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Posts Tagged ‘Psychedelic Furs’

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Human Being

Review of Cat Power’s Sun

Photo By Stefano GiovanniniStefano GiovanniniIt seems counter-intuitive to not look forward to hearing an artist’s first album of new material in half a decade – the follow-up to arguably her best work, no less – but then things are rarely straightforward when you’re talking about Cat Power. With all respect to those who’d bestow the honour on You Are Free or Moon Pix, but The Greatest was as good as its title as far as I was concerned. It may not have been as musically adventurous or emotionally bare as some of her other works, but I found the document of an artist trying something new with the Memphis soul style and sounding so in her element irresistible.

So why fear for the follow-up? Well, there was 2008’s Jukebox, which took the aesthetic of The Greatest and applied it to a selection of classic songs and somehow ended up feeling utterly bloodless, with Chan Marshall seemingly falling into the diva trap of now being an impressive voice overemoting the words of others; it was like the feeling of comfort that permeated The Greatest had turned into complacency. Further, while the two shows I saw in 2006 in support of The Greatest were, with a few hiccups, outstanding shows that seemed to put Marshall’s reputation as a shaky live bet to bed, her appearance at the 2007 Rogers Picnic was uneven and uncomfortable and while she was certainly more together at Matador at 21 in 2010, that set didn’t really point to her leaving her Dirty Delta comfort zone anytime soon. In other words, my greatest fear for Sun, promised as far back as 2007 but only arriving next Tuesday, would that it would be an overworked, underwhelming rock’n’soul pastiche that showcased Marshall’s voice but shortchanged her songwriting. And I didn’t want to hear that happen.

Well as it turns out, there was nothing to fear. Nothing. At. All. Marshall’s soulful rasp is as rich as it ever was, but there’s little trace of the gospel-blues singer that she wore a little too well. Sun is a wildly eclectic record, and even those who’ve kept up with Cat Power through her various creative phases may be taken aback by the introduction of electronic textures, programmed beats, and even some autotuning effects, but no one would dare dismiss this as genre tourism. It’s more as if Cat Power has been captured through a prism and refracted into a spectrum of musical colours – perhaps new and unfamiliar when taken in bits, but all still very much parts of the whole.

As tempting as it would be to make the new sonic direction the story of the record, or dwell on the remarkable fact that it was not only self-produced but that Marshall played virtually every instrument on the record, to do so would be to not focus on the most crucial aspect of Sun and that the songs are fantastic. The frailties of her early work have given way to a swaggering confidence that permeates everything; Marshall is focused, confident, and not only willing to take on anything, but determined to succeed. A closer examination of the lyrics reveals as much emotional honesty as she’s ever offered – after all, you can’t raise the sun without casting some shadows – but the darkness only adds depth, it never defines. Sun is an astonishing statement from Chan Marshall that shows that rather than banish the demons of her earlier work as The Greatest might have inferred, she’s utterly made them her bitches and put them to work.

The New York Times, News.com.au, and Spin have feature pieces on Cat Power and NPR is streaming Sun ahead of its release next week. She plays The Kool Haus on October 20.

MP3: Cat Power – “Cherokee”
MP3: Cat Power – “Ruin”
Stream: Cat Power / Sun

Another stellar effort from a veteran performer out next week is Silver Age from Bob Mould; it’s also now available to stream along with an interview at Rolling Stone. The first video from said record also surfaced last week.

Video: Bob Mould – “The Descent”
Stream: Bob Mould / Silver Age

To mark the release of the Divine Fits debut long-player A Thing Called Divine Fits this week, there’s feature interviews with Britt Daniel and/or Dan Boeckner at Consequence Of Sound, The 405, Interview, 680 News, Seattle Weekly, Pitchfork, The AV Club, and The National Post. Divine Fits play Lee’s Palace on September 5.

Also out this week was Nocturne, the second album from Wild Nothing. Accompanying that were features at eMusic, The Fader, Clash, DIY, Austinist, The Line Of Best Fit, and Paste. They’re at The Great Hall on September 18.

