Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘Phenomenal Handclap Band’

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

NXNE Day Four

De La Soul, Kid Sister, The Phenomenal Handclap Band and more at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo when this run of NXNE reports began earlier this week, I dismissed last Wednesday’s claim of being “day one” of the festival for its general lack of options in programming. So what made Sunday, the final day of the fest and also with only a smattering of options on offer, worthy of being called “day four”? Well, the fact that I went. I never promised anyone consistency.

It was a one-stop evening, though, with only the Yonge-Dundas mainstage on the agenda. After the rock-heavy, anarchy-inducing antics of the previous night’s Stooges show, the focus for the last day turned to more urban sounds and a hip-hop heavy lineup. It had run throughout the day but I only got there in time to see Big Freedia, who was visiting from New Orleans preaching the gospel of something called “New Orleans Sissy Bounce”, which as far as I could tell mainly consisted of soundtracking the impressive ass-shaking of Freedia’s two backup dancers. This was not the sort of N’awlins culture I saw on Treme. Apparently the scheduling of so… graphic an act in the late afternoon offended at least a few people and yeah – it was probably horribly inappropriate, but maybe that’s why it was so great. Well, great for the first little bit. Then it got old and I went for dinner.

Photos: Big Freedia @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 20, 2010
MP3: Big Freedia – “Gin In My System”
MySpace: Big Freedia

Foodstuffs were obtained in time to make it back for New York’s Phenomenal Handclap Band. I’d seen them at SxSW 2009 and mainly recall them practically falling off the tiny Peckerheads stage whilst trying get a disco vibe going on, only somewhat successfully. Since then, however, they’ve released their self-titled debut and graduated to bigger stages such as this one while honing their sound even further. From their opening instrumental jam, it was clear they were bringing the deep groove and dancing was not going to be negotiable. The disco influence was still omni-present, but the presence of funk, soul and classic rock moves kept them from being so easily categorized. With super-tight harmonies and musicianship, the Phenomenal Handclap Band brought the funk it was nigh impossible not to enjoy it, unless you hated the funk. And if that was the case, what the hell were you doing there?

Photos: The Phenomenal Handclap Band @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 20, 2010
MP3: The Phenomenal Handclap Band – “15 to 20″
MP3: The Phenomenal Handclap Band – “You’ll Disappear”
Video: The Phenomenal Handclap Band – “Baby”
Video: The Phenomenal Handclap Band – “15 to 20″

We had boked Kanye protege Kid Sister for our Eastbound & Found show at SxSW this year, and while I didn’t catch her set properly, I did see some of it from afar and it was, to put it mildly, a party. A terrific rapper and, as she ably demonstrated a few times, a good singer as well, she came out with loads of energy and never let it flag, delivering one jam after another just keeping the party going strong. She would play again later that night at the festival wrap party at Wrongbar and made a pretty compelling argument for folks to head over there after the show to see her do her thing again.

Photos: Kid Sister @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 20, 2010
Video: Kid Sister – “Daydreaming”
Video: Kid Sister – “Right Hand Hi”
Video: Kid Sister – “Pro Nails”
MySpace: Kid Sister

But there would be no leaving before the night’s headliners. Legendary Long Island hip-hop trio De La Soul have been at it so long that even I remember hearing them way back in high school, and folks? That was a while ago. And appropriately, they were the very definition of “old school” – with just three mics, some turntables and a load of classic songs like “Me Myself & I” and “Saturday” (okay, those were the two that I knew best), shout-outs and banter, they were a reminder of an era of hip hop that was all about dropping rhymes and having a good time. Almost as much time was spent egging on the crowd with remarks like, “where’s the hip hop?” and “where’s the party?” and jokes about their age and the amount they were cursing. Some might complain about the amount of time spent talking, but it was evident that the reparte was as integral a part of their show as the rapping. They weren’t just there as performers, but as the masters of ceremony for the closing party for what had turned out to be a terrific festival and the best NXNE that I can recall. Congratulations to everyone involved, and see you next year. Exclaim and Spinner also have reviews of the show.

