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Posts Tagged ‘Sambassadeur’

Friday, March 15th, 2013

What We Done?

Austra album news and giveaway lead weekly wrap-up

Photo By Norman WongNorman WongIncreasingly, Friday posts are for clearing off the decks of whatever hasn’t gone out earlier in the week, but that doesn’t mean the content isn’t quality – this ain’t no fire sale, son. But it also doesn’t mean I’m not giving some stuff away. Because I am.

Earlier this week, Toronto electro-operatic sensation Austra announced details of their second album, to be entitled Olympia and due out June 18. And because they believe in deeds, not words, they also made the first single from the new record available to stream. And if you want to hear more new material – or are now in the mood to hear some Feel It Break material – you’ll probably want to be at The Danforth Music Hall next Saturday night, March 23, for their late-add Canadian Musicfest performance.

Though a limited number of festival wristbands and passes will be admitted, lineups and attendant stresses can be eliminated with advance tickets. Those are going for $24 in advance, but courtesy of Embrace, I’ve got four pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to see Austra” in the subject line and your full name in the body and have that me by midnight, March 20.

Stream: Austra – “Home”

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Alan Sparhawk of Low, who are in town at The Great Hall on Saturday night and release their new record The Invisible Way on Tuesday.

Brett Anderson of Suede chats with DIY. Their new record Bloodsports is out on March 18.

Brightest Young Things has an interview with Philip Ekstrom of The Mary Onettes about their new album Hit The Waves, due out next Tuesday, March 19. Ekstrom also proves game for mini Swede-pop summits, with The Line Of Best Fit having Sambassadeur’s Joachim Läckberg interview Ekstrom and vice-versa – Sambassadeur’s new record is due out later this year – and Q gets his label boss – Johan Angergård of Labrador – to ask him some questions.

Southern Souls has a video session with July Talk, taking part in Canandian Musicfest at Lee’s Palace on March 21.

The National Post has a feature interview with Nick Cave; he leads The Bad Seeds into Massey Hall on March 23.

The Strokes have rolled out the first video from their forthcoming Comedown Machine, out March 26.

Video: The Strokes – “All The Time”

The first video from The House Of Love’s forthcoming She Paints Words In Red – the one that went up last month and was almost immediately pulled – is back up, hopefully for good. The album is out April 1.

Video: The House Of Love – “A Baby Got Back On Its Feet”

In addition to announcing a local tour that includes a free show at the Parkdale Library on April 27, Dusted have made an unreleased track available to download and another rarity available to stream.

MP3: Dusted – “No Trouble”
Stream: Dusted – “In Yr Skull”

Exclaim and MTV Hive have interviews with Rachel Zeffira, coming to town as part of a two-date North American tour on May 2 at The Drake Underground.

MTV Hive talks to Airick Wooded of Doldrums. He’ll be at The Horseshoe on May 11.

I don’t know that a musical from the pens of Stephen King and John Mellencamp is something that I’d necessarily want to know existed, let alone hear, but that the Ghost Brothers of Darkland County soundtrack features performances from the likes of Neko Case and Elvis Costello, I can’t not pay a little attention. The album is out June 4 and a couple tracks are available to stream now. Neko Case is in town at the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 7.

Stream: Neko Case – “That’s Who I Am”
Stream: Elvis Costello – “That’s Me”

The 405 meets Ra Ra Riot, coming back to town on June 8 for Field Trip at Garrison Commons.

Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo compiles a list of his favourite albums for The Quietus. They’ll be at Garrison Commons for TURF on July 7.

The Von Pip Musical Express brings the good news that Nicole Atkins has just about completed her third album, entitled Slow Phaser, and while specific release details are still forthcoming, a first track from it is available to stream.

Stream: Nicole Atkins – “Red Ropes”

The AV Club is running a series of video session musical tributes to various states, and have kicked off in Texas – of course – with Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam offering an unreleased Texas-themed song in the first one and Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg covering Roy Orbison in another.

