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Posts Tagged ‘Smith Westerns’

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

The Sound Of Giving Way

Who needs to see Overseas when you can hear Overseas

Image By Frank YangFrank YangTo the best of my knowledge, there does not exist a remotely official image of the outfit calling themselves Overseas, but anyone who’s paid any sort of attention to the American indie rock scene over the past twenty-some years knows exactly what they look like, and that’s because the each of the band’s members has a formidable resume behind them: Will Johnson of Centro-Matic, South San Gabriel, Will Johnson, and Monsters Of Folk; David Bazan of Pedro The Lion and David Bazan; and Matt and Bubba Kadane of Bedhead and The New Year. And if you don’t know any of those acts but are assuming they’re a bunch of white, bearded dudes with guitars… well, yeah.

As to the more important question of what Overseas sound like, their self-titled debut sounds pretty much exactly as you’d expect given the personalities involved, with either Johnson’s weary rasp or Bazan’s mournful growl – they trade off lead vocal duties – overtop the steady whirlpool created by the Kadanes’ signature slow, spidery guitars. Or, in a word and if you’re predisposed to what any of the principals do, gorgeous. Even though the project was announced over a year ago, the finished product is only going to coming out next week, on June 11, and Paste has the advance stream of the whole thing. Do listen. A handful of live dates are planned for August but I’m not holding my breath for more extensive itineraries.

D Magazine has an interview with Bazan about the for-lack-of-a-better-term, “supergroup”.

MP3: Overseas – “Old Love”
Video: Overseas – “Ghost To Be”
Stream: Overseas / Overseas

Paste has an advance stream of John Vanderslice’s new joint, Dagger Beach – it’s out on June 11. The Bay Bridged talks to Vanderslice about the 15th anniversary of his Tiny Telephone studio.

MP3: John Vanderslice – “Raw Wood”
Stream: John Vanderslice / Dagger Beach

NOW, Spin, Interview, Black Book, and DIY have interviews with The National, whose Perfume Genius cover – released as bonus track on the Japanese edition of Trouble Will Find Me – is streaming and well worth hearing. They headline Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.

Stream: The National – “Learning”

Sebadoh have come clean on details of their first new album in 14 years; following the June 25 release of The Secret EP,the new full-length Defend Yourself will be out September 17. Joyful Noise – who are releasing the album – have a Q&A with Lou Barlow about the new record and Spin also has an interview and stream of the EP.

Stream: Sebadoh / The Secret EP

Stereogum talks to Smith Westerns about their forthcoming Soft Will, out June 25. They play Lee’s on July 29.

Salon chats with Stephin Merritt about the new Future Bible Heroes album Partygoing, and Vulture has an animated Merritt dressed as an elephant singing a song about Thomas Edison from Bob’s Burgers because of course they do. Future Bible Heroes are at Lee’s Palace on July 22; Merritt will not be with them.

Spin reports that Divine Fits are putting out some new tunes in the form a 12″ single due out July 23, though digital formats are available now. You can hear the new tunes performed live on Conan via Pitchfork.

Spin and Vita.mn get to know Father John Misty, who has just released a new video from last year’s Fear Fun and will be at The Danforth Music Hall on August 3.

Video: Father John Misty – “Funtimes In Babylon”

The first track from Superchunk’s new record I Hate Music is now available to stream; it’s out August 20.

Stream: Superchunk – “FOH”

Confirming the life cycle of profitable farewell tour to profitable reunion tour at barely four years, Nine Inch Nails will return with a new album in Hesitation Marks on September 3 – stream the first single below – and have scheduled an extensive North American arena tour to support. The Toronto date comes October 4 at The Air Canada Centre with Explosions In The Sky opening up.

MP3: Nine Inch Nails – “Starsuckers, Inc.”
MP3: Explosions In The Sky – “Memorial”
Stream: Nine Inch Nails – “Came Back Haunted”

Drowned In Sound has an interview and NPR a video session with Wild Nothing, in town supporting Local Natives at The Kool Haus on September 21.

The context is a little weird – a compilation released by Toyota automobile imprint Scion – but hey, a new Chromatics tune is a new Chromatics tune.

