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Posts Tagged ‘Rural Alberta Advantage’

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

1000 Answers

The Hives and object lessons in venue relativism

Photo By Tobias SutterTobias SutterThings that are true about live music rooms in Toronto: 1) Everyone hates the Sound Academy, for reasons that don’t really need to be expounded on; 2) a lot of people hate The Phoenix when it represents a tipping point for ascendant acts moving out of clubs and into bigger rooms; 3) a lot of people love The Phoenix when it offers a relatively intimate setting for who might normally play larger rooms but for whatever reason – choice or circumstance – are downsizing.

It’s that third category that I was front of mind yesterday as a batch of concert announcements rolled in. Already scheduled for two dates at The Air Canada Centre supporting Pink on November 30 and December 2, Swedish garage rock heroes The Hives have decided days off are for chumps and have scheduled their own show at The Phoenix for December 1, tickets $29.50. Their last headlining show in support of last year’s Lex Hives was in July 2012 and at The Sound Academy, so their playing a room one-third the size is rather a boon for their fans, at least those who didn’t rush out to buy Pink tickets to see them. Which I would think would include all of them.

Video: The Hives – “Wait A Minute”

New Zealand electro-poppers The Naked & Famous, on the other hand, may be finding out that they’re neither sufficiently naked or famous to fill the Sound Academy as they’ve downgraded their October 14 show in support of their just-released second album In Rolling Waves from there to The Phoenix. Playing the room wasn’t overreaching as their last show in support of their hit debut Passive Me, Aggressive You was there and was their fourth local performance in a year, no less, but kids these days have short attention spans. Remaining tickets for the show are $28.50 in advance. BBC has an interview with the band as does Noisey, along with a stream of the new record.

Video: The Naked & Famous – “Hearts Like Ours”
Stream: The Naked & Famous / In Rolling Waves

When British soul singer Jessie Ware made her local debut at The Opera House in April, it seemed a foregone conclusion that her next visit would be in a much bigger room. And while I won’t suggest that her upwards trajectory has stalled – she and Devotion are just too good to be denied – I was surprised to see that her November 6 show at The Sound Academy had also been downsized to The Phoenix. On the plus side, I already know a few people for whom this show has gone from “ugh” to “ooh”, so it should still be a good and full house when she and The Invisible return to town. Whatever tickets remain for that one are $25 in advance. Interestingly, one of her New York shows on this tour was also downsized from a 3000+ room to a 1000 but a Brooklyn show was also added, so maybe this is as much about the experience as soft sales. Or not. Anyways, if you were on the fence then it’s time to get to a ticket outlet.

Video: Jessie Ware – “Wildest Moments”

The Rural Alberta Advantage have been fairly quiet of late, presumably working on a follow-up to 2011’s Departing – their last local show was last Fall with Dan Mangan at The Danforth Music Hall – but they’ll be taking the stage at the Adelaide Music Hall on October 18 as part of Indie Week, which is apparently a thing. You can get in with a festival wristband or paying $25 for an advance ticket.

MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”

Widowspeak fans dismayed that their only opportunity to see them this Fall was as support for Iron & Wine at The Sound Academy – that place again! – on September 28 will be pleased to know that they’ll be back soon enough in support of their new EP The Swamps, out October 29, for a show at The Silver Dollar on November 2 with Pure Bathing Culture and tickets running a very reasonable $12.50.

MP3: Widowspeak – “The Devil Knows”

Baltimore’s Future Islands haven’t announced anything about a follow-up to 2011’s On The Water, but they’re still hitting the road and will be at The Drake Underground on November 10, tickets $15.50.

MP3: Future Islands – “Before The Bridge”

At some point, the release of Illinois roots-pop artist Lissie’s second album got pushed back a few weeks, but they’ve now committed to both an October 8 street date for Back To Forever as well as a Fall tour to support it. Ms Maurus will be at the Adelaide Music Hall on November 21, tickets for the show $22.50 in advance.

