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Posts Tagged ‘Perfume Genius’

Monday, December 10th, 2012

2012

Chromewaves’ favourite albums of 2012

2012

I’ve always said when compiling my year-end list that I don’t choose my favourite albums of the year so much as they declare themselves to me. If it requires too much thought, it’s probably more a case of trying to justify adding something that I know probably doesn’t belong. But those albums that do pass muster are not, as you might think, necessarily the albums that I can’t stop listening to. Rather, they’re often the ones that I try to listen to the least, or at least sparingly, lest that intangible magic that I feel within its notes should evaporate with growing familiarity and what I thought was special turns out to be more ordinary. This happens more often than I’d like, but then there are those that don’t only sparkle on the surface, that offer up more the further you delve into them, the records that contain multitudes.

These are not ten of those records. Some of them are, but to expect more than a handful of those a year to cross my path and get the attention they demand/deserve would be asking too much. The rest are simply albums that, be they challenging or comforting, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this year. Which ones are which is for me to know and you to guess – as always, they’re ordered alphabetically rather than by rank – but were the world to indeed end in a couple of weeks like the gullible and lunatic among us believe, they’d comprise ten records that I’d be content clutching as the skies rained down fire upon us.

And I tried to do something more ambitious with the graphic treatment of this year’s list, but as it turns out my Photoshop skills – which have always kind of sucked – are actually getting worse. So alas, this is all we get.

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Friday, December 7th, 2012

Zumm Zumm

Django Django are are coming coming to to town town

Photo By Pavla KopecnaPavla KopecnaIn mentioning yesterday that winning the Mercury Prize allowed Alt-J to graduate from playing Wrongbar in September to playing The Phoenix in March, we can also scientifically see what only getting nominated to the shortlist gets you. Django Django, who were shortlisted on the strength of their self-titled debut, also played Wrongbar in late September and have also just scheduled a Spring tour that brings them back to town in March – March 12, specifically, and at The Opera House. So based on the capacities of these two rooms, what can we discern? Winning the Mercury lets you play to about 200 more people. QED. Tickets are $17.50.

DIY has an interview with Django Django, who’ve just released a new video from the aforementioned Mercury-nominated album. There’s also a World Cafe session up at NPR.

MP3: Django Django – “Default”
Video: Django Django – “Life’s A Beach”

Also just announced – Ken Stringfellow of The Posies, R.E.M., and Big Star will be in town as just Ken Stringfellow – solo artist who released Danzig In The Moonlight in October – for a date at The Drake Underground on February 19. Tickets for that are $15, and God Is In The TV has an interview.

MP3: Ken Stringfellow – “Doesn’t It Remind You Of Something”

Chapel Hill’s rootsy Mount Moriah – recently signed to Merge and getting a lot of good press – will release their second album Miracle Temple on February 26 and be in town at The Drake on March 20 to celebrate; that’ll be part of Canadian Music Week, if you were wondering.

Stream: Mount Moriah – “Lament”

The Get Down Stay Down are at Lee’s Palace on March 27 in support of their new album We The Common, due out February 5. Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside support, tickets are $17.50 in advance. Full tour dates at Exclaim.

MP3: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “Know Better Learn Faster”

And if you hadn’t heard and were interested, the reunited but still Christine McVie-less Fleetwod Mac will be at the Air Canada Centre on April 16. Stevie Nicks talks to The Los Angeles Times about the upcoming tour, while Rolling Stone also loops in Lindsey Buckingham for a Q&A.

Video: Fleetwood Mac – “Go Your Own Way”

Pitchfork and Rolling Stone talk to ex-Girls frontman Christopher Owens about his solo debut Lysandre, out January 15. He plays The Mod Club on January 18.

DIY has an interview and The Alternate Side a session with The Antlers.

The AV Club have premiered a new video from Crooked Fingers’ 2011 effort Breaks In The Armor and The Line Of Best Fit also has a video session on offer.

Video: Crooked Fingers – “Bad Blood”

DIY talks to Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius.