MP3: Chromatics – “Red Car”

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Tomorrow Is Yesterday

An introduction to Field Mouse

Photo By Shervin LainezShervin LainezIf it were as recently as last year, I would be spending this post – hell, yesterday’s post – talking about how after arriving in Chicago last Saturday, I went almost straight to Beat Kitchen to see Laura Stevenson and Field Mouse play, on account of missing the Toronto show of their tour this past Tuesday because of this little vacation. But because I’ve grown as a person and am no longer spending all my time and energy trying to make it to shows and write about them, I have nothing to say about that show because I didn’t make it anywhere near the club, though I can’t say that I didn’t look up where it was and write it in my calendar. Just in case.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the acquaintance of either of the acts. Stevenson I wrote about way in August 2010 – her new album Wheel is plenty solid, by the way, fans of country-pop would do well to check it out – but Brooklyn duo Field Mouse have had but a passing mention here, and I’d like to give them a little bit more because if your musical tastes align with mine – and why would you be here otherwise – they’re worth a listen.

Their name brings to mind – or is maybe confused for – English twee-pop forebears Field Mice, but while there are some points of intersection, particularly in their facility with melody and dreamy texture, the singular edition of Rachel Browne (vocals, guitar) and Andrew Futral (guitars) is much less navel-gazing and their shoegazey roots give their sound some wonderfully shimmering bite without overwhelming their tunefulness. It’s a formula that’s all about balance, and Field Mouse get it right. With a discography limited to just a few singles right now, they’re prepping their full-length debut for release later this year and have released a new video – presumably from said full-length – via Spin and recorded a video session for BrooklynVegan; as always, don’t read the comments. But do, however, hope they keep touring and make their way back to town soon, ideally when I’m also in town.

MP3: Field Mouse – “Tomorrow Is Yesterday”
MP3: Field Mouse – “Glass”
Stream: Field Mouse – “You Guys Are Gonna Wake Up My Mom”
Stream: Field Mouse – “Happy”
Video: Field Mouse – “Revenge Is Yesterday”

WNYC has a stream of one of the new Savoir Adore songs that will appear on the wide-release edition of their latest Our Nature when it comes out on June 4.

Stream: Savoir Adore – “Beating Hearts

Pitchfork has rightly devoted one of their fancily-presented cover story in-depth features to The National, and The Irish Times, The Hollywood Reporter, and 680 News also have features. They play Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.

Spin has premiered a new song from Florida’s Beach Day, whose debut Trip Trap Attack is out June 18 and who are here for NXNE on June 15 with a show at Handlebar in Kensington Market. DIY has a feature.

Stream: Beach Day – “Stay”

Exclaim has details on the new full-length from Crocodiles; Crimes of Passion is out August 20 and there’s a first track to hear courtesy of Stereogum. They’ll preview the album at the Adelaide Music Hall on June 17 when they support Japandroids.

MP3: Crocodiles – “Cockroach”

Chicago talks to Smith Westerns, who are streaming another new song from their forthcoming Soft Will. It’s out June 25 and they play Lee’s Palace on July 29.

Stream: Smith Westerns – “3AM Spiritual”

She & Him keep up the cutesy on the new video from Volume 3. They headline the first night of the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 4.

Video: She & Him – “I Could’ve Been Your Girl”

Beatroute and The Georgia Straight have interviews and NPR a session with Yo La Tengo, playing the final day of TURF at Garrison Commons on July 7. DIY also has an interview with bassist James McNew about the reissue series for his Dump side-project.

Loud & Quiet and The Fly have features on Kurt Vile, also here for TURF day four at Garrison Common on July 7.

Merge has announced a deluxe reissue of the last, great lo-fi Mountain Goats album All Hail West Texas on July 23, which is great new if for no other reason as it gives these imaginary liner notes by comics scribe a reason to exist, if only online.

Because he never needs to rest, Ty Segall has announced an August 20 release of his next album, entitled Sleeper. Details on the release at Consequence Of Sound, trailer below.

Trailer: Ty Segall / Sleeper

Pitchfork has details on the new record from The Dodos, entitled Carrier and out August 27.

Stream: The Dodos – “Confidence”

Noisey talks to Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing, who have a date at The Kool Haus on September 21 supporting Local Natives.

The Journal News chats with Sam Beam of Iron & Wine, in town at The Sound Academy on September 28.

