Archive for November, 2006

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

Rescue Plan

Former Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley is finally getting the follow-up to her 2004 solo debut Grey Will Fade together. Where that record was a supremely hooky collection of power pop, she describes The Deep Blue, out in the UK in March, as “a more ethereal, thoughtful work, informed by her love of Kate Bush, David Bowie and Mercury Rev” which will also include a co-write with XTC’s Andy Partridge.

The first single is “Behave”, which will be released as an EP on December 18 and which you can hear on her MySpace right now. I’ve also got a radio rip of another new song which someone graciously sent me (sorry, forget who). Both of these songs are held up as examples of her retaining the pop exuberance of her first record. She also talks a bit to Soundgenerator about starting her own label to release the record.

I’m a little sorry I forgot to post the vid for “Summer” from Grey Will Fade when it was actually still warm out – one of the finest sunshiney anthems of recent memory. But maybe now that it’s cold and grey out, it’s even more fitting? Either way, great song whatever time of year it is. Oh, and the video isn’t streaming so you’ll have to wait for all 8 MB to download before it plays. Sorry. The “Bastardo” video is pretty fun, too.

MP3: Charlotte Hatherley – “I Want You To Know” (radio rip)
Video: Charlotte Hatherley – “Summer” (WMV)
Video: Charlotte Hatherley – “Bastardo” (YouTube)
MySpace: Charlotte Hatherley

Also coming soon – Green Mansions, a super-limited, one-sided vinyl EP from Saturday Looks Good To Me due out in February or March in advance of their next full-length, Fill Up The Room, which will be out later in the year. The band has put up some live MP3s on their MySpace from June of this year that includes one of the songs that will appear on the aforementioned new full-length.

Mercury Rev drummer Jeff Mercel talks to Billboard about the band’s two latest releases – the Stillness Breathes: 1991 – 2006 retrospective and the Hello Blackbird soundtrack. He also confirms the band is beginning work on a new album.

Cat Power gives Harp a characteristically frank interview about her breakdown earlier this year, her pending deal with Chanel, stalking Bob Dylan and reveals her given name is Charlene (or Charlyn, as it’s apparently correctly spelled). For some reason this little bit of trivia shifted my reality juuuust a little bit. She also talks to The Globe & Mail about where she’s at now.

MuchMusic sat down for an interview with Malajube before their show in Toronto Saturday night (which NOW has a glowing review of). Apparently they enjoyed the chat so much that keyboardist Thomas Augustin stage-dove on top of the interviewer that evening, giving her a beaut of a shiner. Those crazy Quebecois.

The Yoko Casionos tell NOW about the time their guitarist was kidnapped in Calgary by crackheads. For real. They’re at the Kool Haus tonight opening for Sloan, whose Andrew Scott talked to Radio Free Canuckistan back in September. The Yokos are also playing Wavelength at Sneaky Dee’s on December 3.

Josh Ritter will be undertaking a solo acoustic tour in the new year that includes a stop at the Horseshoe on February 15. Finally, 2007 shows!

Newsarama reports that Preacher, one of the best and audacious comic books of the past ten years, will be developed into a television series by HBO. This is far more exciting and appropriate than the feature film idea that had been kicking around for a while with James Marsden attached as Jesse Custer.

np – +/- / Self-Titled Long-Playing Debut Album

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

When We Were Wolves

I found it a bit odd that many of the clippings on My Latest Novel’s press page drew comparisons with Arcade Fire because though there are parallels with the Montrealers, to my ears, there’s far more relevant reference points for their debut full-length Wolves to be found in the band’s native Scotland.

Their slow and sweeping orchestration recalls The Zephyrs but with a bit of the darkness and foreboding of Mogwai in their quieter moments. At other points, they sound as though they’re channeling Arab Stap-era Belle & Sebastian, Stuart David’s spoken-word contributions in particular (he should really get royalties for “The Job Mr Kurtz Done”). You can also pick out some Arab Strap (the band, not the album) and Delgados inspiration between the lines if you look.

But even with these myriad influences, the band has managed to distill them into an ambitious and distinctive sound that will serve them quite well as they grow into it. The songwriting is still a bit erratic in terms of quality control, the good tunes standing out quite obviously against their lesser neighbours, but overall the record is an enjoyable and engaging listen. They falter a bit when they try to get aggressive but their gentler, folk-pop numbers are quite lovely and they show some potential with the anthem as well.

The band is actually in Canada this week for the Transmission Festival in Vancouver though will sadly not be venturing any further east. They play the open-to-public block party on the 2nd as well as the industry-only showcase, so if you’re out in the west coast and you haven’t been felled by one of the meteorological plagues that seems to be afflicting Vancouver of late, you should go see them.

MP3: My Latest Novel – “The Hope Edition”
MP3: My Latest Novel – “The Reputation of Ross Francis”
Video: My Latest Novel – “Sister Sneaker Sister Soul” (WMV)
Video: My Latest Novel – “The Reputation of Ross Francis” (WMV)
Video: My Latest Novel – “Pretty In A Panic” (YouTube)
MySpace: My Latest Novel

NME tells us that Idlewild will release their new album Make Another World in February of next year. They left Parlophone in 2005 and signed with the resurrected Pye Records back in July, none of which likely means anything for their North American fans. Just buy the import and be done with it.

