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Posts Tagged ‘Ulrich Schnauss’

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Show Yourself

Okkervil River invite you to climb the rope in The Silver Gymnasium

Photo By Ben SklarBen SklarIt’s rather de rigueur these days to sneak-announce the existence of new albums of note, eschewing the traditional long lead for the immediacy allowed by the internet and social media or whatnot, but in revealing the existence of a new Okkervil River record, Will Sheff went with the teasing route, playing a guessing game through last week in revealing a few letters of their new album’s title each day, eventually announcing The Silver Gymnasium this past Monday.

Not that the announcement didn’t come with its share of surprise. Firstly, that it existed and would be out as soon as September 3 – to the casual observer, it seemed that Sheff was more occupied with his Lovestreams side project than recording the follow-up to Okkervil’s 2011 album I Am Very Far, and secondly, that the record sees the band leaving their longtime label of Jagjaguar for the Dave Matthews-founded ATO Records. But the new record is done and however it’s delivered, it’s good news.

More specifics are still forthcoming, but the album announcement also came with the itinerary for a Fall North America tour, which will bring the band back to town for the first time in over three years. They’ll be at The Phoenix on September 28 and tickets are $23.50 in advance.

MP3: Okkervil River – “Your Past Life As A Blast”

Elsewhere on the concert announcement circuit, Doldrums and Absolutely Free have been named as the Art Gallery of Ontario’s First Thursday performers next month on the evening of July 4. Tickets are $12 in advance.

MP3: Doldrums – “Jump Up”
MP3: Absolutely Free – “UFO”

Memoryhouse have announced a July 19 appearance at The Drake Underground, part of a very small handful of Canadian dates this Summer. Tickets for the Drake show are $10.25 in advance.

MP3: Memoryhouse – “Quiet America”

German ambient-electronic artist Ulrich Schnauss will be at The Drake on August 10; his latest A Long Way To Fall came out back in January. Advance tickets are $20.

Video: Ulrich Schnauss – “A Long Way To Fall”

With her solo debut Hero Brother coming out August 20, Arcade Fire violinist Sarah Neufeld has scheduled a live date at The Drake for August 22, tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: Sarah Neufeld – “Hero Brother”

Up-and-coming British soul singer Laura Mvula makes a return to town on September 7 at The Mod Club behind her debut album, Sing To The Moon. Tickets for the show are $20.

Video: Laura Mvula – “Green Garden”

They may have gone indie for their latest album Like Clockwork, but make no mistake – Queens Of The Stone Age are still a big-ass band. To wit – they’ll be at The Air Canada Center on September 10, tickets running at the $34.50, $49.50, and $59.50 price points. Full tour details can be had at Pitchfork.

Video: Queens Of The Stone Age – “I Appear Missing”

Jenn Grant is coming back to town play more songs from last year’s The Beautiful Wild, this time at Lee’s Palace on September 21. Tickets for that show are $15 in advance.

Video: Jenn Grant – “The Fighter”

With Austra’s new album Olympia coming next Tuesday, June 18, it’s high time for an advance stream courtesy of Exclaim, interviews with Katie Stelmanis at MusicOmh and Clash, and a Fall tour that includes a hometown show at The Phoenix on September 27, tickets $25.

Video: Austra – “Home”
Stream: Austra / Olympia

Norwegian singer-songwriter Jenny Havl has made a date at The Rivoli for September 27 in support of her latest album Innocence Is Kinky.

Stream: Jenny Havl – “Mephisto In The Water”

It may have been disappointing to many that Tricky had to cancel his Summer dates in support of his latest False Idols due to visa issues, but Toronto fans will be happy to know that the rescheduled dates now include a local date – October 6 at a venue to be announced. In the meantime, FasterLouder has an interview with Tricky.

MP3: Tricky – “Anti-Matter”

With a new album in Idle No More due out on September 3 via Merge, King Khan & The Shrines have announced a Fall tour that stops in at The Horseshoe on October 26 and offered a stream of one of the new songs via Stereogum.

Stream: King Khan & The Shrines – “Born To Die”

Continuing to stick to her habit of playing one small venue tour and one bigger venue tour per album, Kate Nash will bring Girl Talk back to Toronto for a night at The Phoenix on November 5, tickets $20 in advance.

Video: Kate Nash – “OHMYGOD!”

