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Posts Tagged ‘Plants & Animals’

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Met Before

I am back in town. Chairlift are coming to town. Coincidence? Absolutely.

Photo By Tom HinesTom HinesSo Chicago was great, thanks for asking. Terrible weather forecasts came not to pass, though storms yesterday did wreak a little havoc on getting out of town. But that’s neither here nor there, and I am now here, not there. And here is a very short post to confirm that I am, indeed, still alive.

It’s not entirely clear to me what the mandate of the Soundclash festival coming to Harbourfront Centre in July is, but at least part of it is to bring Brooklyn electro-pop duo Chairlift to town for a free show on the Harbourfront mainstage on July 12 – I only realized I really dug their last album Something after they’d finished touring it – so it’s cool with me. That’s in addition to the Born Ruffians and Belle Game bill on the evening of the 13th, so if there’s a better place to hang out that weekend than on the lakefront, I can’t imagine what it is.

MP3: Chairlift – “I Belong In Your Arms”

If you didn’t know, the NXNE schedule is now live and should be your go-to for updates on who’s playing the festival, which kicks off June 12. One of the new adds worth noting is California’s We Are Scientists, who will anchor the Lee’s Palace lineup on June 14 and play Yonge-Dundas Square on June 15 at 4PM. Their last album was 2010’s Barbara but should be due a new record later this year.

MP3: We Are Scientists – “Impatience”

When you’re talking about Björk, some degree of strange is always implied, but that Californian experimental hip-hop outfit Death Grips will be opening for her at Echo Beach on July 16 is extra strange. Well, not when you consider Zach Hill and Björk are chums and collaborators, but musically? There’ll be some confused Björk super-fans up front that night, I wager.

MP3: Death Grips – “Spread Eagle Cross The Block”

The CNE circuit is usually reserved for family-friendly, throwback nostalgia acts, but it appears that The New Pornographers will be one of the performers at this year’s Ex, presumably playing the Bandshell on August 17. Shows are free with admission to the Exhibition.

MP3: The New Pornographers – “The Laws Have Changed”

Whilst on the topic of free (or free with admission) outdoor shows around the city, Plants & Animals and Cadence Weapon will be part of the Indie Fridays concert series at Yonge-Dundas Square on the evenings of August 23 and August 30, respectively.

MP3: Plants & Animals – “Song For Love”
MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Conditioning”

Because he doesn’t give a damn what you or anyone else thinks, Peter Hook and his band The Light will be in town on September 19 as part of his tour of complete album recitals of New Order’s Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies. It is worth noting, however, that The Hoxton is a good deal smaller than The Phoenix, where he first performed Unknown Pleasures in Fall of 2011. Tickets are $18 in advance, which isn’t bad to see a legend up close and personal.

Trailer: Peter Hook & The Light / Movement and Power, Corruption & Lies live

Brooklyn-based electronic/ambient artist Julianna Barwick will release her new album Nepenthe on August 20 and be in town at Double Double Land on September 26 to play songs from it.

MP3: Julianna Barwick – “Never Change”
Trailer: Julianna Barwick / Nepenthe

Laura Marling talks to Interview, The Age, NOW, and Spin about her new album Once I Was An Eagle, out next Tuesday, May 28, and streaming now at NPR. She plays 99 Sudbury this Saturday night, March 25.

Stream: Laura Marling / Once I Was An Eagle

The National released Trouble Will Find Me this week, and are thus the topic of feature pieces at The Grid – who send Hayden to interview Matt Berninger – as well as The Toronto Sun, Entertainment Weekly, Consequence Of Sound, Billboard, NPR, and The National Post. NPR also has a World Cafe session with the band, who headline NXNE at Yonge-Dundas Square on June 14.

Okay I’m going to go lie down now.

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Asleep In The Pews

Evening Hymns stream last Toronto show, slate next Toronto show

Photo via FacebookFacebookThe last time that Evening Hymns graced a Toronto stage, it was back in August as part of the Summerworks festival and came a few days before the official release of their gorgeously heavy second album Spectral Dusk. After that show, which featured a band and lightshow specially assembled for that performance, Jonas Bonnetta and Sylvie Smith – the Evening Hymns principals – jetted across the ocean to tour the record across Europe with friends and album collaborators The Wooden Sky, only returning a couple weeks ago only to set out on a coast-to-coast, cross-Canada tour last week which will keep them working the Trans-Canada Highway until the end of November.

