Posts Tagged ‘Rheostatics’

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Negative Space

This is a bunch of stuff of a Canadian nature. And this is METZ.

Photo By Colin MedleyColin MedleyThis here is another of those posts that, were it a category on Jeopardy, would be called “Potpourri” on account of it being a whole lot of this and that with only the passports of the artists mentioned in common.

And I’ll start with Toronto’s METZ because, well, I haven’t used one of their photos yet and my posting process is really that random. The trio has been making a lot of noise – literally and figuratively – on the back of their self-titled debut, and while it wouldn’t normally be my particular sack of hammers, there’s a clarity to their attack and just enough underlying melody for me to get behind. I’d like to experience one of their legendarily… energetic live shows, but we’ll probably have to wait until at least the Spring as they’re taking their show through Europe for pretty all of the first quarter of 2013. In the meantime, there’s a recording of their show at the Knitting Factory in New York last month over at NYC Taper, NPR has just posted video of a KEXP radio session, and the a-side of their new, non-album single is available to stream.

Stream: METZ – “Dirty Shirt”

Exclaim gets a look inside Yamataka//Sonic Titan’s home studio/headquarters and also asks them what they’ve got in mind for their second album. They play 1st Thursday at the Art Gallery Of Ontario this Thursday night, December 6.

The Line Of Best Fit, The Lantern, and The Marquette Tribune interview Patrick Watson, headlining Massey Hall on December 6.

The Line Of Best Fit and The 405 have interviews with Do Make Say Think, who’ve made a track from their live soundtrack to the 1924 film´╗┐ Greed available to download via CBC Music. They’re at The Opera House on December 7.

MP3: Do Make Say Think – “Greed Waltz”

Fucked Up have announced the lineup for the second installment of their Long Winter series, taking place December 14 at The Great Hall. They will again headline the event, and be joined by Dusted, Laura Barrett, and many more. Admission is pay what you can.

MP3: Fucked Up – “I Hate Summer”
MP3: Dusted – “(Into The) Atmosphere”

The Wooden Sky have announced details of their third annual Holiday Revue charity show, scheduled for December 17 at The Music Gallery. Tickets for the show are $20 and all proceeds from the event will go to the Daily Bread Food Bank. Support will be announced later this week. Metro talks to frontman Gavin Gardiner.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Child Of The Valley”

If you were wondering why it’s not been possible to get tickets for the Evening Hymns show at the Church Of The Redeemer on December 15 announced in October, it’s because that show is no longer happening. It has been replaced by one at The Music Gallery on December 20, tickets $17 and available right now via Kelp Records. So the room is still appropriately church-y but it’s also smaller, so if you wanted to go, best get on that. Neil Haverty of Bruce Peninsula will open up.

MP3: Evening Hymns – “Arrows”

Julie Doiron has scheduled a show at The Horseshoe for January 25 in support of her new album So Many Days. Tickets are $15 in advance. The Vancouver Sun and The Province have profiles.

MP3: Julie Doiron – “By The Lake”

The lead single from Suuns’ new album Images Du Futur is now available to download. It’s out March 5.

MP3: Suuns – “Edie’s Dream”

AC Newman has a new video from his latest solo record Shut Down The Streets.

Video: AC Newman – “I’m Not Talking”

The Toronto Star, Montreal Gazette, and MTV have feature pieces on Diamond Rings, who’s released a live route for an alternate version video from Free Dimensional.

Video: Diamond Rings – “I’m Just Me”

Martin Tielli has taken to Facebook to explain his withdrawal from the Rheostatics reunion shows which were to have taken place this week; Radio Free Canuckistan has reposted the message for those who are just fans but maybe not friends of Tielli.

The National Post has an interview with The Dears.

CBC Music gets to know Shad. Again. Some more.

Exclaim has some videos from Bry Webb’s recent Toronto Public Library performance available to watch.

Hooded Fang stops in at DIY for a video session.

Spin interviews Alice Glass of Crystal Castles.

