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Posts Tagged ‘Taken By Trees’

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

Beginning To Blue

Still Corners, Savages, Little Boots lead streams from across the pond

Photo By Chona KasingerChona KasingerNext week is a pretty big week for new album releases, particularly if you’re favourably inclined towards records coming out of the UK, which means that this week is a pretty big week for advance album streams.

And while it’s not the one that everyone will tell you you should be paying attention to, Still Corners’ second record Strange Pleasures is one you shouldn’t overlook – particularly if you assumed you knew what they were all about from their 2011 debut Creatures Of An Hour. Clearly they felt they’d mined the Broadcast-y throwback atmospheric pop thing as far as they could, because they’ve stripped the band down to just principals Tessa Murray and Greg Hughes and gone in for a more ’80s-flavoured, synth-heavy sound. But despite the pretty thorough stylistic reboot, they’ve kept and built on their core strengths – the songwriting and Murray’s elegant coo of a voice – to create a record that’s wholly different yet just as winning. No mean feat.

Exclaim has the advance stream of the record. They’re in town on June 12 supporting CHVRCHES at The Hoxton and hopefully will also make a NXNE appearance or two.

MP3: Still Corners – “Fireflies”
MP3: Still Corners – “Berlin Lovers”
Stream: Still Corners / Strange Pleasures

The British album coming out next week that everyone will be expecting you to pay attention to is Silence Yourself, the debut album from Savages. And contrary to most peoples’ experiences, I’ve found myself more impressed with the record than I was by their live show because it still captures much of that tense and abrasive live energy, but also affirms that they’ve got songs – not something I definitively took away from the performance. The band are streaming their album on their own site – kudos on maintaining their independent, DIY attitude – and are the subject of feature pieces at Pitchfork and The Skinny.

Stream: Savages / Silence Yourself

Little Boots’ second album Nocturnes finally comes out on May 7, and Pitchfork has got the stream, while Teezfm and The San Francisco Examiner have interviews and Noisey gets Victoria Hesketh to revisit some of her many looks over the years.

MP3: Little Boots – “Motorway”
MP3: Little Boots – “Every Night I Say A Prayer”
Stream: Little Boots / Nocturnes

London guitar-pop It Hugs Back have turned to The Big Takeover for the advance stream of their third album Recommended Record, out next week.

Stream: It Hugs Back / Recommended Record

The Line Of Best Fit and The Quietus talk to Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream, whose new album More Light is out May 6 in the UK but not until June 18 in North America.

Charlie Fink of Noah & The Whale chats with DIY about their new record Heart Of Nowhere, coming out next week.

Interview talks to Elena Tonra of Daughter, coming to town for a show at The Great Hall on May 7.

Stornoway have released a new video from Tales From Terra Firma, just in time for their show at The Horseshoe on May 9.

Video: Stornoway – “The Bigger Picture”

Not only are Marina & The Diamonds and Charli XCX tourmates, they’re also now recording buddies. Marina Diamandis and Charlotte Aitchison have collaborated on a new song which they’re giving away to the masses; odds of them performing it together when they hit Echo Beach on May 23? Probably pretty good. Elsewhere, The Province has an interview with Diamandis.

MP3: Charli XCX and Marina & The Diamonds – “Just Desserts”

Beady Eye are streaming another new, wholly un-Oasis-like song from their second album BE, due out June 10. Liam Gallagher talks a bit to NME about the new record.

Stream: Beady Eye – “Second Bite Of The Apple”

Billboard reports that following an impressive scavenger hunt of sorts, Scottish electronic act Boards Of Canada have confirmed a June 11 release of their new record Tomorrow’s Harvest.

Empire Of The Sun have released the first, typically over the top video from their new record Ice On The Dune, coming out June 17.

Video: Empire Of The Sun – “Alive”

Sigur Rós have released a lyric video for the second preview of their new album Kveikur, out June 18. Sing along with Jonsi!

