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Posts Tagged ‘Peelander-Z’

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

NXNE 2011 Day Four

Horse Feathers, Louise Burns, Cults and more at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangOne perennial highlight – okay, for two years – of my SXSW adventures was throwing day parties where we could invite Japanese Action Comic Punk outfit Peelander-Z to wreak havoc. So it was nice to see that not only were the Peelanders in town for NXNE, but they had an all-ages afternoon show scheduled at Sneaky Dee’s on the Saturday.

I guess Toronto’s still getting used to the idea of having shows when it’s still daylight out, because the gig was only attended by a few dozen – including some kids in cute homemade Peelander t-shirts – but I suspect that even faced with an audience of one, Peelander-Z would give it their all (and make said individual very uncomfortable). The show was a little different from when they were here in September, with Peelander Pink a little more involved in the proceedings and a dance number at the end, but the chewy centre was classic Peelander with human bowling, band swapping and squid costume jump rope/limbo line amongst other shenanigans. Tonnes of fun, but I couldn’t help wondering how insane it would have been if they’d been put on at Yonge-Dundas Square, with its throngs of unsuspecting bystanders and eminently climbable stage. Maybe next time.

Spinner has a surprisingly coherent interview with Peelander Yellow.

Photos: Peelander-Z @ Sneaky Dee’s – June 18, 2011
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Tacos Tacos Tacos”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “E-I-E-I-O”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “S.T.E.A.K.”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Rocket Gold Star”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Champion”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Panda Punk”
Video: Peelander-Z – “E-I-E-I-O”
Video: Peelander-Z – “Ninja High Schooool”
Video: Peelander-Z – “S.T.E.A.K.”
Video: Peelander-Z – “Mad Tiger”

Bridging the day and night programming at Yonge-Dundas Square was uber-buzz band of the hour, New York’s Cults. I’d seen them last Summer when their hype was still more of the underground variety and been somewhat underwhelmed, appreciating the style of what they were doing and some of their songs but overall felt that they were still too green to be touring the continent. Fast forward a year and their self-titled debut is garnering decent reviews and me? Still not overly impressed. Their onstage presence is better, but Madeline Follin still looks uncomfortable as a frontwoman, though maybe she was just unaccustomed to such a large stage in daylight. In any case the songs were more fully-realized and the audience was certainly responsive though anyone looking for electricity would be left wanting. Don’t get me wrong – they’re fine and all, but I find the raves they’re getting disproportionate to what they’re actually doing. And once again, I would like to point out that sadly departed Saturday Looks Good To Me did the Motown/retro-pop revival thing SO much better and more interestingly not that long ago. Every Night, people. Every. Night.

NOW, New York Magazine and NPR have feature pieces on Cults.

Photos: Cults @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 18, 2011
MP3: Cults – “Go Outside”
MP3: Cults – “Most Wanted”
Video: Cults – “Abducted”
Video: Cults – “Oh My God”

I encouraged everyone to make Louise Burns’ Saturday gig a must-see on their schedule, and considering that between that post and the show her debut Mellow Drama was also long-listed for the Polaris, I assumed that it’d be standing-room only in Supermarket’s back room and while a decently-sized crowd showed up, sitting or even lying down was also an option. This is what you get for being scheduled against DEVO, I guess. Still, Burns and her band The Moonshiners – five players including backing vocalist – impressed those who were there with a solid set that proved that despite the innate twang of her voice, pigeonholing Burns as a retro/rootsy-type artist is really insufficient – in fact the combination of Burns’ deftly melodic basslines and the dual chiming Telecasters had me drawing Smiths comparisons; I’ll wager anything that she’s got a healthy collection of ’80s Anglo-indie at home. I’ll also wager that Burns’ star will continue to rise over the coming months – excess elbow room at her shows will not be a problem.

Photos: Louise Burns @ Supermarket – June 18, 2011
MP3: Louise Burns – “What Do You Wanna Do?”
MP3: Louise Burns – “Drop Names Not Bombs”
Video: Louise Burns – “What Do You Wanna Do?”

