Posts Tagged ‘Pavement’

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

I'll Never Live Up To You

John Vanderslice gives away EP, consolidates status as swell guy

Photo By Elizabeth WeibergElizabeth WeibergA note: I’m presently barely conscious after staying up way too late the other night doing the Polaris post-game, so I’m just going to start tossing up stuff that’s been collecting in the hopper over the last few days until I pass out.

And we’ll kick off with a new batch of fully realized, produced and presented songs from the inimitable John Vanderslice, collected under the title of Green Grow The Rushes. It’s being given away for exactly zero dollars in both high-quality MP3 and uncompressed WAV format over at his website. Why? Because he’s got these songs he wants you to hear and because he’s great. But if you want to thank the ‘Slice in some monetary way, perhaps pick up a copy of his last full-length Romanian Names? It’s not quite as free but still a great record.

MP3: John Vanderslice – “Thule Fog”
MP3: John Vanderslice – “I’ll Never Live Up To You”
ZIP: John Vanderslice / Green Grow The Rushes

Exclaim has some details on the new Iron & Wine album, entitled Kiss Each Other Clean and due out in early 2011.

Michael Benjamin Lerner of Telekinesis chats with The Washington Post.

The Thermals have released a new single from Personal Life which, in the parlance of our time, means that there’s a new MP3 to download.

MP3: The Thermals – “Never Listen To Me”

The Line Of Best Fit and Spinner talk to Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of The Posies. Their new record Blood/Candy is out September 28.

The Boston Herald talks to drummer Bob Nastanovich of Pavement. NYC Taper has also got a recording of their Williamsburg show to share.

Clash interviews Local Natives, in town at the Mod Club on October 19.

Spin declares Lissie to be “breaking out”. She’s at the El Mocambo on October 19.

Spin gets to the root of Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s name, while Filter has a track from their new record Buzzard available to download.

MP3: Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s – “Lunatic, Lunatic, Lunatic”

Spinner serves up an Interface session with Drive-By Truckers.

R.E.M. has completed work on album number 15 and are targeting a Spring 2011 release for it.

Drowned In Sound talks to Will Sheff of Okkervil River about working with Roky Erikson on this year’s True Love Casts Out All Evil.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Spoon’s show in the teeny tiny Cake Shop last week.

The new Deerhunter record Halcyon Digest is streaming at NPR in advance of its release next week. They’re at Lee’s Palace the Opera House on October 19.

Stream: Deerhunter / Halcyon Digest

The AV Club, American Songwriter, The Boston Herald, Pinnastorm, The Awl and NPR have interviews with Superchunk. NPR is also streaming their show in Washington DC last week and NYC Taper offering downloads of the Brooklyn show, giving you a taste of what to expect when they return to Toronto to play the Sound Academy on December 9 opening up for Broken Social Scene; you’ll just have to imagine the pogoing.

The Sydney Morning Herald talks to Interpol.

PitchforkTV has posted a POV session with The Hold Steady.

Clash declares Holly Miranda “One To Watch”.

New York Magazine talks to Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner.

Spin gets a live preview of Nicole Atkins’ new record Mondo Amore, due out on January 25 of next year, and you can download a new track from the record over at Nicole’s website.

Daytrotter has posted a session with Ra Ra Riot, who have made good on their promise to come back to town in December – they’ll be at the Mod Club on the first of that month, tickets $16.

MP3: Ra Ra Riot – “Boy”

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Pitchfork Music Festival 2010 Day 3

Pavement, St. Vincent, Beach House and more at Pitchfork Music Festival 2010

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangGiven the unrelenting heat that defined the first two days of Pitchfork 2010, a forecast of rain for Sunday wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world and indeed, we got an impressive flash thunderstorm around noon – perfectly timed as I was still holed up in the hotel room. Unfortunately, said mini-monsoon didn’t actually wash away any of the heat, it just made it more humid. Awesome.

