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Posts Tagged ‘Zeus’

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Do You Want To Die Together?

Stars want to sex you up on Spring tour. And also kill you.

Photo By Norman WongNorman WongConsidering their fanbases intersect pretty heavily, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to think that Stars’ Autumn jaunt supporting Metric across Canada’s finest arenas would constitute the bulk of their touring in support of their latest effort The North. Not unreasonable, but also incorrect.

Following forays to Europe and Australasia this Winter, Stars will embark on another transcontinental tour in the Spring with certain cities hosting a two-night stand that the band promise will be more than just repeated sets. They’ve dubbed these shows “Evenings Of Sex & Death” and will be plumbing their discographies for songs relating to each topic – not difficult, certainly – to create themed evenings. And if that means super-fans will want to attend both nights rather than just choose one or another, then all the better. Though let’s be honest, they would have anyways. Toronto plays host to one of the two-parters on March 20 and 21 at the Danforth Music Hall, with tickets for individual nights going for $29.50 a piece or $50 for both evenings. These go on sale this Saturday at 10AM.

Canada.com has an interview with Amy Millan.

MP3: Stars – “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”
MP3: Stars – “The Theory Of Relativity”

The Drake Hotel has released details of this year’s What’s In The Box Boxing Week concert series, which they’ve been doing since 2006 and sees five bands and/or DJs playing the Underground each night from December 26 to 30 with a modest $5 cover for all. There’s still some TBAs in the itinerary, but with names like July Talk, Born Ruffians frontman Luke Lalonde, Dusted, and Zeus in the mix, you know they’re going to be sold out regardless of who else gets added.

MP3: Zeus – “Anything You Want Dear”
MP3: Dusted – “(Into The) Atmosphere”
Stream: Luke Lalonde – “(Grand) Rhythmnals”
Video: July Talk – “Paper Girl”

Looking ahead to the new year, Basia Bulat – who will have a new record out in 2013 – will be performing at the January installment of the Art Gallery Of Ontario’s 1st Thursday monthly programme on January 3. If you’re not familiar with it – and I wasn’t until I went to this month’s – $10 gets you not only the show, but run of the AGO’s exhibits with the addition of impromptu dance clubs, taco bars, and drop-in life-drawing classes. It’s good fun, but know that it will sell out so advance tickets are recommended and people get quite dressed up for it. Except for the ones who are naked.

MP3: Basia Bulat – “Gold Rush”

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – who incidentally played this month’s 1st Thursday – will be at The Garrison on January 18, part of a compact Ontario tour. Dazed & Confused has an interview with band principals Alaska and Ruby.

Video: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – “Hoshi Neko”

Fucked Up have squeezed another video out of David Comes To Life. They headline their Long Winter show at The Great Hall on Friday and will also open up the Alexisonfire farewell show at The Sound Academy on December 27.

Video: Fucked Up – “Inside A Frame”

DIY has details on the European release of Woodpigeon’s new album Thumbtacks & Glue, which is perhaps fitting since Mark Hamilton is now an Austria-residing ex-pat. It’s out February 25 over there, and should be released around then in Canada via Boompa. You can stream one of the new songs right now. Update: Under The Radar confirms February 26 as the North American release and has another new track to download.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Red Rover, Red Rover”
Stream: Woodpigeon – “Sufferin’ Suckatash”

PEI power-poppers Two Hours Traffic have announced details of their next album, entitled Foolish Blood and due out February 19. Head over to Exclaim for details and stream the first single below.

Stream: Two Hours Traffic – “Last Star”

Chains Of Love have made a single from their forthcoming second album – now revealed to be called Misery Makers and due out in the Spring – available to download.

MP3: Chains Of Love – “Pretend”

Beatroute and The Chicago Tribune talk to Japandroids.

The Line Of Best Fit has released this year’s holiday edition of their Oh! Canada compilation – or Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada – for free download, featuring holiday-themed original songs from the likes of The Wilderness Of Manitoba, The Acorn, and Del Bel amongst many others. One of those others being Kathryn Calder, who has upped the ante with a video for her contribution, which is intended as a fundraiser for Plan Canada’s Because I Am A Girl charity – read Calder’s message for the video at The Line Of Best Fit.

