Posts Tagged ‘Radio Dept’

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Four Letter Word

My laptop died last night so as karmic retribution, you get Beady Eye

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickSo good times, my laptop died last night after 3.5 years of service due to a failed hard drive. I had planned on replacing it this year anyways, but hoped to squeeze a little more out of it – like a week. Fittingly, it died just as I was looking at the new upgraded Macbook Pros on the Apple site so… yeah. Anyways. Just some stuff from the old world to clear out before the weekend, so…

Beady Eye. Their debut Different Gear, Still Speeding is out over here on March 1 and kind of surprisingly, advance word seems to be that it’s not terrible. Not any kind of groundbreaking, being mostly bog-standard retro-styled Brit rock, but pretty alright for what it is. I haven’t heard it, this is just what I’m hearing. Anyways, I do hope it does okay if just for Andy Bell’s sake, and I get the sense that they’ll be doing a proper North American promotional push and that should include touring, perhaps come Fall. Anyways. The Guardian, BBC, Spinner and Exclaim all have features on the band.

MP3: Beady Eye – “The Roller”

Under The Radar talks to Andy Bell’s former compatriot Mark Gardener on the occasion of Ride’s 20th anniversary and yes, the reunion question comes up and no, there are not plans for it but as the Bieb says – never say never.

Captain’s Dead has rounded up a bunch of Lush’s Black Sessions MP3s for your shoegazing nostalgia purposes. Another band highly unlikely to ever get back together.

Drowned In Sound talks to Yan of British Sea Power. They’re at Lee’s Palace on March 24.

Spinner talks to Norman Blake of Jonny, whose self-titled debut is due out in North America on April 12.

Spinner has an interview with Ellie Goulding, whose debut Lights gets a US release on March 8 and who is at The Phoenix on March 27.

The Mirror reports that Duffy, disappointed in the disappointment surrounding her disappointing second record Endlessly, is considering ending her music career.

Exclaim has made PJ Harvey their cover story for the month.

The Independent and Tour Dates chat with Patrick Wolf, whose new record Lupercalia is out May 23.

The Quietus, Irish Independent and Irish Times interview Guy Garvey of Elbow, whose build a rocket boys! is out March 8 in the UK but not until April 12 in North America.

Glasvegas have released a new video from their second album Euphoric Heartbreak, due out April 4. Guitarist Rab Allan talks to The Scotsman while James Allan offers a track-by-track overview of the record to The Daily Record.

Video: Glasvegas – “Euphoria, Take My Hand”

Also with a new clip are White Lies, taken from Ritual. Dose has an interview with the band.

Video: White Lies – “Strangers”

The Quietus reports that Wild Beasts have given their new record a title of Smother and release date of May 10.

Secret Sessions has a solo acoustic video session and interview with Tim Compton of The High Wire.

PitchforkTV has a Tunnelvision session with Yuck, who also have their self-title up to stream at Soundcloud. They play The Phoenix on May 1 and Gigwise has an interview.

Stream: Yuck / Yuck

Lykke Li talks to Spinner and Billboard and names off her dream band to The Independent. Her new record Wounded Rhymes is out on Tuesday and she plays The Phoenix on May 22.

Shockhound, Consequence Of Sound and Spinner chat with The Radio Dept, who just picked up their second Best New Whatevs in less than a year from Pitchfork. They’re at The Horseshoe on May 29.

Peter Bjorn & John have a new vid from Gimme Some, out March 29. They play Lee’s Palace on May 6.

Video: Peter Bjorn & John – “Second Chance”

The Megaphonic Thrift have rolled out a new vid from Decay Decoy, out March 8.

Video: The Megaphonic Thrift – “Talks Like A Weed King”

Keren Ann’s new record 101 is now streamable in advance of its March 22 release. She plays The Drake Underground on June 28.

