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Posts Tagged ‘Specials’

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Heard The News

Guards, Mates Of State, and other support acts elevated to blog post headline status

Photo By Olivia MaloneOlivia MaloneSome weeks, the inbox is a veritable cornucopia of interesting concert announcements for acts big and small. Compiling the blog posts that collect those up is a genuine delight. And easy. Generally so easy. This was not one of those weeks. Indeed, most of the news was of the “support announced” variety, which isn’t necessarily uninteresting – sometimes it’s more interesting than the headliner – but it is less easy.

Anyways, we’ll kick off with New York’s Guards, who will be supporting Palma Violets at Lee’s Palace on May 3. They’re fronted by one Richie Follin, whose did time in Cults with sister Madelin and also worked with Caroline Polachek of Chairlift, and while either of those reference points are probably enough to garner attention, the sun-kissed, retro-styled power pop of their debut album In Guards We Trust, released in February, are far more in line with the former than the latter. It’s not revolutionary by any measure, but it is well-executed and likeable.

The Bay Bridged has an interview with Richie Follin.

MP3: Guards – “Silver Lining”
MP3: Guards – “Crystal Truth”
Video: Guards – “Ready To Go”
Video: Guards – “Silver Lining”

It’s a bit of an odd pairing, but throwback jangle-poppers DIIV will be supporting Trent Reznor’s How To Destroy Angels at The Sound Academy on April 25. They were also here in December supporting Japandroids, but I’m sure there’s enough fans of Oshin that a headlining show – which they last did in September – would also be welcome.

MP3: DIIV – “Sometime”

Not that Titus Andronicus need any help drawing a crowd, but their May 2 date at Lee’s Palace announced last week just got a boost regardless with the announcement that they’re being joined by Brooklyn’s So So Glos for what they’re calling the “Bring Back The Dudes” tour – which will be a pretty apt description of the demographic at the show. Their new record Blowout is out April 23 and there’s an interview at The L.

Video: So So Glos – “My Block”

Some bands worry about announcing multiple upcoming dates in a given market out of fear that one show may cannibalize ticket sales from the other; Ra Ra Riot clearly do not. They spent most of the lead up to their early March headlining show for Beta Love with their name also on posters for the Arts & Crafts Field Trip festival at Garrison Common on June 8, and now they’ve also announced that they’ll also be in town a couple weeks prior to that supporting The Shins at The Sound Academy on May 22. I don’t know if there are Ra Ra Riot fans so dedicated to hit up every one of their local shows, but if so, they’re probably pretty happy.

MP3: Ra Ra Riot – “Beta Love”
MP3: Ra Ra Riot – “Dance With Me”

Ra Ra Riot will also be opening up some of the dates on the upcoming Postal Service tour, but not Toronto – according to the itinerary released yesterday, we’ll have Mates Of State opening up at the Air Canada Centre on June 11 and that’s a-ok with me, though I can’t say I wouldn’t love to see peoples’ faces when Big Freedia shakes what she’s got on those west coast dates.

MP3: Mates Of State – “Maracas”
MP3: Mates Of State – “My Only Offer”

And in headlining announcements – Spencer Krug will appear as Moonface in a solo piano context on May 12 at The Great Hall in something called The Conversation Room. I don’t know what/where that is, but I kind of hope it’s like The Champagne Room. Tickets are $16.50 and there is probably no sex.

MP3: Moonface – “Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips”
MP3: Moonface – “Headed For The Door”

One of the buzzier bads at CMF this year were German electro-pop duo BOY, and those who missed out on their shows will be pleased to know they’re back in town at The Great Hall on May 16 in support of their debut Mutual Friend. Tickets for that are $17.50.

Video: BOY – “Little Numbers”

I could be wrong but I don’t think Richard Buckner has been to Toronto since the “two really big dudes with gravelly voices” tour with Eric Bachmann in September 2006. In any case, the upcoming release of Surrounded – about which there’s no other information besides that it exists and will be called Surrounded – will bring him back to The Horseshoe on May 23, tickets $13.50.

