Search Results - "Robyn Hitchcock "

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

CONTEST – Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 @ The Mod Club – November 10

Ole Tarantula is the new album from the legendary Robyn Hitchcock and the first featuring the Venus 3 – aka Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey and Bill Rieflin. It’s a return to the effervescently demented pop that Hitchcock perfected with The Soft Boys (fellow Soft Boy Kimberley Rew guests on a few tracks) and serves as a great reminder of how singular and weird an artist Hitchcock is as well as how consistent he’s been over the past 30 years.

Hitchcock was supposed to play Toronto last May with The Sadies as his backing band and while that show was canceled due to, if I recall correctly, a wounded foot. But he’s finally coming back and doing so with an equally stellar set of players and who knows, maybe a Sadie or two will join them anyways? Could happen. And you could be there if it does (or doesn’t).

Courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got three pairs of passes to give away for Hitchcock’s upcoming show at the Mod Club this Friday and to enter, all you have to do is email me at with “I want to see Robyn Hitchcock” in the subject line and your full name in the body. This contest will close at midnight, November 7 (that’s Tuesday) so if you want in, do it now.

MP3: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – “Adventure Rocket Ship”
Video: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – “Adventure Rocket Ship” (WMV)
Video: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – “Adventure Rocket Ship – live” (WMV)
MySpace: Robyn Hitchcock

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Goodnight Oslo

Review of Robyn Hitchcock's Goodnight Oslo and giveaway

Photo By George WrightGeorge WrightWith most of his recent releases being of the archival sort – two box sets in the last two years in the form of I Wanna Go Backwards and Luminous Groove and with more to come – you might be forgiven for thinking that Robyn Hitchcock had his hands full reflecting on an enormous and impressive career. You would also, of course, be wrong. Even while supervising the extensive retrospective project, Hitchcock found the time to regroup with the Venus 3 – the 3/5 of R.E.M., Peter Buck, Bill Rieflin and Scott McCaughey, with whom he recorded 2006’s wonderful Ole Tarantula – and recorded yet another new album, the just-released Goodnight Oslo.

Unlike the bright and sprightly Tarantula, Oslo feels darker in mood and more expansive in tone, favouring more meditative, droning song structures and incorporating the likes of strings, horns and backing singers into the brew. But more importantly, like its predecessor, Oslo is full of classic-sounding, jangly pop songs turned on their heads by Hitchcock’s clever and curious wordplay and distinctive delivery. Having been at it for thirty-odd years, the man has a signature. And more importantly, he’s still working at an impressively high level. While he may have spent the last little while looking backwards, there’s no question he’s still moving ever-forwards.

Hitchcock and his crew are touring North America and will be at the Mod Club in Toronto this Thursday night, April 16. I saw them there in 2006 and even for someone only casually familiar with Hitchcock’s oeuvre, it was a tremendously enjoyable show. This should be no different. Courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for this show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I wanna go backwards” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and get that in to me by midnight tomorrow evening – April 14.

There’s interviews with Hitchcock at Wired, JamBase, Philadelphia Daily News and Nashville Scene. And while there’s no album MP3 from Goodnight Oslo available, Hitchcock’s live shows are freely available at and that includes shows from the current tour, like this one from Carrboro, North Carolina where he naturally played some of the new material.

MP3: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – “What You Is” (live)
MP3: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – “Goodnight Oslo” (live)
MySpace: Robyn Hitchcock

Thanks go to Anika In London for pointing the way to this video session with Emmy The Great at Channel M. There’s also an interview with Emmy at The Is Nottingham.

And digging through those Channel M archives unearthed this session with Fanfarlo. Have I mentioned how great their Reservoir album is? I have? Good. Because it is.

Gomez have a date at the Phoenix on May 29 in support of their new album A New Tide.

Beatroute, The Georgia Straight and Decider have interviews with Friendly Fires.

Incendiary and The Skinny interview Micachu & The Shapes.

St Vincent has a new video from her new album Actor, due out on May 5.

Video: St Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”

At long last, Los Angeles-based music mag Under The Radar has a proper website with actual content. Like this interview with Bob Mould. Under The Radar remains one of the best (and last) indie-centric music magazines out there in the physical world, I look forward to seeing the same high level of quality from them online.

