Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘Quasi’

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Sunspots

Bob Mould revisits Workbook

Photo By Marc NorbergMarc NorbergI first got into Bob Mould in the early ’90s via Sugar, but quickly found myself seeking out his older works; obviously this included Hüsker Dü, but also his two late ’80s solo records Workbook and Black Sheets Of Rain which preceded his return to a band format. At the time they seemed like oddities, sounding neither like the hardcore-punk-pop evolution of the Dü years, nor the Alternative Nation-signifying roar of Sugar.

Rain was more characteristic of what people expected from Mould, built on layers of electric guitar and Mould’s angst-filled roar and probably not as well-regarded as it should be today because of some dated production values. Workbook, on the other hand, was filled with jangling 12-string acoustic guitar, cello and mandolin adornments, and major key melodies (though raging electric guitar and throat-shredding vocals also featured) – elements that would inform the next two and a half decades of his work, but as his first post-Hüsker Dü release, it must have been a head-scratcher. I took to it immediately – remember, for me 1991 was far more about Out Of Time than Nevermind – and Mould’s contribution to the seminal No Alternative AIDS benefit album in 1993 was also along those lines and one of my very favourites off that album.

All of which is to say as much as I love Bob when he’s perforating eardrums, as he’s been lately, I also totally dig his quieter stuff and I’m glad to see that Workbook is getting the respect that it deserves. It had already been announced that Mould would be marking the 25th anniversary of the release with a performance at Noise Pop next February where he’ll presumably – but not confirmedly – play it in its entirety. But Under The Radar now reports that the milestone is getting commemorated in somewhat larger fashion. A deluxe edition of the record – Workbook 25 – will be coming out on February 25 with the original album being accompanied by a second disc containing a b-side and a complete live show from the era. Granted, many of those bonus tracks appeared on the 1994 Poison Years compilation, but there’s still some unreleased goodies in there and isn’t it the thought that counts?

It’s a shame that the expanded slate of tour dates around its release don’t make it up here, but don’t forget that those Copper Blue recitals were only supposed to be a limited engagement and he toured that everywhere. So fingers crossed.

Video: Bob Mould – “See A Little Light”
Stream: Bob Mould / Workbook
Stream: Bob Mould – “Can’t Fight It”

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have a new video from Wig Out At Jagbags, out January 7. Look for them at Lee’s Palace on February 22.

Video: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Cinnamon & Lesbians”

Broken Bells have a new video from their next album After The Disco, out January 14. They play The Danforth Music Hall on March 3.

Video: Broken Bells – “Holding On For Life”

Pixies have put out a fourth video from their EP1, which should be the last because there are no more songs but then they’ve already released multiple videos for one of the songs so who knows, maybe they’ll milk it another decade before putting out EP2. They’ll be at Massey Hall on January 15 with their new bassist – no, newer – Paz Lenchantin, whom you may remember from A Perfect Circle and Zwan. Or not.

Video: Pixies – “Another Toe In The Ocean”

Rolling Stone talks to Robert Pollard about matters Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices. The new GBV record Motivational Jumpsuit comes out February 18.

Phantogram have come clean with details on their second full-length album, entitled Voices and coming out February 18. Pitchfork has details and a stream of a new song while Metro and AMNY have interviews with the band.

Stream: Phantogram – “Fall In Love”

NPR welcomes Superchunk to their World Cafe for a session.

Speedy Ortiz have released a new video from this year’s debut, Major Arcana.

Video: Speedy Ortiz – “No Below”

NPR has a KCRW session with Glasser.

Magnet talks to Will Sheff of Okkervil River about how he feels about having The Silver Gymnasium named their album of the year. What’s he gonna say? Maybe, “thanks – how about contributing to my Kickstarter to fund a short film video for ‘Down Down The Deep River’?” Maybe. Also, at Salon, Sheff talks about how he wish he knew as a kid that being nerdy would eventually be cool. Nerdy, yes, though being a touring musician, also helps.

