Posts Tagged ‘Ryan Adams’

Friday, November 25th, 2011


The Antlers thankful for new EP, sessions a-plenty

Photo By Shervin LainezShervin LainezYou know how the internet basically shuts down when the US goes on holiday? Well it does, and that’s why today’s post is a bit slight to say the least.

And we’ll kick it off with a couple of sessions to listen to, watch and download from The Antlers to mark the release this week of their (together) EP. It’s a companion to this year’s Burst Apart long-player, which contains the remixes and covers that are standard for these sorts of releases but also re-recordings of selections from the record with the assistance of artists such as Nicole Atkins and Neon Indian. It vacillates between interesting and meandering and if you’re trying to decide between hearing it or Burst Apart, by all means go with the full-length – it’s gorgeous – but if you’re needing an Antlers fix, this may do ya.

It also provides an occasion for Daytrotter and Paste to post up sessions with the band, the former downloadable and purchaseable and the latter watchable. And just because, here’s that xx cover that also appears on (together).

MP3: The Antlers – “VCR”

Pitchfork has premiered the first sample of Sharon Van Etten’s forthcoming Tramp, out February 7. She plays Lee’s Palace on February 21.

MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Serpents”

Pennsylvanian punks Pissed Jeans have made a date at Sneaky Dee’s for January 20 of the new year, tickets $15 in advance.

MP3: Pissed Jeans – “Dream Smotherer”
MP3: Pissed Jeans – “False Jesii Part 2”

NPR has a World CafetUnE-yArDs.

Ivy have released a new video from this year’s All Hours.

Video: Ivy – “Fascinated”

Matthew Sweet talks about and performes his Girlfriend-era gem “I’ve Been Waiting” for The AV Club.

Paste has an extensive career-spanning retrospective piece on R.E.M..

The Jayhawks play a set for NPR’s World Cafe and give an interview to Country Standard Time.

For Folk’s Sake points to session at Abbey Road for Channel 4 (watchable only from the UK, unfortunately) wherein Laura Marling plays Emmylou to Ryan Adams on a performance of “Oh My Sweet Carolina”… and it’s very good. Marling is in town for two sold-out shows at Camera Bar on December 7 and Adams is at the Winter Garden Theatre on December 10.

NOW and The Victoria Times-Colonist talk to Kathryn Calder, in town for a free show at The Horseshoe on Tuesday night.

Uptown and The Winnipeg Free Press profile Austra, who is at The Phoenix on December 1.

Dreamland Apparel and The AV Club hang out with The Rural Alberta Advantage.

Clash enumerates ten things they think you didn’t know about Jarvis Cocker.

You know that fancy Elvis Costello The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook!!! collector live set that was announced a little while back? Well Elvis doesn’t want you to buy it. Seriously.

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Breaks In The Armor

Crooked Fingers and Strand Of Oaks at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo, let’s see. Crooked Fingers were just here back in July – yeah, covered that. Oh, but in the interim, they also released a new album in Breaks In The Armor; covered that too. So was there really anything new to report out of Tuesday night’s show at the Drake Underground? Actually, yes.

To begin with there was opener Strand Of Oaks, who definitely merit discussion. I’d been familiar with the project of Pennsylvania singer-songwriter Tim Showalter for a little while – his 2010 album Pope Killdragon coming highly recommended from a number of directions – but hadn’t caught him live on any of his previous visits to Toronto. And I almost didn’t catch this one as he started his set at least 15 minutes earlier than had been scheduled, but walking into the Underground to the sounds of Showalter and his two bandmates weaving some mesmerizing space-folk, I was extra thankful that traffic had been light.

Pope Killdragon was an impressive work – lyrically rich and emotionally resonant – but despite pushing beyond the voice-and-guitar template, was a pretty stark-sounding affair. Live, with two guitars, a bass and a small army of technology at their respective toes and fingers for triggering and controlling a multitude of backing tracks, it was a much richer and haunting sonic experience with the songs being lifted up on a bed of echoes and swells. I’ve heard some comparisons made between Strand Of Oaks and Bon Iver; they’re fair, though with less falsetto and vocoder. If you dig what Justin Vernon does, do yourself a favour and investigate Strand Of Oaks. And if you don’t, well, check them out anyways.