Stream: Keren Ann / 101

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Dragon Vs Dust

Review of The Megaphonic Thrift’s Decay Decoy

Photo By Magne SandnesMagne SandnesOriginality is an important trait, no question about that, but sometimes slavish imitation can be alright too, particularly when it explores a sound or style that’s not already been strip-mined to death and is done well. And so it is that Norway’s Megaphonic Thrift get a pass for their debut album Decay Decoy, released in Norway last Spring and due out in North America on March 8.

When I saw the band at SxSW 2010, their ’90s alt.guitar rock influences, in particular Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr, were clearly audible even through the massive wall of sound and feedback. Despite the obviousness of what they did, I appreciated that they were able to effectively channel the melodicism of their forebears as well as their penchant for instrument abuse – often acts are so intent on the latter, they lose sight of the former.

If there’s any surprise about Decay Decoy, it’s how clean-sounding it is. Any shoegazing references that their live show might have encouraged must be put away when you hear just how much clarity and separation there is in the recording. Guitars still rage and shriek, but they don’t spill all over everything else and leave the bass, drums and vocals refreshingly unobscured. And with frontman Richard Mykleburst so high in the mix, one thing becomes very clear – this band loves Sonic Youth, specifically early DGC-era Sonic Youth, when they were at their poppiest. His voice is tighter and less drawl-y than Thurston Moore’s and bassist Linn Frokedal’s singing is far more polished than Kim Gordon’s ever was, but the dynamic between the two has more than a few echoes of alt.rock’s first couple – I’m guessing that’s not by accident. Nor did it just happen that “Candy Sin” sounds like a cover of “Silver Rocket” changed just enough to not involve the lawyers…

Understand that none of this is calling the band out or even criticizing them – they’re clearly comfortable broadcasting their influences and the thrill they’re getting out of making music like that which they love is obvious in the enthusiasm with which it’s done. Originality is good, but it really all comes down to the tunes and those, The Megaphonic Thrift have.

Subba-Cultcha has an interview with the band and Filter are sharing a track from the record.

MP3: The Megaphonic Thrift – “Candy Sin”
Video: The Megaphonic Thrift – “Acid Blues”

Rawkblog and QRO have interviews with The Radio Dept. while Oregon Music News at least tries to. The band are indeed returning for a show at The Horseshoe on May 29.

Radiohead have decided that working for the weekend isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and rather than release their new album The King Of Limbs tomorrow, as originally promised, they’ve turned on the download link for those who pre-ordered it as of right now. And they’ve released a new video. So those of you who were hoping to not have their Twitter/Facebook/RSS feeds turn into all Radiohead, all the time until tomorrow… sorry.

Video: Radiohead – “Lotus Flower”

eMusic has an interview with PJ Harvey, while The AV Club offers some suggestions on where to start for newcomers to her wildly varied career.

Ellie Goulding’s March 27 Canadian debut has been moved from The Great Hall to The Phoenix.

NPR talks to Adele, who follows the release of 21 next week with a show at The Kool Haus on May 18.

NME reports that The Horrors will be out with a new record in July of this year.

Sloucher talks to Esben & The Witch, who have a date at Wrongbar on March 11.

Spinner has an interview with Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite while Drowned In Sound has a couple pieces from Barry Burns. They have a date at The Phoenix on April 26.

Graham Coxon tells NME that while Blur are indeed playing together and recording stuff, fans shouldn’t expect anything to be released anytime soon.

Shugo Tokumaru’s Port Entropy – released this week and reviewed a few weeks ago – is now streaming in whole at Spinner.

Stream: Shugo Tokumaru / Port Entropy

Spin finds out where An Horse got their name. Their new record Walls is out April 26.

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Down Is The New Up

Hey it’s Radiohead! And they’re doing stuff!

Photo By Kevin WestenbergKevin WestenbergClearly unconvinced that Arcade Fire’s Grammy win Sunday night had sufficiently broken the internet – at least as far as my Twitter and RSS feeds were concerned – Radiohead decided to apply a fatality-class finishing move on Monday morning, announcing that their eighth album was not only done, but would be called The King Of Limbs and be available for digital sale as of this coming Saturday, February 19.