Exclaim asks Chains Of Love about their plans for album number two.

BlogTO chats with Gentleman Reg.

Spinner talks to Neil Young about last night’s Hurricane Sandy benefit in New York.

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

"Bad Time To Be Poor"

The Weakerthans cover Rheostatics

Photo via ZuniorZuniorA lot of people were excited when Canadian indie icons Rheostatics announced that they were reuniting for a couple of shows to mark the 65th anniversary of Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern this week, and then a lot more – particularly those who missed out on tickets for those two shows – got excited when a third show was added to meet demand. Then all of them were disappointed when the shows were abruptly cancelled, presumed due to Martin Tielli’s long-running battle with performance anxiety, and disappointment turned to concern when producer and one-time Rheo (though not involved with this reunion) Michael Philip Wojoweda implied the reasons were somewhat darker than that.

I hadn’t planned to attend – best to let those three square feet of Horseshoe floor go to real fans rather than casual observers – but was disappointed because I was pretty keen to post this Rheos cover. It’s taken from a tribute album assembled by the folks at Zunior called The Secret Sessions, recorded in secret and released as a surprise rhetirement gift to coincide with the Rheostatics final shows in Spring 2007. It finds arguably one of the most Canadian of Canadian indie bands covered by maybe the next-most Canadian of Canadian indie bands, The Weakerthans; certainly they’ve got the most songs about hockey between them.

Then I decided, why not post it anyways if just to draw attention to the comp, which at five years old is probably a little under the radar these days. All proceeds from the sale of the tribute go to support the Daily Bread Food Bank, so why not take a bit of that ticket refund and treat yourself to some new takes on old Rheos songs by the likes of Weeping Tile, The Inbreds, Cuff The Duke, and more and support a worthy cause in this giving season.

And if you were going to those rheunion shows and now find a hole in your calendar, know that Rheos guitarist Dave Bidini has stepped up with his solo project Bidiniband to perform at The ‘Shoe the night of December 5; it’s a free show that promises lots of guest vocalists and probably no shortage of Rheostatics songs. It starts at 10PM.

The Globe & Mail has an article about how musicians – Tielli included – have battled with stage fright, with a sidebar from Jenn Grant about how she came to terms with her own fear of performing.

Update: Dave Bidini has offered a couple clarifications on the cancellations: “MT said he cldnt do shows; we didn’t bail on him. and he never had history of perf anxiety with us.” Awkward grammar courtesy of Twitter.

MP3: The Weakerthans – “Bad Time To Be Poor”
Video: Rheostatics – “Bad Time To Be Poor”

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Mock Up Scale Down

The Super Friendz and The Meligrove Band at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThat whole, “Halifax is the new Seattle” thing that went down in the early ’90s is better known these days for simply having happened than for much of the music that came out of it. Sloan precipitated it and continue to endure, and the likes of Thrush Hermit and Eric’s Trip are still remembered fondly by many and their principals continue to make music, but most Maritime acts who were tipped as the next big, fuzzy, plaid-clad thing some 15 to 20 years ago simply called it a day after a release or two, to be remembered only by faded t-shirts and CD store dollar bins and A&R types who could actually tell you what a donair was.

If The Super Friendz had emerged with their 1995 debut Mock Up Scale Down just a couple years earlier, they could well have rode that Atlantic wave to… something, but as it was, they missed that brief, international feeding frenzy and even if they hadn’t, their ultra-melodic, classically-styled, jangle power-pop probably would have been deemed not nearly grungy enough and left on the vine. As it was, they had to settle for becoming domestic college rock darlings, at least for a couple years. Following a more ambitious yet still eminently hummable second album in Slide Show, the band politely hung it up to do other things. Frontman Matt Murphy would pursue a similar if more ’70s-than-’60s vibe with The Flashing Lights and while the Super Friendz did the reunion thing before the reunion thing was hip – releasing the decidedly more rawk Love Energy in 2003 – it was to be short-lived, but not the end. The quartet accepted an invitation to get back together for this year’s Halifax Pop Explosion – their first show in nine years – and since anything worth doing once is worth doing twice, they added another date in Toronto for this past Friday night.

