Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘Swervedriver’

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Deep Wound

Swervedriver veer back into fast lane with new album

Photo by Gaz FailGaz FailFor a band that’s so intrinsically connected to the idea of powerful cars barrelling down the highway, Oxford’s Swervedriver have taken a pretty leisurely path since they reunited in 2008, touring fairly regularly behind old material but seeming to focus their creative energies on non-Swervies work; frontman Adam Franklin releasing three full-length albums with his Bolts Of Melody solo project including this year’s Black Horses, as well as one with Magnetic Morning, his project with Interpol drummer Sam Fogarino. And while Toshack Highway hasn’t released anything since 2006, don’t discount Franklin returning to the project at some point in the future.

But for all of those releases’ merits, they’ve not been Swervedriver so it’s pretty exciting news that 2014 will finally see the band putting into gear with the release of a new Swervedriver album, their first since 1998’s 99th Dream. Now reunion albums are rightly regarded with suspicion – sometimes they’re great, a la My Bloody Valentine, but usually they’re passable at best and embarrassing at worst, but from just-released the first single – which they’re streaming along with the alternate version b-side, remixed by Ride’s Mark Gardener – their ability to meld great guitar riffs with catchy melodies remains wholly intact, and excitingly reminiscent of Raise, their 22-year old debut; it’s like dream-pop where the dream is of a muscle car going full tilt down the open road. Bring it.

The Feedback Society has an interview with Adam Franklin about both the new Bolts Of Melody record and the return of Swervedriver. And if you’re new to the band or haven’t been paying attention, a slew of live rarities – including complete on-stage versions of their first four albums – are available to download, gratis. Update: And now there’s a video.

Stream: Swervedriver – “Deep Wound”
Stream: Swervedriver – “Dub Wound”
Video: Swervedriver – “Deep Wound”

DIY talks to TOY about their new album Join The Dots, the title track of which they play in session for The Guardian. The album is out this week and they’ll be at The Horseshoe on January 14.

The Fly corners Cate Le Bon to play a video session for them. She’ll be at The Drake Underground on January 21.

Maxïmo Park have rolled out a second video from their new album Too Much Information, out February 3.

Video: Maxïmo Park – “Leave This Island”

The Fly has details on the new album from Bombay Bicycle Club, which will be called So Long, See You Tomorrow and be out in the UK on February 3.

Rolling Stone has premiered the new video from Fanfarlo, taken from their forthcoming album Let’s Go Extinct, coming out February 11.

Video: Fanfarlo – “Landlocked”

London’s Let’s Wrestle return with their third album – a self-titled effort – on February 11 and they’ve permiered the first video from it at Noisey.

Video: Let’s Wrestle – “Codeine and Marshmallows”

Even though his latest album was the rather definitively-titled full-band affair Electric, It’ll be Richard Thompson solo and acoustic at Koerner Hall on March 6, just as when he dazzled there in September 2011. This time, though, he’ll have an opener with him and that’s none other than his son, Teddy Thompson.

Stream: Richard Thompson – “Good Things Happen To Bad People”

Intelligent Life hangs out with Guy Garvey of Elbow; their new album Carry Her Carry Me is out March 10.

What do you do if you’re releasing a single that appears in two different versions on your two current albums, one live and one studio? if you’re Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and the albums are Live At KCRW and Push The Sky Away, you record a third version. And then you premiere it at Rolling Stone. Cave and company are at The Sony Centre on July 31.

Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Higgs Boson Blues”

DIY have premiered a stream from Kate Nash’s new holiday EP Have Faith This Christmas. You probably know the song.

Stream: Kate Nash – “Silent Night”

Laura Groves has a new video for a Paul McCartney cover contributed to the Pun For Cover cover album; check it out via DIY.

Video: Laura Groves – “Waterfalls”

The Toronto Sun has an interview with and Stereogum a streaming b-side from Arctic Monkeys.

Stream: Arctic Monkeys – “You’re So Dark”

David Bowie has released another video from the bonus material on The Next Day Extra, though not for one of the new songs but again a remix – or an edit of a remix, to be precise, whatever that means.