Rather than repeat the pay-what-you-can model that accompanied their last sneak album release In Rainbows in 2007, the band are going the more traditional pay-what-we-say route this time out, offering digital-only pre-orders in MP3 or WAV format which will be fulfilled on Saturday or MP3/WAV plus fancy-pants physical package which they’re calling their “Newspaper Album” and includes the record on two 10″ LPs, a CD and craploads of packaging and artwork and due for delivery around May 9. For those who still dig physical product but don’t need all the bells and whistles, the regular CD and LP editions will be available on March 29.

It was well known that a new Radiohead record was coming this year, but beyond that it was anyone’s guess as to what, when, how, etc. and so in an age where albums are often “over” before they’re even officially out, it’s nice to still be able to experience that sense of surprise and anticipation. And considering the band have only played one show in the past 13 months – the Haiti benefit last January – almost none of the new material has been road-tested, making those first listens come Saturday that much more exciting.

So…. touring?

Video: Radiohead – “Lotus Flower” (live)

Elbow have released the first proper video from build a rocket boys!, and in the process remind me that the record is out in just three weeks on March 7. So very looking forward to hearing this one. So… touring?

Video: Elbow – “Neat Little Rows”

Rolling Stone talks to Liam Gallagher and Andy Bell of Beady Eye. Their debut Different Gear, Still Speeding is out March 1. As for brother Noel, he’s talking a lot but hasn’t started working on his own post-Oasis project.

Manic Street Preachers have released a new video for the title track from their latest Postcards From A Young Man.

Video: Manic Street Preachers – “Postcards From A Young Man”

Interview interviews Dominic Aitchison of Mogwai, The Quietus Stuart Braithwaite and Martin Bulloch also documents a day in the life for The Quietus. Their new record Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will is out today and they’ve a gig at The Phoenix come April 26.

Music Snobbery interviews Blood Red Shoes.

The AV Club, NPR, Exclaim and Newsweek talk to PJ Harvey, whose war-themed latest Let England Shake may lead to an appointment as “official war song correspondent”.

NPR solicits a Tiny Desk Concert from Adele; Adele obliges. Her new record 21 is out next week and she plays The Kool Haus on May 18.

The Guardian interviews Anna Calvi, who follows the March 1 release of her self-titled debut with a show at Wrongbar on March 11 as part of Canadian Musicfest.

The first MP3 from The Raveonettes’ forthcoming Raven In The Grave, out March 22, is now available to download. They’ll be at The Phoenix on April 2.

MP3: The Raveonettes – “Forget That You’re Young”

Clash and The Scotsman talk to Lykke Li, who releases Wounded Rhymes on March 1 and plays The Phoenix on May 22.

So… touring? Here’s some of the stuff that got announced in the last few days. We already knew that J Mascis was headlining The Great Hall on the Friday, March 11, of Canadian Musicfest, but he’ll also be doing an in-store at Sonic Boom that afternoon at 5PM. You may recall he did the same with Dinosaur Jr last January – hopefully this time he won’t be running a half hour late. His new solo record Several Shades Of Why arrives March 15.

MP3: J Mascis – “Not Enough”

To mark the March 1 reissue of their 1998 self-titled debut, Queens Of The Stone Age will hit the road to play it in its entirety, a tour which stops in at the Sound Academy on March 29, tickets $47 and $57 in advance.

I certainly thought that last week’s Lee’s Palace show would be the one and only time Toronto got a visit from the touring-averse Radio Dept., but it looks like those who kept clapping for a second encore will get their wish – their touring itinerary shows them with an overnight layover in Toronto after appearing at Sasquatch and will pass the time with a May 29 date at The Horseshoe – good news for those who snoozed and losed on getting tickets for the Lee’s gig. and Ca Va Cool have interviews with the band.

MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Why Won’t You Talk About It?”

Yeasayer released an aural valentine yesterday in the form of a free EP and a North American tour – look for them June 7 at The Phoenix.

MP3: Yeasayer – “Ambling Alp”

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Clinging To A Scheme

The Radio Dept. and Young Prisms at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFact one: The Radio Dept. are not, by any conventional standard, an exciting live band. Fact two: I was terribly excited to see The Radio Dept. make their live Toronto debut on Monday night. The first point I’d gained first-hand knowledge of when I took a pilgrimage to see them in New York City in May 2009 for what I figured would be my only chance to see the band who’d made some of my favourite records of the past decade live, and so the fact that I was wrong about that and they were finally coming to my own hood cemented point two. And I wasn’t the only one who’d been waiting patiently for this day, judging from the other 500 people who sold out Lee’s Palace for the occasion.

Theirs wasn’t the only Toronto debut happening on this evening, though technically Young Prisms took their first Hogtown stage earlier that afternoon across the street at Sonic Boom for an in-store. Still, this was probably the first introduction for most to the group of San Francisco youngsters who just released their debut album Friends For Now and even for those of us who’d heard them in advance, there were still some revelations. For example, so effectively is the album sonically obscured and wrapped in distortion that I didn’t realize their lead singer was a girl until she took the mic. Live, they were less about the fuzz and more about the pummel, the bass and guitar often working in tandem for a unified, full-frequency drone attack with one or the other occasionally breaking formation to contribute some melody. All of which would have been overly dull if not for the fact that they had some solid pop tunes anchoring it all and a pleasantly goofy demeanour – in particular, they seemed really excited about both the concept and execution of poutine.

The Radio Dept. are about their songs. The writing of and the recording of those heartrendingly sublime synth/fuzz pop gems, first and foremost, and not the performing of or heavens forfend the promotion of, hence their taking years upon years to release a new record and reluctance to take it on the road. But because those records and songs are so good, their fans around the world can’t help but clamour to hear them live and when they oblige, as they’ve done so more frequently in the past couple of years, it’s on their terms. I think this is important to appreciating their show, which is stripped-down to say the least. Playing in near-darkness with Martin Larsson on guitar and bass, Daniel Tjäder on keys and laptop and Johan Duncanson on guitar run through a cheap-as-you-get practice guitar amp, they were clearly not about spectacle.

With the simplicity of their presentation and reliance on pre-recorded backing tracks, they often seemed like they were jamming overtop CDs or drum machines in their basements, making music for the joy of making music, never mind anything else. And that was really what it was – rather than recontextualizing their songs for the stage, it was as if they instead invited the audience into their studio to hear them work. And really, though I’m as much pro-live drummer as anyone you’ll ever meet, it would have just been wrong on many of these songs, whose simple, distorted mechanical rhythms are like their beating hearts. All of which is to say that yes, The Radio Dept. are understated performers – almost to a fault – but it’s how it has to be.

Happily, the audience seemed to understand this and there was no restlessness in the house over the course of the set. In fact, the enthusiasm of the packed house was rather at odds with the band’s reservedness – between the hearty applause after every song, each one someone out there’s favourite, and hollered requests or just thanks, their Scandinavian stoicism cracked more than a few times into smiles or even grins. They may not like touring but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy it. In return, they played a set that leaned heavily on their breakthrough Clinging To A Scheme and featured only a couple each from Pet Grief and Lesser Matters, but in keeping with the theme of their Passive Aggressive compilation, long-time fans were still rewarded with a good number of non-album singles and b-sides. At an hour including the one-song encore – the soaring “Pulling Our Weight” b-side “The City Limits” – it was far too short a night with too many wonderful songs left unplayed – especially considering that the odds of them returning soon, if ever, are long at best – but that, like expecting rock moves or extended banter, was the wrong perspective to take. That they were here at all was a gift, and a near-perfect one.

