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Posts Tagged ‘Yeah Yeah Yeahs’

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Sacrilege

Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Echo Beach in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s just about scientific fact that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs don’t put on a bad show. The New York punk rock/New Wave trio have built and cemented this reputation since their inception in 2000, and though I missed their earliest visits to Toronto, I can testify to the spectacularness of their last two visits – an undersized semi-private TIFF party at the Berkeley Church in September 2007 circa their Is Is EP and their two-night stand at The Kool Haus in support of It’s Blitz! in August 2009. And so while their fourth long-player Mosquito is a relative disappointment – the high points are decent and the rest largely forgettable – their show at Echo Beach on Monday night behind it was plenty of reason to get excited, even if the long weekend timing meant that Echo Beach wasn’t even half full to greet them.

The band’s elevation towards the top of festival lineups this Summer meant that regular tour routing was largely out the window and as such, this date – announced barely a month ago – felt squeezed in between other commitments, and the relative spartan-ness of their set dressing – there basically was none – added to this feeling, though if that meant that we didn’t have to look at a giant backdrop of the Mosquito album art, then that was hardly a bad thing. And if any band could feel confident about having to come out and get by on the strength of their songbook, it’s the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And having Karen O as a frontwoman certainly doesn’t hurt.

Because let’s be honest, even if they’d gone full Flaming Lips with their stage show, no one would be looking at anything but Karen O. As her bandmates – guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase, plus live utility player David Pajo of Slint and Interpol fame – got down to business, O bounded around the stage as magnetic a performer as you’ll find in rock music today. Decked out in a tasseled white outfit and with a headlamp strapped to her forehead, presumably keeping in theme with show opener “Under The Earth”, O kept the energy levels and audience enthusiasm in the red, even when the confetti cannon that should have doused everyone in glitter at the peak of “Black Tongue” failed to go off.

And that kind of set the tone for the front half of the show – trying their best but not quite clicking. There were several missed cues, the usually super-tight band felt a little out of step with each other, and midway through the set, O declared she’d forgotten the words to “Down Boy”. Being followed by the largely aimless “Subway”, it was starting to feel like this might be a rare off night for the band. They might have felt it as well, as “Maps” – as much of a sure thing in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs arsenal as you’re likely to find – got an extended intro where O dedicated the song to everyone she could think of that perhaps allowed the band to regroup.

If that’s indeed what they did, then it worked. Current single “Despair” was given a reading that put the album version to shame, and the double-whammy of “Y Control” and “Turn Into” elevated things to a far more characteristic Yeah Yeah Yeahs level; Zinner’s guitar solo in the latter was especially fiery. Again, perhaps symbolically, when O stomped on the confetti cannon trigger in jubilant main set-closer “Heads Will Roll”, that shit went off. The first encore opened with one of their finest pop confections – “Cheated Hearts” – amusingly featuring pretty much the whole of the front row being passed the mic to sing (badly) the “oooh ooooh”s in the bridge – and closed with a razor-edged “Tick”, and though by this point much of the crowd had begun inching towards the exit, those who stayed up close got an eyeful in second encore as in “Date With The Night”, O shoved the microphone down her pants and then into her mouth. As you do.

At well under an hour and a half, the show felt a bit slight in length and, compared to the terrifying Berkeley Church and triumphant Kool Haus shows, in substance. But if it failed to deliver in awe, it still more than did so in fun and the only reservations, really, come from the fact that while Yeah Yeah Yeahs don’t ever put on a bad show, they have put on better.

The National Post, Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, and NOW also have reviews of the show.

Photos: Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Echo Beach – July 1, 2013
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Date With The Night”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Machine”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Miles Away”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Art Star”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Despair”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Mosquito”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Skeletons”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Heads Will Roll”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Zero”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Cheated Hearts”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Turn Into”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Gold Lion”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Y Control”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Pin”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Date With The Night”

Given that putting out a record on New York label Captured Tracks is becoming as much a sign of quality in the ’00s as doing the same on, say, 4AD, was in the ’80s – some/many will be pleased to know that Los Angeles-based duo Soft Metals are coming to The Drake on August 16 in support of their forthcoming Lenses LP, out July 16. They’ll also be pleased to know admission is $10.

