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Posts Tagged ‘Sky Larkin’

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Frozen Atmosphere

‘Tis the season for TOY(s), and streams thereof

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickOkay, since it’s now December I can grudgingly accept that it’s the holiday season and, helping that mental shift along are London’s TOY. I had thought it odd that the band, who built up a good bit of attention with last year’s self-titled debut and its mandate of filling deep, Kraut-y grooves with space-psych songcraft, had opted to release their second album Join The Dots on the exceedingly late date of December 9. Most music writers are in full retrospective mode by this point in the year and incapable of processing anything new, and it effectively eliminated them from any year-end list consideration.

But it’s entirely possible the band doesn’t care, and just want to get the record out into the world. Which is great for those who’ve been waiting to hear it, but I do hope it doesn’t end up getting lost in the shuffle because after a few initial listens, it certainly feels a lot better than their first one. The debut had a lot of pieces I liked but didn’t put them together in an engrossing-enough fashion to win me over the way it did many, but this one is bigger, deeper, broader, and just does it.

But don’t take my word for it – The Guardian has an advance stream of the record before it comes out next week, and their North American tour announced last week will bring them to Toronto for a show at The Horseshoe on January 14.

Stream: TOY / Join The Dots

Kate Nash has a new Christmas EP out called Have Faith This Christmas and is streaming one of the tracks from it to get you in the holiday spirit.

Stream: Kate Nash – “Faith”

Rolling Stone talks to Matt Bellamy of Muse about making the Live At Rome Olympic Stadium DVD/CD set coming out this week.

Video: Muse – “Madness” (live at Rome Olympic Stadium)

Spin has premiered a new video from Lanterns On The Lake’s second album Until The Colours Run, which gets a North American release on January 14 and brings them to The Drake Underground on February 1.

Video: Lanterns On The Lake – “Buffalo Days”

Yuck takes Clash through their second album Glow and Behold, track-by-track. They’re in town at The Garrison on January 17.

Noisey have premiered the new video and second sample of Mogwai’s forthcoming Rave Tapes. It’s out January 21 and they’ll be on tour for it at The Danforth Music Hall on May 13.

Video: Mogwai – “The Lord Is Out Of Control”

Paste gets to know Temples, whose debut Sun Structures is out February 11.

NME has details on the new album from Band Of Skulls, entitled Himalayan and due out March 31. They’ve just released a first video from the record.

Video: Band Of Skulls – “Asleep At The Wheel”

Brighton duo Blood Red Shoes are currently working on a new record – which Live4Ever reports will be self-titled and out in March – but have taken the time to stream a new song for their fans via their website.

Stream: Blood Red Shoes – “The Perfect Mess”

The Guardian profiles one of 2013’s new band success stories, London Grammar. They’re at The Phoenix on April 7.

Stereogum have got the new video from Primal Scream’s latest album More Light.

Video: Primal Scream – “Goodbye Johnny”

The Guardian gets to know Charli XCX.

Everything Is Chemical has an interview with Black Hearted Brother, and gets Neil Halstead to pin the chances of a Slowdive reunion at a qualified “improbable”.

TYCI talks to Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin.

And finally, a moment for Andrew Youssef, Los Angeles-based music photographer for Stereogum and OC Weekly, who succumbed to colon cancer this weekend. He documented his fight in the “Last Shot” column at OC Weekly, and it was as inspiring as it was saddening to read as he kept going to shows and shooting, refusing to let the cancer get the better of him until it did. I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging with Andrew back in 2010 at Matador at 21 in Las Vegas, and chatting with him via Twitter over the past few years and was pleased to learn he’d grown up – for a few years, at least – in Toronto, not far from where I did (though a few years apart). I wish I’d been able to know him better and my condolences to those who did and will miss him. OC Weekly has a fine memoriam for their photographer, as well as a slideshow of his best work. Godspeed, Andrew.

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

No Medicine For Regret

Mogwai affirm promise of no more extensive touring by announcing extensive tour

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickI’m sure they meant it at the time, what with keeping up a heavy slate of performances worldwide for as long as anyone can remember and the added complications of drummer Martin Bulloch’s health issues and visa problems forcing cancellations in the past few years, but when Mogwai prefaced their second round of touring in support of Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will last year with a promise/warning that it would be “the last extensive touring we do for some time”, some who might have fallen into a habit of taking them for granted were spurred into getting off their asses and having their eardrums blasted by the Scottish post-rock masters (maybe) one last time – myself included.

