Posts Tagged ‘Telekinesis’

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

January Hymn

The Decemberists and Wye Oak at The Sound Academy in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s a testament to the devotion of Decemberists fans that even the threat/promise of the Winter storm of the season/year/decade/century couldn’t deter them from making the trek down to the waterfront to see the Portlanders bring their recently-anointed number-one record in America The King Is Dead to town. I do, however, assume that most checked forecasts and confirmed that the storm wasn’t supposed to reach the 416 until around midnight, which is about when the band were estimated to be done. Or at least I did. I like me some Decemberists but I like me not driving into a frozen Lake Ontario due to whiteout conditions more.

At any rate, a nearly full house made it out for the show and luckily, so did the bands as they were coming from the opposite direction of the storm, though they’d already pre-emptively cancelled the following night’s performance in Royal Oak, Michigan and had accepted being snowed in in Toronto for at least a day. These should have been familiar environs for Baltimoreans Wye Oak, seeing as how this was their third visit here in the past 10 months. This time was intended as a preview for their forthcoming third record Civilian, due out March 8, and judging from the applause that net the duo of Andy Stack and Jenn Wasner when they strode out onto the stage, it was evident that their regular visits had been successful at building a fanbase. And making good records has probably also helped. Another benefit of the steady touring is that they’ve become a much more confident live act. Certainly the amount of showmanship they can indulge in is limited by their configuration, but Wasner’s vocals were deeper and more dramatic than I recall – perhaps some lessons learned while touring with Shearwater – and when she stepped out for one of her many guitar solos, they were delivered more theatrically. And while Stack remained anchored behind the kit handling percussion and keyboard duties, the rhythms and tones he was pulling off simultaneously were nimbler and more complex. They managed to incorporate both new material and old into their set, which was cut extra short – about 20 minutes total – when Wasner’s new guitar amp gave up the ghost. Unfortunate, but still impressive and they promised they’d be back in April so they can make it up to us then.

The last time The Decemberists came to town, it was on the back of their folk-rock opera opus The Hazards Of Love and the live production was appropriately grandiose. But just as The King Is Dead represented a stylistic retreat to their folk-rock roots, their latest tour was a back-to-basics sort of affair. Not in a casual coffee house sense – Colin Meloy’s checkered shirt and Chris Funk’s jaunty cap were as much costume as anything they’d have worn on past tours – but without the need to adhere to a particular theme or narrative, they were freed up to, for the most part, showcase their best material from throughout their career.

That the evening would be a romp through their repertoire became clear from the very first song, when instead of spotlighting their latest effort, they opened with “Song For Myra Goldberg” from their second record Her Majesty. And while King would be well-represented over the course of the evening, making up nearly half the set, the liberal amount of back catalog favourites that comprised the other half naturally got the strongest response. One curious choice, however, was “Won’t Want For Love” from Hazards in which the lead vocals were handed over to touring Decemberist Sara Watkins (late of Nickel Creek). Not the strongest offering from the Hazards libretto to begin with, it was even odder out of the context of the record and Watkins’ voice, as clear and strong as it is, lacked the distinct character of Becky Stark on the original – all of which is to say it stood out from the rest of the set and not for the right reasons. Otherwise, selections like “The Crane Wife 3” and “The Sporting Life” were executed with aplomb, and the new songs sounded excellent alongside them.

One interesting facet of the evening was Colin Meloy’s punchy mood; usually his demeanour is akin to a charming carnival ringleader, so seeing him take some uncharacteristically acerbic jabs at some of the louder members of the audience at the start of the show was rather odd. His rough edges did smooth out as the set went on, though, and by the time they rolled into main set closer “16 Military Wives” with its audience participatory singalongs, he seemed to be his playful old self again. As such, the encore double-shot of “The Chimbley Sweep” and “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” played like a greatest hits of Decemberists live antics. On the former, Meloy commandeered an audience camera to take a series of impromptu band portraits and then swapping places with drummer Jon Moen to allow him to… sing? Freestyle? Rant? I’m not sure, but it was pretty funny. And on the latter, they revisited the Chris Funk-directed whale devouring simulation I remember from their visit to the Phoenix way back in 2005. But hey, the classics never go out of style, right? And though by this point many had already headed home, there were enough who hung around to invite one more encore, King‘s lovely “June Hymn”. And with that, it was time to say goodnight and head out into the just-arrived storm front.

