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Posts Tagged ‘Sparklehorse’

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Lost It To Trying

Son Lux raises Lanterns on tour

Photo By Tim NavisTim NavisDenver-born, New York-based artist Ryan Lott has been popping up on a good number of year-end lists – or at least his alias of Son Lux has – on the strength of his latest album Lanterns. I’d seen descriptors like post-rock and hip-hop attached to his work in the past, but on delving into Lanterns they’re only as much a factor as every other genre of popular music out there, all of which is thrown into the mix but none of which dominates.

Instead, Lanterns is an electro-orchestral opus that sounds like the classical past being recreated from incomplete notes by robots from the future. Those seeking a more concrete frame of reference can look to James Blake and also Sufjan Stevens, with whom Lott collaborates in S/S/S, with Lanterns occupying some of that middle space between Seven Swans and Age Of Adz. Yes, that’s a pretty big space, but it’s one worth exploring. As is Lanterns.

Son Lux have announced some Spring headlining dates in support of his latest album; look for him at The Drake Underground on March 23, tickets $12 in advance. The 405, Bowlegs, and Interview have interviews with Lott and Stereogum has premiered a new video.

MP3: Son Lux – “Lost It To Trying”
Video: Son Lux – “Pyre”
Video: Son Lux – “Lost It To Trying”
Stream: Son Lux / Lanterns

Broken Bells have released a stream of the title track from their new album After The Disco. It’s out January 14 and they play The Danforth Music Hall on March 3.

Stream: Broken Bells – “After The Disco”

Californian synth-pop outfit Gardens & Villa have announced a North American tour behind their second album Dunes, out February 4, and will be at The Drake Underground on February 27, tickets $13.50.

Stream: Gardens & Villa – “Bullet Train”

Pitchfork reports that Speedy Ortiz will be releasing a new EP called Real Hair on February 11, a quarter of which you can stream below. They’re in town for NXNE next June.

Stream: Speedy Ortiz – “Everything’s Bigger”

Esquire chats with Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices. Their new record Motivational Jumpsuit comes out February 18.

Even though Shearwater just released an album of covers in Fellow Travelers, their version of Frank Ocean’s “Novocane” wasn’t included – probably because they haven’t toured together. Yet. Anyways, the track was released as part of a split-7″ with Low for Record Store Day, and is now available to stream if you missed out on the limited edition vinyl. Maybe they’ll play it when they hit The Horseshoe on March 27.

Stream: Shearwater – “Novocane”

Erika M Anderson – aka EMA – has announced details of her follow-up to 2011’s Past Life Martyred Saints and they can be found at her new label of Matador. The Future‚Äôs Void will be out in the Spring and the first single from it can be streamed below.

Stream: EMA – “Satellites”

In conversation with Rolling Stone, James Murphy reveals that the final LCD Soundsystem show at Madison Square Garden – as documented in Shut Up And Play The Hits – is being remixed for release as a live album.

NPR is streaming a KCRW session with of Montreal.

NOW talked to Charles Bradley ahead of his show at the Kool Haus last week.

Drowned In Sound and The Line Of Best Fit talk to Aaron Dessner of The National about this and that and what it’ll be like to open for Neil Young at Hyde Park next June.

Neko Case has released a new video of the lyric variety from The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You.

Lyric Video: Neko Case – “Calling Cards”

Tone Deaf talks to Lee Ranaldo about his solo work and the future of Sonic Youth.

Willamette Week and Seattle Weekly have interviews and NPR has posted a World Cafe session with Midlake.

There’s updates from the Sparklehorse tribute album project reported on last month: Last Box Of Sparklers: A Tribute To Mark Linkous is into its final week of fundraising, and remain $7000 short of their $50000 goal. To encourage those who might be able to help them bridge that gap, Box Of Stars have made a few more of the songs that are a part of the project available to stream, most notably The Joy Formidable’s take on “Gold Day” and The Flaming Lips‘ version of “It’s A Sad And Beautiful World”.

Stream: The Joy Formidable – “Gold Day”
Stream: The Flaming Lips – “It’s A Sad And Beautiful World”
Stream: Last Box Of Sparklers: A Tribute To Mark Linkous sampler

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Chords I've Known

Tribute to Sparklehorse seeks tributes from fans

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSparklehorse were never an especially commercially successful band during their lifetime, their heartbroken transistor radio cosmic country finding only a cult audience, but a lot of that cult audience were other artists. And so almost four years after Mark Linkous took his own life, the Box Of Stars organization, which seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues through music, has gathered together an impressive roster of those fans for Last Box Of Sparklers: A Tribute To Mark Linkous.

