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Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Zeffira’

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

New House

Hear the (very near) future of Canadian music today, featuring Diana

Photo By Laurie KangLaurie KangA disproportionate number of intriguing Canadian indie releases scheduled for the 20th of August means a disproportionate number of intriguing Canadian indie advance streams the week prior to the 20th of August. And perhaps the most intriguing of these is Perpetual Surrender, the debut album from Toronto’s Diana, an outfit that barely existed a year ago and only started to gather notice locally last Fall, thanks to their connections to Destroyer – keyboardist/saxophonist Joseph Shabason was part of the Kaputt band – and Army Girls – frontwoman Carmen Elle’s main gig prior to this.

But clearly the time is right for ’80s-vintage, soft-focus synth-pop that sounds simultaneously luxurious and dissatisfied because Diana (sorry, won’t indulge the all-caps) are making impressive waves both at home and abroad and signing to esteemed label Jagjaguwar for the latter territories. They’ve opened for Fucked Up and Tegan & Sara, and went from being the undercard on one of the hottest shows at CMF to themselves being one of the big draws at NXNE. And while I will confess to feeling a slight bit of disappointment in Perpetual Surrender, that’s only because it delivers exactly what Diana has promised, and not anything more. That should be more than enough for most, though, and if Diana turn out to be Toronto’s new musical ambassadors to the world for the next while, hey – I’m okay with that.

Perpetual Surrender is streaming now at Pitchfork. They play The Great Hall on September 26.

MP3: Diana – “Born Again”
Stream: Diana / Perpetual Surrender

Just as predicted, Braids have made their new record Flourish//Perish available to stream ahead of its release next week, also via Pitchfork. And also as predicted, I’m enjoying it considerably more than I did their debut, so that’s something. Exclaim has an interview with Raphaelle Standell-Preston about the departure of keyboardist Katie Lee; they’re this month’s cover story, which should be online soon. And those attending their November 10 show originally scheduled for BLK BOX should note that it has moved upstairs and will now take place in The Great Hall proper.

Stream: Braids / Flourish//Perish

Pitchfork didn’t get the advance stream of Sarah Neufeld’s solo debut Hero Brother, though – that went to The Quietus. Exclaim talks to Neufeld about work outside Arcade Fire and she’s playing guest blogger at Elle this month, offering thoughts on touring, yoga, and other stuff. She plays The Drake Undergound on August 22.

MP3: Sarah Neufeld – “Hero Brother”
Stream: Sarah Neufeld / Hero Brother

Murray Lightburn has doubled down on Exclaim to get the word out on his solo debut Mass:Light; they’ve got both an interview feature on the Dears frontman but also the complete album stream.

MP3: Murray Lightburn – “Motherfuckers”
Stream: Murray Lightburn / Mass:Light

CBC Music talks to Kathryn Calder about A Matter Of Time, the documentary film about ALS at which she and her mother are at the centre, as well as what’s going on with her next solo record and the new New Pornographers album. She should be with the Pornos when they play the CNE on August 17.

The Georgia Straight and Beatroute interview Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz. They play Wrongbar on September 17.

The Irish Examiner talks to Katie Stelmanis of Austra about life on the road. She leads them into The Phoenix on September 27.

If you thought The Polish Combatants Hall was an awfully small room for Basia Bulat to mark the October 1 release of her new record Tall Tall Shadow, you’d be correct. An October 11 show has been added to the previously announced October 10 date, tickets for both are $20.

Stream: Basia Bulat – “Tall Tall Shadow”

Seeing as how in recent years, Great Lake Swimmers has ceased being a straight-up alias for frontman Tony Dekker and become a proper band, it makes sense that he might seek to go solo. And so he has, announcing an October 8 release date for his first record under his own name and performed entirely by himself, Prayer Of The Woods. Exclaim has details.

Relix has a video session with Hayden.

Gold & Youth play a video session for Exclaim.

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Toronto Urban Roots Fest Day One

She & Him, Camera Obscura, Joel Plaskett, and more at TURF 2013

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI don’t know if the troops who manned Fort York in the 18th and 19th centuries necessarily knew that they were potentially laying their lives on the line so that future generations could wander the grounds, tall boy in hand and Ray-Bans on head whilst listening to live music, but if they did, they’d be proud. After serving intermittent duty as an outdoor venue over the past few years, Fort York and Garrison Commons has become the go-to site for music festivals in downtown Toronto, effectively replacing the picturesque but logistically problematic Olympic Island. And while it’s not large enough to host something on the scale of Lollapalooza or Osheaga, or even necessarily our own late and qualifiedly-lamented V Fest, it’s a convenient, scenic, and effective space for events like the inaugural Toronto Urban Roots Fest this past weekend.