Opening up were local fixtures The Meligrove Band, whom I’m a bit astonished to find I hadn’t seen live since 2005 though not as astonished as I was to confirm that bassist Michael Small was, indeed, wearing the same t-shirt. Completely apropos of nothing, but it does speak to my ability to retain utterly useless information in my brain. In any case, their set of power-pop – emphasis on the power side of things – was a fine warm-up as well as a reminder that their 2010 release Shimmering Lights was quite good. And if there was any doubt that they were huge fans of their Can-indie forebears, they were put to rest with their closing trifecta of murderecords covers of The Inbreds, Thrush Hermit, and Local Rabbits. They were targeting a pretty specific demographic niche with that, to be sure, but it was a niche that was piled into Lee’s Palace right then and there.

The only explanation I have for having never seen The Super Friendz the first time around was that they never quite made it to Waterloo on the university circuit, at least not while I was on a school term; goodness knows I would have been there if they had. I had caught The Flashing Lights a few times but skipped the 2003 reunion show on account of really not liking Love Energy all that much. Song selection wasn’t going to a problem this time out, though – the front half of the show was Mock Up as far as the eye could see and ear could hear. They opened up with the Charles Austin-sung “When They Paid Me”, then tagging in guitarist Drew Yamada for “Undertow” before Matt Murphy took the mic for “One Day”. I have to admit I never appreciated how spread out the singing and songwriting credits on the records were – a real testament to how well their respective styles gelled into one.

Also remarkable was how well they’ve aged, both the band and the songs. The tunes still brim with youthful energy, evoking a simpler, more innocent time where you could write a song called “Karate Man” and it could be awesome, full stop. Songs were played fairly faithfully to their recorded versions with the exception of some extended guitar breaks by Murphy and a Meligrove stage invasion during “The World’s Most Embarrassing Moment” and while the overall song selection could have featured a little (or a lot) more Slide Show and a little (or a lot) less Love Energy – and the omission of “Forever A Day” was almost criminal – it was hard not to spend most of the night bopping up and down whilst wearing a goofy grin, particularly when they wrapped the main set with “10 lbs” – a moment only matched when the wrapped the encore with “Up & Running”. Two of the best Canadian songs of the ’90s; this is not open to debate.

I hope it’s not taken as dismissive to say that this was primarily a nostalgia show; hundreds of people who either never got to see them live or hadn’t had the opportunity to do so in a decade and a half got their chance. Memories were rekindled and some great songs that hadn’t been played live anywhere by anyone in far too long got to ring out again. I don’t think anyone left Lee’s clamoring for a new record – you can’t go back to being 21 and in university again – but if they wanted to put Mock Up and Slide Show back in print, perhaps on vinyl, well that’d be alright.

Mechanical Forest Sound recorded the show and has posted a couple tracks for listening and reminiscing. Panic Manial also has a review.

Photos: The Super Friendz, The Meligrove Band @ Lee’s Palace – November 16, 2012
MP3: The Meligrove Band – “Half Light”
MP3: The Meligrove Band – “Bones Attack!!!”
Video: The Super Friendz – “Up And Running”
Video: The Super Friendz – “Rescue Us From Boredom”
Video: The Super Friendz – “10 lbs”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Bones Attack”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Really Want It”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Racing To Shimmering Lights”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Everyone’s A Winner”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Our Love Will Make The World Go Round”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Before We Arrive”
Stream: The Super Friendz / Mock Up Scale Down
Stream: The Super Friendz / Slide Show
Stream: The Super Friendz / Love Energy

Rheostatics have added a third show to their own reunion stand at The Horseshoe next month. They’ll play an early show on December 6 at 6:30PM, tickets $29.50 on sale this morning at 10AM. The December 5 and late December 6 shows are completely sold out.

Video: Rheostatics – “A Bad Time To Be Poor”

The Western Star, The Aurora, and The Muse talks to Joel Plaskett, camping out in the Horseshoe for four nights in December from the 12th to the 16th.

