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Posts Tagged ‘Still Corners’

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

No Medicine For Regret

Mogwai affirm promise of no more extensive touring by announcing extensive tour

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickI’m sure they meant it at the time, what with keeping up a heavy slate of performances worldwide for as long as anyone can remember and the added complications of drummer Martin Bulloch’s health issues and visa problems forcing cancellations in the past few years, but when Mogwai prefaced their second round of touring in support of Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will last year with a promise/warning that it would be “the last extensive touring we do for some time”, some who might have fallen into a habit of taking them for granted were spurred into getting off their asses and having their eardrums blasted by the Scottish post-rock masters (maybe) one last time – myself included.

Well, apparently “for some time” actually means “as long as it takes us to record a new record”, because hot on the heels of last week’s announcement of their eighth studio album Rave Tapes – coming out January 21 – they’ve announced a month-plus long North American tour for next Spring. And perhaps it was the promise of playing a different room that enticed them, because the Toronto date on May 13 will take place at the Danforth Music Hall – tickets $25.50 to $29.50 – instead of The Phoenix where they’ve played (I believe) every local show since a face-melting detour to Lee’s Palace in May 2002. They were supposed to play The Kool Haus in Fall 2008 circa The Hawk Is Howling but that show was one of the casualties of Bulloch’s medical issues, and the make-up show the following May was scheduled for – you got it – The Phoenix.

To be clear, there’s no word of complaint in the band NOT taking a proper hiatus from touring. Their shows may not surprise much, but they never disappoint. And hey, maybe getting to eat somewhere new pre-show will inspire them to even greater heights? It could happen.

MP3: Mogwai – “Remurdered”

With her new album finally out this week, M.I.A. has made Matangi available to stream via Consequence Of Sound; she’s also interviewed by Billboard and NPR about it.

Stream: M.I.A. / Matangi

Noisey chats with Charli XCX, in town November 5 at Wrongbar.

NPR has an advance stream of Cate Le Bon’s forthcoming album Mug Museum, out November 12. She’ll be at The Drake Underground on January 21 in the new year.

Stream: Cate Le Bon / Mug Museum

Rolling Stone are offering one of the tracks off Stornoway’s new EP You Don’t Know Anything for free download. The whole thing comes out on November 12.

MP3: Stornoway – “Tumbling Bay”

Peggy Sue have made a new EP available to download for free via Noisetrade, leading up to the release of their new album Choir of Echoes on January 27

White Lies have announced a return date in support of their latest Big TV – they’ll be at The Mod Club on February 27, tickets $35. Opening up will be Frankie Rose, who released Herein Wild earlier this Fall.

MP3: Frankie Rose – “Know Me”
Video: White Lies – “There Goes Our Love”

NME have premiered a new, self-described David Lynch-inspired video from Fanfarlo’s The Sea EP; a full-length will follow in the new year.

Video: Fanfarlo – “A Distance”

DIY has details on how you can hear Metronomy’s new song, which is a convoluted process involving smartphones, apps, credit cards, and outer space.

CHVRCHES have released a new video from their debug The Bones Of What You Believe.

Video: CHVRCHES – “Lies”

BrooklynVegan has videos from the recent Neil Halstead solo shows where he was joined by Rachel Goswell, sending the hearts of Slowdive and Mojave 3 fans a-flutter. And over at Under The Radar, Halstead and his Black Hearted Brother compadres offer a track-by-track guide to their debut Stars Are Our Home… which they’ve technically already done with MusicOmh but who’s counting?

Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin takes Drowned In Sound on a guided tour of her pedalboard.

NPR has a World Cafe session and The Georgia Straight an interview with Laura Marling.

Under The Radar got some Hallowe’en-themed questions answered by Still Corners.

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Right Thoughts Right Words Right Action

Franz Ferdinand, Frankie Rose, and Casual Sex at The Kool Haus in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIn a way, I feel sorry for Franz Ferdinand. Almost without fail, general reaction to every album they’ve released since their 2004 self-titled debut has been, “yeah it’s alright but it’s not as good as their first one” – which may be true, but only by degrees. The Scottish quartet should really be commended for pulling off the difficult trick of maintaining their core recipe of rock guitar riffs, post-punk spikiness, new wave danciness, and art school archness without overtly repeating themselves from one record to the next. So the “return to form” talking point that accompanied their fourth album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, released at the end of Summer, was amusing because to my ears they’d never lost their form. Right Thoughts was a bit rawer and peppier than 2009’s Tonight, sure, but again – degrees.

