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Posts Tagged ‘Snowblink’

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Saturation Complete

Fresh Snow and Mimico at The Boat in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI don’t spend nearly as much time in the clubs scouting out new local acts as I used to – and relative to some who do this, I never spent that much time on that beat anyways – but last Thursday night at The Boat, I was reminded of what I liked and disliked about it. The “dislike” basically comes down to set times that always run at least a half hour and more likely an hour behind and thus being out far later than I’d like, the generally terrible venue lighting, and the greater than usual odds of seeing music that just doesn’t do anything for you. And under “like”, you’ve really only got one point – the prospect of seeing something great emerge before your eyes and ears.

That wasn’t really the case with Mimico, whom I arrived in time to see but would have missed had things been running on time. The stuff I’d listened to from their self-titled EP wasn’t bad in a rough, Kraftwerk-y post-punk sort of way but they couldn’t translate it live. Perhaps if they’d had their MIA drummer, it’d have been more engaging but as a two-piece synth-guitar duo playing over tinny drum machine patterns, it was far more meandering and failed to come together. But the recordings are pretty good for what they are, so I’ll not write them off yet.

I actually shouldn’t pretend that I was simply out scouting for new blood on this night; I’d covered Fresh Snow in this year’s NXNE coverage and had seen them play a couple times in Spring 2012, when they were a much greener act – so decidedly known quantities. But the occasion of the release of their debut album I merited another writeup because a) the album is really quite good, and b) I needed something to blog about.

To the former point, the shorthand on Fresh Snow is that they’re an instrumental, kinda post-Krautrock band – and it’s true that they like the drone and the noise in equal measure. But sandwiched between I‘s bookends of “French Horse Hall Of Fame” and “Saturation Complete” – which amount to almost 30 minutes of the a glorious combination thereof – they also get positively pop (“Helix Pass”) and show off a deft touch for dreamy ambience (“Los Vientos Del Tempo”) en route to a solid initial statement. It’s made up of a lot of things you’ve heard before, but taken as the big picture, there’s enough dynamics and ideas that the Fresh Snow ethos feels remarkably original.

As for the show, it wasn’t far removed from the NXNE performance. Their instrumental intro took too long to coalesce into something coherent, but once they got their feet under them it was full steam ahead. For the numbers of synths they had on stage, they spent much of the show in a decidedly conventional guitar-bass-drums (plus violin) configuration that offered all the loud and driving rockists could want and made for a solid wrestling match of control and chaos. A few interruptions in the flow of the show – though nothing like the power outages in June – kept it from becoming the fully hypnotic experience it could have and should been, but as a record release and coming out party, it was an impressive one.

Photos: Fresh Snow, Mimico @ The Boat – August 8, 2013
MP3: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
MP3: Fresh Snow – “BMX Based Tactics”
Video: Fresh Snow – “Saturation Complete”
Stream: Mimico / Mimico

Snowblink reveals to NOW that their next release will be a death-themed covers EP called I Am a Hall Of Fame; Post City also has an interview. They play BLK BOX as part of the Summerworks music series on August 14.

MTV is streaming four tracks from Mass:Light, the new solo record from Murray Lightburn; it’ll be out August 20. EastScene also has an interview with the Dears frontman.

Braids are streaming another track from Flourish//Perish, though with its August 20 release date just around the corner, expect the whole thing to start streaming any moment now. They play BLK BOX on November 10.

Stream: Braids – “Freund”

NME introduces their readers to Diana, just in time for the August 20 release of Perpetual Surrender. They play The Great Hall on September 26.

Fucked Up have been announced as the musical guests for the September 5 edition of First Thursdays at the Art Gallery Of Ontario, an event which will also feature a live video chat with artist Ai Wei Wei.

MP3: Fucked Up – “A Little Death”

NPR is streaming one of two new Stars songs which will be released as a 7″ single on September 10.

