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Posts Tagged ‘Super Furry Animals’

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Queen Of The World

Review of Ida Maria's Fortress 'Round My Heart

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceIf I were a more paranoid person, I’d say that Norway’s Ida Maria was deliberately avoiding me. Back in March, she was a no-show for both her official SxSW showcases showcases and at almost the same time, she cut her stint as opener for Glasvegas to just a handful of dates, dropping off the tour just a couple shows before she’d have played Toronto. Maddening, right?

Getting a handle on her debut album Fortress ‘Round My Heart really isn’t any simpler. It was originally released in the UK in the Summer of 2008 on Sony and though a goodly amount of buzz was generated, the relationship between artist and label didn’t work out and she was cut loose. The record was re-released in February of this year independently with rejigged track listing and artwork and it was expected this indie version would be the one to trickle over to North America but it was instead picked up by Mercury Records and pushed back until April, when it came out over here with yet another track listing and different cover art.

It’s ironic that things should be so complicated around Ms Borli Sivertsen, because what she does is about as simple as it gets. Raw, irresistible guitar-rock with whiffs of garage and bubblegum, simultaneously anchored and buoyed by Sivertsen’s rough and giddy vocals. “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” might seem like a gimmicky tune with limited shelf life, but has hooks that go far beyond the titillating title. The rest of the album barrels along with tales of booze and bawdiness, all recounted with reckless glee only pausing for breath a couple of times. It has remarkably high re-play value, helped along by the fact that the whole thing clocks in at barely 32 minutes and offering a super sugar buzz without being saccharine-sweet.

Having already made some late-night TV appearances, garnering all kinds of attention of the right kind and now set to play Lollapalooza in August, more North American touring seems like a given. Perhaps late Summer is a reasonable assumption for her first Toronto date? After all, she can’t evade me forever.

There’s features on Ida Maria at Interview, Black Book, Elle and Canadian Press.

Video: Ida Maria – “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”
Video: Ida Maria – “Oh My God”
Video: Ida Maria – “Stella”
MySpace: Ida Maria

This week also marks the North American release of A Camp’s second album, the strangely polarizing Colonia. Some really like it, some really dislike it. I opted for “sorta like” when I reviewed it back in February. There’s interviews with head Camp counselor Nina Persson at The Glaswegian, State, Prefix and Birmingham Mail while Black Book asks her about her favourite NYC hangouts. A Camp are at the Mod Club on June 1 and the album is streaming this week at Spinner.

MP3: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus” (Harlem session)
Video: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus”
Stream: A Camp / Colonia

Uncensored Interview has a chat on video with Emil Svanangen of Loney Dear. They’re at the Rivoli next Friday night, May 8.

Daytrotter offers up a session with Cut Off Your Hands.

There’s a couple new videos from little blonde English girls with debut albums coming out soon. Little Boots’ Hands is out June 9, Polly Scattergood’s debut self-title gets a North American release on May 19.

Video: Little Boots – “New In Town”
Video: Polly Scattergood – “Please Don’t Touch”

The Globe & Mail talks to Adele, who plays Massey Hall tonight. It was also announced that she’ll be the first artists to perform on the new incarnation of MTV Unplugged – wow, it’ll be such a relief to be able to finally hear her sing without the wall of electric guitars drowning her out.

The Sun quotes Graham Coxon as saying that the Blur reunion should cover all the band’s material – even the stuff he wasn’t a part of.

Interview talks to Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie.

Clash talks to Super Furry Animals drummer Dafydd Ieuan, Wales Online to frontman Gruff Rhys.

The Daily Growl gets Mumford & Sons to pick seven songs.

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Sea Within A Sea

Review of The Horrors' Primary Colours

Photo By Tom BeardTom BeardI didn’t pay much attention to London’s The Horrors when the released their debut album Strange House in 2007 because, well, they had a bad name, worse stage names and looked ridiculous and I’m shallow like that. No apologies. A few years on and the name is still bad but the pseudonyms are gone and they look somewhat less ridiculous and have a new album out in Primary Colours in a couple weeks. And you know what? It’s interesting.