BlogTO also has a review of the show and City Pages talks to bassist Nate Query. The Decemberists also premiered a new song during a visit to kids’ television show Yo Gabba GabbaRolling Stone has the clip.

Photos: The Decemberists, Wye Oak @ The Sound Academy – February 1, 2011
MP3: The Decemberists – “Down By The Water”
MP3: The Decemberists – “The Engine Driver”
MP3: The Decemberists – “The Soldiering Life”
MP3: The Decemberists – “Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect”
MP3: Wye Oak – “Civilian”
MP3: Wye Oak – “Take It In”
MP3: Wye Oak – “Warning”
Video: The Decemberists – “O Valencia”
Video: The Decemberists – “16 Military Wives”
Video: The Decemberists – “The Tain”
Video: The Decemberists – “The Soldiering Life”
Video: The Decemberists – “Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect”
Video: The Decemberists – “The Bachelor & The Bride”

R.E.M. has premiered a video from their new record Collapse Into Now over at Pitchfork. The record is out March 8.

Video: R.E.M. – “Mine Smells Like Honey”

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Mission Of Burma’s show at Maxwell’s in New Jersey last weekend.

Under The Radar interviews Sufjan Stevens.

Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold discusses their just-announced new record Helplessness Blues, due out May 3, with Rolling Stone.

Jayhawks record from Gary Louris, though nothing more concrete in the way of release date than the first half of this year.

The Wall Street Journal talks to Annie Clark of St. Vincent.

Paste catches up with Nicole Atkins, whose new record Mondo Amore comes out next week and who will play The Horseshoe on February 26.

Death & Taxes gets some insight into the low end on Telekinesis’ new record 12 Desperate Straight Lines, out February 15. They’re at The Horseshoe on March 6.

DeVotchKa have released a video for the almost-title track from their forthcoming 100 Lovers. It’s out March 1 and they’re at The Mod Club on March 30.

Video: DeVotchKa – “100 Other Lovers”

Old 97’s play a World Cafe session for NPR; they’re at The Horseshoe on April 6.

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011


Review of The Radio Dept.’s Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 and giveaway

Photo By Aylin Güngör DedeogluAylin Güngör DedeogluReally, I’ve only myself to blame. Upon hearing The Radio Dept. and the deliciously forlorn and fuzz pop of their 2003 debut Lesser Matters, I did what any good music obsessive would do after hearing what would become one of their favourite bands of the century (so far) and scoured the eBay for any and all of their releases. In their case this amounted to a number of singles and EPs which offered a good amount of non-album tracks – most as wonderful as the songs that did make the long-players – to pad out the collection.

So when it was announced that the band would follow their breakout third album, 2010’s Clinging To A Scheme with a double-compilation of rarities, one couldn’t help but hope that meant that a heretofore untapped vault of musical goodness would be let loose onto the world, a sort of reward for the faithful who’d evangelized the band for years until the rest of the world caught on. This, of course, was bunk. Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 is exactly what the title implies – a collection of the band’s singles over the course of their existence arranged chronologically with a the second disc collecting b-sides and compilation tracks from over that same time period. In other words, mostly everything I’d already bought.

But as I said, that’s my own fault; for everyone else, Passive Aggressive is pretty much essential. There are no deep cuts from their three records, only the singles – and just one song from the sublime second record Pet Grief – so for newcomers to the band using the collection as an introduction, the incentive to buy those studio records remains and for those who’ve already made their acquaintance but not gone all trainspotting on their back catalog, there’s over 20 tracks that are likely to be new to their ears. Pretty much the definition of win-win. And any way you come at it, the set is a testament to just how superb, consistent and unique the band has been over the course of their career, filtering the confluence of synth-pop, shoegaze, and C86 tweeness through a distinctly Swedish melancholy for irresistible results.