The final night of NXNE had no shortage of high-profile shows sure to draw big crowds and fill up early. Which is why I opted to avoid all of them and camp out in the cozy underground shelter of The Dakota Tavern to wind out the festival. Traffic woes – even on a bike – meant it took longer to get from A to B than it should have, but I still made it in time to catch most of the Smoke Fairies’ set. The London-based duo play English folk with American blues undertones built around haunting haunting harmonies and intertwined guitar lines; though quite young, they made a convincingly old sound. In between songs from their new record Through Low Light And Trees, they offered stories about being stoned on Nyquil, disturbing Ben Mulroney and visitng island petting zoos. Entertaining? Rather.

Photos: Smoke Fairies @ The Dakota Tavern – June 18, 2011
MP3: Smoke Fairies – “Strange Moon Rising”
Video: Smoke Fairies – “Living With Ghosts”
Video: Smoke Fairies – “Hotel Room”
Video: Smoke Fairies – “Strange Moon Rising”
Video: Smoke Fairies – “Frozen Heart”

I didn’t know much about the next act, Portland’s Horse Feathers, save for that they were on Kill Rock Stars and presumably decent. That would prove to be the understatement of the festival. The quartet, led by singer-songwriter Justin Ringle put on a jaw-droppingly beautful showcase of dramatically orchestrated country/folk music, the dexterity of which was remarkable for the delicacy of the arrangements. There was no way that something so intricate should have carried so much weight, and yet it did. A pity it wasn’t quite breathtaking enough to shut up some of the talkers who insisted on jabbering throughout the set, but even they couldn’t ruin the performance. Easily one of the discoveries of the festival and you can bet I now own a copy of last year’s Thistled Spring.

Photos: Horse Feathers @ The Dakota Tavern – June 18, 2011
MP3: Horse Feathers – “Thistled Spring”
MP3: Horse Feathers – “Curs In The Weeds”
MP3: Horse Feathers – “Belly Of June”
MP3: Horse Feathers – “Drain You”
Video: Horse Feathers – “Belly Of June”
Video: Horse Feathers – “Curs In The Weeds”

North Dakota’s Secret Cities were the main band that I had wanted to come to The Dakota to see, but by this point I’d rather forgotten that. Their set, showcasing their new record Strange Hearts, did a good job of reminding me of that fact. The recorded versions of their songs happily exist in a fuzzy, mid-fi state, reminiscent of the heyday of the Elephant 6, but live things have a more necessary clarity and considerably more volume, thanks to clattering double drums, layered vocals, and hooks a-plenty. A melange of almost every pop styling imaginable, they ably offset proggier inclinations with a genial goofiness and general all-around charm.

Photos: Secret Cities @ The Dakota Tavern – June 18, 2011
MP3: Secret Cities – “The Park”
MP3: Secret Cities – “Boyfriends”
MP3: Secret Cities – “Luv Crime”
MP3: Secret Cities – “On Holiday”
MP3: Secret Cities – “Bright Teeth”
MP3: Secret Cities – “PG Pt 1”
MP3: Secret Cities – “Pink City”
Video: Secret Cities – “Always Friends”
Video: Secret Cities – “Pink City”

And closing the festival out were locals New Country Rehab who, as their name might imply, were a pretty much down-home country band who didn’t need a festival as an excuse to play a honky-tonk like The Dakota. Opening with a cover of Springsteen’s “State Trooper”, they took an obvious respect for traditional country, infused with some fresh energy to say nothing of ridiculous musicianship and stopped just short of entering alt.country/country-rock territory. Just enough to get the people dancing, which they most surely did. I stuck around long enough to enjoy their take on Creedence’s “Effigy” and then called it a day/night/festival. THAT’S IT.

Spinner has an interview with the band.

Photos: New Country Rehab @ The Dakota Tavern – June 18, 2011
MP3: New Country Rehab – “Angel Of Death”

As I wrap up this year’s NXNE coverage, a few pre-festival interviews that I missed earlier, all courtesy of Torontoist – this one with The Balconies, this one with Olenka & The Autumn Lovers and this one with Snowblink.

