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Posts Tagged ‘Persian Rugs’

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Stirring Bones

Del Bel, The Hollow Earth, Persian Rugs, and RLMDL at The Garrison in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI like a break as much as the next guy – believe me – but coming up on two and a half weeks since I’d been to a live show and with the January concert calendar looking pretty sparse by any measure, I was getting pretty anxious to go and see something. Happily, it was Wavelength to the rescue. I hadn’t been to a showcase in almost two years – certainly not since they wrapped the weekly series and went to the intermittent schedule – but their first presentation of the year was just about what I was looking for, with a good blend of the familiar, unknown and intriguing.

On paper, there was a fair bit going against RLMDL (pronounced “role model”), the stage name of one Jordan Allen of London, Ontario – self-identifying as “chillwave” chief among them, the vowel-less stage name and trying to make a compelling live show out of the one-guy-with-a -table-full-of-samplers-and-effects-pedals not far behind – but to his credit, especially considering this was one of his first live shows (if I heard correctly), he did pretty well. Sure, he had an aesthetic of loops and synths that may age badly and an inherently uninteresting visual presentation, but those were secondary to the fact that he had solid melodies, confident vocals, and added a reasonable amount of physicality to the proceedings. In short, he had songs, and if you’ve got songs you’re doing alright. Not every electro-tinkerer artists deserve to leave their bedroom studios; Allen does.

I’d seen Persian Rugs back in October and while I’d been pleased to see the former Airfields/Diableros back in action, they didn’t seem to have fully cohered and while their jangly indie-pop was certainly friendly enough, it mostly just made me remember how much I liked their former outfits. Happily, the months since seem to have done the unit a world of good as they had a much better foot to put forward this time out. The formula remains the same – classic pop with hooks made of jangly guitars and vintage-y organs – but rotating through their three lead vocalists emphasized their individual and collective strengths and just coming across much more assuredly than that Parts & Labour show made for a much better performance. There’s still room to improve but it would seem the hardest part – the coming together and sounding like a cohesive band rather than echoes of their past projects – seems to be behind them.

How new a band is The Hollow Earth? So much so that a short feature in this week’s issue of a local alt-weekly is now the top online reference about them. But while they’ve got no Facebook/Soundcloud/Bandcamp presence, the folks in the band have been operating in local bands for many years (Pony Da Look, Beethoven Frieze, Blood Ceremony) now and the sound they’ve come together to create is hardly new, either. As one might discern from their name, they work an unabashedly ’70s-influenced mine of inspiration which you could reasonably describe as any or all of stoner, prog, psych, or metal with a bit of goth or folk thrown in for good measure. It wasn’t quite heavy enough for headbanging but plenty of nodding and being entertained by Gaven Dianda’s extended guitar solos and Amy Bowles’ interpretive dance moves.

Relatively new Toronto collective Del Bel came to my attention late last year when The Toronto Star included “Beltone” from their debut album Oneiric in their year-end mix of some of the best in Canadian music for 2011. High praise, and a few listens to Oneiric confirmed that it was deserved; it’s moody and atmospheric, yet very raw and real in its way largely thanks to singer Lisa Conway, whose vocals can come across as ethereal or bruised depending on where one stands in the combination caberet/carnival/antique shop run by David Lynch that seems to define their musical world. Live, they were a nine-piece which in this town typically means some sort of racket, but instead all the horns, strings, keys, and percussion that filled the stage were unified in their mission to set the scene, sonically speaking. That said, they sounded more ramshackle live than on record – deliberately, I should point out, in a Tom Waits sort of way – but still compelling in their balance of discomfort and beauty.

NOW has the interview with The Hollow Earth mentioned above, while BlogTO has an interview with Del Bel and Southern Souls has a beautifully-staged and shot session in a Hamilton church.

Photos: Del Bel, The Hollow Earth, Persian Rugs, RLMDL @ The Garrison – January 7, 2012
MP3: Persian Rugs – “Always All”
MP3: RLMDL – “Just My Luck”
Stream: Del Bel – “Beltone”
Stream: Del Bel / Oneiric
Stream: RLMDL / Just My Luck

Weakerthans frontman John K Samson could spend January 24, the day his solo debut solo album Provincial comes out, anywhere – his beloved Winnipeg comes to mind – but instead he’ll be hanging out at Soundscapes around 7PM playing some songs for anyone who might care to listen. That should be you. Yes, it’s free. He also plays The Great Hall on March 22, but that’s not free.

