Archive for September, 2005

Friday, September 30th, 2005

Long May You Run

It is doubtful you’ll find any articles or reviews regarding Neil Young’s Prairie Wind that don’t include the words, “mortality” or “aneurysm”. Understandable, since most of the record was recorded in the week between Neil’s being diagnosed with a brain aneurysm this past March and the surgery to remove it and that experience certainly informs the record. Now just a few weeks shy of his 60th birthday, he talks about that difficult period with Time in an expansive and revealing interview (via Salon’s Audiofile). (Bugmenot), USA Today and all have pieces set at Neil’s performances at the Ryman in Nashville in August that touch on the same themes and talks to Neil about the new album and where it came from.

NOW talks to Jon Auer in advance of The Posies’ show at Lee’s Palace on Monday. The Metro Times does the same for their Detroit show. Though it’s been on my concert calendar for some months now, I still don’t have tickets. I have this strange premonition that I won’t be able to make it and don’t want to get stuck hanging onto a ticket. Maybe I’ll get tickets at the door… To anyone who’s seen them on this tour – are we talking lots of old stuff or are they actively trying to push Every Kind Of Light? This review of a show in Philadelphia the other night is encouraging.

And to play six degrees of Ken Stringfellow – Paste documents the resurrection of Big Star, whose In Space is not doing well critically. And Stylus reconsiders REM’s Up, running it through both their Playing God and On Second Thought features. I’m inclined to agree with them that Up is far better than it was expected to be – everyone thought that Bill Berry’s departure would spell the end of the band and yet they managed to come out with one of their best albums of the decade. No, the horrible decline started with the NEXT album.

Drowned In Sound talks to Sigur Ros.

Carl Newman of The New Pornographers disputes the band’s status as a “supergroup” to Sign On San Diego. “Supergroups are supposed to come out of bands that are popular”. The man has a point – I think it’s safe to say that The New Pr0ns have raised the profiles of each member’s individual projects far more than the converse is true. Via Largehearted Boy.

Check out the trailer for Shining – surely the feel-good film of the holiday season.

Congratulations to Neil Gaiman on having his new novel Anansi Boys debut at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. You’ve come a long way from writing biographies for Duran Duran.

np – The National / Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers

Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Men In The Mirror

The AV Club is helping build excitement for the release of Mirrormask this Friday with interviews with both Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. You can also read the outtakes from the interviews here (via Neil Gaiman) and Zap2It asks if Hollywood is ready for Neil Gaiman. Furthermore, IGN has an exclusive clip from the film. There’s not many reviews yet, but what is out there looks reasonably positive, if not overwhelming. It doesn’t look like Mirrormask is getting a Toronto release, at least not today. I don’t have huge hopes for this film, I fully expect it to have more style than substance, but I definitely do want to see it nonetheless.

Paste declares New Zealand’s Brunettes a band to watch. I agree. They’re currently recording their third album. They’ve also got a MySpace page and there’s some videos up on their website. Yay.

Cameron Crowe gives Paste a list of albums you have to own on vinyl as well as a few choices that don’t sound bad on CD. Why the original version of Blood On The Tracks? The remaster offend you in some way, Cam? Moviehole also has an interview with Crowe, whose Elizabethtown opens November 3.

All of the press surrounding No Direction Home was sure to incite a little backlash against Bob Dylan, or since that’s a scared cow that cannot be toppled, against his deification. The Telegraph’s Mark Hudson argues ain’t nothing but a pop star while Slate wonders why everyone seems to dismiss all of Dylan’s post-60s work. His answer? Blame the Boomers (via Pop (All Love).

City Pages talks to Bob Mould about outing himself back in the 90s (via Largehearted Boy) while Pioneer Press finds that Bob is quite happy these days, thank you very much. Mould plays the Mod Club this Sunday, and gets the lead plug in this week’s Torontoist week in shows.

Even though the release of Metric’s Live It Out appears to have been pushed back a week, you can still listen to the whole thing as they’re the featured band in MySpace’s Booth. And The National Post has indeed run a Metric feature – it’s just not on their website anywhere. Adam Radwanski has it on his, though.

Ex-Swervie Adam Franklin is in town for a couple shows in November – a solo acoustic show at a venue to be announced on the 10th and a full band set with Toshack Highway on the 12th at the Drake in support of SIANspheric. A new Toshack album is in the can and should see the light of day early in ’06.