Details on the first official Memoryhouse release from SubPop have been revealed, and it’s not going to be their debut album. Instead, their debut EP The Years has been rerecorded, remixed and remastered and had a couple extra tracks added on; it will be given wide release on September 13, presumably pushing their proper debut album back until 2012.

MP3: Memoryhouse – “Modern, Normal”

Ohbijou have announced details of their third album, entitled Metal Meets and due out on September 27. Exclaim has details and a teaser video.

NPR welcomes The Rural Alberta Advantage to their studios for a World Cafe session while Metro offers up an interview.

Chart talks to Jay Ferguson of Sloan.

There doesn’t look like there’ll be any Olympic Island concerts this year, but a just-announced free show from Sarah Harmer, Serena Ryder and Skydiggers on July 16 on Centre Island is nothing to shake a stick at. It’s part of Parks Day, presented by Parks Canada, and is – as mentioned – free. Your tax dollars at work!

Video: Sarah Harmer – “Captive”
Video: Serena Ryder – “Little Bit Of Red”
Video: Skydiggers – “I Will Give You Everything”

The Boot talks to Neil Young about his just-released archival release A Treasure.

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

What Do You Wanna Do?

Louise Burns and other gentle suggestions for NXNE 2011

Photo By Michelle FordMichelle FordAnother year, another NXNE, another NXNE preview post. I’ll apologize in advance if this one’s a little less thorough or exploratory than previews past, as travels and general business has taken up time that would usually be spent cruising band websites and Myspaces Facebooks, Bandcamps and Soundclouds.

But I can offer one unconditional endorsement for the coming week, and I’d like to think it’s not a wholly obvious one: Vancouver’s Louise Burns. Her debut Mellow Drama came out a couple months ago and sat in my CD stacks until some recommendations both personal and professional prompted me to dig it out and give it a spin and wow. Gifted with a crystalline voice possessing just the right amount of twang at the corners, Burns puts it to work on a remarkably strong set of songs born of a love of classic ’50s and ’60s rock’n’roll but grown to feel timeless rather than throwback. While not the most universal reference point, readers of this here site will appreciate how high praise it is when I compare her to Nicole Atkins in influence and aesthetic, though with less torchiness and more jangle in the mix. Dig those Pretenders guitar tones.

I’m quite taken with this record and so was pretty happy when Burns was a late addition to the NXNE lineup; her showcase goes 9PM on Saturday night, June 18, at Supermarket. Southern Souls has a video session with downloadable MP3s to check out.

MP3: Louise Burns – “Drop Names Not Bombs”
Video: Louise Burns – “What Do You Wanna Do?”

And here’s the day-by-day of stuff that, should you find yourself looking for something to check out, I think may be worth your while. I’ve left out some perennial recommendations because, well, that’d be kind of redundant, but they still have my implicit endorsement.

Wednesday, June 15
Young Contrarians @ Rancho Relaxo, 8PM – advertised to me as a fun sort-of side-project of local musicians who rarely play, the samples of their lightly synth-y, New Wave pop is better than lots of what I’ve heard from deadly serious, full-time bands. Check out the tune on their NXNE profile and tell me I’m wrong.

Lower Dens @ The Garrison, 10PM – hypnotically atmospheric Baltimore outfit finally returning to Toronto for a couple of NXNE shows, this one and another at 1AM on Thursday, June 16, at Lee’s Palace. One of the bands I really hope to catch but won’t be surprised if I miss completely.
MP3: Lower Dens – “Hospice Gates”

Ume @ The Drake Underground, 11PM – the Austin-based power trio who’re personal favourites will be previewing their new album Phantoms, due out on August 30. They always put on an absolutely scorching live show courtesy the guitar heroics of frontwoman Lauren Larson.
MP3: Ume – “The Conductor”

The Postelles @ The Garrison, 11PM – New York guitar-pop band that sounds like a New York guitar-pop band, which is to say kind of throwback garage-y and a lot catchy. Billboard and The Washington Examiner have features.
MP3: The Postelles – “Hold On”

