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Posts Tagged ‘Thao’

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Concert Pitch

Empire Of The Sun are bringing their intimate, stripped down live show to a stage near you

Photo via empireofthesun.comempireofthesun.comConsidering how much trouble it took epic Australian synth-pop duo Empire Of The Sun to make it to Toronto the first time – an August 2010 appearance at Echo Beach around their Lollapalooza set was nixed because of logistics and when the make-up show finally happened in September 2011, it was at the significantly smaller Sound Academy and still not especially well-attended – I didn’t really expect a return engagement if indeed a North American tour behind their second album Ice On The Dune even happened. After all, as big stars as they are back home, their profile in the northern hemisphere isn’t really on the same scale. But returning to North America they are, and the itinerary does indeed include a return to Toronto on September 9 at the probably much more appropriately-sized Danforth Music Hall, tickets running $30 to $35.

Given the almost five years since their debut Walking On A Dream came out and the fact that in The Sleepy Jackson, Luke Steele demonstrated an almost pathological stylistic restlessness, it’s somewhat surprising that Ice On The Dune treads much of the same ground as its predecessor. On a surface level, that’s all well and good as if you’re an Empire Of The Sun fan, you’re all about grandiose, danceable tunes with soaring choruses mated to astonishing visuals. But the similarities will naturally elicit direct comparison and you can’t help but feel that the formula is returning fewer dividends this time out. If they don’t mix it up a bit for album number three, it could become and issue but for now, it’s still enough to get the swordfish dancers out on the road and that’s all that really matters.

The Age has an interview with Luke Steele, while Wired reports that the collaboration with JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot studios that produced the extravagant, three-minute Ice On The Dune trailer, is just a prelude to a larger feature. And oh yeah, don’t forget they’re scoring Dumb & Dumber 2.

Video: Empire Of The Sun – “Alive”
Trailer: Empire Of The Sun / Ice On The Dune

Northampton, Massachusetts pop-punk – in the sense that they’re both poppy and punky, not that they belong on the Warped tour – quartet Potty Mouth will be at The Shop Under Parts & Labour on August 5, topping an $8, six-band bill that may well entice you underground to close out the August long weekend. Their debut Hell Bent is out September 17 and there’s features on them at Noisey and CMJ.

Video: Potty Mouth – “Damage”

Her duties supporting second album The Midnight Mass will bring Louise Burns to The Drake Underground on September 10 where she’ll also be supporting Lightning Dust. Tickets for that are still $12.50.

Video: Louise Burns – “Emeralds Shatter”

English newcomer and BBC Sound of 2013 longlister King Krule will be at The Drake on September 11 in support of his debut Six Feet Beneath The Moon, out August 24. Tickets for that are $15 in advance.

Video: King Krule – “Octopus”

Anyone who thinks that the garage-friendly triple bill of Wavves, Jacuzzi Boys, and King Tuff won’t be extra loud and unruly when it hits the Opera House on September 29 is probably wrong. But that’s kind of the point. Tickets are $19 and the full touring itinerary can be had over at Pitchfork.

MP3: Wavves – “Hippies Is Punks”
MP3: Jacuzzi Boys – “Automatic Jail”
MP3: King Tuff – “Anthem”

New York gloomy gusses Crystal Stilts have a new album in Nature Noir coming out September 17 – stream a new song below – and will be at The Horseshoe on October 8 to play you songs from it. Tickets for that are $12.50.

Stream: Crystal Stilts – “Star Crawl”

With his once and maybe future Sonic Youth bandmate Thurston Moore there a little less than a month earlier with Chelsea Light Moving, Lee Ranaldo and his new band The Dust will be at The Horseshoe on October 11, tickets $16.50. Matablog says that the tour is in support of his new solo record, the follow up to 2011’s Between The Times & The Tides, but isn’t saying any more about that for the moment.

MP3: Lee Ranaldo – “Off The Wall”

English electronic duo Fuck Buttons celebrated yesterday’s release of their new album Slow Focus with the announcement of a North American tour that brings them to Wrongbar on October 16, tickets $12. Interview, The Guardian, Clash, The Fly, and The Quietus have feature pieces on the band.

