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Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
The National, Still Corners, Hayden, and more at NXNE
Frank YangWish as we might, the day show still hasn’t quite taken hold of NXNE the way it has its heavyweight south by southwestern cousin, but there are things worth seeing and doing in the daylight hours if you look. And sometimes those things will take you to places like Urban Outfitters, who were hosting a honey of an in-store on the Friday of the festival. And sometimes, if you take the time to actually look at the address of the Urban Outfitters in question, you’ll get there on the first try, rather than use process of elimination, which is what I did. Aside: there are too many Urban Outfitters in this city.
Still, I made it to the correct Queen West UO location in time to see Florida’s Beach Day – cover boys and girls of my NXNE preview – setting up for the first of four shows they’d play in town this weekend. With their debut album Trip Trap Attack due the the following week – today, actually – they were primed to show off what they had to whomever would listen. And what they had was a fun and infectious retro-garage/surf pop sound that fit their name perfectly, though if you were to call them “Dum Dum Girls’ Little Archies”, you wouldn’t be wrong either. Besides the visual and stylistic similarities, singer-guitarist Kimmy Drake also has a Chrissie Hynde-like delivery not unlike Dee Dee Penny’s, and while their music doesn’t have the New Wave sophistication that elevates Dum Dum Girls above their peers, they do have a lot of youthful exuberance that also goes a long way. They play in an old style but do it like it’s brand new.
Photos: Beach Day @ Urban Outfitters – June 14, 2013
MP3: Beach Day – “Love Is Strange”
Video: Beach Day – “Beach Day”
Video: Beach Day – “Boys”
Following them from about as far as you could get, geographically and stylistically, were London’s Still Corners whose presence on the bill is what got me to take the day off work so as to be able to see them. It had been a long time since their local debut in October 2011 and neither their show a couple nights earlier opening for CHVRCHES nor their showcase that evening at The Horseshoe was logistically workable for me, so this was my best chance to hear Strange Pleasures live. Though the record’s ’80s-beholden, synth-heavy sound was quite a shift from the ’60s atmosphere of their debut Creatures Of An Hour, I’ve found myself liking it as much if not more. The band opted to not try and recreate their standard live show for the in-store setup, however, pre-apologizing if their messing with the set structure didn’t work as well as they hoped when they thought it up. They opened with three selections from Strange Pleasures with just band principals Tessa Murray on vocals and sequencer and Greg Hughes on guitar overtop some canned beats, the lushness of the new material’s recorded versions being traded in for some of the barer beauty more akin to the aesthetic of their debut, even when the rest of the band joined them for the remainder of the set. While they quite obviously weren’t unplugged, the performance had a similar intent with a greater emphasis put on Murray’s lovely vocals and allowing Hughes to show off some of his guitar chops. I do still wish I’d been able to hear the bigger, louder version of the show that those who saw their evening shows caught, but this was pretty special too.
The Boston Globe has an interview with Still Corners.
Photos: Still Corners @ Urban Outfitters – June 14, 2013
MP3: Still Corners – “Berlin Lovers”
MP3: Still Corners – “Fireflies”
MP3: Still Corners – “Eyes”
MP3: Still Corners – “Into The Woods”
MP3: Still Corners – “Cuckoo”
MP3: Still Corners – “Endless Summer”
Video: Still Corners – “Berlin Lovers”
Video: Still Corners – “Cuckoo”
Video: Still Corners – “Into The Trees”
Video: Still Corners – “Endless Summer”
After taking a few hours to tend to this and that – which is to say napping – it was off to Yonge-Dundas Square for the festival’s ostensible headlining act, and said act’s ostensible opener. That would be Hayden, a last-minute reveal given his appearance at Arts & Crafts’ Field Trip festival the weekend before, but not really a surprise considering their history together – Hayden Desser joined The National for a cover of his “Dynamite Walls” when they played The Phoenix in October 2007 and he also interviewed frontman Matt Berninger earlier this Spring. My own history with Hayden is pretty long as well – I first saw him at the Humanities Theatre in Waterloo back in 1996, and again opening for Juliana Hatfield at Guelph’s Trasheteria in 1998… but not since. To be honest, while I’ve always appreciated what Hayden did, I was never the biggest fan – his simple and genial brand folk-pop never quite resonated with me the way it did some, and this year’s Us Alone was the first of his releases I’ve listened to in almost forever (and I like it fine). But hearing those songs played out in the open air as the sun just began to set was really an ideal way to be reminded of the power of simplicity. Leading a trio and starting out on keyboards, he worked through an unhurried set of new tunes and old favourites – occasionally punctuated by a Crazy Horse-esque noise flourish lest you start to nod off – but mostly just comfortable and enjoyable. And hearing the songs with which he first garnered attention – Everything I Long For‘s “Bad As They Seem” and “In September” took be back the nearly 20 years since I first heard them, as well as appreciate how far his songwriting has evolved while staying in the same mould. And also that the throat-shredding gruffness he needs to affect for “In September” must really hurt.