I don’t imagine the heat was bothering Best Coast, hailing as they do from the sunny climes of southern California. Their early afternoon slot on the B stage was pretty good proof that the festival schedule had been set some time ago, because if it had been put together in the last few weeks, the buzz around them and their forthcoming debut Crazy For You – out next week – would have warranted either a larger stage or later set time or both. As it was, the trio packed the field in front of the Balance Stage and delivered a set whose delivery wasn’t especially remarkable, but stripped of the lo-fi, garage-friendly production that has been one of their main talking points, it was evident that their songwriting smarts were for real. Great, hooky throwback pop however it’s marketed. They play Lee’s Palace on September 25.

Photos: Best Coast @ Balance Stage – July 18, 2010
MP3: Best Coast – “Boyfriend”
MP3: Best Coast – “Something In The Way”
Video: Best Coast – “When I’m With You”
MySpace: Best Coast

Over at the Aluminum main stage, Girls were late getting started as girls often are, with frontman Christopher Owens looking dazed and maybe confused. Though their debut Album was one of 2009’s biggest records, their live show got only middling reviews, which was approximately what I thought when I saw them at SxSW last year. You couldn’t go so far as to say that heavy touring had turned them into a lean rock machine, but they did sound fuller and more assured than they once did, if still kind of sloppy. Like their fellow Californians in Best Coast, their jangly pop gleamed in the sunlight where it couldn’t hide behind the fuzz but rather than dispense with the noise and static entirely, the just saved it up for an epic and unexpected shoegaze-worthy guitar squall in the coda of “Hellhole Ratrace”. Wakey wakey.

Photos: Girls @ Aluminum Stage – July 18, 2010
MP3: Girls – “End Of The World”
MP3: Girls – “Laura”
MP3: Girls – “Lust For Life”
Vide: Girls – “Hellhole Ratrace”
Video: Girls – “Laura”
Video: Girls – “Lust For Life”

If it had been the pre-Teen Dream Beach House coming up next on the Connector Stage, then the Girls wake-up call might have gone to waste. But the band circa 2010 is quite a different beast, having given their hazy dream pop enough energy and substance to not only keep an audience awake but enthralled. Their music may have originally been built for dark rooms in the wee hours of the night, but their ever-growing popularity seems to keep forcing them out onto outdoor stages – the last two times I saw them was in front of huge audiences lolling about in broad daylight. And such will again be the case on September 7 when they play the Molson Amphitheatre.

Photos: Beach House @ Connector Stage – July 18, 2010
MP3: Beach House – “Zebra”
MP3: Beach House – “Norway”
MP3: Beach House – “Gila”
MP3: Beach House – “Heart Of Chamber”
MP3: Beach House – “Master Of None”
Video: Beach House – “Walk In The Park”
Video: Beach House – “Silver Soul”
Video: Beach House – “Used To Be”
Video: Beach House – “You Came To Me”
Video: Beach House – “Heart Of Chambers”
MySpace: Beach House

Over at the Balance Stage, I managed to finally rectify a four month-old wrong in catching Local Natives, whom I’d missed at SxSW something like eight times. And the Los Angeles quintet was as impressive a live beast as I’d been told, with them reproducing the complex harmonies and rhythms of Gorilla Manor with even more energy than on record. It almost felt as though they themselves were being propelled by the music and while they lost control early on, with the drums clearly falling out of step with the rest of the arrangements, they quickly got hold of the reins again and didn’t misstep again. I’m looking forward to seeing them again when they play the Mod Club on October 19. Baeble Music is streaming a complete live Local Natives show recorded at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City.