Well, apparently “for some time” actually means “as long as it takes us to record a new record”, because hot on the heels of last week’s announcement of their eighth studio album Rave Tapes – coming out January 21 – they’ve announced a month-plus long North American tour for next Spring. And perhaps it was the promise of playing a different room that enticed them, because the Toronto date on May 13 will take place at the Danforth Music Hall – tickets $25.50 to $29.50 – instead of The Phoenix where they’ve played (I believe) every local show since a face-melting detour to Lee’s Palace in May 2002. They were supposed to play The Kool Haus in Fall 2008 circa The Hawk Is Howling but that show was one of the casualties of Bulloch’s medical issues, and the make-up show the following May was scheduled for – you got it – The Phoenix.

To be clear, there’s no word of complaint in the band NOT taking a proper hiatus from touring. Their shows may not surprise much, but they never disappoint. And hey, maybe getting to eat somewhere new pre-show will inspire them to even greater heights? It could happen.

MP3: Mogwai – “Remurdered”

With her new album finally out this week, M.I.A. has made Matangi available to stream via Consequence Of Sound; she’s also interviewed by Billboard and NPR about it.

Stream: M.I.A. / Matangi

Noisey chats with Charli XCX, in town November 5 at Wrongbar.

NPR has an advance stream of Cate Le Bon’s forthcoming album Mug Museum, out November 12. She’ll be at The Drake Underground on January 21 in the new year.

Stream: Cate Le Bon / Mug Museum

Rolling Stone are offering one of the tracks off Stornoway’s new EP You Don’t Know Anything for free download. The whole thing comes out on November 12.

MP3: Stornoway – “Tumbling Bay”

Peggy Sue have made a new EP available to download for free via Noisetrade, leading up to the release of their new album Choir of Echoes on January 27

White Lies have announced a return date in support of their latest Big TV – they’ll be at The Mod Club on February 27, tickets $35. Opening up will be Frankie Rose, who released Herein Wild earlier this Fall.

MP3: Frankie Rose – “Know Me”
Video: White Lies – “There Goes Our Love”

NME have premiered a new, self-described David Lynch-inspired video from Fanfarlo’s The Sea EP; a full-length will follow in the new year.

Video: Fanfarlo – “A Distance”

DIY has details on how you can hear Metronomy’s new song, which is a convoluted process involving smartphones, apps, credit cards, and outer space.

CHVRCHES have released a new video from their debug The Bones Of What You Believe.

Video: CHVRCHES – “Lies”

BrooklynVegan has videos from the recent Neil Halstead solo shows where he was joined by Rachel Goswell, sending the hearts of Slowdive and Mojave 3 fans a-flutter. And over at Under The Radar, Halstead and his Black Hearted Brother compadres offer a track-by-track guide to their debut Stars Are Our Home… which they’ve technically already done with MusicOmh but who’s counting?

Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin takes Drowned In Sound on a guided tour of her pedalboard.

NPR has a World Cafe session and The Georgia Straight an interview with Laura Marling.

Under The Radar got some Hallowe’en-themed questions answered by Still Corners.

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Electric

Pet Shop Boys at The Sony Centre in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI can pinpoint the exact date, time, and place that I became a Pet Shop Boys fan – 8PM on August 30, 2009 at the Molson Amphitheatre. That was when they took the stage – the penultimate act of the final V Fest in Toronto and part of the “Pandemonium” tour in support of that year’s Yes – to the sampled voices of “Heart” and kicked off one of the most ridiculously entertaining hours of live music I can remember. I’d known the songs, of course – everyone knows many of those songs even if they don’t – but the marriage of their perfect pop and over-the-top, technicoloured building block visuals was impossible to resist, and since that too-short festival-length performance, I’ve been waiting for them to come back for their own full-length show.

It didn’t happen for last year’s Elysium, but for its strengths – maybe I liked it more than most because it was the first new PSB record to come out with me as a card-carrying member of their fanbase – its relatively low-key presentation may not have been the strongest foot to launch a world tour from. So thank goodness for this year’s unexpectedly fast follow-up Electric, a far more danceable and banging companion album that would get the Boys back on the road with the festival circuit in the Summer, and North America this Fall, stopping in at The Sony Centre in Toronto on Wednesday night.

With no opening act, the sold-out house waited and chattered patiently until the house lights dropped and screaming (the good kind) commenced. With projections of geometric abstractions and speeding tunnels on the giant scrim covering front of the stage, Messrs Tennant and Lowe took the stage behind giant glowing silhouettes, and ping-ponged from present to past with Electric opener “Axis”, Actually‘s “One More Chance”, and Elysium – all obscured behind trippy visuals – before dropping the scrim for “Opportunities” and bidding the crowd a proper “hello” with the first of many, many shouts of, “Toronto!”.

