Posts Tagged ‘Tasseomancy’

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011


As good as their word, Tokyo Police Club cover the decade in ten days

Photo via FilterFilterTokyo Police Club are not a band you’d expect to announce an ambitious covers project. Not to say that they haven’t reinterpreted someone else’s song before – I’ve not heard it but I’m sure it’s happened – but they haven’t really made doing so “their thing”, so to speak. Well not until now. Last month, they announced their intention to record and release ten covers over ten days, one from each of the last ten years, and document the process via Polaroids and

Random on so many levels, and yet now that it’s done and the results a matter of public record, I have to say that I’m quite enjoying the results. The song selections are relatively obvious but not cliched (okay, the Kelly Clarkson maybe) or ironic (okay, the Miley Cyrus) and cover a decent range of genres, and TPC’s sound isn’t so unique that they can’t tackle most pop songs without rendering them unrecognizable. They strike a pretty good balance between remaining faithful to the original and still sounding like Tokyo Police Club – in fact, I’ll go a bit further and say that this set presents a much rangier and versatile TPC than their own albums have.

But if it wasn’t obvious, I’m a soft touch for cover versions so cheers to Tokyo Police Club for making up, taking up and beating the challenge. For their next little project, I suggest they pay tribute to a fellow 905 musical icon and try to rhyme the world in 80 days.

They’ve made all the tracks available to download, but if you don’t want to commit you can also stream it all at Soundcloud. And if you want to follow the actual internet release tour – each song was premiered at a specific website – and read some of the accompanying commentary, head over to any and all of Entertainment Weekly, Alternative Press, Mashable, Spinner, The AV Club (double-shot here) and Filter (another double shot). “Party In The USA” didn’t seem to get a proper premiere, but whatevs.

MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Southside” (Moby cover)
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Sweetness” (Jimmy Eat World cover)
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Under Control” (The Strokes cover)
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Since U Been Gone” Kelly Clarkson cover)
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Little Sister” (Queens Of The Stone Age cover)
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Long Distance Call” (Phoenix cover)
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “All My Friends” (LCD Soundsystem)
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Kim And Jessie” (M83 cover)
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Strictly Game” (Harlem Shakes cover)
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Party In The USA” (Miley Cyrus cover)
Stream: Tokyo Police Club / 10 Days, 10 Covers, 10 Years

Keeping in the Canuck covers theme, check out this video of Evening Hymns trying on a little Tom Petty for size. Their new album of original material Spectral Dusk is due out this Fall – I expect formal details to be announced soon. ‘Cause it’s already Fall.

Video: Evening Hymns – “Learning To Fly”

Southern Souls has branched out from just videos to include editorial content, like this interview with Neil Haverty of Bruce Peninsula. The topic at hand being, of course, their second album Open Flames, which is due out October 4. They play a release show at Lee’s Palace on October 27.

Though their second album Tosta Mista has been out since late July, Hooded Fang are only now getting around to organizing an official release party. It’ll be a Wavelength Presents joint and happen September 24 at the Academy of Lions Crossfit Gym – how rock’n’roll is that – on Dundas West near Dovercourt, tickets $10 in advance.

MP3: Hooded Fang – “ESP”
MP3: Hooded Fang – “Den Of Love”

The Stool Pigeon and Beatroute talk to the Lightman twins of Tasseomancy. They have a release show for Ulalame at The Great Hall on October 20 and open up for Austra at The Phoenix on December 1.

Miracle Fortress has assembled some “what I did on my Summer vacation”-style films for the first video from Was I The Wave?.

Video: Miracle Fortress – “Miscalculations”

The Line Of Best Fit is streaming Memoryhouse’s revisited debut EP The Years, out next week. Now that their local dates opening up for Peter Bjorn & John are done, I expect confirmation that they’re doing the same for The Radio Dept at The Mod Club on November 17. If not, then perhaps a hometown release show of their own is in the works? The Milford Daily Times has an interview with Evan Abeele of the band.

Stream: Memoryhouse / The Years

Toronto country-rock stalwarts Cuff The Duke have commandeered The Horseshoe for the weekend of November 25 and 26 to celebrate the release of their new record Morning Comes, out October 4.