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

One For The Road

Arctic Monkeys announce new album of Arctic Monkey songs, tour of Arctic Monkey shows

Photo By Zackery MichaelZackery MichaelWhen Arctic Monkeys went off and unveiled the video for a new single last week, it was just a matter of time until the specifics around the follow-up to their 2011 album Suck It And See would come to light. And now they have. The Line Of Best Fit has details about the new record, which will be simply titled AM – whether it’s in reference to the band or the half of the day is anyone’s guess – and will be out in North America on September 10.

And to further get their legions of Monkeys fans on this side of the Atlantic excited, following the European festival season -which includes a headlining slot at Glastonbury this weekend – they’ll be commencing a North American tour which kicks off in Toronto on September 15 at The Kool Haus. Tickets for the all-ages gig are $33.50 and go on sale this Friday.

The London Evening Standard has some words from frontman Alex Turner about the new record.

Video: Arctic Monkeys – “Do I Wanna Know?”

Though original frontman Stuart Adamson passed away back in 2001, ’80s Scottish guitars-that-sound-like-bagpipes maestros Big Country have been reunited since 2010 with period-correct new frontman Mike Peters of The Alarm, and with the release of The Journey, their first new album in 14 years, are doing some North American tour dates – they’re in Toronto at Lee’s Palace on August 4, tickets $22.50.

Video: Big Country – “In A Big Country”

Despite being an avowed classic shoegazing fan – or maybe because I am – I don’t cotton to a lot of the current crop of purveyors of the style. Oakland’s Whirr, however, seem to do it right from the onomatopoeic monosyllabic handle through their sometimes hazy, sometimes pummelling, but always melodic sound. They’re heading out on tour in support of their latest album Pipe Dreams, and will be at the Silver Dollar on August 17, tickets just $8.50. I daresay you won’t find anything better to do that evening at that price.

Stream: Whirr – “Swoon”
Stream: Whirr / Pipe Dreams

Toronto-based Mumford & Sons fans who bought tickets to their Gentlemen Of The Road mini-fest in Simcoe, Ontario on August 23 and 24 expecting it would be their only local show might be a bit miffed to learn that the band have announced an August 26 show at The Molson Amphitheatre. Mind you, only The Vaccines and Bear’s Den are also joining them at this show, so if you were just as keen on seeing any of the other bands playing or just camping out in south-central Ontario, you’re still good. Or look at it as an opportunity to see them twice in a week. Or don’t, I dunno, I’ve lost interest. The band are doing some invite/presale thing to manage demand.

And for Vaccines fans, NME is streaming a new song from the band so have at it.

MP3: The Vaccines – “Norgaard”
Video: Mumford & Sons – “I Will Wait”
Stream: The Vaccines – “Melody Calling”

You won’t find a better legend-to-intimacy ratio than this – as he did back in 2010, Robyn Hitchcock will be camped out at the Drake Underground on the evenings of September 3 and 4, telling tales and playing songs from his latest album Love From London and probably a few more. Tickets for each show are $21.50.

Video: Robyn Hitchcock – “Be Still” (rehearsal video)

It’s not being billed as anything as reductive as a Constellation Records roadshow, but fans of the Montreal label would be ill-advised to be anywhere but The Great Hall on September 5; that’s when Esmerine, Colin Stetson, Sandro Perri and Craig Dunsmuir, who despite working together before as Glissandro 70 are billing themselves as Dudasa 80, and Jerusalem In My Heart. Tickets for that are $15.

MP3: Colin Stetson – “High Above A Grey Green Sea”
MP3: Esmerine – “A Dog River”
MP3: Jerusalem In My Heart – “Yudaghdegh Al-Ra3ey Aala Al-Ghanam”

I may have been wrong about Charleston roots-rock duo Shovels & Rope being added to the TURF lineup – they’re touring with Dawes, after all – but they are still coming to town. They’ll be at The Horseshoe on September 7 for their first-ever headlining show in support of O’ Be Joyful, tickets $16.50. Relix has a feature on the band.

