Posts Tagged ‘Timber Timbre’

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Two Matchsticks

The Wooden Birds and Heartbeat Hotel at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangYou might not have guessed it to listen to their records, as laid-back and fuzzy blanket-like as they were, but the American Analog Set were an amazing live act. Not through on-stage antics or pyrotechnics or the like, but by how unbelievably tight they were as a unit. The sound of Andrew Kenny’s soft voice and echoing guitar overtop the bed of vibraphone and Farfisa was the very definition of hypnotic and each of the two Toronto shows I saw prior to their disbanding in 2006 were magical. So given that Kenny’s new outfit The Wooden Birds shares many stylistic attributes with AmAnSet, it wasn’t unreasonable to hope that their first visit in support of their new record Two Matchsticks last night at The Drake would recreate some of that magic.

Support for the evening came from locals Heartbeat Hotel, whose psych-pop-laden Fetus Dreams I’d recommended picking up (for free) and who’d made a decent live impression back in December. They’d played out a fair bit since then, though, and some growth was to be expected. Even so, I didn’t expect that the echoey, slow burn that opened their set would be more the rule than the exception. The freewheeling sonic experimentation that marked Fetus Dreams seems to have been reined in, or the approach of flinging everything against the wall has served its purpose and they’ve now identified what stuck and what works; either way, Heartbeat Hotel circa Summer 2011 is a much more controlled, groove-oriented entity, yet still capable of getting noisy when needed. They’ve learned a lesson in musical economics that some bands take albums to master, if ever, and though it’d be nice if some of the energy of the LP could find its way back into their sound, based on the new material showcased – due for release in EP or album form this Fall – they’ll do well on the exam.

Even before The Wooden Birds played a note, it was pretty clear that this wasn’t going to be American Analog Set unplugged. For starters, Leslie Sisson was handling the acoustic guitar duties I’d assumed were Andrew Kenny’s on record, Kenny had no six-string of any kind, instead holding down the low end with a Thunderbird bass and whereas on the recordings electric guitar was used for texture or the occasional lead, the two electric setup implied that live, it would be decidedly otherwise. And indeed, it didn’t take very long to understand and appreciate that The Wooden Birds were no extension of anyone’s old band, but their own thing entirely; whereas AmAnSet shows were like exercises in hypnosis, this performance was wide-eyed and fully awake.

As the band showcased material from Two Matchsticks and its predecessor Magnolia, I couldn’t help think how someone for whom their first impression of the band was this show might find those decidedly mellower-sounding records. Because the live presentation of The Wooden Birds was definitely a much louder and more sprightly and widescreen-sounding affair. Tempos were stepped up appreciably, and rhythms given an almost country-western shuffle which would prove especially complimentary to the subtle twang of Sisson’s vocals. Those vocals were more than complimentary to Kenny’s voice – they sounded as lovely together as any two voices could – and for an hour or so, they led the band through a set of splendid pop. And for the AmAnSet fans in the audience – which I would assume to be most of them – they did Toronto the pleasure of honouring a request made the last time AmAnSet was in town, which is to say half a decade ago, and offered a reading of “Aaron & Maria” which they segued into a cover of Jackson Browne’s “Somebody’s Baby”. I went into this show hoping to relive a little AmAnSet magic but The Wooden Birds would have none of that; as stated they’ve got their own thing going on and that thing is simply lovely. If they’re coming through your town on their way back down to Austin, do go see them.

The Fort Worth Weekly and Sloucher have interviews with Andrew Kenny. There’s also a writeup and recording of much of the show over at Hater High.

Photos: The Wooden Birds, Heartbeat Hotel @ The Drake Underground – July 10, 2011
MP3: The Wooden Birds – “Two Matchsticks”
MP3: The Wooden Birds – “False Alarm”
MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “Fins Of A Shark”
MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “Walls Of Dry Clouds”
MP3: Heartbeat Hotel – “The Hello Barrel”
Video: The Wooden Birds – “Two Matchsticks”
Video: The Wooden Birds – “Hometown Fantasy”
Video: Heartbeat Hotel – “Windowsill #1”

Though just announced as support for The Vaccines show at The Phoenix on September 27, Young Buffalo will do a little advance work with a free show at The Horseshoe on July 26.