Photos: De La Soul @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 20, 2010
Video: De La Soul – “Baby Phat”
Video: De La Soul – “Oooh!”
Video: De La Soul – “Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)”
Video: De La Soul – “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays’”
Video: De La Soul – “Me Myself & I”
Video: De La Soul – “Buddy”
Video: De La Soul & Teenage Fanclub – “Fallin'”

Blurt interviews Teenage Fanclub about their new album Shadows. They’ve got two nights at the Horseshoe on September 22 and 23.

Frightened Rabbit have released a new video from The Winter Of Mixed Drinks and with a lot of open space around a just-announced late October date at Terminal 5 (!) in New York City, may be putting together some more North American touring plans.

Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Living in Colour”

Spinner chats with The Joy Formidable.

The National Post and Spinner have interviews with Kele, who just released his solo debut in The Boxer and will be at the Mod Club on July 27.

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Flashlight Tag

NXNE 2010 preview and recommendations

Photo By Death Trap PhotographyDeath Trap PhotographyIf it’s mid-June and my lanyard collection has grown by one, it can only mean one thing – NXNE is again upon us. And that means this is yet another weekend I won’t get to indulge my fondest fantasy – to sit around and do nothing – and that it’s time for another dog’s breakfast of a festival preview post. It’s a little bit of my own schedule, a bit of what my schedule might be if not for what my schedule actually is, a bit of what’s piqued my curiosity and a bit of what I know will be worth seeing. Some of the more obvious big names are omitted – I am assuming everyone’s aware of the super-stacked, old school punk free shows at the Yonge-Dundas Square – so hopefully there’ll be something that people attending the festival might feel compelled to check out and people who aren’t going to be at the festival might also investigate.

Note that I didn’t include Wednesday or Sunday, which despite now feeling more like proper days of the festival rather than prologue and epilogue, still don’t offer enough choice to require choosing. If you’re going out either of those days, you know where you’re going. And previewing Wednesday on Thursday would just be silly. So for the next three nights, here’s some thoughts.

Thursday, June 17 2010

Old World Vulture (Rancho Relaxo @ 8PM) – I recommended seeing these rising local purveyors of surging instrumental post-rock back during Canadian Musicfest, and having heard their just-released self-titled debut EP, that endorsement goes double.
MP3: Old World Vulture – “Benny”

Free Energy (The Horseshoe @ 10PM) – A lot of the talking points around these Philly boys concern the fact that their debut Stuck On Nothing was produced by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, but what really matters is that it’s ’70s-styled arena-sized power pop with hooks to spare. They also play earlier in the evening at Yonge-Dundas Square at 6PM. The Line Of Best Fit has an interview and NPR is streaming a live show.
MP3: Free Energy – “Hope Child”

Zeus (The Rivoli @ 10PM) – also all about the vintage-tint power pop, these local boys have steadily grown their following and their debut Say Us has them playing much larger rooms than the Rivoli – this could be your last chance to see them in such cozy environs.
MP3: Zeus – “Marching Through Your Head”

Olenka & The Autumn Lovers (The Gladstone @ 10PM) – one of the acts I most sad to be missing, this London Ontario, Balkan-inflected folk-pop band thoroughly impressed when I saw them in November. I take solace in the fact that with their new album recorded, that more shows will be coming in the near future.
MP3: Olenka & The Autumn Lovers – “Eggshells”

CALLmeKAT (NOW Lounge @ 11PM) – Spare and delicate electro-pop from Denmark courtesy of Katerine Ottoson, whom you can apparently just call Kat. Check out her NPR Tiny Desk Concert and video session for CALLmeKAT as well as this interview at Interview. She also plays Czehoski on Friday at 11PM.
MP3: CALLmeKAT – “Flower In The Night”