Video: David Bowie – “I’d Rather Be High” Venetian Mix (Wasted Edit)

Rolling Stone asks Noel Gallagher how his year was. He answers as only Noel Gallagher can.

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

SXSW 2012 Night Three

Howler, Team Me, Tashaki Miyaki and more at SXSW

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangOstensibly, SXSW is a festival meant to expose new music to the world and vice versa, so the fact that I’d spent the past evening and afternoon seeing established artists – I think Springsteen counts as established – rather than seeking out something new wasn’t lost on me. So the festival’s Friday night was devoted wholly to discovery. Onwards!

Los Angeles’ Tashaki Miyaki are working the “mysterious” angle, declining to offer information about their identities – she sings and drums and goes by Lucy, he plays guitar and is called Rocky and at Latitude 30 they were joined by an unnamed bassist/vocalist – and letting the music speak for them. I’d briefed myself with their debut EP on the way down to Austin and was led to expect some lo-fi, fuzzy garage pop but live, they were much cleaner and more precise with the vocals more up front, the harmonies intricate and the guitars reminiscent of Neil Young at his Crazy Horsiest. Their debts to The Velvet Underground are obvious – “If Not For You” is basically “Sweet Jane” – but they spend it in a boutique dealing in ’90s shoegaze. Despite looking, um, great, they weren’t the most charismatic outfit and are operate in a pretty clearly defined niche – it just happens to be my niche.

The longer you go to SXSW, the more venues show up on your no-go list; some rooms are just terrible for seeing a show. Of course, that the rooms seem to change names every year or so makes it difficult to maintain said list – it has happened that I’ve gone to what I thought was a new room and discovered it was an old hated room, Vice/Exodus I’m looking in your direction – but rarer is finding the same name in a different location. So it was that I gave Karma Lounge another shot, seeing as how it was no longer a gross upper level on 8th St but a new (?) street-level bar on 5th. So of course when I got there, everyone was dancing to Ginuwine. Maybe ironically. I don’t know. The point of this story is also unclear to me. But I was there, I was a bit confused and I was waiting for New York’s Fort Lean, whom I’d not heard but had heard good things about. And once they got underway, they were fine but not especially inspiring. The musicianship was impressive and there was clearly lots of ideas and creativity at work, with a base of old school rock’n’roll and jazzy/r&b flourishes to the vocals, but the songs seemed to lack passion. It’s not something that I’d say was specific to Fort Lean but is rather endemic in American indie rock nowadays. Wonder what things are like in, oh, Norway?

Well if Razika, playing the Iron Bear not far from where the original Karma Lounge was, were any indication, ska-pop is much more in vogue in Bergen – at least amongst the early-20’s girl-band set. Okay, probably not a good sample group but still a fun time. They were playing their seventh and final show in three days and despite being justifiably and visibly tired, they mustered up the energy for a strong finish. They played simple, bouncy pop tunes – clean and strummy without a distortion pedal in sight – and though the Norwegian half of their bilingual set was incomprehensible to me, the singalong qualities were pretty clear – you don’t need Google Translate for “whoa whoa whoa”. Basic but plenty likeable, even beyond the foreign novelty factor.

Here’s a thing about SXSW – where else can you see two young Norwegian bands, back to back, in different venues? Besides in Norway, that is. Post-Razika, I hoofed it back to the chaos of 6th St to see Oslo’s Team Me, whose debut To The Treetops! had gotten a worldwide release at the end of February. The musical gang of exuberant youths angle isn’t any new thing – every country seems to have at least a few – but if you were to put Team Me into a Hunger Games/Battle Royale scenario against, say, Los Campesinos!, I would give the edge to the Norwegians and not just because they come from Viking stock. Like their peers, they specialized in amped up twee-pop that made it feel like a drag to be old, but they managed to keep things on the right side of the enthusiastic/annoying line throughout the course of their set. I’d only heard their EP before arriving in Austin so I was pleased to hear by way of the unfamiliar material that they’d already matured in the songwriting department from those tunes. It’s to their credit that the irresistible fun of their performance was able to get me to shelve my, “I’ve seen/heard this before” reservations and just enjoy it.