Also in interesting covers: Joanna Newsom tackling a Sandy Denny song in a performance for a Los Angeles clothing designer; watch the video at Spin and get a little background on the session at Style.com.

Exclaim talks to Mark Perro of The Men.

If you hadn’t heard, School Of Seven Bells guitarist Benjamin Curtis was recently diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. While treatable, they have set up a website through which they are soliciting support and donations to help cover the costs. Help out if you can.

Robyn Hitchcock discusses his new album Love From London with Spinner.

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

If You Still Want Me

Veronica Falls not Waiting to drop second album

Photo via FacebookFacebookEveryone has heard the old saw about bands having “a lifetime to write the first album, a year to write the second”. Similarly, most people can think of an instance or two of “sophomore slump” being more than just a clever bit of alliteration. London’s Veronica Falls seem set on not letting the former be any kind of obstacle and sidestepping the latter entirely. Their self-titled debut came out just over a year ago, but they’ve just announced the follow-up.

Waiting For Something To Happen will be out on February 12 of next year and the first teaser track from it has been made available to stream, and as expected/hoped it’s another slice of deliciously retro, garage-punk-jangle-pop that might sound a bit sunnier with more major key wistfulness than you would have found on the debut, but it’s only one song of thirteen – there’s surely at least some of their trademark darkness still lurking in the corners. Exclaim has the full tracklisting, album art, and other bits and bobs announced about the record.

Stream: Veronica Falls – “Teenage”

A Music Blog, Yea runs some questions by guitarist Paul Rains of Allo Darlin’.

The Joy Formidable have released a new video from their own sophomore effort, Wolf’s Law. It’s out January 23 and they’re at The Sound Academy on November 25 supporting The Gaslight Anthem.

Video: The Joy Formidable – “The Ladder Is Ours”

Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes talks about her experience in the music industry with Exclaim. A new track from The Haunted Man has also been made available to download.

MP3: Bat For Lashes – “Oh Yeah”

MXDWN and Los Angeles Magazine talk to Laura Marling.

NPR welcomes Neil Halstead for a World Cafe session.

Johnny Marr has released a video for the title track from his solo debut The Messenger, due out February 26. Hear that, son? That’s the jangle.

Video: Johnny Marr – “The Messenger”

DIY has some updates on the next album from Primal Scream, targeted for release in Summer of next year.

Atlanta Music Guide has a short interview with Ash; they’re at Lee’s Palace this Saturday night, November 17.

The Fly interviews Trailer Trash Tracys.

One of the tracks from Charli XCX’s new Super Ultra Mixtape has been made available for download, if you prefer things in sub-three minute chunks.

MP3: Charli XCX – “Glow”

Rolling Stone talks to Richard Thompson about his new album Electricity – due out February 5 – and also have a stream of one of the new songs on it.

Stream: Richard Thompson – “Good Things Happen To Bad People”

Blurt reports that Dutch indie-rock veterans Bettie Serveert have targeted a February release for their new album Oh, Mayhem! and released a first video from it. Here’s hoping they take this opportunity to make up that 2010 Toronto show canceled at the eleventh hour due to visa issues.

Video: Bettie Serveert – “Had2Byou”

Sambassadeur have made the flipside of their forthcoming single “Memories”/”Hours Away” available to stream, helping to tide you over until the single is out November 20 and the new album is out sometime next year.

Stream: Sambassadeur – “Hours Away”

Under The Radar talks to Carl and Adam of Shout Out Louds about how work is progressing on their fourth album. They hope to release it near the end of February 2013.