Video: Shovels & Rope – “Birmingham”

New York synth-pop duo MS MR have to be pretty happy with their career trajectory, as represented by their touring history in Toronto – from supporting Jessie Ware at The Opera House in early April through a small club show of their own at Wrongbar in late May, and now a headlining date at The Phoenix on September 16, all behind their debut album Secondhand Rapture; tickets are $16.50, Danish singer opens. Full tour routing can be found at Exclaim and an interview with the duo at Glamour.

Video: MS MR – “Hurricane”

Portland instrumentalists Grails have set a date at The Drake Underground for September 18, tickets $12.50. Their last release was 2012’s vinyl-only Black Tar Prophecies Volume 5 split-12″ with Pharaoh Overlord.

MP3: Grails – “Almost Grew My Hair”

London-based Bastille, who topped the UK charts back in March with the release of their debut Bad Blood, will be looking to repeat some of that success stateside as they hit North America this Fall, including The Opera House in Toronto on September, tickets $16. Tone Deaf has an interview with frontman Dan Smith.

Video: Bastille – “Pompeii”

Australians Atlas Genius have already announced a return date for the Danforth Music Hall on October 4, tickets $22.50, even though their local debut at the Opera House just wrapped the other night. I guess their debut When It Was Now is doing pretty well. Support for that show will be Detroit duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

MP3: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – “Skeletons”
Video: Atlas Genius – “Trojans”

Speaking of return engagements, British soulstress Jessie Ware has finally announced her follow-up to her local debut at The Opera House in April, and of course it’s at the much bigger and more reviled Sound Academy. She’s there November 6, tickets $25.

Video: Jessie Ware – “Wildest Moments”

Given that his star was already on the rise when I saw him at SXSW 2012, I’m surprised it’s taken Austin’s Gary Clark, Jr. this long to make it up here in support of his debut Blak And Blu, but when you’re as bona fide a singer-guitarist-songwriter as this guy – those “next Hendrix” compliments aren’t hot air – you’re in demand. In any case, he’s at The Danforth Music Hall on November 18, tickets $29.50.

Video: Gary Clark, Jr. – “Numb”

And from the upstart to the legend, Mavis Staples will be in town at Koerner Hall on February 7 behind her new album One True Vine, out this week and streamable in whole below, which sees the gospel singer tackle songs by Low, Funkadelic, Nick Lowe, and three Jeff Tweedy originals. Tickets for the show range from $40 to $95.

Video: Mavis Staples – “I Like The Things About Me”
Stream: Mavis Staples / One True Vine

And while my beat is mainly Toronto, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Hamilton’s Supercrawl has announced its musical lineup for the weekend of September 13 and 14, and it will bring the likes of Yo La Tengo, Chelsea Light Moving, Fucked Up, Joel Plaskett, METZ, and many more to the streets of Steeltown. And oh, it’s free.

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

When I Still Have Thee

Middle-aged cult heroes Teenage Fanclub return with new album

Photo via MergeMergeSo much to catch up on. Where to begin? How about Scotland? That Teenage Fanclub had completed a new record in the last while is no secret. Even the title has been kicking around since last year. But the lack of news on the actual release of the record has been tough to find, at least until now. Merge, who put out their last album Man-Made in 2005, will release Shadows on June 8 to the delight of power pop connoisseurs everywhere.

To stir up anticipation, they’ve released the first MP3 from the record. It’s a Norman Blake composition but like most everything they’ve done since 1997’s Songs From Northern Britain, regardless of who the specific songwriter is, it’s a master class in mid-tempo, ultra-melodic jangle-pop. One of the wonderful things about this band – besides the music, of course – is how each of the three principals has their own distinct songwriting personality, and yet they fit together seamlessly. I’ll admit that in the past half decade, I hadn’t really been chomping at the bit for a new Fannies record but knowing that one is coming and that it’s almost certain to be of the same high level of quality as they’ve maintained pretty much forever is a comforting thought. The Fannies will never really surprise, but they’ll never disappoint either.

Also worth looking forward to is the fact that there are plans for North American touring this Fall. Their last tour was also five years ago so another visit is long overdue. Tracklisting and cover art for Shadows can be had over at Pitchfork.

