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Posts Tagged ‘No Joy’

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Before Us

The Dog Day(s) of December are here

Photo By Seth SmithSeth SmithI’m not entirely sure when or why Halifax’s Dog Day fell off my radar; I was very much on board circa their 2007 debut Night Group and the 2009 follow-up Concentration, but missed out on 2011′s Deformer – which saw the quartet reconfigure themselves as just the duo of Seth Smith and Nancy Urich – completely.

But I’m on the ball with their new album Fade Out – which incidentally finds themselves a quartet again – and it’s nice to know that despite the personnel shuffles, out of the speakers not a lot has changed. Their roughly-hewn and downcast yet unfailingly melodic still evokes the spirit of their ’90s Maritime Can-rock forebears but those ingredients have also underpinned great rock music from many eras and locales. Dog Day sound very much like where they’re from but don’t confuse that with having only a regional appeal.

Fade Out is out December 10 and their eastern Canadian tour brings them to Toronto’s Cinecycle on December 14. Exclaim, The Halifax Chronicle Herald, and The Coast have interviews with Smith about the new album, which you can stream below.

MP3: Dog Day – “Wasted”
Stream: Dog Day / Fade Out

NOW gets to know No Joy, in town at The Garrison tomorrow night, December 5.

Rolling Stone has an advance stream of the new Neil Young archival release Live At The Cellar Door, which captures two acoustic shows in 1970. The album is out December 10.

Stream: Neil Young / Live At The Cellar Door

Pitchfork has surfaced a new song from Doldrums, currently without context but perhaps pointing towards a new release in 2014. Doldrums is at The Great Hall on December 13 for the second Long Winter.

Stream: Doldrums – “Dive Deep Pt 1″

The Drake Hotel has announced the lineup for this year’s What’s In The Box? mini-fest, which fills the Underground with the sounds of local bands and DJs for the five nights following Christmas at the non-inflationary price of $5. As always, there’s all sorts of up-and-coming talent on the bill, but readers of this site will want to circle December 27, when Alvvays take the stage, and December 30, when Rich Aucoin does his thing in a room he’s far too big to play in anymore.

MP3: Alvvays – “Adult Diversion”
MP3: Rich Aucoin – “It”

And speaking of musical holiday traditions, The Wooden Sky have announced details of their fourth annual holiday revue fundraiser to benefit the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank. It goes December 29 at 918 Bathurst and tickets will run $20, plus a donation of a canned good.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”

Stars are helping local radio station Indie88 celebrate their increased signal strength – which means I can now finally hear them in my car in downtown Toronto – with a rare club show at Lee’s Palace on January 18. Tickets are $8.81 and go on sale Friday.

MP3: Stars – “The Theory Of Relativity”

After touring their self-titled debut around North America straight though to the year’s final days, local punks PUP will take a little breather and come right back for a hometown show at The Garrison on January 31.

MP3: PUP – “Reservoir”

Toronto synth-goth artist Trust has announced a March 4 release date for his second album Joyland. Exclaim has details, inevitable trailer is below.

Trailer: Trust / Joyland

If you were holding off on going to see Arcade Fire at the Air Canada Centre on March 13 because the only costumes or formalwear you have are for warm weather, then rejoice – the band have announced a return engagement as part of some late Summer tour dates at the Molson Amphitheatre on August 29. Tickets range from $30.50 to $70.50 and go on sale December 13 at noon.

Video: Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”

Young Galaxy look set to run away with the record for most videos from an album that’s not really an album, namely the bonus disc of the Ultramarine Deluxe edition. They premiered the latest clip via Stereogum.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Hard To Tell”

Tone Deaf and The New Zealand Herald interview Metric, who’ve released another new video from Synthetica.

Video: Metric – “Lost Kitten”

A Music Blog, Yea has an interview with The Darcys while The Toronto Star finds out why their recent gigs have been at area high schools.

Beatroute, The Montreal Gazette, Seattle Weekly, The Georgia Straight, and Victoria News talk to Basia Bulat.

