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Posts Tagged ‘Shearwater’

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Come As You Are

Giving thanks for “Whatever happened to Alternative Nation?”

Photo By Charles PetersenCharles PetersenFell into a long-form musical journalism rabbit hole recently via The AV Club’s “Whatever Happened To Alternative Nation?” 10-part series which actually ran almost three years ago but somehow got back on my radar, probably bubbling up to the surface in the wake of their recent redesign. If you haven’t read it, it covers the years from 1990 to 1999 through the lens of author Steven Hyden’s teen years, beginning with the rise of grunge at the start of the decade through the supremacy of nu-metal and chaos of Woodstock ’99 at the end of the century.

It was of particular interest to me because, though a few years older than Hyden and situated in the suburbs of Toronto rather than Wisconsin, it roughly documents my own journey of musical discovery in high school. Though Nirvana didn’t ultimately end up meaning much to me, I still very clearly remember hearing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the very first time on a friend’s Walkman in the cafeteria in the Fall of 1991 and being impressed that I could hear the string squeaks on the opening riff. And while I would like to pretend that I was into all the ’90s bands then that I love now – your Britpop, shoegaze, college rock, what have you – most of that was discovered retroactively, and that sort of personal revisionist history is addressed in part six; fact is, I was listening to the same now-acknowledged-as-awful radio rock as everyone else – yes I owned Throwing Copper but at least knew even then that Bush was awful – and only discovered or came to appreciate the good stuff after the fact. But better late than never, right?

In any case – it’s a well-written series that covers a lot of what anyone in their 30s lived through with the benefit of hindsight and historical insight, and worth reading if you’ve got some time on your hands and a copies of Siamese Dream and Definitely Maybe handy. Plus it lets me segue into some newsy bits from acts of that era who’re still doing stuff.

Video: Nirvana – “In Bloom”

For anyone who missed it, Tanya Donelly released the fourth volume of her Swan Song Series late last week and the bonus materials are particularly sweet and topical – ten demos of Belly’s debut, Star. And lest you think that’s the end of it, a fifth EP is in the works and I think I read somewhere that it’ll be out around February.

Stream: Tanya Donelly – “Salt”

Stephen Malkmus lists off the music he grew up listening to for The Guardian; his new album with The Jicks – Wig Out At Jagbags – comes out January 7.

Black Francis of Pixies discusses the band’s second act with The Guardian; they kick of their new tour at Massey Hall on January 15.

Seeing as how Andrew Rieger and Laura Carter opened for Jeff Mangum when he was here solo in August 2011, it makes sense that they’d bring the whole band with them when he does the same; Elf Power will open up both sold-out Neutral Milk Hotel shows at The Kool Haus on January 19 and 20. They released their latest album Sunlight On The Moon earlier this year.

Video: Elf Power – “Darkest Wave”

Guided By Voices has settled on a February 18 release date for their new record Motivational Jumpsuit – their fifth since the reunion and presumably the last with the so-called “classic lineup” with now-booted drummer Kevin Fennell. Rolling Stone is streaming the first preview track from the record.

Stream: Guided By Voices – “Littlest League Possible”

Superchunk have released another video from this year’s I Hate Music.

Video: Superchunk – “Void”

The 405 chit-chats with Sebadoh.

Dialing the Wayback Machine a little further, influential ’80s Los Angeles outfit and Paisley Underground pioneers The Dream Syndicate have made a date at The Garrison for February 8, tickets $30 in advance. The Chicago Tribune talks to leader Steve Wynn about the reunion.

Video: The Dream Syndicate – “That’s What You Always Say” (live)

And back to the 21st century, Entertainment Weekly has premiered the new video from Broken Bells’ forthcoming After The Disco, out January 14, and if you’d prefer a studio session version rather than a movie star-featuring version, head over to The Guardian. Broken Bells are at The Danforth Music Hall on March 3.