Warpaint (The Horseshoe @ 11PM) – one of my must-sees for the fest, I saw this LA quartet at SxSW and was intrigued, but quality time with the hypnotic dream-pop of their debut EP Exquisite Corpse has sealed the deal. Their debut full-length is due in the Fall.
MP3: Warpaint – “Elephants”

Sleepy Vikings (The Boat @ 12AM) – proof that randomly clicking on NXNE MySpace links can be fruitful (though it’s still mostly frustrating). This band, who is trekking up here all the way from Tampa, Florida, seems to be made up of all kind of stuff I like – jangly guitars that sometimes get noisy, sweet vocals and hooks a-plenty. Plus they’re playing when I had nothing else pencilled in – if that’s not fate, I don’t know what is.
MP3: Sleepy Vikings – “Calm”

Anaïs Mitchell (Czehoski @ 1AM) – Her latest album Hadestown is a folk-opera that translates the story of Orpheus and Eurydice to a modern setting and it’s actually kind of great. Very curious to see how she’ll render it live, though I’m not expecting Justin Vernon to show up to reprise his parts.
MP3: Anais Mitchell – “Flowers (Eurydice’s Song)”

Friday, June 18 2010

Christopher Smith (Bread & Circus @ 8PM) – His name might be eminently forgettable but his pure, clear voice and wistful songwriting make a lasting impression. His debut album The Beckon Call came out in May.
MP3: Christopher Smith – “Gently, Gently”

Neutral Uke Hotel (The Painted Lady @ 9PM) – Pretty much what the name implies – the songs of Neutral Milk Hotel re-interpreted on ukulele. I suspect it’s actually better than/less gimmicky than it sounds, not least of all because Shawn Fogel, who is behind this project, is also behind Golden Bloom and they’re great.
MP3: Neutral Uke Hotel – “King Of Carrot Flowers Pt 1″

The Happy Hollows (Lee’s Palace @ 10PM) – Slightly off-kilter but always smiling indie rock from Los Angeles. It sounds like the kind of loudness and brashness I’d need to make it through the night. Their debut Spells was released back in January.
MP3: The Happy Hollows – “Faces”

Best Coast (The Garrison @ 11PM) – One of the buzz bands of the fest, they’ve got the garage-sounding hook-heavy pop sounds of Summer that the kids like and will release their debut album Crazy For You on July 27. In addition to this show, they’re playing the Great Hall on Thursday night at 11PM and Wrongbar on Saturday at 2AM and if that’s not enough, their just-announced Fall tour brings them back to town for a September 25 show at Lee’s Palace.
MP3: Best Coast – “When I’m With You”

Rah Rah (Bread & Circus @ 12AM) – This Saskatchewan collective released their new record Breaking Hearts a couple weeks ago, and while the big boisterous band thing is getting a bit played out, it’s hard not to dig it when it’s done this well. They’ll also plan an in-store at Sunrise Records on Saturday at 5PM and at the El Mocambo on Sunday night.
Video: Rah Rah – “My Guarantee”

Rich Aucoin (The El Mocambo @ 12AM) – Rumour has it this Haligonian popsmith’s show here at the end of January made the blind able to see technicolours and the lame able to dance. Excessively high expectations? Maybe, but that’s what big pop ambitions like Aucoin’s will get you.
MP3: Rich Aucoin – “10,342 Cuts For The US”

Evening Hymns (The Dakota Tavern @ 12AM) – Spirit Guides was one of my favourites of 2009 and while I haven’t revisited it lately, the wooden-walled environs of the Dakota would be the perfect place to get reacquainted. NOW has an interview.
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Broken Rifle”

PS I Love You (Lee’s Palace @ 1AM) – I meant to catch this Kingston duo at Canadian Musicfest in March, but didn’t, and with their self-titled debut EP ready to drop on July 13 I better take them in before they blow up because what they do is exactly what the kids like. At the moment, at least. NOW has a feature piece.
MP3: PS I Love You – “Facelove”