Dan Bejar of Destroyer tells The Line Of Best Fit why he decided to make a record in Spanish. There’s also a video session with Destroyer at Dutch radio station 3voor12.

Beatroute checks in with Amber Webber of Lightning Dust.

CBC Music has video of Fucked Up’s tribute to the legendary Teenage Head show known as The Last Pogo, recorded at a very punk rock 9AM on a Saturday morning at The Horseshoe Tavern, scene of the original show in 1978.

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Bye Bye

A CanCon post, since there’s absolutely nothing newsworthy happening in Canada or Toronto right now

Photo By Ted BoisTed BoisYup, quiet as hell up here. Though I heard from somewhere that people have been waiting for a video of some kind to surface…? Well here’s five new ones.

Stereogum has premiered the new chicken farm-set clip from Destroyer, taken from Dan Bejar’s forthcoming Five Spanish Songs EP which will be out on November 25. He’ll be on stage at The Opera House – not The Great Hall, as originally scheduled – all by his Bejar-ness, on November 9.

Video: Destroyer – “Bye Bye”

Or there’s the new video from Metric, for the title track of last year’s Synthetica, which got unveiled to the world via Rolling Stone.

Video: Metric – “Synthetica”

Young Galaxy also have a new video, squeezed out of the new tracks on the Ultramarine Deluxe reissue. They play The Hoxton on November 22.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Privileged Poor”

Islands have a new video from their latest release Ski Mask. There’s also interviews at The Coast, The Chronicle-Herald, and The Aquarian.

Video: Islands – “Wave Forms”

And Vancouver’s Brasstronaut have a new clip from last year’s Mean Sun.

Video: Brasstronaut – “The Grove”

And in non-video/crack-related news, Kashka is marking the release of Bound – her debut album as Kashka – by streaming the whole thing, and it’s lovely. Anyone who was sad about the end of Forest City Lovers will have reason to be happy again. There’ll be a record release show at The Great Hall on December 5.

Stream: Kashka / Bound

No Joy have just released their Pastel And Pass Out EP and are streaming another song from it for your enjoyment. They’ll play The Garrison on December 6.

Stream: No Joy – “Second Spine”

Exclaim has an advance stream of the new Misery Makers Vol. 1 EP from Chains Of Love, out as of this week.

Stream: Chains Of Love / Misery Makers Vol. 1

Exclaim talks to Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, whose Alaska B lists off her favourite video game soundtracks for Chart. They’re celebrating the release of Uzu tonight at The Garrison.

Beatroute talks to Shad; he’s back in town at The Danforth Music Hall on January 31.

Vancouver electronic-industrial pioneers Skinny Puppy have announced a date at The Sound Academy on February 18 in support of their latest release, Weapon, released earlier this year.

Stream: Skinny Puppy / Weeapon

The Quietus, aux.tv, and Beatroute talk to Spencer Krug of Moonface.

NOW has an interview with Braids.

Vue profiles The Darcys.

Magnet interviews Basia Bulat as a precursor to her taking over their website for the week.

Altar TV has a video session and The Calgary Herald an interview with The Belle Game.

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Lady Toronto

Fucked Up almanac predicts another Long Winter with high probability of King Cobb Steelie

Photo via FacebookFacebookHaving found their prescription of music, art, film, dance, food, and community to have been wholly effective at warding off the Winter blues, local hardcore heroes and good citizens Fucked Up have announced a second edition of the Long Winter arts series, set to take place monthly from November 2013 through March 2014.

Though Fucked Up themselves headlined three of the five shows of 2012-13, they’re ceding centre stage for the season opener – set to take place November 8 at The Great Hall – to Guelph’s electronic-jazz-funk pioneers King Cobb Steelie, their on-again/off-again status again in the “on” position following the re-release of their 1994 album Project Twinkle last Fall. They’re joined on the musical portion of the bill by Rheostatics spin-off Bidiniband, local post-punkers Ell V Gore, and many more. Admission to the event is pay-what-you-can.

