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Posts Tagged ‘WU LYF’

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Moving Further Away

Review of The Horrors’ Skying

Photo By Neil KrugNeil KrugThose of us who dismissed The Horrors as gimmicky flash in the pans based on their 2007 debut Strange House were left eating our words with their follow up, 2009’s massive and grinding Primary Colours. With the assistance of producer Geoff Barrow, all the band’s cartoonish aspects (stage surnames included) were jettisoned in favour of a goth-y and raw, yet melodic aesthetic that evoked the most aggressive aspects of ’80s British New Wave and ’90s shoegaze. As far as reinventions went, this was a pretty damned successful one and if the band continued to use Primary Colours as a template for future works, no one would be surprised or disappointed.

What Skying, the band’s third effort, proves however is that remaining creatively stationary is not in the game plan. Self-produced this time out, it uses Primary Colours as a jumping-off point but despite utilizing a similar palette of sounds, it paints a markedly different picture. It comes across both less aggressively and less immediately pop than its predecessor and while you might reasonably wonder what that leaves, the answer is plenty. Skying retains enough of the deliciously abrasive guitar textures and swooping synths that roped in so many last time out, but the songs are more midtempo and laden with a romantic lushness that should be familiar to those who’ve heard frontman Faris Badwan’s throwback pop side-project Cat’s Eyes (and if you haven’t, you should).

This is not to say that Skying is soft – numbers like “I Can See Through You” and plenty other moments cut like anything they’ve ever done – but there’s a greater willingness to explore the nuances of what they’re doing, and that makes for a deeper and more challenging but ultimately more rewarding listen. But perhaps more exciting than the album itself is the realization that The Horrors have no shortage of ideas or inspiration and perhaps most importantly, no desire to repeat themselves.

Skying is out in North America next Tuesday, August 9. Their North American tour kicks off in just over a month and hits Lee’s Palace in Toronto on September 27. The Skinny has an interview with the band about making the new record.

MP3: The Horrors – “Moving Further Away”
Video: The Horrors – “Still Life”
Stream: The Horrors / Skying

Male Bonding will warm up for their September 2 show at The Horseshoe on September 2 with an in-store down the street at Kops Records at 6PM that same evening. Their new album Endless Now is out August 30.

MP3: Male Bonding – “Bones”

UK dubstep DJ SBTRKT will play a live show at The Hoxton – formerly known as but still located at 69 Bathurst – on November 3. Odds of Drake showing up as a surprise guest on “Wildfire” as he did at Wrongbar last month? Probably not great. BUT YOU NEVER KNOW.

MP3: SBTRKT – “Wildfire”
Video: SBTRKT – “Wildfire”

NPR and Spinner talks to James Blake, who will be at The Phoenix on September 30.

USA Today acquaints its readers with the works of Friendly Fires, in town for a make-up show at The Phoenix on October 23. Time Out Hong Kong also has a feature piece.

Pitchfork has an interview with WU LYF, who recently announced a November 12 show at The Horseshoe.

DIY talks to Dev Hynes of Blood Orange, whose debut album Coastal Grooves is due out August 30.

Blurt talks to Vincent Moon about directing the Burning live concert film for Mogwai.

Last week I pointed you at a stream of the first finished recording from former Long Blonde Kate Jackson; said track is now available to download and keep and repeat. Also check out some demos at her Soundcloud.

MP3: Kate Jackson Group – “Date With Dawn”

They’re refusing to call it an Arab Strap reunion, but Malcolm Middleton and Aidan Moffat did get together again for the purpose of recording a characteristically grim cover of Slow Club’s new single – stream it and read some commentary from Moffat at The Quietus. Slow Club’s Paradise – from which the original song is taken – is out September 12.

Pitchfork is won over by a new track from I Break Horses’ debut Hearts, out August 30 in Europe.

MP3: I Break Horses – “Winter Beats”

The Line Of Best Fit is streaming another gorgeous new Loney Dear song from the forthcoming Hall Music. It’s out October 4 and they play The Drake on November 4.

The Jezabels are sharing the first MP3 from their new record Prisoner, even though it’s not out until Spring of next year. At least you can hear it and other new tunes when the band plays The Phoenix on November 24 opening up for Hey Rosetta!.