July’s Crooked Fingers felt special in the way that performances that take place outside the regular touring cycle for an album often do; more experimenting, more deep cuts, more unpredictability. What with the band consisting solely of Eric Bachmann and Liz Durrett at that point, it was necessarily simpler in arrangement but still a stirring showcase for Bachmann’s career so far. This time out they were formally touring in support of Breaks and added a rhythm section for the occasion but rather than show off benefits of the extra hands right off, Bachmann stepped offstage as soon as he got there and into the audience to open with a gorgeous, unamplified “Man O’ War”. Plugging in, the band would showcase much of the new record alongside selections from the entirety of the Crooked Fingers catalog, all tweaked and subtly adjusted to sit perfectly alongside each other despite the broad stylistic shifts between the albums from whence they came.

As memorable as the last show was, it was great to have the muscle of the rhythm section overtop the skeleton presented in the Summer this time out. Besides the obvious extra infusion of energy, the songs were able to loosen up and breathe more and Bachmann given the freedom to rock out more on guitar where he saw fit. The additional personnel also allowed them to explore more complex arrangements of songs – sure, it would/could have been simpler to arrange everything for two guitars, bass and drums and it probably would have sounded great, but you have to appreciate the creative choices such as Durrett’s more felt than heard keyboard contributions or the way that Bachmann started “The Counterfeiter” instrumentless and then jumped onto keyboards for the last verse while the bass carried the chords. Sure, that’s how it goes down on Armor, arrangements-wise, but watching it done live gives you a new appreciation for it all.

Just as they did mid-set in July, Bachmann and Durrett led off the encore with an intimate, unamplified “Your Control” and proved that there was an upside to a band as great as this playing criminally undersized rooms. On the other hand, the unscheduled guest appearance of a mouse running across the floor during “Lonesome Warrior” reminded that there’s something to be said for playing nicer venues as well. To close, Bachmann acquiesced to an earlier request and made the requisite Archers Of Loaf song in the set a beautiful “Chumming The Ocean”, a song I’d not heard before but won’t soon forget. It’s been a recurring theme through this year, what with the return of Archers Of Loaf and the new Crooked Fingers record, but man. Eric Bachmann. He should be on postage stamps.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has an interview with Eric Bachmann.

Photos: Crooked Fingers, Strand Of Oaks @ The Drake Underground – November 8, 2011
MP3: Crooked Fingers – “Typhoon”
MP3: Crooked Fingers – “Phony Revolutions”
MP3: Crooked Fingers – “Angelina”
MP3: Crooked Fingers – “Big Darkness”
MP3: Crooked Fingers – “Devil’s Train”
MP3: Crooked Fingers – “When You Were Mine”
MP3: Crooked Fingers – “New Drink For The Old Drunk”
MP3: Eric Bachmann – “Carrboro Woman”
MP3: Eric Bachmann – “Lonesome Warrior”
MP3: Strand Of Oaks – “Bonfire”
MP3: Strand Of Oaks – “End In Flames”
Video: Crooked Fingers – “Let’s Not Pretend (To Be New Men)”
Video: Crooked Fingers – “New Drink For The Old Drunk”
Video: Eric Bachmann – “Man ‘O War”
Video: Eric Bachmann – “Lonesome Warrior”
Video: Strand Of Oaks – “Last To Swim”

Tom Waits has released a video from his new record Bad As Me.

Video: Tom Waits – “Satisfied”

The Quietus has a final interview with Michael Stipe of R.E.M., whose career-capping/ending compilation Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage 1982-2011 is out next week. You can stream it in whole right now at NPR, including the two of three final new songs from the band. Over at Under The Radar, actress Kirsten Dunst explains how the screen test-like video for their last single, “We All Go Back To Where We Belong”, came about.

Stream: R.E.M. / Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage – 1982-2011

Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy tells The Sun that they have a sense of humour. Because putting a camel in a party hat on their last album cover didn’t make that clear.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Ryan Adams. He plays the Winter Garden Theatre on December 10.

The Mountain Goats have given away a free unreleased track, just because.

MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Thucydides II:58”

Colin Meloy of The Decemberists and sister Maile talk to Salon about the benefits of a creative childhood.

Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn will release his solo debut, Clear Heart Full Eyes on January 24. Details at Tiny Mix Tapes.

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Come Home

Review of Ryan Adams’ Ashes & Fire and giveaway

Photo By David BlackDavid BlackThat Ryan Adams’ retirement from music – declared at the start of 2009 as a result of personal, medical, and industry factors – wouldn’t last was never in question. You don’t go from being as prolific as he had been over the past decade and a half to radio silence without a relapse or two. That said, he made a pretty good go of it for a while, busying himself with writing and being Mr. Mandy Moore. By early 2010, however, he was clearly ready to get back to making music and soft-launched his post-Cardinals career with the limited, vinyl-only release of a metal album that had been sitting in the vaults for a few years, and then before the year was out, a final Cardinals record – also shelved for a few years – was released via his website.

