Archive for July, 2008

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Dog Day

Photo by Paul Hammond

Title holder of the most laid-back festival in existence, Dog Day Afternoon celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and will be held on August 17 at a top-secret, undisclosed location somewhere outside of Guelph. I had the pleasure of attending the one-day event last year and it was a wonderful day of sitting on the grass, listening to music, eating, drinking and… well, imagine a long, lazy picnic with a terrific soundtrack.

This year, as with all the others, The Sadies will be headlining the festivities – and believe me there’s nothing quite like watching the Sadies under a starry night sky – and will be joined by The D’Urbervilles, The Shovels, Dog Day, Gentleman Reg, Now YR Taken and One Heart Many Hands. A very solid lineup all-around, but I’m especially pleased to be able to see Haligonians Dog Day again and not just because their presence satisfies my sense of cosmic order (not that that means I’m lobbying for The Virgins to play V Fest). I enjoyed their show at the Drake last December and continue to enjoy their last record Night Group. The band, ever the road warriors, kept a tour blog for Exclaim on their just-completed jaunt out west and in addition to this show, they’re playing a free show at the Horseshoe on the following Tuesday, August 19.

While it used to be a private/invite-only party, Dog Day Afternoon now also has tickets available to the public. Inquiries can be sent via the MySpace or to

MP3: Dog Day – “Great Pains” (live)
Video: Dog Day – “Oh Dead Life”
Video: Dog Day – “Lydia”
MySpace: Dog Day

Crawdaddy talks to Silver Jew David Berman. He/They’re at Lee’s Palace on September 2.

Paste talks with both Mark Olsen and Gary Louris about their forthcoming, “don’t call it a Jayhawks record” record Ready For The Flood, out September 16.

Pitchfork has specifics on the next TV On The Radio album. Dear Science will be out September 23.

The Vancouver Sun profiles Black Mountain, in town September 27 at the Opera House.

Thanks to For The Records for pointing out that Dirty On Purpose will be the support for The Wedding Present on their Fall tour, including the October 3 date at Lee’s Palace. DoP skipped SxSW for the first time this year, and thus I haven’t had my annual live fix yet.

Also in town on October 3 is newly-signed to Dead Oceans outfit These Are Powers. They’ll be at Sneaky Dee’s.

MP3: These Are Powers – “Cockles”
Video: These Are Powers – “Cockles”

Billboard has details on Rachael Yamagata’s long-delayed sophomore record, and she’s making up for the wait with volume. Not as in loud, as in quantity. The two-CD A Record in Two Parts … Elephants and Teeth Sinking Into Heart will be out on October 7 with touring to follow.

The Anchorage Daily News talks to John Stirratt of Wilco.

The Georgia Straight talks to Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater.

Hutch Harris of The Thermals updates Pitchfork on the status of their new album Now We Can See, set to be released sometime.

MTV gets some vague ideas from Colin Meloy about what direction the next Decemberists record might be heading.

Daytrotter sessions up with The Blakes.

Finally got around to seeing The Dark Knight last night. Last thing the world needs is another review, so I’ll simply say it was good. Even made up for the worst Taco Bell meal I’ve ever had, and I’ve had some bad ones. I had a notion of what I thought would make a good plot for the third film – I think I mentioned it after I saw the first one – but something focusing on Batman’s detective skills, perhaps with the Riddler as a villain but never even seen till the final act when Bats unravels the mystery at han. But considering the status quo established at the end of this film, that’d be difficult to do. Still though, something that emphasizes the intelligence of Batman beyond just the toys and fighting would be a novel twist.

And lastly, Rotten Tomatoes has a detailed, frame-by-frame analysis of the Watchmen trailer. It looked mighty good up there on the big screen, let me tell you.

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

A Rock & Roll Romance

Photo by Frank Yang

It may have sat on my bookshelf for almost three months before I even cracked the spine, Dean Wareham’s memoirs Black Postcards: A Rock & Roll Romance barely took me a day to finish reading. No doubt my being a long-standing fan of all his works, from Galaxie 500 through my beloved Luna to his present works as Dean & Britta, contributed to the rate at which I plowed through it but I think that anyone who’s interested in the life and times of a cult indie rock band would have found it just as compelling, whether they knew his work or not.