Post-City has a feature piece on Hayden.
Photos: Hayden @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 14, 2013
MP3: Hayden – “Old Dreams”
Video: Hayden – “Oh Memory”
Video: Hayden – “Rainy Saturday”
Video: Hayden – “Barely Friends”
Video: Hayden – “Where & When”
Video: Hayden – “All In One Move”
Video: Hayden – “Carried Away”
Video: Hayden – “Dynamite Walls”
Video: Hayden – “The Closer I Get”
Video: Hayden – “Bad As They Seem”
While the Yonge-Dundas Square mainstage of NXNE is fantastic in theory – free shows in the heart of the city with big names that help give a club-level festival a little major-league cachet – in practice it’s… less than fantastic. The built-in stage offers poor sightlines, made worse by the number of sponsors tents and beer cordons so that many in attendance are lucky to get some line of sight to one of the two video screens, never mind the stage. Add in massive crowds, many of whom are only there for something to do rather than actual fans and will think nothing of talking loudly through the whole set, and, well, maybe you’d be better off at the clubs. Unless, of course, the big-name headliner for this evening is one of your favourite bands of the past decade, in which case you suck up whatever complaints you might otherwise have and you see The National.
And if I thought that seeing them play an arena – albeit theatre-configured – in December 2011 was a headtrip, then seeing them in such a setting was just mental considering I still clearly remember our first meeting in March 2006 at The Horseshoe. Their environs were a touch amusing to the band, as well, with Matt Berninger commenting on the giant Beyonce H&M ads directly in his line of sight on the Eaton Centre, and Aaron Dessner noting the Blue Jays game was playing on another giant screen behind them. But they were here to do a job and do it they did.
Trouble Will Find Me lead track “I Should Live In Salt” set the tone for the evening, all stately melancholia, and certainly a far cry from the merry bedlam The Flaming Lips brought to the same stage the year prior. Even as their stages have gotten bigger, their show has remained pretty consistent – Berninger anchored centre stage, microphone gripped tightly, Dessner twins flanking him on guitars and the Devendorff rhythm section laying back and tending to business. The Dessners did alternately step out towards the audience whilst powering the band’s crescendos, but Berninger didn’t venture out to meet the audience until “England”. And while the public square is arguably the least acoustically favourable place they’ve played in the city, there was something special about hearing the likes of “Apartment Story” and “Fake Empire” ring out and off of the steel and glass surroundings.
The set naturally favoured Trouble and High Violet, but long-time fans were treated with “About Today” off of 2005′s Cherry Tree EP. Alligator has sadly gotten to the point of only being represented by the obvious “Abel” and “Mr. November”, though I will admit the latter takes on some new life when Berninger is now able to actually plunge into the crowd and be carried on the arms of, if not cheerleaders, then festival-goers. Having missed the end of their Air Canada Centre performance, their show-closing “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” was unexpected and powerful – pulling off an unplugged singalong can be difficult in a club or theatre setting; doing it on an outdoor urban stage? Nearly impossible. So of course they did, and with ease.
