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Posts Tagged ‘Steve Earle’

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Givin Em What They Love

Janelle Monáe is ready for prime time with Fall tour

Photo By Marc BaptisteMarc BaptisteWhile the awesomeness of Janelle Monáe as a live performer is a matter of public record, she’s not necessarily been a road warrior in building that reputation, at least not from a Torontonian’s perspective. Yeah, the unclassifiable-but-let’s-say-R&B star was here twice last year, but the Toronto Jazz Festival show was a very dear $70 ticket and the Elton John-powered Fashion Cares event was inherently exclusive, so it’s not unreasonable to say that her fanbase didn’t have much chance to see her. And her two previous visits – Canadian Musicfest 2011 and as part of the Arcade Fire’s 2010 Olympic Island jamboree – were parts of festival bills, so also not exactly conventional shows. All of which is to say that it’s kind of impressive that Monáe has gotten where she is without having really ever played a conventional show here.

Until now, anyways. With the September 10 release of her hotly-anticipated new record The Electric Lady almost upon us, Monáe has put together what may be her most comprehensive North American tour to date and it includes a Toronto date at The Kool Haus on October 19. And while it can be argued that Monáe’s live show is worth it at any price, that tickets for this one are a most reasonable $25 is good news. Pitchfork has the full itinerary and another new track, this one featuring nu-R&B star Miguel, has been made available to stream.

Video: Janelle Monáe – “Dance Apocalyptic”
Stream: Janelle Monáe featuring Miguel – “Primetime”

Because sometimes advance notice isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and even though their album probably won’t be out until next year, The New Mendicants – that’s Joe Pernice of Pernice Brothers, Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub, and Mike Belitsky of The Sadies – have announced a show at The Dakota Tavern for next Monday, August 26, just because. Tickets are $12 in advance and it’s an early show – 8:15 start – because Joe wants to watch the Red Sox game that night. Yeah. Anyone who was at the first Pernice/Blake show at the same room last June knows that it will be fun and hilarious, so get on that.

Stream: The New Mendicants – “This Time”

Stars are headlining a free show at Nathan Philips Square on September 1 as part of Unifest, intended to inaugurate the formation of a new workers union, so if you’re a fan of romantic synth-pop but also a die-hard right-wing conservative, I feel for you. But not that much.

MP3: Stars – “The Theory Of Relativity”

American electro-r&b artist How To Dress Well is in town at The Garrison on November 2 behind last year’s Total Loss; tickets for that are $15.

MP3: How To Dress Well – “Ready For The World”

Sebadoh have announced a Fall tour in support of Defend Yourself, their first new record in almost a decade and a half, coming September 17. Lou Barlow and company will be at The Horseshoe on November 8, tickets $20 in advance. Rolling Stone talks to Lou Barlow about the release.

Video: Sebadoh – “All Kinds”

While they’ve not yet completed the follow-up to last year’s For My Parents – epic Japanese post-rock doesn’t come quick, you know – Mono have announced a North American tour that brings them back to The Horseshoe on November 15. Tickets for that are $15.

MP3: Mono – “Dream Odyssey”

It’s kind of hit-or-miss which buzzy British independent acts choose to tour North America – no inexpensive proposition – but English retro-psychedelics Temples are taking the plunge, even without a debut album to push. Full dates are still to come but they will be at The Horseshoe on November 20, tickets $11.50. Drowned In Sound had a feature on the band back in the Spring.

Video: Temples – “Colours To Life”
Video: Temples – “Shelter Song”

And in the debits column of this week’s concert news, Charli XCX has cancelled her Fall North American tour in order to support Paramore in the UK. That includes her September 16 show at The Hoxton, which will be rescheduled with all the others.

Rolling Stone talks to Laura Ballance and Exclaim to Jon Wurster of Superchunk about their just-released new record I Hate Music, from which they’ve just released a new video. And over at Spin, there’s a piece about what Superchunk and Merge Records have meant for their hometown of Durham, North Carolina.

