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Posts Tagged ‘Youth Lagoon’

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Losing You

Solange at The Danforth Music Hall in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSolange may have initially garnered attention thanks to her surname, but her recent ascension to the forefront of what’s being regarded as a new wave of R&B artists has been almost entirely on the back of her own talent; well, hers and Dev Hynes’. The Lightspeed Champion/Blood Orange producer-songwriter was my gateway drug to the work of Ms. Knowles; obviously, I knew who she was, but I suspect like more than few filling the Danforth Music Hall on Friday night for Solange’s Toronto debut, it wasn’t until her adoption by the indie nation with her EP True that I actually paid attention. Which is kind of funny, because as this show was proof of, she’s actually kind of impossible to ignore.

A full three hours after doors opened, she strode onstage in a dazzling dress and magnificent afro “Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work”, a sentiment clearly not directed at her band. The six-piece outfit, including two backup singers, were super-tight and struck the right balance between organic feel and synthetic texture to recreate True‘s smooth, throwback feel. It’s a vibe that fits Solange’s vocals and persona perfectly – a modest yet wholly confident blend of gorgeous and glamorous that was only as showy as it needed to be to impress. The whole show was slickly presented and immaculately choreographed without projecting any artificialness. In return, the audience responded with a degree of adoration that one would have expected for her big sister, conveyed through huge cheers and lots of happily un-self-conscious dancing. Good times were being had.

Some complaints about the sound were justified – while Solange’s vocals largely managed to rise above the mix, bass-heavy mix, Hynes’ suit was frustratingly often louder than his guitar – but the move from the much-smaller Hoxton to the Danforth was probably a good one, offering a classier setting and allowing more revelers while still feeling intimate. By the time the main set neared it’s conclusion and Solange’s invitation to “dance like there’s no tomorrow” for “Losing You” was more than enthusiastically accepted, it felt like you were in the closing prom scene of a high school rom-com, meant in the very best possible way. The band didn’t even bother leaving the stage before the encore, but Knowles still pulled off a bit of a surprise by inviting local internet dancing sensation Phil Villeneuve onstage to join her for “Sandcastle Disco”, having been brought to her attention for his interpretation of “Losing You” at the Bay-Bloor intersection. A wonderful, uniquely Toronto touch to a wrap a joyous show that ran just under an hour, but left nothing feeling wanting. It confirmed Solange as a talent that no matter who her family is, exists in no one’s shadow but radiates her own light.

Exclaim, The Grid, The National Post, BlogTO, and NOW also have reviews of the show; Entertainment Weekly grabbed an interview with Knowles.

And any Solange fans who haven’t yet heard Coastal Grooves by Blood Orange – aka Dev Hynes – you really gotta. It’s not just in your wheelhouse, it IS your wheelhouse.

Photos: Solange @ The Danforth Music Hall – February 22, 2013″
Video: Solange – “Losing You”
Video: Solange – “T.O.N.Y.”
Video: Solange – “Sandcastle Disco”
Video: Solange – “I Decided”
Video: Solange – “Feelin’ You”

DIY talks to Caitlin Rose, whose new album The Stand-In arrives next week. She plays The Garrison April 5.

With its March 5 release date almost upon us, Josh Ritter has made his new album The Beast In Its Tracks available to stream at NPR. He brings it to The Danforth Opera House on April 16.

Stream: Josh Ritter / The Beast In Its Tracks

Youth Lagoon’s new record Wondrous Bughouse is also out next week and streaming over at NPR. Expect to hear lots of it when they play The Great Hall on May 13.

Stream: Youth Lagoon / Wondrous Bughouse

Magnet sits down with Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, who brings their latest We The Common to Lee’s Palace on March 27. A new track from the album is now available to download.

MP3: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “We Don’t Call”

Rolling Stone talks to Charles Bradley about his second album, Victim Of Love. It’s out April 2 and he brings it to The Phoenix on May 11.

You can now stream a new Okkervil River song, taken from Reasons To Believe, the new tribute album to Tim Hardin, out today. Hardin and Okkervil have a long-standing connection, of course, the former’s “Black Sheep Boy” providing the inspiration for Okkervil’s best album cycle so far.

Stream: Okkervil River – “It’ll Never Happen Again”

Billboard talks to John Vanderslice about turning to Kickstarter to fund his next record, Dagger Beach. It should be out this Summer.