Stream: Stars – “Wishful”

aux.tv and Beatroute have interviews with Louise Burns, who supports Lightning Dust at The Drake Underground on September 10.

The Chicago Tribune and Metro get to know Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz. They play Wrongbar on September 17.

Islands have premiered a second taste of their new album Ski Mask via Spin ahead of its September 17 release, while Chart also has a video session. They play The Garrison on October 10.

Stream: Islands – “Becoming The Gunship”

Folks looking for an excuse to hang out in the park before Autumn well and truly rolls around should know about the Bloor Ossington Folk Festival, happening on September 21 and 22 at Christie Pits and featuring live music from the likes of The Golden Dogs, Memoryhouse, and Beams and two special secret headliners who – let’s face it – are almost sure to be Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene. Unless they’re not.

MP3: The Golden Dogs – “Travel Time”
MP3: Memoryhouse – “Quiet America”

Stereogum has an interview with Katie Stelmanis of Austra. They play The Phoenix on September 27.

Run Riot talks to Basia Bulat about her new record Tall Tall Shadow; it’s out October 1 and she plays The Polish Combatants Hall on October 10.

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan has announced details of their second album as well as sharing the first track, and Pitchfork is on it. Uzu will be out on October 29.

Stream: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “One”

Arcade Fire haven’t announced the title of their new album, out October 29, but the internet rumour mill is saying Reflektor and this website is certainly Arcade Fire-y in its crypticness. They’re less coy about the fact that they’re also scoring the new Spike Jonze film Her, because Pitchfork said so.

Dan Bejar is taking Destroyer back on the road this Fall with Pink Mountaintops as support but without a band. He’ll be exploring his songbook in solo style and also promises some new songs in the mix. Exclaim has full dates and details, including a November 9 date at The Great Hall.

MP3: Destroyer – “Chinatown”
MP3: Pink Mountaintops – “Vampire”

Spin has premiered the new (and first?) video from Born Ruffians’ latest album Birthmarks. They play The Danforth Music Hall on November 22.

Video: Born Ruffians – “Needle”

Rose Cousins has released a new video from last year’s wonderful We Have Made A Spark.

Video: Rose Cousins – “For The Best”

Evening Hymns have posted a complete livestream of a show in Kelowna, British Columbia last week. There’s also interviews with Jonas Bonetta at The Gate and The Edmonton Journal.

Chad VanGaalen fills in Exclaim on what he’s been up to.

Jim Guthrie road trips down to NPR to play a Tiny Desk Concert.

Earshot interviews Gold & Youth.

Dan Boeckner talks to Exclaim about his new project Operators, which he’ll presumably be more focused on once Britt Daniel puts Divine Fits on the back burner to concentrate on the next Spoon record.

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Here Here

Islands, island festivals, theatre festivals, etc, etc.

Photo By Todd WeaverTodd WeaverHere are some things I didn’t know about Islands. That though their history is pretty firmly tied to the early aughts Montreal scene that spawned The Unicorns and from whose ashes the first of many incarnations of the band were based, Wikipedia now says they’re based in Los Angeles. Of course, this is probably based on the fact that where Nick Thorburn, the only constant in the band since its inception, lays his hat is where they’re based, and circa their last record – last year’s A Sleep & A Forgetting – Thorburn was indeed working out of the city of angels. I also didn’t know that Evan and Geordie Gordon, principals of Guelph’s disco-tastic The Magic, had been members since 2009. Who knew?

But what I do know is that the stylistically eclectic pop outfit already have a new record ready to go, that they’ve called it Ski Mask, that it’s about being angry – the next logical step from Forgetting‘s prevailing themes of heartbreak, I guess – and that it will be out on September 17, and the first sample from it is available to stream below. Also confirmed is a North American tour that brings them to The Garrison in Toronto on October 10 for a ticket price of $12.50. And if you don’t believe me, consult Pitchfork – surely they’re a reliable source?

