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Posts Tagged ‘Tennis’

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Blackt Out

Stream of new Lee Ranaldo album declared essential service; continues despite US shutdown

Photo By John Von PamerJohn Von PamerThe United States government may be in shutdown mode over political wranglings, but it’s good to know that both sides of the aisle can agree that the people should be able to hear Last Night On Earth, the new album from once and hopefully future Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo and his new outfit The Dust, which also includes Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley.

Like bandmate Thurston Moore’s extra-cirricular activities in Chelsea Light Moving, Ranaldo’s vocals and guitar style are instantly recognizable and not far off from what he put on display with Sonic Youth, but whereas Moore took the opportunity of shedding expectations to go punker and heavier, Ranaldo goes in the poppier direction, with Night always melodic and downright pretty. But don’t think for a moment that means he’s gone soft – or get within range of his guitar and say so; they’ll set you straight.

Last Night On Earth is streaming now at Clash – you see they went with a UK-based website, just to be sure it was safe – and it’s out officially on October 8. His North American tour gets underway the same day and rolls into The Horseshoe not long after on October 11.

Stream: Lee Ranaldo & The Dust / Last Night On Earth

Clash has an interview with Sleigh Bells while Rolling Stone has an advance stream of Bitter Rivals before its official release next week on October 8. They play The Phoenix on November 13.

Stream: Sleigh Bells / Bitter Rivals

Pitchfork has the advance stream of the new of Montreal record lousy with sylvianbriar, out next week. The Fly talks to frontman Kevin Barnes about the new album.

Stream: of Montreal / Lousy With Sylvianbriar

Aquarium Drunkard talks to The Men about their Campfire Songs EP which comes out October 15. They also play The Horseshoe on October 20.

Buzzfeed has an interview with The Head & The Heart as well as a stream of a new track from Let’s Be Still, out October 15. They’re at The Danforth Music Hall on October 31.

Stream: The Head & The Heart – “Another Story”

Esquire has a video session with The Dismemberment Plan, whose first album in forever – Uncanney Valley – comes out October 15. Billboard and Denver Westword also have interviews with the band.

Frankie Rose, who made her name as drummer for Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls, and Vivian Girls before stepping up as frontwoman and dreampop-leaning solo artist, has been announced as support for Franz Ferdinand at the Kool Haus on October 24. She just released her second album Herein Wild, which she talks to Stereogum and The Village Voice about.

Stream: Frankie Rose – “Street Of Dreams”
Stream: Frankie Rose – “Sorrow”

Widowspeak are streaming a new song that will appear on their The Swamps EP when it comes out October 29. Expect them to have copies for sale when they roll into The Silver Dollar on November 2.

Stream: Widowspeak – “Calico”

Albert Hammond Jr – aka the only Stroke who actually seems to still enjoy being a rock band – will be releasing a new solo EP in AHJ on October 8 and will be in town at The Phoenix on November 10 to play some songs from it, and hopefully some others since there’s only five of them. Tickets $20 in advance.

Stream: Albert Hammond Jr. – “Rude Customer”

Under The Radar has details on a new EP and tour from Denver duo Tennis; their Small Sound extended play will be available November 5 – stream a new song below – and they’ll be at The Garrison on November 10, tickets $16.

MP3: Tennis – “Take Me Somewhere”
Stream: Tennis – “Mean Streets”

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Lou Barlow of Sebadoh, coming to town for a November 8 show at The Horseshoe.

Crocodiles have premiered a new video from their latest album < em>Crimes Of Passion via Stereogum. They play Lee’s Palace on November 19.

Video: Crocodiles – “Teardrop Guitar”

Los Angeles’ Lord Huron has announced an extensive tour for next Winter that stops in at The Danforth Music Hall on February 1, tickets $22.50. Their last release was 2012’s Lonesome Dreams but they might well have a new release out in time for these shows.

MP3: Lord Huron – “The Stranger”

Bob Pollard offers The Utne Reader some life lessons; the next Guided By Voices album Motivational Jumpsuit will be out in late February.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Will Sheff of Okkervil River.

Stereogum has premiered the new Mary Timony-starring video from Mikal Cronin’s MCII.

Video: Mikal Cronin – “Peace Of Mine”

NYC Taper has posted recordings of Superchunk’s shows at the Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan last week.

Exclaim reports that New York’s premier Anglo-Japanese shoegaze outfit Asobi Seksu have gone on indefinite hiatus. Thanks for the blown eardrums, guys.

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Upside Down

The Jesus & Mary Chain’s randomly-routed reunion tour finally hits Canada. Probably.