MP3: Richard Buckner – “Escape”

One of the unfortunate casualties of the canceled Efterklang show during CMF last month was the local debut of Philadelphia’s Nightlands, who were supposed to open up. They’ll make that show up at The Drake Underground on June 3, playing songs from their debut Oak Island, from which they’ve just released a new video. The Concordian also has an interview with band principal Dave Hartley.

MP3: Nightlands – “300 Clouds”
MP3: Nightlands – “Suzerain (A Letter To The Judge)”
Video: Nightlands – “Born To Love”

Brooklyn’s Yeasayer will circle back behind their third album Fragrant World with a show at The Phoenix on July 2.

MP3: Yeasayer – “Henrietta”
MP3: Yeasayer – “Longevity”

Two-tone legends The Specials are coming back to town, slating a July 9 date at The Kool Haus, tickets $39.50.

Video: The Specials – “Message To You Rudy”

“Edge” certainly doesn’t mean what it used to. Traditionally the region’s premier bro-fest, the CFNY-sponsored Edgefest has gone acoustic and plaid for 2013, taking advantage of Lollapalooza weekend to present a lineup headlined by The Lumineers and Band Of Horses at Downsview Park on July 31. Quite an about face from past editions of the festival, which has in the past been closed out by the likes of Billy Talent, A Perfect Circle, Stone Temple Pilots, and Our Lady Peace. Tickets for the day are $49.50 plus fees.

MP3: Band Of Horses – “No One’s Gonna Love You”
Video: The Lumineers – “Hey Ho”

Okay, so as it turns out there was more announced this week than I thought. Elsewhere…

Philly.com talks to Redd Kross’ Steve McDonald, who will tear things up at The Horseshoe tomorrow night, April 11.

The Thermals are streaming their new super-short but super-intense new album Desperate Ground at Pitchfork before its out on Apri l6. They play The Horseshoe on May 21.

Stream: The Thermals / Desperate Ground

Another new track from Steve Earle’s Low Highway – out April 16 – has been made available to stream.

Stream: Steve Earle & The Dukes (and Duchesses) – “Calico County”

DIY talks to Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne ahead of next week’s release of The Terror.

Under The Radar interviews Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, in town at The Kool Haus on May 9.

NPR has a Mountain Stage session with Calexico, coming to Toronto for a NXNE show at the Mod Club on June 12.

Exclaim, The Village Voice, Pitchfork, and Consequence Of Sound all want to talk to Kurt Vile about his latest album Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze, out now. He plays the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Common on July 7.

Lissie has rolled out a lyric video fro the first sample of her second album, due out this September.

Lyric Video: Lissie – “Shameless”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Caitlin Rose.

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

No Ghost

New records from The Acorn, Wolf Parade and Stars promise paranormal activity

Photo via Stage FrightStage FrightThere seems to be a fixation with the supernatural running through Canadian indie circles right now – or at least through their naming processes – if a few upcoming, high-profile releases are any indication. First off, you’ve got Ottawa’s Acorn, whose long-awaited follow-up to 2007’s Glory Hope Mountain will be out on June 1 and carry the title of No Ghost. Their interest in the spirit world isn’t new, however, as their 2004 debut – albeit by a decidedly different Acorn than exists today – was called The Pink Ghosts, so perhaps the new record is some response to that? Yeah, probably not. The MP3 for the title track of the new record is available now to share and enjoy and they play Lee’s Palace on June 11.

MP3: The Acorn – “No Ghost”

Montreal’s Stars are five-upping The Acorn – or maybe infinite-upping them, considering their album title implies null ghosts – by calling their new record The Five Ghosts. Even though the album isn’t out until June 22 and, as Amy Millan admits to Chart, touring a record so far ahead of its release is probably insane, they’re setting out on an extensive North American tour where they’ll play the whole thing in its entirety starting at the Mod Club in Toronto – congratulations go out to Tony, Jacob and Mike for winning my contest for passes.

