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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Banks’

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

You're The Gold

Ken Stringfellow at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt seems ages ago, but early 2002 was still an era where the magazine was still a vital medium for music reviews and general discovery; I still clearly recall a live writeup in issue 49 of The Big Takeover wherein editor Jack Rabid gave Ken Stringfellow a glowing review for a show at New York’s Mercury Lounge on September 20, 2001, and how it served as a powerful musical anodyne for those in need of some healing just a week after the World Trade Center attacks. It was just a few paragraphs long but still stuck with me a good long time, and also led me to pick up Stringfellow’s second solo record Touched – an album that, had I been in the habit of publishing year-end lists at the time, almost certainly would have secured a spot.

Since then, I’d been waiting for a chance to experience the live show that had been described so vividly, but while Stringfellow has been through town a number of times over the past decade – either with R.E.M., The Posies, or The Disciplines – he never toured here behind either Touched or 2004’s Soft Commands. It was only with last year’s Danzig In The Moonlight did he plot out a comprehensive enough North American tour to make it to Toronto for his first ever solo show in the city, stopping in at The Drake Underground this past Tuesday evening.

The long wait didn’t translate into a lot of pent-up demand, unfortunately, with only a few dozen people making it out on a cold and snowy night to see a man with arguably one the most impressive indie-rock resumes of the past quarter-century. The small turnout turned out to be something of a benefit, however, as Stringfellow took advantage of the intimacy to create a genuine rapport with the audience and craft a truly memorable show. Had it been a fuller show, he might not have opened with anecdotes instead of songs, starting off by entertainingly describing his morning in Montreal and his weather-delayed trip down the 401, but turning more personal in mentioning that his son had just that morning been released from prison; indeed, as friendly and genial as Stringfellow was, he was clearly having a rare and intense day and was going to be working through some stuff with song.

He opened the musical portion of the show by stepping off the stage and playing un-miked in the round, his loud and clear tenor filling the room unaided, before eventually setting down the guitar and getting back on stage behind the keyboard, though still eschewing vocal amplification. He wasn’t above asking for a little company, though, moving some benches from the floor up onto the stage and inviting audience members to flank him whilst he performed. And oh yes, the performance.

While I’m sure many would have liked to have had a Posies song or two in the mix, the set was surprisingly satisfying for sticking to his solo material and Danzig in particular – as richly-produced and arranged as that album is, it was still somehow done justice by just Stringfellow alone (although he did locally-source a duet partner for “Doesn’t It Remind You Of Something”. “Superwise” was riveting, “Shittalkers!” searing, and an audience request for “History Buffs” fulfilled in jaw-droppingly gorgeous fashion. While the word usually connotes violence and/or screaming, Stringfellow was instead experiencing a catharsis through melody – culminating with Touched‘s “Lover’s Hymn”, and it was truly something to behold. A show I’d waited nigh on ten years for, and still worth it.

Daytrotter has posted a session with Stringfellow and American Songwriter has the new record available to stream.

Photos: Ken Stringfellow @ The Drake Underground – February 19, 2013
MP3: Ken Stringfellow – “Doesn’t It Remind You Of Something”
Video: Ken Stringfellow – “Doesn’t It Remind You Of Something”
Video: Ken Stringfellow – “Superwise”
Stream: Ken Stringfellow / Danzig In The Moonlight

NOW gears up for tomorrow night’s Solange show at the Danforth Music Hall by putting Ms Knowles on this week’s cover.

Chelsea Light Moving – aka Thurston Moore’s new band – is streaming their self-titled debut at NPR ahead of its March 5 release. They play Lee’s Palace on March 31.

MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Burroughs”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Frank O’Hara Hit”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Empire Of Time”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Groovy & Linda”
Stream: Chelsea Light Moving / Chelsea Light Moving

Nashville’s Caitlin Rose is streaming her new record The Stand-In at The Independent ahead of its March 5 release date. The Telegraph also has an interview with the country singer-songwriter, who plays The Garrison on April 5.

Stream: Caitlin Rose / The Stand-In

Entertainment Weekly have premiered another new song from New Moon, the new record from The Men. It’s out March 5.

Stream: The Men – “I Saw Her Face”

Pitchfork solicits a video session from Local Natives. They play The Phoenix on March 28.