MP3: Cuff The Duke – “Standing On The Edge”
Video: Cuff The Duke – “Standing On The Edge” (Paper Bag sessions)

Beatroute interviews The Besnard Lakes, who will be at Lee’s Palace on October 13.

If you were wondering, “hey – why does Los Angeles get a special intimate preview of Metals and not, oh, Feist’s hometown?” then relax… or get more agitated. Exclaim reports that the Glenn Gould Studio at the CBC’s headquarters will host a very special concert on October 8 – just four days after the album’s release – wherein the singer will be joined by such guests as Jeff Tweedy, Ed Droste, Bry Webb, Joel Gibb and Doug Paisley. Tickets for the show are only available via a CBC Radio 2 contest but is open to all residents of Canada and will include airfare and accommodations if you hail from outside the Toronto area. If you are local, well maybe they’ll splurge for a cab. One-way.

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Do I Have Power

Timber Timbre creeping across eastern Canada

Photo By Kandle OsborneKandle OsborneWhen I last wrote up Timber Timbre back in March, shortly before the release of their latest Creep On Creepin’ On, I commented on how unlikely it seemed that the Toronto trio’s murky goth-blues should make them stars (relatively speaking), but how that seemed to be exactly what was going to happen. And indeed, it’s been a good 2011 for them, to say the least. The decidedly positive critical response and popular demand kept the band on the road through all of North America and Europe through the Spring and Summer, and with their placement on the Polaris Music Prize shortlist, they’ve announced a Fall tour that will keep them living in a van through the rest of the year, covering locales from Ontario through to the Maritimes with a handful of European dates for good measure.

They’ll get a chance to sleep in their own beds and do some laundry, though, as the itinerary now includes their first hometown date since the Trinty-St. Paul’s album release show way back in April – and it’s coming at the decidedly fancy digs of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on November 26. Tickets for that show are $25 in advance and despite it being a seated venue, will be general admission; they’re on sale today at 10AM. And the merch table at this and other shows will have a little something special in the form of vinyl reissues of the first two independently-released Timber Timbre records – Cedar Shakes and Medicinals – dating from when the band was a pseudonym for Taylor Kirk solo.

The band have also released a new, appropriately creepy animated video from Creep On Creepin’ On and over at BlogTO, violinist Mika Posen talks about the Polaris nomination.

MP3: Timber Timbre – “Black Water”
Video: Timber Timbre – “Too Old To Die Young”

Tasseomancy have released another video from their just-released record Ulalalme, which was co-produced by Taylor Kirk. They’re playing The Great Hall on October 20 and will support Austra at The Phoenix on December 1.

Video: Tasseomancy – “Soft Feet”

Also with a new video from a Polaris-shortlisted record is Destroyer, from Kaputt.

Video: Destroyer – “Savage Night At The Opera”

Julie Doiron has a couple of local live dates lined up, as she usually seems to, with a free in-store on September 10 at 3PM to inaugurate the recently-opened Kensington Market location of Sonic Boom. She will also open up for Ohbijou at Trinity-St. Paul’s on September 30.

MP3: Julie Doiron – “When Brakes Get Wet”

If you’re the sort of person who needs an introduction to the works of Sloan, then you’re probably not someone who’s hung around here much – welcome! – but if you do, head over to Noisetrade to grab a pay-what-you-can 17-track sort-of best-of compilation. And yes, you can pay nothing if that’s how you roll.

The Line Of Best Fit gets acquainted with Chad VanGaalen and his unique brand of interview awkwardness. VanGaalen is at The Mod Club on October 28.

Rolling Stone has gotten on the Louise Burns bandwagon, having a quick chat with the singer and offering a new track for download.

MP3: Louise Burns – “Drop Names Not Bombs”

Beirut have discovered one of the perks of staggered digital and physical releases – double the press cycles. There were a flurry of pieces when The Rip Tide came out through online sources back at the start of August, and now that the vinyl and CD are available? Features in The National Post, Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, Irish Times, Paste, Pitchfork and Time. That Zach Condon is a clever boy.

