Posts Tagged ‘Pipettes’

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Do Wah Doo

Kate Nash jets across Atlantic for North American tour

Photo By Clare NashClare NashUpdates from the recording sessions for Kate Nash’s follow-up to 2007’s Made Of Bricks were few and far-between, but what did come out – that she was working with Bernard Butler, as famed for his stint as guitarist in Suede as his production work and that boyfriend Ryan Jarman from Brit-rockers The Cribs was hanging around – seemed to imply that her bubbly piano anthems might be taking on a harder edge on the sophomore effort. A theory borne out by the first released MP3 from the album, initially entitled Crayon Full Of Color but since changed to My Best Friend Is You and out on April 20 either way – “I Just Love You More” sounded like a not especially successful attempt at punk rock and certainly not playing to Nash’s strengths – clever wordplay and keen, observational songwriting that’s as humorous as it is pointed.

The first proper single, however, does sound like vintage Kate Nash. “Do Wah Doo”, for which a fun dancing stewardess-themed video has just been released, is very much in line with the best of Bricks, just gussied up with Butler’s signature retro-slick production. In fact it might be a little too similar to those who’d like to see some more growth from album one to two, but if “Do Wah Doo” represents one end of the stylistic spectrum covered on the new record and “I Just Love You More” the other, then My Best Friend Is You should be a fun and interesting listen.

Nash was already announced as one of the artists taking part in this year’s Lilith Fair revival, but this piece in Rolling Stone shows she’s not waiting for Sarah McLachlan’s say-so to bring her new record to North America. Less than a week after the record’s release, Nash is embarking on a small club tour across the continent, starting on April 26 in Toronto at the Mod Club – tickets $22.50. I missed both of Nash’s previous local shows back in 2008, so I’m pretty excited about the opportunity to finally see her live, and in cozy environs no less. And hopefully it will go better than her recent Glasgow show.

The Daily Record and Contact Music have interviews with Nash.

MP3: Kate Nash – “I Just Love You More”
Video: Kate Nash – “Do Wah Doo”

Spin finds out why Victoria Hesketh calls herself Little Boots while NYLON and Metro also have interviews. It seems that it’s not just the Toronto date of her North American tour that’s been scotched – none of her east coast, post-Coachella dates are listed on her website anymore.

Pitchfork has details on the forthcoming album from the all-new. all-different PipettesEarth vs. the Pipettes will be out on June 28 in the UK and if the band believes that it’s the planet Earth that is conspiring to have all their members quit… they may be on to something.

Magnet has an interview with former Delgados frontwoman Emma Pollock, who has been playing guest editor on their site all week. Her second solo record The Law Of Large Numbers came out last week.

MP3: Emma Pollock – “Hug The Harbour”

If the questions posed in these following Spinner quickie SxSW preview interviews look familiar… well, they are. Thankfully the answers are different.

Spinner talks to Frightened Rabbit, whose Winter Of Mixed Drinks finally began this week. They are at the Opera House on May 4.

Fanfarlo chats with Spinner and The Daily Texan. They’re in town with a show at Lee’s Palace on April 9, and Clash reports the band are planning to give away a free live EP in conjunction with this (or some other upcoming) tour.

This Spinner interview with The xx strays from the script a little bit. They’re at the Phoenix on April 4 and the Kool Haus on April 20.

Let’s Wrestle grapples with some questions from Spinner. They’re at the Horseshoe on April 18.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of a recent show from We Were Promised Jetpacks and oh yeah, there’s one of those Spinner interviews too.

The Line Of Best Fit chats with Field Music. They’re at the Horseshoe next Friday night with The Clientele, with whom 77 Square and City Pages have chats.

The Tripwire has a feature piece on The Big Pink. They play The Mod Club on March 24.

JAM and The Montreal Gazette interview Muse.

