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Posts Tagged ‘Revolver’

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Under The Westway

Blur release final comeback new single

Photo via The GuardianThe GuardianSo yes, been away a little while – San Francisco was lovely, thanks for asking, I’ve just started putting up photos on Flickr – and yes, there’s a bit of a backlog of stuff to get through. But there’s also a dollop of jet lag to get over, so I’ll just ease back into this if it’s all the same to you.

We may as well start with the only thing that I actually listened to from all the RSS/Twitter/email items immediately: yesterday’s livestreamed Blur mini-concert from atop a London rooftop – the exact location of which was not revealed – wherein they debuted both sides of a new single to coincide with its digital release with the physical release by way of limited edition 7″ on August 6. That date, of course, coincides with their August 12 gig at Hyde Park which is meant to close out the Olympic Games but which many are speculating will also close out their career.

The band have been vague about their plans for the future beyond this single, the Blur 21 box set due out July 31, and the brace of small warm-up and big festival gigs that will lead up to the Hyde Park show; some quotes seem to unequivocally point to the band’s end, other explicitly contradict that finality (not that there’s any sort of symbolism in playing a London rooftop concert, no not at all). It leads one to think that they’re not so much being cagey about it as they genuinely have no idea what’s next, if anything.

And I actually kind of like that. The new tunes are solid, so there’s clearly some gas left in the tank, and if they choose to roll out a new single every now and again without all the weight of expectation, then it’s like a gift. And if that turns into an album and/or North American tour, well that’s cool as well.

The webcast of yesterday’s concert can be seen at The Guardian and rather nifty takes on the usually blah lyric video concept for each of the songs allow some decent streaming of the studio versions of the songs.

Lyric Video: Blur – “Under The Westway”
Lyric Video: Blur – “The Puritan”

Spiritualized have released a second video from Sweet Heart Sweet Light, and Blurt gets some insight on the clip from director Vincent Haycock.

Video: Spiritualized – “Little Girl”

Over at Gigwise, Nicky Wire of MSP expounds on why the Stone Roses is the greatest thing ever.

Pet Shop Boys are streaming a new song from their forthcoming album Elysium, coming September 17.

Lyric Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Winner”

Consequence Of Sound tracks down Emma Anderson of Lush to talk about their final album Lovelife and the nuts and bolts of why there hasn’t been a Lush reunion, though it’s interesting to learn how far along one has gotten.

Florence & The Machine have released another video from Ceremonials; pretty much every album should have been put out as a single by the time they play The Molson Amphitheatre on August 2.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “Breaking Down”

Summer Camp are streaming another track from their Always EP over at The Guardian, and don’t worry about what you might have heard about them going hip-hop on it – neither Jeremy nor Elizabeth tries to bust a verse, they’ve enlisted Odd Future associate Pyramid Vritra to do it for them. The EP is out next week, and apropos of nothing, Jeremy Warmsley lists off his fantasy band lineup for The Independent.

Stream: Summer Camp – “City”

Spin documents Charli XCX’s first foray to America, back in the Spring during SXSW. She’s back this Summer as part of the HARD festival at Fort York on August 4, and also talks to MTV Hive about her in-progress debut album, due out later this year. And oh, new vid.

Video: Charli XCX – “You’re The One”

The Line Of Best Fit welcomes Dry The River for a video session.

Los Campesinos! frontman Gareth Paisey follows up his musical salute to Housemartins/Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton with an interview at Drowned In Sound about his new opera Presents The 8th, in which Paisey has a part.

Sigur Rós have released another video from Valtari, though this one contains 100% less celebrity penis than the last one.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Rembihnútur”

Filter and Relix get to know Of Monsters & Men.

Southern Souls shares a session recorded with Revolver, recorded when they were in town for NXNE last month.

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Ram Ram

Let The Deer Tracks guide you around NXNE this year

Photo By Sofia StolpeSofia StolpeNXNE-spotting happens on two levels: there’s the micro, where you pore over the year’s lineup and try to figure out how you’ll spend the four hopefully-warm nights in June club-hopping and seeing bands new and familiar; and there’s the macro, where you see how this year’s festival as a whole experience measures up against past years and assess how the event is trending as Toronto’s flagbearer in a world where cities are increasingly judged by the quality of their music festivals. Or at least, that’s how I look at things. I may well be a freak.

