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Posts Tagged ‘Peaches’

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Easy Water

Review of Caveman’s Coco Beware and giveaway

Photo via Dine Alone RecordsFrank YangMost bands that name themselves for prehistoric entities – your Mastadons, your Dinosaur Jrs – seem to do so at least a little for the heavy and/or primal connotations that come with it. Not so much for Brooklyn’s Caveman, who seem to have chosen the name ironically as there’s nothing raw or neolithic about their smooth and polished debut album Coco Beware.

Rather than club you about the head with a bone, Caveman makes an impression with shimmering guitars, floaty synths and tight harmonies delivering genial, mid-tempo pop that’s reminiscent of a less annoying Vampire Weekend sans Afropop influences. Another reference point is Local Natives thanks to their vocal interplay and creative percussion though Caveman never gets nearly as frantic as that outfit when they’re in gear. Granted, atmosphere and mood are much more Caveman’s mandate than overt dynamicism but you can sense that they’ve got the goods to amp things up a bit if they wanted, they’ve simply opted not to. As a result, Coco Beware succeeds at being an interesting listen, but not a very exciting one. They can do better.

Caveman are in town at The Horseshoe on January 11 along with Oklahoma’s Hospitality, chattered about here. Tickets are $10 in advance but courtesy of Embrace I’ve got a pair of passes to give away to the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see Caveman” in the subject line and your full name in the body, contest closes at midnight, January 8.

MP3: Caveman – “Thankful”
MP3: Caveman – “Easy Water”
MP3: Caveman – “Old Friend”
MP3: Caveman – “Decide”
MP3: Caveman – “My Room”
Video: Caveman – “Easy Water”

Anyone hoping that the Cat Power Christmas Eve release would be a new song rather than a cover might be a little disappointed that it’s not – but to be fair, it’s a cover of herself. Her redo of “King Rides By” sounds very much like the confident Cat Power of today than rather than the one who originally recorded it for her third album What Would The Community Think in 1996 – great for those who have been waiting to hear her voice wrapped around anything new but not necessarily offering much insight into where her songwriting is as she prepares her first release of new material since 2006’s The Greatest. An MP3 of the track is available to download from Cat Power’s website in exchange for a charitable donation and the video, featuring boxer Manny Pacquiao and directed by actor/director Giovanni Ribisi, is available to watch below.

Video: Cat Power – “King Rides By”

Wilco are streaming the opening night of their “Incredible Shrinking Tour Of Chicago” from earlier this month at Roadcase.

One of this year’s Record Store Day releases was an EP consisting of Franz Ferdinand covers; a video for the selection by Peaches came out back in the Spring but now, three more for the contributions by LCD Soundsystem, Stephin Merritt and ESG have come out. Still nothing for the collaboration between Franz Ferdinand themselves and Deborah Harry yet, but these other vids came out of nowhere as well. So.

Video: LCD Soundsystem – “Live Alone”
Video: ESG – “What She Came For”
Video: Stephin Merritt – “Dream Again”
Video: Peaches – “Turn It On”

Spinner talks to Matthew Sweet about celebrating his 20th anniversary with his Girlfriend, Laundromatinee welcomes the popsmith to their studios for a session, and NPR has a Mountain Stage session.

The AV Club gets Craig Finn to go all One-Track Mind with one of the songs from his solo debut Clear Heart Full Eyes, due out January 24.

DIY checks in with Of Montreal as they put the finishing touches on Paralytic Stalks, out February 7.

The Alternate Side serves up a session with Mates Of State.

Spin has a Moog Sound Lab video session with The Antlers.

Loud & Quiet interviews Erika Anderson of EMA, who has a date at The Garrison on March 13.

Merrell Garbus talks to Blurt about what’s been a pretty good year for tUnE-yArDs. Relix also has a chat.

NYC Taper – who narrowly avoided being hacked into oblivion earlier this week – has posted recordings of a couple of this year’s Yo La Tengo Hannukah shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken.