Unlike the Arts & Crafts anniversary Field Trip in June, the Lolla-Osheagea-drafting Grove Fest in early August, or the Replacements-reuniting Riot Fest later that month, TURF comes out of the gate homegrown – put on by local promoters Collective Concerts – and extra-ambitious, stretching over four nights and two full days plus club shows at The Horseshoe and Lee’s Palace, and with a definite eye towards becoming an annual Summer tradition in the city, filling a glaring need in a town that’s otherwise pretty generous for its live music-going patrons (for more background on the festival, check out interviews with founder Jeff Cohen at The Toronto Standard, The Grid, The National Post, The Toronto Star, and The Toronto Sun).

And it all got underway last Thursday evening, under sunny and sweltering skies, with Barr Brothers, the multi-instrumentalised, harp-enhanced quartet from Montreal ably represented the “roots” end of things. Being largely unfamiliar with the band, their musical personality felt somewhat broad, but as the set progressed, settled into an enjoyable range, dwelling largely in the intricate and lovely folk end of things but with confident forays into rougher, bluesy territory, all of it elegantly and impeccably executed.

Photos: The Barr Brothers @ Garrison Commons, West Stage – July 4, 2013
MP3: The Barr Brothers – “Beggar In The Morning”
Video: The Barr Brothers – “Old Mythologies”
Video: The Barr Brothers – “Beggar In The Morning”

No such stylistic figuring out was needed for Scotland’s Camera Obscura, up next at the other end of the park. I’d seen them what seems like a million times – most recently their second-last visit in June 2009 behind My Maudlin Career (they circled back for another show that November) – but it had still been far too long. But now they were back with a charming new record in Desire Lines and back on the road. And, had there been any doubt, they confirmed that in addition to being top-class purveyors of indie-pop tunes, they could still look unsmiling and dour even on a beautiful Summer’s evening. That’s just them, though, and with a couple touring players utility filling things out on percussion, horns, and steel guitar, they were able to string together all the bright and jaunty pop numbers in their catalog – with a few of the slow burners dropped in for variety – for an ideal smile-inducing, hand-clapping festival show.

The Philadelphia Inquirer and Boston Globe have features on the band.

Photos: Camera Obscura @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 4, 2013
MP3: Camera Obscura – “Fifth In Line To The Throne”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “My Maudlin Career”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “If Looks Could Kill”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “Suspended From Class”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “Come Back Margaret”
Video: Camera Obscura – “The Sweetest Thing”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Honey In The Sun”
Video: Camera Obscura – “French Navy”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”
Video: Camera Obscura – “If Looks Could Kill”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Let’s Get Out Of This Country”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Tears For Affairs”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Teenager”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Keep It Clean”
Video: Camera Obscura – “Eighties Fan”

It stands to reason that if you open up something of local importance, like say a shopping mall, you’d have the mayor on hand to cut the ribbon (maybe not Toronto’s mayor, but I digress). So if you’re inaugurating a new music festival in Canada, you bring out the de facto mayor of Canadian music, which is to say Joel Plaskett. Following an introduction from fellow sort-of Canuck icon, sportscaster Dave Hodge, Plaskett and the Emergency got to work with a set not too different from the one I saw at The Horseshoe in December, with a solo acoustic set sandwiched between classic rock-outs, but angled more for broad crowd-pleasing than just the die-hards. It’s pretty safe to say there’s no size stage that Plaskett doesn’t feel right at home at, whether playing the rocker or troubadour. And it seemed fitting that having largely missed Canada Day earlier this week because I was in the US, I was now marking Independence Day with as concentrated a dose of Canadiana as you could hope to find.

The Gate has an interview with Plaskett.