Stream: Islands – “Wave Forms”

While there’s no local Two Hours Traffic show per se, the band will be in the area to play Hillside over in Guelph and so are throwing their local fans a bone by playing a free in-store at Sonic Boom’s Annex location on July 27 at 5PM.

MP3: Two Hours Traffic – “Territory”

Summerworks added a musical component to their established theatre festival starting back in 2008, and while the showcase they provided to many of the area’s local on-the-verge talents was a great one – The Rural Alberta Advantage, Diamond Rings, Evening Hymns, the aforementioned Magic, Miracle Fortress, Hooded Fang, and Hidden Cameras to name but a few – they’ve only in the last couple years begun realizing the potential of really connecting the musical acts with their theatre roots. With this year’s programme, it seems they’ve finally figured out a way to make the music series really distinct and have enlisted The Wooden Sky, Snowblink, The Bicycles, and Maylee Todd to participate in some unique collaborations with other multi-disciplinary artists, and really, it’s just easier if you go and read about them than me try to explain. Oh, and there’s also more conventional live music performances at the Performance Bar. Summerworks runs August 8 to 18 in and around the Lower Ossington Theatre and Great Hall; tickets for the musical series shows will be $15 a piece.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”
MP3: Snowblink – “Unsurfed Waves”
Video: Maylee Todd – “Baby’s Got It”
Video: The Bicycles – “Nap Trap”

It’s unfortunate that Summerworks overlaps the fifth and final ALL CAPS! festival taking place at Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Islands the weekend of August 10 and 11 because they’re really catering to the same audience. In fact, Summerworks alumnis Hooded Fang were just added to the lineup, along with Magneta Lane. Torontoist talked festival organizers at Wavelength about why they’re calling it after five years and what will come next.

Video: Hooded Fang – “Bye Bye Land”
Video: Magneta Lane – “Lady Bones”

You may recall at the end of last Summer, I decamped to the wilds of northern Quebec for Festival de music émergent, a fun and fascinating little festival in the town of Rouyn-Noranda. They’ve just announced this year’s lineup, and while it’s not the Feist-Godspeed! one-two punch they got for their tenth anniversary, it’s a solidly trippy bill headlined by Montreal space-cadets The Besnard Lakes, New York art-rockers Blonde Redhead, and Quebec prog-metal legends Voivod, amongst many others of both Francophone and Anglophone persuasion. It’s off the beaten path, to be sure, but it’s a unique experience if you’re looking for something along those lines for the Labour Day long weekend. And if the music isn’t enough to persuade you, the words 24-hour poutinerie might. Exclaim has more details on this year’s FME, as the locals call it.

MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Missile++”
MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “People Of The Sticks”

Somewhat closer to home, local emergent synth-pop heroes Diana have scheduled a hometown record release show for their debut album Perpetual Surrender; the record is out August 20, they’re at The Great Hall on September 26, and there’s a brand-new video from said record to win your hearts and minds and eyeballs.

MP3: Diana – “Born Again”
Video: Diana – “Perpetual Surrender”

Remember when The Weeknd was all shy and would play shows or give interviews and stuff? Well no more. With his first proper – as in you pay for it – album due out this fall in Kiss Land, Abel Tesfaye has booked not one, not two, but three nights at Massey Hall to sing you some songs. He’s there on October 17, 19, and 20 and tickets run from $45 to $75 in advance. A video for the title track of the new record was released earlier this Summer.

MP3: The Weeknd – “Wicked Games”
Video: The Weeknd – “Kiss Land”

Kat Burns of Kashka – and formerly of Forest City Lovers – talks to NOW about her new identity and direction. She plays Harbourfront’s Soundclash festival this Saturday afternoon, July 13, at 1:30PM; that’s free.

Exclaim has premiered the new video from Louise Burns’ just-released new record The Midnight Mass; she talked a bit to Ion Magazine about making the clip.