Paste looks into the enduring appeal of Neutral Milk Hotel’s not-nearly-as-reclusive-as-he-used-to-be leader Jeff Mangum.

NPR talks to Tom Waits.

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Crystallised

The xx and Warpaint at Massey Hall in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhen it was announced in June that The xx were not only coming back to Toronto for their fourth show in less than 10 months but doing it in a room far bigger and pricier than anything they’d done before, people thought they were mad. Now it doesn’t seem like madness so much as prescience. For starters, two of those three previous shows were support slots for acts who would have had no trouble selling out even without a buzz band opening and the third was at a room – The Phoenix – that was probably already undersized for them (it too was completely sold out). And really, all three of these shows were before the band REALLY blew up outside of indie circles, never mind the Mercury Prize win for their debut XX a few weeks ago. So was staging last night’s show at Massey Hall ambitious and unthinkable even as recently as a few months ago? Maybe. Was it the right thing to do? Yes, yes it was.

And while it would be presumptuous to suggest that Los Angeles’ Warpaint would find the same level of success as The xx in as short amount of time, they similarly didn’t seem to have any concerns about hitting their market saturation point – this was their third local show in less than four months and fourth in a year, and it’s still not enough as far as I’m concerned. Their debut The Fool, due out October 25, actually remains the last 2010 release that I’m looking forward to and haven’t heard yet and the fact that I won’t even contemplate my year-end lists until I’ve heard it should give you some idea of how much I’m anticipating it.

As to their show, it was interesting seeing how they translated into the much larger environs of a theatre having only experienced them in much more intimate club settings, and while the sound was murkier than ideal, their strengths – namely the thundering and undulating (thund-ulating?) rhythm section of Stella Mozgawa and Jenny Lee Lindberg and serpentine guitars and keening vocals of Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman – still came across loud and clear. And while the tempos they operated at made them sound like speed metal relative to The xx, their shared affinity for dark and dreamlike atmospherics should have impressed anyone who showed up in time to catch their 35-minute set; happily, there were quite a few of them but even if Massey had been empty, one suspects the band wouldn’t have noticed – once they started, the quartet were in their own world and seemingly playing just for themselves. We were just fortunate to get to watch.

Any question as to whether The xx could draw enough for a room the size of Massey Hall was moot before the house lights even went down – though not sold out, it was close enough to confirm that The xx were, indeed, huge. Even so, the ongoing complaint from some that their live show was lacking in charisma or stage presence have some basis, although I stand by my standard response of, “well what would you have them do – scissor kicks?” and maintain that their low-key demeanour is fitting to the music they make; they’re a soundtrack to what you get up to in the dark – it’s not about seeing so much as feeling. That said, The xx have improved their live show each time I’ve seen them and this time was the best yet. Perhaps not in terms of actual performance – there were more than a few missed notes and falling out of time with one another, perhaps a consequence of trying to get too loose up there – but for vibe, it was pretty special. For starters, I wager that this was the first time many of the 2500 or so in attendance had seen them play and the excitement in the room was palpable – these folks, who also seemed to have the youngest mean age of any full house I’ve ever seen at Massey Hall – were excited. And though the band were as polite but low-key as ever, when those seated in the floors spontaneously rushed the stage to dance or just get closer to their heroes during “Islands”, they seemed genuinely taken aback by the enthusiasm.

With an intimate delivery that was also possibly even slower and more sensual than on record and playing under a grand yet still somehow dark, meticulously synchronized light show, their set encompassed all of XX plus their cover of Womack & Womack’s “Teardrops”. As they’ve maintained there’s no new material ready to be aired or even any guarantee of a second album, the only “fresh” material came via in the instrumental intros, outros and inter-song segues that they used to expand and differentiate the live renditions from the album versions. The set barely clocked in at an hour including encore, but I didn’t get the sense that anyone felt they didn’t get their money’s worth – they heard everything they could have wanted to.