Video: Superchunk – “Me & You & Jackie Mitoo”

David Roback of Mazzy Star talks to Rolling Stone about their new record Seasons Of Your Day, out September 24, and others that may or may not have already been recorded and may or may not be released.

The Guitar Magazine talks shop with Steve Earle. He and The Dukes play Massey Hall on October 29.

Grantland gets Charles Bissell of The Wrens to update them on the state of their next record – a decade in coming – and comment on why its taking so damn long.

Pitchfork goes lightning round in questions for John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

DIY checks in with Zachary Cole Smith of DIIV.

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Your Theme

Review of Superchunk’s I Hate Music

Photo By Jason ArthursJason ArthursMajesty Shredding was a surprise on many levels: most obviously that it existed at all, coming almost a decade on from Superchunk’s last record, but also that it was so damn good. Rather than continue with the more contemplative and textured tones of their last couple of pre-hiatus records – which have their own strengths, make no mistake – they opted to channel their much more matured songwriting instincts through the adrenalized punkish power-pop of their most beloved records and majesty did indeed ensue. That record felt like such a gift that hoping for a follow-up, let alone one as good, seemed too much to ask. As it turns out, we didn’t need to – Superchunk were going to do it anyways.

The cheekily-titled I Hate Music remarkably carries forward almost all the momentum of Shredding. Perhaps with an iota or two less energy, maybe a slightly slower overall BPM, but it’s still bursting with hooks delivered via thick guitar riffs and leads and Mac McCaughan’s still-waiting-for-puberty vocals. It’s the same recipe that served them well in helping create the template for college rock in the ’90s and retains its potency today, its appeal not in nostalgia but in the timeless appeal of great songs played loudly and with passion. Through fuzz pedals.

There’s a temptation to equate Superchunk’s fruitful second act with their having discovered a fountain of youth or gone back in time, but there’s something about Shredding and Hate that sounds like they could only have been made by those who’ve got some years under their belts. A band who took enough of a break to maybe no longer need to make music together, but instead want to. They’re the sound of a great band having fun and just loving music.

I Hate Music is out next Tuesday, August 20, but available to stream in whole now at NPR.

Stream: Superchunk / I Hate Music

Crocodiles also have their new record Crimes Of Passion streaming at NPR before it’s in stores next week. They’re at Lee’s Palace on November 19.

Stream: Crocodiles / Crimes Of Passion

Head over to Nylon to hear a new track from the forthcoming Blouse record Imperium, coming September 17.

Stream: Blouse – “A Feeling Like This”

With Brooklyn electro-dream-pop trio Au Revoir Simone announcing a September 24 release date for their new record Move In Spectrums – a new video was just premiered at Spin – it logically follows that they’ll be on tour – and so they are, stopping in at The Drake Underground on October 20.

Video: Au Revoir Simone – “Somebody Who”

Interview, The New York Times, co.create, and Rolling Stone talk to Explosions In The Sky about recording the Prince Avalanche soundtrack, from which they’ve just released a new video. They play The Air Canada Centre on October 4 in support of Nine Inch Nails.

Video: Explosions In The Sky with David Wingo – “Send Off”

After a few near passes during festival season, Steve Earle has finally announced a Toronto date in support of his latest record The Low Highway; he and The Dukes will be at Massey Hall on October 29, tickets ranging from $35 to $64.50. The Edmonton Journal has an interview with Earle.

Video: Steve Earle – “Invisible”

NPR is hosting the premiered of the new video from Ra Ra Riot, taken from their latest record Beta Love.

Video: Ra Ra Riot – “Binary Mind”

The Daily Swarm asks James McNew about the secret to Yo La Tengo’s longevity.

Under The Radar and Vita.mn talk to Matt Berninger of The National.

John Darnielle talks to NPR and Salon about the making of The Mountain Goats’ recently-reissued All Hail West Texas.

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Someone Is Waiting

Because there is a Neutral Milk Hotel reunion, I don’t even need to try today.