Library Voices @ The Rivoli, 12AM – unflappable Saskatchewan collective who’ve endured theft, floods and living in Saskatchewan to keep putting out upbeat, catchy pop will release their second album Summer Of Lust on August 23. NOW, The National Post and The Leader-Post have interviews.
Video: Library Voices – “Drinking Games”

Thursday, June 16
Evening Hymns @ The Music Gallery, 8PM – Toronto duo built around the duo of Jonas Bonetta and Sylvie Smith will be previewing their second album, as yet untitled but due out in the Fall, in pretty much the most perfect setting short of a mist-covered mountaintop. Spill has an interview with Bonetta.
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Broken Rifle”

Fucked Up @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 8PM – the chance to see the 2009 Polaris Prize winners do their crowd-invading, half-naked thing in a public square is not to be missed, nor is the opportunity to hear their latest opus David Comes To Life live. They’ll also play Wrongbar at 1AM the same evening. The National Post has a feature.
MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”

Modern Superstitions @ The Garrison, 9PM – constantly on my festival “you ought to see” lists because, well, you ought to see them. Their catchy garage-pop get better every time out.
MP3: Modern Superstitions – “Visions Of You”

The Two Koreas @ The Velvet Underground, 10PM – in brief: local rock scribes form rock band, make surprisingly good guitar-rock record, get other local rock scribes to recommend seeing them and regret no longer being in bands.
MP3: The Two Koreas – “Midnight Brown”

Cowboy And Indian @ The Comfort Zone, 10PM – CRUCIFICTORIOUS!
MP3: Cowboy And Indian – “Ledbellies”

Slow Down, Molasses @ The Dakota Tavern, 11PM – sprawling Prairie collective who’ve found an extra dose of cohesion and rock on their second album Walk Into The Sea
MP3: Slow Down, Molasses – “Late Night Radio”

Evan Dando & Juliana Hatfield @ Lee’s Palace, 12AM – one of Alternative Nation’s original power couples, now back together and doing… I’m not exactly sure. But expecting to slapped upside the head with ’90s nostalgia probably isn’t unreasonable.
Video: The Lemonheads – “It’s A Shame About Ray”
Video: The Juliana Hatfield Three – “Spin The Bottle”

Bruce Peninsula @ The Rivoli, 1AM – local gospel-blues-folk choir continues their gradual return to active duty with their first live show in what seems like forever. Their second album Open Flames is out this Fall
MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Light Flight”

Friday, June 17
Art Brut @ The Mod Club, 9PM – hilarious and whip-smart Brits will showcase their new record Brilliant! Tragic. Paste has a profile.
MP3: Art Brut – “Lost Weekend”

Volcano Playground @ Rancho Relaxo, 11PM – Atmospheric synth-pop made right here in Toronto that pulls together all manner of influence into something impressively unique. A local act to keep an eye on, whether at NXNE or not.
MP3: Volcano Playground – “Waiting”

Julianna Barwick @ Wrongbar, 11PM – Haunting, ambient soundscapes built on layers of vocals and imagination.
MP3: Julianna Barwick – “The Magic Place”

Swervedriver @ The Great Hall, 12AM – British shoegaze legends making a rare appearance in these parts… even if their last appearance in 2008 was at this very same festival.
MP3: Swervedriver – “Last Train To Satansville” (live)

Dum Dum Girls @ Lee’s Palace, 12AM – sun-kissed Californian garage-pop from the guaranteed best-dressed band at the fest. Including Devo. Spinner and NOW have interviews.
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Jail La La”

Olenka & The Autumn Lovers @ The Gladstone Hotel, 12AM – London orchestral-folk faves finally return with a new, full lineup that should allow them to recreate more of if not all of their gorgeous And Now We Sing album
MP3: Olenka & The Autumn Lovers – “Odessa”

Rouge @ Sneaky Dee’s, 3AM – if for some reason you’re still awake and looking for something to do, their electro-pop will make a compelling argument for dancing, dancing, dancing.