Photos: Joel Plaskett Emergency @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 4, 2013
MP3: Joel Plaskett – “When I Go”
MP3: Joel Plaskett – “Deny Deny Deny”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Somewhere Else”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “Through & Through & Through”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “You Let Me Down”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Fashionable People”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “Happen Now”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “Natural Disaster”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “Paralyzed”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Work Out Fine”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Come On Teacher”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “True Patriot Love”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Maybe We Should Just Go Home”
Video: Joel Plaskett Emergency – “Clueless Wonder”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “She Made A Wreck Outta Me”
Video: Joel Plaskett – “News Of Your Son”

On an evening of TURF firsts, She & Him had the distinction of not only being the first headliner, but the first ones to reveal the very existence of the festival to the world when it was listed in their tour itinerary in support of Volume 3 back in January. It was a personal first for me, as well, seeing them for the first time outside of SXSW where I caught one of their earliest shows in 2008 and again in more seasoned form in 2010. It looked to be Matt Ward and Zooey Deschanel’s same six-piece backing band in place as at that second show – nice to see they’ve kept the unit together over the years – and also in place was their strict “no photos” policy, applied to the entire audience and most of the media. This was a source of some grousing from those hoping to leverage the star power on display into more Instagram likes, but for those who accepted it and watched the show with their eyeballs, it was a pretty enjoyable show.

It may be an overstatement to say that had She & Him been exactly what they are musically but without the principals being who they are, they wouldn’t be where they are now – okay, any outfit with someone of Matt Ward’s guitar and arrangement skills would demand to be heard – but you can’t argue that having someone of Deschanel’s profile fronting them offered a pretty big leg up. She’s not an astonishing talent as a singer or a songwriter, but she’s certainly good enough to pull off the uncomplex but endearing retro-pop songs that she writes, particularly when surrounded with the players that she is. And considering that between the release of their first record in 2008 and now, she’s gone from an indie film darling to legit network sitcom star, the her commitment to She & Him remains as strong as it is actually pretty impressive.

Also impressive is how much she’s grown as a frontperson and performer. She’s not Juliette Lewis, by any measure, but considering how deer-in-the-headlights terrified she was at that first SXSW show, the assuredness she’s got on stage now if nice to see. Ward, also, was more engaged with being the titular Him in the band, stepping out of the shadows for some showy guitar moves and to elicit swoons with his gravelly vocals on the duets. Together, Ward and Deschanel have a charming if decidedly PG sort of chemistry, perfectly suited to the chaste, sock hop-esque concepts of romance that they specialize in. High points were the Chapin Sisters-harmonized rendition of the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody” against a backdrop of stars, a sweet version of Ward’s own “Magic Trick”, and a fiery guitar duel between Ward and Mike Coykendall to close out “In The Sun” and the main set. And also that the first day of the first TURF ever went off beautifully.

Photos: She & Him @ Garrison Commons, East Stage – July 4, 2013
MP3: She & Him – “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?”
Video: She & Him – “I Could’ve Been Your Girl”
Video: She & Him – “Don’t Look Back”
Video: She & Him – “Thieves”
Video: She & Him – “In The Sun”
Video: She & Him – “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?”

Exclaim has a conversation with Louise Burns about her new album The Midnight Mass as well as an advance stream of said record ahead of its July 9 release date.

Stream: Louise Burns / Midnight Mass

Exclaim gets Diamond Rings to play an acoustic video session. He’ll be fully plugged-in when opening up for OMD at the Danforth Music Hall on July 11 and 19.

Exclaim talk changes in direction with Lightning Dust, in town at The Drake on September 10.

The Grid checks in with Dallas Good of The Sadies, whose new album Internal Sounds will be made external on September 17.

Exclaim has the first batch of live dates from Rae Spoon in support of his new record My Prairie Home, coming August 13, and they include a September 18 date at The Gladstone in Toronto.

MP3: Rae Spoon – “Crash Landing”

The Montreal Gazette and Spin have feature pieces on Austra, who play a hometown show at The Phoenix on September 27.

The Grid talks to Joel Gibb of The Hidden Cameras about their new 7″ “Gay Goth Scene” and the new album, Age, that it precedes. That is due out sometime this Fall.

Evening Hymns have released a new video from their Polaris-longlisted album Spectral Dusk.

Video: Evening Hymns – “Song To Sleep To”

Stars have premiered the newest video from The North at The Huffington Post.

Video: Stars – “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”

Huffington Post talks to Al Spx of Cold Specks about collaborating with Moby on his new record and where she’s going with her own next album.

The Guardian has a video session with Rachel Zeffira, wherein she performs her version of The Beatles’ “Because”; she plays one of her own songs in session for Chart.

aux.tv has an interview with Odonis Odonis.