Video: Broken Bells – “Holding On For Life”

Saddle Creek songstress Maria Taylor has made a date at the Drake Underground for February 9 in support of her latest album Something About Knowing. Tickets for that are $11.50 and examiner.com has an interview with Taylor.

Video: Maria Taylor – “Up All Night”

Boston psych-folk trio Quilt have announced a Winter tour in support of their second album Held in Splendor, which comes out January 28th and from which there’s a video and stream to preview. They’re at The Drake Underground on March 3, tickets $10. Philthy has an interview.

Stream: Quilt – “Tired & Buttered”
Video: Quilt – “Arctic Shark”

Under The Radar gets a track-by-track walkthrough of Shearwater’s new covers album Fellow Travelers. The play The Horseshoe on March 27.

The Hold Steady are crowdfunding a new covers EP via PledgeMusic while they continue to work on a new album, due out in the new year.

Paste checks in with Colin Meloy about matters solo and Decemberist.

Magnet interviews Midlake, this week’s guest editors on their website.

The War On Drugs.

Drowned In Sound has an interview with A Place To Bury Strangers.

Bassist/organist Peter Bauer of The Walkmen tells The Washington Post that their upcoming shows in Washington DC and Philadelphia could be/will be the band’s last. Ever. For serious.

Having covered “Kill The Turkey” on last year’s Thanksgiving episode, it’s not really a surprise that The National would again spend American turkey day with Bob’s Burgers, and lo – Entertainment Weekly has an animated video of the band doing this year’s musical number, a salute to gravy boats. Happy Thanksgiving, America.

Video: The National – “Sailors In Your Mouth”

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Days Are Gone

Because I have places to be, I’ll just leave these Haim tour dates right here

Photo By Bella LieberbergBella LieberbergI will admit that to this point this year, I’ve taken a bit of pride in not having written about Los Angeles sister act Haim; not because I especially dislike them or anything – they’re fine, though I’ll keep my sliced bread, thanks – but my contrarian side reflexively made me resist on account of their quite successfully blowing up on the back of their debut Days Are Gone without any of my help, thank you very much.

But being in a time crunch and wanting to just get these links out the door, I give. They’ve finally announced their debut Toronto show as part of a North American tour in support of said debut and it’s happening May 15 of next year at The Kool Haus, tickets running a reasonable $25. That date, interestingly, is exactly one year less a day from when their original debut Toronto show supporting Vampire Weekend at The Sony Centre was supposed to happen; a date they quietly canceled not long before it was supposed to happen. Presumably they intend to keep this date.

There’s some recent interviews with the trio at Las Vegas Weekly, The Georgia Straight, and The Irish Independent.

Video: Haim – “The Wire”

The Skinny and The AV Club talk to Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater about their new album Fellow Travelers, due out November 28, while The Current has another download from the album available. They’re at The Horseshoe on March 27.

MP3: Shearwater – “A Wake For The Minotaur”

Pitchfork is streaming Beachwood Sparks’ previously unreleased debut album Desert Skies, coming out next week.

MP3: Beachwood Sparks – “Make It Together”
Stream: Beachwood Sparks / Desert Skies

NPR has premiered another new video from Pixies; they’re at Massey Hall on January 15.

Video: Pixies – “What Goes Boom?”

Brooklynite Jordan Lee – who has been making noise figuratively and literally as Mutual Benefit – has announced a North American tour behind his debut Love’s Crushing Diamond and will be at The Drake Underground on January 15, tickets $12. The album is out December 3 and Stereogum has an interview.

Video: Mutual Benefit – “Golden Wake”

Noisey has premiered a stream of the first taste of Ume’s new record – still untitled, but coming out in January of the new year.

Stream: Ume – “Black Stone”

Pitchfork has specifics on the release of Olivia Tremor Control’s John Peel Session from 1997, coming out on vinyl in January.

Tone Deaf, American Songwriter, and Under The Radar chat with The Head & The Heart.

A Heart Is A Spade talks to Cameron Mesirow of Glasser.