Video: Kathryn Calder – “Little Ones”

And whilst talking about charitable Christmas compilations, Zunior has assembled a tribute album to surf rock heroes The Ventures’ 1965 release The Ventures Christmas Album, featuring names like Sister and Super Friendz. All proceeds from the comp will go to The Daily Bread Food Bank.

And if you hadn’t taken a boo yet, the first batch of names who will be in town from March 19 to 24 for Canadian Musicfest were rolled out last week. Putting aside the big names like Nick Cave and Rihanna who clearly are not in town for Canadian Musicfest but will be admitting approximately one lucky wristband holder for marketing purposes, I look forward to seeing acts like… ok I’ll get back to you.

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Fineshrine

Review of Purity Ring’s Shrines

Photo By Sebastian MlynarskiSebastian MlynarskiI expect there’s a lot of interest in drawing parallels between the success of Purity Ring with that of Grimes what with both being based out of Montreal – although Purity Ring’s Corin Roddick and Megan James originally hail from Edmonton – and releasing albums of electronic pop that seem to be the perfect soundtracks for the zeitgeist circa 2012, and on the same label outside of Canada, no less – the legendary 4AD.

But whereas Claire Boucher’s work is rather defined by its technicolor ADD-ness and her pixie-like vocals, Purity Ring’s debut Shrines is quite content to work within decidedly narrow aesthetic parameters. Beats are slow and with their reverse-decay treatment, seem to exist somewhere between a stutter and a throb, giving the record a very steady if uneasy pace. At the other end of the spectrum and separated by layers of thickly reverbed ’80s-vintage synth tones, you have James’ bright, clear, and girlish vocals – and only occasionally electronically sliced and diced – delivering major-key, singalong melodies and lyrics that are often playfully nonsensical, yet still somehow foreboding.

This contrast essentially sums up Purity Ring – a friendly yet fearful intersection of dreampop and R&B. The consistency of their style reminds me of The xx, who were also able to turn a seemingly limited palette of sounds and ideas into a unique sonic world all their own. They aren’t quite as able to avoid the nagging sense of sameness that’s the downside of such an approach – by the end of Shrines, there’s a distinct sense that you’ve heard these songs already – but the record possesses enough distinctiveness and ideas to largely justify all the attention being given to it.

What attention? Well, consider that the week of the record’s release – that’s this week – has yielded feature pieces in Exclaim, Billboard, Rolling Stone, Interview, Canada.com, The Edmonton Journal, The Montreal Gazette, and Stereogum. I’d say that counts as people paying attention.

MP3: Purity Ring – “Belispeak”
MP3: Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”
MP3: Purity Ring – “Obedear”
Video: Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”
Video: Purity Ring – “Belispeak”

Claire Boucher talks to MTV Hive about some creative directions she may want to take in the future, whether as Grimes or as something else. It’s as Grimes that she’ll be at Lee’s Palace on September 21.

Crystal Castles are putting the finishing touches on their third album – still untitled but due out late September, and with the first sample available to download and accompanying North American tour announced. Full dates plus some words from Ethan Kath about the new record are available at Exclaim. The hometown date on the itinerary is November 4 at the Kool Haus; Los Angeles’ HEALTH supports.

MP3: Crystal Castles – “Plague”

Dan Snaith’s multiple personality disorder appears to have reared its head again. After being forced to stop being Manitoba and become Caribou some years ago – occasionally transforming into the Caribou Vibration Ensemble – he’s announced his next release will be under the name Daphni, and be decidedly more electronic/dancey than his past efforts which were decidedly electronic/dancey to begin with. The album JIAOLONG will be out on October 16 – Pitchfork has details, the first video is below.

Video: Daphni – “Ye Ye”

Also at Pitchfork, Dan Bejar reviews some of the musical milestones of his life that turned him into Destroyer. He also talks to The Vancouver Sun and Victoria Times-Colonist about attempting to get Destroyer onto the jazz festival circuit this Summer.

