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Posts Tagged ‘Smiths’

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

A Ton Of Love

Editors done editing new record and lineup, hope Love is worth the Weight

Photo By Matt SpaldingMatt SpaldingAt the risk of being overly literal, it probably goes without saying that a band called Editors would hardly be averse to making changes. But the Birmingham band’s decision to push synthesizers to the fore on their third album, 2009′s In This Light And On This Evening, might have been a little more stylistic revision than they or their fans bargained for. It didn’t fare nearly as well, commercially-speaking, as either of its predecessors – fans apparently preferred them when they were aping Joy Division rather than New Order, even if their instincts for all things dramatic and anthemic remained intact and Tom Smith sounded as overwrought and faintly ridiculous as ever – and when the dust settled founding guitarist Chris Urbanowicz had left the band.

So while it may have taken a little while longer than usual to regroup, the band have done just that – they’re now a five-piece – and will release their fourth album The Weight Of Your Love on July 1 in the UK. They’ve made the first single available to preview by way of a video, and it certainly seems to indicate a return to a guitar-based sound – mayhap Urbanowicz’s issues with their creative direction weren’t what you might expect – as well as an increased appreciation for all things U2. Altsounds sums up the press release for the new record and DIY has an in-studio chat with the band about the new record.

Video: Editors – “A Ton Of Love”

The Guardian has an extensive feature interview with Savages, whose debut Silence Yourself is out this week.

The Huffington Post, Boston Globe, and Bullett mark the release of Little Boots’ second album Nocturnes today with feature interviews.

Noah & The Whale are profiled by The Guardian, The Independent, and The Boar on the occasion of the release of their new record Heart Of Nowhere this week.

A Heart Is A Spade, Junkee, and MusicFeeds chat with Charli XCX, in town at Echo Beach on May 23 supporting Marina & The Diamonds.

Laura Marling has released the first video from new album Once I Was An Eagle, which will be released on May 28. She plays 99 Sudbury in Toronto on May 25.

Video: Laura Marling – “Master Hunter”

DIY talks to Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream. Their new record More Light is out this week in the UK and on June 18 in North America.

Quip Q&As Polly Scattergood about her new record Arrows, out June 18.

Buzzfeed has a sit-down with Stuart Murdoch about Belle & Sebastian and his God Help The Girl feature film. They will close out the final night of the Toronto Urban Roots Fest on July 7 at Garrison Commons.

Pitchfork has a stream of a new song from Sky Larkin, who have an as-yet untitled album done and ready for release later this Summer.

Stream: Sky Larkin – “Motto”

Spin finds out what Yuck are up to now that frontman Daniel Blumberg has left the band and is now operating under the name Hebronix. Their second album is due out in the Fall and the first Hebronix album – Unreal – is out July 9; you can stream the title track below.

Stream: Hebronix – “Unreal”

MTV Hive checks in with Dev Hynes about getting back to business as Blood Orange; a second album is hopefully coming this year but with all the other projects on the go that Hynes mentioned, holding one’s breath isn’t necessarily recommended.

Under The Radar and Rolling Stone have interviews with Johnny Marr about his solo work, while The Daily Mail talks to him about the 30th anniversary of The Smiths and specifically, the writing of their first single “Hand In Glove”. Marr marked the anniversary in a way at a recent New York show, staging a half-reunion when Smiths bassist Andy Rourke joined him onstage for the show-closing “How Soon Is Now”.

The Fly has a video session with Veronica Falls.

State and entertainment.ie interview British Sea Power.

Billboard has an interview and NPR a World Cafe session with Billy Bragg.

Exclaim has a feature interview with James Blake.

The Line Of Best Fit is streaming a re-recorded, full band-boasting version of a track from Neil Halstead’s 2012 album Palindrome Hunches. It sounds great, but would probably sound better slowed down, drenched in reverb and delay, and with Rachel Goswell singing harmonies.