Some may grouse about the aforementioned problems of shows such as this and even used them as excuses to skip it, particularly knowing that the band will certainly return before long to do a proper ticketed show in a more personable venue. I took that as an extra reason to go to this show and appreciate its uniqueness, niggles aside. After all – R.E.M.’s free noon-hour show at the very same intersection in 2001 was also hardly an ideal concert setting, but it’s not one I’ll ever forget. I can’t say this one will be as indelible, all said and done, but for what it was, it was still great.
CBC Music and aux.tv have interviews with The National and NPR a World Cafe session.
Photos: The National @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 14, 2013
MP3: The National – “I’ll See You In My Dreams”
MP3: The National – “Twenty Miles To NH (Part 2)”
MP3: The National – “Exile Vilify”
MP3: The National – “Think You Can Wait”
MP3: The National – “Afraid Of Everyone”
MP3: The National – “Bloodbuzz Ohio”
MP3: The National – “So Far Around The Bend”
MP3: The National – “Fake Empire”
MP3: The National – “90 Mile Water Wall”
MP3: The National – “Cold Girl Fever”
MP3: The National – “Son”
MP3: The National – “Beautiful Head”
Video: The National – “Sea Of Love”
Video: The National – “Demons”
Video: The National – “Exile Vilify”
Video: The National – “Think You Can Wait”
Video: The National – “Conversation 16″
Video: The National – “Terrible Love”
Video: The National – “Bloodbuzz Ohio”
Video: The National – “So Far Around The Bend” (live)
Video: The National – “Mistaken For Strangers”
Video: The National – “Apartment Story”
Video: The National – “Abel”
Video: The National – “Lit Up”
Video: The National – “Daughters Of The Soho Riots”
Video: The National – “Sugar Wife”
Video: The National – “Son”
Exclaim has details on the new Scud Mountain Boys album, entitled Do You Love the Sun and out July 9 digitally and August 6 on vinyl.
Esquire talks the festival life with Father John Misty. He plays a non-festival at The Danforth Music Hall on August 3.
Rolling Stone talks to Tommy Stinson about the Replacements reunion which kicks off August 25 at Riot Fest in Toronto at Garrison Common.
The first song from the new Okkervil River album The Silver Gymnasium is now available to stream via lyric video. The record is out September 3 and they play The Phoenix on September 28.
Stream: Okkervil River – “It Was My Season”
The Quietus gets to know former Okkervil River-er and current Shearwater frontman Jonathan Meiburg in his capacity as an ornithologist.
Beatroute chats with Explosions In The Sky, in town supporting Nine Inch Nails at The Air Canada Centre on October 4.
NPR has premiered the new video from Low’s latest, The Invisible Way, while Drowned In Sound has posted a video session and interview with the Minnesotans.
Video: Low – “Plastic Cup”
NYC Taper is sharing a recording of The Mountain Goats show at the soon-to-be-late Maxwell’s in Hoboken a couple weeks ago.
NPR and SF Weekly talk to John Vanderslice about making his latest record Dagger Beach.
NYC Taper has a recording of an Antlers show in New York last week.
Beatroute gets to know The Thermals.
Friday, May 24th, 2013
An introduction to Field Mouse
Shervin LainezIf it were as recently as last year, I would be spending this post – hell, yesterday’s post – talking about how after arriving in Chicago last Saturday, I went almost straight to Beat Kitchen to see Laura Stevenson and Field Mouse play, on account of missing the Toronto show of their tour this past Tuesday because of this little vacation. But because I’ve grown as a person and am no longer spending all my time and energy trying to make it to shows and write about them, I have nothing to say about that show because I didn’t make it anywhere near the club, though I can’t say that I didn’t look up where it was and write it in my calendar. Just in case.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the acquaintance of either of the acts. Stevenson I wrote about way in August 2010 – her new album Wheel is plenty solid, by the way, fans of country-pop would do well to check it out – but Brooklyn duo Field Mouse have had but a passing mention here, and I’d like to give them a little bit more because if your musical tastes align with mine – and why would you be here otherwise – they’re worth a listen.
