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Posts Tagged ‘Tallest Man On Earth’

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.

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Candles

Daughter, Choir Of Young Believers, and Little Green Cars at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI guess I should blame Letterman. When it was announced that English trio Daughter were doing a short North American tour around their CMJ appearance, I was quite excited as I figured with their full-length debut not due out until the new year, and only a couple of low profile EPs in The Wild Youth and His Young Heart to their name, their Monday night showcase at The Drake would be a intimate, even secret, occasion for those of us in the know. After all – what’s the point of going all the way to Texas to be wowed by them at SXSW if not to be able to be ahead of the curve if just by one show? But then Letterman goes off and has them on The Late Show a couple weeks ago and then, all of a sudden, the show is not only sold out but people are being told very explicitly that there are no more tickets, anywhere, so stop asking. Somehow my little low-key performance has become the hot ticket in town.

Not that it was necessarily all thanks to Daughter. The bill featured two other acts from abroad, both with their own momentum coming out of CMJ, and both also making their Toronto/Canadian debuts. Dublin’s Little Green Cars curiously don’t have much of an online footprint, despite having signed to Glassnote (their debut is out early next year) and having been on tour across America for the last few weeks; this show was their last in the New World – and the first where they were legally allowed to drink, all being of the tender ago of 20 – so it was reasonable to expect they’d make it a good one. And maybe a drunk one. Coming out a cute pre-show, side-stage huddle, they went not for their instruments but straight to their mics to open with an impressive a capella number showcasing their five-part harmonies. Now the more cynical might say that we’re all full up with boisterously earnest folk-rock bands from the British Isles, thanks very much – and they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong – but Little Green Cars won’t be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Their roots show, no doubt, but there’s also enough ’50s-vintage rock’n’roll, gospel soul, and jangle-pop in the mix to make it stand out without becoming pastiche. Their sound hasn’t fully cohered yet, but as mentioned they’re crazy young. It’ll get there.

Copenhagen’s Choir Of Young Believers were talked about hereabouts last week, and having spent a moderate amount of time with their latest Rhine Gold, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. A precise idea, as it turned out, as the five-piece lineup did a pretty remarkable job of recreating the tones and textures of the album almost note-perfectly – and only almost because the cello was way low in the mix and the keys up, leaving the sonic balance tilted in favour of their New Wave tendencies, and Jannis Noya Makrigiannis took some more extended and free-form guitar excursions. It sounded quite good – the sadness and yearning of the material was more keenly felt live – but I didn’t detect it quite connecting with the audience, who responded more politely than passionately. If they’d gotten the crowd fully behind them, I suspect it could have felt epic but as it was, it was just alright.

It was genuine excitement that rippled through the packed Drake Underground by the time Daughter came out to set up for their set. They may not have had the personnel numbers of the preceding acts, but they did have some impressively complex pedalboards to help balance that out. You wouldn’t think so much technology would be needed for their dark folk-pop, but as with all aspects of the band, still waters run deep. Daughter may have initially been a pseudonym for frontwoman Elena Tonra, but it’s impossible to imagine how they’d sound without Igor Haefeli’s intricately layers of guitar atmosphere or Remi Aguilella’s spare but creatively treated drums and percussion.

And yet, it still all comes down to Tonra. Demure and hiding under her fringe, a shy girl with a sly smile, she seemed flustered by the attention yet her songs – elegant and reserved on the surface, yet clearly roiling just underneath with regrets, confessions, and accusations – are not the work of someone who prefers to stay silent or play things close to the vest. I was wholly impressed with the first impressions back in March, but having had time to get to know the songs and then see them performed, it took things to another level. Tonra did an exceptional job of tempering the intensity with charm, modestly introducing a solo reading of “The Woods” by saying that if it didn’t go well, to pretend it didn’t happen and then of course absolutely destroying it, and at the set’s close, thanking everyone for letting them in the building. The correct response, of course, was to thank her for letting us into her songs.

Photos: Daughter, Choir Of Young Believers, Little Green Cars @ The Drake Underground – October 22, 2012
MP3: Daughter – “Love”
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”
MP3: Little Green Cars – “It’s A Long Way To Tipperary”
Stream: Daughter – “Run”
Stream: Daughter – “Smother”
Video: Little Green Cars – “The John Wayne”

Dazed, Pitchfork, Planet Notion, eMusic, Interview, and Consequence Of Sound all want to talk to Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan with the release of her third album The Haunted Man. She also goes through the album track-by-track in a video piece for Billboard.