A goodly number of show announcements to get through. We’ll start with The Killers, because statistically speaking some of you must be fans, just as some of your must be human and others dancer. Their new record Battle Born is out September 18 and they’re at The Sound Academy on September 22, tickets $54.50. That seems undersized for them so I figure this counts as the “intimate club gig” before they return in a few months at the arena level.

Video: The Killers – “Runaways”

Presumably having sorted themselves out following the departure of bassist Jen Turner, Here We Go Magic will be at The Garrison on September 23 as part of a tour support of their latest record A Different Ship. Tickets for that are $12.50 in advance. Spin has a feature on the band.

MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Casual”

Having been through for festivals and as support, Exitmusic finally have their own proper headlining show in support of their debut Passage. They’re at The Horseshoe on October 1, tickets $10.50.

MP3: Exitmusic – “The Sea”

Californian psych-poppers Woods will have a new record in Bend Beyond out on September 18, and they’d like to play some of it for you. Be at The Garrison on October 2 if you’ld like that too; tickets are $12.50 in advance.

MP3: Woods – “Wind Was The Wine”

There’s no measure by which this isn’t a strange tour, but it must make sense to someone. That’d be The Psychedelic Furs, The Lemonheads, and Juliana Hatfield, who will also be reprising her Ray-era bass duties in The Lemonheads. She’ll sort of have a new record to push in her self-titled cover album, a sort of companion piece to The Lemonheads’ last release, the all-cover Varshons. Wouldn’t it be weird if both their sets were all covers? Or maybe all Psychedelic Furs covers? Yeah I have no idea what this is, besides at The Danforth Music Hall on October 16. Ticket info still forthcoming.

Video: The Psychedelic Furs – “Love My Way”
Video: The Lemonheads – “It’s A Shame About Ray”
Video: Juliana Hatfield Three – “My Sister”

They are from Brooklyn, they are seventeen members strong, they are disco, they are Escort, their 2011 debut album was also Escort, I hear they were awesome at SXSW, and they’re at The Horseshoe on November 10. Tickets are $16.50 – that’s less than a dollar a band member!

MP3: Escort – “Starlight”

Yellow Ostrich are at The Garrison on November 12 in support of their second album Strange Land. $12 gets you in the door, full dates at Plug In Music.

MP3: Yellow Ostrich – “The Shakedown”

San Diego’s Pinback return with their first album in five years in Information Retrieved, and are touring in support. Said tour wraps up at Lee’s Palace on November 21, tickets $16.50.

MP3: Pinback – “From Nothing To Nowhere”

Rolling Stone has premiered the surprisingly dark new video from Bob Dylan’s forthcoming Tempest. It’s out September 11 and the man hits the Air Canada Centre on November 14.

Video: Bob Dylan – “Duquesne Whistle”

Exclaimtalks to Lou Barlow about the new Dinosaur Jr album I Bet On Sky, out September 18. They play three nights at Lee’s Palace from September 24 to 26.

The first video from Band Of Horses’ forthcoming Mirage Rock is now available to watch. It’s out September 18.

Video: Band Of Horses – “Knock Knock”

Stereogum chats with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. Their new record Transcendental Youth is out October 2, they play The Phoenix on October 20.

Benjamin Gibbard – you may know him as just Ben – has released the first sample of his forthcoming solo record Former Lives, out October 16. He plays The Danforth Music Hall on October 14.

MP3: Benjamin Gibbard – “Teardrop Windows”

Exclaim has details on a new release from Andrew Bird, a companion piece to this year’s Break It Yourself. Hands Of Glory is out October 30.

Sleigh Bells’ Reign Of Terror has yielded another new video.

Video: Sleigh Bells – “End Of The Line”

NPR welcomes Beachwood Sparks for a video session. LA Weekly also has a feature on the band.

The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, SF Weekly, The Pitch, Colorado Daily, and Boulder Weekly have interviews with Sharon Van Etten.

