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Posts Tagged ‘Phantogram’

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Sunspots

Bob Mould revisits Workbook

Photo By Marc NorbergMarc NorbergI first got into Bob Mould in the early ’90s via Sugar, but quickly found myself seeking out his older works; obviously this included Hüsker Dü, but also his two late ’80s solo records Workbook and Black Sheets Of Rain which preceded his return to a band format. At the time they seemed like oddities, sounding neither like the hardcore-punk-pop evolution of the Dü years, nor the Alternative Nation-signifying roar of Sugar.

Rain was more characteristic of what people expected from Mould, built on layers of electric guitar and Mould’s angst-filled roar and probably not as well-regarded as it should be today because of some dated production values. Workbook, on the other hand, was filled with jangling 12-string acoustic guitar, cello and mandolin adornments, and major key melodies (though raging electric guitar and throat-shredding vocals also featured) – elements that would inform the next two and a half decades of his work, but as his first post-Hüsker Dü release, it must have been a head-scratcher. I took to it immediately – remember, for me 1991 was far more about Out Of Time than Nevermind – and Mould’s contribution to the seminal No Alternative AIDS benefit album in 1993 was also along those lines and one of my very favourites off that album.

All of which is to say as much as I love Bob when he’s perforating eardrums, as he’s been lately, I also totally dig his quieter stuff and I’m glad to see that Workbook is getting the respect that it deserves. It had already been announced that Mould would be marking the 25th anniversary of the release with a performance at Noise Pop next February where he’ll presumably – but not confirmedly – play it in its entirety. But Under The Radar now reports that the milestone is getting commemorated in somewhat larger fashion. A deluxe edition of the record – Workbook 25 – will be coming out on February 25 with the original album being accompanied by a second disc containing a b-side and a complete live show from the era. Granted, many of those bonus tracks appeared on the 1994 Poison Years compilation, but there’s still some unreleased goodies in there and isn’t it the thought that counts?

It’s a shame that the expanded slate of tour dates around its release don’t make it up here, but don’t forget that those Copper Blue recitals were only supposed to be a limited engagement and he toured that everywhere. So fingers crossed.

Video: Bob Mould – “See A Little Light”
Stream: Bob Mould / Workbook
Stream: Bob Mould – “Can’t Fight It”

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have a new video from Wig Out At Jagbags, out January 7. Look for them at Lee’s Palace on February 22.

Video: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Cinnamon & Lesbians”

Broken Bells have a new video from their next album After The Disco, out January 14. They play The Danforth Music Hall on March 3.

Video: Broken Bells – “Holding On For Life”

Pixies have put out a fourth video from their EP1, which should be the last because there are no more songs but then they’ve already released multiple videos for one of the songs so who knows, maybe they’ll milk it another decade before putting out EP2. They’ll be at Massey Hall on January 15 with their new bassist – no, newer – Paz Lenchantin, whom you may remember from A Perfect Circle and Zwan. Or not.

Video: Pixies – “Another Toe In The Ocean”

Rolling Stone talks to Robert Pollard about matters Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices. The new GBV record Motivational Jumpsuit comes out February 18.

Phantogram have come clean with details on their second full-length album, entitled Voices and coming out February 18. Pitchfork has details and a stream of a new song while Metro and AMNY have interviews with the band.

Stream: Phantogram – “Fall In Love”

NPR welcomes Superchunk to their World Cafe for a session.

Speedy Ortiz have released a new video from this year’s debut, Major Arcana.

Video: Speedy Ortiz – “No Below”

NPR has a KCRW session with Glasser.

Magnet talks to Will Sheff of Okkervil River about how he feels about having The Silver Gymnasium named their album of the year. What’s he gonna say? Maybe, “thanks – how about contributing to my Kickstarter to fund a short film video for ‘Down Down The Deep River’?” Maybe. Also, at Salon, Sheff talks about how he wish he knew as a kid that being nerdy would eventually be cool. Nerdy, yes, though being a touring musician, also helps.

Dazed and Confused has premiered the new video from Blouse’s second album, Imperium.