MP3: Young Buffalo – “Only We Can Keep You From Harm”
MP3: Young Buffalo – “Anthems For A 17-Year Old Girl”

On the NXNE schedule in June for like a nanosecond, Massachusetts’ Dom will be in town for real for a show at The Garrison on August 9, the same day their new Family Of Love EP is released.

MP3: Dom – “Living In America”

Marnie Stern and No Joy team up for a show at Wrongbar on September 23. The Riverfront Times has an interview with Ms Stern.

MP3: Marnie Stern – “Transparency Is The New Mystery”
MP3: No Joy – “Hawaii”

Suuns have slated a show at The Garrison for October 2 and there’s a new video session up over at For No One.

MP3: Suuns – “Up Past The Nursery”

Shonen Knife will be at The Horseshoe on October 20 to kick of a 30th anniversary tour and next week’s release of their new record Osaka Ramones, a Ramones tribute record. Tickets for the show are $14.50 in advance, full dates at Exclaim.

Video: Shonen Knife – “Ramones Forever” (live)

Spinner has the first sample of the first Ivy album in six years, All Hours due out September 20, and it seems that in the time away they’ve discovered their inner discotheque. They wear it well.

MP3: Ivy – “Distant Lights”

USA Today profiles The Head & The Heart.

Spin checks in with Stephen Malkmus about his new solo record Mirror Traffic, due out August 23. He and his Jicks play The Phoenix on September 21.

NBC San Diego, The Georgia Straight and San Diego City Beat chat with The Rosebuds, in town on August 9 at The Sound Academy opening up for Bon Iver.

Stereogum talks to the director of Handsome Furs’ racy new video. They’re at The Horseshoe on August 1 and 2.

Video: Handsome Furs – “What About Us”

Spin gets a guided tour of Fucked Up frontman Damian Abraham’s domicile. Their next date is August 9 at the Air Canada Centre with Foo Fighters.

Sax-toting Polaris shortlister Colin Stetson has an interview in The Globe & Mail and a session up at Daytrotter. He plays The Drake Underground on August 26.

Loud & Quiet talks to Timber Timbre.

Southern Souls has posted a video session with Jenn Grant.

The Wilderness Of Manitoba are featured in an interview and video session with The Alternate Side.

The documentary film which led to a rather nasty exchange between filmmaker Vincent Moon and Arcade Fire management – Miroir Noir: Neon Bible Archives – will be getting a screening at the TIFF Lightbox on Wednesday evening at 7:30PM as part of Images Festival. Probably safe to say neither filmmaker nor subjects will be in attendance.

Trailer: Miroir Noir: Neon Bible Archives

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

High For This

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Polaris Music Prize short list

Photo via FacebookFacebookWhen the Polaris Prize long list was announced three weeks back, the general response was positive. After all, forty albums is pretty inclusive and many genres and regions were represented; pretty good cause for back-patting. But when you whittle it down to the final ten, things inevitably get contentious – so with the announcement of the 2011 short list yesterday, there were the inevitable complaints that so-and-so was robbed, such-and-such is underrepresented, etc etc. Six years in, it’s all pretty predictable if you think about it.

And as such, I personally wasn’t especially surprised with the results – after all, I did tie for first in an impromptu prediction pool amongst jurors and Polaris-spotters with eight out of ten right, and I would have gotten nine if I’d stuck with my initial instincts about the Maritime bloc. As for the two I got wrong, I’m disappointed but not wholly surprised that Sloan didn’t make the cut – continuing their career trajectory of being simultaneously adored yet taken for granted. I was, however, genuinely surprised that The Rural Alberta Advantage got passed over – though they barely missed my ballot, I thought that there’d have been enough goodwill banked from Hometowns being ineligible in the year it got wide release to carry over to Departing, but I guess not. They’ll have to settle for being generally adored. Tough life. But my picks didn’t necessarily reflect what I thought were the most deserving – note only two of my ballot entries appear on the short list – but based on pretty reliable patterns observed over the course of Polaris’ existence. We’re all just algorithms in a giant cosmic computer, maaaaaan.

As for the albums that made the cut?

Arcade Fire / The Suburbs
Well this one was a gimme; the question really is will the Suburbs-sized elephant in the jury room end up costing the band and give proof to the accusation that the Polaris punishes success? Not a lock, but if the winner comes back as anything else, people are going to want some explanations as to how and album pretty much universally feted would be deemed inadequate (relatively speaking) at home. By being heavily favoured, they are probably the biggest underdogs on the list. Oh, Canada.