Saturday, June 18
Cults @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 7PM – possibly the buzziest of all the buzz bands playing the festival, thanks to the love for the retro-pop that adorns their self-titled debut. They also playing at midnight at Lee’s Palace on June 17. Filter and Boston Globe have features.
MP3: Cults- “Go Outside”

Bellewoods @ The Dakota Tavern, 9PM – raggedly lovely and rockingly downcast alt.country outfit preparing for the upcoming release of their debut Don’t Rely On Me
MP3: Bellewoods – “Take Me Out”

Devo @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 9:30PM – They’re legends, they’re the headliners, they’re free. Are they not men? They are DEVO.
Video: Devo – “Girl U Want”

Smoke Fairies @ The Dakota Tavern, 10PM – English folk-blues duo specializing in tight harmonies and creepy atmosphere. Tour Dates has an interview.
MP3: Smoke Fairies – “Strange Moon Rising”

Peelander-Z @ The Comfort Zone, 12AM – A single look should be all you need to know if you want to see the planet’s premiere Japanese action comic punk band. They also play an all-ages show at Sneaky Dee’s at 5PM that afternoon. Spinner has an interview.
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Tacos Tacos Tacos”

Chad VanGaalen @ The Great Hall, 12AM – The release of Diaper Island brings Canada’s premier weirdo-pop auteur back to town. The Take and National Post have interviews.
MP3: Chad Vangaalen – “Sara”

Secret Cities @ The Dakota Tavern, 12AM – Classic, lightly psychedelic pop low on fidelity but high on songs, hailing from the music hotbed of Fargo, North Dakota. They’re also playing 9PM Friday at Wrongbar and 5PM Saturday at The Rivoli
MP3: Secret Cities – “The Park”

Obviously, this is just a tiny sample of what’s on offer this week at the clubs around town – to be honest, I haven’t even sorted out what I’m going to be seeing so I can’t very well say with any authority that these are the acts you should be seeing. But hopefully there’s something in the selections above that click with you and at least register as an option for your festival itinerary. And if you need more, check out festival previews at Spin (focusing on worthy Torontonian acts), OTM, BlogTO, Toro (two-parter) and The Line Of Best Fit

And note that these only covered the official evening showcases; while things are still far from Austin-scale, there’s more day shows and whatnot this than I ever recall, which is good news for everyone – particularly underagers and people without the time/money/energy for the club crawl. There’s a number of in-store shows, the Kelp Records/Line Of Best Fit BBQ on Friday, an Rdio-sponsored thing and BrooklynVegan-branded boat cruise on Saturday afternoon and the Live In Bellwoods performances in the park running afternoons from Thursday through Sunday to name the ones that are on my radar. And there’s also a launch party for the just-released Static Zine on the Sunday, which will feature live shows at both Sky Blue Sky Sandwiches and in Christie Pits.

Update: Just posted – Spinner’s as-comprehensive-as-you’ll-find guide to NXNE afterparties, day shows and secret shows.

So yeah, NXNE. Here we go.

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Wandering

Review of Amor de Dias’ Street Of The Love Of Days

Photo By Shoko IshikawaShoko IshikawaIf you’ve been reading this site for a little while, you may have noted that as of this Saturday – rapture notwithstanding – I’ll be en route to (hopefully) sunny Barcelona for a week and then on to London for a few days as a chaser. And if you’ve been reading this site for a while longer, you may recall that no other band more vividly conjures memories of my last visit to the England than The Clientele. Which is why the existence of Amor de Días, which is the musical pairing of Clientele frontman Alasdair MacLean and Lupe Núñez-Fernández, the Spanish half of Pipas, seems like it should be the perfect soundtrack for this trip.

As you might expect from the pairing of two artists known for delicately-rendered, beautiful pop, their debut Street Of The Love Of Days is an idyllic, gossamer-sounding collection of songs that somehow manages to sound equally English and Spanish without overtly trying (okay, the lyrics sung in Spanish was probably deliberate, but you know what I mean). And though the album is about four years in the making, recorded in the downtime between other projects, it feels breezy enough that if told it was tracked over the course of a week in some countryside villa, you’d have no reason to doubt it. No reason except for the understated but meticulous craftsmanship thats gone into it, that is – though the instrumentation is primarily acoustic, lightly orchestrated and relatively sparse, the dreamlike atmosphere that it’s used to create is sumptuous. This is the sound of long days, open skies and grassy fields; not necessarily what my actual trip will entail, but if it’s as peaceful and lovely as this record, I will happily take it.