MP3: The Jezabels – “Endless Summer”

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Passive Aggressive

The Radio Dept. no longer convincing anyone they hate touring

Photo via FacebookFacebookFor the longest time, conventional wisdom about The Radio Dept. said the Swedish three-piece hated to play live, preferring to record, throw out and re-record albums of gorgeously forlorn synth-pop in the safety and comfort of their studio. As such, I undertook a pilgrimage of sorts to New York two Summers ago to see them play what I assumed would be an incredibly rare show.

Even when their long-awaited third album Clinging To A Scheme broke them open to a much larger audience (relative statement but still) following its release last Spring, they seemed to be unwilling to capitalize on the interest, playing only some Asian and European dates in the Spring and another couple of New York shows late in the year. I seriously considered getting on a plane again but was tipped off that 2011 would be year that The Radio Dept became intimately acquainted with North America and indeed, they spent the first half of February traversing the continent and making their Toronto debut in front of a completely sold-out Lee’s Palace.

And then, against all expectations, they came back, playing The Horseshoe in late May. I missed that one on account of being in Europe but I’d like to think that the show was well-attended, perhaps with all the people who couldn’t get into the Lee’s show. Either way, it must have been at least full enough to justify a third go-around because that’s what we’re getting – a third Radio Dept. show in nine months, this one on November 17 at The Mod Club. It’s part of their largest North American tour yet, and if you need an reason beyond “why not”, then how about that first show was to promote Clinging, the second the Passive Aggressive compilation and this one… their vinyl reissues? I hope so, because Pet Grief has been sorely underrepresented in the shows I’ve seen… In any case – even though I won’t assume they’re any more dynamic a live act than in the past, I still highly recommend seeing them because the songs are still sublime and – wealth of recent appearances notwithstanding – who knows when they’ll be back?

The band are offering a recording of their set at Sasquatch this past May – including a new, untitled song – for free download.

MP3: The Radio Dept – “untitled new song” (live at Sasquatch 2011)
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Why Won’t You Talk About It?”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The Worst Taste In Music”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Heaven’s On Fire”

Also filling out the November concert calendar a bit – mysterious British rockers WU LYF, whose name is an acronym for World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation and not meant to be shouted, have made a date at The Horseshoe for November 12 as part of a Fall tour in support of their debut Go Tell Fire To The Mountain. Spinner has an interview with the band.

MP3: WU LYF – “Summas Bliss”

And The Boxer Rebellion, who were here back in April, will graduate to The Opera House for their November 19 show in support of The Cold Still as well as their just-released live set Live In Tennessee.

MP3: The Boxer Rebellion – “No Harm”

Listen Before You Buy is streaming two sides of a new Frightened Rabbit tour EP, the tour in question being the one that brings them to the Molson Amphitheatre tonight.

Wild Beasts have a new video from their latest Smother. They play The Mod Club on September 29.

Video: Wild Beasts – “Bed Of Nails”

Black Book talks to James Blake, in town for a show at The Phoenix on September 30.

The first video from Ladytron’s new record Gravity The Seducer has been released. The album is out September 13 and they play The Phoenix on October 5.

Video: Ladytron – “White Elephant”

Drowned In Sound has a sit-down with Sons & Daughters drummer David Gow about their new record Mirror Mirror.

There’s a new live in-studio performance video available from Patrick Wolf, showcasing one of the numbers from Lupercalia.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “Time Of My Life” (Live at The Pool Studios, 2011)

The National Post gets to know Anna Calvi.

I’m finally discovering the works of Hefner, though it’s about a decade too late to do anything with it in real time… but Artrocker reports that ex-frontman Darren Hayman has a new solo record entitled The Ship’s Piano out come October 11. Those who’ve followed his career through all its guises – is his solo stuff as good as Hefner? Not that I’ll have waded through all of Hefner’s back catalog anytime soon, but for reference.

Video: Hefner – “Good Fruit”

NME reports that Manic Street Preachers will mark their 21st anniversary with the release of the National Treasures singles compilation in October. It will supplant 2002’s Forever Delayed as the go-to compilation, not unreasonably since they’ve release four albums since then and the new comp will also include a new single.

Also coming in October – the 3rd to be exact – is a ridiculous Smiths box set entitled The Smiths Complete. On the plus side, it contains all the band’s official albums and compilations on CD and 180g LP, 25 7″s, a DVD, tonnes of posters and art, the whole thing has been remastered by Johnny Marr and it’s limited to an edition of 3000 so in owning it, you can impress the people on the internet who are impressed by this sort of thing. On the down side, its got nothing fans haven’t already bought several times over and in purchasing it, you continue to subsidize this nutjob. So yeah, your call. Details on the set at Pitchfork.