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Posts Tagged ‘Rose Cousins’

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Hall Of Mirrors

Review of Yamantaka//Sonic Titan’s Uzu

Photo By Derek BelchanDerek BelchanIf you thought that unclassifiable Montreal-Toronto outfit Yamantaka//Sonic Titan would have difficulty following up their utterly 2011 debut YT//ST, that their blend of prog-rock, Japanese opera, and metal amongst many other influences would inevitably turn from unique to self-parody, or that the pressure of going from obscurity to 2012 Polaris Prize shortlister would paralyze them creatively, then you don’t need to look up what Uzu – the title of their second album due out on October 29, means – it means “you are dead wrong”.

Even as an avowed fan of the band, I wasn’t sure how they’d follow up YT//ST, so singular a work that it seemed to be, but clearly Yamantaka//Sonic Titan had no such reservations. Whereas much of the excitement of YT//ST came from the primal, alchemical reactions of bringing their disparate elements and ideas together, Uzu intricately crafts them all together with a much more assured hand – rather than melding all those styles together, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan now sound like they’ve created their own. And remarkably, that’s not even what stands out the most about Uzu – that would be how much better they’ve gotten at sounding conventional.

Lead track “Atalanta” opens with a classical piano figure that is quickly joined by Ruby Kato Attwood singing a plaintive and achingly pretty melody. It’s the sort of move that a band determined to hold onto the “experimental” adjective might eschew as too straight, too accessible, but which too Yamantaka is clearly just the right thing to do for the song. The greater emphasis on melody and straight emotion persists through the record and gives Uzu a heart that YT//ST might have possessed, but kept in the background. The two-part “Seasickness” is the best example of how far they’ve come, with the first part emphasizing the austere beauty of the approach and the second demonstrating how well it meshes with their established sound. What this all means is that those who liked Yamantaka before because they were weird will continue to like them because their weird, but those who found them too weird before may well now find them to be sufficiently more accessible to be won over. What this all means is that with Uzu, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan may now be unstoppable.

Pitchfork has an advance stream of the album. They play The Garrison on November 6.

Video: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “One”
Stream: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan / Uzu

Pitchfork has premiered the new video from The Belle Game’s debut Ritual Tradition Habit, while NOW previews their show at The Drake Underground on Friday night, October 25, with an interview.

Video: The Belle Game -“River”

Your latest Arcade Fire inevitability updates: Pitchfork has a lyric video for the next officially-released preview, NPR will host a live concert showcasing Reflektor before its release the next day, and both Rolling Stone and Macleans have interviews with Win Butler about the new album, The National Post with Will Butler, and Radio Free Canuckistan throwing in Q&As with Richard Reed Parry and Tim Kingsbury for good measure. Update: And yeah now you can stream the album in whole.

Lyric Video: Arcade Fire – “Afterlife”
Stream: Arcade Fire / Reflektor

Pitchfork has stepped up with an advance stream of the new Moonface record Julia With Blue Jeans On, which comes out on October 29.

MP3: Moonface – “Everyone Is Noah, Everyone Is The Ark”
Stream: Moonface / Julia With Blue Jeans On

Kashka has premiered a new video from her forthcoming Bound at Indie88; the album is out November 5 and there’s a record release show for it at The Great Hall on December 5.

Video: Kashka – “Never Had It”

Exclaim reports that the new album from Vancouver retro-rockets Chains Of Love will now be an EP, or series of EPs, starting with Misery Makers Vol. 1 which comes out November 5.

The Vancouver Sun, Halifax Chronicle Herald, and What’s Up interview Braids. They’re at The Great Hall on November 10.

Neil Young continues to make his fans easy to Christmas shop for via his Archives series; Consequence Of Sound reports that he’ll release Live At The Cellar Door, capturing a 1970 residency in Washington DC, on November 26.

The Besnard Lakes have released a new video from Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO; they’re at Lee’s Palace on November 26.

Video: The Besnard Lakes – “Colour Yr Lights In”

Death From Above 1979 want some of your Boxing Day spending money, having just announced a show at The Danforth Music Hall for December 26. Tickets will run between $33.50 and $39.50.

Video: Death From Above 1979 – “Romantic Rights”

Shad explains some of the stories behind the lyrics on Flying Colours to The Grid and also talks to JAM, The Huffington Post, The Edmonton Journal, The Coast, and The Halifax Chronicle-Herald. He’ll be back in town to perform it at The Danforth Music Hall on January 31.

