Posts Tagged ‘Pink Mountaintops’

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Awkward Kisser

Telekinesis, An Horse and Oh No Forest Fires at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo if an artist has already proven themselves to be gifted at both writing a song and recording it, as was the case with Michael Lerner of Telekinesis, is it really fair to expect them to be superb live performers as well? Especially if you take into account the fact that the album – Telekinesis! – was essentially a solo project and the band assembled after the fact? I say not really. Obviously a scintillating stage show would be welcome, but I went into Wednesday night’s show at the Horseshoe with modest expectations.

And anyways, any cravings I had for manic rock shenanigans were well satiated by local openers Oh No Forest Fires. I’ve tried in the past to accurately describe the quartet and their sound, but think they themselves did so more succinctly by namechecking The Dismemberment Plan in their NXNE one-line RIYL. This isn’t to say they sound like the the dear, departed DP, but they are similar in the way they meld virtuosity with anarchy and make it power-pop sweet without compromising their weirdness quotient. Their compact warm-up set drew heavily from their 2008 debut The War On Geometry and featured lots of sweaty flailing and great tunes. Long set or short, these guys always give a tremendous effort and don’t disappoint.

Aussies An Horse I’d seen during CMW and the duo were certainly making the most of their work visas, this being their third show in Toronto in the past three months. The hard work appeared to have been paying off, however, as a pretty good-sized crowd had gathered by the time they took the stage and kicked off a set that was far superior to their CMW one if for no other reason than singer/guitarist Kate Cooper was able to perform without fear of being electrocuted by poorly grounded equipment. You’d be amazed how much mortal fear can disrupt a performer’s vibe. She was also sporting a new guitar, a very fetching racing-striped orange Fender Mustang with a P90 in the bridge which significantly beefed up their sound – it may seem a minor thing, but when you’re working with as few ingredients as An Horse are, every bit counts. Unchanged were the quality of the tunes from their debut Rearrange Beds – taut, anxious and melodic, and worthy of the attention the audience was giving them.

Most drummers with songwriting ambitions will do anything to get out from behind the kit and play frontman. Not Michael Lerner. A one-man show through the writing and recording of his debut album, when he put together his touring band he opted to take the role of drummer for himself. Now I know as well as anyone that finding a good drummer is probably the hardest part of assembling a band, but watching them set up the stage with the drum kit right up front, I had to wonder if this was going to be a good idea. And watching Lerner drop his sticks at least twice during the first song while not singing directly into the mic, it really appeared as though it wasn’t but within a couple of tunes, he’d settled in some and was mostly keeping it together. There were still more gaffes than you’d have gotten with a dedicated drummer and I think he gave up on singing the second verse of “Tokyo” entirely, but by and large acceptable. On the unqualified positive side, the songs really came kicked in a live setting, benefiting from some of the ragged energy the quartet imbued them with. They weren’t the most charismatic bunch but were exceedingly friendly and looked to be having a great time, cracking jokes and poking fun at one another. With an album barely a half hour in length, it wasn’t surprising their set was short, padded out with a sprightly Kinks cover, and while I don’t know if they left anyone wanting more, no one was left wanting either. Hopefully next time around they’ll have polished up just a bit more – maybe Lerner will have a better grip on those sticks – and maybe have some more tunes in their bag.

I Heart The Music has an interview with Oh No Forest Fires, whose next gig is this Thursday evening at the Drake Underground as part of I Heart Music’s NxNE showcase. Love Shack, Baby talks to An Horse.

Photos: Telekinesis, An Horse, Oh No Forest Fires @ The Horseshoe – June 10, 2009
MP3: Telekinesis – “Coast Of Carolina”
MP3: Telekinesis – “I Saw Lightning”
MP3: An Horse – “Postcards”
MP3: An Horse – “Camp Out”
MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “It’s Not Fun And Games Until Someone Loses An Eye”
Video: Telekinesis – “Tokyo”
Video: Telekinesis – “Awkward Kisser”
Video: An Horse – “Camp Out”
MySpace: An Horse

eye, Metro and The Age interview Phoenix, who have managed to sell out Monday night’s performance at the Phoenix. This is going to be good.