Video: Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”

Austra / Feel It Break
I figured this, Diamond Rings, Young Galaxy and Miracle Fortress would split the synth-pop vote – no way would more than one of them make the short list – and was certain that when the votes were counted, Austra would have come out on top. It strikes the right balance of weird and accessible and you can dance to it. It give it long, long odds to win but its presence here is an achievement.

MP3: Austra – “Lose It”

Braids / Native Speaker
I’ve tried, but I just can’t get into this record. But I can’t stand Animal Collective either, so I’m just not predisposed to appreciate what Braids do, and that’s fine. I’ll probably try again before all is said and done, but don’t expect any Damascene moments. I don’t think it will win, but I didn’t think that people would lose their minds for it as much as they have so I won’t say it couldn’t upset.

MP3: Braids – “Lemonade”

Destroyer / Kaputt
For an album as smooth and laid back as it appears to be, Kaputt has turned out to be remarkably polarizing, but that said it was also pretty much a lock – criticize what it is if you will, but there’s really no denying the degree of vision and craftsmanship that has gone into this record. I think if any record could win without instigating an Arcade Fire backlash debate, it’s this one. If I were on the grand jury, which I’m thankful I won’t be, I’d be championing this one.

MP3: Destroyer – “Chinatown”

Galaxie / Tigre et diesel
The question was which of this or Malajube would take the Francophone vote – I didn’t see both making it – and rather than let Malajube three-peat as shortlisters, they went with the fresh(ish) faces. And I’ll be honest, I hold a grudge against this band because they went by Galaxie 500 for far longer than is acceptable. That’s just wrong.

Video: Galaxie – “Piste 01”

Hey Rosetta! / Seeds
This is a band whom I get what they do, get how it inspires such adoration from so many, but doesn’t really do much for me. But their upwards trajectory is undeniable – they’ll be doing the theatre circuit very soon, just watch – and being past shortlisters and the most probable consensus pick amongst jurors from out east, I really should have known better than to take them off my list of predictions. Another record that I will revisit to see what I missed the first time around.

Video: Hey Rosetta! – “Young Glass”

Ron Sexsmith / Long Player Late Bloomer
No doubt there’s a whiff of lifetime achievement about Sexsmith’s inclusion, but his profile hasn’t been higher than it is now in years thanks to the documentary film and the Luminato tribute and thanks to his remarkably consistent songwriting, you couldn’t argue that this record is any less deserving than his others. And maybe people just want to see what it’d take to make the man smile.

Video: Ron Sexsmith – “Late Bloomer” (live)

Colin Stetson / New History Warfare Vol. 2 – Judges
Easily the most left-field shortlisted album in the prize’s history, I don’t get New History Warfare at all. But then I don’t get hardly anything about where it comes from and what it’s about, so that’s okay. I do know that Stetson has an incredible pair of lungs and the record is an astonishing physical feat, but on the topic of its musicality, I defer to those more qualified to pass judgement. And it’d be kind of awesome if it won if just for the coast-to-coast head scratching that would surely ensue.

MP3: Colin Stetson – “Fear of the Unknown and the Blazing Sun [ft. Laurie Anderson and Shara Worden]”

Timber Timbre / Creep On Creepin’ On
I know a lot of people who think Timber Timbre should have won in 2009, even though they didn’t even make the short list, so with a – in my judgement – better album in hand and a much stronger national profile, I’m not at all surprised it made the cut this time. I think it’s still a little genre/weird to garner the necessary broad grand jury support to really make a run, but Polaris tends to be predictably unpredictable so maybe they should have the inside track.

MP3: Timber Timbre – “Black Water”

The Weeknd / House Of Balloons
Another record that comes from a separate musical world from the one I usually inhabit, but one that got my attention from the first listen. A little hip-hop, a little r&b, a little indie rock and a lot sexy and moody – though not necessarily sexy moody – it’s definitely noteworthy and probably deserves its placement. And it’s got that whole mysterious identity and album-for-free (click above) thing going for it.

MP3: The Weeknd – “The Party & The After Party”

So my overall prediction for the night of September 19? I think the jury will for maybe the first time do the obvious thing let Arcade Fire take it. Failing that, Destroyer. And if not one of those two, then all bets are off.