Video: Fuck Buttons – “The Red Wing”

With a new album in On Oni Pond ready for a September 10 release, Philadelphia weirdos – meant in the most complimentary sense – Man Man have slated a Fall tour that brings them to The Horseshoe on October 18, tickets $18.50.

MP3: Man Man – “Knuckle Down”

English folk-poppers Noah & The Whale have announced the dates for their Fall tour in support of album number four, Heart Of Nowhere. They’re at The Phoenix in Toronto on October 19, tickets $25.

Video: Noah & The Whale – “Lifetime”

Two good things about the announcement of a Shad show at The Opera House on October 19. One, it means that his next album Flying Colours will be out sooner rather than later, and two, it means that anyone who wants to see him perform no longer needs to go see him open up for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at Echo Beach on August 2. CBC has a check-in with the rapper.

Video: Shad – “It Ain’t Over”

Seattle folkies The Head & The Heart have completed their second album, entitled Let’s Be Still and set for an October 15 release, and have put together a pretty extensive tour covering the eastern half of the continent. They’re celebrating Hallowe’en in Toronto with an October 31 date at The Danforth Music Hall – tickets $20 to $25.50 – and the very worthy Thao & The Get Down Stay Down will support.

MP3: The Head & The Heart – “Down In The Valley”
MP3: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “Holy Roller”

New York synth-pop duo Holy Ghost! will release their second album Dynamics on September 10, and to get people stoked – as the kids say – they’ve put out a video for a track already made available to download and will be hitting the road later this Fall, rolling into The Hoxton on November 6, tickets $16.

MP3: Holy Ghost! – “Teenagers In Heat”
Video: Holy Ghost! – “Teenagers In Heat”

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Losing You

Solange at The Danforth Music Hall in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSolange may have initially garnered attention thanks to her surname, but her recent ascension to the forefront of what’s being regarded as a new wave of R&B artists has been almost entirely on the back of her own talent; well, hers and Dev Hynes’. The Lightspeed Champion/Blood Orange producer-songwriter was my gateway drug to the work of Ms. Knowles; obviously, I knew who she was, but I suspect like more than few filling the Danforth Music Hall on Friday night for Solange’s Toronto debut, it wasn’t until her adoption by the indie nation with her EP True that I actually paid attention. Which is kind of funny, because as this show was proof of, she’s actually kind of impossible to ignore.

A full three hours after doors opened, she strode onstage in a dazzling dress and magnificent afro “Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work”, a sentiment clearly not directed at her band. The six-piece outfit, including two backup singers, were super-tight and struck the right balance between organic feel and synthetic texture to recreate True‘s smooth, throwback feel. It’s a vibe that fits Solange’s vocals and persona perfectly – a modest yet wholly confident blend of gorgeous and glamorous that was only as showy as it needed to be to impress. The whole show was slickly presented and immaculately choreographed without projecting any artificialness. In return, the audience responded with a degree of adoration that one would have expected for her big sister, conveyed through huge cheers and lots of happily un-self-conscious dancing. Good times were being had.

Some complaints about the sound were justified – while Solange’s vocals largely managed to rise above the mix, bass-heavy mix, Hynes’ suit was frustratingly often louder than his guitar – but the move from the much-smaller Hoxton to the Danforth was probably a good one, offering a classier setting and allowing more revelers while still feeling intimate. By the time the main set neared it’s conclusion and Solange’s invitation to “dance like there’s no tomorrow” for “Losing You” was more than enthusiastically accepted, it felt like you were in the closing prom scene of a high school rom-com, meant in the very best possible way. The band didn’t even bother leaving the stage before the encore, but Knowles still pulled off a bit of a surprise by inviting local internet dancing sensation Phil Villeneuve onstage to join her for “Sandcastle Disco”, having been brought to her attention for his interpretation of “Losing You” at the Bay-Bloor intersection. A wonderful, uniquely Toronto touch to a wrap a joyous show that ran just under an hour, but left nothing feeling wanting. It confirmed Solange as a talent that no matter who her family is, exists in no one’s shadow but radiates her own light.