Lyric Video: Sigur Ros – “Ísjaki”

The Toronto Sun interview the Frenchmen of Phoenix, while The Talkhouse gets Bob Mould to review their new record Bankrupt!. He likes it, though apparently not enough to have stayed part of The Grove Fest lineup, which Phoenix headlines on August 3 at Garrison Commons.

Norwegian electro-pop princess Annie has a new video for a new song which probably comes from a new album, which we’ll eventually find out more about.

Video: Annie – “Tube Stops And Lonely Hearts”

BrooklynVegan is hosting a The Tallest Man On Earth video session for Moog Sound Labs.

Folks who want to see the new Kate Nash from Girl Talk can hit up DIY if they’re in the UK or MTVU if they’re in the US. Everyone else can thank this guy on YouTube for upping a non-geoblocked version.

Video: Kate Nash – “OMYGOD!”

Taken By Trees have put out a new video from last year’s Other Worlds.

Video: Taken By Trees – “Only You”

The National Post interviews Johnny Marr.

Spin has compiled an oral history of PJ Harvey’s landmark Rid Of Me, now all of 20 years old.

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

I Follow You

Review of Melody’s Echo Chamber’s Melody’s Echo Chamber

Photo By Diane SagnierDiane SagnierTame Impala’s second album Lonerism topped more than a few 2012 year-end lists, and while it doesn’t do much for me – despite on paper being exactly the sort of thing I should like – if you were to say that Kevin Parker was behind one of the year’s finest psychedelic pop records, I would be inclined to agree with you. Except that I would be talking about Melody’s Echo Chamber.

Describing Melody’s Echo Chamber as the sound of Broadcast’s first album being played at volume in a Parisian apartment with the reverberations captured by a vintage ’60s microphone and run through Kevin Parker’s pedalboard might sound like hyperbolic metaphor, but it could also be a literal account of how the record was made. With words – a combination of French, English, and a made-up language called “Melodese” – voice – a combination of sweet girlishness and continental sophistication – and songs provided by Parisian Melody Prochet, both Prochet and Parker contributing instrumentation, and Parker assuming production and mixing roles, the record is a shining, staticy, psychedelic swirl that sounds indelibly retro yet thoroughly modern at the same time.

Those who’ve found love in Lonerism‘s otherworldly textures should find Melody’s Echo Chamber a worthy companion piece and those who found Parker’s opus unsatisfying – that’s my hand in the air, there – shouldn’t discount it as more of the same because it’s different enough to stand on its own, and Prochet’s voice should be able to convince even the most skeptical. I’m sorry I missed her live Toronto debut last Fall when they opened up for The Raveonettes, but am hopeful that they’ll be here again this year – perhaps opening up for Tame Impala’s Spring tour? It would just kind of make sense.

Drowned In Sound, The Line Of Best Fit and Under The Radar both have extensive feature pieces on Prochet and the creative process behind Melody’s Echo Chamber. Bowlegs also has an interview.

Stream: Melody’s Echo Chamber – “Crystallized”
Video: Melody’s Echo Chamber – “You Won’t Be Missing That Part Of Me”
Video: Melody’s Echo Chamber – “I Follow You”

The first video from the new Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album Push The Sky Away, out February 19. Know what’s odd? I still can’t figure out who’s releasing this in North America. I do know that they’re at Massey Hall on March 23, though, so there’s that.

Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “We No Who U R”

A new song from Shugo Tokumaru’s new album In Focus? is available to stream. It’s out February 22.

Stream: Shugo Tokumaru – “Katachi”

A new track from the forthcoming Shout Out Louds album Optica has debuted to stream over at The Line Of Best Fit. The album is out February 26 and they play The Opera House on May 14.

Stream: Shout Out Louds – “Walking In Your Footsteps”

What happens when you give Jens Lekman’s keyboard player a ride from New York to Boston post-Hurricane Sandy so he can catch up with the rest of the band on tour? He writes you a song. And shares it with the world. Congratulations, Olivia and Maddy, you have eleven minutes and eighteen seconds of fame left.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “Olivia & Maddy”

Wears The Trousers and MXDWN talk to Victoria Bergsman of Taken By Trees.