Daytrotter has a session with Patrick Watson and NPR is streaming the whole of last week’s show in Washington DC. He’s at Massey Hall on December 6.

Panic Manual, Beatroute, The San Francisco Examiner, and The Georgia Straight interview Al Spx of Cold Specks, opening up for Conor Oberst at Massey Hall on December 8.

Moonface have released a new video from With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery.

Video: Moonface – “Headed For The Door”

The 405, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Boston Globe have interviews and Daytrotter a session with METZ.

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Maple Serum

Rheostatics ready reunion as roadhouse reaches retirement age

Photo via rheostatics.carheostatics.caIt was a pretty sweet get for Toronto’s Legendary Horseshoe Tavern to enlist Joel Plaskett for five nights of shows from December 12 to 16 to mark its 65th birthday, but they weren’t done. Canadian art-pop icons Rheostatics, who formally disbanded after eleven studio albums, four live albums, and a farewell show at Massey Hall in 2007, are getting back together for two nights at The ‘Shoe on December 5 and 6.

It’s not quite the record-setting twelve shows in twelve nights “Fall Nationals” concert series they held at the venue for four years straight starting in 2001, but it’s an absolutely fitting way to wish the fabled room a “happy birthday”. They’ve gotten together once before since splitting, to salute friend and author Paul Quarrington in 2009, but that was a one-off and the promise of new material from Martin Tielli, Dave Bidini, Tim Vesely, and Dave Clark at this show implies that despite each of them having no shortage of other projects to concentrate on, this reunion might have some legs. But for now, these two nights are a certainty. Tickets are $29.50 in advance and go on sale this Thursday at 10AM at the usual outlets.

And so we’re clear: The Horseshoe is not retiring, being retired, pining for the fjords, or anything of the sort. Just some alliterative fun on my part. It will outlive us all.

Video: Rheostatics – “The Tarleks”
Video: Rheostatics – “PIN”
Video: Rheostatics – “A Bad Time To Be Poor”
Video: Rheostatics – “Claire”
Video: Rheostatics – “Shaved Head”
Video: Rheostatics – “Record Body Count”
Video: Rheostatics – “Aliens (Christmas 1988)”
Video: Rheostatics – “The Ballad Of Wendel Clark, Parts I and II””

Diamond Rings celebrates the release day for Free Expression – that’s today – with a new video and profile pieces at CBC Music and The National Post. He plays The Mod Club on November 29.

Video: Diamond Rings – “Runaway Love”

Dorkshelf interviews Daniela Gesundheit of Snowblink, who are opening up for Saint Etienne at The Opera House tomorrow night.

Spinner talks to Dan Mangan about the What Happens Next mini-documentary about the artist, who plays The Danforth Music Hall on October 25. The doc aired on CBC this past weekend; and is now available to watch online.

Video: What Happens Next: The Dan Mangan Documentary

Also of appeal to those who grew up on the Can-rock of the ’90s; CBC Music gets Matt Murphy of The Super Friendz to list off his five favourite albums of the past 20 years while The Coast gets Charles Austin to reminisce about the good old days. The reunited Haligonians hit Lee’s Palace on November 16.

Rolling Stone has premiered a new video from Stars, taken from The North. They’re at The Air Canada Centre on November 24 supporting Metric.

Video: Stars – “Backlines”

Canada.com has an interview with and CBC Music has a new video from Jenn Grant. She brings her latest The Beautiful Wild to The Winter Garden Theatre on November 24.

Video: Jenn Grant – “The Fighter”

Interview and NJ.com talk to A.C. Newman.

Kathleen Edwards talks to Exclaim and CBC Music about winning this year’s ECHO songwriting prize for her song, “A Soft Place To Land”. She also tells Exclaim about a new, all-female, all-star, all-sexy, Can-indie band she’s forming called Modern Beaver. She’s probably not serious but she has had the Twitter handle since last year and if it’s on Twitter, it has to be true. I read that on Twitter.