Exclaim, The Grid, The National Post, BlogTO, and NOW also have reviews of the show; Entertainment Weekly grabbed an interview with Knowles.

And any Solange fans who haven’t yet heard Coastal Grooves by Blood Orange – aka Dev Hynes – you really gotta. It’s not just in your wheelhouse, it IS your wheelhouse.

Photos: Solange @ The Danforth Music Hall – February 22, 2013″
Video: Solange – “Losing You”
Video: Solange – “T.O.N.Y.”
Video: Solange – “Sandcastle Disco”
Video: Solange – “I Decided”
Video: Solange – “Feelin’ You”

DIY talks to Caitlin Rose, whose new album The Stand-In arrives next week. She plays The Garrison April 5.

With its March 5 release date almost upon us, Josh Ritter has made his new album The Beast In Its Tracks available to stream at NPR. He brings it to The Danforth Opera House on April 16.

Stream: Josh Ritter / The Beast In Its Tracks

Youth Lagoon’s new record Wondrous Bughouse is also out next week and streaming over at NPR. Expect to hear lots of it when they play The Great Hall on May 13.

Stream: Youth Lagoon / Wondrous Bughouse

Magnet sits down with Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, who brings their latest We The Common to Lee’s Palace on March 27. A new track from the album is now available to download.

MP3: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “We Don’t Call”

Rolling Stone talks to Charles Bradley about his second album, Victim Of Love. It’s out April 2 and he brings it to The Phoenix on May 11.

You can now stream a new Okkervil River song, taken from Reasons To Believe, the new tribute album to Tim Hardin, out today. Hardin and Okkervil have a long-standing connection, of course, the former’s “Black Sheep Boy” providing the inspiration for Okkervil’s best album cycle so far.

Stream: Okkervil River – “It’ll Never Happen Again”

Billboard talks to John Vanderslice about turning to Kickstarter to fund his next record, Dagger Beach. It should be out this Summer.

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

You're A Sign

Review of Ken Stringfellow’s Danzig In The Moonlight and giveaway

Photo By Cecil MathieuCecil MathieuThere are few musicians out there with a more impressive alt.rock resume than Ken Stringfellow. Starting out as co-frontman of the criminally under-appreciated Bellingham power-pop outfit The Posies, he was part of the final incarnation of the legendary Big Star, he was an unofficial member of R.E.M. both on stage and in the studio for a number of years in the post-Berry era, is part of the massive rotating cast of The Minus 5, he fronts a Norwegian garage rock band called The Disciplines, and oh yeah when he’s not doing all of that, he puts out gorgeous solo records.

Danzig In The Moonlight, out last Fall, is the latest of which and the first since 2004’s Soft Commands. And while that record was commendable for its stylistic ranginess, it lacked the coherence of the gorgeous, country-tinged Touched, which when all is said and done with Stringfellow’s impressive career may well stand as his masterpiece. Danzig does not even attempt to recapture that degree of aesthetic focus, but its forays into jangle-rock, prog, country, and R&B – to name but a few of the flavours that surface – don’t so much strive for authenticity than a reasonably convincing, “in the style of”. This allows Stringfellow’s sweet tenor and melodic gifts to tie it all together, which combined with the rich arrangements let Danzig sometimes feel more like the score to some ambitious musical production than a conventional album. In less deft hands, juggling this many ideas may have resulted in a grandly ambitious failure, but Stringfellow not only knows what he’s doing, he makes it look easy.

MyNorthwest.com and The Santa Barbara Independent have interviews with Stringfellow, who makes a rare Toronto appearance at The Drake Underground on February 19. Tickets are $15 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away to the show. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to see Ken Stringfellow” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that to me by midnight, February 14.

MP3: Ken Stringfellow – “Doesn’t It Remind You Of Something”
Video: Ken Stringfellow – “Superwise”

Because the ’90s are back and you know you love it, The Breeders have expanded their reunion tour in support of the 20th anniversary of Last Splash and will be playing the whole of the album at the Danforth Music Hall on May 11, tickets $22.50 for balconies and $25 for floors.

