Posts Tagged ‘Oasis’

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Forget The Night Ahead

The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Brakes at The El Mocambo in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThere’s no shortage of terrific records that have been released with the Fat Cat marque, but many of those have been Europe-only territory deals, those same artists having different representation in North America and thus keeping the label’s profile over here largely on the down low. That’s begun changing in recent years, however, as they’ve assembled an impressive roster of talent on worldwide deals and thus been able to assemble tours like the one that rolled through the El Mocambo on Saturday night, featuring The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Brakes.

Brakes (or BrakesBrakesBrakes as they’re forced to call themselves in the US) technically had seniority over their tourmates (their latest album Touchdown is their third), presumably profile (they’ve toured North America numerous times already), and a notable pedigree (they’re fronted Eamon Hamilton, formerly of British Sea Power, and feature the White brothers of The Electric Soft Parade on guitar and drums) but despite all this, they were tapped to open things up. This may not be so much a slight on the band, however, as a sensible decision to keep the angst-vs-time graph of the evening on a steady incline because unlike the other two bands on the bill, Brakes don’t come with a lot of anguish – just good, goofy rock’n’roll. That I can say this is notable because their 2005 debut Give Blood didn’t impress me at all, feeling like a jokey country-rock pastiche as the principals took a break from their main gigs. But since then, the break has largely become the main gig and their subsequent records have done a good job of bringing proper songcraft to the table without giving up their sense of reckless whimsy. Their set was a fine example of this, Tom White obviously having a grand time abusing his Telecaster as Hamilton brayed intently while being equally hard on his acoustic. I had thought Hamilton mad when he gave up his gig as keyboardist/drum-banger/rabble-rouser for British Sea Power but it’s pretty clear now he knew what he was doing.

We Were Promised Jetpacks (WWPJ to their Twitter friends) came into 2009 on a modest amount of hype based less on who they were than who they followed. Fat Cat had hit home runs the past two years in breaking Scottish bands worldwide – The Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit – so there was a lot of expectation put on the Edinburgh quartet simply by virtue of their accents. Their debut These Four Walls doesn’t go in for the grand sonic tumult of the former or the bruised folk romanticism of the latter, instead favouring a drier, no frills and borderline-frantic approach that’s largely reliant on frontman Adam Thompson’s raw bellow for impact. It’s been well-received but has hardly set the world ablaze, so the band was as surprised as anyone about how enthusiastically they were welcomed at this show. A modest but immensely vocal contingent had evidently decided Walls was their favourite record of the year and were out to cheer and sing along loudly and generally egg the band on to putting on a pretty impressive performance, far better than the one I’d seen them give at SxSW in March. I don’t necessarily know that they have the inspiration to equal, never mind best, their labelmates and countrymen to whom they’re constantly compared but they’ve definitely got more upside than they’ve yet shown.

For The Twilight Sad, coming back to the El Mocambo was a return to the scene of the crime – that crime being the April 2007 assault and battery on unsuspecting eardrums in their Toronto debut. That show stuck in the mind for the intensity of the sonic assault and the strength of the songs off Fourteen Autumns, Fifteen Winters in a live setting, but not so much for the band’s showmanship. Their set opening for Mogwai back in May demonstrated a somewhat more animated and engaging stage presence, but nothing compared to what they brought on Saturday night. Mind you, these are relative statements – they haven’t taken scissor-kick lessons or invested in onstage pyrotechnics, but in the same way that my review of their new record Forget The Night Ahead mentioned their music being more nimble than on the debut, so too was their live show much more animated. Singer James Graham, anyways.

He seems to have properly embraced the role of frontman, and rather than staying anchored on stage and communing with his microphone as he once did, he now has a repertoire of moves including wandering the stage, mic in hand, and dropping to his knees to sing. It’s not a lot, no, but the extra bit of theatricality it imparted gave the show a drastically different tone than the last time they were on the same stage. Similarly, Graham engaged the crowd in banter and offered up a smile or two, largely dispelling the brooding and melancholic mystique that seemed to envelop them before. Though their songs are still built to deliver that gut punch of despair, the band seems uninterested in cultivating the image of themselves as downcast mopers, press photo shoots in cemeteries notwithstanding.

Matters of stage presentation aside, The Twilight Sad show was pretty much everything I’d been hoping for. The set was split evenly between their two excellent records, the slightly more dynamic and restrained Night material making the unfettered onslaught of the Autumns selections that much more intense in comparison and they remain devastatingly loud – woe to anyone within line of fire of Andy MacFarlane’s Marshall stack without earplugs. Epic and exceptional.