Even though the visuals of this tour were completely different from the Pandemonium tour – the Lego-esque aesthetic put aside for lasers, strobes, and the aforementioned giant projections, all tied together by a printed circuit board aesthetic – the structure was quite similar. Visually, you had Chris Lowe expressionless at his keyboard station handling the music, Neil Tennant roaming the stage in excellent voice, sometimes accompanied by a pair of dancers, and all in a dazzling and nonsensical array of costumes involving but certainly not limited to giant antlered animal masks, finely-tailored suits, disco ball helmets, and tinsel bodysuits on pogo sticks.

Musically, they tied songs together into suites with corresponding choreography, and as per the opening numbers, they focused mainly on their last two albums and their platinum-selling early records, although Behaviour was curiously left out completely. Also curious was the omission of two of Electric‘s highlights – new single “Love Is a Bourgeois Construct” and Springsteen cover “The Last To Die”. But you can’t have everything, I suppose, so wishing that some more of their ’90s singles had also made the cut in lieu of the early ’00s tracks is really besides the point. Even with a near two-hour show, a band with a catalog of classic songs as deep as Pet Shop Boys as well as very worthy current records to promote is going to leave someone’s favourites out. Probably best to focus on the fact that even so, no one was having anything but a great time and even though the Sony Centre’s seats weren’t the most conducive to dancing, we did what we could.

The show’s finale was heralded by a string of the biggest tunes – “It’s A Sin”, “Domino Dancing”, “Always On My Mind”, and “Go West” are the very definition of show stoppers – but the final number was Electric closing number “Vocal”; not a classic like the others – at least not yet – but certainly a banger and if you wanted to send a giddy crowd into the night understanding that even after more than a quarter century, you’re still writing and releasing great, great songs to go with your great, great shows, you could do far worse.

Global News, Panic Manual, and Live In Limbo also have reviews of the show, and Philly.com and The New Statesman interviews.

Photos: Pet Shop Boys @ The Sony Centre For The Performing Arts – September 25, 2013
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Vocal”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Axis”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Leaving”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Winner”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Invisible”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Together”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “All Over The World”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Did You See Me Coming?”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Love Etc.”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Numb”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Minimal”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “I’m With Stupid”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Flamboyant”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Miracles”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “London”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “I Get Along”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Home and Dry”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “New York City Boy”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “I Don’t Know What You Want But I Can’t Give It Anymore”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Somewhere”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “A Red Letter Day”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Single-Bilingual”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Se a vida ´ (That’s the Way Life Is)”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Before”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Paninaro 95”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Yesterday, When I Was Mad”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Liberation”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind of Thing”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Go West”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Can You Forgive Her?”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “DJ Culture”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Jealousy”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can’t Take My Eyes off You)”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously?”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Being Boring”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “So Hard”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “It’s Alright”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Left To My Own Devices”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Domino Dancing”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Heart”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Always On My Mind”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Rent”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “What Have I Done To Deserve This?”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “It’s A Sin”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Paninaro”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Suburbia”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Love Comes Quickly”
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” (version 2)
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money)” (version 1)
Video: Pet Shop Boys – “West End Girls”

The New York Times has the advance stream of Yuck’s second album Glow & Behold, being released September 30.

Stream: Yuck / Glow & Behold

Also out next week is Johnny Flynn’s new long-player Country Mile, which is available to preview at For Folks Sake. And if that’s not enough, there’s the sampler A Recapitulation Of Johnny Flynn EP which is available to download for free (or a donation).

Stream: Johnny Flynn / Country Mile

Clash, MIPro, and New Statesman talk to Anna Calvi about her new album One Breath, which is out October 7 and from which a new song is available to stream.

Stream: Anna Calvi – “Suddenly”

The History Of Apple Pie are streaming the a-side of a new 7″-single, out October 14 to coincide with their hop across the Atlantic to play CMJ.

Stream: The History Of Apple Pie – “Don’t You Wanna Be Mine”

Clash premiered a stream of the first new Fanfarlo music in a while; it comes from their new EP The Sea, which will be released on October 14.

Stream: Fanfarlo – “A Distance”

Daytrotter has a session with Kate Nash, who plays The Phoenix on November 5.

Though her debut album True Romance is still only a few months old, Charli XCX has released a video for a new song from her next album, which she obviously hopes will be out sooner rather than later. She plays Wrongbar on November 9.