Video: The Breeders – “Divine Hammer”

Bon Appetit has an interview with Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan, which is fitting considering the culinary theme of the new video from Fade. They’re at The Phoenix this Saturday, February 9.

Video: Yo La Tengo – “I’ll Be Around”

Ra Ra Riot have released a video for the title track of Beta Love and Jambands has an interview with violinist Rebecca Zeller. They’re at Lee’s Palace on March 6 and are back again for the Arts & Crafts Field Trip fest at Fort York on June 8.

Video: Ra Ra Riot – “Beta Love”

The Strokes have confirmed a March 26 release date for their fifth album, Comedown Machine. Advance word is that despite everyone complaining it sounds nothing like The Strokes, it will indeed sound like The Strokes.

DIY and Interview talk to Thao Nguyen, who leads The Get Down Stay Down into Lee’s Palace on March 27.

Rilo Kiley have come clean on their forthcoming rarities compilation, cleverly entitled RKives and due out on April 2. Further information on that release can be found at TwentyFourBit.

Pitchfork talks to Steve Drozdt about The Flaming Lips’ forthcoming full-length The Terror – out April 2 – while Exclaim uncovers evidence that the real terror may be the fact that the band are endeavouring to record their own version of The Stone Roses’ first album, which it goes without saying would be a TERRIBLE IDEA.

Steve Earle has announced a new album entitled The Low Highway for release on April 16, and it’ll be the first one since 1990’s The Hard Way to be credited to him and The Dukes, though this one also credits The Duchesses, albeit in parentheses. All of which is to say this ain’t no solo record.

Pitchfork has details on the new record from Iron & Wine, entitled Ghost On Ghost and out April 16. You can stream a new song from it below.

Stream: Iron & Wine – “Lovers Revolution”

The Thermals have also settled on April 16 as the release date for their first record for Saddle Creek, Desperate Ground. Pitchfork has specifics.

Consequence Of Sound, Pitchfork, The Fader, and The Quietus all talk to Jim James about going solo. He’s in town at The Phoenix on April 24.

Spinner talks about hair with Widowspeak, who’ve made another track from their latest Almanac available to download.

MP3: Widowspeak – “Sore Eyes”

Beach House have released their long-promised short film Forever Still, featuring a number of live performances of tracks off Bloom.

Video: Beach House: Forever Still

Trespassers William have released a video from one of the songs off their farewell rarities compilation, Cast.

Video: Trespassers William – “Believe Me”

Interview talks to School Of Seven Bells.

The Alternate Side has posted a video session with Wild Nothing.

Le Blogotheque has posted a Take-Away Show with Titus Andronicus, and PopMatters an interview.

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

I’ve Got Your Number, Son

She & Him are playing the what and where? Mysteries abound!

Photo By Sam JonesSam JonesShe & Him are not a band given to mystery. Despite the anonymous name, everyone knows it’s Matt Ward and Zooey Deschanel and their sugar-sweet old-timey country-pop sound is pretty well-established at this point. And if you’re at all surprised that their third album, announced yesterday as coming May 7, is called Volume 3, then you really haven’t been paying attention. But residents of the Greater Toronto Area looking at the tour dates that accompanied the announcement can be forgiven for scratching their heads about the local date on the itinerary. Toronto Urban Roots Festival what?

With a lineup comprised so far of She & Him and Scottish pop darlings Camera Obscura – and presumably there’ll be more, else it’s not much of a festival – we also know it’s happening July 4 at a venue that Pollstar not-so-helpfully lists as “Toronto Urban Roots Festival Grounds”. Possibilities include an Olympic Island concert – it’s been a few years since we’ve had one of those though the Thursday date makes it unlikely to be the full-day event that would probably be necessary to justify the logistics – or maybe an evening-into-night to-do at the new go-to outdoor venue of Garrison Commons at Fort York? Surely it’s something besides an indoor venue show, else why the fancy name? The trail of online bread crumbs also tells us who’s running it, but they’re not talking right now. Next week, perhaps. Until then, we’ve got us a little mystery to chew on.