Video: Lissie – “Further Away (Romance Police)”

They may not have been crowned Polaris champs on Monday night, but Young Galaxy can still announce themselves as 2013 shortlisters when they take the stage at The Hoxton on November 22. Not that they would or should; that’s kind of gauche. Tickets for that one are $18 in advance.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Pretty Boy”

If you missed fantastical Swedish synth-pop duo The Deer Tracks when they were here in March – and mathematically, most all of you did – then you can rectify that when they bring their opus The Archer Trilogy back to North America for a victory lap. They’ll be back at The Silver Dollar on November 28.

MP3: The Deer Tracks – “W”

His Toronto debut a couple weeks ago having completely sold out even after being upgraded from The Drake to Wrongbar, Archy Marshall – aka King Krule – will bring his album Six Feet Beneath The Moon back as part of a larger tour and will be at Lee’s Palace on December 9, tickets $20. The New York Times has a feature piece on the artist.

Video: King Krule – “Octopus”

Interview, MTV, and Rolling Stone have features on Swedish electro-pop sensations Icona Pop, whose North American debut This Is… Icona Pop is out this week.

MTV Hive, Elle, and Interview chat with Nanna Øland Fabricius of Oh Land, whose new album Wish Bone is also out this week and is available to stream courtesy of The Line Of Best Fit. Esquire also has a video session with the artist, who plays The Great Hall on September 30.

Stream: Oh Land / Wish Bone

Indians have rolled out a new video from their/his debut Somewhere Else.

Video: Indians – “La Femme”

The New Strait Times, South China Morning Post, and Electronic Musician have interviews with Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds.

Le Blogotheque serves up an Empty Spaces session with Sigur Rós filmed in the catacombs of Paris.

A Heart Is A Spade interviews Kate Boy.

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Asleep In The Pews

Evening Hymns stream last Toronto show, slate next Toronto show

Photo via FacebookFacebookThe last time that Evening Hymns graced a Toronto stage, it was back in August as part of the Summerworks festival and came a few days before the official release of their gorgeously heavy second album Spectral Dusk. After that show, which featured a band and lightshow specially assembled for that performance, Jonas Bonnetta and Sylvie Smith – the Evening Hymns principals – jetted across the ocean to tour the record across Europe with friends and album collaborators The Wooden Sky, only returning a couple weeks ago only to set out on a coast-to-coast, cross-Canada tour last week which will keep them working the Trans-Canada Highway until the end of November.

And then they’ll come home.

The band have just announced a tour-ending, hometown performance for December 15 at the Church Of The Redeemer in Toronto, a room that doesn’t frequently host live music but sounds marvelous when it does. It’s hard to think of a more appropriate locale to bookend what has surely been a physically and emotionally draining Autumn for Bonnetta. And to coincide with the Canadian tour and show announcement, CBC Music has made a recording of that August show at The Great Hall available to stream. And yep, it’s as beautiful as I remember it.

MP3: Evening Hymns – “Arrows”
Video: Evening Hymns – “Family Tree”

Also just announced and perhaps of interest – Gentleman Reg will release his third Leisure Life EP of the Fall digitally on November 6, with the collected physical edition coming not long after on November 20 and a hometown release show taking place at The Gladstone on December 2. Details at Exclaim, and all three are available to stream

Stream: Gentleman Reg / Leisure Life Part One
Stream: Gentleman Reg / Leisure Life Part Two
Stream: Gentleman Reg / Leisure Life Part Three

Cold Specks has been added as support for Conor Oberst at Massey Hall on December 8. Remaining tickets range from $39.50 to $69.50.

Video: Cold Specks – “Winter Solstice”

Since they’ll be all rehearsed up for their European tour in November as part of Constellation Records’ 15th anniversary, Do Make Say Think have slated a hometown show for The Opera House on December 7, tickets $15 in advance.