Video: Charli XCX – “Superlove”

The Guardian examines the new wave of psych-rock bands coming out of the UK including Temples, who are at The Horseshoe on November 20 ahead of releasing their full-length debut next year.

Foals have a new clip from their latest, Holy Fire.

Video: Foals – “Out Of The Woods”

Savages have released a new video from Silence Yourself.

Video: Savages – “Husbands”

Sky Larkin share their favourite mottos with Clash, while ZME Music settles for a regular old interview.

NPR has a video session and Exclaim an interview with CHVRCHES.

Spin talks to Elvis Costello and Questlove of The Roots about their collaborative record Wise Up Ghost.

Wild Honey Pie have posted a video session with Camera Obscura.

As part of their ongoing 4AD week – marking the release of Facing The Other Way, a new book about the legendary label, Drowned In Sound talks to Vaughan Oliver, the graphic artist responsible for the 4AD’s signature visual style.

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

You Caught The Light

Review of CHVRCHES’ The Bones Of What You Believe

Photo By Eliot Lee HazelEliot Lee HazelIf hype were actual currency, you could trade in copies of Scottish trio CHVRCHES’ debut album The Bones Of What You Believe for bars of gold, their buzz-versus-time graph having steadily grown over the last year, successfully buoying them through three North American tours of increasing stature and scale before their first full-length was in stores.

These heightened expectations might seem to demand a big record, but those who were in attendance at the band’s first Toronto show in March – hardly a powerhouse live show with two-thirds of the band anchored to their keyboard stations and frontwoman Lauren Mayberry personable but not exactly owning the stage with her presence – can attest that it’s the small aspects of the band that give them their charm, an opinion borne out by Bones.

The karaoke versions of these songs might easily be mistaken for M83 numbers, with their big synth textures and singalong melodies reaching unashamedly skywards, Mayberry’s sweet voice and the melancholic-to-miserable sentiments it delivers keeps things grounded and resonant at a human scale. It’s understandable if the lyrics aren’t the first things that the listener notices – the big gleaming hooks around them, both instrumental and vocal, do tend to grab one’s attention – but they do offer welcome substance to the proceedings and add an extra dimension that helps them exceed expectations. To be clear: even if Mayberry was singing nonsensical verses about squirrels and tapioca these songs would be earworms of the highest order, but that there’s heart and intelligence here as well makes Bones a record that will merit plays well after the hype machine has moved onto the next big thing.

The Bones Of What You Believe is out this week on September 24 and NPR has a stream of the album. Consequence Of Sound, Billboard, The Wall Street Journal, and The Scotsman have features on the band and their ascent and CBC Music has a video session.

MP3: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”
Video: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”
Video: CHVRCHES – “Gun”
Video: CHVRCHES – “Recover”
Stream: CHVRCHES / The Bones Of What You Believe

The Independent gets to know Daughter, in town for a show at The Phoenix on September 29.

MusicOmh talks to Johnny Flynn, who is streaming a new song from his forthcoming album Country Mile, hitting stores September 30.

Stream: Johnny Flynn – “Fol-De-Rol”

Yuck have released a new video from their forthcoming second record Glow & Behold, out September 30.

Video: Yuck – “Middle Sea”

Rolling Stone has made another song from the Neil Hasltead-fronted Black Hearted Brother available to download; their debut Stars Are Our Home comes out October 22.

MP3: Black Hearted Brother – “This Is How It Feels”

Under The Radar has posted the excerpts of the interview with Charli XCX that went into last issue’s cover story. She plays Wrongbar on November 9.

The Fader is streaming a new song from London’s Arthur Beatrice – introduced back in July – taken from their full-length debut, due out early next year.

Stream: Arthur Beatrice – “Grand Union”

Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin talks to DIY and The Yorkshire Evening Post about their new album Motto.

The Guardian, Exclaim, The National Post, and Stereogum talk to Elvis Costello and The Roots about their just-released collaborative album Wise Up Ghost.

Summer Camp takes The Quietus on a track-by-track tour of their new record Summer Camp.

JAM and Pitchfork have feature interviews with Arctic Monkeys.

The Wall Street Journal has a video session with Laura Marling, who has just released a new video from her latest album Once I Was An Eagle.

Video: Laura Marling – “Devil’s Resting Place”

Noisey, The Georgia Straight, and City Pages interview Savages.

PopMatters talks to Tracyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura, who just gave birth to her first child. Congratulations!

Metro finds out what Johnny Marr thinks of Queen.

The Toronto Star caught up with Peter Hook before his visit to town last week.