First, the bands my strongest recommendation for the fest because it’d have be strong enough to convince you to a) miss a whole hell of a lot of great stuff including part of that free Flaming Lips show and b) brave the shitshow that will be a closed-off Queen St. W as MuchMusic tools up for the Bieber-fied MMVAs the following night. But that said, I still think that seeing Sweden’s Deer Tracks would be worth it. The duo of David Lehnberg and Elin Lindfors craft the sort of eclectically airy, hybrid electronic-orchestral pop that might have you looking for the Morr logo on the spine (they’re actually on The Control Group, if it matters), but tied together and given both weight and lift by their buoyant melodies and harmonies. If I can be allowed to invoke some Scandinavian stereotypes, they marry the otherworldliness one would expect of Icelandic acts with the impeccable pop sense of the best the Swedes have to offer.

They’re in the midst of a three-part album cycle entitled The Archer Trilogy, Part 2 with the third part coming later this year. It’s kind of a shame that their tour is hitting during NXNE because had it been any other time of year, or even any other night or time slot of the fest, they’d be getting a lot more attention. But as it is, if you find your way to The Rivoli at 10PM on Saturday, June 16, I suspect it’ll be worth your time and effort. The Georgia Straight had an interview with them ahead of their Vancouver show earlier this week.

MP3: The Deer Tracks – “W”
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Dark Passenger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Meant To Be”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Tiger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fall With Me”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fra Ro Raa / Ro Ra Fraa”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Ram Ram”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Slow Collision”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “12sxfrya”

And the official though surely incomplete day-by-day, hour-by-hour, “hey you should maybe go to some of these” is as follows:

Tuesday, June 12
The Weather Station @ Kops/Lavish & Squalor, 4PM – Another highlight of this year’s CMF, Tamara Lindeman will play selections from her excellent All Of It Was Mine at this in-store before her official show at The Great Hall Lower Theatre at 10PM Wednesday night.
MP3: The Weather Station – “Everything I Saw”

Wednesday, June 13
Army Girls @ Supermarket, 9PM – I can’t foresee a day when I won’t recommend you go see this Toronto duo, though hopefully soon enough my recommendation won’t be necessary – everyone will just know. They’re also at Jang Bang the afternoon of the 14th for a day show, The El Mocamobo at 10PM that night, and a day show in Trinity Bellwoods on Sunday afternoon at 3:45PM. And don’t be surprised if they add a few more appearances before the week is done – the benefits of traveling light and rocking hard.
MP3: Army Girls – “T W I C E”

Eternal Summers @ The Drake Underground, 10PM – Virginia-based trio who make hazy, lo-fi pop that doesn’t care that Altered Zones doesn’t exist anymore. Their second album Correct Behavior will be out July 24.
Video: Eternal Summers – “Millions”

July Talk @ The Horseshoe, 10PM – Toronto punkabilly outfit who flat-out stole the show/fest at this year’s Canadian Musicfest; can they do it again? Don’t bet against them. They’re also at Lee’s Palace on Saturday night at 9:30PM.
M4A: July Talk – “Paper Girl”

Porcelain Raft @ The Drake Underground, 12AM – Pseudonym of New York-based Mauro Remiddi who crafted his debut Strange Weekend from a lifetime of globetrotting, sound-collecting and genre-defying. So what does he do for a follow-up?
MP3: Porcelain Raft – “Unless You Speak From The Heart”

Thursday, June 14
The Men @ Grasshopper Records, 3PM – New York band whose latest effort Open Your Heart sounds like the best of Sonic Youth and Mission Of Burma being mashed into your eardrums with extreme prejudice. A can’t-miss for the fest, and besides this in-store – if you haven’t heard of the store, consult The Grid – they also have official showcases Thursday night at The Garrison at 1AM and Friday night at Wrongbar at 12AM, and will also be appearing at the NXNEXPERIMENT BBQ on Friday afternoon.
MP3: The Men – “Ex-Dreams”

Smith Westerns @ Gibralter Point, 5:30PM – We don’t see many acts being shipped in for one-off, non-festival parties but that’s what’s happening with this Noisey/Jansport to-do on the Toronto Islands where Chicago’s glam-garage punks will do their thing amongst what is sure to be tastefully-executed branding.
MP3: Smith Westerns – “Still New”