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Circles And Squares

We Were Promised Jetpacks tour North America; may not be powered by jetpack

Photo By Neil Thomas DouglasNeil Thomas DouglasAs I understand it, yesterday was Robbie Burns Day and while I may have missed out on my annual tradition of posting something suitably Scottish to mark the day – a tradition I’ve marked exactly zero times in the past forever years – I’m going to make up for it a little bit by leading with some Scots-related content.

Firstly, We Were Promised Jetpacks have finally scheduled a second North American tour in support of last year’s In The Pit Of The Stomach; they did a leg of touring Stateside in the later part of the year but routing didn’t bring them up through town that time. This time, they’ve got an April 27 date at Lee’s Palace, with advance tickets running you $15 in advance. I wasn’t quite bowled over with their 2009 debut These Four Walls, but am on record as saying that Stomach shows some pretty significant artistic growth. And their live shows have always been good, loud and intense so yeah. Mark this one down.

MP3: We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Act On Impulse”
Video: We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Human Error”

Meanwhile, labelmates and countrymen The Twilight Sad continue to ramp up to the February 7 release of their new record No One Can Ever Know. They’ve released a second video from the record and there’s also an interview with frontman James Graham and guitarist Andy MacFarlane at The Spill. They’ll be at Lee’s Palace on February 29.

Video: The Twilight Sad – “Another Bed”

Exclaim reports that Belle & Sebastian are will be curating a second Late Night Tales compilation which, in addition to including tracks selected by the band, will include a cover of the Scots covering The Primitives’ “Crash”. That’s one to file under, “worth the price of admission”. It’s out March 26 and will hopefully keep fans appeased while Stuart Murdoch continues to round up funding for his God Help The Girl film project.

No Ripcord interviews Allo Darlin’, whose second album Europe will be out in April.

Florence & The Machine has released another new video from Ceremonials. Florence Welch talked to MTV about her staging plans for their just-announced US tour, which doesn’t have a local date. I’m genuinely curious where she’ll play (and how much it’ll cost) when she eventually winds her way up to Canada – I’m guessing Air Canada Centre, even if just theatre mode, but wouldn’t be shocked if they went for the whole hog. Anyways.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “Lover To Lover”

There’s a new Laura Marling video taken from A Creature I Don’t Know, and a clip for a live reading of “Night After Night” has also surfaced.

Video: Laura Marling – “I Was Just A Card”
Video: Laura Marling – “Night After Night” (live)

They Shoot Music goes hunting for Wild Beasts and finally corner them in a Copenhagen freight elevator. Video ensues.

Drowned In Sound meets Metronomy, who have a date at The Hoxton on April 2.

DIY reports that Brighton’s Blood Red Shoes have set a March 26 release date for their new record In Time To Voices. Steve Ansell – the non-guitar half of the duo – penned a piece for Drowned In Sound about the state of guitar music in the UK right now.

If it seemed like Arctic Monkeys have been releasing a tonne of videos from Suck It And See, well they have. And now they’ve released a clip for the b-side from the forthcoming “Black Treacle” single, a tune which features vocals from the inimitable Richard Hawley.

Video: Arctic Monkeys – “You & I” (featuring Richard Hawley)

The Guardian reports that Saint Etienne are giving away a track from their first new album in seven years via their website in exchange for your personal details. Word is the album will be entitled Words and Music by Saint Etienne, no word on release date.

Stream: Saint Etienne – “Tonight”

Richard Thompson talks to Billboard about his plans for his next album, which will be electric, recorded in a trio format and probably be out before the end of the year.

Kate Bush has released a new animated video from 50 Words For Snow.

Video: Kate Bush – “Elder Falls At Lake Tahoe”

The Psychedelic Furs have made a date at Lee’s Palace for March 29, tickets $36.50 in advance.

Video: The Psychedelic Furs – “Love My Way”

Fanfarlo are paving the road to the February 28 release of Rooms Filled With Light with the release of a series of live session videos of songs from the record. The first is for the lead single from the record. They’re at The Mod Club on March 24.

Video: Fanfarlo – “Shiny Things” (live session)

The Line Of Best Fit has premiered a track from The Mary Onettes’ forthcoming Love Forever EP, due out February 28.