Black Postcards reminded me very much of Bob Dylan’s own memoirs, Chronicles, and not just because it was the last rock bio I read. Both their careers have obviously taken much different trajectories, they’re both famously cryptic in their songwriting and standoffish at best with the press, yet both their books are surprisingly clear and forthright. Starting at the very beginning and his childhood in New Zealand and Australia, Wareham is comprehensive in his recollections. He traces the path of Galaxie 500 from a university dorm project to cult band playing the European festival circuit and offers his own perspective on quitting the band when they seemed on the cusp of something greater – bandmate Damon Krukowski has gone on the record with his account of the band’s dissolution and while Wareham doesn’t necessarily contradict them, he does offer his own reasonings for needing to get out.

The Luna years are similarly covered. Though it features numerous entertaining anecdotes about the mundanity of life on the road – common topics are hotels, food, narcotic adventures and occasional dalliances – the running theme is mostly of Wareham’s frustrations with essentially having plateaued as a band, commercially speaking. Playing the same venues tour after tour, ongoing label issues, intra-band tensions – certainly not unique to Luna, but that doesn’t make it easier to take. Wareham is also extremely forthcoming on his personal life, particularly about his affair with bandmate (and now wife) Britta Phillips and all the ensuing drama, including the subsequent dissolution of his first marriage. He recounts most everything matter of factly, not necessarily apologetically but with the benefit of hindsight. It’s a wholly engrossing read, particularly for someone as emotionally invested in the music around it all as I am, and it’s interesting how much of Wareham’s seemingly nonsensical lyrics are actually about something concrete. And yeah, it totally made me miss Luna, like a phantom limb.

And it also prompted me to do as I’ve intended for over two years and watch the band commentary for the Tell Me Do You Miss Me documentary DVD. The film runs in parallel with the last portion of the book quite tightly but rather than offer any more insight into the final days of the band, the commentary is more a reminiscence about the making of the film. Recorded a year after the band officially broke up, the interplay amongst Dean, Britta and Sean Eden (Lee Wall recorded his track on his own in Los Angeles) is friendly though some of the lingering band tension does surface occasionally. It’s sort of a silly thing to care about, but it pleased me see that all of them still get along. Or at least did a couple years ago.

Here in the present, Dean and Britta are obviously carrying along quite nicely with Dean & Britta. Their debut album, L’Avventura has been out of print for a while but will be getting a reissue on September 2 with some bonus tracks from the Sonic Souveniers remix EP tacked on for good measure. Lee Wall has a MySpace. Sean Eden was running with Elk City but is now also with Gramercy Arms. Odds of a Luna reunion are slim to none unless you start throwing lots of money at them. Le sigh.

MP3: Luna – “Friendly Advice” (live)
MP3: Luna – “The Slow Song (live)
Video: Luna – “Slash Your Tires”
Video: Luna – “Season Of The Witch”
Video: Luna – “Lovedust”
Video: Luna – “1995”

Billboard has details on Paul Westerberg’s just-released 49:00, which as the name implies is 49 minutes of music which he’s selling online for $0.49.

Neil Young discusses his plans surrounding the release of Archives this Fall with Billboard. He reveals that there will be CD and DVD editions, not just Blu-Ray, and there will also be extensive touring to support. He does not reveal a release date. He also stopped in at the Charlie Rose show – video clip at The Daily Swarm.

Drowned In Sound, NPR and The Stranger q&a The Hold Steady.

QRO, Metro and JAM interview Brendan Canning.

The Quietus hit the road with Radiohead in 2003, took notes, and have now published them online. And a second part. More to come? Radiohead’s 2008 edition are at the Molson Amphitheatre on August 15.

Also at The Quietus is also offering up an audio guide to Sheffield, England courtesy of Jarvis Cocker. Paste also reports that Jarv is composing songs for Wes Anderson’s adaptation of The Fantastic Mr Fox. Five will get you six that he’ll also have to cover a Kinks song for the soundtrack. Cocker, by the way, may well now be #1 on my list of artists whom I have yet to see live (and have a reasonable expectation of doing so). Seeing the reports back from Pitchfork and New York City this past week have made me all angsty that he hasn’t come to play Toronto yet – and hasn’t been here since Pulp’s final show at Massey Hall in 1998 (I believe – do correct me if I’m wrong unless it means that I’ve actually missed seeing him here in the past decade).