A new Solange song has surfaced on Saint Heron, a compilation of acts signed to the younger Knowles’ new label of the same name.

Stream: Solange – “Cash In”

Because they needed to wait for a whole bunch of factors to fall into place – like for music videos and the internet to exist – Bob Dylan has released the first official video – an immersive and interactive clip – for “Like A Rolling Stone”, just in time for its fiftieth anniversary. Rolling Stone talks to Danny Brown about how he ended up involved in its making.

Video: Bob Dylan – “Like A Rolling Stone”

Monday, November 18th, 2013

A Wake For The Minotaur

Shearwater stream, set travels for Fellow Travelers

Photo By James HamiltonJames HamiltonFor some artists, an album of covers would be an afterthought, a stopgap between albums of original work. And that was what Shearwater’s new album Fellow Travelers was supposed to be – a quick and dirty collection of versions of songs by the many bands, big and small, that they’ve toured with over the years.

But as it happens with these things, it became something more – a fully-produced and fascinating expansion of the Shearwater sound, channeled through songs by Folk Implosion, Coldplay, and St. Vincent amongst others, as well as one original composition recorded with Sharon Van Etten, with whom they toured last year; one might wonder why they didn’t cover one of her songs, but let’s be honest – they’re not going to top the Tom Petty cover they collaborated on for The AV Club Undercover last Summer.

Fellow Travelers is out next week, but available to stream now via NPR. Further, they’ve announced that they’ll properly support the record by taking time out from recording their next (original) album for a will be embarking on a North American tour which will bring them to The Horseshoe on March 27 – those tickets are $13.50. And to round out the “we’re taking this one seriously, guys” announcements, they’ve released a video for their Xiu Xiu record from said album.

MP3: Shearwater – “Fucked Up Life”
MP3: Shearwater – “I Luv The Valley Oh!”
Video: Shearwater – “I Luv The Valley OH!”
Stream: Shearwater / Fellow Travelers

PopMatters has a stream of Model Rocket, the new album from Rhode Island’s The Brother Kite which I had an inkling was in the works but had no idea was already out (as of last week). As much as I complain about being carpet-bombed by press releases, I wish someone had told me about this!

Stream: The Brother Kite / Model Rocket

Paste has premiered a new video from Beachwood Sparks’ forthcoming release of their previously unreleased debut album Desert Skies. It’s out November 26 and Los Angeles Magazine finds out how and why their next album is 16 years old.

Video: Beachwood Sparks – “Make It Together”

Rolling Stone reports that The Flaming Lips will be releasing their cover of The Stone Roses’ debut album for Record Store Day: Black Friday edition on November 29.

Spectrum Culture gets Tanya Donelly to reflect on her time in Belly; the next and final (?) instalment in her Swan Song Series should be out in early December.

Pernice-Blake-Belitsky supergroup The New Mendicants – at least a supergroup if you’re a fan of Pernice Brothers, Teenage Fanclub, or The Sadies – will release their debut full-length Into The Lime on January 14.

Manchester Evening News, State, Reuters, and entertainment.ie all interview various Pixies; they’ll be kicking off a new North American tour at Massey Hall in Toronto on January 15.

Rolling Stone reports that Uncle Tupelo’s debut album will be getting a double-disc reissue as No Depression: Legacy Edition on January 28, the bulk of the bonus goods coming in the form of the Not Forever, Just for Now demos bootleg that has been kicking around forever; stream one of the new old tracks below.

Stream: Uncle Tupelo – “I Got Drunk” (demo)

Rolling Stone has premiered a new video from Rilo Kiley, taken from their attic-clearing compilation RKives.

Video: Rilo Kiley – “Emotional”

Interview talks to Cameron Mesirow of Glasser.

NPR welcomes Okkervil River for a World Cafe session.

The Line Of Best Fit has an interview with Widowspeak.

The Cleveland Plains Dealer talks to Chan Marshall of Cat Power.