All that said, this silver lining is not without its cloud – while I am heading over to their home and native lands, Amor de Días will be coming to mine and I will be missing their show at The Horseshoe on May 25, where they’ll be opening up for fellow musical couple Damon & Naomi. Everyone who’s said how envious they are of my trip ought to go to this show if just to spite me.

Allmusic gets the pair to list off some of the influences on their sound, complete with video samples, while TBD talks to Núñez-Fernández.

MP3: Amor de Días – “Bunhill Fields”
MP3: Amor de Días – “New Wine”
Video: Amor de Días – “Late Mornings”
Stream: Amor de Días / Street Of The Love Of Days

WBUR talks to Damon & Naomi about the Galaxie 500 days. And back in the duo’s present, News & Observer talks to them about their new record False Beats & True Hearts is out now and available to stream. As noted above, they’re at The Horseshoe on May 25.

MP3: Damon & Naomi – “Walking Backwards”
Video: Damon & Naomi – “Nettles & Ivy”
Stream: Damon & Naomi / False Beats and True Hearts

Spin sits Will Sheff of Okkervil River and Steve Earle down together for a chat while The Chronicle Herald and Riverfront Times talk to Sheff and Earle on their own, respectively. Okkervil are at The Phoenix on June 10, Earle at the Molson Amphitheatre August 20.

Pitchfork talks to Whitey McConnaughy, director of the cats-gone-wild video for Superchunk’s “Crossed Wires”.

Video: Superchunk – “Crossed Wires”

Check out the first MP3 from the new David Bazan record Strange Negotiations, due out May 24. He plays Lee’s Palace on June 14.

MP3: David Bazan – “Wolves At The Door”

Also in town on June 14, though at The Mod Club, are The Antlers. PopMatters has an interview with frontman Peter Silberman.

Spin, The Chicago Tribune and JAM talk to Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard. They play The Phoenix tonight and the Molson Amphitheatre on July 29. Codes & Keys is out May 31.

The Sentimentalist interviews The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, in town at The Opera House on August 2.

The Radio Dept. will be reissuing their entire catalog – all three albums – on vinyl come June 7, excellent news for those who like their fuzzy pop in the highest fidelity. Lesser Matters, Pet Grief and Clinging To A Scheme will all be available on wax come June 7 and this is particularly good news since Pet Grief has never been available on LP. Thank the band with a hug when they play The Horseshoe on May 29.

MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Why Won’t You Talk About It?”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The Worst Taste In Music”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Heaven’s On Fire”

It’s good of NME to want to introduce you to Sweden’s I Break Horses by way of a download of their track “Hearts”, but if you maybe don’t want a 39MB .WAV file, I’ve gone ahead and made an MP3 for you below. Think grand, M83-ish synth-gaze. It’s nice.

MP3: I Break Horses – “Hearts”
Video: I Break Horses – “Hearts”

Pitchfork has got a couple new MP3s from jj, who’re giving them away just because.

MP3: jj – “No One Can Touch Us Tonight”
MP3: jj – “Ice”

The Washington Examiner and Phoenix profile Lykke Li, in town at The Phoenix for a sold-out show on May 22.

Blurt reports that New York-based Japanese pop act Cibo Matto have reunited after more than a decade for a tour and a new album, due out sometime next year. In the meantime, catch them at The Mod Club Lee’s Palace on July 16, tickets $20 in advance.

Video: Cibo Matto – “Know Your Chicken”

Also Japanese-bred, New York-based and just a little odd are Peelander-Z; they’re coming back to town for NXNE and will be at The Silver Dollar on June 18 at midnight. Tampa Bay Online has an interview with Peelander Red and for the uninitiated, The AV Club has a Peelander primer.

