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Posts Tagged ‘Radio Dept’

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Kveikur

Sigur Rós at The Air Canada Centre in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangEven though Sigur Rós’ show at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night was announced back in November, I was on the fence about attending, rationalizing that I had seen them twice just last August, and as much as I enjoyed the atmospheric charms of last year’s Valtari, I didn’t know that I needed to see it live again. Then word came that not only would the staging of the show be different this time, thanks to the shift in venue from outdoor festival settings to indoor arenas, but rather than a second tour for Valtari it would be an advance tour for their next record Kveikur – out June 18 – well then, it was a no-brainer. And really, saying you’ve had too enough Sigur Rós is like saying you’ve had enough beauty or enough wonder. It’s nonsense.

As they did at Massey Hall way back in May 2006, the band began their show hidden behind a scrim, performing in front of the well-filled if not sold-out, theatre-configured arena as a set of silhouettes seemingly backlit by the aurora borealis. At the climax of “Ný Batterí”, the scrim fell away and the eleven-piece band, camped out in a forest of musical and lighting gear, was revealed. The elegantly simple incandescent light bulb stands were a holdover from the Valtari tour, but the screens which surrounded the band on four sides to create an artificial intimacy on the big outdoor stages was exchanged for a wide, parabolic screen stretching across the width of the stage, simulating a wide expanse in an enclosed room.

It was on that screen that the band’s always-inspired visuals played out, seemingly tuned to evoke the more visceral nature of the new material, balancing out the air-and-water atmospherics of Valtari with a more fire-and-earth elemental skew. That said, the only representative in the set from the last record – “Varúð” – was the most visually stunning, with the soft glow of the stage bulbs blending with the Will-o’-the-wisp images floating on screen to create a genuine sense of weightlessness – no mean feat in a hockey arena. And while the arena setting was not the best for intimacy – the days of the band playing Massey Hall will be fondly remembered but are clearly over – the sound was immaculate and the scale lent itself nicely towards enhancing the grandeur of Orri Páll Dýrason’s drums.

Other back catalog highlights were “Hoppípolla”, as always, with the crescendo including an invitation from the band to the audience to stand and clap along, and “Festival” which featured Jónsi holding a single high note for so long that, while it almost had to be electronically-assisted, you still wanted to believe was magic. The Kveikur material was well-highlighted, with new songs bookending the main set; “Yfirborð” opened and the appropriately-titled new single “Brennisteinn” (“brimstone” in Icelandic) closed things on an apocalyptic note, with “Hrafntinna” and “Kveikur” lurking amongst the old favourites like wolves in the fold, more than making good on their promise of a more “direct, aggressive” sound – if the sub-genre “orch-industrial” didn’t exist before, it may well now.

One wonders if this stylistic shift was related to the departure of keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson and the remaining three embracing their new existence as a power trio, or if it was just the logical reaction to making Valtari. Ironically, though the official band was now the smallest its ever been, the touring lineup was operating as more of a grand ensemble than ever before, the horns and strings buoying the proceedings. That said, it wasn’t flawless; there were a few missed cues and off-beats – nothing major and hardly a black mark on the show, but surprising for a band that was always so impeccably tight on stage.

Following the ninety-minute main set, the band returned for a two-song encore and affirmed that, for all the dramatically show-stopping and breathtaking moments in their catalog, “Popplagið” from () remains the best and only way to conclude a show. I think they’ve gone to it every one of the seven times now I’ve seen them perform, and yet this reading may have been the post powerful one yet. Maybe it was because of the staging, the lighting, the headspace, or the simple fact that they’re still letting this decade-old composition evolve and grow. In any case it was still the perfect way to end the night and a not-so-gentle reminder that there’s no such thing as enough beauty or wonder.

NOW and The Globe & Mail talked to bassist Georg Hólm ahead of the show about the band’s new record.