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

We Looked Like Giants

Death Cab For Cutie celebrate Transatlanticism‘s 10th with naked baby photos

Photo By Peter EllenbyPeter Ellenby2013 marks the tenth anniversary of all kinds of things – the US invasion of Iraq, Lost In Translation, the passing of both Johnny and June Carter Cash – but also the debut of a television show called The O.C. which hand to god I have never watched but know of because it catapulted one of my then-favourite bands in Death Cab For Cutie from bubbling-under buzz band into bona fide (indie-scale) stars. Well their endorsement, plus the momentum of Ben Gibbard’s other project The Postal Service, and also the release of the band’s most beloved album in Transatlanticism. I personally preferred its predecessor The Photo Album, but a generation of indie kids came of age to this record and so its decade anniversary is almost certainly making a lot of people feel really old right now; my world and welcome to it.

In any case, it’s a milestone that merits commemoration and the band’s former and spiritual home of Barsuk Records is doing so with the re-release of the album on double vinyl, after several years out of print, and as a bonus have released the original demos for the record alongside it. The set of song sketches comes as a download with the LP or can be purchased on its own. Both versions of the record are available to stream right now at NPR before being officially released next week on October 29.

Entertainment Weekly and Consequence of Sound have pieces on why the album endures, and if you’re more about living in the now than the past, Billboard reports that they’re back in the studio working on their next record.

MP3: Death Cab For Cutie – “Title and Registration”
Stream: Death Cab For Cutie / Transatlanticism 10th Anniversary Edition

Another tenth anniversary of a much sadder note came to pass this week; the passing of Elliott Smith a decade ago this week. Tributes abound online, but Pitchfork has assembled an impressive oral history of the songwriter’s career.

Spin has an advance stream of Widowspeak’s new EP The Swamps, which sees official release on October 29. They’re in town at The Silver Dollar on November 2.

Stream: Widowspeak / The Swamps

Paste talks to The Head & The Heart, in town for a show at the Danforth Music Hall on October 31.

Matablog has posted a new track from the forthcoming and inevitable deluxe edition of Kurt Vile’s last album Wakin’ On A Pretty Haze: Deluxe Edition (Post Haze), out November 19.

MP3: Kurt Vile – “Feel My Pain”

Tone Deaf chats with James McNew of Yo La Tengo. The deluxe edition of their latest album Fade comes out November 19.

Sub Pop is really emphasizing the “Pop” with the release of a Low/Shearwater split 7″ for Black Friday Record Store Day on November 29; the a-side will feature Low’s already-released Rihanna cover, while the b-side unveils Shearwater’s take on Frank Ocean. Proceeds go to charity, vinyl is limited to 3500 copies, and both tracks will be made available digitally.

Stream: Low – “Stay”

Pixies have released another video from their recent EP-1, which they’re using to justify their show at Massey Hall on January 15.

Video: Pixies – “Andro Queen”

Electronic duo Darkside have released a new video from Psychic; they’re at Lee’s Palace on January 15.

Video: Darkside – “Metatron”

Brooklyn’s Hospitality have announced a January 27 release date for their second album Trouble; check out a trailer for it and check out their 2012 self-titled debut if you don’t know why they’re a good band.

Trailer: Hospitality / Trouble

The reunited Dismemberment Plan continue to be a topic of discussion with MTV Hive, Stereogum, Paste, and The 405, and NYC Taper has posted a recording of their recent Terminal 5 show in New York.

Dean Wareham has released a video from his solo mini-album Emancipated Hearts.

Video: Dean Wareham – “Love Is Colder Than Death”

Jim James has put out another video from his solo record Regions Of Light and Sound Of God.

Video: Jim James – “State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)”

DIY talks to Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal.

Will Sheff of Okkervil River talks to The Guardian.

The Big Takeover and examiner.com interview Charlie Hilton of Blouse.

To celebrate their 20,000th Twitter follower, Superchunk have posted an acoustic version of “Breaking Down”, which appears fully electrified on their latest I Hate Music.