Southern Souls has posted a video session with Rose Cousins; The Georgia Straight also has an interview.

Paper Bag Records is proud to present a new video session with Diana. Or at least I assume they are. Why wouldn’t they be?

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Hunting

While I was out… featuring The Darcys and things of a Canadian nature

Photo By Zach SlootskyZach SlootskyConsidering how much of the narrative around The Darcys’ first two records were focused squarely on the past – the band’s self-title inexorably tied to the band’s own turbulent history and their Aja cover album to their affection for Steely Dan’s work – it’s understandable that the promotional lead-up to the September 17 release of their new record Warring would be so eyes forward, full steam ahead.

Since its initial announcement at the end of July, they’ve released streams of two new songs and crowdsourced remixes, and last week they premiered a first video at Esquire followed yesterday by another new stream via Tumblr. A full album stream should surface next week sometime, but it’s already a sure thing that Warring is a dark and dramatic work that balances the progressive and accessible.

Further, they’ve announced a first batch of live dates in support of Warring and it includes a hometown record release show at the Adelaide Music Hall on October 11. Tickets for that are $20 and some are bundled with early release LPs available at stores around Toronto now – details here.

Stream: The Darcys – “Hunting”
Video: The Darcys – “The River”

Panic Manual conducts an exit interview with Ohbijou, who go on indefinite hiatus following a farewell show at The Great Hall on September 7.

NPR has an advance stream of The Weeknd’s new album Kiss Land, which is officially out on September 10. He plays three nights at Massey Hall on October 17, 19, and 20.

Stream: The Weeknd / Kiss Land

Southern Souls has a video session with Austra. They play The Phoenix on September 26.

Flare gets fashion spread-y with Carmen Elle of Diana and Basia Bulat, amongst other Toronto musicians. The former plays The Great Hall on September 26, the latter releases Tall Tall Shadow on October 1 and plays The Polish Combatants Hall on October 10 and 11.

Dears frontman Murray Lightburn will bring his just-released solo record Mass:Light to the stage at Adelaide Hall on October 12, tickets $15 in advance with a number of 2-for-1 packages improving the value proposition. The Take has an interview with Lightburn about the new record.

MP3: Murray Lightburn – “Motherfuckers”

Shad has released a new video from his forthcoming Flying Colours, which you can watch below and read (the lyrics) over at Rap Genius. The album is out October 15 and he plays The Opera House on October 19.

Video: Shad – “Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins)”

Maritime singer-songwriter Rose Cousins has announced a North American tour behind last year’s still-wonderful We Have Made A Spark; she’s at The Dakota Tavern on October 17.

MP3: Rose Cousins – “The Darkness”

Exclaim reports that The Elwins are aiming to have their second album out by the middle of next year, but in the meantime are doing what they do second-best – the best being writing super-poppy tunes – and that’s touring their butts off. Amidst dates in Europe, the US, and the rest of Canada, they’ll play a hometown show at The Horseshoe on October 19.

Video: The Elwins – “Helpful Assistance”

Pitchfork talks to Yamantaka//Sonic Titan about their new album Uzu, coming out October 29.

Spencer Krug will release a new album as Moonface on October 29; the first song from Julia with Blue Jeans On is now available to stream.

Stream: Moonface – “Everyone Is Noah, Everyone Is The Ark”

Arcade Fire has posted a trailer for their next album Reflektor, which people are assuming they’ll hear a first and proper sample from on September 9 at 9PM, as per their marketing campaign. Pitchfork has specifics on what is known thus far. The album is out proper on October 29. Update: Consequence Of Sound has the dirt – “Reflektor” is the first single, the video is directed by Anton Corbijn, and the 12″ single of it will go on sale on September 9 at 9PM if you can find a record store that is open then.

Trailer: Arcade Fire / Reflektor

Having had to cancel his June 30 show at The Hoxton, Mac DeMarco has announced the make-up date for that show at the same venue on November 24. The Music has an interview with DeMarco.

MP3: Mac DeMarco – “Freaking Out The Neighbourhood”

After way too long, The Balconies have gotten their second album Fast Motions together and will have it out later this Fall; Ion Magazine has premiered the first video from it.

Video: The Balconies – “The Slo”

Evening Hymns have premiered a new video from last year’s Spectral Dusk at Clash.

Video: Evening Hymns – “Arrows”

Baeble Music has a videos session with Stars.