The Stool Pigeon talks to Dan Snaith about his Daphni project.

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Shine A Light

Constantines and Chad Van Gaalen at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFor the last few years, Harbourfront Centre has been the go-to spot for Canada Day celebrations in Toronto. Each year, they put on a free show on the lake with some of the top domestic acts of the moment, but on a year-to-year basis they’ve also been doing a pretty great job of representing all the facets of what we’d call Canadian indie rock. Back in 2007 (I missed the 2006 show featuring The Dears), they showcased the more avant garde end of the spectrum with Final Fantasy and Do Make Say Think, and last year put the spotlight on the female and folky with Martha Wainwright and Basia Bulat. For 2009, they traded the estrogen for some testosterone, bringing in hometown heroes Constantines and Calgary’s Chad Van Gaalen.

Van Gaalen I’ve honestly done my best to get into his records in the past – after all, with the sheer amount of love he gets from all quarters, he must have something going for him – but have never really managed to do it. There’s just something about his particular DIY sonic aesthetic that doesn’t do it for me. And so it’s ironic that I’d find someone who’s generally regarded as a home studio auteur to be so much more enjoyable in a live setting. He started the evening in interesting form, first coming out with a broom and sweeping the stage clean, then saluting the national anthem by way of dropping his pants, and then finally making funny but probably family-inappropriate gestures with his finger and his fly. Yeah. Musically, he led his band through selections from all three of his albums and damn if they don’t just sound much fuller and more realized than they do in their studio incarnations? Maybe it’s the extra oomph of the live rhythm section (helped by the fact that I had planted my ass right in front of the PA bass bin) or the fact that his voice sounds less reedy and the guitars fatter, but it was just so much more satisfying an experience and allowed me to see and hear the artist that others do – I just prefer his more direct and less idiosyncratic side. Odds are I won’t care so much for his next studio record but if he puts out a live album, I may pay more attention.

Constantines, on the other hand, I’m fully guilty of not having paid enough attention to since day one. That was resolved somewhat last year, when I got my first Cons record in Kensington Heights and saw them live twice – the first time at a super-intimate club show and the second at the somewhat less-intimate but still awe-inspiring V Fest. Both shows, though quite different, certainly confirmed their long-standing reputation as an incredible and intense live act. I expected nothing less from them this time out.

My education hasn’t reached too far into their back catalog, however, so aside from the Kensington material their set was only familiar from past live experiences and so rather than comment on what was played, I’ll focus on how it was played – in a word, exceptionally. The Cons have been at it a long time and as such, are about as tight a rock machine as you’ll find anywhere. Their songs are lean, but not thin – within each hard-charging piece are myriad little songwriting and arrangement details that give their sound extra complexity. But really, live, what you’ll hear – or more correctly FEEL – is the swirl of the guitar and keyboard riffs, the unrelenting thump of the rhythm section and most importantly Bry Webb’s big, raw rasp, occasionally augmented by guest Jennifer Castle’s gentler backing vocals. It’s just rock, yeah, but it’s rock done right.

And while they started things out dressed up for the occasion – Webb’s white suit over tropical shirt ensemble was particularly inspired – the intensity of the performance and sweat generated quickly got them looking less natty and, consequently, more appropriate. Clean and proper just doesn’t suit them. And the greatness of their show was pretty much encapsulated by a moment in “Shine A Light”, towards the end of their set, where one by one the Cons pointed out across Lake Ontario and the audience clued in and turned around, just in time to see fireworks going off. A magical moment. If you’re looking for ambassadors for Canadian rock or, as it turns out, a soundtrack to Canada Day, you can’t do much better than Constantines.