The important thing is that it’s another strong record and gave the band a reason to come back to Toronto with Thursday night’s show at The Kool Haus being both the final night of the North American tour and their first local appearance since V Fest in 2009, having declined to make the trip last Summer even though they were just a few hours away in Montreal playing Osheaga. And for me, it’d be my first time seeing them indoors in a club – albeit large club – setting since they made their local debut nearly a decade ago at The Horseshoe in February 2004. Yes, I’m old. What of it.

You could be forgiven for expecting the worst of opening act Casual Sex, what with a moniker that you would only expect to find on university coffee house flyers billed alongside other such clever names as Free Beer and Hot Chicks. But to dismiss them for that would have been a mistake, as the Glaswegian quartet was quite impressive. Led by confident and cheeky frontman Sam Smith, their stabby/dancey/scratchy art-rock sounds sharing roots with the headliners but evolving without any of the arena aspirations and for that, was interesting without being inaccessible.

I’ve often heard 4AD and/or shoegaze descriptors applied to the works of Brooklyn’s Frankie Rose, but those comparisons have always struck me as being a bit surface – after all, stepping on a chorus pedal doesn’t make you the Cocteau Twins. But perhaps compared to the Vivian Girls/Dum Dum Girls/Crystal Stilts garage-rock CV that Rose boasted before striking out on her own, both 2012’s Interstellar and this year’s Herein Wild seemed like ornately-produced space-rock epics. What’s key is that both of those records were filled with shimmery, ’80s-friendly guitar pop that showcased Rose’s lovely vocals and gift for melody. On stage, the presentation was a bit too laid back to even attempt to steal the show, still sounded great with extra respect going to lead guitarist Drew Citron, who managed to recreate the bulk of the textures of the album, leaving Rose to concentrate on singing.

While there may be debate amongst fans about the relative merits of each of the Franz albums – save the debut, which is pretty much accepted as the gold standard – there’s little contention that Franz live are about as sure a thing as you can get. Unlike The Strokes or Interpol, whom they were originally framed as the British answer for when they first emerged, any internal Franz drama has been kept behind closed doors and it never seems like they’re ever having anything but the best time, which is what they bring to the stage. With said stage decked out in strobes, smoke machines, and custom “Right Thoughts”, “Right Words”, and “Right Action” amp housings, Alex Kapranos and Nick McCarthy – proudly sporting a Canadian tuxedo for the occasion – have charisma to spare and channel it through kicks, jumps, and stage moves a-plenty, to say nothing of the always-charming banter. The room may not have been sold out, but the enthusiasm was equivalent to as if it had been double-booked.

And oh yeah, the songs. The set list was suitably Right Thought-heavy, and while they may have left out my favourites “Strawberries” and “The Universe Expanded”, it’s a testament to the solidity of the album that the energy didn’t dip at all throughout. But being a band that’s mastered the art of giving the fans what they want, the rest of the selections were exactly what you’d expect/demand, with a trio of singles from each of Tonight and You Could Have It So Much Better and the debut providing the big moments. It’s impressive that after a decade, those songs still feel fresh and energized and watching the crowd bounce up and down in time with the breakdown of “Take Me Out” is still great fun. There may well be a segment of Franz Ferdinand fans who wish for more deep cuts, more creative left turns, but they’re not being heard – probably because of all the cheering from everyone else.

Exclaim also has a review of the show, while JAM and Rolling Stone have interviews with Franz Ferdinand.

Photos: Franz Ferdinand, Frankie Rose, Casual Sex @ The Kool Haus – October 24, 2013
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Evil Eye”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Love Illumination”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Right Action”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Can’t Stop Feeling”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “No You Girls”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Ulysses”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Eleanor Put Your Boots On”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Jeremy Fraser”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Wine In The Afternoon”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “L. Wells”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Fallen”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Walk Away”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Do You Want To”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “This Fire”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Michael”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “The Dark Of The Matinee”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Take Me Out”
Video: Franz Ferdinand – “Darts Of Pleasure”
Video: Frankie Rose – “Know Me”
Video: Frankie Rose – “Night Swim”
Video: Frankie Rose – “Gospel/Grace”
Video: Casual Sex – “Nothing On Earth”
Video: Casual Sex – “Stroh 80″
MP3: Frankie Rose – “Know Me”
MP3: Frankie Rose – “Thee Only One”

Los Campesinos! are streaming their new record No Blues over at Pitchfork ahead of its release tomorrow, at which point it’ll probably be taken down.

Stream: Los Campesinos! / No Blues

Las Vegas Weekly has an interview with Charli XCX, in town at Wrongbar on November 9.

The Guardian profiles Arctic Monkeys, who have released a new video from AM.