Ábrete De Orejas interviews David Gedge of The Wedding Present, and if you thought that this year’s Seamonsters recitals mean that it was time for Watusi to take centre stage… nope. They’ve announced a handful of 2013 dates in the US and will be playing George Best and their Hit Parade A-sides. Those of us waiting for the return of Cinerama material will have to keep waiting.

NPR has a KCRW session with Hot Chip.

DIY reports that Foals have given their third album, due out next year, a name – Holy Fire.

A Music Blog, Yea? has some questions for The Twilight Sad, in town at The Horseshoe on November 18.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Ritzy Bryan of The Joy Formidable, whose new album Wolf’s Law comes out January 23. They play The Sound Academy on November 25 supporting The Gaslight Anthem.

Hayden Thorpe of Wild Beasts talks to The New Statesman about starting work on their new album.

Fab talks to Patrick Wolf.

Loud & Quiet have got a full, marvelously-shot and sounding Horrors show from their hometown of Southend-on-Sea available to watch.

State gets to know Clock Opera, who perform a video session for They Shoot Music and have released a new video from their album Ways To Forget.

Video: Clock Opera – “The Lost Buoys”

Beth Orton lists off some of her favourite albums for The Quietus.

The Village Voice and NOW have features on The xx.

Interview and Billboard talk to Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner of New Order, while The Quietus talks to Peter Hook – formerly of New Order. Do you think the subject of one another comes up? Noew Order plays the second of two nights at The Sony Centre tonight.

Clash asks Guy Garvey of Elbow what he’d do with the last day of his life.

The Daily Mail offers an update on David Bowie’s ongoing retirement. And that is he’s still retired.

That Marina & The Diamonds/Icona Pop show originally scheduled for December 3 at The Phoenix has been moved to The Kool Haus. Adjust your bus schedules accordingly.

The Capilano Courier talks to Søen Løkke Juul of Indians; their debut Somewhere Else is out January 29 and they’re at The Horseshoe on November 23 supporting Other Lives.

The Raveonettes have released a new video from Observator. Stereogum has some thoughts from directors about the clip.

Video: The Raveonettes – “Curse The Night”

The Alternate Side has a session with The Tallest Man On Earth.

The Fader has a video session with Jens Lekman recorded in a New York bakery.

Sambassadeur is teasing a new album due out in 2013 with a new limited edition 7″ out on November 20.

MP3: Sambassadeur – “Memories”

Sigur Rós have rolled out a couple more videos from their Valtari “Mystery Film Experiment”.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Fjögur píanó”
Video: Sigur Rós – “Varðeldur”

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

Terribly Dark

Review of Frida Hyvönen’s The The Soul

Photo By KnotanKnotanArtists lose record deals; it happens all the time. But when it happens to an international artist and rather than find a new deal, they disappear off your radar entirely, well that’s just a shame. Swedish singer-songwriter Frida Hyvönen was represented by Secretly Canadian for her first two albums, 2005’s Until Death Comes and 2008’s Silence Is Wild, but after that they parted ways and as such, the release of her third pop album To The Soul back in April escaped my notice completely.

Which is a shame, because I quite liked both of Hyvönen’s other releases (the above ‘pop’ distinction is necessary because her two albums under the Frida Hyvönen gives you: marque are soundtracks for a poodle-inspired dance recital and photographic exhibition and outside the scope of my experience). Death was a more skeletal affair, built largely around Hyvönen’s voice, piano, and idiosyncratic worldview, but when she toured behind it in Spring 2007, it was perfectly suited for her to perform solo, showcasing both her musical talents and genuinely eccentric personality. Silence, in comparison, filled out her sound with both bigger pop numbers and more pointedly personal compositions and I’m genuinely disappointed that she didn’t come back on tour with it – I would have loved to hear “London!” and “Dirty Dancing” live.