Photo via BPMBeats Per MinuteMost tours follow some sort of logical routing anchored around major markets, festivals, what have you. Reunion tours are usually even moreso, what with their main motivation – or at least one of them – being to maximize revenue rather than build audiences (unless of course you’re the Pixies, in which case your motivation is to play ever single market ever). So it’s been equally frustrating and exciting to try and figure out what The Jesus & Mary Chain would do next. After calling it a day following 1998’s Munki, they reconvened in 2007 to play Coachella and followed that up with a number of one-off and festival dates in the US, Europe, Australia, South America through 2008 – though never anything that could be construed as a proper tour – and then went silent again. Given the Reid brothers’ famously combative nature, it wasn’t unreasonable to think they’d broken up again but there was always just enough activity from the JAMC camp – word of new recordings, an interview with one of the Reids, a massive reissue series – to keep them in the “active” file.

Then as of this Spring, they were back at it. A date at SXSW was accompanied by a handful of Texas dates, but visa problems forced a couple to be canceled and a New Orleans show was rescheduled for September. And then they were playing a festival in Beijing in May. Then a run in California and Nevada in June, and another festival in North Carolina in September. It’s like their booking agent was throwing darts at a map of the world or the band was collecting frequent flier miles. And yesterday morning, another set of dates came up on their website that placed them riding the 401 this Summer, with an August 2 date in Buffalo, August 3 at The Phoenix in Toronto and an August 4 date at Osheaga in Montreal as well as more North American dates through September. Now the dates were pulled shortly thereafter (though saved on their message board) but seemed legit enough to believe that their official-ness is just a matter of timing; Osheaga confirmed their appearance this morning. I expect the Toronto PR – and ticket info – shortly.

In any case, reports from the SXSW show were that they sounded good and still appeared to hate each other; I can at least testify to the former from where I was listening out on the street. And things I did not know about the reunited JAMC – Ride’s Loz Colbert was their drummer in 2007 and 2008 (though he’s gone now) and Lush’s Phil King is their bassist. How about that?

Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “I Hate Rock & Roll”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Come On”
Video: The Jesus & Mary Chain – “Head On”

Speaking of vague reunions, it figures that as soon as I build a post around the conceit that Blur are done, Damon Albarn goes off and gives an interview to Metro in which he basically says, “but maybe not”. THANKS DAMON.

Riot Of Perfume talks to Electrelane, who’ve been off hiatus since last year but not doing a lot with it until some gigs in Australia this Spring.

Spin gets a look in the M83 man-cave. They’re at The Sound Academy on May 6 and Fort York on August 4.

The Cribs discuss their new record In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull with NME; it’s out May 15.

The 405 has a video session with Amanda Mair, whose self-titled debut gets a North American release on June 5.

Spinner talks to Michael Kiwanuka, in town at The Great Hall on June 19.

Yeah they’ve been away a while – I think their last visit was like four years ago – but The Hives have a new record in Lex Hives, out June 5, and a new North American tour that brings them to The Sound Academy on June 26, tickets $28.50. And as Spin documents, they also have some new sombreros.

Video: The Hives – “Hate To Say I Told You So”

Having both sold out shows here in February in support of their new albums – Sharon Van Etten at Lee’s Palace for Tramp and Tennis at The Horseshoe for Young & Old – the two acts will see if they can’t do the same at The Phoenix on July 31, tickets $18.50.

MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Serpents”
MP3: Tennis – “Civic Halo”

Dry The River are the subject of interviews with eMusic and Spin.

Daytrotter has posted a session with Big Deal.

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Champagne Year

St. Vincent and Cold Specks at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIn discussing the latest St. Vincent album Strange Mercy, I mentioned that Annie Clark’s greatest strength as a songwriter was her creative restlessness; a trait which has over the course of her relatively short career already taken her to more interesting places than some artists even conceive of visiting. If we turn our attention to her live show, that title of “most appropriate single adjective” would probably have to be “control”.

Just as she has a very specific idea of how her compositions should sound on record, she hits the road with a very specific idea of how they should be presented on stage, such that each time I’ve seen her its been not only with a different set of musicians, but a different configuration of instruments and sounds. Not that you need much more than Clark, her voice and her guitar to spellbind; that’s all she brought on her first visit back in February 2007 before her debut Marry Me was released and it was far more memorable than Midlake’s headlining set. Her last time through Toronto in August 2009, the more complex orchestration of Actor necessitated a multi-instrumentalist, multi-tasking five-piece St. Vincent. So who and what would they be for the leaner and more snarling Strange Mercy?

