Posts Tagged ‘Oh No Forest Fires’

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Some Party

Wavelength turns 500, goes out with a bang

Photo By Jeremy R. JansenJeremy R. JansenA birthday party is a bit of an odd time to announce a memorial, but such was the case this past February when, at the end of the successful 9th anniversary bash for Toronto’s venerable Wavelength weekly music series, it was announced that the 2010, 10th anniversary shows would also mark the final edition of the showcase… at least in its present form. While the weekly showcases are ending, the Wavelength marque and ethos will continue on via monthly showcases and one-off events, thus ensuring that the stages that gave countless Toronto acts – including Broken Social Scene, The Hidden Cameras and Constantines to name but a very few of the better known – will remain open and inviting.

But before the new Wavelength can begin, the old must be celebrated and put to bed, and that’s what the second weekend of February is going to be all about. Wavelength 500 will bring together acts from all throughout its history, some of whom have gone on to bigger things and some who have simply gone but all of whom are crucial parts of Toronto’s musical tapestry over the past decade. The festival will run over five nights at five venues, starting on February 10 and running through to February 14 for what’s sure to be the loudest, sweatiest Valentine’s Day bash on record. The lineups and locales for each night are as follows:

February 10 @ The Music Gallery: Bruce Peninsula, Evening Hymns, Pony Da Look, Deep Dark United, Canaille ($12)
February 11 @ The Steam Whistle Roundhouse – Holy Fuck, The Russian Futurists, Fembots, Diamond Rings, Professor Fingers ($18)
February 12 @ Sneaky Dee’s – From Fiction, The Bicycles, Laura Barrett, Magic Cheezies, Young Mother ($12)
February 13 @ The Polish Combatants Hall – Constantines, Rockets Red Glare, Donne Roberts, Picastro, Danger Bay ($20)
February 14 @ The Garrison – Kids On TV, Barcelona Pavilion, Mean Red Spiders, Neck, Boars (PWYC)

Advance tickets for the first four nights are available at the prices noted, while the fifth and final night will be pay-what-you-can. In addition, festival passes guaranteeing admission to all five shows will go on sale January 7 at the wholly reasonable price of $50. The timing of the festival is a bit unfortunate as there’s a lot a lot of other stuff going on before, during and after that weekend, but it’s not Wavelength’s fault – they’ve had this date circled on the calendar for, oh, a decade.

MP3: Laura Barrett – “Robot Ponies”
MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Crabapples”
MP3: Canaille – “Vincent Massey” (live)
MP3: Constantines – “Nighttime Anytime It’s Alright”
MP3: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs”
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Dead Deer”
MP3: Fembots – “Good Days”
MP3: Holy Fuck – “Lovely Allen”
MP3: Picastro – “Hortur”
MP3: The Russian Futurists – “Paul Simon”

Constantines are no strangers to anniversary parties, having just wrapped up four Toronto shows to mark their own decade mark this past weekend. Spinner talked to frontman Bry Webb about the milestone.

Southern Souls is featuring a couple of video performances from Evening Hymns, who in addition to playing the Wavelength anniversary will be at the Garrison on January 22 for the Out Of This Spark 3rd anniversary show, alongside The D’Urbervilles, Forest City Lovers and Jenny Omnichord. Evening Hymns are also on HeroHill’s “best of 2009” list with a couple of unreleased tracks up for grabs and interviews with many of their picks.

Forest City Lovers frontwoman Kat Burns offers a couple of solo performances and an interview in this video feature from The National Post.

BlogTO has a feature on the Third Floor Sessions which have been happening at Ryerson University and yielding downloadable sessions from the likes of Ohbijou and The Wooden Sky… and yes, that is your cue to make with the clicky and download the goods (while watching the videos, of course).

NXEW is offering a free Christmas EP from Oh No Forest Fires that’s probably louder and fuzzier than your usual holiday fare. Thank goodness.

The Line Of Best Fit’s “Oh! Canada” series of compilations is also back with another volume, just in time for the holidays. Go get.

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

I Gotta Tell Ya Fellas, This Is Pretty Terrific

Oh No Forest Fires, Make Your Exit, Clothes Make The Man and The Balconies at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangPeople traditionally go to great lengths to avoid getting a lump of coal for Christmas but there’s something to be said for getting a big pile of rock for the holidays. And it was rock – and lots of it – on offer Saturday night at the Horseshoe for Jingle Bell Rock, an evening presented by promotions company Audio Blood Media and media partners and Exclaim. The lineup featured four bands from the Audio Blood roster – Oh No Forest Fires, Make Your Exit, Clothes Make The Man and The Balconies. The opener and closer were personal live favourites so even though I didn’t know the middle acts at all, odds were pretty good that it’d be a great show.