That disappointment pales to having to not hearing the follow-up until some four months after it was released not just because I couldn’t find a copy, but because I didn’t even know it existed. To The Soul continues the trajectory marked by the previous two data points in Hyvönen’s discography, taking her songwriting into sonically and emotionally richer territory while she’s arguably never been in finer voice. There’s more variety between her jaunty pop and sweeping ballads, as she swaps piano for synth textures on the New Wave-y “Terribly Dark” and enlists orchestral assistance on the dramatic “In Every Crowd”. Most striking about Soul is how the sort of material which was presented as grandiose pop on Silence has evolved to become almost theatrical in scale; it’s no stretch to imagine “Saying Goodbye” or “Gold” as a show-stopper in a Broadway production, and it’s not just in the presentation – the songs are just that big. The only bigger shame than the fact that the album is only available in North America via iTunes is that people probably don’t even know that much. So if you’re any kind of Hyvönen fan, know that To The Soul is out there and that it’s worth the hunt.

PSL has a video session with Hyvönen. Yes, it’s in Swedish.

Video: Frida Hyvönen – “Terribly Dark”

Pitchfork has details on Pale Fire, the finally-confirmed new record from El Perro Del Mar Pale Fire. It’s out November 13, a new single is available to stream, and tour dates are apparently forthcoming. Huzzah.

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

For Folk’s Sake talks to Anna Ternheim about her new record The Night Visitor.

The Alternate Side has a session with Niki & The Dove, with whom DIY caught a word with at Reading & Leeds Festival. They play the slightly smaller Drake Underground on October 2.

Jens Lekman talks to MTV, Playground, and The Sydney Morning Herald about his glorious new album I Know What Love Isn’t, out September 4 and arguably his best record yet. Yes, better than those other ones you love so much. Don’t believe me? The Quietus is streaming the whole thing right now. He plays The Phoenix on October 4. And if you need a refresher as to why all of Lekman’s records are so good, Paste has compiled a list of his best lyrical turns of phrase.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “Erica America”
Stream: Jens Lekman / I Know What Love Isn’t

NPR has a World Cafe session with The Tallest Man On Earth.

The Hives have released a new video from Lex Hives.

Video: The Hives – “Wait A Minute”

Denmark’s Choir Of Young Believers will be at The Drake on October 22 supporting Daughter. Their latest Rhine Gold came out back in March. Full tour dates at BrooklynVegan.

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

Danish disco outfit The Asteroids Galaxy Tour return to a North American orbit for a show at The Danforth Music Hall on November 5, tickets $20. Their second album Out Of Frequency came out back in January.

MP3: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – “Major”
MP3: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – “Around The Bend”

DIY has a video session with Of Monsters & Men, and DigitalSpy, The Bay Bridged, Tone Deaf, and The Guardian have interviews.

German ambient-electronic duo Mouse On Mars will be at Lee’s Palace on October 19 in support of their new EP Wow, even though it’s not out until November 2. Tickets for that are $15.

Video: Mouse On Mars – “They Know Your Name”

Daytrotter has a session with The Jezabels, in town at The Mod Club on October 24.

The Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone talk to Nick Cave about writing and scoring the film Lawless.

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Loney Blues

Loney Dear at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangGetting back and forth from Sweden to North America isn’t cheap – trust me, I’ve looked – so having already been through town in November for last year’s chart-topping Hall Music, I really didn’t expect Loney Dear to be coming back anytime soon even though history has shown them to be more willing to tour through North America than many of their countrymen. So the unexpected announcement of a handful of Summer dates including Sunday night at The Horseshoe felt more like a gift than anything else.

That said, and as wonderful as that show at The Drake last Fall was, I really hoped it wouldn’t be a repeat performance. Which is to say that while Emil Svanängen totally managed to beguile as a solo performer (aided by a studio’s worth of gear onstage), Loney Dear shines brightest as a full band – anyone at their previous visit to the ‘Shoe in October 2009 or their Toronto debut at Lee’s in June 2007 could testify to that. So it was pretty nice to walk into the venue and see the stage covered with more gear than one person could possibly play on their own, even though last time out Svanängen certainly gave it a shot.