Gramercy Riffs (Bread & Circus @ 1AM) – Polished and punchy co-ed jangle-pop from Newfoundland – nothing especially groundbreaking but tuneful in a way that will always be welcome. They also play an acoustic set in Trinity-Bellwoods earlier in the day – exact time to be determined. Ask around.
MP3: Gramercy Riffs – “Call Me”

Murder Ford Monument (The Silver Dollar @ 3AM) – These Montrealers still sound a bit rough around the edges and wet behind the ears, but they’ve got the right combination of moodiness and drama to make the right impression. A shame that their late-night evocativeness has been taken too literally as far as their set time goes… maybe next time.

Saturday, June 19 2010

Valleys (The Drake Underground @ 8PM) – Atmospheric yet jagged folk-pop from Montreal that wanders into the dark parts of the woods that you were told never to go into – I’m going to miss this set but they’re already on my “see them the next time they’re here” list. Their debut album is Sometimes Water Kills People.
MP3: Valleys – “Silent Woods”

Savoir Adore (Sneaky Dee’s @ 10PM) – Despite the rustic overtones of the title of their debut In The Wooded Forest, this Brooklyn co-ed duo’s synth-pop feels entirely made for the city; specifically going out and dancing.
MP3: Savoir Adore – “Bodies”

The Grates (Wrongbar @ 10PM) – This Aussie power pop trio led by the hyperactive Patience Hodgson are as close to a sure thing for a good time as you’re going to find anywhere. When I saw them at SxSW 2009 they had a rhythmic gymnastics demonstration in the middle of their set. For example.
MP3: The Grates – “Burn Bridges”

The Hoof & The Heel (The Drake Underground @ 10PM) – This Montreal pop outfit’s name is familiar enough that I’m sure someone has told me that I need to hear them at some point in the not-too distant past. And now that I have, well that list that I added Valleys to a few entries above? It just got one longer. Something tells me I’m going to regret not being at this showcase.
Video: The Hoof & The Heel – “Fireworks”

Golden Bloom (Czehoski @ 11PM) – Shawn Fogel of Neutral Uke Hotel’s main gig is splendid power pop reminiscent of golden age, Bennett-powered Wilco. I got to their last album Fan The Flames too late to see them at NXNE last year. Hope to not repeat that mistake this year.
MP3: Golden Bloom – “Doomsday Devices”

Jane Vain (The Drake Underground @ 11PM) – Apparenyly Jamie Fooks has dropped “The Dark Matter” from her band name, but as long as she’s still making smoke-filled pop noir, then it doesn’t really matter what she calls herself. As long as she puts out a new record soon.
MP3: Jane Vain & The Dark Matter – “C’mon Baby Say Bang Bang”

The Craft Economy (Neutral Lounge @ 11PM) – It’s been a few years since I saw The Craft Economy but there’s no reason to think they’re not still keeping the flame of fun and dancey New Wave synth-pop burning bright. All their recordings are available for free via torrent on their website.
Video: The Craft Economy – “The Crash, The Wagons, The Dying Horses”

Avi Buffalo (Lee’s Palace @ 12AM) – The absurdly young and absurdly talented crew from Southern California will give Toronto plenty of chances to discover them and their self-titled debut, which is definitely worth discovering. In addition to this full-band gig, songwriter Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg will play a solo set at the Great Hall on Friday at 9PM and they’ll be back on August 3 supporting Blitzen Trapper at the Opera House.
MP3: Avi Buffalo – “Remember Last Time”

The Gin Riots (The El Mocambo @ 1AM) – And since it wouldn’t be a music festival for me without at least a little Brit-rock in the equation, these Londoners owe more than a little to The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys, but when you’re coming from this school it’s less about originality and more about attitude and these guys have enough of that to be worth a look.
MP3: The Gin Riots – “In The Bedroom”

Some other NXNE lists and guides are available from JAM, who have a list of acts to see, Chart has list of strange acts and another of best bets, Paste tries to make their American readers wish they were in Canada, Spinner, who itemize other things to do in Toronto beyond live music and NOW a general guide to how to do the festival. Spinner also talks to festival organizers about the event’s 16-year history.