Thanks to Zoilus for naming me one of his favourite blogs in the new blog-centric issue of Toronto Life. Apparently I am the “most compulsive music blogger in the game in this country”. Thank you!

np – Elbow / Leaders Of The Free World

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

About Today

I’m still catching up on stuff that happened while I was away. But at least I’m not jet lagged anymore. Much.

I may have missed The National’s show in Toronto a couple weeks ago, but apparently I still got a t-shirt out of the deal. Nice. Chart took the time to talk to the band in advance of the show and as they continue their North American tour, press clippings follow – here’s one from Salt Lake City Weekly last week.

I’ve also found a couple videos from Alligator (a 2005 best-of shoo-in. Yes we’re talking about that already) – a gorgeous one for “Daughters Of The Soho Riots” and another for “Lit Up”, featuring a different, friendlier mix of the song behind it. Beggars has also updated the band’s e-card to feature a remix of “Secret Meeting”, which they’re offering as an digital single with a live recording of “Geese Of Beverly Road” from a 2004 Black Session as a b-side.

And to everyone who’s gone to see the National/Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on tour and left before the headliners came on? You are foolish. Billboard and Pitchfork agree.

Also under “missed shows” – Sigur Ros. I’m not certain Takk has earned a place on the 2005 best-of list, though. I’m not feeling it in that way yet, hopefully “yet” being the operative word. Paste and Pitchfork both have interviews with the band and you can see a 30-minute long electronic press kit (Real) for Takk detailing the making of the album. And the band has been keeping a tour diary over the course of their North American tour.

Junkmedia and Pitchfork both ran interviews last week with Carl Newman of The New Pornographers. Twin Cinema continues to grow on me and inch up my 2005 best-of list, which we continue to talk about. But at least I didn’t miss their show in a couple weeks at the Phoenix. Getting more and more excited about that one.

Nellie McKay evidently doesn’t care about getting Pretty Little Head on my or anyone’s 2005 best-of lists… the new release date for her second album is December 27.

Also going down in the past fortnight, the Austin City Limits festival featuring performances from, um, everyone. The Austin Chronicle ran brief features on some of the participants, including Arcade Fire and Doves (via Achtung Baby!).

Neil Young tells JAM how he took a journey through the past to revisit his early days in Winnipeg informed the writing of his new album, Prairie Wind. Reviews are decent, though I’m not sure it’s something I need to own. I haven’t bought a new Neil release since 1995’s Mirror Ball, and quite honestly, I rarely listen to anything later than 1979’s Rust Never Sleeps. I’m thrilled that Neil remains creatively vital, but I’m just partial to the old stuff, I guess.

PopMatters says it’s tough being a Malaysian Death Cab fan.

The rest of my Europe photos are now up.

np – The American Analog Set / Set Free

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

Glass Ceiling

It’s a Metric kinda day. Their new album Live It Out is in stores today and tomorrow night they play the first of two sold out shows in Toronto at the Phoenix. Cliptip has a link to the video for the first single, “Monster Hospital”, which you can also hear on their Myspace page along with another Live It Out track, “The Police And The Private”. They’re the only bits of the new album I’ve heard, but the production seems to be rawer than the synth-slick sound of Old World Underground – I approve.

Metric are also getting the full-court media press here in Toronto – both weeklies, NOW and eye, ran pieces on the band in this week’s issues and the dailies are getting into it as well – The Globe & Mail, Toronto Star and The Toronto Sun all have interviews. Only The National Post refuses to give Metric any love.

Somewhat surprisngly, not too many interesting shows were announced in my absence. I mean there’s been stuff, but nothing that I particularly want to see… here’s the rundown:

The Organ @ Revival, October 15 ($12)

Super Furry Animals, Caribou @ The Phoenix, November 2

Ben Lee @ The El Mocambo, November 6 ($13.50)

The Shout Out Louds, The Essex Green @ The Mod Club, November 7 ($13.50)

Kathleen Edwards, Joel Plaskett @ The Phoenix, November 10 ($18.50)

Belle Orchestre @ The Music Gallery, November 11 (two shows) ($12)

LCD Soundsystem, The Juan Maclean @ The Carlu, November 18

The Magic Numbers @ Lee’s Palace, December 1 ($13.50)

The Dandy Warhols @ The Opera House, December 3 ($25)

Also, the Jens Lekman/Nedelle show at the Music Gallery on November 5 appears to be back on? And some ticket prices announced – My Morning Jacket at the Guvernment on October 19 is $26.75, more than I expected, and Echo & The Bunnymen at the Carlu on November 23 is $27.50, less than I expected. Maybe I’ll flip the two shows…?