There’s some kind of meme running through the whole of the music media in the last few weeks… The San Francisco Chronicle gets Rob Dickinson to discuss Catherine Wheel’s place in the annals of shoegazing.

Chad Van Gaalen, whose new record Soft Airplane is out September 9, will be at the Mod Club on October 4.

MP3: Chad Van Gaalen – “Willow Tree”

No, I didn’t go to the She & Him show last night – a combination of general tiredness and too many things to do took precedence. And anyway, I saw them at SxSW, so I’m good. The Toronto Star talked to Matt Ward, Metromix and The Philadelphia Inquirer to Zooey Deschanel.

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

The Seldom Seen Kid

Photo via MySpace

Ultimately, I think it might just be a matter of size. Elbow frontman Guy Garvey is a big guy. The one time I saw them live, he was confined to a chair due to a leg injury but even seated, he had enormous presence. He’s a big guy with a big voice and a beard, and he’s from Manchester. Based on this, it’s not unreasonable to expect that any band fronted by him might be ready to bring the rock at the drop of a hat, or at least get in a fight. It’s with this preconception that I’ve generally approached Elbow, starting with their last release Leaders Of The Free World, and it’s on that misconception that I’ve always felt a bit let down by them.

But with their latest, The Seldom Seen Kid, I think I’m starting to get it. Garvey is the sort of guy who may well sit anywhere he pleases at the pub on a Saturday night, but with a few pints in him he doesn’t get combative but poetic. He’d sooner drag himself to the piano in the corner and sing his heartbreak than pick a fight. Those seeking a musical punch up should look elsewhere – those willing sit a spell and actually listen, pull up a stool. This is not to say that Elbow are soft. They’re well aware of their weight and aren’t afraid to throw it around as necessary and seem to do so at least once a record – the lumbering stomp of “Grounds For Divorce” wears the title this time out – but even then it’s never a conventional rocker, more the threat of it.

The point is that Elbow are not a quick hit. It’s taken a few months of moderate rotation for The Seldom Seen Kid to begin to properly sink in – apparently I needed to listen closely. I’ll be revisiting Leaders Of The Free World in short order to see what, if anything, I missed there but even allowing for that record’s reconsideration I’d submit that Kid is a superior record, with a greater musical sweep and emotional resonance. Garvey’s no mean wordsmith but he also appreciates that while there’s a time for flowery prose, there’s also a time for raw directness – when he sings, “because it’s breaking my heart” in a cracked falsetto on “Some Riot”, you don’t notice that it’s a phrase that’s been used countless times in countless pop songs, you only notice that this man’s heart is genuinely breaking.

No sanctioned MP3s available from the record but there’s plenty to see and stream at the promotional website. In The News has an interview with Garvey, who also fields readers questions at Drowned In Sound. And he tells NME and BBC that he’s pleased as punch that The Seldom Seen Kid has made the shortlist for this year’s Nationwide Mercury Prize.

Video: Elbow – “Grounds For Divorce”
Video: Elbow – “One Day Like This”
MySpace: Elbow

Oh yes, the final ten nominees for the Mercury Prize were announced yesterday. In addition to Elbow, the list features familiar names such as British Sea Power and Radiohead as well as a bunch of others I don’t know so well. I also don’t know offhand what the actual criteria for selecting a winner are, so I’ll refrain from offering any odds on who might take home… sorry, what’s the prize again? Cash? Is it cash? In Canada we give cash. What? £20,000? Well, that’s definitely not nothing. Anyway, Strange Glue has some of the official reasoning about the shortlist from the star chamber that selected the finalists, one of the judges blogs for The Guardian and The Daily Record asks a couple nominees what they’d do with the loot.

The Quietus has some video footage of British Sea Power’s recent show at the Museum of Natural History in London.

The Verve tell BBC that their much-ballyhooed reunion was hardly smooth sailing. The fruits of their labours – Forth – will be released on August 26.

Also on the reunion trail are James, who are bringing their new record Hey Ma to the Phoenix on September 23. Full North American tour dates at NME.