Spin has a stream of the first sample from the forthcoming Rilo Kiley rarities compilation RKives, targeted for an April 2 release.

Stream: Rilo Kiley – “Let Me Back In”

How To Destroy Angels – aka Trent Reznor’s new post-Nine Inch Nails project – will release their debut Welcome Oblivion on March 5, but are streaming it right now at Pitchfork and have announced their Spring tour itinerary; the venue is still TBA but they’ll be in Toronto on April 25. Update: Spin says Sound Academy.

Stream: How To Destroy Angels / Welcome Oblivion

Exclaim has details on what’s next from John Vanderslice – a Kickstarter-ed new album called Dagger Beach which should be out this Summer, and a complete album cover of Bowie’s Diamond Dogs for those who help fund it.

Backstage Rider finds out what Dean & Britta have been up to, and that’s solo records. Dean has two coming out, one produced by Jim James of My Morning Jacket and the other by Jason Quever of Papercuts, and Britta has one of her own in the works. So there’s no Dean & Britta on the horizon, but lots of Dean and Britta.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Retribution Gospel Choir’s Nels Cline-assisted show in New York last week.

Spinner and The Quietus get James McNew of Yo La Tengo on the horn to talk about their latest, Fade.

State engages in some straight talk with Mark Eitzel.

The 405 talks to Paul Banks.

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

These Streets Will Never Look the Same

Review of Chromatics’ Kill For Love

Photo By Richard BernardinRichard BernardinAs someone who is ostensibly in the business of finding and sharing new music, it’s a bit embarrassing that I’m just getting around to covering Portland’s Chromatics now. And I didn’t just miss out on their latest effort, Kill For Love, since it was released back in March. The whole Johnny Jewel extended family of Glass Candy, Desire, what have you, the extensive Italians Do It Better catalog, the fact that “Tick Of The Clock” from 2007’s Night Drive is apparently omnipresent in film soundtracks and ads. No idea of any of it. All I knew was that people around the internets really seemed to like Kill For Love, that it sounded like the sort of thing I might like, and so a few months ago I finally got around to giving the Soundcloud stream a spin.

Damn, son.

I’ve seen Kill For Love described as disco, noir, electro, retro, indie, post-punk, and dream-pop, amongst other descriptors – almost always coupled with “cinematic” and “widescreen” – and it is all of these things and more, but what gets me about it is how it manages to be so impossibly slick and synthetic, yet raw and resonant in a way that I can’t pinpoint. It operates under its own laws of emotional physics, simultaneously unending neon, urban sprawl and intense, almost smothering intimacy. Sometimes making its 77 minute running time feel like an eternity, other times a half a blink, all depending on how you’re feeling.

It works its magic through Jewel’s impossibly glamorous production, all perfectly textured keyboards and sculpted waveforms, gleaming guitars, and layered atmosphere, and singer/guitarist Ruth Radelet’s voice. In keeping with the music, it’s a study in contradictions – superficially simple in both timbre and the melodies it carries, and yet so rich and evocative, it can’t help but make a body shiver; it sounds like sex but tastes like love with the scent of regret. And while singling out specifics, I should mention that I don’t often get obsessed with individual guitar tones anymore, there’s a high probability that I’ll be breaking into the band’s studio sometime in the near future just to see what the hell Adam Miller is playing through. I probably shouldn’t have admitted that in public. Each full listen of Kill For Love is a pretty major commitment, but always worth it and offering up something new each time out.

Most likely, none of this is news to anyone who’s been following the music zeitgeist this year; the only reason I’m putting this down as a matter of record now is so that I don’t find myself justifying the appearance of a record on my year-end list (ooh, spoilers!) that I’ve never so much as mentioned. Though maybe that’d be kind of fun, too. So yes, late to the party but it’s been ongoing all year – just recently, a new mixtape entitled Running From The Sun containing alternate versions of Kill For Love tracks and unreleased tracks was made available to download, and just this week they released a new MP3 and video from the forthcoming Italians Do It Better label sampler After Dark 2, due out before the end of the year. And it’s also a small comfort to know that I didn’t miss a local live date, since there hasn’t been one. Maybe next year.

Johnny Jewel is a pretty interesting interview, as well. I’ve been catching up on his and the band’s background via these pieces from over the year at The Quietus, Self-Titled, Pitchfork, and about.com. There was also a recent interview with Radelet at The Huffington Post.

