Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘Super Friendz’

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Capture The Flag

Break a leg, Broken Social Scene

Photo By Danielle St. LaurentDanielle St. LaurentI suspect that I will be one of the only people in any way related to the Toronto music scene not on hand at Garrison Common tomorrow for Field Trip, the day-long festival marking the 10th anniversary of the Arts & Crafts label, headlined by the “reunited” (having only been inactive for less than two years, they get the air quotes) Broken Social Scene playing in full their watershed 2002 album You Forgot It In People.

It’s not that I wasn’t tempted. This blog was in existence barely a month before People was released, and there’s no denying that it – and the emergence of Toronto and Canada on the indie rock world stage in its wake – made the 416 beat an infinitely more interesting place to cover. But you know, you see a band as many times as I did in those early years and you can get a bit burnt out – their headlining slot to close out the first Virgin Fest in 2006 was pretty much the last time I would make any kind of effort to see the band, and with Amy, Emily, and Leslie all singing “Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl” together, it was really the right note to go out on. Not that our paths wouldn’t cross again – there was one stop of their 2010 in-store tour and then again that December – mainly to see Superchunk, but also to affirm that hey, we had some good times but I think we’re done. There’s just not enough nostalgia in my tank to spend a day seeing a lineup of bands I’ve seen a million times already. So everyone else in the city, have a great time tomorrow, happy anniversary Arts & Crafts, have a great show Broken Social Scene. I’ll be at home installing some blinds.

But if you’re in the spirit of the occasion, do read this piece in Rolling Stone about the BSS “reunion” and A&C anniversary, another in Huffington Post, as well as this one in Interview with Brendan Canning about those same topics as well as what he’s up to at the moment. And also this week’s cover story in The Grid about the evolution of the independent music scene in Toronto over the past decades – not just post-BSS – and the companion piece by author Michael Barclay at his own Radio Free Canuckistan. And you can watch last night’s “reunion” warm-up performances of “Almost Crimes” and “7/4 Shoreline” on Jimmy Fallon at Pitchfork. Update: A full transcript of the interview with Kevin Drew that went into the Rolling Stone piece is up courtesy of the author.

MP3: Broken Social Scene – “Deathcock”
MP3: Broken Social Scene – “World Sick”

The Music Nerd Chronicles and The Independent talk to Hayden, who’s also playing Field Trip and got in touch with his crafty side in a video feature for Etsy.

Pitchfork are streaming the new Braids EP “In Kind//Amends”, out June 11. They play The Comfort Zone for NXNE on June 15 and the new full-length Flourish//Perish is out August 20.

Stream: Braids / In Kind//Amends

DIY gets to know Diana; they’re at The Horseshoe on June 13 for NXNE, opening for Tegan & Sara and fun. at Downsview Park on July 6, and will release their debut full-length Perpetual Surrender on August 20.

Exclaim gets a bit of context to that Halifax-heavy showcase happening at The Great Hall on the Friday night of NXNE, June 14; it’s to mark the 21st anniversary of Murderrecords, and will feature Sloan performing their debut Peppermint EP in its entirety (plus some other songs because the EP is only like 23 minutes long), and will also have the first-ever vinyl pressing of The Super Friendz’s debut Mock Up, Scale Down available for sale – I may prevail upon someone to grab me a copy since I probably won’t make it to the show – and the release of a commemorative book about the label. For those not rocking NXNE wristbands, advance tickets are $23 and available now.

Nylon has a feature piece on Majical Cloudz, doing the NXNE thing on June 15 at BLK BOX.

Lightning Dust are streaming another new song from their forthcoming Fantasy, out June 25.

Stream: Lightning Dust – “Loaded Gun”

Exclaim is streaming another new song from Louise Burns’ forthcoming solo record The Midnight Mass, out July 9.

Stream: Louise Burns – “Jasper”

The Grid and Huffington Post check in with Tokyo Police Club about the status of their next album, possibly/probably due out in the Fall.

Muso’s Guide interviews Hooded Fang.

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Amends

End the week with new Braids (by attrition)

Photo By Victoria MastersVictoria MastersSo I’m sitting here with a handful of bits and bobs to string together into a blog post, and find that most of the artists have already been featured hereabouts in recent months. So what’s that mean? Braids, you’re up.

I’m not a tremendous fan of the Montreal-based trio, the things I liked about their 2011 debut Native Speaker outweighed by the things I didn’t – that a frequent reference point for the band is Animal Collective is really all you need to know about that. But that it garnered them a sizeable fanbase, as well as a place on that year’s Polaris shortlist, is not up for debate so when they finally announce details of their sophomore album, it’s newsworthy.