The High Wire, heartily endorsed late last year, have made the title track of their new album The Sleep Tape available to download. It starts out small, but quickly becomes a pretty compelling argument for this as one of the best dream-pop records of the year. Which, as of this moment, it is.

MP3: The High Wire – “The Sleep Tape”

Exclaim reports that Belle & Sebastian are off hiatus and headed back into the studio to record album number eight. EIGHT. Goodness.

Daytrotter has a session with Ian McCulloch of Echo & The Bunnymen. They are at The Phoenix on April 23.

Rumoured a little while ago but now official – first-wave shoegazers Chapterhouse have slated a North American tour for this Spring and will kick it off on May 1 at the Horseshoe in Toronto.

Video: Chapterhouse – “Pearl”

Billboard wonders what David Bowie is up to – apparently, not much.

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

In Retrograde

An introduction to The Invisible

Photo By Mads PerchMads PerchI kind of hate for the most apt reference point for a band to be the most obvious one, but if you have to offer an elevator pitch on London trio The Invisible, it’s hard not to want to use the letters T, V, O, T and R. The comparison goes beyond the superficial multi-racial composition of the band, though.

It also applies to their collective musical ability and creativity, both clearly on display but not ostentatiously so, and their aesthetic, which filters rock, rhythm and blues and soul influences through a thoroughly contemporary and frequently electronically-enhanced filter. Where they differ from the Brooklyn outfit is in their approach, which dials down – but doesn’t eliminate – the post-millennial tension and angst that informs much of TV On The Radio’s work in favour of a more chilled-out vibe. There’s still fire beneath the surface, but The Invisible opt to deliver it in a smoother, more soulful and dance-friendly sound.

Their 2009 self-titled debut, still only available in Europe, was a heady enough brew to garner the band a place on last year’s Mercury Prize shortlist, and after a short visit to New York for CMJ last Fall, they’re returning to North America this Spring; first for SxSW and then a proper tour that will allow music writers on this side of the Atlantic to make all kinds of bad puns about the seeing (or not seeing) the band and includes an April 2 date at the Opera House in Toronto. So if you, like me, were having trouble deciding between Serena-Maneesh at the Great Hall and A Sunny Day In Glasgow at The Garrison… your life just got a little more complicated.

MP3: The Invisible – “London Girl”
Video: The Invisible – “Jacob & The Angel”
Video: The Invisible – “London Girl”
MySpace: The Invisible

The Vinyl District gets The Joy Formidable frontwoman Ritzy Bryan to reminisce about her favourite records. They’ve released a new video as a preview of their debut full-length, due out sometime this Summer.

Video: The Joy Formidable – “Popinjay”

Music Snobbery and Spinner have interviews with Kate Nash, whose new record arrives on April 20 and now has a name – Crayon Full Of Color. Pitchfork likes the first giveaway track “I Just Love You More” more than I do. Spin has a stream of the more agreeable first official single, “Do Wah Do”, complete with obnoxious marketing voiceover. Update: The Music Slut says the new record is actually called My Best Friend Is You. I don’t know who to believe anymore.

MP3: Kate Nash – “I Just Love You More”

What better way to celebrate the North American release of Little Boots’ debut Hands than by canceling one of the dates on her North American tour? The April 30 Toronto date at the Phoenix is no longer showing up at either Ticketmaster or Ticketweb and there’s no trace of it on the promoter’s website. Still looking for an official word or reason, but none of the above are good signs. But on the bright side, it does make the question of whether to go see Jonsi at the Sound Academy that much easier to answer. Artist Direct has an interview with Victoria Hesketh.

Spinner talks to Rose Elinor Dougall about making her post-Pipette North American debut at SxSW. Her solo debut Without Why is due out this year. The Pipettes’ new one Earth Vs Pipettes is also due out in 2010.

Drowned In Sound, BBC and Pitchfork have words with Los Campesinos!. They’re at the Phoenix on April 20.

Horrors bassist Rhys Webb talks to Spinner about the band’s preparations for recording album number three.