MP3: She & Him – “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here”
MP3: Camera Obscura – “My Maudlin Career”

Far less ambiguous is the return of “The Screaming Eagle of Soul” – Mr. Charles Bradley – in support of his second album Victim Of Love, out April 2. BrooklynVegan has all the tour dates but all Toronto needs to know is that he and his Extraordinaires will be at The Phoenix on May 11, tickets will be $22.50 in advance, his last visit was incredible, and a song from the new record is available to stream below. See how easy it is, Zooey?

Stream: Charles Bradley – “Strictly Reserved For You”

Austin country-rockers Phosphorescent will release their new one Muchacho – stream a song from it below – on March 19, and the subsequent tour dates bring them to The Horseshoe on April 15. Tickets for that are $15 in advance.

Stream: Phosphorescent – “Song For Zula”

With the release of We The Common less than a week out, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down are streaming the new record over at NPR; there’s also an interview with Thao at Exclaim. They’ll be at Lee’s Palace on March 27.

MP3: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “Holy Roller”
Stream: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down / We The Common

The 405 and Express Milwaukee talk to Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo, and if you’re more of a James McNew fan you’ll be pleased to know his first two records as Dump are getting reissued on vinyl for the first time ever. Superpowerless is out March 19 and I Can Hear Music on April 16; stream a track from each below.

Stream: Dump – “Secret Blood”
Stream: Dump – “Slow Down”

Mount Moriah are streaming a song from their new album Miracle Temple, out February 26. They play a Canadian Musicfest showcase at The Drake on March 20.

Stream: Mount Moriah – “Bright Light”

Whole lotta Bob Mould on your TV (or the computer you use as your TV). His performance from last weekend’s episode of Austin City Limits is now available to stream, and a new video from Silver Age – premiered via Late Night With Jimmy Fallon – was just released. See Bob in person at The Horseshoe on March 1.

Video: Bob Mould – “Star Machine”

Brooklyn’s The Men have gone the live performance route for the first video from their forthcoming New Moon, out March 5.

Video: The Men – “Electric”

Interview has an interview with Ra Ra Riot, who have made the title track of their new album Beta Love available to download. They play Lee’s Palace on March 6 and are part of the Arts & Crafts Field Trip fest at Fort York on June 8.

MP3: Ra Ra Riot – “Beta Love”

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are streaming the first track from their forthcoming Specter At The Feast. It’s a sentimental choice, being a cover of The Call’s biggest hit; Call frontman Michael Been – father of BRMC frontman Robert Levon Been – passed away in 2010. The album is out March 18 and they play The Kool Haus on May 9.

Stream: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Let The Day Begin”

With their new album Hummingbird out this week – and a new MP3 from it available to download – Local Natives are the subject of features at The Line Of Best Fit, The Daily Beast, BBC, Consequence Of Sound, and The 405. They play a sold-out show at The Opera House on March 28.

MP3: Local Natives – “You & I”

The Flaming Lips have confirmed an April 2 release for their new album The Terror and have put out a lyric video for the first single. Details on the release over at The AV Club.

Lyric Video: The Flaming Lips – “Sun Blows Up Today”

The Strokes have released a new single which pretty much guarantees that a new album isn’t far off, but they’re not offering any other details for now. You can download it from their website in exchange for an email address and a promise not to make any a-ha jokes. Update: It’s called Comedown Machine and out March 26.

Stream: The Strokes – “One Way Trigger”

Spin and Washington City Paper have conversations with Widowspeak, who’ve released a new video from their excellent new record Almanac. It’s really excellent.

Video: Widowspeak – “Locusts”

Also with a new video are Grizzly Bear, taken from last year’s Shields. They’ve also offered some director’s notes on the clip via their Tumblr.

Video: Grizzly Bear – “gun-shy”

NPR welcomes Dinosaur Jr for a World Cafe session.

Billboard finds out what Jenny Lewis has been up to – finishing up a new solo record, putting in time on that Rilo Kiley rarities comp, and maybe taking part in the Postal Service tour?

LA Record chat with Redd Kross.

Wears The Trousers and The Telegraph have interviews with Aimee Mann.

NPR are streaming a World Cafe session with Father John Misty.

