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Posts Tagged ‘Rosebuds’

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Two Matchsticks

The Wooden Birds and Heartbeat Hotel at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangYou might not have guessed it to listen to their records, as laid-back and fuzzy blanket-like as they were, but the American Analog Set were an amazing live act. Not through on-stage antics or pyrotechnics or the like, but by how unbelievably tight they were as a unit. The sound of Andrew Kenny’s soft voice and echoing guitar overtop the bed of vibraphone and Farfisa was the very definition of hypnotic and each of the two Toronto shows I saw prior to their disbanding in 2006 were magical. So given that Kenny’s new outfit The Wooden Birds shares many stylistic attributes with AmAnSet, it wasn’t unreasonable to hope that their first visit in support of their new record Two Matchsticks last night at The Drake would recreate some of that magic.

Support for the evening came from locals Heartbeat Hotel, whose psych-pop-laden Fetus Dreams I’d recommended picking up (for free) and who’d made a decent live impression back in December. They’d played out a fair bit since then, though, and some growth was to be expected. Even so, I didn’t expect that the echoey, slow burn that opened their set would be more the rule than the exception. The freewheeling sonic experimentation that marked Fetus Dreams seems to have been reined in, or the approach of flinging everything against the wall has served its purpose and they’ve now identified what stuck and what works; either way, Heartbeat Hotel circa Summer 2011 is a much more controlled, groove-oriented entity, yet still capable of getting noisy when needed. They’ve learned a lesson in musical economics that some bands take albums to master, if ever, and though it’d be nice if some of the energy of the LP could find its way back into their sound, based on the new material showcased – due for release in EP or album form this Fall – they’ll do well on the exam.

Even before The Wooden Birds played a note, it was pretty clear that this wasn’t going to be American Analog Set unplugged. For starters, Leslie Sisson was handling the acoustic guitar duties I’d assumed were Andrew Kenny’s on record, Kenny had no six-string of any kind, instead holding down the low end with a Thunderbird bass and whereas on the recordings electric guitar was used for texture or the occasional lead, the two electric setup implied that live, it would be decidedly otherwise. And indeed, it didn’t take very long to understand and appreciate that The Wooden Birds were no extension of anyone’s old band, but their own thing entirely; whereas AmAnSet shows were like exercises in hypnosis, this performance was wide-eyed and fully awake.

As the band showcased material from Two Matchsticks and its predecessor Magnolia, I couldn’t help think how someone for whom their first impression of the band was this show might find those decidedly mellower-sounding records. Because the live presentation of The Wooden Birds was definitely a much louder and more sprightly and widescreen-sounding affair. Tempos were stepped up appreciably, and rhythms given an almost country-western shuffle which would prove especially complimentary to the subtle twang of Sisson’s vocals. Those vocals were more than complimentary to Kenny’s voice – they sounded as lovely together as any two voices could – and for an hour or so, they led the band through a set of splendid pop. And for the AmAnSet fans in the audience – which I would assume to be most of them – they did Toronto the pleasure of honouring a request made the last time AmAnSet was in town, which is to say half a decade ago, and offered a reading of “Aaron & Maria” which they segued into a cover of Jackson Browne’s “Somebody’s Baby”. I went into this show hoping to relive a little AmAnSet magic but The Wooden Birds would have none of that; as stated they’ve got their own thing going on and that thing is simply lovely. If they’re coming through your town on their way back down to Austin, do go see them.

The Fort Worth Weekly and Sloucher have interviews with Andrew Kenny. There’s also a writeup and recording of much of the show over at Hater High.

Photos: The Wooden Birds, Heartbeat Hotel @ The Drake Underground – July 10, 2011
MP3: The Wooden Birds – “Two Matchsticks”
MP3: The Wooden Birds – “False Alarm”
MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “Fins Of A Shark”
MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “Walls Of Dry Clouds”
MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “The Hello Barrel”
Video: The Wooden Birds – “Two Matchsticks”
Video: The Wooden Birds – “Hometown Fantasy”
Video: Heartbeat Hotel – “Windowsill #1″

Though just announced as support for The Vaccines show at The Phoenix on September 27, Young Buffalo will do a little advance work with a free show at The Horseshoe on July 26.