So while it’s his third release in under two years, Ashes & Fire is notable for being the first in some time to contain newly-written and recorded material without The Cardinals and get a wide release. And for anyone expecting Adams to make his return with a grand, rock’n’roll statement, Ashes may come as a bit of a puzzle – it’s slow, understated and primarily acoustic, sounding more of a denouement than a declaration, but most of all it sounds peaceful. An unexpected place for’s one-time enfant terrible and someone known for being creatively and personally mercurial, but considering that Adams has basically grown up in public – that first Whiskeytown record came out when he was 21 – it’s rather comforting to know that he’s feeling more settled and contented now.

If approached without the weight of expectation, without hoping for another Heartbreaker as I’ll admit I have for a decade now, Ashes has much to recommend it. Adams is in fine voice, his raspy croon having aged nicely and perfectly suiting the material, and though it initially sounds quite skeletally-arranged, there’s a full band in there playing with delicacy and restraint. It’s easy to wish that maybe there was a little more of the fire that the album’s title promises, but even a token rocker would probably detract more from the atmosphere of the album as a whole than it would add. And anyways, the guy just put out a metal album – maybe hit that up if you need some volume. Ashes & Fire comes with a very specific sound and purpose and it fulfills that most effectively.

Though Ashes & Fire came out digitally and on CD last month, the vinyl edition won’t be out until next week and courtesy of EMI Music Canada, I’ve got three copies of the LP edition to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want Ashes & Fire” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body, and have that to me by midnight, November 11. And sorry, contest only open to residents of Canada.

Adams plays the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto on December 10. Paste, Adelaide Now and The Quietus have interviews and NPR an interview and session with WFUV.

Video: Ryan Adams – “Lucky Now”
Video: Ryan Adams – “Ashes & Fire”
Stream: Ryan Adams / Ashes & Fire

NPR welcomes Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks to the World Cafe for a session.

Rochester City Newspaper, The Portland Press Herald and Yes! Weekly talk to Joey Santiago of Pixies.

NPR has a six-song session with Wild Flag up to stream while The San Francisco Examiner talks to Carrie Brownstein.

Spin has posted a nice gallery that gets the likes of Justin Vernon and Johnny Marr to talk about their instruments.

Let’s play three – Tokyo Police Club have added a December 10 date to their run at The Phoenix in December, making it a three-night residency. As with the other two shows, Born Ruffians and Said The Whale will support. Tickets are $25.

MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Party In The USA”
MP3: Born Ruffians – “Sole Brother”
MP3: Said The Whale – “Camilo (The Magician)”

Pitchfork are on board with Vancouver garage-soul outfit Chains Of Love, offering up the A-side of their new 7″, out December 13, and reporting that the band’s debut EP will be coming in early 2012. They’re at The Horseshoe on Tuesday night, November 8, for a free show. Go. Show appears to have been nixed. Sorry.

MP3: Chains Of Love – “Breaking My Heart”

The Edmonton Journal, Saskatoon Star Phoenix and Calgary Herald interview Dan Mangan.

Paste has a quick video session with Stars.

Toronto post-rockers Old World Vulture have released an MP3 as a teaser for their forthcoming album, due out in early 2012. Hear it live when they play Rancho Relaxo on November 12.

MP3: Old World Vulture – “Trophy Lovers”

Paste declares PS I Love You amongst the best of what’s next.

Sunday, October 30th, 2011


Ryan Adams covers Oasis

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangOasis had more than a few hits back in the day, but if you were to have to pick a signature tune – for all the rock and bombast in their repertoire – you’d probably have to pick their acoustic 1995 single, “Wonderwall”. And yet its been a rather mutable song; never mind the million versions that’ve graced coffee houses and open mics around the world, even Oasis fans would be split between favouring the original (What’s The Story) Morning Glory version with Liam Gallagher on vocals or the Noel-sung version that was frequently performed live.

Ryan Adams has done a pretty good job of making it his own as well. He included it on his 2003 Love Is Hell, Part 1 EP and it became a staple of live sets, both solo and with The Cardinals, for years to come. His reading didn’t differ wildly from the original – mainly a looser, more boozy phrasing and tempo – but it was enough to make it feel his own and influence Noel Gallagher to adjust his own performance style to mirror it, at least for a while. Two live Adams recordings – one in-studio at BBC Radio 1 in 2004 and one at the Telluride Blues Festival in Colorado with The Cardinals circa 2008 – demonstrate his take on the tune and a stream of a Noel Gallagher & Gem Archer performance in a 2005 radio session show how it affected the original.

