Posts Tagged ‘Travis’

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

So Slowly

Early Day Miners head inland for Treatment

Photo By Rebecca DrolenRebecca DrolenIt was a small bright spot and pleasant surprise last week when mail call brought a copy of the new Early Day Miners album, The Treatment. Pleasant because their last album, 2006’s Offshore, was an unexpected epic that turned out to be one of my favourites of the year and surprise because though the band had announced that The Treatment would be coming out this year back in late 2008, more specific information wasn’t forthcoming and I was beginning to assume that it would be pushed back indefinitely. But as it turned out, snail mail actually outpaced electronic mail and the CD got to me a day before the official press release.

Also to file under “surprise” what the CD held. Offshore won my heart and mind with its sprawling and often desolate sonic topology, all slow and brooding and beautiful. It’s a record where the vocals don’t enter until nearly 10 minutes into its running time, so imagine my surprise when I pressed “play” on The Treatment and was met with singing barely one second in. And the reinvention continues throughout the record, with the Bloomington, Indiana outfit having scaled their lineup down to a four-piece and focused on more compact, pop-structured songs. And though it takes some getting used to, initial listens reveal that they can indeed handle the tighter melodies – first MP3 “So Slowly” is a gem – and for those who preferred them for their mopier sentiments, don’t worry – even when you hear them smiling, it’s evident they’re still frowns turned upside down.

Early Day Miners gave a taste of their new direction via a Daytrotter session back in January of 2008, but that was over a year and a half ago. I’d forgotten what they were up to. The new album is due out September 22 and there will be some touring to follow, though mainly in the midwest and nothing up this way.

MP3: Early Day Miners – “So Slowly”
MySpace: Early Day Miners

Funnily, even when the world seems to stop, it doesn’t actually and so all last week local concert announcements kept piling up in my inbox and RSS. And here they are in chronological order.

Do Make Say Think will play the Polish Combatants Hall on August 19 as part of the kick off for the Bicycle Film Festival, which is indeed a clever name for a film festival celebrating bicycles. Tickets for that are $22.

After always playing the billing bridesmaid, New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus are setting out on their first headlining tour this September in support of their debut The Airing Of Grievances and will stop in at the Horseshoe on September 5, tickets $10.50.

MP3: Titus Andronicus – “Titus Andronicus”
Video: Titus Andronicus – “Titus Andronicus”

A Hawk & A Hacksaw have a date at the Drake Underground on September 16, tickets $12.50. Damon & Naomi starting the very next night in Montreal.

That Wavves guy is probably disobeying some doctor’s orders in touring this Fall so catch him/them on September 22 at the El Mocambo and make it worth his/their while. Tickets $13.50.

MP3: Wavves – “So Bored”

And a week later, fellow garage-dwelling San Diegan buzz band The Soft Pack will be across the street for a show at The Silver Dollar on September 29 as part of a Fall tour that will not be in support of their debut full-length, since they’re only starting to record it this month.

MP3: The Soft Pack – “Nightlife”

Long unofficial, the two Built To Spill dates at Lee’s Palace have been confirmed – October 6 and 7, tickets $26.50 – as part of a massive Fall tour. One assumes that their next album There Is No Enemy will be out by then but there’s no release date yet. Doug Martsch talks to Spinner about what you might expect from the new record, though those attending the show may not want to expect to hear the new record.

Sea Wolf’s second album White Water, White Bloom is due out September 22 and, of course, touring will follow with the band accompanied by Port O’Brien and Sara Lov. The Toronto date is October 9 at Sneaky Dee’s. Grab bonus track from White Water, White Bloom at Dangerbird Records.

Mike Doughty is coming to town for three shows over two nights at the Drake Underground. One the eve of October 10 and two on the 11th, one early one late. $25 for each.

Video: Mike Doughty – “27 Jennifers”

The Gossip are hitting the road in support of their new album Music For Men, including an October 14 date at the Opera House in Toronto. Beth Ditto tells Spinner she’s a big nerd.

Video: The Gossip – “Heavy Cross”
Video: The Gossip – “Love Long Distance”

And if that’s not your speed, that same evening finds Alaska’s Portugal. The Man at the Horseshoe promoting their latest, The Satanic Satanist. Aquarium Drunkard talks to John Gourley about growing up in Alaska while The Minnesota Daily and Time Out New York also have interviews.