Minnesota’s Howler came into the festival with a pretty good head of hype behind them – mostly thanks to the enthusiasm of the UK music press – and were perhaps even ready for the backlash stage of the media cycle; I get the sense that some would have been perfectly happy for them to fall flat during SXSW so they could play the “overrated” card. That backlash may yet happen, but it wouldn’t be because of their official showcase back at Latitude 30. They looked a combination of stylishly tousled and lazily disheveled but didn’t come with any sort of pretense – the Strokes comparisons they’re frequently saddled with certainly didn’t extend that far. Instead, they were exactly what they purported to be – five young men with a sharp if occasionally sophomoric sense of humour and a propensity for writing and playing good rock music and having a blast doing it. They blew through their 30-minute set with gusto and no small amount of anarchy – more than you might expect from their debut America Give Up and largely thanks to the axe flailing – meant in the best way – of lead guitarist Ian Nygaard. Despite liking the record, I counted myself somewhat skeptical heading into the show – consider me convinced. Howler play The Drake Underground on April 5.

The venue went from Brit-beloved to Brit-bred for the final act of the night, 2:54. Led by a pair of sisters, the four-piece has been framed as a dreampop/shoegazey kind of band but really, they’re more aggressively seductive than dreamy, with dark, goth-y tones. Lead guitarist Hannah Thurlow might prefer to examine her shoes than put on a show, but guitarist-vocalist Colette Thurlow has no problem making eye contact and holding it, all with a bit of a snarl; certainly more Siouxsie than Slowdive. I could do with a little more melody and less moodiness in their sound, but with the band having just signed with Fat Possum for the North American release of their self-titled debut on May 28, I’ll probably be hearing more of them either way.

See? All new bands on Friday night. Get off my case.

Elsewhere: Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard have reconvened as Dead Can Dance and are targeting a Summer release for a new record. So confident are they that this will be the case, that they’ve booked a North American tour – their first in some seven years – for late Summer that includes an August 23 date at the Sony Centre in Toronto, with tickets at the $49.50, $67.50, and $99.50 price points.

Video: Dead Can Dance – “The Carnival Is Over”

Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine tells NME that there may some sort of collaboration with Dev Hynes of Blood Orange in the works. Blood Orange is opening up some of her dates this Summer, though not August 2 at The Molson Amphitheatre.

eMusic and The AV Club chat with David Gedge of The Wedding Present. They’re at The Horseshoe on Sunday night, March 25.

So those My Bloody Valentine remasters/reissues that have been promised since the band reunited four years ago but have been constantly pushed back? Well DIY reports that they’re finally really truly going to come out on May 7, and in addition to the double-disc sets of Loveless and Isn’t Anything, there’ll be a third release entitled EP’s 1988-1991 which, as the name cryptically implies, collects the EPs and singles of the era as well as some unreleased material. I guess we may as well believe it will happen because it doesn’t really make a difference if we don’t.

Video: My Bloody Valentine – “Soon”

Whilst we’re back in the UK of the ’90s, let’s meet up with PopMatters who’ve a piece on the greatness of Swervedriver and another one that celebrates the 20th anniversaries this month of The Charlatans’ Between 10th and 11th and Ride’s Going Blank Again. Twenty. Yes. Old. You. Me. All.

Taking the noise-pop and eading back to Norway, Drowned In Sound talks to The Megaphonic Thrift, who’ve just released their second self-titled album last week.

Stream: The Megaphonic Thrift – “Raising Flags”
Video: The Megaphonic Thrift – “Moonstruck”

The Village Voice and The New York Daily News profile First Aid Kit, in town at The Great Hall on April 4.

eMusic talks to the founders of the great Swedish label Labrador. Who’d have guessed that a desire to not sign Stars would lead to their “Swedes only!” roster policy!

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

What Do You Wanna Do?

Louise Burns and other gentle suggestions for NXNE 2011

Photo By Michelle FordMichelle FordAnother year, another NXNE, another NXNE preview post. I’ll apologize in advance if this one’s a little less thorough or exploratory than previews past, as travels and general business has taken up time that would usually be spent cruising band websites and Myspaces Facebooks, Bandcamps and Soundclouds.