Photo By Will WestbrookWill WestbrookGuys, in case it wasn’t obvious, running a music blog that tries to update daily is hard work. So when something comes down the wire like, oh, a Neutral Milk Hotel reunion, it’s not the sort of low-hanging fruit one passes up, even if everyone and their mother is reporting it. And so even though you’ve surely already heard, Jeff Mangum – having confirmed via his 2011 solo tour that people do indeed still care about his old band – has gotten Scott Spillane, Julian Koster, and Jeremy Barnes to reform the In The Aeroplane Over The Sea lineup and commit to tour dates this Fall.

Presently, those tour dates number only five – two predictably at the 40 Watt Club in the band’s hometown of Athens, Georgia, one reasonably in Asheville, North Carolina, and two more bizarrely in Tokyo and Taipei. More will surely follow – one doesn’t open the door to something of this magnitude to just immediately shut it – but certainly not before those Athens dates in late October. And might this be paving the way for some new recordings…? Hey, one internet-breaking announcement at a time, alright?

MP3: Neutral Milk Hotel – “Holland 1945″
MP3: Neutral Milk Hotel – “Song Against Sex”

PopMatters talks to Tobin Sprout of Guided By Voices about their fourth post-reunion full-length English Little League, out as of today.

She & Him have let NPR stream their new album, the cryptically-titled Volume 3, a week before it comes out on May 7. They kick off the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 4.

Stream: She & Him / Volume 3

Spinner has a feature interview with Charles Bradley, who leads his Extraordinaires into The Phoenix on May 11.

Consequence Of Sound has details on a new Wild Nothing EP entitled Empty Estate due out May 14, a video from which has been made and released into the wild.

Video: Wild Nothing – “A Dancing Shell”

Spinner talks to the Berninger family about the Mistaken For Strangers documentary about The National, which features and was directed by brothers Matt and Tom. The new National album Trouble Will Find Me is out May 21 and they play Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.

Though he’s mainly focusing on his new record The Low Highway, as in this interview with Spinner, Steve Earle talks to Billboard about revisiting his past with the release of a box set collecting Train A Comin’, I Feel Alright, and El Corazon – the albums that got me obsessed with Earle in the first place – as well as a live album in Live at the Polk Theater and a live DVD in To Hell and Back, circa 1995 and 1996 respectively. The five-disc Steve Earle: The Warner Bros. Years set will be out June 25 and you can stream one of the Polk Theatre tracks below.

Stream: Steve Earle – “The Devil’s Right Hand”

The Fly has a feature interview with Parquet Courts, coming to town for a gig at The Horseshoe on July 17.

Of Montreal took to Kevin Barnes’ Tumblr to announce the completion of their new album Lousy With Sylvainbriar, scheduled for release this Fall.

Janelle Monáe talks fashion with MTV Hive. Her new album The Electric Lady is due out sometime this year.

In conversation with Spin, TV On The Radio reveal they’re working on a new album and it won’t be for Interscope.

NPR has a video stream of The Flaming Lips performing Yoshimi live, in its entirety, back at SXSW in March.

Yours Truly has a video session with Caitlin Rose.

The Black Angels stop in at The Alternate Side for a video session and interview.

NPR chats with Sam Beam of Iron & Wine.

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Rolling Thunder

Bob Dylan, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and Richard Thompson team up for shenanigans and misadventures

Photo By John ShearerJohn ShearerThe era of the touring festival has by and large given way to massive destination and regional festivals – it seemingly being easier to bring a bunch of bands and tens of thousands of fans to one place than it is to bring a bunch of bands to hundreds of thousands of fans in a bunch of places – but sometimes a touring bill is so impressive that it warrants a fancy name of its own. And the bill of Bob Dylan, Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and Richard Thompson which will be hitting amphitheatres across North America this Summer is one of those bills; ergo “AmericanaramA”.

Even though he’s the headliner and by far the biggest act – though if there was justice in the world, Thompson wouldn’t be far behind – Dylan is also the biggest question mark on the lineup. As I mentioned last Summer when the Fall tour in support of his latest album Tempest, Dylan is not someone who suffers nostalgiasts lightly and based on the tweets I saw the night of that Air Canada Show about people walking out after just a few songs, his penchant for rendering his songs nigh unrecognizable live remains undiminished. So caveat emptor, but also know that each of Wilco, My Morning Jacket, and Richard Thompson are also absolute known quantities at the other end of the spectrum – they’re incapable of putting on a bad show, even if they’ll most likely be allotted much less than their usual marathon set times.