Photos: Sigur Rós @ The Air Canada Centre – March 30, 2013
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Gobbledigook”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Hoppípolla”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Popplagið”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Staralfur”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Svefn-G-Englar”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Nýja lagið”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Brennisteinn”
Video: Sigur Rós / Leaning Towards Solace
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varúð” (version three)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Valtari”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varðeldur” (version two)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Fjögur Píanó” (version two)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Dauðalogn” (version two)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Ekki Múkk” (version two)
Video: Sigur Rós / Seraph
Video: Sigur Rós – “Dauðalogn” (version one)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varðeldur” (version one)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varúð” (version two)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Ég anda” (version two)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Rembihnútur”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Fjögur Píanó” (version one)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varúð” (version one)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Ég anda” (version one)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Ekki Múkk” (moving art)
Video: Sigur Rós – “Við Spilum Endalaust “
Video: Sigur Rós – “Inní mér syngur vitleysingur”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Gobbledigook”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Sæglópur”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Hoppípolla”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Glósóli”
Video: Sigur Rós – “(Vaka)”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Viðrar vel til loftárása”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Svefn-G-Englar”

Filter has an interview with Ólafur Arnalds, whose For Now I Am Winter is out in North America tomorrow.

NPR has premiered the latest video from Efterklang’s Piramida, and Oregon Music News has an interview with frontman Casper Clausen. And while I’m glad for Clausen that his health has recovered, that Toronto was the one and only canceled date on their now-concluded North American tour elicits a big sigh over here.

Video: Efterklang – “The Ghost”

Interview talks to Iceage, in town for a couple shows at NXNE on June 15 and 16. That tour will be alongside fellow Danish punks Lower, and Exclaim reports that the side-project of the two bands – Vår – will release their debut album No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers on May 14.

Video: Vår – “In Your Arms”

Pitchfork has an interview with the Dreijer siblings of The Knife. Their new album Shaking The Habitual is out April 9.

Magnet interviews The Mary Onettes in advance of handing them the keys to their website for the week as guest editors.

Finally, Drowned In Sound talks to Johan Angergård about Labrador Records on the occasion of the Swede-pop label’s fifteenth anniversary with additional comments from Philip Ekström of The Mary Onettes and Johan Duncanson of The Radio Dept., the latter of which aren’t especially celebratory.

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

How Darwinian

Review of Dan Mangan’s Oh Fortune

Photo By Jonathan TaggartJonathan TaggartAs one of the most social media-savvy musicians in the country, it’s not unreasonable to say that Dan Mangan reads his own press and so he’s probably seen the phrases “everyman”, “coffee shop”, “roots-rock” and variants thereof in regards to his breakout 2009 record Nice, Nice, Very Nice many, many times. And while these descriptors were usually meant in most complimentary ways – one does’t make the Polaris shortlist on the back of negative press – his just-released follow-up Oh Fortune gives you the impression that he didn’t take those writeups as incentive to stay the course.

From the very first heavily-reverbed piano chords which open leadoff track “About As Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All” before giving way to strings, it’s clear that this record is built on a different game plan than its predecessor. Throughout, there’s plenty of elegantly orchestrated horns and woodwinds, but also feedbacking, layered, wall-of-noise guitars – often all side-by-side or on top of one another – and if that sounds like the complete opposite of what you’d have expected a Dan Mangan record to sound like, well I suspect that’s the point. This is not a record that can be pigeonholed as the work of a singer-songwriter or folkie; it’s brimming with full-on pop ambition and if Mangan had kept such lofty musical aspirations in check before, he’s certainly enjoying the artistic freedom that success engenders now.

But for all of that, as soon as the vocals come in it’s unmistakably a Dan Mangan record. Not having the most elastic voice becomes an pro rather than a con as it remains warm and comforting like a woollen blanket, delivering poignant and poetic lyrics that; another Mangan trademark still intact, if perhaps darker in tone this time out. And it’s Mangan’s voice and the words it carries that act as a sturdy, reliable centre amidst the swirling sonic proceedings; it’s as if between Very Nice and Fortune, Mangan was transplanted from the setting of a comfortable stool in his local into… well, it’s hard to say, exactly. The atmosphere of Fortune is consistent but difficult to pin down, also certainly part of the overarching strategy to head off preconceptions and expectations and forces the listener to consider the record on its own merits rather than what they figured a new Dan Mangan record would sound like.