Stream: Superchunk – “Breaking Down” (acoustic)

Aquarium Drunkard interviews the Kadane/Johnson/Bazan-powered beast that is Overseas.

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Golden Arrow

Don’t underestimate the power of the Darkside

Photo By Jed DeMossJed DeMossYou’ll probably hear a lot about how cool Psychic – the debut album from Darkside, project of electronic artist Nicolas Jaar and multi-instrumentalist Dave Harrington – before long, if you haven’t already. Probably about how it moves from baroque classicism to ambient electronica to modern blues to fractured R&B with cinematic pans and wipes, improbably cohesive and unquestionably immersive.

But the coolest thing, by my measure, is how the CD is completely flat black on both sides, even the playing side. You know, the one that’s typically all shiny so as to reflect the laser and which, if you get a fingerprint or heavens forfend a scratch on it, will adversely affect playback. Completely black. No idea how that works. Science, people! Also, yes compact discs are still a thing. And also, yes, I know records are also completely black on both sides. Smart guy.

Darkside have just announced a North American tour for the very start of next year that brings them to Lee’s Palace on January 15; tickets are $25.00 in advance. If you’re not sure of what the live Darkside experience will be like, check out this live video at Resident Advisor and this writeup of a recent London show at DIY. Maybe also grok interviews at Dummy, NPR, New York Times, and Black Book.

MP3: Darkside – “Paper Trails”
MP3: Darkside – “Golden Arrow”

With this week’s release of of Montreal’s latest album Lousy With Sylvianbriar, Rolling Stone and Clash have interviews with Kevin Barnes, Under The Radar gets a track-by-track walkthrough of the record and Aquarium Drunkard has a couple covers recorded in session available to download. Oh, and there’s a new video from the record.

Video: Of Montreal – “Fugitive Air”

With the release this week of their reunion album Uncanney Valley, The Dismemberment Plan is featured in pieces at Consequence Of Sound, Rolling Stone, NPR, Washington City Paper, The Line Of Best Fit, and Spin. They also released a new video from the record but it’s restricted to the US for the time being. If you live there, hit up MTVU. If not, suck it.

Video: The Dismemberment Plan – “Waiting”

MTV Hive interviews The Head & The Heart, whose new record Let’s Be Still dropped this week. They’re here at The Danforth Music Hall on October 31.

Janelle Monáe has released a new Miguel-featuring video for the Miguel-featuring song from The Electric Lady. She plays and almost-certainly non-Miguel-featuring show at The Kool Haus on October 19.

Video: Janelle Monáe – “PrimeTime”

Spin grabbed Widowspeak for a video session during Austin City Limits; they release their new EP The Swamps on October 29 and will be in town at The Silver Dollar on November 2.

Washington DC outfit Deleted Scenes – written about a couple years back – are coming back to town for a show at Sneaky Dee’s on November 7 in advance of a new album coming out in 2014. Exclaim has some specifics and there’s a new song available to stream.

Stream: Deleted Scenes – “Stutter”

Beatroute, Drowned In Sound, Stereogum, and DIY talk to Sleigh Bells. They play The Phoenix on November 13.

The 405 and Yahoo! Australia chat with Lissie; she’s at the Adelaide Music Hall on November 21.

The Quietus has premiered the next preview of Shearwater’s forthcoming covers compilation Fellow Travellers November 25, a song originally by labelmated and former tourmates The Baptist Generals.

MP3: Shearwater – “Fucked Up Life”

The Alternate Side welcomes Okkervil River for an interview and session, while NPR puts them behind their Tiny Desk and gets them to play. The Phoenix New Times and The Austin American-Statesman also have interviews.

The 405 talks to Doug Martsch of Built To Spill.

The Fly and Spin talk to Cameron Mesirow of Glasser.

Pitchfork solicits a list of albums that milestoned her life from Neko Case, while The Minneapolis Star-Tribune and Refinery 29 are happy with regular old interviews.

Paste has a history of the Elephant 6 collective.