Interestingly, though Loney Dear was a four-piece this time, Svanängen’s station remained the same as when he was on his own – a chair surrounded by looping equipment, organ pedals, percussion instruments, extra mics – each of his bandmates also had a similarly complex setup; the stage was an incomprehensible morass of boxes, cables and stands. Apparently rather than spread out the workload of recreating his compositions, he was going to increase it exponentially. The core of it may well have been what Svanängen brought in the Fall – even with a drummer on hand, the looped drum and cymbal tricks remained in the mix – the addition of the rhythm section and Malin Ståhlberg on keys, accordian, and backing vocals added a whole new dimension to the songs live. And yet for all the sonic tools at their disposal, the front half of the show – dedicated to Hall Music material – felt intimate, baroque, and elegiac in tone, successfully translating the songs inspired by and meant to be played with Swedish chamber orchestras to a bar in North America, performed without any strings at all. The grand swelling choruses that defined the earlier records felt a thousand miles away.

The older material did come, though, albeit thoroughly recontextualized: “Saturday Waits” was given to Ståhlberg to take lead vocals on; “Ignorant Boy, Beautiful Girl” built to gorgeous heights around the steady “Na Ma Na Ma” vocal lines; “Dear John” was rendered spare and jazzily with an emphasis on some improvised vocal acrobatics. All were markedly different from their recorded versions, yet still immediately familiar and just as beautiful in their way. The gathered crowd wasn’t especially large but it was appreciative, such that after finishing their main set with “Violent”, the band didn’t even leave the stage – they just bowed a few times and acquiesced to play a few more songs. They attempted to make it interactive for “I Fought The Battle Of Trinidad & Tobago” but Svanängen had far too much confidence in the audience’s collective abilities to execute multi-part harmonies, but were content to allow us to bask in “Sinister In A State Of Hope” and “I Was Only Going Out”. I hope some audience member took Svanängen up on his invitation to drink the band under the tables; they’d earned it.

Loney Dear is one of the artists featured in Swedish Music Landscape, a new photographic book focusing on Swedish pop musicians and their environment; I’ve ordered a copy, I’ll let you know if it’s swell.

Photos: Loney Dear @ The Horseshoe – July 8, 2012
MP3: Loney Dear – “Name”
MP3: Loney Dear – “My Heart”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Loney Blues”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Calm Down”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Maria, Is That You?”
MP3: Loney Dear – “D Major”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Largo”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Young Hearts”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Durmoll”
MP3: Loney Dear – “What Have I Become”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Ignorant Boy, Beautiful Girl”
MP3: Loney Dear – “Airport Surroundings”
MP3: Loney Dear – “I Was Only Going Out”
MP3: Loney, Dear – “I Am John”
MP3: Loney, Dear – “A Few Good Men”
Video: Loney Dear – “Loney Blues” (European)
Video: Loney Dear – “Loney Blues” (American)
Video: Loney Dear – “Young Hearts”
Video: Loney Dear – “I Was Only Going Out”
Video: Loney Dear – “Airport Surroundings”
Video: Loney, Dear – “I Am John”
Video: Loney, Dear – “Saturday Waits”

The Line Of Best Fit points to a cover First Aid Kit did of The Rolling Stones for BBC6. They’re at The Danforth Music Hall on September 26.

Stream: First Aid Kit – “Play With Fire”

The lead single from Jens Lekman’s forthcoming I Know What Love Isn’t is available to download; he plays The Phoenix on October 4.

MP3: Jens Lekman – “Erica America”

It may technically be a commercial, but this video performance of The Tallest Man On Earth for Carmel Guitars is worth watching, even if you’re not in the market for a new acoustic.

Video: The Tallest Man On Earth – “Leading Me Now” (live)

Clash finds out what Hives frontman Pelle Almqvist would do if it were his last day on earth.

Pitchfork takes Icona Pop out for a night of karaoke; karaoke ensues. Idolator also has a feature on the duo and Fader pokes through their handbags.

With their early days compilation Early Birds out on July 17, Múm have released both an MP3 and a video from it for your approval.

MP3: Múm – “0,000Orð”
Video: Múm – “Hvernig á að særa vini sína”

Pitchfork has a new track from the forthcoming Raveonettes album Observator, out September 11, available to stream. The play The Phoenix on October 2.

Stream: The Raveonettes – “She Owns The Streets”

Good news for Frightened Rabbit fans: the band’s fourth album is complete! Bad news: it’s not out until 2012. Good news: they’ll be releasing a new EP on September 25 to satiate your appetites. More good news: they’re also touring. Catch them at The Mod Club on October 10, tickets $21.50 in advance. Good news wins!

MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Swim Until You Can’t See Land”

What F***ing Ian Guy interview James Graham of The Twilight Sad.

