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Posts Tagged ‘XTC’

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

In The Winter Sun

Review of Amor de Días’ The House At Sea

Photo By Alfredo Arias HorasAlfredo Arias HorasWhen Amor de Días released their first album Street Of The Love Of Days in Spring of 2011, they weren’t presenting themselves as successors to either The Clientele or Pipas, but given that neither of those outfits have released anything new since Alasdair MacLean and Lupe Núñez-Fernández turned their attentions to it, it’s not unreasonable to expect that the new project provide at least some of the elegant pop fix that fans of either outfit would have demanded from them otherwise.

And with some degree of adjusted expectation – there’s more acoustic guitar than electric and tempos more languid, even compared to The Clientele’s autumnal pace – The House at Sea does just that. Floating above the hazy atmospherics, MacLean’s voice is a familiar, warm blanket and Núñez-Fernández’s timbre doesn’t follow far behind. And while those traits are holdovers from Street, the songwriting and arrangements on House are much more assured than on the debut – a benefit, no doubt, of being both artists’ primary concerns rather than a side-project. It’s unclear if we’ll be seeing new music from either The Clientele or Pipas in the new future – hiatus is such a nebulous word – but until then, Amor de Días will do quite nicely.

KEXP has an advance stream of the album ahead of its release on January 29. They’re also coming for a North American tour in March but, alas, are not stopping in Toronto this time.

MP3: Amor de Días – “Jean’s Waving”
Video: Amor de Días – “Jean’s Waving”
Stream: Amor de Días / The House At Sea

NOW welcomes Palma Violets to town for their Toronto debut at the Horseshoe tonight. They just released the latest video from their debut 180, which drops February 25

Video: Palma Violets – “Step Up For The Cool Cats”

The Line Of Best Fit chats with Veronica Falls, whose are streaming a new track from Waiting For Something To Happen before it comes out February 12. They play The Garrison on March 12.

Stream: Veronica Falls – “Buried Alive”

A Heart Is A Spade has a chat with Foals, who’ve released a new video from Holy Fire, out February 12.

Video: Foals – “My Number”

DIY points to a new clip from The Cribs for an old, previously unreleased song that will appear on their forthcoming best-of compilation Payola, due out February 25.

Video: The Cribs – “Leather Jacket Love Song”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Django Django, in town at The Opera House on March 12.

They’re only one-minute clips, but the two new songs being previewed by The House Of Love at their Facebook are pretty damned promising. The new album She Paints Words In Red is out April 1.

Those waiting for a North American release date for Jessie Ware’s Devotion – hopefully with a vinyl edition – can circle April 2 on their calendars. Those waiting for more North American tour dates… sit tight. Maybe read these features at The New Zealand Herald, The Age, The San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Chronicle, and The Guardian.

The Telegraph talks to Richard Hawley, who has released a video for the final single from last year’s Standing At The Sky’s Edge – a clip that it has taken far too long to find a non-geoblocked version of, I might add. Anyways.

Video: Richard Hawley – “Don’t Stare At The Sun”

The Alternate Side has posted a video session with Bat For Lashes.

Billboard reports that Elvis Costello and The Roots have completed a collaborative album that will be released later this year. Even without having heard a note, it’s probably safe to say this will be the funkiest record of Costello’s career.

Spinner gets Bernard Sumner’s take on the drama that ended with Peter Hook leaving New Order.

Perhaps detecting that I was finally going to get around to completing my XTC back catalog collection – or perhaps commemorating the 35th anniversary of their debut White MusicThe Guardian have dug up a feature interview with the band circa 1978.

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Daydreaming

Review of We Are Serenades’ Criminal Heaven and giveaway

Photo by Carl von ArbinCarl von ArbinIf you require an introduction to We Are Serenades – which you probably do – then let it be known that they are the collaborative project of Swedes Adam Olenius, whom you may know as frontman of of Shout Out Louds, and Markus Krunegard, who led an outfit called Laakso. If the latter doesn’t mean that much to you, that’s reasonable as I don’t think they made it overseas at all, and really, Shout Out Louds is really the only reference point you really need for We Are Serenades’ (who were called just “Serenades” until earlier this year) debut Criminal Heaven.