In a way, you almost hope that they don’t ever make a second record, if just to preserve the purity of their narrative arc thus far. Over a year and a half, these teenagers making music in obscurity have skyrocked to global fame, a Mercury Prize and massive tour of some of North America’s most hallowed venues, and their debut could stand as the single definitive statement of The xx, a document of their youth preserved in amber. In reality, this almost certainly won’t be the last we hear from The xx, but if it were? That’d be okay.

The Toronto Sun also has a review of the show. The Seattle Times has an interview with DJ/producer Jamie Smith, whom Spin reports is releasing a solo single next month.

Photos: The xx, Warpaint @ Massey Hall – September 29, 2010
MP3: The xx – “Basic Space”
MP3: Warpaint – “Undertow”
MP3: Warpaint – “Elephants”
MP3: Warpaint – “Billie Holiday”
Video: The xx – “Islands”
Video: The xx – “Basic Space”
Video: The xx – “Crystalised”
Video: Warpaint – “Stars”
Video: Warpaint – “Elephants”
MySpace: The xx
MySpace: Warpaint

PopMatters talks to the reunited Chapterhous, in town at Lee’s Palace on October 6.

Film School and The Depreciation Guild, both of whom will be at the El Mocambo on October 4, have each released new videos from their latest albums Fission and Spirit Youth, respectively. Wired talks to Film School’s Greg Bertens.

Video: Film School – “Sunny Day”
Video: The Depreciation Guild – “My Chariot”

Spoonfed and The Georgia Straight talk to Benjamin Curtis of School Of Seven Bells.

Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead tells Spinner they’re hoping to get a lot of mileage out of their latest album Penny Sparkle. They play The Phoenix on October 17.

Exclaim’s cover story this month is Deerhunter, whose latest Halcyon Digest came out this week. They are at the Opera House on October 19.

Spoonfed and Austinist have interviews with The Morning Benders, who premiered a new song in their Take-Away Show for Le Blogotheque. It may well be in rotation by the time they play The Mod Club on November 5.

Exclaim has details on the inevitable deluxe edition of The National’s High Violet which will be available on November 22. The good news is all the bonus tracks will be available a la carte via the usual digital retailers.

Muzzle Of Bees interviews Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

Exclaim chats with Stephen McBean of Black Mountain, in town at The Phoenix on October 31.

Land Of Talk’s Liz Powell weighs in on the subject of illegal music downloads at Spinner (precis: she doesn’t like it one bit).

Daytrotter has posted a session with Born Ruffians.

Peaches will be celebrating the holiday season this year with her production of Peaches Christ Superstar, the content of which should be self-explanatory (but Spinner explains anyways). The touring production wraps December 21 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto.

And all those Neil Young videos from Le Noise are indeed parts of a larger filmic whole, and it’s available to watch in its entirety over at YouTube starting today. Young discusses the album with The New York Times.

Video: Neil Young / Le Noise – The Film

This is going to be about it for this week; off to Las Vegas tomorrow morning for Matador 21 and I’d normally be reporting all about it but… what happens in Vegas and all that. But you can follow along thanks to the magic of the internet as most of the sets will be streaming at MySpace – details at Matablog. And also check out this oral history of Matador Records at MySpace, with two parts up and the final one tomorrow. ‘Tis good reading.

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Love Love

Everything All The Time, The Magic and The Balconies at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangYou need only look as far as Monday’s post to see what I was doing at the Horseshoe on Wednesday night. What I hadn’t mentioned in the writeup of The Balconies’ debut album – out officially September 15 – was that I had been trying to catch the band live for some months now, based on numerous rave reviews, but while they’d played no shortage of shows in the 416 I’d not been able to make any of them until now. The fact that I’d been able to familiarize myself with their album was just a happy coincidence.