The title of Wolf Parade’s new record Expo 86 doesn’t have anything to do with ghosts – except maybe those of Worlds Fairs past – but in addition to an interview, Spencer Krug gives Pitchfork a sneak preview of the new album with a pair of downloads, one of which is called – wait for it – “Ghost Pressure”. Would five ghosts exert more pressure than no ghosts, considering they’re inherently intangible and thus incapable of exerting any pressure at all? HMM. Expo 86 is out June 29 and is notable as the first Wolf Parade album to not have terrible album art. Spinner also talks to drummer Arlen Thompson.

MP3: Wolf Parade – “Ghost Pressure”
MP3: Wolf Parade – “What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had To Go This Way)

Forest City Lovers have set a June 29 release for their third album Carriage – check out the first MP3 below.

MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Light You Up”

The Wilderness Of Manitoba have announced details and a first sample from their debut full-length When You Left The Fire, due out on June 22. Expect a proper record release show, but for now their hometown dates are of the support variety – May 12 at the Mod Club with Matthew Barber and June 4 at The Phoenix with Basia Bulat and Julie Doiron.

MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Hermit”

TwentyFourBit reports that Daniel Lanois is producing the next Neil Young record – this could well be fantastic. Or not. But the potential for greatness is definitely there.

Le Blogotheque has a Take-Away Show from the streets of Montreal featuring Jason Collett and Zeus, the latter of whom’s Mike O’Brien is the subject of an interview at Bring Back The Boom Box.

Cornershop Studios talks to Dan Mangan.

The Vancouver Sun and The Globe & Mail talk to Carl Newman of The New Pornographers, whose Together is out today. They’re at the Sound Academy on June 15.

Resonancity, The Montreal Mirror and Montreal Gazette interview Dan Snaith of Caribou.

More show announcements – a bill made up of bands whose names I see a lot in my RSS reader are coming to town – Austin’s This Will Destroy You, Chicago’s Light Pollution and Brooklyn’s Slow Six sound like they’ll make up a pretty psych/post-rocking good time at the Rivoli on June 5.

MP3: This Will Destroy You – “The World Is”
MP3: Light Pollution – “Good Feelings”
MP3: Slow Six – “The Night You Left New York”

English folkers Peggy Sue – who visited last Fall – will be back for a show at Sneaky Dee’s on June 13. Their full-length debut Fossils & Other Phantoms is due out June 1 – check out their Daytrotter session from last year for a preview of the new material.

Video: Peggy Sue – “Watchman”

Angsty Scots We Were Promised Jetpacks will be setting down at the Horseshoe on July 3, tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Quiet Little Voices”

With their new record Sea Of Cowards due out next Tuesday, The Dead Weather have slated a North American tour that stops in at the Sound Academy on July 15, tickets $35 for general admission and $45 for VIP balcony. Spinner talks to Alison Mosshart about the new record, which is streaming over at NPR and the band also streamed a live performance of the album performed in its entirety last night at their MySpace and it’s still available to watch.

Stream: The Dead Weather / Sea Of Cowards
Stream: The Dead Weather / Sea Of Cowards (live)

Those Black Mountain dates announced a little while ago that ended in London, Ontario before cutting over to Europe for a week have been extended and a second North American leg kicks off July 23 at the Horseshoe in Toronto before cutting west across the US. Expect to hear lots of material from their next record at these shows – it’s tentatively called Wilderness Heart and targeted for a late Summer release.

MP3: Black Mountain – “Tyrants”

(Former?) Bloc Party frontman Kele (Okereke) will bring his solo debut The Boxer, to The Mod Club on July 29, tickets $20 in advance. And if you were wondering – as I was – it’s not as terrible as some have said, but certainly not something I’d take over Bloc Party, given the choice.

Perhaps by way of apology for canceling their April show, The Specials have added a second show at the Sound Academy following the August 27 make-up date – they’ll also be there on August 28.

And if you needed a final reminder to head out to the Horseshoe tonight for the free Joy Formidable show, here’s a recording of the band’s set at the Truck America festival in upstate New York this past weekend, courtesy of NYC Taper – he’s also got a recording of their set in New York from January to share, and you can also stream their debut mini-album A Balloon Called Moaning, released in North America today, at Spinner. The Joy Formidable are on at 11 – be there.