MP3: Do Make Say Think – “The Landlord Is Dead”

Beatroute talks quickly to Plants & Animals, in town at The Great Hall on November 15.

Interview, The Ottawa Citizen, The Grid, and Durham Region talk to John O’Regan of Diamond Rings, bringing his Free Dimensional tour through Toronto to The Mod Club on November 29.

The Broken Speaker talks to The Wooden Sky, playing a tour-ending, homecoming show of their own at The Phoenix on December 1.

Drowned In Sound chats with Japandroids, hitting The Phoenix on December 12.

The Balconies have squeezed a new video out of their now-three-year-old-and-counting self-titled debut. Why yes, that is a passive-aggressive nudge for a new record, how good of you to notice. At least the video is seasonally-themed.

Video: The Balconies – “Do It In The Dark”

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Snowblink.

Spin and The Calgary Herald profile METZ.

The AV Club has a Blogotheque-produced video session with A.C. Newman, guest-starring one Neko Case. They sound great together – they should make a record or something.

NOW talked to The Wilderness Of Manitoba before last week’s record release show at Trinity-St. Paul’s.

Beatroute and Queen’s Journal chat with The Rural Alberta Advantage.

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Free Dimensional

Diamond Rings at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWe’ve certainly come a long way since late Summer, 2009 when Diamond Rings was that curious synth-pop side-project from the guy who fronted local garage-rock fixtures The D’Urbervilles (now Matters). That infectious Summer song turned into a breakout debut album in Special Affections that would take John O’Regan, his guitar and laptop and unicorn tapestry, on a glitter-and-eyeshadow-fuelled journey around the world. Quite a tale, and one that had many anxious for the sequel.

That part the second officially arrives with the release of Free Dimensional on October 23, but a small audience of industry types and fans got a sneak preview last Thursday night at the Drake Underground with a showcase that wrapped up a short US tour to road-test the new material and band. Yes, that’s right – the days of Diamond Rings being just O’Regan juggling guitar, vocal, laptop, and dance duties are a thing of the past as he’s recruited a backing band and dressed them up in matching caps, jackets, and sunglasses. The move may dismay those who loved the resolutely DIY solo setup, but it was the logical thing to do – being forced to restrict his songwriting to what he could reasonable recreate onstage on his own would have been creatively limiting and there really doesn’t exist a live act that’s not better with a full band. Fact.

O’Regan really benefitted from being freed up to fully inhabit the frontman role and decked out in an impressively shiny white leather jacket and matching jeans – oh the things you can buy with major label money – was all choreography, guitar riffs, and audience invasions – it might have been a bit familiar to those of us who’d seen The D’Urbs live, but in the Diamond Rings context made for a solid step up in live presentation. Also familiar to D’Uberville followers was Tim Bruton on guitar, though his crossover status was only a temporary one as O’Regan mentioned this would be his last gig with the band. One expects that someone else will don his coat, cap, and shades, though, because in addition to taking some of the workload off of O’Regan’s generously-padded shoulders, they really made the new material sound good – perhaps more conventional with the guitar, synth, and (electronic) drums setup, but more immediate and engaging.

Hearing how the Special Affections material would sound so arranged would have to wait for a more conventional show, as their half-hour set was all about previewing Free Dimensional. And while Diamond Rings fans who were won over by his distinctive baritone, future-first style, and danceable anthems are well attended to, long-time fans might be pleasantly surprised how much O’Regan allows his rock roots – impeccably coiffed and styled they might be – to show. At its best moments, which proudly echo the likes of Pet Shop Boys or New Order in their shine and sparkle, songs like “Runaway Love” and “I’m Just Me” make you wonder what The D’Urbs might have sounded like had O’Regan brought them along on his glam-synth journey rather than taking it solo. We might yet find out, as Matters is still technically an ongoing concern, but it’s hard to imagine O’Regan being able to trade in his Diamond Rings outfits back in for the plaid shirt and Jays cap too soon.