And then they’ll come home.

The band have just announced a tour-ending, hometown performance for December 15 at the Church Of The Redeemer in Toronto, a room that doesn’t frequently host live music but sounds marvelous when it does. It’s hard to think of a more appropriate locale to bookend what has surely been a physically and emotionally draining Autumn for Bonnetta. And to coincide with the Canadian tour and show announcement, CBC Music has made a recording of that August show at The Great Hall available to stream. And yep, it’s as beautiful as I remember it.

MP3: Evening Hymns – “Arrows”
Video: Evening Hymns – “Family Tree”

Also just announced and perhaps of interest – Gentleman Reg will release his third Leisure Life EP of the Fall digitally on November 6, with the collected physical edition coming not long after on November 20 and a hometown release show taking place at The Gladstone on December 2. Details at Exclaim, and all three are available to stream

Stream: Gentleman Reg / Leisure Life Part One
Stream: Gentleman Reg / Leisure Life Part Two
Stream: Gentleman Reg / Leisure Life Part Three

Cold Specks has been added as support for Conor Oberst at Massey Hall on December 8. Remaining tickets range from $39.50 to $69.50.

Video: Cold Specks – “Winter Solstice”

Since they’ll be all rehearsed up for their European tour in November as part of Constellation Records’ 15th anniversary, Do Make Say Think have slated a hometown show for The Opera House on December 7, tickets $15 in advance.

MP3: Do Make Say Think – “The Landlord Is Dead”

Beatroute talks quickly to Plants & Animals, in town at The Great Hall on November 15.

Interview, The Ottawa Citizen, The Grid, and Durham Region talk to John O’Regan of Diamond Rings, bringing his Free Dimensional tour through Toronto to The Mod Club on November 29.

The Broken Speaker talks to The Wooden Sky, playing a tour-ending, homecoming show of their own at The Phoenix on December 1.

Drowned In Sound chats with Japandroids, hitting The Phoenix on December 12.

The Balconies have squeezed a new video out of their now-three-year-old-and-counting self-titled debut. Why yes, that is a passive-aggressive nudge for a new record, how good of you to notice. At least the video is seasonally-themed.

Video: The Balconies – “Do It In The Dark”

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Snowblink.

Spin and The Calgary Herald profile METZ.

The AV Club has a Blogotheque-produced video session with A.C. Newman, guest-starring one Neko Case. They sound great together – they should make a record or something.

NOW talked to The Wilderness Of Manitoba before last week’s record release show at Trinity-St. Paul’s.

Beatroute and Queen’s Journal chat with The Rural Alberta Advantage.

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

No Can Do

Ladyhawk are back. No, the other Ladyhawk.

Photo via KillbeatKillbeatIt was pretty fun times to be an artist named for (or almost named for) a Matthew Broderick vehicle back circa 2007/2008. Pip Browne was turning heads with her hooky, ’80s synthpop-referencing tunes from all the way in New Zealand as Ladyhawke and in Canada, four guys were making a name for themselves with hooky, ’70s bar rock-referencing tunes from all the way in Kelowna. Hard to confuse the two (unless you were the guys in this story), but it was interesting that both were active at the same time and then basically disappeared around the same time in 2009, neither taking advantage of the other’s inactivity to increase their Ladyhawk/e identity mindshare.

But while Ladyhawke’s disappearance was because of a prolonged process of recording album number two, Ladyhawk went on a proper hiatus after finishing with their second album Shots, with frontman Duffy Driediger putting together a new outfit in Duffy & The Doubters, bassist Sean Hawryluk pulling time in Baptists, and drummer Ryan Peters and guitarist Darcy Hancock recording as SPORTS. Fast-forward to 2012, though, and they’re back. Both of them.