Pink Mountaintops mainman Stephen McBean talks to eye – they’re in town on Sunday, June 14, for an in-store at Sonic Boom at 3PM and a proper show at the Horseshoe that evening.

Black Joe Lewis & The Honey Bears are sticking around in town for a bit after opening up for New York Dolls at Lee’s Palace on June 30, and will play an in-store at Criminal Records on July 1 at 3PM.

Video: Black Joe Lewis & The Honey Bears – “Sugarfoot”

Los Angeles’ Airborne Toxic Event have a date at the Phoenix on October 19.

MP3: The Airborne Toxic Event – “Sometime Around Midnight”
MP3: The Airborne Toxic Event – “Wishing Well”

Black Book welcomes The Kills to their offices for some arts and crafts fun.

NME reveals that Richard Hawley’s new album is complete – Truelove’s Gutter will be out on September 21 and yes, the title is another Sheffield reference. As if you had to ask.

Out interviews Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan. There’s also a new remix of “Daniel” by Tara Busch up for grabs in exchange for your deets.

Cornershop Studios talks to Andy Williams of Doves, who have themselves a new video.

Video: Doves – “Winter Hill”

Under The Radar has confirmed that the Jim James/M Ward/Conor Oberst-powered supergroup The Monsters Of Folk have gone from a strictly touring concern to a studio one, and will release their debut album on September 22.

NPR has an interview and session with Jason Lytle, who will be opening up for Neko Case at Massey Hall on July 14.

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Intro To Season

Review of Ohbijou's Beacons and giveaway

Photo By Jess BaumungJess BaumungThere’s many reasons to be thankful that Beacons, the sophomore effort from Toronto’s Ohbijou, has finally arrived. Twelve at least, but for me there’s also the fact that two and a half years after first discovering the act at the very first V Fest, it gives me something new to talk about as I’ve completely run out of things to say about them with respect to their debut record, Swift Feet For Troubling Times.

If Swift Feet was the aural equivalent of a walk through the woods on a crisp and silent Winter’s day, Casey Mecija’s voice and the band’s bedroom chamber-pop orchestrations keeping your head warm like the furry lining of a parka, then Beacons continues that walk through the city on the cusp of Spring. It’s not concerned with the bright lights and hustle and bustle of downtown, but the side streets where real life happens and a thousand individual stories unfold behind closed doors. And it’s these intimate tales that populate Mecija’s songs, impressionist in rendering yet exquisitely detailed and lifted up by a band that’s infinitely more confident this time out. Whereas Swift Feet was happy to keep things consistently cozy, Beacons embraces Ohbijou’s more extroverted side, which frequently bubbled up and over in their live show. Songs like “Make It Gold” and “Black Ice” build and swell to crescendos that might have been jarring on Swift Feet but feel not only natural, but necessary on Beacons – the sense of renewal and potential that permeates the album demands action. Sweeping, musical action.

If Beacons had come out on its original mid-April release date, it would have been a wonderful record for Spring. But the business of signing of record deals both at home and abroad necessitated its
delay – it was released in the UK last week via Bella Union and Last Gang is putting it out in Canada next Tuesday, June 16, and in the US on June 23 – so it will simply have to settle for being a wonderful record.

Ohbijou will play a hometown record release show at the Opera House on June 25, and courtesy of LiveNationa, Last Gang and the band, I’ve got three terrific prize packs to give away consisting of a pair of passes to the show, a copy of the album on CD and an Ohbijou t-shirt. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to Ohbijou” in the subject line and your full name, mailing address and t-shirt size in the body. Contest open to local-type folk and will close at midnight, June 20. And if you can’t make the show for whatever reason, take heart – the band have announced that they will play an in-store at Soundscapes on June 17 at 7PM and Casey Mecija will play a set accompanied by Evening Hymns at the Whipper Snapper Gallery on June 20 at 9PM as part of NxNE.

MP3: Ohbijou – “Black Ice”
MySpace: Ohbijou

Also playing a just-announced in-store, Pink Mountaintops. They’ll warm up for their show at the Horseshoe the evening of June 14 in support of Outside Love with a short set at Sonic Boom at 3PM.