MP3: Portugal. The Man – “People Say”

Lucero were just here back in April – with Titus Andronicus, actually – but will be putting out their major-label debut 1372 Overton Park on October 6 and hitting the road to support, of course, including an October 20 date at Lee’s Palace. Tickets for that are $16.50.

MP3: Lucero – “What Else Would You Have Me Be”

El Perro Del Mar will release her new album Love Is Not Pop on October 20 and tour as support for Peter Bjorn & John, presumably including their November 11 date at the Phoenix. NME has album details.

Broadcast and Atlas Sound have opted to split gas money this Fall as co-headliners and will be at Lee’s Palace on October 24. The former will be putting out a split EP with The Focus Group on October 13 while the latter’s new album Logos is out October 20.

Julie Doiron has an October 27 date at Lee’s Palace and has invited Herman Dune along for the show. Tickets are $13.50.

MP3: Julie Doiron – “When Brakes Get Wet”
MP3: Julie Doiron – “Consolation Prize”

And finally, the Fran Healy and Andy Dunlop half of Travis are doing an acoustic tour this Fall, which includes an October 30 date at the Mod Club, tickets $29.50.

I think that’s enough for today – it’s a holiday after all. And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who offered condolences and kind words last week in the wake of my father’s passing. I was more than a little floored by the support, and on behalf of myself and my family, say thanks for the well wishes. It was a tough, tough week but we’re doing alright.

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

CONTEST – Travis @ The Sound Academy – April 21, 2009

Photo via MyspaceTravisI’ll not be so ungenerous as to say something like, “Travis? They’re still around?”. After all, I got a lot of enjoyment out of their 1999 breakthrough album The Man Who, although those good feelings may have just been dispelled by the realization that that record came out a full decade ago. And though they never quite reached that level of popular success again, I know the Scottish quartet have forged a very respectable career in the interim.

But still, they’d fallen off my radar more than a little and I was a bit surprised when their latest album Ode To J Smith showed up in my mailbox last year, it being the first physical evidence of their continued plugging along I’d been faced with in some time. And I was even more surprised to find that rather than get softer in their old age – they were hardly rock monsters even in their youth – Smith presented a louder and more aggressive Travis than I’d expected. Fran Healy’s yearning voice does still soften the edges of anything it’s laid overtop and the ballad end of things is well-represented, but the record has an energy level that they are to commended on. I don’t know that the songs themselves are that noteworthy – loud or no, they’re still a pop band and there’s nothing that’s as hooky or affecting as their best work (though the anthemic “Song To Self” comes pretty damn close) – but it’s pleasing to see they’re still kicking and with such vitality.

And they’re currently kicking their way across North America on tour for J Smith and that itinerary includes a date at the Sound Academy in Toronto on April 21. And, courtesy of Fontana North, I’ve got a pair of tickets for the show to give away. If you want to go and promise to cheer just as loudly for the new material as you will for “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?”, them email me at contests AT with “I want to see Travis” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body. These are physical tickets that will need to be delivered. And as such, this contest will close at midnight, April 14 so that the post office has time to do their thing.

There’s interviews with the band at Planet Radiocity, Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune.

Video: Travis – “J Smith”
Video: Travis – “Song To Self”
Video: Travis – “Why Does It Always Rain On Me”
MySpace: Travis

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Traveling Woman

Tour dates announced from Bat For Lashes, Franz Ferdinand, Lily Allen, Travis and more

Photo By Jeaneen LundJeaneen LundThe old inbox was overflowing with local concert announcements yesterday – certainly makes cobbling together a post easy. In chronological order…

Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains, who just played an instore at Sonic Boom last week, are heading out on a European tour through most of this month but will be having a little homecoming party at the Horseshoe on March 6. Tickets $10.50. Grainger has a little chat with Spoonfed.

MP3: Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains – “American Names”
MP3: Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains – “By Cover Of Night (Fire Fight)”

Julie Doiron is set to release a new album on March 24 in I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day and will follow that up a trio of dates up the 401 including a March 26 date at the Horseshoe. Tickets $10.

