic comedy (but not really a rom-com) set in an eminently familiar Toronto from three local first-time directors and though imperfect – it suffers from the atmosphere-and-dialogue-in-lieu-of-plot vagueness that’s all too common in independent film – it’s still a winner thanks to its charm and authenticity (though I don’t do as much in and around the city nearly as much as their characters do, I have no problem believing that people actually DO these things and that I’m really just a shut-in). Don’t take my word for it, check out positive reviews in The Globe & Mail, The Toronto Star and The National Post.

Trailer: No Heart Feelings

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

NXNE 2009 Day One

NXNE 2009 day one with No Age, Ume, Kittens Ablaze and The Darcys

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWith a lead-up week that had included rather insane shows from each of Patrick Wolf, Phoenix and The Dead Weather, it wasn’t surprising that I was half-dead before NXNE even began this year. I don’t even want to speculate what kind of shape I’d been in if I hadn’t taken the week off from work. But the will and energy to hit the clubs would be found. Somehow.

There were many options to kick things off, but I opted for the secret-but-not-really show at the Whipper Snapper Gallery featuring Los Angeles duo No Age. I wasn’t especially won over by last year’s Nouns but had heard good things about their live show and the venue’s location would allow me to grab a tasty panzerottti at Bitondo’s. I say the show was not really secret because though the festival tried to keep it under wraps, it had been listed on the band’s booking agency’s website for over a week. But considering the modest-sized turnout, maybe it had been kept under wraps better than I’d thought. As for the show, I found the duo more entertaining live than on record, exchanging their lo-fi white noise sonic signature for something louder and meatier. Song-wise, it all sounded a blur but it was fun to watch them revel in the noise as well as pull off one of the most seamless broken guitar string changes I’ve ever seen. Metro has an interview with the band.

Photos: No Age @ The Whipper Snapper Gallery – June 18, 2009
MP3: No Age – “Neck Escaper”
MP3: No Age – “Eraser”
Video: No Age – “Eraser”
Video: No Age – “Boy Void”
Video: No Age – “Goat Hurt”
MySpace: No Age

From the Whipper Snapper, it was a short jaunt over to Neutral to welcome Austin’s Ume to town. They were one of the best things I saw at SxSW this year and I was very pleased that they’d made the long trip up to Toronto. I was also pleased that a very good-sized crowd of people were there to greet them and that the band managed to get their A-game across the border. Just as in Austin, singer-guitarist Lauren Larson was a dervish, her voice ranging from a coo to a shriek and her guitar chops several degrees past ridiculous as the band powered through selections from their Sunshower EP and some new material. In the few instances I was able to tear my eyes from the stage, I saw that others in the audience with that same look of “holy shit” I’m sure I was wearing back in March – pure rock action. Pure Grain Audio has an interview.

Photos: Ume @ Neutral – June 18, 2009
MP3: Ume – “Pendulum”
MP3: Ume – “The Conductor”
MP3: Ume – “Wake”
Video: Ume – “The Conductor”
MySpace: Ume

There were a few options for the next show, but the mental coin flip came up Kittens Ablaze, a Brooklyn act slated to play the Rivoli. Between them and Finnish outfit Cats On Fire, I detect a disturbing trend in pop bands with feline immolation-themed names. This particular one was a six-piece ensemble whom it would be impossible not to compare to Ra Ra Riot thanks to their near-identical band makeups and penchant for dizzying, uptempo orch-pop. They didn’t have the same quality of tunes, but were able to convey the sense of fun they were obviously having to the audience and made for a good time. NOW talked to the outfit before the festival.