MP3: Soft Metals – “The Cold World Melts”
MP3: Soft Metals – “Psychic Driving”

It’s been a while since North Carolina alt.country songstress Tift Merritt has been through town – Spring 2008 in support of Another Country, I think – but she’s here at The Drake on September 6 in support of last year’s Traveling Alone. Tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.

Video: Tift Merritt – “Virginia, No One Can Warn You”

Chicago folksinger Angel Olsen has been getting a lot of attention for her debut album Half Way Home, originally released last Fall and reissued in May, and she’s just announced a Fall tour that brings her to The Drake on September 26, tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: Angel Olsen – “Always Half Strange” (live at Saki)
MP3: Angel Olsen – “Free” (live at Saki)

Nashville singer-songwriter Mackenzie Scott trades under the name Torres and her self-released, self-titled debut has garnered enough praise and turned the right heads to get her added as support to Okkervil River’s Fall tour, which means she’s in town at The Phoenix on September 27. Do yourself a favour and get to know her before then.

Video: Torres – “When Winter’s Over” (live in studio)
Video: Torres – “Jealousy & I” (live in studio)

Even though tales of their… troubles on the road continue to pile up, Los Angeles’ Foxygen continue to tour behind their debut We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace And Magic; they’re back in Toronto for the third time this year with a show at The Hoxton on October 1, tickets $15.

MP3: Foxygen – “Waitin’ 4 U”

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Wilco’s no-request set at their Solid Sound festival last month; they’ll play a shortened version of the set at The Molson Amphitheatre on July 15 whilst opening for Bob Dylan.

Billboard talks to Mac McCaughan of Superchunk and Merge Records about Superchunk and Merge Records. The latter releases the new album from the former, I Hate Music, on August 20.

The Guardian talks to Janelle Monáe about her new album The Electric Lady, which is out September 10 and has just produced a new video.

Video: Janelle Monáe – “Dance Apocalyptic”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Iron & Wine. They play The Sound Academy on September 28.

DIY gets to know Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee.

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Daddy Was A Real Good Dancer

The Dismemberment Plan still have a plan to dismember you. And a new record.

Photo By Shervin Lainez Shervin Lainez 2013 has been a pretty great year for reunited/formerly retired acts releasing good to excellent new albums after many, many years – hat tip to David Bowie and My Bloody Valentine – and now it’s time to hope that Washington DC’s Dismemberment Plan keeps that streak going. This isn’t to suggest that the D-Plan are or ever were of the status of those others; a unique and spazzy/funky amalgam of post-punk, hardcore, and experimental art-pop, they were never fated to be more than a cult act but those who liked them, liked them a lot.

Still, they disbanded in 2003 and after frontman Travis Morrison’s solo debut Travistan was Pitchfork-ed through the heart, the odds of hearing from him again in any context seemed unlikely. There was a one-off D-Plan reunion show in 2007, sure, but in 2009 Morrison, after one more solo album in All Y’All, declared himself retired from music. Of course that proved to be untrue, and the Plan reunited for sporadic shows in 2011, continuing into 2012 with some new material thrown in the mix.

Which brings us to Uncanney Valley, the band’s fifth album and first in 12 years since 2001’s Change, out October 15. The Dismemberment Plan was always so unique and no one ever replicated what they did so well – or even tried – that a new record might well prove to simultaneously be a very welcome breath of fresh air and a blast from the past. Pitchfork has details on the new record as well as an interview with Morrison – nice to see no grudges are held – and while no samples of the new record have been released, we can still dig up some classic tunes and tilt the expectation-o-meter a little more towards excitement than trepidation.

And one can only hope that the new album will result in more touring – the band’s final Toronto show at Rockit in July 2003 and the “Death & Dismemberment” tour with Death Cab For Cutie at The Reverb in early 2002 were off-the-charts fun. Would love the opportunity to see them again (without hopping on a plane).

MP3: The Dismemberment Plan – “It’s So You”
MP3: The Dismemberment Plan – “You Are Invited”
MP3: The Dismemberment Plan – “The Things That Matter”
MP3: The Dismemberment Plan – “Superpowers”

Calexico has released a new EP led by a track from last year’s Algiers and intended for physical sale – at least for the moment – on their European tour only, though they promise a North American release is to come and you can get it digitally as of June 29. But you can stream Maybe On Monday right now, including its covers of Elvis Costello’s “Shabby Doll” and The Replacements’ “Unsatisfied”.