The AV Club gets a peek in Alan Sparkhawk’s iPod. Low’s new album will be out March 20 and will now be called Drums And Guns, not The Violet Path as originally reported.

PopMatters, MSNBC and Synthesis converse with TV On The Radio while AOL’s Spinner is content to coax them on video for some pick up lines.

A gentle reminder to Torontonians of the Radio Opera fundraiser happening at Lee’s Palace this Saturday afternoon – it’s a benefit for CARE Canada with all proceeds going to humanitarian aid in East Timor. It will feature performances from The Constantines and Jason Collett and based on the number of you who entered my Cons contest earlier this week, I know there’s a goodly number of you who want to see them… so if you’re gonna go this weekend, why not make an afternoon of it and support a worthy cause in the process? Tickets are $16 at Rotate and Soundscapes (and Ticketmaster if you really have to roll that way). More info here and there’s a nifty poster. Torontoist has an interview with organizer, host and former MuchMusic VJ Hannah Sung about CARE, Indonesia and the concert.

Daytrotter solicits Mac McCaughan of Portastatic’s five favourite things from last week. I really hope that illustration isn’t actually meant to be Mac.

Shots Ring Out has assembled a shopping guide for the hard-to-shop-for hipster on your Christmas list.

np – Arcade Fire / Funeral

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006

Please Mr Postman

I get a lot of promos in the mail. I think my mailman hates me because of this. But that’s beside the point. The point is that while all the music is great – I’m not complaining – it takes up a lot of space. Like A LOT. I also end up with a lot of padded mailers – you know, the manila envelopes with the bubble wrap inside – that I feel bad about tossing if they’re in good shape. So I save those. For what specific purpose, I know not, but again – they take up a lot of room as well. This is an ongoing problem, but one to which I have come up with a solution.

In keeping with the holiday spirit, I am conducting the first maybe-annual Chromewaves “Let Your Mailbox Live Like A Blogger’s” Giveaway & Reader’s Poll. That’s right, I am giving your mailbox a chance to live like mine for a day and get crammed full of stuff you’ve never heard of and may not want. I am giving away the following:

5 large and 5 medium padded mailers, filled with CDs, CD-Rs, stickers, pins, coasters (really). Maybe even a DVD. I think I have some. Hell, maybe I’ll even cram some press releases in there.1

But that’s not all! I have had a stack of t-shirts sitting here for who knows how long and I’m not entirely sure where they came from. But what I do know is they’re brand new and have gots to go. I’ve got the following:

1) Wolfmother – this one. That’s gold foil ink, yo! Men’s American Apparel medium.
2) Oranger – black with band name in light blue and “New Comes And Goes” on front. Men’s American Apparel large.
3) World Leader Pretend2this one. Men’s Fruit Of The Loom large.
4) Dungen – this one. Men’s American Apparel medium.
5) Metric – this one. Men’s Alstyle Apparel (?), medium.

I have some autographed CDs from the class of 2005. Autographed by the band – not just some guy off the street:

1) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club / Howl
2) Giant Drag / Hearts And Unicorns
3) Joy Zipper / American Whip
4) Garbage / Bleed Like Me
5) World Leader Pretend2 / Punches

That’s a grand total of twenty prizes. Ho ho ho. For your part, I want you to leave a comment telling me three things:

1) Your top five records of 2006, in order of preference.
2) Your personal taste in music, written in as many expansive, over-hyphenated subgenre descriptors as you can muster. Like, “retro-cosmic-garage-Balkan-hardcore”. Besides amusing me, this will assist me in putting together your prize pack. Just because I get stuff I have no interest in, doesn’t mean you do as well. Though obviously I make no promises that you will enjoy anything I send. And hopefully I’ve got something in the piles of stuff that will suit your tastes.
3) What prize you want – you wanna the t-shirt, you no get the mailer grab bag. You wanna the grab bag, you no get the autographed CD. Just tell me which you’d like the most.

But otherwise, that’s it. This is open to anyone in the world so long as you adhere to requirements 1 and 2. Oh, and use an email address that you’ll actually check – if you’re worried about spambots then write it in the comment all broken up but indentifiable-like. I need to be able to contact you – if I don’t hear back from you within, say, 72 hours, I’ll pick a new winner. Prizes will be awarded by random selection from all qualifying entrants and when something is gone, it’s gone. Large bags go first, then the mediums. But if you want, say, the Metric shirt and it’s gone when you’re selected as a winner but there’s still grab bags available, you’ll get one of those. Trust me, this all makes sense in my head and hopefully it will all pan out hassle-free. This contest will run until midnight, December 8 – I’d hope that I could get everyone’s prizes out to them by the holidays but we’ll have to see.

As for the reader’s poll portion of the contest, I will tally up all the entrants and post the results at a later date. Wholly unscientific and with no bearing on my own list, it should still be interesting to see the tastes of folks who visit here.

And no, I didn’t really feel like writing a proper post for today.