Stereogum has an interview with Dayve Hawk of Memory Tapes.

DIY talks to Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum.

The Austin Chronicle, Phoenix New Times, and Dallas Observer interview John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Stars.

Spin, ABC News, The New Zealand Herald, DIY, and The Daily Swarm talk to Claire Boucher of Grimes.

The Grid and NOW preview Joel Plaskett’s upcoming five-night stand at The Horseshoe next week. That’s December 12 to 16.

Spinner finds out why a Raveonettes-mixed new No Joy album won’t be winding its way to you anytime soon. Or ever.

Modern Superstitions talk to aux.tv about their self-titled debut.

DIY has a quick chat with Wild Beasts.

The Fly has a video session with 2:54.

TOY are interviewed as part of DIY‘s year-end wrap.

Pitchfork reports that Phoenix are planning to rise again with a new album in or around April. That there’s the sound of Two Door Cinema Club’s business model collapsing.

M83 have released the fourth video from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.

Video: M83 – “Wait”

DIY interviews Tame Impala, in town at The Kool Haus on March 9.

Sigur Rós have released the final installment of their Valtari Mystery Film Experiment – just in time for the screenings happening worldwide and at The Bloor Cinema on Saturday. This one’s another short film rather than conventional video, and is directed by Floria Sigismondi and stars Elle Fanning and John Hawkes. Save the best – or at least biggest-named – for last, yeah? Sigur Rós are at The Air Canada Centre on March 30.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Leaning Towards Solace”

And with that, everything I’ve had in my blog drafts hopper is gone. It’s empty! There’s nothing left! You know what that means? Me neither. I’m scared.

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Titus Andronicus VS. the Absurd Universe (3rd Round KO)

Titus Andronicus say it’s time for Local Business; it’s Local Business time

Photo By Kyle Dean ReinfordKyle Dean ReinfordMuch has changed for New Jersey punks Titus Andronicus since they unleashed the grandiose historical allegory/saga of The Monitor on the world in 2010. On the plus side, the success of that record raised their profile by an exponential degree, expanding their audience well beyond the dudes looking for a soundtrack to their mosh pit demographic. But on the down side, after they wrapped the heavy touring regimen in support of The Monitor, guitarist Amy Klein – who despite not being on the record was a crucial part of their intense live shows – left the band for her own project in Leda. And on top of that, an ill-fated late 2011 rehearsal left them down one mighty beard when frontman Patrick Stickles was electrocuted. He survived; the facial hair did not.

STill, they’ve soldiered on and already made a new record which they’ve dubbed Local Business, and while there’s little chance that it’ll will be quite as epic in scope or ambition as The Monitor – that’s not mathematically possible – it should offer more than the requisite amount of furious melody, righteous riffing, and dense lyricism. And it also gives them an excuse to get back on the road. The record is out October 22 and they’ve already put together a Fall tour and are bringing New York Bay area punks Ceremony with them for the ride. They’re at Lee’s Palace on November 27, tickets $18.50.

MP3: Titus Andronicus – “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape with the Flood of Detritus”
MP3: Ceremony – “Hysteria”
Lyric Video: Titus Andronicus – “In A Big City”

That new Yo La Tengo single “Stupid Things” is now available to download. The new full-length is out next January.

MP3: Yo La Tengo – “Stupid Things”

Perfume Genius has released a new video from Put Your Back N 2 It, just in time for tonight’s show at 918 Bathurst. Pitchfork talks to Mike Hadreas about the video.

Video: Perfume Genius – “Take Me Home”

Paste are streaming a new song from Savoir Adore’s forthcoming Our Nature, out October 16, and God Is In The TV has a video session with the band. They’re in town at Rancho Relaxo on October 13.

Stream: Savoir Adore – “Empire Of Light”

The Atlantic, Interview, Buzzfeed, Stereogum, Pitchfork, and The Thread all have features on The Mountain Goats as they mark the release of their latest album, Transcendental Youth. They play The Phoenix on October 20.