Kevin Barnes talks to Rolling Stone about the next of Montreal record Lousy with Sylvianbriar, due out sometime this Fall.

Jim James tells Rolling Stone that My Morning Jacket plan to return to the studio to record their next record in October.

Rolling Stone Q&As Thurston Moore of Chelsea Light Moving, who’ve released a new video from their self-titled debut.

Video: Chelsea Light Moving – “Lip”

The 405 talks to Jon Ehrens and eMusic and City Paper to Jenn Wasner, who together are Dungeonesse.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has an interview and Rolling Stone an acoustic video session with The Thermals, who’ve just released a video for the decidedly non-acoustic new single from their latest, Desperate Ground.

Video: The Thermals – “The Sunset”

Spin has an oral history of The Breeders’ Last Splash on the occasion of the record’s 20th anniversary.

And Mike Mills uses the occasion of the Green quarter-century reissue to tell Rolling Stone that when R.E.M. said no reunion, they meant no reunion. So no reunion.

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Singers And The Endless Song

Iron & Wine & Local & Natives & NXNE & TURF & shows & stuff

Photo By Craig KiefCraig KiefSpring is only barely here – the past few days’ weather notwithstanding – but the concert announcement machine is already making eyes at Autumn with the unveiling of a couple of pretty high profile tours coming through town when the leaves start to change and the days get shorter.

Sam Beam, the walking epitome of bearded folk music, released Ghost On Ghost – his fifth album as Iron & Wine – last month, but until now only had Spring dates in the northeast and Europe confirmed on the itinerary. Come Fall, however, he and his band will traverse much of the middle of North America – the USA and Canada both – before wrapping things up in Toronto at The Sound Academy on September 28, advance tickets $30 for general admission and $40 for VIP balcony.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and New York Times have interviews with Sam Beam.

MP3: Iron & Wine – “Belated Promise Ring”
Video: Iron & Wine – “Joy”

Los Angeles’ Local Natives have already come through town once this year in support of their second album Hummingbird, but even a venue upgrade from The Opera House to The Phoenix wasn’t enough to meet demand. Hence, they’ve added a slew of dates that will take them around the planet and then some, stopping in Toronto at The Kool Haus on September 21, tickets $26.50. And if you’re thinking that you already saw them in March, know that they’ll have the quite excellent Wild Nothing along as support, touring behind last year’s Nocturne full-length and the just-released Empty Estate EP. There’s Local Natives feature pieces at The Huffington Post, Seattle Weekly, and Georgia Straight.

MP3: Local Natives – “You & I”
MP3: Wild Nothing – “Paradise”

Dialing things back to the Summer – and the festival circuit in particular – there were some updates of note over the last couple days. If you thought the otherwise comprehensive Arts & Crafts lineup for Field Trip had a conspicuous Dan Mangan-shaped hole in the lineup, you were right. And now it’s been filled by Dan Mangan himself; not just a similarly-bearded impersonator. That all goes down June 8 at Garrison Commons, and yes he’s still on the lineup for the Mumford-y “Gentlemen Of The Road Stopover” on August 23 out in Simcoe, Ontario.

MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”

NXNE revealed a bunch more acts for this year’s festival, descending on Toronto’s clubs from June 12 to 16, including Dan Deacon (despite his coming back a few weeks later to support Animal Collective’s make-up show), Still Corners (confirming they’re still doing festival dates in addition to the June 12 date supporting CHVRCHES at The Hoxton), and a slew of Canadian acts including Wintersleep, No Joy, The Super Friendz, Gold & Youth, and more – check out the artists page for a full list of current confirmed acts. I’ve also collated some of the where and when information, but there’s no point in sharing that ever-changing information until the official schedule is posted, which won’t be long because hey – the festival is less than a month away.

MP3: Dan Deacon – “Lots”
MP3: Still Corners – “Fireflies”
MP3: Wintersleep – “Resuscitate”

The Toronto Urban Roots Fest is mostly making waves as a multi-day, outdoor festival the likes of which Toronto hasn’t seen in some time, but its club-level happenings are turning out to be just as impressive, particularly if you’ve no love of multi-day, outdoor festivals. Running concurrently with the main festival, the club series will see the likes of Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys, The Wooden Sky, Dawes, and The Felice Brothers amongst others playing The Horseshoe and Lee’s Palace from July 4 to 7, tickets ranging from $20 to $30 including surcharges, on sale May 23. Some who where and when information is available at the TURF website.