MP3: Chromatics – “Cherry”
MP3: Chromatics – “Kill For Love”
MP3: Chromatics / Running From The Sun
Video: Chromatics – “Cherry”
Video: Chromatics – “After Dark”
Stream: Chromatics / Kill For Love

New York post-hardcore outfit Quicksand are the latest ’90s act to pull a reunion together, heading out on a North American tour that comes to The Phoenix on January 9, tickets $29.

Video: Quicksand – “Delusional”

With a new album in Wonderful, Glorious due out on February 5, Eels have announced a North American tour that brings them to The Phoenix on February 25.

Stream: Eels – “Peach Blossom”

City Pages and Reverb interview Paul Banks in the capacity of both solo artist and Interpol frontman. The 10th anniversary Turn On The Bright Lights deluxe set is out December 4.

NPR welcomes Calexico to the World Cafe.

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

"Kill The Turkey"

The National watches TV. They’re just like us!

Photo via FoxFoxSunday night’s television lineup got a healthy injection of The National this week, both directly and indirectly. In the Thanksgiving episode of Bob’s Burgers, viewers were treated to a holiday-themed song by Linda in abbreviated form and in full over the closing credits, and shortly thereafter The Vulture surfaced with a version of the song rendered in Matt Berninger’s distinctive baritone over appropriately tasteful backing. They had to take it down, unfortunately, but this is the internet – nothing ever dies.

Boardwalk Empire viewers didn’t have to do nearly as much legwork to hear the band’s contribution to this week’s episode – they just had to sit through the credits. As has been the custom for the Steve Buscemi vehicle, the band – assisted by Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks – covered a period-correct song to play while the best boys and gaffers got their due; this one was a 1924 song originally recorded by Isham Jones and The Ray Miller Orchestra. I didn’t know that – full credit goes to Fuck Yeah The National for pulling the background together on that one.

Stream: The National – “I’ll See You In My Dreams”
Stream: The National – “Bob’s Burgers Thanksgiving Song”

Freelance Whales, who just released their second album in Diluvia, and Hundred Waters, whose self-titled debut came out in September, will be at The Mod Club on January 17, tickets $16. Spinner and The Daily Tar Heel have Freelance Whales features.

Video: Freelance Whales – “Spitting Image”
Video: Hundred Waters – “Thistle”

Christopher Owens – aka the guy from Girls who was basically the entirety of Girls and who recently left Girls – will be at The Mod Club on January 18 as part of a North American tour in support of his solo debut Lysandre, out January 14.

Stream: Christopher Owens – “Lysandre’s Theme / Here We Go”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Titus Andronicus, and The Chicago Tribune, Denver Westword, and 77 Square have features. They’re at Lee’s Palace next Tuesday, November 27.

A new track from Memory Tapes’ forthcoming Grace/Confusion is now available to stream, as is a mish-mash of b-sides, unreleased material, and whatnot in mixtape form. The album is out December 4.

Stream: Memory Tapes – “Neighbourhood Watch”
Stream: Memory Tapes – “Displaced Mix”

Spinner talks to Paul Banks about Interpol turning ten. The decade-anniversary edition of Turn On The Bright Lights is out December 4 and one of the bonus tracks is now available to download. Las Vegas Weekly and Denver Post also talk to Paul Banks about his solo thing.

MP3: Interpol – “Roland” (first demo)

Yo La Tengo have released a video from their next record Fade, due out January 15. They play The Phoenix on February 9.

Video: Yo La Tengo – “Before We Run”

NPR welcomes Father John Misty to the World Cafe; MTV Hive also has an interview. He’s at The Danforth Music Hall supporting The Walkmen on January 16.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of a Widowspeak show from earlier this month. There’s some new Almanac material to hear before the album is released on January 22.

Rolling Stone talks to Jim James about his forthcoming solo debut, Regions of Light and Sound of God. It’s out February 5.

Beach House have released a new video from Bloom.

Video: Beach House – “Wild”

R.E.M. may be gone, but they’re still able to remind you they’ve got some Hollywood-type friends, such as with this video for the final song from their final album, Collapse Into Now, directed by James Franco and starring Lindsay Lohan.