Olenius and Krunegard make a point of singing together across most of the tracks, but Olenius’ faintly Robert Smith-y delivery largely defines the vocals and guest vocals from fellow Shout-er Out Loud Bebban Stenborg, most notably on “Daydreaming”, only serve to make proceedings that much more familiar for fans of the outfit. Musically, it’s more of a stylistic hodge-podge with nods to the electro-, orch-, acoustic-, and power- varietals of pop music but the pastiche largely works in favour of the greater whole. As it’s culled from across a few years of writing and recording sessions during the downtime from their main gigs, it was probably a better idea to simply pull together the strongest selections rather than craft a more cohesive statement. Yeah, it may listen more like a compilation than am album but it’s a good listen and will scratch that certain itch until the next Shout Out Louds record comes along.

We Are Serenades are bringing Criminal Heaven to North America for a Spring tour and will be at The Garrison in Toronto on Monday, May 14. Tickets are $10 in advance but courtesy of Embrace, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want Serenades” in the subject line and your full name in the body and have that in to me before midnight, May 9.

MP3: We Are Serenades – “Birds”
MP3: We Are Serenades – “Oceans”
Video: We Are Serenades – “Birds”
Video: We Are Serenades – “Oceans”
Video: We Are Serenades – “Come Home”
Stream: We Are Serenades / Criminal Heaven

Reunions/hiatus-ends are usually trumpeted with press releases/press conferences so that the whole world knows, but I had no idea The Cardigans were back in action until seeing this interview with Nina Persson at The Guardian. It’s just some Scandinavian (and one Russian and two Japanese) festivals where they’ll be performing all of 1998’s Gran Turismo with no promises of further activity when it’s all done, but the idea of The Cardigans as an active concern, even in limited capacity, makes me happy.

The Quietus talks to Ane Brun; her record It All Starts With One is out tomorrow and she’s in town at The Great Hall on May 10.

A second taste of Sigur Rós’ forthcoming Valtari is available as a streamed BBC radio rip; the album is out May 29 and they play Echo Beach on August 1.

Stream: Sigur Rós – “Varúð”

The Guardian and Irish Times are doing their bit to get people excited about the new Richard Hawley record Standing At The Sky’s Edge, with The Guardian augmenting their feature interview with a stream of the album. It’s out May 7.

Stream: Richard Hawley / Standing At The Sky’s Edge

The Line Of Best Fit offers a precis of an interview with Kevin Shields in the pages of the latest Mojo wherein he offers more concrete information on the alleged new My Bloody Valentine album and EP which could be out before the end of the year. The Loveless, Isn’t Anything, and EP’s 1988-1991 remasters are out May 7.

DIY chats with The Cribs about their new record In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull, out May 15.

Maxïmo Park are streaming the new single from their forthcoming The National Health, out June 11.

Stream: Maxïmo Park – “Hips And Lips”

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with Michael Kiwanuka. He plays The Great Hall on June 19.

The New York Times talks to Dev Hynes about the new, first-person shooter Blood Orange video for “Champagne Coast” from Coastal Grooves.

Video: Blood Orange – “Champagne Coast”

DIY talks to Gerard Love of Lightships.

Magnet Q&As The Twilight Sad as the Scots prepare to take the editorial reins of the magazine’s website this week and fill it with all kinds of doom, gloom, and comic books.

eMusic explores the discography of XTC.

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Dodecahedron

Review of Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny’s Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose

Photo via facebookFacebookAfter writing up some bands lately whose names have either undersold or misrepresented the music they present, it’s rather refreshing to have an artist whose public identity promises exactly what they have to offer. And that artist is Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny. A grandiose name, to be sure, and one that’s matched by the title of their just-released debut album Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose.

There’s no way that labels like those could herald anything less than grandiose ambitions, so the question is really whether the 21-year old Newcastle-Upon-Tyne native who gives the band their name can deliver on them. And the answer is an unequivocal, “yes”. Nature has given Houghton not only a richly smoky voice and operatic range, but a tremendously vivid imagination upon which to draw on for her songwriting. All these gifts are combined to impressive effect on Cellophane Nose, which is by turns whimsical and dramatic, dark and technicolour and enchanting throughout.