Boxer The Horse @ The El Mocambo Upstairs, 8PM – Scrappy guitar pop from Prince Edward Island that’s a happy blend of Plaskett and Malkmus; their second full-length French Residency was released back in March.
MP3: Boxer The Horse – “Rattle Your Cage”

The Seedy Seeds @ The Painted Lady, 10PM – Trio proves that smart pop can be fun and fun pop can be smart and good bands have come from Cincinnati since The Afghan Whigs. Their last record Verb Noun came out in early 2011 and it’s still turning out videos.
Video: The Seedy Seeds – “Telephone The Constrictor”

Exitmusic @ Wrongbar, 10PM – Darkly cinematic electro-pop from a husband-and-wife duo based out of New York (but half-Canadian!). They were just here in May but have since released their debut full-length Passage, so hey – welcome back.
MP3: Exitmusic – “The Sea”

Cousins @ The Velvet Underground, 11PM – Halifax lo-fi garage-pop duo whose The Palm At The End Of The Mind is making friends and annoying neighbours everywhere. They’re doing a double-header Thursday night, with a 2AM show at The Annex Live.
Stream: Cousins / The Palm At The End Of The Mind

The Hundred In The Hands @ Wrongbar, 12AM – Los Angeles synth-rock duo whose new record Red Night arrives this Tuesday, just in time for the festival. Clash has a feature on the band and Hype Machine is streaming the album, though that metaphorical baton may get passed to another site once the album is officially out tomorrow.
MP3: The Hundred In The Hands – “Keep It Low”
Stream: The Hundred In The Hands / Red Night

A Place To Bury Strangers @ The El Mocambo, 1AM – Legendarily loud and strobe-happy New York industri-rock outfit who will be previewing their new record Worship, due out on June 26 and from which they’ve begun streaming another new song. Pity the band who’re supposed to be playing upstairs from them at the same time slot (that’d be Revolvers, who deserve better).
MP3: A Place To Bury Strangers – “You Are The One”
Stream: A Place To Bury Strangers – “And I’m Up”

Friday, June 15
2:54 @ Lee’s Palace, 9PM – British sister act bringing the spirit of dark, goth-gaze guitar-pop from the ’80s and ’90s back on their just-released self-titled debut. There’s interviews at Loud & Quiet and NOW and Daytrotter just posted a session.
MP3: 2:54 – “The March”

The Danks @ The Dakota Tavern, 10PM – Garage-y pop from the Two Hours Traffic family who’re getting an awful lot of mileage out of their 2009 debut Are You Afraid Of The Danks?, though apparently it’s just come out in the US so I guess they’re excused.
MP3: The Danks – “Die Young”

Hooded Fang @ The Silver Dollar, 10PM – One of Toronto’s premiere retro-pop fun factories in band form, their second album Tosta Mista is nearly a year old so they’ve surely got five or six more albums ready to go. They’re also playing The Horseshoe on Thursday night at 10PM.
MP3: Hooded Fang – “Den Of Love”

Útidúr @ The Gladstone, 11PM – Even if I didn’t simply like upping Icelandic acts (and writing out their wonderful accents), I’d be endorsing this Reykjavik collective because the big, Beirut-y/Fanfarlo-y orch-folk sounds of their debut This Mess We’ve Made is all kinds of charming.
Stream: Útidúr / This Mess We’ve Made

Friends @ Lee’s Palace, 11PM – Brooklyn outfit specializing in buzz of both the synth and hype varieties have just dropped their debut album Manifest! and will be looking to make Lee’s look like Bedford Station on a Saturday night. Vulture has an interview with singer Samantha Urbani and The Guardian has a stream of the album.
Video: Friends – “Mind Control”
Stream: Friends / Manifest!