Stream: King Cobb Steelie – “Mano Ponderosa”
Stream: King Cobb Steelie – “Deadbeat”
Stream: King Cobb Steelie – “Home”
Video: King Cobb Steelie – “Rational”

As mentioned, Fucked Up aren’t playing the first edition of this year’s series – although it’s a certainty they will before Spring arrives – but they are playing a local show that same weekend. Those willing to make the trek to Scarborough can see them at Rockpile East on November 9.

MP3: Fucked Up – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”

The National Post and Vancouver Sun talk Flying Colours with Shad, out now and behind which he has two local area shows scheduled – a sold out gig at The Opera House tomorrow night, October 19, and another at The Danforth Music Hall on January 31.

JAM has an interview with Will Butler of Arcade Fire, whose Reflektor will finally be out on October 29. And if album trailers wasn’t annoying enough, now we’ve got song trailers. Arcade Fire – groundbreaking as ever.

Trailer: Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”

July Talk will be at the Sound Academy on December 3 as support for Frank Turner. Exclaim is streaming their just re-released debut album with the four bonus tracks, so if you haven’t heard it or even if you have, you should probably give a listen.

Stream: July Talk / July Talk

No Joy have made a date at The Garrison for December 6, ostensibly in support of their Pastel And Pass Out EP which is due out November 4, but probably mostly just because.

MP3: No Joy – “Heedless”

Local psych-pop upstarts Moon King will be at The Drake on December 12, perhaps in expectation that the third and final part of their Obsession EP series will finally be out, though they did just release a video from part II so maybe they’re not quite done with that one yet. Either way, hope they don’t burn the place down.

MP3: Moon King – “Appel”
Video: Moon King – “Almost Blue”

Exclaim has details on and a stream from a new tour cassette EP from Austra-adjuncts Tasseomancy, as they spool up for a European tour and a new album next year.

Stream: Tasseomancy – “Braid. Wind Is Coming”

The Winnipeg Free Press, Georgia Straight, and Edmonton Journal talk to Katie Stelmanis of Austra.

Basia Bulat plays a Take-Away Show for Le Blogothèque.

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

From Now On

Basia Bulat and Casey Mecija at The Polish Combatants Hall in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhen you reach a certain age and/or have blogged for a certain amount of time, the years do tend to blur together some. For example, I couldn’t believe that it was just four years between when I first saw a mostly-unknown Basia Bulat playing in a little basement tavern on Rue Saint-Denis at Pop Montreal 2006 and when I saw her last, with two acclaimed albums to her name, performing with the full Symphony Nova Scotia orchestra at Halifax Pop Explosion 2010; that, folks, is some kind of trajectory and velocity. And I also couldn’t believe that that show three years ago was the last time I saw her perform, having seen her more on the streets of Toronto than any stage.

The opportunity to turn that trend around came this past weekend with three intimate shows at the Polish Combatants Hall to mark the release of her third album, Tall Tall Shadow. It’s a record presented as something of a shift, being recorded in a legion hall in Toronto rather than the Hotel 2 Tango studios in Montreal that birthed the first two albums, and incorporating more electronic textures into her heretofore traditionally folk-based sound. None of this constitutes a reinvention and on initial listens, the listener is probably more occupied with welcoming the return of Bulat’s rich vocals delivering her first new material in almost four years than any of the sonic accoutrements. But if you’re listening for them, the shift in production aesthetic does indeed distinguish Shadow from its predecessors, as does the more sophisticated phrasing of her vocals, introducing new emotional shading into her work. Given that her first album came out when she was just 23 years old, a maturing over the course of her records is inevitable but to hear it captured so elegantly without losing the wide-eyed brightness that marked her earlier work is pretty special.

For each of the three nights of these release shows, a local solo artist was tapped to open and on the Friday night I was pleased to be able to see Casey Mecija, until very recently of Ohbijou and also one half of electronic pop project Warm Myth; it was a bill that took me way back to December 2007, where it was Bulat who was opening up for Ohbijou at Lee’s Palace. Opening up with the title track of Ohbijou’s final album Metal Meets, Mecija moved between intricately fingerpicked electric guitar, grand piano, and electronic loops and samplers – her sublime vocals gliding overop them all – and her too-brief set was an excellent reminder of just how good she is in whatever project she’s working on. While it’s sad that Ohbijou are no more, we should be thankful that she continues to make art for our ears.