Noisey talks to Valleys.

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Saturation Complete

Fresh Snow and Mimico at The Boat in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI don’t spend nearly as much time in the clubs scouting out new local acts as I used to – and relative to some who do this, I never spent that much time on that beat anyways – but last Thursday night at The Boat, I was reminded of what I liked and disliked about it. The “dislike” basically comes down to set times that always run at least a half hour and more likely an hour behind and thus being out far later than I’d like, the generally terrible venue lighting, and the greater than usual odds of seeing music that just doesn’t do anything for you. And under “like”, you’ve really only got one point – the prospect of seeing something great emerge before your eyes and ears.

That wasn’t really the case with Mimico, whom I arrived in time to see but would have missed had things been running on time. The stuff I’d listened to from their self-titled EP wasn’t bad in a rough, Kraftwerk-y post-punk sort of way but they couldn’t translate it live. Perhaps if they’d had their MIA drummer, it’d have been more engaging but as a two-piece synth-guitar duo playing over tinny drum machine patterns, it was far more meandering and failed to come together. But the recordings are pretty good for what they are, so I’ll not write them off yet.

I actually shouldn’t pretend that I was simply out scouting for new blood on this night; I’d covered Fresh Snow in this year’s NXNE coverage and had seen them play a couple times in Spring 2012, when they were a much greener act – so decidedly known quantities. But the occasion of the release of their debut album I merited another writeup because a) the album is really quite good, and b) I needed something to blog about.

To the former point, the shorthand on Fresh Snow is that they’re an instrumental, kinda post-Krautrock band – and it’s true that they like the drone and the noise in equal measure. But sandwiched between I‘s bookends of “French Horse Hall Of Fame” and “Saturation Complete” – which amount to almost 30 minutes of the a glorious combination thereof – they also get positively pop (“Helix Pass”) and show off a deft touch for dreamy ambience (“Los Vientos Del Tempo”) en route to a solid initial statement. It’s made up of a lot of things you’ve heard before, but taken as the big picture, there’s enough dynamics and ideas that the Fresh Snow ethos feels remarkably original.

As for the show, it wasn’t far removed from the NXNE performance. Their instrumental intro took too long to coalesce into something coherent, but once they got their feet under them it was full steam ahead. For the numbers of synths they had on stage, they spent much of the show in a decidedly conventional guitar-bass-drums (plus violin) configuration that offered all the loud and driving rockists could want and made for a solid wrestling match of control and chaos. A few interruptions in the flow of the show – though nothing like the power outages in June – kept it from becoming the fully hypnotic experience it could have and should been, but as a record release and coming out party, it was an impressive one.

Photos: Fresh Snow, Mimico @ The Boat – August 8, 2013
MP3: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
MP3: Fresh Snow – “BMX Based Tactics”
Video: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
Stream: Mimico / Mimico

Snowblink reveals to NOW that their next release will be a death-themed covers EP called I Am a Hall Of Fame; Post City also has an interview. They play BLK BOX as part of the Summerworks music series on August 14.

MTV is streaming four tracks from Mass:Light, the new solo record from Murray Lightburn; it’ll be out August 20. EastScene also has an interview with the Dears frontman.

Braids are streaming another track from Flourish//Perish, though with its August 20 release date just around the corner, expect the whole thing to start streaming any moment now. They play BLK BOX on November 10.

Stream: Braids – “Freund”

NME introduces their readers to Diana, just in time for the August 20 release of Perpetual Surrender. They play The Great Hall on September 26.

Fucked Up have been announced as the musical guests for the September 5 edition of First Thursdays at the Art Gallery Of Ontario, an event which will also feature a live video chat with artist Ai Wei Wei.

MP3: Fucked Up – “A Little Death”

NPR is streaming one of two new Stars songs which will be released as a 7″ single on September 10.

Stream: Stars – “Wishful”

aux.tv and Beatroute have interviews with Louise Burns, who supports Lightning Dust at The Drake Underground on September 10.

The Chicago Tribune and Metro get to know Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz. They play Wrongbar on September 17.

Islands have premiered a second taste of their new album Ski Mask via Spin ahead of its September 17 release, while Chart also has a video session. They play The Garrison on October 10.

Stream: Islands – “Becoming The Gunship”

Folks looking for an excuse to hang out in the park before Autumn well and truly rolls around should know about the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival, happening on September 21 and 22 at Christie Pits and featuring live music from the likes of The Golden Dogs, Memoryhouse, and Beams and two special secret headliners who – let’s face it – are almost sure to be Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene. Unless they’re not.