Video: Louise Burns – “Emeralds Shatter”

The Effects Bay gets a look at Jimmy Shaw’s pedalboard with Metric, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Hero Brother

Arcade Fire’s Sarah Neufeld Hero-ically goes it alone

Photo By Nick BostickNick BostickThat Arcade Fire will release a new record this year – possibly/probably produced by or at least involving James Murphy – is pretty much a given. But also a given is that it won’t be out until Fall, at the earliest, because a) it’s already Spring and it’s not done, and b) Fall is still when all the big records come out and this is about as big as they get.

It would be nice to be able to say that Arcade Fire violinist Sarah Neufeld will be able to help fill that gap, what with the announcement that the instrumental solo endeavours that had her playing live shows since late last year have coalesced into her debut album – produced by German composer Nils Frahm – but the fact is that Hero Brother – said debut album – isn’t scheduled to come out until August 20, which is almost Fall anyways. But until then, there’s a preview MP3, an album trailer, a brace of Summer tour dates (nothing local yet but be patient), and a promise that she’ll continue to promote the record even while Arcade Fire is doing the same for album number four. Pitchfork has all the salient details on the record.

And while on the topic of things Arcade-y and Fire-y, congratulations to Win and Regine on the birth of their baby boy.

MP3: Sarah Neufeld – “Hero Brother”
Trailer: Sarah Neufeld / Hero Brother

If ever there was a reason to not rely on this site for your timely music news, this is it. Earlier this week Sloan released a limited-edition 7″ with two new hardcore songs on it, and by the time you read this they will have completely sold out. But you can still read details on it and the companion album of hardcore covers at Exclaim, and stream the two sides of the single below. Because that’s almost as good, right?

Stream: Sloan – “Jenny”
Stream: Sloan – “It’s In You, It’s In Me”

Along with a new video that surfaced last week, Exclaim has an advance stream of Jim Guthrie’s first new record in seemingly forever – Takes Time – ahead of its release on May 7. And spoiler alert – it’s terrific.

Stream: Jim Guthrie / Takes Time
Video: Jim Guthrie – “Bring On The Night”

Dallas Good talks to Exclaim about recording The Good Family Album with his family as The Good Family, and also about the next Sadies record. The Good Family play The Dakota Tavern on May 9 and 10 and The Sadies are part of the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 7.

aux.tv chats with Airick Woodhead of Doldrums, back in town for a show at The Horseshoe on May 11.

Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz talks to DIY about his debut album Impersonator, out May 21 and from which a new MP3 has just been made available. He opens up for Youth Lagoon at The Great Hall on May 13 and will be back for NXNE on June 15.

MP3: Majical Cloudz – “Bugs Don’t Buzz”

Stereogum has premiered a stream of a new Hooded Fang tune, taken from Gravez. It’s out May 28 and they play The Horseshoe on May 31.

Stream: Hooded Fang – “Ode To Subterrania”

Beatroute have put Vancouver’s Gold & Youth on this month’s cover in tribute to the May 14 release of their debut album, Beyond Wilderness.

Le Blogotheque has a striking Take-Away Show with Colin Stetson, and Exclaim, Consequence Of Sound, eMusic, and Rolling Stone have feature interviews. His new record New History Warfare Vol 3: To See More Light came out this week and he plays The Great Hall on May 19.

The 405 meets Young Galaxy.

CBC Music graphically maps the Broken Social Scene extended family, a map which will get even messier come May 28 with the release of X, a special album which teams up Arts & Crafts artists to record new songs, Judgement Night-style. Exclaim has details, and Clash a profile piece on the label. Broken Social Scene headline the Field Trip festival at Garrison Commons on June 8.

The Georgia Straight chats with Snowblink, who will also be playing Field Trip on June 8.

Crystal Castles have released a new video from III. They’re at The Sound Academy on June 8.

Video: Crystal Castles – “Affection”

NYLON meets Moon King, who will be all over NXNE playing June 13 at The Garrison, June 14 at The Drake, and June 15 at Yonge-Dundas Square.