Stream: Neil Halstead – “Spin The Bottle”

DIY reports that Damon Albarn told a Hong Kong audience that, having had shows in Japan this week postponed, Blur will while away the time in Hong Kong by trying to record a new album. Which is encouraging, because it’s one thing to bait nosy journalists, but unsolicited declarations to thousands of fans is quite another.

So ever since I posted this five years ago, I’ve periodically tried to find out what British singer-songwriter Candie Payne has been up to, looking for either word of a follow-up to I Wish I Could Have Loved You More or confirmation that she’s retired so that I can stop trying to find out what she’s been up to. As it turns out, she’s formed a band called The Big House with a former member of The Zutons and has been working on some of that boy-girl Californian country-pop stuff that the kids are all about these days. Still not a whole lot to show for it, but at least it’s something.

Video: The Big House – “Canyon Home In The Sun”
Video: Candie Payne – “One More Chance”

Monday, April 29th, 2013

The Messenger

Johnny Marr at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFor the better part of the past 20 years, I’ve kept with me a copy of the January, 1990 issue of Guitar Player, the cover of which features a too-cool black-and-white photo of Johnny Marr under the title of “Anti-Guitar Hero”. It’s the image and epithet that I think of first when I think of Marr, along with the phrase “consummate sideman”, who in addition to being the true genius behind The Smiths, has lent his guitar and songwriting skills to The Pretenders, The The, Electronic, Modest Mouse, and The Cribs to name just his official affiliations – his list of guest appearances runs much longer and his overall CV is beyond reproach.

So The Messenger, this year’s solo debut under his own name – despite the fact that no one bought 2003′s Boomslang, credited to Marr and The Healers, because it was a new Zak Starkey record – really didn’t have to prove anything, except maybe that it was better than Boomslang. And it is by a fair distance. Marr is a capable singer – not as distinctive a personality as his past collaborators, but strong enough to carry a tune, particularly when backed with his characteristically brilliant guitarwork, which has found an ideal balance between his jangly past and the heavier, riffier sounds of his more recent work. But the best thing about The Messenger is that it’s given Marr an excuse to stage a full North American tour – not such the logistical feat since he’s lived in Portland the last few years – and sell out The Phoenix on Saturday night. And while I’d technically seen Marr in 2008 as part of Modest Mouse and again in January 2011 circa his tenure in The Cribs, there was still a special feeling about this one, what with it being his first visit as Johnny Marr and doing explicitly Johnny Marr things.

Marr took the stage sharply-dressed and looking much younger than his 49 years – how is he so spry when barely-older Morrissey is literally falling apart? – as he led a new version of The Healers through Messenger opener “The Right Thing Right”, but immediately followed it, as if to answer the unspoken question from those who’d not bothered to look at set lists from this tour, with “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before”. Yes indeed, The Smiths songbook was open – and Electronic as well, as “Forbidden City” a few songs in would signal – and damned if Marr didn’t sound great singing it.

His relatively anonymous vocals were a great advantage here as he didn’t try to ape the Moz’s (and Bernard Sumner’s) delivery but was still able to sound like he’d been singing these songs all his life. And while I’ve never seen Morrissey live, I’m going to bet that his backing band can’t close to playing Marr’s guitar parts – as much a part of the Smiths magic as anything Morrissey contributed – as well as the man himself. Indeed, all of the Smiths songs in the set sounded better than anyone could have hoped, with Marr injecting each of “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”, “Bigmouth Strikes Again”, and “The Queen Is Dead” with a some serious rock adrenaline and making them feel more alive than they have in nigh on 30 years.

And for a man who is arguably one of the architects of modern guitar pop, Marr was all about the rock. Anti-guitar hero he might be, but he had some choice guitar hero moves, and while he was friendly and chatty from the stage, he still carried himself like a bona fide rock star. The pace of the set didn’t slow one iota until almost an hour into the set with the relatively more moderately-paced “Say Demense”. Of course, that went straight back into a ripping “Bigmouth” so it barely counted as a lull.