I’d seen The Balconies a couple times since they moved to Toronto from Ottawa and began gigging their asses off, and they’ve yet to deliver anything but a cracking good set. As always, the power pop of their self-titled debut was lean and lethal and the trio had energy and charisma to spare, rewarding those who’d had the foresight to show up early with a terrific set. I was recently asked in a sort-of poll for a UK website what my Canuck tip for 2010 was – I went with The Balconies, calling them “an inevitability” (do I need quotes to quote myself?). This show was a reminder of why. Their next local gig is January 6 at Supermarket.

From there it was into the, “…and you are?” portion of the night. Clothes Make The Man were certainly keeping in the rock theme of the night, perhaps moreso than any of the others. You had to feel for frontman Ryan McLennan’s vocal cords, so throat-shredding and raw was his delivery but even so, was still able to carry a melody and even convey some gentleness when called for. Which, honestly, wasn’t that often – the quartet was here to be loud and heavy and just tuneful enough. Mission accomplished.

Make Your Exit had a decidedly different mandate, playing the role of sensitive, jam-friendly collective for the evening. Their set was all grand arrangements, emotive melodies and layered harmonies – enough to put most of those around me into a collective swoon but leaving me largely umoved. Certainly I was able to appreciate the musical ability on display, objectively, but any grab for the heartstrings missed the target. Hey, win some, lose some.

Oh No Forest Fires were, as the kids say, made of win and provided just the jolt of energy I needed to make it through the remainder of the night. Led by frontman and human superball Rajiv Thavanathan, their gleeful, ADD-addled prog-punk had the band bouncing around the stage as the blew through material from their debut mini-album The War On Geometry which, in the spirit of the season, they were offering for free to anyone who asked for a copy. Also festive was their set’s finale, which saw the Horseshoe stage being swarmed by most/all the other bands and those who put on the show for a madcap Christmas medley of “Silent Night” and “Feliz Navidad” that would have made Jose Feliciano proud… assuming he’s secretly a musical anarchist. A fitting cap to a holiday celebration the way they all ought to be – sweaty and ear-bleeding.

Photos: Oh No Forest Fires, Make Your Exit, Clothes Make The Man, The Balconies @ The Horseshoe – December 12, 2009
MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “Robin The Boy Wonders”
MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “It’s Not Fun And Games Until Someone Loses An Eye”
MP3: Make Your Exit – “Through The Winter”
MP3: Clothes Make The Man – “Telescopes”
MP3: The Balconies – “Serious Bedtime”
MP3: The Balconies – “300 Pages”
MP3: The Balconies – “Smells Like Secrets”
Video: Clothes Make The Man – “Privy”
Video: Clothes Make The Man – “Singles Only”
MySpace: Clothes Make The Man

Since this has started out as a sort of holiday post, now’s as good a time as any to round up some of the many, many, many seasonal musical giveaways that seems to be popular right now. Lucky Soul have gathered all the artists on their own Ruffa Lane label to give away a Christmas tune. They’ve themselves done a cover of Mud’s “Lonely This Christmas”, Montt Mardié has discoed up Wham!’s “Last Christmas” while Swedish glammers Napoleon and London folkies Grantura offer original compositions. Lucky Soul’s second album A Coming Of Age is currently on target for a March 2010 release.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “Lonely This Christmas”
MP3: Montt Mardié featuring Le Sport & Mr Suitcase – “Last Christmas”
MP3: Napoleon featuring Ali Howard – “Midnight Train to Arhus”
MP3: Grantura – “Holly”

Dean & Britta are giving away both sides of their 2008 Christmas single, a cover of Roger Miller’s “Old Toy Trains” and “(S)He’s Coming Home” by The Wailers. And as an early Christmas gift to longtime fans, The Line Of Best Fit reports that all three Galaxie 500 albums will be reissued on March 22 of next year by Domino Records in deluxe CD format, each album featuring a bonus disc previously released by Rykodisc on its own, and on heavy 180-gram vinyl. More immediately gratifying these interviews with Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips at Ladygunn.

Anni Rossi is offering a special gift to those who sign up to her mailing list; Future Sounds reports said gift is an EP of Christmas tunes, one of which is “Silver Bells”.