Video: Blouse – “A Feeling Like This”

Billboard Q&As Janelle Monáe, whom they have declared as Rising Star of 2013.

NPR has a World Cafe session with The Head & The Heart.

The Skinny talks to Janet Weiss about her current work with Quasi, the fact that Wild Flag is no more, and that a Sleater-Kinney reunion might be inevitable – as proven by the fact that they reunited to play “Rockin’ In The Free World” with Pearl Jam a few nights later in Portland.

Stereogum tracks the final days of the now-defunct Walkmen.

Monday, September 30th, 2013

The Silver Gymnasium

Okkervil River and Torres at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangEveryone’s heard the old adage about how life is like a river, ever-changing, and in the case of Austin’s Okkervil River, it’s especially apt. The faces that make up the band have changed repeatedly over the years – singer-songwriter Will Sheff being the only real constant over their 14-year existence – and they’ve had their share of stylistic and thematic shifts over that time, albeit while hewing closely to the path marked folk-rock. And so it’s fitting that following their most rangy and experimental album in 2011’s aptly-titled I Am Very Far, they’d return to their roots – or the river to its source – with The Silver Gymnasium.

After Far‘s short story songbook, Gymnasium returns to the overarching album theme with a literary angle built around the memoir, focusing on Sheff’s ’80s youth in the small town of Meriden, New Hampshire. With that shift comes a musical realignment of sorts, with the more darker, exploratory sonics of Far put aside for a strummier sound with synth accents, perhaps meant to reflect the radio pop of the era or just draw in more listeners; in either case, these are the most accessible-sounding tunes Okkervil has turned out, right alongside the Stage Names/Stand-Ins set. The material may not be of the strata – at this point, time may well show that the years spanning Black Sheep Boy and The Stage Names to be the band’s creative pinnacle – it’s a solid collection that reflects the Okkervil River that most of their fans know and love best. And with it, Okkervil returned to town on Saturday night for their first Toronto show since June 2011.

The support slot for the tour marked another achievement in a year of highlights for 22-year old Nashville-based newcomer Mackenzie Scott who, when onstage, answers to Torres. She self-released her self-titled debut in January and since then, with the help of endorsements from the likes of Sharon Van Etten, has gotten to the point where her presence on the bill constituted an actual draw. Fronting a powerful yet tasteful rhythm section, Scott’s set was built around distorted fingerpicking and raw, snarled vocals that reared up to feedback-laden, combat boot-stomping rock heights in the opening and closing numbers. Those who like their confessional singer-songwriter material with some teeth, both lyrically and musically, would be impressed.

A consequence of the earlier comment that Okkervil may have already hit their creative and critical peak a few albums back was the fact that this show was decidedly not sold out, but not being a buzz band doesn’t mean that your real fanbase is any less solid or devoted; so while those in attendance might have had a little more elbow room than in the past, their enthusiasm was hardly diminished. The Silver Gymnasium‘s one-two of “It Was My Season” and “On A Balcony” opened things up before giving way to a Black Sheep Boy‘s still-powerful “For Real” and “Black”, setting the tone for the rest of the set – a solid showing from the new record but plenty of attention to the back catalog, with only Down The River Of Golden Dreams being omitted entirely and with The Stage Names being leaned on for the show-stopping moments.

The current lineup of Okkervil, which underwent a sea change with the last record, sounded more cohesive than on the Far tour. Lead guitarist Lauren Gurgiolo’s style of guitar now better integrated into the songs in the way that it took Nels Cline a little bit to properly sound part of Wilco, and the sound of the band has adjusted accordingly with the focus alternating between Sheff’s vocals to Gurgiolo’s leads rather than the Okkervil orchestra as a whole, or maybe it just seemed this was as I was parked directly in Gurgiolo’s amp’s line of fire. Also in the “things that are different” department was Sheff’s taking the stage not in one of his signature sport coats but a leather jacket, now looking more the part of student than professor. The glasses still only lasted half the energetic and sweaty set, though, so reality wasn’t that altered. And though Jonathan Meiburg officially left the band five years ago, his vocal presence is still missed – particularly since his harmonies still appear on the records. It was a nice nod to the Okkervil of old, though, when mid-show the band left just Sheff and bassist Patrick Pestorius, the other longest-serving member of the band, to play “No Key, No Plan” acoustically.