Video: Arctic Monkeys – “One For The Road”

The Guardian talks to Bernard Butler about the decision to get back in a band with Trans.

Clash offers their complete guide to Suede while The Fly, The Telegraph, and Burton Mail have chats with Brett Anderson.

Interview talks to the three principals of Black Hearted Brother.

Still Corners have made a random b-side available to stream.

Stream: Still Corners – “We Have The Future On Tape”

Under The Radar has an interview with Laura Marling

CBC Music talks to Travis.

Exclaim reports that Stuart Murdoch’s God Help The Girl film has been completed and will be premiering in early 2014 on the festival circuit and should get some kind of limited release in the Summer before arriving on DVD in the Fall.

Clash talks to Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne about his new book Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story Of Modern Pop.

And a farewell to Lou Reed, who passed away yesterday at the age of 71. Tributes abound, many worth reading, but Sasha Frere-Jones’ piece at The New Yorker, Robert Christgau’s at Spin, and Michael Barclay’s at Radio Free Canuckistan are good places to start.

Friday, September 13th, 2013

The Stars Are Out Tonight

The 2013 Mercury Prize shortlist includes David Bowie and nine acts who are not David Bowie

Photo By Jimmy KingJimmy KingSo the shortlist for the 2013 Mercury Prize – awarded to the best British or Irish album of the year – was announced the other day, and contrary to the odds reported by NME earlier this week, London Grammar – favoured to win – was nowhere to be found. Nor, out of their top ten, were Steve Mason, Daughter, Primal Scream, or CHVRCHES. Not that I have any idea how bookmakers come up with their odds, nor how accurate they’ve been in the past. But to list an album at 15:8 to win and not even have it make the shortlist, well that’s some questionable prognostication.

The ten records that did make the list are as follows, and I’m mildly surprised that I’ve heard more of these than I usually have – a fact which kind of supports those who complain that the Mercury has gotten safe or predictable. I’m personally pulling for Bowie, if you hadn’t guessed; the release of The Next Day instigated a year of Bowie discovery, which included a deeper appreciation for has last two records Heathen and Reality along with the more classic material and a pilgrimage to his old digs in Berlin (though that wasn’t the main reason for the trip, that would be ridiculous). Plus there’s the David Bowie Is exhibit opening at the Art Gallery of Ontario later this month – let’s face it, this is the year of Bowie. The Mercury should just accept it and fall in line. The winner of this year’s prize will be announced on October 30.

Oh, and Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine has some choice words for the Mercury Prize, and they’re not positive. The Guardian has that.

Arctic Monkeys / AM / Video: “Do I Wanna Know?”
David Bowie / The Next Day / Video: “The Next Day”
Disclosure / Settle / Video: “When A Fire Starts To Burn”
Foals / Holy Fire / Video: “Late Night”
Jake Bugg / Jake Bugg / Video: “Lightning Bolt”
James Blake / Overgrown / Video: “Retrograde”
Jon Hopkins / Immunity / Video: “Open Eye Signal”
Laura Marling / Once I Was An Eagle / Video: “Master Hunter”
Laura Mvula / Sing To The Moon / Video: “Green Garden”
Rudimental / Home / Video: “Waiting All Night”
Savages / Silence Yourself / Video: “Shut Up”
Villagers / Awayland / Video: “Nothing Arrived”

Summer Camp’s Elizabeth Sankey takes Clash behind the scenes of the video for “Fresh”, taken from their just-released new record Summer Camp.

NOW checks in with Arctic Monkeys, who kick off their North American tour on September 15 at The Kool Haus.

The Skinny and philly.com get to know CHVRCHES, who play The Danforth Music Hall on September 15. Their debut The Bones Of What You Believe is out September 24.

Filter talks to Elvis Costello and ?uestlove of The Roots about their new collaborative album Wise Up Ghost, which comes out September 17.

Icona Pop have released a new video from their forthcoming kinda-but-not-really debut This Is… Icona Pop, out September 24.

Video: Icona Pop – “All Night”

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with London Grammar, who will be at The Great Hall on October 4.

Under The Radar has posted their recent cover story on Charli XCX, who makes her local headlining debut at Wrongbar on November 9.

Dev Hynes is a dancing machine in the new Blood Orange video, which also serves as the first taste of his new record Cupid Deluxe. It should be out this year.

Video: Blood Orange – “Chamakay”

A Music Blog, Yea interviews The Vaccines.

Under The Radar talks to Still Corners.

Junip have released a new video from this year’s self-titled album.