MP3: Anni Rossi – “Silver Bells”

Jason Lytle is celebrating the holidays by giving away a free EP at his Bandcamp site.

Ear Farm has curated a terrific album of holiday tunes featuring artists such as Asobi Seksu, Sharon Van Etten and Julie Doiron, and is selling it for a paltry $5 with all proceeds going to benefit the Association to Benefit Children.

Looking past Christmas – as in the day after – the Drake Hotel has released the lineup for their annual “What’s In The Box?” Boxing Week concert series. As always, cover is $5 and some of the performers helping make sure those of us still working through the last week of December are bleary-eyed and unproductive are The D’Urbervilles, By Divine Right, Pick A Piper and many more.

Also hosting a series of shows that week with a food drive angle is The Garrison – specifics are still forthcoming but a list of some of the bands participating has gone up over at Stille Post.

Toronto label Out Of This Spark will make the end of the holidays and return to the humdrum of the working week a little more bearable on January 22 when they hold their third anniversary bash at the Garrison. The bill will feature The D’Urbervilles, Forest City Lovers, Evening Hymns and Jenny Omnichord – a lot like this year’s lineup.

Looking a little further ahead, New York synth-pop duo Phantogram will be at the Drake on February 20, tickets $10. Their debut full-length Eyelid Movies will be out on February 9 of next year.

MP3: Phantogram – “When I’m Small”

The Morning Benders will return to the Drake Underground, where they played in February, on April 14 as part of a North American tour in support of their new album Big Echo, out March 9. Tickets for the show are $11.50.

MP3: The Morning Benders – “Waiting For A War”

Yeasayer, who are directing all their website traffic to the one specially set up for their new single “Ambling Alp”, will be at Lee’s Palace on May 1 in support of their new album Odd Blood, out February 9. Tickets $18. There’s an interview with singer Chris Keating at BBC Radio 1.

MP3: Yeasayer – “Ambling Alp”
Video: Yeasayer – “Ambling Alp”

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

CONTEST – Jingle Bell Rock @ The Horseshoe – December 12, 2009

Poster via Audio BloodAudio BloodIf you’ve been making your way around the Toronto music blogosphere over the last little while, you’ll likely have seen a certain giveaway popping up over and over again, promoting a certain show going down at the Horseshoe next Saturday night. Well here it is again.

The occasion is dubbed “Jingle Bell Rock” and is being presented by the folks at Audio Blood with support from and Exclaim and will feature performances from Oh No Forest Fires, Make Your Exit, The Clothes Make The Man and The Balconies. It will rock, that is not up for debate. Interpret the jingle bells end of things as you see fit.

The prize pack in question consists of a pair of passes to the show, a CD from all the bands performing, a screen-printed poster and an Exclaim! t-shirt – if you want it (or have already entered all the other contests and want to hedge your odds even more) then email me at contests AT with “I want to Jingle Bell Rock” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, December 9.

MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “Robin The Boy Wonders”
MP3: Make Your Exit – “Through The Winter”
MP3: Clothes Make The Man – “Telescopes”
MP3: The Balconies – “Serious Bedtime”

Friday, November 6th, 2009


Ume at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhen I got all effusive about seeing Austin’s Ume way back at SxSW in March, it wasn’t just because they their showcase blew me away – it did – but because I also figured that it would be my last chance to see and write about the trio until SxSW next year, so there was no point in being measured. After all, they were a small band with no label, no tour support and hailing from a long ways away from Toronto meant the odds of catching them up live again were remote. Sound logic, and also completely wrong. They found their way up here in June to play NXNE, turning in a fiery performance at Neutral that proved to everyone I’d harassed to attend that I wasn’t full of it and they were, indeed, the awesome.

And it must be true that good things come in threes because they were back – again – this past Tuesday night for a free show at the Horseshoe. This time, it was a combination of a modest Canadian tour appended onto a jaunt to CMJ in New York and the proper (read: physical) Canadian release of their Sunshower EP, which had heretofore only been available digitally. But the whys were unimportant – all that mattered was that Ume were back in town; rock would ensue.