Video: R.E.M. – “Blue”

American Songwriter talks to Britt Daniel of Divine Fits.

The Fly and MusicOmh have interviews with Sharon Van Etten.

Stereogum talks to Steve Drozd of The Flaming Lips about how work is coming on their new album, at last check entitled The Terror and earmarked for release this Fall though that’s probably not happening. They could have asked Wayne Coyne, but he was otherwise occupied being detained by the TSA.

Happy Thanksgiving, America. Happy Thursday, rest of the world.

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Stupid Things

Yo La Tengo are coming to town and this photo is hilarious

Photo via TwitterTwitterYo La Tengo haven’t quite spilled the beans on their thirteenth studio album, besides to acknowledge it exists, that recent single “Stupid Things” will appear on it albeit in a different version, that it was produced by Tortoise’s John McEntire, that it’ll be out in late January – the smart money is on the 29th, since the last week of the month is typically when the year’s first big releases are slated – and that a North American tour – of which only a few dates have been revealed – would follow. And while a tweet yesterday implied that today was the day for revelations, details on the Toronto show came yesterday – and so here they are: Hoboken’s finest will be at The Phoenix on February 9 – their first visit since October 2009, not counting their “Sounds Of Science” performance here in April. Tickets for that are $25 in advance and go on sale Friday.

While on the topic, I just finished reading Big Day Coning: Yo La Tengo and The Rise of Indie Rock. You might wonder how interesting a bio of a band that has been rather resolutely drama-free over its career could be, but it’s the understatedness of their story – plus the greatness of their music – and how it intertwines with the transformation of the underground to college to alternative to indie rock scene that makes it an interesting read.

I had hoped to get up this morning and find all the salient new album info conveniently collected in a press release in my inbox, but instead there was an email from the library telling me that the aforementioned book was a week overdue. Not quite the same thing. So I’ll update this post with specifics about the tour and release when they surface today – assuming they do – but in the meantime, marvel at the photo up above, picked up via Matablog, of Yo La Tengo with a trio of Japanese lookalikes. Don’t ask why or how, just marvel.

Update: And Matablog has it: Fade, out January 15, and tour starts the 23rd.

MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Stupid Things”
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Nuclear War”

Keeping with the New Jersey theme, Titus Andronicus are interviewed by Beatroute, Boise Weekly, and Pitchfork and a couple more tracks from their latest Local Business are available to download. They’re at Lee’s Palace on November 27.

MP3: Titus Andronicus – “In A Big City”
MP3: Titus Andronicus – “Ecce Homo”

And if you were wondering what former Titus guitarist Amy Klein was up to, know that in addition to playing in Leda, she’s got a drum-and-guitar duo called Hilly Eye. Exclaim has some details on their debut album Reasons To Live, due January 22, and a couple of songs are available to stream.

Stream: Hilly Eye – “Jacob’s Ladder”
Stream: Hilly Eye – “Amnesia”

The Village Voice, Red Eye, and Seven Days have interviews with Sharon Van Etten.

Interview talks to Paul Banks about balancing the solo work with Interpol.

Nada Surf have released a video from their latest, The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy.

Video: Nada Surf – “Jules & Jim”

Some feel it’s still to early for Christmas music, but Sufjan Stevens is hoping that doesn’t apply to him. He’s made the whole of his six-EP Silver & Gold box set – that’s 58 tracks worth – available to stream and also released a couple more videos for good measure. It’s available to buy as of yesterday.

MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “Ding-A-Ling-A-Ring-A-Ling”
Video: Sufjan Stevens – “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
Video: Sufjan Stevens – “Silver & Gold”
Stream: Sufjan Stevens / Silver & Gold

Pitchfork has details on the second album from Brooklyn’s Widowspeak; Almanac will be out on January 22 and the first MP3 from it is available to download.

MP3: Widowspeak – “Ballad Of The Golden Hour”

School Of Seven Bells are streaming the whole of their new EP Put Your Sad Down, released this week.

MP3: School Of Seven Bells – “Secret Days”
Stream: School Of Seven Bells / Put Your Sad Down

Filter talks to Grizzly Bear.

Ra Ra Riot are streaming the first track from their new record Beta Love, out January 22. They bring it to Lee’s Palace on March 6. There’s also a feature on the band at syracuse.com.