Stream: Calexico / Maybe On Monday

Yeah Yeah Yeahs have become the first band to record a video atop the Empire State Building and proven that the only thing you can really do atop the Empire State Building is run around it. The song is the latest single from Mosquito and the band are at Echo Beach on July 1.

Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Despair”

Spin has got a stream of Iron & Wine’s contribution to the soundtrack to The Lone Ranger. The soundtrack is out July 2, the movie July 3, and Iron & Wine play The Sound Academy on September 28.

Stream: Iron & Wine – “Rattling Bone”

You can now hear a couple songs from the new Scud Mountain Boys record Do You Love The Sun? courtesy of BrooklynVegan. The record is out July 9.

MP3: Scud Mountain Boys – “Double Bed”
Stream: Scud Mountain Boys – “Do You Love The Sun?”

NYC Taper has got a recording of Wilco’s amazing all-request, mostly-covers set at their Solid Sound festival last weekend. Look at that set list and tell me you don’t want to spend the time it’ll take to download it. I imagine we’ll get a more conventional show when they play The Molson Amphitheatre supporting Bob Dylan on July 15.

The next record from Explosions In The Sky won’t be a proper follow-up to 2011’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, but the soundtrack to the Paul Rudd film Prince Avalanche. The film is out August 9, the soundtrack August 6, and one of the songs – written with composer David Wingo – has a video. Explosions In The Sky play The Air Canada Centre on October 4 opening for Nine Inch Nails.

Video: Explosions In The Sky w David Wingo – “Wading”

Under The Radar has more specifics on Okkervil River’s new full-length The Silver Gymnasium, out September 3. They play The Phoenix on September 28.

Matablog offers details on Kim Gordon’s first post/side-Sonic Youth project, entitled Body/Head and releasing their first album Coming Apart on September 10.

Janelle Monáe’s new album finally has a release date; The Electric Lady will be in stores on September 10. And damn, is her handwriting nice.

Willis Earl Beal has announced details of his second album, Nobody Knows. It’s out September 10 and a first track is available to stream below. More details at Under The Radar.

Stream: Willis Earl Beal – “Everything Unwinds”

Spin has compiled an oral history of Liz Phair’s landmark Exile In Guyville on the occasion of the record’s 20th anniversary.

I’ve been meaning to give Katie Crutchfield’s Waxahatchee and her second album Cerulean Salt a proper write-up for a little while now, but just haven’t gotten around to it. But given that with the record’s European release, it’s available to stream in whole at NME right now, you may as well just go and listen to it and not worry about what I have to say about it save that it’s really terrific. There’s feature interviews with Crutchfield at The Guardian, The Line Of Best Fit, NPR, and Time.

Video: Waxahatchee – “Coast To Coast”
Stream: Waxahatchee / Cerulean Salt

Also from NYC Taper and Solid Sound is Low’s set from the festival, as well as one from Brooklyn a few days earlier.

Chart talks to Fred Thomas of Saturday Looks Good To Me.

It was more shrugs than tears when it was announced Kim Deal was leaving Pixies earlier this month, what with the band having been more nostalgia profiteers than trailblazing artists since their reunion in 2004, but with the surprise drop of a new song – with Deal on it – this morning, we are reminded of how great they still could have been in the 21st century had they wanted to, and yes, a tear. Unless, of course, this isn’t the end but some sort of beginning…?

MP3: Pixies – “Bagboy”
Video: Pixies – “Bagboy”

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Subway

Yeah Yeah Yeahs set Toronto show; win a date with the night

Photo By Dan MartensenDan MartensenThe new Yeah Yeah Yeahs record Mosquito has proven to be somewhat divisive. Some are finding it a terrific fourth long-player in their discography, summing together all that’s come before for a record quintessentially them, others finding it a disappointing water-treading exercise that captures neither the fiery anarchy of their early work or the gleaming excellence of their last effort, 2009’s It’s Blitz!. Personally, I fall more towards the latter camp, finding it just alright but decidedly forgettable, which may well be worse than being especially bad.