Houghton’s roots as a folkish/singer-songwriter are perceptible in the record’s quieter moments, but more often they take a backseat to the ornate, often baroque-ish arrangements that adorn everything. By rights they should be overpowering, even with veteran producer Ben Hillier on hand to keep things on track; a case of too much too soon for an artist let loose in the sonic costume shop filled with horns, strings, choirs and harpsichords. And yet, rather than collapsing under the weight of it all, Cellophane Nose finds Houghton not only standing straight and tall in all her finery, but galloping off towards greater things. Hooves of destiny, indeed.

DIY and The Quietus have interviews with Beth Jeans Houghton.

MP3: Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny – “Dodecahedron”
Video: Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny – “Sweet Tooth Bird”
Video: Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny – “Liliputt”
Video: Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves Of Destiny – “Dodecahedron”

NPR is streaming the whole of the new Field Music LP Plumb, ahead of its release next week. MusicOhm also has an interview with the David half of the Brewis brothers.

MP3: Field Music – “A New Town”
Stream: Field Music / Plumb

Though The Big Pink’s second album Future This has been out a few weeks now, the band has only now made a track from it available to download. So download it. And read these interviews with Milo Cordell at The Skinny and The Province.

MP3: The Big Pink – “Give It Up”

The video for M.I.A.’s new single surfaced last week, just in time for her appearance at the Super Bowl halftime show this weekend. It’s her video that’s got everyone talking, right? Right?

Video: M.I.A. – “Bad Girls”

The Line Of Best Fit welcomes Lianne La Havas for a video session; her debut album is due out in the Spring, to be preceded by the Forget EP on March 6 in North America.

Video: Lianne La Havas – “Forget”

Daytrotter sessions up with Anna Calvi.

The 405 enlists Summer Camp’s Elizabeth Sankey as an advice columnist.

A Heart Is A Spade and STV have interviews with The Twilight Sad and Le Blogotheque offers up a Take-Away Show with the band. No One Can Ever Know is out today and they’re at Lee’s Palace on February 29.

Band Of Skulls will follow up the release of Sweet Sour next week with a North American tour that hits Lee’s Palace on May 15, and if you can’t wait that long they’re also at The Phoenix on March 30 opening for We Are Augustines. The band takes Gigwise and Spin through the new record track-by-track, with Spin also offering a stream of the whole thing. And over at The Independent, bassist Emma Richardson talks about her painting.

MP3: Band Of Skulls – “Sweet Sour”
MP3: Band Of Skulls – “The Devil Takes Care Of His Own”
Video: Band Of Skulls – “Sweet Sour”
Stream: Band Of Skulls / Sweet Sour

Ca Va Cool caught up with Los Campesinos! on their recent Canadian tour for an interview.

In conversation with The Daily Mail, Noel Gallagher reveals he thought that the Iron Lady was great. No, not the movie.

Liam Gallagher of Beady Eye sounds off to The Daily Mail about fashion, fitness and family.

The Quietus talks to XTC’s Andy Partridge about the making of English Settlement.

Dose gets to know First Aid Kit, in town at The Great Hall on April 4.

The video for the first single from Ladyhawke’s forthcoming Anxiety is now out. The album arrives March 27 in North America.

Video: Ladyhawke – “Black White & Blue”

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

In Retrograde

An introduction to The Invisible

Photo By Mads PerchMads PerchI kind of hate for the most apt reference point for a band to be the most obvious one, but if you have to offer an elevator pitch on London trio The Invisible, it’s hard not to want to use the letters T, V, O, T and R. The comparison goes beyond the superficial multi-racial composition of the band, though.

It also applies to their collective musical ability and creativity, both clearly on display but not ostentatiously so, and their aesthetic, which filters rock, rhythm and blues and soul influences through a thoroughly contemporary and frequently electronically-enhanced filter. Where they differ from the Brooklyn outfit is in their approach, which dials down – but doesn’t eliminate – the post-millennial tension and angst that informs much of TV On The Radio’s work in favour of a more chilled-out vibe. There’s still fire beneath the surface, but The Invisible opt to deliver it in a smoother, more soulful and dance-friendly sound.