If there’s any sort of downside to having seen Bulat perform so many times in the early part of her career – nine times from Fall 2006 to Summer 2008, by my Flickr count – it’s that my notions of what to expect from her shows were pretty fixed. So conversely, not seeing her live for a few years ended up being all kinds of great, not least of all because sometime between then and now, she’s started playing the autoharp standing up. Not that she was just standing; she was dancing and swinging as she led her band through the new songs, an impressive vivaciousness in her stage presence to go with her giddy sweetness of old. With her, as always, was brother Bobby on drums, Holly Coish on backing vocals and also now keys, and Alison Stewart on viola; new to the mix was Ben Whiteley of New Country Rehab on bass – hardly a stripped-down lineup but a far cry from some of those early shows where she seemed to have a veritable orchestra at her command (unlike the Halifax gig where she actually did).

In the live setting, the shifts in aesthetic were more pronounced and arrangements bolder, with Bulat spending as much time on keyboards and grand piano as the autoharp and when the picked up the guitar, it was an electric (semi-hollow; thanks) run through an actual pedalboard. This wasn’t in an attempt to “rock” – though I’ve never wished I’d brought earplugs to one of her shows before this one – but to have the tools to properly explore new territory. All little things, maybe, but nigh-unimaginable a few years ago and now perfectly reasonable.

Of the new material, Shadow closer “From Now On” received an especially gorgeous treatment, with Bulat on grand piano and Whiteley and Coish on backing vocals, topped only by the record’s emotional centre – the stark “Never Let Me Go” – in which her powerful voice was lifted by four-part harmonies to close out the main set. Many of the older songs were made fresh with re-arrangements and re-contextualization: on grand piano, “I Was A Daughter” sounded from the perspective of an adult reflecting on the past tense than a girl in the moment, while “Heart Of Mine” was completely re-cast with synths, drum pads, and vocoder for the moving parts. The encore brought things back home, though, with the hammered harp of “The Shore” perfect as is, and joyous “Before I Knew” a sublime show closer. Well, almost – the sight of Bulat standing onstage, wide-eyed and hands over her mouth before a standing ovation, was just that much better.

The Grid, The Globe and Mail, JAM, and The Huffington Post all had conversations with Basia about the new record and release shows.

Photos: Basia Bulat, Warm Myth @ The Polish Combatants Hall – October 11, 2013
MP3: Basia Bulat – “Go On”
MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”
MP3: Basia Bulat – “In The Night”
MP3: Ohbijou – “Anser”
MP3: Ohbijou – “Mossy Lungs”
Video: Basia Bulat – “Tall Tall Shadow”
Video: Basia Bulat – “In The Night”
Video: Ohbijou – “Niagara”
Video: Ohbijou – “New Years”
Video: Ohbijou – “The Woods”

With the release of Flying Colours as of today, CBC Music has turned the reins of their website over to Shad who is blogging up a storm with readables. And if you’d rather hang with Shad in meatspace, remember that he’s playing an in-store at Sonic Boom in the Annex tonight at 7PM, has a sold-out show at The Opera House on October 19, and returns to the Danforth Music Hall on January 31.

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan have made another new song from their second album Uzu available to stream via Pitchfork, and also recently stopped in at the CBC for a Q video session. The album is out October 29 and they’ve scheduled a date behind it at The Garrison for November 6.

Stream: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “Windflower”

DIY has details on a new EP from No Joy entitled Pastel And Pass Out, which will be out on November 4. One of the new songs from the release is available to stream below.

Stream: No Joy – “Last Boss”

Beatroute and The Ottawa Citizen interview The Sadies about their latest album Internal Sounds. They get external with them at Lee’s Palace on November 15.

Dears frontman Murray Lightburn talks to aux.tv and The Toronto Star about his solo work.