Amongst the contributors you’ll find Sparklehorse forebears, contemporaries, and followers including The Flaming Lips, Dinosaur Jr, Cowboy Junkies, Phantogram, and The Joy Formidable. Financing for the release is currently being sourced through Indiegogo and with nine days to go, they’re 40% of the way to their $50,000 goal. It would be a shame on so many levels if this project didn’t happen so if you were a fan of Sparklehorse – or are a fan of any of the contributing artists and would like to be introduced to the sad and beautiful world of Sparklehorse – see about contributing.

Pitchfork has more details on the project and a stream of Mercury Rev’s track.

Stream: Mercury Rev – “Sea Of Teeth”
Trailer: Last Box Of Sparkers: A Tribute To Mark Linkous

The National have made their contribution to the new The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack – due out November 19 – available to stream and guitarist Aaron Dessner gives NME some insight into their plans for their next album.

Stream: The National – “Lean”

Unofficial ambassador of Arizona to the world – never mind that Walter White fellow – Howe Gelb has made a date at The Drake Underground on December 7 to play songs from his new solo record The Coincidentalist, his first visit since bringing the ‘Sno Angel Like You gospel project to Lee’s Palace in December 2006. Tickets for that will be $17.50.

Stream: Howe Gelb – “Vortexas”

Pitchfork and Rolling Stone talk to Stephen Malkmus about his new album with The Jicks, entitled Wig Out at Jagbags and due in January 7; details at Matablog, lyric video for a new song below. Sing along!

Lyric Video: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Lariat”

The whole of Warpaint’s set at the Pitchfork Paris festival earlier this month is available to watch online; I would expect some tracks from their new album Warpaint, out January 21, are included in the set.

Video: Warpaint live at Pitchfork Paris 2014

Though just here last last month, San Francisco’s Weekend are coming back to town and bringing Philadelphia’s unbelievably loud Nothing – themselves just here in August – for a show at The Garrison on January 21; tickets are $10.50 in advance.

MP3: Weekend – “Coma Summer”
Video: Nothing – “Downward Years To Come”

Le Tigre alumnus JD Samson & MEN are touring behind their new record Labor and will be at The Garrison on January 26. Noisey has an interview with Samson.

Video: JD Samson & MEN – “Making Art”

Rolling Stone has premiered a stream of the new song by Hospitality, taken from their sophomore album Trouble, coming out January 27.

Stream: Hospitality – “I Miss Your Bones”

Austin’s White Denim have announced Winter dates behind their new, Jeff Tweedy-produced album Corsicana Lemonade; dates and a stream of the album can be had at Exclaim, and they include a March 3 date at The Horseshoe, tickets $15.50. The Irish Examiner has an interview with the band and NPR a video session.

Stream: White Denim / Corsicana Lemonade
Video: White Denim – “Pretty Green”

Billboard talks to Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers about their new album, recorded in a fortnight and set for release in March of the new year.

We Are Scientists have slated a Spring tour behind their new EP Business Casual – which includes a cover of Berlin’s love theme from Top Gun which itself has a video – and they’ll be at Lee’s Palace on April 22.

Video: We Are Scientists – “Take My Breath Away”

Innocent Words has an interview with Tanya Donelly.

Superchunk have made the latest edition of their Clambake live album series – a 1996 vintage show in Melbourne – available to stream for free.

Stream: Superchunk / Clambakes Volume 7: Shut the F*ck Up!…No, We Love You – Live at the Corner Hotel 1996

NYC Taper is sharing a record of Built To Spill’s visit to Irving Plaza in New York last week.

PopMatters, The Georgia Straight, and San Francisco Examiner talk to Cameron Mesirow of Glasser.

The Alternate Side has a session with The Dismemberment Plan.

eMusic, Paste, and Filter have interviews with Midlake, who also offer instructions on how to make an old-fashioned.

Noisey talks to Josh Tillman of Father John Misty.

Spin and The Fly talk to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

The 405 interviews The Men.

Rolling Stone has a eulogy for Lou Reed by his wife Laurie Anderson, as well as video of his final interview.

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Someday I Will Treat You Good (revisited)

Mark Linkous’ Salt Chunk Mary demos

Photo via MyspaceMyspaceSometime around, oh man, 2001 or 2002, I got a CD-R from a friend of mine in Richmond, Virginia containing a number of 8-track demo recordings circa 1993 by a local outfit called Salt Chunk Mary. They didn’t do too much but their singer-guitarist, a fellow by the name of Mark Linkous would go on to form a new project called Sparklehorse and over the next fifteen years or so, would craft four gorgeous records of otherworldly, fractured Americana before suddenly taking his own life in March of this year.