First, opening up were Cold Specks who had to make waves in Europe with her debut 7″ release before getting some attention back home; though Cold Specks is now based in London, Al Spx originally hails from the borough of Etobicoke. Performing seated as a two-piece with an accompanying guitarist/vocalist, Cold Specks tried to win over the packed, talkative room without a lot of success. Her meditative gospel-folk songs and their low-key deliver was designed more to haunt than command, and this wasn’t really the environment for that approach to succeed. Those of us up front were able to appreciate its subtleties and the way the weight of the material built slowly as the set progressed, but even from in close it was very gradual. Getting the opportunity to make her debut on a big stage like this may have been an impressive achievement, but Cold Specks is probably better suited to smaller rooms and more attentive audiences for now.

St. Vincent, on the other hand, has well and properly graduated to rooms of this size. Backed by a drummer manning a kit the size of which seemed physically impossible for an individual to manage and two keyboard/synth players, Annie Clark delivered a set that was configured for and leaned heavily on Strange Mercy – no horns or second effected vocal mic this time – only dipping slightly into Actor and not even acknowledging Marry Me until the finale of the show. The new material was delivered with gusto, Clark shifting from siren to shredder with the shake of her head and unleashing the squalling guitar breaks that so happily punctuate the record, unleashing chaos but in a totally precise manner (though having the strobe lights continually synched with the solos seemed a bit on the nose over the course of the night). The intensity of her performance was an interesting counterpoint to her poise between songs, where she would graciously acknowledge the shouts of, “we love you!” and “you’re so pretty!” from the audience while tuning or offer up some charming anecdote to make everyone fall in love with her just a little bit more.

This isn’t to suggest that it was an operation of military precision; “Dilettante” took three tries to get right, with Clark having to stop herself twice on account of forgetting the lyrics though she made the exercise of soliciting cues from the audience one of the most endearing moments of the night. It was with the late-set cover of The Pop Group’s “She Is Beyond Good & Evil” – rendered far more aggressively than any of her own material – that the show seemed to allow more anarchy to seep in. Shortly thereafter, Clark appeared to break the theremin during its solo on “Northern Lights” and though the encore opened with a lovely keyboard-vocal arrangement of “The Party”, it closed with a riff-heavy, almost metal-derived version of “Your Lips Are Red” which saw Clark turn an edge-of-stage guitar solo into an impromptu crowd surf – while sustaining both the soloing and her perfect posture – before getting back on stage and basically attacking her roadie with her guitar (in what I presume was a playful manner). It was a fantastic finale to an impressive show and showed that maybe the best thing about Annie Clark’s being in control is her ability to lose it.

NOW, The National Post, and The Globe & Mail also have reviews of the show while The Grid has a quick interview. The Toronto Star has a profile of Cold Specks.

Photos: St. Vincent, Cold Specks @ The Phoenix – December 15, 2011
MP3: St. Vincent – “Surgeon”
MP3: St. Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”
MP3: St. Vincent – “The Strangers”
MP3: St. Vincent – “Now Now”
Stream: Cold Specks – “Holland”
Video: St. Vincent – “Cruel”
Video: St. Vincent – “Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood”
Video: St. Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”
Video: St. Vincent – “Jesus Saves I Spend”

NYC Taper has got one of The National’s homecoming High Violet finale shows available to download, including the two new songs – “Rylan” and “I Need My Girl” – that the band has been premiering on this tour.

Also at NYC TaperMy Morning Jacket’s Madison Square Garden show from last week.

Rolling Stone has premiered the new video from Nicole Atkins’ Mondo Amore.

Video: Nicole Atkins – “Hotel Plaster”

Exclaim reports that Cat Power will be releasing some new material in the form of a charity single on Christmas Eve. Details are still forthcoming but it’s confirmation that Chan Marshall has been doing stuff. Musical stuff.

That new Guided By Voices album, Let’s Go Eat The Factory? NPR has got that up to stream, two weeks before its January 1 digital release and a full month before its January 17 physical release.

Stream: Guided By Voices – “Let’s Go Eat The Factory”

Their visit in the Fall a casualty of the cancelled Vaccines tour, Tennis have made a date at The Horseshoe for February 29, just a couple weeks after their second album Young And Old is released on February 14.

MP3: Tennis – “Civic Halo”
MP3: Tennis – “Self-Seal Mishap”
Video: Tennis – “Deep In The Woods”

Youth Lagoon will bring his much year-ended debut album The Year Of Hibernation to Lee’s Palace on March 31. Blare has an interview.