MP3: The Mary Onettes – “Love’s Taking Strange Ways”

Australians The Jezabels have made a headlining date for The Mod Club on April 18; tickets are $15.50 in advance.

MP3: The Jezabels – “Try Colour”

Just a week after wondering when that first single would show up, DIY points to a stream of the first taste of Ladyhawke’s Anxiety. The US release date for the record has now been pushed back a week to March 27.

Stream: Ladyhawke – “Black, White & Blue”

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

"Pretty In Pink"

The National cover The Psychedelic Furs

Illustration By Johnnie CluneyJohnnie CluneyThe what: The National recording a rare and unexpected cover – a shimmering interpretation of “Pretty In Pink” by British art rockers Psychedelic Furs, which inspired the John Hughes ’80s teen classic film of the same name and in turn, became one of the band’s biggest hits in North America (after being re-recorded and cleaned up, of course).

The when and where: It was recorded in 2007 for internet treasure Daytrotter whilst the band were on tour in support of Boxer.

The why now: The National released their latest opus High Violet earlier this month. Violet isn’t too far off from pink on most colour wheels worth their salt. The National are in town next week for two shows at Massey Hall – June 8 and June 9. The Psychedelic Furs are in town for an intimate show at Lee’s Palace for the first of those nights, June 8. I don’t expect any Richard Butler guest spots with The National or anything, but these are the sort of sychronicities that make me happy.

The what else: The Houston Chronicle has an interview with The National while Consequence Of Sound has found some videos of Matt Berninger and the Dessner brothers playing stripped-down versions of “Anyone’s Ghost” and “Fake Empire” outside of Los Angeles garage. Just because, I guess.

MP3: The National – “Pretty In Pink”
Video: The Psychedelic Furs – “Pretty In Pink” (original)
Video: Psychedelic Furs – “Pretty In Pink” (soundtrack version)

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

When I Still Have Thee

Middle-aged cult heroes Teenage Fanclub return with new album

Photo via MergeMergeSo much to catch up on. Where to begin? How about Scotland? That Teenage Fanclub had completed a new record in the last while is no secret. Even the title has been kicking around since last year. But the lack of news on the actual release of the record has been tough to find, at least until now. Merge, who put out their last album Man-Made in 2005, will release Shadows on June 8 to the delight of power pop connoisseurs everywhere.

To stir up anticipation, they’ve released the first MP3 from the record. It’s a Norman Blake composition but like most everything they’ve done since 1997’s Songs From Northern Britain, regardless of who the specific songwriter is, it’s a master class in mid-tempo, ultra-melodic jangle-pop. One of the wonderful things about this band – besides the music, of course – is how each of the three principals has their own distinct songwriting personality, and yet they fit together seamlessly. I’ll admit that in the past half decade, I hadn’t really been chomping at the bit for a new Fannies record but knowing that one is coming and that it’s almost certain to be of the same high level of quality as they’ve maintained pretty much forever is a comforting thought. The Fannies will never really surprise, but they’ll never disappoint either.

Also worth looking forward to is the fact that there are plans for North American touring this Fall. Their last tour was also five years ago so another visit is long overdue. Tracklisting and cover art for Shadows can be had over at Pitchfork.

MP3: Teenage Fanclub – “Baby Lee”

After a goodly amount of teasing, the first official taste of High Violet, the new record from The National, is available to download and it is, in a word, amazing. I’d been joking that this was going to be my album of the year before I heard a note, but I don’t think I’m joking anymore. The National are at Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.

MP3: The National – “Blood Buzz Ohio”

The Acorn have set a June 1 release date for their new album No Ghost – details on the release at Exclaim.

Exclaim talks to Wolf Parade about their still-untitled new album, which has a release date of June 29. They’ll preview it at the Phoenix on April 7.

BBC6 talks to Thomas Mars of Phoenix, who are celebrating a pretty good year by giving away a free live album. Go and get it.

ZIP: Phoenix / Live In Sydney

And speaking of live, let’s talk show announcements. With their new album The Five Ghosts set to come out on June 22, Stars are looking to get back into game shape with a short Canadian tour that will find the band playing rooms much smaller than they normally would, including the Mod Club in Toronto on May 5. And you’ll be paying for the privilege of pretending its December 2004… tickets are a rather dear $34.75, on sale Friday morning. But you know that even at that price, they’ll be gone lickety split.