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan @ The Garrison, 12AM – Audaciously arty and yet visceral Montreal collective whose debut YT//ST will probably be celebrating a Polaris long list nomination by the time they take the stage. And odds are that’ll only be the beginning. They’ve also got an in-store at Sonic Boom confirmed though dates and times for those have still to be confirmed.
Stream: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan / YT//ST

Widowspeak @ The Garrison, 1AM – Brooklyn quartet whose self-titled debut ahs made my long-term dreams of forming a country/shoegaze band and creating a genre called “bootgaze” utterly redundant. Thanks a lot, Widowspeak.
MP3: Widowspeak – “Harsh Realm”

John Maus @ Lee’s Palace, 1AM – Unintentionally controversial university professor and electro-classical composer whose last album We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves came out in the Fall.
MP3: John Maus – “Head For The Country”

Saturday, June 16
Brasstronaut @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 1PM – Vancouver prog-pop outfit whose second album Mean Sun came out just last month. They’re also at The Gladstone on Friday night at midnight and The Vancouver Sun, Spinner, NOW have interviews.
MP3: Brasstronaut – “Hollow Trees”

Zulu Winter @ Urban Outfitters, 2PM – A rare UK signing to Arts & Crafts, this Oxfordshire-bred band’s peppy, guitar-and-synth-laden debut Language – out June 19 – files nicely alongside the likes of Phoenix and Bombay Bicycle Club. In other words, “stuff the kids like”. They’ve also got evening showcases at The Rivoli on June 14 at 12AM and Lee’s Palace on June 15 at 2AM.
Video: Zulu Winter – “Silver Tongue”

Of Montreal @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 7PM – Veteran Athens, GA, Elephant 6 survivor psych-freaks who’d have made a mind-bending one-two punch with The Flaming Lips if someone hadn’t gone and booked Portugal. The Man between them. Pssh. Their latest Paralytic Stalks came out earlier this year.
MP3: Of Montreal – “Wintered Debts”

Robyn Dell’Unto @ The Cameron House, 8PM – Mississauga-based pop singer who impressed when guesting with Rose Cousins at The Rivoli last monthI’m Here Every Night came out in 2010 – I did, it’s fun. You should too.
Video: Robyn Dell’Unto – “Just A Bird”

The Flaming Lips @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 9PM – If you need an introduction to The Flaming Lips then clearly you’ve gotten to this website by accident. Note that the allotted 20 minute set up time between the preceding act and theirs is ridiculous and I wouldn’t expect Wayne Coyne’s bubble walk to begin any earlier than 9:15. There’s Lips interviews at NOW, Spinner, and The Toronto Star, Coyne writes a piece about creativity for NPR, and while their Record Store Day-exclusive collaborative album Heady Fwends – amongst whom Erykah Badu no longer counts herself – will be getting a wide release June 26, The Lips are also planning a proper (?) studio album for release later this year.
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Fight Test”

Revolver @ The Gladstone, 10PM – A relatively late addition to the fest, the French pop outfit known for multi-part harmonies and cellos will be showing off their latest album Let Go, released back in March. The schedule also has them on at 1AM at The Painted Lady that same night, though it’s in conflict with another band’s set so…
MP3: Revolver – “Get Around Town”

The Lumineers @ The Horseshoe, 11PM – Denver-based trio whose self-titled debut has made them one of the alt.country/folk/roots stories of the year. The Horseshoe is kind of the perfect place for them.
Video: The Lumineers – “Ho Hey”

Limblifter @ The El Mocambo, 12AM – It’s not a festival without some kind of ’90s reunion; this year it’s Limblifter, which is several steps up from last year’s Rusty. Yes it is. Spinner talks to Ryan Dahle about getting the old band out of mothballs.
Video: Limblifter – “Tinfoil”

Bleached @ The Silver Dollar, 1AM – The three-night, garage-rock Silver Dollar residency is kind of a NXNE/CMF fixture now, and this year that honour goes to California’s Clavin sisters in Bleached. In addition to the Silver Dollar dates – the Thursday and Friday shows are at midnight, as opposed the 1AM slot on Saturday – they’re playing the Bruise Cruise the afternoon of the 16th, bringing the rock to the Toronto harbour.
Video: Bleached – “Think Of You”

Sunday, June 17
Raekwon & Ghostface Killah @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 9PM – Things are mostly wound down on Sunday but the traditional hip-hopping of the Yonge-Dundas mainstage continues with a little Wu-Tang flavour; Raekwon the Chef recently relocated to Toronto so there’s a hometown angle to this one as well.
Video: Raekwon featuring Ghostface Killah – “New Wu”

That’s just a handful – okay, a couple handfuls – of recommendations for the week; there’s certainly more to see and for more tips, check out these festival minisites at Spinner and NOW and the feature pieces at The Grid, The AV Club, BlogTO, and Hype Machine.

