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Posts Tagged ‘Verve’

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Electric Bloom

An introduction to Foals (for me)

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickI’m sitting here trying to figure out why I never listened to Oxford’s Foals. It’s not that I hadn’t heard of them – I made note of both tours they undertook a couple years ago in support of their debut Antidotes, but don’t think I gave them any sort of listen beyond the sample MP3 and maybe a MySpace drive-by. Maybe it was the saxophones that turned me off. But I’m revisiting them – both Antidotes and this year’s follow-up Total Life Forever – and it’s doing it for me.

I wouldn’t have thought that I needed another tense, new-wavey/post-punky English band in my life but Foals feel different enough from the stereotype to warrant some attention. They’re certainly pointy in all the right places, but don’t really get as frantic on the dance floor as some of their peers, opting instead to dwell moodily in the corner. I appreciate the moody dwellers, and there’s much more of this side of their personality evident on Total Life Forever. I can sort of see why I might have passed over Antidotes but the extra bit of groove and sophistication on Total Life Forever is pretty much demanding further listens.

And so I won’t be missing them when they come through town a third time – Filter reports that the quintet are coming over to North America for a Fall tour, and that includes a September 27 date at Lee’s Palace. See you there.

MP3: Foals – “Spanish Sahara”
MP3: Foals – “Balloons”
Video: Foals – “Miami”
Video: Foals – “Spanish Sahara”
Video: Foals – “This Orient”
Video: Foals – “Cassius”
Video: Foals – “Balloons”
Video: Foals – “Hummer”
Video: Foals – “Mathletics”
MySpace: Foals

And speaking of third time’s the charm, you can’t say The Charlatans ever give up. Just as they’ve managed to outlive pretty much every other Madchester and Britpop band, they keep trying to come back to North America. They were going to come in October 2008, then canceled almost immediately. Then they slated a tour for September of last year, which got nixed a month before as drummer Jon Brookes required shoulder surgery. Some might take this as a sign, but they’ve just announced a North American tour in support of a new record entitled Who We Touch, out September 14, and it again includes a Toronto date for September 17 at Lee’s Palace. The two cancelled engagements were supposed to be at the Mod Club; maybe they’re hoping the change of venue changes their fortunes. And all joking aside, I do hope they make it over here this time, as there’s not a lot of shows that I can go to and still feel like one of the younger people in the room.

MP3: The Charlatans – “Oh! Vanity”
MP3: The Charlatans – “You Cross My Path”

They mentioned that it was their first time in Canada when they opened up for Spoon back in March, but Austin’s Strange Boys certainly haven’t been strangers around town since then. I think they played another gig that weekend, were back during NXNE and now they’re coming back with a date at The Garrison on September 22.

Video: The Strange Boys – “Be Brave”

It’s a solid bill from top to bottom as Rogue Wave, Midlake and Peter Wolf Crier team up for a Fall tour that includes a September 24 date at the Opera House.

MP3: Rogue Wave – “Good Morning”
MP3: Midlake – “Acts Of Man”
MP3: Peter Wolf Crier – “Crutch & Cane”

James have compiled a couple of recent mini-albums for the North American market and will release them as the double-set The Morning After The Night Before on September 14, to be accompanied by a North American tour alongside Ed Harcourt that includes a stop at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto on September 30.

Video: James – “Sometimes (Lester Piggot)”
Video: Ed Harcourt – “Born In The ’70s”

Dr. Dog, who’ve just released a new record in Shame, Shame, will be hitting the road in support and bringing Here We Go Magic with them. Look for them at the Phoenix on October 16.

MP3: Dr. Dog – “Stranger”
MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Casual”

Florence & The Machine should probably be working on album number two, which is targeted for an early 2011 release, but instead she’s coming back to North America this Fall, perhaps looking to leverage an appearance on the Twilight soundtrack (the same appearance which has put a Volvo ad on her website… sigh). The itinerary is still taking shape, but in addition to dates in New York and New Orleans, she’ll be in Toronto at the Sound Academy on November 3. Tickets are $30, on sale next Friday, but Rogers Wireless customers have a $20 presale starting Thursday – kind of makes up for that monthly system access fee, doesn’t it?