Ladyhawke released Anxiety back in May, and Ladyhawk will let their third album No Can Do out of the pen on October 9. Note how the two records look nothing alike and most certainly don’t sound anything alike (a track from the new record is available below for reference). Possibly creating some genuine confusion is the fact that both artists are touring North America this Fall, though fully a month apart. Toronto gets Ladyhawke (the feminine article) September 15 at The Hoxton, and Ladyhawk (the band of bros) on October 25 at The Horseshoe ($15 in advance). I suppose it’s conceivable that you could get those two venues mixed up, but I really hope you don’t. Unless you’re the guys from London.

MP3: Ladyhawk – “You Read My Mind”

It’s a little bit of Montreal in Toronto on November 15 when Plants & Animals and Parlovr play The Great Hall, tickets $15.

MP3: Plants & Animals – “The End Of That”
MP3: Parlovr – “Pen To The Paper”

The Weeknd are making it a three-day weekend stand at The Sound Academy, adding a third show for November 4 to go with the November 2 and 3 ones that are presumably just about sold out.

MP3: The Weeknd – “Life Of The Party”

Pitchfork has got a new song from Yamantaka/Sonic Titan, recorded for Adult Swim’s Singles Series, available to download. And if you’ve had trouble finding their YT/ST album in stores – despite it being Polaris shortlisted, they’ve been label-less since March – fear not; they’ve just signed to Paper Bag Records, who will be reissuing it and making it available pretty much everywhere on September 11.

MP3: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “Lamia”

Torq Campbell of Stars gets all fired up about topics political with The Huffington Post. Their new record The North is out September 4 and they open up for Metric at the Air Canada Centre on November 24.

Claire Boucher – aka Grimes – also has some thoughts on politics of the Russian variety, which she shares with NME. She has two nights booked at Lee’s Palace on September 21 and 22 and has just released another wacky-ass video from the Polaris shortlisted and heavily-favoured Visions.

Video: Grimes – “Genesis”

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Jonas Bonnetta of Evening Hymns.

Talk Rock To Me chats with You Say Party, who will be back in action at The Great Hall on September 29.

Also playing that Paper Bag anniversary show at the Great Hall on the 29th are Young Galaxy; Stephen Ramsay discusses with Spinner the changes of direction that will come with their next album when it comes out next year.

Exclaim has details on the second of Gentleman Reg’s digital Leisure Life EPs, the second of which will be out on September 4. A track from it is available to stream courtesy of Ion.

Stream: Gentleman Reg – “Make It Better”

CBC Music gets some tips on eating on the road from Great Lake Swimmers’ Tony Dekker.

Friday, June 15th, 2012

A Star Over Pureland

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan and 39 other artists are your 2012 Polaris Music Prize long list

Photo By Derrick BelchamDerrick BelchamIt figures that the first year that I would have been able to actually attend the long-list unveiling for the Polaris Music Prize, they up and move it from its usual home atop the Drake clear across the country to give Vancouver a taste of what the grand unveiling of the 40 albums selected as the top musical achievements in Canada over the past 12 months is like. But that’s alright because as it turns out, this was also the first year that I don’t need to make any changes to my ballot as all five of the records I submitted have made it onto the long list so unless I have some massive change of heart about which record is more artistically achieving than another, my role in this year’s Polaris is done.

Which is a surprise because at the start of this year’s eligibility period, I’d have only been able to predict one – maybe two – of my nominations. One of them I’d have sworn I’d never get behind and one I’d never even heard of. And yet. That said, the long list itself is simultaneously one of the most varied in recent memory, from a stylistic and profile point of view, and also one of the most predictable if you’ve been privy to the internal discussions of the 200+ jurors (or at least the ones who participate in the Google group). In any case, nows the time for forty artists to enjoy their time in the large-ish spotlight, send out press releases and update their Wikipedia pages; the short list is announced on July 17 and that, I’m far less confident in my ability to predict. Then, come September 24, there will only be one.

And as I do every year, here are what made my final ballot and why. There was more indecision and last-minute jockeying than there usually is, but I’m pretty comfortable with my picks and also with the fact that two of my three runners-up also made the long list. What can I say, this was just the year that I was wholly in sync with the zeitgeist or something.

