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Posts Tagged ‘Olenka & The Autumn Lovers’

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Taking My Time

Jim Guthrie Takes his Time making it onto the 2013 Polaris Prize long list

Photo By Colin MedleyColin MedleyThe 2013 Polaris Prize long list was announced yesterday, and unlike past years where there were a number of obvious frontrunners for inclusion, whether because they were by the biggest artists or had the biggest buzz over the preceding twelve months, there actually didn’t seem to be a lot of “gimmes” amongst the records eligible this year. Rather than the field having a few standouts and a lot of dark horses, it instead felt very wide and flat, which meant that guessing who’d be amongst the forty longlisted records was anyone’s guess.

And now, even with the pool of candidates narrowed from every Canadian album released in the past year down to forty, it’s difficult to speculate at who will survive onto the short list of ten albums when it’s announced on July 16; the only thing that’s certain is that this year’s Polaris – the eighth – could be the most exciting one yet, at least if you’re the sort of person who derives excitement from music awards-spotting. I’m going to refrain from any sort of guessing until at least then because truly I have no idea what the temperature of the jury at large is. But I can tell you what my ballot was, besides four-for-five at making the long list. And so I’ve got one more longlisted album to insert into my ballot before my Polaris duties for this year are done, and to be honest I have no idea what it’s going to be. Guess I’ve got some more homework to do.

The Polaris Prize will be awarded at a gala at the Carlu in Toronto on September 23.

1) Evening Hymns / Spectral Dusk (Shuffling Feet)

My connection to this record is well-documented, but even without that personal angle, it’s still a gorgeously written, performed, and recorded piece of folk-rock that succeeds at being both intensely personal, and yet universally relatable. I can usually say that from one Polaris to the next, that I don’t really have a dog in the fight, but not this year. This is my dog.

MP3: Evening Hymns – “Arrows”
Video: Evening Hymns – “Family Tree”

2) Godspeed You! Black Emperor / ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (Constellation)

Despite being the act that least likely to even acknowledge being nominated, Godspeed’s unexpected comeback record was maybe the closest thing to a sure thing I could think of. Besides the engaging narrative around the band’s return to active duty and their sneak release of the album, there’s the simple fact that the Godspeed formula still works amazingly well, particularly when they’ve got something to be angry about. Which they do.

Stream: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Mladic”

Jim Guthrie / Takes Time (Static Clang)

Another unexpected record but a wholly welcome one was Jim Guthrie’s first proper singer-songwriter record in a decade, and one that affirmed his status as one of this country’s greatest melodicists. While it seems like just a collection of pop songs, pretty much every song is a master class in arrangement and songwriting efficiency; Guthrie knows exactly how much to give and when and makes it look and sound effortless. Whether it shortlists or wins or not, the best prize would be not having to wait another ten years for its follow-up. The Huffington Post has an interview with Guthrie about the record.

Video: Jim Guthrie – “Bring On The Night”
Video: Jim Guthrie – “The Rest Is Yet To Come”

Rachel Zeffira / The Deserters (Paper Bag)

My one selection that didn’t make the long list, and I’m not really surprised it didn’t. While I think its classical-operatic-indie hybrid is as good as anything else on the list, and arguably more interesting, London-based Zeffira’s distance from the Canadian scene at large and lack of wide promotion – one lightly-attended North American show to date – probably doomed it.

Video: Rachel Zeffira – “Here On In”
Video: Rachel Zeffira – “The Deserters”

Young Galaxy / Ultramarine (Paper Bag)

It may have been the last record to make my ballot, but the fact that it’s here at all considering that for the longest time, I had no time for Young Galaxy, says a lot. I often bemoan the general lack of stylistic or artistic revolution amongst Canadian bands – more often it seems they prefer to continue refining what’s been proven to work – but Young Galaxy have successfully reinvented themselves and that impresses me. The record’s pretty damn good as well. They’ve just released a new, Bruckheimer-esque video from it.

Video: Young Galaxy – “New Summer”
Video: Young Galaxy – “Pretty Boy”

NOW meets the band formerly known as Always but now know as Alvvays; they show off their new official name tonight, June 14, at 10PM at The Silver Dollar.

Toro gets to know Toronto country-pop newcomers Beams. Their NXNE showcase is at 11PM tonight, June 14, at The Central.