That new Stars tune from North that was made available to stream earlier this week is now downloadable. The album is out on September 4 and they open up for Metric at the Air Canada Centre on November 14.

MP3: Stars – “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”

Shad talks to CBC Music about the ’90s-era samples and influences that went into his Melancholy & The Infinite Shadness mixtape.

Those who like their Can-rock bearded and retro-styled will like the looks of the lineup rolling into Echo Beach on September 15 – that’ll bring The Sheepdogs, The Sadies, Zeus, and Yukon Blonde to the waterfront stage. Tickets for that are $29.50 general admission and $45 VIP.

MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”
MP3: Zeus – “Anything You Want Dear”>
MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Fire”
Video: The Sheepdogs – “I Don’t Know”

The Acorn have taken a moment to update the world on what The Acorn has been up to and to share an unreleased tune. A new record is in the works and they’re playing the Paper Bag Records 10th anniversary show at The Great Hall on September 27.

Stream: The Acorn – “Shoot The Moon”

Daytrotter has a session and The Calgary Herald an interview with Cold Specks. She’s at The Great Hall on August 8.

Beatroute talks to Little Scream.

Exclaim has some details on the deluxe reissue of Sloan’s seminal Twice Removed, which will come as a triple-LP set with the album proper on one slab of vinyl, a demo version of the album on another, and a batch of era-correct outtakes on the third. Street date and complete recital tour dates are still to come – the already announced dates only get them as far as the midwest by late September… they gotta come home sometime.

Those of you who like free shows – I see you enter my contests, I know that’s pretty much all of you – should take note of a couple things going down next week courtesy of Scion Sessions. They’ve got their fingers in a few things including the Mad Decent Block Party taking over Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday, but there’s also a couple of shows – one headlined by Nosaj Thing at The Hoxton on August 2 and one led by Young Widows at Parts & Labour on August 3 that you can be at for just the cost of an RSVP. Follow the links above for details.

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

CONTEST – Zeus @ The Phoenix – June 9, 2012

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWho: Zeus
What: Toronto quartet who want to be to ’70s-styled pop-rock what their namesake is to lightning.
Why: Though they played a raucous club set just ahead of the release of their second album during Canadian Musicfest, they’ve not had a hometown show since Busting Visions was set upon the world. That changes now.
When: Saturday, June 9, 2012
Where: The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto (19+)
Who else: It’s a Canadian power-pop jamberoo with support coming from Two Hours Traffic and The Elwins.
How: Tickets for the show are $16 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got one pair of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to see Zeus” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, June 7.
What else: There’s interviews with the band at Planet S, Uptown, and The Victoria Times Colonist and NPR has a World Cafe session to listen to.

MP3: Zeus – “Anything You Want Dear”

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

SXSW 2012 Night Two

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band and more at SXSW

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo – did I mention that I won a ticket to see Bruce Springsteen for the Thursday night of SXSW? I did? Okay then, just checking. The show was held in conjunction with The Boss’ appearance as the keynote speaker at this year’s conference and admission being doled out via lottery open to badgeholders. The actual location of it was kept secret, but minimal sleuthing pretty much guaranteed that it would be at the almost-brand new (opened last year) Moody Theater, where they held the tapings for Austin City Limits.

The old studio on the University Of Texas campus – where I’d been fortunate enough to see a Wilco taping in 2007 – was nice enough, but very much a soundstage/studio. The new facility, located right in downtown Austin, was easily one of the nicest modern concert venues I’ve ever been to, with stadium sightlines, comfy padded seating and an amazing sound and light system yet still relatively cozy with a capacity around 2800 people. Which by Springsteen standards may as well have been a tiny hole-in-the-wall bar. Yeah, this would be pretty special.