Spinner chats with Brakes’ Eamon Hamilton.

Photos: The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Brakes @ The El Mocambo – October 10, 2009
MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Reflection Of The Television”
MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Cold Days From The Birdhouse”
MP3: The Twilight Sad – “That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy”
MP3: We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Quiet Little Voices”
MP3: We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Ships With Holes Will Sink”
MP3: Brakes – “Don’t Take Me To Space (Man)”
MP3: Brakes – “Hold Me In The River”
MP3: Brakes – “Heard About Your Band”
Video: The Twilight Sad – “I Became A Prostitute”
Video: The Twilight Sad – “And She Would Darken The Memory”
Video: We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Roll Up Your Sleeves”
Video: We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Quiet Little Voices”
Video: Brakes – “Don’t Take Me To Space (Man)”
Video: Brakes – “Hey Hey”
Video: Brakes – “Beatific Visions”
Video: Brakes – “Cease & Desist”
Video: Brakes – “Hold Me In The River”
Video: Brakes – “All Night Disco Party”
MySpace: The Twilight Sad
MySpace: Brakes

The Yorkshire Evening Post and Wales Online talk to Fanfarlo, who kept a tour diary for Drowned In Sound on their recent UK tour. They’re currently stringing together more US dates for November but the dates and routing I’ve heard so far don’t offer much hope for a Toronto date.

Artrocker chats with Sky Larkin, who will be at the Cameron House on October 28. They made a tour documentary their last time through North American back in the Spring and will be making it available on their website starting tomorrow. I’ll link it up here when it’s live, but in the meantime there’s some outtakes up at Vimeo. Entertainingly, the Twitter hookup that they and Narduwar mention? That was me.

Paste declares Noah & The Whale their band of the week. Their new record First Days Of Spring is out tomorrow and they play Toronto on October 31 – an in-store at Criminal Records and a full show at the Horseshoe.

Little Boots clears up some rumours about herself and her music to Spinner. The Tenori-On? All for show. Scandalous! andPop also got an interview with Victoria Hesketh during her recent visit to Toronto.

The Clientele make a mix tape for Magnet. Not a real one, a figurative one.

Camera Obscura have released a new video from My Maudlin Career. They’re at the Phoenix on November 26.

Video: Camera Obscura – “The Sweetest Thing”

Tom Smith of Editors discusses their new album In this Light & On This Evening with Spinner, The Daily Telegraph, This Is Nottingham and The Quietus. The album is out this week.

Fazer interviewed James Dean Bradfield and Nicky Wire of Manic Street Preachers at prior to their show at the Phoenix last week. Bradfield also gave Pitchfork a list of favourite albums from throughout his life. Finally, RCRDLBL is offering a free download of Patrick Wolf’s contribution to the remix version of Journal For Plague Lovers, which I thought was going to be available on CD but I can only find on iTunes.

Billboard reports that deluxe versions of His’N’Hers, Different Class and This Is Hardcore which I’ve gone on about are going to be released in the US on November 17. This is interesting because I assumed they were already available in the US, since they were out in Canada since 2006. But hey, good news for those Stateside who don’t have these yet because the bonus discs on Different Class and Hardcore are wholly worth the price of admission. And I’m intending to pick up the His’N’Hers one soon enough.

Liam Gallagher confirms to The Times that Oasis are, indeed, done.

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Oasis split

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo here we are on the first day of Virgin Festival 2009 and what’s everyone talking about? The headliners of Virgin Festival 2008Oasis – and the fact that Noel Gallagher has quit. Illness was blamed when the band cancelled their headlining slot at the UK’s V Fest last Sunday, but this time the official word is there was “an altercation” between Noel and brother Liam and that Noel walked out on the band on the eve of a show in Paris, with all subsequent European dates cancelled.

Now normally when 1/5 of a band leaves, it doesn’t necessarily mean the band is done but when that individual is the primary songwriter, it doesn’t bode well. But on the other hand, Noel has quit the band at least twice before – or was it thrice? – so there’s as much reason to think that it’ll be temporary as not. But until word comes that the Gallagher brother have reconciled or at least realized that they have no marketable skills besides being in Oasis, let’s reflect on happier times for the band like the one depicted in the photo – taken shortly after Noel was attacked onstage in Toronto last year.

