Friday, April 18th, 2008

You, Appearing

Photo via

Anthony Gonzales has been frequently declared as the new face of shoegaze ever since the release of M83’s 2004 debut Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, so you’d think that I’d like them/him/it more than I do. Because while there’s much I like about M83’s craft, there’s much I just can’t come to terms with either. In the case of the debut, it was the icy electronic-ness of it all. There was no doubt that Gonzalez’ musical vision worked in an ultra-widescreen that I could appreciate, but I guess I’m old fashioned – I like my square-waves made by guitar signals passed through transistors pushed within an inch of their lives. Synth patches just aren’t the same.

The follow-up Before The Dawn Heals Us was a great leap forward, as far as being a much more organic affair with vocals and more pop-ish song structures, balancing out the synth textures with more conventional instruments. It also came with an air of grandiose melodrama that fell on the wrong side of fromage a few too many times for me to embrace it the way some others did. A large part of that, however, was the one track “Car Chase Terror” which I abhor so much I pretty much refuse to play the album. Yes, I know there’s a skip button. It’s a matter of principle.

And so now we come to the new record, Saturday=Youth, which Gonzalez describes as a tribute to the technicolour pop culture of the ’80s. Given that context, it’s a triumph. I grew up in the ’80s on a steady diet of the synth pop, television and movies from which Gonzalez draws inspiration and, well, it’s a bit uncanny. And for all the grief the ’80s get – much of it deservedly so – there was some great pop music made in that era, although much of it suffered from production that’s horribly dated now. Gonzalez recasts it in a sheen that’s more contemporary (though it may also sound horribly dated in a couple of decades) and tones down his cosmic tendencies to keep things sounding as appropriately huge, sweeping and romantic as you’d expect M83 to sound, but somehow not so over the top. There’s still a distinct, cheesy aroma but it wouldn’t be M83 without it – appreciating M83 requires a large degree of buy-in – but if you’re willing to let yourself be swept up in it, it’s quite a ride.

Drowned In Sound and Exclaim both talked to Gonzales about the new record. A North American tour kicks off next month and stops at the Mod Club on May 30.

Video: M83 – “Graveyard Girl”
MySpace: M83

Chart has details on this year’s edition of Montreal’s Osheaga festival, which will take place on August 3 and 4 at Parc Jean Drapeau. First thought – hey, they’re not going head-to-head with Toronto’s V Fest this year. Instead, they’re on the same weekend as Lollapalooza. Smart. Second thought – hey, it’s during the August long weekend. Nice. Said thought is followed immediately by, hey that’s the Sunday and Monday so if I wanted to go, I’d still need to take a day off on the Tuesday though to be fair, if it was running Saturday and Sunday, you’d probably still need to take the Friday off for travel. If you’re a local, however, I bet you’d prefer that Monday off to recover. Anyway, as for the lineup, neither day’s headliners of The Killers or Jack Johnson does a blessed thing for me, but you’ve also got Iggy & The Stooges, Cat Power, Broken Social Scene and The Black Keys in there here’s hoping that the DeVotchKa appearance on the Sunday means there’s a Toronto date coming immediately before or after.

Tomorrow marks Record Store Day, wherein you’re encouraged to go to your local independent record store and hug a clerk. And buy something. Soundscapes here in Toronto will be taking part and offering 10% off CDs, DVDs and books. I will mark the day by taking my CD player into the shop, as it decided the other night that it would never open it’s tray door again. Stupid technology.

Obviously not having gotten the memo that my Fleet Foxes post went up on Wednesday, Daytrotter has posted the session recorded with the band back in February during Noise Pop in San Francisco. The Portland Mercury also has an interview with frontman Robin Pecknold.

Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchinson tells The Daily Record that he’s just as messed up as those who’d seek solace in his music.

The Birmingham News talks to Yan of British Sea Power. They’re at Lee’s Palace on May 16.

The AV Club declares Headlights fit for Spring.

To mark the release of I’m Not There on DVD come May 6, there’s an MP3 available from the soundtrack featuring My Morning Jacket’s Jim James backed by Calexico doing Bob Dylan’s “Going To Acapulco”.

MP3: Jim James with Calexico – “Going To Acapulco”

The Sadies have been added as support for The Raconteurs’ show at the Ricoh Coliseum on June 5 alongside The Black Lips.

The Duke Chronicle talks to Dan Bejar, who brings Destroyer to Lee’s Palace tomorrow night.

The New York Times talks to Matt Ward and Zooey Deschanel about being She & Him.

By : Frank Yang at 8:27 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. toni says:

    apparently they moved Osheaga to early August in order to draw bigger acts. The killer though is that the Monday is not a holiday in Quebec. nice one.

  2. Frank says:

    not a holiday? seriously?

    that. that is kind of hilarious. But the people take days off for Lolla and Bonnaroo as well, so I guess it’s not so bizarre.

    these are the sacrifices you must make for Jack johnson, I suppose.

  3. toni says:

    yeah it’s not like some huge deal that it’s not a holiday but the fact that it’s a holiday in most of Canada just makes it funny I suppose. And also, a sunday/monday festival? just seems odd.
    that being said, i’ve yet to go and may go this year to see BSS.

  4. Mel says:

    I want to go to Osheaga just for BSS. I may go, I don’t know.

    Laura Barrett is performing at Sunrise Records (on Yonge) tomorrow for Record Store Day. Frank, would you happen to know what time she’s playing? The posters in the store aren’t telling me much.

  5. Frank says:

    I know nothing about the in-store sched at Sunrise, sorry. maybe call the store? surely someone has an inkling.

  6. lisa says:

    LB’s on at 4:30 according to this: http://www.sunriserecords.c
    What an odd line-up.

  7. dave says:

    the black keys @ the phoenix on august 3rd. kinda sucks that its on the long weekend.