Much Sigur Rós to report; they’ve premiered another video from the Valtari Mystery Film Experient over at Nowness, this one set to four of the songs from Valtari. Maybe it will be one of those screened at The Bloor on December 8. Further, the band have announced another North American tour for next Spring. The band made a total triumph of their last visit to Echo Beach in August, but instead of returning to their former home of Massey Hall for indoor digs, they’ll be setting up at the Air Canada Centre on March 30, albeit in the more-intimate theatre configuration. And lest you worry that arenas in any configuration are acoustic nightmares, know that The National made the same setup sound amazing last December and the magical elves that work sound for Sigur Rós did wonders with Echo Beach’s PA, so I have full confidence that this will sound incredible. Ticket details still forthcoming but public on-sale is this Saturday, so they’ll be available soon. And on top of all that, they will release a new EP to go with the tour on March 22. Hoo-rah.

MP3: Sigur Rós – “Hoppípolla”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Valtari”

Björk has also rolled out a new video from last year’s Biophilia.

Video: Björk – “Mutual Core”

Tame Impala have released a new video from Lonerism; The Chicago Tribune also has an interview.

Video: Tame Impala – “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

To The Beat Of A Dying World

Review of El Perro Del Mar’s Pale Fire

Photo via Memphis IndustriesMemphis IndustriesIt’s been interesting tracking the musical evolution of El Perro Del Mar, the musical project of Sweden’s Sarah Assbring. Her 2006 self-titled debut cast her as the mournful ghost of a ’50s doo-wop girl while the 2008 follow-up From The Valley To The Stars invited fuller arrangements into the mix – even getting jaunty at points – while keeping the sentiments beautifully downcast. 2009’s Love Is Not Pop was took great strides towards feeling more modern, mostly via studio-slick musical arrangements, and while surprisingly short compared to Valley – seven tracks versus its predecessor’s 16 – assuming that that the three dancey remixes appended as bonus tracks to the US edition were just filler would have been a mistake; they were more of a signpost.

In the three years between that release and her fourth album Pale Fire, Assbring seems to have completed the transition from old-school chanteuse to dance diva and also invested in a lot of keyboards in the process. Pale Fire is an unabashedly synthetic record, built on beats and loops and existing in a haze, sounding largely like a remix album of a more conventional work. Assbring’s retro stylings have been wholly subsumed by the dedication to the groove, but her signature sadness is still detectable – it seems the dancefloor isn’t necessarily any less lonely a place than one’s bedroom.

Assbring doesn’t have the sort of voice one would typically associate with dance music – it’s not an especially powerful or sensual instrument – but it’s that dissonance that helps Pale Fire stand out from the current crop of electro-pop, and when when Pale Fire reverts to a more traditional sonic form, as on “I Was A Boy”, the other would-be peers just fall away. Given the number of guises that Assbring has donned over the course of her career, it’d be presumptuous to think that Assbring will dwell in Pale Fire‘s aesthetic for too long, but it does feel like the end of the transformation that she’s been undertaking since Valley; maybe she’ll keep it on for a little while.

Pale Fire is out next week but now streaming in whole over at Hype Machine. A Heart Is A Spade has an interview with Assbring.

MP3: El Perro Del Mar – “Hold Off The Dawn”
Video: El Perro Del Mar – “Walk On By”
Video: El Perro Del Mar – “Innocence Is Sense”
Stream: El Perro Del Mar / Pale Fire

Interview talks to Joachim Läckberg of Sambassadeur, who may be releasing a new single in “Memories” in a few weeks but aren’t looking to put out their next album until late next year. Teases.

The Line Of Best Fit note that Icona Pop’s self-titled debut will be released in their native Sweden as soon as next week, November 14. A worldwide release will follow next year. They open up for Marina & The Diamonds at The Kool Haus on December 1.

Those who’ve been following along with Sigur Rós’ Valtari Mystery Film Experient and wish they could see the works on a bigger screen may be interested to know that a goodly number of the films – at least 17 – are being compiled and taken on the road for some worldwide screenings over the course of a weekend in December. Toronto gets ours on December 8 at The Bloor.

And if that’s not enough Scandi-music film action for you, 4AD has released some details on The Ghost Of Piramida, a film that documents Efterklang’s visit to the abandoned Russian town of Piramida, from which their latest album drew inspiration and its name.

