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Posts Tagged ‘Tift Merritt’

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Sacrilege

Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Echo Beach in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s just about scientific fact that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs don’t put on a bad show. The New York punk rock/New Wave trio have built and cemented this reputation since their inception in 2000, and though I missed their earliest visits to Toronto, I can testify to the spectacularness of their last two visits – an undersized semi-private TIFF party at the Berkeley Church in September 2007 circa their Is Is EP and their two-night stand at The Kool Haus in support of It’s Blitz! in August 2009. And so while their fourth long-player Mosquito is a relative disappointment – the high points are decent and the rest largely forgettable – their show at Echo Beach on Monday night behind it was plenty of reason to get excited, even if the long weekend timing meant that Echo Beach wasn’t even half full to greet them.

The band’s elevation towards the top of festival lineups this Summer meant that regular tour routing was largely out the window and as such, this date – announced barely a month ago – felt squeezed in between other commitments, and the relative spartan-ness of their set dressing – there basically was none – added to this feeling, though if that meant that we didn’t have to look at a giant backdrop of the Mosquito album art, then that was hardly a bad thing. And if any band could feel confident about having to come out and get by on the strength of their songbook, it’s the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And having Karen O as a frontwoman certainly doesn’t hurt.

Because let’s be honest, even if they’d gone full Flaming Lips with their stage show, no one would be looking at anything but Karen O. As her bandmates – guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase, plus live utility player David Pajo of Slint and Interpol fame – got down to business, O bounded around the stage as magnetic a performer as you’ll find in rock music today. Decked out in a tasseled white outfit and with a headlamp strapped to her forehead, presumably keeping in theme with show opener “Under The Earth”, O kept the energy levels and audience enthusiasm in the red, even when the confetti cannon that should have doused everyone in glitter at the peak of “Black Tongue” failed to go off.

And that kind of set the tone for the front half of the show – trying their best but not quite clicking. There were several missed cues, the usually super-tight band felt a little out of step with each other, and midway through the set, O declared she’d forgotten the words to “Down Boy”. Being followed by the largely aimless “Subway”, it was starting to feel like this might be a rare off night for the band. They might have felt it as well, as “Maps” – as much of a sure thing in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs arsenal as you’re likely to find – got an extended intro where O dedicated the song to everyone she could think of that perhaps allowed the band to regroup.

If that’s indeed what they did, then it worked. Current single “Despair” was given a reading that put the album version to shame, and the double-whammy of “Y Control” and “Turn Into” elevated things to a far more characteristic Yeah Yeah Yeahs level; Zinner’s guitar solo in the latter was especially fiery. Again, perhaps symbolically, when O stomped on the confetti cannon trigger in jubilant main set-closer “Heads Will Roll”, that shit went off. The first encore opened with one of their finest pop confections – “Cheated Hearts” – amusingly featuring pretty much the whole of the front row being passed the mic to sing (badly) the “oooh ooooh”s in the bridge – and closed with a razor-edged “Tick”, and though by this point much of the crowd had begun inching towards the exit, those who stayed up close got an eyeful in second encore as in “Date With The Night”, O shoved the microphone down her pants and then into her mouth. As you do.

At well under an hour and a half, the show felt a bit slight in length and, compared to the terrifying Berkeley Church and triumphant Kool Haus shows, in substance. But if it failed to deliver in awe, it still more than did so in fun and the only reservations, really, come from the fact that while Yeah Yeah Yeahs don’t ever put on a bad show, they have put on better.

The National Post, Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, and NOW also have reviews of the show.

Photos: Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Echo Beach – July 1, 2013
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Date With The Night”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Machine”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Miles Away”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Art Star”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Despair”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Mosquito”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Skeletons”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Heads Will Roll”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Zero”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Cheated Hearts”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Turn Into”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Gold Lion”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Y Control”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Pin”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Date With The Night”

Given that putting out a record on New York label Captured Tracks is becoming as much a sign of quality in the ’00s as doing the same on, say, 4AD, was in the ’80s – some/many will be pleased to know that Los Angeles-based duo Soft Metals are coming to The Drake on August 16 in support of their forthcoming Lenses LP, out July 16. They’ll also be pleased to know admission is $10.