But I can offer one unconditional endorsement for the coming week, and I’d like to think it’s not a wholly obvious one: Vancouver’s Louise Burns. Her debut Mellow Drama came out a couple months ago and sat in my CD stacks until some recommendations both personal and professional prompted me to dig it out and give it a spin and wow. Gifted with a crystalline voice possessing just the right amount of twang at the corners, Burns puts it to work on a remarkably strong set of songs born of a love of classic ’50s and ’60s rock’n’roll but grown to feel timeless rather than throwback. While not the most universal reference point, readers of this here site will appreciate how high praise it is when I compare her to Nicole Atkins in influence and aesthetic, though with less torchiness and more jangle in the mix. Dig those Pretenders guitar tones.

I’m quite taken with this record and so was pretty happy when Burns was a late addition to the NXNE lineup; her showcase goes 9PM on Saturday night, June 18, at Supermarket. Southern Souls has a video session with downloadable MP3s to check out.

MP3: Louise Burns – “Drop Names Not Bombs”
Video: Louise Burns – “What Do You Wanna Do?”

And here’s the day-by-day of stuff that, should you find yourself looking for something to check out, I think may be worth your while. I’ve left out some perennial recommendations because, well, that’d be kind of redundant, but they still have my implicit endorsement.

Wednesday, June 15
Young Contrarians @ Rancho Relaxo, 8PM – advertised to me as a fun sort-of side-project of local musicians who rarely play, the samples of their lightly synth-y, New Wave pop is better than lots of what I’ve heard from deadly serious, full-time bands. Check out the tune on their NXNE profile and tell me I’m wrong.

Lower Dens @ The Garrison, 10PM – hypnotically atmospheric Baltimore outfit finally returning to Toronto for a couple of NXNE shows, this one and another at 1AM on Thursday, June 16, at Lee’s Palace. One of the bands I really hope to catch but won’t be surprised if I miss completely.
MP3: Lower Dens – “Hospice Gates”

Ume @ The Drake Underground, 11PM – the Austin-based power trio who’re personal favourites will be previewing their new album Phantoms, due out on August 30. They always put on an absolutely scorching live show courtesy the guitar heroics of frontwoman Lauren Larson.
MP3: Ume – “The Conductor”

The Postelles @ The Garrison, 11PM – New York guitar-pop band that sounds like a New York guitar-pop band, which is to say kind of throwback garage-y and a lot catchy. Billboard and The Washington Examiner have features.
MP3: The Postelles – “Hold On”

Library Voices @ The Rivoli, 12AM – unflappable Saskatchewan collective who’ve endured theft, floods and living in Saskatchewan to keep putting out upbeat, catchy pop will release their second album Summer Of Lust on August 23. NOW, The National Post and The Leader-Post have interviews.
Video: Library Voices – “Drinking Games”

Thursday, June 16
Evening Hymns @ The Music Gallery, 8PM – Toronto duo built around the duo of Jonas Bonetta and Sylvie Smith will be previewing their second album, as yet untitled but due out in the Fall, in pretty much the most perfect setting short of a mist-covered mountaintop. Spill has an interview with Bonetta.
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Broken Rifle”

Fucked Up @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 8PM – the chance to see the 2009 Polaris Prize winners do their crowd-invading, half-naked thing in a public square is not to be missed, nor is the opportunity to hear their latest opus David Comes To Life live. They’ll also play Wrongbar at 1AM the same evening. The National Post has a feature.
MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”

Modern Superstitions @ The Garrison, 9PM – constantly on my festival “you ought to see” lists because, well, you ought to see them. Their catchy garage-pop get better every time out.
MP3: Modern Superstitions – “Visions Of You”

The Two Koreas @ The Velvet Underground, 10PM – in brief: local rock scribes form rock band, make surprisingly good guitar-rock record, get other local rock scribes to recommend seeing them and regret no longer being in bands.
MP3: The Two Koreas – “Midnight Brown”

Cowboy And Indian @ The Comfort Zone, 10PM – CRUCIFICTORIOUS!
MP3: Cowboy And Indian – “Ledbellies”