MP3: Youth Lagoon – “July”

Memphis country-punk stalwarts Lucero are back at Lee’s Palace on April 14. Their new album Women & Work will be out in the Spring, presumably in time to sell at these shows.

Video: Lucero – “What Are You Willing To Lose?”

Spin has got the new Sleigh Bells single available to stream. Reign Of Terror is out February 14.

Stream: Sleigh Bells – “Born To Lose”

Paste has posted a video session with Centro-Matic.

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Paper Forest

Review of Emmy The Great’s Virtue

Photo By Alex LakeAlex LakeOne of my most anticipated records of the last few years was First Love, the debut from London’s Emma-Lee Moss, aka Emmy The Great. I’d spent well over a year with my own custom compilation of her various singles, EPs and random releases on repeat before the album proper came out and perhaps inevitably felt a bit let down, though for reasons entirely my own and even so, it still made my 2009 year-end list.

There was no such weight of expectation surrounding her second album, which isn’t to say that I wasn’t anxious to hear it – I most certainly was – but even not having heard any of the new material, I figured I had a pretty good idea what to expect: acoustically-built pop songs with wonderfully clever lyrics delivered in Moss’ distinctively precise diction; more of First Love would have been just fine with me. So of course, it goes without saying that Virtue pretty much floored me. The backstory of the record isn’t essential to appreciating it, but understanding what the last couple of years have been like for Moss provides some invaluable context for the record. Read the unabridged feature from The Guardian for the full story but in brief, Moss was engaged until her formerly atheist fiancee found God and left her for the life of a missionary.

Life-altering stuff, to say the least, and so it’s no surprise that whereas the songwriting on First Love felt like a collection of tales told through characters, Virtue feels considerably more personal, even filtered through the allegories – many religious and/or mythical – that suffuse the songs. Though it’d be justified if it was, Virtue is anything but a pity party – the songs constantly struggle for some critical distance from their inspiration, adding a certain tension to the proceedings, but on “Trellick Tower” that struggle ends, the tension evaporates and the album closes on its most emotionally unguarded and affecting moment.

Virtue is a darker and weightier record than the debut, both lyrically and musically. The latter point comes thanks to the addition of more electric and electronic textures to go with the more conventional acoustic instrumentation, courtesy of producer Gareth Jones and long-time collaborator Euan Hinshelwood. Moss was never comfortable being associated with the “anti-folk” tag that tied her to some of her peers and former bandmates, but only the most stubborn would call Virtue a folk record; it’s diverse and rangy enough that anything more specific than “pop” would be debatable. If you needed more adjectives, however, I would submit any or all of “contemplative”, “elegant”, “wistful”, “gorgeous” and “essential”.

The Westmoreland Gazette has an interview with Moss about the new record. Being independently released in the UK, there’s not much chance of a North American release but Virtue is available digitally at both eMusic and iTunes. Similarly, touring over here seems unlikely but Emmy is doing two US dates in Philadelphia and New York next month, and yes, I may well have moved my flight to New York up a day so as to be able to make the show at The Studio At Webster Hall. What of it?

MP3: Emmy The Great – “A Woman, A Woman, A Century Of Sleep”
Video: Emmy The Great – “Iris”

The Guardian has an extended feature on Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons.

The Vaccines are back in town for the third time this year, this time headlining a show at The Phoenix on September 27. It’ll be all-ages, tickets $15 in advance and Tennis and Young Buffalo support.

MP3: The Vaccines – “Norgaard” (live)
MP3: Tennis – “Take Me Somewhere”

Gearing up for the release of Skying next week – everywhere but North America at least, we have to wait until August 9 – The Horrors have made the whole album available to stream and have also released a first video from the new record. They play Lee’s Palace on September 27.

Video: The Horrors – “Still Life”
Stream: The Horrors / Skying

DIY and AOL Music UK have chats with the lads of Two Door Cinema Club; they have a date at The Phoenix on September 17.

Everyone expecting a new Spiritualized record this Fall, get ready to wait a little longer – State reports that a series of UK dates have been postponed until next year, wit said new album now targeted for a February 2012 release.

Liam Gallagher of Beady Eye tells The Sun that he’s gone clean and sober. His band has also put out a new video from Different Gear, Still Speeding.

Video: Beady Eye – “The Beat Goes On”

And Gallagher the elder – that’s Noel – has just announced details of his first post-Oasis projects. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will release their self-titled debut on October 17 and next year, look for a collaborative record with psychedelic-electronia outfit Amorphous Androgynous. Or don’t. Fuller details at The Quietus.