Their name brings to mind – or is maybe confused for – English twee-pop forebears Field Mice, but while there are some points of intersection, particularly in their facility with melody and dreamy texture, the singular edition of Rachel Browne (vocals, guitar) and Andrew Futral (guitars) is much less navel-gazing and their shoegazey roots give their sound some wonderfully shimmering bite without overwhelming their tunefulness. It’s a formula that’s all about balance, and Field Mouse get it right. With a discography limited to just a few singles right now, they’re prepping their full-length debut for release later this year and have released a new video – presumably from said full-length – via Spin and recorded a video session for BrooklynVegan; as always, don’t read the comments. But do, however, hope they keep touring and make their way back to town soon, ideally when I’m also in town.
MP3: Field Mouse – “Tomorrow Is Yesterday”
MP3: Field Mouse – “Glass”
Stream: Field Mouse – “You Guys Are Gonna Wake Up My Mom”
Stream: Field Mouse – “Happy”
Video: Field Mouse – “Revenge Is Yesterday”
WNYC has a stream of one of the new Savoir Adore songs that will appear on the wide-release edition of their latest Our Nature when it comes out on June 4.
Stream: Savoir Adore – “Beating Hearts
Pitchfork has rightly devoted one of their fancily-presented cover story in-depth features to The National, and The Irish Times, The Hollywood Reporter, and 680 News also have features. They play Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.
Spin has premiered a new song from Florida’s Beach Day, whose debut Trip Trap Attack is out June 18 and who are here for NXNE on June 15 with a show at Handlebar in Kensington Market. DIY has a feature.
Stream: Beach Day – “Stay”
Exclaim has details on the new full-length from Crocodiles; Crimes of Passion is out August 20 and there’s a first track to hear courtesy of Stereogum. They’ll preview the album at the Adelaide Music Hall on June 17 when they support Japandroids.
MP3: Crocodiles – “Cockroach”
Chicago talks to Smith Westerns, who are streaming another new song from their forthcoming Soft Will. It’s out June 25 and they play Lee’s Palace on July 29.
Stream: Smith Westerns – “3AM Spiritual”
She & Him keep up the cutesy on the new video from Volume 3. They headline the first night of the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 4.
Video: She & Him – “I Could’ve Been Your Girl”
Beatroute and The Georgia Straight have interviews and NPR a session with Yo La Tengo, playing the final day of TURF at Garrison Commons on July 7. DIY also has an interview with bassist James McNew about the reissue series for his Dump side-project.
Loud & Quiet and The Fly have features on Kurt Vile, also here for TURF day four at Garrison Common on July 7.
Merge has announced a deluxe reissue of the last, great lo-fi Mountain Goats album All Hail West Texas on July 23, which is great new if for no other reason as it gives these imaginary liner notes by comics scribe a reason to exist, if only online.
Because he never needs to rest, Ty Segall has announced an August 20 release of his next album, entitled Sleeper. Details on the release at Consequence Of Sound, trailer below.
Trailer: Ty Segall / Sleeper
Pitchfork has details on the new record from The Dodos, entitled Carrier and out August 27.
Stream: The Dodos – “Confidence”
Noisey talks to Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing, who have a date at The Kool Haus on September 21 supporting Local Natives.
The Journal News chats with Sam Beam of Iron & Wine, in town at The Sound Academy on September 28.
Kevin Barnes talks to Rolling Stone about the next of Montreal record Lousy with Sylvianbriar, due out sometime this Fall.
Jim James tells Rolling Stone that My Morning Jacket plan to return to the studio to record their next record in October.
Rolling Stone Q&As Thurston Moore of Chelsea Light Moving, who’ve released a new video from their self-titled debut.
Video: Chelsea Light Moving – “Lip”
The 405 talks to Jon Ehrens and eMusic and City Paper to Jenn Wasner, who together are Dungeonesse.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer has an interview and Rolling Stone an acoustic video session with The Thermals, who’ve just released a video for the decidedly non-acoustic new single from their latest, Desperate Ground.