Ryan Adams released Ashes & Fire earlier this month and will be at the Winter Garden Theatre on December 10. Noel Gallagher has two dates at Massey Hall next week on November 7 and 8 and though his solo debut Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds is ostensibly the reason for the visit, there’s pretty much no way you won’t be hearing the elder Gallagher play this song at the shows. No way at all.

MP3: Ryan Adams – “Wonderwall” (live at BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge, January 15, 2004)
MP3: Ryan Adams – “Wonderwall” (live at Telluride Bluegrass Festival, June 19, 2008)
Video: Oasis – “Wonderwall”
Stream: Noel Gallagher & Gem Archer – “Wonderwall” (Ryan Adams arrangement)

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Back In The Crowd

Tom Waits and other things that have nothing to do with Iceland

Photo By Jesse DylanJesse DylanI promised you I was done with Iceland updates, and really you don’t get more un-Icelandic than Tom Waits. Of course, the only thing Tom Waits is really like is, well, Tom Waits and even then one era of Waits can be wildly different from the next. I say this as someone who’s only very recently begun exploring his expansive catalog and still has a long ways to go – but at least now I find his work intriguing rather than off-putting, as I once did. That’s progress.

I’m definitely glad to be coming around in time for the release of Bad As Me next Tuesday, his first album of all-new material in seven years. It’s available to stream right now at if you’ve got an invite code and at first listen it sounds like a pretty good balance of out-there stompers and barstool laments. It’ll take some time but I can see myself getting into this. And if Waits elects to tour for this record and come to Toronto for the first time in what, at least a decade? Double bonus. I hear his performances are incomparable.

There’s interviews with Waits about the new record at Pitchfork, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and if you want to give Bad Like Me an advance listen, I’ve got five invite codes to hand out. They’re meant for friends but hey – you guys are my friends. Whoever you are. And if none of these codes work for you, I guess you’re too late… or you’re not my friend. Either way.

3vb-rhuym | 3cb-w6v03 | 6ob-gd8lz | l4b-6340m | ozb-p31m4

Stream: Tom Waits – “Back In The Crowd”
Stream: Tom Waits – “Bad As Me”
Stream: Tom Waits / Bad As Me

Rolling Stone is streaming the final R.E.M. single, taken from their forthcoming career-ending best-of Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage 1982-2011, out November 15. For their part, Spin has dug up some video footage of the band playing Neil Young’s Bridge School benefit in 1998.

Stream: R.E.M. – “We All Go Back To Where We Belong”

NPR and CMT talk reunions with The Jayhawks.

NPR solicits a Tiny Desk Concert from Wilco.

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, who caught some ears last year with a swinging soul cover of Wilco’s “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”, will be in Toronto on November 29 for a free show at The Horseshoe – that’s the same night as Kathryn Calder, so that’s double the reason to not stay home that night. Their new album Want More is out Tuesday but available to stream now at Paste.

MP3: JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound – “Everything Will Be Fine”
Video: JC Brooks Uptown Sound – “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”
Stream: JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound / Want More

Stuff talks Galaxie 500 with Dean Wareham.

The AV Club and Edmonton Journal interview Ryan Adams, in town at the Winter Garden Theatre on December 10.

Blurt talks to Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers while The AV Club has one more rooftop performance video to share. They play The Drake Underground on November 8.

Dead Meadow will warm up for their show at Lee’s Palace later that evening with an acoustic in-store at the Annex location of Sonic Boom on October 24 at 4PM. The Pitch has an interview.

MP3: Dead Meadow – “Good Moanin”

Spinner, North County Times and Willamette Week talk to Stephen Malkmus, who has released a new video from Mirror Traffic.

Video: Stephen Malkmus – “Senator”

Matt Berninger of The National puts together a playlist of sad songs for dirty lovers for Rolling Stone.

The Alternate Side has an interview and session with Beirut.

The Georgia Straight profiles The Head & The Heart.

Pitchfork reports that Mazzy Star, after many years of saying they were back together, finally have something to show for it in the form of two new songs entitled “Common Burn” and “Lay Myself Down”, due to be released digitally on October 31.

The Washingtonian and DCist talks to Mary Timony PopMatters to Carrie Brownstein of Wild Flag while NPR has got a stream of last night’s show in Washington DC.

Ume have released a new video from their recently-released album Phantoms.

Video: Ume – “Captive”

CBS gets to know Savoir Adore, who are releasing a new 7″ single. Details can be found at Neon Gold and the A-side can be downloaded below.

MP3: Savoir Adore – “Dreamers”