MP3: Soft Metals – “The Cold World Melts”
MP3: Soft Metals – “Psychic Driving”

It’s been a while since North Carolina alt.country songstress Tift Merritt has been through town – Spring 2008 in support of Another Country, I think – but she’s here at The Drake on September 6 in support of last year’s Traveling Alone. Tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.

Video: Tift Merritt – “Virginia, No One Can Warn You”

Chicago folksinger Angel Olsen has been getting a lot of attention for her debut album Half Way Home, originally released last Fall and reissued in May, and she’s just announced a Fall tour that brings her to The Drake on September 26, tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: Angel Olsen – “Always Half Strange” (live at Saki)
MP3: Angel Olsen – “Free” (live at Saki)

Nashville singer-songwriter Mackenzie Scott trades under the name Torres and her self-released, self-titled debut has garnered enough praise and turned the right heads to get her added as support to Okkervil River’s Fall tour, which means she’s in town at The Phoenix on September 27. Do yourself a favour and get to know her before then.

Video: Torres – “When Winter’s Over” (live in studio)
Video: Torres – “Jealousy & I” (live in studio)

Even though tales of their… troubles on the road continue to pile up, Los Angeles’ Foxygen continue to tour behind their debut We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace And Magic; they’re back in Toronto for the third time this year with a show at The Hoxton on October 1, tickets $15.

MP3: Foxygen – “Waitin’ 4 U”

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Wilco’s no-request set at their Solid Sound festival last month; they’ll play a shortened version of the set at The Molson Amphitheatre on July 15 whilst opening for Bob Dylan.

Billboard talks to Mac McCaughan of Superchunk and Merge Records about Superchunk and Merge Records. The latter releases the new album from the former, I Hate Music, on August 20.

The Guardian talks to Janelle Monáe about her new album The Electric Lady, which is out September 10 and has just produced a new video.

Video: Janelle Monáe – “Dance Apocalyptic”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Iron & Wine. They play The Sound Academy on September 28.

DIY gets to know Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee.

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Rockin' Rockin' Twilight Of The Gods

Darnielle and Bruno team up as The Extra Lens

Photo via MergeMergeIt was announced last month that following a long, fruitful run on the venerable 4AD label, John Darnielle was herding up his Mountain Goats and moving to the equally venerable Merge Records for the release of the next Mountain Goats record and presumably a number of its successors. But before that run of records begins – presumably next year – there will come Undercard, a new album from the Darnielle project with frequent collaborator and contributor Franklin Bruno under the name The Extra Lens.

Formerly known as The Extra Glenns, the duo have been producing music independent of their respective solo projects since 2000 but had only one album to their name – 2002’s Martial Arts Weekend. And with the name change, I guess that won’t ever change, but I digress. Those coming to The Extra Lens via The Mountain Goats will be pleased to know that Darnielle’s distinctive cadence and aesthetic makes The Extra Lens feels instantly familiar. It’s sparer in arrangement than recent Goats records yet fuller in a sense, with Bruno’s multi-instrumental skills put to good use.

Though the record isn’t out until October 19, it’s already available to stream in its entirety at Merge so if the wait from last year’s The Life Of The World To Come to next year’s whatever it ends up being called is too long for you to manage, make with the clicky. It’s unclear if The Extra Lens will become a touring proposition, but if so, it’s worth pointing out that The Mountain Goats skipped Toronto entirely whilst promoting Life, so being one of some select dates would ba nice way of making that up. Just saying.

MP3: The Extra Lens – “Only Existing Footage”
MP3: The Extra Glenns – “Going To Marrakesh”
Stream: The Extra Lens / Undercard

New York’s Postelles are coming to town as part of a Fall tour in support of their forthcoming self-titled debut which is due out October 12 – look for them at the Mod Club on November 30. In addition to a Daytrotter session released earlier this Summer, the band have also put out a Buddy Holly cover.

