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Posts Tagged ‘Shugo Tokumaru’

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Only The Wind

Ólafur Arnalds offers taste of Winter, perhaps unaware that Mother Nature has that covered

Photo By Marino ThorlaciusMarino ThorlaciusI didn’t actually bring back a lot of souvenirs from my trip to Iceland in Fall 2011; a super-warm Kaldi hat (which has served me quite well this Winter), a package of Cronions (though I should have brought back a case), a whackload of photos (ponies!), my first car accident (cars on the inside lane of their roundabouts have the right of way, fyi), and a deep appreciation for the music of Ólafur Arnalds.

I didn’t even catch the entirety of his set at Iceland Airwaves, but what I did see from the 25-year old electronic/classical composer – he on piano and laptop, leading a string quartet and accompanied by elegant animated birds – left a deep impression. I immediately got a copy of his 2010 album …And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness – still one of my go-to escapist records, not least of all because it transports me back to Reykjavik, and have been eagerly awaiting the follow-up ever since.

That album is For Now I Am Winter and after offering the first preview track a few weeks ago, he’s now made a second track available to both listen to and play with, as it’s streaming as an interactive web application on his website that allows you to play with the mix in real time, turning channels on and off as you like. Obviously it sounds best as a fully-realized composition, but being able to isolate and analyze the finer details of his work also offers insights into the work. Both advance tracks represent a pretty familiar aspect of Arnalds’ work, but Winter should offer more than a few surprises as well – in addition to enlisting American composer Nico Muhly to assist on the orchestrations, Arnór Dan of Icelandic band Agent Fresco also contributes vocals – yes, vocals – to three tracks. For Now I Am Winter is out February 25 in Europe and April 2 in North America.

Stream: Ólafur Arnalds – “Only The Wind”
Stream: Ólafur Arnalds – “This Place Was A Shelter”

Sweden’s Deer Tracks will release their new album The Archer Trilogy, Pt. 3 tomorrow and are streaming the whole thing right now at Rdio. Yeah, you have to sign up for their streaming service but my understanding is that a) it’s great, and b) it’s free – at least for now and for Canadians; Americans I’m sure can find a similar deal. The Deer Tracks are here at The Silver Dollar on February 28.

MP3: The Deer Tracks – “W”
Stream: The Deer Tracks / The Archer Trilogy, Pt. 3

The Line Of Best Fit has debuted a stream of another track from the new Shout Out Louds record Optica, due out February 26. They play The Opera House on May 14.

Stream: Shout Out Louds – “Illusions”

Spin has an interview with German electro-gaze auteur Ulrich Schnauss, as well as a stream of his new album A Long Way To Fall, out tomorrow.

Stream: Ulrich Schnauss / A Long Way To Fall

Weird World Record Co has posted a stream of a new/old song from Melody’s Echo Chamber, the original version of the song that would be transmogrified into “IsThatWhatYouSaid” on last year’s self-titled debut.

Stream: Melody’s Echo Chamber – “Je Me Perds de Vue”

Clash talks to Veronica Falls about their new record Waiting For Something To Happen, out tomorrow. They play The Garrison on March 12.

Foals guitarist Jimmy Smith talks to Consequence Of Sound and frontman Yannis Philippakis to The Fly about their new record Holy Fire, in stores tomorrow.

James Blake has offered some context to the Spring tour that brings him to the Danforth Music Hall on May 4; Under The Radar reports his new album Overgrown will be out April 8 and the first video from it surfaced this weekend.

Video: James Blake – “Retrograde”

Hat tip to Gorilla Vs Bear for pointing out the HD video of Jessie Ware’s radio session for KCRW. She’s in town at The Opera House on April 6.

State has an interview with Frightened Rabbit, who also offer up a video session to The Line Of Best Fit. They’re at The Phoenix on March 31.

Magnet interviews The Joy Formidable for the position of guest editor of their website for this week. They play The Phoenix April 12.

DIY has details on the debut album from Ireland’s Little Green Cars. Absolute Zero will be out on May 13, which means they won’t have copies for sale when they play The Drake on March 28. The first video from it is also geoblocked in Canada/North America because sometimes people are awful.

Video: Little Green Cars – “Harper Lee”

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are streaming their new record Push The Sky Away at The Guardian ahead of its official release on February 19. They’ve also released a new video starring Ray Winstone and various seedy goings-on. Nick Cave and company are at Massey Hall on March 23.

Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Jubilee Street”
Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / Push The Sky Away

The Line Of Best Fit has an interview with Shugo Tokumaru.

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Full Of Fire

Video dispatches from Scandinavia and beyond, featuring The Knife

Photo By Alexa VachonAlexa VachonPresently trying to work out this year’s vacation schedule, which if all goes according to plan will feature a return engagement to Reykjavik and Stockholm in late Summer. Which has everything and nothing to do with why I’m clearing out a number of Scandinavian-sourced videos released to the internet over the last week or so.