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Jason Lytle about the legacy of Grandaddy on the occasion of the vinyl reissues of The Sophtware Slump and Sumday.

The Fly gets a courtyard video session from The Antlers.

NPR has a KCRW session with My Morning Jacket.

Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard talks drinking and excessive drinking with Spinner.

The Grid and NOW chat with Peter Bjorn & John, who kick off a two-night stand at Lee’s Palace tonight.

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

One, Two, Three

Kathryn Calder offers helpful adjectives to music writers with Bright And Vivid

Photo By Caleb BeyersCaleb BeyersEven though Kathryn Calder had well-established her songwriting credentials prior to joining The New Pornographers via her tenure in the now-defunct Immaculate Machine, her 2010 solo debut Are You My Mother? still came as a surprise to many – myself included – for how musically sophisticated and lyrically poignant it was, while still being tremendously tuneful. No one doubted Calder was talented – holding her own in a band of such musical heavyweights was plenty of proof of that – but to release such a mature record on her first go-around was really remarkable.

So while the entire thing has yet to be heard, the first sample of her second album – already completed, entitled Bright And Vivid and set for an October 25 release – certainly seems to prove that Are You My Mother? was no fluke. If anything, “Who Are You?” declares that Mother was just Calder getting warmed up – it sounds more widescreen in scope yet nimbler in execution and more assured all around. If the album’s other nine tracks measure up, Bright And Vivid will firmly establish Calder as a formidable artist in her own right, every bit the equal of her bandmates’ own solo ventures. Yes, I mean that.

Exclaim has more details on the album. Calder’s only visit to Toronto as a solo artist was back in June on one of the most packed concert nights in recent memory and sadly, her Tranzac show didn’t make the cut – here’s hoping that the Fall brings her back to showcase both her records in a live setting.

MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Who Are You?”

What does it sound like when awesome meets awesome? Probably a bit like this cover Basia Bulat did of Ted Leo’s “Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone” for the AV Club Undercover. I look forward to her inevitable folk-punk album. And if you need a Basia fix in the GTA, she’s playing a free show on Friday evening, August 26 at Mississauga Celebration Square – that’s around Square One shopping centre – at 8:30PM; previews the show with an interview. She also teams up with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra to play Hamilton’s Supercrawl on September 10 – another free show.

Tasseomancy have made their album Ulalume available to stream a week before its August 30 release over at Exclaim, who also have an interview. They play an album release show at The Great Hall on October 20 and open up for Austra at The Phoenix on December 1.

MP3: Tasseomancy – “Healthy Hands”
MP3: Tasseomancy – “The Darkest Of Things”
Stream: Tasseomancy / Ulalume

Feist talks to Q about the process of making Metals. It’s out October 4 and she plays Massey Hall on December 1.

HearYa has a audio/video session and CultureMob an interview with The Wilderness Of Manitoba, who cap off a busy Summer of touring with a homecoming show at Lee’s Palace on September 8.

MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Hermit”

Speaking of hometown shows, Elliott Brood will mark the September 27 release of Days Into Years with a show at The Phoenix on November 18, advance tickets $12. There’s interviews with the band about the new record at The Whistler Question and Pique.

MP3: Elliott Brood – “Northern Air”

The Weeknd are getting a jump on their bid for a 2012 Polaris Prize nomination to go with this year’s shortlist nod, making a new album/mixtape available for free download.

ZIP: The Weeknd / Thursday

Spoonfed talks to Fucked Up’s Jonah Falco.

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

The Double Cross

Sloan, Modern Superstitions and Whale Tooth at Echo Beach in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’ve been trying to do piggyback a write up of Sloan’s latest The Double Cross on a live review all Summer but have been constantly foiled. For their album launch in-store at Sonic Boom back in May, a perfect storm of non-functional transit made a 10-minute trip take 45 and while I could hear the show, I couldn’t see a damn thing. Then for their two-night stand at the Mod Club I was felled by a post-NXNE cold so those didn’t happen. It certainly looked as though my post explaining my Polaris ballot – on which The Double Cross earned a spot – was going to be all the opportunity I’d get to sing the record’s praises.