MP3: Young Buffalo – “Only We Can Keep You From Harm”
MP3: Young Buffalo – “Anthems For A 17-Year Old Girl”

On the NXNE schedule in June for like a nanosecond, Massachusetts’ Dom will be in town for real for a show at The Garrison on August 9, the same day their new Family Of Love EP is released.

MP3: Dom – “Living In America”

Marnie Stern and No Joy team up for a show at Wrongbar on September 23. The Riverfront Times has an interview with Ms Stern.

MP3: Marnie Stern – “Transparency Is The New Mystery”
MP3: No Joy – “Hawaii”

Suuns have slated a show at The Garrison for October 2 and there’s a new video session up over at For No One.

MP3: Suuns – “Up Past The Nursery”

Shonen Knife will be at The Horseshoe on October 20 to kick of a 30th anniversary tour and next week’s release of their new record Osaka Ramones, a Ramones tribute record. Tickets for the show are $14.50 in advance, full dates at Exclaim.

Video: Shonen Knife – “Ramones Forever” (live)

Spinner has the first sample of the first Ivy album in six years, All Hours due out September 20, and it seems that in the time away they’ve discovered their inner discotheque. They wear it well.

MP3: Ivy – “Distant Lights”

USA Today profiles The Head & The Heart.

Spin checks in with Stephen Malkmus about his new solo record Mirror Traffic, due out August 23. He and his Jicks play The Phoenix on September 21.

NBC San Diego, The Georgia Straight and San Diego City Beat chat with The Rosebuds, in town on August 9 at The Sound Academy opening up for Bon Iver.

Stereogum talks to the director of Handsome Furs’ racy new video. They’re at The Horseshoe on August 1 and 2.

Video: Handsome Furs – “What About Us”

Spin gets a guided tour of Fucked Up frontman Damian Abraham’s domicile. Their next date is August 9 at the Air Canada Centre with Foo Fighters.

Sax-toting Polaris shortlister Colin Stetson has an interview in The Globe & Mail and a session up at Daytrotter. He plays The Drake Underground on August 26.

Loud & Quiet talks to Timber Timbre.

Southern Souls has posted a video session with Jenn Grant.

The Wilderness Of Manitoba are featured in an interview and video session with The Alternate Side.

The documentary film which led to a rather nasty exchange between filmmaker Vincent Moon and Arcade Fire management – Miroir Noir: Neon Bible Archives – will be getting a screening at the TIFF Lightbox on Wednesday evening at 7:30PM as part of Images Festival. Probably safe to say neither filmmaker nor subjects will be in attendance.

Trailer: Miroir Noir: Neon Bible Archives

Monday, June 20th, 2011

NXNE 2011 Day One

The Postelles, Suuns, Lower Dens and more at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhy yes, it was NXNE this past weekend in our fair city of Toronto. And yes, I was out partaking in the festivities, even going so far as to participate in some Wednesday night programming in camping out at The Garrison, which was hosting a nicely random bill of acts.

Opening things up was Pat Jordache, previously known for his associations with tUnE-yArDs and Sister Suvi but now looking to establish his own (pseudo)name with his debut album Future Songs. Those coming to them from the aforementioned connections weren’t lost, however, as there were echoes of Merril Garbus’ breakout project in some of their Afro-beat rhythms and Pat Gregoire’s affected baritone vocals but to my ears, Jordache and company sounded more comfortable in a more conventional, New Wave rock mode. And while it’s getting a bit common, it’s hard to argue with the impact that double drummers have on a live performance – when they’re as lockstep as Jordache’s were, it’s immensely powerful.