Photos: Local Natives @ Balance Stage – July 18, 2010
MP3: Local Natives – “Sun Hands”
Video: Local Natives – “World News”
Video: Local Natives – “Airplanes”
MySpace: Local Natives

After a brief break from the day’s programme to hydrate and cool down in the media tent, it was back to the Connector Stage where St. Vincent was patiently waiting for the sturm und drang of Lightning Bolt over on the main stage to dissipate. And you couldn’t ask for greater polar opposites than Lightning Bolt and St. Vincent; the change over from their set to hers was like having a post-apocalyptic landscape morph into an animated fairy tale forest. It doesn’t seem like a year since I saw St. Vincent last, but indeed its been and while this show felt very similar to that one, I’m tempted to say that they sound and feel more like a cohesive band than just Annie Clark and some backing players. And while most of the set showcased the more delicate/pretty side of St. Vincent, their set-closing “Your Lips Are Red” indulged her noisier inclinations, building into an instrumental cacophony that those Lightning Bolt fans across the field would have appreciated.

Photos: St. Vincent @ Connector Stage – July 18, 2010
MP3: St. Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”
MP3: St. Vincent – “The Strangers”
MP3: St. Vincent – “Now Now”
Video: St. Vincent – “Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood”
Video: St. Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”
Video: St. Vincent – “Jesus Saves I Spend”
MySpace: St. Vincent

I have to confess my tweet prior to Major Lazer’s set was a bit disingenuous as I wasn’t completely ignorant of what Major Lazer was about. That’s because when their debut Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do came out last year, it was accompanied by one of the most annoying and incessant PR campaigns in recent memory. So while I couldn’t help know that it was a faux-cartoon hip-hop/dancehall project by DJs Diplo and Switch, I pretty much refused to pay it any more attention than that. Not that that knowledge would have prepared me for their live show, which was pretty much all party and spectacle. With Diplo on hand to lay down beats, live MC Skerrit Bwoy and two dancers led a ridiculous assault on the senses with faux sex, crowd surfing, dragon dancers and I don’t even know what else. It was something to see if not comprehend.

Photos: Major Lazer @ Aluminum Stage – July 18, 2010
Video: Major Lazer – “Pon De Floor”
Video: Major Lazer – “Hold The Line”
Video: Major Lazer – “Keep It Goin’ Louder”
Video: Major Lazer – “Zumbie”
MySpace: Major Lazer

Choosing between Sleigh Bells and Big Boi was a tough one, and while I’m sure some are shaking their heads at the decision, I opted to go for Sleigh Bells over at the Balance Stage. Their debut Treats has been a bit of a guilty pleasure, with its ridiculously loud production and unrelentingly chipper vocals, and I was curious to see how the Brooklyn duo pulled it off live. And the answer was a qualified “pretty well”. On the downside, they seemed to be taking full advantage of their moment in the hype spotlight, starting a good 15 minutes late, setting up the stage with prop guitar amps and using a lot of prerecorded tracks. The only live elements were Derek Miller’s guitar, though good luck distinguishing what he was actually playing from what was on tape, and Alexis Krauss’ vocals, which largely made the previous points irrelevant. Though the diva persona she affected on stage was at odds with her sugar buzz cheerleader vocals, their set was delivered with so much energy and volume that you probably couldn’t form a coherent enough thought to care. I was only able to stick around for a couple songs as the crush of media was being rotated through the photo bit in waves, and anyways I didn’t want to be late for an appointment with a certain legendary band. The Detroit News, NOW, The Weekly Dig and Prefix have Sleigh Bells interviews.

Photos: Sleigh Bells @ Balance Stage – July 18, 2010
MP3: Sleigh Bells: “Infinity Guitars”
MP3: Sleigh Bells: “Crown On The Ground”
MP3: Sleigh Bells: “A_B Machines”
MySpace: Sleigh Bells