Their 2009 self-titled debut, still only available in Europe, was a heady enough brew to garner the band a place on last year’s Mercury Prize shortlist, and after a short visit to New York for CMJ last Fall, they’re returning to North America this Spring; first for SxSW and then a proper tour that will allow music writers on this side of the Atlantic to make all kinds of bad puns about the seeing (or not seeing) the band and includes an April 2 date at the Opera House in Toronto. So if you, like me, were having trouble deciding between Serena-Maneesh at the Great Hall and A Sunny Day In Glasgow at The Garrison… your life just got a little more complicated.

MP3: The Invisible – “London Girl”
Video: The Invisible – “Jacob & The Angel”
Video: The Invisible – “London Girl”
MySpace: The Invisible

The Vinyl District gets The Joy Formidable frontwoman Ritzy Bryan to reminisce about her favourite records. They’ve released a new video as a preview of their debut full-length, due out sometime this Summer.

Video: The Joy Formidable – “Popinjay”

Music Snobbery and Spinner have interviews with Kate Nash, whose new record arrives on April 20 and now has a name – Crayon Full Of Color. Pitchfork likes the first giveaway track “I Just Love You More” more than I do. Spin has a stream of the more agreeable first official single, “Do Wah Do”, complete with obnoxious marketing voiceover. Update: The Music Slut says the new record is actually called My Best Friend Is You. I don’t know who to believe anymore.

MP3: Kate Nash – “I Just Love You More”

What better way to celebrate the North American release of Little Boots’ debut Hands than by canceling one of the dates on her North American tour? The April 30 Toronto date at the Phoenix is no longer showing up at either Ticketmaster or Ticketweb and there’s no trace of it on the promoter’s website. Still looking for an official word or reason, but none of the above are good signs. But on the bright side, it does make the question of whether to go see Jonsi at the Sound Academy that much easier to answer. Artist Direct has an interview with Victoria Hesketh.

Spinner talks to Rose Elinor Dougall about making her post-Pipette North American debut at SxSW. Her solo debut Without Why is due out this year. The Pipettes’ new one Earth Vs Pipettes is also due out in 2010.

Drowned In Sound, BBC and Pitchfork have words with Los Campesinos!. They’re at the Phoenix on April 20.

Horrors bassist Rhys Webb talks to Spinner about the band’s preparations for recording album number three.

NPR has an interview with Dev Hynes of Lightspeed Champion.

Doves have announced they’ll release a best-of collection entitled The Places Between: The Best of Doves on April 6, consisting of a CD of their singles, a second disc of rarities and a DVD of their videos. Specifics on the set available at Pitchfork, and if you were wondering only about half the material on Lost Sides is repeated here and there are three all-new songs scattered amongst the two discs.

The Clientele’s Alasdair MacLean submits five recommended hallucinatory children’s books to Owl & Bear, while Baeble Music gets a Guest Apartment video session and video interview. The AV Club also has a chat. The Clientele are at The Horseshoe on March 19.

The Georgia Straight talks to We Were Promised Jetpacks, who will release a new EP on March 9 entitled The Last Place You’ll Look. Head over to Stereogum to grab an MP3 from the short-player.

Get Hampshire talks to Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison about their new record The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, due out March 9. They’re at the Opera House on May 4.

The Line Of Best Fit have premiered the new video from The Twilight Sad, who will be at Lee’s Palace on May 26.

Video: The Twilight Sad – “The Room”

JAM talks to Gary Jarman of The Cribs about adding legend Johnny Marr to their lineup.

Clash excerpts their feature piece on Tindersticks, getting guitarist David Boulter to recount tales of his early days.

Blurt has a twopart interview with Andy Partridge of XTC. Okay, technically that should be “formerly of”, but I can’t bring myself to say that. Or type that.

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Sigh No More

Mumford & Sons and Sunparlour Players at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangJust one question for everyone at Lee’s Palace for Mumford & Sons on Monday night. Where did you all come from?

This question doesn’t just come from the fact that this band – whose debut album Sigh No More was only just released in North America yesterday and who were conducting this super-short, four-date North American tour without, at least to my knowledge, any major promotional push – had sold out Lee’s Palace, but had filled it not with curious musical passers-by, but raving, honest-to-god fans. Largely of the shrieking variety. Seriously, I had not seen Lee’s – or any venue – so packed and so unbelievably LOUD.