NPR has an interview with Dev Hynes of Lightspeed Champion.

Doves have announced they’ll release a best-of collection entitled The Places Between: The Best of Doves on April 6, consisting of a CD of their singles, a second disc of rarities and a DVD of their videos. Specifics on the set available at Pitchfork, and if you were wondering only about half the material on Lost Sides is repeated here and there are three all-new songs scattered amongst the two discs.

The Clientele’s Alasdair MacLean submits five recommended hallucinatory children’s books to Owl & Bear, while Baeble Music gets a Guest Apartment video session and video interview. The AV Club also has a chat. The Clientele are at The Horseshoe on March 19.

The Georgia Straight talks to We Were Promised Jetpacks, who will release a new EP on March 9 entitled The Last Place You’ll Look. Head over to Stereogum to grab an MP3 from the short-player.

Get Hampshire talks to Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison about their new record The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, due out March 9. They’re at the Opera House on May 4.

The Line Of Best Fit have premiered the new video from The Twilight Sad, who will be at Lee’s Palace on May 26.

Video: The Twilight Sad – “The Room”

JAM talks to Gary Jarman of The Cribs about adding legend Johnny Marr to their lineup.

Clash excerpts their feature piece on Tindersticks, getting guitarist David Boulter to recount tales of his early days.

Blurt has a twopart interview with Andy Partridge of XTC. Okay, technically that should be “formerly of”, but I can’t bring myself to say that. Or type that.

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Acts Of Man

Review of Midlake’s The Courage Of Others

Photo By Bil ZelmanBil ZelmanHaving initially only announced tour dates in short, hesitant steps, Denton, Texas-based folk-pop revivalists Midlake have taken a deep breath, counted to ten, and slated an extensive North American tour in support of their new record The Courage Of Others that will include a local stop on May 21 at the Mod Club.

Though highly-anticipated, Courage is not drawing the sort of unanimous acclaim that its predecessor, 2006’s The Trials Of Van Occupanther, did, with some finding its even gentler tone exquisite and others deming it narcoleptic. I tend towards the latter – it is immaculately crafted, there’s no question there – but it lacks the dynamics of Van Occupanther and that was hardly a record of extreme peaks and valleys. It’s as though the band’s questing pilgrim has exited the rolling foothills and is now trekking across a wide-open plain. Scenic, perhaps, but not especially exhilarating. Of course, it took me a goodly amount of time – like a couple years – to come around to Van Occupanther‘s charms, so making any final declarations about the merits of Courage could be premature. For the moment, however, it’ll have to remain a record to go to when I’m feeling mellow, or needing to feel mellow. Or need some flute.

And Midlake live? They sound great, but maybe bring a book.

MusicOmh has an interview with Midlake frontman Tim Smith.

MP3: Midlake – “Acts Of Man”
MySpace: Midlake

Local hero Jim Guthrie continues his return to active duty with a show at the El Mocambo on March 26, supported by Culture Reject and PS I Love You.

MP3: Jim Guthrie – “You Are Far (Do You Exist?)”
MP3: Culture Reject – “Inside The Cinema”
MP3: PS I Love You – “Facelove”

Iceland’s Seabear, whose We Built A Fire is due out March 5 on Morr Music, will be at the Horseshoe on March 31.

MP3: Seabear – “Lion Face Boy”

Stroke gone solo Julian Casablancas will hit the road this Spring in support of his solo record Phrazes For The Young… all eight songs of it. Look for him at the Phoenix on April 2, and look for a new Strokes album in September. Ish.

Video: Julian Casablancas – “11th Dimension”

Titus Andronicus bring the second leg of their “Monitour” to Sneaky Dee’s on April 9, in support of their Civil War-themed second album The Monitor, out March 9. Rolling Stone has a profile.

MP3: Titus Andronicus – “Four Score And Seven” (Part One)
MP3: Titus Andronicus – “Four Score And Seven” (Part Two)

Boston post-rock instrumentalists Caspian will bring their latest album Tertia to Rancho Relaxo on April 13.