Diamond Rings has another local appearance on September 9 at the Sony Centre as part of Elton John’s Fashion Cares extravaganza, but those waiting for a regular, proper show will have to wait until they’re done supporting Stars across the US in September and October, but the fact that those dates wrap up right before the new record comes out can’t be a coincidence. Hometown record release show, anyone?

Exclaim was also on hand (and enjoying the hors d’oeurves), The Globe & Mail and Seattle Weekly have interviews and Boing Boing just made one of the songs from the new record available to download.

Photos: Diamond Rings @ The Drake Underground – August 23, 2012
MP3: Diamond Rings – “I’m Just Me”
MP3: Diamond Rings – “Mellow Doubt”
MP3: Diamond Rings – “Something Else”
MP3: Diamond Rings – “Wait And See”
MP3: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs”
Video: Diamond Rings – “I’m Just Me”
Video: Diamond Rings – “You And Me”
Video: Diamond Rings – “Something Else”
Video: Diamond Rings – “Show Me Your Stuff”
Video: Diamond Rings – “Wait & See”
Video: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs”

Speaking of Stars, their new album The North is up to stream over at NPR. It’s out September 4 and they open up for Metric at The Air Canada Centre on November 24.

MP3: Stars – “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”
MP3: Stars – “The Theory Of Relativity”
Stream: Stars / The North

Pitchfork talks to A.C. Newman about his new solo record Shut Down The Streets. It’s out October 9 and he plays Lee’s Palace on October 21.

Spinner chats with Dan Mangan and The Calgary Herald talks to Nils Edenloff of The Rural Alberta Advantage. The two of them play The Danforth Music Hall on October 25.

Halfway House has a video session with Patrick Watson, back in town at Massey Hall on December 6.

Rolling Stone compiles what is known about the next Neil Young & Crazy Horse album Psychedelic Pill, which is due out sometime in October. They are at The Air Canada Centre on November 24.

And not that you should need extra incentive to support HeroHill in his Ride To Conquer Cancer, but the good people at New Scotland Records are giving away to one donor a prize pack consisting of their full label catalog on CD *and* vinyl and with everything that Joel Plaskett is involved in autographed by the man himself. It’s a hell of a prize and oh yeah, you’re also helping fight cancer. You know, cancer. That thing that sucks incredibly hard.

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Unsurfed Waves

Snowblink keeps unwavering focus on Classic second album

Photo By Norman Wong/Jules SchillNorman Wong/Jules SchillIt’s a real puzzle to me why Toronto’s Snowblink aren’t huge, and I mean huge in relative Canadian indie terms, not absolute household name terms, I’m not delusional. Their 2011 debut Long Live was an unqualified art-folk jewel, as simple and homespun as it was rich and complex, and not content to simply let the record speak for itself, they also toured it across North America and Europe, supporting not only some A-list Canadian talent but Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy on his Spring 2011 solo tour. All of which is to say that people saw them, and they’re not difficult to fall for, so why aren’t the duo of Daniela Gesundheit and Dan Goldman discussed with the same breathless enthusiasm as some of their peers?

Perhaps all that effort should be considered set up, and their forthcoming sophomore effort Inner Classics will be the record that knocks everyone down. I’ve not yet heard the record but based on the two tracks from the album already offered as a preview – “Black & White Mountain” was teased back in June and “Unsurfed Waves” was made available yesterday – it’s reasonable to say that this record will take everything that was great about Long Live and make it even better. Gesundheit’s voice is as delicate and crystalline as ever, but sounds more musically forceful and demanding of your attention without losing the laid-back vibe that come with Gesundheit’s Californian roots.

Inner Classics is out September 11, and while Snowblink have already offered a hometown preview of the new album in opening up for Cold Specks last week and will do so again as part of the Bicycle Music Festival at Trinity-Bellwoods on September 15 at 6PM, the proper release show for the new album will come on September 27 at the perfectly suited Music Gallery. It’s part of a series of shows that covers various points around the continent – full dates are available at Filter. Post City has an interview with Gesundheit about the new record.