Photos: Kittens Ablaze @ The Rivoli – June 18, 2009
MP3: Kittens Ablaze – “Gloom Doom Buttercups”
Video: Kittens Ablaze – “Strobelight”
MySpace: Kittens Ablaze

It’s not that long a haul from the Rivoli to Clinton’s by bike, but it certainly felt like it. I dragged my ass to basically the most northwest-located venue of the fest to see locals The Darcys, who’d been on my to-see list for a while. Now a lot of bands list Radiohead as an influence, which sadly usually means that the singer thinks that he’s got a great falsetto and some profound angst that needs to be expressed and thus, are generally meant to be given a wide berth. The Darcys do NOT list Radiohead as an influence (at least on their MySpace), but they were the first reference point I came up with. Not because singer Kirby Best has either a falsetto or angst (he may, I don’t know) but because of the the band’s innate creativity and their remarkably intricate arrangements of their three-guitar attack. I couldn’t help thinking that if the ‘Head had gone into their more introverted post-OK Computer phase with guitars still at the fore, The Darcys are the sort of band they’d have influenced. The recordings on their 2007 album Endless Water don’t really reflect what I heard on Thursday night – I very much look forward to what they’ll put out next.

Photos: The Darcys @ Clinton’s – June 18, 2009
MySpace: The Darcys

Anyone who missed Metric’s set at Edgefest this weekend can console themselves a bit with this full concert stream from DC last week at NPR and this session at MPR.

Islands have released details of their next album, Vapours, due out September 22. They’ll play a free show as part of Pride 2009 at the corner of Church and Wood on June 27.

Bonfires On The Heath, the new album from The Clientele, has been given a release date of October 6. Full details at Pitchfork.

Matador is streaming the whole of the God Help The Girl album of the same name, in stores tomorrow.

Stream: God Help The Girl / God Help The Girl

The Yorker has an interview with Patrick Wolf.

Emmy The Great has re-recorded a batch of songs which had been kicking around for a while but didn’t make it onto First Love, including favourites “Canopies & Grapes” and “Two Steps Forward”. Edward EP (First Songs) is out July 27 digitally and on 12″ vinyl, and will also be added to all future copies of First Love.

Bloc Party will be releasing a new non-album single on August 10. Well, not taken from any album we know of – yet. You can stream it at Pitchfork.

Stream: Bloc Party – “One More Chance”

There are new videos out from Lily Allen, Rose Elinor Dougall and Franz Ferdinand. Perhaps you would like to watch one, two or perhaps all three. I have provided links. You are welcome.

Video: Lily Allen – “Fuck You”
Video: Rose Elinor Dougall – “Stop/Start/Synchro”
Video: Franz Ferdinand / No You Girls

I can’t say as I’m that familiar with his works, but I do know that ’70s Detroit-based, psych/folk protest singer Sixto Rodriguez – who worked as just Rodriguez – is held in very high esteem by people whose opinions I respect. His two previously lost albums Cold Fact and Coming From Reality were reissued in super-deluxe format last year, and he’s been hitting the road to support – including a just-announced July 3 free show at Harbourfront Centre as part of their Hot Spot festival. I get the feeling that even if you don’t know his work, this is a show you will want to see.

MP3: Rodriguez – “Sugar Man”

Built To Spill return to Lee’s Palace for a two-night stand on October 6 and 7. Their new record There Is No Enemy is due out right about then as well.

The resurrected Jesus Lizard is coming to town – they’re at the Phoenix on November 9, tickets $20.

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Let Me Have This

NYC Popfest with The Radio Dept, Pants Yell!, The Secret History, Eux Autres and Computer Perfection at the Bell House in Brooklyn

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’ve been to a LOT of shows in the past decade or so, and as such my list of bands whom I’m still waiting to see live is pretty short by this point – and last week, it got one big name shorter when I got to see reclusive Swedes The Radio Dept not once but twice in New York thanks to their headliner status at NYC Popfest. The venue for the big show was the Bell House in Brooklyn, a good-sized venue with a vibey bar/lounge up front and a nicely-laid out if horribly-lit live music room in back. Though The Radio Dept remain very much a cult band, the show was well sold out – probably with no shortage of fans like myself willing to make a pilgrimage to catch one of their rare live performances. And do some shopping. Hey, any excuse to plan a trip to New York City.