Video: Junip – “Walking Lightly”

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

The Universe Expanded

While I was out… featuring Franz Ferdinand and things of a British nature

Photo By Andrew KnowlesAndrew KnowlesThe biggest releases of last week both happened to be Scottish in nationality. There was Franz Ferdinand’s fourth long-player Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action, which was the topic of conversation with Alex Kaparnos at NPR, Billboard, Canada.com, and DIY, while Kapranos and Bob Hardy both chat with Stereogum and Paul Thomson answers the phone when CBC calls. Further, Pitchfork has video of that acoustic Grimes cover the band played for French radio that everyone was linking to last week. They play The Kool Haus come October 24.

Meanwhile, with their new b-sides comp The Third Eye Centre finally out, Belle & Sebastian have released a new video featuring Hannah Murray from Skins and Game Of Thrones. Under The Radar has compiled their multi-part interview with the band into a single piece, PopMatters has a chat with Richard Colburn, and over at The Quietus, Stuart Murdoch opts to talk about other peoples’ records rather than his own.

Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Your Cover’s Blown” (Miaoux Miaoux remix)

James Allan talks to The Quietus, MusicRadar, and Yahoo! about Glasvegas’ new album Later… When The TV Turns To Static. It wasn’t alluded to in the lede, despite being Scottish, because a) it came out this week and not last week, and b) not many people care anymore.

Arctic Monkeys are streaming a new b-side which doesn’t appear on AM, due out September 10. And if you only care about the songs which do appear on the album, you’re in luck – the whole thing is now streaming at iTunes. Arctic Monkeys are at The Kool Haus on September 15.

Stream: Arctic Monkeys – “Stop The World I Want To Get Off With You”
Stream: Arctic Monkeys / AM

Drowned In Sound talks to London Grammar, who are offering a full stream of their debut album If You Wait via their own website with just a few hoops to jump through. The record is out September 10 and they play The Great Hall on October 4.

Stream: London Grammar / If You Wait

In a video session for Gigwise, Frightened Rabbit offer up a cover of Jessie Ware’s “Wildest Moments” and another track from the Late March, Death March EP, out September 10, is available to stream via Stereogum. They play The Kool Haus on October 17.

Stream: Frightened Rabbit – “Candlelit”

Savages have premiered a new performance video from Silence Yourself at Pitchfork; they play The Opera House on September 12.

Video: Savages – “I Am Here”

Gigwise and MusicRadar check in with CHVRCHES, whose debut The Bones Of What You Believe is almost finally out on September 24 but not before they headline the Danforth Music Hall on September 15.

James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers talks to Wales Online about their new album Rewind The Film, while Nicky Wire takes The Quietus through the new record track by track. And NME has posted the whole of their recent Wire-led Twitter Q&A. Rewind The Film is out September 16.

The Quietus looks at the many, many collaborations Elvis Costello has undertaken in his career, the latest of which is Wise Up Ghost with The Roots, due out September 17. Costello talks to The Brisbane Times about the new record.

Peter Hook talks about matters past, present, future, and legal with Billboard, Pitchfork, The Huffington Post, Exclaim, and The Dumbing Of America. He leads his new band The Light through old material at The Hoxton on September 18.

Daughter are streaming a new b-side; they play The Phoenix on September 29.

Stream: Daughter – “Smoke”

Yuck talks to Rolling Stone about carrying on without their original frontman, as documented on their new album Glow & Behold, out September 30.

Two Door Cinema Club have released a video for the title track of their new Changing Of The Seasons EP, due out September 30; NME has details. They play The Danforth Music Hall on October 15.

Video: Two Door Cinema Club – “Changing Of The Seasons”

Anna Calvi has released the first video from her forthcoming One Breath, out October 7.

Video: Anna Calvi – “Eliza”

Lanterns On The Lake have released a video for the title track of their new album Until The Colours Run, which is due out on October 7 in the UK and will get a North American release early next year on January 14.

Video: Lanterns On The Lake – “Until The Colours Run”

The Line Of Best Fit reports Suede will finally reissue their entire catalog on vinyl on October 21, but the catch is you have to buy them all in one super-expensive box set, it’s only available in the UK, and you have to take A New Morning with the rest. And oh, they released a new video from Bloodsports.

Video: Suede – “For The Strangers”

Los Campesinos! have confirmed an October 29 release date for their new record No Blues, and have made the first track from it available to stream.

Stream: Los Campesinos! – “What Death Leaves Behind”

M.I.A. is streaming another new track from her forthcoming Matangi, out November 5.

Stream: M.I.A. – “Come Walk With Me”

The Charli XCX show originally scheduled for September 16 at The Hoxton has been rescheduled to Saturday, November 9, and will now take place at Wrongbar. All previous tickets will be honoured and all the new dates can be seen at Exclaim.