Though really, I think that little blurb said a lot. By rights, Sloan should be national treasures, but by getting their narrative drama over and done with so early on in their career – remember the post-Twice Removed break up/One Chord To Another reunion – they’ve only been able to make headlines with a long career of making consistently good and oft times brilliant guitar pop. That should be more than enough but it also makes them easy to take for granted – something I’ve been more than guilty of, particularly over their last few albums which may have tailed off in quality but still deserved more time than I gave them.

It’s a trend which The Double Cross reversed; not because I decided it was time to revisit Sloan but because the record demanded that I do. It opens with a dizzying pop medley of indelible melodies and seamless transitions that’s formally divided up as three songs but really feels like five or six, rotating through each of Chris Murphy, Jay Ferguson and Patrick Pentland as lead vocalists and with each at the very top of their games. It’s as high a high point as they’ve achieved in their two-decade run so there’s no shame in the rest of the record not quite getting back up there again. One one hand, it’s Sloan by the numbers with the requisite Pentland and Murphy rockers, Ferguson pop gems and Scott oddities but when you factor in that the band sounds as tight, energized and focused as they have in many, many years, the whole record is like a wonderful, unexpected gift.

Not unlike their free show at the shiny and new Echo Beach waterfront venue last Friday night. Though not especially well-advertised, it was part of Ontario Place’s 40th anniversary celebrations and a “through the decades” theme that had been going on for a few weeks; somewhat humorously, Sloan were tapped as a band representative of the ’00s but whatever – it was Sloan, sun and sand, all underwritten by our tax dollars.

Warm up acts numbered two, starting with locals Whale Tooth. I’d seen them back in early 2009 and had been impressed with their energy and presence. This time out they still had plenty of both thanks to frontwoman Elise LeGrow but whereas I felt they came across a bit overly breezy before, the past couple years had definitely seen the five-piece Tooth acquire some bite. LeGrow is still a formidable frontwoman and vocalist but she now sounds more like a rock singer than a jazz singer in a rock band and the band, to their credit, has toughened up and expanded their sound – it might tilt a little too U2 at points, but ambition is a commendable thing and they remain all sorts of catchy and entertaining. Pleased to make their re-acquaintance. Whale Tooth play the Summerworks closing party on August 14 at the MOCCA / Edward Day Gallery Courtyard and that show is free.

The middle act was similar to Whale Tooth in being an up and coming local rock act with a frontwoman who looked great in shorts, but Modern Superstitions differed in taking more of a garage/punk approach to things and also in that I’d seen them just a month and a half ago at NXNE. As at that show, it was quite a different band from the one on their debut EP All The Things We’ve Been Told, incidentally produced by Sloan’s Patrick Pentland. Not even a year on from that first recording, the band are tougher-sounding and carry themselves with an attitude that doesn’t feel like a front – they weren’t at all intimidated by the thousands on hand waiting to see the headliners. I said in June that the next time I saw the band, I expected they’d be ready to take on the world – I still think that’s true, their debut album currently being mixed would hold the key to that – but if I’ll be deferring that declaration until our next encounter.

It’s been a bit of an ongoing puzzle to me as to just how big Sloan is these days – see above notes about their being generally taken for granted. Using the size of their shows as a reference point, as is usually relevant for other bands, is difficult given that they rarely tour Canada conventionally in clubs and such, instead playing festivals and special events where the onus isn’t necessarily on them to fill a venue on their own. This is especially true in their adopted hometown of Toronto, where the last few times I’ve seen them were at instores or at festivals – even those Mod Club shows I missed, though sell outs, were deliberately undersized. So while this show didn’t do much to answer that question, it did offer proof that you could easily get 4000 or so to come out and chant “Slooooaaaaaaan” if you don’t charge em for it.

Though they kicked things off perfectly with the aforementioned Double Cross opening salvo, the clock was then turned right back to the Peppermint/Smeared era for “Underwhelmed” and so began a musical joyride through their greatest hits. If anyone wanted to debate whether or not Sloan have been one of this country’s best bands over the past two decades, they offered up a convincing 100-minute argument for the “aye” side. The five-piece (including touring keyboardist Gregory Macdonald) brought their A-game to go with their A-sides and the result was pretty much pure win.