And finally, at the end of it all, there was Pavement. Following a bizarre introduction where Drag City’s Rian Murphy pretended to be a washed up radio shock jock (I only found out for certain it was a gag after the fact, but it was fun to have an excuse to yell profanities at a stranger), the reunited indie rock forebears took the stage to a riotous response and promptly messed up their first song. Okay, it was barely a false start but it definitely set the tone for a show that would be less about big rock moves or a barnburning festival finale than just playing the songs everyone wanted to hear and having a good time. And they started with “Cut Your Hair”, possibly so that anyone who just wanted to hear the hit could go home early, and continued through their entire catalog front to back, one classic track after another, like an amble down a shady memory lane. And while it would have been impossible to play everyone’s favourites in the 90 minutes allotted, they did make the most of the available time by forgoing the ceremony of an encore to squeeze in as much as possible, personal highlights including “Shady Lane”, “Stereo” and “Spit On A Stranger” (I like the s-songs?). And while the reasons for their reunion were more financial than personal or artistic, it really looked as though they were having fun, Stephen Malkmus sporting a subtle but genuine smile (and no handcuffs), Mark Ibold on bass happily bobbing up and down, a (presumably) ironic “Fuck Pavement” t-shirt hung over Steve West’s kick drum and Bob Nostanovich doing what Bob Nostanovich does, which was a lot more than I thought – many of the vocal parts I thought were Scott Kannberg were in fact their invaluable utility player.

There’s been a lot of talk about whether Pavement will or even should continue after their reunion tour is over and the cheques are cashed, and as great as it was to see them and finally hear these songs live, I find myself falling in the “walk away” camp. They and their sound is so intrinsically tied to the ’90s college/alternative rock boom that they sound out of time and place when compared to the bigger, more aggressive sounds of contemporary acts. And I don’t think I’d want to hear them try to keep up or catch up… Pavement had a nearly perfect artistic arc from Slanted & Enchanted through Terror Twilight and this victory lap has introduced their legacy to a new fans and reaffirmed it to old. I think it should be left at that.

Photos: Pavement @ Aluminum Stage – July 18, 2010
MP3: Pavement – “Gold Soundz”
MP3: Pavement – “Rattled By The Rush”
MP3: Pavement – “Heckler Spray/In THe Mouth Of A Desert” (live)
MP3: Pavement – “All My Friends”
MP3: Pavement – “Greenlander”
Video: Pavement – “Major Leagues”
Video: Pavement – “Carrot Rope”
Video: Pavement – “Shady Lane”
Video: Pavement – “Father To A Sister Of Thought”
Video: Pavement – “Stereo”
Video: Pavement – “Painted Soldiers”
Video: Pavement – “Cut Your Hair”
Video: Pavement – “Gold Soundz”
Video: Pavement – “Range Life”
Video: Pavement – “Here”
MySpace: Pavement

Pitchfork – of course – has lots of coverage of their own party including interviews with many of the performers.

So that was my first Pitchfork Festival, and I would recommend it for anyone looking to do a festival without drowning in a sea of humanity. Yeah, there’s not really anyone on the lineup that you couldn’t see touring any other time during the year but seeing these acts test their mettle in front of much bigger crowds than their accustomed to is a different experience. On top of that, it’s quite a well-run fest, not too big and not too small (approximately 18,000 people), well-priced and located and with there’s a good selection of food and vendors and a poster and record fair that I wish I was able to spend more time at. In short, I had a great time. I’m not prepared to commit myself to attending next year – or any festival, for that matter – but if I get the itch to hang out in dusty photo pits while sweating my ass off for a weekend again, it could do the trick.

Check out my Flickr set from the fest for audience shots in addition to artists, though there’s not a lot of LATFH action – people looked disappointingly normal. And my best discovery of the festival? The Arnold Palmer – that is some tasty stuff. Thanks, Matt Picasso!

A return to non-‘Forky stuff tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

What's Up, Matador?

Matador turns 21, parties like it’s 1996

Photo By Michael LavineMichael LavineI think I spent my 21st birthday at the venerable Phil’s Grandson’s bar in Waterloo, Ontario, and while I feel obliged to point out to American readers that our age of majority (as far as drinking goes) is 19 so the 21st isn’t actually all that meaningful, I still spent it getting well and truly smashed. I won’t lie, It wasn’t classy.