Zunior is offering a free downloadable sampler of the artists playing the NXEW showcase at the Gladstone tonight.

And while I deliberately left out most of the acts playing Yonge-Dundas Square this weekend, they’re obviously getting a lot of the media attention. Case(s) in point: Spinner, CTV and NOW catch up with John Doe and Exene Cervenka of X, whose Thursday night show at Yonge-Dundas Square will mark the LA punk legends’ first show in Toronto in some 20 years.

NOW talks to Jay Ferguson of Sloan, who are headlining the Friday night programme at Yonge-Dundas Square.

The National Post and NOW Q&A The Raveonettes, who are the penultimate act at Yonge-Dundas on Saturday.

Hellbound talks to the legendary Mike Watt about handling bass duties in the even more legendary Iggy & The Stooges, who are headlining Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday night, while NOW scores an interview with Iggy himself.

The Phenomenal Handclap Band, who are playing Yonge-Dundas on Sunday at 7PM, will play an in-store at Criminal Records that afternoon at 4PM.

And oh my god that took much longer to write up than I was expecting. And now I’m pretty much too tired to do any of the festival.

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Fun House

NXNE announces 2010 lineup; even skeptics admit it’s a little bit of alright

Photo By Mick RockMick RockFor those of us who’ve become accustomed to the all-encompassing scale, splendour and chaos of that grandaddy of all club-level music festivals – that’s SxSW, in case you were wondering – It can be kind of fun to pick on the Toronto versions CMW/CMF and NXNE for, essentially, not being South-by. It’s not a fair comparison by any means, but it’s inevitable. We’ve had to check those darts and break out some laurels in recent years, however, as both fests have made significant improvements in terms of organization, public relations and most importantly, bookings. NxNE, in particular, has been wise in making use of the public space at Yonge-Dundas Square to get right in the faces of Toronto for the middle of June and make it feel like much more of a major city event, instead of one of many things going on in the Big Smoke at a given time. They started out with modestly interesting day shows but as of a couple years ago, began booking some of the biggest names of the fest there for shows that were completely open to the public. That is how you build good will.

And with the initial announcement of artists coming to town from June 17 to 20, they’ve really kind of outdone themselves. The big coup is clearly Iggy & The Stooges, who will play for free at Yonge-Dundas Square on the evening of June 19, and the punk legends set the tone for many of the other names announced yesterday, many of whom come from the big, loud and sloppy side of the tracks. Obviously the actual schedule is still a ways away, but some digging has revealed at least some of the when and where of some of the acts playing the festival – just to give you a taste of some of the tough choices that the Toronto club-hopper will have to make (besides the obvious one of Iggy vs Pavement/Broken Social Scene). These are not complete and are subject to change, but do come from legitimate sources.

Thursday, June 17 2010
X, Mudhoney @ Yonge-Dundas Square (free)
Warpaint, Free Energy, Elliott Brood @ The Horseshoe
The Besnard Lakes, Young Galaxy @ The Mod Club
HEALTH, Gold Panda, Indian Jewelry @ Sneaky Dee’s

Friday, June 18 2010
Sloan @ Yonge-Dundas Square (free)
Man… Or Astro-Man?, Mudhoney @ The Horseshoe
AA Bondy, Simone Felice, Avi Buffalo @ The Great Hall
Japandroids, Wavves @ Lee’s Palace
Inlets @ TBA

Saturday, June 19 2010
Iggy & The Stooges, Wavves @ Yonge-Dundas Square (free)
Quintron & Miss Pussycat, JEFF The Brotherhood @ The Garrison
Cold Cave, Avi Buffalo @ Lee’s Palace

Sunday, June 20 2010
De La Soul, Kid Sister, Phenomenal Handclap Band @ Yonge-Dundas Square (free)

And playing free shows at Yonge-Dundas at some point during the week will be The Raveonettes and Surfer Blood, while confirmed but still without a date or venue are Les Savvy Fav, Thee Oh Sees, The Soft Pack and The Strange Boys, amongst many, many others. And these are just the “bigger” names – by June, surely there’ll be a whole new batch of buzz bands to complain about being booked into undersized venues. Such is the joy of NXNE. But at least it will be warm.