Stream: The Joy Formidable / A Balloon Called Moaning

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Chit Chat

Hannah Georgas at Criminal Records in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThanks to the rather depressed state of both the music and publishing industries, it’s not really surprising that in Canada we’re down to just one national music magazine, the venerable Exclaim. So it’s kind of telling when heading into a month where two of the three biggest names in Canadian rock (at least from the indie POV) are releasing new records, they instead opt to put a relative unknown just releasing their first full-length on the cover; which is to say they’re clearly pretty high on Hannah Georgas.

Though originally hailing from Newmarket, out on the outskirts of Toronto, Georgas is now based in Vancouver and it’s there that her just-released debut This Is Good was recorded. The title of the record might be an easy mark for critics, but by and large it delivers on that promise – she probably even could have gotten away with calling it This Is Very Good. It takes Georgas’ seemingly disparate jazz and folk influences and finds a common ground in the realm of radio-friendly pop music. Some of the stylistic ranginess smacks more of trying to cover bases rather than genuine eclecticism and the production could use a little less gloss and more atmosphere, but those quibbles fade in the light of the sheer catchiness of many of the numbers. Georgas has a flexible voice, possessing some of Feist’s breathiness, some of Sarah Harmer’s folksome twang as well as a quirky extrovertedness that’s hers entirely, and puts it to good use on standouts like “Chit Chat”, “Bang Bang You’re Dead” and the title track.

She put both her voice and songs on display Tuesday evening, when she marked both the release of her album and her issue of Exclaim with an in-store performance at Criminal Records, following a proper show at the Garrison the night before. Backed by a two-piece band, Georgas turned in set that showcased both her subdued and scrappy sides (alliteration unintentional) in front of a decently-sized, if maybe overly respectful audience. Not to suggest that there should have been acting out, but sometimes the between-song silence at in-stores just feels… awkward. But she seemed grateful for the attentiveness, and in return proved that while it’s probably overreaching to suggest she’ll ever attain the status of either of the acts she bumped off the Exclaim cover, it’s pretty much certain that for the next little while, at least, you’ll be hearing more of and about Hannah Georgas.

The Vancouver Sun has a feature interview with Georgas.

Photos: Hannah Georgas @ Criminal Records – April 27, 2010
MP3: Hannah Georgas – “Chit Chat”
Video: Hannah Georgas – “Thick Skin”
Video: Hannah Georgas – “The Beat Stuff”

The San Francisco Chronicle talks Forgiveness Rock Record with Broken Social Scene’s Charles Spearin. The record is out next Tuesday and the band play the Toronto Islands on June 19.

Also out next week is The New Pornographers’ Together. The National Post talks to that band’s Kathryn Calder; they play the Sound Academy on June 15.

The Calgary Sun, Georgia Straight and JAM talk to Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes, who will be at the Mod Club on June 17 as part of NXNE.

NOW previews Caribou’s May 3 show at the Phoenix by talking to Dan Snaith.

Holy Fuck have released the first video from their new record Latin, due out May 11. They’re at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 9 opening up for Metric.

Video: Holy Fuck – “Latin America”

The Hold Steady are also making May 4 a day to hit up your local record store – their new one Heaven Is Whenever is out that day, and they talk to Spinner about some of the themes of the new album. They’re at the Kool Haus on July 17.

The Skinny talks to Matt Berninger and Aaron Dessner of The National while GQ finds the band showered and blue blazered in a fashion spread, alongside some of their New York indie rock brethren. Their new opus High Violet is out May 11 and they play two nights at Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.

The Antlers, who open up both of those National shows, are featured in The Georgia Straight and their video session series at PitchforkTV ran three parts this week.

Interpol appear ready to get back in the game, offering up a new MP3 for free from their website and sporting a shiny new logo. They promise more information – presumably an album release date and touring news – soon, but in the meantime, offer you “Lights”. Not bright, just lights.

Under The Radar interviews Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand of Beach House at Coachella. They’re playing as part of the Toronto Islands show on June 19.

Le Blogotheque Take-Away Shows Quasi.

Clash gets a behind the scenes look at Disconnect From Desire from School Of Seven Bells – the new record is out July 13.