The thing that struck me the most over the course of the show was how I’d forgotten how much I loved this band not that long ago. From 2005 to 2008 or so, they were one of the outfits in the heaviest rotation possible and somehow, unnoticed, they or I drifted away. And while those days probably aren’t coming back – despite said I would be thrilled if there was another masterpiece rattling around in Will Sheff’s head – this show was an hour-forty reminder of those times. And isn’t The Silver Gymnasium all about remembering days past?

Photos: Okkervil River, Torres @ The Phoenix – September 28, 2013
MP3: Okkervil River – “Wake And Be Fine”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Mermaid”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Lost Coastlines”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe”
MP3: Okkervil River – “The President’s Dead”
MP3: Okkervil River – “No Key, No Plan”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Black”
MP3: Okkervil River – “It Ends With A Fall”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Kansas City”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Listening To Otis Redding At Home During Christmas”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Red”
MP3: Okkervil River – “Westfall”
Stream: Torres – “Honey”
Video: Okkervil River – “Your Past Life As A Blast”
Video: Okkervil River – “Wake And Be Fine”
Video: Okkervil River – “Lost Coastlines”
Video: Okkervil River – “Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe”
Video: Okkervil River – “Girl In Port”
Video: Okkervil River – “For Real”

Stereogum have premiered a stream of a new Phantogram song, taken – as they’ve just revealed – from a new self-titled EP that will be out on September 30, which is to say today. Their second full-length is coming next year.

Stream: Phnatogram – “Celebrating Nothing”

Polar and Billboard have interviews with Cameron Mesirow of Glasser, whose new album Interiors comes out October 8 and is streaming at The Guardian. She plays The Drake Underground come October 13.

Stream: Glasser / Interiors

Billboard and Vulture talk to Sleigh Bells about their new record Bitter Rivals. It’s out October 8 and they play The Phoenix on November 13.

Dean Wareham has made available for preorder his new solo mini-album Emancipated Hearts, which will be out as a 10″ LP on October 15.

Interview talks to Mazzy Star, who have marked the release this week of their new record Seasons Of Your Day with a new video. They play The Danforth Music Hall on November 16.

Video: Mazzy Star – “California”

Though rumours that the current Guided By Voices reunion will be winding down have been floating basically since it began, they’ve confirmed that they’ll be releasing a fourth studio album in Motivational Jumpsuit late next February, amidst a slew of other Bob Pollard-related releases. Stereogum has all the details.

Rolling Stone reports that Television have had a new studio album in the can since 2007 – presumably after Richard Lloyd left and Jimmy Rip replaced him – but that it won’t see the light of day until Tom Verlaine decides he wants to, if ever. So do with that information what you will.

Modern Farmer talks to John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats about goats.

Magnet turns their website over to Superchunk/Mountain Goats drummer Jon Wurster with a Q&A, while Washington City Paper chats with Mac McCaughan.

The National discusses their inclusion on the soundtrack of the new Hunger Games soundtrack with NME.

The Quietus reflects on the 20th anniversary of The Afghan Whigs’ Gentlemen.

Gaper’s Block, Des Moines Register, and NOW chat with Sam Beam of Iron & Wine.

aux.tv has an interview with Kurt Vile.

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Sleeping Where I Fall

Chelsea Light Moving and Speedy Ortiz at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFor two bands touring behind their debut albums, you don’t get much further apart in terms of backstory than Speedy Ortiz and Chelsea Light Moving. The former being a loud and brash quartet from Northampton, Massachusetts whose Major Arcana demonstrates an overt and emphatic appreciation for the sounds of American college rock in the 1990s, and the latter being the new outfit of Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore, a man who in large part architected the styles which Speedy Ortiz are disciples of and whose self-titled debut affirms that whatever name he’s trading under, he’s not done building on them. Together at The Horseshoe on Sunday night – Speedy Ortiz’s first visit to Toronto and Chelsea Light Moving’s second, following a visit to Lee’s Palace in March – they were something of a dream double-bill for those who like their guitars to sound like jagged, angry weapons doing their damage in serrated melodies.