The Village Voice interviews Malin Dahlström of Niki & The Dove; they’re in town at Wrongbar on January 16.

NPR is streaming the whole of Somewhere Else, the debut from Denmark’s Søen Løkke Juul as Indians. The album is out January 29 and they play The Drake on March 4.

MP3: Indians – “Cakelakers”
Stream: Indians / Somewhere Else

Iceage have offered a song from their new album You’re Nothing, out on February 19. They also announced a North American tour but while there’s no Toronto date at the moment, that four-day gap between Pittsburgh and Vermont is a bit conspicuous. Just saying.

MP3: Iceage – “Coalition”

Filter interviews Björk.

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Blue Ice

Shout Out Louds softly whisper details of new album, tour

Photo By Frode & MarcusFrode & MarcusSweden’s Shout Out Louds generated a decent amount of WTF buzz last week with the announcement that they were releasing a limited edition 7″ made out of ice. Their label Merge ran a contest to give away one of the ten of these in existence, and while I thought that they were actually giving away the ice single – and after entering I really hoped I wouldn’t win because I know that I’d be the one who accidentally left it on the counter to melt or whose cat would end up eating it – but reading closer, it was actually a kit to produce the single at home. Which makes more sense.

In any case, with the publicity stunt out of the way, this week the band released a video for that first single as well as the details of their fourth album which will also mark their tenth anniversary as a band. Entitled Optica, it will be out on February 26 of next year, surely chock-full of the anthemically downcast jangle/synth-pop that’s made them one of Sweden’s most consistently enjoyable bands over the past decade. And if you’re into making plans half a year out, they’ve also announced their North American tour in support of the record, which brings them to Toronto on May 14 for a date at The Opera House. Tickets for that are $18.50 in advance.

Video: Shout Out Louds – “Blue Ice”

Interview talks to Mary Onettes frontman Philip Ekstr&omul;m about their new record Hit The Waves, out on March 12.

Veteran Labrador pop duo Club 8 have completed their new record, named it Above The City, and given it a release date of April 23. Don’t know ’em? They sound like this.

MP3: Club 8 – “Missing You”
MP3: Club 8 – “Shape Up!”

Spinner has a feature on Icona Pop. Their self-titled debut is due out in North America early next year.

NPR has a Tiny Desk Concert with Taken By Trees.

DIY talks to First Aid Kit.

Indians will be at The Drake Underground on March 4 as part of a Spring tour in support of their debut album Somewhere Else, due out January 29. The Village Voice has a feature piece on band mainman Søen Løkke Juul.

MP3: Indians – “Cakelakers”

The Arts Desk has a Q&A with Björk.

Icelandic composer Olafur Arnalds has given his forthcoming album For Now I Am Winter a precise release date of February 25. The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with Arnalds recorded in his Reykjavik studio during Iceland Airwaves this year.

Norway’s Team Me have just released a Christmas EP entitled Female Lead and are giving away one of the tracks via The Line Of Best Fit.

MP3: Team Me – “Sixteen Steps”

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds just announced the existence of their new album Push The Sky Away a week ago, but they’ve already followed up with a stream of the album opener by way of Rolling Stone and announced a North American tour with Sharon Van Etten opening all dates, bringing them to Massey Hall on March 23. Tickets range from $32.50 to $69.50 plus fees, and presale goes today at 10AM via nickcave.com. Regular on-sale is Thursday.

MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Serpents”
Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “We No Who U R”

Spinner talks to Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. They’re at The Kool Haus on March 9.

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

The Wind Is Blowing Needles

Review of Choir Of Young Believers’ Rhine Gold and giveaway

Photo By Nina MouritzenNina MouritzenAs a confirmed musical Scandiphile – I don’t know if that’s a real world but I like it regardless – I like to think each nordic country has a particular strength and style to them: Swedes excel at mating melody to melancholy, the best Icelandic music is evocative of the mystery and otherworldliness of the environment from which it springs, and Norway has given us black metal and a-ha. But Denmark… for a long while, they gave us Aqua. And also Mew and The Raveonettes, sure, but only recently have I began to detect a particular musical thread running through their emerging artists.