Dazed and Confused has premiered the new video from Blouse’s second album, Imperium.

Video: Blouse – “A Feeling Like This”

Billboard Q&As Janelle Monáe, whom they have declared as Rising Star of 2013.

NPR has a World Cafe session with The Head & The Heart.

The Skinny talks to Janet Weiss about her current work with Quasi, the fact that Wild Flag is no more, and that a Sleater-Kinney reunion might be inevitable – as proven by the fact that they reunited to play “Rockin’ In The Free World” with Pearl Jam a few nights later in Portland.

Stereogum tracks the final days of the now-defunct Walkmen.

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Toronto Urban Roots Fest Day Three

The Hold Steady, Frank Turner, Dawes, and more at TURF 2013

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWait, what happened to Toronto Urban Roots Fest day two? Exhaustion and a backlog of Hannibal happened, but I was mostly recharged and ready to go for the full-day programmes down at Fort York over this past weekend; Saturday, in particular, was not to be missed as it would be the day that the “R” in “TURF” would stop standing for “roots” and most definitely stand for “rock”.

Los Angeles’ Dawes straddled those two solitudes quite nicely, mind, with their sweet Laurel Canyon-inspired harmonies and songwriting and edge-of-jam-band – yet always totally tasteful – guitar solos courtesy of frontman Taylor Goldsmith; it was an ideal balance of crunchy and smooth, if you’re given to peanut butter analogies. But as solid a frontman as Taylor was, the band’s secret weapon was his brother Griffin, who contributed astonishing backing vocals from behind the kit along with some killer drummer face for good measure. They didn’t draw the biggest mid-afternoon crowd – possibly because they had another headlining show slated for Lee’s Palace later that night – but when those who were there were called on to sing along in “When My Time Comes”, they sounded legion. Very impressive.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has an interview with Dawes.

Photos: Dawes @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 6, 2013
MP3: Dawes – “If I Wanted Someone”
Video: Dawes – “From A Window Seat”
Video: Dawes – “When My Time Comes”
Video: Dawes – “Time Spent In Los Angeles”
Video: Dawes – “Love Is All I Am”

You could arguably file Dartmouth’s Matt Mays alongside Dawes in record stores where “roots-rock” is a distinct thing, but he definitely dwells far more toward the rock end of that spectrum – those who found Dawes a bit sedate or polite was probably delighted by the balls-out approach favoured by Mays and his crew. Though undoubtedly still shaken by the sudden passing of guitarist Jay Smith barely a month earlier, from a performance point of view they were firing on all cylinders with a stock of tunes tailor-made for playing loud in the Summer sun. Theirs was a set of dueling guitars and whipping sweaty hair, and I think my favourite part of their set was after a a particularly energetic number, Mays mouthed “how long?” to the stagehand and incredulously repeated, “Twenty-five minutes?!?” – they were not pacing themselves, and the show was all the better for it.

Photos: Matt Mays @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 6, 2013
Video: Matt Mays – “Indio”
Video: Matt Mays – “Take It On Faith”
Video: Matt Mays – “City Of Lakes”
Video: Matt Mays – “Cocaine Cowgirl”
Video: Matt Mays & El Torpedo – “On The Hood”
Video: Matt Mays & El Torpedo – “Tall Trees”

Though as I understand it, he’s a pretty big star in the UK now, I’d somehow managed to never hear Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls before their set, and all I had to go on was that apparently he gets compared to Billy Bragg a lot. Which is cool, because I like Billy Bragg. As it turns out, that’s not the best reference point because Turner really doesn’t sound like Billy Bragg. Handsome and poshly-accented, his songs sound political but are far vaguer than anything Bragg has ever penned, favouring pub-friendly anthemicism to fiery activism and commentary; more Pogues than Clash. But while it’s unlikely to incite a revolution, that everyman approach makes for some rousing music and there’s no debating his ability to stir up a crowd. Energetic and charismatic, he was quick with the banter and expressing his appreciation for the city – he’s no stranger to Toronto stages – and curried some domestic favour with a sharp cover of The Weakerthans’ “A Plea From A Cat Named Virtue”; a canny move, as everyone loves a cat song.

