Posts Tagged ‘Pernice Brothers’

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

"Love My Way"

Pernice Brothers cover The Psychedelic Furs

Photo via AmazonAmazonPeople probably don’t believe Joe Pernice, he of the gorgeously depressive folk-pop, when he says he’s a huge fan of early ’80s British new wave with its mechanical tones and synthetic textures. And so perhaps to prove it, he covers it. A lot. Or he did, anyways – his latest release It Feels So Good When I Stop is almost all covers and while it ranges from ’70s AM pop through classic country and ’90s college rock, his Anglophile side is pretty much ignored. But then, the album is meant to soundtrack his new book of the same name, and it’s not autobiographical, not at all. No sir.

Digging back through his Pernice Brothers and Chappaquiddick Skyline periods, however, reveal a trifecta of superb covers from the era – New Order’s “Leave Me Alone”, The Chameleons’ “Up The Down Escalator” and this one of The Psychedelic Furs’ “Love My Way”, released as a b-side to the “Clearspot” single. Maybe someday Joe will release another covers album comprised solely of this stuff. But probably not.

Pernice plays a combination show/book reading at the Dakota Tavern on September 24 while The Psychedelic Furs are teaming up with The Happy Mondays for a nostalgia tour that hits the Kool Haus on October 14. The Chicago Tribune has an interview with Pernice.

MP3: Pernice Brothers – “Love My Way”
Video: The Psychedelic Furs – “Love My Way”

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Summer Stock

Review of John Vanderslice's Romanian Names and giveaway

Photo By Autumn de WildeAutumn de WildeHaving followed John Vanderslice’s career from a respectful distance for many years now – spending a lot of time with some records, completely overlooking others – I would have said that while I’d always expect his records to be enjoyable, coupling solid songwriting with subtly idiosyncratic production, I would never expect to be floored by anything he put out. He’s just been so content batting for average that there’s no reason to think he’d suddenly open up the stance and swing for the fences.

And you wouldn’t call his latest album Romanian Names a home run, but it does stand apart from the rest of his discography to count as a solid double, maybe even a ground-rule. And it’s hard to tell, at first, what sets this one apart because the ingredients are much the same as the previous records. The melodies are still just too twisty to count as immediate, but remain deeply memorable, the production full of aural treats that might just as easily go unnoticed but reward attentive listeners and Vanderslice’s voice and words as plaintive and moving as ever. So what’s different? Well there’s a certain sonic and emotional richness to the proceedings that’s not necessarily new, but is simpler, clearer and more striking. But best I can tell is all of the above have combined for some magical ratio or emotionally resonant frequency that the ‘Slice hadn’t quite managed before and has resulted in a record that’s as good an example as any as to why he’s so highly regarded and puzzlingly underappreciated.

Vanderslice just wrapped an extensive round of touring, but will gear up for a small handful of Canadian dates and courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got three pairs of passes to give away to his Friday night (July 10) show at the Horseshoe with Cotton Jones. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want the ‘Slice” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, July 8 – that’s tomorrow night.

American Songwriter has a feature piece and Decider an interview with John Vanderslice, while Blurt reviews and compares two of his shows. NPR declared “Too Much Time” their song of the day for yesterday.

MP3: John Vanderslice – “Too Much Time”
MP3: John Vanderslice – “Fetal Horses”
Video: John Vanderslice – “Forest Knolls”
Video: John Vanderslice – “Too Much Time”
MySpace: John Vanderslice

I don’t know if the above baseball metaphor was appropriate for John Vanderslice – does the ‘Slice like the baseball? – but it would have been perfect for the September 13 bill at the Horseshoe. That night you’ll have The Minus 5, The Baseball Project and The Steve Wynn IV – which as I understand will essentially be Scott McCaughey, Peter Buck, Steve Wynn and Linda Pitmon playing material from all three above catalogs and basically just having more fun than Junior Felix’s inside-the-park grand slam against the Red Sox back in ’89 – and that, my friends, was fun. If you were a Jays fan. Tickets for that one are $13.50 in advance.