Foals have confirmed the February 12 release of their next record Holy Fire with the release of the first video from the record.

Video: Foals – “Inhaler”

Pitchfork has more specifics on the solo debut from Johnny Marr; The Messenger will be out on February 26 of next year.

Justin Young of The Vaccines offers an interview to Drowned In Sound. They play The Phoenix on February 4.

The 405 meets Field Music.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Beth Orton.

Mumford & Sons enlisted Stringer Bell – that’s actor Idris Elba, for non-Wire watchers – to star in the new video from Babel.

Video: Mumford & Sons – “Lover Of The Night”

The Quietus talks to Neil Halstead about all things Slowdive, Mojave 3, and Neil Halstead. Denver Westword also has an interview.

Drowned In Sound makes a case for the importance of Manic Street Preachers’ debut Generation Terrorists, turning 20 and out in deluxe reissue form now.

The National Post and eMusic talk to Bernard Sumner and Gillian Gilbert of New Order, respectively.

The Irish Times, Burton Mail, Gigwise, and The Edinburgh Evening News talk to David Gedge of The Wedding Present.

Clash and Exclaim have features on Tame Impala, in town at The Phoenix on November 12.

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Candles

Daughter, Choir Of Young Believers, and Little Green Cars at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI guess I should blame Letterman. When it was announced that English trio Daughter were doing a short North American tour around their CMJ appearance, I was quite excited as I figured with their full-length debut not due out until the new year, and only a couple of low profile EPs in The Wild Youth and His Young Heart to their name, their Monday night showcase at The Drake would be a intimate, even secret, occasion for those of us in the know. After all – what’s the point of going all the way to Texas to be wowed by them at SXSW if not to be able to be ahead of the curve if just by one show? But then Letterman goes off and has them on The Late Show a couple weeks ago and then, all of a sudden, the show is not only sold out but people are being told very explicitly that there are no more tickets, anywhere, so stop asking. Somehow my little low-key performance has become the hot ticket in town.

Not that it was necessarily all thanks to Daughter. The bill featured two other acts from abroad, both with their own momentum coming out of CMJ, and both also making their Toronto/Canadian debuts. Dublin’s Little Green Cars curiously don’t have much of an online footprint, despite having signed to Glassnote (their debut is out early next year) and having been on tour across America for the last few weeks; this show was their last in the New World – and the first where they were legally allowed to drink, all being of the tender ago of 20 – so it was reasonable to expect they’d make it a good one. And maybe a drunk one. Coming out a cute pre-show, side-stage huddle, they went not for their instruments but straight to their mics to open with an impressive a capella number showcasing their five-part harmonies. Now the more cynical might say that we’re all full up with boisterously earnest folk-rock bands from the British Isles, thanks very much – and they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong – but Little Green Cars won’t be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Their roots show, no doubt, but there’s also enough ’50s-vintage rock’n’roll, gospel soul, and jangle-pop in the mix to make it stand out without becoming pastiche. Their sound hasn’t fully cohered yet, but as mentioned they’re crazy young. It’ll get there.

Copenhagen’s Choir Of Young Believers were talked about hereabouts last week, and having spent a moderate amount of time with their latest Rhine Gold, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. A precise idea, as it turned out, as the five-piece lineup did a pretty remarkable job of recreating the tones and textures of the album almost note-perfectly – and only almost because the cello was way low in the mix and the keys up, leaving the sonic balance tilted in favour of their New Wave tendencies, and Jannis Noya Makrigiannis took some more extended and free-form guitar excursions. It sounded quite good – the sadness and yearning of the material was more keenly felt live – but I didn’t detect it quite connecting with the audience, who responded more politely than passionately. If they’d gotten the crowd fully behind them, I suspect it could have felt epic but as it was, it was just alright.