MP3: Teenage Fanclub – “Baby Lee”

After a goodly amount of teasing, the first official taste of High Violet, the new record from The National, is available to download and it is, in a word, amazing. I’d been joking that this was going to be my album of the year before I heard a note, but I don’t think I’m joking anymore. The National are at Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.

MP3: The National – “Blood Buzz Ohio”

The Acorn have set a June 1 release date for their new album No Ghost – details on the release at Exclaim.

Exclaim talks to Wolf Parade about their still-untitled new album, which has a release date of June 29. They’ll preview it at the Phoenix on April 7.

BBC6 talks to Thomas Mars of Phoenix, who are celebrating a pretty good year by giving away a free live album. Go and get it.

ZIP: Phoenix / Live In Sydney

And speaking of live, let’s talk show announcements. With their new album The Five Ghosts set to come out on June 22, Stars are looking to get back into game shape with a short Canadian tour that will find the band playing rooms much smaller than they normally would, including the Mod Club in Toronto on May 5. And you’ll be paying for the privilege of pretending its December 2004… tickets are a rather dear $34.75, on sale Friday morning. But you know that even at that price, they’ll be gone lickety split.

They entertained the hell out of me just a few days ago, and now Man Man are coming to do the same to you – they’ve got a date at Lee’s Palace on May 9 as part of a short tour, tickets $15.

MP3: Man Man – “Top Drawer”

UK electro outfit Fuck Buttons have made a date at the Horseshoe for May 19.

MP3: Fuck Buttons – “Bright Tomorrow”

Holly Miranda will finally be bringing her solo effort The Magician’s Private Library to town for a show at the El Mocambo on May 20.

MP3: Holly Miranda – “Waves”

The Avett Brothers will bring their latest album I And Love And You back to town for a show at The Phoenix on June 1. Tickets are $25.50 and on sale now.

MP3: The Avett Brothers – “I And Love And You”

Though they were just here in October, The Psychedelic Furs are back for a much cozier show at Lee’s Palace on June 8.

Video: The Psychedelic Furs – “Love My Way”

His date at the Mod Club last April was cancelled due to illness, but Robyn Hitchcock is finally making that up in intimate style with two shows at the Drake Underground on June 11 and 12. Of course that show was supposed to be with the Venus 3 – no word yet what the touring configuration for these appearances are going to be, but it’ll be entertaining regardless.

MP3: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – “Goodnight Oslo” (live)

The New Pornographers have announced their extensive North American touring plans in support of Together, out May 4. For their June 15 date at the Sound Academy, they’ll be joined by The Dodos and The Dutchess & The Duke – tickets $26.50 general admission and $40 VIP balcony, on sale Friday. And since it’s a question that always gets asked when tour dates are announced, yes – Dan and Neko are going to be there.

MP3: The New Pornographers – “Your Hands (Together)”
MP3: The Dodos – “Fables”
MP3: The Dutchess & The Duke – “Living This Life”

And if you like your west coast pop a little more bent, Frog Eyes will be at the Music Gallery that same evening, June 15, accompanied by Seattle’s Pearly Gate Music.

MP3: Frog Eyes – “Bushels”
MP3: Pearly Gate Music – “Big Escape”

And oh yeah, Montreal’s Osheaga festival announced their lineup this week and it’s a pretty big pile of holy shit. With a top-five bill of Arcade Fire, Weezer, Pavement, Metric and The National and a pretty solid undercard, it’s pretty much a must-attend for any indie-rocking type who isn’t averse to standing around in a field for two days. The fest goes July 31 and August 1 in Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal; weekend passes go for $110/$120 depending on how soon you’re willing to commit.

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Look Inside America

Blur reunion looks vaguely across the Atlantic

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceThough of no relevance whatsoever to the contents of the actual post, some discussion emerged in the comments one of last week’s posts wherein the ongoing V Fest-spotting games turned to the possibility of Blur possibly making an appearance at the Ontario edition, unofficially set to happen August 29 and 30 in Burl’s Creek near Orillia. As much as I’d like that to happen – they’re on a very short list of acts who could get me to venture up that way and endure all the logistical joys that go along with it – I didn’t think it likely on account of the fact that though they’d surely be greeted like gods here, their profile in the US isn’t terrific, probably not known as anything but the “woo-hoo!” band outside of your major markets. The point being that I questioned whether it’d make financial sense to extend their reunion tour to this side of the Atlantic, and on top of that none of the press I’d read about their Summer appearances in the UK had hinted they’d intended to bring things across the pond.