As for what I was saying earlier about how NXNE is faring as a festival, the fact that there’s many more day shows than even last year, which had more than the year before that, is an encouraging trend. We’re not yet seeing conventional venues opening up during the day, but the number of in-stores, parties in unconventional spaces, and just more stuff going on during the day before the official programme starts up – it’s all very encouraging and while those who seek to compare NXNE to its similarly-acronymed Texan cousin will still find it pales in comparison, it’s getting pretty damn good up here; all we need is a better infrastructure for tracking and disseminating information about them. There’s a list of officially-endorsed/recognized day shows at NXNE.com and BlogTO has rounded up some more events. And Unofficial NXNE is also good.

And if I’m allowed a bit of self-promotion, I’m one of the photographers with some work on display at the #Hashtag Gallery this week for Live @ NXNE, a photographic exhibition of NXNE artists, past and present. The exhibition runs till June 27 but the opening party thing is Tuesday night at 7PM. Drop by, have a look. If you like.

And remember – particularly if you’re planning on getting around via transit or taxi or otherwise street-bound vehicle, College St. is closed Friday and Saturday nights from Bathurst to Shaw for Taste Of Little Italy and Queen St. W is closed between Beverley and McCaul on Friday and Saturday nights to set up for the MMVAs.

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Nobody Knows You

Summer Camp set to open in time for Fall

Photo via AltsoundsAltsoundsLondon’s Summer Camp are clearly believers in the long game. Since emerging in the Fall of 2009 with their identities shrouded in mystery – they were originally thought to be a Swedish collective – they’ve gradually revealed more and more about themselves while keeping up a steady stream of ’80s-worshipping, in both sound and theme, infectious electro-pop.

Now, almost two years since first causing a fuss, the duo of Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey are ready to release their full-length debut which they’ve christened Welcome To Condale and set for a decidedly un-Summery October 31 release. Financed via Pledgemusic fan support and produced by Pulp’s Steve Mackey, the 12-track long-player only carries over one track from last year’s Young EP and that most likely re-recorded. And that’s probably just as well – as delectable as that release was, they’ve certainly had enough time to write all-new material and goodness we want some new tunes.

Clash has details on the release and you can stream the first single over at long-time band supporter Gorilla Vs Bear; some of the older material is available to hear and watch below. And while it’s probably a bit much to hope for any touring on this side of the Atlantic, it’s worth pointing out that despite their two-piece, heavily programmed configuration not seeming like it’d lend itself to a compelling live show, they were one of the uncontested highlights of SXSW this year.

MP3: Summer Camp – “I Want You”
MP3: Summer Camp – “Ghost Train”
MP3: Summer Camp – “Veronica Sawyer”
Stream: Summer Camp – “Better Off Without You”
Video: Summer Camp – “Ghost Train”
Video: Summer Camp – “Round The Moon”

Also announcing album release details this week was Florence & The Machine. Clearly hoping to find its way under Christmas trees, Ms Welch and company’s second album will be out on November 8, and while it still doesn’t have a title, it does have a video for the first single. Check it out and read an interview with Welch about the new record at Pitchfork.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “What The Water Gave Me”

If you, like me, are thinking about going to see Londonites Male Bonding at The Horseshoe next Friday night – September 2 – but want a head start on hearing their new record Endless Now before it’s officially out on August 30, head over to Punk News as it’s streaming in whole right now, while Spin has a chat and a tune available to download. And if you can’t make the show or it’s not enough, the band are also playing an instore at Kops that evening at 6PM.

MP3: Male Bonding – “Tame The Sun”
Stream: Male Bonding / Endless Now

One of the more hilariously reviled British guitar bands of recent memory – Viva Brother (formerly just Brother) – will put Toronto’s Anglophilia to the test when they bring their debut Famous First Words to the Horseshoe on October 13, tickets $13. There’s interviews at The Belfast Telegraph and BBC.

Video: Viva Brother – “Darling Buds Of May”

You cannot understand how happy I was to hear that Anna Calvi – whose Toronto debut in May I missed due to being in Spain – was coming back for a show at Lee’s Palace on December 8, tickets $15. I was, like, super-happy. Also making me super-happy is this set of videos of Calvi performing on the rooftop at Spin.

MP3: Anna Calvi – “Blackout”

NPR has a World Cafe session with James Blake, who will be at The Phoenix on September 30. And if you’re curious about the Fall Creek Boys Choir project he’s working on with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, The Quietus has a stream of the first taste of the collaboration.