Stream: Ra Ra Riot – “Beta Love”

Head over to RecordStoreDay.com to stream the whole of Chocomel Daze, the You’re Living All Over Me-vintage Dinosaur Jr live record being released on vinyl-only next week.

Stream: Dinoaur Jr / Chocomel Daze

SF Weekly talks to Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs.

Jim James is done hiding behind bands and pseudonyms; he’ll release his solo debut Regions of Light and Sound of God on February 5 – details at Pitchfork and the first taste is streamable below.

Stream: Jim James – “Know Til Now”

The Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, and Newsday talk to Aimee Mann, who has released a new video from her latest Charmer.

Video: Aimee Mann – “Soon Enough”

DIY interviews Benjamin Gibbard.

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

No One Ever Sleeps

The Walkmen and Father John Misty aim to find out exactly how often is too often

Photo By Arno FrugierArno FrugierUsually when a band says, “we’ll see you soon” as they walk off the stage, it’s a mostly-empty platitude that means “we’ll see you when we’ve got a new record to push”, or “we’ll see you when our next single becomes a huge hit and allows us to come back and play a much bigger room”. For New York rock stalwarts The Walkmen and Los Angeles psych-folk bard Father John Misty, though, at least lately, it’s been an ironclad promise.

The Walkmen were here twice already this year – once in March at The Phoenix as part of their 10th anniversary celebrations, and again in August at the Molson Amphitheatre supporting both Florence & The Machine and their latest album Heaven – and Father John Misty has one-upped them, making his local debut at The Horseshoe in May, opening up for Youth Lagoon at The Opera House in July, and then returning again to headline Lee’s Palace just this past weekend, all in support of his debut Fear Fun. Which is great news for their fans if a bit hard on their fans’ pocketbooks.

But if you reside in that section of their fanbase Venn diagrams that intersect, the fact that they’re teaming up for a Winter tour should be an exciting one. It will bring them to The Danforth Music Hall on January 16 with ticket prices ranging from $33.50 to $45.50, which isn’t the cheapest, but when you consider the two-for-one value proposition, it’s a pretty good deal.

Le Blogotheque has a couple videos from The Walkmen’s 10th anniversary show in New York this Summer. Bullett, The Chicago Tribune, and The Phoenix have interviews with Josh Tillman of Father John Misty, who is continuing on his current tour.

MP3: The Walkmen – “Love Is Luck”
MP3: The Walkmen – “Line By Line”
MP3: Father John Misty – “Nancy From Now On”
MP3: Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”

Grantland goes behind the scenes of the first video from Titus Andronicus’ Local Business. That record brings them to Lee’s Palace on November 27 and provides context for this interview at The Guardian

Video: Titus Andronicus – “In A Big City”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Band Of Horses, hitting Massey Hall on December 5.

Pitchfork has details on the solo debut from Christopher Owens, former frontman for Girls. Lysandre will be out on January 14 and a couple songs from it are available to stream.

Stream: Christopher Owens – “Lysandre’s Theme / Here We Go”

The first preview track from Local Natives’ new record Hummingbird, due out January 29, is now available to download. They’re at The Opera House on March 28.

MP3: Local Natives – “Breakers”

Though busy for the last while as being part of Thao & Mirah, Thao Nguyen has gotten back together with The Get Down Stay Down – though grammar geeks will find it interesting they’re now credited as “and” instead of “with” – and will release a new album in We The Common on February 5. Stream the first track below.

Stream: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “Holy Roller”

Under The Radar points out that Telekinesis has, for shits and giggles, made a new Hallowe’en-themed song available to download.

MP3: Telekinesis – “Clock Strikes Midnight”

Loud & Quiet and The Huffington Post talk to John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

Paul Banks talks to Exclaim and Northern Transmissions about and offers Drowned In Sound a track-by-track guide to Banks.

The Shins’ contribution to the now-available Starbucks holiday comp Holidays Rule – a Paul McCartney cover – is now available to stream in whole thanks to Stereogum, and if that’s not enough Shins for you, the whole of their Austin City Limits episode is available to watch. And if that’s still not enough, well I can’t help you.

Stream: The Shins – “Wonderful Christmas Time”

aux.tv talks to Lou Barlow about keeping the balance between Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh, and all that other stuff he does.

Mojo interviews Bob Mould.