And one surprising reunion that’s probably of interest to only a handful of people – namely the ones in attendance when it happened – is that Chapterhouse got back together at the Truck Festival in the UK this weekend to play “Love Forever” with Ulrich Schnauss. Full details at NME. I swear at this rate every shoegaze band to ever have existed will be getting back together except the ones that I want.

Goldfrapp will be touring this Fall and has a date scheduled at the Danforth Music Hall for September 14. Full dates at Pitchfork, World Cafe session streamable at NPR.

Lucky Soul have blogged a progress report on the writing and recording of their second album. It doesn’t sound like that one will be done for some time, unfortunately.

The Go! Team are clearing out their cupboards and giving much of what they find away for frees. Head on over to register and see what’s up for grabs. They’re at the Phoenix on August 5.

Philadelphia’s Windsor For The Derby will be at the Drake Underground on August 29 in support of their new album How We Lost, tickets $8.50.

MP3: Windsor For The Derby – “Maladies”
MP3: Windsor For The Derby – “Hold On”

Also from Philly are Dr Dog, who will be touring their new album Fate – out yesterday – to the El Mocambo on October 3, tickets $10.

MP3: Dr. Dog – “The Old Days”
MP3: Dr. Dog – “The Ark”

Decidedly not from Philadelphia is New Zealand’s Liam Finn, who is still touring his album I’ll Be Lightning. He’ll be at the El Mocambo on October 4 and tickets are $12.

MP3: Liam Finn – “Second Chance”

Born Ruffians will play their biggest local headlining show yet on November 1 at the Opera House. $12.50 in advance gets you in.

Iron & Wine are hitting the road this Fall and will stop in at The Phoenix on November 13. Tickets $25.

M83 are coming back to town with New York’s School Of Seven Bells (ex-The Secret Machines and On!Air!Library!) for a show at the Opera House on November 20. Full dates at Pitchfork.

The Independent goes to town on the whole notion of “indie” in the UK, offering up choice quotes such as “landfill indie”, “firework band” and “like the sound of Satan’s scrotum emptying”. That is my new favourite phrase. I will endeavour to use it in conversation at least once a day. Via Coolfer.

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

The Rogers Picnic

Photo by Frank Yang

The Rogers Picnic, the little one-day festival held on the grounds of Historic Fort York, was supposed to be a low-impact affair – hang out, shoot some bands, check out some acts I’m not too familiar with, just chill, y’know? That was the plan, anyway. Unfortunately nature had other plans. I’d hoped the deluge of Saturday evening and Sunday morning would do it for the rain for the weekend, and when the skies cleared around noon on Sunday, I was optimistic enough that the worst was over to take my bike down to the concert site.

From the look of the lineup, things seemed to be running a touch late getting started, but The Carps were still able to kick things off on time. I’d actually been advised to miss the Scarborough duo if at all possible but despite the dire warning, they weren’t all that bad. Their drums-and-synth electro-funk was certainly on the sophomoric side but they managed to engage the small crowd – most were still outside the gates in line – and get them moving. Sure, their repertoire of antics consisted of pretty stock rock moves – crowd surfing, climbing into the audience to sing and smashing a cheap bass guitar to cap things off – but those moves have only persisted this long because they still sorta work.

Photos: The Carps @ Historic Fort York – July 20, 2008
Video: The Carps – “From Compton To Scarboro”
Video: The Carps – “Heaven’s Gates & Hell’s Flames”
MySpace: The Carps

Though I’ve seen Born Ruffians seemingly countless times previous (okay, four times) I hadn’t caught them live since last October and not since the release of their debut full-length Red, Yellow & Blue earlier this year. By now I appreciate that I like about 60% of what they do, but the fact that the other 40% often finds its way into the same songs keeps me from really getting into them. But I do respect that they’ve carved a distinctive sound for themselves and that they’re managing to maintain their quirks while crafting some catchy songs. And judging from the number of Ruffians t-shirts I spotted being worn proudly around the audience over the rest of the day, they’re successfully growing their fanbase. Or maybe their shirts were just the most absorbent.