John Stirratt of Wilco tells Faster Louder the band are going to be spending the Summer recording and offers some speculation on what the next record might sound like.

Because apparently three months is all it takes for bruises to heal, Titus Andronicus are coming back to kick Toronto’s asses all over again when they play the Horseshoe on July 14. The Courier-Journal talks to frontman Patrick Stickles.

MP3: Titus Andronicus – “A More Perfect Union”

The Specials have finalized their make-up date for the canceled Toronto show last week – they’ll now be at the Sound Academy on August 27.

Monday, April 19th, 2010

B-Sides Win

Sloan at Sonic Boom and The Tallest Man On Earth at Criminal Records in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThere was a stretch a few years ago when it seemed like there was a domino effect with record stores in Toronto closing up shop – a moment of silence for Flash & Crash, Driftwood, CD Exchange, Urban Sound Exchange, Edward’s Record World, CD Replay, Second Spin, Sam The Record Man, Music World and a special tear for Stinky’s (aka Cactus) back in Oakville. This was alarming on so many levels; personally, because I spent more than a few weekends digging through their bins for stuff and if they went away, I’d have to find something new to do with my time, and within the bigger picture because this was a crucial part of the musical ecosystem being clear-cut and no how the digital zealots wanted to spin it, mass extinction of music brick-and-mortar retail is NOT a good thing.

Some cynical types look at events like Record Store Day as last-ditch stunts with no lasting impact on halting the decline of music sales; over the long term, maybe they’re right. But on Saturday, roaming around Toronto, I saw no shortage of people up way early to line up for the exclusive RSD goodies without even worrying about what they’d cost and, throughout the day, wandering the streets with bags that could only contain 12″ discs of vinyl (or linoleum tile samples, I suppose). No doubt some were caught up in the trending topic frenzy and others were unscrupulous speculators, but overall, I can’t imagine people who would bother buying vinyl one day of the year and not at least some of the other 364, and so liked what it said about the health of music retail in the 416 (and the vinyl resurgence) – at least right now.

Besides sales and low-run goodies, there was also the attraction of in-store performances to get folks into their local record shops; up in the Annex, Sonic Boom was running the equivalent of a multi-stage, multi-floor festival and down on Queen West, Criminal Records booked an 11th hour performance from Kristian Matsson, whose show at the El Mocambo that night as The Tallest Man On Earth was sold right out. With word getting out just three hours or so before he took the small stage, but those who did get word were treated to a short but impressive three-song set, demonstrating why so many were so excited about him and his latest record The Wild Hunt. Though clearly worn out from the drive from Montreal, Matsson delivered a surprisingly physical performance, roaming the store’s compact stage, and singing in a voice that was richer-sounding (to these ears, anyways) than on record. It barely ran fifteen minutes but certainly had me listening to his stuff with new ears.

And it was fortunate that it was short because it gave me time to bike up to Sonic Boom for Sloan’s RSD10-closing set. While the former BiWay has the city’s finest in-store space in their vinyl basement, complete with wood paneling, they’d gone to the trouble of erecting a larger and higher stage towards the back of the main floor for the day’s events, allowing everyone a far better view of the performance. This was the first time I’d seen Sloan play since their V Fest showing in August and while that was entertaining in its utter farcicality, this one was a much more solid showing even if I barely recognized any of the material.

That’s a bit odd, considering I’ve been a fan since the Peppermint days – albeit less so in recent years – but the band were really getting into the record collecting spirit of the event by playing only b-sides and rarities. Ironically, the releases that they drew from – the B-Sides Win compilation and Hit & Run EP – are digital-only releases, but they’ve also recently pressed all of their studio albums on vinyl so we’ll call that a draw. Set list obscurity aside, it was still a wholly entertaining 45-minute set thanks to the informal setting and the fun of watching the band try to pull off songs they probably hadn’t played in years and some which they admitted had never been performed live before. It was also good to see Chris Murphy recovered from the broken collarbones which hobbled him at V Fest and able to shoulder his bass guitar again. I expect they’ll break out the fan favourites when they play Yonge-Dundas Square for another free show on the Friday night of NXNE, so it was cool to see such a unique set though I’d point out that B-Sides Win opens with an alternate version of “Underwhelmed”… could they not have slipped that in there and still stayed true to their edict for the evening? Ah well.