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Only The Wind

Ólafur Arnalds offers taste of Winter, perhaps unaware that Mother Nature has that covered

Photo By Marino ThorlaciusMarino ThorlaciusI didn’t actually bring back a lot of souvenirs from my trip to Iceland in Fall 2011; a super-warm Kaldi hat (which has served me quite well this Winter), a package of Cronions (though I should have brought back a case), a whackload of photos (ponies!), my first car accident (cars on the inside lane of their roundabouts have the right of way, fyi), and a deep appreciation for the music of Ólafur Arnalds.

I didn’t even catch the entirety of his set at Iceland Airwaves, but what I did see from the 25-year old electronic/classical composer – he on piano and laptop, leading a string quartet and accompanied by elegant animated birds – left a deep impression. I immediately got a copy of his 2010 album …And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness – still one of my go-to escapist records, not least of all because it transports me back to Reykjavik, and have been eagerly awaiting the follow-up ever since.

That album is For Now I Am Winter and after offering the first preview track a few weeks ago, he’s now made a second track available to both listen to and play with, as it’s streaming as an interactive web application on his website that allows you to play with the mix in real time, turning channels on and off as you like. Obviously it sounds best as a fully-realized composition, but being able to isolate and analyze the finer details of his work also offers insights into the work. Both advance tracks represent a pretty familiar aspect of Arnalds’ work, but Winter should offer more than a few surprises as well – in addition to enlisting American composer Nico Muhly to assist on the orchestrations, Arnór Dan of Icelandic band Agent Fresco also contributes vocals – yes, vocals – to three tracks. For Now I Am Winter is out February 25 in Europe and April 2 in North America.

Stream: Ólafur Arnalds – “Only The Wind”
Stream: Ólafur Arnalds – “This Place Was A Shelter”

Sweden’s Deer Tracks will release their new album The Archer Trilogy, Pt. 3 tomorrow and are streaming the whole thing right now at Rdio. Yeah, you have to sign up for their streaming service but my understanding is that a) it’s great, and b) it’s free – at least for now and for Canadians; Americans I’m sure can find a similar deal. The Deer Tracks are here at The Silver Dollar on February 28.

MP3: The Deer Tracks – “W”
Stream: The Deer Tracks / The Archer Trilogy, Pt. 3

The Line Of Best Fit has debuted a stream of another track from the new Shout Out Louds record Optica, due out February 26. They play The Opera House on May 14.

Stream: Shout Out Louds – “Illusions”

Spin has an interview with German electro-gaze auteur Ulrich Schnauss, as well as a stream of his new album A Long Way To Fall, out tomorrow.

Stream: Ulrich Schnauss / A Long Way To Fall

Weird World Record Co has posted a stream of a new/old song from Melody’s Echo Chamber, the original version of the song that would be transmogrified into “IsThatWhatYouSaid” on last year’s self-titled debut.

Stream: Melody’s Echo Chamber – “Je Me Perds de Vue”

Clash talks to Veronica Falls about their new record Waiting For Something To Happen, out tomorrow. They play The Garrison on March 12.

Foals guitarist Jimmy Smith talks to Consequence Of Sound and frontman Yannis Philippakis to The Fly about their new record Holy Fire, in stores tomorrow.

James Blake has offered some context to the Spring tour that brings him to the Danforth Music Hall on May 4; Under The Radar reports his new album Overgrown will be out April 8 and the first video from it surfaced this weekend.

Video: James Blake – “Retrograde”

Hat tip to Gorilla Vs Bear for pointing out the HD video of Jessie Ware’s radio session for KCRW. She’s in town at The Opera House on April 6.

State has an interview with Frightened Rabbit, who also offer up a video session to The Line Of Best Fit. They’re at The Phoenix on March 31.

Magnet interviews The Joy Formidable for the position of guest editor of their website for this week. They play The Phoenix April 12.

DIY has details on the debut album from Ireland’s Little Green Cars. Absolute Zero will be out on May 13, which means they won’t have copies for sale when they play The Drake on March 28. The first video from it is also geoblocked in Canada/North America because sometimes people are awful.

Video: Little Green Cars – “Harper Lee”

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are streaming their new record Push The Sky Away at The Guardian ahead of its official release on February 19. They’ve also released a new video starring Ray Winstone and various seedy goings-on. Nick Cave and company are at Massey Hall on March 23.

Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Jubilee Street”
Stream: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds / Push The Sky Away

The Line Of Best Fit has an interview with Shugo Tokumaru.

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Whirlpool

Chapterhouse, Ulrich Schnauss and Fjord Rowboat at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangOne might think that after last weekend’s three-day salute to the ’90s I’d be ready to get back to the 21st century, musically-speaking, but instead last Wednesday night turned the dial on the wayback-machine even further – Chapterhouse was in town. The North American leg of their reunion tour, which began in late 2009, was delayed from May until this Fall due to volcanic ash though the Toronto show was cancelled earlier for reasons unknown. Hogtown was back on for the new dates, however, and at a larger venue no less that was respectably filled. Clearly whatever reason nixed the original date wasn’t lack of interest.

For anyone with even a passing affection for the British shoegazing movement of the early ’90s, it was hard not to be interested – My Bloody Valentine aside, this was the only first-wave shoegaze band in recent memory to reunite, let alone play shows in North America, in well over a decade (if anyone wants to fact-check that statement, feel free). And while Chapterhouse weren’t as seminal – in my eyes/ears, anyways – as the likes of Ride, Slowdive or Lush, their credentials are indisputable and their debut Whirlpool an essential listen for the genre. Which is basically another way of saying, “if you are a shoegaze fan and Chapterhouse come to your town, you go”.

Locals Fjord Rowboat know how that goes, but for them it was “if Chapterhouse comes to your town, you lend them your gear and open for them”. Which they did, and in return got to play an impressive show for probably a more receptive audience than they’ve ever had. I used Chapterhouse as a reference point their 2007 debut Saved The Compliments For Morning and that still holds for the just-released follow-up Under Cover Of Brightness, the band remaining faithful to the spirit of shoegazing while remembering, unlike many modern-day purveyors of the style, that what made the greats great was that underneath the layers of sound, there were solid songs. And in the interests of disclosure, I should mention that Fjord has two former bandmates in their number. High five!

I’d lived the Ulrich Schnauss experience twice before and thought I’d figured out the secret to appreciating his electro-ambient stuff – close your eyes. Then you don’t notice that the entire “live” set consists of Schnauss playing preprogrammed tracks off his laptop while adding keyboards overtop or mixing things in real-time, or at least I assume that’s what he was doing – I couldn’t actually hear anything changing in the mix as he clicked and fiddled. This time his set came with its own visual component – projections of European urban scenes, mostly looking as though they’d been filmed from a moving car, which held ones interest for a while but after they began to loop, one’s attention began to wander. By the end, I had a new way to enjoy Schnauss’ set – as a particularly cosmic soundtrack to a game of iPhone Civilization.

One of the first thing you notice about Chapterhouse is how young they all still look – all five are barely 40 (if even) and frontmen Andrew Sherriff and Stephen Patman still look remarkably boyish. This is less a comment on their skin care regimen than the fact that they were barely into their twenties (if even) when Whirlpool was released and so, returning to Toronto for the first time in nearly 20 years, they still seemed younger than many acts making their debuts. Also setting them apart from many other acts on the road today was the fact that they weren’t out trying to win over new fans or make a name for themselves – if you were there, you knew why and what you were going to get and were just happy to be there. This isn’t to suggest that the bar for performance was lowered at all, but any mistakes or less-than-perfection – and there was some, in the way of feedback (the bad kind, not the good kind), some awkward re-learning of songs onstage and a “Crystal” that wasn’t as tight or together as you’d want – were quickly and easily forgiven.

Instead, it was much easier to focus on the good. There was the seemingly endless rotation of my favourite guitars and the massive sounds the three guitarists coaxed out of them, including Simon Rowe whose status in Mojave 3 is as unclear as the band’s itself and who missed their last tour. There was their cover of The Beatles’ “Rain”, which got a pass on my usual “no Beatles covers please” rule, their pretty much perfect rendering of “Pearl” – more than making up for “Crystal” – and a set list that, while curiously light on their second album Blood Music, delivered almost all of Whirlpool and a selection of b-sides and rarities that they must have known would be appreciated by an audience of the faithful.

While they were hardly monsters of rock onstage, it was hard to imagine that their performances inspired the originally-derisive “shoegaze” label – sure, Rowe stood pretty much stock-still through the set but Sherriff and Patman moved around and hardly glanced at their feet. Of course, unlike many of their peers Chapterhouse have always been as much about the groove as the wall of sound, sometimes referred to as “baggy-gaze” and moving further towards dance and electronic sounds with Blood Music. None of which makes them sound any more contemporary, but no one was here for contemporary. We were here for 1990 and Chapterhouse brought it.