And to everyone who’d offered those rave live reviews and perhaps set up unreasonable expectations… you were right. The trio, playing their first gig as a Toronto-based band, performed with an energy and tightness that belied their relatively short existence together. Songs that I wasn’t sure about on the album sounded great, as really their whole set did from start to finish. As impressive as the recorded document is – it really does manage to reproduce their on-stage sound – The Balconies live came off with a certain swagger that wasn’t quite captured in the studio. Blessed with an abundance of tunes, talent and charisma, The Balconies may be new in town but if you haven’t made their acquaintance yet, just wait – they’re too good to stay any kind of secret. They play a free show on Saturday night at The Recording Arts Academy and will be at Lee’s Palace for a CD release show on September 25.

I’d seen middle act The Magic back in June during NxNE and they turned out to be one of the best new things I saw during the festival. While that show put the spotlight on their disco-fied side, this time they played things a little cooler and damn if they didn’t sound even better for it – less with the camp and kitsch, more with the deep groove and the slow burn. These are relative statements, mind you – it was still all about the party, but this time the lights were turned down a little more. The band, who released an EP last year that doesn’t nearly do the fullness of their sound justice, continue to work on their full-length debut. Mirror balls twinkle in anticipation.

Last up was Everything All The Time, presumably named for neither the album by Band Of Horses or the song by Styx, but who were acting as hosts for the evening. The occasion was the release of their new EP, a follow-up to their 2008 self-titled debut but the first to properly capture their current incarnation as fronted by Alanna Stuart. With her impressive vocals up front, the keyboard-loaded sextet resided squarely at the intersection of synth-pop and soul-pop, circa the mid-1980s – utterly danceable and with lots of familiar sounds, but blended together in a decidedly fresh manner.

I saw the band play last August and while it was clear what they were going for, it didn’t sound like it had quite coalesced into what it was meant to be. A year on, that’s no longer a problem – their set was delivered with loads of confidence and as much energy as a band where 5/6 of the personnel are rooted to their instruments can possibly have, thanks largely to Stuart’s voice and presence, which was irresistible without being overbearing – a diva with only the positive connotations of the word. Their next gig is a CD release show on October 23 (I think that’s what they said) at the Drake Underground. Odds of it being a dance party are approximately one to one.

The Singing Lamb has an interview with Everything All The Time.

Photos: Everything All The Time, The Magic, The Balconies @ The Horseshoe – August 26, 2009
MP3: Everything All The Time – “Love Love”
MP3: The Balconies – “300 Pages”
MP3: The Balconies – “Smells Like Secrets”

Peaches has a date at the Phoenix on November 18.

MP3: Peaches – “Talk To Me”

Dirty Projectors are heading back on the road this Fall in support of Bitte Orca and will be at the Opera House in Toronto on November 14. Full dates at The Music Slut. The band will also be releasing a new EP in the UK on September 29 called Temecula Sunrise – details at Pitchfork.

MP3: Dirty Projectors – “Rise Above”
Video: Dirty Projectors – “Stillness Is The Move”

Chairlift have released a new video from Does You Inspire You. Last time I was in New York, I saw the health club poster with the phrase that the album title is lifted from. I’m actually back in New York next weekend – anything going on? Actually Chairlift is playing. Maybe it’s a sign. Or a poster. Aaaaah.

Video: Chairlift – “Ceiling Wax”

Pitchfork talks to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips about the edition of All Tomorrow’s Parties they’re curating in New York’s Catskills from September 11 to 13. There’s also interviews at The Fredericksburg Freelance-Star and The Washington Examiner. Their new album Embryonic is out October 13.

Richard Hawley talks to Spinner about getting into the necessary headspace to write his latest album Truelove’s Gutter, out September 22.

Pitchfork gets to know The xx, while The Quietus examines how the state of technology allowed the band to come to be. XX is out October 20 and they play The Phoenix on December 2.

Spin asks tough questions of Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner. They play the Kool Haus on September 29.

Both eye and NOW talk to Ohbijou’s Casey Mecija and James Bunton about the Friends In Bellwoods project, the launch parties for which go tonight at Lee’s Palace and all day tomorrow at The Tranzac.

Canadian Interviews interviews Canadian Kat Burns of Forest City Lovers, who will be playing the Friday night edition of the aforementioned release parties. Look for a new 7″ this Fall and work continues apace on album number three.