RTE has an interview with Turner.

Photos: Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 6, 2013
MP3: Frank Turner – “The Roads”
Stream: Frank Turner – “Plea From A Cat Named Virtue”
Video: Frank Turner – “The Way I Tend To Be”
Video: Frank Turner – “Recovery”
Video: Frank Turner – “Four Simple Words”
Video: Frank Turner – “Sailor’s Boots”
Video: Frank Turner – “Wessex Boy”
Video: Frank Turner – “If I Ever Stray”
Video: Frank Turner – “Peggy Sang The Blues”
Video: Frank Turner – “I Still Believe”
Video: Frank Turner – “Try This At Home”
Video: Frank Turner – “Isabel”
Video: Frank Turner – “Poetry Of The Deed”
Video: Frank Turner – “The Road”
Video: Frank Turner – “Long Live The Queen”
Video: Frank Turner – “I Knew Prufrock Before He Was Famous”
Video: Frank Turner – “Reasons Not To Be An Idiot”
Video: Frank Turner – “Photosynthesis”
Video: Frank Turner – “The Real Damage”
Video: Frank Turner – “Vital Signs”
Video: Frank Turner – “Casanova Lament”

My relationship with Toronto’s own Lowest of The Low is a long one. Anyone who knew me in my late teens/early twenties – or read this post from 2007 knew that they were easily my favourite band going and hugely important to me, and so when they announced that after their 2000 reunion turned into a going concern, they were again hanging it up for good with a final hometown show that December, it stirred all kinds of memories and nostalgia and whatever, and I bid them farewell. Well, of course they didn’t actually split up, as some 2010 one-off shows turned into tours and more shows and though I probably wouldn’t have gone to them anyways, I felt that I needed to boycott them on principle. Happily, I’ve gotten over myself and allowed that the band is allowed to do whatever the hell they want, and thankfully was able to actually enjoy their TURF set rather than grumble about it.

Interestingly, they were back down to a four-piece – founding bassist David Alexander remained absent, but utility player Lawrence Nichols was no longer in the fold – and while they did roll out some new songs, noting that they were going back into the studio to record a fourth album, it was the old tunes that made the day. I still know all the words to “Eternal Fatalist”, “Bleed A Little While Tonight”, and “Rosy & Grey” and probably will until the day I die – and even though Stephen Stanley’s guitar was nearly inaudible in the mix for the first half of the set, I was able to hum every solo as well. They weren’t that tight up there, certainly not compared to the full-time touring outfits sharing the bill with them, but were good enough for rock’n’roll and Hawkins is still a sharp and funny frontman. Not sure about that hair, though, Ron.

Photos: The Lowest Of The Low @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 6, 2013
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “Gamble”
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “The Dogs Of February”
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “Bleed A Little While Tonight”
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “Subversives”
MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “The Unbearable Lightness Of Jean” (live)
Video: The Lowest Of The Low – “Rosy & Grey” (live)
Video: The Lowest Of The Low – “The Last Recidivist”
Video: The Lowest Of The Low – “Eternal Fatalist”

And then The Hold Steady. Because I’d seen them so so so many times in a three-year span, I didn’t realize that it had actually been over four years since I saw Craig Finn and the boys do their thing. The upside of this is that it made our reunion at TURF all that more joyous, though anything Hold Steady is bound to be joyous regardless.