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

'Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

Godspeed You! Black Emperor win 2013 Polaris Music Prize; speechless seems an appropriate reaction

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWell I certainly didn’t expect that.

Even though Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s surprise comeback record‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! was high on my own ballot and certainly a worthy record by any standard – refer back to my review last October – I had expected that some combination of the band’s own refusal to interact with the media (and thus any of the jury), the relative bleakness/impenetrableness of their music, and just their lack of profile outside of old-school indie circles to stack the odds against them. Apparently not. Proving that predicting the Polaris Music Prize is a tricky, tricky pastime, the name that last year’s winner Leslie Feist read from winner’s envelope wasn’t Zaki Ibrahim or A Tribe Called Red or any of the other acts who were widely expected to walk away with the $30,000 in this unusually wide-open year, but Godspeed.

No one was sure if they’d even acknowledge the nomination though it was a pretty sure thing they wouldn’t show up to the ceremony, and indeed they didn’t. American music journalist Jessica Hopper said a few short words at the gala to acknowledge their nomination and Ian Ilavsky of Constellation Records, Godspeed’s label, said a few words after their win, thanking the jurors and announcing that the winnings would be donated to a program to bring music and instruments to Quebec prisons. There was no giant novelty cheque. And this morning, the band made their own official statement on the win and manage to be entirely gracious while remaining entirely Godspeed.

As to the rest of the gala, it was an eminently enjoyable affair in its fancy new home at The Carlu. Shad and Kathleen Edwards were fine hosts, with the requisite costume skits and making light of the fact that they were both two-time Polaris losers (including both of them in 2008 when my Grand Jury gave the prize to Caribou), as well as leveraging Edwards’ renowned potty mouth towards collecting money for charity via a swear jar on each guest table whenever she cussed. Which was often.

The performances opened with Purity Ring bringing their trademark cocoon lantern stage show to accompany their squelchy electro-pop, followed by and impressive set by R&B artist Zaki Ibrahim with costumes and dancers that was probably revelatory for most in attendance, since she’s hardly if ever performed live in Canada. As they did in 2009, Metric opted to perform acoustic as just the core duo of Emily and James but bringing in a grand piano to fancy things up a bit helped avoid the coffee house vibe of that previous showing.

What with having been sidelined very recently with a broken hand, solo saxophonist Colin Stetson was a surprise performer on the night but showed no ill effects fresh off the DL, turning in the most raw, elemental performance of the night and maybe the history of the Polaris Prize. Tegan & Sara also surprised, not by showing up and performing but by having Toronto’s Choir! Choir! Choir! sub in with a brilliant and buoyant version of “Closer”.

Whitehorse only played one song when they could have easily done two in their allotted time, but that one more than ably showcased their abilities and appeal, with Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland’s intricately choreographed instrument swapping and looping an impressive demonstration of musicality and chemistry. And it speaks to the diversity of nominees on this year’s short list that Young Galaxy’s set would come across as unusual, what with them being a conventional rock band simply performing a couple of their songs.

A fancy-dress gala might have been an odd first time to see local punk heroes METZ, but their loud and loud and awesome and loud set successfully transformed the Carlu from a storied concert hall that once hosted Frank Sinatra and Glenn Gould into every dirty, grungy basement venue in the world, albeit a really well-lit one. And finally, to wrap the night, A Tribe Called Red added some visual interest to their three-DJ performance with a native break/hoop dancer who, while no Gary the pole dancer, certainly put on a memorable and unique performance.

And then they gave the prize to Godspeed. It’s funny – of all the years the Polaris has been a thing, this was the year I felt least invested in. The couple of records I would have really loved to see make the final round having not, I had a lot of difficulty getting interested in this year’s edition beyond an academic level. And of course, it turns out the album I was pulling for but had basically assumed was out of contention wins, and the gala features some of the very best performances I’ve seen at these things. The Polaris – you just never know. Photos from the gala and a reminder of who the shortlist was below.