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Sunset

The xx and Grizzly Bear will be out standing in their field; win a chance to join them

Photo By Jamie-James MedinaJamie-James MedinaBoth The xx and Grizzly Bear have pretty well established their bona fides as a couple of the biggest names in what we colloquially call “indie rock” circa 2013, and while neither are quite at the point where they could headline a top-tier festival, they can sure as heck team up for a pretty impressive standalone bill in a festival setting. En route to New York City to play the Governor’s Ball, the two acts – last seen hereabouts in the elegant setting of Massey Hall both – will show off their big outdoor stage chops with a show at Downsview Park the evening of June 6, in support of last year’s Coexist and Shields, respectively.

Tickets for the show are $59.50 in advance for general admission and $99.50 VIP, though a limited number of early bird GAs will be available this Friday for $49.50. Courtesy of Collective Concerts, however, I’ve got one pair of VIP passes plus a copy of Coexist on vinyl to give away ahead of the on-sale. To enter, email me at contests@chromewaves.net with “I want to see The xx and Grizzly Bear” in the subject line and your full name in the body and have that in to me before midnight, February 14 – winners will be notified before tickets go on And note that while the general admission area is all-ages, VIP is 19+ so you must be of age to enter.

And if you’re wondering what The xx would be like on a big outdoor stage, it’ll probably be the complete opposite of this Tiny Desk Concert they played for NPR.

And please note that management is not responsible for any sexytimes that may ensue in the grass, in the dark, during The xx’s set.

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

Ducktails – perhaps better known as the solo endeavour of Real Estate guitarist Matt Mondanile – will be hitting the road in support of the just-released The Flower Lane. Exclaim has all the tour dates, which include an April 3 date at The Garrison, tickets for which are $12.50. DIY has an interview with Mondanile.

Stream: Ducktails – “The Flower Lane”

Any way you look at it, whether counting off eight months from the release of their excellent Researching The Blues, the almost five years since they played a one-off NXNE appearance, or the who knows how long it’s been since an east coast tour – well over a decade – it’s great to be able to welcome Redd Kross back to town – they’ll be at The Horseshoe on April 11.

MP3: Redd Kross – “Stay Away From Downtown”

Brighton two-piece rock machine Blood Red Shoes are back again on April 23 – this time at The Horseshoe – again in support of last year’s In Time To Voices but also their new Water EP, which they give DIY a track-by-track guide through and which you can stream below. Tickets $11.50 in advance.

Video: Blood Red Shoes – “In Time To Voices”
Stream: Blood Red Shoes / Water

In today’s good news/bad news department, Foals have announced a North American tour in support of Holy Fire – out today – and will be at The Kool Haus on May 11, tickets $24. The bad news, besides it being the same night as Charles Bradley and The Breeders, is their support act will be Surfer Blood, who were terrible even before their singer’s predilection for domestica abuse came to light. Go see Foals, by all means, but feel free to turn around or talk right through Surfer Blood’s set, and if you find you have some litter with you, the stage is as good a place as any to discard it. Clash and Filter have feature pieces on Foals, the Filter one with a rather unfortunate headline all things considered.

MP3: Foals – “Inhaler”

Trevor Powers, aka Youth Lagoon, is prepping for the March 5 release of his new album Wondrous Bughouse and has announced a brace of North American dates – May 13 at The Great Hall, Toronto, $16.50 in advance – as well as made a couple new track from the album available to stream. CMJ also has an interview.

Stream: Youth Lagoon – “Mute”
Stream: Youth Lagoon – “Dropla”

Twin Shadow has announced a return engagement in support of last year’s Confess – he and his dad (really) will be at The Phoenix on June 7, tickets $26.50 in advance.

MP3: Twin Shadow – “Changes”

Buoyed by the success of the first four installments – and the fact that March is still mostly part of Winter – Fucked Up has extended their Long Winter concert series to include, well, March. No details on the who, what, or when, but if the scheduling pattern holds it will be on March 8 at The Great Hall. Update: Pattern schmattern – it’s March 23. Which is not Winter.

Speaking of scheduling, Canadian Musicfest – running March 19 to 23 – has published their first pass at the festival schedule and I’m excited to see that a handful of acts I’d been happy to see on the initial artist listings are now nowhere to be found. Way to keep with tradition, CMF! Still, there’s some good stuff in there and not all of it is opposite Nick Cave, so if you’re attending, have a look.