Picking out highlights was both a challenge and futile, but if pressed I’d submit “Coax Me”, which remains possibly their finest three-plus minutes overall, their bringing out Brett Caswell & The Marquee Rose’s horn section to serve up duelling solos over “Everything You’ve Done Wrong” or maybe when they all simultaneous fell apart during “Shadow Of Love” – hey, it’s not a proper Sloan show unless someone or everyone fucks up at least once. Also inspired was bringing out Nyssa from Modern Superstitions to lead a cover of the Martha & The Muffins song that gave the venue it’s name. If I had to pick a lowlight of the show, it’d have to be the inclusion of “The Other Man” as the penultimate selection – it’s a song that should probably never have been written, let alone made a single – but at least it didn’t end on that note. “Money City Maniacs” may have been entirely predictable as a finale and lacked the actual air raid siren that’s appeared at other shows, but that didn’t make it any less great.

And the same pretty much goes for Sloan themselves – yeah they’ve been around forever and yeah they’re pretty content trading in classically-styled pop music and not pushing boundaries, but none of that takes away from what they’ve done and continue to do. And while I don’t understand why they shun the Smeared material live – a little “Sugartune” or “I Am The Cancer” would have been a nice treat – that’s also a small complaint. What’s important is that we’ve had twenty years of Sloan and there’s no signs they’ll be slowing down anytime soon.

The Barrie Examiner has an interview with Sloan guitarist Patrick Pentland.

Photos: Sloan, Modern Superstitions, Whale Tooth @ Echo Beach – August 5, 2011
MP3: Sloan – “Follow The Leader”
MP3: Sloan – “The Answer Was You”
MP3: Sloan – “Unkind”
MP3: Sloan – “I’m Not A Kid Anymore”
MP3: Modern Superstitions – “Visions Of You”
Video: Sloan – “Unkind”
Video: Sloan – “Witch’s Wand”
Video: Sloan – “Emergency 911”
Video: Sloan – “All Used Up”
Video: Sloan – “The Rest Of My Life”
Video: Sloan – “The Other Man”
Video: Sloan – “Friendship”
Video: Sloan – “Losing California”
Video: Sloan – “She Says What She Means”
Video: Sloan – “Money City Maniacs”
Video: Sloan – “The Lines You Amend”
Video: Sloan – “Everything You’ve Done Wrong”
Video: Sloan – “The Good In Everyone”
Video: Sloan – “People Of The Sky”
Video: Sloan – “Coax Me”
Video: Sloan – “500 Up”
Video: Sloan – “Underwhelmed”
Video: Modern Superstitions – “Mercy Line”
Video: Modern Superstitions – “Visions Of You”
Video: Whale Tooth – “Hibernation Song” checks in with The Doughboys, who officially returned to active duty last night with a show at the Bovine Sex Club. They open up for Foo Fighters at The Air Canada Centre tonight… and allegedly did so last night at The Bovine as well?

It was already announced that Tasseomancy would be supporting as well as performing as part of Austra at their show at The Phoenix on December 1, but the August 30 release of their debut album Ulalume will also come with it’s own record release show – October 20 at The Great Hall. The Gauntlet also has an interview.

MP3: Tasseomancy – “Healthy Hands”
MP3: Tasseomancy – “The Darkest Of Things”

Feist talks to Rolling Stone about Metals, her first record in four years. It’s out October 4 and she plays Massey Hall on December 1.

And the Halifax Pop Explosion announced their 2011 lineup yesterday and it’s pretty stellar. I went last year and had a great time – terrific fest and terrific city; if I wasn’t in Iceland the week before I’d consider a return engagement.