MP3: Caspian – “Of Foam And Wave”

With their first cross-Canada tour in some time scheduled to kick off tonight in Victoria, Wilco are set to leave a trail of press clippings in their wake – check out interviews with band members at, The Vancouver Sun, The Georgia Straight, FFWD, The National Post, The Edmonton Journal and The Province.

JAM and The Gauntlet have features on The Rural Alberta Advantage, who are re-releasing Hometowns on their new home at Paper Bag Records – the CD on March 2 and limited-edition, blue vinyl LP on March 23.

The Ottawa Citizen, The Chronicle-Herald, Spinner and talk to Basia Bulat, while The Montreal Gazette gets a peak inside her iPod. She will play an in-store at Soundscapes on Tuesday evening at 7PM.

The Scope and Ottawa X-Press have features on Owen Pallett. He is at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 8.

Drowned In Sound meets Retribution Gospel Choir’s Alan Sparhawk.

Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers talks to News & Observer and The AV Club about the forthcoming documentary about the band, The Secret To A Happy Ending. Their new album The Big To-Do is out March 16 and they’ve got two dates at Lee’s Palace on April 6 and 7.

Also mad for the two-fer is Jonsi, who is setting up shop at the Sound Academy on April 30 and May 1 – NPR has an acoustic performance from the Sigur Ros frontman, whose solo debut Go arrives March 23.

NME reports that Kate Nash’s still-untitled second album is due for release on April 19, and a new track is available to whomever signs up for her mailing list. I have to say I’m not overly impressed with that first sample, and not just because they give you a freaking WMA file. Who does that?

Also back and bearing gifts are The Pipettes, whose lineup is now made up of I have no idea who. Presumably this means a new album is coming this year? Update: Yes – Earth vs Pipettes is due out this Summer.

Video: The Pipettes – “Our Love Was Saved By A Spaceman”

Interview interviews Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields.

The Antlers have released a new video from Hospice and The Boston Globe has a feature piece. They are at The Phoenix next Tuesday night.

Video: The Antlers – “Bear”

Ra Ra Riot bassist Mathieu Santos gives Rolling Stone an idea of what to expect from album number two, when it arrives this Summer.

The Toronto Star, Spinner and The Globe & Mail reflect on the end of Wavelength, which wraps up the weekly series this Sunday night.

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Moody Motorcycle

Human Highway home for the holidays

Photo By Jaime HoggeJaime HoggeI don’t know if a duo can really be called a “supergroup”, but if so then the combined resumes of Nick Thorburn and Jim Guthrie, they who go by Human Highway, would certainly qualify them. Guthrie cut his teeth in the dearly departed and wholly underappreciated Royal City before a fruitful solo career that included a stint in Thorburn’s Islands, the band which followed his first outfit – the much beloved by people other than me Unicorns.

Though I reserve the right to be entirely wrong about this, I don’t believe that Guthrie’s stint in Islands went beyond live duties. So Moody Motorcycle, the debut album from Human Highway released back in August, constitutes the first recorded collaboration between these two artists. And fittingly, it sounds exactly as you’d think a collaboration between the two – and named for a Neil Young film – should. It’s simple and homespun-sounding, unsurprising considering it was knocked off in a week, rich in melody and harmony and faithful to the pair’s folk and pop roots. It’s a bit understated in delivery, but there’s a definite bounce to it.

While most humans of Canadian persuasion know that traversing the country’s highways in December can be a bit risky, Human Highway are setting out on a short Canadian tour in the middle of next month. Only four dates, though, including a December 16 date at the Tranzac – tickets $10 in advance, $12 at the door, though I am guessing there won’t be too many of the latter. Chart and Exclaim! talk to Guthrie about the project’s origins, while NPR declares Moody Motorcycle one of the year’s “overlooked gems”.