Oh, my Record Store Day haul? Not much, really – just The Bird & The Bee’s Interpreting The Masters Hall & Oates cover record and the Fanfarlo 7″. Don’t worry, I have no shortage of music to get through.

NPR has a small feature piece on the start of and importance of record stores and Record Store Day.

Photos: Sloan @ Sonic Boom – April 17, 2010
Photos: The Tallest Man On Earth @ Criminal Records – April 17, 2010
MP3: Sloan – “I’m Not A Kid Anymore”
MP3: The Tallest Man On Earth – “King Of Spain”
MP3: The Tallest Man On Earth – “Burden Of Tomorrow”
Video: Sloan – “Witch’s Wand”
Video: Sloan – “The Rest Of My Life”
Video: Sloan – “The Other Man”
Video: Sloan – “Money City Maniacs”
Video: Sloan – “The Lines You Amend”
Video: Sloan – “The Good In Everyone”
Video: Sloan – “Coax Me”
MySpace: Sloan

Blur’s Record Store Day reunion single “Fool’s Day” is now available to download off of their website in MP3 and WAV formats for free.

A note to anyone headed to tonight’s Specials show at the Sound Academy – you’ve probably been informed via official channels, but if not, tonight’s performance has been postponed due to medical emergency. Tomorrow and Wednesday’s shows in New York are still on, but the Toronto performance will take place the week of August 4 – same venue – at a precise date to be announced this week. Tickets for this show will still be valid for that show, refunds available at point of purchase until June 28. The Toronto Sun has an interview with guitarist Lynval Golding about the reunion.

Billboard talks to Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew about the long road to Forgiveness Rock Record, coming May 4 but streaming right now at NPR. They play the Toronto Islands on June 19.

Stream: Broken Social Scene / Forgiveness Rock Record

Also out May 4 – and sure to help create an unofficial Record Store Day customer surge that day – is Together from The New Pornographers. Carl Newman talks to Pitchfork about the records that have soundtracked his life thus far. They play the Sound Academy on June 15.

Spinner talks to Metric about going the independent route for the release of Fantasies last year.

The National Post talks to Tony Dekker of Juno award nominees Great Lake Swimmers. It’s about the Junos, which is why I mentioned it. Not because they’re important or anything.

Tragic news from You Say Party! We Say Die!, whose drummer Devon Clifford passed away on Saturday night after suffering a brain aneurysm onstage Friday evening. CBC Radio 3 has official statements from the band’s label and Clifford’s family while The Globe & Mail reports on some of his good works in the community. Deepest sympathies go out his friends and family. Update: There’s a beautiful tribute up at the Vancouver Sun.

Vancouver’s Salteens will release their first album in forever (seven years, actually) in Grey Eyes later this Summer – but first will come the Moths EP on May 11; stream the EP at their Bandcamp and download a track now.

MP3: The Salteens – “Hallowed Ways”

hour.ca chats with Dan Mangan, whose April 22 show at the Horseshoe is just about sold out. Hesitate further and lose completely.

June 9 will be the date of a very special benefit concert at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Koerner Hall. Alli’s Journey is a charity dedicated to providing support and resources for young people battling cancer, and their annual Take My Hand benefit show will take place at the when and where noted above, and with the following who’s: Jully Black, Amanda Martinez, Ohbijou, Dan Mangan, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Aion Clarke and Evening Hymns, with more still to be announced. Floor tickets are on sale now for $99 (scroll down), and cheaper balcony seats will be available come May. It’s great music for a great cause.

And perhaps of interest to folks who like getting paid for stuff – there’s a pretty cool company looking for participants for some live music research. If you live in Toronto, New York, or LA, fill out this survey to apply; if you’re selected, they’ll pay you $25 for half an hour of your time. And if you’re wondering, I do know the people doing this and they’re legit. Their cheques will clear.