Stereogum checks in with Ladytron on the status of their new record Gravity The Seducer, due out September 13. They play The Phoenix on October 5.

Lucky talks sartorial style with Emmy The Great.

Via a blog post, Billy Bragg responds to the London riots by declaring it high time that people started making political music again.

The Alternate Side has a video session with Art Brut while The San Francisco Examiner talks comics with Eddie Argos.

Sweden’s Little Dragon will bring their acclaimed third album Ritual Union to town for a show at the somewhat less acclaimed Hoxton venue – nee 69 Bathurst – on October 12. Many are hoping that demand for this show forces it into a larger venue… There’s a session with Little Dragon over at NPR.

MP3: Little Dragon – “Feather”
Video: Little Dragon – “When I Go Out”

Back to the mysterious duo meme for a moment, jj continue to disregard conventions of album cycles, getting paid for their work or song title length by posting a new MP3 on their blog this week for free download.

MP3: jj – “You Don’t Know How Much It Would Hurt Me If You Said That You Were In Love With Me”

NPR have posted a KEXP session with Peter Bjorn & John, in town at Lee’s Palace on September 2 and 3. Cleveland.com also has an interview.

France’s Revolver appear set to make a return to Toronto, having scheduled a show at The Horseshoe for October 16.

MP3: Revolver – “Get Around Town”

Jane Birkin will be performing the songs of Serge Gainsbourg at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on December 7, tickets $34.50 in advance.

Video: Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg – “Je t’aime”

And coincidentally – or maybe not so – their daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg has released a new video for the title track of her forthcoming Terrible Angels EP, out September 6 – details on the release at Pitchfork. A new double-album, Stage Whisper, will follow on November 8.

Video: Charlotte Gainsbourg – “Terrible Angels”

And once more with the Euro duos. Disco-pop outfit Keep Shelly In Athens, who actually hail from the Athens in Greece and not Georgia – usually a no-brainer except when you’re talking indie-centric music – will be embarking on their first North American tour this Fall, including a November 16 date at Wrongbar in Toronto. Tickets are $15 in advance but you can win some by posting when and where you’d like to see them on their Facebook.

MP3: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Running Out On You”
MP3: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Fokionos Negri Street”

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

SxSW 2011 Night Three A/V

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWriteup of the evening over here.

Lower Dens
– Baltimore psych-pop quartet led by Jana Hunter released their debut Twin Hand Movement last year and released a new non-album single entitled “Batman” back in January.
Photos: Lower Dens @ Klub Krucial – March 18, 2011
MP3: Lower Dens – “Hospice Gates”

Noah & The Whale
– London folk-rockers gone synth-rockers with their third album, the just-released Last Night On Earth. Spinner, Chart and DIY have feature pieces on the band.
Photos: Noah & The Whale @ Lustre Pearl – March 18, 2011
MP3: Noah & The Whale – “The First Days Of Spring”
Video: Noah & The Whale – “L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.”
Video: Noah & The Whale – “Love Of An Orchestra”
Video: Noah & The Whale – “Blue Skies”
Video: Noah & The Whale – “Five Years Time”
Video: Noah & The Whale – “2 Bodies 1 Heart”
Video: Noah & The Whale – “Shape Of My Heart”

Lanterns On The Lake
– Orchestral dream-pop from the north of England newly signed to Bella Union should have their debut album out this year.
Photos: Lanterns On The Lake @ The Central Presbyterian Church – March 18, 2011
MP3: Lanterns On The Lake – “I Will Lay You Down”
MP3: Lanterns On The Lake – “Caught On The Way”
MP3: Lanterns On The Lake – “Under Stars”
MP3: Lanterns On The Lake – “This Year”
MP3: Lanterns On The Lake – “I Always Knew”
MP3: Lanterns On The Lake – “Lonely Sail”

Revolver
– French pop outfit with a taste for rockabilly rhythms and cellos released Music For A While back in 2009. Aux.tv has a video session with the band.
Photos: Revolver @ Easy Tiger Patio – March 18, 2011
MP3: Revolver – “Get Around Town”
Video: Revolver – “Get Around Town”
Video: Revolver – “Leave Me Alone”
Video: Revolver – “Balulalow”

Friday, March 25th, 2011

SxSW 2011 Night Three

Noah & The Whale, Lanterns On The Lake, Revolver and more at SxSW

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI went into this year’s SxSW with a shorter than usual list of must-see acts, not necessarily because there wasn’t as much I was keen on seeing but because I just didn’t have the time to do a lot of research leading up to the festival – hence my frequent “what am I going to go see now?” moments throughout the week. One of those on the list, and who had been on my to-see list be it at SxSW or anywhere else, was Baltimore’s Lower Dens.