MP3: Snowblink – “Unsurfed Waves”
MP3: Snowblink – “Black & White Mountains”

Canadian indie rock icon Ian Blurton has reformed his first and most famous band – Change Of Heart – for a handful of live dates in support of their long-overdue compilation album There You Go ’82-’97. It’s out September 18 and they play The Horseshoe on October 5, tickets a far too reasonable $12.

Stream: Change Of Heart – “There You Go”

If you were ever wondering what garage-pop from Vermont sounded like, King Tuff and their self-titled debut debut is the answer, and if you wanted to know what they looked like in person, then The Garrison on October 12 is the place to be. Tickets for that are $13.50 in advance. The San Francisco Examiner, Weekly Alibi, and LA Weekly talk to frontman Kyle Thomas.

MP3: King Tuff – “Keep On Movin'”
MP3: King Tuff – “Bad Thing”

Paste has the full tour itinerary for Death Cab frontman gone solo Benjamin Gibbard – not Ben, notice – and it curiously contains an isolated October 14 date at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, just a couple days before Former Lives is released on October 16. Tickets for that range from $25.50 to $35 in advance.

MP3: Death Cab For Cutie – “The Employment Pages”

The Flying Lotus show originally scheduled for October 13 at the Hoxton has moved through both space and time and will now take place on October 15 at the Danforth Music Hall. Complex and Spin have interviews with the producer.

MP3: Flying Lotus – “Between Friends”

The Heartless Bastards are back in town at Lee’s Palace on October 24 in support of their latest effort Arrow. Tickets for that are $18 in advance. News OK, News Journal, and Spokesman Review have features on the band.

MP3: Heartless Bastards – “Parted Ways”

Rose Cousins, last seen in these parts in May celebrating her third album We Have Made A Spark, will be back on November 3 for a performance at the Glenn Gould Theatre, tickets $29.50. The Boston Globe has an interview with Cousins.

MP3: Rose Cousins – “The Darkness”

In further proof that The Weeknd has gotten over his crippling shyness – he seemed mighty comfortable onstage at Osheaga – he’s scheduled not one but two dates at the Sound Academy for November 2 and 3, tickets $34.50 for general admission and $75 for VIP.

MP3: The Weeknd – “Wicked Games”

Though the biggest room they’d played in Toronto to date, Japandroids proved in June that they were already too big for Lee’s Palace so for their return engagement, they’ll be at the much bigger Phoenix on December 12, tickets $18.50 in advance. Pitchfork has the rest of their end-of-year tour dates and also have premiered the new video from Celebration Rock.

MP3: Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built”
Video: Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built”

Spinner and Exclaim talk to Britt Daniel and Dan Boeckner of Divine Fits about their debut album A Thing Called Divine Fits, out August 28. They’re at Lee’s Palace on September 5.

Exclaim examines the career of Cat Power, whose new record Sun is out September 4. She is at The Kool Haus on October 20.

Hitfix talks to Bob Mould about his new album The Silver Age, out September 4.

Aimee Mann has released a video for the title track of her new album Charmer, which is out September 18 and behind which she’ll be at the Danforth Music Hall on November 6. Rolling Stone talks to her about the new record.

Video: Aimee Mann – “Charmer”

MTV gets to know The Rural Alberta Advantage just a little bit; they’re at the Great Hall on September 28 and The Danforth Music Hall on October 25.

CBC Music has some video clips of a session Diamond Rings – now a band and not just a man – performed for KCRW, previewing material from Free Dimensional well ahead of its October 23 release date.

Under The Radar, Tone Deaf, and The Age interview Josh Tillman of Father John Misty, in town at Lee’s Palace on October 27.

A release date has been given to the third part of the Guided By Voices 2012 reunion trilogy; The Bears For Lunch will be out on November 12.