Spin talks to Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz. They play BLK BOX for NXNE on June 15 at midnight.

The National Post catches up with Gentleman Reg, who did his NXNE duties Wednesday night.

YOUNXT hada pre-NXNE interview with Olenka & The Autumn Lovers, who played a couple of shows yesterday.

aux.tv interviews No Joy, who played NXNE last night.

Exclaim talks to Katie Stelmanis of Austra, whose new record Olympia comes out June 18. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

Hooded Fang have released a new video from their latest, Gravez.

Video: Hooded Fang – “Bye Bye Land”

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Walking On The Streets

Live every day of NXNE like it’s Beach Day

Photo By Scott WitterScott WitterOh hey, it’s that time of year again where I realize it’s NXNE week and I try to throw together some sort of list of recommendations of acts to go see starting next Wednesday and through the weekend at Toronto’s many clubs and club-like venues. And probably because I’m just not as good at keeping up with what’s new and interesting as perhaps I once was, it’s not escaped my notice that a lot of the recommendations are pretty familiar names hereabouts. Sorry about that.

But maybe Beach Day will be a new name to you; they certainly have been to me. Their sound is kind of old – the surf/girl-group/garage sounds they mine are pretty vintage and even the indie rock revival of said genres probably peaked a few years ago – but the Florida trio justifies themselves quite well with sharp, concise songwriting and s/punky attitude. Their debut album Trip Trap Attack comes out next Tuesday, June 18, and they’ll be spending the weekend leading up to it gigging all around Toronto. In addition to their official showcase at Handlebar on Saturday, June 15 at 11PM, they’re also playing an afternoon in-store at Urban Outfitters on Yonge St. on Friday, June 14, at 2PM and another the Sunday evening of June 16 at Kops Records on Queen St West at 6:30PM.

Austin Town Hall, Donkey Jaw, and The G-Man have interviews with the band.

MP3: Beach Day – “Love Is Strange”
Video: Beach Day – “Beach Day”
Video: Beach Day – “Boys”

And now, the day-by-day recommends:

Wednesday, June 12

Bernice @ The Piston, 8PM – Dreamy, jazzy pop from Toronto singer Robin Dann with assistance from Owen Pallett collaborator Thom Gill. Not often mentioned as part of the new wave of R&B, but really should be.
Stream: Bernice / When I Know How To Climb

Calexico @ The Mod Club, 10PM – One of the gimmes of the fest, Tejano-infused desert-rockers Calexico never put on a bad show. This will mark their first Toronto visit in support of last year’s Algeirs and first time back in town since 2010.
MP3: Calexico – “Para”

Golden Bloom @ The Painted Lady, 11PM – For times when only singalong melodies and fuzzy guitars will do, there are bands like Golden Bloom. Their latest No Day Like Today is classic power-pop at its finest.
MP3: Golden Bloom – “Flying Mountain”

Thursday, June 13

KASHKA @ Wrongbar, 9PM – New electronic and all-caps incarnation of former Forest City Lovers frontwoman Kat Burns. Guitars may have been traded in for synths, but the songwriting remains as strong as ever.
Video: KASHKA – “Winter Light”

Moon King @ The Horseshoe, 9PM – One of Toronto’s most exciting new acts, the Spiral Beach alumnus are releasing their psych-pop debut Obsession as a series of three EPs, with two out and the third still to come. They also play Wrongbar on Friday at 9PM and Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday at 5PM.
MP3: Moon King – “Appel”

William Tyler @ The Garrison, 9PM – Solo instrumental guitarist whose new album Impossible Truth remembers that it’s about songs and feeling over virtuosity, though there’s plenty of the latter as well.
Stream: William Tyler – “Cadillac Desert”

Camera @ The Drake Underground, 10PM – Big, emotive Brit-rock out of Wales that should push all the right buttons for those partial to big, emotive Brit-rock. Their second album is For When You Wake.
Video: Camera – “Happiness”

Diana @ The Horseshoe, 11PM – Ascendant synth-pop outfit assembled from pieces of Destroyer, Army Girls, Bonjay, and a dozen other Toronto stalwarts. Their debut Perpetual Surrender will be coming out on August 20.
MP3: Diana – “Born Again”