Openers came in the form of Rhode Island’s The Low Anthem, whose last release was 2011′s Smart Flesh. I’d seen them way back in December 2008, just before their star began to rise, and recall being impressed with their musicianship and intricate folk-pop songcraft, though apparently not quite enough to keep up with their career. Now a five-piece rather than a trio, they had even more musical options and I think each song in their set featured a different instrumental configuration than the last. A bit showy, perhaps, but they were quick about it and the focus remained on their elegant and ornate Americana sound that explored and maintained the trails blazed by Bob Dylan over the course of his career, but with smoother vocals and harmonies. It was a charming set but if we’re being honest, I doubt I’ll be following them any closer than I did after the last time I saw them.

Next up was Austin roots-rock mainstay Alejandro Escovedo backed by The Sensitive Boys & Girls, and those in the audience who were complaining about The Low Anthem putting them to sleep – and there were a few within earshot – certainly would have had the cobwebs blown out of their ears by Escovedo and company. Their lean, no-frills rock’n’roll was slick yet raucous and filled with evocative songwriting and ripping guitar solos. That the man is regarded as a legend in a city that’s turned out more than its share of musical legends is saying something.

But if we’re talking legends, then Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band would have to be at the top of anyone’s list. Now I think it’s important to note that though I fancy myself appreciative of Springsteen and reasonably familiar with his work, I would not file myself as a huge fan nor have I ever seen him live; tickets for his shows are pretty damned expensive and even then, sell out about immediately. I’ve just never gone to the extra effort to secure some, and so to have this one fall into my lap – or onto my arm, as the admission wristband did – was pretty exciting. There was a bit of a wait between the end of Escovedo’s set and the start of Bruce’s but then setting up a 16-piece band is no small task, even for pros. But a little past nine, the lights went down, a roar went up and they got underway.

The show started not with any of Springsteen’s own classics, but a solemn, gospel-tinged reading of Woody Guthrie’s “I Ain’t Got No Home”, gussied up with brass and chorus to mark the centenary of the original protest singer’s birth. From there, the lights went up, the Telecaster went on and the band tore into the anthemic “We Take Care Of Our Own” and the title track of their just-released new record Wrecking Ball; I haven’t paid attention to how the album has been received but damn if these two songs didn’t sound like fiery classics in the making. They pulled out one I did know – “Badlands” – next before returning to the new material and bringing Tom Morello out to guest on “Death To My Hometown”; Morello would return a few more times through the night, including an utterly incendiary jaw-dropping duet with Springsteen and solo on “The Ghost Of Tom Joad”.

And you know what? Billboard has the set list with their writeup of the show, and running through things song by song is pointless. Hell, reviewing a Springsteen show seems pointless – its been done thousands of times and its probably safe to say that there’s rarely if ever a bad Bruce show, and if there were it wouldn’t be this one. I just stood there marvelling at the charisma of the man and the power of the band; they were really the epitome of a rock band, of which all others were just reflections and shadows, with moves and routines that would have been hokey coming from anyone else but coming from Springsteen, totally genuine and uplifting. One couldn’t help thinking back to his keynote address earlier in the day where he named off dozens of subgenres of rock and it was easy to see why he found it all so amusing – the man only dealt in the original article.

The show seemed to mostly be made up of selections from Wrecking Ball and The Rising, which might not have been ideal for one like me who really only knew the hits – or at least the 20th century material – but it was understandable. Despite having a career spanning four decades, Springsteen remains creative and vital and the furthest thing from a nostalgia act – I didn’t expect to hear many or even any of the hits, so there was no sense of disappointment. And how could I be? I was finally seeing one of the great artists and entertainers in the history of rock music and in a setting that others would give their eye teeth for. It was amazing.

And so of course I left early.