Photos: Pat Jordache @ The Garrison – June 15, 2011
MP3: Pat Jordache – “Phantom Limb”
Video: Pat Jordache – “Phantom Limb”

The fact that Baltimore’s Lower Dens was going to be playing was one of the main motivating factors in getting out of the house; I’d seen them at SXSW but that was a particularly short set and my affection for their debut Twin Hand Movement had only grown in the interim. So that they were disappointing was, well, disappointing. It was partly their fault and partly not, the latter because the mix was so loud and bass-heavy that the mind-bending, fuzz-laden intricacies of their on-record arrangements, which represented so much of their appeal, were frustratingly obscured and the former because, well, the PA didn’t force them to just meander through their material and look disinterested in the process. There were moments of clarity where they either pulled it together or the sonic murk cleared up or both and then, the results were impressive, but when someone asked later if they should see Lower Dens’ show at Lee’s the next night, all I could honestly answer was, “no, but do pick up the record”.

Photos: Lower Dens @ The Garrison – June 15, 2011
MP3: Lower Dens – “Tea Lights”
MP3: Lower Dens – “Hospice Gates”

If you’d seen my face upon learning that The Postelles’ just-released self-titled debut was produced by Albert Hammond Jr of The Strokes, you may well have been impressed by the complete lack of surprise in my expression. Because if you were to describe The Postelles’ sound in one word, it’d be “Strokes”. If you were allowed a whole sentence, it’d be along the lines of “The Strokes in the ’50s”. Reductive, sure, but also true. The New York quartet has that same dry, too cool aesthetic but rather than poach the ’70s punk scene for their influences, they seek to invoke the era of Elvis and Buddy, though made louder and slicker for modern audiences. And by and large it worked, as their set was fun and high energy but by bringing little new to the table, they also felt disposable even after hearing their material just once. Spinner has an interview with the band.

Photos: The Postelles @ The Garrison – June 15, 2011
MP3: The Postelles – “123 Stop”
MP3: The Postelles – “Hold On”
Video: The Postelles – “Sleep On The Dance Floor”
Video: The Postelles – “White Night”

Montreal’s Suuns weren’t the last band on the bill but they were the final act of my evening’s programme, and a wholly satisfying one at that. I’ve been keeping tabs on the outfit since they went by Zeroes and checked in last Fall, just before the release of their debut Zeroes QC and if possible, they’ve increased the amount of tension and intensity quotient of their distinctive electro-post-punk sound. Frontman Ben Shemi still looks like he’s in some kind of intestinal distress whenever he steps up to the mic and his tightly-wound vocals back that diagnosis up, but overtop his band’s throbbing, insistent analog pulse it’s a brooding yet heady stew of sounds.

Photos: Suuns @ The Garrison – June 15, 2011
MP3: Suuns – “Up Past The Nursery”
MP3: Suuns – “Arena”
Video: Suuns – “Pie IX”
Video: Suuns – “Up Past The Nursery”

Finally some good news on the Wild Flag front; two bits, actually. In addition to announcing a September 13 release date for their self-titled debut, a Merge release announced a Fall tour that included an October 11 date at Lee’s Palace. I had the pleasure of catching them at SXSW and you better believe that the rock will be brought.

MP3: Wild Flag – “Glass Tambourine”

Uptown profiles Blonde Redhead.

The Antlers have released a new video from Burst Apart.

Video: The Antlers – “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out”

Aquarium Drunkard talks to The Rosebuds, in town at the Sound Academy on August 9 opening up for Bon Iver. They’ve also got a new video from Loud Planes Fly Low.

Video: The Rosebuds – “Woods”

Clash talks to Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, whose new jam Bon Iver, Bon Iver is officially out tomorrow.

NPR and Daytrotter have sessions with The Head & The Heart.

MTV reports that Janelle Monae is ready to get to work on her second full-length album.

The Guardian profiles Brassland Records, co-founded by the Dessner twins of The National, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary.

John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats walks The Atlantic through an early draft of the song, “Dance Music”.

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Rolled Together

The Antlers and Little Scream at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangA week straight of show-going is a pretty foreboding thing when you’re generally more inclined to stay home and watch television, but if the first night of said run – which began Tuesday at The Mod Club with The Antlers and Little Scream – is a bellwether of the next seven (or ten) nights out, then I say bring it on.