And so early. It was to the benefit of the openers that Mumford & Sons’ fanbase is punctual, because they got to ply their wares to a pretty full house and really, I couldn’t think of a better-suited local support act for Mumford than Sunparlour Players. Like the headliners, the duo are all about impassioned and rousing country-rock performed with remarkable musical dexterity, though the Sunparlour are considerably (and deliberately) rawer in execution – think moonshine versus whiskey. Either way, the audience ate it up and responded with huge and honest enthusiasm, and deservedly so – Sunparlour Players set the table with a killer set.

It’s not especially original by any stretch, but the phrase “bluegrass Beatles” crossed my mind later on in the evening as I tried to articulate what I witnessed with Mumford & Sons’ set. From the moment Ted Dwane carried his upright bass across the stage while they were still setting up until the end of the encore, the capacity crowd roared, shrieked and just went completely bonkers for the London quartet. And while I am incredulous about the fact that so many were so enthralled by them so early in their career – they certainly didn’t have that sort of fanbase when they first visited in October 2008 – that it’s happened really doesn’t surprise. If you accept that there’s been a heretofore untapped market for earnest, bluegrass/country-inspired indie rock, it’s hard to think of an outfit better positioned to exploit it than they. They’re handsome to a man with a distinctive, old-timey sartorial style; their banter is charming, witty and delivered with an English accent; their songs are sensitive, soaring and anthemic; their musicianship and vocal prowess ridiculously polished. To wit, there is no reason, in a just world, that Mumford & Sons wouldn’t be filling rooms the size of Lee’s if not larger with devoted fans, ready willing and able to sing along with every word. And yet to actually see it happen was wonderfully bizarre.

Even with so much going for them and the audience won over before they played a note, Mumford & Sons still had to deliver on the performance, and deliver they did. From the opening four-part harmonies of “Sigh No More”, it was clear they came to play. Their set covered most (all?) of Sigh No More, rendered perfectly with the crescendos lifting spirits and the quiet passages breaking hearts and the omnipresent kick drum propelling it all forward. The also aired out three new songs which didn’t stray far from their formula but held to more conventional rock band arrangements – at one point, they were kitted out with electric guitar, electric bass, keys and drums; completely standard for almost any other band but strangely alien on them. Perhaps most memorable was the first song of their encore, wherein the four of them played unamplified from the edge of the stage. Not an unusual move in acoustically gifted venues, but the first time I’d seen it pulled at Lee’s Palace and, of course, they did it masterfully. A show like this one couldn’t have ended any other way.

Photos: Mumford & Sons, Sunparlour Players @ Lee’s Palace – February 15, 2010
MP3: Sunparlour Players – “Battle Of ’77”
MP3: Sunparlour Players – “Shake & Bake For Goodness-Sake”
Video: Mumford & Sons – “The Cave”
Video: Mumford & Sons – “Winter Winds”
Video: Mumford & Sons – “Little Lion Man”
MySpace: Mumford & Sons

Clash chats with Field Music while Drowned In Sound takes a track by track tour through their new album (Measure), which you can follow along with thanks to MBV Music, who are streaming the album right now. They’re at The Horsesehoe on March 19.

Stream: Field Music / (Measure)

Baeble Music is streaming a full live show from Fanfarlo. They’re at Lee’s Palace on April 9.

Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine talks to BBC and The Daily Mail. She brings her BRIT-crowned “best British album” Lungs to The Phoenix on April 10.

Check out this PitchforkTV Surveillance session with The xx, coming to town twice in April – on the 4th at The Phoenix and on the 20th at The Kool Haus.

Clash has excerpted part of their feature piece on Hot Chip, in town at The Kool Haus on April 20.

Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit takes Clash on a guided tour through their new record The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, due out March 9. See them at the Opera House on May 4.

BBC checks in with Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos on the direction of album number four.

Laundromatinee has a video session and The Boston Herald an interview with We Were Promised Jetpacks.

Drowned In Sound is currently streaming the whole of Lightspeed Champion’s latest opus Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You, out now.

Stream: Lightspeed Champion / Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You

PopMatters talks to Andy Partridge of XTC.