MP3: The Golden Dogs – “Travel Time”
MP3: Memoryhouse – “Quiet America”

Stereogum has an interview with Katie Stelmanis of Austra. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

Run Riot talks to Basia Bulat about her new record Tall Tall Shadow; it’s out October 1 and she plays The Polish Combatants Hall on October 10.

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan has announced details of their second album as well as sharing the first track, and Pitchfork is on it. Uzu will be out on October 29.

Stream: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “One”

Arcade Fire haven’t announced the title of their new album, out October 29, but the internet rumour mill is saying Reflektor and this website is certainly Arcade Fire-y in its crypticness. They’re less coy about the fact that they’re also scoring the new Spike Jonze film Her, because Pitchfork said so.

Dan Bejar is taking Destroyer back on the road this Fall with Pink Mountaintops as support but without a band. He’ll be exploring his songbook in solo style and also promises some new songs in the mix. Exclaim has full dates and details, including a November 9 date at The Great Hall.

MP3: Destroyer – “Chinatown”
MP3: Pink Mountaintops – “Vampire”

Spin has premiered the new (and first?) video from Born Ruffians’ latest album Birthmarks. They play The Danforth Music Hall on November 22.

Video: Born Ruffians – “Needle”

Rose Cousins has released a new video from last year’s wonderful We Have Made A Spark.

Video: Rose Cousins – “For The Best”

Evening Hymns have posted a complete livestream of a show in Kelowna, British Columbia last week. There’s also interviews with Jonas Bonetta at The Gate and The Edmonton Journal.

Chad VanGaalen fills in Exclaim on what he’s been up to.

Jim Guthrie road trips down to NPR to play a Tiny Desk Concert.

Earshot interviews Gold & Youth.

Dan Boeckner talks to Exclaim about his new project Operators, which he’ll presumably be more focused on once Britt Daniel puts Divine Fits on the back burner to concentrate on the next Spoon record.

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Colour Yr Lights In

Dispatches from Canada’s space (rock) program with The Besnard Lakes and Young Galaxy

Photo By Richmond LamRichmond LamCanadian music is quite often equated with rootsier stylings – which to be fair we do a lot of and well – but we can also get downright trippy when the mood strikes and a couple of the country’s finest exemplars of this are back with new records this Spring.

Montreal’s Besnard Lakes have completed the follow-up to 2010’s The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night and if the title – Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO – is any indication, this album will be out there, maaaaan. And if you need something a little more substantial than that to get on board, they’ve made the first single from the record available to stream. That should do it. The album is out April 2 and details on the release can be had over at Exclaim.

Stream: The Besnard Lakes – “People Of The Sticks”

Also out of Montreal – Mount Royal must be a good spot for keeping an eye out for extra-terrestrial landings – come Young Galaxy with the follow-up to their 2011 breakout album Shapeshifting. Whereas that record only brought in Swedish super-producer Dan Lissvik to mix and still got game-changing results from his influence, Ultramarine was recorded in his Gothenburg studio with Lissvik assuming full production duties. No preview yet aside from the obligatory teaser trailer, but even the beats showcased there are enough to engender a tingle of anticipation. Expect more such teases before the album hits on April 23. More details on the release over at Pitchfork.

Trailer: Young Galaxy / Ultramarine

It’s probably not accurate to call Suuns – also from Montreal, what – spacey, but their arty post-punk/new wave is definitely trippy. Their second album Images Du Futur is out March 5, and they’ve just released the first video from it as well as a pile of tour dates that confirm a Toronto appearance during Canadian Musicfest at Lee’s Palace on March 23.

MP3: Suuns – “Edie’s Dream”
Video: Suuns – “Edie’s Dream”

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – who lay equal claim to Montreal and Toronto as hometowns – talk to Spinner about their video game and rock opera aspirations. They play The Garrison tomorrow night, January 18.

Cult Montreal has an interview with Purity Ring – guess where they’re based – who are in town at The Phoenix on February 1.

Cœur de pirate has released a new video from 2011’s Blonde.

Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Place de la République”

Rachel Zeffira doesn’t hail from Montreal – she doesn’t even live in Canada anymore, being now based in the UK – but she’s originally from the Kootenays in British Columbia and if Canada didn’t rush to claim her as a native daughter from her work in Cat’s Eyes with Faris Badwan of The Horrors, then we surely will when her solo debut The Deserters – a heady blend of opera, classical, and dreampop released late last year in Europe – gets a North American release on March 12. Nylon recently premiered a new video from the album with some words from Zeffira on its making, and do yourself a favour and check out her My Bloody Valentine cover which also appears on the record.

Stream: Rachel Zeffira – “To Here Knows When”
Video: Rachel Zeffira – “Here On In”
Video: Rachel Zeffira – “The Deserters”

Pitchfork talks to Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene, who reveals that he’s got two albums coming out in 2013 – one solo record and one collaboration with Archies songwriter Andy Kim. This in addition to the June 8 BSS one-off (yeah right) reunion show at Fort York to mark Arts & Crafts’ 10th anniversary.

Ion has premiered a stream of a new song from the next Woodpigeon album Thumbtacks & Glue, coming February 26.

Stream: Woodpigeon – “Edinburgh”

You Say Party have released their first new music since reforming last Fall, a tribute to their late drummer Devon Clifford. More new material will follow later this Spring.

Stream: You Say Party – “Friend”

PopMatters chats with A.C. Newman.

NPR has a video session with Rose Cousins.

CBC Music has compiled a list of release dates for Canadian release big and small this year. Mark your calendars!

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Violent Youth

This Crystal Castles album stream was brought to you by the letter “C” and the number (III)

Photo By Marc PannozzoMarc PannozzoIt’s true that Crystal Castles had to push the release of their third album (III) back a week from this past Tuesday to next, but they only barely needed the extra time. The record went up as an advance stream earlier this week at MuchMusic, offering further evidence that the Toronto duo of Alice Glass and Ethan Kath have come a long way since the glitchy, more spectacle than songcraft hype of their 2008 self-titled debut. (III) is still built on bent beats, shrieked vocals, and chopped-up synths, but is far less confrontational, far more melodic and sophisticated, and is arguably more about something – talking points around the record are decidedly social-political – than just acting out. And you can still dance to it like a spaz.

Pitchfork has an interview with the duo. It went better than The Village Voice’s.

MP3: Crystal Castles – “Wrath Of God”
MP3: Crystal Castles – “Plague”
Stream: Crystal Castles / (III)

The 405 meets Japandroids, back in town at The Phoenix on December 11.

Blurt and The Georgia Straight meet METZ.

PS I Love You have released a new video from Death Dreams, and CBC Music has both an interview and video featurette on the making of the clip.

Video: PS I Love You – “Saskatoon”

The Alternate Side has a session, and Beatroute and The Santa Cruz Sentinel interviews with Diamond Rings, back home for a show at The Mod Club on November 29.

The Province, The Globe & Mail, Beatroute talks Metric, headlining the Air Canada Centre on November 24.

Billboard and Beatroute have features on Stars, who are opening up that Metric show at the ACC.

Evening Hymns are giving away an EP of live recordings made on their recent European tour via Facebook; warning – you may have to “like” them. Forewarned. They play The Church Of The Redeemer on December 15.

Daphni have released a video from Jiaolong.

Video: Daphni – “Ahora”

DIY talks to Chains Of Love.

Brasstronaut have released a new video from their latest record Mean Sun.

Video: Brasstronaut – “Mean Sun”

Poster boys for, “never believe us when we say we’re breaking up again”, The Lowest Of the Low are the latest Canadian institutions who’ll be helping The Horseshoe turn 65, setting up shop at the bar for two nights, December 19 and 20, tickets $26.50 in advance.

MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “Bleed A Little While Tonight”

DIY talked to Damian, Jonah, and Sandy of Fucked Up prior to this year’s Polaris Prize gala, while CBC Music gets Mike Haliechuk to talk about his writing process for the band. They play The Great Hall tonight for the first installment of Long Winter.

The Vancouver Sun, Georgia Straight, Beatroute chats with A.C. Newman.

DIY has a video session with Patrick Watson. He plays Massey Hall on December 6.

Beatroute and The Vancouver Sun chat with Rose Cousins.

DIY has an interview with Kathleen Edwards.

Exclaim have got a stream of Have Not Been The Same, the compilation of Canadian indie rock rarities from the likes of Sloan, Weeping Tile, and Doughboys, and companion to Have Not Been The Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985-1995, due out next week.

Stream: various artists / Have Not Been The Same