Produced by Geoff Barrow, the Kraut-gaze sound that dominates things isn’t the most natural amalgam of sounds, but the resultant gritty, metallic dronescape works pretty well. It can get somewhat texturally monochromatic over 45 minutes, but they sensibly inject poppy pit stops like the title track at key points through the proceedings. Faris Badwan’s vocals are from the Peter Murphy/Richard Butler school of emoting but with a pleasantly raw quality that I wasn’t expecting – I thought he’d sound more theatrical or overwrought. The record hasn’t worked its way into heavy rotation by any means, but it also doesn’t make me not want to listen to it. That may sound like faint praise, but considering the amount of stuff that I hear that DOES make me not want to listen to it, it’s actually something of a compliment. I’ll be spending more time with it in advance of their show at the Phoenix on May 7 when they open up for The Kills.

You can spend some time with it now as Spinner is streaming the thing in its entirety. There’s also a rather grandiose video for the first single, which you can also download at their website in exchange for your email. Gigwise and NME both assembled track-by-track reviews of the record and NME also has a portion of a feature interview with the band.

Video: The Horrors – “Sea Within A Sea”
Stream: The Horrors / Primary Colours
MySpace: The Horrors

The third band on that Kills/Horrors bill, Magic Wands, have made a track from their debut EP Magic Love And Dreams available to download. It’s out May 25.

MP3: Magic Wands – “Black Magic”

Drowned In Sound has declared this week “Shoegaze Week”, and obviously I’m not going to argue. They kick things off by interviewing he whose song gave this site its name, Mark Gardener, formerly of Ride, and cover all the bases including THAT one, and the answer remains the same – “There is no plan to reform Ride at present and we’re all busy and very much involved in projects that we’re all doing now”.

Artrocker talks to Maximo Park about the making of their new album Quicken The Heart, which is due out May 12.

Jarvis Cocker has a new website, and I find the video there far more engrossing than any right-minded person really should. Look out for the “V”, Jarv! He also gives The Guardian the soundtrack of his life. His new record Further Complications is out May 19 and the first released MP3 sounds like this.

MP3: Jarvis Cocker – “Angela”

Wireless Bollinger interviews Andrew Innes of Primal Scream.

Black Book interviews Polly Jean Harvey.

The Daily Mail interviews Polly Scattergood, whose self-titled debut is out in North America on May 19. There’s various remixes of her new single “Please Don’t Touch” by The Golden Filter up for grabs at Pitchfork, Stereogum and Gorilla Vs Bear.

There’s a twopart interview with Super Furry Animals. The 48-minute doc to accompany their new album Dark Days/Light Years is currently streaming at Pitchfork.

Video: Super Furry Animals: Dark Days Light Years

The Citizen-Times converses with Barry Burns of Mogwai. They’re at the Phoenix on May 4.

New Pixies record this Summer? Maybe. Update: Not.

Au Revoir Simone have a new record forthcoming in Still Night, Still Light, out May 19, and have scheduled a tour to support, including a May 21 date at Lee’s Palace.

MP3: Au Revoir Simone – “A Violent Yet Flammable World”

Portland acoustic pop duo Blind Pilot will be in town at the El Mocambo on June 12, tickets $10.50.

MP3: Blind Pilot – “Go On, Say It”

That Passion Pit/Harlem Shakes show on June 16 is now confirmed – it’s happening at Lee’s Palace. Passion Pit have released a new video from Manners, out May 19, to celebrate their third attempt to play Toronto this year.

Video: Passion Pit – “The Reeling”

Apparently The Enemy are quite the deal back in Britain – their debut was #1 in the UK and has gone platinum there, their follow up Music For The People is out next week – but I don’t think I’d ever heard of them until the press release announcing their show at the Mod Club in Toronto on June 19 showed up in my inbox. Is this something I should be ashamed or or thankful for? I’m kinda leaning towards the latter. Tickets for the show are $18.50.

Video: The Enemy – “No Time For Tears”

Dave Lowery and Cracker are back, with a new album in Sunrise In The Land Of Milk And Honey and a tour that now includes a June 23 date at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, tickets $20.50.

Video: Cracker – “Yalla Yalla”

Dallas’ The Paper Chase are releasing a double album this year in two parts – the first half, Someday This Could All Be Yours (Volume One) – is set for release May 12 and they’ll play the Drake Underground on June 29, tickets $11.

MP3: The Paper Chase – “What Should We Do With Your Body? (The Lightning)”

Gibson Guitars deconstructs the ingredients of Wilco’s live guitar sound without any particular brand bias. Which is good for them, because I won’t be having anyone talking smack about Nels or his Jazzmaster.