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Myth

Review of Beach House’s Bloom

Photo By Liz FlyntzLiz FlyntzIf we can regard Beach House literally as their namesake, which is to say as a holiday getaway, a reliably stolid place to escape from the real world, then the amount of adoration they’ve gotten for largely sticking to their skeletal formula through four albums now is understandable. Their fans don’t want them to reinvent themselves with each outing; they want that comforting blanket of Victoria Legrand’s narcoleptic vocals and whirring keyboard interwoven with Alex Scally’s languid slide guitar, and across their first two records – their 2006 self-titled debut and 2007’s Devotion – that’s almost exactly what they got, seasoned with some rudimentary percussion both electronic and organic.

The closest thing they’re ever likely to come to a revolution was with 2010’s Teen Dream, which managed to take a relatively huge leap forward with the production and songwriting, making interesting rhythms and pop hooks a front burner concern without compromising their core sound. A risk, perhaps, but one that paid off immensely in the form of their strongest and most critically and commercially successful work. So with that in mind, it’s not surprising that Bloom – out next Tuesday – opts to stay the course laid out by its predecessor. Surprises simply aren’t Beach House’s style.

Gorgeousness is, however. It took the aforementioned embrace of bigger sounds on Teen Dream to really make me appreciate Beach House – prior to that, I had to be in a very particular mood to listen to them for any period of time – and now they’re a band for all occasions. Having touring drummer Daniel Franz play on the whole of the record, a third member of the band even if he’s not formerly acknowledged as such, helps both ground and propel Bloom while Legrand and Scally do their thing in crafting the haunting textures and melodies that are the foundation of Beach House. And while we’re being literal about things, Bloom is an exceptionally appropriate name for this collection as there’s moments that simply burst outwards. To even suggest that the band be capable of this sort of dynamicism circa their debut would have seemed absurd, and yet just six years later, here we are – and without compromising their identity, no less.

It’s too early to say if Bloom is better than Teen Dream, but by the quantitative measure of how many times I’ve felt compelled to listen to it, it’s already well ahead. At worst, it’s as good as its predecessor and at best, its even better. In either case, it’s hard to imagine liking one and not the other and regardless of where you rank it relative to Beach House’s earlier output, despite really just being more of the same – or perhaps because of it – it’s excellent.

NPR has an advance stream of the new record and DIY, The Line Of Best Fit, The Orlando Sentinel, and Pitchfork have interviews with the band.

MP3: Beach House – “Myth”
Stream: Beach House / Bloom

Also streaming at NPR but two weeks ahead of release are The Only Place, the second album from Best Coast, and Passage, the debut from Exitmusic. Best Coast are at The Phoenix on July 21 and Exitmusic have a NXNE showcase at Wrongbar on June 14.

Stream: Best Coast / The Only Place
Stream: Exitmusic / Passage

S. Carey’s new EP Hoyas came out this week – stream it at Stereogum and read interviews with Sean Carey about the record at The Leader Telegram and Volume One.

MP3: S. Carey – “Two Angles”
Stream: S. Carey / Hoyas

In concert announcements, Joe Pernice will stretch his legs and take a mosey to The Dakota Tavern on June 22, maybe play some songs.

MP3: Pernice Brothers – “Somerville”

Having sold out Lee’s Palace their last time through, Youth Lagoon will be at The Opera House on July 12 with Father John Misty, who still has to get through Monday night’s show at the Horseshoe before he can make a return engagement. Tickets are $15.50 in advance.

MP3: Youth Lagoon – “July”
MP3: Father John Misty – “Nancy From Now On”

If part of Liars’ to-do list in preparation for the June 5 release of WIXIW was slate a North American tour, they can cross it off – they’ll be at Lee’s Palace on July 21, tickets $15. They can also check off releasing the first video from the new album.

MP3: Liars – “Scissor”
Video: Liars – “No. 1 Against The Rush”

Twin Shadow is also hitting the road in support of a new record – with Confess due out July 9, George Lewis Jr will be at Lee’s Palace on July 30 and 31, tickets $20.

MP3: Twin Shadow – “Five Seconds”
MP3: Twin Shadow – “Slow”

Merge has released a companion album to Crooked Fingers’ 2011 album Breaks In The Armor comprised of acoustic demos of the album. It’s out now and you can stream one of the tracks at Donewaiting.