Colin Stetson will get to see if a Polaris appearance translates into concert attendance when he plays The Drake on August 26, tickets $12 in advance. The Georgia Straight and Montreal Gazette have interviews.

Austra are releasing a new remix album entitled Sparkle on August 23 on vinyl, later this month digitally.

MP3: Austra – “Spellwork” (MNDR Nighttime remix)

NYC Taper has posted recordings of a recent visit to the Big Apple from Sloan. And oh, new video and interview with Andrew Scott at Thick Specs.

Video: Sloan – “Unkind”

PS I Love You have announced the release of an odds-and-sods compilation entitled, descriptively enough, Figure It Out: A Collection of Singles and EPs by PS I Love You and it’ll be out August 30. It will be followed by an extensive North American tour that includes a date at Toronto’s Great Hall on October 1. Full dates and track listing at and yes, it’s that “Subdivisions”.

MP3: PS I Love You – “2012”

Le Blogotheque has posted a Les Soirees des poches video session with Plants & Animals.

Dan Mangan has announced a September 27 release date for his new album Oh Fortune and is giving away the title track from said record below. And if you need more, Herohill has posted videos of a living room show Mangan performed in Halifax a couple months ago.

MP3: Dan Mangan – “Oh Fortune”

Spinner has words with Chad VanGaalen.

Broken Social Scene drummer Justin Peroff gets political for a moment with

Fucked Up demonstrate to Pitchfork how to make a bong in 60 seconds and also fess up to the obvious parallels between David Comes To Life and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. chats with Dan Boeckner of Handsome Furs, in town at The Horseshoe on August 1 and 2.

Interview has premiered the first song from Ohbijou’s forthcoming third album Metal Meets, due out September 27.

If you’re looking for something to do over the August long weekend, you may not need to look further than The Great Hall and Toronto Underground Cinema; that’s when those venues will host over three nights the inaugural Out Of The Box Festival, featuring a slew of the city/province’s up-and-coming acts including personal faves and bands to watch Olenka & The Autumn Lovers, Ruby Spirit, Heartbeat Hotel and Foxes In Fiction to name but a very few. Admission is $10 at the door, $15 for a weekend pass and the schedule will be forthcoming soon.

Hamilton dreampop veterans A Northern Chorus called it a day back in Summer 2008, but have regrouped for a couple of shows next month, one in Hamilton at The Casbah on August 12 and one at The Garrison in Toronto on August 13.

Video: A Northern Chorus – “Winterize”

And speaking of good things that come from The Hammer, Supercrawl has announced the first wave of their muscial lineup for September 10, and it includes the likes of Broken Social Scene, J Mascis and The Megaphonic Thrift, amongst many others. And oh yeah, it’s all free.

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

I Never Woke Up

Review of Snailhouse’s Sentimental Gentleman

Photo By Anneke HymmenAnneke HymmenMontrealer Mike Feuerstack isn’t anything resembling a household name but if you’ve got records from Belle Orchestre, Angela Desveaux or The Wooden Stars in your collection – and you probably should – then you’ve got his name in your liner notes. But if not, then you probably don’t have anything from his solo project Snailhouse and that’s a shame – but one you can easily rectify with his new album Sentimental Gentleman when it’s released on May 24.

In his other bands, it’s his virtuoso musicianship that’s on display but with Snailhouse, his songwriting chops take centre stage. There’s still plenty of tasty guitarwork throughout, but it’s largely of the laid back variety as it’s in support of his gently rootsy tunes. Thoughtful and introspective, it’s not the sort of record that attracts your attention with frantic arm waving, but an easy demeanour and welcoming smile. And while there’s plenty other shinier and more immediate roadside attractions on the musical landscape, those who take the time to investigate Snailhouse’s low-key charms will be rewarded with a thoughtful and understatedly witty collection of songs that won’t necessarily change your life, but will certainly make it more pleasant for a half hour or so, and moreso with each visit.

Exclaim is currently streaming the whole of Sentimental Gentleman. Snailhouse is just wrapping a tour of Europe and will kick off a North American leg next week with a date at Toronto’s Dakota Tavern on May 26.

MP3: Snailhouse – “I Never Woke Up”
MP3: Snailhouse – “Sentimental Gentleman”
Stream: Snailhouse / Sentimental Gentleman

Joel Plaskett has announced the released of a rarities compilation entitled EMERGENCYs, false alarms, shipwrecks, castaways, fragile creatures, special features, demons and demonstrations, due to hit stores on June 14 – Chart has details and as a teaser, here’s one of the tracks from it. Plaskett will play a free show June 10 at Metro Square as part of the LuminaTO festival.