Slow Down, Molasses @ The Dakota Tavern, 11PM – sprawling Prairie collective who’ve found an extra dose of cohesion and rock on their second album Walk Into The Sea
MP3: Slow Down, Molasses – “Late Night Radio”

Evan Dando & Juliana Hatfield @ Lee’s Palace, 12AM – one of Alternative Nation’s original power couples, now back together and doing… I’m not exactly sure. But expecting to slapped upside the head with ’90s nostalgia probably isn’t unreasonable.
Video: The Lemonheads – “It’s A Shame About Ray”
Video: The Juliana Hatfield Three – “Spin The Bottle”

Bruce Peninsula @ The Rivoli, 1AM – local gospel-blues-folk choir continues their gradual return to active duty with their first live show in what seems like forever. Their second album Open Flames is out this Fall
MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Light Flight”

Friday, June 17
Art Brut @ The Mod Club, 9PM – hilarious and whip-smart Brits will showcase their new record Brilliant! Tragic. Paste has a profile.
MP3: Art Brut – “Lost Weekend”

Volcano Playground @ Rancho Relaxo, 11PM – Atmospheric synth-pop made right here in Toronto that pulls together all manner of influence into something impressively unique. A local act to keep an eye on, whether at NXNE or not.
MP3: Volcano Playground – “Waiting”

Julianna Barwick @ Wrongbar, 11PM – Haunting, ambient soundscapes built on layers of vocals and imagination.
MP3: Julianna Barwick – “The Magic Place”

Swervedriver @ The Great Hall, 12AM – British shoegaze legends making a rare appearance in these parts… even if their last appearance in 2008 was at this very same festival.
MP3: Swervedriver – “Last Train To Satansville” (live)

Dum Dum Girls @ Lee’s Palace, 12AM – sun-kissed Californian garage-pop from the guaranteed best-dressed band at the fest. Including Devo. Spinner and NOW have interviews.
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Jail La La”

Olenka & The Autumn Lovers @ The Gladstone Hotel, 12AM – London orchestral-folk faves finally return with a new, full lineup that should allow them to recreate more of if not all of their gorgeous And Now We Sing album
MP3: Olenka & The Autumn Lovers – “Odessa”

Rouge @ Sneaky Dee’s, 3AM – if for some reason you’re still awake and looking for something to do, their electro-pop will make a compelling argument for dancing, dancing, dancing.

Saturday, June 18
Cults @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 7PM – possibly the buzziest of all the buzz bands playing the festival, thanks to the love for the retro-pop that adorns their self-titled debut. They also playing at midnight at Lee’s Palace on June 17. Filter and Boston Globe have features.
MP3: Cults- “Go Outside”

Bellewoods @ The Dakota Tavern, 9PM – raggedly lovely and rockingly downcast alt.country outfit preparing for the upcoming release of their debut Don’t Rely On Me
MP3: Bellewoods – “Take Me Out”

Devo @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 9:30PM – They’re legends, they’re the headliners, they’re free. Are they not men? They are DEVO.
Video: Devo – “Girl U Want”

Smoke Fairies @ The Dakota Tavern, 10PM – English folk-blues duo specializing in tight harmonies and creepy atmosphere. Tour Dates has an interview.
MP3: Smoke Fairies – “Strange Moon Rising”

Peelander-Z @ The Comfort Zone, 12AM – A single look should be all you need to know if you want to see the planet’s premiere Japanese action comic punk band. They also play an all-ages show at Sneaky Dee’s at 5PM that afternoon. Spinner has an interview.
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Tacos Tacos Tacos”

Chad VanGaalen @ The Great Hall, 12AM – The release of Diaper Island brings Canada’s premier weirdo-pop auteur back to town. The Take and National Post have interviews.
MP3: Chad Vangaalen – “Sara”

Secret Cities @ The Dakota Tavern, 12AM – Classic, lightly psychedelic pop low on fidelity but high on songs, hailing from the music hotbed of Fargo, North Dakota. They’re also playing 9PM Friday at Wrongbar and 5PM Saturday at The Rivoli
MP3: Secret Cities – “The Park”