Austra have released the first video from their second album Olympia, due out June 18.

Video: Austra – “Home”

She Knows and College Times interview Born Ruffians, playing for free as part of Sound Clash at Harbourfront Centre on July 13.

No Joy have released a new/first video from their second album, Wait To Pleasure.

Video: No Joy – “Hare Tarot Lies”

For her visit to The AV Club’s Undercover studio, Basia Bulat takes a swing at Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days”.

Friday, April 5th, 2013

A Year In Its Passing

The Wilderness Of Manitoba explores the wilderness of Leslieville

Photo By Jennifer RowsomJennifer RowsomFor a band with such a clear and steady aesthetic – delicately pretty, harmony-laden folk with direct spiritual and sonic roots in the ’60s – The Wilderness Of Manitoba have gone through their fair share of changes. The lineup that emerged from Toronto’s Deleware House with 2009’s Hymns of Love and Spirits and 2010’s When You Left The Fire lost vocalist Melissa Dalton and added drummer Sean Lancaric and vocalist/violinist Amanda Balsys for last year’s Island Of Echoes, and as the band prepares to release a new short collection of songs next Tuesday as The Leslieville Sessions – so named for the east-end Toronto studio where it was recorded live off the floor.

And The Wilderness Of Manitoba that recorded these songs is again not the same outfit that assembled their last record. Frontman Will Whitwham is the only one remaining from the band that first emerged in 2009, and while the source of their inspiration remains unchanged, the way that its manifested is quite different. Their signature three- and four-part harmonies have largely given way to focusing on the interplay between Whitwham and Balsys voices, with Balsys also taking a turn at lead vocals, and while Leslieville is still a far cry from being filed under “rock”, the increased presence of electrified instruments and percussion give it a welcome weight that, until now, was only present in their live shows. For all the changes that The Wilderness Of Manitoba continue to undergo, probably the most important one is that they continue to get better.

The Leslieville Sessions is out on Tuesday, and I’m pleased to be able to host an advance stream of it. Check it out, as well as a live video of the recording of the opening track. Another performance video of an Island Of Echoes track can be seen at Exclaim. Their current tour itinerary takes them through the Maritimes this week, and then after a few New York dates, their next local show is April 28 at Campbell House Museum, at the corner of Queen West and University.

Video: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “The Ark” (live)
Stream: The Wilderness Of Manitoba / The Leslieville Sessions

Interview has premiered the new video from Decades’ self-titled debut, due out April 16.

Video: Decades – “In Sequins”

The Dumbing Of America talks to Odonis Odonis, who open up for METZ at Lee’s Palace on May 17 and have just put out a new video from last year’s debut Hollandaze. They also have a new EP in Better coming out April 16, and are streaming a couple new tracks from that.

Stream: Odonis Odonis – “Intelligence”
Stream: Odonis Odonis – “Better”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “New World”

No Joy are streaming another new track from their new album Wait To Pleasure. It’s out April 23 and that night, they play The Garrison opening for Clinic.

Stream: No Joy – “Hare Tarot Lies”

aux.tv and The List get to know Rachel Zeffira, who plays The Drake Underground on May 2.

Noisey interviews Airick Woodhead of Doldrums. He plays The Horseshoe on May 11.

Majical Cloudz has a new video from his forthcoming debut Impersonator, out May 21. He opens up for Youth Lagoon at The Great Hall on May 13 and will be back the following month for NXNE.

Video: Majical Cloudz – “Childhood’s End”

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of a couple Stars shows in Brooklyn last month, and if you’re more of a “see” than “hear”, Paste has video of their entire Mercury Lounge show from that same week and The Alternate Side a video session available to watch. They’re back in town as a part of Field Trip at Garrison Common on June 8.