MP3: Julie Doiron – “Consolation Prize”

Their new album Beacons is complete, but there’s still no firm release date for the sophomore effort from Ohbijou… but considering they’ve just announced a CD release show for said record on April 18 at the Opera House, it’s probably safe to say that it’ll be out around then. Tickets for that fete will be $13.

I will admit to being mildly astonished not by the fact that Travis are coming back to North America this Spring in support of last year’s Ode To J Smith, but that they’re playing – at least here on April 21 – venues the size of the Sound Academy. 3000 people to see Travis in 2009? And at $34.50 a ticket? Really? Huh. The Daily Yomiuri has an interview with the band about the making of the album.

Video: Travis – “J Smith”
Video: Travis – “Song To Self”

The Appleseed Cast have a new album in Sagarmatha coming out February 17 and they’ve got a date at the Horseshoe for April 21, tickets $10. Songs from the record can be heard at Stereogum and RCRDLBL.

Despite being rather fond of most of the “sassy English female singer-songwriters” which followed in her wake, Lily Allen has never done much for me. Might her new record It’s Not Me, It’s You, out next week, change my mind? The album is currently streaming in its entirety over at her MySpace – let’s find out. She’s also playing a show at the Phoenix on April 22, tickets $27.50, and Spin has posted online an excerpt of this month’s cover story on the singer. Update: Full North American tour dates at The Music Slut.

Video: Lily Allen – “The Fear”
Stream: Lily Allen / It’s Not Me, It’s You

I need no such persuasion to get excited for the return of Bat For Lashes (pictured). Her second album Two Suns, which will feature unlikely guests Scott Walker and Yeasayer, is coming out on April 6 and following a set of European dates will come some North American ones. In addition to a previously announced New York and Philadelphia dates, she will be in Toronto on April 25 for a show at the Mod Club, tickets $15. Their last show here in September 2007 was amazing, no reason to believe this one will be anything less. Rolling Stone talks to Natasha Khan about the split personality conceit behind her new record while MTV has a video interview. And check out this live performance of a new song on BBC2:

Video: Bat For Lashes – “Moon And Moon” (live on BBC2)

And last but not least for the show announcements, Franz Ferdinand are coming back on May 4 and playing a venue considerably larger than their cozy little Lee’s Palace gig last December, but if you don’t think they’ll sell out the Kool Haus in a heartbeat, you’re dreaming. Tickets for that one are $30 and go on sale February 7 at 10AM. Pitchfork has an interview with the band conducted here during their last visit.

In a rather drastic change of venue, the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart/Depreciation Guild show originally slated to happen at Neutral next Thursday has been moved to Lee’s Palace. Which pleases me because the lights at Neutral are, to put it mildly, abhorrent. All tickets will be honoured and there will probably be a lot more available now.

And some bits related to already-announced shows that are upcoming… Exclaim has a feature on Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons and Radio Free Canuckistan has posted up the complete transcript of the interview that went into the piece. They play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on February 17.

Soundproof features The Rural Alberta Advantage, who will play Wavelength at Sneaky Dee’s on February 22 and then do a CMW showcase at the Gladstone in the wee hours (1AM) of March 12. The band made their NYC debut last week and accounts are that it went really well. They play New York again this Friday and Saturday nights.

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit is out February 17, and Muzzle Of Bees has five questions with Mr Isbell. They play the Horseshoe on March 4.

The Montreal Mirror profiles Basia Bulat, who will play Lee’s Palace on March 14 as part of CMW, and will be getting to work on album number two later this Spring. also has a little chat about her decision to record a Sam Cooke cover for a 7″ single.

Aquarium Drunkard gets Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers to offer a brief guide to his favourite places in Toronto. There’s also a trio of intimate performance videos from Dekker over at Their new album Lost Channels is out March 31 and they play the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 25.

Friday, October 17th, 2008

The Company I Can Get

The New Year in Toronto

Photo ByFrank YangRocking out, of course, would have been wholly inappropriate. The New Year may have finally chosen to visit Toronto after years of passing us by, but to make any sort of production of it would have been completely out of character. Instead, the slow and steady languidness on which they’ve built their career (or careers, if you count Bedhead) demanded that the Texan quintet show up, do their quietly mesmerizing thing and depart. Which they did, while still blowing at least a few of the 50 or so minds gathered to welcome them.