Obviously, this is just a tiny sample of what’s on offer this week at the clubs around town – to be honest, I haven’t even sorted out what I’m going to be seeing so I can’t very well say with any authority that these are the acts you should be seeing. But hopefully there’s something in the selections above that click with you and at least register as an option for your festival itinerary. And if you need more, check out festival previews at Spin (focusing on worthy Torontonian acts), OTM, BlogTO, Toro (two-parter) and The Line Of Best Fit

And note that these only covered the official evening showcases; while things are still far from Austin-scale, there’s more day shows and whatnot this than I ever recall, which is good news for everyone – particularly underagers and people without the time/money/energy for the club crawl. There’s a number of in-store shows, the Kelp Records/Line Of Best Fit BBQ on Friday, an Rdio-sponsored thing and BrooklynVegan-branded boat cruise on Saturday afternoon and the Live In Bellwoods performances in the park running afternoons from Thursday through Sunday to name the ones that are on my radar. And there’s also a launch party for the just-released Static Zine on the Sunday, which will feature live shows at both Sky Blue Sky Sandwiches and in Christie Pits.

Update: Just posted – Spinner’s as-comprehensive-as-you’ll-find guide to NXNE afterparties, day shows and secret shows.

So yeah, NXNE. Here we go.

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Rolling In The Deep

Adele at The Air Canada Centre

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt happens far too infrequently, but sometimes the good guys win. Sometimes immense talent, great songs and hard work can triumph over image and marketing and when it does, you get improbably wonderful things like Adele becoming and more importantly remaining pretty much the biggest artist in music for 2011 for months on end, on the strength of her sophomore album 21. Granted, her story is hardly one of an out of nowhere dark horse – her debut 19 already made her a star and garnered her two Grammy awards – but the degree to which 21 has catapulted her into the stratosphere is still remarkable.

That the Toronto stop of her North American tour on Wednesday night was originally booked into the Kool Haus – considerably smaller than the posh environs of Massey Hall where she last performed in 2009 – certainly seemed to imply that people were underestimating her draw, and that the show was moved to the many times larger Air Canada Centre after selling out instantly was representative of just how much bigger – and faster – her fanbase was growing. Granted, it was in theatre configuration, accommodating approximately 5200 patrons instead of the 16000 of the full arena, but if you don’t think she could have easily sold a few thousand more tickets then you’re just not paying attention.

I had the privilege of seeing Adele at an MTV Live taping back in March and so had a sense of how she was live – which is to say wonderfully warm and engaging, with no sense of the stage fright she’s supposedly afflicted with – but that was a short set in front of a maybe a couple hundred people. This would be considerably more on every level, and yet Adele Adkins somehow managed to make an arena show in front of thousands feel just as intimate as that studio performance.

Things opened with a touch of theatricality – with Adele starting “Hometown Glory” from behind a curtain before stepping onstage to rafter-shaking shrieks – but for most of the show, it was all about simple, direct and genuine connection between Adele and her fans, which for all of her prodigious artistic gifts may be her greatest strength. Chatty, conversational and more than a little crude between songs, punctuated by a huge and endearing cackle, Adele was able to make a massive room feel as intimate as a small club or even more like a private performance for some friends in the front room. It’s impossible to overstate the intensity of the personal rapport that seemed to exist between she and almost every one of the thousands in the audience – it’s hard to imagine any other artist of her stature taking stage time to talk about the experiences that informed her songs, her affection for her pet dachshund or gush about bands she’s currently listening to (incidentally, she gave big props to Toronto R&B outfit The Weeknd).

As entertaining as it would likely be to just sit and chat for an hour and a half with Adele, there was no forgetting that music was the order of the evening. Improvisation wasn’t on the menu, save for a few subtle shifts in arrangements, with the emphasis on her huge, expressive voice and playing the songs everyone wanted to hear the way they knew them, but with plenty of verve and as singalong-able as possible – something the house happily obliged, at times creating an almost choral effect. Backed by a seven-piece band, Adele delivered exactly the sort of set you’d expect, comprising most of 21 – often introduced as “new songs” as though they were something to be politely endured before she got to the old favourites instead of the material that brought both her and her fans here on this evening – and a decent amount of 19. The show built to a finale that was completely predictable – “Chasing Pavements” and “Make You Feel My Love” to close the main set and “Someone Like You” and “Rolling In The Deep” making up the encore – but also completely rousing. You don’t need to surprise when you’re this good. Adele is like the friend who goes onto great things, but never forgets where she came from – not “is like”, but “is” – and though musically she trades in broken hearts, there was nothing but love at the ACC on this night.