Video: Oasis – “Don’t Look Back In Anger”

In more positive superstar British frontman news, Exclaim reports that Radiohead’s Thom Yorke will be releasing a super limited-edition solo 12″ single on September 22. And when they say super-limited, the mean it. Word is there will be only 4000 copies allotted to North America and only 300 in Canada.

Check out the first track from Bad Lieutenant, the new outfit let by former New Order frontman Bernard Sumner and backed up by Harvey Keitel and Nicolas Cage. Wait, what?

MP3: Bad Lieutenant – “Sink Or Swim”

Billboard talks to James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers about their new record Journal For Plague Lovers, which has a September 15 North American release date and will bring the band back to this side of the Atlantic for the first time in a decade (not counting that gig for Castro in Cuba in 2001), including a date at the Phoenix in Toronto on October 4.

The Manics’ Nicky Wire, along with Emmy The Great, Micachu’s Mica Levi and a host of others awash in indie cred talk to The Guardian about their favourite top-40 pop songs.

Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan talks to Spinner about jamming with Wilco during their show together in Brooklyn earlier this Summer. Yo La are in town on October 3 in support of Popular Songs, out September 8, and are Wilco here for two nights at Massey Hall not a fortnight later on October 14 and 15.

Spinner has an Interface session with The Dodos. The Time To Die is out September 15 and they are at Lee’s Palace on October 17.

And apparently Pixies played a warm-up club gig in Hamilton last night at the Casbah, to around 150 lucky folks, thus ensuring they are properly warmed-up for their oughta-be-headlining-but-not slot at V Fest tonight.

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Who Can Say

Bat For Lashes, Florence & The Machine and The Horrors among 2009 Mercury Prize nominees

Photo via BeggarsBeggarsSince I went to the trouble last week of making my generally meaningless predictions for the 2009 Mercury Prize nominees, it only makes sense that I take a look at the actual shortlist – announced this morning – and compare. And the first thing that I find is that the UK’s bookies, who ostensibly do this sort of thing for living, don’t have any more clue than I do. While only one of my picks made the actual list – and really the only one I expeted to – neither of the oddmsakers’ two favourites – Doves’ Kingdom Of Rust or Little Boots’ Hands – were to be found in to this morning’s announcements, whereas perennial critical kicking bags Kasabian did. Of course, if The Horrors can put out a career-salvaging album and garner a nod, why not Kasabian? I haven’t heard it – maybe it’s brilliant. Maybe. Also surprised that La Roux made the list while Little Boots did not because, well, I much prefer Little Boots to La Roux. Go figure.

Anyways, the nominees for this year are as follows:

Bat For Lashes / Two Suns / MP3: “Glass” (live)
Speech Debelle / Speech Therapy / Video: “Go Then Bye”
Florence & The Machine / Lungs / MP3: “Kiss With A Fist”
Friendly Fires / Friendly Fires / MP3: “Jump In The Pool”
Glasvegas / Glasvegas / Video: “Geraldine”
Lisa Hannigan / Sea Sew / MP3: “Lille”
The Horrors / Primary Colours / MP3: “Sea Within A Sea”
The Invisible / The Invisible / Video: “London Girl”
Kasabian / West Rider Lunatic Pauper Asylum / Video: “Vlad The Impaler”
La Roux / La Roux / MP3: “Bulletproof” (Joe & Will Ask remix)
Led Bib / Sensible Shoes / MP3: “Yes, Again”
Sweet Billy Pilgrim / Twice Born Men / MP3: “Truth Only Smiles”

I’m sure there’ll be complaints and criticisms galore, but with almost half the list being female artists the Mercury will at least avoid the “solo white male” complaints leveled at the Polaris Prize shortlist this year, and similarly you’d never find something like contemporary jazzers Led Bib on a nomination list open to 140 critics. I don’t necessarily advocate the exclusive jury approach over the inclusive, but it does yield some interesting results.

Anyways, my money remains on Bat For Lashes – obvious, sure, but I stand by it – but I can also get behind Florence or The Horrors. Either way, I don’t really have a horse in this race, I’m just a curious bystander. BBC has launched their Mercury minisite complete with interviews with the nominees, The Guardian has already gotten fresh odds from a bookie on the shortlist, Clash comments on the list and NME‘s editors have also chimed in on who they think will take the big prize come September 8. NME has also provided a bluffer’s guide to the nominees so you can sound all knowledgeable and stuff at the water cooler (though you could probably say whatever the hell you want about any of them because your co-workers probably won’t know what the hell you’re talking about).

The Guardian talks to Friendly Fires – they’re at Lee’s Palace on August 10.