Beginning with the nine-minute short film that doubles as the first taste of The Knife’s new album Shaking The Habitual. I missed out the sibling duo of Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer circa their 2006 debut breakout effort Silent Shout – not out of ignorance, but out of fear; their creepy electronica scared me, I admit it – but have gotten over that right about in time for the April 9 release o the follow-up. And it’s just as well, because it certainly doesn’t seem like they’ve gotten any less weird or unsettling in the interim. Pitchfork has details on the new record, which is a 98-minute epic that will probably be the best-selling triple-LP since Joanna Newsom’s Have One On Me. Which wasn’t scary at all, unless harps scare you.

Video: The Knife – “Full Of Fire”

Of Monsters & Men have released another video from last year’s – or 2011’s, if you’re being pedantic – breakout debut My Head Is An Animal.

Video: Of Monsters & Men – “King and Lionheart”

Clash has a feature interview with Søen Løkke Juul of Indians, who has released a first video from his debut album Somewhere Else, officially out this week. He and his band are at The Drake Underground on March 4.

Video: Indians – “I Am Haunted”

Also out of Copenhagen – but at the other end of the musical spectrum – are Iceage, who have put out a clip from their next album You’re Nothing, in stores February 19.

Video: Iceage – “Ecstasy”

The National Post, U-T San Diego, and Seattle Weekly have interviews with Swedish electro-pop duo Niki & The Dove.

PopMatters talks to Sarah Assbring of El Perro Del Mar.

Pitchfork sums up the salient points from Sigur Rós’ Reddit AMA last week: namely that keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson’s temporary hiatus from the band is now permanent, leaving them officially a trio, and a new “aggressive” album that’ll basically be the polar opposite of last year’s ethereal Valtari will be out later this year. They play The Air Canada Centre on March 30.

Over to the UK, Daughter have released the first video from their forthcoming debut If You Leave, out March 18 in Europe and April 30 in North America. They play The Great Hall on May 7.

Video: Daughter – “Still”

Stereogum has premiered a new video by London’s The History Of Apple Pie, taken from their just-released debut Out Of View.

Video: The History Of Apple Pie – “See You”

Pitchfork is streaming Veronica Falls’ new album Waiting For Something To Happen, out February 12. They play The Garrison on March 12.

MP3: Veronica Falls – “Teenage”
Stream: Veronica Falls / Waiting For Something To Happen

Spinner interviews Foals. Their new record Holy Fire is out February 12.

Peter Hook rebuts and escalates the war of words with his former bandmates in New Order via interviews in Billboard and MTV Hive.

Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit talks to The Skinny and Drowned In Sound about their new one Pedestrian Verse, out Tuesday, and also gives the former a track-by-track walkthrough of the new record. They play The Phoenix March 31.

If you thought it weird that Billy Bragg’s previously-announced North American tour dates in support of his new record Tooth & Nail, out March 18, skipped over Toronto then you were right. It was weird. And now it’s rectified. He’ll be at The Danforth Music Hall on May 4, tickets $32.50 to $37.50. And a song from the new record is available to stream or download via his website in exchange for an email.

Stream: Billy Bragg – “Handyman Blues”

Noah & The Whale have announced a May 6 release date for their new record Heart Of Nowhere.

Billboard interviews Charli XCX, who predicts an April or May release for her debut album – just in time for her May 23 appearance at The Sound Academy supporting Marina & The Diamonds.

And back to videos, though far from Scandinavia, Tame Impala have a new clip from Lonerism. Head to Urban Outfitters for notes from the video’s director and aux.tv for an interview with bandleader Kevin Parker.

Video: Tame Impala – “Mind Mischief”

Shugo Tokumaru has gone stop-motion animation for the new video from In Focus?.

Video: Shugo Tokumaru – “Katachi”

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Decorate

Get the weekend In Focus? with Shugo Tokumaru

Photo via FacebookFacebookI don’t know what you’ve got planned this weekend – me, I’m going to go buy a curtain rod – but if you think you’ll require a ray of musical sunshine to brighten up the proceedings or, conversely, need a soundtrack to an itinerary full up to the gills with fun, you could do far worse than to fire up the advance stream of Shugo Tokumaru’s new record In Focus?, available to stream now at Under The Radar.

It’s the Japanese composer and multi-instrumentalist’s fifth album, and like its predecessors its overflowing with creative instrumentation, chock full of mesmerizingly intricate pop compositions, and imbued with a childlike whimsy designed to beguile and delight. Its melodicism transcends any language barrier, and really – do you know how to say, “la la la” in Japanese? It’s “la la la”.