It was genuine excitement that rippled through the packed Drake Underground by the time Daughter came out to set up for their set. They may not have had the personnel numbers of the preceding acts, but they did have some impressively complex pedalboards to help balance that out. You wouldn’t think so much technology would be needed for their dark folk-pop, but as with all aspects of the band, still waters run deep. Daughter may have initially been a pseudonym for frontwoman Elena Tonra, but it’s impossible to imagine how they’d sound without Igor Haefeli’s intricately layers of guitar atmosphere or Remi Aguilella’s spare but creatively treated drums and percussion.

And yet, it still all comes down to Tonra. Demure and hiding under her fringe, a shy girl with a sly smile, she seemed flustered by the attention yet her songs – elegant and reserved on the surface, yet clearly roiling just underneath with regrets, confessions, and accusations – are not the work of someone who prefers to stay silent or play things close to the vest. I was wholly impressed with the first impressions back in March, but having had time to get to know the songs and then see them performed, it took things to another level. Tonra did an exceptional job of tempering the intensity with charm, modestly introducing a solo reading of “The Woods” by saying that if it didn’t go well, to pretend it didn’t happen and then of course absolutely destroying it, and at the set’s close, thanking everyone for letting them in the building. The correct response, of course, was to thank her for letting us into her songs.

Photos: Daughter, Choir Of Young Believers, Little Green Cars @ The Drake Underground – October 22, 2012
MP3: Daughter – “Love”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Sedated”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Patricia’s Thirst”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Nye Nummber Et”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Paint New Horrors”
MP3: Little Green Cars – “It’s A Long Way To Tipperary”
Stream: Daughter – “Run”
Stream: Daughter – “Smother”
Video: Little Green Cars – “The John Wayne”

Dazed, Pitchfork, Planet Notion, eMusic, Interview, and Consequence Of Sound all want to talk to Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan with the release of her third album The Haunted Man. She also goes through the album track-by-track in a video piece for Billboard.

Ábrete De Orejas interviews David Gedge of The Wedding Present, and if you thought that this year’s Seamonsters recitals mean that it was time for Watusi to take centre stage… nope. They’ve announced a handful of 2013 dates in the US and will be playing George Best and their Hit Parade A-sides. Those of us waiting for the return of Cinerama material will have to keep waiting.

NPR has a KCRW session with Hot Chip.

DIY reports that Foals have given their third album, due out next year, a name – Holy Fire.

A Music Blog, Yea? has some questions for The Twilight Sad, in town at The Horseshoe on November 18.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Ritzy Bryan of The Joy Formidable, whose new album Wolf’s Law comes out January 23. They play The Sound Academy on November 25 supporting The Gaslight Anthem.

Hayden Thorpe of Wild Beasts talks to The New Statesman about starting work on their new album.

Fab talks to Patrick Wolf.

Loud & Quiet have got a full, marvelously-shot and sounding Horrors show from their hometown of Southend-on-Sea available to watch.

State gets to know Clock Opera, who perform a video session for They Shoot Music and have released a new video from their album Ways To Forget.

Video: Clock Opera – “The Lost Buoys”

Beth Orton lists off some of her favourite albums for The Quietus.

The Village Voice and NOW have features on The xx.

Interview and Billboard talk to Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner of New Order, while The Quietus talks to Peter Hook – formerly of New Order. Do you think the subject of one another comes up? Noew Order plays the second of two nights at The Sony Centre tonight.

Clash asks Guy Garvey of Elbow what he’d do with the last day of his life.

The Daily Mail offers an update on David Bowie’s ongoing retirement. And that is he’s still retired.

That Marina & The Diamonds/Icona Pop show originally scheduled for December 3 at The Phoenix has been moved to The Kool Haus. Adjust your bus schedules accordingly.

The Capilano Courier talks to Søen Løkke Juul of Indians; their debut Somewhere Else is out January 29 and they’re at The Horseshoe on November 23 supporting Other Lives.

The Raveonettes have released a new video from Observator. Stereogum has some thoughts from directors about the clip.