Stream: Crooked Fingers – “Bad Blood” (acoustic)

Exclaim reports that some of The Mountain Goats’ early cassette releases from the early ’90s – The Hound Chronicles and Hot Garden Stomp, specifically – will be released on a single CD on June 26.

Fang Island have announced that their second album Major will be out on July 12; details at Spin.

Pop Etc have released a video from their self-titled debut, out June 12.

Video: Pop Etc – “Live It Up”

Explosions In The Sky have released a second video from last year’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care.

Video: Explosions In The Sky – “Postcard From 1952”

America Give Up has yielded another video from Minneapolis’ Howler.

Video: Howler – “This One’s Different”

Rolling Stone has premiered a new video from Mates Of State, off of last year’s Mountaintops.

Video: Mates Of State – “Unless I’m Led”

The Magnetic Fields have released a second video from Love At The Bottom Of The Sea.

Video: The Magnetic Fields – “Quick!”

Interview talks to Molly Hamilton of Widowspeak, in town at The Garrison on June 15 for NXNE.

The Line Of Best Fit has a video session with Of Montreal, in town for NXNE on June 16 at Yonge-Dundas Square.

Artrocker and Drowned In Sound talk to A Place To Bury Strangers about their forthcoming album Worship, out June 26.

Red Eye and The Detroit Free Press talk to Andrew Bird, in town at Echo Beach on July 19.

Sharon Van Etten plays a video session for WBEZ; she’s at The Phoenix on July 31.

Pitchfork talks to Merrill Garbus and the director of the recent tUnE-yArDs video for “My Country”. She plays The Phoenix on August 1.

SF Weekly chats with John Vanderslice.

Reverb interviews Kurt Wagner of Lambchop.

NPR is streaming a KCRW radio session with M. Ward.

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Savoir Adore.

Ra Ra Riot talks to Spin about what they’ve got planned for album number three and to Grantland about their appreciation for hockey.

NPR has a WFUV session with Shearwater.

Spin gets a progress report on the next Dinosaur Jr album, due out later this Summer.

Greg Dulli takes The Skinny on a guided tour of The Afghan Whigs’ catalog.

Spin talks to Bob Mould about the 20th anniversary of Sugar’s Copper Blue and the single, “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” in particular. Slicing Up Eyeballs reports that two of Mould’s ’90s albums – Bob Mould and The Last Dog & Pony Show – will be getting released as a three-disc set in the UK on June 18 with the third disc consisting of a live 1998 show.

The Atlantic reflects on the significance of Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot on the occasion of its tenth anniversary.

The AV Club has posted the fourth part of their look at the history of R.E.M..

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Champagne Year

St. Vincent and Cold Specks at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIn discussing the latest St. Vincent album Strange Mercy, I mentioned that Annie Clark’s greatest strength as a songwriter was her creative restlessness; a trait which has over the course of her relatively short career already taken her to more interesting places than some artists even conceive of visiting. If we turn our attention to her live show, that title of “most appropriate single adjective” would probably have to be “control”.

Just as she has a very specific idea of how her compositions should sound on record, she hits the road with a very specific idea of how they should be presented on stage, such that each time I’ve seen her its been not only with a different set of musicians, but a different configuration of instruments and sounds. Not that you need much more than Clark, her voice and her guitar to spellbind; that’s all she brought on her first visit back in February 2007 before her debut Marry Me was released and it was far more memorable than Midlake’s headlining set. Her last time through Toronto in August 2009, the more complex orchestration of Actor necessitated a multi-instrumentalist, multi-tasking five-piece St. Vincent. So who and what would they be for the leaner and more snarling Strange Mercy?

First, opening up were Cold Specks who had to make waves in Europe with her debut 7″ release before getting some attention back home; though Cold Specks is now based in London, Al Spx originally hails from the borough of Etobicoke. Performing seated as a two-piece with an accompanying guitarist/vocalist, Cold Specks tried to win over the packed, talkative room without a lot of success. Her meditative gospel-folk songs and their low-key deliver was designed more to haunt than command, and this wasn’t really the environment for that approach to succeed. Those of us up front were able to appreciate its subtleties and the way the weight of the material built slowly as the set progressed, but even from in close it was very gradual. Getting the opportunity to make her debut on a big stage like this may have been an impressive achievement, but Cold Specks is probably better suited to smaller rooms and more attentive audiences for now.