Stream: John K. Samson – “Letter In Icelandic From The Ninette San”
Stream: John K Samson – “When I Write My Master’s Thesis”

Trust may currently be best known as the extra-cirricular project of Austra drummer Maya Postepski, but with the February 28 release of their debut album TRST they should be able to stand on their own merits as another impressive Toronto-based electro-dance act. They’ll play a record release show at Wrongbar on March 3.

Video: Trust – “Bulbform”
Video: Trust – “Candy Walls”

Also out on February 28 is The End Of That, the new record from Montreal’s Plants & Animals. A first MP3 from the record is available now to download.

MP3: Plants & Animals – “Lightshow”

Great Lake Swimmers have revealed details about their next album via Exclaim. Their fifth album New Wild Everywhere will be out April 3 and a cross-Canada Spring tour will follow, including a June 2 date at The Music Hall in Toronto.

Stream: Great Lake Swimmers – “Easy Come Easy Go”

Snowblink have premiered a new video from Long Live.

Video: Snowblink – “The Tired Bees”

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Found Love In A Graveyard

Veronica Falls, Army Girls and Persian Rugs at The Shop at Parts & Labour in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIf you have a look over the last couple weeks of posts, you may notice that I’ve been to a number of shows lately; certainly the busiest stretch in some months. So when I say that to get me out of the house for a late Sunday night show on the other side of town would require something pretty dang special, I mean it. Fortunately or unfortunately, I’m not sure which, The Shop at Parts & Labour was hosting just that.

I’d have probably gone if it was just Veronica Falls on the bill. Their debut album, also called Veronica Falls, has been in very heavy rotation hereabouts since its release a couple of weeks ago. Now I knew from seeing them at SXSW that I would like the record – by blending the lyrical and musical darkness of The Velvet Underground with the irresistible melodicism of ’60s girl-group pop and C86 charm, how could I not? – but the sheer addictiveness of the record still took me by surprise. The songwriting is top-notch, the performances scrappy in all the right places but still boast note-perfect harmonies from Roxanne Clifford and James Hoare and runs the exact right length to want to hit repeat on as soon as it ends. If you’re in a certain mood, it’s just about a perfect record. So yeah, when I heard they had added their own show to an off-day whilst on tour in support of The Drums, I pretty much had to be there, school nights be damned.

So yes, the headliners were the draw but the local support was more than gravy. Okay, I didn’t know who Persian Rugs were at first, but when they got up to play and were revealed to be three-fifths of The Airfields – whom I can only assume are either defunct or deeply in mothballs right now – then I figured I knew what I should expect. And yes, the songs led by guitarist Ian Jackson didn’t fall far from the jangly indie-pop sound that made The Airfields a treat, even though he wasn’t the principal songwriter, but it was keyboardist Kaye Hamilton’s songs that really made you take notice. More classically-styled pop and certainly less specific in influence, her songs had sophistication and verve and while the band is clearly still finding its voice, it could well be one worth hearing in the near future.

That’s approximately what I’ve been saying about Carmen Elle over the last few years based on shows in 2006 and last year, and if that sounds like a long time for an artist to develop, note that at that first show she was just 17 and already clearly prodigiously talented. Now, at 22 and fronting the two-piece Army Girls, she’s arrived. On both their debut EP Close To The Bone and live, Army Girls impressed with a lean and incisive guitar-and-drum attack that showcased Elle’s balance of attitude and tunefulness. What I’m most reminded of is the earliest incarnations of Land Of Talk and their urgent, aching rawness and folks, that’s a great thing. Already so assured in what they’re doing, I’m sure the day will come wherein their recipe calls for more – more production, more players, more whatever – and what ensues will probably be wonderful. But for now, just getting started, let us enjoy the moment of being on the cusp of great things and hope they don’t grow up too too fast.