MP3: The Postelles – “Everyday”
MP3: The Postelles – “White Night”
Video: The Postelles – “White Night”

Radiohead have made a fan-made live video bootleg of a show in Prague official by providing the audio masters from the performance for the soundtrack. Radiohead: Live In Praha is currently available for free download or can be watched clip-by-clip at YouTube.

Built To Spill have put out a new video from last year’s There Is No Enemy.

Video: Built To Spill – “Hindsight”

Beatroute interviews Ted Leo while Pitchfork talks to Tom Scharpling, who directed Leo’s new video for “Bottled In Cork”.

Beatroute talks briefly to Titus Andronicus’ Patrick Stickles.

The Irish Times runs a profile on The National, interviewing guitarist Aaron Dessner.

The Morning Benders have put out a new video from Big Echo. Support for their November 5 show at The Mod Club have been announced as Twin Sister and Oberhofer.

MP3: Twin Sister – “Dry Hump”
MP3: Oberhofer – “I Could Go”
Video: The Morning Benders – “All Day All Light”

Baeble Music has posted a Guest Apartment session with School Of Seven Bells. They’re at the Mod Club in a couple weeks, on September 15.

The Santa Barbara Independent interviews Tift Merritt.

Interview talks to Wes Miles and Rebecca Zeller of Ra Ra Riot.

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

No Place To Fall

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan chart North American tour

Photo via VanguardVanguard RecordsI almost ended up repeating myself verbatim from four and a half years ago when the news that Isobel Campbell was putting together a Fall North American tour in support of Hawk, her new record with Mark Lanegan out August 24. Specifically the “Torontonians haven’t seen Isobel Campbell since she sulked offstage fromBelle & Sebastian’s May 2002 show at the Kool Haus… and then quit the band a couple of weeks later” part. Because, well, it was true then.

The context, however, was that it was supposed to no longer be true as of that following March as Campbell was scheduled to play Revival during CMW in support of her new record Ballad Of The Broken Seas, her first collaboration with Lanegan, and thus give Toronto a fonder memory of she who had by then established herself as a singer-songwriter of repute and not just the girl who used to be in Belle & Sebastian. Alas, that show was cancelled on account of her coming down with the flu and though I was able to see her shortly thereafter at SxSW with Eugene Kelly spotting for Lanegan, fans back home weren’t so fortunate – if fortunate is the correct word, as that SxSW performance was somewhat disappointing.

2008’s Sunday At Devil Dirt found Campbell working with Lanegan again and this time, the dynamic between the two, which was a bit forced their first time out, was much more natural and consequently, the blues and Americana-drenched results far more compelling. All signs point to Hawk continuing in that direction, which makes the fact that the tour is happening and that Lanegan is going to be along for the ride rather exciting news. Campbell’s immune system willing, the Toronto date will be October 20 at Lee’s Palace (and not the Mod Club as the Under The Radar piece states – this from the promoter).

This track is from Sunday At Devil Dirt. A couple of new songs are streaming at Campbell’s MySpace.

MP3: Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – “Trouble”

The working relationship with BBQ apparently done for good, it’ll be King Khan & The Shrines causing shit at Lee’s Palace on October 8.

MP3: King Khan & The Shrines – “Land Of The Freak”

With the September 7 release date for Personal Life drawing ever near, The Thermals have slated a North American tour supported by Cymbals Eat Guitars that stops in at Lee’s Palace on October 9. They talk to Spinner about writing their single “Canada” on stage at a gig in Buffalo.

MP3: The Thermals – “I Don’t Believe You”
MP3: Cymbals Eat Guitars – “Wind Phoenix”

Though the initial salvo of dates seemed so skip over Toronto, the full itinerary for Gorillaz’ Autumn North American tour will indeed be stopping here – at the Air Canada Centre on October 13, to be precise.

Video: Gorillaz – “Stylo”

Exclaim talks to Versus, whose new record On The Ones And Threes is out on Tuesday and available to stream now. They’re at Lee’s Palace on August 13.

Stream: Versus / On The Ones And Threes

NME gets some bon mots from Emmy The Great about what to expect from album number two, already 99% funded and due out in February of next year.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Tift Merritt.

GQ and Time Out have interviews with M.I.A.. Cussing ensues.