When he returned for the encore, Marr had traded his moddish tweed jacket and button-down shirt for a bright red “Johnny Fucking Marr” t-shirt, and though it’s basically unwearable in public, I’m pretty sure he sold at least a couple dozen of them right then and there. He then called local boy Kevin Drew to the stage, citing Broken Social Scene’s You Forgot It In People as one of his inspirations for re-engaging with popular music some years ago, and traded vocals with him on a cover of “I Fought The Law”. It was then back into the archives for a reading of Electronic’s “Getting Away With It” and, finally – brilliantly – “How Soon Is Now”. For nigh on 90 minutes, Johnny Marr affirmed why he’s a legend and while with all his projects, he’s never really gone away, how amazing it is to have him back, simultaneously and fully embracing both his past and future.

The Toronto Sun and National Post also have reviews of the show. Vulture, Washington City Paper, The Oakland Press, The Detroit Free Press, and MTV Hive all have interviews with Johnny Marr.

Photos: Johnny Marr @ The Phoenix – April 27, 2013
Video: Johnny Marr – “Upstarts”
Video: Johnny Marr – “The Messenger”
Video: Johnny Marr & The Healers – “Down On The Corner”
Video: Johnny Marr & The Healers – “Last Ride”
Video: Electronic – “Late At Night”
Video: Electronic – “Vivid”
Video: Electronic – “For You”
Video: Electronic – “Forbidden City”
Video: Electronic – “Feel Every Beat”
Video: Electronic – “Get The Message”
Video: The Smiths – “Ask” (live)
Video: The Smiths – “I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish”
Video: The Smiths – “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before”
Video: The Smiths – “Girlfriend In A Coma”
Video: The Smiths – “Sheila Take A Bow”
Video: The Smiths – “Shoplifters Of The World Unite”
Video: The Smiths – “Ask”
Video: The Smiths – “Panic”
Video: The Smiths – “The Queen Is Dead”
Video: The Smiths – “The Boy With A Thorn In His Side”
Video: The Smiths – “How Soon Is Now”

With their debut album finally out in North America this week, Rolling Stone has a stream of Daughter’s If You Leave. And just because, you can stream their smouldering cover of the new Daft Punk single, recorded for BBC. Daughter are at The Great Hall on May 7.

Stream: Daughter – “Get Lucky”
Stream: Daughter / If You Leave

James Blake gripes about the music industry to Exclaim. He brings his gripes – er, music – to the Danforth Music Hall on May 4.

DIY and Female First interview Victoria Hesketh of Little Boots. Her new record Nocturnes is out May 7 and The Guardian have posted her new video from it.

Video: Little Boots – “Broken Record”

Drowned In Sound talks to Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, whose new album More Light is out May 6 in the UK and June 18 in North America.

The xx are streaming their contribution to the soundtrack of The Great Gatsby. The soundtrack album is out May 7, the film on May 10, and they play Downsview Park on June 6.

Stream: The xx – “Together”

The Guardian talks to Foals. They’re at The Kool Haus on May 11.

The Guardian and Contact Music have interviews with Laura Marling about her forthcoming album Once I Was An Eagle, out May 28, while Noisey presents a short film/performance video by Marling entitled “When Brave Bird Saved”.

Daytrotter welcomes CHVRCHES for a session. They’re at The Hoxton on June 12 and their debut album is due in September.

HungerTV and Gold Flake Paint talk to Polly Scattergood about her new record Arrows, coming June 14.

Rolling Stone has premiered the gory new video from Two Door Cinema Club, taken from last year’s Beacon.

Video: Two Door Cinema Club – “Handshake”

MySpace has an interview with Jessie Ware, who details her favourite things about London for The London Evening Standard and who has just put up a stream of a Martika cover – no, not of “Toy Soldiers” – just because.

Stream: Jessie Ware – “Love Thy Will Be Done”

Spinner finds out what former XTC frontman Andy Partridge has been up to of late, specifically his Gonwards collaboration with Peter Blegvad.

Atoms For Peace have made a new, non-album track available to stream.

Stream: Atoms For Peace – “Magic Beanz”

The Rumpus manages to be the first outlet to elicit an interview with David Bowie, in the form of a 42-word workflow diagram for The Next Day. Okay, then.