St. Vincent, on the other hand, has well and properly graduated to rooms of this size. Backed by a drummer manning a kit the size of which seemed physically impossible for an individual to manage and two keyboard/synth players, Annie Clark delivered a set that was configured for and leaned heavily on Strange Mercy – no horns or second effected vocal mic this time – only dipping slightly into Actor and not even acknowledging Marry Me until the finale of the show. The new material was delivered with gusto, Clark shifting from siren to shredder with the shake of her head and unleashing the squalling guitar breaks that so happily punctuate the record, unleashing chaos but in a totally precise manner (though having the strobe lights continually synched with the solos seemed a bit on the nose over the course of the night). The intensity of her performance was an interesting counterpoint to her poise between songs, where she would graciously acknowledge the shouts of, “we love you!” and “you’re so pretty!” from the audience while tuning or offer up some charming anecdote to make everyone fall in love with her just a little bit more.

This isn’t to suggest that it was an operation of military precision; “Dilettante” took three tries to get right, with Clark having to stop herself twice on account of forgetting the lyrics though she made the exercise of soliciting cues from the audience one of the most endearing moments of the night. It was with the late-set cover of The Pop Group’s “She Is Beyond Good & Evil” – rendered far more aggressively than any of her own material – that the show seemed to allow more anarchy to seep in. Shortly thereafter, Clark appeared to break the theremin during its solo on “Northern Lights” and though the encore opened with a lovely keyboard-vocal arrangement of “The Party”, it closed with a riff-heavy, almost metal-derived version of “Your Lips Are Red” which saw Clark turn an edge-of-stage guitar solo into an impromptu crowd surf – while sustaining both the soloing and her perfect posture – before getting back on stage and basically attacking her roadie with her guitar (in what I presume was a playful manner). It was a fantastic finale to an impressive show and showed that maybe the best thing about Annie Clark’s being in control is her ability to lose it.

NOW, The National Post, and The Globe & Mail also have reviews of the show while The Grid has a quick interview. The Toronto Star has a profile of Cold Specks.

Photos: St. Vincent, Cold Specks @ The Phoenix – December 15, 2011
MP3: St. Vincent – “Surgeon”
MP3: St. Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”
MP3: St. Vincent – “The Strangers”
MP3: St. Vincent – “Now Now”
Stream: Cold Specks – “Holland”
Video: St. Vincent – “Cruel”
Video: St. Vincent – “Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood”
Video: St. Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”
Video: St. Vincent – “Jesus Saves I Spend”

NYC Taper has got one of The National’s homecoming High Violet finale shows available to download, including the two new songs – “Rylan” and “I Need My Girl” – that the band has been premiering on this tour.

Also at NYC TaperMy Morning Jacket’s Madison Square Garden show from last week.

Rolling Stone has premiered the new video from Nicole Atkins’ Mondo Amore.

Video: Nicole Atkins – “Hotel Plaster”

Exclaim reports that Cat Power will be releasing some new material in the form of a charity single on Christmas Eve. Details are still forthcoming but it’s confirmation that Chan Marshall has been doing stuff. Musical stuff.

That new Guided By Voices album, Let’s Go Eat The Factory? NPR has got that up to stream, two weeks before its January 1 digital release and a full month before its January 17 physical release.

Stream: Guided By Voices – “Let’s Go Eat The Factory”

Their visit in the Fall a casualty of the cancelled Vaccines tour, Tennis have made a date at The Horseshoe for February 29, just a couple weeks after their second album Young And Old is released on February 14.

MP3: Tennis – “Civic Halo”
MP3: Tennis – “Self-Seal Mishap”
Video: Tennis – “Deep In The Woods”

Youth Lagoon will bring his much year-ended debut album The Year Of Hibernation to Lee’s Palace on March 31. Blare has an interview.

MP3: Youth Lagoon – “July”

Memphis country-punk stalwarts Lucero are back at Lee’s Palace on April 14. Their new album Women & Work will be out in the Spring, presumably in time to sell at these shows.

Video: Lucero – “What Are You Willing To Lose?”

Spin has got the new Sleigh Bells single available to stream. Reign Of Terror is out February 14.

Stream: Sleigh Bells – “Born To Lose”

Paste has posted a video session with Centro-Matic.