Not that emerging fully-formed on your debut is a bad thing; see my earlier notes on Veronica Falls’ debut album. That degree of polish extended to their live show and even though the basement of Parts & Labour is decidedly less fancy than the stages they’d been playing with The Drums, they still sounded great, taking the opportunity to stretch out beyond their standard opening set and throwing in some new songs and a cover of Roky Erickson’s “Starry Eyes”. It took a few songs to get the mix right but they performed with the perfect balance of cool aloofness and earnest appreciation for the few dozen people who’d come out. It certainly wasn’t enough to fill the place, but was still enough to justify the show and many in attendance had copies of the LP in hand, so there was also that. One hopes that the response on this tour is strong enough to encourage a return, headlining tour because if it doesn’t, well the issue is clearly with us because it’s certainly not with them. They’re simply grand.

DIY has a video session with Veronica Falls and OTM a feature interview with Army Girls.

Photos: Veronica Falls, Army Girls @ The Shop at Parts & Labour – October 2, 2011
MP3: Veronica Falls – “Come On Over”
MP3: Veronica Falls – “Found Love In A Graveyard”
MP3: Persian Rugs – “Always All”
Video: Veronica Falls – “Bad Feeling”
Video: Veronica Falls – “Come On Over”
Video: Veronica Falls – “Beachy Head”
Video: Veronica Falls – “Found Love In A Graveyard”
Stream: Army Girls / Close To The Bone

Esben & The Witch will be releasing a new EP entitled Hexagons come November 7, which you can read about at Matablog and download a track from below.

MP3: Esben & The Witch – “Hexagons II (The Flight)”

Filter and Wales Online interview The Joy Formidable.

The first video from Florence & The Machine’s forthcoming Ceremonials is now out. The album will be released on November 1.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “Shake It Out”

The Line Of Best Fit, The Phoenix, The Vancouver Sun, and The Georgia Straight interview members of Ladytron, in town at The Phoenix tomorrow night.

It’s release day for Feist’s new record Metals! Hence the full slate of features at The Toronto Star, National Post, Vancouver Sun, Winnipeg Free Press, Toronto Sun, and The Wall Street Journal. She’s at Massey Hall on December 1.

aux.tv has an interview with Tasseomancy, who play The Great Hall on October 20 and then The Phoenix on December 1 opening for Austra.

When is a new Fucked Up video not a new Fucked Up video? When it’s for a song from their fake Record Store Day compilation David’s Town. Fucked Up (as Fucked Up) play The Mod Club on October 11.

MP3: Fucked Up (as Animal Man) – “Do You Feed?”
Video: Fucked Up (as Animal Man) – “Do You Feed?”

It looks like the complete, first video from Coeur de Pirate’s forthcoming Blonde is out. The record itself comes out November 8 and she plays The Mod Club on November 11.

Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Adieu”

Forest City Lovers have released a new video from last year’s wonderful Carriage.

Video: Forest City Lovers – “Keep The Kids Inside”

Adam & The Amethysts’ new record Flickering Flashlight has a new download and video to mark its official release today. They play a record release show at The Piston tomorrow night.

MP3: Adam & The Amethysts – “Dreaming”
Video: Adam & The Amethysts – “Dreaming”

Their album release show for Metal Meets in the books as a success, Ohbijou have announced they’ll be playing an in-store at Soundscapes on Friday, October 7, starting at 7PM.

MP3: Ohbijou – “Niagara”

Emily Haines gives Spin an update on how progress is coming on the new Metric album.

Kevin Drew tells The Huffington Post that this time the Broken Social Scene breakup/extended hiatus rumours are quite possibly true this time. Really. He means it.

The Line Of Best Fit has posted their eighteenth “Oh! Canada” download compilation for you to download, share and enjoy. So go download, share and enjoy.

And finally, all the whining about the Bon Iver show at The Sound Academy in August – even though it was completely and utterly sold out – appears to have paid off because everyone’s favourite sensitive autotuned falsetto has scheduled a return engagement for December 6 in the infinitely more appropriate environs of Massey Hall. Tickets are $44.50 to $49.50 plus fees and the presale begins on Wednesday at 10AM; hit up collectiveconcerts.com at 10PM tonight for the link and password, and if you strike out on getting seats, the public onsale is Saturday morning.

MP3: Bon Iver – “Calgary”
MP3: Bon Iver – “Holocene”