Exclaim also has a review of the show while Toronto Star and The Boston Globe have interviews with The Radio Dept. SF Weekly has an interview with Young Prisms, who are back for a show at Parts & Labour on April 21 supporting The Fresh & Onlys.

Photos: The Radio Dept., Young Prisms @ Lee’s Palace – February 7, 2011
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “On Your Side”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The One”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The New Improved Hypocrisy”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Never Follow Suit”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Heaven’s On Fire”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Freddie & The Trojan Horse”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “David”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The Worst Taste In Music”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “A Window”
MP3: The Radio Dept – “Pulling Our Weight”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Why Won’t You Talk About It?”
MP3: Young Prisms – “Sugar”
MP3: Young Prisms – “Weekends And Treehouses”
Video: The Radio Dept. – “Never Follow Suit”
Video: The Radio Dept. – “The Worst Taste In Music”
Video: The Radio Dept. – “Where Damage Isn’t Already Done”
Video: The Radio Dept. – “Pulling Our Weight”

The Fly talks to Lykke Li, whose Wounded Rhymes arrives March 1. She’s at The Phoenix on May 22 and just released a new/alternate video from said record.

Video: Lykke Li – “I Follow Rivers”

Jonsi has released a video from his live album/video Live At The Wiltern, available digitally only.

Video: Jonsi – “Go Do”

A second Jeff Tweedy solo show has been announced for March 23 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre; ticket presale goes today at 10AM regular on-sale is Friday. Support for both Tweedy shows and his whole solo tour comes from Toronto’s Snowblink, whose debut Long Live is out next Tuesday and who has an in-store at Soundscapes on March 3 and an album release show at The Music Gallery on March 5.

Basia Bulat will play at The Great Hall on March 26 as part of JunoFest; tickets for the show are $17.50 or free with the $30 JunoFest wristband. And who doesn’t want a JunoFest wristband? They’re like the new LiveStrong wristband. Except not.

MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”

Titus Andronicus have assembled a Spring tour that includes an April 1 date at The Horseshoe. Tickets are $11.50, medical bills for the bedlam that will ensue are on you.

MP3: Titus Andronicus – “A More Perfect Union”

The Civil Wars, who’ve just released their debut Barton Hollow, will camp out at the El Mocambo for two night across April 5 and 6, tickets for each show $10.50 in advance.

MP3: The Civil Wars – “Barton Hollow”

Liam Finn will be at Lee’s Palace on April 7 with The Luyas as support. Tickets for the show are $15.

MP3: Liam Finn – “Plane Crash”
MP3: The Luyas – “Tiny Head”

Just as they promised last week when opening for The Decemberists, Wye Oak will be back on April 9 for a show at The El Mocambo. Their new record Civilian will have been out a month and a day by that point. Let’s hope Jenn Wasner’s guitar amp survives the duration of the show this time.

MP3: Wye Oak – “Civlian”

Nashville rock-rockers accumulating quite the buzz overseas Mona will be in town for a free show at The Horseshoe on April 19. Advance word likens them to Kings Of Leon so maybe make plans to get there early or stay far far away. Their self-titled debut is out May 16.

Video: Mona – “Teenager”

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011


Review of The Radio Dept.’s Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 and giveaway

Photo By Aylin Güngör DedeogluAylin Güngör DedeogluReally, I’ve only myself to blame. Upon hearing The Radio Dept. and the deliciously forlorn and fuzz pop of their 2003 debut Lesser Matters, I did what any good music obsessive would do after hearing what would become one of their favourite bands of the century (so far) and scoured the eBay for any and all of their releases. In their case this amounted to a number of singles and EPs which offered a good amount of non-album tracks – most as wonderful as the songs that did make the long-players – to pad out the collection.