I had posted the best-sounding of these demos, including an early version of “Someday I Will Treat You Good” from his/their 1995 debut Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot, back in 2006 to mark the release of Sparklehorse’s new record Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain, and since then every few months I’ve gotten a request from someone to hear the rest of them. A request I’d have obliged if I hadn’t misplaced the CD-R… or thought I’d misplaced it. Turns out it was in the rest of my CD collection under “S”. In the interim, Linkous passed away so as a way of fulfilling those requests and paying tribute to the man, here’s the demos in their entirety.

As with the ones I posted before, I’ve made up song titles based on the choruses – hopefully no one objects – and this Richmond Times-Dispatch interview remains essentially the only documentation online of Salt Chunk Mary’s existence.

Thanks for the music, Mark. Hope you’ve found some peace.

MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “Won’t Know If You Don’t Try”
MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “Rest Your Worried Mind”
MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “instrumental”
MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “Someday I Will Treat You Good”
MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “I Take It All Back”
MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “There Ain’t Nobody But You”
MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “Break My Mind”
MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “I”
MP3: Salt Chunk Mary – “Sorry Now”

Monday, March 15th, 2010

Canadian Musicfest 2010 Day Two

Think About Life, The Acorn, Plants & Animals and more at Canadian Musicfest

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangConsidering that snow and slush are far more typical environmental hazards for Canadian Musicfest’s timing, complaining about rain that accompanied the unseasonable warmth the last couple days seems ungrateful. And yet, standing in line to get into Lee’s Palace in the freezing drizzle Friday night, I could only take solace in the fact that this would be my one and only stop for the evening. But I would certainly be having words with this “chromwaves” fellow whom festival literature said was presenting the show along with the Billions booking agency. I bet he’s a tool.

The short gap between doors and the first act meant that Montreal’s Winter Gloves were on stage before my shoes had dried, and if anyone had been hoping to be eased gently into the evening’s entertainment… not going to happen. Winter Gloves came out hard, fast and loud with synth-rock from their debut About A Girl and while the album had only rated an “alright” to my ears, the live experience was much more engaging and enjoyable and, consequently, has prompted me to revisit the record. And encourage SxSW-ers to swing by the Paper Bag Records showcase I’m co-presenting this week to check them out. March 17 at Speakeasy, they’re on at midnight. End plug.

Photos: Winter Gloves @ Lee’s Palace – March 12, 2010
MP3: Winter Gloves – “Let Me Drive”
MP3: Winter Gloves – “Someone Great”
MP3: Winter Gloves – “All Red”
Video: Winter Gloves – “Let Me Drive”
Video: Winter Gloves – “Piano 4 Hands”

If Winter Gloves took their synths to the rock end of the spectrum, sole Toronto act on the bill Russian Futurists steered theirs towards the pop. And while their stage presence paled in comparison to the act they followed – Matthew Adam Hart subscribes to the “stand there as still as possible” school of frontmanship – the band were clearly pleased to be able to bust out new material from their forthcoming album The Weight’s On The Wheels and their indelibly melodic tunes carried the set. A little more on-stage activity wouldn’t have been unappreciated, but what can you do.

Photos: The Russian Futurists @ Lee’s Palace – March 12, 2010
MP3: The Russian Futurists – “Paul Simon”
Video: The Russian Futurists – “Paul Simon”
MySpace: The Russian Futurists

Any of the next three bands could easily have been tapped as headliner for the night, but The Acorn arguably took the stage with the most anticipation, at least from me. I hadn’t seen them play since late 2008 and in the interim, they’d gone into hiding to write and record their new record No Ghost, which should be out around June. So while the occasion of their return was a happy one, it also became bittersweet when midway through their set, frontman Rolf Klausner announced that guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Howie Tsui would be leaving the band after their show in Kingston the next night to concentrate on his visual arts career. Anyone who’s seen the Acorn live knows how essential Tsui’s contributions are to their sound, so whomever they get to take his place has some mighty big shoes to fill; a fact reinforced with this show as the band showed off some of their new material while busting out old favourites as well. The new songs sound as though they’ve taken the sounds and lessons learned from the Central American-inflected Glory Hope Mountain and brought them back to the northern hemisphere, including the second drummer added for touring said record – those who came to the band via their early EPs would be (pleasantly) surprised at how potent a rhythmic machine The Acorn are today. And Klausener’s between-song banter has also gotten a lot better. Thankfully.