Photos: Born Ruffians @ Historic Fort York – July 20, 2008
MP3: Born Ruffians – “Knife”
Video: Born Ruffians – “I Need A Life”
MySpace: Born Ruffians

To this point the weather had only threatened, maybe some drizzle, but nothing too fierce. Maybe it was intended to make Londoner Dizzee Rascal feel at home because when the Ruffians finished up, the skies opened up and carried on pouring through most of his set. Though most serious hip-hop fans would have been at the Rock The Bells tour elsewhere in the city that day, enough in attendance seemed to be into Dizzee’s chart-topping (the #1 single in the UK right now is “Dance Wiv Me” from Maths + English), so-called “grime” to reciprocate the energy he brought to the stage, even if they weren’t familiar enough to make his call-and-response efforts wholly successful and when his sideman exhorted the crowd to “make some fucking noise” – which would have been after every song – the audience obliged. And while it’s unclear if they were really calling for an encore or just happy that the rain was easing off, Dizzee came back out for a couple more numbers. It didn’t throw the schedule off, though, so no harm no foul.

Photos: Dizzee Rascal @ Historic Fort York – July 20, 2008
MP3: Dizzee Rascal – “Where Da G’s?”
Video: Dizzee Rascal – “Dance Wiv Me”
Video: Dizzee Rascal – “Where Da G’s?”
Video: Dizzee Rascal – “Flex”
Video: Dizzee Rascal – “Old Skool”
MySpace: Dizzee Rascal

While I was initially ambivalent about Vampire Weekend, I’ve gotten off the fence on the “nay” side. It’s not backlash to the hype, it’s just that I find their self-titled debut to be anywhere from bland to annoying, depending on my mood. That said, I was still curious to see how they did live and while I wouldn’t have been surprised if their chirpy pop had actually managed to summon out the sun (it didn’t), they still didn’t especially impress. Granted, their tunes are quite hooky but there’s something irritating about them that I just can’t get past… musically, it’s harder to put a finger on but on this day, it’s most definitely singer/guitarist Ezra Koenig’s horrid sweater and beach shorts ensemble. Hey, I never said I wasn’t petty.

Photos: Vampire Weekend @ Historic Fort York – July 20, 2008
MP3: Vampire Weekend – “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”
Video: Vampire Weekend – “A-Punk”
Video: Vampire Weekend – “Oxford Comma”
MySpace: Vampire Weekend

I’m not especially familiar with just how Animal Collective works, but my first reaction on seeing them take the stage – nominally they’re a four-piece but today were just a duo – was that if I were a fan who’d come to the show just to see these guys, I’d feel a bit cheated. But as it turns out, Panda Bear and Avey Tare are all you need to make a helluva racket. Armed with an arsenal of instruments both conventional and electronic, they crafted a dense and steady 40-minute psychedelic drone that was either the best or the worst thing the happen the whole day, depending on who you asked and what drugs they were on at the time. I can’t imagine how loud it’d have been if the rest of the band was present. I found it interesting but also easy to be distracted from, particularly when the it began to pour again. Chart has a pre-fest interview with Animal Collective.

Photos: Animal Collective @ Historic Fort York – July 20, 2008
MP3: Animal Collective – “Peacebone”
MP3: Animal Collective – “Forest Gospel”
Video: Animal Collective – “Water Curses”
Video: Animal Collective – “Peacebone”
Video: Animal Collective – “Fireworks”
MySpace: Animal Collective

I didn’t know who Chromeo were before Sunday, but henceforth they shall be known as the act that pretty much stole the day (though who they stole it from – no one else really owned – is unclear). It’d have been easy to dismiss the Montreal electro-funkers as a pair of goofs, but they put on a terrific, charismatic and funny performance that got most everyone in a party mood and forgetting for a moment that they were all going to have pneumonia the next day. Though they pushed the limits of good taste on how much vocoder you can use in a set, they incited more than a few mud-splattered dance parties out in the field. Somewhere, backstage, I could imagine The Carps frantically taking notes on how to do what they do correctly.