Berlin Beat talks to David Lewis Gedge of The Wedding Present.

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

New You

My Bloody Valentine decide your eardrums have had enough time to heal, thank you very much

Photo via FacebookFacebookWhile I as much as anyone appreciate that there remains an impulse to respond to news of My Bloody Valentine doing anything with an “oh my god!”, the fact is that circa late 2013, the shoegazing gods have successfully transitioned from myth back into a real, active band – albeit one that moves at their own leisurely pace – and are going to do things like release new record and tour.

Okay, that the former happened – you’ll recall the semi-sneak release of twenty years-in-the-making mbv back in February – is still remarkable, but this week’s announcement of east coast dates shouldn’t really have come as a surprise. This year has already seen the band hit Asia, Australia, Europe, and the west coast of North America – if they skipped the east altogether, that would have been a surprise. And so it is that they’ll be back in Toronto on November 5 – tickets $45 in advance – at the Kool Haus where they first made their local comeback appearance in September 2008. That show, if you’ll recall, had originally been slated for the 6000+ capacity Ricoh Coliseum before the reality of their legend-to-actual fanbase ratio hit home and they downsized the venue appropriately.

What’s interesting about recent shows compared to that one is that the set lists from this year are nearly identical in composition and order to 2008, save for the insertion of four new songs and the excision of one rarity (“Slow”). Which means that this show will be at least 15 minutes longer than the last one, unless they trim the “holocaust” portion of “You Made Me Realise” which carved our brains like a sonic glacier for 24 minutes last time… I’m guessing they won’t.

Stream: My Bloody Valentine / mbv

Another one for the, “it’s happening, really” file – Mazzy Star making good on their promise to tour behind Seasons Of Your Day, their first record in 17 years, after it comes out September 24. Pitchfork has the complete itinerary for the Californian dream-pop duo of Hope Sandoval and David Roback, which stops in at the Danforth Music Hall on November 16 – tickets for that range from $32.50 to $47.50.

Stream: Mazzy Star – “California”

Soldiering on following the sudden passing of bassist Chris Friedrich last month, Boston post-rockers Caspian are teaming up with English spiritual and stylistic cousins 65daysofstatic for a Fall tour that hits Lee’s Palace on November 7, tickets $15.50. Caspian’s last album was 2012’s Waking Season, while 65daysofstatic’s new record Wild Light will be out October 29 – they talk to The Skinny about it.

MP3: 65daysofstatic – “Prisms”
Stream: Caspian / Waking Season

San Francisco psych-rockers Wooden Shjips will release a new album in Back to Land on November 12, about midway through their North American tour in support of it. They’re at The Horseshoe on November 10, tickets $15.50, and Spin has album and tour details.

MP3: Wooden Shjips – “Lazy Bones”

Australian electro-rock outfit Cut Copy have been teasing their new record Free Your Mind with billboards set up in a half-dozen locales around the world, but have now announced they’ll bring their new songs to their fans rather the other way round via a world tour. Free Your Mind is out November 5 – you can stream the title track below – and they’re at The Danforth Music Hall on November 15, tickets $30 to $40 in advance.

Stream: Cut Copy – “Free Your Mind”

London-bred, Vienna-based, 4AD-signed electro-soul producer/artist SOHN will be making his Toronto debut at The Drake Underground on November 23, tickets $12. There’s no word of his debut album yet but presumably he’ll have more to perform than a 40-minute remix of his single.

Video: SOHN – “Bloodflows”

NME has an advance stream of Motto, the forthcoming record from Sky Larkin, out as of Monday September 16.

Stream: Sky Larkin / Motto

Greek don’t-call-them-chillwave duo Keep Shelly In Athens have given their full-length debut At Home an advance stream at Pitchfork before it comes out September 17. They play Wrongbar on October 15.

Stream: Keep Shelly In Athens / At Home

Interview talks to Spaniards Delorean, who bring their just-released new album Apar to The Horseshoe on October 17.

Anna Calvi is streaming another new song from her forthcoming One Breath, out October 7.

Stream: Anna Calvi – “Sing To Me”

Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand runs down the music that soundtracked his life for Pitchfork, and he tells The AV Club why “Kumbaya” is not on that list. They play The Kool Haus on October 24.

There’s not much in the way of information, but this teaser trailer says that Nina Persson will be releasing her first solo record – not a Cardigans or A Camp record – in January of next year. Which is, of course, exciting.

DIY interviews Summer Camp.

Under The Radar has an interview with Sigur Rós.

Le Blogotheque has posted their three-headed Take Away Show with Phoenix, recorded all over Paris.