So when it was announced that the band would follow their breakout third album, 2010’s Clinging To A Scheme with a double-compilation of rarities, one couldn’t help but hope that meant that a heretofore untapped vault of musical goodness would be let loose onto the world, a sort of reward for the faithful who’d evangelized the band for years until the rest of the world caught on. This, of course, was bunk. Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 is exactly what the title implies – a collection of the band’s singles over the course of their existence arranged chronologically with a the second disc collecting b-sides and compilation tracks from over that same time period. In other words, mostly everything I’d already bought.

But as I said, that’s my own fault; for everyone else, Passive Aggressive is pretty much essential. There are no deep cuts from their three records, only the singles – and just one song from the sublime second record Pet Grief – so for newcomers to the band using the collection as an introduction, the incentive to buy those studio records remains and for those who’ve already made their acquaintance but not gone all trainspotting on their back catalog, there’s over 20 tracks that are likely to be new to their ears. Pretty much the definition of win-win. And any way you come at it, the set is a testament to just how superb, consistent and unique the band has been over the course of their career, filtering the confluence of synth-pop, shoegaze, and C86 tweeness through a distinctly Swedish melancholy for irresistible results.

So while Passive Aggressive doesn’t provide me hours of new Radio Dept. listening, it does save me the trouble of swapping out all those CDEPs and most importantly, remind me in the most enjoyable way possible what an amazing band they are. And there’s nothing disappointing about that.

Spinner talks to Martin Carlberg about the band’s vault of unreleased songs – which clearly DOES exist – although there’s no plans to mine it for release anytime soon. The band’s North American tour kicks off tonight in Washington DC and hits Toronto on February 7. Tickets for the show are $12.50 in advance but courtesy of The Musebox, I’ve got a grand prize to consisting of a pair of passes to the show and a copy of Passive Aggressive on CD to give away and a second prize of just the CD. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to join The Radio Dept” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body. If you’re in the Toronto area and want to be eligible for the passes and CD, say so and if you’re just a resident of Canada looking for the CD, say that as well. Contest closes at midnight, February 3.

MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The One”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The New Improved Hypocrisy”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Freddie & The Trojan Horse”

The artist anointed by the BBC as “The Sound of 2010”Ellie Goulding – will be releasing her debut album Lights Stateside on March 8 and follow it up with dates that include a March 27 stop at The Great Hall in Toronto. Tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.

Video: Ellie Goulding – “Starry Eyed”

The Raveonettes have slated a Spring tour in support of their fifth album Raven In The Grave, which according to this interview with Sune Rose Wagner at The San Francisco Examiner is due out on March 22. The itinerary includes an April 2 date at The Phoenix, tickets for which are $20, and there are still plans to release a compilation of b-sides and rarities at some point this year.

MP3: The Raveonettes – “Last Dance”

The Black Angels return for an April 14 date at Lee’s Palace, tickets $18.50, as part of a tour in support of last year’s Phosphene Dream. Montreal’s Suuns will support.

MP3: The Black Angels – “Telephone Blues”
MP3: Suuns – “Up Past The Nursery”

Pixies have added a second Doolittle show at Massey Hall for April 19. Tickets $44.50 and $64.50 in advance.

Video: Pixies – “Monkey Gone To Heaven”

Fleet Foxes have announced their second album Helplessness Blues will be out on May 3 and the title track is available to download.

MP3: Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues”

Vivian Girls’ new record Share The Joy has been given an April 12 release date, just days before they hit The Phoenix with The Black Lips on April 16. Pitchfork has details and the first MP3 is up for grabs.

MP3: Vivian Girls – “I Heard You Say”

NPR is streaming Bright Eyes’ new album The People’s Key in advance of its February 15 release and Spinner has got an MP3 available to download in exchange for your email. Bright Eyes plays The Sound Academy on March 13.

Stream: Bright Eyes / The People’s Key

Also streaming at NPR and out February 15 is 12 Desperate Straight Lines, the new album from Telekinesis. They play The Horseshoe on March 6 and Pepper Rabbit appear to have replaced The Love Language as support.

Stream: Telekinesis / 12 Desperate Straight Lines