First, there’s the new stream of the flipside of their new 12″ “In Kind//Amends” due out June 11, both songs of which will be appearing on the full-length Flourish//Perish. Exclaim has all the specifics of the new record, which will be coming out August 20 and finds the band trading their guitars for keyboards for an electronically-driven sound. And while it’s hardly a ringing endorsement, I will say these new songs aren’t annoying me. Whether that’ll still hold over a complete album remains to be seen, but it’s a positive step.

It remains to be seen if they’ll be rearranging all the old material to work guitar-less live, or if they’ll just travel with a whole lot of gear. People who attend their NXNE showcase at The Comfort Zone on June 15 will be able to report back on that.

Stream: Braids – “In Kind”
Stream: Braids – “Amends”

NOW and Exclaim talk to Hooded Fang, who are holding the record release party for their new album Gravez at The Horseshoe tonight.

NOW also previews Young Galaxy’s show at Lee’s Palace tonight.

Get your Murderrecords t-shirts out of storage! The Great Hall will turn warp both time and space to become Halifax in the mid-’90s for NXNE, proffering a lineup of Sloan, The Super Friendz, and former Inbred Mike O’Neill on June 14. Admission by festival wristband only.

MP3: Sloan – “The Answer Was You”
Video: The Super Friendz – “Up And Running”
Stream: Mike O’Neill – “This Is Who I Am”

Aritzia has an interview, Pitchfork a guest list and Le Blogotheque a Takeaway Show with Majical Cloudz, whose NXNE showcase goes June 15 at BLK BOX.

Though he probably could have just called it a Dears record and no one would have thought anything of it, Under The Radar reports that Murray Lightburn will release his first solo record Mass:Light on June 16, and that it’ll be available on vinyl only via mail order. And there’s also a new Dears record in the works.

Austra is streaming a second – and arguably more characteristic – sample from Olympia, due out June 18.

Stream: Austra – “Painful Like”

I Like Music has an interview with Born Ruffians, who’re streaming a new track not found on their latest Birthmarks, just because. They play a free show at Harbourfront Centre on July 13.

Stream: Born Ruffians – “With An Ax”

Beatroute talks to Nils Edenloff of The Rural Alberta Advantage.

Loud & Quiet interviews Suuns.

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Singers And The Endless Song

Iron & Wine & Local & Natives & NXNE & TURF & shows & stuff

Photo By Craig KiefCraig KiefSpring is only barely here – the past few days’ weather notwithstanding – but the concert announcement machine is already making eyes at Autumn with the unveiling of a couple of pretty high profile tours coming through town when the leaves start to change and the days get shorter.

Sam Beam, the walking epitome of bearded folk music, released Ghost On Ghost – his fifth album as Iron & Wine – last month, but until now only had Spring dates in the northeast and Europe confirmed on the itinerary. Come Fall, however, he and his band will traverse much of the middle of North America – the USA and Canada both – before wrapping things up in Toronto at The Sound Academy on September 28, advance tickets $30 for general admission and $40 for VIP balcony.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and New York Times have interviews with Sam Beam.

MP3: Iron & Wine – “Belated Promise Ring”
Video: Iron & Wine – “Joy”

Los Angeles’ Local Natives have already come through town once this year in support of their second album Hummingbird, but even a venue upgrade from The Opera House to The Phoenix wasn’t enough to meet demand. Hence, they’ve added a slew of dates that will take them around the planet and then some, stopping in Toronto at The Kool Haus on September 21, tickets $26.50. And if you’re thinking that you already saw them in March, know that they’ll have the quite excellent Wild Nothing along as support, touring behind last year’s Nocturne full-length and the just-released Empty Estate EP. There’s Local Natives feature pieces at The Huffington Post, Seattle Weekly, and Georgia Straight.

MP3: Local Natives – “You & I”
MP3: Wild Nothing – “Paradise”

Dialing things back to the Summer – and the festival circuit in particular – there were some updates of note over the last couple days. If you thought the otherwise comprehensive Arts & Crafts lineup for Field Trip had a conspicuous Dan Mangan-shaped hole in the lineup, you were right. And now it’s been filled by Dan Mangan himself; not just a similarly-bearded impersonator. That all goes down June 8 at Garrison Commons, and yes he’s still on the lineup for the Mumford-y “Gentlemen Of The Road Stopover” on August 23 out in Simcoe, Ontario.

MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”

NXNE revealed a bunch more acts for this year’s festival, descending on Toronto’s clubs from June 12 to 16, including Dan Deacon (despite his coming back a few weeks later to support Animal Collective’s make-up show), Still Corners (confirming they’re still doing festival dates in addition to the June 12 date supporting CHVRCHES at The Hoxton), and a slew of Canadian acts including Wintersleep, No Joy, The Super Friendz, Gold & Youth, and more – check out the artists page for a full list of current confirmed acts. I’ve also collated some of the where and when information, but there’s no point in sharing that ever-changing information until the official schedule is posted, which won’t be long because hey – the festival is less than a month away.

MP3: Dan Deacon – “Lots”
MP3: Still Corners – “Fireflies”
MP3: Wintersleep – “Resuscitate”

The Toronto Urban Roots Fest is mostly making waves as a multi-day, outdoor festival the likes of which Toronto hasn’t seen in some time, but its club-level happenings are turning out to be just as impressive, particularly if you’ve no love of multi-day, outdoor festivals. Running concurrently with the main festival, the club series will see the likes of Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys, The Wooden Sky, Dawes, and The Felice Brothers amongst others playing The Horseshoe and Lee’s Palace from July 4 to 7, tickets ranging from $20 to $30 including surcharges, on sale May 23. Some who where and when information is available at the TURF website.

MP3: Frank Turner – “The Roads”
MP3: Dawes – “If I Wanted Someone”
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”
Video: The Felice Brothers – “Ponzi”
Video: Alejandro Escovedo – “Sally Was A Cop” (live)

With their new record Planta set for a June 11 release and a new video from it just out, Brazil’s CSS have put together a North American tour that brings them to The Opera House on July 4, tickets $25.

MP3: CSS – “Hits Me Like A Rock”
Video: CSS – “Hangover”

There’s good news and bad news from the House Of Tomorrow: the good is that, with their new record Partygoing set to come out on June 4 (as well as the Memories of Love, Eternal Youth, and Partygoing. discography-collecting box set), Future Bible Heroes are undertaking a rare tour. The bad news is is that chief songwriter and personality Stephin Merritt will not be participating, though key members Claudia Gonson, Christopher Ewen, Shirley Simms, and Anthony Kaczynski will. So even without Merritt’s delicious dourness, a wonderful time should be had by all at Lee’s Palace on July 22. Tickets for that are $15.50.

Stream: Future Bible Heroes – “Living, Loving, Partygoing”

The Fly talks to Chicago’s Smith Westerns about their new record Soft Will, which will be out June 25. They’ve released the first video and rolled out a batch of tour dates via Pitchfork; the Toronto date comes July 29 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $17.

MP3: Smith Westerns – “Still New”
Video: Smith Westerns – “Varsity”

With a new album in Pura Vida Conspiracy due out July 23, everyone’s favourite – and probably only – Gypsy punks Gogol Bordello have announced a massive tour that comes to Toronto for not one but two nights – August 19 and 20 at The Danforth Music Hall. Rolling Stone has a conversation with frontman Eugene Hutz.

Stream: Gogol Bordello – “Malandrino”

Pinback are back for a date at Lee’s Palace on September 7 in support of last year’s Information Retrieved; tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.

MP3: Pinback – “Proceed To Memory”

FIDLAR – whose name stands for “Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk”, if you were wondering – are teaming up with fellow Los Angelenos The Orwells for a Fall tour that hits The Hard Luck on October 18, tickets $13. FIDLAR released their self-titled debut earlier this year whereas The Orwells’ debut Remember When came out last year. DIY and The Clock have themselves FIDLAR features.

MP3: FIDLAR – “Cheap Beer”
MP3: The Orwells – “Other Voices”

Grantland and MusicOmh profile The National, whose new album Trouble Will Find Me is out on May 21 and who play Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.

It won’t be out in time for her July 13 date at The Kool Haus, but Spin has some info on Solange’s new album, which will be out this year on her own label under Sony.

Exitmusic have premiered a new video from last year’s debut Passage at NPR.

Video: Exitmusic – “White Noise”

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Mock Up Scale Down

The Super Friendz and The Meligrove Band at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThat whole, “Halifax is the new Seattle” thing that went down in the early ’90s is better known these days for simply having happened than for much of the music that came out of it. Sloan precipitated it and continue to endure, and the likes of Thrush Hermit and Eric’s Trip are still remembered fondly by many and their principals continue to make music, but most Maritime acts who were tipped as the next big, fuzzy, plaid-clad thing some 15 to 20 years ago simply called it a day after a release or two, to be remembered only by faded t-shirts and CD store dollar bins and A&R types who could actually tell you what a donair was.