Though both acts were familiar, their performances were still new to me in crucial ways, in particular with Little Scream whom I’d last seen two years ago in a pair of solo performances that were both enigmatic and intriguing. Contrast that with this evening, where Laurel Sprengelmeyer was fronting a six-piece band and promoting her debut album The Golden Record; an album that’s been well-received but interestingly not done much to clarify the mystery of who Little Scream is, offering highlights in the individual songs but not really feeling particularly cohesive as it ranges from style to style, held together only by Sprengelmeyer’s impressive vocals. The live incarnation remedied this somewhat, unifying things by being both heavier and proggier throughout and offering itself up as a variant of rock built on folk instead of blues. Sprengelmeyer jokingly compared them to Iron Maiden, on account of the three-guitar configuration but just as she did a couple years ago, I was most reminded of The Who, despite the lack of any obvious nods. Why, I can’t explain, just as I still can’t fully put my finger on what makes Little Scream what they are – but I’ll keep trying.

The Antlers broke out via the unlikeliest of records in Hospice, a beautifully grim and harrowing meditation on mortality. I saw them three times in the cycle for that record, twice as openers and once at an in-store, and each time their performances seemed to be exercises in exorcising the darkness of that material by taking the songs and stretching them out into something new. The catharsis would appear complete with the band’s new record Burst Apart, which feels like fresh growth on a former blast site; sensual and sinewy, it practically glistens with life.

The sense of rebirth also carried over live, where the three-piece had added a fourth player on bass and guitar and frontman Peter Silberman, formerly content to set up off the side and hide somewhat behind keyboards, was up front and centre. As mentioned, this was my first time seeing The Antlers headlining their own show, but considering that even in a support setting they weren’t given to brevity – when opening for Editors, they stretched out five songs over 40 minutes – I expected epic-scale things from the Brooklynites and was not disappointed. With the extra four- or six-strings on hand, The Antlers were able to jam out the Burst-heavy set and allow Silberman to roam and even dance around the stage when not stealing the spotlight with his haunting falsetto. The few Hospice songs that did make an appearance were recognizable but decidedly incongruous from their original versions, the transformations applied over the two years of touring having taken hold permanently without diminishing their emotional power or beauty.

For many in the sold-out house, I’m sure the Hospice tracks were the highlights but given my difficult personal relationship with the record (it may have been written as a metaphor but for me was all too literal) it was the Burst Apart material that really shone. Free of the thematic and narrative constraints of its predecessor, the new record isn’t necessarily happy but it does have an optimism threaded throughout that’s genuinely uplifting, rather than simply trying to overcome its own weight. That the band were able to not only recreate this feeling live but amplify it was nothing short of remarkable.

DIY and The New Haven Advocate have features on The Antlers while Pitchfork solicits a list of Silberman’s formative musical influences. The National Post and BlogTO also have reviews of the show.

Photos: The Antlers, Little Scream @ The Mod Club – June 14, 2011
MP3: The Antlers – “Parentheses”
MP3: The Antlers – “I Don’t Want Love”
MP3: The Antlers – “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out”
MP3: The Antlers – “Two”
MP3: The Antlers – “Sylvia”
MP3: The Antlers – “Bear”
MP3: Little Scream – “Cannons”
MP3: Little Scream – “The Heron & The Fox”
Video: The Antlers – “Bear”
Video: The Antlers – “Two”
Video: Little Scream – “Red Hunting Jacket”
Video: Little Scream – “The Lamb”

Her show at The Rivoli safely behind us, Alela Diane has been announced as support for Fleet Foxes at Massey Hall on July 14. Spin declares her to be an artist “breaking out”.

MP3: Alela Diane – “To Begin”

Following in her brother’s footsteps and getting to work outside the context of The Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger has set a July 12 release date for her solo debut Last Summer, and scheduled a Summer tour that includes a free show at The Horseshoe on July 19. The first single from the album is available to hear and watch.

MP3: Eleanor Friedberger – “My Mistakes”
Video: Eleanor Friedberger – “My Mistakes”

You get exactly zero points if you can guess what Portland synth-poppers STRFKR used to be called. Or maybe are still called, depending on who you ask and what company you’re in. You can be in their company at Lee’s Palace on September 20, where they’ll be showing off their new record Reptilians. Full dates at Exclaim.