The Globe & Mail has a feature piece on Adele and also a review of the show. The Toronto Sun, National Post, Toronto Star and Exclaim also have writeups of the evening.

Photos: Adele @ The Air Canada Centre – May 18, 2011
Video: Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”
Video: Adele – “Make You Feel My Love”
Video: Adele – “Chasing Pavements”
Video: Adele – “Cold Shoulder”

Interview has a brief talk with Anna Calvi, who has a date at The El Mocambo on May 27.

PJ Harvey discusses the visual side of her art with Spinner.

Pitchfork has an extensive interview with Kate Bush, who released her first album in over five years this week with Director’s Cut. The record is streaming in whole over at NPR.

Stream: Kate Bush / Director’s Cut

New York Magazine and The Chicago Tribune talk to Will Sergeant of Echo & The Bunnymen while The Aquarian chats with Ian McCulloch.

Johnny Marr talks up his upcoming projects with Billboard.

The Guardian talks to Brett Anderson and Mat Osman about why the reunited Suede are so fashionable again – just in time for Brett Anderson (the solo artist) to announce the September 26 release of his next record, Black Rainbows. Details on the album at NME.

The second single from Patrick Wolf’s forthcoming Lupercalia now has a video and it indeed confirms that, on this record, Wolf is in his happy place. It’s out June 20.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “House”

Foals discuss possible directions of their next record with aux.tv.

The Guardian, Gigwise and Clash have feature pieces on Friendly Fires, whose new record Pala is out next week and are in town at The Phoenix on May 30.

NME gets some information on the next Muse record from rhythm section Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme.

The Aquarian talks to Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner. They’re at The Kool Haus on Saturday and their new album Suck It And See is out June 7.

Also on the bill are The Vaccines, who have a new video from their debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines, due out May 31.

Video: The Vaccines – “All In White”

NPR have posted a WFUV radio session with Noah & The Whale, with whom North Country Times, Oregon Music News, The Telegraph and The Edinburgh Evening News have interviews.

James Blake has a new video from James Blake.

Video: James Blake – “Lindesfarne”

Artrocker has a piece from Clock Opera frontman Guy Connelly about writing their latest single “Belongings”, for which they’ve just released a video and are streaming both sides at Soundcloud. DIY also solicits an alphabetized list of… stuff from the band. These guys were one of the more exciting discoveries at SXSW and the lead-up to their debut album verifies that the excitement is justified.

Video: Clock Opera – “Belongings”

Ladytron are streaming the first single from new album Gravity The Seducer at Soundcloud, well in advance of its September 13 release date.

Art Brut are streaming their new record Brilliant! Tragic! over at Paste. They play The Mod Club on June 17 for NXNE.

Stream: Art Brut / Brilliant! Tragic!

And according to Under The Radar, the Friday night of NXNE – June 17 – will also bring Oxford’s Swervedriver back to town for the first time since, well, NXNE 2008. Venue still to be announced but this should be one of the highlights of the festival.

MP3: Swervedriver – “Duel” (live)

IFC has both an interview with Euros and Norman of Jonny and premiered a new video from the duo. They are at The Drake Underground on June 3 and 4.

Video: Jonny – “You Was Me”

They Shoot Music has a video session with Gruff Ryhs, and he’s also the subject of features at Nashville Scene, The Village Voice and Today Online. He has a date at The Horseshoe for June 11.

NPR has posted a World Cafe session with The Joy Formidable.

And with that, folks, things go into vacation mode over the next couple weeks. There’ll still be updates and whatnot, just maybe fewer, probably leaner and almost certainly at odd hours. And any last-minute suggestions of things to see and do in Barcelona are welcome.