Cœur de pirate @ The Great Hall, 11PM – Having taken some time off since last Fall to focus on motherhood, Beatrice Martin is back on the road with songs from 2011′s Blonde and perhaps some new material as well.
Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Place de la République”

Valleys @ Handlebar, 11PM – Montreal duo whose debut Are You Going To Stand There And Talk Weird All Night? is a solid and occasionally sublime piece of cinematic synth-pop. May as well put them on your radar now because they’re going to get there eventually. They’re also playing The Garrison on Friday night at 10.
Video: Valleys – “Undream A Year”

Olenka & The Autumn Lovers @ The Great Hall, 12AM – London folk-pop collective who’ve yet to properly follow-up 2010′s And Now We Sing, but whose two recent EPs Hard Times and It’s Alright make fine stopgaps until it comes. As do their shows. They also play an acoustic set that afternoon in Bellwoods at 4PM.
Stream: Olenka & The Autumn Lovers / It’s Alright

Mikal Cronin @ The Silver Dollar, 12AM – This year’s rock’n’roll residency goes to San the Francisco-based singer-songwriter who accents his gleaming pop compositions with just the right amount of garage-harvested fuzz, as evidenced by his second album MCII. He also plays June 14 at 12AM and June 15 at 1AM. Catch one or all; you won’t regret it. Missoulian, SF Weekly, and Red Eye have features.
Video: Mikal Cronin – “Change”

No Joy @ BLK BOX, 12AM – Montreal trio who infuse their shoegaze roots with a healthy dose of punk rock aggression; be glad they’re looking at their shoes because eye contact probably means they’re gonna fight you. Their second album Wait To Pleasure came out a couple months ago.
Video: No Joy – “Hare Tarot Lies”

Del Bel @ The Great Hall, 1AM – Local film noir-inspired collective who should have some new material to show off; they’ve been working on the follow-up to 2011′s Oneiric for a while now.
Stream: Del Bel / Oneiric

Friday, June 14

Decades @ Urban Outfitters, 12PM – Toronto glam/New Wave newcomers who’ve got a really solid self-titled debut to show off will kick off a great day show lineup ahead of their set at The Silver Dollar that night at 11PM.
Video: Decades – “In Sequins”

Still Corners @ Urban Outfitters, 3PM – English dreampop outfit who’ve recast their band lineup and sound between 2011′s Creatures Of An Hour and this year’s Strange Pleasures and somehow come out out just as good, if not better. Their official showcase goes later this night at The Horseshoe at 10PM.
MP3: Still Corners – “Berlin Lovers”

Hayden @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 8:30PM – Announced as the opener for The National during his set at Field Trip this past Saturday, it looks like NXNE is doubling down on gravel-voiced melancholy as what the fans are after.
MP3: Hayden – “Old Dreams”

The National @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 9:30PM – Oh yeah, these guys. They’re alright. May as well see them – it’s free, after all.
MP3: The National – “Fake Empire”

July Talk @ The Mod Club, 10PM – Torontonians whose country-punk with a dash of New Wave formula makes for a great live show and, as their self-titled debut proves, a great record as well.
Video: July Talk – “Guns & Ammunition”

Always @ The Silver Dollar, 10PM – It’s not entirely clear whether these transplanted Maritimers are going by Always or Alwaayz or Alvvays, but that question is less important than when we’ll finally get an official release from these relative newcomers. Some of the finest indie-pop to come out of the 416 in some time.
Stream: Always – “Next Of Kin”

The Magic @ BLK BOX, 11PM – Whether it’s because they took so long to finally release their debut Ragged Gold or the general un-searchability of their name, it is a damn shame that more people are not hot to this Guelph outfit’s smooth and sexy disco-pop. ‘Cause it’s smooth and sexy.
MP3: The Magic – “Door To Door”

The Super Friendz @ The Great Hall, 11PM – Sloan’s Peppermint recital set might be the big draw at the Murderrecords showcase, but miss seeing these intermittently-reunited power-pop mavens at your peril. Matt Murphy is still a hell of a frontman and the songs oh so hold up.
Video: The Super Friendz – “10 Lbs”

The Soft Moon @ The Garrison, 12AM – Bay Area band whose brand of icy post-punk comes with the “darkwave” hashtag. This show’s mandatory for those seeking some gloomy quarters in the warm, June night.
MP3: The Soft Moon – “Breathe The Fire”