And they don’t especially need much time to do it. While it was a touch disappointing that Speedy Ortiz wrapped up their set after barely 20 minutes – 25 tops – but there was no complaint about how they utilized the time they did have. I didn’t think it possible, but their stage show made the Archers Of Pavement-saluting stylings of Major Arcana sound positively polite by comparison. Guitarist Matt Robidoux must have felt undermixed on the album because live he was turned up extra-loud, though not to the point of overpowering frontwoman Sadie Dupuis because she was just as loud and with Darl Ferm on bass their equal in the mix, the complexity and contrasts of their respective parts became impressively clear. Together, they replicated the sound of three different songs falling off a cliff into one another and somehow, implausibly, gelling into something lurchingly, chaotically greater yet still given a friendly, accessible face by Dupuis’ urgently laid-back vocals and off-kilter melodies. It’s not easy to satisfy completely while leaving them wanting more, but Speedy Ortiz did it – and efficiently, no less.

After spending over 30 years pushing musical boundaries and indulging his creative impulses in Sonic Youth, it’s unlikely anyone was really expecting Thurston Moore sound like anyone besides Thurston Moore with his new band. So while over the course of their hour-long set, Moore edged into the shadows at stage left as if to more equally share the stage with his bandmates, there really wasn’t hiding someone of his stature, both literally and figuratively. Chelsea Light Moving sound immediately familiar from the sinewy guitar lines to Moore’s languid vocals, but closer inspection reveals key differences with Sonic Youth. Chelsea are more direct – Moore’s melodic instincts are give full play – and also heavier, with Keith Wood not attempting to replicate any Lee Ranaldo-esque guitar interplay but instead often doubling Moore’s rumbling low-string riffs and washes of feedback; you might say Chelsea come across like Sonic Youth gone garage rock – less hypnotic or avant-garde, perhaps, but more visceral and primal.

Over the course of their hour-fifteen set – which Show opened and closed with a collage of pick scrapes and the string noises of Jazzmasters being played where they weren’t meant to be and included a song based on 16th-century poet John Donne’s “The Ecstasy” as well as a dedication of “Lips” to the “Toronto chapter of the Pussy Riot movement”, Chelsea Light Moving turned in a pummelling set that simultaneously scratched the itch that Sonic Youth fans had for the on-hiatus legends and rubbed salt in the wound that given the personal issues that underpin said hiatus, their return is no sure thing.

The Huffington Post and Artvoice have interviews with Thurston Moore and Lancaster Online with John Moloney of Chelsea Light Moving. Speedy Ortiz frontwoman Sadie Dupuis gives MTV Hive a guide to being a vegan on the road, Village Voice does some urban exploration with the band, and Epitonic has got a Saki Session available to download.

Photos: Chelsea Light Moving, Speedy Ortiz @ The Horseshoe – September 15, 2013
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Burroughs”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Frank O’Hara Hit”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Empire Of Time”
MP3: Chelsea Light Moving – “Groovy & Linda”
Video: Chelsea Light Moving – “Lip”
Video: Chelsea Light Moving – “Groovy & Linda”
Video: Chelsea Light Moving – “Burroughs”
Video: Speedy Ortiz – “Tiger Tank”

As for the other half of the Sonic Youth schism, Rolling Stone, San Diego City Beat, Stereogum, and Slate talk to Kim Gordon about her new musical project Body/Head and their new record Coming Apart, which was released last week.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Blouse’s set at the Captured Tracks fifth anniversary show last month. Their new album Imperium is out today.

Tone Deaf has and interview with Sebadoh on the occasion of the release of their new album Defend Yourself. It’s out today, they’ve got a new video from it, and they’ll be at The Horseshoe on November 8.

Video: Sebadoh – “I Will”

Stereogum talks to Mazzy Star about their new album Seasons Of Your Day, due out next week on September 24 but available to stream now at NPR. They’ll be at The Danforth Music Hall on November 16.