MP3: STRFKR – “Bury Us Alive”

Stephen Malkmus has put together a Fall tour in support of his new album Mirror Traffic, due out on August 23. He’ll be at The Phoenix with The Jicks on September 21, tickets $22.50 in advance.

MP3: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Senator”

The National Post, Spinner and NOW preview Art Brut’s show at The Mod Club tomorrow night.

The Daily Swarm has gone through Bob Mould’s just-released new memoirs See A Little Light and posted their picks for some of the more intriguing passages contained therein and NPR have excerpted the first chapter. The Pioneer Press and The Bellingham Herald talk to Mould about looking back on his life for the book.

The Mountain Goats are giving away a new MP3 from their latest All Eternals Deck. Just because.

MP3: The Mountain Goats – “High Hawk Season”

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with The Kills. The band have also released a set of acoustic performance videos over on their YouTube.

Spinner has a pre-NXNE interview with Dum Dum Girls; their showcase is Friday night at Lee’s Palace, 11PM.

Writers On Process talks to The Rosebuds’ Ivan Howard about his writing process. The Rosebuds are at The Sound Academy on August 9 opening up for Bon Iver.

That’s the same Bon Iver whose Justin Vernon is all dapper and shit as the cover story of the new Spin. There’s also interviews at Exclaim and The Vancouver Sun and the first video from Bon Iver, Bon Iver is now out – presumably not financed by the Alberta Tourism board.

Video: Bon Iver – “Calgary”

Aquarium Drunkard interviews Will Johnson of Centro-Matic about their new record Candidate Waltz, out next week.

Buffalo Tom have released a first video from their latest record Skins.

Video: Buffalo Tom – “Guilty Girls”

JAM and Echo interview Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers.

Acoustic Guitar and JAM chat with Steve Earle, in at the Molson Amphitheatre on August 20.

Friday, June 10th, 2011

In Our Bedroom After the War

Stars schedule secret show, dig up demos

Photo via youarestars.comyouarestars.comThe promo and touring cycle for Stars’ last record The Five Ghosts – released just about a year ago – largely wrapped last Fall, just in time to take a break and allow Amy Millan to have her first child. The Montreal quintet are ready to get back into action, though, and are doing so not with a release of new material but of old. Specifically their previous-to-last album, 2007′s In Our Bedroom After The War, or more specifically the demos for said record. That’s what has just been released as The Bedroom Demos, available digitally in compressed or lossless forms. It’s also available to stream in its entirety right now.

No doubt some of these songs will be aired out in their finished forms when the band makes their appearance at Yonge-Dundas Square next Friday night, June 17, as part of NXNE’s centrepiece free shows. And they’ll almost certainly be on the set list when the band plays a secret show at a to-be-announced location in Toronto the following night, June 18. Uncovering the location of the show is a scavenger hunt of sorts with locations of QR codes with clues being teased out via Twitter. And if you don’t figure it out to make it onto the guest list, the show will also be livestreamed on aux.tv that evening, though access to the stream also requires some sleuthing for trivia answers. Hey, no one ever said life was going to be easy.

The Take interviews Torquil Campbell in advance of their NXNE appearance next week.

MP3: Stars – “The Night Starts Here”
Stream: Stars / The Bedroom Demos

Broken Social Scene have released a new, uber-violent video from last year’s Forgiveness Rock Record. They play Downsview Park on Canada Day, July 1.

Video: Broken Social Scene – “The Sweetest Kill”

NOW interviews No Joy, who’re at The Horseshoe on June 16 at 1AM as part of NXNE.

Paste has a series of video performances from The Wilderness Of Manitoba.

The Quietus talks to Fucked Up bassist Sandy Miranda. The band have two NXNE showcases – 8PM on June 16 at Yonge-Dundas Square and 1AM later that night at Wrongbar.