So whether that math is persuasive enough to convince you to shell out the $49.50, $69.50, or $89.50 for reserved seats or $35.50 for lawns to see them at The Molson Amphitheatre on July 15 is between you and your accountant. But don’t forget to factor in the cost of an “AmericanaramA” t-shirt. The presale goes Saturday, April 27 Tuesday, April 30, at 10AM, with the regular onsale following on Friday, May 3, at 10AM.

MP3: Bob Dylan – “The Times They Are A-Changin'”
MP3: Wilco – “Whole Love”
MP3: My Morning Jacket – “Heartbreakin’ Man”
MP3: Richard Thompson – “The Sights & Sounds Of London Town”

Austin shoegaze aficionados Ringo Deathstarr have made a date at The Shop Under Parts & Labour for June 3 in support of their second album, last year’s Mauve. Tickets for the show are $7 in advance.

MP3: Ringo Deathstarr – “Imagine Hearts”

Aussie-fronted Swedish electro-pop up-and-comers Kate Boy have slated a short North American tour that includes a Toronto stop at Wrongbar on June 9. Tickets are $12.50 and if you need to catch up on some of the buzz behind them, there are these features at Pitchfork and Billboard.

MP3: Kate Boy – “Northern Lights”
Video: Kate Boy – “In Your Eyes”
Video: Kate Boy – “Northern Lights”

There was both curiosity and concern when London’s Still Corners canceled their North American tour in support of the forthcoming Strange Pleasures, out May 7, and the reasons for the itinerary change was made clear yesterday – instead of headlining their own Summer tour, they will supporting CHVRCHES on theirs. Exclaim has the new dates, which still include a Toronto date – June 12 at The Hoxton – but raises questions about their participation in NXNE. On one hand, even though that CHVRCHES date falls on the first night of the festival, there’s no sign that it will be associated with it at all – get your $16 ticket while you can – but on the other hand, they’ve got two off days before they need to be in Montreal so there’s technically no reason that their previously-announced June 14 NXNE showcase can’t still happen. Anyways.

MP3: Still Corners – “Berlin Lovers”

With a new album out in Change Becomes Us, British post-punk legends Wire will be at Lee’s Palace on July 10, tickets $25. There’s interviews with the band at Rolling Stone, PopMatters, and Rock Cellar.

MP3: Wire – “Dot Dash” (live)

Born Ruffians will be playing a presumably free show at Harbourfront Centre on July 13 as part of their Sound Clash festival thing.

MP3: Born Ruffians – “Sole Brother”

Guelph’s Hillside Festival announced their 2013 lineup this year, and if you were interested in seeing the likes of Fucked Up, Colin Stetson, Diamond Rings, Hayden, Jim Guthrie, Lee Ranaldo, METZ, The Sadies, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, or World Party (!) with easy access to swimming, camping, and drum circles, then Guelph Lake the weekend of July 26 to 28 is probably where you want to be. If you hate hippies, you may want to reconsider.

Further cementing the possibility that he might just be homeless, Josh Tillman will bring Father John Misty back to town for his fifth show in 15 months, this time headlining the Danforth Music Hall on August 3 with Minneapolis’ Night Moves as support. Tickets will run from $15.50 to $19.50, depending on floors or balcony.

MP3: Father John Misty – “Nancy From Now On”
MP3: Night Moves – “Headlights”

With the new Guided By Voices album English Little League out next week, April 30, the five lead-up 7″ singles have been conveniently collected into a single Soundcloud playlist, and while The Quietus has collected all of the b-sides, as well.

Stream: Guided By Voices / English Little League sampler
Stream: Guided By Voices / English Little League b-sides

Deerhunter have put their new album Monomania up on NPR to stream before it comes out May 7.

Stream: Deerhunter / Monomania

MTV Hive talks to Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club about his relationship with his late father. BRMC are at The Kool Haus on May 9.