MP3: Human Highway – “Sleep Talking”

Exclaim has details on the next Handsome Furs record Take Control, out February 3.

Asobi Seksu’s next album has a release date to go with the previously announced title. Look for Hush on February 17.

The Quietus speculates about the possibility of a Condo Fucks record entitled Fuckbook appearing on the Matador release calendar as really being a new Yo La Tengo record. Because goodness knows that Matador/Beggars have no record of signing bands with “Fuck” in their name (though Condo Fucks don’t appear to hail from Toronto, so that’s a strike against).

The Rice Thresher talks to Matt Berninger from The National.

am/fm and Metro talk New Jersey with Nicole Atkins.

There’s much Calexico in the newswires – check out features on the band at Express Night Out, Metro, The Montreal Gazette, Chart and eye. They’re at the Phoenix on Tuesday, and congratulations go out to Fotis and Marius for winning passes to the show.

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips chats with PopMatters and JAM.

The best part of this twopart video interview with Nick Cave at PitchforkTV is the “I will eviscerate you” look on Nick’s face at the very beginning. Though I suspect he always looks like that.

Pitchfork reports that The Pipettes are once again down a Pipette.

Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke talks to The Sun, complains about John Lydon being a meanie.

Drowned In Sound gets a new album status report from Maximo Park’s Paul Smith.

Pitchfork has got an MP3 from Los Campesinos’ new record We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

MP3: Los Campesinos! – “Miserabilia”

Paste offers up the complete transcript of their recent interview with Of Montreal mastermind Kevin Barnes.

MySpace Transmissions offers up a downloadable session with Bon Iver.

Le Blogotheque takes away a show with Fleet Foxes.

Daytrotter sessions up with The Dutchess & The Duke.

PopMatters interviews The Secret Machines.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette catches up with Robyn Hitchcock.

The Santa Barbara Independent sees how Jason Isbell is doing out on his own.

Mates Of State discuss the balance between rocking out and bringing up baby with Nashville Scene.

Drowned In Sound prognosticates about what 2009 will bring for music.

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Give Me Love

Lucky Soul at Webster Hall and Joe's Pub, New York City – CMJ

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangJust to give you how tightly I have my finger on the pulse of what’s hot in music… in all the CMJ coverage that my RSS reader has been barfing up at me, I’ve seen exactly one mention (at Pitchfork) of the band that got me on a plane to New York City – London’s Lucky Soul. All these other buzz bands that everyone’s talking about? Whatever.

The band had two dates scheduled as part of their North American debut, and in the interests of making the most of the opportunity, I hit up both. One was their official CMJ showcase, the other was their own show as presented by the good people at Music Snobbery, and in terms of vibe and setting they couldn’t have been more different. The former came first, and took place in a new live music room underneath Webster Hall called The Studio, and it can generously be described as a dark basement. They were the penultimate act in a showcase dubbed “Bring On The Brits” and featuring a lineup of bands whom I don’t doubt were here from the UK, but apart from Lucky Soul, none of whom I’d ever heard of. I arrived in time to catch one of said bands, a Brighton-based outfit called Passenger who played emotive acoustic-based rock and sounded not unlike The Frames if The Frames weren’t as good at what they do. Certainly nothing offensive but also nothing that had me wishing I’d arrived earlier to catch all their set. And, after all, they were in the way between me and Lucky Soul.

But they left of their own accord – no need for an incident – and right on schedule, Lucky Soul and their wonderful brand of retro soul-pop met North America. And as much as I’d like to say otherwise, it wasn’t the smoothest introduction. For starters, singer Ali Howard’s voice had gone AWOL just a few hours before the show and while she was able to perform, the clear, beautiful vocals of the record were replaced now decidedly raspier and she no longer had the range to hit some of the high notes. Her bandmates did their best to compensate with backing vox and it definitely helped, but when she dropped back, it was very noticeable. She did seem to find some more strength as the short set progressed, but a dodgy mix didn’t help matters much.

