Friday, December 23rd, 2005

Low Happening

I get a lot of stuff from promo companies, usually telling me so-and-so is the next greatest band I have to listen to (and blog about). Mostly I ignore them (and that, right there, is the sound of people no longer sending me stuff…). But when Shawn from Cornerstone recommended Australia’s Howling Bells to me but added that he wasn’t working them, he just liked them and thought I would too, my cold cold heart thawed and I went to have a listen – and I’m glad I did.

They only have one song, “Velvet Girl”, streaming on their website, but I actually don’t mind that it loops over and over again. It’s addictive. Led by vocalilst Juanita Stein, who with brother/guitarist Joel had some success in the Aussie outfit Waikiki, they sound like a slightly fuzzier, twangier Mazzy Star. They have a dreamy, velvety quality that’s utterly beguiling, but has a hint of danger underneath. Of course, this is a lot to assume from just one song, so it’s a good thing I’ve dug up two. They have “Blessed Night” streaming on their MySpace page, but I’ve found an mp3 (a straight recording of the myspace stream, I think) for your downloading pleasure – it’s a rougher, bluesier track than “Velvet Girl” but also excellent. Between these two samples, consider me officially tantilized.

MP3: Howling Bells – “Blessed Night”

They just released an e-single for “Low Happening” last week through a variety of online music shops, none of which seem to be available to Canadians. I guess I’ll just have to wait until their debut album, Liberation, comes out April 2006. They seem to be signed to V2 in some territories and Bella Union in the UK, but I can’t find any info about North America. Hopefully the record will be available here through someone… They were actually here back in October, but my unwillingness/inability to do four shows in four nights meant I had to give them a pass. And while I’m sure that night’s sleep was well needed, I’m sorry I missed it. Fingers crossed they’ll make it back.

Rhett Miller talks solo projects with Chart.

Matt Pond PA are saying “Happy holidays” to their fans with a new demo streaming off their MySpace page. And tickets are on sale for their February 11 show with dios (malos) at the Mod Club for $13.50.

Local promoters Emerge are using their blog to great effect, having just posted a list of their upcoming shows for 2006. The only one that really catches my interest is The Guillemots at the Horseshoe on March 15. Unfortunately, I will probably be in Austin that week, which sort of raises the question – why is a young, up-and-coming band from abroad in Toronto that week instead of the giant schmoozeola of SxSW?

Blogger year-end lists from Kathryn Yu, Coolfer and Information Leafblower. You know, with all these best-of lists, I’d been hoping to pad my shopping list with new and interesting stuff but I’m not finding a lot of stuff that’s slipped under my radar this year – either I like it and already have it, or I know I don’t dig it.

Under The Radar talks to director Margaret Brown about making Be Here To Love Me, the Townes Van Zandt documentary I saw last year at the Toronto International Film Festival.

np – The National / Black Session – 2003

By : Frank Yang at 8:57 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Glenn says:

    That Howling Bells’ song is pretty good. Sounds like Belly trying out a PJ Harvey song. Thanks for posting.

  2. Torr says:

    Did you just coin the phrase e-single? I’ve never seen it mentioned before. Nice one!

    I’m sure The Guillemots are playing SXSW too, music runs from that Wed to Sun.

  3. Frank says:

    I’m sure someone has used eSingle before. but if not, then I’ll happily accept any credit and/or royalties associated with it.

    Yeah, the Guillemots could theoretically still make it to Austin for the end of SxSW, but it seems really odd to book a show in Canada and then hoof it down to Texas in the next 48-72 hours.

  4. Jeff says:

    The howling bells show was really great. I think the show ended around 9:30 which would have left alot of time for sleep. It is a shame you missed it… they said they would be back in March.

  5. Jules says:

    I saw the Howling Bells in October when they did a super small gig downstairs at the Drake. Amazing live show! Rumour has it they will be back in the new year.

  6. kathryn says:

    i blame the blogosphere. for everything.

  7. damien says:

    I went to check out Howling Bells not long ago in London, had heard quite a bit of hoo ha about them…low and behold, I was definately NOT dissapointed. The songs are incredible, the atmosphere they created, a great voice, and an amazing band all round. CAnt wait to hear the album, I hear its self titled, should be ou early-mid 06!!!

  8. clarisse says:

    hosling bells are fantastic.

  9. robin says:

    I recommend the Howling Bells song "Setting Sun." So good.