In addition to The Radio Dept was a lineup of four other bands who, like those who played the previous night were all unknown to me but who hopefully would make more of an impression. Leadoff hitters Computer Perfection, a five-piece outfit hailing from the Detroit suburb of Ferndale, were a promising start, blending sunny indiepop staples (jangly guitars, he-she harmonies) with more electronic elements and some unconventional song structures. They had a lot of ideas going on and mostly got them to work – they’re coming to Toronto for NxNE with a show at Holy Joe’s on Friday, June 19.

California’s Eux Autres traded in some of the preceding act’s sophistication for a more direct and classic tact, relying on great tunes, melodies and a lot of energy to make their point. The trio, led by brother and sister Heather and Nicholas Larimer delivered the right balance of sweet pop and punchy rock to impress – thumbs up.

The Secret History, from New York, took things big again, with a seven-piece band including two female singers and an impressive lineage. Lead singer Lisa Ronson is the daughter of former Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson and many members, including chief songwriter Michael Grace Jr, used to be in cult pop heroes My Favourite. Stylistically, they were rooted in big, lush retro-pop but willing to turn up and rock out – no twee merchants here. Versatile and tight, their set was upbeat and enjoyable and their sound decidedly different from what I’d been subsisting on most of the weekend to that point. Good stuff.

Pants Yell! had made the drive down from Boston and brought with them some of that city’s unmistakable college rock vibe. Relative to the other bands on the bill, they were more taut and jaggy, though still highly melody-friendly and not out of place as something called Popfest. To close out their set, they brought out Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, with whom they would be playing some shows, to sing a couple songs with them. By this point I was starting to fade and was conserving my energy for the final act, so I can’t really tell you more than that.

Now even though I was anxious enough to see The Radio Dept live to make a road trip out of it, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I expected them to put on a great show. After all, this was an outfit that was famously reclusive, played out very infrequently and whose records were very much studio creations (even if the studio in question sounded like a bedroom) – not really a recipe for an epic live show. But regardless, an opportunity to see they who’d created music so dear to me was not to be passed up and so I went.

The Friday night show at Don Hill’s was advertised as a “warm-up show” but it was hardly a dry run. Their eight-song set ran over half an hour – a full showcase at some festivals – and even though they had no drummer, no bassist and played over a significant amount of pre-recorded backing tracks – usually things that’d put me right off – they still grabbed the heartstrings. It’s the songs. It didn’t matter how they did it, but they came off with all the beautiful melancholy the records carried without sounding like a karaoke act. Favouring the cleaner sonic aesthetic of their more recent works, both Martin Carlberg and Johan Duncanson reproduced their surprisingly intricate guitar parts flawlessly, Carlberg’s vocals were resonant with yearning and resignation and the feeling of being wrapped in a fuzzy blanket of sound very much in effect. True, their onstage charisma was nearly non-existent – they seemed awkward and uncertain how to respond to the enthusiasm of the audience – but even that fit perfectly with their persona.

And that again was much the case at the Bell House show, and though they didn’t necessarily sound better or seem more assured onstage – they may actually have seemed less, with much conferring between songs about what they were playing even though a set list had been drafted. But despite all that, this show felt grander and more momentous – even though the occasion of finally seeing them live had been taken care of the night before, this still felt like the show that I had come to see.

The set was longer, though at maybe 50 minutes still much shorter than most everyone in attendance would have liked, and both Lesser Matters and Pet Grief were well represented, as well as some EP and b-side tracks and a few new tunes which should appear on Clinging To A Scheme if/when it’s finally released – when asked when to expect it, Carlberg guessed, “August? September?” (their new EP David is confirmed for a June 24 release).

As far as musical pilgrimages go, this one was decidedly on the understated side but it – and the just getting away from home if just for a few days – was just what I needed. It’s been intimated that upon the record’s release, there’ll be more touring on this side of the Atlantic. I’m not holding my breath on that but do hope there’s truth to it. A Radio Dept show will always be a good excuse for a trip.

