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Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Watson’

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

New Summer

Review of Young Galaxy’s Ultramarine

Photo By Vanessa HeinsVanessa HeinsThey couldn’t have known it at the time, but when naming their 2011 album Shapeshifting, Montreal’s Young Galaxy were describing not only their sonic shift from well-worn dream-pop to sleek, futuristic disco, but in their fortunes as well. Their first couple records had failed to launch them into an orbit commensurate with their band name but Shapeshifting would make them, if not stars, then an act who were genuinely doing something fresh and interesting and well worth watching. It was a fresh start that not many artists get.

It would also put whatever they did next under a next-level degree of scrutiny to see if Shapeshifting genuinely the start of a fruitful new direction for the band or just a lucky aberration. Doing everything they could to ensure the former and acknowledging that Swedish producer Dan Lissvik’s job mixing Shapeshifting was an essential part of the record’s magic and success, Young Galaxy doubled down on his input and traveled to Gothenburg to record with him fully-credited as producer, and it’s a gamble that has paid off handsomely. To say an album sounds like its predecessor is usually interpreted as a sign of creative stagnation, but for Ultramarine to be considered an equal to Shapeshifting is actually rather high praise.

The space-age, synthesized aesthetic that so surprised on its predecessor still feels fresh and more importantly, natural. It provides the perfect setting for now-sole vocalist Catherine McCandless’ vocals and their peripheral iciness, but also allows draws out some of her most affecting performances to date, particularly on album bookends “Pretty Boy” and “Sleepwalk With Me”. Also interestingly, Ultramarine doesn’t find the band venturing any further into dancey territory despite being tooled up for it, funky expedition “Out The Gate Backwards” being the notable exception but even that does its work by way of Madchester, rather than via any contemporary EDM affectations. Ultramarine is a strong record that cements Young Galaxy’s place in the Can-rock firmament, and if Shapeshifting posited the question of, “this is Young Galaxy?”, Ultramarine definitively answers it with “this is Young Galaxy”.

Exclaim talks to Catherine McCandless and The Advocate to drummer Andrea Silver about the making of Ultramarine. It’s out April 23 but streaming now in whole at Pitchfork. They play Lee’s Palace on May 31.

Stream: Young Galaxy / Ultramarine

Odonis Odonis have released a video for the title track of their just-out new EP Better. They’re at Lee’s Palace on May 17 supporting METZ.

Video: Odonis Odonis – “Better”

PopMatters talks to Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene and Arts & Crafts about the label’s tenth anniversary. The corresponding compilation Arts & Crafts 2003-2013 is now available to stream in its two-CD entirety at CBC Music, and the festival to go along with the comp – Field Trip – hits Garrison Commons on June 8.

Stream: various artists / Arts & Crafts 2003-2013

Spin has posted a stream of Moon King’s new Obsession II EP, though the Soundcloud link below is a bit more reliable in performance. Speaking of in performance, their NXNE appearances have been confirmed – look for them on June 13 at The Garrison, June 14 at The Drake, and June 15 at Yonge-Dundas Square.

MP3: Moon King – “Appel”
Stream: Moon King / Obsession II

Paste gets to know Born Ruffians, whose new record Birthmarks came out this week.

The Belle Game are celebrating this week’s release of their debut Tradition Ritual Habit by giving away another download from the album via Rolling Stone.

MP3: The Belle Game – “Blame Fiction”

The Line Of Best Fit interviews No Joy, who are streaming their new album Wait To Pleasure ahead of its April 23 release date over at Pitchfork. They’re also at The Garrison that night opening for Clinic.

Stream: No Joy / Wait To Pleasure

Stereogum talks to Colin Stetson about his forthcoming New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light, out April 30. He and his lungs are at The Great Hall on May 19.

Arts Journal and NPR talk to Rachel Zeffira, who makes her local debut at The Drake Underground on May 2.

NPR has posted a Mountain Stage video session with Kathleen Edwards, who is part of the CBC Music Fest at Echo Beach on May 25.

Japandroids are coming back to town for a show at the Adelaide Music Hall on June 17, tickets $25. What the hell is the Adelaide Music Hall, you ask? Don’t worry – The Grid is on it.

MP3: Japandroids – “Younger Us”
MP3: Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built”

Patrick Watson will be playing a free show at Pecault Square on June 20 as part of this year’s LuminaTO festivities.

MP3: Patrick Watson – “Words In The Fire”
MP3: Patrick Watson – “Into Giants”

BrooklynVegan has premiered a Moog Sound Lab video with Diamond Rings, who’s opening up for OMD at the Danforth on July 11 and 19.