Brazos @ Sneaky Dee’s, 12AM – Elegant and melodic indie pop hailing from and named for a street in Austin, Texas; they just released their second album Saltwater. Also playing at the St. James Gazebo on Saturday at 6PM and supporting Villagers at The Great Hall that night at 11PM.
MP3: Brazos – “How The Ranks Was Won”

Gold & Youth @ BLK BOX, 1AM – Vancouver synth-pop band whose debut Beyond Wilderness delivers on a lot of promise and still promises more. This show offers solid, “I saw them when” bragging rights potential.
Video: Gold & Youth – “Jewel”

Odonis Odonis @ The Garrison, 1AM – The growth of these Torontonians from curiousity to compelling has been pretty remarkable to see. I’m still not entirely sure how to describe their particular post-punk niche, but it is definitely getting more and more interesting.
Video: Odonis Odonis – “New World”

Saturday, June 15

Villagers @ Side Door, 8PM – Irish Mercury Prize nominees who’ve got a fresh new album out in {Awayland}. This showcase is an acoustic set; if you want the full band experience, be sure to catch their Great Hall show that same night at midnight.
Video: Villagers – “Passing A Message”

Data Romance @ Supermarket, 10PM – West coast duo that likes to inject a little sexy somethin’ somethin’ into their electro-pop, with sexy results.
MP3: Data Romance – “Spark”

The Sour Notes @ Sneaky Dee’s, 12AM – I’d not heard of this Austin band until a friend said that their co-ed harmonies overtop richly-arranged, yet effortlessly light pop tunes was exactly the sort of thing I’d like. And it was, and so maybe it is for you as well. They’ve also got a NXNE warm-up show at the Horseshoe tomorrow night; it’s free and they’re on at 12:20AM.
MP3: The Sour Notes – “Two Hands Wait”

Majical Cloudz @ The Great Hall, 12AM – On the strength of the confessional electronica of Impersonator, the Montreal duo of Devon Welsh and Matthew Otto have become one of Canada’s most talked-about new acts. So of course this showcase will be hard to get into and yet worth trying anyways.
MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Childhood’s End”

Iceage @ The Horseshoe, 12AM – These Danes barely out of their teens will be declaring their propensity for taut, angular post-punk and inciting sweaty, rowdy, and occasionally violent live shows at customs. And I have no information that they will be the Special Guest at The Garrison on Sunday night at midnight, but…
MP3: Iceage – “New Brigade”

Fresh Snow @ Creatures Creating, 1AM – This show kicks off the Wavelength Road Show which takes Toronto’s new krautrock hopes, as well as Del Bel and Most People, around Ontario and Quebec.
Video: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”

Fucked Up @ The Horseshoe, 1AM – It’s Fucked Up in the Horseshoe. What else do you need to know?
MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”

Lower @ Cherry Cola’s, 2AM – Iceage’s countrymen and tourmates also do the Scandi-post-punk thing, but are less fury, more menace. They also play The Garrison on Sunday night, June 16, at 11PM.
Stream: Lower – “Someone’s Got It In For Me”

Sunday, June 16

Mickey Avalon @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 3PM – Alls I know is that I couldn’t stop laughing at the scene in Harold & Kumar Go To Guantanamo Bay soundtracked by this song, and the prospect that it might be blasting out of the YDS PA at all the Eaton Centre shoppers is kind of great.
Video: Mickey Avalon – “My Dick”

And as befits a proper citywide festival, there’s a number of day shows and whatnot happening this week: The Arts & Crafts pop-up shop at Queen and Dovercourt which coincided with this past weekend’s Field Trip fest will remain popped up with shows and DJ sets every night; there’s the aforementioned Urban Outfitters day show on the 14th; the now-annual Bruise Cruise which takes you, a bunch of other festival-goers and a few choice bands on a tour around the islands; they’ve not yet announced details but it seems implausible that Sonic Boom won’t have at least a day of in-stores. And if you like records and buying records and watching other people buy records, do hit up the Independent Label Market going on at the Ryerson campus all day Saturday.

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Running

What’s better than a Jessie Ware concert announcement? A Jessie Ware ticket giveaway.

