Monday, June 13th, 2005

In The Clear

Last night – Ivy and Astaire at Lee’s Palace. No preamble.

Astaire was not what I’d expected. Their website described them as “sexy europop with a Brazilian undercurrent”, so I was expecting some sexy europop with a Brazilian undercurrent. What I heard was some straight-up moderately-high energy indie rock music, though the frontwoman handled the “sexy” alright. There was nothing revolutionary in their sound, but it was solid and catchy enough that I could see them doing alright with a well-placed movie or television soundtrack appearance. They did, however, win me right over with a mid-set cover of The House Of Love’s “Shine On” (yes, the same House Of Love that the headliners are covering in my mp3 of the week – how coincidental is that?). I have a new rule – any band that covers House Of Love has my undying devotion. Even without the cover, however, I thought they were a fair bit of alright. Solid musicianship, good sound, a natural fit to open for Ivy. I approved.

It’s been a long three and a half years since Ivy was last in town and from what I can remember of that show at the Rivoli, the band didn’t seem especially peppy. It was servicable but not great. Well I don’t know if it was the three years of touring in the interim, excitement about the new album, the six-piece touring band or just the big-ass bus parked outside, but the Ivy that took the stage last night was decidedly superior. More animated, talkative, dynamic, they were just all-around better. Singer Dominique Durand in particular seemed more comfortable up there playing frontwoman, and she looked and sounded great. The mix struck just the right balance of keeping her voice audible, but not too far in front. I think it works better when it’s wrapped up in the sound instead of sitting on top of it. The set list drew from the last three albums though they acknowledged Guestroom and debut record Realistic in the encore with a sprightly reading of “Get Enough”.

While I like Ivy’s recorded output – albeit the earlier albums more than the last couple – I definitely prefer their live sound. They smoothness of the album versions gets roughed up just enough to give the songs an extra bit of zip. All in all, a compact, efficient set that left me quite satisfied, pics tomorrow. In the meantime, read this interview with The Detroit Metro Times.

One of Ivy’s tourmates this past Spring was Stars, who have a new video out for “Reunion”, featuring an uncharacteristically glammed-up Amy Millan and hopefully ironic dance routine.

Billboard talks to Bob Mould about gearing up to tour Body Of Song and what people might expect from the all-Mould-era set list. Me, I’m just glad that North America dates don’t start till after September 22. This is one show I do not want to miss.

Trespassers William have completed initial mixing of their third album, Having, and are on track for a release date early next year. Obviously not the Fall release initially reported, but maybe the iTunes session they’re recording next week for exclusive sale over the online store will temper that a bit.

Chart talks to The Futureheads about the fine art of procrastination as they put off making their difficult second album but touring North America ad nauseum.

Pitchfork reports that Mogwai are heading back into the studio to record their next album, slated for an early 2006 release.

I don’t know why, but I find it amusing that the new issue of Harp has a Vanity Fair-style gatefold cover featuring “The Faces Of Bonnaroo”. I wonder if there was any catfighting at the photo shoot about who got to be on the front and who had to go around back?

Swedish troubadour Jens Lekman will be back in Toronto at the Music Gallery on October 18 (via For The Records). His last show at Sneaky Dee’s back in March was a good’un, this one is recommended.

np – The House Of Love / The John Peel Sessions: 1988-1989

By : Frank Yang at 8:23 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Nathan says:

    The Stars link is incorrect. Should be http://…/ . Thanks for the heads up on the new vid though.

  2. Joe says:

    Hah. That Stars video is great. The dance routine was awesome.

    Thanks for the link.

  3. Dodge says:

    Astaire’s frontwoman is a sexy mama…and although I haven’t seen them live and only heard the samples from their site, I can see what you mean.

  4. mk says:

    What’s up with that Stars video? You need a username and password just to watch the damn video? Wow. So privileged.

  5. Frank says:

    weird, I guess they don’t want it to be available to the great unwashed yet. it was free and open earlier today.

    Check back in a few days, I guess.