MP3: Frank Turner – “The Roads”
MP3: Dawes – “If I Wanted Someone”
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”
Video: The Felice Brothers – “Ponzi”
Video: Alejandro Escovedo – “Sally Was A Cop” (live)

With their new record Planta set for a June 11 release and a new video from it just out, Brazil’s CSS have put together a North American tour that brings them to The Opera House on July 4, tickets $25.

MP3: CSS – “Hits Me Like A Rock”
Video: CSS – “Hangover”

There’s good news and bad news from the House Of Tomorrow: the good is that, with their new record Partygoing set to come out on June 4 (as well as the Memories of Love, Eternal Youth, and Partygoing. discography-collecting box set), Future Bible Heroes are undertaking a rare tour. The bad news is is that chief songwriter and personality Stephin Merritt will not be participating, though key members Claudia Gonson, Christopher Ewen, Shirley Simms, and Anthony Kaczynski will. So even without Merritt’s delicious dourness, a wonderful time should be had by all at Lee’s Palace on July 22. Tickets for that are $15.50.

Stream: Future Bible Heroes – “Living, Loving, Partygoing”

The Fly talks to Chicago’s Smith Westerns about their new record Soft Will, which will be out June 25. They’ve released the first video and rolled out a batch of tour dates via Pitchfork; the Toronto date comes July 29 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $17.

MP3: Smith Westerns – “Still New”
Video: Smith Westerns – “Varsity”

With a new album in Pura Vida Conspiracy due out July 23, everyone’s favourite – and probably only – Gypsy punks Gogol Bordello have announced a massive tour that comes to Toronto for not one but two nights – August 19 and 20 at The Danforth Music Hall. Rolling Stone has a conversation with frontman Eugene Hutz.

Stream: Gogol Bordello – “Malandrino”

Pinback are back for a date at Lee’s Palace on September 7 in support of last year’s Information Retrieved; tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.

MP3: Pinback – “Proceed To Memory”

FIDLAR – whose name stands for “Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk”, if you were wondering – are teaming up with fellow Los Angelenos The Orwells for a Fall tour that hits The Hard Luck on October 18, tickets $13. FIDLAR released their self-titled debut earlier this year whereas The Orwells’ debut Remember When came out last year. DIY and The Clock have themselves FIDLAR features.

MP3: FIDLAR – “Cheap Beer”
MP3: The Orwells – “Other Voices”

Grantland and MusicOmh profile The National, whose new album Trouble Will Find Me is out on May 21 and who play Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.

It won’t be out in time for her July 13 date at The Kool Haus, but Spin has some info on Solange’s new album, which will be out this year on her own label under Sony.

Exitmusic have premiered a new video from last year’s debut Passage at NPR.

Video: Exitmusic – “White Noise”

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Ram Ram

Let The Deer Tracks guide you around NXNE this year

Photo By Sofia StolpeSofia StolpeNXNE-spotting happens on two levels: there’s the micro, where you pore over the year’s lineup and try to figure out how you’ll spend the four hopefully-warm nights in June club-hopping and seeing bands new and familiar; and there’s the macro, where you see how this year’s festival as a whole experience measures up against past years and assess how the event is trending as Toronto’s flagbearer in a world where cities are increasingly judged by the quality of their music festivals. Or at least, that’s how I look at things. I may well be a freak.

First, the bands my strongest recommendation for the fest because it’d have be strong enough to convince you to a) miss a whole hell of a lot of great stuff including part of that free Flaming Lips show and b) brave the shitshow that will be a closed-off Queen St. W as MuchMusic tools up for the Bieber-fied MMVAs the following night. But that said, I still think that seeing Sweden’s Deer Tracks would be worth it. The duo of David Lehnberg and Elin Lindfors craft the sort of eclectically airy, hybrid electronic-orchestral pop that might have you looking for the Morr logo on the spine (they’re actually on The Control Group, if it matters), but tied together and given both weight and lift by their buoyant melodies and harmonies. If I can be allowed to invoke some Scandinavian stereotypes, they marry the otherworldliness one would expect of Icelandic acts with the impeccable pop sense of the best the Swedes have to offer.