Stream: Mazzy Star / Seasons Of Your Day

Filter, eMusic, and The Austin Chronicle talk to Will Sheff of Okkervil River. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

Rolling Stone and eMusic talk to Derek Miller and Alison Krauss of Sleigh Bells about their new record Bitter Rivals, which comes out October 8 and from which they’ve made a new song available to stream. They play The Phoenix on November 13.

Stream: Sleigh Bells – “You Don’t Get Me Twice”

of Montreal are streaming another new song from their forthcoming album lousy with sylvianbriar, out October 8.

Stream: of Montreal – “Belle Glade Missionaries”

Father John Misty has released a new video from last year’s Fear Fun; he’s in town solo-like at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 15.

Video: Father John Misty – “I’m Writing A Novel”

NPR has a World Cafe session with The Head & The Heart, whose new album Let’s Be Still comes out October 15. They’ll be at The Danforth Music Hall on October 31.

The Dismemberment Plan are streaming another new song from their reunion record Uncanney Valley, coming October 15.

Stream: The Dismemberment Plan – “Daddy Was A Real Good Dancer”

Janelle Monáe and The Electric Lady are the subject of features at Paste, Rolling Stone, The AV Club, Billboard, and Interview. Oh, and because it’s an awesome thing, stream her cover of The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” below. She plays The Kool Haus on October 19.

Stream: Janelle Monáe – “I Want You Back”

Grizzly Bear are seeking to help out those with Grizzly Bear fans on their Christmas list with the release of expanded and b-sides versions of last year’s Shields on November 12. Warp has details on the editions, the former of which includes the original edition of the album and the latter of which is just the extras, comprised of b-sides, remixes, and demos – one of which you can stream below.

Stream: Grizzly Bear – “Will Calls” (Marfa demo)

Though they’re not saying anything about a new record, Phantogram have made a new song available to stream.

Stream: Phantogram – “Black Out Days”

Stereogum offers an oral history of The Wrens’ The Meadowlands on the occasion of its tenth anniversary.

Q interviews Mac McCaughan of Superchunk, who’ve premiered a new video from I Hate Music along with interview at Blouin Artinfo.

Video: Superchunk – “Staying Home”

Deerhunter have released a new video from Monomania.

Video: Deerhunter – “Back To The Middle”

Low are streaming their Rihanna cover, which you can also buy with proceeds going to charity. Details at Pitchfork.

Stream: Low – “Stay”

Waxahatchee has released a new video from this year’s Cerulean Salt.

Video: Waxahatchee – “Misery Over Dispute”

NPR has a KEXP session with Sharon Van Etten.

The Guardian chats with Joey Burns of Calexico.

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with Caitlin Rose, recorded at End Of The Road fest in England.

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Long And Wasted Years

Bob Dylan plans new album and tour to make material from new album incomprehensible

Photo via GothamistGothamistYesterday’s news cycle brought not one but two treats for the baby boomers or those with boomer-like musical tastes. First, hot on the heels of the news that Bob Dylan would be releasing his 35th studio album, entitled Tempest, on September 11, came an extensive touring itinerary in support of the record that would bring the legendary artist – along with Mark Knopfler, himself not a no one – to the Air Canada Centre on November 14.

Or course, as anyone who’s seen Dylan live in recent years will tell you, his shows come with a caveat. Though his artistic bona fides are beyond reproach and he is to be commended for maintaining as intense a touring schedule as he does at age 71, those expecting anything resembling an oldies show or revue had best think again. His reputation for being a difficult live performer – often rearranging classic songs and melodies beyond recognizability and speak-singing in a way that even if he were playing them as you remember, you still probably wouldn’t know what they were – is well-earned. And it’s not that he can’t do things straight – he’s mostly choosing not to.

Still, he’s Bob Dylan and if anyone’s earned the right to do what he wants, it’s probably him. Ticket info for the Toronto show is still forthcoming but it probably won’t be cheap. He’s earned that right too.