Exclaim and The Quietus talk to The Besnard Lakes, who’ve just premiered the first video from the just-released Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO at Rolling Stone, and if anyone missed it, a non-geoblocked stream of the album is up at Pitchfork.

Video: The Besnard Lakes – “People Of The Sticks”
Stream: The Besnard Lakes / Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO

Snowblink have rolled out a new video from Inner Classics.

Video: Snowblink – “Inner Miss-Mississippi”

Prefix has premiered a new video from Woodpigeon’s Thumbtacks & Glue.

Video: Woodpigeon – “Robin Song”

Exclaim has premiered the new video from July Talk’s self-titled debut while aux.tv gets Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay to go behind the scenes of the making of the clip.

Video: July Talk – “Guns & Ammunition”

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Asleep In The Pews

Evening Hymns stream last Toronto show, slate next Toronto show

Photo via FacebookFacebookThe last time that Evening Hymns graced a Toronto stage, it was back in August as part of the Summerworks festival and came a few days before the official release of their gorgeously heavy second album Spectral Dusk. After that show, which featured a band and lightshow specially assembled for that performance, Jonas Bonnetta and Sylvie Smith – the Evening Hymns principals – jetted across the ocean to tour the record across Europe with friends and album collaborators The Wooden Sky, only returning a couple weeks ago only to set out on a coast-to-coast, cross-Canada tour last week which will keep them working the Trans-Canada Highway until the end of November.

And then they’ll come home.

The band have just announced a tour-ending, hometown performance for December 15 at the Church Of The Redeemer in Toronto, a room that doesn’t frequently host live music but sounds marvelous when it does. It’s hard to think of a more appropriate locale to bookend what has surely been a physically and emotionally draining Autumn for Bonnetta. And to coincide with the Canadian tour and show announcement, CBC Music has made a recording of that August show at The Great Hall available to stream. And yep, it’s as beautiful as I remember it.

MP3: Evening Hymns – “Arrows”
Video: Evening Hymns – “Family Tree”

Also just announced and perhaps of interest – Gentleman Reg will release his third Leisure Life EP of the Fall digitally on November 6, with the collected physical edition coming not long after on November 20 and a hometown release show taking place at The Gladstone on December 2. Details at Exclaim, and all three are available to stream

Stream: Gentleman Reg / Leisure Life Part One
Stream: Gentleman Reg / Leisure Life Part Two
Stream: Gentleman Reg / Leisure Life Part Three

Cold Specks has been added as support for Conor Oberst at Massey Hall on December 8. Remaining tickets range from $39.50 to $69.50.

Video: Cold Specks – “Winter Solstice”

Since they’ll be all rehearsed up for their European tour in November as part of Constellation Records’ 15th anniversary, Do Make Say Think have slated a hometown show for The Opera House on December 7, tickets $15 in advance.

MP3: Do Make Say Think – “The Landlord Is Dead”

Beatroute talks quickly to Plants & Animals, in town at The Great Hall on November 15.

Interview, The Ottawa Citizen, The Grid, and Durham Region talk to John O’Regan of Diamond Rings, bringing his Free Dimensional tour through Toronto to The Mod Club on November 29.

The Broken Speaker talks to The Wooden Sky, playing a tour-ending, homecoming show of their own at The Phoenix on December 1.

Drowned In Sound chats with Japandroids, hitting The Phoenix on December 12.

The Balconies have squeezed a new video out of their now-three-year-old-and-counting self-titled debut. Why yes, that is a passive-aggressive nudge for a new record, how good of you to notice. At least the video is seasonally-themed.

Video: The Balconies – “Do It In The Dark”

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Snowblink.

Spin and The Calgary Herald profile METZ.

The AV Club has a Blogotheque-produced video session with A.C. Newman, guest-starring one Neko Case. They sound great together – they should make a record or something.

NOW talked to The Wilderness Of Manitoba before last week’s record release show at Trinity-St. Paul’s.

Beatroute and Queen’s Journal chat with The Rural Alberta Advantage.