They’re in the midst of a three-part album cycle entitled The Archer Trilogy, Part 2 with the third part coming later this year. It’s kind of a shame that their tour is hitting during NXNE because had it been any other time of year, or even any other night or time slot of the fest, they’d be getting a lot more attention. But as it is, if you find your way to The Rivoli at 10PM on Saturday, June 16, I suspect it’ll be worth your time and effort. The Georgia Straight had an interview with them ahead of their Vancouver show earlier this week.

MP3: The Deer Tracks – “W”
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Dark Passenger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Meant To Be”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Tiger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fall With Me”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fra Ro Raa / Ro Ra Fraa”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Ram Ram”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Slow Collision”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “12sxfrya”

And the official though surely incomplete day-by-day, hour-by-hour, “hey you should maybe go to some of these” is as follows:

Tuesday, June 12
The Weather Station @ Kops/Lavish & Squalor, 4PM – Another highlight of this year’s CMF, Tamara Lindeman will play selections from her excellent All Of It Was Mine at this in-store before her official show at The Great Hall Lower Theatre at 10PM Wednesday night.
MP3: The Weather Station – “Everything I Saw”

Wednesday, June 13
Army Girls @ Supermarket, 9PM – I can’t foresee a day when I won’t recommend you go see this Toronto duo, though hopefully soon enough my recommendation won’t be necessary – everyone will just know. They’re also at Jang Bang the afternoon of the 14th for a day show, The El Mocamobo at 10PM that night, and a day show in Trinity Bellwoods on Sunday afternoon at 3:45PM. And don’t be surprised if they add a few more appearances before the week is done – the benefits of traveling light and rocking hard.
MP3: Army Girls – “T W I C E”

Eternal Summers @ The Drake Underground, 10PM – Virginia-based trio who make hazy, lo-fi pop that doesn’t care that Altered Zones doesn’t exist anymore. Their second album Correct Behavior will be out July 24.
Video: Eternal Summers – “Millions”

July Talk @ The Horseshoe, 10PM – Toronto punkabilly outfit who flat-out stole the show/fest at this year’s Canadian Musicfest; can they do it again? Don’t bet against them. They’re also at Lee’s Palace on Saturday night at 9:30PM.
M4A: July Talk – “Paper Girl”

Porcelain Raft @ The Drake Underground, 12AM – Pseudonym of New York-based Mauro Remiddi who crafted his debut Strange Weekend from a lifetime of globetrotting, sound-collecting and genre-defying. So what does he do for a follow-up?
MP3: Porcelain Raft – “Unless You Speak From The Heart”

Thursday, June 14
The Men @ Grasshopper Records, 3PM – New York band whose latest effort Open Your Heart sounds like the best of Sonic Youth and Mission Of Burma being mashed into your eardrums with extreme prejudice. A can’t-miss for the fest, and besides this in-store – if you haven’t heard of the store, consult The Grid – they also have official showcases Thursday night at The Garrison at 1AM and Friday night at Wrongbar at 12AM, and will also be appearing at the NXNEXPERIMENT BBQ on Friday afternoon.
MP3: The Men – “Ex-Dreams”

Smith Westerns @ Gibralter Point, 5:30PM – We don’t see many acts being shipped in for one-off, non-festival parties but that’s what’s happening with this Noisey/Jansport to-do on the Toronto Islands where Chicago’s glam-garage punks will do their thing amongst what is sure to be tastefully-executed branding.
MP3: Smith Westerns – “Still New”

Boxer The Horse @ The El Mocambo Upstairs, 8PM – Scrappy guitar pop from Prince Edward Island that’s a happy blend of Plaskett and Malkmus; their second full-length French Residency was released back in March.
MP3: Boxer The Horse – “Rattle Your Cage”

The Seedy Seeds @ The Painted Lady, 10PM – Trio proves that smart pop can be fun and fun pop can be smart and good bands have come from Cincinnati since The Afghan Whigs. Their last record Verb Noun came out in early 2011 and it’s still turning out videos.
Video: The Seedy Seeds – “Telephone The Constrictor”