MP3: Joel Plaskett – “When I Go”

The release this week of Diaper Island, the latest from Calgary’s Chad Vangaalen, has brought the media a-calling. Check out features at The Globe & Mail, NXEW, Paste, The Calgary Herald and Exclaim. Van Gaalen headlines The Great Hall on June 18 for NXNE and a new MP3 and video from the album have just been released.

MP3: Chad Van Gaalen – “Peace On The Rise”
Video: Chad Van Gaalen – “Peace On the Rise”

Austra is getting similar attention for her just-released debut Feel It Break. There’s interviews at NOW,, Resonancity, Clash, and Chart. Austra has a sold-out show at Lee’s Palace tonight.

Timber Timbre have released a new video from Creep On Creepin’ On.

Video: Timber Timbre – “Black Water”

Also with a new video – Montreal’s No Joy, from their debut Ghost Blonde. Their NXNE showcase is June 17 at The Horseshoe.

Video: No Joy – “Maggie Says I Love You”

Little Scream gets in on the “hey I have a new video” meme with one from The Golden Record. has an interview with the artist, who plays The Mod Club on June 14 opening up for The Antlers.

Video: Little Scream – “Red Hunting Jacket”

And from The Wilderness Of Manitoba is a new clip from When You Left The Fire.

Video: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Orono Park”

Great Lake Swimmers’ Spinner about his contributions to The National Parks Project, the documentary film which pairs Canadian musicians with Canada’s national parks. A release show for the soundtrack, featuring many of the artists who contributed, happens tonight at The Royal – tickets are $15. Here’s one of the performances from the film, featuring Cadence Weapon, Woodpigeon’s Mark Hamilton and Laura Barrett in a teepee in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. Click through to video number four. Also check out interviews with the film’s directors at NOW and Torontoist.

Video: Laura Barrett, Cadence Weapon, Mark Hamilton – “The Humble Fawn”

And similar-sounding but not at all related is The Parks Canada Experience, which is notable because a) it’s funded by our tax dollars and b) it will be throwing a party at the foot of the CN Tower this Saturday, May 21, which will feature free performances from Malajube and Apostle Of Hustle, amongst others. It runs from 11AM to 7PM. For more specifics on the what and the when… I don’t know, contact your local MP.

MP3: Malajube – “Synesthesie”
MP3: Apostle Of Hustle – “Perfect Fit”

I’ve been waiting ages for a Kathryn Calder live date in support of her excellent solo debut Are You My Mother and when one is finally announced – it’s in conflict with not one but two other must-see shows. Which is to say that when she’s playing The Tranzac’s Southern Cross Lounge on June 10, I will be at Okkervil River at The Phoenix having already given up seeing Weeping Tile at Lee’s Palace. Life is so unfair.

MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Arrow”
MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Slip Away”

Fucked Up have been added to the NXNE lineup with two shows on June 16 – one free engagement at Yonge-Dundas Square early that evening and another late-nighter at Wrongbar. They’re also opening for Foo Fighters at The Air Canada Centre on August 9. David Comes To Life is out June 7.

MP3: Fucked Up – “Ship Of Fools”

Also added to the NXNE lineup, despite having just announced their own August 1 show at The Horseshoe, is Handsome Furs. They will preview new record Sound Kapital at The Garrison at 1AM on June 18.

MP3: Handsome Furs – “Radio Kaliningrad”

And in addition to his set at Yonge-Dundas Square on June 17, Diamond Rings will be at Wrongbar at midnight on June 18. This, of course, is all in addition to his set opening up (again) for Robyn on June 3 at Echo Beach.

MP3: Diamond Rings – “Something Else”

Diamond Rings has also started up a remix series wherein he’ll release a new remix each Tuesday leading up to the June 21 US major label reissue of his album Special Affections. The first entry is a track from Miracle Fortress, whose own Was I The Wave? just came out Stateside this week – there’s a new MP3 from it available to download to mark the occasion. Spinner talks turkey with Graham Van Pelt.