Matador Records is looking to spend their coming of age in slightly glitzier environs. They offered some teasers earlier this year but yesterday made things official with an announcement that pretty much met any and all lofty expectations about what kind of party they might throw. Led by a reunited Guided By Voices – the most classic 1993 to 1996 Bee Thousand/Alien Lanes/Under The Bushes Under The Stars lineup no less – the three-day bender will take place in the Palms hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from October 1 to 3 and feature a who’s who of Matador artists, past and present. In addition to GBV (GBV!), you’ve got label stalwarts Pavement (who if they hadn’t already reunited might have had to for this party), Belle & Sebastian, Cat Power, The New Pornographers, Yo La Tengo and Liz Phair (whose contract probably has a strict “first three albums only” clause) as well as acts like Sonic Youth, Spoon and Superchunk who might be better associated with other labels but who have OLE catalog numbers in their discographies. In short, for anyone who came of musical age with the golden age of college rock in the 1990s, it’s a dream lineup and then some. AND there’s gambling.

Full details about pricing and additional acts are coming next week, but if you aren’t at least taking a look at how much flights and hotels in Vegas for that weekend will run you, you must have stumbled across this site by accident. That said, my attendance is far from certain but damn if I’m not thinking hard about it.

MP3: Guided By Voices – “I’ll Replace You With Machines”
MP3: Pavement – “Gold Soundz”
MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Another Sunny Day”
MP3: Sonic Youth – “Sacred Trickster”
MP3: Spoon – “Mountain To Sound”
MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Here To Fall”
MP3: Cat Power – “The Greatest”
MP3: The New Pornographers – “My Rights Versus Yours”
MP3: Liz Phair – “Fuck And Run”

In talking to, Bob Nastanovich of Pavement throws cold water on the prospect of new material coming out of the current reunion.

The National stopped in for a performance at CBC’s Q when in town earlier this month.

Video: The National – “Terrible Love” (live on Q) and The Guardian interview Warpaint, who’ve got two local dates coming up – a headlining appearance on August 11 at Wrongbar and as support for The xx at Massey Hall on September 29.

Insound has posted a video session with The Hold Steady and are offering one track as a download in exchange for signing up for their newsletter. And in related news, the Hold Steady’s Toronto show on July 16 just got twice as intimate, having been moved from The Kool Haus to The Phoenix. All tickets still honoured.

David Bazan (formerly of Pedro The Lion) will be joined by The Mynabirds, aka Laura Burhenn (formerly of Georgie James) at Lee’s Palace on September 18. Tickets $12.50 in advance.

MP3: David Bazan – “Bless This Mess”
MP3: The Mynabirds – “Let The Record Go”
MP3: The Mynabirds – “Numbers Don’t Lie”

Lee’s Palace will host two of Kill Rock Stars’ finest on October 3 when Deerhoof and Xiu Xiu perform as part of a Fall tour.

MP3: Deerhoof – “+81”
MP3: Xiu Xiu – “Gray Death”

Australia’s Temper Trap will be in town at the Phoenix on October 5 – tickets $21.50 in advance.

MP3: The Temper Trap – “Down River”

There’s new music from Sharon Van Etten, via the soundtrack to the film The Builder. The DVD for the film will be released on July 27.

MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “I Couldn’t Save You”
Trailer: The Builder

Offering more proof to the theory that they’re incapable of doing anything that’s not adorable, Mates Of State have released a new video from their covers album Crushes. Actually it’s the second video from the record, the first was for this Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds tune, which isn’t so much adorable but isn’t trying to be. Anyways.

Video: Mates Of State – “True Love Will Find You In The End”
Video: Mates Of State – “Love Letter”

Each Note Secure talks to Free Energy, who’ve recorded an Interface session at Spinner.

Yours Truly has posted up a new video performance from The Morning Benders, in town to open for The Black Keys at The Kool Haus on August 3 and 4.