Spinner, The Wall Street Journal, The Irish Independent, HitFix, and Denver Westword talk to Aimee Mann. She’s at The Danforth Music Hall on November 6.

The 405 has got a stream of the first new Saturday Looks Good To Me song in who knows how long, available on 7″ come November 6 and presumably appearing on their new record One Kiss Ends It All, which is slated for a Spring 2013 release.

Stream: Saturday Looks Good To Me – “Sunglasses”

Rumours of a new Sufjan Stevens Christmas set have been kicking around for a little while, and now they’re confirmed. The super-fancy Silver & Gold box set of five EPs – yes, just like the Songs For Christmas set – will be out November 13. Stream one of the selections below.

Stream: Sufjan Stevens – “Christmas Unicorn”

I’m not entirely sure what the deal with Death Grips is, but people seem to care when they spontaneously cancel entire tours or leak their new album without telling their label first. So those same people may be interested to know that they’re hitting the road – unless they cancel again – and will be at Wrongbar on November 18.

MP3: Death Grips – “Deep Web”

Critical Mob and The Awl talk to Mark Eitzel, coming to town for a show at The Rivoli on November 28.

Pitchfork has details on the new record from Memory Tapes, to be entitled Grace/Confusion and due out on December 4. A first MP3 from the album is already available to download.

MP3: Memory Tapes – “Shelia”

Band Of Horses chat with Drowned In Sound and Metro Pulse. They play Massey Hall on December 5.

Paul Westerberg has told Rolling Stone that he and Tommy Stinson – the only Replacements still alive and active in music – have recorded a limited edition covers EP which will be auctioned off later this year to raise funds for former guitarist Slim Dunlap, who suffered a stroke back in February. And yeah, I guess they’re calling it The Replacements – so that’s happened.

Divine Fits have released a first video from their debut, A Thing Called Divine Fits.

Video: Divine Fits – “Would That Not Be Nice”

Vulture delves into the life, times, and finances of Grizzly Bear. The Skinny, Portland Monthly, and Pitchfork also have features.

Spin has posted an extensive feature piece on Dinosaur Jr, including a sidebar about how J Mascis almost joined Nirvana and Built To Spill back in the day.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Beachwood Sparks.

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Through The Grass

Wild Nothing streams Nocturnes; clever headline eludes blogger

Photo By Shawn BrackbillShawn BrackbillWhen I first started playing guitar in high school, I spent an inordinate amount of time in music and pawn shops looking for pedals – they were (relatively) cheap, fun, and would obviously make me a far better player than, oh, practice. And one thing that these shops’ stock had in common were chorus pedals. So many chorus pedals. Some shops were like a veritably baby blue sea of Boss chorus pedals. Because this was the early ’90s, when grunge was king and everyone wanted distortions and no one wanted to sound like Andy Summers.

If I’d only known that in about 20 years, that shiny, shimmery guitar tone would be back in style courtesy of bands like Real Estate and DIIV, I’d have grabbed a few. Jack Tatum certainly did, and you can hear it all over his recordings as Wild Nothing, the second album of which – Nocturne – comes out next Tuesday. I actually rate Wild Nothing ahead of most of his stylistic peers as in addition to having great melodic chops, Tatum is able to give his songs some tension to go with the pretty.

If you don’t want to take my word for it, the album is available to stream in whole right now at Death & Taxes; take it for a spin. They’ve also got a stream at Dazed but their interface is kind of terrible so maybe just go there for their interview with Tatum, and if you want more there’s also features at Under The Radar and Stereogum. And if you agree and want to see them live, be reminded that Wild Nothing is on tour with the aforementioned DIIV this Fall, stopping in at The Great Hall in Toronto on September 18.