Exitmusic @ Wrongbar, 10PM – Darkly cinematic electro-pop from a husband-and-wife duo based out of New York (but half-Canadian!). They were just here in May but have since released their debut full-length Passage, so hey – welcome back.
MP3: Exitmusic – “The Sea”

Cousins @ The Velvet Underground, 11PM – Halifax lo-fi garage-pop duo whose The Palm At The End Of The Mind is making friends and annoying neighbours everywhere. They’re doing a double-header Thursday night, with a 2AM show at The Annex Live.
Stream: Cousins / The Palm At The End Of The Mind

The Hundred In The Hands @ Wrongbar, 12AM – Los Angeles synth-rock duo whose new record Red Night arrives this Tuesday, just in time for the festival. Clash has a feature on the band and Hype Machine is streaming the album, though that metaphorical baton may get passed to another site once the album is officially out tomorrow.
MP3: The Hundred In The Hands – “Keep It Low”
Stream: The Hundred In The Hands / Red Night

A Place To Bury Strangers @ The El Mocambo, 1AM – Legendarily loud and strobe-happy New York industri-rock outfit who will be previewing their new record Worship, due out on June 26 and from which they’ve begun streaming another new song. Pity the band who’re supposed to be playing upstairs from them at the same time slot (that’d be Revolvers, who deserve better).
MP3: A Place To Bury Strangers – “You Are The One”
Stream: A Place To Bury Strangers – “And I’m Up”

Friday, June 15
2:54 @ Lee’s Palace, 9PM – British sister act bringing the spirit of dark, goth-gaze guitar-pop from the ’80s and ’90s back on their just-released self-titled debut. There’s interviews at Loud & Quiet and NOW and Daytrotter just posted a session.
MP3: 2:54 – “The March”

The Danks @ The Dakota Tavern, 10PM – Garage-y pop from the Two Hours Traffic family who’re getting an awful lot of mileage out of their 2009 debut Are You Afraid Of The Danks?, though apparently it’s just come out in the US so I guess they’re excused.
MP3: The Danks – “Die Young”

Hooded Fang @ The Silver Dollar, 10PM – One of Toronto’s premiere retro-pop fun factories in band form, their second album Tosta Mista is nearly a year old so they’ve surely got five or six more albums ready to go. They’re also playing The Horseshoe on Thursday night at 10PM.
MP3: Hooded Fang – “Den Of Love”

Útidúr @ The Gladstone, 11PM – Even if I didn’t simply like upping Icelandic acts (and writing out their wonderful accents), I’d be endorsing this Reykjavik collective because the big, Beirut-y/Fanfarlo-y orch-folk sounds of their debut This Mess We’ve Made is all kinds of charming.
Stream: Útidúr / This Mess We’ve Made

Friends @ Lee’s Palace, 11PM – Brooklyn outfit specializing in buzz of both the synth and hype varieties have just dropped their debut album Manifest! and will be looking to make Lee’s look like Bedford Station on a Saturday night. Vulture has an interview with singer Samantha Urbani and The Guardian has a stream of the album.
Video: Friends – “Mind Control”
Stream: Friends / Manifest!

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan @ The Garrison, 12AM – Audaciously arty and yet visceral Montreal collective whose debut YT//ST will probably be celebrating a Polaris long list nomination by the time they take the stage. And odds are that’ll only be the beginning. They’ve also got an in-store at Sonic Boom confirmed though dates and times for those have still to be confirmed.
Stream: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan / YT//ST

Widowspeak @ The Garrison, 1AM – Brooklyn quartet whose self-titled debut ahs made my long-term dreams of forming a country/shoegaze band and creating a genre called “bootgaze” utterly redundant. Thanks a lot, Widowspeak.
MP3: Widowspeak – “Harsh Realm”

John Maus @ Lee’s Palace, 1AM – Unintentionally controversial university professor and electro-classical composer whose last album We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves came out in the Fall.
MP3: John Maus – “Head For The Country”

Saturday, June 16
Brasstronaut @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 1PM – Vancouver prog-pop outfit whose second album Mean Sun came out just last month. They’re also at The Gladstone on Friday night at midnight and The Vancouver Sun, Spinner, NOW have interviews.
MP3: Brasstronaut – “Hollow Trees”