Paper declares Little Boots to be one of their sounds of Summer and Stuff New Zealand and The Mirror also have features. She’s in town at Wrongbar on September 14.

Oh, hello three unreleased songs from My Bloody Valentine. Did you get lost en route to the studio to be added onto those Isn’t Anything/Loveless reissues which never came out? That’s okay, leaking to the internet is probably best for everyone involved.

I had completely forgotten about the UK’s Engineers, purveyors of Pink Floyd-esque ambient rock on their self-titled debut back in 2005 but they’re still kicking and have just released their second album with Three Fact Fader, which is just as dreamy but with some more kick. The Quietus and The Line Of Best Fit have interviews with the band about their time away and their return.

Video: Engineers – “Clean Coloured Wire”

The Village Voice talks to Frightened Rabbit, who have a sold-out show at the Horseshoe on Wednesday night, July 22.

The Quietus has details on the new Editors album In This Light And On This Evening, which appears to have been pushed back a few weeks and is now set for an October 12 release.

Oasis were apparently (almost) attacked (hugged) onstage again. Hey guys, maybe it’s you.

Stepping back from life as a Raconteur, Brendan Benson will release a new solo album in My Old, Familiar Friend on August 18 and follow that up with a spot of touring, including an August 24 date at the Mod Club in Toronto – tickets $13.50.

Aussies An Horse must like it here – they’re back for their fourth Toronto show in six months on September 11 at the Drake Underground, tickets $10.

MP3: An Horse – “Postcards”

Brazilian psych legends Os Mutantes will release their first album in over 35 years in Haih, out September 7, and are at the Opera House on October 2, tickets $25.

Yo La Tengo are at the Opera House on October 3, meaning I have to choose between Yo La and Destroyer that same evening at the Horseshoe. I do not like these sorts of dilemmas. Their new album Popular Songs is out September 8.

MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Periodically Double Or Triple”

Those who worship the drone and get unnerved by unnecessary key changes – hell, chord changes – will be thrilled to hear that The Raveonettes are hitting the road this Fall with The Black Angels. Full dates are still trickling out but the Toronto stop will be October 22 at the Phoenix, tickets $18.50. The Raveonettes talk to Spinner about their just-completed their new album In and Out of Control, which has a shiny release date of October 6. The Black Angels haven’t been up to much since last year’s Directions To See A Ghost. Billboard has full dates and words with Sharin Foo.

MP3: The Raveonettes – “Dead Sound”
MP3: The Black Angels – “The First Vietnamese War”

Peter Bjorn & John are back again on November 11 for another date at the Phoenix – tickets $20. They’re also at the Molson Amphitheatre this Friday, July 24, opening for Depeche Mode but if that’s news to you, you’re probably not going.

Video: Peter Bjorn & John – “Nothing To Worry About”’s endless feature series on the history and future of Canada’s independent music scene turns its lonely eyes to Montreal in its latest installment, talking to members past and present of Arcade Fire, The Dears and The Stills.

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Here It Comes

Doves migrate to North America

Photo via Doves.netDovesI had something really cool ready to post today, but then I couldn’t post it quite yet and so another day, another cobbled-together post. But at least it starts with some good stuff. And cool stuff might yet come before the day is out.

We’e inching nearer and nearer to the April 7 release date of Doves’ new album Kingdom Of Rust, and with new albums comes touring – the band have announced their first North American tour in four years starting in May, and the Toronto date is set for June 1 at the Kool Haus. Now I have kind of mixed feelings about this date – if I’m able to attend, it means that I didn’t go to Primavera Sound. But if I do get to go to Primavera Sound, then I miss seeing Doves. Of course, Barcelona wins this little competition of things I’d rather do by a landslide but it’s kind of nice to know that if it ends up out of reach, there’s a consolation prize.

Video: Doves -“Kingdom Of Rust”

Stop Crying Your Heart Out has an interview with Noel Gallagher of Oasis. Via Information Leafblower.

That Coldplay show with Elbow will be taking place at the Rogers Centre on July 30, and not the Molson Amphitheatre as originally reported. Tickets range from $39.50 to $99.50 and go on sale March 9

Hey, remember when she played the Rivoli? Adele has a date at Massey Hall for April 29. Tickets $39.50, on sale Saturday.

Vivian Girls are hitting the road and will be swinging through Toronto on May 8 accompanied by Crystal Antlers for a show at the Horseshoe. Pitchfork.TV also has a two-part video session with the band.