MP3: Shugo Tokumaru – “Decorate”
Video: Shugo Tokumaru – “Decorate”
Stream: Shugo Tokumaru / In Focus?

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds have made a second track from their forthcoming Push The Sky Away available to preview by way of a lyric video. The album is out February 19 and they play Massey Hall on March 23.

Lyric Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Jubilee Street”

Aquarium Drunkard has posted a session with Melody’s Echo Chamber that you can download for your listening pleasure, perhaps while you read this interview with Melody Prochet at Tonedeaf.

The 405 reports that Phoenix are getting ready to release the follow-up to 2009’s absurdly successful Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, and the record will be called Bankrupt!. Which the band hopefully are not.

Pitchfork checks in with Denmark’s Iceage about their forthcoming album You’re Nothing, due out February 19.

Under The Radar talks to Maria Lindén of I Break Horses about the highs and lows of her 2012, the latter of which included having to cancel their Fall North American tour due to lack of funds. On the plus side, they’re recording a new record this year and will hopefully be making up those aborted dates with new material to play.

The Deer Tracks are ready to mark the February 12 release of The Archer Trilogy Pt. 3 properly – which is to say with a North American tour that includes a February 28 date at The Silver Dollar. They were incredible at NXNE 2012 so you can be sure expectations are high for this show. They’ve also released the first video from the new album, premiering it along with the full routing of their Spring trek at All Things Go. Do catch them if it’s at all possible, and if you happen to make it over to their hometown of Gävle, Sweden, use this handy guide of bands to see they provided to CMJ.

MP3: The Deer Tracks – “W”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Lazarus”

CBC Music talked to Gustaf Karlöf of Niki & The Dove ahead of their Canadian shows earlier this week.

The Line Of Best Fit has premiered the second video from the new Shout Out Louds album Optica, in stores February 26. They’re in town at The Opera House on May 14.

Video: Shout Out Louds – “Walking In Your Footsteps”

Junip have streamed the first track from their new self-titled album, due out April 23.

Stream: Junip – “Line Of Fire”

Ólafur Arnalds has premiered a sample from his next album For Now I Am Winter over at Drowned In Sound. The album is out February 25.

Stream: Ólafur Arnalds – “This Place Was A Shelter”

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

I Follow You

Review of Melody’s Echo Chamber’s Melody’s Echo Chamber

Photo By Diane SagnierDiane SagnierTame Impala’s second album Lonerism topped more than a few 2012 year-end lists, and while it doesn’t do much for me – despite on paper being exactly the sort of thing I should like – if you were to say that Kevin Parker was behind one of the year’s finest psychedelic pop records, I would be inclined to agree with you. Except that I would be talking about Melody’s Echo Chamber.

Describing Melody’s Echo Chamber as the sound of Broadcast’s first album being played at volume in a Parisian apartment with the reverberations captured by a vintage ’60s microphone and run through Kevin Parker’s pedalboard might sound like hyperbolic metaphor, but it could also be a literal account of how the record was made. With words – a combination of French, English, and a made-up language called “Melodese” – voice – a combination of sweet girlishness and continental sophistication – and songs provided by Parisian Melody Prochet, both Prochet and Parker contributing instrumentation, and Parker assuming production and mixing roles, the record is a shining, staticy, psychedelic swirl that sounds indelibly retro yet thoroughly modern at the same time.

Those who’ve found love in Lonerism‘s otherworldly textures should find Melody’s Echo Chamber a worthy companion piece and those who found Parker’s opus unsatisfying – that’s my hand in the air, there – shouldn’t discount it as more of the same because it’s different enough to stand on its own, and Prochet’s voice should be able to convince even the most skeptical. I’m sorry I missed her live Toronto debut last Fall when they opened up for The Raveonettes, but am hopeful that they’ll be here again this year – perhaps opening up for Tame Impala’s Spring tour? It would just kind of make sense.

Drowned In Sound, The Line Of Best Fit and Under The Radar both have extensive feature pieces on Prochet and the creative process behind Melody’s Echo Chamber. Bowlegs also has an interview.

Stream: Melody’s Echo Chamber – “Crystallized”
Video: Melody’s Echo Chamber – “You Won’t Be Missing That Part Of Me”
Video: Melody’s Echo Chamber – “I Follow You”

The first video from the new Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album Push The Sky Away, out February 19. Know what’s odd? I still can’t figure out who’s releasing this in North America. I do know that they’re at Massey Hall on March 23, though, so there’s that.

Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “We No Who U R”

A new song from Shugo Tokumaru’s new album In Focus? is available to stream. It’s out February 22.

Stream: Shugo Tokumaru – “Katachi”

A new track from the forthcoming Shout Out Louds album Optica has debuted to stream over at The Line Of Best Fit. The album is out February 26 and they play The Opera House on May 14.