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Good For You

Shoegazing under the microscope, starring My Bloody Valentine and Ride

Photo By Steve DoubleSteve DoubleWhenever an old/classic album is reissued these days – which is pretty much every day – it’s inevitably advertised as having been remastered, and it’s assumed that that’s a good thing. And not unreasonably – when a lot of these albums were originally released on compact disc, they were poorly converted from analog to digital and could generally sound thin/quiet/uninspiring. But remastering is no guarantee of improvement – at best, things will sound incredibly better (the 20th anniversary redo of The Stone Roses’ debut by original producer John Leckie is a revelation), at worst, they’ll be posthumous victims of The Loudness Wars and make those original pressings that much more valuable.

All of which is only salient because the specifics of remastering were brought to the fore this week thanks to a couple of coincidental analyses of some high-profile reissues of classic shoegazing albums; My Bloody Valentine’s seminal Loveless, finally being re-released next week, and Ride’s debut Nowhere, which was polished up and put out in November of 2010.

Loveless is an interesting case because rather than being half-album, half-outtakes and rarities as most double-disc reissues typically are, it comes as two complete versions of the album – one a remaster from “the original tapes”, the other a remaster from “the original 1/2-inch analogue tapes”. I use the quotes because, to be honest, I don’t know what the difference is in terms of origin or timeline; Spin also takes a close listen to the two versions and offers their thoughts on the curious release. An interview with Kevin Shields that went up at Pitchfork this week sheds a lot of light on all facets of the subject, but I guess I accept that I’m amongst those who don’t hear a difference between the two. You can see if you can hear a difference for yourself as The Guardian is streaming both remasters, though Soundcloud compression and computer speakers probably obliterate any subtle differences between the two. They’ve also dug up an interview with Shields circa 1992 that you can read while listening.

Spin also has a gander at one of the previously unreleased songs that makes the EPs 1988-1991 double-disc comp so necessary for fans. “Good For You” surfaced as a bootleg via YouTube a few years ago, but is finally going to be available – along with other goodies – in proper, high-fidelity form. The official version is available to stream via the aforementioned Pitchfork interview and the bootleg was found on YouTube.

Stream: My Bloody Valentine – “Good For You”
Stream: My Bloody Valentine – “Good For You” (bootleg)
Stream: My Bloody Valentine / Loveless (both remasters)

With respect to the Nowhere reissue put out by Rhino Handmade – generally a reliable and responsible archival outfit – Bradley’s Almanac has put “Vapour Trail” and “Paralysed” under the microscope – or oscilloscope – to see just what the remastering job by Rick Webb at Abbey Road Studios accomplished. Interesting and illuminating analysis over there that’s gotten me thinking maybe I do need to re-buy this album at least one more time.

And because Boston loves Ride – clearly – I direct you to another Beantown blog in Clicky Click, who’ve compiled a tribute album to Nowhere comprised of all-Boston bands entitled Nofuckingwhere. Download it and discover some new bands while listening to some classic tunes.

The AV Club talks to Johnny Marr about supervising the remastering of the entire Smiths catalog for their Complete reissue series last Fall and his feelings about the band, decades on.

Jason Pierce of Spiritualized talks to NOW and The AV Club in advance of Saturday’s sold-out show at The Phoenix.

2:54 are streaming a new track from their forthcoming self-titled/numbered debut, due out May 29. They’re at Lee’s Palace on June 15 for NXNE.

Stream: 2:54 – “Creeping”

Beatroute gets Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai on the horn. They play The Phoenix on June 18.

Interview and Musicfeeds talk to Mystery Jets about their new just-released new record Radlands; they’re at The Sound Academy on June 19 supporting Keane.

Michael Kiwanuka has released a new video from Home Again. Note that his June 19 date at The Great Hall has been moved to The Phoenix and a few hundred more tickets will be on sale shortly.