1. Fucked Up / David Comes To Life
As with Arcade Fire’s eventual champion The Suburbs last year, this one felt like a no-brainer for the number one slot if for no other reason than it aspired to more, artistically, than most of its peers and arguably succeeded far more than it fell short. Certainly, questions abound: Does the rock opera narrative hold up? Is it hardcore anymore? Will this be the year an artist finally repeats as Polaris champ? To these questions, I have no answer, but I do know this: those guitar riffs friggin’ shoot for the moon.
MP3: Fucked Up – “The Other Shoe”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Ship Of Fools”
MP3: Fucked Up – “A Little Death”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”
Video: Fucked Up – “Turn The Season”
Video: Fucked Up – “The Other Shoe”
Video: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”

2. Yamantaka//Sonic Titan / YT//ST
I fully expected to hate this band and this record. I mean, how much more pretentious can you get than a bio like, “the pan-Asian cultural collective, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan has crafted a debut LP that sets new standards for the creative heights and satisfactions of genre fusion. They call it Noh-Wave”. And yet that may very well be what they’ve done. Within it’s barely-qualifying seven tracks (really six) and 30 minutes, there’s incredibly deft moves through rock, metal, no-wave, and jazz, all with a genuine Eastern flavour that’s more than just affectation; by rights, it should collapse under the weight of its conceit but instead it soars. It’s operatic, metallic, exotic, and fantastic.
Video: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – “Hoshi Neko”
Stream: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan / YT//ST

3. Bry Webb / Provider
Never the biggest Constantines fan, I didn’t have much in the way of expectations of their frontman’s solo career, and with its low-key production and ruminations on age and family and life, Provider doesn’t seem like it’s necessarily expecting you to expect much from it. And yet it’s an unquestionably powerful and resonant work, with Webb’s rich, rasp of a voice proving to be just as effective – if not more – in a conversational tone as it was as a defiant bark.
MP3: Bry Webb – “Rivers Of Gold”

4. Patrick Watson / Adventures In Your Own Backyard
I will refer you back to this post in order to fully appreciate how remarkable I must think Adventures is for it to be on my ballot. And really, he’s not doing anything substantially different than he’s done on his earlier records – elegantly arranged and executed art-pop that’s content to just be lovely. And that he’s dialed down the fussiness a bit and dialed up the beauty a lot has apparently been enough to win me right over.
MP3: Patrick Watson – “Words In The Fire”
MP3: Patrick Watson – “Into Giants”
Video: Patrick Watson – “Into Giants”

5. Kathryn Calder / Bright & Vivid
I liked Calder’s first record a lot and loved her second, and yet was reluctant for a long while to put it on my ballot. Why? Because it’s pop music – pure and simple – without any particular stylistic angle or backstory, and pure pop is frequently dismissed or denigrated for aspiring to nothing more than creating indelible, earwormy melodies. Well you know what? That’s an incredibly hard thing to do, and to do it as well as Calder does on just her second time out? That deserves recognition.
MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Who Are You”
Video: Kathryn Calder – “Turn A Light On”
Video: Kathryn Calder – “Who Are You”

Plants & Animals have released a new video from The End Of That. Their NXNE schedule puts them at Yonge-Dundas Square tonight at 8:30PM for a free show.

Video: Plants & Animals – “H.C.”

NOW and The Ottawa Citizen talk to Yamantaka//Sonic Titan as they gear up for NXNE; they’ll be at The Garrison tonight at 12AM, will play an in-store at Sonic Boom on Saturday at 3PM and if you’re still up and about late Saturday night, maybe you’ll need a soundtrack for some nachos…

Toronto’s METZ – who have been fixtures around the city seemingly forever – have finally announced details of their debut full-length, which is still untitled but will be out on October 9 via Sub Pop. They talk to Exclaim about it, and will be at Wrongbar tonight and The Phoenix opening for Archers Of Loaf tomorrow.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian, City Arts, Denver Westword, Washington City Paper, Willamette Weekly, The Phoenix New Times, and Vice discover Destroyer’s Dan Bejar isn’t so media-averse after all. He’s at The Opera House on June 23.