The Vancouver Sun and Georgia Straight have feature interviews with Two Hours Traffic.

DIY and Under The Radar talk to The Besnard Lakes.

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Little Wings

Review of Woodpigeon’s Thumbtacks and Glue

Photo By Paolo CalamitaPaolo CalamitaHe may have migrated habitats from Calgary to Vienna, but Mark Andrew Hamilton – he who is Woodpigeon – remains one of Canada’s great, underappreciated musical treasures. Though 2009’s Polaris long-listed Treasury Library Canada raised his profile considerably, it may lie with his fourth album (or closer to fortieth, depending on how you count his many interstitial releases) Thumbtacks & Glue to properly elevate his status to where it belongs.

Thumbtacks refuses – if you’ll excuse the pun – to be pigeonholed as orchestral-folk the way past releases have. It’s still built around Hamilton’s soft, tender vocals and melodic gifts, and trades in a delicate beauty that would be easy at this point to take for granted, but incorporates a broader, more electrified sonic palate that’s unafraid to let some edges fray or layers stack upon themselves. It’s a side of Woodpigeon that’s come out in live shows in the past, but has until now been unreflected in the recordings and while acknowledging that part of its appeal is the novelty it brings to the Woodpigeon recipe, it’s difficult to argue that it doesn’t legitimately make things tastier.

Thumbtacks and Glue is out this Tuesday, February 26, and is available to stream right now over at DIY.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Red Rover, Red Rover”
Stream: Woodpigeon / Thumbtacks & Glue

NOW talks to local electro-pop sensations Diana, whom I wish nothing but success but will admit to being disappointed that the more success they achieve, the further on the back-burner vocalist Carmen Elle will surely push Army Girls, and that’s a shame. Diana open up for Trust at Lee’s Palace tonight and are on the fun./Tegan & Sara bill at Downsview Park on July 6.

Lesser Evil, the long-awaited debut long-player from Doldrums, is also out next week and available to advance stream thanks to Pitchfork.

MP3: Doldrums – “Egypt”
MP3: Doldrums – “She Is The Wave”
Stream: Doldrums / Lesser Evil

The Line Of Best Fit and Incendiary have interviews with Suuns about their new album Images du Futur, out March 5. They play Lee’s Palace on March 23, the Saturday night of Canadian Musicfest.

Cold Specks has gone the live performance route for the latest video from I Predict A Graceful Expulsion; they have two hometown shows coming up – March 22 at the Kool Haus as part of the CMW Indies and June 8 as part of the Arts & Crafts Field Trip festival at Fort York.

Video: Cold Specks – “When The City Lights Dim”

Pitchfork has a stream of a song from Birthmarks, the new album from Born Ruffians, in stores April 16.

Stream: Born Ruffians – “Needles”

Gorilla Vs Bear has premiered a second sample of the new Young Galaxy record Ultramarine, due out April 23.

Stream: Young Galaxy – “Fall For You”

Though delayed some by some aborted sessions with Sune Rose Wagner of The Raveonettes, Montreal’s No Joy have wrapped their second album and will release Wait To Pleasure on April 23; that same day, they’ll be in Toronto at The Garrison celebrating the new record by opening up for Clinic. You can stream the first taste of the album below.

Stream: No Joy – “Lunar Phoobia”

Toronto’s Decades, who were a pleasant new wave surprise last month, have gotten their self-titled debut together for an April 30 release and have released a first video from it that confirms it’s worth keeping an ear out for.

Video: Decades – “Tonight Again”

The Creators Project gets into the glowing cocoons that define Purity Ring’s live show. They’ll be on display when the duo pla

The Alternate Side welcomes METZ for a studio session and The 405 an interview. They’re at Lee’s Palace on May 17.

Patrick Watson has a new video from last year’s Adventures In Your Own Backyard.

Video: Patrick Watson – “Blackwind”

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

She Is The Wave

Wavelength to shake you out of your Winter doldrums with, well, Doldrums and more

Photo By Ali BiddellAli BiddellIt hadn’t occurred to me until just now, but there’s a bit of a parallel between this site, right here, and Wavelength. They got a couple years’ head start on me, but both of us spent a solid decade servicing the Toronto independent music community – Wavelength with a weekly concert series that helped introduce the city and the world to much of the amazing music being produced in the 416 and 905, and chromewaves by, um, going to shows and taking pictures. Okay, perhaps the scale is a little different, but both of us also had the good sense to call it after a decade and trade the grind of a regular, regimented schedule for something a little more intermittent but hopefully just as meaningful.