Photo By Paul ScalaPaul ScalaReplicating success found overseas in North America has never been a sure thing, but for British electro-soul songstress Jessie Ware, it certainly seems more a case of “when” than “if”. The acclaim at home for her debut Devotion couldn’t help but get the buzz started in 2012 – I adored it enough to include it as one of my favourites of the year – but it’s only in 2013 that the campaign to conquer, or at the very least befriend, America has begun.

A short string of dates in January – which included a visit to Jimmy Fallon for a performance backed by The Roots – acted as a warm-up, with the markets left out expecting that a more thorough tour would accompany the April 2 domestic release date. And that tour has been announced, but it again is quite compact, getting her from the east coast to Coachella just in six stops. Happily though, Toronto is one of those stops – we will host Ms. Ware at The Opera House on April 6 unless it gets moved to a bigger room, and I don’t think anyone would be surprised if it did.

Tickets are $20 and go on sale this Friday at 10AM, but courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got one pair of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to see Jessie Ware” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that to me by midnight, February 7 – the winner will be notified before the on-sale happens so you can sit back and watch everyone else scramble for tickets. I mean that metaphorically, of course, because you can’t actually see people on their computers trying to buy tickets unless you’re a world-class creeper and world-class creepers are ineligible for the contest. House league creepers are welcome.

Vice has a typically Vice-y interview with Jessie Ware.

Video: Jessie Ware – “Sweet Talk”
Video: Jessie Ware – “Night Light”
Video: Jessie Ware – “Wildest Moments”
Video: Jessie Ware – “110%”
Video: Jessie Ware – “Running”

A bunch more concert announcements from yesterday, big and small – London (Ontario) folk-pop outit Olenka & The Autumn Lovers – themselves no strangers to my year-end list – will be welcoming lovers of all shapes, sizes, and seasons to Lee’s Palace on February 14; admission $10 at the door with couples getting in 2-for-1.

MP3: Olenka & The Autumn Lovers – “Odessa”

Last year’s Garbage reunion continues with a show at The Sound Academy on March 28, tickets $35. And if you were wondering, I can attest that they put on a great show and aren’t shy about trotting out the hits.

Video: Garbage – “Vow”

eMusic and Interview have features on Local Natives, whose sold-out March 28 show at the Opera House has been moved to The Phoenix and is thus no longer sold out, but probably will be again before too long. So get on that if you missed out – $21.50 in advance. And if you don’t want to wait, there’s a complete live performance streaming in HD for a limited time only – like the rest of today.

MP3: Local Natives – “Heavy Feet”
Video: Local Natives, Live From Brooklyn

Mysterious but aesthetically-pleasing LA-based soul-pop duo Rhye have put together a North American tour in support of their debut Woman, and will be in town at The Great Hall on April 13, tickets $15 in advance.

Video: Rhye – “Open”
Video: Rhye – “The Fall”

Up-and-coming Seattle-based indie rockers Pickwick will have their full-length debut Can’t Talk Medicine available for sale on March 12 and will be on the road all over the place in support, including The Horseshoe on April 21 – tickets $12.50 in advance.

Stream: Pickwick – “Lady Luck” (with Sharon Van Etten)

Californian garage-rocking sister act Bleached will be at The Silver Dollar on April 25 in support of their new record Ride Your Heart, out April 2. Exclaim has album details and tour dates, and you can stream the first single from it below.

Stream: Bleached – “Next Stop”

Though they didn’t win over quite everyone on their debut North American tour, British buzz band Palma Violets are leveraging the February 25 release of their debut 180 and a Coachella appearance for some more dates on this side of the pond, including a May 3 date at Lee’s Palace. Tickets for that are $15.50 in advance.

Video: Palma Violets – “Best Of Friends”

Unfortunate news as Vampire Weekend confirmed their continued existence yesterday by announcing the May 7 release of their third album – Modern Vampires Of The City – and subsequent tour dates, including a May 16 date at The Sony Centre. Tickets for that range from $33.50 to $44.50.

MP3: Vampire Weekend – “Horchata”

Toronto’s own METZ have announced an absurdly extensive world tour in support of their self-titled debut and have managed to squeeze in a hometown show at Lee’s Palace for May 17, tickets $15. Maybe this is why they took so long to release their album – because they knew when they did, they’d never, ever sleep in their own beds again.

MP3: METZ – “Wet Blanket”

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Waging Heavy Peace

It’s Polaris day. Here’s a bunch of Canadian stuff.