In any case, one thing most everyone with an interest in the topic can agree on – besides that the album art is atrocious – is that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs remain an incredible live act and that the four years since they last visited – two nights at The Kool Haus in August 2009m if you’ll recall – is far too long. So I’m happy to announce that the band’s somewhat erratic touring schedule – a consequence of being almost-headliner status during festival season, I guess – now has a Toronto date, with them coming to celebrate Canada Day – July 1 – at Echo Beach. And I’m even happier to announce that courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got a pair of passes to give away before the $39.50 tickets go on sale this Friday morning at 10AM. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I I I want want want Yeah Yeah Yeahs” in the subject line and your full name in the body and have that to me by midnight, May 30. The winner will be notified before the on-sale goes live.

MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Date With The Night”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege”

If you’d have otherwise been keen on seeing next week’s The xx and Grizzly Bear double-bill but didn’t much fancy the trek out to Downsview Park to do it, congratulations – your laziness has been rewarded. The June 6 show has been moved from the former airbase to the much more urban Echo Beach; all previously sold tickets are still valid and all remaining – of which there are now considerably fewer – are still $59.50 general admission and $99 VIP. The Vancouver Sun, Vue Weekly, and Georgia Straight have profiles of The xx.

MP3: The xx – “Reconsider”
MP3: Grizzly Bear – “Yet Again”

Scottish folkster Alasdair Roberts will be at The Drake Underground on July 17 as part of a tour in support of his latest album A Wonder Working Stone, released earlier this year. For Folk’s Sake has an interview with Mr. Roberts.

MP3: Alasdair Roberts – “The Merry Wake”

If you’re looking for something to do Labour Day long weekend, you could do far worse than heading out Hamilton way for the Greenbelt Harvest Picnic, taking place at Christie Lake in Dundas, Ontario on August 31. It was conceived by Daniel Lanois, who will be performing, and features a couple huge names drawn from his producing CV – specifically, Neil Young & Crazy Horse and Emmylou Harris. Not bad, eh? Tickets are $139.50 in advance and go on sale June 1.

Video: Neil Young – “Love And War”
Video: Emmylou Harris – “Wrecking Ball” (live)

Not quite ready to return to being Bon Iver, Justin Vernon and his Wisconsin brethren have announced the September 3 release of a second Volcano Choir album – Repave – and a supporting Fall tour that brings them to The Phoenix on September 8, tickets $22.50 in advance. A trailer for the new record has been released, but rather than annoyingly tease, it actually almost acts as a complete video for one of the new songs.

MP3: Volcano Choir – “Island, Is”
Trailer: Volcano Choir / Repave

Portland electro-pop outfit STRFKR – whose name stands for what you think it does – have made a September 14 date at The Opera House in support of their third album Miracle Mile, released back in February. Tickets for the show are $15.

MP3: STRFKR – “Bury Us Alive”

Scout Niblett, who’s just released a new record in It’s Up To Emma, will be at The Silver Dollar on September 17.

MP3: Scout Niblett – “Dance Of Sulphur”
Video: Scout Niblett – “Gun”

English-born, Germany-based electronic act Gold Panda has a new album in Half Of Where You Live coming out on June 11 and has just announced a Fall tour behind it that brings him to Lee’s Palace on October 8, tickets $15. A new song from the new record has also been made available to stream and Noisey has an interview.

Stream: Gold Panda – “We Work Nights”

There’s still no follow-up to 2010’s Passive Me, Aggressive You, but Australia’s The Naked & Famous are coming back to North America for a Fall tour anyways; look for them at the Sound Academy on October 14, tickets $28.50 general admission and $38.50 VIP.

Video: The Naked & Famous – “Girls Like You”

Two Door Cinema Club are keeping last year’s Beacon an active concern with another North American tour that brings them to the Danforth Music Hall on October 15.

Video: Two Door Cinema Club – “Next Year”

Stereogum talks to Matt Berninger of The National. They’re headlining Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.

With their new record Nightingale Floors due out next week on June 4 and streaming now at Pitchfork, Rogue Wave frontman Zach Rogue chats about the new record with Billboard. They’ll be at The Mod Club on June 25.

Stream: Rogue Wave / Nightingale Floors

Partygoing, the new album from Future Bible Heroes and one-quarter of the Memories of Love, Eternal Youth, and Partygoing. box set – both out next Tuesday, June 4 – is now streaming courtesy of Pitchfork. Chickfactor talks to Stephin Merritt, Christopher Ewen, and Claudia Gonson of the band about the new record; they’ll be at Lee’s Palace – well, Ewen and Gonson, anyways – on July 22.