Wavelength events are a bit fewer and far between than my posts – though hey, did you notice me posting just four times over the past fortnight? And not that this is my third post in 24 hours? – but one thing you can still set your watch to is their anniversary series, which always make the dark days of mid-February a little or a lot more musical. This year’s edition – the thirteenth birthday and thus the first entry in its awkward teen years – will take place from February 14 to 17 at venues around town, and while many of the headliners are familiar faces to Wavelength-goers and the Toronto scene in general, it’s notable that former Spiral Beach vocalist/guitarist Airick Woodhead’s new electro incarnation as Doldrums – already making waves internationally and one of the country’s more hotly-tipped new acts for the past year or so. He’s relocated from Toronto to Montreal, but will be back to close the Friday night showcase at the lower Great Hall, less than two weeks before his debut full-length Lesser Evil is released on February 26. Will it deliver on the long-simmering buzz? Dunno, but you can bet that the show will be sold out by people looking to find out.

The rest of the weekend shapes up as follows; hit up Wavelength for descriptions of each act. Advance tickets for each show will be available or you can get an all-access festival pass for $39.

Thursday, February 14 @ The Shop under Parts & Labour ($10 advance)
Lullabye Arkestra / Ell V Gore / Fresh Snow / This Mess / Slow-Pitch

Friday, February 15 @ Black Box Theatre/The Great Hall Downstairs ($15 advance)
Doldrums / Cadence Weapon / Blue Hawaii / Blonde Elvis / Thighs

Saturday, February 16 @ The Great Hall Upstairs ($15 advance)
Do Make Say Think / Evening Hymns / Sarah Neufeld / Doom Squad / Bernice

Sunday, February 17 @ The Garrison ($10 advance)
Cookie Duster / The Magic / Henri Fabergé & the Adorables / Cell Memory & Castle If / Legato Vipers

MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Conditioning”
MP3: Do Make Say Think – “Greed Waltz”
MP3: Doldrums – “She Is The Wave”
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Arrows”
MP3: The Magic – “Door To Door”

A few years on from his last album, Hayden is gearing up for the release of his new record Us Alone on February 5 with the announcement of a North American tour that will manage the rare feat of staging a three-night stand that will almost certainly leave most of his fans shut out. A more properly-sized hometown show will almost certainly follow, but for now local fans have the choice between seeing him on February 20 at the tiny Dakota Tavern, February 21 at the even tinier Cameron House, or February 22 at the not-that-tiny-but-certainly-not-large Rivoli. Advance tickets – you’ll want those – are available at Arts & Crafts. You can download one of the songs from his new record and stream another.

MP3: Hayden – “Old Dreams”
Stream: Hayden – “Rainy Saturday”

Stars gives aux.tv a behind-the-scenes look at their video from “Backlines”. They’re at The Danforth Music Hall on March 20 and 21.

aux.tv interviews Grimes, whom they declared their artist of the year. Last year.

Filter gets some touring thoughts from Patrick Watson.

Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers plays clotheshorse and also a video session for British designer Mr Porter.

Toro interviews The Wilderness Of Manitoba.

Hot on the heels of their holiday edition, The Line Of Best Fit has another Oh! Canada compilation of Canuck artists available to download. No holiday songs, guaranteed!

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Negative Space

This is a bunch of stuff of a Canadian nature. And this is METZ.

Photo By Colin MedleyColin MedleyThis here is another of those posts that, were it a category on Jeopardy, would be called “Potpourri” on account of it being a whole lot of this and that with only the passports of the artists mentioned in common.

And I’ll start with Toronto’s METZ because, well, I haven’t used one of their photos yet and my posting process is really that random. The trio has been making a lot of noise – literally and figuratively – on the back of their self-titled debut, and while it wouldn’t normally be my particular sack of hammers, there’s a clarity to their attack and just enough underlying melody for me to get behind. I’d like to experience one of their legendarily… energetic live shows, but we’ll probably have to wait until at least the Spring as they’re taking their show through Europe for pretty all of the first quarter of 2013. In the meantime, there’s a recording of their show at the Knitting Factory in New York last month over at NYC Taper, NPR has just posted video of a KEXP radio session, and the a-side of their new, non-album single is available to stream.