Photos: The Acorn @ Lee’s Palace – March 12, 2010
MP3: The Acorn – “The Flood, Pt 1”
MP3: The Acorn – “Crooked Legs” (live on XM)
MP3: The Acorn – “Blankets”
MP3: The Acorn – “Plates & Saucers”
MP3: The Acorn – “Darcy”
Video: The Acorn – “The Flood, Pt 1”
Video: The Acorn – “Crooked Legs”

The thing about having your name attached to a show is that it tends to imply an endorsement of every act on the bill. I had tried to get into Montreal’s Plants & Animals with their debut Parc Avenue, which so many people I know and respect seemed to love, but just couldn’t do it. There was a hippie/jam band vibe about it that I just couldn’t get behind, so that their performance on this evening quite nearly tore my face off was just a bit of a surprise. Their musical prowess has never been in doubt, but funneled through an immensely loud and sweaty 40-minute set of classic rock-styled, arena-sized jams… well, you would have to hate rock to not be impressed. And I do not hate rock. I can’t say that I’ll like their second record La La Land more than the first when it comes out on April 20 – what wows me on stage doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be as interesting coming from my speakers – but I’ll certainly be giving it more of a chance than I would have prior to Friday night. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Photos: Plants & Animals @ Lee’s Palace – March 12, 2010
MP3: Plants & Animals – “Tom Cruz”
Video: Plants & Animals – “The Mama Papa”
Video: Plants & Animals – “Feedback In The Field”

Post-Plants & Animals, the room – which had been at capacity for the last few hours – began to clear out a bit. Reasonable, since many had probably been there since doors at 8:30 and subways were going to stop running before long. Reasonable, but unfortunate since leaving Lee’s then would have meant missing Think About Life, another band whom I’d done an almost 180 on since first hearing them. I had dismissed their self-titled debut as being too messy for my tastes, but after seeing them and the glorious dance-party explosion that is their live show in Summer 2008, I was more than happy to elevate them to “at least they’re buckets of fun live” status. Then last year’s Family proved that they were an outfit capable of capturing much of that live energy on record while further honing their songwriting into a more focused yet no less rocking disco-soul monster. In short, they appeared to have become the band that their fans had been insisting they were from the get-go.

After some technical delays, they took the stage looking a bit different from when I saw them last – guitarist/electronics-wrangler Graham Van Pelt and manic frontman Martin Cesar were still there, but drummer Matt Shane had been replaced and they had a new bassist in Caila Thompson-Hannant, whom I recognized from her stints in Miracle Fortress and Shapes & Sizes. Adopting a more conventional live band configuration would prove to be a wise move, though, as they sounded even better and more vital than they did the last time I saw them, Thompson-Hannat’s vocals in particular adding a welcome dimension to their sound. Energy-wise, they were as tremendous as before though the larger environs of Lee’s didn’t allow for quite the audience mosh action that Sneaky Dee’s did. Cesar did leap into the crowd towards the end of the set to spread some sweat around but at no point in the show did I fear for my life. Which should probably be considered a good thing, but I was still a bit disappointed – not in the show, the show was great, just in that I never felt compelled to run for cover.

Photos: Think About Life @ Lee’s Palace – March 12, 2010
MP3: Think About Life – “Nueva Nueva”
MP3: Think About Life – “Sweet Sixteen”
Video: Think About Life – “Havin’ My Baby”
Video: Think About Life – “Sweet Sixteen”
Video: Think About Life – “Paul Cries”

Apologies to The Uglysuit for not sticking around for their show-closing set. By 2AM, I was out of fumes to run on and had to hightail it for home. I promise that every effort will be made to see you this week in Austin.

Spinner interviews The Coast.

The Wooden Sky talks to Torontoist.

CBC has an interview with The Rural Alberta Advantage, who won the Galaxie Rising Star award at the Indies on Saturday night. Yeah, I’m not sure what that means either. But congratulations.

Emily Haines of Metric eulogizes Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse at eye.

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Eastbound & Found

Bloggers congregate in Austin, throw a party

Photo via Araba FilmsAraba FilmsIf there’s one thing Austin, Texas needs during Spring Break, it’s some live music. Particularly in the form of a day party. The past few years I’ve been very lucky to have been able to help put on some fantastic parties with some of my favourite blogger buds. And while the Hot Freaks marque has been put to bed for the time being, I’m very happy to be able to announce that You Ain’t No Picasso, My Old Kentucky Blog, Ultra 8201, Yours Truly and, uh, yours truly, will be presenting Eastbound & Found, a one-day, two-stage to-do that will be held on Thursday, March 18 at 1001 East 6th St – a location that’s a parking lot for 51 weeks of the year but on this occasion will be an epicenter of awesome.