Video: The Thermals – “The Sunset”
Spin has an oral history of The Breeders’ Last Splash on the occasion of the record’s 20th anniversary.
And Mike Mills uses the occasion of the Green quarter-century reissue to tell Rolling Stone that when R.E.M. said no reunion, they meant no reunion. So no reunion.
Wednesday, May 15th, 2013
Iron & Wine & Local & Natives & NXNE & TURF & shows & stuff
Craig KiefSpring is only barely here – the past few days’ weather notwithstanding – but the concert announcement machine is already making eyes at Autumn with the unveiling of a couple of pretty high profile tours coming through town when the leaves start to change and the days get shorter.
Sam Beam, the walking epitome of bearded folk music, released Ghost On Ghost – his fifth album as Iron & Wine – last month, but until now only had Spring dates in the northeast and Europe confirmed on the itinerary. Come Fall, however, he and his band will traverse much of the middle of North America – the USA and Canada both – before wrapping things up in Toronto at The Sound Academy on September 28, advance tickets $30 for general admission and $40 for VIP balcony.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and New York Times have interviews with Sam Beam.
MP3: Iron & Wine – “Belated Promise Ring”
Video: Iron & Wine – “Joy”
Los Angeles’ Local Natives have already come through town once this year in support of their second album Hummingbird, but even a venue upgrade from The Opera House to The Phoenix wasn’t enough to meet demand. Hence, they’ve added a slew of dates that will take them around the planet and then some, stopping in Toronto at The Kool Haus on September 21, tickets $26.50. And if you’re thinking that you already saw them in March, know that they’ll have the quite excellent Wild Nothing along as support, touring behind last year’s Nocturne full-length and the just-released Empty Estate EP. There’s Local Natives feature pieces at The Huffington Post, Seattle Weekly, and Georgia Straight.
MP3: Local Natives – “You & I”
MP3: Wild Nothing – “Paradise”
Dialing things back to the Summer – and the festival circuit in particular – there were some updates of note over the last couple days. If you thought the otherwise comprehensive Arts & Crafts lineup for Field Trip had a conspicuous Dan Mangan-shaped hole in the lineup, you were right. And now it’s been filled by Dan Mangan himself; not just a similarly-bearded impersonator. That all goes down June 8 at Garrison Commons, and yes he’s still on the lineup for the Mumford-y “Gentlemen Of The Road Stopover” on August 23 out in Simcoe, Ontario.
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”
NXNE revealed a bunch more acts for this year’s festival, descending on Toronto’s clubs from June 12 to 16, including Dan Deacon (despite his coming back a few weeks later to support Animal Collective’s make-up show), Still Corners (confirming they’re still doing festival dates in addition to the June 12 date supporting CHVRCHES at The Hoxton), and a slew of Canadian acts including Wintersleep, No Joy, The Super Friendz, Gold & Youth, and more – check out the artists page for a full list of current confirmed acts. I’ve also collated some of the where and when information, but there’s no point in sharing that ever-changing information until the official schedule is posted, which won’t be long because hey – the festival is less than a month away.
MP3: Dan Deacon – “Lots”
MP3: Still Corners – “Fireflies”
MP3: Wintersleep – “Resuscitate”
The Toronto Urban Roots Fest is mostly making waves as a multi-day, outdoor festival the likes of which Toronto hasn’t seen in some time, but its club-level happenings are turning out to be just as impressive, particularly if you’ve no love of multi-day, outdoor festivals. Running concurrently with the main festival, the club series will see the likes of Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Alejandro Escovedo & The Sensitive Boys, The Wooden Sky, Dawes, and The Felice Brothers amongst others playing The Horseshoe and Lee’s Palace from July 4 to 7, tickets ranging from $20 to $30 including surcharges, on sale May 23. Some who where and when information is available at the TURF website.