MP3: Peelander-Z – “Tacos Tacos Tacos”

Grinderman have a new video. It’s animated. It’s not for kids.

Video: Grinderman – “Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man”

And continuing with the Nick Cave, just out and currently streaming are the four latest Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds reissues, though not the bonus material. And the fancy remastering may not have survived after the digital streaming compressions. But if you’re in the mood for some Bad Seeds and don’t have any handy, it’s your lucky day.

Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / Let Love In
Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / Murder Ballads
Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / The Boatman’s Call
Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / No More Shall We Part

Spinner talks to Howling Bells frontwoman Juanita Stein about making album number three, due out sometime this Summer.

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Mad Tiger!

Peelander-Z at The Silver Dollar in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangPeelander-Z means many things to many people – Japanese Power Ranger-suited comic punks to some, incomprehensibly entertaining novelty act to others, and plain incomprehensible to the rest. To me, they mean the Hot Freaks! shows at The Mohawk in Austin, Texas, which were the highlights of SxSWs past. Those days are probably over and gone, however, so it was very obliging of them to come up to Toronto for two shows last week and help craft some new memories.

This was their first time back in town in a decade – a fact I found remarkable because it meant they’d been DOING what they do for 10 years plus – and while I’m a double-dose of Peelander would have been doubly entertaining, I opted to go to the second of the shows at The Silver Dollar simply because it was closer to home and seemed like a more climbable venue than The Velvet Underground and with better human bowling lanes. Besides making up for an extended absence from Canada, they were previewing their new record P-TV-Z, due out September 28, and really – do you need an excuse to dress up and engage in the sort of bedlam that Peelander do? No, I don’t think you do.

As far as the performance went, it was pretty much everything you could hope for. For the hour that they were on stage (and off the stage), there was the giant squid costume, nose picking, human bowling, replacing the band with audience members, singalongs, limbo, jump rope, conga lines, so many Mikes, and while the Silver Dollar isn’t nearly as conducive to scaling and surfing as The Mohawk, Peelander Red still managed to crowd surf upright onto the bar and back to the stage. Very impressive. And while there’s a temptation to assume the music comes secondary to the antics, just a little attention reveals that they’re capable and versatile musicians. I mean, YOU try playing bass while dressed as a giant squid guitar. Not that easy, is it. But most importantly, Peelander-Z are fun beyond words and utterly unique. And this show was better than the last one at the Mohawk in that Peelander Green didn’t feel compelled to chuck a drumstick at me this time.

Photos: Peelander-Z @ The Silver Dollar – September 2, 2010
MP3: Peelander-Z – “E-I-E-I-O”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “S.T.E.A.K.”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Rocket Gold Star”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Champion”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Panda Punk”
Video: Peelander-Z – “E-I-E-I-O”
Video: Peelander-Z – “Ninja High Schooool”
Video: Peelander-Z – “S.T.E.A.K.”
Video: Peelander-Z – “Mad Tiger”
MySpace: Peelander-Z

Belle & Sebastian are previewing two songs from their new record Write About Love via a 30-minute talk show webisode; sounds like it’s going to be a winner, folks. The album is out October 12 and they play Massey Hall the same evening. The first MP3 from the album is supposed to be made available today as well. Update: The track is now available email-widget-swapsies-style.

The Telegraph and The Guardian talked to Laura Marling about being nominated a second time for the Mercury Prize, which is being awarded tonight.

Clash interviews Richard Thompson about his new album Dream Attic.

Billy Bragg talks to Billboard about teaming up with Roseanne Cash and Joe Henry for a new album due out in late 2011.

Unbelievably, The Charlatans’ North American tour in support of Who We Touch, out next Tuesday, is due to begin tonight in Atlanta and they still haven’t cancelled it. They might even already be on this side of the Atlantic! Perhaps flush with confidence that the apocalypse isn’t imminent, they’ve scheduled an in-store at Sunrise Records on Yonge St at 7PM next Friday, September 17, before their show at Lee’s Palace later that evening. And they’ve just released a new video from said record, which is apparently quite decent.