NPR is streaming the whole of St Vincent’s new album Actor in advance of its official release on May 5. Annie Clark talks to Womens Wear Daily about her music and wardrobe.

Stream: St Vincent / Actor

Magnet welcomes Superchunk/Portastatic/Merge-man Mac McCaughan into their guest editor’s seat this week with a Q&A about the return of the ‘Chunk and Merge’s 20th anniversary festivities.

The Guardian considers the current wave of female pop artists garnering success in the UK, including Ladyhawke, Little Boots and La Roux.

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Son Of A Gun

The Vaselines get reissued, come to Toronto

Photo via SubPopSubPopMy head is kind of, uh, fried right now on account of my powering through and processing all of my SxSW photos this weekend, as those who are unfortunate enough to be RSS subscribers or Twitter followers and been deluged with update notices can attest. But the good news for everyone is that I am done and there are 46-odd photo galleries of artists I saw a couple weeks ago along with as many MP3 and video links for each as I could find. I’m pretty happy with how everything turned out – please have a boo, or check out the Flickr set for a high-level view. And with what remains of my grey matter, I will try to cobble together some sort of blog post.

Starting with The Vaselines. You may know them as the Scottish band who existed just long enough to release a couple of EPs, one album, and exert a huge influence on one Kurt Cobain. I actually knew them better as the band that Eugene Kelly was in before Eugenius, but that’s neither here nor there. For many years, the The Way Of The Vaselines: A Complete History compilation from SubPop has been the first (and last) stop for those seeking to learn more about the outfit, but come May 5 there’s going to be a new final word. That’s the day they’ll replace the venerable compilation with Enter The Vaselines, a new double-CD/triple-LP collection that remixes much of and remasters all of Way and throws in a pile of unreleased extra material. Full tracklisting at Exclaim!.

But wait, there’s more! The band reunited last Summer for a few one-off and festival gigs, but appear to be ready to do more in order to promote the collection. Though they didn’t make it over for SxSW as they’d initially intended, they do still have their eyes on North America, or at least Toronto – they’ve got a date set for May 15 at Lee’s Palace, for which tickets will run $29.50. That’s pretty exciting, and I assume other dates for some sort of tour will be forthcoming soon.

Also on the reissue tip, dearly departed Guelphies Royal City are set to be compiled by the good folks at Asthmatic Kitty They’ll release Royal City on June 23, a collection of a dozen previously unreleased tracks that has been rumoured for over four years. Better late than never though, right? Magnet is also on board with the nostalgia, paying tribute to their second album Alone At The Microphone. Here’s one of the songs from the new comp, and a few older album tracks to remind of how good they were.

MP3: Royal City – “A Belly Was Made For Wine”
MP3: Royal City – “Bring My Father A Gift”
MP3: Royal City – “My Brother Is The Meatman”
MP3: Royal City – “Bad Luck”
MP3: Royal City – “I’m Taking The Train”
MP3: Royal City – “At Rush Hour The Cars”

Exclaim! reports that R.E.M. are giving the deluxe reissue treatment to their sophomore album Reckoning, planning a live release of their 2007 “Dublin working rehearsals” which preceded the release of Accelerate and getting to work on the follow-up to said record. No timelines for any of the releases has been provided, though.

A track from the new Bob Dylan album Together Through Life is available to download from his website through midnight (Eastern Daylight time) tonight. The album is out April 28.

Chart and See talk to Hylozoists frontman Paul Aucoin.

There’s an MP3 available from the new Super Furry Animals album Dark Days/Light Years, available digitally now and on CD April 21.

MP3: Super Furry Animals – “Inaugural Trams”

The California Chronicle talks to Dean Wareham.

Isis have a date at the Phoenix on June 7 in support of their new album Wavering Radiant, out May 5.

A few radio sessions available to stream – NPR with M Ward, who is at the Phoenix on April 27, and MPR welcomes AC Newman and another one with The Broken West.