MP3: Frank Turner – “The Roads”
MP3: Dawes – “If I Wanted Someone”
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”
Video: The Felice Brothers – “Ponzi”
Video: Alejandro Escovedo – “Sally Was A Cop” (live)
With their new record Planta set for a June 11 release and a new video from it just out, Brazil’s CSS have put together a North American tour that brings them to The Opera House on July 4, tickets $25.
MP3: CSS – “Hits Me Like A Rock”
Video: CSS – “Hangover”
There’s good news and bad news from the House Of Tomorrow: the good is that, with their new record Partygoing set to come out on June 4 (as well as the Memories of Love, Eternal Youth, and Partygoing. discography-collecting box set), Future Bible Heroes are undertaking a rare tour. The bad news is is that chief songwriter and personality Stephin Merritt will not be participating, though key members Claudia Gonson, Christopher Ewen, Shirley Simms, and Anthony Kaczynski will. So even without Merritt’s delicious dourness, a wonderful time should be had by all at Lee’s Palace on July 22. Tickets for that are $15.50.
Stream: Future Bible Heroes – “Living, Loving, Partygoing”
The Fly talks to Chicago’s Smith Westerns about their new record Soft Will, which will be out June 25. They’ve released the first video and rolled out a batch of tour dates via Pitchfork; the Toronto date comes July 29 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $17.
MP3: Smith Westerns – “Still New”
Video: Smith Westerns – “Varsity”
With a new album in Pura Vida Conspiracy due out July 23, everyone’s favourite – and probably only – Gypsy punks Gogol Bordello have announced a massive tour that comes to Toronto for not one but two nights – August 19 and 20 at The Danforth Music Hall. Rolling Stone has a conversation with frontman Eugene Hutz.
Stream: Gogol Bordello – “Malandrino”
Pinback are back for a date at Lee’s Palace on September 7 in support of last year’s Information Retrieved; tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.
MP3: Pinback – “Proceed To Memory”
FIDLAR – whose name stands for “Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk”, if you were wondering – are teaming up with fellow Los Angelenos The Orwells for a Fall tour that hits The Hard Luck on October 18, tickets $13. FIDLAR released their self-titled debut earlier this year whereas The Orwells’ debut Remember When came out last year. DIY and The Clock have themselves FIDLAR features.
MP3: FIDLAR – “Cheap Beer”
MP3: The Orwells – “Other Voices”
Grantland and MusicOmh profile The National, whose new album Trouble Will Find Me is out on May 21 and who play Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.
It won’t be out in time for her July 13 date at The Kool Haus, but Spin has some info on Solange’s new album, which will be out this year on her own label under Sony.
Exitmusic have premiered a new video from last year’s debut Passage at NPR.
Video: Exitmusic – “White Noise”
Thursday, May 9th, 2013
Daughter and Wilsen at The Great Hall in Toronto
Frank YangThings move quickly these days; this I know and understand, and yet it still manages to astound me sometimes. The ascent of London’s Daughter, for example. It wasn’t much over a year ago that the trio was still largely unknown, only getting on my radar by old-fashioned word of mouth and becoming one of my favourite discoveries of SXSW 2012. When they came around to make their Toronto debut last October – still a ways off from releasing their debut album or making any real promotional push – they still managed to sell out The Drake, albeit with the help of a fairly buzzy supporting bill. Still, that was a pretty good tip off that by the time the band returned on Tuesday evening, just a week after the domestic release of If You Leave, the only surprise would be not that they had sold out the much larger Great Hall, but that they hadn’t moved the show to even bigger environs.
Benefitting from the packed house were Wilsen, a band of Americans fronted by Englishwoman Tamsin Wilson who were really as good of a RIYL pairing for Daughter as you could hope to find. Their dark, atmospheric folk music came from a similar place as the headliners, but distinguished themselves with a tonally lighter touch, not to mention Wilson’s whistling skills and guitarist Johnny Simon Jr’s penchant for playing his guitar with coffee cans, tobacco tins, whatever. Unexpected and quite effective was a stately cover of Grimes’ “Oblivion”, and by the close of their 40-minute set, many new fans were made and a more than a few copies of last year’s mini-album Sirens were sold.