They entertained the hell out of me just a few days ago, and now Man Man are coming to do the same to you – they’ve got a date at Lee’s Palace on May 9 as part of a short tour, tickets $15.

MP3: Man Man – “Top Drawer”

UK electro outfit Fuck Buttons have made a date at the Horseshoe for May 19.

MP3: Fuck Buttons – “Bright Tomorrow”

Holly Miranda will finally be bringing her solo effort The Magician’s Private Library to town for a show at the El Mocambo on May 20.

MP3: Holly Miranda – “Waves”

The Avett Brothers will bring their latest album I And Love And You back to town for a show at The Phoenix on June 1. Tickets are $25.50 and on sale now.

MP3: The Avett Brothers – “I And Love And You”

Though they were just here in October, The Psychedelic Furs are back for a much cozier show at Lee’s Palace on June 8.

Video: The Psychedelic Furs – “Love My Way”

His date at the Mod Club last April was cancelled due to illness, but Robyn Hitchcock is finally making that up in intimate style with two shows at the Drake Underground on June 11 and 12. Of course that show was supposed to be with the Venus 3 – no word yet what the touring configuration for these appearances are going to be, but it’ll be entertaining regardless.

MP3: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – “Goodnight Oslo” (live)

The New Pornographers have announced their extensive North American touring plans in support of Together, out May 4. For their June 15 date at the Sound Academy, they’ll be joined by The Dodos and The Dutchess & The Duke – tickets $26.50 general admission and $40 VIP balcony, on sale Friday. And since it’s a question that always gets asked when tour dates are announced, yes – Dan and Neko are going to be there.

MP3: The New Pornographers – “Your Hands (Together)”
MP3: The Dodos – “Fables”
MP3: The Dutchess & The Duke – “Living This Life”

And if you like your west coast pop a little more bent, Frog Eyes will be at the Music Gallery that same evening, June 15, accompanied by Seattle’s Pearly Gate Music.

MP3: Frog Eyes – “Bushels”
MP3: Pearly Gate Music – “Big Escape”

And oh yeah, Montreal’s Osheaga festival announced their lineup this week and it’s a pretty big pile of holy shit. With a top-five bill of Arcade Fire, Weezer, Pavement, Metric and The National and a pretty solid undercard, it’s pretty much a must-attend for any indie-rocking type who isn’t averse to standing around in a field for two days. The fest goes July 31 and August 1 in Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal; weekend passes go for $110/$120 depending on how soon you’re willing to commit.

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

"Love My Way"

Pernice Brothers cover The Psychedelic Furs

Photo via AmazonAmazonPeople probably don’t believe Joe Pernice, he of the gorgeously depressive folk-pop, when he says he’s a huge fan of early ’80s British new wave with its mechanical tones and synthetic textures. And so perhaps to prove it, he covers it. A lot. Or he did, anyways – his latest release It Feels So Good When I Stop is almost all covers and while it ranges from ’70s AM pop through classic country and ’90s college rock, his Anglophile side is pretty much ignored. But then, the album is meant to soundtrack his new book of the same name, and it’s not autobiographical, not at all. No sir.

Digging back through his Pernice Brothers and Chappaquiddick Skyline periods, however, reveal a trifecta of superb covers from the era – New Order’s “Leave Me Alone”, The Chameleons’ “Up The Down Escalator” and this one of The Psychedelic Furs’ “Love My Way”, released as a b-side to the “Clearspot” single. Maybe someday Joe will release another covers album comprised solely of this stuff. But probably not.

Pernice plays a combination show/book reading at the Dakota Tavern on September 24 while The Psychedelic Furs are teaming up with The Happy Mondays for a nostalgia tour that hits the Kool Haus on October 14. The Chicago Tribune has an interview with Pernice.

MP3: Pernice Brothers – “Love My Way”
Video: The Psychedelic Furs – “Love My Way”