Pitchfork has got the first sample of The Thermals’ new record Personal Life, due out September 7.

MP3: The Thermals – “I Don’t Believe You”

Vampire Weekend talks to BBC. They’re at the Molson Amphitheatre on September 7.

Best Coast have released an MP3 from their much-buzzed forthcoming debut Crazy For You, coming July 27. They’re at Lee’s Palace on September 25.

MP3: Best Coast – “Boyfriend”

Miami New Times talk to Tampa’s Sleepy Vikings.

NOW welcomes We Were Promised Jetpacks to the Horseshoe on Saturday night. Daytrotter has also posted up a session.

So this past Saturday night’s Thao/Mirah show at the Horseshoe was cancelled on account of burning police cars. The guys from These United States, who were slated to support, have some video of their trip to Toronto. Y’all come back now, y’hear?

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

NXNE 2010 Day Three

Iggy & The Stooges, Avi Buffalo, Wavves and more at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe demise – for this year, at least – of Toronto’s Virgin Festival had one positive side effect, in that the corporate title sponsor found themselves with some budget to spend on a music event and nowhere to throw it… and so they threw it at NXNE. This not only gave the festival the means to land a bona fide, big time headliner to build things around, but they were able to present said act for free on a big stage in the heart of the city. No question, Iggy & The Stooges was going to be an event.

But not the only event. The Yonge-Dundas mainstage had a full slate of acts leading up to the big show, including a number of acts who were significant draws unto themselves. My evening started with Florida’s Surfer Blood, who came into the fest as one of the bigger buzz bands and with a number of showcases on the schedule in addition to this one. And it’s a good thing they did, because if this were their only chance to impress, it’d have been a mighty flop. Presumably through no fault of their own, the young quintet’s equipment began self-destructing just a few songs into their set, causing extended delays on stage, clearly frustrating the band, boring the audience and killing any momentum they’d have hoped to build. They finally did manage to get it together to close their set out strongly, but this performance would almost certainly have to go in the better-forgotten pile. And even without the technical difficulties, I wasn’t especially impressed with what I heard. Decent guitar pop, but not really anything worth getting so excited over. Go figure. Clash and Spinner have features on the band.

Photos: Surfer Blood @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 19, 2010
MP3: Surfer Blood – “Swim”
Video: Surfer Blood – “Swim”
MySpace: Surfer Blood

Though San Diego’s Wavves made headlines a year ago for an on-stage meltdown by frontman Nathan Williams, he was the model of composure this time out. Previewing material from his forthcoming sophomore album King Of The Beach, out August 3, Williams was chatty and good humoured on stage, if a bit odd and manifesting a Paulie Shore fixation. But no meltdowns and without the benefit of a home studio with which to layer on the lo-fi fuzz onto their songs, the sounded much more melodic and comprehensible than on records. Still fast and loud, but tuneful. A pleasant surprise. Yours Truly and PitchforkTV have video sessions with Wavves.

Photos: Wavves @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 19, 2010
MP3: Wavves – “So Bored”
MP3: Wavves – “No Hope Kids”
MP3: Wavves – “Cool Jumper”
MySpace: Wavves

An outdoor stage in the daylight isn’t the first place you’d expect to find Denmark’s Raveonettes, but as much as you’d think their bubble-gaze aesthetic best suited for dark clubs, it proved to work surprisingly well out in the open air. Assisted by copious amounts of reverb, Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo – accompanied by a full rhythm section – filled the square with the loud yet airy sounds of their latest album In And Out Of Control. As ever, they weren’t the most animated performers on stage, but their distinct look and sound – and hooks aplenty – would be enough to keep all eyes on them. They’re currently preparing a b-sides compilation and will have a new album ready in the new year.