MP3: Wild Nothing – “Shadow”
MP3: Wild Nothing – “Paradise”
Stream: Wild Nothing / Nocturne

A whole brace of concert announcements to get through… Former emo kids – though I guess they’d be emo adults, now – rejoice. Movement forebears Mike Kinsella and Bob Nanna will be in town as Owen and Braid respectively for an acoustic evening at Wrongbar on September 20. Tickets $18.50 in advance, details at Facebook.

MP3: Owen – “Places To Go”
MP3: Owen – “Abandoned Bridges”
MP3: Braid – “Consolation Prizefighter”
MP3: Braid – “Eeyore And Easel”

Austin’s Ringo Deathstarr will release their second proper album Mauve on September 24 and follow it up with a world tour that brings them to The Garrison on October 13 with Halifax’s previously endorsed Kestrels. Fuzz pedals will be stomped, shoes will be gazed upon. Vice has an interview with Ringo Deathstarr.

MP3: Ringo Deathstarr – “Imagine Hearts”
Video: Kestrels – “The Past Rests”

If you remember Laura Burhenn from her tenure as half of Georgie James or have heard some of the praise for Generals, her new album under the name The Mynabirds, you may be interested to know she’ll be supporting AC Newman on most of his Fall tour dates including the kickoff at Lee’s Palace on October 21. Colorado Daily, The San Francisco Examiner, and College Times all have interviews with Burhenn.

MP3: The Mynabirds – “Generals”
MP3: The Mynabirds – “Body Of Work”
MP3: The Mynabirds – “Radiator Sister”

Because I’ve learned it’s not worth it to aggravate the still-legions of Corgan apologists, I offer this without comment. Smashing Pumpkins will be at the Air Canada Centre on October 25 as part of a cross-Canada tour, tickets available in $39.50, $49.50, and $79.50 brackets. They will perform their new album Oceania in its entirety and then delve into their back catalog for selections both obvious and not. It will be a half-arena configuration, not full, because not even Billy is that deluded. Oh damn, almost made it.

Video: Smashing Pumpkins – “Cherub Rock”

If that Ringo Deathstarr/Kestrels bill is the sort of thing that gets your juices flowing, take note of the bill hitting The Garrison on November 3, as a double-bill of Bay Area dreampop in the form of Tamaryn and Young Prisms will be taking the stage. The former release their new album Tender New Signs on October 16 and the latter are still riding their sophomore effort In Between, released back in March. Tickets for that show are $10.

MP3: Tamaryn – “Sandstone”
MP3: Young Prisms – “Floating In Blue”

Brookyln’s The Men, who tore the shit out of the Garrison during NXNE, return to do the same thing to The Hoxton on November 9, tickets $16.50 in advance.

MP3: The Men – “Ex-Dreams”
MP3: The Men – “Open Your Heart”
MP3: The Men – “A Minor”

Though he put the Pedro The Lion name to bed back in 2006, David Bazan will be revisiting their beloved 2002 album Control in its entirety on a Fall tour that hits The Horseshoe on November 11, tickets $14.50 in advance.

MP3: Pedro The Lion – “Rapture”
MP3: Pedro The Lion – “Penetration”

Austin’s …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead will be in town in support of last year’s Tao Of The Dead with a show at Lee’s Palace on November 20, tickets $18.50 in advance.

MP3: …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – “Mistakes And Regrets”
MP3: …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – “Crowning Of A Heart”

Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and Pitchfork both have feature interviews with Chan Marshall of Cat Power, while Exclaim offers a bullet point chaser to their cover piece. Cat Power’s excellent new record Sun arrives September 4 and the second sample from it is now available to download. She plays The Kool Haus on October 20.

MP3: Cat Power – “Cherokee”

Daytrotter has a session with Wye Oak, stopping in at the Horseshoe on September 17.

Dinosaur Jr has released the first video from I Bet On Sky, out September 18. They play three nights at Lee’s Palace from September 24 to 26.

Video: Dinosaur Jr – “Watch The Corners”

The first sample of Mark Eitzel’s new solo record Don’t Be A Stranger is now available to stream. It’s out October 2.