Video: Bob Dylan – “Things Have Changed”

You can expect The Who – or The Two, if you don’t think it’s the same band without mssrs Moon and Entswistle – to stick to canon when they tour the arenas of North America this Fall and Winter, hitting the Air Canada Centre not long after Dylan clears out on November 23. That’s because they’re going to be performing their 1973 rock opera Quadrophenia in its entirety for these shows, in addition to their other songs you know and love. Tickets for that range from $37 to $127 and fan presales begin on Friday.

Video: The Who – “Love Reign O’er Me” (live 2006)

Getting just a touch more contemporary with the concert announcements, San Francisco duo Two Gallants will be at Lee’s Palace on September 29 in support of their fourth album, The Bloom And The Blight, out September 4. Tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.

MP3: Two Gallants – “Las Cruces Jail”

I genuinely thought that Two Door Cinema Club would soundtrack the Summer of 2010 and then quietly disappear, but clearly not – their fanbase has continued to grow and Rolling Stone reports that their second album Beacon will arrive on September 4 accompanied by an extensive North American tour that brings them to the Sound Academy on October 5 with Brooklyn party crew Friends supporting. Tickets range from $29.50 to $36.50.

Video: Two Door Cinema Club – “Something Good Can Work”
Video: Friends – “Mind Control”

With his show opening up for Sigur Rós at Echo Beach on August 1 well and truly sold out, Perfume Genius can safely announce a return date on October 5 at 918 Bathurst. This show will be dry, all ages, and cost $22.50 in admission.

MP3: Perfume Genius – “All Waters”

Los Angeles producer Flying Lotus, who has folks such as Radiohead and Erykah Badu on speed dial, will release his new record Until The Quiet Comes on October 2 and follow it up with a Fall tour that brings him to The Hoxton on October 15. Tickets for that are $23.50 in advance.

MP3: Flying Lotus – “Tea Leaf Dancers”

Oklahoma’s Other Lives, who have their own Radiohead connection in that they were tapped to open up their Spring tour dates earlier this year, will be at The Horseshoe on November 23, tickets $15.

MP3: Other Lives – “For 12”

The lead single from Dinosaur Jr’s new one I Bet On Sky is now available to download. It’s out September 18 and they settle in for a three-night stand at Lee’s Palace starting September 24.

MP3: Dinosaur Jr – “Watch The Corners”

The Afghan Whigs have released their second piece of post-reunion music, and it’s another cover – this time of R&B man of the moment Frank Ocean. They’re at The Phoenix on October 3 and seeing as how this tune has been a fixture of their live shows in 2012, expect to hear it.

MP3: The Afghan Whigs – “Lovecrimes”

Guided By Voices have released a video from their second reunion album of 2012, Class Clown Spots A UFO.

Video: Guided By Voices – “Keep It In Motion”

Paste talks to Mission Of Burma drummer Peter Prescott about the quality of the band’s post-reunion albums.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel has an interview with Beachwood Sparks, who’ve released a new video from their new record The Tarnished Gold.

Video: Beachwood Sparks – “Forget The Song”

Beatroute, The Georgia Straight, and Tone Deaf chat with Josh Tillman of Father John Misty.

Ben Gibbard is stepping out of Death Cab For Cutie for a moment to release his solo debut in Former Lives, out October 16. Details at Stereogum.

Rolling Stone talks to Andrew Bird, in town tonight at Echo Beach.

The Toronto Star, Winnipeg Free Press, and Uptown talk to members of Beirut. They’re at The Sound Academy tonight.

NOW talks to Best Coast ahead of Saturday night’s show at The Phoenix; their show in DC earlier this week is available to stream over at NPR.

Another track from A Place To Bury Strangers’ latest Worship is available to download. Creative Loafing has an interview with the band, who’re back in town on August 12 closing out the second day of ALL CAPS! on Toronto Islands.

MP3: A Place To Bury Strangers – “And I’m Up”

The Phoenix New Times talk to Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater, who have a new video from Animal Joy.

Video: Shearwater – “Immaculate”

Beatroute and Zimbio interview Phantogram.