If The Super Friendz had emerged with their 1995 debut Mock Up Scale Down just a couple years earlier, they could well have rode that Atlantic wave to… something, but as it was, they missed that brief, international feeding frenzy and even if they hadn’t, their ultra-melodic, classically-styled, jangle power-pop probably would have been deemed not nearly grungy enough and left on the vine. As it was, they had to settle for becoming domestic college rock darlings, at least for a couple years. Following a more ambitious yet still eminently hummable second album in Slide Show, the band politely hung it up to do other things. Frontman Matt Murphy would pursue a similar if more ’70s-than-’60s vibe with The Flashing Lights and while the Super Friendz did the reunion thing before the reunion thing was hip – releasing the decidedly more rawk Love Energy in 2003 – it was to be short-lived, but not the end. The quartet accepted an invitation to get back together for this year’s Halifax Pop Explosion – their first show in nine years – and since anything worth doing once is worth doing twice, they added another date in Toronto for this past Friday night.

Opening up were local fixtures The Meligrove Band, whom I’m a bit astonished to find I hadn’t seen live since 2005 though not as astonished as I was to confirm that bassist Michael Small was, indeed, wearing the same t-shirt. Completely apropos of nothing, but it does speak to my ability to retain utterly useless information in my brain. In any case, their set of power-pop – emphasis on the power side of things – was a fine warm-up as well as a reminder that their 2010 release Shimmering Lights was quite good. And if there was any doubt that they were huge fans of their Can-indie forebears, they were put to rest with their closing trifecta of murderecords covers of The Inbreds, Thrush Hermit, and Local Rabbits. They were targeting a pretty specific demographic niche with that, to be sure, but it was a niche that was piled into Lee’s Palace right then and there.

The only explanation I have for having never seen The Super Friendz the first time around was that they never quite made it to Waterloo on the university circuit, at least not while I was on a school term; goodness knows I would have been there if they had. I had caught The Flashing Lights a few times but skipped the 2003 reunion show on account of really not liking Love Energy all that much. Song selection wasn’t going to a problem this time out, though – the front half of the show was Mock Up as far as the eye could see and ear could hear. They opened up with the Charles Austin-sung “When They Paid Me”, then tagging in guitarist Drew Yamada for “Undertow” before Matt Murphy took the mic for “One Day”. I have to admit I never appreciated how spread out the singing and songwriting credits on the records were – a real testament to how well their respective styles gelled into one.

Also remarkable was how well they’ve aged, both the band and the songs. The tunes still brim with youthful energy, evoking a simpler, more innocent time where you could write a song called “Karate Man” and it could be awesome, full stop. Songs were played fairly faithfully to their recorded versions with the exception of some extended guitar breaks by Murphy and a Meligrove stage invasion during “The World’s Most Embarrassing Moment” and while the overall song selection could have featured a little (or a lot) more Slide Show and a little (or a lot) less Love Energy – and the omission of “Forever A Day” was almost criminal – it was hard not to spend most of the night bopping up and down whilst wearing a goofy grin, particularly when they wrapped the main set with “10 lbs” – a moment only matched when the wrapped the encore with “Up & Running”. Two of the best Canadian songs of the ’90s; this is not open to debate.

I hope it’s not taken as dismissive to say that this was primarily a nostalgia show; hundreds of people who either never got to see them live or hadn’t had the opportunity to do so in a decade and a half got their chance. Memories were rekindled and some great songs that hadn’t been played live anywhere by anyone in far too long got to ring out again. I don’t think anyone left Lee’s clamoring for a new record – you can’t go back to being 21 and in university again – but if they wanted to put Mock Up and Slide Show back in print, perhaps on vinyl, well that’d be alright.

Mechanical Forest Sound recorded the show and has posted a couple tracks for listening and reminiscing. Panic Manial also has a review.