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Walking On A Dream

Empire Of The Sun set out to conquer North America

Art by Aaron Hayward & David HomerAaron Hayward & David HomerThough it was only on the calendar for barely two weeks last Spring – it was cancelled almost as soon as it was announced due to scheduling issues with their Lollapalooza appearance – the prospect of an Empire Of The Sun show in Toronto clearly got some people excited. And why not – though not exactly household names in North America, the glam-synth-pop outfit led by Luke Steele, known to some for his other band The Sleepy Jackson, are veritable superstars in their native Australia thanks to their 2009 debut album Walking On A Dream and have a well-deserved reputation for spectacular live shows.

Predictably, the aforementioned cancellation – which would have seen them bring their elaborate show to the Sound Academy a year ago next week – came with many apologies and promises to try and make it up, promises which I didn’t especially expect to be kept. Not because they didn’t sincerely want to, but simply because it’s surely heinously expensive to do so and, as mentioned, they’re not a guaranteed draw over here. But I’m quite happy to have been proven wrong, as a number of US festival appearances are being leveraged into a proper North American tour which brings them to Echo Beach in Toronto on September 13, and really – a big open-air beachfront venue is a much more appropriate venue than the much-maligned shoebox on the docklands isn’t it? We haven’t had many festivals in Toronto this Summer, but if any show can help create that sort of grandiose spectacle, I’d say it’s this one. Tickets are $39.50 and go on sale Friday at 10AM.

Perth Now reports that Steele’s creative partner Nick Littlemore, who abruptly left the band a couple of years ago to join Cirque de Soleil, is back in the fold and will be touring with the band and in conversation with In THe Mix, Littlemore confirms that work has begun on album number two.

Video: Empire Of The Sun – “Half Mast”
Video: Empire Of The Sun – “Without You”
Video: Empire Of The Sun – “Walking On A Dream”
Video: Empire Of The Sun – “We Are The People”

Also announced yesterday and pretty much at the complete opposite end of every possible spectrum from Empire Of The Sun, yet just as exciting for me, is the news that London’s Still Corners would be in town at the Drake Underground on October 25 as part of a tour in support of their debut album Creatures Of An Hour, due out October 11. I saw them at SXSW and even though they prefer to play in the dark or bathed projected vintage film images, their Broadcast-ish dreamy retro-gaze is delicious.

MP3: Still Corners – “Cuckoo”

Vivian Girls bring their third record Share The Joy to The Shop at Parts & Labour on September 16; they just released a new video from the album and Spoonfed has an interview.

MP3: Vivian Girls – “I Heard You Say”
Video: Vivian Girls – “Take It As It Comes”

As The Drums prep their second album Portamento for September 13 release, they’ve put together a North American tour that brings them to the Mod Club on October 1, tickets $16. They’ve just put out the first video from the new record.

MP3: The Drums – “Down By The Water”
Video: The Drums – “Money”

I’d been wondering when Austra would be staging a triumphant homecoming show, what with their last Toronto appearance being a record release party for Feel It Break, pre-Polaris shortlisting and worldwide praise. Well the answer is December 1 and it’ll happen at The Phoenix. Sentimentalist has an interview with Katie Stelmanis and the third and final performance of Austra’s video session for Room 205 is now up.

MP3: Austra – “Lose It”

Supporting Austra on that show will be Tasseomancy, also known as the Lightman twins, better known as Austra’s backing singers and formerly known as Ghost Bees; their debut full-lenght Ulalume is out August 30. Romy Lightman talks to Spinner about their new video from said album.

MP3: Tasseomancy – “Healthy Hands”
MP3: Tasseomancy – “The Darkest Of Things”
Video: Tasseomancy – “Heavy Sleep”

Timber Timbre, who worked on the aforementioned Tasseomancy record, have premiered a new video from Creep On Creepin’ On at IFC.

Video: Timber Timbre – “Bad Ritual”

BlogTO talks to Evening Hymns’ Jonas Bonetta about their next record Spectral Dusk, which is due out this Fall. They play the ALL CAPS fest out on Toronto Islands on August 13.

Also with a new video are Young Galaxy, taken from this year’s Shapeshifting.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Blown Minded”

And finally, the tease really didn’t last that long – Feist has announced her new album Metals will be out on October 4. Pitchfork has details and Spin has already had a sneak preview and is sharing their thoughts.