The Wedding Present’s David Gedge chats with The Medway Broadside.

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

NXNE 2012 Day Four

Of Montreal, The Deer Tracks, and Brasstronaut at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangJune 16 had been circled on many calendars of Toronto music-goers for months, thanks to the intersection of Radiohead, The Flaming Lips’ free headlining set at NXNE, and LuminaTO events. So, of course, I ended up doing none of the above and even only hit three NXNE-related shows… but at least they were good ones?

And I got started early; Vancouver’s Brasstronaut were on early at Yonge-Dundas Square, auspiciously following a 14-year old cover band. That was just a circumstance of scheduling, though, as there was little in common between the tweens reinterpreting Guns’N’Roses and the sophisticated six-piece jazz-pop ensemble. It’s no small thing to make an argument for the clarinet as a rock instrument, but they managed to do just that with a set drawn from 2010’s Mount Chimaera and their just-released Mean Sun that sounded simultaneously driving and mellow, a good match for the prevailing festival-goer’s mood of being both exhausted and excited. Or maybe just mine.

The Vancouver Sun, The Ottawa Citizen, The Georgia Straight, Pique, and Uptown have features on the band while Exclaim talks to frontman Edo Van Breeman about his upcoming Swiss prison sentence. No, that’s not a metaphor.

Photos: Brasstronaut @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 16, 2012
MP3: Brasstronaut – “Hollow Trees”
Video: Brasstronaut – “Requiem For A Scene”
Video: Brasstronaut – “Old World Lies”

After an afternoon of record shopping, sweaty bike rides and general hangs, it was back to Yonge-Dundas for the start of the evening’s main programme and Of Montreal. When the original NXNE lineup was announced, it seemed like a no-brainer that Of Montreal would lead into The Flaming Lips and the combined psych-rock impact would result in Guinness record for spontaneous simultaneous lobotomies. No such luck – Portugal. The Man were inserted in between to mitigate the effects – but Kevin Barnes and company certainly set the tone for what the headliners would be offering.

This was actually my first time properly seeing Of Montreal since SXSW 2006; technically I saw them at Primavera Sound last year – where they were also on several hours before The Flaming Lips – but only sort-of paid attention on account of the “holy shit I’m in Spain” thing. There had been opportunities since then but I just hadn’t taken them, what with the band’s albums over that time becoming increasingly strange and patchy and despite the promise of over the top visuals, not enticing me to check it out. As such it was interesting to see them again up close and note that rather than the ringleader of the shenanigans, Barnes now looked a bit nonplussed about it all – as though he’d accepted that his lot was to be the epicentre of it all, and that he was mostly okay with it. I certainly remember him seeming more engaged before.

And there was plenty to be engaged in, what with the band’s performance being augmented with technicolour dancers in outrageous costumes, but all of it also a good reminder that with the likes of the giant breasts hidden under the glittery capes of the dancers’ first costume change, they really weren’t so family friendly but more subversive – like a musical Ralph Bakshi cartoon, but so ridiculous that it was unlikely that anyone would legitimately take offense. And for as difficult as some of their recent albums have gotten, they were able to cherry pick enough perfect disco-pop to make up a set that was nigh-impossible to not dance to. And if someone’s kid got an eyeful of some giant, shiny fake breasts, what of it?

Spinner, The National Post, and Paste have feature pieces on Of Montreal.

Photos: Of Montreal @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 16, 2012
MP3: Of Montreal – “Wintered Debts”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Dour Percentage”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Coquet Coquette”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Famine Affair”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Id Engager”
MP3: Of Montreal – “An Eluardian Instance”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse”
MP3: Of Montreal – “The Party’s Crashing Us”
MP3: Of Montreal – “So Begins Our Alabee”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Rapture Rapes The Muses”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Disconnect The Dots”
MP3: Of Montreal – “A Question For Emily Foreman”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Pancakes For One”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Penelope”
MP3: Of Montreal – “One Of A Very Few Of A Kind”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Dustin Hoffman Gets A Bath”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Dustin Hoffman Thinks About Eating The Soap”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Spoonful Of Sugar”
Video: Of Montreal – “Spiteful Intervention”
Video: Of Montreal – “L’age D’or”
Video: Of Montreal – “Famine Affair”
Video: Of Montreal – “Coquet Coquette”
Video: Of Montreal – “Mingusings”
Video: Of Montreal – “An Eluardian Instance”
Video: Of Montreal – “Id Engager”
Video: Of Montreal – “Gronlandic Edit”
Video: Of Montreal – “Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse”
Video: Of Montreal – “Suffer For Fashion”
Video: Of Montreal – “Wraith Pinned To The Mist And Other Games”
Video: Of Montreal – “So Begins Our Alabee”
Video: Of Montreal – “Requiem For OMM2”
Video: Of Montreal – “Disconnect The Dots”