The Seattle Times talks to Death Cab For Cutie’s Nick Harmer.

Under The Radar interviews Justin Rice of Bishop Allen.

San Francisco’s Sleepy Sun are at the Drake Underground on September 21, tickets $10. Their debut album is Embrace and they released a Daytrotter session back in May.

The Washington Post talks to Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy.

The Toronto date for Joe Pernice’s concert/bookreading tour has been set for September 15 at the Dakota Tavern. Not to say that it’s an inappropriate venue by any means, but I like how they selected the room closest to Joe’s west end digs. The new record It Feels So Good When I Stop is out August 4 but available to pre-order now with attendant bonus goodies.

The Dirty Projectors show cancelled last month on account of that unfortunate car accident has been rescheduled for July 22, presumable again at Lee’s Palace – tickets will only be available at Rotate This and Soundscapes starting Thursday. Pitchfork has an interview with Dave Longstreth, the dirtiest projector of them all.

The Skinny and The Quietus talk to Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal, though the latter only about Woody Allen.

You can download Ume’s recent session at WOXY, including a couple of new songs.

You Ain’t No Picasso asks Andy Stack of Wye Oak about his first time. At stuff. Their new album The Knot is out July 21.

Oklahoman psych-poppers – no, not those ones – Starlight Mints will release a new album in Change Remains on July 21 and hit the road to support, including an August 9 date at the Horseshoe – tickets $9.

MP3: Starlight Mints – “Zoomba”

NPR talks to Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance of Merge Records on the occasion of the label’s 20th anniversary.

The Skinny profiles The Horrors, who have a date at Lee’s Palace on October 14.

The Singing Lamb talks to Mica Levy of Micachu & The Shapes in advance of their July 14 show at the El Mocambo.

Daytrotter is sharing the goods from a session with Los Campesinos.

The Advocate interviews Patrick Wolf, whose recent Daytrotter session is now up and available for grabby hands.

The New York Times hangs out in New York City with Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan. Shopping ensues.

Elvis Costello plays a World Cafe session for NPR. He’s at Massey Hall on August 28.

Art Brut are finally touring their latest album Art Brut Vs Satan through Toronto, having scheduled a date at Lee’s Palace for August 12, tickets $17.50. Yes, they’re kind of ridiculous as a band but they’re undeniably fun. You can download a track from the new record over at RCRDLBL and this is the first video from the album.

Video: Art Brut – “Alcoholics Unanimous”

Three more new videos out of the the UK – the first single from The Twilight Sad’s sophomore album Forget The Night Ahead, due out September 22, Bloc Party’s new non-album single “One More Chance”, out August 10, and the latest from Franz Ferdinand’s Tonight.

Video: The Twilight Sad – “I Became A Prostitute”
Video: Bloc Party – “One More Chance”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Can’t Stop Feeling”

While one might feel compelled to salute The Stone Roses from jumping on the reunion bandwagon – John Squire tells BBC he’s had calls from relatives for reunion gig tickets – it seems it’s only because they intend to cash in on nostalgia fever via their 20th anniversary reissues. NME has details on the three tiers of reissues that will be coming on August 11. The remastering job from John Leckie is a real draw, but the rest of the bonus goods are probably not worth your while.

Friday, June 26th, 2009

What We Know

A lazy day of link dumping featuring Sonic Youth, Pernice Brothers, Phoenix and more

Photo By Michael SchmellingMichael SchmellingI warned you this’d be another one of those days heavy on links, light on context. Let’s begin.

Sonic Youth’s current tour in support of The Eternal has predictably yielded a lot of interviews with various band members. The Quietus scores face time with all save drummer Steve Shelley, while The Detroit Free Press talks only to Shelley. Spinner chats with Lee Ranaldo and Kim Gordon while Time Out Chicago, The Chicago Tribune and Paste each have interviews with Thurston Moore. I could only be called a casual SY fan at best, but The Eternal does continue their late-career streak of releasing albums that I am quite enjoying, balancing their noisier, experimental excursions with more structured songcraft. I approve, and am quite looking forward to seeing them at Massey Hall next Tuesday. Pitchfork has information on forthcoming Sonic Youth box set about which details are slim, but which will contain a cassette tape recording of Beck covering their EVOL album.