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

I Speak Because I Can

Review of Laura Marling’s I Speak Because I Can

Photo via VirginVirginThe short list of nominees for the 2010 Mercury Prize – awarded to what is deemed the best British or Irish album of the past year – was announced this week and somewhat surprisingly, I didn’t find myself immediately hitting up Wikipedia to see who half the nominees were the way I have the last few years. Not only did I know who pretty much all the artists nominated were, but I’d even heard fully half of the records. Come on, Mercury judges, you’re clearly not trying hard enough to be obscure.

I was particularly pleased to see Laura Marling’s sophomore effort I Speak Because I Can get a nod, making her two for two in Mercury nominations in her short but impressive career so far. I was pleased, but not surprised, as the new record is arguably superior to her 2008 debut Alas, I Cannot Swim, and I thought that record was superb. Whereas the debut contrasted Marling’s wise yet youthful words and voice with a folk-pop accompaniment that often tilted toward the jaunty, the follow-up is somewhat starker and with a more traditional folk/Americana aesthetic that might be more conventional, but is perfectly executed and consequently more powerful. By way of example, the opening track “Devil’s Spoke” is darker and more driving than anything on Swim ever hinted at, but it’s offset by the exceptionally gentle and pensive, “Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)”.

Some of the change in tone between records can be attributed to the change in producers from the effective but relatively green Charlie Fink of Noah & The Whale to veteran Ethan Johns, but most of the credit goes to Marling’s growth as a singer and songwriter. On Speak, she taps into a place of even greater emotional depth and honesty, and articulates it with a sort of conversational poeticism that some artists couldn’t even conceive of, let alone practice. And though it’s been said many times, it really does bear repeating: she is just 20 years old, and the amount of talent she’s already been able to harness is staggering. I don’t think that Speak will win the Mercury – it’s probably too traditional for their tastes – but I do believe that every record she releases should and will be nominated. Because they’ll be that good.

Though it seems the Laura Marling tour itinerary checked Toronto off its list with the show at Lee’s back in February, she is in the area right now, appearing tonight at the Hillside Festival in Guelph. She also talks to NME about a 7″ single consisting of Neil Young and Jackson Frank covers that will be due out on Jack White’s Third Man Records on August 9. It’s unclear if plans to release a second album recorded with Ethan Johns this year are still on the front burner – I can’t imagine they’d want to dilute the attention that Speak continues to get.

Video: Laura Marling – “Rambling Man”
Video: Laura Marling – “Devil’s Spoke”

So if I don’t think Marling will take the Mercury, who will? Foals’ Total Life Forever grows on me more with each listen, but I get the sense that The xx are an inevitability. Their momentum has been growing steadily all year and shows no signs of abating. Their Fall North American tour, which sees them booked into some pretty massive halls, including Massey Hall on September 29, won’t seem quite so overambitious if they can bill them as “Mercury Prize winners The xx”. Not that most North Americans know what the Mercury Prize is. And if you don’t even know who The xx are, The Telegraph has an introductory profile.

For Folk’s Sake reports that Emmy The Great is nearly done writing her second album and will soon be headed into the studio to record. Those who sign up for her mailing list at Pledge Music can get an MP3 of “First Love” done live and mariachi style for free.

Spin offers a guide to understanding M.I.A..

Marina & Diamonds’ September 8 Toronto debut appearance has been moved from the El Mocambo to The Opera House. Tickets are $16.50 and all ducats for the El Mo show will be honoured in Leslieville.

With the start of his North American tour postponed by visa issues, Kele has rescheduled the date at the Mod Club which was supposed to happen next week for September 3, same venue. Tickets $20. And to make it up to fans, he’s released a new video.

Video: Kele – “Everything You Wanted”

The Charlatans have released a video for the first single from their new record Who We Touch, getting a North American release on September 14. Look for them at Lee’s Palace shortly thereafter on September 17.

Video: The Charlatans – “Love Is Ending”

Adam Franklin of Swervedriver and Toshack Highway has been driving the Magnet website all week.

Spinner and Spin talk to Spiritualized main man Jason Pierce about the upcoming and final recital of the complete Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space happening at New York’s Radio City Music Hall next week.

The Guardian and Clash profile The Vaselines, whose Sex With An X is out on September 14 and will play The Horseshoe on October 30.

Paste catches up with Fanfarlo.