BrooklynVegan has unveiled the lineup to this year’s All Points West festival, taking place just across the Hudson from Manhattan. It’s interesting to me mainly to give a better idea of what acts are doing the festival circuit this year and perhaps who we might expect at V Fest this year. This, of course, presumes that there will BE a V Fest in Toronto this year. The past three years, the headliners and first wave of acts had all been announced by now, and this year there’s been nary a peep – the website doesn’t acknowledge that it’s 2009 or try to build any sort anticipation and their social network pages are similarly silent. It’s almost like they’re trying to keep a low profile and hope no one notices they’re not there. I’ve asked around a bit and while no one has heard anything about V Toronto being cancelled, no one has heard anything about it actually happening either and I know just enough about goings-on on the business end of the fest to not take for granted that it’s happening. I hope I’m just being paranoid and they’re just hammering out some details to bring, oh, Blur and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs to town but each day that goes by without an effusively-worded press release showing up in my inbox is, well, another day. But if anyone out there knows something, even a cryptically-worded message along the lines of, “Stop fearmongering! The rock is en route!” or “At least you’ll be able to see more films at TIFF this year”, one way or the other would be appreciated.

Update: And this is related-interesting – Montreal’s Osheaga Festival, which was branded last year as “presented by Virgin Mobile”, has confirmed dates for 2009 – July 30 and 31 “in they city” (presumably club gigs) and August 1 and 2 “on the island” (at Parc Jean-Drapeau). Perhaps they’ll siphon off some acts from APW? Perhaps I’m going to Montreal for the August long weekend? It seems Coldplay – and thus Elbow – are a lock for that one…

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

In Her Gentle Jaws

An Introduction To The Depreciation Guild

Photo By Katelyn RoofKatelyn RoofMuch of the buzz surrounding next Thursday’s show at Neutral is focusing on the evening’s headliners, Brooklyn’s The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, and with good reason – their new self-titled album, out tomorrow, is wonderful and will be discussed soon enough. But it’s a shame that all the attention is falling on them when their tourmates are just as noteworthy.

That would be The Depreciation Guild, also from Brooklyn, and talking points around the band generally center around the fact that they’re giving their debut album, In Her Gentle Jaws away for free on their website and also that their band’s sound is built off of an old 8-bit Nintendo gaming system. Which, as far as angles for getting noticed go, are pretty good. But putting those aside and focusing on the music, there’s still plenty to comment on.

Like how they take those tones and textures that evoke memories of pixelated plumbers amongst those of a certain generation and build soaring, shoegazing soundscapes of pop wonder out of them. And while the 8-bit aesthetic is fundamental to their sound, they’re not beholden to it – they also use more conventional instruments like guitars and drums to get where they’re going and the songs would more than stand up even without the Nintendo backbone – it just might not be quite as much fun.

Exclaim and Gothamist talk to The Depreciation Guild about, um, their Nintendo-fi sounds and their free album. And you can also get their EP Nautilus for free at 8-Bit Peoples. Update: This show has been moved to Lee’s Palace.

MP3: The Depreciation Guild – “Darklooming”
MP3: The Depreciation Guild – “Butterfly Kisses”
MP3: The Depreciation Guild – “Nautilus”
Video: The Depreciation Guild – “Nautilus”
MySpace: The Depreciation Guild

Rolf Klausener talks to The National Post about the utter bizarreness of The Acorn’s world right now, where just before setting out on an arena tour of the UK in support of Elbow, they get the Kanye West seal of approval for their video for “Crooked Legs”.

Video: The Acorn – “Crooked Legs”

The Village Voice and Exclaim talk to Matt & Kim, though it’s really just Matt.

Spinner interfaces with Of Montreal, feels vaguely dirty about it the next morning.

It’s a kiwi invasion! First, Cut Off Your Hands will make their Toronto debut at the Horseshoe on March 30 – tickets $10 in advance.

And then Flight Of The Conchords will play not one but two nights at Massey Hall on April 21 and 22. Presale goes today at 10AM, tickets $49.50. That’s… a lot.

Cloud Cult and Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s are at the El Mocambo on April 3, tickets $10.

Super Furry Animals have a new album in the can, if not a name for it, and will release it digitally via their website on March 16 and give it a physical release on April 21. Details at Beggars blog.

This Is Fake DIY interviews The Airborne Toxic Event, playing the El Mocambo on March 3.

Stereogum gets a progress report on the new Wrens record.

Spin gets the backstory on the AC Newman song “Submarines Of Stockholm”.

White Lies’ chart-topping (in the UK) debut To Lose My Life will get a North American release on March 17 – none of this, “wait a year before jumping across the pond” nonsense. Tickets for their March 31 show at Lee’s Palace with Friendly Fires and The Soft Pack will run you $15.