Photo ByPenguinThe 2012 Polaris Music Prize gets awarded tonight, so in honour of the occasion, here’s a bunch of maple-flavoured content led off by a Canadian icon who hasn’t lived in Canada in some 40-plus years. Yeah!

If you have some time to kill and an interest in who Neil Young is circa 2012, you could do worse than to spend it with this feature piece at The New York Times. It covers his current relationship with alcohol and drugs – there is none – as well as his new record with Crazy Horse, Psychedelic Pill, his new digital audio format Pono, and why he decided to write an autobiography after insisting that he never would. Those memoirs, Waging Heavy Peace, comes out tomorrow – September 25 – and Psychedelic Pill is due out a month later on October 30. Neil leads the band into the Air Canada Centre on November 19.

Following up with news blips from some shortlisters, both this year and past… Feist may be ramping down the touring in support of last year’s Metals, but she’s ramping up the session videos – there’s a Les soiree de poches set at Le Blogotheque and From The Basement

CBC Music talks to Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, who also have some new music to hear in the form of their soundtrack contributions to the Mark Of The Ninja video game. They play The Great Hall this Friday night for PBR10.

Stream: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan / Mark & Blade

Spinner talks to Kathleen Edwards about her Polaris odds.

NPR has a w World Cafe session and BlogTO an interview with Cold Specks.

Fucked Up tells Spinner they’d like to have Drake up there with them for tonight’s Polaris performance. They won’t, but they’d like it.

Metro talks to Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers.

The Boston Globe profiles Metric.

Julie Doiron has announced a new studio album in So Many Days, due out October 23. She’s released a first MP3 from the record and will be playing live on October 14, opening for Ben Gibbard at the Danforth Music Hall, and then October 30 at The Mod club supporting Grapes Of Wrath.

MP3: Julie Doiron – “By The Lake”

Spinner talks to The Sadies about backing Neil Young on their contribution to 2010′s Garth Hudson Presents: A Canadian Celebration of The Band. Yeah, two years ago. Whatevs.

You Say Party! talk to Exclaim and The Vancouver Sun about their return to active duty, starting this Saturday night at The Great Hall for PBR10.

Olenka & The Autumn Lovers have readied a new mini-album entitled Hard Times, and given it an October 2 release date. You can stream one of the new songs now.

Stream: Olenka & The Autumn Lovers – “Don’t Make Sense”

The Bomber Jacket talks to Kat Burns of Kashka, playing a record release show for her debut Vichada at The Drake on October 5.

BrooklynVegan has an interview with METZ, who’ve released a second MP3 from their self-titled debut. It’s out October 9 and they’re at The Horseshoe to mark its release on October 12.

MP3: METZ – “Wet Blanket”

A second MP3 from A.C. Newman’s forthcoming Shut Down The Streets is available to download. It’s out October 9 and he kicks off the tour in support of it October 21 at Lee’s Palace.

MP3: A.C. Newman – “Encyclopedia Of Classic Takedowns”

Toronto’s July Talk – whom you may recall impressing me at at CMF earlier this year – have put out a video from their self-titled debut album, due October 16.

Video: July Talk – “Paper Girl”

Both Spinner and A Heart Is A Spade have feature interviews with Diamond Rings, who’s just announced a cross-Canada tour in support of Free Dimensional, out October 22. The Toronto date comes November 29 at The Mod Club, tickets $18.50.

MP3: Diamond Rings – “I’m Just Me”

The Wooden Sky offers a feature piece on The Wooden Sky, who will be at The Phoenix on December 1.

Rich Aucoin has a fancy new Beach Boys-saluting video from his album We’re All Dying To Live. Toro and The Halifax Chronicle-Herald also have interviews.

Video: Rich Aucoin – “Brian Wilson is A.L.i.V.E.”

Loud & Quiet, The Calgary Herald, and aux.tv have interviews with Purity Ring.

aux.tv investigates the new “weird Canada” music scene bubbling up around the country.

The Globe & Mail examines how far the Polaris Prize has come in the past seven years, and what it now means for Canadian music

And a moment of silence for Sam “The Record Man” Sniderman, who passed away yesterday at 92. I spent much of my youth and my youthful allowance in his stores. Wait, did I say silence? I mean LOUDNESS.