Prefix and The Faster Times have Chapterhouse interviews and Jess Barnett a conversation with Ulrich Schnauss. Exclaim and Panic Manual have reviews of the Toronto show.

Photos: Chapterhouse, Ulrich Schnauss, Fjord Rowboat @ Lee’s Palace – October 6, 2010
MP3: Chapterhouse – “Pearl”
MP3: Ulrich Schnauss – “Passing By”
MP3: Fjord Rowboat – “Carried Away”
MP3: Fjord Rowboat – “Paragon”
Video: Chapterhouse – “Breather”
Video: Chapterhouse – “April”
Video: Ulrich Schnauss – “Medusa”
Video: Fjord Rowboat – “Carried Away”
MySpace: Chapterhouse
MySpace: Fjord Rowboat

Beatroute and The Boston Globe talk to The Vaselines; they’re in town on October 30 for a show at The Horseshoe.

The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Record and DCist have feature pieces on Teenage Fanclub.

NPR talks to Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian. He and his band are at Massey Hall tonight and their new album Write About Love is also out today – the promo TV talk show put together for the record is streaming at PitchforkTV and the performance of “I Want The World To Stop” from said programme has been excerpted as the first official video from the record.

Video: Belle & Sebastian – “I Want The World To Stop”
Video: Belle & Sebastian Write About Love

A track from Idlewild’s latest (and final?) album Post-Electric Blues has been made available to download to mark the album’s North American release today.

MP3: Idlewild – “Younger Than America”

Drowned In Sound has gone a little British Sea Power-crazy, what with the release of the new Zeus EP in advance of next year’s new full-length – they’ve commissioned a number of features from the band, including their top five UK castles, ten things they wish they hadn’t done, the joy of knitting and a guide to keeping amused on the road.

Charlatans drummer Jon Brookes takes to the band’s blog to thank fans for their support as he convalesces from surgery for a brain tumour while Clash talks to frontman Tim Burgess. A track from their new record Who We Touch has been made available to download.

MP3: The Charlatans – “Love Is Ending”

Barry Hyde of The Futureheads tells Spinner they’re planning on releasing an a capella record early next year.

The Fly has a first listen to the new White Lies record Ritual, due out January 17 in the UK.

A whole slew of new videos in the past few days from the other side of the Atlantic – let’s start with Kele, who has a new clip from his solo record The Boxer.

Video: Kele – “On The Lam”

Foals have rolled out a new video from their second record Total Life Forever.

Video: Foals – “Blue Blood”

Mystery Jets have a new short from this year’s Serotonin. eFestivals and MusicOmh also have interviews.

Video: Mystery Jets – “Show Me The Light”

6 Day Riot have a video for the first single from their forthcoming record On This Island, available in the UK on November 1.

Video: 6 Day Riot – “Take Me Out”

Oxford University’s Cherwell talks to Kate Nash, who has a new single to coincide with her North American tour. It kicks off later this month and includes a date at The Phoenix on November 13.

Video: Kate Nash – “Later On”

For whatever reason, the powers that be have decided that the UK video for La Roux’s “In For The Kill”, out for over a year, just won’t cut it for American audiences and have commissioned a new one. I guess their focus groups demanded more snakes, less cars.

Video: La Roux – “In For The Kill” (US)
Video: La Roux – “In For The Kill” (UK)

The Telegraph talks to Duffy, who releases her second album Endlessly on November 30.

Word is Johnny Flynn’s October 18 show at Lee’s Palace has been postponed until mid-November; all other shows on the North American jaunt, including the 19th in Montreal, appear to still be on, so no idea what the problem with T.O. is. Anyone else hear “Kentucky Pill” on last week’s Weeds? Of course not, because no one with any dignity should admit to watching Weeds anymore. Me, I just heard about it. On the Twitter. Yeah.

Spinner talks to Elvis Costello about his new album National Ransom, out November 2. You can download a track from the record at his website.

Norway’s Serena-Maneesh have rolled out a new video from S-M 2: Abyss In B Minor.

Video: Serena-Maneesh – “D.I.W.S.W.T.T.D.”

NPR is streaming a complete show from The Tallest Man On Earth.