Consequence Of Sound and Spin have features on Japandroids, in town at Lee’s Palace on June 23.

Reg Vermue has been pretty busy in the guise of Regina The Gentlelady in Light Fires, but Gentleman Reg is not being neglected; Exclaim reports that Reg will be releasing a new album entitled Leisure Life as a series of three digital EPs, the first arriving July 3 and all of which will be collected in physical form in the Fall. The first track from the collection has been made available to stream.

Stream: Gentleman Reg – “Waiting Around For Gold”

Basia Bulat will be opening up for Andrew Bird at Echo Beach on July 19.

MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”

CBC Music asks Bry Webb to name his five favourite records of the last 20 years; The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Uptown, and Regina Leader-Post. Webb plays The Theatre Centre on August 18 as part of the Summerworks festival, the lineup of which was just announced this week and also features the likes of Evening Hymns and Buck 65 in special performances that promise to better integrate the theatrical side of the festival; should be interesting. Dates and performer information can be had at Exclaim.

The National Post talks to Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers; they’re opening up for Blue Rodeo at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 18.

Exclaim, eMusic, National Post, and Spinner have features on Metric and The Alternate Side a video session to mark the release of Synthetica. The band have a new video from it as well.

Video: Metric – “Youth Without Youth”

PS I Love You have released another video in their Paper Bag Sessions series. The Halifax Chronicle-Herald and McMaster Silhouette have interviews.

Video: PS I Love You – “Death Dreams Pt 1 & 2”

Spin talks to Spencer Krug about the new Moonface record With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery, from which a new video has just been released.

Video: Moonface – “Faraway Lightning”

Macleans investigates why John K Samson is so popular in Germany. Check the Hasselhoff jokes, people. Just don’t.

Friday, May 18th, 2012

What About Us

Handsome Furs call it a day

Photo By Liam MaloneyLiam MaloneyThe Canadian music scene got a little/lot less rock last night when word got out that Handsome Furs – the Wolf Parade spin-off that arguably equalled or bettered that project – had hung it up. Word came via a blog post without much in the way of explanation, and considering the previous post was in reference to cancelling European tour dates in March due to an “urgent health issues”, one can only hope that this is a decision that Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry are choosing to make rather than having it forced upon them.

Boeckner’s fans are surely reeling considering this is two of his bands retired in the past eighteen months, but according to the The Victoria Times-Colonist, he’s already got a new project in the pipe – based out of his new apparent homebase of Los Angeles – so maybe people won’t have to wait to hear his distinctive yelp coming out of their speakers again. Maybe he’s just trying to keep up with former bandmate Spencer Krug in terms of bands on their CV?

In any case, this announcement makes last year’s fist-clenchingly synth-soaked Sound Kapital the final word from the band. Not a bad note to go out on. And, of course, the fact that Canadian journos will go into the long weekend with Handsome Furs on the brain and a little over a week to assemble our Polaris Prize ballots may give the already favoured Sound Kapital a little extra push… not to mention if they make the short list, maybe they could be persuaded to play one, final gig for the gala in September. Hey, I’m just spitballing here.

MP3: Handsome Furs – “Repatriated”
MP3: Handsome Furs – “What About Us”
MP3: Handsome Furs – “Radio Kaliningrad”
MP3: Handsome Furs – “I’m Confused”
MP3: Handsome Furs – “Cannot Get, Started”
MP3: Handsome Furs – “What We Had”
Video: Handsome Furs – “Serve The People”
Video: Handsome Furs – “What About Us”
Video: Handsome Furs – “I’m Confused”
Video: Handsome Furs – “Cannot Get Started”
Video: Handsome Furs – “Dumb Animals”

Blurt gets to know Patrick Watson. He’s at the Music Hall on May 29.

Denver Westword and The San Francisco Chronicle profile Plants & Animals; they play Yonge-Dundas Square the evening of June 15 for NXNE.

The AV Club interviews Paul Saulnier of PS I Love You.

Feist hits the street for the latest video from Metals.

Video: Feist – “Cicadas & Gulls”

Yeah that’s all for today. I need to slink into the long weekend and get away for a bit.