Photos: The Polaris Music Prize 2013 Gala @ The Carlu – September 23, 2013

A Tribe Called Red / Nation II Nation (Pirate’s Blend)
Video: A Tribe Called Red – “Electric Pow Wow Drum”

Godspeed You! Black Emperor / ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (Constellation)
Stream: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Mladic”

Zaki Ibrahim / Every Opposite (Motif)
Video: Zaki Ibrahim – “Go Widdit”

Metric / Synthetica (Metric Music International)
MP3: Metric – “Clone”

METZ / METZ (Sub Pop)
MP3: METZ – “Wet Blanket”

Purity Ring / Shrines (Last Gang)
MP3: Purity Ring – “Obedear”

Colin Stetson / New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light (Constellation)
MP3: Colin Stetson – “High Above A Grey Green Sea”

Tegan & Sara / Heartthrob (Warner Music)
Video: Tegan & Sara – “Closer”

Whitehorse / The Fate of the World Depends On This Kiss (Six Shooter)
Video: Whitehorse – “Achilles’ Desire”

Young Galaxy / Ultramarine (Paper Bag)
Video: Young Galaxy – “New Summer”

Young Galaxy have premiered a stream of another of the new tracks on their Ultramarine deluxe edition, out today, at Stereogum. The Edmonton Journal and Metro have interviews with the band.

Stream: Young Galaxy – “Talk To Her”

The Lab interviews Katie Stelmanis of Austra, who brings their 2014 Polaris-likely second album Olympia to The Phoenix on September 27.

The AV Club is offering an advance stream of Basia Bulat’s new album Tall Tall Shadow before its release next Tuesday, October 1. She plays three nights at the Polish Combatants Hall on October 10 through 12.

Stream: Basia Bulat / Tall Tall Shadow

Beatroute, The Montreal Gazette and CBC Music talk to Nick Thorburn of Islands about their new album Ski Mask. They play The Garrison on October 10.

Noisey have premiered the new video from The Darcys’ new record Warring, while B-Insider has an interview. They play the Adelaide Music Hall on October 11.

Video: The Darcys – “Muzzle Blast”

Shad discusses his new album Flying Colours with Respect. It’s out October 15 and he’s at The Opera House on October 19.

The Weeknd has premiered another video from Kiss Land; his three-night stand at Massey Hall begins October 17.

Video: The Weeknd – “Pretty”

NOW talks to Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, who’ve released a first video from their new record Uzu, coming out October 29.

Video: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “One”

Consequence Of Sound reports that Arcade Fire will follow-up their September 27 appearance on Saturday Night Live with a 30-minute concert performance to be shown on NBC – so that’s 1AM EDT, if it was unclear. Elsewhere, Richard Reed Perry tells NME how David Bowie ended up on “Reflektor” and Under The Radar has got a stream of their cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Games Without Frontiers”, appearing on the forthcoming All I’ll Scratch Yours tribute album, out this week. Arcade Fire’s own Reflektor is in stores October 29.

Stream: Arcade Fire – “Games Without Frontiers”

Also streaming from the Peter Gabriel tribute is this track from Feist featuring Timber Timbre; whether you choose to imagine a video featuring Leslie and Taylor clinging to each other for warmth for four minutes is your business.

Stream: Feist with Timber Timbre – “Don’t Give Up”

Destroyer has announced the release of Five Spanish Songs, an EP of songs by Spanish musician Antonio Luque of the band Sr. Chinarro, due out November 29. You may hear some of these songs when Dan Bejar plays The Great Hall solo on November 9. Or you may not.

Stereogum are streaming a new song from Odonis Odonis, presumably from a new album in the works or coming soon or something. They’ve not said.

Stream: Odonis Odonis – “Are We Friends”

Pitchfork welcomes Majical Cloudz for a City Of Music video session.

No Joy have released a new video from their latest, Wait To Pleasure.

Video: No Joy – “Blue Neck Riviera”

aux.tv has an interview with METZ.

Exclaim reports that the limited edition vinyl pressing of the first Super Friendz record Mock Up Scale Down is now a little less limited but more easy to buy, being on sale via murderrecords directly.