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Circumambient

Grimes’ Visions; let her show you them

Photo By Raphael OulletRaphaël OulletWho would have thought that the title of Canada’s queen of electro-pop would be such a contested one? Just last year, Toronto’s Katie Stelmanis-fronted Austra seemed to have the title locked down, having collected numerous accolades both at home and abroad for their debut album Feel It Break. And yet just a few months later, it’s Vancouver native and Montreal resident Claire Boucher who operates as Grimes that everyone is talking about, what with her new record Visions set for release next week.

Not that it’s a competition, of course, and beyond the superficial there’s not that much in common; Visions is Grimes’ fourth album (but her first for indie juggernaut label 4AD) so if it is indeed her breakout album – and the just-awarded “Best New Music” won’t hurt – it’s been a long time in coming. And her sunnier sound, defined by Boucher’s affection for both dream-pop and R&B and her infectious chirp of a voice, is rather a far cry from Austra’s darker, goth-indebted aesthetic and Stelmanis’ operatic vocals. So why draw parallels? Lazy writing, of course, and the fact that it’s nice to have someone at the ready to pick up the Canadian electronic flag and run with it while Austra lays low and recovers from a whirlwind year.

The Georgia Straight, The Washington Post, The Province, Exclaim, Pitchfork, Prefix, The Guardian, The National Post, and SF Station all have feature pieces on Grimes and NPR has Visions available to stream in its entirety. Grimes is at The Horseshoe on March 19 and you’re damn skippy it’s sold out.

MP3: Grimes – “Oblivion”
MP3: Grimes – “Genesis”
Stream: Grimes / Visions

It’s not a total dearth of Austra happenings, though – their recent jaunt to Australia has yielded this video of a radio session wherein they cover Robyn.

Video: Austra – “None Of Dem”

Southern Souls has an interview with The Elwins, who are celebrating the release of their debut And We Thank You this coming Tuesday with a new video premiered at aux.tv and an album stream at Exclaim. They play a record release show at the Burroghes Building on February 24 and will also look to chase your CMW hangover away with a set at Rancho Relaxo on March 25 at 11PM.

MP3: The Elwins – “Stuck In The Middle”
Video: The Elwins – “Stuck In The Middle”
Stream: The Elwins / And We Thank You

Contra gets to know Army Girls. Their next show is March 10 at the Bovine Sex Club opening up for Carole Pope and they’re waiting to be scheduled in for Canadian Musicfest at the end of the month.

Cold Specks has announced details of her debut album, to be called I Predict a Graceful Expulsion and due out on May 22 on Arts & Crafts at home and Mute worldwide. A video for the first single has just been released and she will be at The Music Gallery on March 22 as part of Canadian Musicfest – a much better setting for her than The Phoenix, I’d say. This show is in addition to the already-announced June 2 appearance at The Music Hall opening for Great Lake Swimmers.

Video: Cold Specks – “Holland”

John K Samson talks to Exclaim about what’s in store for the next Weakerthans album, which he’ll get started on when he’s done being a solo act. Samson does the solo thing at The Great Hall on March 22.

Beat and Nine To Five help introduce Dan Mangan to Australia. He plays The Indie Awards at The Royal York on March 24.

Spencer Krug’s Moonface has announced the April 17 release of With Sinai: Heartbreaking Bravery, a collaboration with the Finnish band Sinai. The first MP3 sounds like this.

MP3: Moonface – “Teary Eyes And Bloody Lips”

The new Miracle Fortress video from Was I The Wave? has premiered at IFC; a must-see for anyone who’s ever wanted to set Graham Van Pelt on fire.

Video: Miracle Fortress – “Raw Spectacle”

Bry Webb gets into the end of the Constantines with Spinner.

Southern Souls chit-chats with Olenka Krakus of Olenka & The Autumn Lovers.

NPR has posted a World Cafe session with Kathleen Edwards.

It’s not the specifics of the new album Spectral Dusk that I’ve been patiently waiting for, but this unexpected Evening Hymns cover of a Trembling Blue Stars tune is pretty nice as well. Spectral Dusk is due out sometime in the Spring.

Stream: Evening Hymns – “If I Handle You With Care”

Torotonist, The AV Club, and NOW (in two parts) salute Toronto music showcase Wavelength on the occasion of its twelfth anniversary; the party goes all weekend.