On the plus side, the band was obviously determined to not let this setback deter them and did their very best to put on an energized and enjoyable show and I’d say they succeeded, though I can’t honestly say how much of that was fact and how much was my own excitement – having played last year’s The Great Unwanted damn near to death, it was great to finally be able to hear (and see) them live, even if the circumstances weren’t ideal. I left satisfied, though also hoping that between that night and the next, Howard would discover some mystery apothecary in the Lower East Side and her voice would be magically healed.

For though that first night was the “official” show, the second night was the “real” show – a bill featuring them and them alone in the decidedly more upscale and posh surroundings of Joe’s Pub. Surprisingly, though the previous night was a free show and this one ticketed, this one was much better attended, presumably by genuine fans rather than just random CMJ punters. And while most of the observations from the previous night still held, on this occasion there was simply more. More energy, more showmanship, more songs. Howard’s voice, sadly, was still hurting but again it improved as things went on and spared the PA dropouts from the Webster Hall show she was able to make the rasp work in her favour, mostly, giving the songs more of an edge from the sweetness of the recorded versions. The band were just as tight but the positive vibe of the room seemed to give them more pop. They sounded great and they looked great, the boys in suits and Howard in a sleek strapless dress. Between the two nights, I had a marvelous time and was absolutely thrilled to have been able to see them live – and considering how swarmed by fans the band were after the gig, seeking merch and autographs, I was not nearly the only one.

Both nights had similar setlists, though the Joe’s Pub one was obviously longer. In addition to covering most all of The Great Unwanted, they played more new material than I’d expected – it sounded less overtly throwback-y with a touch more country-soul, but still wonderfully hooky and quite strong. The debut was not a fluke. As I understand it, a second album is still a ways off but this bodes well for whenever it comes. Which raises that ever-present rhetorical question – why aren’t these guys, if not huge, then at least more talked about? Most everyone whom I’ve made to listen to it has fallen in love with them and it’s not as though it’s difficult music or would be at all tough to market. But these… these are questions that there’s no rational answer for and dost make one’s head hurt. So I’ll simply say that their two shows made the trip totally worthwhile and this had better not be the last time I get to see them perform.

Music Snobbery has a review of his own show. He thinks it went alright. And the band has blogged their eventful sojourn to the new world – terrific reading.

Photos: Lucky Soul, Passenger @ The Studio at Webster Hall, New York City – October 23, 2008
Photos: Lucky Soul @ Joe’s Pub, New York City – October 24, 2008
MP3: Lucky Soul – “The Great Unwanted”
Video: Lucky Soul – “Lips Are Unhappy”
Video: Lucky Soul – “My Brittle Heart”
Video: Lucky Soul – “Add Your Light To Mine, Baby”
MySpace: Lucky Soul
MySpace: Passenger

Pitchfork talks to Gwenno about the differences between The Pipettes mark one and two (more ’80s, less ’60s) and the precognitive powers of her hair colour.

Frightened Rabbit are offering up an MP3 from their new live album Liver! Lung! FR!.

MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Old Old Fashioned” (live)

Making an appearance on said record is Twilight Sad frontman James Graham, and to mark the start of that band’s Fall European tour with Mogwai, they’re releasing a limited-edition album collecting live tracks, unreleased goodies and covers… of course, the only place to get it right now is their Fall European tour with Mogwai, but surely there’ll be other avenues and when I know, I’ll let you know. More details on the release at Pitchfork.

This Is Fake DIY, Wales Online and MusicOhm talk to Los Campesinos! about their new record We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, out November 11.

Kele Okereke of Bloc Party doles out sex advice at The Guardian, NME reports that the band is considering ditching the physical CD single. Intimacy is out today and streaming at Spinner.

Stream: Bloc Party / Intimacy

Minnesota Public Radio serves up a session with The Rumble Strips, in town at the El Mocambo tomorrow night.