Hero Hill talks to Joel Plaskett about his EMERGENCYs, false alarms, shipwrecks, castaways, fragile creatures, special features, demons and demonstrations rarities comp, out Tuesday. Plaskett plays a free show at Metro Hall tonight at 8PM.

Rock Feedback interviews Dan Bejar of Destroyer.

Interview sends Win Butler of Arcade Fire to interview Alexander Skarsgard of HBO’s True Blood. Because why not, right?

CBC, NOW, Chart and The Montreal Gazette interview the authors of Have Not Been The Same, the Canadian indie rock document which celebrates its return to in-print status with a Weeping Tile show at Lee’s Palace tonight.

With her new record The Harrow & The Harvest set for a June 28 release, Paste reports that Gillian Welch has scheduled an extensive North American tour that includes a July 25 stop at The Phoenix in Toronto. The Press Democrat has an interview with Welch.

Quite pleased to see that Memory Tapes is taking the occasion of the July 5 release of Player Piano to finally tour up to Toronto, having scheduled an August 13 date at Wrongbar. The band which is essentially one Dayve Hawk is a far more engaging live act than you might expect, as I learned at SXSW 2010. There’s both an MP3 and video from the new record kicking around.

MP3: Memory Tapes – “Today Is Our Life”
Video: Memory Tapes – “Yes I Know”

The Sea & Cake will be in town at Lee’s Palace on November 5 in support of their latest effort The Moonlight Butterfly. The Chicago Tribune talks to Sam Prekop.

MP3: The Sea & Cake – “Up On The North Shore”

The Guardian interviews Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, whose new self-titled album is available to stream a couple weeks before its June 21 release. Bon Iver play The Sound Academy on August 9.

Stream: Bon Iver / Bon Iver

Under The Radar talks to Kelly Crisp of The Rosebuds about her comedy career. She and her band open up for Bon Iver at the aforementioned August 9 Sound Academy show.

Pitchfork talks to the director of TV On The Radio’s latest video from Nine Types Of Light.

Video: TV On The Radio – “You”

Mates Of State will release a new album of original material on September 13 and it will be entitled Mountaintops. Adorableness guaranteed.

Shortlist profiles Interpol.

Shortlist has a feature piece on The Strokes, who curiously still have not announced any significant tour dates for this year. I thought they’d be all over the Summer concert circuit.

Creative Loafing and The Tampa Tribune have interviews with Sleepy Vikings.

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

We Need A Myth

Review of Okkervil River’s I Am Very Far

Photo By Alexandra ValentiAlexandra ValentiIf Will Sheff has ever felt too predictable in what people expect from Okkervil River, he’s really got no one to blame but himself. Since their breakout 2005 record Black Sheep Boy, the band in which he’s been the only real constant has made a habit (okay, twice) of releasing literarily-inclined multi-volume sets with a very specific narrative and musical themes; Black Sheep Boy being a mythically-tinged folk-rock study of the Tim Hardin song and the 2007-08 season’s production of The Stage Names/The Stand Ins was his ruminations on fame and the rock’n'roll life set to a soundtrack appropriately indebted to classic sounds of the ’60s and ’70s.

It’s an approach that has worked, clearly; each of Okkervil’s releases has brought the band more and more acclaim and all have been favourites around these parts. But based on their new record I Am Very Far, it’s one that required a little shaking up. Or a lot. While time will tell if there’ll be a companion record released in the near future, those looking for an easy angle on what Very Far is about, thematically, will be disappointed – having essentially put novels and memoirs to song, Sheff has now assembled his short story collection with each of the record’s eleven songs standing self-contained, both lyrically and musically. And it’s on the latter point that I Am Very Far really stands apart from its predecessors.

With a markedly different lineup from their last recordings, it’s inevitable that Okkervil would sound at least a little different. But rather than simply accept those variances, Sheff has opted to exploit them and give the band a new sonic identity. His own perfectly imperfect vocals remain the most identifying trait, but everything around it is bigger and broader-sounding than ever before. This is easily Okkervil’s most produced record ever, but rather than the extra gloss that that usually implies, here it means density. Overdubs and extra players, musical styles heretofore unexplored – dig the almost disco-ish groove of “Piratess” – and crazy echos and reverbs pervade the record as does an almost manic (or maniacal) sense of relentless restlessness; its bloodshot energy is almost as uncomfortable to listen to as it is invigorating. Some might suggest that I Am Very Far is the band’s bid to break into the mainstream but I think that if that was their intention, they’d sound like they’d have gotten a little more sleep before pressing “record”.