DIY chats with School Of Seven Bells.

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Parallax

Atlas Sound to bring sound to very specific areas of the atlas

Photo By Mick RockMick RockI will be the first to admit to not really being able to tell where Bradford Cox’s Deerhunter ends and his Atlas Sound begins. I know that the former is ostensibly a band and the latter a solo project, but to my ears the hazy, psychedelic rock that each project produces isn’t exactly a world apart. Okay, Atlas Sound is more keys, less guitars, but they’re both critically adored and don’t really do a lot for me, despite on paper being the sort of thing I should totally dig. I just find it all overly meandering. Go figure.

I do know, however, that it’s Atlas Sound that’s just announced a North American tour in support of last year’s Parallax that covers a lot of geography if not a lot of markets. It does, however, include a March 6 date at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, whereas the original announcement did not, so that’s something for local fans. Tickets are $16.50 in advance.

MP3: Atlas Sound – “Te Amo”
MP3: Atlas Sound – “Terra Incognita”

Also just announced is a date from Los Angeles indie-harpist Active Child, who will be at Lee’s Palace on May 15 as part of a tour in support of his debut full-length You Are All I See. Tickets for that are $15 in advance.

MP3: Active Child – “Diamond Heart”

If you weren’t able to catch Sleigh Bells at The Phoenix on February 14 or just wanted to see them in a much less enjoyable setting amidst a much less enjoyable crowd for a lot more money, they’re opening up both Red Hot Chili Peppers shows at the Air Canada Centre on April 27 and 28. Whoooo. Reign Of Terror is out February 21 and the first single is now available to download.

MP3: Sleigh Bells – “Comeback Kid”

A Place To Bury Strangers’ new EP Onwards To The Wall is available to stream over at Hype Machine ahead of its release next week. They’re at Lee’s Palace on April 2.

MP3: A Place To Bury Strangers – “So Far Away”
Stream: A Place To Bury Strangers / Onwards To The Wall

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has an interview with Craig Finn and also solicits some annotations of three songs from Clear Heart Full Eyes; Minneapolis City Pages and The Macon Telegraph also have chats. And shifting gears to The Hold Steady, Paste digs up some footage of the band at SXSW 2009 and I’m kind of glad they shot the show from the back of Club DeVille because if they were up front, there’d probably be a lot of embarrassing footage of me rocking out. And no one needs to see that.

The Stool Pigeon talks to Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal about their new record Paralytic Stalks, out next week.

Also out next week is Sharon Van Etten’s new album Tramp, and you can hear the whole thing right now streaming over at NPR, perhaps while reading these interviews at The Line Of Best Fit and The L. She’s at Lee’s Palace on February 21.

MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Serpents”
Stream: Sharon Van Etten / Tramp

February 14 is a big day for Shearwater as it marks the release of their excellent new record Animal Joy, but that day will also see the reissue of their 2004 album Winged Life on LP for the first time. That was the last album for the Shearwater that existed as a side-project for Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff compositions that didn’t fit in Okkervil River before becoming a more distinct creative entity driven wholly by Meiburg. But it’s also a gorgeous record, so that it’s going to find a home on some turntables is good news. Shearwater open up for Sharon Van Etten at Lee’s on February 21.

MP3: Shearwater – “Whipping Boy”

Pitchfork has premiered a second MP3 from the forthcoming Bowerbirds record The Clearing, ahead of its March 6 release date. They play The Garrison on March 27.

MP3: Bowerbirds – “In The Yard”

Mountain XPress talks to The Mountain Goats, but not about mountains.

Exclaim and Time interview Nada Surf, who’ve released a new video from The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy. They’re at The Opera House on April 4.

Video: Nada Surf – “When I Was Young”

If you enjoyed the Popeye-powered Wilco video that premiered last week, you may be pleased to know there’s an entire website at wilcospinach.com devoted to the production. And if you click around a bit, you may find a way to download a live version of “Dawned On Me” for keeps.

Drowned In Sound talks to Bryce Dessner about The National and his Long Count project.

PopMatters asks twenty questions of Phantogram.