The Pernice Brothers website has some more information on the promotional activities – namely combination solo acoustic show and book reading – that will surround the release of Joe’s new novel It Feels So Good When I Stop, and the accompanying soundtrack/covers album of the same name, both out the week of August 4. The most exciting part of the update is the part that says, “we will add a Toronto date at some point”, thus finally making me shut up about the fact that despite Joe’s having lived here for many years now, he’s played live here almost not at all. I guess they’re just working out the intense logistical difficulties of getting him to walk from his house to a venue – any venue – with a guitar. Streetcars may have to be involved.

Pitchfork has an interview with Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars while Minnesota Public Radio welcomed the band to their studios for a session. There’s also feature pieces at The Denver Daily News, PopMatters and The San Francisco Examiner. Apparently they’ve been wowing everyone on this tour just as much as they did in Toronto. Good for them.

To no one’s surprise, Alberta’s media – namely Vue, See, The Calgary Herald and FFWD – all line up to welcome The Rural Alberta Advantage to Alberta. Hometowns gets its re-release on July 7 and the band will play a hometown release show on July 30 at the Horseshoe.

The Dears will be playing a free show at Harbourfront Centre on July 26 as part of their Canadian Voices festival, whose lineup already features performances from Jenn Grant, Gentleman Reg and Amy Millan earlier in the weekend. Reg is also playing Pride this weekend – eye has an interview.

Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler tells NME that the band have begun work on their next album.

Decider talks to Michael Benjamin Lerner of Telekinesis.

A couple Daytrotter sessions of note went up this week. This one featuring White Lies was recorded at SxSW – they’re back in North America this Fall including a date at the Phoenix on September 28 – and this one features Love Is All.

Paste gets to know School Of Seven Bells.

PitchforkTV has a couple new videos – one from The Depreciation Guild, who will be in town on September 7 at the Horseshoe accompanying The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, and Jenny Lewis has released her second video from last year’s Acid Tongue in just over a week. Did she just realize the record was getting old?

Video: The Depreciation Guild – “Dream About Me”
Video: Jenny Lewis – “Carpetbaggers”

Also at PFTVDinosaur Jr’s set from last year’s Pitchfork Festival. They’re at the Phoenix on September 30.

Filter has posted online their recent feature piece on Antony & The Johnsons. They’re releasing a double a-side single on August 4, one of which will be a Beyonce cover. Details at Exclaim.

NME reports that Editors’ next album In This Light And On This Evening has been given a September 21 release date.

Virgin Music has a two-part video interview with Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine, whose debut Lungs is out in the UK on July 6 and October 13 in North America.

Noah & The Whale have set an August 31 release date for their new album First Day Of Spring, and are offering a free download of the title track.

Same Same talks to Patrick Wolf.

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

I Don't Wanna Go There

Guitar solo fetishists rejoice as Dinosaur Jr, Built To Spill and Sonic Youth return

Photo By Brantley GutierrezBrantley GutierrezIt’d be foolish to suggest that the guitar has fallen out of its place of supremacy in the indie rock universe – the six-string remains ubiquitous – but there’s a case to be made that the guitar solo is on the wane. And I’m not talking about the concise melodic instrumental break but the full-on, 32 bar, eye-closing, fuzz-spraying, fret-shredding SOLO. That, you don’t see as much of these days.

So for those of us for whom that’s not a positive development, the impending June 23 arrival of Farm, Dinosaur Jr’s new record and second since reforming the original lineup, is good news. Because where there’s Dinosaur Jr, there’s soloing. Lots and lots of soloing. Farm doesn’t stray far from the template J Mascis has worked from for pretty much his entire career – sleepy, croaked vocals over loud, hook-laden tunes and saturated with guitar – but definitely maintains the sense of rejuvenation that made their last album, Beyond, so much better than most expected.