Exclaim, Creative Loafing, The Island Packet, and Charleston City Paper interview Charles Bradley, in town at The Phoenix on May 11.

Mudkiss checks in with Nicole Atkins, who continues work on her third album Slow Phaser, due out later this year.

Janelle Monáe has made the first track from her new album The Electric Lady available to stream, and Erykah Badu has helped her do it. The record is due out later this year.

Stream: Janelle Monáe (featuring Erykah Badu) – “Q.U.E.E.N.”

CBC Music and Exclaim have interviews with Steve Earle about his new album, The Low Highway.

Sam Beam of Iron & Wine discusses his new album Ghost On Ghost with Clash.

Elle profiles Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, covering topics including her brush with breast cancer, the end of her marriage to Thurston Moore, and what’s next.

Chan Marshall of Cat Power discusses her personal style with MTV Style.

As much as I love Galaxie 500, they’ve never struck me as a band that required multiple books to be written about them. Of course, Dean Wareham’s Black Postcards obviously had its bias, so maybe Temperature’s Rising – Galaxie 500: an oral and visual history – released last week and featuring input from all three members – will be more balanced and accurate. And if not, it will at least be larger and offer more pictures.

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Thick As Thieves

Widowspeak and The Auras at The Garrison in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangObjectively speaking, there’s not a world of difference between Widowspeak’s 2011 self-titled debut or the follow-up Almanac, released in January of this year. You can file them both quite comfortably under “the soundtrack to dreams of dusty country roads”, not too far from lazy but not inaccurate reference points Mazzy Star and Cat Power, but something about Almanac grabs me the way that Widowspeak, as much as I dug it, didn’t. And it’s not something as simple as they’re getting more dynamic or rocking out harder, as refresher listens to their debut confirm there’s no shortage of volume spikes amidst the sleepiness. There’s just something more present, more assured, in Almanac‘s grooves – like lucid dreaming versus wake-walking. Whatever it is, I love it, and so their show at The Garrison on Monday night – their first non-festival headline date in Toronto – was a must-go on my calendar.

Local support came from The Auras, signed to Toronto’s Optical Sounds and labelmates with B-17, whom I’d just seen just a few days earlier; if there’s some sort of shadow conspiracy to get me more attuned with the city’s psych-pop scene… then it’s working. Mind you, The Auras didn’t impress the same way that B-17 did, but they’re not really built to. Comprised of fresh-faced youngsters rather than scene veterans, they were a bit of a mish-mash visually – a mass of paisley, headbands, shaggy hair, tassels, and with half the six-piece band in sunglasses, all bathed in their a bring-your-own light show. Sonically, they felt more like a a psychedelic jam session, rotating through four lead vocalists and possessing more of vague mandate to sound like a more shambolic, polite Black Angels than a firm mission statement. Understand that this is not a complaint, but actually more a point of envy. Having a group of like-minded players to jam, gig, and record with sounds like the best thing ever, actually.

I saw Widowspeak twice last year – in the same room at NXNE and a few months earlier at SXSW – but this time there was a new rhythm section in place and a fifth member in the fold on guitar and keys. The heart of the band, however – Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas – were still there, ever front and centre. Opening with Almanac leadoff “Perennials”, the template for the show was quickly established – Hamilton serenely cooing into the mic while Thomas got to play the role of guitar hero, although he would have been more effective at it had his guitar not been the quietest of the three on stage; a little more volume would have helped his leads achieve the prominence they deserved and might also have quieted the reasonably-sized if disproportionately chatty crowd audience.

As the show progressed, the chatter either diminished or the genuinely interested moved up to the front – in either case, they were drawn in by the performance, which maintained the same basic rhythm through the better part of an hour, offering a good mix of Almanac and Widowspeak material though sadly omitting two of my favourite new songs, “Devil Knows” and “Spirit Is Willing”. They did shift gears slightly towards the end with a cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” – yeah, having Hamilton wrap her voice around it is a bit on the nose, but still gorgeous – and a keyboard-led “Thick As Thieves”, before closing with a relatively raucous “Ballad Of The Golden Hour” and “Harsh Realm”. An encore wasn’t a foregone conclusion, but Hamilton was enticed to come back out for a final number, a reading of “Limbs” done solo because the rest of the band didn’t know how to play it, and were also busy selling merch off to the side. A modest finale to a modest yet wholly enjoyable show.