Le Blogotheque has a Take-Away Show with Ra Ra Riot, and if you missed the announcement yesterday, they’e going to be in town on April 7 opening up for Death Cab For Cutie at the Sound Academy. Cold War Kids round out that bill.

Magnet have enlisted Dean & Britta to play guest-editor on their website – start out with this interview and browse the site at your leisure for more dispatches from the duo.

They’re not, however, responsible for this piece that rates the top five overrated and underrated Wilco songs – that’s all Magnet staff. Wilco’s new album is currently set for a June release.

Billboard has got more details on Neil Young’s forthcoming Fork In The Road, now set for an April 7 release.

The Line Of Best Fit has got another new track from My Latest Novel, whose sophomore album Death And Entrances is out May 18.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews DeVotchKa.

Spin is offering a couple of acoustic performance videos from Metric, whose new album Fantasies is out April 14. They’re streaming a few tracks on their website.

BeatRoute interviews The Hylozoists.

Laundromatinee sessions up with Blitzen Trapper.

Citing an internet leak as the reason, The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s have elected to move the release of their next album It’s Blitz! up from the original April 14 date to March 31. Spin has excerpted some of their cover story on the band online.

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Yesterday Tomorrows

Review of Tindersticks' The Hungry Saw and giveaway

Photo By Richard DumasRichard DumasHow long have people been telling me to listen to Tindersticks? At least a couple years, probably longer – at one point a label rep was so sure the Nottingham-based band and I were kismet that they sent me copies of their last two studio albums – Can Our Love… and Waiting For The Moon – not out of any PR duty but because they simply felt I needed to hear them.

And I have listened, periodically spinning either of the two records and seeing the appeal more and more each time but never quite needing to hear them. Part of the problem, as I see it now, is that their sweeping, jazz- and r&b-accented, orchestrally-appointed world of desperate romance and melancholy isn’t the sort of place you can visit casually, you have to inhabit it. And I have more than enough downer music in my collection as is – something I realized when trying to put together a playlist for running a little while back. But I digress.

The arrival last Spring of their latest album and first in five years, The Hungry Saw, proved to be the kick in the ass I needed to revisit my unintentional but now not inconsiderable Tindersticks CD collection. I don’t know if it’s accurate to say that Saw is a more accessible entry point to their sound or if I’d already been conditioned enough by the other records, but things are now falling into place quite nicely for me with this band. It’s still unmistakeably Tindersticks – nothing with Stuart Staples’ distinctive croon could really be otherwise – but there’s a bit more sprightliness to the sound. Only a bit, the beautiful booziness and bleakness persists, but there’s enough to give the record a slightly brighter feel and to endow Staples’ delivery with a bit of coyness to temper its innate moroseness.

There’s still nothing here that might make it onto the exercise playlist, but if I need a soundtrack for moping, The Hungry Saw – and its compatriots – will be top of the stack. And considering how reverentially the band’s earliest works are spoken of, it’s possible that stack will be getting larger.

The band is embarking on a rare North American tour starting this week and will be at the Opera House in Toronto next Tuesday, March 10. And courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want Tindersticks” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest will close at midnight, March 6.

MP3:Tindersticks – “The Hungry Saw”
MySpace: Tindersticks

QRO, Music Snobbery and Metro talk to White Lies, whose debut To Lose My Life gets a North American release on March 10 and who play Lee’s Palace on March 31.

Virgin Music interviews Glasvegas. They have a sold-out show at the Mod Club on April 3.

Spin has excerpted a portion of their feature interview with Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, who are playing the Kool Haus on May 4.

Clash gets a studio update from Twilight Sad frontman James Graham about how progress is coming on album number two. The band will be hitting the road with Mogwai this Spring and be at the Phoenix on May 4.

Scottish quintet My Latest Novel, who made an impression back in 2006 with their debut Wolves will return with a follow-up on May 18 in the form of Death And Entrances. Details at The Line Of Best Fit, sample via SxSW.

MP3: My Latest Novel – “Dragonhide”

NME reports that Manic Street Preachers have completed work on their new album – at last check entitled Journal For Plague Lovers – and are aiming for a mid-May release.

Also due out in May, the new album from Maximo ParkNME has the just-announced title of the record, and that name is Quicken The Heart.

Chart rounds up some recent quotes from Oasis’ Noel Gallagher, wherein he reveals he’s almost ready to hit the studio to record the follow-up to last year’s Dig Out Your Soul and that he does all his blogging via text message.