Pitchfork solicits a guest list from Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast; they’re at Lee’s Palace on September 25.

NYCTaper is sharing audio from The Flaming Lips’ show in Central Park on Monday night.

They Shoot Music solicits and acoustic set from A Place To Bury Strangers.

Noizefests chats with Mel Draisey of The Clientele. Their new release Minotaur is out August 31.

The Quietus has an extensive, career-spanning interview with Dean Wareham of Dean & Britta.

The Village Voice talks to Jason Pierce about the lasting legacy of Spiritualized’s Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Zorbing

An introduction to Stornoway

Photo By J J BullockJ J BullockHave we officially christened a “song of the Summer” for 2010 yet? Do we even have enough of a monoculture anymore that a consensus on such a thing is even possible? If so – or if not – I would like to nominate “Zorbing”, the lead track and single from Beachcomber’s Windowsill, the debut album from Oxford, England’s Stornoway. It’s a simple but instantly catchy tune about the metaphorical joys of rolling around London in a giant hamster ball – I think – that’s elevated from good to great with a couple of key flourishes: the low “whoaaa” harmonies in the chorus and the jubilant horns in the bridge that hearken to Belle & Sebastian’s finest moments.

And said Scots aren’t a bad reference point for Stornoway in general, at least as far as articulating the aesthetic of their orchestrally-appointed folk-pop. But while they’re clearly capable of wide-eyed upbeatness, as “Zorbing” and the follow-up single “I Saw You Blink” clearly evidence, Stornoway’s hearts are inherently heavier and Brian Briggs’ vocals more inclined to drama – so maybe it’s to their benefit that Briggs doesn’t seem to have much luck in love; it makes for great lyrical fodder. His bandmates back him up with all the standard pop band accouterments, but close listening shows there’s a lot of detail hidden in the nooks and crannies of their seemingly austere sound – pianos, kazoos, strings, Morse code, church bells… and it’s these touches, like those aforementioned little details in “Zorbing”, that elevate Stornoway above the pack. If your Summer consists of getting your heart broken or wishing you were getting your heart broken whilst lounging on grassy hills (and maybe watching people roll down said hills in giant plastic balls) then Stornoway should be, if not your soundtrack, then at least in your playlist.

Drowned In Sound has a feature interview with the band. Beachcomber’s Windowsill is out in the UK right now and digitally in North America. It will be out in physical form on this continent on August 10. So far their American itinerary has consisted of an expeditionary gig in New York earlier this month, but promises are being made of a full incursion this Fall. Update: The album is now up to stream at Spinner.

MP3: Stornoway – “Zorbing”
Video: Stornoway – “Zorbing”
Video: Stornoway – “I Saw You Blink”
Stream: Stornoway / Beachcomber’s Windowsill

Shonen Knife have a date at the Horseshoe on October 1, tickets $15.50. Their new album Free Time will be out on August 31.

Video: Shonen Knife – “Perfect Freedom”

Justin Townes Earle will follow up the September 14 release of his new record Harlem River Blues with a Fall tour that includes an October 15 date at the Horseshoe. Jessica Lea Mayfield supports.

Video: Justin Townes Earle – “Midnight At The Movies”

Kentucky.com interviews Tift Merritt.

Sharon Van Etten records a Takeaway Show for Le Blogotheque. Her new record Epic is released on October 5.

Examiner.com profiles Oakland dream-pop band Minipop

Daytrotter has served up a session with Rogue Wave. They’re at the Opera House on September 24.

Billboard talks to Dean & Britta about the release tomorrow of their 13 Most Beautiful soundtrack album which is out tomorrow.

Spinner talks to Ra Ra Riot about the making of their new record The Orchard, out August 24. They’ll be at the Molson Amphitheatre on August 28 supporting Tegan & Sara and City & Colour.

The Omaha World-Herald talks to Spoon bassist Rob Pope.

Lazy-i interviews Jim Wilbur of Superchunk. Their new record Majesty Shredding is out on September 14.

Las Vegas Weekly tries to squeeze more information about Matador 21, going down October 1 to 3 at the Palms in Las Vegas, out of label head Gerard Cosloy.