After a series of introductions – festival organizer intro-ed sportscaster Dave Hodge who intro-ed superfan Frank Turner who finally intro-ed the band before running down into the pit to rock out to the show – The Hold Steady took the stage to the biggest cheers of the day and put on a clinic about the power and celebratory spirit of rock’n’roll. Powering through a seventeen-song set that gave about equal time to all their records including the new one they’d be going into the studio to record this week, the band were in excellent form with Finn in extra-good spirits from seeing his Minnesota Twins shut out the hometown Blue Jays down the street earlier in the afternoon. Having missed the Heaven Is Whenever tour entirely, it was my first time seeing them without keyboardist Franz Nicolay, and while his keyboard flourishes and sartorial flair were missed, new guitarist Steve Selvidge endeared himself with some Thin Lizzy-esque lead lines with Tad Kubler. And even after it was done, it wasn’t as the roaring audience demanded that rarest of beasts – an encore from anyone but the last act of the night, they rip-roared through “Stay Positive”; Frank Turner leapt onstage to add vocals, but we all knew the “whoa-oh-oh”s. Exhausting and exhilarating.

Photos: The Hold Steady @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 6, 2013
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Hurricane J”
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Sequestered In Memphis”
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Stay Positive”
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Chips Ahoy!”
MP3: The Hold Steady – “Stuck Between Stations”
Video: The Hold Steady – “Stay Positive”
Video: The Hold Steady – “Chips Ahoy!”
Video: The Hold Steady – “Stuck Between Stations”
Video: The Hold Steady – “Your Little Hoodrat Friend”
Video: The Hold Steady – “The Swish”

Speaking of rock… Drive-By Truckers haven’t been through town in a while – not since November 2011 behind their last full-length Go-Go Boots, what with both Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley working on solo projects and the departures of bassist Shona Tucker and guitarist John Neff, but the Truckers are back on the road and will be at The Phoenix on November 2 with Old 97’s, who themselves haven’t been to town since Spring 2011, along as support. Not sure if this means there’s new records on the way from either of them, but I get the feeling folks will be perfectly happy to hear the old stuff. NYC Taper has posted a recording of an Old 97s show in Brooklyn last week, if you want to hear what Rhett and the boys are sounding like these days.

MP3: Drive-By Truckers – “Used To Be A Cop”
MP3: Old 97’s – “Brown-Haired Daughter”

Exclaim has specifics on the new double-album from Quasi, who are marking their twentieth anniversary as a band with Mole City, out October 1. There’s a trailer and advance MP3 to inspect.

MP3: Quasi – “You Can Stay But You Got To Go”
Trailer: Quasi / Mole City

Cincinnati CityBeat welcomes home native sons The National with a feature interview.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, who also just rolled out a new video from Specter At The Feast.

Video: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Hate The Taste”

Daytrotter has posted a session with Saturday Looks Good To Me.

Future Bible Heroes have released a new video from their latest album Partygoing, which will surely make up for the sting of knowing that their show at Lee’s Palace, originally set for later this month, has been canceled. But that happened ages ago, so you already knew that, right? Right.

Video: Future Bible Heroes – “Living, Loving, Partygoing”

Titus Andronicus have rolled out a new album from last year’s Local Business and are already taking preorders for their fourth album, due for release next year.

Video: Titus Andronicus – “Still Life With Hot Deuce And Silver Platter”

Under The Radar interviews Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

Consequence Of Sound has compiled and impressive oral history of Big Star.

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Here Sometimes

Blonde Redhead commit themselves to Sparkle motion

Photo By Pier Nicola D'AmicoPier Nicola D’AmicoI’ve tried this past week, as I barrelled through all the NXNE coverage, to stay on top of the most time-sensitive or interesting announcements, but a lot a lot of stuff has just been filed away for a post that wasn’t tied to the festival… and that post is today’s. Or at least one of them. There’s a LOT of stuff that’s a-backed up.

And the best of it started on Monday, when word got around that there was a new Blonde Redhead song available to download from their website. No announcement of a new record, which would be their first since 2007’s delectable 23, just a song – “Here Sometimes” – to whet the appetite for more of the New York trio’s uniquely artful dreampop. The tease didn’t last too long, though, as details of the band’s eighth long-player were revealed on Wednesday: Penny Sparkle will be released this Fall, again on 4AD, and the first sample – as well as the presence of Fever Ray’s producers – hint at a more synth-driven effort than 23‘s shoegazing six-string salute, though Alan Moulder was once again behind the final mixes so you can be sure that the guitars won’t be lost and will be fuzzy.