It’s no small thing to shift gears or change lanes immediately after a breakthrough record; the temptation to stick to what worked – at least for the follow-up – must be immense, particularly when what worked was a time-tested, meat-and-potatoes sort of approach. So Mangan should be praised for going as conceptually far afield as he has on Oh Fortune without abandoning his core strengths and lauded for making it work so well. If it wasn’t clear from any of the above, Oh Fortune is an excellent record, expansive in scope yet efficiently delivered and both musically and lyrically rich. No, there’s nothing as immediate as “Robots” but in lieu of that degree of immediacy, you get songs that continue to reveal themselves over repeated listens. Oh Fortune confirms Mangan as one of this country’s best new songwriters and, as a bonus, forces those who’d seek to dismiss him as too conventional to find a new line of criticism. Maybe that he’s too tall. Because he’s pretty tall.

Southern Souls, The Vancouver Sun, The Winnipeg Free Press and Exclaim have interviews with Mangan and he chats with Rolling Stone about his just-released new video; there’s also three four videos from a full-album performance Mangan gave at the CBC presently online, with more to come. His Fall tour brings him to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 28.

MP3: Dan Mangan – “Oh Fortune”
Video: Dan Mangan – “Rows Of Houses”
Video: Dan Mangan – “About as Helpful As You Can Be Without Being Any Help At All” (live at CBC)
Video: Dan Mangan – “Rows Of Houses” (live at CBC)
Video: Dan Mangan – “Post-War Blues” (live at CBC)
Video: Dan Mangan – “Oh Fortune” (live at CBC)
Stream: Dan Mangan / Oh Fortune

Also out this week is Ohbijou’s Metal Meets. Exclaim and Toro talk to bandleader Casey Mecija about making the new record. They play a release show at Trinity-St. Paul’s on September 30.

Boasting a similar album title and gracing this month’s Exclaim cover is Feist; Pitchfork also has an interview. Metals is out October 4 and she plays Massey Hall on December 1. Update: And now the album is available to stream if you sign up for her mailing list. Preview the album AND get emails from Leslie!

Stream: Feist / Metals

Canadian Interviews is playing host to a tour diary from Bruce Peninsula. Open Flames is out October 4 but streamable now at Exclaim – they also have an interview and review – and they play an in-store at Soundscapes that evening, then a proper show at Lee’s Palace on October 27.

Stream: Bruce Peninsula / Open Flames

Their record release show for Tosta Mista safely in the books, Hooded Fang have announced they’ll play a free show at the Sanderson Branch of the Toronto Public Library (Bathurst and Dundas West) on October 1 at 2PM. They’ve also put out a new animated video.

MP3: Hooded Fang – “Den Of Love”
Video: Hooded Fang – “Brahma”

Dev Hynes’ Blood Orange has been announced as support on the upcoming tour for CANT, the solo project from Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear, as well as being part of his band, all of which means that he’ll be at The Garrison on October 21. And to mark it, a new MP3 from Coastal Grooves is available to grab courtesy of Stereogum.

MP3: Blood Orange – “Champagne Coast”

J Mascis will be in town on November 4 as part of the Sleepwalk Guitar Festival taking place at The Great Hall all that weekend and ex-Television guitarist Richard Lloyd leads off the Saturday night bill followed by The Sadies. And if you were wondering just how “ex” Lloyd was with respect to Tom Verlaine and Television, this exchange documented at The Daily Swarm seems to indicate that bridges are pretty well burned. Tickets for each evening show are $25, all-day and weekend passes also available.

MP3: J Mascis – “Is It Done”
MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”

English songwriting legend Ray Davies has made a date at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre for November 25 in support of last year’s See My Friends though it’s unlikely any of his big-name collaborators will be joining him for these shows. Tickets are $49.50 and $69.50 plus fees.

Video: The Kinks – “Waterloo Sunset” (live)

Young Galaxy have been added to the Austra show at The Phoenix on December 1, as well as the rest that tour. They’ve also released a new video from Shapeshifting, an animated sequel to the clip for “We have Everything”.

MP3: Young Galaxy – “Peripheral Visionaries”
Video: Young Galaxy – “Peripheral Visionaries”

The War On Drugs are coming back to town, making a date for December 9 at The Horseshoe; tickets $13.50 in advance. The Washington Post and DCist have interviews and NPR a World Cafe session.

MP3: The War On Drugs – “Come To The City”

Tokyo Police Club, Born Ruffians and Said The Whale appear to be a winning combination as a second show has been added at The Phoenix for December 9, the one for the night before presumably just about sold out. Tickets are again $25 in advance.

MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Party In The USA”
MP3: Born Ruffians – “Sole Brother”
MP3: Said The Whale – “Camilo (The Magician)”

Ryan Adams’ first show back in Toronto since Summer 2007 – he’s retired and come back out of retirement in the interim – will take place on December 10 at The Winter Garden Theatre; tickets are $45 plus fees, fan presale goes Thursday at 10AM and general onsale Friday, same time. His new record Ashes & Fire is out October 11; Exclaim takes a look back over his prolific career.

Video: Ryan Adams – “New York, New York”

Putting lie to my post in July when they announced it, The Radio Dept. have cancelled their entire Fall tour, which was to include a November 17 show at The Mod Club, “due to family related matters”. They hope to pick up again in 2012, perhaps even with some new material to share. Yeah, right.

Salon, Spinner, The Atlantic, Billboard, Paste, JAM, and aux.tv talk to Jeff Tweedy of Wilco while The Atlanta Journal-Constitution talks to Nels Cline and The Line Of Best Fit to Glenn Kotche. NYC Taper has a recording of their second of two Central Park shows available to download and CBC’s Q has a video studio session with the band.

Spinner talks to Ben Gibbard about the new Death Cab For Cutie video from Codes And Keys.

Video: Death Cab For Cutie – “Stay Young Go Dancing”

Filter, The National Post and NOW have features on Girls.

Spinner talks to The Drums, in town on October 1 with an in-store at Sonic Boom at 7PM and a show at The Mod Club a little later that evening.

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Hello Sadness

Los Campesinos’ sadness. See it. Hear it.

Photo via FacebookFacebookRoving gang of musical Welsh nogoodniks Los Campesinos! announced the existence of their fourth album Hello Sadness just last week, but they’ve already followed up that news with both the first downloadable MP3 from the record and video, both for the record’s leadoff track – a song which despite the band’s supposed claims to welcoming despair into their lives, sound pretty damn peppy. Or shouty, at least.

And while you’re getting down to that, they’ve also announced a handful of – well, four – American tour dates to preview the record. Note that doesn’t the crew won’t be crossing the border north of the US this time, but seeing as how they’ve never been averse to visiting Toronto and Canada repeatedly, expect a date when broader touring plans are announced.

MP3: Los Campesinos! – “By Your Hand”
Video: Los Campesinos! – “By Your Hand”

Noah & The Whale – who proved their ability to get super-sad with second album First Days Of Spring – return to town to party like it’s the Last Night On Earth at The Phoenix on November 8, part of a full North American tour; admission is $20 in advance. Interview has a chat with violinist Tom Hobden.

MP3: Noah & The Whale – “The First Days Of Spring”
Video: Noah & The Whale – “Tonight’s The Kind Of Night”

Baeble Music has a Guest Apartment interview and session with Laura Marling. A Creature I Don’t Know is out Tuesday and she plays The Great Hall on September 23.

Beatroute, The Edmonton Journal, OC Weekly and The Calgary Herald have feature pieces on The Joy Formidable.

Even though there’s really no need to reissue an album that was just released in February, Yuck will get a deluxe edition of their self-titled debut on October 11 that includes a 6-track bonus CD – you can stream one of the new offerings at Pitchfork. They play The Horseshoe on September 27.

Stream: Yuck – “Cousin Corona”

The Guardian is streaming Mogwai’s new EP Earth Division, out next Tuesday, as well as notes from Stuart Braithwaite. So go and stream it and read. Go.

Stream: Mogwai / Earth Division

Also streaming and out next week is Acrobat, the second album from Peggy Sue.

MP3: Peggy Sue – “Cut My Teeth”
Stream: Peggy Sue / Acrobats

Music Broke My Bones and The Whiteboard Project have interviews with Slow Club, the latter of which is hilariously conducted via whiteboard. Paradise is out next week.

Grantland sends Chuck Klosterman to interview Noel Gallagher. A pretty great read regardless of your opinions of either character ensues. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds release their debut album on November 7 and play Massey Hall on November 7 and 8.

Wears The Trousers chat with Esben & The Witch.

DIY has a feature interview with Patrick Wolf and the singer-songwriter fesses up to Clash about his love of waterslides.