Photos: The Radio Dept, Pants Yell!, The Secret History, Eux Autres, Computer Perfection @ The Bell House – May 16, 2009
MP3: The Radio Dept – “Freddie and the Trojan Horse”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “The Worst Taste in Music”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “A Window”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “Pulling Our Weight”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “Why Won’t You Talk About It?”
MP3: Pants Yell! – “Kids Are The Same”
MP3: Pants Yell! – “Your Feelings Don’t Show”
MP3: Pants Yell! – “My Boyfriend Writes Plays”
MP3: Pants Yell! – “Onward Sailboat”
MP3: Pants Yell! – “The Not Society Life”
MP3: Eux Autres – “When I’m Up”
MP3: Eux Autres – “Ecoutez Bien”
MP3: Computer Perfection – “Able Archer”
MP3: Computer Perfection – “The Fool Is Hurt”
MP3: Computer Perfection – “How I Won The War”
MP3: Computer Perfection – “Sweetie Pie”
Video: The Radio Dept. – “The Worst Taste In Music”
Video: The Radio Dept. – “Where Damage Isn’t Already Done”
Video: The Radio Dept. – “Pulling Our Weight”
Video: Eux Autres – “Anne Boleyn”
MySpace: The Radio Dept.
MySpace: Pants Yell!
MySpace: Eux Autres
MySpace: Computer Perfection

Apparently someone thought that revealing the NxNE schedule via Twitter would be a good idea. That person was wrong. In addition to the Thursday showcases announced yesterday, it seems that No Age’s showcase will be happening on Friday, June 19, at Lee’s Palace.

MP3: No Age – “Eraser”

Dirty Projectors will be supporting TV On The Radio at the Sound Academy on June 2 but for those who can’t or won’t go to that show, take heart – they will return for their own show at Lee’s Palace on June 24. Their new album Bitte Orca is out June 9.

MP3: Dirty Projectors – “Rise Above”

Punk legends The New York Dolls will be at Lee’s Palace on June 30, tickets $29.50, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears support. The Doll’s new album Cause I Sez So is out now.

Steve Earle will bring Townes to Massey Hall on July 11. Earle talks to NPR about the new record.

MP3: Steve Earle – “To Live Is To Fly”

Norway’s Casiokids have a date at the El Mocambo on August 5.

Video: Casiokids – “Fot I Hose”

As promised, Glasvegas are returning to North America this Fall… but it’s as support for Kings Of Leon. Dates have been announed for September 17 at Scotiabank Plaza in Ottawa, September 19 at Copp’s Coliseum in Hamilton and September 20 at the John Labbat Centre in London. Obviously there’s a conspicuous open date and no Toronto gig – Kings Of Leon were here last month, can they swing another arena show so soon while playing these other nearby markets? And if not, will Glasvegas be doing their own show to satisfy those who didn’t make it into their Mod Club gig in April? I don’t know but I suspect yes.

Also back again following their sold out club gig in MarchWhite Lies, this time for a show at the Phoenix on September 26.

MP3: White Lies – “Death”

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Rockers East Vancouver

Japandroids have ulcer, cancel tour, make up tour

Photo By Leigh RightonLeigh RightonVancouver fuzz-merchant duo Japandroids chose an interesting way to celebrate the release of their new album Post-Nothing and the attendant “Best New Music” laurels bestowed upon it by Pitchfork – they cancelled nearly their entire scheduled Spring tour.

Okay “chose” is probably the wrong word, as singer-guitarist Brian King probably didn’t decide this was the perfect time to suffer a perforated ulcer and go in for emergency surgery. But that’s what happened, and so nearly a month’s worth of dates were scrapped but almost immediately rescheduled – Pitchfork has the new dates, including a July 16 date at the El Mocambo in Toronto to make up for the nixed May 9 date.

In the meantime, they can try and keep up with the increased media interest that this record is sure to generate – witness them already on the cover of the latest Exclaim. There’s also interviews with them at JAM and View, while Metro talks to them in the context of what it identifies as a new trend of “lo-fi” bands.

MP3: Japandroids – “Young Hearts Spark Fire”
Video: Japandroids – “Heart Sweats”
MySpace: Japandroids

Exclaim! and Chart talk to Dog Day about new album Concentration. They’re at Lee’s on May 28.