Photos: The Raveonettes @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 19, 2010
MP3: The Raveonettes – “Last Dance”
MP3: The Raveonettes – “Suicide”
MP3: The Raveonettes – “The Chosen One”
MP3: The Raveonettes – “Dead Sound”
MP3: The Raveonettes – “Aly, Walk With Me”
MP3: The Raveonettes – “Attack Of The Ghost Riders”
Video: The Raveonettes – “Heart Of Stone”
Video: The Raveonettes – “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)”
Video: The Raveonettes – “Last Dance”
Video: The Raveonettes – “Dead Sound”
Video: The Raveonettes – “You Want The Candy”
Video: The Raveonettes – “Aly, Walk With Me”
Video: The Raveonettes – “Attack Of The Ghost Riders”
Video: The Raveonettes – “That Great Love Sound”
MySpace: The Raveonettes

As the evening progressed, it was interesting to see the composition of the audience change. Earlier on, it was the kids more interested in the hot new acts than the veterans and keener fans, diligently arriving early to score a spot up front to get the best view of the rock legends. But as the hour of the show drew closer, a more… shall we say “punk correct” element began to make up a larger percentage of the audience and by show time, the Square and adjoining streets – they wisely closed off Yonge St between Queen and Dundas for the event – were jammed and teeming with representatives from every imaginable cross-section of society, including the crustier ones.

None of which was of immediate concern to me, as I had arguably the best seat in the house for at least the first couple songs of the set, right up front in the photo pit. And there was no doubt as to when the show began, as James Newell Osterberg, Jr – Iggy Pop to his friends – bounded out on stage and clad only in a pair of jeans and in both great and grotesque shape for his 63 years, wasted no time in letting everyone know that The Stooges’ advance billing as one of the greatest rock bands ever was far from just hyperbole. And seriously, he was amazing to watch as he danced, posed, raced around the stage and climbed into the audience while singing the never more appropriate “Raw Power”, delivered with righteous fury by a Stooges lineup composed of Scott Asheton on drums, James Williamson on guitar, Steve Mackay on saxophone and Mike Watt on bass – not period correct, but seriously heavyweight nonetheless. It was truly something to behold, if for only six or seven minutes until we had to vacate the pit. At that point, it became less a concert than a soundtrack for fascinating people watching since there was no way to see the stage for the sea of humanity spilling over the edges of the Square. I heard there was a stage invasion during “Search & Destroy” but couldn’t tell you for sure. What I can tell you is that I saw the people who had waited at the front all day getting pulled out and over the barricade by security because there was no other way out, I saw people drunk and stoned out of their minds freaking out, either from Iggy or whatever they were on, I’m not sure, I saw a kid punch a cop (that didn’t end well), all to the sound of The Stooges sounding pulverizing and vital. The vibe was suitably dark and on the edge of violent, with Iggy right on the edge of inciting more chaos, but as far as I know no one was hurt, and so it can go down in the books as a pretty remarkable milestone in NXNE and Toronto concert history. I do challenge the assertion that it was the biggest free concert in the city ever – the free R.E.M. show in 2001 was pretty freaking massive and stretched all the way down Yonge St… but I digress. Iggy. Stooges. Epic. Spinner also has a review of their show.

Photos: Iggy & The Stooges @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 19, 2010
MySpace: Iggy & The Stooges

Clearly, this would have been a logical time to call it a night – there was no way to be topping Iggy – but fact is it wasn’t even 11PM and there was still plenty to see, so after a breather at home, it was back out to see Avi Buffalo at Lee’s Palace. The California quartet led by Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg just released their self-titled debut, and it featured the right balance of unusual and accessible, thanks largely to Zahner-Isenberg’s warbly indie-pop vocals and songwriting and searing jazzy-prog guitar chops, reminiscent of Nels Cline. Their live show wasn’t far off from their recorded work, with Zahner-Isenberg indulging in more than a little guitar face during instrumental excursions, and punctuated with some odd banter, though that may have just been a consequence of the band being excited to be somewhere they were of legal to drink.