MP3: Pink Mountaintops – “Vampire”
MP3: Pink Mountaintops – “While We Were Dreaming”

NPR gets Great Lake Swimmers’ Tony Dekker to play a Tiny Desk Concert. I’m sorry, but that desk looks decidedly normal-sized, if not rather large.

The Seattle Times interviews Dan Boeckner of Handsome Furs.

The recent revival of interest in the life and times of Royal City may center on the Royal City compilation of rarities due out June 23, but in the band’s former home base of southern Ontario, at least, that’s not the end of it. Exclaim has details on a pair of tribute shows dubbed “Burning Torch: A Tribute to Royal City” taking place at the Ebar in Guelph on June 24 and at the Tranzac in Toronto on June 26. Performers will include Gentleman Reg, The Wooden Sky’s Gavin Gardiner, Constantines side-project Woolly Leaves and former Royal City skinman Nathan Lawr.

MP3: Royal City – “Can’t You Hear Me Calling”
MP3: Royal City – “A Belly Was Made For Wine”

It’s not much secret I’m an unrepentant Anglophile (I was actually repentant for a few years in the early part of this century but I got over that) so it’s good that UK music blog The Line Of Best Fit is balancing out the cross-Atlantic karmic balance with their Canuckophilia, manifested in their new column Oh! Canada, where they gush about new Canadian talent from a British perspective, and they’re taking it one further but compiling all-Canadian downloadable mixes, the first of which also contains another Beacons track from Ohbijou.

Secret Sessions is a new series coming to the online music portal and they’ve just begun filming the first batch of episodes at The Audio Recording Academy in Toronto and will run through the Summer – upcoming tapings will feature Great Bloomers and Oh No Forest Fires, amongst others. Admission to the tapings is free, just RSVP via the information on their website.

And another new show coming to is City Sonic, a series dedicated to interviewing Toronto artists such as Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt, Sarah Slean and Sebastien Grainger about the rooms and venues in the city that shaped their careers. A preview of some of the episodes will be taking place at the Drake on June 17 as part of NxNE, along with performances from Woodhands, Lioness and The D’Urbervilles.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Stickin' It To The Man

Festival announcements big and small from Over The Top, Olympic Island and Pitter Patter

Photo By Autumn de WildeAutumn de WildeThere might be question marks around whether or not we’ll see 2009 editions of big Toronto events like V Fest, but for the eighth year running, the city will host Over The Top Fest in May and showcase an eclectic range of acts in clubs around the city for a weekend in May, this year the 21st through the 24th. The official website is still having the finishing touches put on it but the lineup was announced last week at Stille Post and, as expected, there’s a whole lot of acts I’ve never heard of. But considering the festival has, in years past, welcomed the likes of Of Montreal, Grizzly Bear and Matt & Kim amongst many, many others – all before they became the international superstars they are today – you ignore the unfamiliar names at your indie cred peril.

This year’s edition is somewhat smaller than past years – there’s a recession going on, dontcha know – but still pretty packed. I’ll leave you to peruse the artists yourself, but names that jump out – even if not up my particular alley – include Japanese noise experimentalist Merzbow at the Polish Combatants Hall on May 21, Arcade Fire/Unicorns alumnus Clues, whose self-titled debut is out May 19, at Sneaky Dees on May 21 and Montreal dance-punk maniacs Think About Life at the Polish Combatants Hall on the 22nd. The most interesting one to me – and probably the only show I’ll make it out to – is New York pre-teen sibling duo Tiny Masters Of Today. You might expect an act with a set up like that playing punk rock music might be pure novelty, but their sophomore album Skeletons, out June 16, is surprisingly sophisticated and really sounds good, whatever their age. They’re playing the Whippersnapper Gallery on May 23.

And in addition, there’s film and theatre components to the festival and promises of a “concert on a transit bus, BBQ and Acoustic Concert” for closing festivities on the Sunday, May 24. Tickets for many of the shows are already available on Ticketweb (see Stille Post link for links), will be available in stores this week and a limited number of festival passes will also be made available.