MP3: Florence & The Machine – “Kiss With A Fist”

Bust out your surgical masks – Clinic are releasing a new album in Bubblegum on October 5 and crossing the Atlantic to promote it. Look for them at Lee’s Palace on November 10.

MP3: Clinic – “Family”

Richard Ashcroft tells The Guardian why this last, past Verve reunion is/was the final one.

Filter and Paste chat with Teenage Fanclub, kicking off their Fall tour with two nights at the Horseshoe on September 22 and 23.

Blurt talks to Joe Boyd, producer of R.E.M.’s Fables Of The Reconstruction. Their third record is being rereleased in double deluxe form today and you can stream it over at Spinner. Only the album, though – none of the bonus goodies.

Stream: R.E.M. / Fables Of The Reconstruction

Spin is offering up another track from Versus’ forthcoming On The Ones And Threes, due out September 14. They’re at Lee’s Palace on August 13.

Under The Radar talks to The Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt.

Steve Earle talks to Offbeat about his role on Treme, his Emmy nomination and New Orleans.

Spinner talks to Sharin Foo of The Raveonettes.

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Forgive Me

Ida Maria and Ladyhawke finally come to Toronto thanks to… I can't say it

Photo via last.fmLastFMYou must understand how it pains me to say this, but at long last two of the artists whom I’ve been waiting to come to Toronto for most of this year – Norwegian firebrand Ida Maria and New Zealand ’80s acolyte Ladyhawke – have finally set a date… and I have Perez Hilton to thank. The two are the marquee acts of the first Perez Hilton Presents tour and as much as I hate to think he and I have anything in common besides rudimentary MS Paint skills, in this case, we’ve got some of the same taste in music.

Both Maria’s Fortress ‘Round My Heart and Ladyhawke’s self-titled debut are irresistibly catchy, the former by means of giddy, boozy energy and the latter with big, retro synth-pop hooks. I should have seen both at SxSW back in March but visa issues kept Ida Maria from making any of her scheduled appearances (save Hilton’s party) and while Ladyhawke’s set wasn’t the most dynamic show, just hearing those songs live was plenty to get excited about.

So despite the name that will surely be posted in big, neon letters above the marquee (figuratively speaking), I will trek out to the Opera House on September 17 to see Ida Maria and Ladyhawke along with Frankmusik, another act apparently with the PH seal of approval, and hope that wonderfully sugary pop wipes out the bad taste of the tour sponsor. Whether you’re able to do the same is between you and your conscience. Full dates at The Music Slut.

MP3: Ladyhawke – “My Delirium”
Video: Ida Maria – “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”
Video: Ida Maria – “Oh My God”
Video: Ida Maria – “Stella”
Video: Ladyhawke – “Paris Is Burning”
Video: Ladyhawke – “My Delirium”
Video: Ladyhawke – “Dusk Till Dawn”
Video: Ladyhawke – “Back Of The Van”

The Verve reunion that went so triumphantly last year? Exclaim and The Guardian report that it’s – wait for it – history.

BBC talks to Mani Mounfield of The Stone Roses on the occasion of the band’s 20th anniversary, which will include a multitude of reissues of their debut album at all price points as of today. The Guardian, meanwhile, has gotten some video footage of the band in the studio recording “Fool’s Gold”.

QRO talks to Aleks Campesinos! of Los Campesinos! about her impending departure from the band and subsequent reclamation of her surname.

NME has some info on Sigh No More, the debut album from Mumford & Sons, finally ready for an October 5 release in the UK.

The Boston Globe talks to Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan.

The Telegraph is the latest media outlet to catch onto the ’80s revival trend in pop music, talking to La Roux’s Elly Jackson about the movement.

