Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Neutral Ground

Photo by Frank Yang

It’d been almost exactly a month since I’d last attended a proper club show – astonishing, I know – so it’s not surprising that rolling into the El Mocambo on Tuesday night felt a bit unfamiliar. Thankfully, there were some familiar faces on the bill to ease the transition back into the world of live music just a bit.

Brooklyn’s Jealous Girlfriends have become favourites of mine over the last few months, from their Toronto debut last October through their SxSW Hot Freaks appearance and the recent release of their self-titled album, so though I missed their visit in March opening for Nada Surf, I was pleased for the opportunity to see them play again.

The other times I’d seen them play, they’d come across as scorching but on this night, whether deliberately or not, they came across as more of a smoulder. Rather than fill the set with their more immediate, rocking material they kept it rather mid-tempo with a surprising amount of new material and establishing themselves as probably the only band on the planet to cover Think Tank-era Blur. As an established fan, it was nice to hear the new material and “Monkey Brains”, which is on their MySpace in demo form and which was a highlight last year at the Drake, continues to sound better each time out. But as far as winning new fans over – and I’ve seen people slackjawed after their shows – I don’t think this was necessarily them putting their best foot forward.

Conversely, I came to Sea Wolf with considerably lower expectations – I’m partial to their sound but their debut full-length Leaves In The River and past live shows have failed to fully engage me. But sometime between last June and now, they’ve figured out a key ingredient to rectifying that – an ass-kicking drummer. They’ve changed stickmen since last time and the extra volume and energy the new guy brought to the kit made a world of difference, giving Alex James Church’s compositions – finely crafted and orchestrated but rather stiff folk rock – some much-needed swing. The looser and louder Sea Wolf weren’t a revelation but a definite improvement and enough to move them up a good number of rungs in my estimation.

The Jealous Girlfriends are keeping a tour blog for Exclaim! while Vue and Pasta Primavera has an interview with the band.

Photos: Sea Wolf, The Jealous Girlfriends @ The El Mocambo – June 3, 2008
MP3: Sea Wolf – “You’re A Wolf”
MP3: Sea Wolf – “The Garden That You Planted”
MP3: The Jealous Girlfriends – “Roboxulla”
Video: Sea Wolf – “You’re A Wolf”
Video: The Jealous Girlfriends – “How Now”
MySpace: Sea Wolf

Calexico will release their new album Carried To Dust on September 9 – expect them to preview a lot of the new material when they play the Mod Club on July 6. Woodpigeon will support.

Popmatters and The Daily Yomiuri talk Third with Portishead.

VBS visits Lightspeed Champion and Handsome Furs in their rehearsal spaces, video camera in hand. Lightspeed Champion are at Lee’s Palace next Wednesday night – June 11 – and Handsome Furs are there on August 22.

Video: Practice Space – Lightspeed Champion
Video: Practice Space – Handsome Furs

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Bon Iver. He is at Lee’s Palace on July 22.

MSNBC and CNN discuss @#%&! Smilers with Aimee Mann. Thanks to Being There for pointing out yesterday that her August 28 show at the Kool Haus is not a headlining gig, but as support for Squeeze.

eye talks to Death Cab For Cutie and previews their show at Olympic Island this Saturday, while Minnesota Public Radio has the band in their studios for a session which is available to stream or download. The Ottawa Citizen,, The Monreal Gazette, Kansas City Star and Seattle Weekly also talk to various band members about various topics.

Also playing the island Saturday is Rogue Wave, and I Am Fuel You Are Friends directs us to this director’s cut of their new video by Bob Odenkirk.

Video: Rogue Wave – “Chicago x 12”

And also coming out of Minnesota with a radio session are Shearwater, who stopped in at the University of Minnesota’s Radio K to record some tracks from their just-released and Pitchfork 8.0-ed new album Rook. They’ll be at the Horseshoe on June 23.

Beatroute has a sit-down with Okkervil River’s Will Sheff. They release The Stand Ins on September 9 and play the Phoenix on October 12.

My Morning Jacket are streaming the whole of Evil Urges on their MySpace right now, in advance of the record’s release next Tuesday. They play the Kool Haus on June 16.

Stream: My Morning Jacket / Evil Urges

The Globe & Mail, The Province and The Los Angeles Times talk to a Billy Bragg, who’ll be performing at Harbourfront Centre on June 17.

Exclaim! talks to Matt Berninger of The National. They’re at the Molson Amphitheatre this Sunday opening for R.E.M..

Elbow respond to Drowned In Sound readers’ questions.

Reveille discover just how prickly an interviewee Mark Kozelek of Sun Kil Moon can be.

Erase Errata will be at Sneaky Dee’s on July 7.

By : Frank Yang at 8:37 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. brads says:

    That Kozelek interview is gold.

  2. Matt says:

    I was just going to say the same thing.

  3. dB says:

    me too, and good for Kozelek. Those latter questions were utterly ridiculous and woefully unnecessary. Thanks for that linky.

  4. Eugene says:

    How can you download the Death Cab MPR broadcast?

    I only see options to stream.

  5. ovenking says:

    I think thematic missions are the next logical step in space exploration.