So while Passive Aggressive doesn’t provide me hours of new Radio Dept. listening, it does save me the trouble of swapping out all those CDEPs and most importantly, remind me in the most enjoyable way possible what an amazing band they are. And there’s nothing disappointing about that.

Spinner talks to Martin Carlberg about the band’s vault of unreleased songs – which clearly DOES exist – although there’s no plans to mine it for release anytime soon. The band’s North American tour kicks off tonight in Washington DC and hits Toronto on February 7. Tickets for the show are $12.50 in advance but courtesy of The Musebox, I’ve got a grand prize to consisting of a pair of passes to the show and a copy of Passive Aggressive on CD to give away and a second prize of just the CD. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to join The Radio Dept” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body. If you’re in the Toronto area and want to be eligible for the passes and CD, say so and if you’re just a resident of Canada looking for the CD, say that as well. Contest closes at midnight, February 3.

MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The One”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The New Improved Hypocrisy”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Freddie & The Trojan Horse”

The artist anointed by the BBC as “The Sound of 2010”Ellie Goulding – will be releasing her debut album Lights Stateside on March 8 and follow it up with dates that include a March 27 stop at The Great Hall in Toronto. Tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.

Video: Ellie Goulding – “Starry Eyed”

The Raveonettes have slated a Spring tour in support of their fifth album Raven In The Grave, which according to this interview with Sune Rose Wagner at The San Francisco Examiner is due out on March 22. The itinerary includes an April 2 date at The Phoenix, tickets for which are $20, and there are still plans to release a compilation of b-sides and rarities at some point this year.

MP3: The Raveonettes – “Last Dance”

The Black Angels return for an April 14 date at Lee’s Palace, tickets $18.50, as part of a tour in support of last year’s Phosphene Dream. Montreal’s Suuns will support.

MP3: The Black Angels – “Telephone Blues”
MP3: Suuns – “Up Past The Nursery”

Pixies have added a second Doolittle show at Massey Hall for April 19. Tickets $44.50 and $64.50 in advance.

Video: Pixies – “Monkey Gone To Heaven”

Fleet Foxes have announced their second album Helplessness Blues will be out on May 3 and the title track is available to download.

MP3: Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues”

Vivian Girls’ new record Share The Joy has been given an April 12 release date, just days before they hit The Phoenix with The Black Lips on April 16. Pitchfork has details and the first MP3 is up for grabs.

MP3: Vivian Girls – “I Heard You Say”

NPR is streaming Bright Eyes’ new album The People’s Key in advance of its February 15 release and Spinner has got an MP3 available to download in exchange for your email. Bright Eyes plays The Sound Academy on March 13.

Stream: Bright Eyes / The People’s Key

Also streaming at NPR and out February 15 is 12 Desperate Straight Lines, the new album from Telekinesis. They play The Horseshoe on March 6 and Pepper Rabbit appear to have replaced The Love Language as support.

Stream: Telekinesis / 12 Desperate Straight Lines

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Car Crash

Telekinesis use mental powers to create new album and tour without getting lost

Photo By Kyle JohnsonKyle JohnsonHaving pepped up the Summer of 2009 with his self-titled debut album, Seattle power-pop prodigy Michael Benjamin Lerner – aka Telekinesis – aims to make the Winter of 2011 a little more bearable with his/their sophomore effort 12 Desperate Straight Lines. Due out on February 15, the first sample is available at download courtesy of Spin and yeah, it’s as punchy and instantly hummable as anything on the debut.

And not to be content with just delivering musical sunshine via your speakers and/or headphones, Lerner and touring band will be hitting the road almost immediately after the record’s release to deliver it directly to your ears. Their North American tour takes them from west to east and back west again and includes a March 6 stop at The Horseshoe in Toronto.