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

It Is Something (To Have Wept)

Review of El Perro Del Mar’s Love Is Not Pop

Photo via The Control GroupThe Control GroupSadness is Sarah Assbring’s stock in trade, a point I’ve rather drilled home in my reviews of her output as El Perro Del Mar – the 2007 self-title and 2008’s From The Valley To The Stars. While both records were beautiful in their downbeat demeanor, you couldn’t help but hope that Assbring would find a way to cheer up, if only for her own emotional well-being.

Unfortunately for Assbring – but fortunately for her listeners – delectable heartache is still the order of the day, and her third album Love Is Not Pop is again chock full of it, but the record stands a good distance apart from its predecessors for other reasons. Rather than the spare, ’50s doo-wop stylings that defined her previous work, Pop draws on a distinctly different aural palette. The core songwriting style and Assbring’s signature forlorn vocals remain, but the introduction of electronic textures and rhythms and Shields-y glider guitar overtop the spare (but occasionally orchestrated) arrangements is unexpected and welcome. Of course, the fact that the album proper is only seven tracks long, and the rest is padded out with remixes adds to the impression that this is a fresher, more sonically adventurous and dance-friendlier El Perro Del Mar. Actually, danceable might be a bit of a reach, but the extra tracks do showcase Assbring with an extra spring in her shuffle.

El Perro Del Mar is at the Mod Club on February 21 as part of a co-headlining tour with fellow Swede Taken By Trees, with the latter closing out this particular show. This is exciting as Victoria Bergsman – she who is Taken By Trees – isn’t especially predisposed to life on the road and hasn’t been to Toronto since the last visit from The Concretes. Unfortunately, it’s meant that Anna Ternheim, previously slated to open for El Perro Del Mar, will no longer be appearing. But maybe it’s a bit of a consolation that another MP3 from Taken By Trees’ East Of Eden is now up for grabs and is, appropriately enough, entitled “Anna”.

MP3: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart”
MP3: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart” (Rakamonie Remix)
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Anna”
Video: El Perro Del Mar – “Change Of Heart”
MySpace: El Perro Del Mar

Also Swedish but totally not sad are Love Is All. Their new record Two Thousand and Ten Injuries is out MArch 23 and they’re at the Horseshoe on April 3. Check out another track from the new album.

MP3: Love Is All – “Repetition”

Danish orchestral post-rock outfit Under Byen will release a new album in Alt Er Tabt on April 6.

Magnet Q&As Los Campesinos!, whom they’ve made guest editors of their site this week. Hope they hid all the breakables. Spinner, Islington Tribune, CMJ and Wales Online also have conversations, but don’t hand over the keys to the car. Los Campesinos! are at the Phoenix on April 20.

Laura Marling talks to NOW, The Visalia Times Delta and The San Francisco Examiner about making her new album I Speak Because I Can, out April 6. She plays Lee’s Palace on Tuesday night.

Chart, The Georgia Straight, The National Post, The Aquarian, San Jose Mercury News and The San Francisco Examiner talk to various members of Editors, who play the Phoenix on February 16.

Spin asks Dev Hynes about the secret origin of Lightspeed Champion. His second album Life Is Sweet! Pleased To Meet You, out February 16.

State has a word with Massive Attack, who’ve released a new video from Heligoland, out next week.

Video: Massive Attack – “Splitting The Atom”

Ska fans prepare to skank: The Specials reunion tour will include a stop in Toronto – the two-tone pioneers play the Sound Academy on April 19 – tickets $36.50 for floors, $46.50 for VIP balcony and The English Beat have a date at Lee’s Palace on May 18, tickets $23.50.

Video: The Specials – “Message To You Rudy”
Video: The English Beat – “Mirror In The Bathroom”

Pitchfork talks to Phoenix’s Thomas Mars about how it feels to be a Grammy Award winner.

The Music Fix has details on the next batch of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds reissues, which will arrive in 5.1 surround sound and with a plethora of bonus goodies, on April 5.

Aux.tv has assembled a guide to the many, many online video session sites out there in the wilds of the internet. Not comprehensive – five more started up while I was typing this sentence – but a good start.