Stream: Future Bible Heroes / Partygoing

Guitar World sits down with Redd Kross guitarist Jeff McDonald to talk about guitars.

The Line Of Best Fit, TNT, and The Herald Scotland have interviews with Bob Mould.

The Guardian and USA Today profile punk rock legend Patti Smith.

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Sleepwalking

Deerhunter coming to town to play you songs, raid your mom’s closet

Photo By Robert SemmerRobert SemmerOn the list of ideal days on which to announce a tour itinerary, there’s not many occasions better than the day the album you’re actually going to promote goes on sale. And so yesterday, with the official release of their latest full-length Monomania, Atlanta’s Deerhunter have announced the itinerary for their Fall tour behind it. It’s an outing that brings them to The Phoenix in Toronto on September 12, and that leg of the tour also includes support from Marnie Stern, who herself released The Chronicles Of Marnia in March. Tickets for the show will run $20 in advance.

Also good to run on or around the release date of an album are feature pieces on them. And so, peruse these interviews with the ever-quotable Bradford Cox at The Salt Lake Tribune, MTV Hive, Pitchfork, and Interview. Marnie Stern is interviewed by The Washington Examiner, Soundcheck WNYC, MTV Hive, and Heeb.

Video: Deerhunter – “Monomania”
Video: Marnie Stern – “Immortals”

Also coming to town – chiptune champtions Anamanaguchi are going to be at The Hoxton on May 23, tickets $12. Their Kickstarted new album Endless Fantasy is out May 14.

MP3: Anamanaguchi – “Meow”

Los Angeles indie-R&B sibling duo Inc. have announced a North American tour that brings them to The Garrison on June 4. Their debut No World came out back in February.

MP3: Inc. – “5 Days”
MP3: Inc. – “The Place”

Also from LA but working a more electro-pop yet still soulful angle are Superhumanoids, who will be in town at The Drake on June 18. Yours Truly recently posted a video session with the band.

MP3: Superhumanoids – “Simple Severin”

Bear In Heaven have been announced as support for Wire for their July 10 date at Lee’s Palace.

MP3: Bear In Heaven – “The Reflection Of You”

Following her triumphant local debut in February, there wasn’t much question that Solange would be back sooner rather than later. And just like that, she’s made a date at The Kool Haus on July 13, tickets $26.50.

Video: Solange – “Losing You”

Also subscribing to the Deerhunter model of “announce your tour the day your record comes out” are Savages, who accompanied yesterday’s release of their debut Silence Yourself with a brace of North American dates announced via Matablog; they’ll be back in Toronto on July 16 for a show at The Mod Club, tickets $16.50. Interview has a brief feature on the band.

Video: Savages – “Shut Up”

Australian songstress Lenka – she did that adorable song in Moneyball, that Aaron Sorkin film about baseball that you of course would remember adorable songs from – will be at The Drake on July 24, tickets $15. Her new album Shadows will be out on June 4.

Video: Lenka – “The Show”

Brooklyn’s Oberhofer haven’t released a full-length follow-up to last year’s Time Capsules II yet, but the Nostalgia EP that came out last month seems to be enough pretence to hit the road; they’re at The Garrison on August 1, tickets $11.50.

MP3: Oberhofer – “Dontneedya”

We’ve only just started gotten to enjoy Spring and/or Summer, but if you need a reason to look forward to Autumn, perhaps the double-bill of Toro Y Moi and The Sea & Cake – the former touring this year’s Anything In Return and the latter last year’s Runner – will do it. The solid double-bill will be at The Phoenix on October 27, tickets $20. The Independent has an interview with Toro Y Moi’s Chaz Bundick.

MP3: Toro Y Moi – “Saturday Love”
MP3: The Sea & Cake – “On And On”

That star-studded yet endlessly contentious Great Gatsby OST came out this week and has also been streaming at NPR. So if you want to hear what next year’s CD dollar bin – if such a thing still existed – sounds like, head on over.

Stream: The Great Gatsby original soundtrack

Pitchfork has an advance stream of the self-titled debut from Dungeonesse, due out next week on May 14.