Photos: The Super Friendz, The Meligrove Band @ Lee’s Palace – November 16, 2012
MP3: The Meligrove Band – “Half Light”
MP3: The Meligrove Band – “Bones Attack!!!”
Video: The Super Friendz – “Up And Running”
Video: The Super Friendz – “Rescue Us From Boredom”
Video: The Super Friendz – “10 lbs”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Bones Attack”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Really Want It”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Racing To Shimmering Lights”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Everyone’s A Winner”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Our Love Will Make The World Go Round”
Video: The Meligrove Band – “Before We Arrive”
Stream: The Super Friendz / Mock Up Scale Down
Stream: The Super Friendz / Slide Show
Stream: The Super Friendz / Love Energy

Rheostatics have added a third show to their own reunion stand at The Horseshoe next month. They’ll play an early show on December 6 at 6:30PM, tickets $29.50 on sale this morning at 10AM. The December 5 and late December 6 shows are completely sold out.

Video: Rheostatics – “A Bad Time To Be Poor”

The Western Star, The Aurora, and The Muse talks to Joel Plaskett, camping out in the Horseshoe for four nights in December from the 12th to the 16th.

Daytrotter has a session with Patrick Watson and NPR is streaming the whole of last week’s show in Washington DC. He’s at Massey Hall on December 6.

Panic Manual, Beatroute, The San Francisco Examiner, and The Georgia Straight interview Al Spx of Cold Specks, opening up for Conor Oberst at Massey Hall on December 8.

Moonface have released a new video from With Siinai: Heartbreaking Bravery.

Video: Moonface – “Headed For The Door”

The 405, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Boston Globe have interviews and Daytrotter a session with METZ.

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Mirror Mirror

Suuns set to rise to face the Futur

Photo By Joseph YarmushJoseph YarmushIt’s been interesting to keep up with Montreal’s Suuns over the last few years, starting from back in January 2009 when they were still a mostly-unknown outfit calling themselves Zeroes, opening up for Land Of Talk, through their rebranding and 2010 debut Zeroes QC. From the get-go, their intention of melding post-punk, new wave, krautrock, psychedelia, and really any other sound they could conceive of into an occasionally serene but more often discomfitingly danceable brew was clear but the progress they’ve made at realizing it, measured at various checkpoints over the last few years has been impressive.

So it’s not unreasonable to think that their just-announced second album, Images Du Futur, will see the band take a big leap forwards; it’s just velocity, really. The first taste of the new record, available to stream, finds the band plumbing the gentler side of things but I’m pretty confident that at least some of the other nine songs on the record will pick up the freaky slack. We’ll know for sure when it’s out on March 5, but those heading to see Plants & Animals at The Great Hall tonight will have an idea sooner than that – Suuns are one of the openers.

Stream: Suuns – “Edie’s Dream”

CBC Music has compiled an oral history of Mock Up Scale Down, the 1995 debut from beloved Halifax power-poppers The Super Friendz; NOW also has a feature piece on the reunited outfit, who will be at Lee’s Palace tomorrow night, November 16.

Spinner is streaming Great Lake Swimmers’ contribution to the forthcoming Nettwerk Christmas album, Isn’t This World Enough, out November 20. They also recently released a new video from their own latest album, New Wild Everywhere.

Stream: Great Lake Swimmers – “Hang A String Of Lights”
Video: Great Lake Swimmers – “The Great Exhale”

CBC Music and The Ottawa Citizen talk to Metric about graduating to the arena circuit which brings them to The Air Canada Centre on November 24. There’s also interviews at Metro, The Province, and The Winnipeg Free Press. They’ve just released a new, tour-sourced video from Synthetica.

Video: Metric – “Breathing Underwater”

Neil Young & Crazy Horse have released another epic-length video from Psychedelic Pill. They’ll be at The Air Canada Centre next week, on November 19, and if they focus on the new record they might get through four or five songs before curfew. Maybe.

Video: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Driftin’ Back”

JAM, The Georgia Straight, The Tyee, and Victoria Times-Colonist talk to John O’Regan of Diamond Rings. They play The Mod Club on November 29.

Beatroute, The Vancouver Sun, Oregon Live, and The Victoria Times-Colonist have features on Patrick Watson, who is at Massey Hall on December 6.

where has an interview and Secret Sessions a session (duh) with Evening Hymns. They’re at the Church Of The Redeemer on December 15.

Purity Ring have a new video from their debut Shrines. They are at The Phoenix on February 1.

Video: Purity Ring – “Loftcries”

Spinner talks to Damian Abraham of Fucked Up about where they’re at with writing their next record.

The Elwins have released a new video from their debut, And I Thank You. They bewilderingly have no upcoming local shows booked.

Video: The Elwins – “Helpful Assistance”

Billboard talks to Crystal Castles.