MP3: Tiny Masters Of Today – “K.I.D.S.”
MP3: Tiny Masters Of Today – “La La Land”
MP3: Clues – “Perfect Fit”
MP3: Clues – “Remember Severed Head”
MP3: Think About Life – “Paul Cries”
Video: Tiny Masters Of Today – “Skeletons”

Also announced yesterday was the 2009 edition of the Olympic Island show, which is an almost-annual tradition but you can never be absolutely sure when it’s going to be, who’s going to play or if it’s even going to happen. The answers to all those questions, however, are July 11, Broken Social Scene, who are playing for the fifth time out of the six the party has been held, Explosions In The Sky, Thunderheist, Beach House, Apostle Of Hustle and Rattlesnake Choir, and yes it is (obviously). With V still being a big old question mark, this could be the city’s one opportunity to rock out and piss off the islanders, and having had almost three years elapse since I last saw the Scene, I think I’m getting eager to catch them live again. Tickets are $57.50 including ferry to and from the islands, though CFNY (that’s “Edge 102” to those of you under the age of 30) has a limited number available for $39.50 – 1021 tickets, according to Chart.

The Book Is Broken, a book documenting the story of Broken Social scene, will be out May 16. Thunderheist are the cover feature on this month’s Exclaim and their self-titled debut came out at the end of March and they play The Phoenix on April 30. Apostle Of Hustle’s new album Eats Darkness is out May 19 and he plays the Music Gallery on May 29.

MP3: Broken Social Scene presents Brendan Canning – “Hit The Wall”
MP3: Broken Social Scene presents Kevin Drew – “TBTF”
MP3: Explosions In The Sky – “Welcome, Ghosts”
MP3: Thunderheist – “Jerk It”
MP3: Beach House – “Gila”

And also recently announced was this year’s edition of Pitter Patter Fest which, if not as big in profile or stature as either of the aforementioned events, is certainly the largest in geographical terms. Though centered in Toronto, Pitter Patter events will be happening all over southern Ontario, from London to Guelph to Peterborough to Belleville – 150 bands, 10 cities and four nights from May 28 to 31 – and feature the likes of Dog Day, The Craft Economy, The Diableros, Great Bloomers, Fjord Rowboat, Megan Hamilton and Spiral Beach to name but a very few who’ve been covered on this site in the past. All shows are pay-what-you-can and the schedule, which will probably see many of the bands playing numerous dates and cities, is still forthcoming.

Sonic Boom Records up in the Annex will celebrate Record Store Day this Saturday, April 18, with a in-store mini-fest featuring Little Girls, Steamboat, Green Go, Gentleman Reg, Sunparlour Players, Lullabye Arkestra and Slim Twig. No idea of specific set times but it starts at 4PM and the store closes at midnight. You do the math. Admission is free but donations of non-perishable food items is strongly encouraged.

As for Gentleman Reg, he’s spending his Spring on tour in support of Jet Black, first with The Stills and then A Camp, including their June 1 date at the Mod Club.

MP3: Gentleman Reg – “We’re In A Thunderstorm”
Video: Gentleman Reg – “We’re In A Thunderstorm”

Immaculate Machine will release their new record High On Jackson Hill on April 28, right in the midst of an Ontario tour that includes a stop at the Drake Underground on April 30.

MP3: Immaculate Machine – “Sound The Alarm”

Pink Mountaintops have a date at the Horseshoe on June 14 in support of their new album Outside Love, out May 5. Tickets for that are $11.50.

MP3: Pink Mountaintops – “Vampire”

Full details are still forthcoming, but Holy Fuck are one of the acts playing this year’s Beats, Breaks and Culture fest at Harbourfront Centre – they’re playing July 10, and as always, this show is free to all.

MP3: Holy Fuck – “Lovely Allen”

The Decemberists have announced the second leg of their North American tour in support of Hazards Of Love, and it includes an August 3 date at the Kool Haus with The Heartless Bastards as support. Tickets are $30.50 and go on sale Thursday.