MP3: Dungeonesse – “Nightlight”
Stream: Dungeonesse / Dungeonesse

Vampire Weekend are a week out from the release of their new record Modern Vampires Of The City, and so of course it must be streaming. And so it is, at iTunes. They’re at the Sony Centre on May 16 and are the subject of feature interviews at Pitchfork and The New York Times.

Stream: Vampire Weekend / Modern Vampires Of The City

FVCKTHEMEDIA and CMJ have interviews with Laura Stevenson about her new record Wheel, which she’s in town to promote at The Drake Underground on May 21.

aux.tv, Blurt, Georgia Straight, and The Fly talk to Hutch Harris of The Thermals, coming to town to play The Horseshoe on May 21.

Paste has an advance stream of the new Saturday Looks Good To Me record One Kiss Ends It All, out May 21.

Stream: Saturday Looks Good To Me / One Kiss Ends It All

NPR has premiered the first video from Kurt Vile’s latest, Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze. He and his Violators play the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 7.

Video: Kurt Vile – “Never Run Away”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs have released a video for the title track of their latest, Mosquito.

Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Mosquito”

The Flaming Lips have a new video from The Terror – the NSFW caveat pretty much goes without saying, doesn’t it? – and there’s interviews at Stereogum, Loud & Quiet, and Bon Appetit.

Video: The Flaming Lips – “You Lust”

Janelle Monáe has released the first video from her next album The Electric Lady, due out later this year.

Video: Janelle Monáe w Erykah Badu – “Q.U.E.E.N.”

NPR, Seattle Weekly, and Aquarium Drunkard talk to Caitlin Rose.

Blurt profiles The Men.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Low.

Pitchfork gets an update from the studio from Spoon. Who are in the studio.

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Thick As Thieves

Widowspeak and The Auras at The Garrison in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangObjectively speaking, there’s not a world of difference between Widowspeak’s 2011 self-titled debut or the follow-up Almanac, released in January of this year. You can file them both quite comfortably under “the soundtrack to dreams of dusty country roads”, not too far from lazy but not inaccurate reference points Mazzy Star and Cat Power, but something about Almanac grabs me the way that Widowspeak, as much as I dug it, didn’t. And it’s not something as simple as they’re getting more dynamic or rocking out harder, as refresher listens to their debut confirm there’s no shortage of volume spikes amidst the sleepiness. There’s just something more present, more assured, in Almanac‘s grooves – like lucid dreaming versus wake-walking. Whatever it is, I love it, and so their show at The Garrison on Monday night – their first non-festival headline date in Toronto – was a must-go on my calendar.

Local support came from The Auras, signed to Toronto’s Optical Sounds and labelmates with B-17, whom I’d just seen just a few days earlier; if there’s some sort of shadow conspiracy to get me more attuned with the city’s psych-pop scene… then it’s working. Mind you, The Auras didn’t impress the same way that B-17 did, but they’re not really built to. Comprised of fresh-faced youngsters rather than scene veterans, they were a bit of a mish-mash visually – a mass of paisley, headbands, shaggy hair, tassels, and with half the six-piece band in sunglasses, all bathed in their a bring-your-own light show. Sonically, they felt more like a a psychedelic jam session, rotating through four lead vocalists and possessing more of vague mandate to sound like a more shambolic, polite Black Angels than a firm mission statement. Understand that this is not a complaint, but actually more a point of envy. Having a group of like-minded players to jam, gig, and record with sounds like the best thing ever, actually.

I saw Widowspeak twice last year – in the same room at NXNE and a few months earlier at SXSW – but this time there was a new rhythm section in place and a fifth member in the fold on guitar and keys. The heart of the band, however – Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas – were still there, ever front and centre. Opening with Almanac leadoff “Perennials”, the template for the show was quickly established – Hamilton serenely cooing into the mic while Thomas got to play the role of guitar hero, although he would have been more effective at it had his guitar not been the quietest of the three on stage; a little more volume would have helped his leads achieve the prominence they deserved and might also have quieted the reasonably-sized if disproportionately chatty crowd audience.