Rolling Stone talks to Frank “Poncho” Sampedro of Neil Young & Crazy Horse, who as it turns out didn’t spend all their recent time in the studio jamming out the standards that would become Americana – an album of original material built on the trademark Crazy Horse sprawl should be out in October under the title of Psychedelic Pill, meaning that they’ll be able to draw on both when they play the Air Canada Centre on November 24.

Exclaim talks to Purity Ring.

Malajube have released a video for the title track of last year’s La Caverne.

Video: Malajube – “La Caverne”

Blurt talks to Steven MacDonald of Redd Kross.

Billboard checks in with My Morning Jacket to see how crowdsourcing the set lists on their current tour is working out.

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Laura Palmer's Prom

No one tell Paper Bag Records that the traditional 10th anniversary gift isn’t three nights of shows

Photo via FacebookFacebookCustom dictates that for tenth anniversaries, the traditional gift is something made from tin and the modern equivalent is aluminum. Or diamond. How on earth do you get from tin to diamond? Happily, Toronto’s Paper Bag Records pays no attention to such convention and to mark their tenth year of releasing great music from both Canada and abroad, they’ve opted to put together three nights of shows at The Great Hall from September 27 to 29 and featuring the best of their current roster as well as a surprise and welcome return – You Say Party.

The Vancouver dance-rock band were riding high on their third album, 2009’s XXXX, when their drummer Devon Clifford suddenly and tragically died onstage in April 2010. They soldiered on for another year and then, promotional duties done, went on indefinite hiatus – a hiatus that would last a year and a half, as they state on their website, “Over the course of the last year, we came to realize a simple truth: that the four of us missed making music together”. Their appearance on the third night of the PBR anniversary shows will mark their first step back and as a four-piece, reconfiguring their old songs to fit and presumably crafting new ones.

Their return will surely be a highlight of that third night, which also features Young Galaxy, The Luyas, and a special guest that you probably don’t need to do too much thinking to guess who it will but all three evenings are pretty stacked. Thursday night features Elliott Brood, Born Ruffians, Woodhands, and The Acorn and Friday brings in The Rural Alberta Advantage, Cuff The Duke, PS I Love You, and Slim Twig.

Tickets for each night are $25 and a three-day pass comes in at $60, on sale now. The Great Hall isn’t that big so if you’re thinking this is something you should be at, turning thought into action soon is recommended.

MP3: The Acorn – “Restoration”
MP3: Born Ruffians – “Sole Brother”
MP3: Cuff The Duke – “Standing On The Edge”
MP3: Elliott Brood – “Northern Air”
MP3: The Luyas – “Too Beautiful To Work”
MP3: PS I Love You – “2012”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”
MP3: Slim Twig – “Young Hussies”
MP3: Woodhands – “Dissembler”
MP3: You Say Party! – “Laura Palmer’s Prom”
MP3: Young Galaxy – “Peripheral Visionaries”

Under The Radar chats with Torq Campbell of Stars, who released their first albums on Paper Bag and will put their sixth album North out on September 4. They’ve made a new track from said record available to stream and will be at the Air Canada Centre on November 14 supporting Metric.

Stream: Stars – “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”

The New York Times has a feature piece on Purity Ring, whose much-anticipated debut Shrines is out this week and who’ve made another track from it available to download.

MP3: Purity Ring – “Belispeak”

Damian Abraham of Fucked Up rattles off his favourite records of the past two decades for CBC Music. They’re at Historic Fort York on September 9 as part of Riot Fest.

Melancholy & The Infinite Shadness is the name of a new mixtape from Shad that you need in your life. Get it for free.

ZIP: Shad / Melancholoy & The Infinite Shadness

The Georgia Straight and The Victoria Times-Colonist talks to Kathryn Calder.

CBC Music has five tracks to preview for the forthcoming live Dears album Never Destroy Us, due out this Fall.

Patrick Watson gives Spinner his thoughts on and ambitions for the music video medium; he also chats with Vermont’s Seven Days. He’s at Massey Hall on December 6.