Also mentioned in that piece is Little Boots, with whom The Telegraph has a separate feature interview. She’s at Wrongbar on September 14.

The Quietus talks to The Big Pink. There’s a new video from A Brief History Of Love, out September 22, and they’ll be at Lee’s Palace on November 29.

Video: The Big Pink – “Dominos”

Ambient/post-rock outfit Sian Alice Group have a date at the Drake Underground on October 16 as part of a massive Fall tour in support of their new album Troubled, Shaken, Etc..

Video: Sian Alice Group – “Close To The Ground”

Shonen Knife will be at the Horseshoe on October 18, tickets $15.50. Their new album Super Group is out August 25.

MP3: Shonen Knife – “Super Group”
Video: Shonen Knife – “Super Group”

Stereogum has premiered the next video from Yo La Tengo’s Popular Songs, out September 8. They’re at the Opera House on October 3.

Video: Yo La Tengo – “Avalon Or Someone Very Similar”

Sweet Oblivion has an interview with School Of Seven Bells, who have a date at Lee’s Palace on October 15.

Paste gets to know Chairlift.

Bradley’s Almanac is sharing MP3s of a Telekinesis show in Cambridge, MA from earlier this year.

Decider talks to Kim Deal of The Breeders and Pixies, the former of whom are at Lee’s Palace this Saturday and the latter at V Fest on August 29.

I didn’t realize that Magnet was slowly putting their back issue feature content online. This is fantastic news, as they’ve had some terrific stories over the years including this one about the Minneapolis scene of the ’80s, focusing on The Replacements and Husker Du. As I recall, the interviews with the three members of Husker Du were particularly fascinating reading. I’ll be looking through my back issues of Magnet to see what other goodies might have found their way online.

And while looking back to the past, a request from a friend – back on November 20, 1999, Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros played a ridiculously good show at the Warehouse in Toronto at which he and I were in attendance. Apparently this show was webcast with state-of-the-art 1999 webcasting technology, possibly also broadcast via radio, and apparently bootlegs exist. My question to any and all out there reading – do you have a copy of this, and if so, can you share? Please and thank you? Thanks.

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Baby, I Grew You A Beard

CONTEST – Neil Halstead @ The Drake Underground – November 8, 2008

MySpaceMySpaceThe arc of Neil Halstead’s long and storied musical career taken him many places. He was both an architect of sonic cathedrals at the dawn of Slowdive’s career and a pioneer of electronic ambiance at its end, then with Mojave 3 he played the roles of country-rock and power-pop songsmith with equal facility. With his first solo album Sleeping On Roads in 2002, he took the soft-spoken folk balladeer that’s lain at the heart of his songwriting throughout it all and brought it to the fore, a place he revisits once again with the long-awaited and long-delayed follow-up, Oh! Mighty Engine.

And even though six years have elapsed between records, Halstead picks up largely where he left off. The spectre of a failed relationship that hung overhead during the making of Roads isn’t present here, which perhaps explains why the new record is brighter in tone than its predecessor. Even so, Engine is still spare and homespun, built in rich melody on a sturdy framework built of voice and acoustic guitar with gentle percussion, piano and electric or steel guitar accouterments where appropriate. It’s a format that suits Halstead well, as for all the soundscapes that he’s surrounded himself with over the years, he’s always been at his best when conveying a quiet, thoughtful intimacy. And for showcasing his strengths as a singer-songwriter, Engine is Halstead at his best.

As solid and enjoyable as Halstead’s solo output is, it’s not a substitute for the chemistry and magic that is Mojave 3. So it’s good to know that even with drummer Ian McCutcheon busy with his solo project The Loose Salute and Rachel Goswell continuing to recover from the ear-related illness that kept her from playing a larger role on Puzzles Like You, in this interview with AgitReader Halstead says that he hopes to begin work on a new Mojave 3 record before the year is out.