Elsewhere and/or elsewhen. Rae Spoon has just released the thereisafire EP as a preview of his new record Love is A Hunter, due out in August. The EP is available to download for free and he will be at the Holy Oak in Toronto on Friday night, April 16, for a show.

MP3: Rae Spoon – “Come On Forest Fire” (CPI Remix)
MP3: Rae Spoon – “There Is A Light”
ZIP: Rae Spoon / thereisafire

Her time as a Decemberist at an end, at least for now, Shara Worden is returning to work as My Brightest Diamond and will be at the El Mocambo on May 4, presumably to showcase material from the follow-up to 2008’s A Thousand Shark’s Teeth. Tickets for that show are $10.50 in advance.

MP3: My Brightest Diamond – “Inside A Boy”
MP3: My Brightest Diamond – “The Diamond”

Local heroes-in-waiting Zeus have set a date at the Mod Club for May 27. Tickets for that will be $12 in advance.

MP3: Zeus – “Marching Through Your Head”

Blitzen Trapper have added a Toronto date to the end of their North American tour in support of their new record Destroyer Of The Void, due out June 8. Look for them on August 3 at the Opera House, accompanied by Avi Buffalo who – with their two NxNE shows – are going to be hanging around Toronto a lot this Summer.

MP3: Blitzen Trapper – “Heaven & Earth”
MP3: Avi Buffalo – “Remember Last Time”
MP3: Avi Buffalo – “What’s In It For?”

Dan Snaith of Caribou talks to Chart about new album Swim, out April 20. Caribou play the Phoenix on May 3.

MySpace Transmissions has a watchable/listenable/downloadable session with Broken Bells. They are at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on June 2.

A second MP3 from The National’s High Violet is now available. The record is out May 11. They play Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.

MP3: The National – “Afraid Of Everyone”

Filter gets to know She & Him; they have a sold-out show at The Phoenix on June 9.

BBC6 talks to Ryan Monroe of Band Of Horses about their new record Infinite Arms, from which they’re previewing another new track on their website. The record is in stores on May 18 and they play the Toronto Island Concert on June 19.

Mother Jones and Spinner talk to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, who’ve just released a new video. Yeah, it’s weird.

Video: The Flaming Lips – “Powerless”

Josh Ritter previews his new record So Runs The World Away via Daytrotter session. The record is out May 4.

Le Blogotheque is hosting a Take-Away Show with Megafaun.

aux.tv Q&As Liz Powell from Land Of Talk, who also stopped in at Explore Music to perform a Big Star cover.

Video: Land Of Talk – “Thirteen” (live at Exploremusic)

Woodpigeon have a video for the title track of their new Spirehouse EP, which also appeared on Die Stadt Muzikanten. You can download the song for free in exchange for your email at Bandcamp.

Video: Woodpigeon – “Spirehouse”

OMG Blog has premiered a new video from Gentleman Reg for his cover of Stevie Nicks’ “Wild Heart” from his Heavy Head EP.

Video: Gentleman Reg – “Wild Heart”

Forest City Lovers have christened album number three as Carriage. Look for it around July.

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

SxSW 2009 A/V – The Phenomenal Handclap Band

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe Phenomenal Handclap Band
New York, New York, USA

Newly-formed New York disco-soul collective with eight core members and a lot more friends
Show review

Photos: The Phenomenal Handclap Band @ Peckerhead’s – March 18, 2009
MP3: The Phenomenal Handclap Band – “Testimony”
MySpace: The Phenomenal Handclap Band