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Here Sometimes

Blonde Redhead commit themselves to Sparkle motion

Photo By Pier Nicola D'AmicoPier Nicola D’AmicoI’ve tried this past week, as I barrelled through all the NXNE coverage, to stay on top of the most time-sensitive or interesting announcements, but a lot a lot of stuff has just been filed away for a post that wasn’t tied to the festival… and that post is today’s. Or at least one of them. There’s a LOT of stuff that’s a-backed up.

And the best of it started on Monday, when word got around that there was a new Blonde Redhead song available to download from their website. No announcement of a new record, which would be their first since 2007’s delectable 23, just a song – “Here Sometimes” – to whet the appetite for more of the New York trio’s uniquely artful dreampop. The tease didn’t last too long, though, as details of the band’s eighth long-player were revealed on Wednesday: Penny Sparkle will be released this Fall, again on 4AD, and the first sample – as well as the presence of Fever Ray’s producers – hint at a more synth-driven effort than 23‘s shoegazing six-string salute, though Alan Moulder was once again behind the final mixes so you can be sure that the guitars won’t be lost and will be fuzzy.

All that is really certain is that a 2010 already chock full of amazing album releases looks set to add one more to the pile on September 14 when Penny Sparkle is released.

MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Here Sometimes”

Another trio with an atmospheric bent that have kept their fans waiting for a new record are Los Angeles’ Autolux, who have remained silent since releasing their 2004 debut Future Perfect. That silence ends August 3 with the release of Transit Transit, and they’re now giving away a download of the first single, in lossless M4A format, in exchange for your email on their website. And while my affection for the band has never been as intense as some of my peers – they were always a bit too heavy for my tastes – I’m digging what I’m hearing. I may have to check them out when they play Lee’s Palace on August 24.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have released a new video for their latest single, just released on 7″.

Video: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Say No To Love”

BrooklynVegan talks to Dayve Hawk of Memory Tapes, who’s also got a new video out.

Video: Memory Tapes – “Bicycle”

Filter interviews Phantogram, who’ve got a date at Wrongbar on July 8.

NPR and Pitchfork have feature pieces on LCD Soundsystem.

Pitchfork checks in with Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes about how work on their new record False Priest, due out this Fall, is coming along. They have a date in Montreal scheduled for July 30 but nothing in Toronto yet – if it were happening, it’d have to be on the 28 or 29 because they’re in Vermont on the 31st.

The San Francisco Chronicle profiles The Morning Benders, who are in town supporting The Black Keys at the Kool Haus on August 3 and 4. They also recently recorded a World Cafe session for NPR.

Wye Oak chats with Anika In London. They’re in Toronto on August 28 opening up for Lou Barlow.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss of Quasi.

Filter talks to Thao, whose tour with Mirah hits the Horseshoe this Saturday night.

The L has a big ass feature on Titus Andronicus – they’re coming to destroy the Horseshoe on July 14.

Cokemachineglow has words with The National bassist Scott Devendorf. The National are also profiled by CNN, alongside Spoon and The Hold Steady as artists who didn’t make it big until later in life.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review talks to Nicole Atkins, who announced this week that she’d signed with Razor & Tie for the release of her second album, now due out in early 2011 and still possibly entitled Mondo Amore. NYC Taper captured some of the new material in acoustic form when Atkins played a backyard session last weekend.

PopMatters interviews Tift Merritt.

The Phoenix and Spinner profile Joe Pernice of Pernice Brothers through the Pernice To Me book of collected tweets from Pernice manager Joyce Linehan that accompanied pre-orders of their latest record Goodbye, Killer.

Each Note Secure, The San Jose Mercury News and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profile Blitzen Trapper, in town at the Opera House on August 3.

Aquarium Drunkard has assembled a terrific tribute record to Television’s vastly underappreciated second album Adventure. It features contributions from a host of Los Angeles talents, including Local Natives, The Henry Clay People, The Happy Hollows and more. It’s available for free but donations to the Silverlake Conservatory Of Music are encouraged – so that SoCal can keep putting out great bands and they can keep appearing on great comps like this. It’s like the water cycle, people.