Video: Michael Kiwanuka – “I’ll Get Along”

Having had to cancel last Summer’s show at The Phoenix (and the attendant tour) in support of Whatever’s On Your Mind due to illness, Gomez are making things up intimate-style with a show at The Mod Club on July 23, tickets $25.50.

Video: Gomez – “Whatever’s On Your Mind”

Micachu & The Shapes have announced that the follow-up to their 2009 debut Jewellery will be entitled Never and be out on July 24.

Little Boots has released a video for her latest single, taken from an album that has not been announced yet but is surely coming sooner or later.

Video: Little Boots – “Every Night I Say A Prayer”

Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons tells NME that album number two is in the can, as they say.

Joshua Hayward of The Horrors opines to NME his thoughts on how big a room he thinks his band can play and their recording plans for the Fall.

Beatroute, The San Francisco Examiner, and Spinner all have interviews with Arctic Monkeys.

State interviews Friendly Fires.

The Skinny talks to Stephen Morris of New Order.

Lisa Hannigan and Joe Henry – who produced Hannigan’s latest album Passenger – will team up for a show at The Phoenix on June 10, general admission seated tickets $25 in advance.

Stream: Lisa Hannigan / Passenger

The Chicago Tribune interviews Anthony Gonzalez of M83, in Toronto at The Sound Academy this coming Sunday, May 6, and again at Historic Fort York on August 4.

Maria Linden of I Break Horses – who open up for M83 at Sound Academy on Sunday – talks to Denver Westword.

The Line Of Best Fit has an acoustic video session with Niki & The Dove recorded for Swedish site PSL while DIY is streaming two of the bonus songs that appears on the deluxe edition of their debut Instinct, out May 14 in the UK and in North America on August 7.

Stream: Niki & The Dove – “Taylor”/”All This Youth”

Spin has premiered the new video from Ane Brun, performing at The Great Hall on May 10.

Video: Ane Brun – “One”

DIY has a video session with First Aid Kit, back in town for a show at The Music Hall on September 26.

Drowned In Sound talks to Jonsi about returning to Sigur Rós after going solo. Valtari is out May 29 and they play Echo Beach on August 1.

Rolling Stone is offering a download of one of the songs Ladyhawke recorded for an All Saints session earlier this year. Her new record Anxiety is due out May 25 and I neglected to post the second video from it when it was released last month; let me rectify that.

MP3: Ladyhawke – “Black White & Blue” (acoustic All Saints version)
Video: Ladyhawke – “Sunday Drive”

Friday, April 13th, 2012

White Rune

Iceage coming, Iceage coming / Throw him in the fire

Photo via FacebookFacebookOr perhaps that should read, “Vikings coming, Vikings coming”, seeing as how the last few days have seen a flurry of excellent concert announcements from Scandinavian bands.

Not the biggest but certainly of interest is the return of barely out of their teens if even that Danish post-punks Iceage. Their debut New Brigade was as intense as it was brief – not even 25 minutes to get through a dozen tracks – but with enough melodic sensibility to appeal to those who need a little melodicism to make this much angular aggression palatable. Like myself. In any case, their live shows are infamously raucous affairs so it’ll be interesting to see what they do to The Horseshoe when they roll in on July 18, part of a North American tour to get them to Pitchfork Fest; tickets for the show are $12.50 in advance.

MP3: Iceage – “White Rune”
MP3: Iceage – “Broken Bone”
MP3: Iceage – “New Brigade”

With the announcement of his second album There’s No Leaving Now, out June 12, Kristian Matsson – aka The Tallest Man On Earth – is back for a show at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on June 15. Tickets for that one are $27.50 in advance, on sale today at 10AM and there’s a two-per-customer limit on those so if you’re travelling in a group, you probably won’t be sitting together. Sorry.

MP3: The Tallest Man On Earth – “King Of Spain”
MP3: The Tallest Man On Earth – “Burden Of Tomorrow”
MP3: The Tallest Man On Earth – “Like The Wheel”

And perhaps most excitingly, Sigur Rós make their first return to Toronto since September 2008, though surprisingly it will be their first show in a decade to not happen at Massey Hall; this time, they’ll take advantage of the fact that their show is being geared towards festival season and take things to the outdoors, playing at Echo Beach down at Ontario Place on August 1 before heading to Osheaga and Lollapalooza. Tickets are general admission and go on sale April 19 for $49.50 plus fees. Their new album Valtari is out on May 28.