I don’t think I’m the only one who, to some degree, conflates a band’s sound with their appearance. In Daughter’s case, it’s hard not to compare their sound to frontwoman Elena Tonra’s appearance: beautiful, elegant, and demure, yet with an unquestionable strength and steeliness just under the surface. They’re traits evident throughout If You Leave, which bolsters Tonra’s gorgeous vocals and emotionally raw songwriting with Igor Haefeli’s billowing guitarwork and Remi Aguilella’s subtly powerful percussion to become something expansive, yet intimate. It’s an aesthetic that fits very well with that of their European label 4AD, and that’s the context in which I tend to think of them. In North America, however, they’re on Glassnote and if you’ve no idea what difference that makes, well I didn’t give it a second thought either, until Tuesday night.
Glassnote may not have the history and personality of 4AD, but they do know how to reach the Mumford & Sons demographic. And when, midway through the set during “Landfill”, much of the room loudly sang along with “I want you so much/but I hate your guts”, did I realize that this was a Mumford audience – surprisingly young, definitely excitable, and preferring to experience the music as a boisterous community. Tonra’s songs might be delivered like a private and intensely personal conversation, but they were being shouted and cheered back. It wasn’t necessarily off-putting – okay a little – but it certainly recontextualized my experience of the songs; rather than enveloping me completely, they now needed to act as a sort of barrier to shut out the background noise.
Tonra herself may have seemed taken aback by the intensity of their reception – her “thank you”s were almost inaudible squeaks – but seemingly happily so. Opening with Leave closer “Shallows”, Daughter sounded as brilliant as ever, mixing material from the album with selections from the Wild Youth and His Young Heart EPs. The band was bolstered by a utility player on bass, guitar, and keys, but even with those extra hands, the show had no shortage of instrument swapping; their sound might be skeletal, but it’s arranged precisely and impeccably so.
Only during “Winter” were the band really knocked off their game, as The Great Hall’s lighting rig seemed to pick up a poltergeist, going from black to blinding and causing Tonra to crack up several times (Haefeli was visibly less amused), though to their credit they finished the song, even though ditching would have been totally understandable, and both stage lights and band pulled it back together to wrap up the set with a crashing, cathartic “Home”. A satisfying show, but one that left me wondering if I’d choose to see them again next time in an inevitably bigger room, or if staying home, alone, with the curtains drawn and the record turned up might not be more the Daughter experience I’d prefer.
Photos: Daughter, Wilsen @ The Great Hall – May 7, 2013
MP3: Daughter – “Love”
Video: Daughter – “Still”
Stream: Wilsen – “Dusk”
Stream: Wilsen – “Anahita”
Soundcheck WNYC is streaming a radio session with Little Boots, while Consequence Of Sound has an interview.
Sweden’s Club 8 are streaming another new song from their forthcoming album Above The City, out May 21.
Stream: Club 8 – “I’m Not Gonna Grow Old”
Cheers to Frightened Rabbit for keeping alive the tradition of releasing their singles as proper EPs with b-sides and bonus tracks and the like. Case in point – the next single from Pedestrian Verse will be Late March, Death March, and DIY has details on the EP for it that’ll be out on June 4.
The Guardian asks Romy from The xx about her experiences playing festivals; they play a sorta-fest at Downsview Park on June 6 with Grizzly Bear.
Stereogum has premiered a new track from Swedish electro act Kate Boy, who are making their Toronto debut at Wrongbar on June 9.
Stream: Kate Boy – “The Way We Are”
Interview has a feature on Palma Violets, who were just here last week but are back August 3 as part of the Grove Fest at Garrison Commons.
The Alternate Side has an interview and session with Phoenix, who are headlining the aforementioned Grove Fest on August 3.
NPR has a World Cafe session with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, who’ve premiered their new video from Push The Sky Away – recorded at their Los Angeles concert this past March – at Rolling Stone.