Zulu Winter @ Urban Outfitters, 2PM – A rare UK signing to Arts & Crafts, this Oxfordshire-bred band’s peppy, guitar-and-synth-laden debut Language – out June 19 – files nicely alongside the likes of Phoenix and Bombay Bicycle Club. In other words, “stuff the kids like”. They’ve also got evening showcases at The Rivoli on June 14 at 12AM and Lee’s Palace on June 15 at 2AM.
Video: Zulu Winter – “Silver Tongue”

Of Montreal @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 7PM – Veteran Athens, GA, Elephant 6 survivor psych-freaks who’d have made a mind-bending one-two punch with The Flaming Lips if someone hadn’t gone and booked Portugal. The Man between them. Pssh. Their latest Paralytic Stalks came out earlier this year.
MP3: Of Montreal – “Wintered Debts”

Robyn Dell’Unto @ The Cameron House, 8PM – Mississauga-based pop singer who impressed when guesting with Rose Cousins at The Rivoli last monthI’m Here Every Night came out in 2010 – I did, it’s fun. You should too.
Video: Robyn Dell’Unto – “Just A Bird”

The Flaming Lips @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 9PM – If you need an introduction to The Flaming Lips then clearly you’ve gotten to this website by accident. Note that the allotted 20 minute set up time between the preceding act and theirs is ridiculous and I wouldn’t expect Wayne Coyne’s bubble walk to begin any earlier than 9:15. There’s Lips interviews at NOW, Spinner, and The Toronto Star, Coyne writes a piece about creativity for NPR, and while their Record Store Day-exclusive collaborative album Heady Fwends – amongst whom Erykah Badu no longer counts herself – will be getting a wide release June 26, The Lips are also planning a proper (?) studio album for release later this year.
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Fight Test”

Revolver @ The Gladstone, 10PM – A relatively late addition to the fest, the French pop outfit known for multi-part harmonies and cellos will be showing off their latest album Let Go, released back in March. The schedule also has them on at 1AM at The Painted Lady that same night, though it’s in conflict with another band’s set so…
MP3: Revolver – “Get Around Town”

The Lumineers @ The Horseshoe, 11PM – Denver-based trio whose self-titled debut has made them one of the alt.country/folk/roots stories of the year. The Horseshoe is kind of the perfect place for them.
Video: The Lumineers – “Ho Hey”

Limblifter @ The El Mocambo, 12AM – It’s not a festival without some kind of ’90s reunion; this year it’s Limblifter, which is several steps up from last year’s Rusty. Yes it is. Spinner talks to Ryan Dahle about getting the old band out of mothballs.
Video: Limblifter – “Tinfoil”

Bleached @ The Silver Dollar, 1AM – The three-night, garage-rock Silver Dollar residency is kind of a NXNE/CMF fixture now, and this year that honour goes to California’s Clavin sisters in Bleached. In addition to the Silver Dollar dates – the Thursday and Friday shows are at midnight, as opposed the 1AM slot on Saturday – they’re playing the Bruise Cruise the afternoon of the 16th, bringing the rock to the Toronto harbour.
Video: Bleached – “Think Of You”

Sunday, June 17
Raekwon & Ghostface Killah @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 9PM – Things are mostly wound down on Sunday but the traditional hip-hopping of the Yonge-Dundas mainstage continues with a little Wu-Tang flavour; Raekwon the Chef recently relocated to Toronto so there’s a hometown angle to this one as well.
Video: Raekwon featuring Ghostface Killah – “New Wu”

That’s just a handful – okay, a couple handfuls – of recommendations for the week; there’s certainly more to see and for more tips, check out these festival minisites at Spinner and NOW and the feature pieces at The Grid, The AV Club, BlogTO, and Hype Machine.

As for what I was saying earlier about how NXNE is faring as a festival, the fact that there’s many more day shows than even last year, which had more than the year before that, is an encouraging trend. We’re not yet seeing conventional venues opening up during the day, but the number of in-stores, parties in unconventional spaces, and just more stuff going on during the day before the official programme starts up – it’s all very encouraging and while those who seek to compare NXNE to its similarly-acronymed Texan cousin will still find it pales in comparison, it’s getting pretty damn good up here; all we need is a better infrastructure for tracking and disseminating information about them. There’s a list of officially-endorsed/recognized day shows at NXNE.com and BlogTO has rounded up some more events. And Unofficial NXNE is also good.