V Fest is finally here this weekend and The Toronto Star examines some of the problems that have beset this year’s edition of the festival and NOW looks at some of the acts that will be playing this weekend at the Molson Amphitheatre.

eye talks to Trent Reznor of day two headliner Nine Inch Nails about his decision to hang it up after this final round of touring.

JAM has an interview with Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys. I’ve never even thought of myself as a Pet Shop Boys fan, but they may be the act I’m most excited about seeing this weekend. I don’t think there’s any way they won’t put on a great show.

Montreal Mirror, JAM and Uptown interview Franz Ferdinand, playing the festival on day one.

With Sloan’s Chris Murphy still recovering from a broken collarbone, NOW reports that the band will have a few ringers covering bass duties on Saturday afternoon. No word on a designated scissor-kicker.

NOW and The Toronto Sun talk to Datarock. They’re up early Sunday afternoon. “Up” as in playing. Not as in awake.

Spinner has posted up the next (and last?) in its series on the state of independent music in Canada, this piece looking towards the future with the likes of Fucked Up, Crystal Castles and some fresh-faced kids who go by Metric.

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Hush

Asobi Seksu and Bell at the El Mocambo in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhile most bands spend their entire careers trying to nail down that elusive “signature sound”, actually achieving that goal can be as much a curse as a blessing. In the case of New York’s Asobi Seksu being “that band that sounds like J-pop meets My Bloody Valentine” certainly set them apart, but there’s only so much you can do within those boundaries and considering they damn near perfected it with their last album Citrus, the very real question facing them heading into album number three would have been, “what next?”

Their answer was to first strip the roster down to just principals Yuki Chikudate and James Hanna and then head back into the studio with much more Spector on their minds than Shields. And as you might expect, the resultant album Hush requires that the listener’s expectations be adjusted. Though things aren’t nearly as subdued as the album title might imply, they have traded in much of their fuzz-pedal squall for fluffier clouds of reverb and while the leaner sonic approach actually suits them quite well, it also seems their pop instincts were dulled in the process and by making their songs more atmospheric, they’ve also lost some substance. The record sounds more like a band in the process of creating a new identity rather than presenting a completed one.

Their live show, however, remains quite familiar as Tuesday night’s engagement at the El Mocambo proved. Though they’d paid a visit just five months prior, they still managed to draw a very healthy crowd and regardless of the band’s new creative direction, if they came expecting to be assaulted and battered by sound they weren’t disappointed. Apparently all the distortion pedals that didn’t make it into the studio were in the band’s touring van, because they had all their noisemaking toys along with them and weren’t afraid to use them – their signature Christmas and strobe light stage setup was also along for the ride. I was pleased to see that they’ve also developed a distinctive stage presence, with Hanna pacing the stage looking for pedals to stomp on and Chikudate cooly cooing into the microphone and whipping her hair around. And mixed in with the Citrus material and given the more muscular delivery, the Hush songs sounded much more alive, providing a bit of respite – but only a bit – from the sonic tumult of the older songs. If Asobi are looking for some pointers on where to take their sound, perhaps listening to a recording of one of their shows would be a good start – for my money, they’ve got the perfect formula right there.

Tourmates Bell also hailed from New York and the duo – frontwoman and namesake Olga Bell on keyboards and Jason Nazary on drums and both on laptops – were excited to be on their very first tour, this being the second show. Their sound is an interesting take on electronica, melding Bell’s powerful and elastic vocals with unconventional melodies, pop structures and dynamic live drumming. It’s the sort of thing that draws you in, then pushes you away and then pulls you back, sometimes all at once. Kind of strange but definitely intriguing.

Decider has an interview with Asobi Seksu, Gothamist has one with Bell.