I’d gotten a preview of what the live show might be like when the two principals – Matt and Bubba Kadane – played Sneaky Dee’s as a duo back in July but as anticipated, the addition of the third (and at one point fourth) guitar and rock-solid rhythm section featuring drummer extraordinaire Chris Brokaw put things into another dimension from that stripped-down performance. I covered some of what makes The New Year special in my review of their new eponymous album but to see the intricate guitar-chestrations executed live was fascinating – between the five of them, it was like watching musical engineers at work, systematically and methodically building something cool and crystalline and beautiful.

Neither Kadane seemingly interested in stepping up to the front of the stage unless they had to sing, so at more than a few points the entire band was pulled back to near the back of the stage, far more intent on the job at hand than working the crowd. Material was drawn from all three of their records though with the absence of a piano in the lineup, arrangements were rejigged to be even more guitar-intensive but such is the magic of their recipe that even with all that going on, nothing got overly busy or muddled – each part rung out clear as a bell and as delicately or intensely as necessary. With a set that lasted just an hour including encore, it seemed rather short considering how long I – and at least a few others I sure – had waited for the show, but that’s a small complaint. Satisfying in every other regard.

It was unclear who support was for this show – all listings I’d seen said Angela Desveaux, but a few instead said a fellow named Ryan Driver. As it happens, it was both. Driver was up first and didn’t seem at all perturbed to be playing to less than a dozen people. Seated in a chair and deftly fingerpicking his acoustic guitar, he offering up a short set of fairly standard but still well-executed coffeehouse folk. Desveaux, on the other hand, brought a full-sized band featuring not just three guitars but a pedal steel as well, all tasked with recreating the rich country pop of her latest record The Mighty Ship. I’ve always found Desveaux to be a solid, if not over spectacular, live performer – her strength is very much her voice and songwriting – so the extra musical muscle went a long way to making things engaging throughout. Throw in a couple of covers from Paul Simon and Richard & Linda Thompson and you had a set that was comfy like a warm sweater.

New City Chicago talks to Matt Kadane, Here chats with Angela Desveaux.

Photos: The New Year, Angela Desveaux, Ryan Driver @ Lee’s Palace – October 15, 2008
MP3: The New Year – “The Company I Can Get”
MP3: The New Year – “X Off Days”
MP3: The New Year – “The End’s Not Near”
MP3: The New Year – “Sinking Ship”
MP3: Angela Desveaux – “Sure Enough”
MP3: Angela Desveaux – “Heartbeat”
Video: The New Year – “The End’s Not Near”
Video: Angela Desveaux – “Wandering Eyes”
Video: The New Year – “Disease”
MySpace: The New Year
MySpace: Angela Desveaux

Boston Music Spotlight spotlights Frightened Rabbit, playing Lee’s Palace on Tuesday.

The Ithaca Journal interviews Billy Bragg.

Travis – remember them? – are back with a new album in Ode To J Smith, out now. And it sounds a little like this.

MP3: Travis – “J. Smith”

Murray Lightburn details the fall and rise of The Dears to The Globe & Mail.

Time Out Chicago gets some time with TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe.

The Denver Post chats with John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. Their new EP Satanic Messiah is available digitally, either via a pay what you can model or at a suggested price tag of the devil of $6.66.

Colin Meloy gives Paste some insight into the next Decemberists record Hazards Of Love, currently targeted for an April release.

Will Sheff of Okkervil River gives SPIN an explanation of the song that closes out The Stand Ins, “Bruce Wayne Campbell Interviewed on the Roof of the Chelsea Hotel, 1979”.

Two Hours Traffic are coming back for their four millionth Toronto show this year for an all-ages gig at the Whippersnapper Gallery on November 28 as part of their “Sure Can Start” tour. Hey, that’s the same name as one of their songs. What a coincidence!

MP3: Two Hours Traffic – “Sure Can Start”

The Falls Church News Press and Minneapolis Star-Tribune talk to Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning. They’ve got two dates at the Sound Academy on November 27 and 28.