Iamnosuperman and Good Times have interviews with Robert Earl Thomas and The Riverfront Times chats with Molly Hamilton while El Paso What’s Up talks to both.

Photos: Widowspeak, The Auras @ The Garrison – April 16, 2013
MP3: Widowspeak – “Ballad Of The Golden Hour”
MP3: Widowspeak – “Sore Eyes”
MP3: Widowspeak – “Gun Shy”
MP3: Widowspeak – “In The Pines”
MP3: Widowspeak – “Devil Knows”
MP3: Widowspeak – “Harsh Realm”
Video: Widowspeak – “Locusts”
Stream: The Auras / The Auras

Not necessarily enough show announcements this week to devote a post, but still a few things of note. Seattle’s Cave Singers will bring their new album Naomi – released last month – to town for a show at The Horseshoe on June 17, tickets $15. There’s a feature on the band at 85-26.

MP3: The Cave Singers – “Black Leaf”
MP3: The Cave Singers – “Swim Club”

California’s Rogue Wave are back with a new record in Nightingale Floors coming out on June 4, and are teaming up with Brooklyn’s Caveman, who just released their second self-titled album, for a Summer tour that hits The Mod Club on June 25, tickets $18.50/.

MP3: Caveman – “Easy Water”
Stream: Rogue Wave – “College”

Another bi-coastal bill will team Californian psych-pop outfit Woods, still working last Fall’s Bend Beyond, with New York ’90s indie rock revivalists Parquet Courts and their debut Light Up Gold for a date at The Horseshoe on July 17, tickets $15.50.

MP3: Woods – “Wind Was The Wine”
MP3: Parquet Courts – “Borrowed Time”

Los Angeles’ Julia Holter brings last year’s Ekstasis to The Drake on July 17, tickets $16.50.

MP3: Julia Holter – “In The Same Room”

Consequence Of Sound, Spinner, Vulture, and Spin talk to Thermals frontman Hutch Harris and PopMatters to drummer Westin Glass about their just-released new record Desperate Ground, and they also talk to The AV Club and Clash respectively about action movies. The Thermals are at The Horseshoe on May 21.

MTV Hive and Stereogum have features on The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, whose new record Mosquito arrived this week.

Interview and The Victoria Times-Colonist talk to Sam Beam about the new Iron & Wine album Ghost On Ghost.

PopMatters, eMusic, Forbes, and Spin have features on The Flaming Lips and their new album The Terror.

The National Post talks to Steve Earle about his latest The Low Highway.

Ra Ra Riot is streaming the single they’ll be releasing for Record Store Day this Saturday via T Magazine. The Alternate Side also has a session with the band, who are here on May 25 at The Sound Academy supporting The Shins, then back for the Field Trip fest at Garrison Commons on June 8.

Stream: Ra Ra Riot – “All I Fear”

Stereogum has a stream of The Hold Steady’s contribution to this week’s Game Of Thrones closing credits, while Wired examines the intersection of the kingdoms of Westeros and the world of indie rock. The Hold Steady are here as part of the Toronto Urban Roots Fest on July 6 at Garrison Commons.

Stream: The Hold Steady – “The Bear & The Maiden Fair”

NPR has a Tiny Desk Concert concert with Yo La Tengo, one of the names at the final day of the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 7.

Kurt Vile is also playing TURF Sunday; Noisey has an interview with him about being a rocker parent rocker.

Janelle Monáe dishes a bit to Billboard about her long-awaited second album The Electric Lady, due out later this year.

Stereogum have premiered the new video from Low’s The Invisible Way.

Video: Low – “Just Make It Stop”

Okkervil River’s Will Sheff has squeezed another video out of his Lovestreams side-project.

Video: Lovestreams – “There’s Video”

NPR welcomes Local Natives for a World Cafe session.