Video: The Charlatans – “My Foolish Pride”

Beatroute interviews The Dø, in town at the Mod Club this coming Sunday night, September 11.

The Guardian interviews Nick Cave of Grinderman. Grinderman 2 is out next Tuesday and they’re at The Phoenix on November 11.

I didn’t pay much attention to Pitchfork’s Top 200 Tracks of The ’90s series last week, save for skipping to the end on Friday and going, “huh”, but their just-posted ’90s In Lists piece was equal parts hilarious, nostalgic, depressing and terrifying – the last one mostly because that, right there, is my high school and university years and it was so so so so long away. The only thing that’s going to be more depressing today – god willing – is biking to work past the hordes of 17-year old frosh starting at the University Of Toronto who have no clue about 90% of the stuff in those lists. Hello, kids! I’m twice your age! Get off my lawn!

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Welcome Wagon

Fang Island tour, tour again, tour some more

Photo via Sargent HouseSargent HouseFans of Fang Island residing in Toronto can be forgiven for finding the Brooklyn combo’s Fall touring itinerary a confusing bit of tease. Following some European dates at the tail end of Summer, they’re heading out west with Matt & Kim for September, and then with Coheed & Cambria through the midwest and across Canada in October, inching ever closer to the 416 but stopping juuuuust short, wrapping things in Kitchener on October 29 (Coheed & Cambria having brought their comic book metal act to town back in May).

Surely it wouldn’t have been too much difficulty to just hang around just one more day and bring the arena-sized guitar-tap-happy anthems of their self-titled debut to Toronto, considering they last time they were here was in July opening for The Flaming Lips and there were – generously – maybe 100 people on hand to see them. But as it turns out, we aren’t being neglected but just put off a little bit. The road warriors will be back at it in November and riffing furiously at audiences in the eastern half of North America alongside Delicate Steve and that will include a November 16 date at the El Mocambo; tickets $11.50 in advance.

MP3: Fang Island – “Daisy”
MP3: Fang Island – “Life Coach”
Video: Fang Island – “Careful Crossers”
Video: Fang Island – “Life Coach”
Video: Fang Island – “Daisy”

Hailing from the back woods of rural Michigan, Breathe Owl Breathe will be at Wrongbar on September 22 in advance of the September 28 release of their new record Magic Central. Kind of an odd venue for their pretty and pretty quiet folk-pop, but it is what it is.

MP3: Breathe Owl Breathe – “Own Stunts”
Video: Breathe Owl Breathe – “Own Stunts”

Alejandro Escovedo, just here opening up for Blue Rodeo, will return for his own show at the Opera House on September 29 – tickets $25 in advance

Chart talks to Peelander-Z, whose two-night stand in Toronto begins tonight at The Velvet Underground and wraps tomorrow at The Silver Dollar.

JAM and The Boston Phoenix talk to Kele, who brings his solo debut to the Mod Club on Friday night, September 3.

To mark the late Summer tour that brings them to the El Mocambo on Saturday night, September 3, Telekinesis have released a new EP called Parallel Seismic Conspiracies that is available digitally anywhere people have internets but in physical form only at their shows. And they’ve made a video for one of the songs.

Video: Telekinesis – “Dirty Thing”

Also doing the tour-exclusive release thing are Caribou, who have turned a recording of their incarnation as the Caribou Vibration Ensemble at last year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties in upstate New York into a live album. It will be released as a double-vinyl with accompanying DVD – presumably also of the ATP show and not the Toronto performance a few days earlier – and be sold only at shows. Like the one September 17 at the Phoenix. You can download a few of the tracks at the Free Music Archive but really, you’ll want the whole thing.

MP3: Caribou Vibration Ensemble – “Skunks”

Drowned In Sound meets Avi Buffalo. They’re at The Horseshoe on October 18.

The Fly solicits an acoustic session from The Vaselines. Their new record Sex With An X is out September 14 and they’ll play songs from it at The Horseshoe on October 30.

Spin find out where the name Grinderman came from, when “Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds” seemed perfectly accurate. Their Grinderman 2 is out September 14 and they’re at The Phoenix on November 11.