Well it appears I spoke a bit too soon. Billboard reports that the band are indeed considering options in America with a Live Nation UK representative is quoted as saying, “There are no plans beyond T in the Park [July 12] and Oxegen [July 10]. They are talking about some American shows still in the same time frame. There are possibilities of some European ones as well.” It’s hardly an official declaration of intent, and sounds a bit non-committal to imagine they’ll be participating in a festival that should be set to announce their lineup (hopefully) soon – never mind the question of whether the people who’d see Blur are the same audience the now top-40 radio skewed fest is targeting. But it certainly offers some hope that those of us who missed ever seeing the band live their first time around might get a second chance, at some point.

Also Blur-related, to coincide with their reunion shows the band is releasing a double-disc best of to supplant the circa-2000 Best Of Blur which, I’m not ashamed to admit, gets more rotation with me than any of their individual studio albums. Midlife: A Beginners Guide To Blur will be released on June 15 and while its 25 tracks is obviously more than Best‘s 18, but I cannot endorse any collection that excludes “End Of A Century”. Sorry. Details on the comp at NME.

Returned prodigal guitarist Graham Coxon appears to have been designated band spokesperson leading up to the reunion shows, which is curious since he’s always been the most recalcitrant of the four. But I suppose it gives him a chance to also talk up his new solo record, The Spinning Top. He tells News Of The World that Alex James’ memoirs encouraged him to return to the fold, talks to This Is Nottingham about what it’s like to be back together, talks mainly solo works with The Sun and Drowned In Sound and covers both bases with BBC.

And because it’s one of Graham’s and also one of the best Blur tunes to say nothing of one of my favourite videos ever – “Coffee & TV”.

Video: Blur – “Coffee & TV”

The Pop Cop scores an interview with Stuart Murdoch about God Help The Girl, which I’ve elected to not write in italics because it’s in reference to the project and not the possible accompanying film/musical/whatever. But if I reference God Help The Girl the album, out June 23, such as in the context of Drowned In Sound doing an extensive review and analysis of the record, it will be noted in italics what with it being a proper title. I know you care about these little OCD things as much as I do.

With the UK release of The Bachelor just over a week away, Patrick Wolf is streaming the whole thing on his MySpace and I’m not afraid to say this will likely be one of my favourite albums of the year. He gives a three-part interview to Drowned in Sound, a video interview to NYLON – his North American label – and talks about his London to This Is London. The Bachelor gets a North American release on August 11 but if you’re able to resist getting an import version before then, you’re stronger than I. He plays The Mod Club on June 15.

Stream: Patrick Wolf / The Bachelor

NPR has a World Cafe session with Bat For Lashes.

The first video from Florence & The Machine’s debut Lungs is now available. The record is out July 6.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)”

The Chester Chronicle talks to Little Boots’ Victoria Hesketh about Hands, out June 8.

Polly Scattergood discusses her debut self-titled album, out this week in North America, with The Yorkshire Evening Post.

Jimi Goodwin of Doves reviews his musical upbringing with Pitchfork. They play the Kool Haus on June 1.

The Times and Irish Times talk to Jarvis Cocker.

NME reports that Radiohead have begun work on their next album.

PitchforkTV is broadcasting a Tindersticks show recorded in New York – if you missed their last tour, this is worth your time. They’re magnificent.

Aversion interviews The Horrors.

Check out the new video from Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3.

Video: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – “I’m Falling”

The Scotsman and The Line Of Best Fit profile My Latest Novel. Their second album Death & Entrances was released this week.

Pitchfork talks to The Twilight Sad’s James Graham about their forthcoming album Forget The Night Ahead, out September 22.

Former Boo Radleys songwriter Martin Carr asks ten questions of Mogwai. Carr will release his first solo album under his own name – previous efforts came out as Brave Captain – on July 13. NME has details on Ye Gods (And Little Fishes).

Under The Radar interviews Los Campesinos.