MP3: Miracle Fortress – “Miscalculations”
MP3: Miracle Fortress – “Raw Spectacle” (Diamond Rings remix)

Sloan’s 20th anniversary video back-pat series rolls on, now including installments for “Underwhelmed medley”, “Your Favourite Sloan Lyric”, a rendering of “People Of The Sky” by Owen Pallett and “Sloan’s influence”. Sloan play The Mod Club on June 22.

Rolling Stone is streaming an unreleased Neil Young song circa the mid-80s, due to appear on the Archives release A Treasure, out June 14.

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Darken Her Horse

Review of Austra’s Feel It Break

Photo By Norman WongNorman Wong I never really liked Katie Stelmanis. I am not referring to the person – I don’t know her but I’m sure she’s lovely – but her musical project which, circa 2008 at least, was named simply for herself. In Spring of that year, I saw her twice in the span of a week and a bit and while I acknowledged that she was up to something interesting with her distinctive, operatic voice and skeletal synth-and-percussion backing, but it wasn’t doing it for me and as such, I didn’t pay much heed to her debut album Join Us. I did note, however, that her musical identity continued to publicly morph – for a while she was going just by her surname, and then adopted the guise of Private Life before changing once again to Austra. And while there’d always been a degree of local chatter about what she was up to, that’s when I heard people really begin to talk.

And putting aside past prejudices to give Feel It Break, her debut as Austra, a listen I could understand why. Stelmanis’ most distinctive characteristic has always been her voice but it needed the proper context. Obviously I didn’t think the classical/medieval/gothic atmosphere of her eponymous project worked, unless unsettling was what she was going for, but in giving Austra a sleek, synth-heavy, New Wave/80s-industrial personality, she’s found a winning formula that balances mystery and experimentalism with melody and accessibility.

It’s interesting how so much of what makes Austra was already there three years ago, including percussionist Maya Postepski, but now with the addition of ex-Spiral Beach bassist Dorian Wolf and a greater focus on making the songs danceable and memorable, it all sounds completely fresh and new. Okay, perhaps that’s not the most accurate way of putting it since what Stelmanis’ was doing in her self-titled days was technically far more original, but giving Austra its more familiar-sounding reference points has inarguably made her better. Enough so that you can consider me convinced, which is honestly not something I ever thought I’d be saying. Back in 2008, when people around town were talking about how great Katie Stelmanis was, all I could say was, “really?”. Now, when people everywhere are talking about how great Austra is, all I can say is, “really”.

Feel It Break is out next Tuesday, May 17, and Austra plays a hometown record release show a couple nights later on May 19 at Lee’s Palace.

MP3: Austra – “Lose It”
MP3: Austra – “The Beat And The Pulse”
Video: Austra – “Lose It”
Video: Austra – “The Beat And The Pulse”
Stream: Austra / Feel It Break

Bruce Peninsula have released installment three in their Fire Sale series; a Pentangle cover that you can both listen to and watch. Open Flames is out in the Fall.

MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Light Flight”
Video: Bruce Peninsula – “Light Flight”

Southern Souls serves up a video session with Woodpigeon, who in turn have made MP3s of a recent show in Turin, Italy available to download.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Knock Knock” (live in Turin)

Spinner has an interview with The Rural Alberta Advantage’s Nils Edenloff and has also premiered another Southern Souls-produced live video, this one for “Tornado 87”.

Beatroute and The Vancouver Sun talk to Taylor Kirk of Timber Timbre.

Wood & Wires has posted a couple of basement session videos from The Darcys.

Beatroute, The Winnipeg Free Press, Uptown and The Leader-Post talk to Graham Van Pelt of Miracle Fortress, while gets him to unplug for a Camera Music performance. He may be similarly unamplified (or not) when he plays an in-store at Soundscapes this Friday, May 13, at 4PM. He’s at The Phoenix with Junior Boys on June 9.

MP3: Miracle Fortress – “Raw Spectacle”

Chart talks to Fucked Up frontman Damian Abraham about the inadvertent bloodletting that occurred at a recent show, which you can watch for yourself thanks to the magic of YouTube. Exclaim also reports that the band have put up a mixed tape – as in an actual cassette – of Fucked Up rarities, tracks from friends and side-projects and whatnot – for sale in their webstore. Their new album David Comes To Life is out June 7.

The Balconies are finally back with some new material; while a release date for their second album is still forthcoming, a new 7″ a-sided by “Kill Count” will be released on June 14, just ahead of their June 18 NXNE showcase at Sneaky Dee’s.