Photos: Chromeo @ Historic Fort York – July 20, 2008
MP3: Chromeo – “Fancy Footwork”
MP3: Chromeo – “Needy Girl”
Video: Chromeo – “Bonafide Lovin'”
Video: Chromeo – “Fancy Footwork'”
Video: Chromeo – “Tenderoni'”
MySpace: Chromeo

Again, the rain had eased up and again, we dared hope that that would be the end of it and it’s here that I’ll point out a fact about the stage setup that surely affected the perceived intensity of the performances. Because of the rain, the bands were positioned about halfway back in the very large festival stage so that even in a full downpour, the rain wouldn’t reach them and their gear and no one would die in a very messy and very electrified accident. And don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of no one dying, but setting the performers so far back from the audience – factor in a fairly large photo/security pit – and it was difficult for any of the acts not tethered to instruments and amps, which is to say Dizzee Rascal – to get any real chemistry going with the audience. Unfortunate, but necessary I suppose.

Anyway, Tokyo Police Club had a tough act to follow and it was difficult for them to do so from where they were standing (literally). Though the fuzzy blasts of compacted pop that made up A Lesson In Crime and the recent Elephant Shell translate very well to the big stage, the four of them seemed very small up there. Singer/bassist David Monks took a few forays to the edge of the stage – I guess he had the long patch cord – but that made the staticness of his cohorts that much more evident. I’ve seen them perform better and fans may be interested to note that Monks mentioned they’d be playing again locally in December.

Photos: Tokyo Police Club @ Historic Fort York – July 20, 2008
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “In A Cave”
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Juno”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Graves”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “In A Cave”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Tessellate”
MySpace: Tokyo Police Club

The presence of Cat Power on the lineup, as eclectic as it was, was a bit of a head scratcher. Granted, she’s a marquee name in any context but considering that except for Animal Collective, she was the only act with more than two albums to her name and also the only one who had been around in the 20th century, it was going to be interesting to see how she went over with the much younger demographic in attendance. Now I’d seen Cat Power twice in support of The Greatest and both – solo and with the Memphis Rhythm Band – were magical in their own way. I hadn’t, however, seen her since she’d reconfigured with the Dirty Delta Blues band and released the almost all-covers Jukebox. That was the context for this performance and whereas those other two shows were shining examples of the new, fitter and healthier (but still sorta crazy) Chan Marshall, this one didn’t measure up to that standard.

From the get-go, she was fixated with sound problems both real and imagined and spent as much time interacting with the sound tech as the audience. Though she’d later say her voice was gone, to my ears she sounded terrific as did the band, though they mostly kept the backing simple, only utilizing the impressive musical talent assembled to cut loose a couple times. What was distracting, however, was the seemingly on-the-fly reinventions of most of the songs that made up the set lists. The melodies from familiar songs were turned upside down or discarded entirely in favour of lines of Marshall’s own invention, which often meandered and rarely repeated. Even her own “Metal Heart”, completely reinvented for Jukebox, was turned on its head again and only recognizable when the title surfaced in the lyrics. It may have been that she knew exactly what she was doing and it was all by design, but considering who we’re talking about the converse could just as easily be true.

It’s hard to say how well Cat Power went over – there were definitely fans in attendance but there were also many who were clearly bored and/or confused, and it was hard to blame them. This was a very young audience and Cat Power comes from a very old place. It’s not to say that the two can’t meet, obviously they can and often do, but it’s also not a given. Marshall finished off her set by tossing a bouquet of flowers into the audience – a nice touch – and introducing the band, and then was gone. And so was I.

Photos: Cat Power @ Historic Fort York – July 20, 2008
MP3: Cat Power – “Metal Heart”
MP3: Cat Power – “Song To Bobby”
MySpace: Cat Power

It’s easy to read my not sticking around for headliners City & Colour as a deliberate diss to the screamo-turned-country stylings of Dallas Green (who got the name for his band from his own name – Dallas is a city, green is a colour. I just figured this out), but in truth if I wasn’t completely exhausted, soaked and genuinely concerned about coming down with trench foot, I’d have probably stuck around if only to see what all the fuss was about. But instead I, and not a few others, headed out from former garrison of the city of Toronto and into the finally dry night. The folks at JAM, Chart, The National Post and eye stuck around, however, so if you’re looking for complete top to bottom reviews, head there.

And I don’t have trench foot, thankfully, though I’m not sure my shoes can be salvaged.

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Feel The Love

Photo via Modular

When tickets for Cut Copy’s show at Lee’s Palace this past May turned into some of the hottest ducats in town, first forcing the show to be moved to the twice-as-large Phoenix and still selling out completely, I attributed it as much to the presence of much-hyped outfit Black Kids on the undercard as any buzz the Australian trio had amassed on their own.