Though he’s supposed to be gearing up for the Horrors tour which brings him to Lee’s Palace on September 27, Faris Badwan tells Exclaim that his side-project Cat’s Eyes plans to release two more records in 2012. Which is good news because Cat’s Eyes was great. And Badwan talks Horrors with The Illinois Entertainer.

Beatroute has an interview with Arctic Monkeys.

Artrocker has the new video from Sons & Daughters, taken from their latest Mirror Mirror.

Video: Sons & Daughters – “Rose Red”

Goth godfather Peter Murphy brings his new solo record Ninth to town for a show at Lee’s Palace on November 23, tickets $29.50.

MP3: Peter Murphy – “I Spit Roses”

Though the media cycle on New Order of late has mainly been about irrevocably rent asunder they are with the acrimonious departure of bassist Peter Hook, Spinner reports that it’s a bit of a zero-sum game as original keyboardist Gillian Gilbert is back in the fold for a couple of charity gigs in October. Unsurprisingly, Hooky is unimpressed. Which makes me wish that Ian Curtis was capable of issuing press releases so we could find out what he thinks about what Peter Hook is up to.

Fanfarlo have completed their second album and while it’s still untitled and has no release date, it does have a video for the leadoff track.

Video: Fanfarlo – “Replicate”

The Line Of Best Fit goes on an in-depth expedition into The Radio Dept.’s discography with founders Johan Duncanson and Martin Larson as sherpas. The Radio Dept are at The Mod Club on November 17.

Exclaim has some details of Swedish sister act First Aid Kit’s second album; The Lion’s Roar will be out on January 24 of the new year and you can see them supporting Lykke Li at The Sound Academy on November 15.

Little Dragon have released a new video from Ritual Union; they’re at The Hoxton on October 12.

Video: Little Dragon – “Brush The Heat”

Pitchfork has a new video from Sigur Ros taken from their Inni live film and album, due out November.

Video: Sigur Ros – “Klippa”

If you like Howling Bells and are willing to admit as much via Facebook, you’ll be able to stream their new record The Loudest Engine. It’s out Monday.

Stream: Howling Bells / The Loudest Engine

NME talks to Empire Of The Sun’s Luke Steele about their plans for album number two. But before that, they will play The Sound Academy on Tuesday evening, September 13.

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Passive Aggressive

The Radio Dept. no longer convincing anyone they hate touring

Photo via FacebookFacebookFor the longest time, conventional wisdom about The Radio Dept. said the Swedish three-piece hated to play live, preferring to record, throw out and re-record albums of gorgeously forlorn synth-pop in the safety and comfort of their studio. As such, I undertook a pilgrimage of sorts to New York two Summers ago to see them play what I assumed would be an incredibly rare show.

Even when their long-awaited third album Clinging To A Scheme broke them open to a much larger audience (relative statement but still) following its release last Spring, they seemed to be unwilling to capitalize on the interest, playing only some Asian and European dates in the Spring and another couple of New York shows late in the year. I seriously considered getting on a plane again but was tipped off that 2011 would be year that The Radio Dept became intimately acquainted with North America and indeed, they spent the first half of February traversing the continent and making their Toronto debut in front of a completely sold-out Lee’s Palace.

And then, against all expectations, they came back, playing The Horseshoe in late May. I missed that one on account of being in Europe but I’d like to think that the show was well-attended, perhaps with all the people who couldn’t get into the Lee’s show. Either way, it must have been at least full enough to justify a third go-around because that’s what we’re getting – a third Radio Dept. show in nine months, this one on November 17 at The Mod Club. It’s part of their largest North American tour yet, and if you need an reason beyond “why not”, then how about that first show was to promote Clinging, the second the Passive Aggressive compilation and this one… their vinyl reissues? I hope so, because Pet Grief has been sorely underrepresented in the shows I’ve seen… In any case – even though I won’t assume they’re any more dynamic a live act than in the past, I still highly recommend seeing them because the songs are still sublime and – wealth of recent appearances notwithstanding – who knows when they’ll be back?

The band are offering a recording of their set at Sasquatch this past May – including a new, untitled song – for free download.