Video: The Raveonettes – “Curse The Night”

The Alternate Side has a session with The Tallest Man On Earth.

The Fader has a video session with Jens Lekman recorded in a New York bakery.

Sambassadeur is teasing a new album due out in 2013 with a new limited edition 7″ out on November 20.

MP3: Sambassadeur – “Memories”

Sigur Rós have rolled out a couple more videos from their Valtari “Mystery Film Experiment”.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Fjögur píanó”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varðeldur”

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Forward Is All

Review of Sambassadeur’s European

Photo By Kjeli B PerssonKjeli B PerssonWhile it’s factually correct for Sambassadeur to have named their latest album European, it’s also a bit redundant. For from the moment album opener “Stranded”‘s power ballad piano intro segues into the sprightly orchestrally-inclined power pop verse, there’s no questioning what side of the Atlantic this record was crafted on. Or even which country.

There is something about Sambassadeur that is so very Swedish, beyond the obvious reference point of singer Anna Persson’s accent and precise, ever-so-slightly forlorn delivery. There’s the way the songs manage to be so richly appointed without becoming overburdened or overthought and they’re so wonderfully efficient in how they deliver their many irresistible hooks without ever feeling rushed. And while each song stands in pop splendour on their own, strung together they make European a delightful listening experience from start to end, a journey that lasts not even 34 minutes but easily justifies many round trips.

I had thought that Sambassadeur had reached their apex with 2007’s Migration, but clearly I underestimated them. This would normally be the part of the review where I’d say something along the lines of “I can’t wait to hear what they do next”, but I actually can because I’m perfectly happy to just keep spinning European for the foreseeable future. It’s a gem.

MP3: Sambassadeur – “Days”
MP3: Sambassadeur – “Stranded”
Video: Sambassadeur – “I Can Try”
MySpace: Sambassadeur

Spin are offering for download an unreleased track from jj, recorded circa their album jj No 2. That’s the one that got everyone excited about them, not to be confused with jj No 3, which got everyone indifferent to them. It will be getting a reissue on August 3.

MP3: jj – “Baby”
MP3: jj – “Ecstasy”

NPR has posted a World Cafe session with Shout Out Louds.

The Bellingham Herald interviews Norway’s Casiokids, who have set a date at Supermarket for August 27 in support of Topp Stemning Pa Lokal Bar.

MP3: Casiokids – “Fot i hose”
MP3: Casiokids – “Finn bikkjen!”

Serena-Maneesh return to Toronto in support of S-M 2: Abyss In B Minor with a date at The Garrison on October 1, part of a co-headline tour with Wovenhand.

MP3: Serena Maneesh – “I Just Want To See Your Face”
MP3: Serena-Maneesh – “Ayisha Abyss”

Last week, PitchforkTV ran a Cemetery Gates video session series with Jonsi and altsounds an interview.

PitchforkTV is streaming the Vincent Moon-directed Mogwai feature Adelia: I Want To Love. Their new concert film/album Burning/Special Moves is out August 24 and there’ll be a screening of the film on September 14 at the Drake Underground.

Video: Adelia: I Want To Love

Interview talks to Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys.

The Pipettes have rolled out a new video from their just-released new album Earth Vs. the Pipettes

Video: The Pipettes – “Call Me”

The Fly serves up a courtyard video session with Johnny Flynn.

If you thought the July 19 show at the Horseshoe with We Are Scientists was undersized, it’s even moreso now that Lightspeed Champion has been announced as support. He’s got a number of North American dates in support of this year’s Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You.

Video: Lightspeed Champion – “Madame Van Damme”

Spinner continues to get mileage out af an interview with The Joy Formidable. And I continue to enable them.

Chart and Exclaim chat with Kele. He plays the Mod Club solo on July 27.

Mumford & Sons tell BBC they might try something different with album number two.

Beth Orton’s August 12 show at the Mod Club has been cancelled.