I’ve still not seen Dinosaur Jr live in any of their incarnations – the 2006 Broken Mascis Scene benefit concert with Broken Social Scene was as close as I came – so I’m hoping that the rumours that they’ll be playing Pop Montreal implies a Toronto date come October. In the meantime, a session the band recorded for Daytrotter has been made available to download, featuring a couple of songs from their debut Dinosaur as well as Beyond. There’s also an interview with drummer Murph at Chart.

MP3: Dinosaur Jr – “I Want You To Know”
Video: Dinosaur Jr – “Over It”

Doug Martsch is another fellow who’s been known to take a guitar excursion or two, and there’s sure to be more than a few of them on the next Built To Spill album, which should be arriving this year. Martsch talked to both Pitchfork and Sterogum about how things are going on There Is No Enemy, due out in October. Denver Westword also has an interview, and there’s also rumours of a Toronto live date percolating… more on that when its available.

Sonic Youth are also no strangers to the abuse of six-stringed instruments. Their latest, The Eternal, leans towards the more conventional side of their oeuvre, but with Sonic Youth that’s a very relative statement. They’re the subject of an interview at Billboard and another on-camera two-parter at Pitchfork TV. PFTV also has another installment in their A>D>D video session with the band, who’re at Massey Hall on June 30.

Guitar heroics aren’t necessarily the first thing one thinks of when they think of Wilco, but with Nels Cline in the band, they shouldn’t be much further than the second or at most, third. CityBeat has a conversation with with Cline about his work both within and without Wilco, while Metromix caught up with Jeff Tweedy while the band was in Spain to discuss their new record Wilco (The Album), due out June 30.

Muzzle Of Bees asks five questions of Son Volt’s Jay Farrar. Their new album American Central Dust is in stores July 7.

JAM talks to Steve Earle. He’s playing Massey Hall solo on July 11.

Under The Radar has details on the forthcoming Drive-By Truckers rarities compilation The Fine Print (A Collection Of Oddities and Rarities 2003-2008), out September 1. The band’s performance for Austin City Limits will also be released on CD and DVD on July 7, and Patterson Hood’s new solo record Murdering Oscar (and other love songs) is out June 23.

MP3: Patterson Hood – “I Understand Now”

Blurt has information on goings-on in Pernice Brothers-land. Joe’s first novel It Feels So Good When I Stop is set for an August 6 release and it will be accompanied by the release of a soundtrack album – essentially a cover album – which will be out August 4. There will also be string of live dates that seek to combine the book reading/concert performance mediums into, well, some combination of the two. Only a few of the dates have been announced yet, none in Pernice’s adopted hometown of Toronto. Come on, Joe. Do it.

Wheat are offering an MP3 from their forthcoming album White Ink Black Ink, which has pushed back May and June release dates and is now set to be out July 21. Any bets on August? PopMatters readies itself for the new record by revisiting the greatness of their first two, Medeiros and Hope & Adams, both recently reissued together.

MP3: Wheat – “H.O.T.T.”

MPR is streaming a session with Grizzly Bear.

Killabeez talks to Caroline Polachek of Chairlift, who’ve just released a new video.

Video: Chairlift – “Bruises”

Jet will be at the Mod Club on July 6, tickets $25.50.

Monday, January 26th, 2009


Receivers, Beth In Battle Mode at the Velvet Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangGuilt and courteousness can be powerful motivators. Even moreso than self-preservation, which is why it was that rather than stay home Saturday night, safe and warm, I set out into the frigid, frigid cold to the Velvet Underground to catch a couple of bands who’d been politely and persistently inviting me out to their gigs for a while now – Receivers, visiting from Montreal, and locals Beth In Battle Mode. Of course it helped that I’d liked what I’d heard of both acts and had intended to catch either or both at some point – so why not both at once?