MP3: Sigur Rós – “Starálfur”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Svefn-G-Englar”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Gobbledigook”
MP3: Sigur Rós – “Hoppípolla”

If only a Norwegian band could have announced some dates this week, I’d have had the full set. They’ll have to settle for representation from Ane Brun, who’s now based in Sweden, and has made a track from her new album It All Starts With One available to download; it’s out May 1 and she’s at The Great Hall on May 10. Contact Music also has an interview.

MP3: Ane Brun – “Do You Remember”

The Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register, and Georgia Straight welcome First Aid Kit to the west coast with questions. So many questions.

Londonist interviews Amanda Mair, whose self-titled debut is out in North America on June 5.

Niki & The Dove’s debut album Instinct now has a North American release date and it’s three months after the European one – it will be out via Sub Pop on August 7 over here. Until then, you can hear five tracks from it via a YouTube stream.

Stream: Niki & The Dove / Instinct sampler

NPR welcomes Fanfarlo for a World Cafe session.

The Amelia Fletcher-fronted Tender Trap returns with Ten Songs About Girls, aka ten songs of indie-pop goodness, this July and the first single is now available to stream. Clash has more details on the release.

Stream: Tender Trap – “Love Is Hard Enough”

Also making a return – Neil Halstead with his third solo record Palindrome Hunches, due out in August.

The Joy Formidable may have wrapped up their North American tour and gone back to the UK, but they’ve left parting gifts in the form of a live mini-concert recorded for YouTube Presents.

Video: The Joy Formidable @ YouTube Presents

New Twilight Sad video.

Video: The Twilight Sad – “Dead City”

Summer Camp are put in front of the camera for video sessions with Gold Flake Paint and All Saints.

Charlotte Hatherley’s Sylver Tongue electro-pop persona has premiered a new video via The Guardian.

Video: Sylver Tongue – “Creatures”

Yuck has a new song; let them stream it for you.

Stream: Yuck – “Chew”

Justin Young of The Vaccines updates BBC on the recording of album number two.

Spin, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Wall Street Journal talk to Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce about their new record Sweet Heart Sweet Light, out next week. They’re at The Phoenix on May 5.

The Fly and Edinburgh Evening News chat with Graham Coxon.

Both Rolling Stone and Spin talk The Smiths with Johnny Marr.

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

"Half A Person"

The Twilight Sad cover The Smiths

Photo via thetwilightsad.comthetwilightsad.comAs I mentioned in my review of The Twilight Sad’s new record No One Can Ever Know, the band have never tried to hide their influences. But for everything that has gone into their sonic stew, the jangle-pop art-pop of The Smiths doesn’t come immediately to mind as you work through their discography… or does it. James Graham may not aspire to be as deft a wordsmith as Morrissey, but whether it’s buried in the the white noise of their debut Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters or the gleaming sheen of No One Can Ever Know, the common denominator is miserablism. And yeah, you might be able to draw a line to The Smiths for inspiration on that front.

“Half A Person” was originally the b-side to “Shoplifters of the World Unite”, but became almost as well known as The Smiths’ album cuts thanks to its inclusion on the Louder Than Bombs b-sides clearing house and also the Best… I compilation, so it’s perhaps fitting that The Twilight Sad’s simple acoustic studio rendering appeared on their own 2008 odds-and-sods comp Killed My Parents And Hit The Road, a limited edition tour-only release issued as a stopgap between their first and second albums.

The Twilight Sad bring No One Can Ever Know, released last week, to Lee’s Palace on February 29; The 405 has an interview with the band. Despite constantly finding new ways to re-release their old material, The Smiths remain broken up and god willing will remain so. But Johnny Marr is working on new solo material, so there’s that.

MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Half A Person”
Stream: The Smiths – “Half A Person”