For a review of the actual performance itself, I can really just refer you back to the other two I did, or offer the Coles/Cliffs notes: songs that balance sweet pop hooks with snarling heaviness, equal debts to punk, stoner, shoegaze and alt rock, insane guitar abuse/heroics and awesome hair-whipping from frontwoman Lauren Larsen and an audience awestruck and won over. It’s hard to say for sure, but I think there were at least a couple of new songs in the mix compared to the Neutral gig and considering that the unfamiliar stuff still sounded great; as much as I like the fact that they’re touring relentlessly hither and yon, I hope that once they’ve returned home and taken a breather, that they’re hitting the studio to work on a new album. Sunshower has done a fine job of sustaining me, but its only five songs – I need more.

There’s an excerpt of Ume’s cover feature in Austin’s Soundcheck magazine available online and the full magazine (and article) are downloadable in PDF form.

Photos: Ume @ The Horseshoe – November 3, 2009
MP3: Ume – “The Conductor”
MP3: Ume – “Pendulum”
MP3: Ume – “Wake”
Video: Ume – “The Conductor”
MySpace: Ume is offering downloads of the famous early Liz Phair demos of the same name. Oh Liz, where did it all go wrong (that’s rhetorical – everyone knows exactly where it all went wrong).

MP3: Liz Phair – “Fuck And Run”
MP3: Liz Phair – “Polyester Bride”

The Guest Apartment has a video session with Headlights.

Crawdaddy profiles White Rabbits.

State interviews Yo La Tengo.

Beatroute talks to Lou Barlow of Dinosaur Jr. Barlow will play the Phoenix on January 21 both solo and with Dino Jr.

Neko Case talks to The Seacoast.

Soundproof and Clash have features on The Dodos.

HeroHill solicits five funky stories from Oh No Forest Fires, who’ve got a show at the Horseshoe on December 12.

Jenn Grant, who plays the Glenn Gould Theatre on November 26, has released a new video from Echoes.

Video: Jenn Grant – “You’ll Go Far”

The Aquarian interviews Peter Moren of Peter Bjorn & John, who have a date at the Phoenix on November 11.

Swedish electro-soul outfit Miike Snow, who is a “they” and not a “he”, are at the Phoenix on April 3.

Video: Miike Snow – “Black & Blue”

The Music Slut asks eight questions of Mew. They have a date at the Mod Club on December 6.

The Raveonettes are giving away a free b-side from In And Out Of Control. The San Francisco Examiner and North Country Times also have interviews.

MP3: The Raveonettes – “The Chosen One”

Sigur Ros are streaming their Heima concert film at PitchforkTV for a week.

Video: Heima

Pitchfork reports that Mogwai’s live documentary film Burning will premiere at a Danish film festival next week and that an accompanying soundtrack album entitled Special Moves will follow.

New Jarvis Cocker video! Watch Jarv bring the title track and cover art of Further Complications to life.

Video: Jarvis Cocker – “Further Complications”

Radio Free Canuckistan has an interview with Jon Cook, the author of the Merge Records book Our Noise, which I look forward to picking up now that I’ve finally finished A Confederacy Of Dunces. A wonderful book which should not have taken me anywhere near the 6 months or so it took me to get through it; I just stopped reading anything, really, through the Summer. And now I have much to catch up on.

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

CONTEST – The Balconies, Oh No Forest Fires, Fox Jaws and Whale Tooth @ Lee's Palace – September 25, 2009

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangToronto has a reputation for being standoffish, but I personally don’t get it – I think we’re downright neighbourly. Or at least our bands are. Or some of them. Consider excellent The Balconies, just moved to Hogtown from Ottawa in the last couple months, and they’ve already scheduled a record release show for their excellent debut album at Lee’s Palace and they’ve gotten some of the buzziest up-and-coming bands in the 416 (and probably the 647 and maybe the 705) to join them. That’s next Friday night, September 25, at Lee’s with Oh No Forest Fires, Fox Jaws and Whale Tooth, all of whom have been feted in these pages at one time or another – you could rightly say this show is chromewaves-endorsed, top to bottom. For what that’s worth.

And to prove said endorsement, I have two pairs of passes to give away for the show. So confident am I that you will enjoy this show that I am encouraging to devote your Friday night to it! I don’t do that for just anything. Wait, I sort of do. Anyways. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to see The Balconies” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, September 22. And if you don’t win, admission is $7 at the door – still a deal any way you look at it.

MP3: The Balconies – “300 Pages”
MP3: The Balconies – “Smells Like Secrets”
MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “It’s Not Fun And Games Until Someone Loses An Eye”
MP3: Fox Jaws – “Quarantine Girl”
MP3: Whale Tooth – “Hibernation Song”
MP3: Whale Tooth – “6 Billion”