The Quietus reports that Jarvis Cocker will be publishing a collection of his lyrics in book form Mother, Brother, Lover: Selected Lyrics will be out in October.

The Independent checks in on some of the one-time heroes of Britpop, including Louise Wener of Sleeper; she’s now an author and I just realized that the two volumes of her Britpop memoirs – Different For Girls and Just For One Day are actually the same book under different titles. I wish I’d realized that before I bought them both.

Slicing Up Eyeballs reports that The Jesus & Mary Chain will be embarking on an extensive catalog reissue campaign this Fall; it begins on September 19 with double-CD/single-DVD sets for Psychocandy and Darklands, followed by Automatic and Honey’s Dead the following week and final two albums Stoned & Dethroned and Munki on October 3.

Post-punk forebears The Raincoats will be remastering and reissuing their 1981 album Odyshape on September 13 and follow that up with some North American touring that includes a September 23 date at Wrongbar in Toronto.

Video: The Raincoats – “Don’t Be Mean”

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Hoop Dreams

Canadian Musicfest reveals first batch of acts for 2011

Photo via FacebookFacebookSeeing as how 2010 is basically over and done with – didn’t you see all the lists summing it all up? The next week and a half are just formality – it’s time to start turning our eyes ever so slightly to next year and Canadian Musicfest, one of the first big upcoming to-dos hereabouts, has given us something to focus on with the first batch of showcasing artists at the festival, which will run March 9 to 13 at clubs around downtown Toronto.

Some of the names that jump out at me are J Mascis, who will be showcasing his acoustic side as per his forthcoming solo record Several Shades Of Why out March 15, buzzy Brit band Bombay Bicycle Club, Canadian acts like Land Of Talk and Shad who will have graduated to marquee artist status and up and comers such as La Patère Rose and Olenka & The Autumn Lovers.

I was especially pleased to see Miracle Fortress in the lineup, as it means the long wait for a follow-up to 2007’s Five Roses could finally be coming to an end. At one point last year the word was the famine was going to become a feast with not one but two new albums being readied for release, but nothing came of them and Graham Van Pelt busied himself with Think About Life. A new record for 2011 seems like a certainty, although exactly what that record will be is anyone’s guess. The promotion cycle for Five Roses turned Miracle Fortrees from a solo endeavour into a band, but key members Jessie Stein and Adam Waito have their own projects – The Luyas and Adam & The Amethysts respectively – demanding their attention. I’ll bet that album number two will again be Van Pelt on his own and suspect that anyone hoping for another collection of sparklingly psychedelic Beach Boys-esque pop will be left scratching their heads. But my guess is as good as anyone else’s, and we’ll find out for sure come March.

MP3: Miracle Fortress – “Have You Seen In Your Dreams”

Diamond Rings has had a pretty impressive 2010, and his 2011 is looking to be shaping up nicely as well – it was announced yesterday that he would be opening up for Swedish pop superstar Robyn on all her upcoming North American dates, starting on January 26 at the Sound Academy in Toronto. Yes indeed, a hell of a thing.

MP3: Diamond Rings – “Something Else”

Paste asks Destroyer’s Dan Bejar to describe his new record Kaputt. Said album is out on January 25.

The first MP3 from Iron & Wine’s new record Kiss Each Other Clean is up for download at the band’s website in exchange for an email address.

Billboard talks to Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst about their new record The People’s Key, out February 15. They are at the Sound Academy on March 13.

Beach House are giving away a new song, just because they sound like Summer and it is currently, in no way shape or form, Summer. Except in the southern hemisphere.

MP3: Beach House – “I Do Not Care For The Winter Sun”

If you missed their sold-out show at the Drake last week, take heart – husband-and-wife duo Tennis will return on February 25 for a show at the Horseshoe. Their debut Cape Dory is due out January 18. The Denver Post profiles the band.

MP3: Tennis – “Take Me Somewhere”
MP3: Tennis – “Baltimore”

Bandwidth has an acoustic video session with Frightened Rabbit.

Matablog reveals that Belle & Sebastian’s hometown show at the Barrowland in Glasgow next Tuesday will be streamed live via a number of online outlets, including NPR, starting at 4PM EST.

The Dumbing Of America, Bloginity and Herald Scotland interview White Lies, whose second album Ritual will be out January 18. They’re at the Mod Club on January 29 and a live version of the first single is available to download at their Myspace.

Grinderman have a new video. It’s “Evil”. And evil.

Video: Grinderman – “Evil”

Pitchfork has details on Peter Bjorn & John’s next record, which will be entitled Gimme Some and be out on March 29.