1 – If you are one of the labels or promo companies who sent me these CDs and wish to invoke the old, “this CD is the property of the label and must be returned at their request”, please just send me an SASE and it’s en route back to you.
2 – No, I’ve no idea who these guys are either. But it’s a nice shirt.

np – Trespassers William / Having

Monday, November 27th, 2006

CONTEST – Tokyo Police Club @ The Horseshoe – December 2, 2006

Hey look, a contest. How unusual.

This time it’s for the pride of Newmarket, Ontario – Tokyo Police Club – who are playing a show at the Horseshoe this Saturday, December 2 with Spiral Beach and Hexes And Ohs. Their label Paper Bag Records has given me three pairs of passes and I, in turn, am giving them away to you.

To enter, email me at with “I wanna see Tokyo Police Club” in the subject line and your full name in the body. And then send that off to me before midnight, November 29. Hey, the show’s this weekend – gotta turn this around quickly. And then wait patiently, perhaps reading these interviews with the band in Vue or Chart. Or listening to some of their songs or watching their video. Your call.

CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. Congrats to Paul, Anthony and Daniel.

MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Nature Of The Experiment”
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Shoulders & Arms”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Nature Of The Experiment” (MOV)
Stream: Tokyo Police Club / A Lesson In Crime
MySpace: Tokyo Police Club

Monday, November 27th, 2006

Ton Plat Favori

Of all the 2006 Polaris Music Prize finalists, you could argue that Montreal’s Malajube received the most net gains from the exposure. Sure, Final Fantasy took home the big cheque but Malajube saw their profile and audience grow exponentially outside of Francophone circles because of the nod.

And so it was that two months after they played a brief but impressive performance at the Polaris ceremony, the band returned to Toronto on Saturday night for a well-packed show at Lee’s Palace. I missed first openers Bocce but did see middle act Five Blank Pages for the first time since last May and while they’re still purveyors of earnest and jangly indie pop, their songcraft seems to improved considerably in the interim and they’re a more interesting live show as well.

While the strength of attendance was certainly a triumph, Malajube was once again struck by some bad luck on visiting Hogtown. At the Polaris show, their set was limited to but a single song as singer Julien Mineau was barely upright due to illness and this time, it was guitarist/keyboardist Renaud Bastien who was apparently felled by some bad street meat and was only able to play a handful of songs before surrendering to his gastronomical distress and leaving the stage. Not that you could blame him – the boy looked BAD.

But down a man, the remaining Malajubes compensated nicely by turning their own energy levels up to 11 and turning in a hyperactive and wonderfully destructive set – as manic and madcap as the band are on Trompe-L’oeil , they’re even moreso onstage. And just as not having any working knowledge of the French language doesn’t prevent you from appreciating the gloriously dense pop songcraft of the album, it sure as hell doesn’t keep you from getting whipped into a frenzy live (but apparently understanding the lyrics takes you to yet another level, if their pogoing Francophone fans were any indication). But as fast and fiercely as their fanbase is growing amongst us Anglos and as much as I respect their decision to sing in their native tongue (a choice they talk to The National Post about) I am very curious to see if and when the language barrier becomes a glass ceiling for them. Luckily for them, Telecaster smashing translates no matter what language you speak.

Photos: Malajube, Five Blank Pages @ Lee’s Palace – November 25, 2006
MP3: Malajube – “Montréal -40°C”
MP3: Malajube – “Le Metronome”
MP3: Malajube – “La Monogamie”
MP3: Five Blank Pages – “A Point Of Reference”
MP3: Five Blank Pages – “Richie T”
Video: Malajube – “Pâte Filo” (MOV)
Video: Malajube – “Montréal -40°C” (MOV)
Video: Malajube – “Fille à plumes” (MOV)
MySpace: Malajube
MySpace: Five Blank Pages

A couple other Quebecois bands seeking their fortunes in the English Canada market are Call Me Poupee and Les Breastfeeders – both will be at the El Mocambo this Saturday night, tickets $10.

You may (or may not) recall back in February that The New York Times ran a magazine feature about Broken Social Scene, Arts & Crafts, The Blocks Recording Club and the Toronto “scene” in general (you can read the article registration-free at the author’s website). Well nine months later, Chris Stroffolino – one of The Big Takeover‘s blogger/columnists – has crafted a response to the piece, which is interesting because he’s not from Toronto and has no personal connection or even knowledge of the principals involved. Instead, he says he is drawn into an “emotional intrigue of Chekhovian drama”. Well.

The Independent talks to Sam Beam of Iron & Wine for… no real discernible reason. But he does mention the next album will be more political in tone. That’s something.

The Guardian investigates the resurgence of “gypsy” influences in independent music.

So I went to see Casino Royale this weekend and thought it was really excellent – far and away the best Bond in recent memory and that’s not even taking into account the low standard the recent films have set (not a Brosnan fan). Some complain but I like the low-tech, sociopath Bond – especially when the action sequences are as spectacular as the ones in this film – the construction site chase was simply unbelievable. Mark me down as wholly in favour of Daniel Craig and the series reboot. Not so much of Chris Cornell doing the theme song. Ugh.