Photos: Avi Buffalo @ Lee’s Palace – June 19, 2010
MP3: Avi Buffalo – “Remember Last Time”
MP3: Avi Buffalo – “What’s In It For?”

The last stop of the night was the El Mocambo, where London’s The Gin Riots would fulfill my British rock quota for the festival. I’d likened their sound to that of The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys, but watching them perform I was reminded more of The Rumble Strips, albeit more country inflected and less idiosyncratic. They were entertaining and engaging performers with a brace of energetic and songs, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that everything they do has been done before and done better. But considering how solid and fully realized they are without even having released an album yet, there’s still plenty of time for them to find their own niche.

Photos: The Gin Riots @ The El Mocambo – June 19, 2010
MP3: The Gin Riots – “The Polka”
MP3: The Gin Riots – “In The Bedroom”
Video: The Gin Riots – “The Polka”

Black Cab Sessions takes Band Of Horses for a ride while Spinner staged a surprise show for the band in New York’s Grand Central Station and turned it into an Interface session. talks to Pavement drummer Bob Nostanovich.

The Globe & Mail and Chart interview Broken Social Scene while MTV finds out about their contributions to the Scott Pilgrim movie soundtrack.

U2’s ($150,000,000) loss is Interpol fans’ gain – with the cancellation of the U2 Summer tour and Interpol’s opening slots on it, they’ve assembled their own Summer tour which includes a date at the Kool Haus on August 10. Tickets are $30 and go on sale Thursday – it’s been a while since they’ve been here, but that’s surely an undersized venue for the band so expect it to sell out fast. Their fourth, self-titled album is out September 7 and the new video is available to watch over at Stereogum.

Video: Interpol – “Lights”

Here just a couple weeks ago, Jamie Lidell will be back on September 14 for a show at the Opera House.

Video: Jamie Lidell – “The Ring”

The Walkmen will release their new record Lisbon on September 14 and be at the Opera House on October 9 to support.

MP3: The Walkmen – “Louisiana”

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

"Kennel District"

Broken Social Scene covers Pavement

Photo By Joel DidriksenJoel DidriksenPast lineups for the almost-annual Toronto Island Concert (née Olympic Island) have had a charmingly random quality to them – Keren Ann on a bill with Modest Mouse? Sure! Feist back to back with Bloc Party? Why not! – but this year’s double-shot of Pavement and Broken Social Scene actually has some history behind it, besides the obvious pairing of the Summer’s biggest reunion and a hometown show for arguably the city’s biggest band.

Scott Kannberg, aka Spiral Stairs, aka Preston School Of Industry, kept busy in the years that Pavement was on the shelf. In addition to his own works, guested on Kevin Drew’s Spirit If… solo record and appeared at some of the accompanying tour dates. He teamed up with Broken as a one-off act called Human Milk when he curated Calgary’s Sled Island a couple of years ago and contributed to the new Broken album Forgiveness Rock Record. In return, Kevin Drew’s grandmother appeared on his debut record as Spiral Stairs – last year’s The Real Feel (no really) and generally – like most every band of their generation – were influenced by Kannberg and his compatriot. “Ibi Dreams Of Pavement”? Yeah. BSS + SS = BFF.

And whilst Drew was on tour as Broken Social Scene – the whole “presents” thing ditched from the concert bill early on – one of Kannberg’s best-loved Pavement compositions was trotted out as a cover. This recording of Broken Social Scene performing “Kennel District” from Wowee Zowee comes from their show in Washington DC in November 2007, recorded for posterity by and available to stream at NPR.

Pavement and Broken Social Scene are joined by Band Of Horses, Beach House and more out on the Toronto Islands this Saturday, June 19. Crawdaddy and The Prague Post have interviews with Kannberg about both the Pavement reunion and his solo work.

MP3: Broken Social Scene – “Kennel District”
Video: Pavement – “Kennel District” (live)