Artists like Efterklang and Indians trade in a sort of dense, meticulously crafted, and occasionally proggish pop that prefers measured movements to grand gestures and can prefer to render emotions in infinte greyscale rather than technicolor. And while three acts don’t really constitute a national aesthetic, the aforementioned also applies to Copenhagen’s Choir Of Young Believers, the miniature orchestra led by singer-guitarist Jannis Noya Makrigiannis. Their second full-length Rhine Gold is a sumptuous collection of songs that are stoic and weighty, but still move with grace whether Makrigiannis is working with an elegant croon or lonesome yodel and benefit from arrangements that flirt equally with baroque orchestrations and electronic processing. Certainly, there are points where you wish that the band would crack a smile or let some light in, but it’s hard to argue when the stoicism sounds this good and anyways – it wouldn’t be very Danish, would it?

Choir Of Young Believers are at The Drake Underground on Monday, October 22 in support of Daughter, and courtesy of Big Hassle, I have a pair of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to join the Choir Of Young Believers” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that to me by midnight, October 20.

MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Sedated”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Patricia’s Thirst”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Nye Nummber Et”
MP3: Choir Of Young Believers – “Paint New Horrors”

Speaking of Indians, 4AD have offered details on their forthcoming debut: Somewhere Else is out January 29, and a preview MP3 has been provided for your listening pleasure. They’re at The Horseshoe on November 23, and for anyone in New York right now, they’re also at Brooklyn Bowl tonight for my co-presented Hype Machine showcase.

MP3: Indians – “Cakelakers”

PopMatters and Washington City Paper interview Jens Lekman.

PopMatters asks twenty questions of Victoria Bergsman of Taken By Trees.

Death & Taxes interview Icona Pop, whose new EP Iconic is available to stream. They open up for Marina & The Diamonds at The Phoenix on December 2.

Stream: Icona Pop / Iconic

Interview and The Toronto Star talk to Ellie Goulding.

The xx have released a new video from Coexist. They’re at Massey Hall on October 23.

Video: The xx – “Chained”

The Quietus has premiered a video from Sylver Tongue’s new Something Big EP and you know, watching her take that guitar solo, I don’t think anyone would have complained if she had simply released it as Charlotte Hatherley

Video: Sylver Tongue – “Something Big”

Daytrotter welcomes Still Corners to their studios for a session.

Drowned In Sound has an interview with former Supergrass leader Gaz Coombes.

MusicOmh talks to Beth Orton.

Maxïmo Park visits Daytrotter for a session.

Chart solicits a list of favourite albums from Matt Taylor of Dry The River, who will be releasing an acoustic version of their debut Shallow Bed digitally on December 17; details on that at Live4Ever.

The Fly profiles Tame Impala.

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

I Know What Love Isn't

Jens Lekman and Taken By Trees at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangTechnically, the Swedish consulate in Toronto is in the office tower on the northeast corner of Yonge and Bloor, but on Thursday night it was unofficially relocated to the Phoenix Concert Theatre, and their ambassadors for the evening were Jens Lekman and Victoria Bergsman of Taken By Trees, both with acclaimed new records just out – Lekman with I Know What Love Isn’t and Bergsman with Other Worlds.

As mentioned when this show was originally announced, it was exciting on a number of levels beyond Lekman’s first return to Toronto since April 2008; it would also be the first time he’d be performing with his own band rather than a collection of local players assembled for the occasion. Make no mistake, it’s fun and unique to see him playing with, say, The Hidden Cameras in a little room, but you’re not going to get a better actual performance than with the band with whom he’s been rehearsing and touring.

Taken By Trees were already a four-piece when they last visited in 2010 (supporting another Swede in El Perro Del Mar), and whereas for that show the band succeeded in giving the East Of Eden material some extra kick, this time they took the marginally more energetic Other Worlds and toned it down for a more languid and low key presentation. The arrangements felt more stripped down, the world music flavours still detectable but not as strong. Perhaps aware that her charms weren’t the same as charisma, Bergsman had the 1970 film A Swedish Love Story projected onto a side screen while they played, perhaps to offer something more visual to pay attention to while they played. Their set closer of “Dreams”, off the new record, was the most energized of the set and offered a taste of what they were capable of but for the most part, they were just kind of inertly pretty.