All that is really certain is that a 2010 already chock full of amazing album releases looks set to add one more to the pile on September 14 when Penny Sparkle is released.

MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Here Sometimes”

Another trio with an atmospheric bent that have kept their fans waiting for a new record are Los Angeles’ Autolux, who have remained silent since releasing their 2004 debut Future Perfect. That silence ends August 3 with the release of Transit Transit, and they’re now giving away a download of the first single, in lossless M4A format, in exchange for your email on their website. And while my affection for the band has never been as intense as some of my peers – they were always a bit too heavy for my tastes – I’m digging what I’m hearing. I may have to check them out when they play Lee’s Palace on August 24.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have released a new video for their latest single, just released on 7″.

Video: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Say No To Love”

BrooklynVegan talks to Dayve Hawk of Memory Tapes, who’s also got a new video out.

Video: Memory Tapes – “Bicycle”

Filter interviews Phantogram, who’ve got a date at Wrongbar on July 8.

NPR and Pitchfork have feature pieces on LCD Soundsystem.

Pitchfork checks in with Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes about how work on their new record False Priest, due out this Fall, is coming along. They have a date in Montreal scheduled for July 30 but nothing in Toronto yet – if it were happening, it’d have to be on the 28 or 29 because they’re in Vermont on the 31st.

The San Francisco Chronicle profiles The Morning Benders, who are in town supporting The Black Keys at the Kool Haus on August 3 and 4. They also recently recorded a World Cafe session for NPR.

Wye Oak chats with Anika In London. They’re in Toronto on August 28 opening up for Lou Barlow.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss of Quasi.

Filter talks to Thao, whose tour with Mirah hits the Horseshoe this Saturday night.

The L has a big ass feature on Titus Andronicus – they’re coming to destroy the Horseshoe on July 14.

Cokemachineglow has words with The National bassist Scott Devendorf. The National are also profiled by CNN, alongside Spoon and The Hold Steady as artists who didn’t make it big until later in life.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review talks to Nicole Atkins, who announced this week that she’d signed with Razor & Tie for the release of her second album, now due out in early 2011 and still possibly entitled Mondo Amore. NYC Taper captured some of the new material in acoustic form when Atkins played a backyard session last weekend.

PopMatters interviews Tift Merritt.

The Phoenix and Spinner profile Joe Pernice of Pernice Brothers through the Pernice To Me book of collected tweets from Pernice manager Joyce Linehan that accompanied pre-orders of their latest record Goodbye, Killer.

Each Note Secure, The San Jose Mercury News and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profile Blitzen Trapper, in town at the Opera House on August 3.

Aquarium Drunkard has assembled a terrific tribute record to Television’s vastly underappreciated second album Adventure. It features contributions from a host of Los Angeles talents, including Local Natives, The Henry Clay People, The Happy Hollows and more. It’s available for free but donations to the Silverlake Conservatory Of Music are encouraged – so that SoCal can keep putting out great bands and they can keep appearing on great comps like this. It’s like the water cycle, people.

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Chit Chat

Hannah Georgas at Criminal Records in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThanks to the rather depressed state of both the music and publishing industries, it’s not really surprising that in Canada we’re down to just one national music magazine, the venerable Exclaim. So it’s kind of telling when heading into a month where two of the three biggest names in Canadian rock (at least from the indie POV) are releasing new records, they instead opt to put a relative unknown just releasing their first full-length on the cover; which is to say they’re clearly pretty high on Hannah Georgas.