Paste talks to Sam Beam of Iron & Wine about In The Reins, his collaboration with Calexico. I’m still waiting on those November east coast tour dates…

Because everyone loves a list – CMJ tallies up their 25 most influential bands of the last 25 years, while Banana Nutrament is running an indie rock beauty pageant. I voted for Feist, but between you and me and the other 1500 people who visit daily, none of the contestants really does it for me…

Newsarama transcribes a round table interview with Neil Gaiman about Mirrormask, which opens in limited release on Friday.

Salon awards their annual “Buffy” award for most underappreciated television show to… Veronica Mars! Take a bow, Veronica.

Photos! I’ve got pics from the first half of my trip – through St Petersburg – up at Flickr. I have’t gone in and added tags yet because I not-so-intelligently tossed out all my tourist maps of the cities and thus can’t so easily refer back to where I’ve been. I know I can gather all that info up on the web, it’s just that much more trouble. But I’ll get to it. And I added one of those neat Flickr banner things, which I like but am not sure if that’s the best place for it. I may move it around.

np – Sigur Ros / Takk

Monday, September 26th, 2005

I'm Kicking Television

I’m going to try and get back into the swing of things by recapping some of the news that’s come about in the past couple weeks. Some will be old news, I’m sure, but what can you do.

Wilco will put out their double-live album Kicking Television – Live In Chicago on November 1 after all, though it’s just the aural document. No word on what happened to the DVD, whether it’s been scrapped or will be released on its own at a later date. As it is, an official live record featuring Nels Cline in the lineup will be nice, though considering that every Wilco show in the last few years has been recorded and made available online, it’s not THAT exciting an event. But still. New Wilco. Yay. See the full-size album art here and the tracklist here. Jeff Tweedy is doing a smallish solo acoustic tour in November around the midwest/east coast, but nothing north of the border.

Circle March 7, 2006 on your release calendar as that’s the day that Neko Case’s new studio album, her first since 2002’s Blacklisted, hits stores. Fox Confessor Brings The Flood features many of the same guest artists as that record, including Calexico’s Joey Burns and John Convertino, Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb and The Sadies. New collaborators include The Band’s Garth Hudson and Visqueen’s Rachel Flotard. Prefix has the official press release.

Irish songstress Gemma Hayes has given her sophomore album a name – The Roads Don’t Love You – and a release date in the UK – October 31. Her first album, Night On My Side, came out in North America in a considerably different form than it did in Europe, with a significantly altered tracklist and running order. I wonder if we’ll get a domestic release of the second album and if so, whether it’ll get rejigged for the market.

Beulah fans will have to content themselves with the A Good Band Is Easy To Kill DVD as there will be no Miles Krukowsky solo album in 2005 after all. In a website update, guitarist Bill Swan reports that Miles had serious surgery on his arm recently and will only be going into the studio in January after he’s (hopefully) sufficiently recovered.

We also shouldn’t expect anything new from Tanya Donelly anytime soon – she’s pregnant with her second child. Congratulations are in order, as well as thanks that she had the foresight to record a live album of new material last year which will hopefully see release sometime soon.

The Guardian salutes Bob Dylan. Part one of No Direction Home airs on PBS tonight – I think I will just seek out the DVD.

Bob Mould chats with The AV Club (have they dropped the “Onion” brand completely?) before setting out on his North American tour in support of Body Of Song (now underway), which includes a show this Sunday at the Mod Club in Toronto.

Chart talks to Rob Dickinson about flying solo with Fresh Wine For The Horses. I got my copy on Friday and already I find weird discoloured scuff marks on the playing surface. What the fuck? I’ve spun this thing, like, four times. Rob and I will have words about the manufacturer’s quality control when he plays the Horseshoe October 7, believe you me.

Something I totally forgot while I was away was that the new television season was getting started. Not much network TV on the Baltic Sea, y’know. So when I got back I had to download myself the first two episodes of the new season of Justice League Unlimited and the Arrested Development season premiere. I was able to catch last night’s new West Wing in real time but will have to rely on bit torrent for the season premiere of Veronica Mars on Wednesday – I don’t think I get UPN here. So those are the returning shows on my viewing schedule (24 doesn’t return till January). Anything new worth my attention? I’ll need something to while away the hours while I munch on bonbons and wait for my EI cheque to arrive.

np – Rob Dickinson / Fresh Wine For The Horses