Metric week continues at Drowned In Sound as the band plays tour guide – bassist Josh Winstead relates his favourite things about New York City and guitarist Jimmy Shaw does the same for Toronto.

NOW features The Dears, kicking of their North American tour at the Mod Club tonight.

Fucked Up will be hosting a night of what’s sure to be musical mayhem at the Phoenix on July 16 with a bill that will include Women and Vivian Girls amongst others still to be announced. There’s features on the band at Vue and Uptown.

MP3: Fucked Up – “No Epiphany” (No Age remix)
MP3: Fucked Up – “No Epiphany”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Twice Born”

The Los Angeles Record gets the boys from No Age to interview Bob Mould. No Age will be in town in June for NxNE – specifics still forthcoming.

Aquarium Drunkard interviews James McNew of Condo Fucks.

NPR has a World Cafe session with School Of Seven Bells.

The Guardian profiles St Vincent’s Annie Clark. Her new record Actor is out next week.

John Vanderslice has let loose another MP3 from Romanian Names, out May 19.

MP3: John Vanderslice – “Too Much Time”

M Ward stops by MPR for a session. Metro also offers up an interview.

Magnet offers an over/under analysis of The Hold Steady’s five most over- and underrated songs. Some of those songs make an appearance in the band’s session recorded for Daytrotter during SxSW, which is now available to download (or will be later today – will link when it’s up). Update: There we go.

Paste goes Bob Dylan-crazy on the occasion of his new album’s release. Together Through Life came out earlier this week and is streaming at Spinner.

Stream: Bob Dylan / Together Through Life

Metromix talks to Stephin Merritt about his score for the stage version of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.

I like how much I’ve been able to swear in today’s post, and none if it was me being profane.

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Gimme Sympathy

Metric and Holy Fuck at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhen Metric’s latest album Fantasies first became available to stream a month ago, the immediate reaction around the interwebs seemed to be largely along the lines of breathless, “their best album yet!”-type praise (tempered by the mandatory, “worst ever!” naysayers). I myself took to it far quicker than I did their last effort Live It Out, which I never really took to at all, and thought this would be the record to rekindle what had once been an intense interest in the band but which had waned significantly in recent years. Some more time spent with the album has tempered that opinion a bit – Fantasies boasts some of Metric’s very best choruses and some killer catchy tunes, but it’s not the game-changer they’d probably have to deliver to really turn me around completely. But that’s alright because it’s obvious that many, many people love them just the way they are and “just another Metric record” is probably synonymous with, “best thing in the world”.

And it was with these people that the Mod Club, a venue many times smaller than the band normally plays these days, was packed with on Tuesday night. The intimate hometown club show was one of the special events held to mark the new record’s release, following an even smaller secret show and in-store in the preceding weeks. For me, it’d been over five and a half years since I’d seen them play a full show (the exception being part of their V Fest 2007 set) – a fact I had to double-check to make sure was correct – so the experience was a bit odd, like running into someone you knew a long time ago and presumed to still know, but possibly/probably didn’t at all.

Opening things up were electro-instrumentalists Holy Fuck, a band who themselves are used to headlining much larger rooms. While I like their recorded output alright, I always enjoy seeing them live as they perform with more energy than a couple guys standing at makeshift tables decked out with keyboards and effects pedals have any right to, mutating their songs in real time. The privilege of seeing them do their thing in such close quarters seemed to be largely lost on the audience, however, who were there for one thing and one thing only.

And for that one thing – Metric, if you weren’t keeping up – they had to wait, as the band didn’t take the stage until over half an hour later than their scheduled set time (kind of like back in 2003 – nice to see some things don’t change). I don’t think anyone cared, though, based on the roars that greeted them when they finally strode onstage and into “Twilight Galaxy”, from Fantasies. Not the most high-energy opener, but an effective intro even with Emily Haines’ synth not firing on all cylinders. The roadies rectified it almost immediately after the song’s end, however, and the band played the song’s outro again to demonstrate how much better it’d have sounded if the synth had been working. Cute.