Though originally hailing from Newmarket, out on the outskirts of Toronto, Georgas is now based in Vancouver and it’s there that her just-released debut This Is Good was recorded. The title of the record might be an easy mark for critics, but by and large it delivers on that promise – she probably even could have gotten away with calling it This Is Very Good. It takes Georgas’ seemingly disparate jazz and folk influences and finds a common ground in the realm of radio-friendly pop music. Some of the stylistic ranginess smacks more of trying to cover bases rather than genuine eclecticism and the production could use a little less gloss and more atmosphere, but those quibbles fade in the light of the sheer catchiness of many of the numbers. Georgas has a flexible voice, possessing some of Feist’s breathiness, some of Sarah Harmer’s folksome twang as well as a quirky extrovertedness that’s hers entirely, and puts it to good use on standouts like “Chit Chat”, “Bang Bang You’re Dead” and the title track.

She put both her voice and songs on display Tuesday evening, when she marked both the release of her album and her issue of Exclaim with an in-store performance at Criminal Records, following a proper show at the Garrison the night before. Backed by a two-piece band, Georgas turned in set that showcased both her subdued and scrappy sides (alliteration unintentional) in front of a decently-sized, if maybe overly respectful audience. Not to suggest that there should have been acting out, but sometimes the between-song silence at in-stores just feels… awkward. But she seemed grateful for the attentiveness, and in return proved that while it’s probably overreaching to suggest she’ll ever attain the status of either of the acts she bumped off the Exclaim cover, it’s pretty much certain that for the next little while, at least, you’ll be hearing more of and about Hannah Georgas.

The Vancouver Sun has a feature interview with Georgas.

Photos: Hannah Georgas @ Criminal Records – April 27, 2010
MP3: Hannah Georgas – “Chit Chat”
Video: Hannah Georgas – “Thick Skin”
Video: Hannah Georgas – “The Beat Stuff”

The San Francisco Chronicle talks Forgiveness Rock Record with Broken Social Scene’s Charles Spearin. The record is out next Tuesday and the band play the Toronto Islands on June 19.

Also out next week is The New Pornographers’ Together. The National Post talks to that band’s Kathryn Calder; they play the Sound Academy on June 15.

The Calgary Sun, Georgia Straight and JAM talk to Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes, who will be at the Mod Club on June 17 as part of NXNE.

NOW previews Caribou’s May 3 show at the Phoenix by talking to Dan Snaith.

Holy Fuck have released the first video from their new record Latin, due out May 11. They’re at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 9 opening up for Metric.

Video: Holy Fuck – “Latin America”

The Hold Steady are also making May 4 a day to hit up your local record store – their new one Heaven Is Whenever is out that day, and they talk to Spinner about some of the themes of the new album. They’re at the Kool Haus on July 17.

The Skinny talks to Matt Berninger and Aaron Dessner of The National while GQ finds the band showered and blue blazered in a fashion spread, alongside some of their New York indie rock brethren. Their new opus High Violet is out May 11 and they play two nights at Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.

The Antlers, who open up both of those National shows, are featured in The Georgia Straight and their video session series at PitchforkTV ran three parts this week.

Interpol appear ready to get back in the game, offering up a new MP3 for free from their website and sporting a shiny new logo. They promise more information – presumably an album release date and touring news – soon, but in the meantime, offer you “Lights”. Not bright, just lights.

Under The Radar interviews Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand of Beach House at Coachella. They’re playing as part of the Toronto Islands show on June 19.

Le Blogotheque Take-Away Shows Quasi.

Clash gets a behind the scenes look at Disconnect From Desire from School Of Seven Bells – the new record is out July 13.

John Stirratt of Wilco tells Faster Louder the band are going to be spending the Summer recording and offers some speculation on what the next record might sound like.

Because apparently three months is all it takes for bruises to heal, Titus Andronicus are coming back to kick Toronto’s asses all over again when they play the Horseshoe on July 14. The Courier-Journal talks to frontman Patrick Stickles.

MP3: Titus Andronicus – “A More Perfect Union”

The Specials have finalized their make-up date for the canceled Toronto show last week – they’ll now be at the Sound Academy on August 27.