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Taking My Time

Jim Guthrie Takes his Time making it onto the 2013 Polaris Prize long list

Photo By Colin MedleyColin MedleyThe 2013 Polaris Prize long list was announced yesterday, and unlike past years where there were a number of obvious frontrunners for inclusion, whether because they were by the biggest artists or had the biggest buzz over the preceding twelve months, there actually didn’t seem to be a lot of “gimmes” amongst the records eligible this year. Rather than the field having a few standouts and a lot of dark horses, it instead felt very wide and flat, which meant that guessing who’d be amongst the forty longlisted records was anyone’s guess.

And now, even with the pool of candidates narrowed from every Canadian album released in the past year down to forty, it’s difficult to speculate at who will survive onto the short list of ten albums when it’s announced on July 16; the only thing that’s certain is that this year’s Polaris – the eighth – could be the most exciting one yet, at least if you’re the sort of person who derives excitement from music awards-spotting. I’m going to refrain from any sort of guessing until at least then because truly I have no idea what the temperature of the jury at large is. But I can tell you what my ballot was, besides four-for-five at making the long list. And so I’ve got one more longlisted album to insert into my ballot before my Polaris duties for this year are done, and to be honest I have no idea what it’s going to be. Guess I’ve got some more homework to do.

The Polaris Prize will be awarded at a gala at the Carlu in Toronto on September 23.

1) Evening Hymns / Spectral Dusk (Shuffling Feet)

My connection to this record is well-documented, but even without that personal angle, it’s still a gorgeously written, performed, and recorded piece of folk-rock that succeeds at being both intensely personal, and yet universally relatable. I can usually say that from one Polaris to the next, that I don’t really have a dog in the fight, but not this year. This is my dog.

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

2) Godspeed You! Black Emperor / ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (Constellation)

Despite being the act that least likely to even acknowledge being nominated, Godspeed’s unexpected comeback record was maybe the closest thing to a sure thing I could think of. Besides the engaging narrative around the band’s return to active duty and their sneak release of the album, there’s the simple fact that the Godspeed formula still works amazingly well, particularly when they’ve got something to be angry about. Which they do.

Stream: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Mladic”

Jim Guthrie / Takes Time (Static Clang)

Another unexpected record but a wholly welcome one was Jim Guthrie’s first proper singer-songwriter record in a decade, and one that affirmed his status as one of this country’s greatest melodicists. While it seems like just a collection of pop songs, pretty much every song is a master class in arrangement and songwriting efficiency; Guthrie knows exactly how much to give and when and makes it look and sound effortless. Whether it shortlists or wins or not, the best prize would be not having to wait another ten years for its follow-up. The Huffington Post has an interview with Guthrie about the record.

Video: Jim Guthrie – “Bring On The Night”
Video: Jim Guthrie – “The Rest Is Yet To Come”

Rachel Zeffira / The Deserters (Paper Bag)

My one selection that didn’t make the long list, and I’m not really surprised it didn’t. While I think its classical-operatic-indie hybrid is as good as anything else on the list, and arguably more interesting, London-based Zeffira’s distance from the Canadian scene at large and lack of wide promotion – one lightly-attended North American show to date – probably doomed it.

Video: Rachel Zeffira – “Here On In”
Video: Rachel Zeffira – “The Deserters”

Young Galaxy / Ultramarine (Paper Bag)

It may have been the last record to make my ballot, but the fact that it’s here at all considering that for the longest time, I had no time for Young Galaxy, says a lot. I often bemoan the general lack of stylistic or artistic revolution amongst Canadian bands – more often it seems they prefer to continue refining what’s been proven to work – but Young Galaxy have successfully reinvented themselves and that impresses me. The record’s pretty damn good as well. They’ve just released a new, Bruckheimer-esque video from it.

Video: Young Galaxy – “New Summer”
Video: Young Galaxy – “Pretty Boy”

NOW meets the band formerly known as Always but now know as Alvvays; they show off their new official name tonight, June 14, at 10PM at The Silver Dollar.

Toro gets to know Toronto country-pop newcomers Beams. Their NXNE showcase is at 11PM tonight, June 14, at The Central.

Spin talks to Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz. They play BLK BOX for NXNE on June 15 at midnight.

The National Post catches up with Gentleman Reg, who did his NXNE duties Wednesday night.

YOUNXT hada pre-NXNE interview with Olenka & The Autumn Lovers, who played a couple of shows yesterday.

aux.tv interviews No Joy, who played NXNE last night.