Stream: METZ – “Dirty Shirt”

Exclaim gets a look inside Yamataka//Sonic Titan’s home studio/headquarters and also asks them what they’ve got in mind for their second album. They play 1st Thursday at the Art Gallery Of Ontario this Thursday night, December 6.

The Line Of Best Fit, The Lantern, and The Marquette Tribune interview Patrick Watson, headlining Massey Hall on December 6.

The Line Of Best Fit and The 405 have interviews with Do Make Say Think, who’ve made a track from their live soundtrack to the 1924 film Greed available to download via CBC Music. They’re at The Opera House on December 7.

MP3: Do Make Say Think – “Greed Waltz”

Fucked Up have announced the lineup for the second installment of their Long Winter series, taking place December 14 at The Great Hall. They will again headline the event, and be joined by Dusted, Laura Barrett, and many more. Admission is pay what you can.

MP3: Fucked Up – “I Hate Summer”
MP3: Dusted – “(Into The) Atmosphere”

The Wooden Sky have announced details of their third annual Holiday Revue charity show, scheduled for December 17 at The Music Gallery. Tickets for the show are $20 and all proceeds from the event will go to the Daily Bread Food Bank. Support will be announced later this week. Metro talks to frontman Gavin Gardiner.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Child Of The Valley”

If you were wondering why it’s not been possible to get tickets for the Evening Hymns show at the Church Of The Redeemer on December 15 announced in October, it’s because that show is no longer happening. It has been replaced by one at The Music Gallery on December 20, tickets $17 and available right now via Kelp Records. So the room is still appropriately church-y but it’s also smaller, so if you wanted to go, best get on that. Neil Haverty of Bruce Peninsula will open up.

MP3: Evening Hymns – “Arrows”

Julie Doiron has scheduled a show at The Horseshoe for January 25 in support of her new album So Many Days. Tickets are $15 in advance. The Vancouver Sun and The Province have profiles.

MP3: Julie Doiron – “By The Lake”

The lead single from Suuns’ new album Images Du Futur is now available to download. It’s out March 5.

MP3: Suuns – “Edie’s Dream”

AC Newman has a new video from his latest solo record Shut Down The Streets.

Video: AC Newman – “I’m Not Talking”

The Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette, and MTV have feature pieces on Diamond Rings, who’s released a live route for an alternate version video from Free Dimensional.

Video: Diamond Rings – “I’m Just Me”

Martin Tielli has taken to Facebook to explain his withdrawal from the Rheostatics reunion shows which were to have taken place this week; Radio Free Canuckistan has reposted the message for those who are just fans but maybe not friends of Tielli.

The National Post has an interview with The Dears.

CBC Music gets to know Shad. Again. Some more.

Exclaim has some videos from Bry Webb’s recent Toronto Public Library performance available to watch.

Hooded Fang stops in at DIY for a video session.

Spin interviews Alice Glass of Crystal Castles.

Exclaim asks Chains Of Love about their plans for album number two.

BlogTO chats with Gentleman Reg.

Spinner talks to Neil Young about last night’s Hurricane Sandy benefit in New York.

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Mock Up Scale Down

The Super Friendz and The Meligrove Band at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThat whole, “Halifax is the new Seattle” thing that went down in the early ’90s is better known these days for simply having happened than for much of the music that came out of it. Sloan precipitated it and continue to endure, and the likes of Thrush Hermit and Eric’s Trip are still remembered fondly by many and their principals continue to make music, but most Maritime acts who were tipped as the next big, fuzzy, plaid-clad thing some 15 to 20 years ago simply called it a day after a release or two, to be remembered only by faded t-shirts and CD store dollar bins and A&R types who could actually tell you what a donair was.

If The Super Friendz had emerged with their 1995 debut Mock Up Scale Down just a couple years earlier, they could well have rode that Atlantic wave to… something, but as it was, they missed that brief, international feeding frenzy and even if they hadn’t, their ultra-melodic, classically-styled, jangle power-pop probably would have been deemed not nearly grungy enough and left on the vine. As it was, they had to settle for becoming domestic college rock darlings, at least for a couple years. Following a more ambitious yet still eminently hummable second album in Slide Show, the band politely hung it up to do other things. Frontman Matt Murphy would pursue a similar if more ’70s-than-’60s vibe with The Flashing Lights and while the Super Friendz did the reunion thing before the reunion thing was hip – releasing the decidedly more rawk Love Energy in 2003 – it was to be short-lived, but not the end. The quartet accepted an invitation to get back together for this year’s Halifax Pop Explosion – their first show in nine years – and since anything worth doing once is worth doing twice, they added another date in Toronto for this past Friday night.