Well actually I stayed for almost the entirety of the two-hour main set, though I kick myself for missing “Thunder Road”, but I also really wanted to catch the Jesus & Mary Chain and at that point it seemed like I was allowing enough time for that to happen. Of course it didn’t. I ended up standing in a line outside The Belmont for almost 90 minutes, eventually ceasing to move with 40 or so people ahead of me, while Bruce played on and was joined by Jimmy Cliff and Eric Burdon for the encore and Arcade Fire (and a slew of others) for the show-closing reading of “This Land Is Your Land”. But hey, I heard “Head Down” from the street, so not a total loss…

And maybe things really did land butter-side up considering that I managed to get over to St. David’s Historic Sanctuary for a good portion of Patrick Watson’s set. Now I’ve never been much of a Watson fan, but have slowly been warming to him over time and based on this performance, his new one Adventures In Your Own Backyard may be the one to get me fully onboard. Beyond the songs, which sounded great, and the setting, which with shifting and pulsing strings of lights draped around the church was rather magical if a nightmare photographically, there was the fact that I think I finally begin to get what Watson is about. The same way that band treated the stage more like a playground than a performance space, Watson’s compositions are lovely little things that exist simply from the desire to create something beautiful. It sounds a bit silly but it was a real mental shift for me with respect to him – hey, not every artist has to be exorcising demons in their work – and sent me back into the night feeling pretty damn good. And needing a hot dog.

Rolling Stone reports that a new Neil Young & Crazy Horse record not only exists, as rumoured, but that it will be called Americana, consist of reinterpretations of classic folk and protest songs and be coming out on June 5.

The Victoria Times Colonist, The Province, and Jambands profile Plants & Animals, in town at Lee’s Palace on April 21.

NOW, The Toronto Star, Boston Phoenix, The Telegraph, and Loud & Quiet talk to Grimes, whose show at The Horseshoe Monday night was cancelled due to illness and rescheduled for next Tuesday, but is still sold the fuck out.

Rolling Stone is streaming the new Zeus record Busting Visions ahead of its release next week; they play The Horseshoe March 23 for Canadian Musicfest and The Phoenix on June 9.

MP3: Zeus – “Anything You Want Dear”
Stream: Zeus / Busting Visions

On that bill with Zeus at The Horseshoe will be Snowblink, who are officially labelmates as of their second album, due out later this year. To mark the occasion, the band have uploaded a bunch of covers of dead artists – well, Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse – to Soundcloud. Don’t worry, they’re respectful.

DIY chats with Kathleen Edwards, who has been announced as one of the performers at this year’s LuminaTO arts festival in June.

Rae Spoon has put out a new video from I Can’t Keep All Of Our Secrets.

Video: Rae Spoon – “Ocean Blue”

The Waterloo Record talks to Al Spx of Cold Specks, who has made a track from her debut album I Predict A Graceful Explosion available to stream; it’s out May 22 and she plays The Music Gallery for Canadian Musicfest on Thursday, followed by an appearance opening for Great Lake Swimmers at The Music Hall on June 2.

Stream: Cold Specks – “Winter Solstice”

An unexpected but wholly welcome entrant in the ’90s Can-rock reunion ring? Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet. Exclaim reports that the instrumental and influential surf-rock legends are getting back together for a couple shows to mark the reissue of their catalog on vinyl; 1988′s Savvy Show Stoppers comes out in June and the other two will follow at approximately six month intervals. As for those shows, the Toronto date is July 14 at Lee’s Palace and as for the fact that bassist Reid Diamond passed away in 2001, they’ve got a pretty good ringer lined up – Dallas Good of The Sadies. Fun fact – my band in high school would cover “Having An Average Weekend” in our sets. It did not make us popular.

Stream: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – “Having An Average Weekend”

And here’s your Osheaga 2012 lineup. Not. Bad. At. All.

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

We Are The Same

The Tragically Hip attempt something novel, plan Canada Day shows

Photo via Amazon.comAmazonYesterday was a pretty busy one as far as festival announcements went – the first acts for this year’s Pitchfork Festival, happening July 13 to 15 in Chicago’s Union Park, were revealed; Sled Island made a pretty compelling argument for visiting Calgary from June 20 to 23; and though an official announcement is still a little ways off, the fact that Florence & The Machine, The Walkmen, tUnE-yArDs, Black Keys and The Shins will all be passing through during the August long weekend gives you a good notion of who Osheaga will be bringing to Montreal.