As the show progressed, the chatter either diminished or the genuinely interested moved up to the front – in either case, they were drawn in by the performance, which maintained the same basic rhythm through the better part of an hour, offering a good mix of Almanac and Widowspeak material though sadly omitting two of my favourite new songs, “Devil Knows” and “Spirit Is Willing”. They did shift gears slightly towards the end with a cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” – yeah, having Hamilton wrap her voice around it is a bit on the nose, but still gorgeous – and a keyboard-led “Thick As Thieves”, before closing with a relatively raucous “Ballad Of The Golden Hour” and “Harsh Realm”. An encore wasn’t a foregone conclusion, but Hamilton was enticed to come back out for a final number, a reading of “Limbs” done solo because the rest of the band didn’t know how to play it, and were also busy selling merch off to the side. A modest finale to a modest yet wholly enjoyable show.

Iamnosuperman and Good Times have interviews with Robert Earl Thomas and The Riverfront Times chats with Molly Hamilton while El Paso What’s Up talks to both.

Photos: Widowspeak, The Auras @ The Garrison – April 16, 2013
MP3: Widowspeak – “Ballad Of The Golden Hour”
MP3: Widowspeak – “Sore Eyes”
MP3: Widowspeak – “Gun Shy”
MP3: Widowspeak – “In The Pines”
MP3: Widowspeak – “Devil Knows”
MP3: Widowspeak – “Harsh Realm”
Video: Widowspeak – “Locusts”
Stream: The Auras / The Auras

Not necessarily enough show announcements this week to devote a post, but still a few things of note. Seattle’s Cave Singers will bring their new album Naomi – released last month – to town for a show at The Horseshoe on June 17, tickets $15. There’s a feature on the band at 85-26.

MP3: The Cave Singers – “Black Leaf”
MP3: The Cave Singers – “Swim Club”

California’s Rogue Wave are back with a new record in Nightingale Floors coming out on June 4, and are teaming up with Brooklyn’s Caveman, who just released their second self-titled album, for a Summer tour that hits The Mod Club on June 25, tickets $18.50/.

MP3: Caveman – “Easy Water”
Stream: Rogue Wave – “College”

Another bi-coastal bill will team Californian psych-pop outfit Woods, still working last Fall’s Bend Beyond, with New York ’90s indie rock revivalists Parquet Courts and their debut Light Up Gold for a date at The Horseshoe on July 17, tickets $15.50.

MP3: Woods – “Wind Was The Wine”
MP3: Parquet Courts – “Borrowed Time”

Los Angeles’ Julia Holter brings last year’s Ekstasis to The Drake on July 17, tickets $16.50.

MP3: Julia Holter – “In The Same Room”

Consequence Of Sound, Spinner, Vulture, and Spin talk to Thermals frontman Hutch Harris and PopMatters to drummer Westin Glass about their just-released new record Desperate Ground, and they also talk to The AV Club and Clash respectively about action movies. The Thermals are at The Horseshoe on May 21.

MTV Hive and Stereogum have features on The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, whose new record Mosquito arrived this week.

Interview and The Victoria Times-Colonist talk to Sam Beam about the new Iron & Wine album Ghost On Ghost.

PopMatters, eMusic, Forbes, and Spin have features on The Flaming Lips and their new album The Terror.

The National Post talks to Steve Earle about his latest The Low Highway.

Ra Ra Riot is streaming the single they’ll be releasing for Record Store Day this Saturday via T Magazine. The Alternate Side also has a session with the band, who are here on May 25 at The Sound Academy supporting The Shins, then back for the Field Trip fest at Garrison Commons on June 8.

Stream: Ra Ra Riot – “All I Fear”

Stereogum has a stream of The Hold Steady’s contribution to this week’s Game Of Thrones closing credits, while Wired examines the intersection of the kingdoms of Westeros and the world of indie rock. The Hold Steady are here as part of the Toronto Urban Roots Fest on July 6 at Garrison Commons.

Stream: The Hold Steady – “The Bear & The Maiden Fair”

NPR has a Tiny Desk Concert concert with Yo La Tengo, one of the names at the final day of the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 7.

Kurt Vile is also playing TURF Sunday; Noisey has an interview with him about being a rocker parent rocker.

Janelle Monáe dishes a bit to Billboard about her long-awaited second album The Electric Lady, due out later this year.

Stereogum have premiered the new video from Low’s The Invisible Way.

Video: Low – “Just Make It Stop”

Okkervil River’s Will Sheff has squeezed another video out of his Lovestreams side-project.

Video: Lovestreams – “There’s Video”

NPR welcomes Local Natives for a World Cafe session.