The Fly invites The Dears into their courtyard for an acoustic session. The notoriously self-serious band also paid Funny Or Die a visit.

With the release this week of The Double Cross, the twentieth anniversary of Sloan is well underway. Blurt has a feature interview with the band, Chart has unearthed a bunch of interviews with the band over their long career and the first of ten tribute videos wherein actors, musicians and general celebrities reminisce about what Sloan has meant to them has been released – so far, there’s “First Heard Sloan” and “Favourite Sloan Song”. They play an in-store this Saturday at Sonic Boom at 4PM and the Mod Club on June 22.

Chad Van Gaalen’s new record Diaper Island is streaming in whole at MuchMusic in advance of its official release next week. He plays The Great Hall on June 18 as part of NXNE.

Stream: Chad Van Gaalen / Diaper Island

Pitchfork has more details on the forthcoming Scenes From The Suburbs CD/DVD set from Arcade Fire. It will be out on August 2.

Exclaim talks to Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Efrim Manuel Manuck about his various ongoing projects, including the Godspeed reunion and his forthcoming solo record High Gospel, out May 24.

Ticket info for the Weeping Tile/King Cobb Steelie/Have Not Been The Same book release I mentioned a couple weeks back has been revealed – advance tickets will be $18, on sale tomorrow, with proceeds going to the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health.

And some Can-con love across the pond; Drowned In Sound takes a look at what’s happening musically in Toronto right now and The Line Of Best Fit have released their sixteenth (16th) Oh! Canada compilation of downloadable goodness.

Thursday, May 5th, 2011


More Sloan than you can shake a stick at

Photo via Yep RocYep RocThis is not a review of the new Sloan record, the twentieth-anniversary saluting The Double Cross, even though it is out next Tuesday and the time would be about right to do a review. I will say that it’s probably their best record in over a decade, though, and one that I didn’t think they had in them anymore. Quite pleased to be wrong about that.

I’ll offer more complete thoughts on it at a later date, but for now it warrants pointing out that Exclaim is streaming the whole of the new record until Monday and CBC Radio 3 has got the band’s complete discography – including the new album and non-album tracks collected on their B-Sides Win digital comp – available to stream on their Radio 3 page. Randomly clicking through the enormous list of tunes is the perfect way to remind yourself of why they were and are still, on occasion, one of Canada’s greatest pop bands.

The band plays an album release in-store set at Sonic Boom next Saturday, May 14 at 4PM and have scheduled a full gig – their first regular Toronto show in recent memory – at The Mod Club on June 22. Tickets for that are $22.50 in advance.

MP3: Sloan – “Follow The Leader”
MP3: Sloan – “The Answer Was You”
Stream: Sloan / The Double Cross

Fucked Up have made good on their promise to release four preview MP3s in advance of the June 7 release of David Comes To Life. Grab them all below while reading through the website they’ve set up for it.

MP3: Fucked Up – “The Other Shoe”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Ship Of Fools”
MP3: Fucked Up – “A Little Death”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”

NPR has posted a studio session with Caribou, recorded at Los Angeles’ KCRW.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Timber Timbre.

Southern Souls have collected all of the Rural Alberta Advantage church-set videos that have been surfacing – three so far – in one place while VBS visits the band’s rehearsal space.

PJ Harvey has completed the video series for her latest album Let England Shake, premiering the final clip at Vanity Fair, along with a chat with director Seamus Murphy about the clip, while NME have helpfully gathered all the other clips together in one place.

Video: PJ Harvey – “All And Everyone”

Exclaim reports that Radiohead will perform The King Of Limbs in its entirety for BBC broadcast on July 1.

Elbow have released a little mini-doc to go along with their new album build a rocket boys!

Video: Elbow: Rocket Science

BrooklynVegan talks to Faris Badwan and Rachel Zeffira of Cat’s Eyes., The Boston Globe and The Chicago Sun-Times interview Peter Bjorn & John, in town for both an in-store at Sonic Boom and full show at Lee’s Palace on Friday.

And apologies if you’ve been experiencing site slowness the last few days; been trying to figure out what’s going on, whether it’s WordPress install, my PHP server, database, hosting, whatever. None of the evidence points to a single cause but it has definitely been grindy lately. And if you’re someone who’s good at troubleshooting stuff like this and feel like helping out, please get in touch.