Stream: Shout Out Louds – “Walking In Your Footsteps”

What happens when you give Jens Lekman’s keyboard player a ride from New York to Boston post-Hurricane Sandy so he can catch up with the rest of the band on tour? He writes you a song. And shares it with the world. Congratulations, Olivia and Maddy, you have eleven minutes and eighteen seconds of fame left.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “Olivia & Maddy”

Wears The Trousers and MXDWN talk to Victoria Bergsman of Taken By Trees.

The Village Voice interviews Malin Dahlström of Niki & The Dove; they’re in town at Wrongbar on January 16.

NPR is streaming the whole of Somewhere Else, the debut from Denmark’s Søen Løkke Juul as Indians. The album is out January 29 and they play The Drake on March 4.

MP3: Indians – “Cakelakers”
Stream: Indians / Somewhere Else

Iceage have offered a song from their new album You’re Nothing, out on February 19. They also announced a North American tour but while there’s no Toronto date at the moment, that four-day gap between Pittsburgh and Vermont is a bit conspicuous. Just saying.

MP3: Iceage – “Coalition”

Filter interviews Björk.

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Dragon Vs Dust

Review of The Megaphonic Thrift’s Decay Decoy

Photo By Magne SandnesMagne SandnesOriginality is an important trait, no question about that, but sometimes slavish imitation can be alright too, particularly when it explores a sound or style that’s not already been strip-mined to death and is done well. And so it is that Norway’s Megaphonic Thrift get a pass for their debut album Decay Decoy, released in Norway last Spring and due out in North America on March 8.

When I saw the band at SxSW 2010, their ’90s alt.guitar rock influences, in particular Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr, were clearly audible even through the massive wall of sound and feedback. Despite the obviousness of what they did, I appreciated that they were able to effectively channel the melodicism of their forebears as well as their penchant for instrument abuse – often acts are so intent on the latter, they lose sight of the former.

If there’s any surprise about Decay Decoy, it’s how clean-sounding it is. Any shoegazing references that their live show might have encouraged must be put away when you hear just how much clarity and separation there is in the recording. Guitars still rage and shriek, but they don’t spill all over everything else and leave the bass, drums and vocals refreshingly unobscured. And with frontman Richard Mykleburst so high in the mix, one thing becomes very clear – this band loves Sonic Youth, specifically early DGC-era Sonic Youth, when they were at their poppiest. His voice is tighter and less drawl-y than Thurston Moore’s and bassist Linn Frokedal’s singing is far more polished than Kim Gordon’s ever was, but the dynamic between the two has more than a few echoes of alt.rock’s first couple – I’m guessing that’s not by accident. Nor did it just happen that “Candy Sin” sounds like a cover of “Silver Rocket” changed just enough to not involve the lawyers…

Understand that none of this is calling the band out or even criticizing them – they’re clearly comfortable broadcasting their influences and the thrill they’re getting out of making music like that which they love is obvious in the enthusiasm with which it’s done. Originality is good, but it really all comes down to the tunes and those, The Megaphonic Thrift have.

Subba-Cultcha has an interview with the band and Filter are sharing a track from the record.

MP3: The Megaphonic Thrift – “Candy Sin”
Video: The Megaphonic Thrift – “Acid Blues”

Rawkblog and QRO have interviews with The Radio Dept. while Oregon Music News at least tries to. The band are indeed returning for a show at The Horseshoe on May 29.

Radiohead have decided that working for the weekend isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and rather than release their new album The King Of Limbs tomorrow, as originally promised, they’ve turned on the download link for those who pre-ordered it as of right now. And they’ve released a new video. So those of you who were hoping to not have their Twitter/Facebook/RSS feeds turn into all Radiohead, all the time until tomorrow… sorry.

Video: Radiohead – “Lotus Flower”

eMusic has an interview with PJ Harvey, while The AV Club offers some suggestions on where to start for newcomers to her wildly varied career.

Ellie Goulding’s March 27 Canadian debut has been moved from The Great Hall to The Phoenix.

NPR talks to Adele, who follows the release of 21 next week with a show at The Kool Haus on May 18.

NME reports that The Horrors will be out with a new record in July of this year.

Sloucher talks to Esben & The Witch, who have a date at Wrongbar on March 11.

Spinner has an interview with Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite while Drowned In Sound has a couple pieces from Barry Burns. They have a date at The Phoenix on April 26.

Graham Coxon tells NME that while Blur are indeed playing together and recording stuff, fans shouldn’t expect anything to be released anytime soon.

Shugo Tokumaru’s Port Entropy – released this week and reviewed a few weeks ago – is now streaming in whole at Spinner.

Stream: Shugo Tokumaru / Port Entropy

Spin finds out where An Horse got their name. Their new record Walls is out April 26.