MP3: Telekinsis – “Car Crash”

Spin talks to Colin Meloy of The Decemberists about their new record The King Is Dead, out January 18. No further details on the rumoured February 1 Toronto show but it occurred to me that if they’re looking to move up – capacity-wise – from their usual Kool Haus digs and Massey isn’t available… there’s the Sound Academy. Shudder.

MBV Music is streaming a new single from Sharon Van Etten, consisting of two tracks not found on her latest Epic. The 7″ is out November 16.

Spinner talks to The Radio Dept.’s Martin Larsson about some of the band’s less obvious musical influences. Their double-disc singles set Passive Aggressive is out January 25 and they play Lee’s Palace on February 7.

QRO, The Daily Tribune, The Quad and The Columbus Dispatch have interviews with Kate Nash, currently winding her way across North America and in town at the Phoenix tomorrow night, November 13.

Two Door Cinema Club talk to They’re back for their third local show in eight months on January 15 at the Kool Haus with Tokyo Police Club.

Modern Superstitions, who impressed when I saw them at the Halifax Pop Explosion, have released a new video and will have a release party/show for their debut EP All The Things We’ve Been Told at The Silver Dollar on November 19.

MP3: Modern Superstitions – “Visions Of You”
Video: Modern Superstitions – “Visions Of You”

The Journal has words with Dan Snaith of Caribou.

The Line Of Best Fit, Calgary Herald and See chat with Dan Mangan, who’s gone and gotten himself a shiny new website. asks five music and movie-related questions of Forest City Lovers’ Kat Burns.

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

I'll Never Live Up To You

John Vanderslice gives away EP, consolidates status as swell guy

Photo By Elizabeth WeibergElizabeth WeibergA note: I’m presently barely conscious after staying up way too late the other night doing the Polaris post-game, so I’m just going to start tossing up stuff that’s been collecting in the hopper over the last few days until I pass out.

And we’ll kick off with a new batch of fully realized, produced and presented songs from the inimitable John Vanderslice, collected under the title of Green Grow The Rushes. It’s being given away for exactly zero dollars in both high-quality MP3 and uncompressed WAV format over at his website. Why? Because he’s got these songs he wants you to hear and because he’s great. But if you want to thank the ‘Slice in some monetary way, perhaps pick up a copy of his last full-length Romanian Names? It’s not quite as free but still a great record.

MP3: John Vanderslice – “Thule Fog”
MP3: John Vanderslice – “I’ll Never Live Up To You”
ZIP: John Vanderslice / Green Grow The Rushes

Exclaim has some details on the new Iron & Wine album, entitled Kiss Each Other Clean and due out in early 2011.

Michael Benjamin Lerner of Telekinesis chats with The Washington Post.

The Thermals have released a new single from Personal Life which, in the parlance of our time, means that there’s a new MP3 to download.

MP3: The Thermals – “Never Listen To Me”

The Line Of Best Fit and Spinner talk to Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer of The Posies. Their new record Blood/Candy is out September 28.

The Boston Herald talks to drummer Bob Nastanovich of Pavement. NYC Taper has also got a recording of their Williamsburg show to share.

Clash interviews Local Natives, in town at the Mod Club on October 19.

Spin declares Lissie to be “breaking out”. She’s at the El Mocambo on October 19.

Spin gets to the root of Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s name, while Filter has a track from their new record Buzzard available to download.

MP3: Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s – “Lunatic, Lunatic, Lunatic”

Spinner serves up an Interface session with Drive-By Truckers.

R.E.M. has completed work on album number 15 and are targeting a Spring 2011 release for it.

Drowned In Sound talks to Will Sheff of Okkervil River about working with Roky Erikson on this year’s True Love Casts Out All Evil.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Spoon’s show in the teeny tiny Cake Shop last week.

The new Deerhunter record Halcyon Digest is streaming at NPR in advance of its release next week. They’re at Lee’s Palace the Opera House on October 19.

Stream: Deerhunter / Halcyon Digest

The AV Club, American Songwriter, The Boston Herald, Pinnastorm, The Awl and NPR have interviews with Superchunk. NPR is also streaming their show in Washington DC last week and NYC Taper offering downloads of the Brooklyn show, giving you a taste of what to expect when they return to Toronto to play the Sound Academy on December 9 opening up for Broken Social Scene; you’ll just have to imagine the pogoing.