What I’d heard of BIBM past had made me associate them with New Wave power pop, thanks in no small part to their big keyboard sounds and devotion to the art of the hook, but live there was an extra oomph to the delivery that you couldn’t hide behind a skinny tie. In particular, singer/guitarist Ed Maher’s pipes are a lot more powerful than I’d expected, more reminiscent of a ’70s arena rock delivery with a touch of white boy funk-soul, though the transistor-y distortion of the venue’s PA certainly kept things honest and suitably lo-fi. A short set, but definitely sweet. The trio have just finished work on their second album Hot Science and aim to have it out in mid-March.

Receivers aspire to a noble end – to blend the noir-ish atmosphere of ’60s film soundtracks with concise and evocative pop song structures. It’s harder to do well than one might think, but I think Receivers are just about getting it. As with Beth In Battle Mode, the recorded samples I’d heard before the show painted an accurate and yet incomplete picture of the band. Emilie Marzinotto is a much more expressive singer live, though I suspect there’s still more upside to be tapped and the rest of the band was also more dynamic and ragged – in a good way – than on their debut Consider The Ravens. Most tellingly and probably importantly, the songs they introduced as new ones were easily the most immediate and impressive in their set.

I saw much promise in both acts, certainly worth leaving the house for (that is NOT faint praise, FYI) and even the venue – generally known as Toronto’s goth bar and now title-bearer for worst club lighting in the city as far as I’m concerned – left a favourable impression if for no other reason than starting off their club night, just as I was leaving, with The Chameleons’ “Up The Down Escalator”. If this is what goth kids are listening to, then hell – get me some mascara.

I don’t actually mean that.

Receivers will be back in town mid-March for CMW and BIBM will be having a CD release party for the new album around the same time.

Photos: Receivers, Beth In Battle Mode @ The Velvet Underground – January 24, 2009
MP3: Receivers – “Changing Of The Guard”
MP3: Receivers – “Matinee”
MP3: Receivers – “Petrograd”
MySpace: Beth In Battle Mode

Seriously, it’s an awesome song. Check it.

Video: The Chameleons – “Up The Down Escalator”

And because it’s an appropriate segue, there’s been a new communique from Joe Pernice, dispatched from somewhere in Toronto’s west end. In it (you can read it on the Pernice Brothers site), he mentions that his first novel It Feels So Good When I Stop is complete and will be released in September, and that there’s not one but two Joe Pernice albums in the works. The first is a set of covers intended as a soundtrack of sorts for the book, the second is of originals and entitled Murphy Bed, set to come out sometime this year. Though he refers to it as a Joe Pernice record, many of the players of Pernice Brothers – including Bob, the actual other Pernice Brother – appear on it so maybe it’ll carry the oh-so-slightly more marketable band name on release. Who knows. All I do know is that Joe has been living in Toronto for over four years now, and hasn’t done a show of any sort here since July 2005. Would it kill you to throw your new home a bone, Joe? Geez. Oh, and the segue I mentioned above? This Pernice Brothers cover of the aforementioned Chameleons song which I posted as Cover Of The Week waaaaay back in 2004. But which I still love.

MP3: Pernice Brothers – “Up The Down Escalator”

DeVotchKa turns in an unusually long set to NPR’s World Cafe.

Paste serves up not one but two features on Neko Case. Her Middle Cyclones is out March 3 and she plays not one but two shows at Trinity-St Paul’s on April 17 and 18.

Metro Vancouver talks to AC Newman. He’s at Lee’s Palace on March 11 and congratulations to Kaley, Bruce, Kelly, Garret and Alicia, all of whom won copies of Get Guilty.

Cuff The Duke will play a free show at the Natrel Ice Rink down at Harbourfront this Saturday night, January 31, as part of CBC Radio 3’s live broadcast that evening. On the plus side, free show. On the down side, the waterfront is NOT really the place you want to be at night in the dead of Winter. Just saying.