For many festival-goers, if you weren’t at Yonge-Dundas Square for The Flaming Lips on Saturday night then you were doing it wrong. Perfectly fair, but as I’d said since my festival preview, my one must-see band for the weekend was Sweden’s Deer Tracks and if it came down to a conflict with Wayne Coyne bubblewalking over the gathered throngs, then Wayne was going to lose out. And it did and he did.

The decision was certainly helped along by reports from earlier dates on the tour that confirmed that their live show was great; if there was a question, it was whether there’d be many people there to see it. They were clearly the odd band out in the lineup at The Rivoli, amidst singer-songwriters and following a blues trio to say nothing of being on at the same time as The Lips, so I expected that it would be lightly attended and whomever was there probably wouldn’t be their audience. And who was? Well, anyone who liked gorgeous electro-pop that was simultaneously dancey, demure, and dramatic and unabashedly arty without any of the attendant aloofness. With two-thirds of their Archer Trilogy released – the third instalment is due this Fall – David Lehnberg and Elin Lindfors (and their keyboardist and drummer) crammed what seemed like an epic tale into just over 30 minutes, rendered with synths, guitars, bowed saw, glockenspiels, clarinet (again!) and both Lehnberg and Lindfors’ soaring, emotive voices.

It was a more than welcome set of otherworldly beauty in a festival too easily described by adjectives like “garage”, and when the show was over and I turned around to hightail it to my next stop, it was more than gratifying to see that a good-sized crowd had gathered and looked to have enjoyed the show as much as I had. It deserved an audience.

NOW talked to The Deer Tracks ahead of their festival appearance.

Photos: The Deer Tracks @ The Rivoli – June 16, 2012
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “W”
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Dark Passenger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Meant To Be”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Tiger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fall With Me”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fra Ro Raa / Ro Ra Fraa”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Ram Ram”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Slow Collision”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “12sxfrya”

That wasn’t the final stop of the night – more on that tomorrow – but it was the last NXNE 2012 showcase; a great end to another great fest, though despite being as exhausted or moreso than I normally am, I didn’t actually see as many showcases as I typically do. Not sure how that happened, exactly. But as we wrap things up, for more festival-y things check out this oral history of NXNE as told to aux.tv and this conversation with festival found Andy McLean at Billboard.

Since Spinner footed the bill for the big Flaming Lips show, they get the big interview with Wayne Coyne. Them’s the rules.

The Toronto Star and Toronto Sun chat with Janelle Monáe, who kicks off the Toronto Jazz Festival at Nathan Philips Square tomorrow night.

Clash talks to Kristian Mattson about what it’s like being The Tallest Man On Earth.

PopMatters asks 20 questions of We Are Serenades.

First Aid Kit have released a new video from The Lion’s Roar. They’re at The Danforth Music Hall on September 26.

Video: First Aid Kit – “Blue”

Swedish punk rock newcomers Holograms have made a date at The Shop Under Parts & Labour for September 11, tickets $10.50 in advance. Their self-titled debut is out July 10. Tupac does not make an appearance.

MP3: Holograms – “Chasing My Mind”
MP3: Holograms – “ABC City”
Stream: Holograms – “Monolith”

The Line Of Best Fit has premiered the new single from El Perro Del Mar, which is also available to download. It comes from her new album Pale Fire, due out later this year.

M4A: El Perro Del Mar – “Innocence Is Sense”
Video: El Perro Del Mar – “Innocence Is Sense”

Sigur Rós has rolled out another video from Valtari, though this one comes with a warning that it may not be suitable for people with good taste as it contains Shia Labeouf. No, it really doesn’t matter that he’s naked – that he’s in it is bad enough.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Fjögur píanó”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Of Monsters & Men.