Opening up were local fixtures The Meligrove Band, whom I’m a bit astonished to find I hadn’t seen live since 2005 though not as astonished as I was to confirm that bassist Michael Small was, indeed, wearing the same t-shirt. Completely apropos of nothing, but it does speak to my ability to retain utterly useless information in my brain. In any case, their set of power-pop – emphasis on the power side of things – was a fine warm-up as well as a reminder that their 2010 release Shimmering Lights was quite good. And if there was any doubt that they were huge fans of their Can-indie forebears, they were put to rest with their closing trifecta of murderecords covers of The Inbreds, Thrush Hermit, and Local Rabbits. They were targeting a pretty specific demographic niche with that, to be sure, but it was a niche that was piled into Lee’s Palace right then and there.

The only explanation I have for having never seen The Super Friendz the first time around was that they never quite made it to Waterloo on the university circuit, at least not while I was on a school term; goodness knows I would have been there if they had. I had caught The Flashing Lights a few times but skipped the 2003 reunion show on account of really not liking Love Energy all that much. Song selection wasn’t going to a problem this time out, though – the front half of the show was Mock Up as far as the eye could see and ear could hear. They opened up with the Charles Austin-sung “When They Paid Me”, then tagging in guitarist Drew Yamada for “Undertow” before Matt Murphy took the mic for “One Day”. I have to admit I never appreciated how spread out the singing and songwriting credits on the records were – a real testament to how well their respective styles gelled into one.

Also remarkable was how well they’ve aged, both the band and the songs. The tunes still brim with youthful energy, evoking a simpler, more innocent time where you could write a song called “Karate Man” and it could be awesome, full stop. Songs were played fairly faithfully to their recorded versions with the exception of some extended guitar breaks by Murphy and a Meligrove stage invasion during “The World’s Most Embarrassing Moment” and while the overall song selection could have featured a little (or a lot) more Slide Show and a little (or a lot) less Love Energy – and the omission of “Forever A Day” was almost criminal – it was hard not to spend most of the night bopping up and down whilst wearing a goofy grin, particularly when they wrapped the main set with “10 lbs” – a moment only matched when the wrapped the encore with “Up & Running”. Two of the best Canadian songs of the ’90s; this is not open to debate.

I hope it’s not taken as dismissive to say that this was primarily a nostalgia show; hundreds of people who either never got to see them live or hadn’t had the opportunity to do so in a decade and a half got their chance. Memories were rekindled and some great songs that hadn’t been played live anywhere by anyone in far too long got to ring out again. I don’t think anyone left Lee’s clamoring for a new record – you can’t go back to being 21 and in university again – but if they wanted to put Mock Up and Slide Show back in print, perhaps on vinyl, well that’d be alright.

Mechanical Forest Sound recorded the show and has posted a couple tracks for listening and reminiscing. Panic Manial also has a review.

Photos: The Super Friendz, The Meligrove Band @ Lee’s Palace – November 16, 2012
MP3: The Meligrove Band – “Half Light”
MP3: The Meligrove Band – “Bones Attack!!!”
Video: The Super Friendz – “Up And Running”
Video: The Super Friendz – “Rescue Us From Boredom”
Video: The Super Friendz – “10 lbs”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Bones Attack”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Really Want It”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Racing To Shimmering Lights”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Everyone’s A Winner”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Our Love Will Make The World Go Round”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Before We Arrive”
Stream: The Super Friendz / Mock Up Scale Down
Stream: The Super Friendz / Slide Show
Stream: The Super Friendz / Love Energy

Rheostatics have added a third show to their own reunion stand at The Horseshoe next month. They’ll play an early show on December 6 at 6:30PM, tickets $29.50 on sale this morning at 10AM. The December 5 and late December 6 shows are completely sold out.

Video: Rheostatics – “A Bad Time To Be Poor”

The Western Star, The Aurora, and The Muse talks to Joel Plaskett, camping out in the Horseshoe for four nights in December from the 12th to the 16th.

Daytrotter has a session with Patrick Watson and NPR is streaming the whole of last week’s show in Washington DC. He’s at Massey Hall on December 6.

Panic Manual, Beatroute, The San Francisco Examiner, and The Georgia Straight interview Al Spx of Cold Specks, opening up for Conor Oberst at Massey Hall on December 8.

Moonface have released a new video from With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery.

Video: Moonface – “Headed For The Door”

The 405, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Boston Globe have interviews and Daytrotter a session with METZ.