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Zumm Zumm

Django Django are are coming coming to to town town

Photo By Pavla KopecnaPavla KopecnaIn mentioning yesterday that winning the Mercury Prize allowed Alt-J to graduate from playing Wrongbar in September to playing The Phoenix in March, we can also scientifically see what only getting nominated to the shortlist gets you. Django Django, who were shortlisted on the strength of their self-titled debut, also played Wrongbar in late September and have also just scheduled a Spring tour that brings them back to town in March – March 12, specifically, and at The Opera House. So based on the capacities of these two rooms, what can we discern? Winning the Mercury lets you play to about 200 more people. QED. Tickets are $17.50.

DIY has an interview with Django Django, who’ve just released a new video from the aforementioned Mercury-nominated album. There’s also a World Cafe session up at NPR.

MP3: Django Django – “Default”
Video: Django Django – “Life’s A Beach”

Also just announced – Ken Stringfellow of The Posies, R.E.M., and Big Star will be in town as just Ken Stringfellow – solo artist who released Danzig In The Moonlight in October – for a date at The Drake Underground on February 19. Tickets for that are $15, and God Is In The TV has an interview.

MP3: Ken Stringfellow – “Doesn’t It Remind You Of Something”

Chapel Hill’s rootsy Mount Moriah – recently signed to Merge and getting a lot of good press – will release their second album Miracle Temple on February 26 and be in town at The Drake on March 20 to celebrate; that’ll be part of Canadian Music Week, if you were wondering.

Stream: Mount Moriah – “Lament”

The Get Down Stay Down are at Lee’s Palace on March 27 in support of their new album We The Common, due out February 5. Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside support, tickets are $17.50 in advance. Full tour dates at Exclaim.

MP3: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “Know Better Learn Faster”

And if you hadn’t heard and were interested, the reunited but still Christine McVie-less Fleetwod Mac will be at the Air Canada Centre on April 16. Stevie Nicks talks to The Los Angeles Times about the upcoming tour, while Rolling Stone also loops in Lindsey Buckingham for a Q&A.

Video: Fleetwood Mac – “Go Your Own Way”

Pitchfork and Rolling Stone talk to ex-Girls frontman Christopher Owens about his solo debut Lysandre, out January 15. He plays The Mod Club on January 18.

DIY has an interview and The Alternate Side a session with The Antlers.

The AV Club have premiered a new video from Crooked Fingers’ 2011 effort Breaks In The Armor and The Line Of Best Fit also has a video session on offer.

Video: Crooked Fingers – “Bad Blood”

DIY talks to Mike Hadreas of Perfume Genius.

Stereogum has an interview with Dayve Hawk of Memory Tapes.

DIY talks to Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum.

The Austin Chronicle, Phoenix New Times, and Dallas Observer interview John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Stars.

Spin, ABC News, The New Zealand Herald, DIY, and The Daily Swarm talk to Claire Boucher of Grimes.

The Grid and NOW preview Joel Plaskett’s upcoming five-night stand at The Horseshoe next week. That’s December 12 to 16.

Spinner finds out why a Raveonettes-mixed new No Joy album won’t be winding its way to you anytime soon. Or ever.

Modern Superstitions talk to aux.tv about their self-titled debut.

DIY has a quick chat with Wild Beasts.

The Fly has a video session with 2:54.

TOY are interviewed as part of DIY‘s year-end wrap.

Pitchfork reports that Phoenix are planning to rise again with a new album in or around April. That there’s the sound of Two Door Cinema Club’s business model collapsing.

M83 have released the fourth video from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.

Video: M83 – “Wait”

DIY interviews Tame Impala, in town at The Kool Haus on March 9.

Sigur Rós have released the final installment of their Valtari Mystery Film Experiment – just in time for the screenings happening worldwide and at The Bloor Cinema on Saturday. This one’s another short film rather than conventional video, and is directed by Floria Sigismondi and stars Elle Fanning and John Hawkes. Save the best – or at least biggest-named – for last, yeah? Sigur Rós are at The Air Canada Centre on March 30.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Leaning Towards Solace”

And with that, everything I’ve had in my blog drafts hopper is gone. It’s empty! There’s nothing left! You know what that means? Me neither. I’m scared.