The Sydney Morning Herald talks to Interpol.

PitchforkTV has posted a POV session with The Hold Steady.

Clash declares Holly Miranda “One To Watch”.

New York Magazine talks to Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner.

Spin gets a live preview of Nicole Atkins’ new record Mondo Amore, due out on January 25 of next year, and you can download a new track from the record over at Nicole’s website.

Daytrotter has posted a session with Ra Ra Riot, who have made good on their promise to come back to town in December – they’ll be at the Mod Club on the first of that month, tickets $16.

MP3: Ra Ra Riot – “Boy”

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Welcome Wagon

Fang Island tour, tour again, tour some more

Photo via Sargent HouseSargent HouseFans of Fang Island residing in Toronto can be forgiven for finding the Brooklyn combo’s Fall touring itinerary a confusing bit of tease. Following some European dates at the tail end of Summer, they’re heading out west with Matt & Kim for September, and then with Coheed & Cambria through the midwest and across Canada in October, inching ever closer to the 416 but stopping juuuuust short, wrapping things in Kitchener on October 29 (Coheed & Cambria having brought their comic book metal act to town back in May).

Surely it wouldn’t have been too much difficulty to just hang around just one more day and bring the arena-sized guitar-tap-happy anthems of their self-titled debut to Toronto, considering they last time they were here was in July opening for The Flaming Lips and there were – generously – maybe 100 people on hand to see them. But as it turns out, we aren’t being neglected but just put off a little bit. The road warriors will be back at it in November and riffing furiously at audiences in the eastern half of North America alongside Delicate Steve and that will include a November 16 date at the El Mocambo; tickets $11.50 in advance.

MP3: Fang Island – “Daisy”
MP3: Fang Island – “Life Coach”
Video: Fang Island – “Careful Crossers”
Video: Fang Island – “Life Coach”
Video: Fang Island – “Daisy”

Hailing from the back woods of rural Michigan, Breathe Owl Breathe will be at Wrongbar on September 22 in advance of the September 28 release of their new record Magic Central. Kind of an odd venue for their pretty and pretty quiet folk-pop, but it is what it is.

MP3: Breathe Owl Breathe – “Own Stunts”
Video: Breathe Owl Breathe – “Own Stunts”

Alejandro Escovedo, just here opening up for Blue Rodeo, will return for his own show at the Opera House on September 29 – tickets $25 in advance

Chart talks to Peelander-Z, whose two-night stand in Toronto begins tonight at The Velvet Underground and wraps tomorrow at The Silver Dollar.

JAM and The Boston Phoenix talk to Kele, who brings his solo debut to the Mod Club on Friday night, September 3.

To mark the late Summer tour that brings them to the El Mocambo on Saturday night, September 3, Telekinesis have released a new EP called Parallel Seismic Conspiracies that is available digitally anywhere people have internets but in physical form only at their shows. And they’ve made a video for one of the songs.

Video: Telekinesis – “Dirty Thing”

Also doing the tour-exclusive release thing are Caribou, who have turned a recording of their incarnation as the Caribou Vibration Ensemble at last year’s All Tomorrow’s Parties in upstate New York into a live album. It will be released as a double-vinyl with accompanying DVD – presumably also of the ATP show and not the Toronto performance a few days earlier – and be sold only at shows. Like the one September 17 at the Phoenix. You can download a few of the tracks at the Free Music Archive but really, you’ll want the whole thing.

MP3: Caribou Vibration Ensemble – “Skunks”

Drowned In Sound meets Avi Buffalo. They’re at The Horseshoe on October 18.

The Fly solicits an acoustic session from The Vaselines. Their new record Sex With An X is out September 14 and they’ll play songs from it at The Horseshoe on October 30.

Spin find out where the name Grinderman came from, when “Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds” seemed perfectly accurate. Their Grinderman 2 is out September 14 and they’re at The Phoenix on November 11.