MP3: Heartless Bastards – “Searching For the Ghost” (acoustic)
MP3: Heartless Bastards – “The Mountain”

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

CONTEST – Pink Mountaintops @ The Drake Underground – November 7, 2008

Photo By Dale NixonDale NixonBlack Mountain frontman Stephen McBean has had a busy 2008, what with working that band’s breakout album In The Future for most of the calendar year. So how does he take a break? By dusting off his other band, Pink Mountaintops.

So far, there’s just a single live show scheduled – this Friday night at the Drake Underground – but as this Exclaim piece rounding up Black Mountain’s myriad side-projects points out, it’s been a couple years since the last Pink Mountaintops record Axis Of Evol so it’s reasonable to expect that this show will not only be showcasing a lot of new material, but also be just the tip of the, uh, mountain, of activity for Black Mountain’s more psychedelic sibling.

Courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got two pairs of passes to this Friday night’s show at the Drake, which is a) an early show and b) also features Nordic Nomadic and Castlemusic. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to climb Pink Mountaintops” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, November 5.

MP3: Pink Mountaintops – “New Drug Queens”
MP3: Pink Mountaintops – “Rock N Roll Fantasy”
MP3 Pink Mountaintops

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

With NEW Hat!

Welcome to Chromewaves v7.5

Image via Simpsons Viewer Top 8And there we go. This is what I’ve been giving myself headaches over the last few days, dragging this here blog kicking and screaming from the horribly out of date CMS that I’ve been using for the last six years into a sleek, shiny and – most importantly – supported new system. I’ve been meaning to move to WordPress for ages but was daunted by the sheer scope of the task.

And so I must give profuse and immeasurable thanks to Ryan from The Catbirdseat for helping me with almost all the heavy lifting, including migrating over the entirety of my archives from the old system. You have no idea how big a deal that is. As it is, the old posts will remain up as there’s also six years worth of links to them, but they also all exist in the new system. Eventually I hope to come up with some manner of system to repoint all of those old links, but for the meantime, we’ll just run in parallel.

While you probably won’t see or experience much different – if everything works as it should, the only difference you should notice are the slightly changed cosmetics – but rest assured that under the hood is a very different beast. Moving to WordPress also means that I potentially have many more plugins at my disposal to play with and as we move forward, I’ll be doing so but for the immediate term, I’ll just be happy if nothing is horribly broken. I’ve tested a fair bit, but there’ll surely be some weirdness here and there that’ll need to be dealt with. If you find anything amiss, please email me or leave a comment telling me about it.

But enough about me. Here’s some links.

The Black Cab Sessions welcomes Jens Lekman to perform, what else, “Black Cab”.

Boston Music Spotlight and Express Night Out talk to Sam Fogarino of Magnetic Morning, who will play the Horseshoe this Thursday night October 23.

Matt Kadane of The New Year shuffles his ancient iPod for The AV Club.

Yuki Chikudate of Asobi Seksu talks to Chart about losing their second rhythm section in as many albums before the recording of their new one Hush, due in February.

Parts & Labor’s new album Receivers is out today, and is streaming at Spinner. They’re at Sneaky Dee’s on November 21.

MP3: Parts & Labour – “Nowhere’s Nigh”
Stream: Receivers

Also out today and streaming is Missiles, the new one from The Dears. They’ve also released the first video from said record.

Stream: The Dears / Missiles
Video: The Dears – “Money Babies”

While I’m wholly enthused for tonight’s Frightened Rabbit/Spinto Band show at Lee’s, I’m a twinge regretful that I can’t be at The Horseshoe at the same time for the free White Lies show. I keep hearing good things about the London trio, including being declared by SPIN as one of the hottest bands at CMJ this week – I may try to catch them in New York, but I fear the show may exceed my hipster tolerance levels and there’d be violence. Bassist Charles Cave wrote about their recent experience at Iceland Airwaves for The Guardian. Their Death EP is out today.

MP3: White Lies – “Death” (Crystal Castles remix)
Video: White Lies – “Death”
Video: White Lies – “Unfinished Business”

Black Mountain main man Stephen McBean brings his other band – Pink Mountaintops – to the Drake Underground on November 7, tickets $10.