Their debut Twin Hand Movement had been recommended to me at some point last year and though I wouldn’t say I fell in love with it, I did find myself compelled to keep listening to it over and over again. It sounded to me like a Deerhunter that I actually liked, sharing a sort of garage-gaze aesthetic but with Jana Hunter’s project creating a sense of mystery rather than Bradford Cox’s meandering. Purely subjective and not a popular position, I know, but there it is.

And for the start of the evening’s program, at the unfortunately-named Klub Krucial, there was Lower Dens. I’d been warned that they weren’t the most visually appealing band – not as in ugly but as in not doing much on stage – and it was true, but any shortcomings in that department were made up for in how aurally hypnotic they were, with Hunter’s languid and androgynous vocals and their hazy, spiralling guitarwork. Their allotted time slot was shorter than a standard set at the festival, but I had gotten what I needed.

It was then back to Lustre Pearl, which at this rate I would surely have become Foursquare mayor of had there been any cell reception there. This time it was to see Noah & The Whale, whose Toronto show I’d be missing this week in favour of British Sea Power the same night. The English quartet had just released Last Night On Earth and with it, essentially reinvented themselves for the third time in as many albums. After the bouncy folk-pop of their debut and the depressive orchestration of First Days Of Spring, Night finds them again feeling upbeat and enamoured with ’80s New Romantic synth-pop and The Velvet Underground and trying to make the two mix. And while the lyrics on Night are rather banal – Charlie Fink is not a poet and this record lacks the earnest emotionalism that carried Spring through some of its clunkier moments – the band has an irresistible melodic sensibility and inherent charm that makes them difficult to dislike. And live, they’ve also got volume at their disposal. You wouldn’t expect it, but Noah & The Whale were one of the loudest bands of the fest so far, and the application of sonic force acted as a great unifier for the different styles – folk? Orch? Synth? Rock.

Completely un-rock but wholly enthralling was northern England’s Lanterns On The Lake, who were a recommendation from a reader (thanks Giselle!) and showcasing at the Central Presbyterian Church. Recently signed to Bella Union, the six-piece often playing facing each other on the church dias rather than the audience in the pews while crafting some of the prettiest sounds I’d hear all week. With singer Hazel Wilde’s delicate vocals overtop, their widescreen songs ebbed and tided like the ocean on rocky shores, possessing the dynamics of post-rock, the textures of shoegaze rendered orchestrally and the intimacy of folk or singer-songwriter, with all the unlike facets complimenting each other rather than conflicting. Simultaneously soothing and heart-rending, Lanterns On The Lake would be one of my best discoveries of the festival.

The intention had been to close out the night at Buffalo Billiards for some familiar sights and sounds with The Joy Formidable and The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, but I was apparently one of hundreds with the same plan and so while the badge was effective at getting me into the venue, it couldn’t help me get any closer to the stage than about 10 rows of unusually tall people back. Which in and of itself wouldn’t have been a dealbreaker but the fact that The Joy Formidable were running about 20 minutes late made the futility of the situation clear, and I cut my losses and engaged plan B.

This involved battling my way the length of 6th St to the Easy Tiger Patio for Paris’ Revolver, even though I skipped seeing them back home at the start of the month. That choice was more out of self-preservation than lack of interest, however, so I was pleased for the opportunity to make up for it. I wasn’t sure what sort of turnout to expect for a French band in the heart of Texas, but the patio was quite happily full for their set. And really, why not – their vein of power pop has distinctly Americana/rockabilly overtones and you don’t need to be of any particular nationality to appreciate their impeccable 3-part harmonies and classic(al) melodicism. Superb stuff and a top way to end the night. Technically, I could have found one more showcase for the 1AM slot but there wasn’t anything I particularly wanted to see that I could get into and by the third night of SxSW, you’d have to be a pretty damned interesting band to win out over sleep.