Stage presence would never be a problem for Jens Lekman, a real-life personality as charming and endearing as the characters in his songs. A late soundcheck meant the band was still scurrying around on stage come set time, but they still made a proper entrance of it with the keyboardist playing the instrumental “Every Little Hair Knows Your Name” as the all took the stage – Lekman last, of course – and started into “Become Someone Else’s”. The front third of the show was dedicated to the bigger numbers of I Know What Love Isn’t – totally fine with me as I love the record – and reinforced how great it was that it was a full-band Lekman here to play these songs; it’s hard to imagine hearing them without all the little touches that the piano, violin, bass, and drums added to Lekman’s supple voice and guitar.

Unreleased but Isn’t-era selection “Golden Key” marked the set’s pivot point, the sequenced backing track transmorgifying itself to lead into “The Opposite Of Hallelujah” and raising the enthusiasm of the crowd several more notches, particularly when Lekman finished the song at the edge of the stake playing some air glockenspiel. From there it was a string of highlights including the backstory of “Waiting For Kirsten” (about stalking Kirsten Dunst in Gothenburg), a big singalong “Black Cab”, and a “Maple Leaves” dance party – it’s funny that for all the sonic richness that playing as a five-piece band offered, the tone of the show would still be set by the sampler perched at Lekman’s right, cueing up one joyous pop song after another.

The encore gave us the title track of last year’s An Argument With Myself EP and Lekman song/story fixture “A Postcard To Nina” which somehow came with an almost entirely different story from when he was touring Night Falls Over Kortedala, though the plot itself remained the same. An unexpected twist came, however, when Lekman’s mic stand collapsed mid-song and he had to continue playing from his knees. I don’t think even he saw that one coming. A second encore brought Lekman out one more time to play “Every Little Hair Knows Your Name” solo, bringing the show full circle and to a close. The only way it could have been better is if the Swedish consulate had put out immigration forms by the door; I’m pretty sure everyone there would have taken one.

Panic Manual, Exclaim, and The National Post also have reviews of the show while Mechanical Forest Sound has some recordings. The Village Voice and The Philadelphia Inquirer have interviews with Lekman.

Photos: Jens Lekman, Taken By Trees @ The Phoenix – October 4, 2012
MP3: Jens Lekman – “Erica America”
MP3: Jens Lekman – “An Argument With Myself”
MP3: Jens Lekman – “A Higher Power”
MP3: Jens Lekman – “The Opposite Of Hallelujah”
MP3: Jens Lekman – “Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo”
MP3: Jens Lekman – “Black Cab”
MP3: Jens Lekman – “You Are The Light”
MP3: Jens Lekman – “A Sweet Summer’s Night On Hammer Hill”
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Dreams”
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Anna”
MP3: Taken By Trees – “My Boys”
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Watch The Waves”
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Lost & Found”
Video: Jens Lekman – “Become Someone Else’s”
Video: Jens Lekman – “I Know What Love Isn’t”
Video: Jens Lekman – “Erica America”
Video: Jens Lekman – “Sipping On The Sweet Nectar”
Video: Jens Lekman – “You Are The Light”
Video: Taken By Trees – “Large”
Video: Taken By Trees – “Dreams”
Video: Taken By Trees – “My Boys”
Video: Taken By Trees – “Lost And Found”

El Perro Del Mar has rolled out a new video from her forthcoming album Pale Fire, out November 13.

Video: El Perro Del Mar – “Walk On By”

The Skinny has an interview with Efterklang, who’ve released a new video from Piramada.

Video: Efterklang – “Apples”

Interview and The Boston Globe talk to The Raveonettes.

The Sigur Rós “Mystery Film Experiment” for Valtari has gotten another installment bigger.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Dauðalogn”

Daytrotter has a session with Ladyhawke, The San Francisco Examiner an interview.