But considering that they’re coming back this Fall for a September 19 date at the Sound Academy (tickets $22.50) entirely on their own merits, it seems I may have underestimated their appeal. Not that it doesn’t make sense – their new record In Ghost Colours reminds me of Technique-era New Order with some Depeche Mode thrown in (Dan Whitford’s vocals can be eerily reminiscent of Dave Gahan’s) and when you manage to be evocative of two of the biggest bands of the ’80s with being slavishly derivative, well people are going to take note.

While Colours runs a little long at 15 tracks, I appreciate how well they’re able to balance out decent pop songwriting with the necessary traits of electronic dance music (big, repetitive beats) that make for enjoyable listening whether out at a club or just sitting at home. Which is how I’ve been listening to them. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s not. It doesn’t mean I don’t dance to it. I mean, I don’t, but that’s not a given. Anyways.

There’s features on the band at The New York Times, Metro, Chart and The Scotsman while Spinner’s Interface recently hosted a studio session with the band.

Update: The tour will be a co-headline with fellow electro-Aussies The Presets. FYI.

MP3: Cut Copy – “Lights & Music”
Video: Cut Copy – “Lights & Music”
Video: Cut Copy – “Hearts On Fire”
MySpace: Cut Copy

As for their tourmates on the last tour, Black Kids will release their debut full-length Partie Traumatic in North America tomorrow and having gone though the record via the Spinner stream, I suspect this is a case where what comes across as exhilarating on a single or an EP gets exhausting over the course of a full length – Reggie Youngblood’s almost-satirical Robert Smith yelping, in particular, becomes a bit much to take. Black Kids are at the Mod Club October 5, NPR has a World Cafe session with the band, Reuters and interview and The Independent an extensive feature.

Stream: Black Kids / Partie Traumatic
Video: Black Kids – “Hurricane Jane”
Video: Black Kids – “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You”
MySpace: Black Kids

Also coming back to town for the second time this year – Jamie Lidell, who will be at the Opera House on October 9 in support of his latest album Jim, tickets $17.50. The New Zealand Herald has a profile of the electro-soul singer.

Video: Jamie Lidell – “Another Day”

Music Snobbery and Pitch talk to Supergrass, about whom the excellent question was raised the other day – why aren’t the playing Toronto on this tour? Their jaunt with Foo Fighters ends in New York. Hardly a hop skip and a jump up here and you know they’d sell out wherever. Just saying.

Neil Halstead reminisces about the Slowdive-y days with Wired. His new solo record Oh! Mighty Engine is out next Tuesday.

The Quietus has an exclusive excerpt from Nick Cave’s forthcoming book Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! based on the song “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” from the album Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!. Dig, Lazarus Dig!!!, the concert, will be held at the Kool Haus on October 1.

The Sun and The Minneapolis Star-Tribune interview The Hold Steady while Spinner solicits a list of top ten pet peeves. I dunno, harping on pet peeves is hardly staying positive. talks to Film School frontman Greg Bertens. They’re at Sneaky Dee’s tomorrow night.

And if you’re in the mood for something a touch quieter Tuesday night, Bon Iver is at Lee’s Palace though I believe that one is sold out. If you can’t get tickets, perhaps console yourself with this Daytrotter session while reading these features at Relix and JamBase. It’s like an intimate backstage concert and conversations… except not.

Paste has a first listen to one of the songs from Calexico’s forthcoming Carried To Dust, out September 9, while Blurt profiles and offers a preview of their forthcoming cover story on the band. Update: MP3 now available to download!

MP3: Calexico – “Two Silver Trees”

The New York Times talks to Neil Young about the CSNY: Deja Vu documentary.

Leonard Cohen is profiled by The Times.

JAM discusses Something For All Of Us…, out tomorrow, with Brendan Canning.

The Province talks to Kathleen Edwards.

The National Post anoints Weakerthan John K Samson as “Canada’s Poet Laureate”. I don’t think they can do that. And don’t we already have the Alligator Pie guy? The Weakterthans are playing day two of V Fest on September 7 at the Toronto Islands.