MP3: The Radio Dept – “untitled new song” (live at Sasquatch 2011)
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Why Won’t You Talk About It?”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The Worst Taste In Music”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Heaven’s On Fire”

Also filling out the November concert calendar a bit – mysterious British rockers WU LYF, whose name is an acronym for World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation and not meant to be shouted, have made a date at The Horseshoe for November 12 as part of a Fall tour in support of their debut Go Tell Fire To The Mountain. Spinner has an interview with the band.

MP3: WU LYF – “Summas Bliss”

And The Boxer Rebellion, who were here back in April, will graduate to The Opera House for their November 19 show in support of The Cold Still as well as their just-released live set Live In Tennessee.

MP3: The Boxer Rebellion – “No Harm”

Listen Before You Buy is streaming two sides of a new Frightened Rabbit tour EP, the tour in question being the one that brings them to the Molson Amphitheatre tonight.

Wild Beasts have a new video from their latest Smother. They play The Mod Club on September 29.

Video: Wild Beasts – “Bed Of Nails”

Black Book talks to James Blake, in town for a show at The Phoenix on September 30.

The first video from Ladytron’s new record Gravity The Seducer has been released. The album is out September 13 and they play The Phoenix on October 5.

Video: Ladytron – “White Elephant”

Drowned In Sound has a sit-down with Sons & Daughters drummer David Gow about their new record Mirror Mirror.

There’s a new live in-studio performance video available from Patrick Wolf, showcasing one of the numbers from Lupercalia.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “Time Of My Life” (Live at The Pool Studios, 2011)

The National Post gets to know Anna Calvi.

I’m finally discovering the works of Hefner, though it’s about a decade too late to do anything with it in real time… but Artrocker reports that ex-frontman Darren Hayman has a new solo record entitled The Ship’s Piano out come October 11. Those who’ve followed his career through all its guises – is his solo stuff as good as Hefner? Not that I’ll have waded through all of Hefner’s back catalog anytime soon, but for reference.

Video: Hefner – “Good Fruit”

NME reports that Manic Street Preachers will mark their 21st anniversary with the release of the National Treasures singles compilation in October. It will supplant 2002’s Forever Delayed as the go-to compilation, not unreasonably since they’ve release four albums since then and the new comp will also include a new single.

Also coming in October – the 3rd to be exact – is a ridiculous Smiths box set entitled The Smiths Complete. On the plus side, it contains all the band’s official albums and compilations on CD and 180g LP, 25 7″s, a DVD, tonnes of posters and art, the whole thing has been remastered by Johnny Marr and it’s limited to an edition of 3000 so in owning it, you can impress the people on the internet who are impressed by this sort of thing. On the down side, its got nothing fans haven’t already bought several times over and in purchasing it, you continue to subsidize this nutjob. So yeah, your call. Details on the set at Pitchfork.

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Wandering

Review of Amor de Dias’ Street Of The Love Of Days

Photo By Shoko IshikawaShoko IshikawaIf you’ve been reading this site for a little while, you may have noted that as of this Saturday – rapture notwithstanding – I’ll be en route to (hopefully) sunny Barcelona for a week and then on to London for a few days as a chaser. And if you’ve been reading this site for a while longer, you may recall that no other band more vividly conjures memories of my last visit to the England than The Clientele. Which is why the existence of Amor de Días, which is the musical pairing of Clientele frontman Alasdair MacLean and Lupe Núñez-Fernández, the Spanish half of Pipas, seems like it should be the perfect soundtrack for this trip.

As you might expect from the pairing of two artists known for delicately-rendered, beautiful pop, their debut Street Of The Love Of Days is an idyllic, gossamer-sounding collection of songs that somehow manages to sound equally English and Spanish without overtly trying (okay, the lyrics sung in Spanish was probably deliberate, but you know what I mean). And though the album is about four years in the making, recorded in the downtime between other projects, it feels breezy enough that if told it was tracked over the course of a week in some countryside villa, you’d have no reason to doubt it. No reason except for the understated but meticulous craftsmanship thats gone into it, that is – though the instrumentation is primarily acoustic, lightly orchestrated and relatively sparse, the dreamlike atmosphere that it’s used to create is sumptuous. This is the sound of long days, open skies and grassy fields; not necessarily what my actual trip will entail, but if it’s as peaceful and lovely as this record, I will happily take it.