Halstead is currently on tour across North America – finally Jack Johnson-free – and will be at the Drake Underground on Saturday night, November 8, for an early show (9:30 start). Anyone who saw him play at the Rivoli back in 2002 in support of Roads surely remembers how utterly magical that performance was and if this show even comes close to measuring up to that one, it’s going to be a special one indeed. Courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away to the show – to enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see Neil Halstead” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, November 6.

Apparently as part of this tour, Halstead has an agenda to visit NPR as many times as possible. Currently there’s two sessions available to stream – one at the World Cafe and one at KEXP.

MP3: Neil Halstead – “Paint A Face”
Video: Neil Halstead – “Paint A Face”
Video: Neil Halstead – “Queen Bee”

Drowned In Sound reconsiders the musical oeuvre of Swervedriver, still isn’t overly impressed. The three albums in question will be re-released in North America on January 6.

Pitchfork has details on the debut album from head Swervie Adam Franklin’s current project, Magnetic Morning. A.M. will be out January 27.

Simon Jones of The Verve talks to Chart about why guitarist Simon Tong wasn’t invited to the reunion party.

Another Tong – Matt, of Bloc Party, gives an interview to Virgin Music. Bandmate Kele Okereke talks to Metro and The Edmonton Journal.

I wouldn’t normally bother noting anything that Norman Cook of Fatboy Slim gets up to, but when the second single from his new project The Brighton Port Authority features Emmy The Great front and centre, you have my attention. You can stream it at their MySpace or better yet, watch the video. Via Stereogum.

Video: The Brighton Port Authority featuring Emmy The Great – “Seattle”
MySpace: The Brighton Port Authority

EDP24 interviews Matt Urby of Noah & The Whale and Erockstar has a video interview with the band. They’re at the El Mocambo on December 9.

Scottish quartet Glasvegas, first considered in these pages last December, will begin their attempt to conquer North America the way they have the UK with the release of their self-titled debut on January 6. I picked up a copy on import a little while back, thoughts forthcoming. They’ll also be doing some touring over here in the new year, but no Toronto date as yet. They’ve also recorded a Christmas EP, which they talk to The Daily Record about.

Anyone see Wilco on The Colbert Report last week? I didn’t. Thankfully it’s viewable online in Canada on CTV and in the US at Comedy Central. Or you can just watch the clip of the new song they played.

Video: Wilco – “Wilco, The Song” (live on The Colbert Report)

Fleet Foxes are the subject of features at Rolling Stone and Filter.

Gotham Acme talks to Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste about the US election… which is today. How about that.

Speaking of election day, Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers has made available for free a new song written just after Bush II was re-elected. Hood has never been one to shy away from political statements, wearing his opinions on his sleeve… or his guitar.

JAM finds out why The Hold Steady always seem so dang happy. The Hold Steady and the Drive-By Truckers are at the Phoenix next Tuesday night.

Couple shows announced for the new year… on the same day. First you’ve got Annuals at the El Mocambo on January 24, tickets $10.

MP3: Annuals – “Confessor”
Video: Annuals – “Confessor”

And down Spadina at the Horseshoe, you’ve got buzzy band du jour, Passion Pit – tickets for that one are also $10.

MP3: Passion Pit – “Sleeyphead”
Video: Passion Pit – “Sleeyphead”

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Get Outta Town!

Photo ByLibi PedderSo – I’m currently in a weird sort of position where after a fairly hectic few weeks of wholly bloggable stuff, I’ve finally gotten a chance to take a breath and have realized that I have nothing to blog about. Which is not to say that there’s nothing worthwhile happening in music, just that I’ve not had the chance to listen to anything in the last while sufficiently that I feel compelled to write about it nor is anything especially newsworthy happening that I can run with (besides Chinese Democracy! November 23!).