MP3: Charli XCX – “Valentine”

Drowned In Sound checks in with Josh Hayward of The Horrors on the status of their next album, due out in early 2014.

Drowned In Sound chats with David Gedge of The Wedding Present, who will be undertaking an exhaustive reissue series of their back catalog in the near future; FACT has details on that.

Tessa Murray talks to Vogue about the new Still Corners video from Strange Pleasures.

Video: Still Corners – “Fireflies”

Under The Radar and Pitchfork talk to Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream.

With the assistance of Hefner’s Darren Hayman, Allo Darlin’ frontwoman Elizabeth Morris has put together a solo EP entitled Optimism, available for digital purchase now.

eMusic has an interview with Billy Bragg.

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

(I Don't Mean To) Wonder

Neil Halstead rediscovers his distortion pedals, forms Black Hearted Brother

Photo via FacebookFacebookFor as long as he’s been out of Slowdive – and probably longer, if you consider how much a departure their electronic-ambient final record Pygmalion was – Neil Halstead has been hearing fans beg him to return to his electric, amplified roots as a shoegazing pioneer, never mind that everything he’s done in the past 20 years, from fronting the cosmic-country Mojave 3 to his current acoustic-folkie solo carer – has been in the opposite trajectory. And while for the longest time, he’d deflect live requests for Slowdive songs with “that’s another band”, on his last tour he finally relented and included versions of “Alison” and “40 Days” in the set, even bringing along a delay pedal for proper effect. This, combined with comments made last Summer that a Slowdive reunion wasn’t out of the question – even with Rachel Goswell basically retired from music – set hopeful shoegazing hearts a-flutter with the prospect that the previously unthinkable might happen and Halstead would want to make some bona fide noise again.

And indeed he does, just not in the way that people necessarily expected. I thank The Dumbing Of America for pointing me yesterday to Black Hearted Brother, a new band featuring Halstead and two friends with producer credits on Mojave 3 and Halstead solo records – Mark Van Hoen, ex of Seefeel and Nick Holton, apparently of something called Holton’s Opulant Oog. Some years in the making – and perhaps indirectly responsible for Halstead’s renewed interest in his old works – they’ve come together to create something loud, trippy, and tuneful, or at least that’s what the first song from the project – premiered at Spin – would imply. Their debut album Stars Are Our Home will be out on October 22, and on a thread on his own Facebook page, Halstead sounds genuinely enthused about the project and mentions that he hopes to tour behind it. Here’s hoping that if they do, they’ll have rehearsed a few Slowdive songs for the inevitable requests.

Stream: Black Hearted Brother – “(I Don’t Mean To) Wonder”

DIY, Digital Spy, and Gigwise chat with White Lies about their new album Big TV, out August 21. They play The Opera House on October 1.

Mumford & Sons have released a new video from Babel which aims to trigger crises of faith amongst those who hate their band but love actors Ed Helms, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte; Rolling Stone finds out how the clip came together. They play The Molson Amphitheatre on August 26.

Video: Mumford & Sons – “Hopeless Wanderer”

Frightened Rabbit are streaming one of the three new tracks that will appear on their Woodpile EP when it comes out on September 1; Chicago Magazine and Red Bull Music also have interviews. They are in town at The Kool Haus on October 17.

Stream: Frightened Rabbit – “Default Blues”

Delorean are streaming another new track from their forthcoming Apar, due out September 10. They play The Horseshoe on October 17.

Stream: Delorean – “Destitute Time”

CHVRCHES have released a new video for one of their oldest songs; it will appear on their debut The Bones of What You Believe when it comes out on September 24. They play the Danforth Music Hall on September 15.

Video: CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”

Anna Calvi has announced an October 7 release date for her second album, entitled One Breath. DIY has details and you can watch the trailer for the record below.

Trailer: Anna Calvi / One Breath

The Guardian has premiered a new PJ Harvey song written for the last British resident being held in Guantanamo Bay.

MP3: PJ Harvey – “Shaker Amaar”

MTV Hive has an interview with Belfast’s Little Green Cars, who’ve released a new video from their debut Absolute Zero since last we checked in.

Video: Little Green Cars – “Big Red Dragon”

M83 has somehow squeezed another video out of 2011’s Hurry Up We’re Dreaming, and if you live in the US you can watch it via Stereogum. Everyone else can, evidently, suck it. Thank goodness for people who know how to rip YouTube videos.

Video: M83 – “Claudia Lewis”

Sigur Rós, on the other hand, have turned to fans from anywhere to source Instagram video footage for their latest video from Kveikur.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Stormur”

BlipTV has a video session with Still Corners.