All that said, this silver lining is not without its cloud – while I am heading over to their home and native lands, Amor de Días will be coming to mine and I will be missing their show at The Horseshoe on May 25, where they’ll be opening up for fellow musical couple Damon & Naomi. Everyone who’s said how envious they are of my trip ought to go to this show if just to spite me.

Allmusic gets the pair to list off some of the influences on their sound, complete with video samples, while TBD talks to Núñez-Fernández.

MP3: Amor de Días – “Bunhill Fields”
MP3: Amor de Días – “New Wine”
Video: Amor de Días – “Late Mornings”
Stream: Amor de Días / Street Of The Love Of Days

WBUR talks to Damon & Naomi about the Galaxie 500 days. And back in the duo’s present, News & Observer talks to them about their new record False Beats & True Hearts is out now and available to stream. As noted above, they’re at The Horseshoe on May 25.

MP3: Damon & Naomi – “Walking Backwards”
Video: Damon & Naomi – “Nettles & Ivy”
Stream: Damon & Naomi / False Beats and True Hearts

Spin sits Will Sheff of Okkervil River and Steve Earle down together for a chat while The Chronicle Herald and Riverfront Times talk to Sheff and Earle on their own, respectively. Okkervil are at The Phoenix on June 10, Earle at the Molson Amphitheatre August 20.

Pitchfork talks to Whitey McConnaughy, director of the cats-gone-wild video for Superchunk’s “Crossed Wires”.

Video: Superchunk – “Crossed Wires”

Check out the first MP3 from the new David Bazan record Strange Negotiations, due out May 24. He plays Lee’s Palace on June 14.

MP3: David Bazan – “Wolves At The Door”

Also in town on June 14, though at The Mod Club, are The Antlers. PopMatters has an interview with frontman Peter Silberman.

Spin, The Chicago Tribune and JAM talk to Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard. They play The Phoenix tonight and the Molson Amphitheatre on July 29. Codes & Keys is out May 31.

The Sentimentalist interviews The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, in town at The Opera House on August 2.

The Radio Dept. will be reissuing their entire catalog – all three albums – on vinyl come June 7, excellent news for those who like their fuzzy pop in the highest fidelity. Lesser Matters, Pet Grief and Clinging To A Scheme will all be available on wax come June 7 and this is particularly good news since Pet Grief has never been available on LP. Thank the band with a hug when they play The Horseshoe on May 29.

MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Why Won’t You Talk About It?”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The Worst Taste In Music”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Heaven’s On Fire”

It’s good of NME to want to introduce you to Sweden’s I Break Horses by way of a download of their track “Hearts”, but if you maybe don’t want a 39MB .WAV file, I’ve gone ahead and made an MP3 for you below. Think grand, M83-ish synth-gaze. It’s nice.

MP3: I Break Horses – “Hearts”
Video: I Break Horses – “Hearts”

Pitchfork has got a couple new MP3s from jj, who’re giving them away just because.

MP3: jj – “No One Can Touch Us Tonight”
MP3: jj – “Ice”

The Washington Examiner and Phoenix profile Lykke Li, in town at The Phoenix for a sold-out show on May 22.

Blurt reports that New York-based Japanese pop act Cibo Matto have reunited after more than a decade for a tour and a new album, due out sometime next year. In the meantime, catch them at The Mod Club Lee’s Palace on July 16, tickets $20 in advance.

Video: Cibo Matto – “Know Your Chicken”

Also Japanese-bred, New York-based and just a little odd are Peelander-Z; they’re coming back to town for NXNE and will be at The Silver Dollar on June 18 at midnight. Tampa Bay Online has an interview with Peelander Red and for the uninitiated, The AV Club has a Peelander primer.

MP3: Peelander-Z – “Tacos Tacos Tacos”

Grinderman have a new video. It’s animated. It’s not for kids.

Video: Grinderman – “Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man”

And continuing with the Nick Cave, just out and currently streaming are the four latest Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds reissues, though not the bonus material. And the fancy remastering may not have survived after the digital streaming compressions. But if you’re in the mood for some Bad Seeds and don’t have any handy, it’s your lucky day.

Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / Let Love In
Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / Murder Ballads
Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / The Boatman’s Call
Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / No More Shall We Part

Spinner talks to Howling Bells frontwoman Juanita Stein about making album number three, due out sometime this Summer.