And so, instead, I’ll tread water for a day and look ahead to next week, when I jet off to New York City for CMJ though not for CMJ. As previously mentioned, I am going to witness the North American debut of Lucky Soul, which just happens to be part of the CMJ Music Marathon. You may recall that their retro-pop-tacular debut The Great Unwanted was one of my top albums of last year and even a year and a half later, it remains an absolute delight. And considering how difficult it is for them to cross the pond, this is an opportunity not to be missed. They’re actually playing two shows – the official showcase on the 23rd at what is apparently a brand new venue called The Studio At Webster Hall and then a headlining show of their own the following evening at Joe’s Pub as presented by Music Snobbery. And, around these two must-see shows I’m hoping to squeeze in a few more – currently on the calendar I’ve got The Brother Kite at Lit on the 23rd (immediately following Lucky Soul’s show a few blocks away) and then Emmy The Great is apparently doing a day show of some sort at The Delancey on the Saturday.

If I can fit all that in, I will declare the weekend to be a triumph. Anything on top of that is gravy. I’m also hoping to squeeze in a bit of touristing whilst I’m there – the last time I was in New York a couple years back, I managed to hit most areas in Manhattan except for Soho and the Lower East Side. This time, excepting a midtown pilgrimage to B&H, I don’t expect to leave that area. Anything particularly noteworthy to see around there? This is probably the last trip of any sort I’m taking for a good long while, probably till SxSW in March, so I’d like to make the most of it.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “The Great Unwanted”
Video: Lucky Soul – “Lips Are Unhappy”
Video: Lucky Soul – “My Brittle Heart”
Video: Lucky Soul – “Add Your Light To Mine, Baby”
MySpace: Lucky Soul

Ex-Pipette Rosay – now just Rose Elinor Dougall – has made her first single as a solo artist available for grabsies. It’ll be released as an ultra-limited 7″ single on December 8. The Von Pip Musical Express has an interview with Dougall about going solo. Oh, and the new lineup of the Pipettes look a little like this.

MP3: Rose Elinor Dougall – “Another Version Of Pop Song”

Paste talks reunion with Simon Jones of The Verve. I finally picked up a copy of Forth this weekend – used, natch – and to my surprise it’s not nearly as weak as I’d been led to believe. Not a classic by any stretch and it definitely has a potent case of the meanders, but still pretty listenable if in a wallpaper-y way. It doesn’t hurt my ears, though if I never ever hear the phrase “A latte, double shot” used in a song lyric again, it’ll be too soon.

The Quietus considers a recent Jarvis Cocker lecture on the importance of songwriting and comes up with a list of the 20 worst lyrics ever committed to, um, voice? And not even Dylan or Morrissey escape unscathed.

Billy Bragg sings Woody Guthrie to a lobster puppet for the CBC at the ANTI blog. Why ask why?

NME reports that Franz Ferdinand will release their third album Tonight on January 27.

The Killers are at Massey Hall on November 18.

Drowned In Sound talks to Murray Lightburn of The Dears about the difficult birth of Missiles, out next Tuesday. And I should clarify something that was pointed out to me after I talked about the record a few weeks back – though the previous lineup of the band is obviously now dissolved, some of them did play on the new record. From the sounds of the interview, probably Patrick Krief, now plying his trade as Black Diamond Bay and, incidentally, playing a gig at the Annex Wreck Room tonight.

MP3: Patrick Krief – “Worries Are Over”

Centro-Matic have released a new video from the Dual Hawks double-record. Will Johnson is in town tonight at Lee’s Palace as a pinch-hitter guitarist in The New Year.

Video: Centro-Matic – “Rat Patrol & DJs”

As they’ve done the past few years, the Toronto Public Library is injecting some hot rock into the stacks with their Make Some Noise program, basically an invitation to turn a library – in this case the North York Central branch – into a rock venue. On November 15, they’ll host a free show featuring Slim Twig, Masia One, Winter Gloves and Gentleman Reg and according to Soundscapes, there’ll be some workshops the following week covering topics such as breaking into the music business and DIY show booking. Tickets for the show are available now, first-come first-serve at Soundscapes and certain Toronto Public Library branches. Details here.