What I like most about these blogger-assembled shows is how random the final results end up being. Without teaming up with a specific label, PR company or booking agency and just pursuing acts based on little more than a “what we like” mandate, we get shows that can veer from the sunny indie-pop of Freelance Whales to the insane guitar heroics of Austin’s own Ume, from the electro-glam of Diamond Rings (Toronto represent!) to giddy Anglo-folk duo Slow Club, right through to our headliner – GZA of the motherflipping Wu-Tang Clan. Eclectic? Yeah, a little.

This party is free and all-ages, though you do have to RSVP – information on that at the Sweet Leaf blog. Many many thanks go out to our sponsors Sweet Leaf Tea, Ziegenbock, Dos Lunas Tequila, Knuckle Rumbler and Car Toys for helping make this happen. And despite what the attached image from Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee & Cigarettes might imply, Bill Murray will NOT be making an appearance at the show. Unless he wants to. If any of you know Bill Murray, do let him know he’s invited?

The (almost) full lineup and set times are as follows:

Stage one:
12:15PM Ragen Fykes
1:10PM Freelance Whales
2:05PM Ume
3:00PM Warpaint
3:55PM The Morning Benders
4:50PM Here We Go Magic
5:45PM Maluca
7:00PM GZA

Stage two:
12:30PM Burnt Ones
1:25PM Diamond Rings
2:20PM Kid Sister
3:15PM Slow Club
4:10PM Danielson
5:05PM Delorean
6:00PM White Denim

MP3: Danielson – “Animal In Every Corner”
MP3: Diamond Rings – “All Yr Songs”
MP3: Freelance Whales – “Generator 2nd Floor”
MP3: The Morning Benders – “Promises”
MP3: Slow Club – “It Doesn’t Have To Be Beautiful”
MP3: Ume – “The Conductor”
MP3: Warpaint – “Elephants”
Video: GZA – “Liquid Swords”
Video: Here We Go Magic – “Fangela”
Video: Kid Sister – “Right Hand Hi”

And some concert news for Toronto folk NOT heading down to Texas next week – not content with playing two nights at The Horseshoe, The Black Lips have added a third local appearance during their visit. They’ll be doing an in-store at Sonic Boom on March 28 at 4PM; admission free with a canned good.

MP3: Black Lips – “Short Fuse”

Jakob Dylan has put together a new band to help perform his new solo record Women & Country, out April 10. They’re called Three Legs and you might know them better as a couple of women in country – Neko Case and Kelly Hogan. That got your attention, eh? Jacob Dylan & Three Legs will be at the Phoenix on April 25.

She & Him – yes, Zooey and Matt – will be hitting the road in support of Volume Two and are going to be at The Phoenix in Toronto on June 9. Tickets are $26.50, the album is out March 23 and the new video is just about the most adorable thing ever.

Video: She & Him – “In The Sun”

Stars have announced they will release their fifth studio album The Five Ghosts on June 22 – details at Chart.

Spinner talks to Metric in advance of their appearance at SxSW where they’ll be opening up for Muse at Stubb’s on the Friday night.

Broken Social Scene also talk to Spinner; they’re doing a couple of shows at SxSW and of course have that Toronto Islands show on June 19. Their new album Forgiveness Rock Record is out May 4.

Continuing on with the Spinner-SxSW interviews (there’s lots of them) – they chat with Venice Is Sinking, whose new album Sand & Lines will be out June 15.

Kunstlicher, The Georgia Straight, The Huffington Post and Spinner have interviews with Midlake. They’re at the Mod Club on May 25.

Spinner talks to The Uglysuit. They’re playing Lee’s Palace at 2AM on Friday night as part of Canadian Musicfest and their MySpace implies they’re making the most of their visit to Toronto with a bunch of other unofficial performances.

Spinner asks some pretty banal questions of Nicole Atkins & The Black Sea.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Holly Miranda.

Filter takes all of the fun out of The Bird & The Bee’s internet scavenger hunt for streams of their new Hall & Oates tribute album Guiltless Pleasures Volume 1: A Tribute To Daryl Hall And John Oates , out March 23.

Spinner and NME have collected a number of tributes from musicians for the fallen Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse. And a couple of worthy reads and listens from the Boston area – Buffalo Tom frontman Bill Janovitz has an essay and Sparklehorse cover at his blog Part-Time Man Of Rock while Bradley’s Almanac is sharing some thoughts and a recording of Sparklehorse’s last show in Boston from 2007.

MP3: Bill Janovitz – “Gold Day”