Stream: Mark Eitzel – “I Love You But You’re Dead”

Richard Avery talks to Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs. Their reunion tour hits The Phoenix on October 3.

The Skinny has an interview with Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius. He plays 918 Bathurst on October 5.

Wayne Coyne gives Rolling Stone a preview of the next Flaming Lips record, which might be called The Terror and might also be out as early as this Fall.

Interview talks to Jim James of My Morning Jacket.

The Hook interviews Will Sheff of Okkervil River.

Tom Tom hosts a drummer summit between Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo and Rachel Blumberg, formerly of The Decemberists and now of Norfolk & Western.

Magnet has an interview with Steve McDonald of Redd Kross ahead of giving he and his bandmates control of their website for the week.

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Varðeldur

Sigur Rós and Perfume Genius at Echo Beach in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFor a band for whom a large part of their appeal is being unknowable and otherworldly, there’s been a high degree of predictability with Sigur Ros, at least when it comes to their Toronto shows. For over a decade, they’ve come through town in support of each record for an exquisite show at Massey Hall that would send 2700 or so of their fans dazed into the night. For the last time they set up anywhere besides the Grand Old Lady of Shuter Street, you’d have to go back to May 2001 when they made their local debut with a legendary show at Palais Royale. On Wednesday night, it was back to the shores of Lake Ontario they returned with a show at Echo Beach, the outdoor setting ensuring that the vibe of things would be different than what we were used to, to say nothing of allowing more than twice as many people as usual to witness the Icelanders in action.

Support for their short run of headlining dates before entering the festival circuit came from Perfume Genius, an unexpected but welcome choice. Mike Hadreas’ work elicits many of the same adjectives as Sigur Rós – beautiful, heartbreaking, transcendent, what have you – but whereas the they work in mystery and epic-scale sounds, Perfume Genius is all about being laid bare and raw in small, perfectly imperfect pieces. Though distracted by the planes coming in to land at the island airport and suffering from a cold – though he mentioned that he could still “smell weed and pork” – Hadreas proved that the intimate piano songs which would have seemed to be tailor-made for cozy rooms like the Drake, where he was in April, or 918 Bathurst, where he’ll be on October 5, also sounded great loud; the drums on “Dark Part” were particularly dramatic at that volume. The set was mainly comprised of material from this year’s excellent Put Your Back N 2 It and his 2010 debut Learning, as well as a couple covers – Madonna’s “Oh Father” and a surprisingly perfect cover of Neil Young’s “Helpless”, Hadreas’ vulnerable warble and piano phrasing doing the near-impossible and making the classic almost seem like it was his own.

Leave it to Sigur Rós to release their most ambient and abstract record in a decade with Valtari and then take it on the road not to the theatre settings that it might be best served live, but to the big outdoor stages of fests and amphitheatres where its intricacies would most certainly not be appreciated. Or so you’d think. Opening up with two selections from the new record, Sigur Rós took advantage of the fact that their audience would be so enraptured with their first local appearance in almost four years that they’d just stand there and take it all in – which they did. “Ekki Múkk” and “Varúð” were met with as close to total silence as you’ll likely get from 6000 people. Then they turned back and up for “Ný Batterí” from Ágætis Byrjun and it was within their back catalog that they would remain for most of the rest of the night.

Though core member Kjartan Sveinsson elected to sit this tour out, the band were hardly shorthanded – performing as an 11-piece, with horns and strings and all the trimmings, it was as big-sounding a Sigur Ró as we’d ever seen in these parts, performing on a stage lit with incandescent bulbs and projections shone onto three sides of the band. And yet for all the power at their fingertips, the prevailing mood of the evening was of serenity and celebration – a perfect fit for a warm Summer’s night with a breeze off the lake and a full moon in the sky. There were certainly dramatic moments, often courtesy of Jonsi’s bowed Les Paul, but even those were more of the awe-inspiring majesty of nature sort, like a glacier cutting through land and centuries.