Video: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Mermaids”
David Bowie has released the video for the title track of his latest The Next Day, and proves not only that he can still cause plenty of controversy, but that he’s got much cooler friends than pretty much everyone else.
Video: David Bowie – “The Next Day”
Ólafur Arnalds has a new video from For Now I Am Winter, and NPR is streaming a live concert by Arnalds wherein he and an orchestra performed the whole of the new album live in New York earlier this Spring.
Video: Ólafur Arnalds – “Only The Winds”
Stereogum has premiered the new video from The Mary Onettes’ latest Hit The Waves.
Video: The Mary Onettes – “Don’t Forget (To Forget About Me)”
A Music Blog, Yea has an interview with Mystery Jets.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2013
Because there is a Neutral Milk Hotel reunion, I don’t even need to try today.
Will WestbrookGuys, in case it wasn’t obvious, running a music blog that tries to update daily is hard work. So when something comes down the wire like, oh, a Neutral Milk Hotel reunion, it’s not the sort of low-hanging fruit one passes up, even if everyone and their mother is reporting it. And so even though you’ve surely already heard, Jeff Mangum – having confirmed via his 2011 solo tour that people do indeed still care about his old band – has gotten Scott Spillane, Julian Koster, and Jeremy Barnes to reform the In The Aeroplane Over The Sea lineup and commit to tour dates this Fall.
Presently, those tour dates number only five – two predictably at the 40 Watt Club in the band’s hometown of Athens, Georgia, one reasonably in Asheville, North Carolina, and two more bizarrely in Tokyo and Taipei. More will surely follow – one doesn’t open the door to something of this magnitude to just immediately shut it – but certainly not before those Athens dates in late October. And might this be paving the way for some new recordings…? Hey, one internet-breaking announcement at a time, alright?
MP3: Neutral Milk Hotel – “Holland 1945″
MP3: Neutral Milk Hotel – “Song Against Sex”
PopMatters talks to Tobin Sprout of Guided By Voices about their fourth post-reunion full-length English Little League, out as of today.
She & Him have let NPR stream their new album, the cryptically-titled Volume 3, a week before it comes out on May 7. They kick off the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Commons on July 4.
Stream: She & Him / Volume 3
Spinner has a feature interview with Charles Bradley, who leads his Extraordinaires into The Phoenix on May 11.
Consequence Of Sound has details on a new Wild Nothing EP entitled Empty Estate due out May 14, a video from which has been made and released into the wild.
Video: Wild Nothing – “A Dancing Shell”
Spinner talks to the Berninger family about the Mistaken For Strangers documentary about The National, which features and was directed by brothers Matt and Tom. The new National album Trouble Will Find Me is out May 21 and they play Yonge-Dundas Square for NXNE on June 14.
Though he’s mainly focusing on his new record The Low Highway, as in this interview with Spinner, Steve Earle talks to Billboard about revisiting his past with the release of a box set collecting Train A Comin’, I Feel Alright, and El Corazon – the albums that got me obsessed with Earle in the first place – as well as a live album in Live at the Polk Theater and a live DVD in To Hell and Back, circa 1995 and 1996 respectively. The five-disc Steve Earle: The Warner Bros. Years set will be out June 25 and you can stream one of the Polk Theatre tracks below.
Stream: Steve Earle – “The Devil’s Right Hand”
The Fly has a feature interview with Parquet Courts, coming to town for a gig at The Horseshoe on July 17.
Of Montreal took to Kevin Barnes’ Tumblr to announce the completion of their new album Lousy With Sylvainbriar, scheduled for release this Fall.
Janelle Monáe talks fashion with MTV Hive. Her new album The Electric Lady is due out sometime this year.
In conversation with Spin, TV On The Radio reveal they’re working on a new album and it won’t be for Interscope.
NPR has a video stream of The Flaming Lips performing Yoshimi live, in its entirety, back at SXSW in March.
Yours Truly has a video session with Caitlin Rose.
The Black Angels stop in at The Alternate Side for a video session and interview.
NPR chats with Sam Beam of Iron & Wine.