Photos: Constantines, Chad Van Gaalen @ Harbourfront Centre – July 1, 2009
MP3: Constantines – “Hard Feelings”
MP3: Constantines – “Nighttime Anytime It’s Alright”
MP3: Constantines – “On To You”
MP3: Constantines – “Love In Fear”
MP3: Constantines – “Soon Enough”
MP3: Constantines – “Arizona”
MP3: Chad Van Gaalen – “Willow Tree”
MP3: Chad Van Gaalen – “City Of Electric Light”
MP3: Chad Van Gaalen – “Graveyard”
MP3: Chad Van Gaalen – “Clinically Dead”
MP3: Chad Van Gaalen – “Somewhere I Know There’s Nothing”
MP3: Chad Van Gaalen – “Flower Gardens”
MP3: Chad Van Gaalen – “Echo Train”
Video: Constantines – “Credit River”
Video: Constantines – “Our Age”
Video: Constantines – “Hard Feelings”
Video: Constantines – “Working Full-Time”
Video: Chad Van Gaalen – “Flower Gardens”
Video: Chad Van Gaalen – “Clinically Dead”
Video: Chad Van Gaalen – “Red Hot Drops”
Video: Chad Van Gaalen – “Molten Light”
MySpace: Constantines
MySpace: Chad Van Gaalen

Summerworks has released the lineup to the music component of their annual theatre/performing arts festival, and with acts like Miracle Fortress, Think About Life, The D’Urbervilles and Forest City Lovers amongst the artists performing, you really should plan on spending much of the week from August 6 to the 15th at The Theatre Centre at The Great Hall.

dose.ca interviews Matt Cully and Vue talks to Neil Haverty, both of Bruce Peninsula, who are embarking on a western Canadian tour this week.

Arts & Crafts has released some official information on the next Hidden Cameras record – Origin:Orphan will be released on September 22 and they’re offering a free download of “Walk On” in exchange for your email.

Emily Haines of Metric tells The National Post about some of her favourite things about Toronto in the Summertime. Curiously, navigating piles of uncollected garbage on the city streets because of the city worker strike does not make the cut.

MBV Music has the second installment in the Reverie Sound Revue blog tour – a bit later than expected, but maybe they got held up at the border or something. This video is a stripped-down studio rendering of “Off Rooftops” from their just-released self-titled debut.

The results of those TARA Secret Sessions which have been taking place at The Audio Recording Academy – perhaps you’ve seen the ads somewhere online – are being made available online to download and enjoy, including some by Oh No Forest Fires and Great Bloomers. The sessions continue through the month of July and admission to all is free. Oh No Forest Fires have blogged a bit about their session.

Spinner.ca – née AOL Music Canada – has posted the first of a multi-part feature on the history, present and future of independent music in Canada, featuring conversations with journalist types and members of Sloan and The Stills.

Congratulations go out to Eric’s Trip and Rheostatics, the inaugural inductees to the Zunior Canadian Independent Music Hall of Fame, whose aim is to select and salute two trailblazing Canadian independent artists each year and for which I was honoured to be a juror for the 2009 edition.

If you missed or enjoyed Amazing Baby opening up for Phoenix last month, you will be pleased to know they have their own show scheduled for August 4 at the Drake Underground in support of their new album Rewild – tickets $13.

MP3: Amazing Baby – “Bayonets”

Modest Mouse have added as second Toronto date to their Summer tour – they’ll be at the Sound Academy on August 22 in addition to the 21. Tickets $30.

The Cave Singers and Lightning Dust have a date at the Horseshoe on September 14, tickets $12. Both have new albums coming soon – the former with Welcome Joy, out August 18, and the latter with Infinite Light, out August 4.

MP3: The Cave Singers – “Beach House”
MP3: Lightning Dust – “I Knew”
MP3: Lightning Dust – “Never Seen”

The Hold Steady are also rolling into town a little earlier than planned – there’s a second Lee’s Palace show set for September 26 to go with the September 27 one, so if you’d rather rock yourself into oblivion on a Saturday night, you’re all set. Tickets $21.50.

Icelandic electro-dream-poppers (is that still an accurate, if broad description?) Mum return with a new album due out on August 24 entitled Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know and will follow that up with a Fall North American tour that includes an October 27 date at The Phoenix in Toronto, tickets $20.