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

A Token Of Gratitude

Review of The Radio Dept.’s Clinging To A Scheme

Photo By Max WeilandMax WeilandFor so long has Clinging To A Scheme, the third album from Sweden’s The Radio Dept, been promised and not delivered that it’s become something of a myth – if someone were to tell me that when it was finally to be released unto the world that it would be delivered by Axl Rose and Kevin Shields riding unicorns, I’d probably believe it.

But it finally arrives in stores next week, and fans who’ve been waiting for upwards of four years for another Radio Dept record will find that it… is another Radio Dept record. The trio haven’t used the time away to reinvent themselves or their sound, but with only two records to their names over twelve years of existence, you can hardly accuse them of having fallen into a holding pattern or phoning it in. They’ve simply adhering to the template laid out in their two masterpieces so far, Lesser Matters and Pet Grief, and written (and discarded and rewritten) songs until coming up with a collection they were happy with, and this is how long its taken. While it’s true that wrapping pop songs built on strings and electronics in fuzzy blankets of sound isn’t unique in and of itself, very few have managed to strike as perfect a balance between shimmer and static as The Radio Dept, and that’s even before you factor in their distinctly Scandinavian melancholy.

Within the boundaries of what makes a Radio Dept album, however, there are some adjustments from past works. Sonically, it largely retains the cleanliness of Pet Grief but some of the rough edges of Lesser Matters has crept back into the mix – welcomely, I might add – creating a blended texture that’s quantitatively different from but more quintessentially characteristic than anything they’ve done before. The mood of Clinging is also lighter, with a handful of genuinely bouncy numbers that would probably have felt out of place on the beautifully downbeat Pet Grief, but overall it moves at the pace of a thoughtful stroll and the vibe is that of someone trying their best to have a good time and be happy and not really succeeding. And it’s that contrast and combination of smiling whilst frowning that’s the source of much of The Radio Dept’s magic, a magic which is present in abundance on Clinging To A Scheme. Yes, it sounds just like The Radio Dept, but that’s all we ever asked for.

Penny Black talks to frontman Johan Duncanson about the long road to the record and what lies ahead for the band.

MP3: The Radio Dept – “Never Follow Suit”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “Heaven’s On Fire”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “David”

The Mary Onettes are releasing a new 7″ for Record Store Day and for those who won’t be able to get their hands on a copy, they’re giving away the a-side for free.

MP3: The Mary Onettes – “The Night Before The Funeral”

Interview interviews jj.

Jens Lekman recalls the state of Swedish indie in the ’90s to The Jakarta Post.

The Vancouver Sun, Bay Area Reporter and The AV Club have conversations with Jonsi, while Grapevine talks to him and collaborator Nico Muhly. Jonsi plays the Sound Academy on April 30 and May 1.

The Telegraph and Houston Chronicle talk to Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison. They’re at the Opera House on May 4.

LCD Soundsystem have put up a stream of their new record This Is Happening, weeks ahead of its May 18 release date. They will be at the Kool Haus on May 25.

Stream: LCD Soundsystem / This Is Happening

The Toronto Star and CNN chat with Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss of Quasi. They’ll be at The Horseshoe on Sunday night, April 18.

The jokers at MBV Music have posted the cover art to the new Pernice Brothers record, which is coming out on June 15 with the cheery title of Goodbye Killer.

Spin talks to Stephen Malkmus on how the Pavement reunion came to be while North County Times chats with rhythm section Bob Nastanovich and Mark Ibold. Said reunion rolls into the Toronto Islands on June 19.

Beach House are giving away one of the tracks on their Record Store Day 12″ EP. Get it – if you’re early and lucky – this Saturday. They’re also playing the Toronto Islands on June 19.

MP3: Beach House – “Zebra” (UK Edit)

Filler has an interview and fashion spread with Holly Miranda. She plays the El Mocambo on May 20.