The last couple times I’d seen Haines live was in her solo/Soft Skeleton guise and banter or audience interaction was largely verboten, so I was a bit surprised at how chatty and engaging she was from the get-go. Of course, her banter was Billy Bob-esque in its randomness and incoherence, but it was nice to see her making the effort and the devout audience ate up every rambling word. There was no lack of focus in her performance, though – she and her Aladdin Sane makeup demonstrated the charisma that makes her arguably one of the most dynamic frontpersons in Canada, even if some of it felt more rehearsed than spontaneous.

The show focused heavily on Fantasies, with nine of the ten tracks getting aired, which suited me fine. Contrasted with the new material’s undeniable melodic and anthemic qualities, Live It Out‘s aggressive guitar-led tunes sounded even more abrasive (in a bad way) than I remembered. Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? was represented only by “Dead Disco”, and I’d thought that would be the end of the main set but had forgotten that they now had “Stadium Love”, a glorious anthem that will rightly close their shows from now until the end of time.

The encore consisted of “Monster Hospital” and a greatly stripped-down “Live It Out”, but by then I’d inched almost out the door and barely heard Haines thanking everyone and declaring her love for everyone. And possibly selling anti-depressants, it wasn’t entirely clear. Putting aside some garbage that left me in a somewhat sour mood most of the night, including but not limited to a heinously drunk guy threatening to smash a bottle on my head for asking him to stop shoving before the show had even started, Metric put on an impressive show that’s well-suited for the large-scale stages that they’ve grown accustomed to playing and will no doubt continue to do, buoyed by the mass appeal of Fantasies. It also made it clear that I’ll likely never be as into the band as I once was – we’ll always have 2003 – but they’ll go far, these ones.

eye, Chart, The Globe & Mail, The Toronto Star and The National Post all have reviews of the show. RCRDLBL has a remix of “Help, I’m Alive” available to download and Ear Farm, Canada.com and The National Post have interviews with the band. Their spending the next few months touring the world and will return home for a June 20 show as part of Edgefest at Downsview Park. Holy Fuck are touring Europe and the US this Spring and do a hometown show at Harbourfront Centre on July 10.

Photos: Metric @ The Mod Club – April 14, 2009
MP3: Holy Fuck – “Lovely Allen”
MP3: Holy Fuck – “Jungles”
Video: Metric – “Gimme Sympathy”
Video: Metric – “Monster Hospital”
Video: Metric – “Poster Of A Girl”
Video: Metric – “Empty”
Video: Metric – “Dead Disco”
Video: Metric – “Combat Baby”
Video: Metric – “Succexy”
Video: Holy Fuck – “Lovely Allen”
Video: Holy Fuck – “Milkshake”
MySpace: Metric
MySpace: Holy Fuck

The Dears have released a new video from last year’s Missiles and are hitting the road soon, starting on April 30 with a show at the Mod Club.

Video: The Dears – “Disclaimer”

CBC Radio 3, CityNews and AOL Music Canada interview Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers, who have a show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 25.

The Montreal Gazette talks to Arcade Fire’s Win Butler about making the Miroir Noir film.

Jeremy Jay will be at the Poor Alex Theatre on May 6 in support of his new album Slow Dance. Tickets are $10.

MP3: Jeremy Jay – “Beautiful Rebel”

Phoenix, not seen in these parts since V Fest 2006, will return on June 15 for a show at, wait for it, The Phoenix. Did that just blow your mind a little? Yeah. Full tour dates at Stereogum. Their new album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is out May 29. Here’s a video. You can grab an MP3 from their website.

Video: Phoenix – “Lisztomania”

For The Records reports that Friendly Fires, who stole the show from White Lies back in March, will return for a headlining show of their own at Lee’s Palace on August 10.

NOW reports that some of the acts coming to town for NxNE will include Black Lips, No Age and Matt & Kim. This year’s fest takes place June 18 to 20.

This Saturday is Record Store Day. Go out and hug your local record store. eye has a round-up of what’s going on at stores around Toronto while Pitchfork has rounded up some of the limited edition goodies that’ll be available at some outlets courtesy of various record labels.