Exclaim talks to Katie Stelmanis of Austra, whose new record Olympia comes out June 18. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

Hooded Fang have released a new video from their latest, Gravez.

Video: Hooded Fang – “Bye Bye Land”

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Break The Spell

Rachel Zeffira at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThough inconvenient and unfortunate in real terms, there was something appropriate about the fact that half of Rachel Zeffira’s first North American tour was canceled on account of visa issues. After all, her musical career only took the course that it did because of an overzealous British immigration officer refused her entry to the country, causing her to miss her an important music college audition. That all worked out for the best, of course, as it set her on the course to become half of Cat’s Eyes with Faris Badwan of The Horrors, and then the solo artist who dropped the stunning operatic/classical/indie genre-melding debut album The Deserters late last year in Europe, and this Spring in North America.

The aforementioned cancelation left Thursday night’s performance at The Drake Underground in Toronto as her sole show on this continent; thankfully getting her into Canada wasn’t an issue as she originally hails from the Kootenays in British Columbia. Given that it was a relatively low-key debut and the buzz around her hasn’t yet really begun bubbling over into broader consciousness, I wasn’t sure how much of a production this show would be; entering the Drake and seeing the stage absolutely jammed with gear, the answer was clearly, “a pretty big one”. And though the audience wasn’t overly large, they were attentive and helped create a welcoming atmosphere for Zeffira’s first-ever visit to Toronto, as a performer or otherwise.

Though she surely could have impressed with just her soaring soprano, a keyboard, and maybe some choice samples, Zeffira fronted a seven-piece band with a three-piece mini-orchestra of cello, oboe, and trumpet, a drummer, and two backup singers – while she herself moved between keys, organ, and vibraphone. But really, the full band was the only way to do The Deserters justice – while the album isn’t especially busy, when it calls for a trumpet flourish or cello line, it demands it. And so while the extra players often sat quietly while Zeffira led the proceedings, when they were called on, you couldn’t imagine them not being there.

While reproducing the album arrangements was the strategy for much of the set, the massive organ which apparently took nine people to move into the Drake’s basement was used to give “Here On In” a decidedly gothier makeover, and the vibes – essential for “Waiting For Sylvia” – were also put to good use on a gorgeous cover of The Beatles’ “Because” alongside Zeffira and her singers’ harmonies. The show was a touch short, the main set wrapping at the 40-minute mark, it had the perfect grace note as Zeffira returned to the organ for the encore and played Cat’s Eyes swinger “Over You”. A nice treat for those of us who came to her solo work via that project and perhaps an enticement for newer fans to discover her other works, and a solid finale to an impressive if too-short debut.

Exclaim and NOW also have reviews of the show; The Globe & Mail, NOW, The Toronto Star also had interviews with Zeffira ahead of the show while The Village Voice did the same without knowing her New York show was canceled. Vogue also has an interview.

Photos: Rachel Zeffira @ The Drake Underground – May 2, 2013
Video: Rachel Zeffira – “Here On In”
Video: Rachel Zeffira – “The Deserters”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Face In The Crowd”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “The Best Person I Know”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Over You”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Cat’s Eyes”
Video: Cat’s Eyes – “Love You Anyways”

Exclaim talks to Gold & Youth about their forthcoming debut album Beyond Wilderness, out May 14, which they also happen to have to stream. How convenient. They’re also playing Field Trip at Garrison Commons on June 8.

Stream: Gold & Youth / Beyond Wilderness

The Denver Post has a chat with METZ, coming home to Lee’s Palace on May 17.

Though she’s done promoting Visions, Grimes can still give her debut album Geidi Primes – conveniently reissued last year – a nudge by posting a heretofore unreleased video to her Tumblr.

Video: Grimes – “Venus In Fleurs”

For Folk’s Sake has an interview with Jonas Bonetta of Evening Hymns.

The Calgary Herald checks in with Carl Newman of The New Porongraphers, who are getting ready to head back into the studio to record a new record.

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

New Summer

Review of Young Galaxy’s Ultramarine

Photo By Vanessa HeinsVanessa HeinsThey couldn’t have known it at the time, but when naming their 2011 album Shapeshifting, Montreal’s Young Galaxy were describing not only their sonic shift from well-worn dream-pop to sleek, futuristic disco, but in their fortunes as well. Their first couple records had failed to launch them into an orbit commensurate with their band name but Shapeshifting would make them, if not stars, then an act who were genuinely doing something fresh and interesting and well worth watching. It was a fresh start that not many artists get.