And if I’m allowed a bit of self-promotion, I’m one of the photographers with some work on display at the #Hashtag Gallery this week for Live @ NXNE, a photographic exhibition of NXNE artists, past and present. The exhibition runs till June 27 but the opening party thing is Tuesday night at 7PM. Drop by, have a look. If you like.

And remember – particularly if you’re planning on getting around via transit or taxi or otherwise street-bound vehicle, College St. is closed Friday and Saturday nights from Bathurst to Shaw for Taste Of Little Italy and Queen St. W is closed between Beverley and McCaul on Friday and Saturday nights to set up for the MMVAs.

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

The World (Is Going Up In Flames)

Charles Bradley has no time for dreaming; finally has time for Toronto

Photo By Kisha BariKisha BariIf you were to ask anyone at SXSW this past March what was the best thing they’d seen, odds are you’d have heard “Charles Bradley” in response; I certainly did. Like his Daptone labelmate Sharon Jones, the Florida-born, Brooklyn-based classic soul singer had travelled a long, hard road filled with false starts and personal tragedies, but with the release of his first full-length album No Time For Dreaming earlier this year and accompanying praise for both his recordings and performances, it seemed he was finally getting his due.

Or so I heard. I didn’t catch any of his sets in Austin and waiting for him to tour through Toronto – as I was certain he would considering he made appearances at Osheaga in Montreal and Sappyfest in Mount Allison in late July – proved fruitless. I had no doubt that the wide-eyed, breathless testimonials about the power of his shows was deserved, but I had yet to witness it for myself. Well as it turns out, I only had to wait the better part of a year – Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires have just announced a date at Lee’s Palace on February 11 of next year, tickets $22.50 in advance and on sale this Friday. Which is not to complain – after all, Bradley had to wait decades for his shot. A year’s not so bad. If you’re a fan of old-school soul – and everyone should be – you ought to be there.

MP3: Charles Bradley – “The World (Is Going Up In Flames)”
MP3: Charles Bradley – “Now That I’m Gone”
Video: Charles Bradley – “Heartaches And Pain”
Video: Charles Bradley – “The World (Is Going Up In Flames)”

The Smith Westerns are rolling into The Horseshoe on January 27, tickets $15 in advance. It’s unlikely they’ve got a new album finished and ready for sneak release, so assume this is continuing to support this year’s Dye It Blonde.

MP3: The Smith Westerns – “Still New”

Oklahoma’s Other Lives got a bit of a profile boost when they were announced as the openers for the first leg of Radiohead’s US tour this Spring, but seeing as how there’s no local date for that bill as yet, fans and the curious will be pleased to know that they’ll be in town at The Drake Underground on February 14, tickets $12.50. That’s a bit less than Radiohead tickets would cost, I think.

MP3: Other Lives – “For 12”
MP3: Other Lives – “Tamer Animals”
MP3: Other Lives – “Song Song”

With the final – presumably – R.E.M. release in Part Lies Part Heart Part Truth Part Garbage 1982-2011 now out, it’s exit interview time. Michael Stipe explains the band’s decision to disband in conversation with Salon and CNN while Mike Mills chats with Billboard, Time, Spin, Consequence Of Sound, and Scotland On Sunday – he also talks to Spinner about Occupy Wall Street – and USA Today gets some quotes from all three members. Blurt, meanwhile, solicits testimonials from a range of artists and fans.

It’s not an official Neutral Milk Hotel video or anything, but this clip put together by Naomi Yang of Galaxie 500/Damon & Naomi is noteworthy if for no other reason than the song was, apparently, written about her.

Video: Neutral Milk Hotel – “Naomi”

The Stool Pigeon and Spinner talk to Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls.

The Washington Post interviews Ted Leo.

Stereogum checks in with School Of Seven Bells to see how their first album as a duo is coming along. At least well enough to have a title – Ghostory – and ballpark release date of next Spring. Update: The record is out February 28.

Guitar Junkie, The Riverfront Times and Apes On Tape talk to Lauren Larsen of Ume.