But for all the tumult that has obviously gone into making I Am Very Far, after a few acclimatizing listens, something quite beautiful emerges. The freedom gained from putting everything that defined Okkervil on the table with this record combined with Sheff’s already formidable skills as a songwriter, lyricist and arranger have produced the sort of album that I imagine most bands of a certain tenure long for; one that the more you thought you knew what the band were about, the more you’d be surprised by and which is like discovering one of your favourite bands again for the first time.

Spinner talks to Will Sheff and Pat Pestorius about making the new album. They play The Phoenix on June 10.

MP3: Okkervil River – “Wake And Be Fine”
Video: Okkervil River – “Wake And Be Fine”
Stream: Okkervil River / I Am Very Far

San Diego’s Crocodiles, whom I’d begun to think had some personal issue with Toronto for their never touring up this way, will make up for their absence in a big way for NXNE as they will play a three-night residency at The Silver Dollar over the course of the festival, June 17, 18 and 19, with a different undercard each night.

MP3: Crocodiles – “Sleep Forever”

Chicago emo/math-rock veterans Joan Of Arc have a date at The Garrison for August 5, ticket $12.50. Their new record Life Like is out today.

MP3: Joan Of Arc – “Love Life”

The best of news, the worst of news. With their self-titled album due out on June 21, Bon Iver have announced a Summer tour that brings Justin Vernon and company back to Toronto on August 8… to The Sound Academy. Well at least it’ll be warm. Tickets are $35 general admission, $45 VIP and go on sale Friday. Support will come from Vernon’s old bandmates The Rosebuds, who themselves have a new record out in Loud Planes Fly Low, out June 7.

MP3: Bon Iver – “Blood Bank”
MP3: The Rosebuds – “Second Bird Of Paradise”

New York singer-songwriter Lia Ices has announced a date at The Rivoli for August 9, tickets $12, and has also released a video for the title track of her debut album Grown Unknown. The Georgia Straight has a profile.

MP3: Lia Ices – “Daphne”
Video: Lia Ices – “Grown Unknown”

The National have taken their two recent non-album releases – songs from the Win/Win film and Portal 2 video game soundtracks – and put them on a 7″ single for those who like physical things made of vinyl.

Sufjan Stevens talks to The Guardian about the nervous breakdown that informed The Age Of Adz.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of an Antlers show in New York from earlier this week. Their new record Burst Apart is out today and Pitchfork has an in-studio video performance of one the new songs with an assist from Neon indian. There’s interviews with the band at The Huffington Post, eMusic and Village Voice. They play The Mod Club on June 14.

The AV Club chats with Bon Iver drummer S Carey about his solo work.

Pitchfork talks to Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes. They’re at Massey Hall on July 14 and tonight’s show in Austin is going to be webcast live on NPR.

Richard Buckner fields questions from Aquarium Drunkard about his new record Our Blood, due out August 2.

PopMatters interviews Lissie, in town for a show at The Phoenix on May 28.

Death Cab For Cutie have released a second video from Codes & Keys, out May 31. They’ve got two local dates coming up – May 18 at The Phoenix and July 29 at The Molson Amphitheatre. Tickets for the latter will range from $29.50 to $49.50 and go on sale Friday at 1PM. Black Book talks food with Ben Gibbard.

Video: Death Cab For Cutie – “Home Is A Fire”

NYC Taper has posted a recording of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s show at New York’s Webster Hall last week. The band are at The Opera House on August 2.

Beatroute interviews Explosions In The Sky.

Low steps into The AV Club’s Undercover studio and records a cover of Toto’s “Africa”, and damn if they don’t sound amazing.

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips discusses the viability of gummy skulls as the next medium of music delivery with Billboard.