It would also put whatever they did next under a next-level degree of scrutiny to see if Shapeshifting genuinely the start of a fruitful new direction for the band or just a lucky aberration. Doing everything they could to ensure the former and acknowledging that Swedish producer Dan Lissvik’s job mixing Shapeshifting was an essential part of the record’s magic and success, Young Galaxy doubled down on his input and traveled to Gothenburg to record with him fully-credited as producer, and it’s a gamble that has paid off handsomely. To say an album sounds like its predecessor is usually interpreted as a sign of creative stagnation, but for Ultramarine to be considered an equal to Shapeshifting is actually rather high praise.

The space-age, synthesized aesthetic that so surprised on its predecessor still feels fresh and more importantly, natural. It provides the perfect setting for now-sole vocalist Catherine McCandless’ vocals and their peripheral iciness, but also allows draws out some of her most affecting performances to date, particularly on album bookends “Pretty Boy” and “Sleepwalk With Me”. Also interestingly, Ultramarine doesn’t find the band venturing any further into dancey territory despite being tooled up for it, funky expedition “Out The Gate Backwards” being the notable exception but even that does its work by way of Madchester, rather than via any contemporary EDM affectations. Ultramarine is a strong record that cements Young Galaxy’s place in the Can-rock firmament, and if Shapeshifting posited the question of, “this is Young Galaxy?”, Ultramarine definitively answers it with “this is Young Galaxy”.

Exclaim talks to Catherine McCandless and The Advocate to drummer Andrea Silver about the making of Ultramarine. It’s out April 23 but streaming now in whole at Pitchfork. They play Lee’s Palace on May 31.

Stream: Young Galaxy / Ultramarine

Odonis Odonis have released a video for the title track of their just-out new EP Better. They’re at Lee’s Palace on May 17 supporting METZ.

Video: Odonis Odonis – “Better”

PopMatters talks to Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene and Arts & Crafts about the label’s tenth anniversary. The corresponding compilation Arts & Crafts 2003-2013 is now available to stream in its two-CD entirety at CBC Music, and the festival to go along with the comp – Field Trip – hits Garrison Commons on June 8.

Stream: various artists / Arts & Crafts 2003-2013

Spin has posted a stream of Moon King’s new Obsession II EP, though the Soundcloud link below is a bit more reliable in performance. Speaking of in performance, their NXNE appearances have been confirmed – look for them on June 13 at The Garrison, June 14 at The Drake, and June 15 at Yonge-Dundas Square.

MP3: Moon King – “Appel”
Stream: Moon King / Obsession II

Paste gets to know Born Ruffians, whose new record Birthmarks came out this week.

The Belle Game are celebrating this week’s release of their debut Tradition Ritual Habit by giving away another download from the album via Rolling Stone.

MP3: The Belle Game – “Blame Fiction”

The Line Of Best Fit interviews No Joy, who are streaming their new album Wait To Pleasure ahead of its April 23 release date over at Pitchfork. They’re also at The Garrison that night opening for Clinic.

Stream: No Joy / Wait To Pleasure

Stereogum talks to Colin Stetson about his forthcoming New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light, out April 30. He and his lungs are at The Great Hall on May 19.

Arts Journal and NPR talk to Rachel Zeffira, who makes her local debut at The Drake Underground on May 2.

NPR has posted a Mountain Stage video session with Kathleen Edwards, who is part of the CBC Music Fest at Echo Beach on May 25.

Japandroids are coming back to town for a show at the Adelaide Music Hall on June 17, tickets $25. What the hell is the Adelaide Music Hall, you ask? Don’t worry – The Grid is on it.

MP3: Japandroids – “Younger Us”
MP3: Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built”

Patrick Watson will be playing a free show at Pecault Square on June 20 as part of this year’s LuminaTO festivities.

MP3: Patrick Watson – “Words In The Fire”
MP3: Patrick Watson – “Into Giants”

BrooklynVegan has premiered a Moog Sound Lab video with Diamond Rings, who’s opening up for OMD at the Danforth on July 11 and 19.

The Vancouver Sun and Georgia Straight have feature interviews with Two Hours Traffic.

DIY and Under The Radar talk to The Besnard Lakes.