The breadth of the catalog was well-represented, though Ágætis Byrjun did get extra attention, perhaps at the expense of the lighter tones of Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, which was represented only – but well, thanks to a horn-powered finale – by “Festival”. Some may have bemoaned the absence of “Gobbledigook”, but perhaps it was for the best – if it hadn’t ended in a massive explosion of confetti the way it did at Massey in September 2008, it would have felt a touch disappointing.

And disappointing is not a word that should ever be associated with a Sigur Rós show. For almost two hours, and benefitting from really immaculate sound – no compromises with an outdoor venue here, thankfully – it was as good a show as they’ve ever put on here, but thanks to the setting, even for those with an extensive catalog of live Sigur Rós memories, it will be a standout.

The Toronto Sun, BlogTO, and National Post were also in attendance. NPR has their show from Tuesday night in Brooklyn available to stream and Stereogum and The Montreal Gazette have interviews.

Photos: Sigur Ros, Perfume Genius @ Echo Beach – August 1, 2012
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Gobbledigook”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Hoppípolla”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Popplagio / The Pop Song”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Staralfur”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Svefn-G-Englar”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Nýja lagið”
MP3: Perfume Genius – “Rusty Chains”
MP3: Perfume Genius – “Hood”
MP3: Perfume Genius – “Dark Parts”
MP3: Perfume Genius – “All Waters”
MP3: Perfume Genius – “Learning”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Rembihnútur”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Fjögur Píanó”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varúð” (version two)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varúð” (version one)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Ég anda” (version two)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Ég anda” (version one)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Ekki Múkk”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Við Spilum Endalaust “
Video: Sigur Rós – “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Gobbledigook”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Sæglópur”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Hoppípolla”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Glósóli”
Video: Sigur Rós – “(Vaka)”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Viðrar vel til loftárása”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Svefn-G-Englar”
Video: Perfume Genius – “Dark Parts”
Video: Perfume Genius – “Hood”
Video: Perfume Genius – “Lookout, Lookout”

Sessions From The Box is streaming a studio session with The Deer Tracks.

Drowned In Sound talks to Maria Lindén of I Break Horses, who are aiming to have their second album out in Spring of next year.

Maxïmo Park gives The Line Of Best Fit a track-by-track walkthrough of their latest album The National Health.

Ellie Goulding has announced an October 9 release date for her second album, entitled Halcyon. She recently released an Active Child cover because why not and has also been declared one of Rolling Stone‘s “Women Who Rock”.

MP3: Ellie Goulding – “Hanging On”

The San Francisco Examiner and DIY get to know Alt-J, in town at Wrongbar on September 19.

DIY checks in with Mica Levy of Micachu. A couple more tracks from Never have also been made available to download.

MP3: Micachu & The Shapes – “Low Dogg”
MP3: Micachu & The Shapes – “You Know”

Kele Okereke talks to Spin about how cracking a joke turned into a productive crisis for Bloc Party in completing their new album Four, out August 21. This hot on the heels of another quote he gave The Music about this maybe being the band’s last record, which he’s already taken to his blog to clarify. Oh, Kele. Bloc Party are at The Danforth Music Hall on September 10 and their gig at Terminal 5 in New York next week, August 8, will be streaming live on YouTube.

Rolling Stone has a video of Neil Halstead playing a song off his new solo record Palindrome Hunches, out September 11.

Elbow namedrops some very tasty reference points to The Worksop Guardian with regards to their next studio album. Their Dead In The Boot rarities comp is out August 27.

Spinner chats with Lætitia Sadier, in town for a show at The Drake on September 18. She’s just released a new video from Silencio.

Video: Lætitia Sadier – “The Rules Of The Game”

DIY investigates the many creative phases of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds; kudos to them for not making it about his facial hair.

Mono turns to Iceland for inspiration in the new video from For My Parents, out September 4. It’s enough to make you want to hop on a plane to Reykjavik – which I wholly endorse – but maybe wait until after their show at The Horseshoe on September 12.

Video: Mono – “Legend”