All of which serves to remind that we here in Toronto are again a festival-free town, at least as far as big outdoor to-dos are concerned. Sure, we may get an Olympic Island show but those aren’t ever a sure thing, Hillside is reasonably local but keeps things pretty grassroots, and club-level stuff like CMW and NXNE don’t quite stir the same amount of excitement, though the free shows at Yonge-Dundas Square during NXNE come pretty close. And yeah I know there’s stuff like Edgefest and Warped and HeavyTO, but those never interest me and are thus invalid. All of which is to say that for all the problems that it ran into over its four-year existence, I miss V Fest.

But hey, the field isn’t completely fallow – The Tragically Hip, as they often do, have announced a couple of multi-act shows in honour of the 200th anniversary of the War Of 1812 and Canada Day to take place at Butler’s Barracks in Niagara-On-The-Lake on June 30 and Burl’s Creek outside of Barrie on July 1, respectively. Not in the 416 like last year’s Weezer co-headline bro-fest at Downsview, but as good as it gets for now. Joining them for both dates will be Death Cab For Cutie, The New Pornographers, and The Rural Alberta Advantage. I’m assuming Death Cab will play the Americans in the historical re-enactment of the Battle Of Beaver Dams. It’s not as mammoth a linuep as they’ve sometimes assembled for the country’s birthday, but it’s a solid one.

Tickets are $69.50 for either show and there will be a limited number of two-days passes for $99.50 for the extra patriotic. Details at thehip.com.

MP3: Death Cab For Cutie – “Photobooth”
MP3: The New Pornographers – “(Your Hands) Together”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “North Star”
Video: The Tragically Hip – “My Music At Work”

The Wilderness Of Manitoba will warm up for their trip down to Austin for SXSW and preview songs from their forthcoming second album with a show at The Drake Underground on March 8.

MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Hermit”

Acknowledging that barely a fraction of their fanbase will get to see them at The Horseshoe on March 23 during Canadian Musicfest, Zeus have made a properly-sized hometown date at The Phoenix on June 9, tickets $15. Their second album Busting Visions is out March 27.

MP3: Zeus – “Anything You Want Dear”

Exclaim welcomes Grimes to the cover of their March issue. She’s at The Horseshoe on March 19.

Pitchfork has premiered the first track from PS I Love You’s sophomore effort Death Dreams, out May 8. They’re also playing Lee’s Palace on March 23 for Canadian Musicfest and Toronto Standard has a conversation with them and Diamond Rings, whose own second album is the process of being wrapped up.

MP3: PS I Love You – “Sentimental Dishes”

The Alternate Side welcomes Dan Mangan for a video session and interview. He plays The Indies at The Royal York on March 24.

Interview has premiered the first of a series of performance videos by The Wooden Sky showcasing songs from their new record Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun, while Exclaim has an interview with the band in this month’s issue as well as an online piece about the other projects the band are pursuing, and The Link also has a chat. They’re at The Opera House on April 20.

Interview, CBC Radio 3, Montreal Gazette, and National Post talk to Plants & Animals about their new album The End Of That, from which they’ve just released a new video. They’re at Lee’s Palace on April 21.

Video: Plants & Animals – “Lightshow”

Metric have announced a June 12 release date for their new record, which will be entitled Synthetica. I suspect that some synths went into the making of this record.

The Line Of Best Fit, Exclaim, and Minnesota Daily talk to Memoryhouse about their debut full-length The Slideshow Effect, out now and sporting a brand-new video.

Video: Memoryhouse – “The Kids Were Wrong”

Islands have released a new video from A Sleep & A Forgetting while NPR has posted a World Cafe session and Exclaim, Blurt, JAM, and Seattle Weekly interviews with the band.

Video: Islands – “Hallways”

The Scotsman talks to Kathleen Edwards, who also gives Clash a peek at some of her literary influences. The Hamilton Spectator also has some questions for their former resident.

Uptown, The Calgary Herald, and Prairie Dog interview Calgary singer-songwriter Rae Spoon.

Happy Leap Day! It’s a great day to do things you normally wouldn’t… like lead a post with The Tragically Hip! Woo!