Thursday, September 7th, 2006

Loud Pipes

It’s kind of a joke that indie kids don’t dance, but maybe they’re just more discriminating about what does or doesn’t get their skinny no-asses moving. Disco hi-hats and stabby new wave guitars are so 2004. But while Classics, the second album from New York duo Ratatat, has certainly got the sounds to fill the dance floor, it’s also pretty interesting and compelling listening on its own – not something that a lot of records can claim.

Classics will probably get filed under “electronica” but it’s far more organic-sounding than synthetic. Think new-school Cylon vs old-school (I’ve been watching Battlestar Galactica). The beats are solid but what sets this record apart for me are the melodies – they’re really slinky and strong and usually coupled with interesting instrumentation or samples. And the snarling cat in “Wildcat” is awesome – you almost want to claw at the air and make snarling faces. Almost. I’m not saying I did that. Nothing of the sort. It’s a fun record but not as lightweight as say Daft Punk, which I find drearily repetitve stripped of a dance club environment or an accompanying video. But Ratatat is something I can actually just sit and listen to. And now that I think about it, it might actually fail as a dance album because it makes me want to concentrate on the production rather than shake what I got. But then I don’t really got a lot. Anyway.

The Boston Globe gets some dark secrets about the band’s connections to Bjork and Dashboard Confessional (recorded at the former’s house, was touring guitarist for the latter). They (Ratatat, not Bjork and Dashboard Confessional) are at Lee’s Palace tomorrow night with Envelopes and Panther. There’s an MP3 below and you can grab another at Pitchfork.

MP3: Ratatat – “Wildcat”
MySpace: Ratatat

M Ward tells The Village Voice that Post-War is not a protest record, discusses the recording process with The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, offers a quick interview to and talks to The Chicago Tribune about growing up. Ampcamp has an MP3 of the title track of the album, Minnesota Public Radio has a studio session online and n’oubliez-pas that he is at the Mod Club on Monday night.

MP3: M Ward – “Post-War”

Some new videos for fans of bands with perky, sexy female lead singers. One from The Grates, in town on Saturday at Lee’s Palace, and one from Monsters Are Waiting, who are not coming anywhere near here anytime soon. The Grates, however, also offer up a new MP3 – point, Grates.

MP3: The Grates – “Feels Like Pain”
Video: The Grates – “Science Is Golden” (YouTube)
Video: Monsters Are Waiting – “Ha Ha” (MySpace)

NOW, eye and The Toronto Sun talk solo record Knives Don’t Have Your Back with Emily Haines who plays three shows at the Gladstone on Tuesday.

Fair number of shows announced in the last little bit. The highest profile would have to be the two dates at Massey Hall for Death Cab For Cutie along with tourmates Ted Leo & The Pharmacists. Death Cab, I can totally see at Massey Hall. Ted? That’ll be an interesting environment – hell, I thought the Mod Club was too fancy pants for him. But getting Mr Leo in front of 5400+ possible new fans is nothing but good news to me. Tickets range from $32.50 to $42.50 plus service charges and go on sale tomorrow. Full tour details on Billboard and a nod to For The Records for sleuthing out these dates over a week ago.

And speaking of Death Cab, which I don’t do much anymore, this video of Ben Gibbard and Decemberist Colin Meloy (aka the poster boys for major label indie) recently performed Blur’s “End Of The Century” at one of those Revenge Of The Bookeaters shows. Only noteworthy because, well, I really like that Blur song. There’s an eh-quality video at YouTube.

Video: Ben Gibbard & Colin Meloy – “End Of The Century”

And The Washington Post discusses The Crane Wife, blogs and leaked records with Meloy. The album is out in physical form October 3 and the band is at the Kool Haus November 6.

Anyway, back to shows. Mew have a headlining show of their own at the Mod Club on September 25 for $10 – pefect for those who couldn’t get tickets to the Kasabian show on the 27th or who simply don’t want to see Kasabian. I’m looking at you, self.

Furthermore – Swedes Love Is All are at the Horseshoe October 29, tickets $10.50. The Drones from Australia and The Favourite Sons from Brooklyn are at the El Mocambo November 4 and Darker My Love, who should easily find an audience in Toronto (namely BRMC’s) will be at the same venue on November 15. And someone who appreciates the many definitions of psychedelia is sending a bill consisting of Austin doom fuzz-mongers Black Angels and Los Angeles sunshine-and-surf popsters The Tyde to the ‘Shoe on October 30, tickets $10.50. Heavy, man.

And last (but certainly not least), I Heart Music, who turns one, um, sometime around now, has compiled a list of the 20 hottest bands in Ottawa. I’ve had The Acorn recommended to me before, but needed this kick in the ass to go and listen. Thanks, Matthew.

np – Forget Cassettes / Salt

By : Frank Yang at 8:35 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. danieljosef says:


    There is only one Toronto DCFC show at Massey Hall. The other is in Ottawa.

  2. Frank says:

    Against The Grain says two:

    Maybe they’re waiting for the first to sell out before announcing the second.

  3. danieljosef says:

    Wow! DCFC’s site isn’t even listing a second show. Your right, they’ll probably add the second once the first sells out.

  4. Zack says:

    Went to the Ratatat show last night in Cambridge (Boston), MA. Your take on their music pretty much fit with the crowd activity – the persistent dancing was being done pretty much solely in the back of the hall by a couple dozen hyper folks, with everyone else just bobbing their heads or waving their hands. The dancers always looked kind of foolish when the songs came to the abrupt end that Ratatat seems to favor – it’s almost like you need to memorize a song to dance to it. And I think that emotionally, Ratatat is very spare, and it’s hard to connect some times to their music. Their live show has a slight arena rock feel to it – the guitarist’s long hair thrashing around, the lights and graphics projected in the background – and that made the distance between me and the music seem that much more. A good show for the college kids to come back to – now when are they going back home again?

  5. kevin says:

    I saw Black Angels at the Horseshoe last June and I wouldn’t say doomy at all.

  6. Ryan Waddell says:

    The indie kids that I saw dancing at The Chakras (…) a few months ago were proof positive that indie kids should NOT dance. :)

  7. Frank says:

    kevin – yeah, I wasn’t sold on the adjective but went with it anyway. Compared to The Tyde, they’re kinda doomy…

  8. Saturna says:

    Unfortunately we just lost M Ward. Portland’s loss.

  9. Thierry says:

    What do you mean Saturna?

    Btw Frank, any thought on Massive Attack pulling out of the V-Fest, to be replaced by another Broken Social Scene set? I had already sold my tickets, and now I’m hoping this means we’ll get Massive Attack in a smaller/better venue…

  10. Frank says:

    not a big massive attack fan but I would have liked to have seen them live, I bet it’d have been a cool show.

    Broken Social… seems sad to take them for granted like that, but eh. We’ll see how late I stick around Sunday.

  11. matthew says:

    If you haven’t checked out The Acorn yet, you definitely should…they’re not far off from the stuff you usually listen to, though they’re a little more expressive and happy than, say, My Dad Vs Yours. They were just in Toronto last week for Oh Bijou’s CD release last Friday, but I think they’ll be back in Toronto sometime this fall (I just don’t know when yet).