Photos: Asobi Seksu, Bell @ The El Mocambo – March 3, 2009
MP3: Asobi Seksu – “Me & Mary”
MP3: Asobi Seksu – “Familiar Light”
MP3: Asobi Seksu – “New Years”
MP3: Asobi Seksu – “Thursday”
MP3: Asobi Seksu – “I’m Happy But You Don’t Like Me”
MP3: Asobi Seksu – “Let Them Wait”
MP3: Asobi Seksu – “Sooner”
MP3: Asobi Seksu – “Walk On The Moon”
MP3: Bell – “Magic Tape”
Video: Asobi Seksu – “Me & Mary”
Video: Asobi Seksu – “Thursday”
Video: Asobi Seksu – “Goodbye”
Video: Asobi Seksu – “Walk On The Moon”
MySpace: Asobi Seksu
MySpace: Bell

Black Book interviews Anthony Gonzalez of M83.

Ben Curtis of School Of Seven Bells talks to Drowned In Sound and This Is Fake DIY.

Pitchfork solicits a list of this and that from Stuart Staples of Tindersticks while NOW, The Washington Post, Express and New York Press settle for interviews. They play the Opera House on Tuesday night.

NME has details on Jarvis Cocker’s forthcoming album – relevant points are that it’s out May 19, but is still untitled now entitled Further Complications (via PF) and was produced by Steve Albini… now that’ll be a 180 from the Richard Hawley-helmed romantic lushness of the first record. Can’t wait.

Clash has an extended and thoughtful interview with Ian Brown about the history of The Stone Roses on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of their debut album. Yes, the “r” word comes up. No, don’t hold your breath.

Magnet Q&As Frightened Rabbit and NPR welcomes them to for an interview and session.

Gemma Hayes has released a new video from last year’s The Hollow Of Morning. I think the “swoon” is implicit anytime I write about her, is it not?

Video: Gemma Hayes – “Home”

Wireless Bollinger, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent and Clash interview Howling Bells, whose new album Radio Wars is – I’m sad to say – being rather justly pilloried. It’s just not very good and considering how much I’d been looking forward to it, is quite a disappointment. Not giving up on the band but it’s a let-down.

MP3: Howling Bells – “Into The Chaos”

Pitchfork reveals that one of the tracks on the new Wilco album – still untitled and set for a June release – will feature a duet between Jeff Tweedy and Feist.

To mark their upcoming tour in support of Neko Case, Crooked Fingers have released a new digital EP for “Your Control”, the closing track from their last album Forfeit/Fortune which is a duet between Eric Bachmann and Case. The EP also features a couple covers of Crooked Fingers tunes by Spoon and Lambchop.

Neko Case gives Spinner some of the ground rules for being in her band and talks to JAM about the naturalist themes that run through her work. She also talks to The Los Angeles Times and The Globe & Mail. She’s at Trinity-St Paul’s on April 17 and 18.

The Ithaca Journal and NOW talk to AC Newman, who is playing Lee’s Palace next Wednesday night.

Peaches has a date at the Phoenix on May 20. Her new album I Feel Cream is out May 4.

Grizzly Bear have mapped out a massive tour in support of new album Veckatimest – the Toronto date is June 5 at the Phoenix. The album is out May 26.

The National Post recorded a video feature on Ohbijou circa their show at Lee’s Palace last November, including a street corner performance backed by The Acorn. And more clarity on the status of Beacons – the band has signed a deal in the UK with Bella Union, making them labelmates – at least over there – with Fleet Foxes and Andrew Bird. Pretty good company. Beacons is set for a June 8 release there and plans are afoot for the North American release and rescheduled tour dates to fall in line with that.

Paste talks to Craig Finn about The Hold Steady about their forthcoming live CD/DVD set A Positive Rage, due out April 7.

Blurt reports that Richard Thompson will be the subject of a four-disc box set entitled Walking On A Wire: Richard Thompson (1968-2009) and due out June 30.

NOW talks to creator Bryan Lee-O’Malley and director Edgar Wright about the upcoming Scott Pilgrim and its Toronto roots.

Update: Sad news – Dutch concert webcast site FabChannel is closing its (virtual) doors next week – you have seven days to go root through their massive and beautiful archives. Get to it.