Thursday, November 27th, 2008

...And We Became Sunshine

Review of The Uglysuit's self-titled debut

Photo By Selena SalfenSelena SalfenSometimes stuff sits on my shelf for ages before I get around to listening to it, and all I can do is slap myself upside the head for having wasted time that could have been spent with that record. Such is the case with the self-titled debut from Oklahomans The Uglysuit – it was released back in mid-August, which implies that I probably got the promo sometime in early August, and since I only gave it an airing in the last few weeks, that’s like two and a half months lost.

Two and a half months I could have spent basking in its sun-kissed, pastel-coloured, prog-adelic pop made up of sounds and styles all dear and familiar, yet combined so seamlessly and perfectly that you’d believe that they were invented for the sole purpose of crafting this record. Built on cascading guitars, majestic piano and keening vocals, The Uglysuit is epic in scale yet intimate in sentiment – an ornate and remarkably cohesive and unified record. It’s a suite of songs stretching and sprawling into one another, each one made up of even more miniature pop jewels, strung together like a necklace sparkling in the sun. And even when storm clouds gather – and there are points where things get loud and intense – the beauty remains, like watching thunderheads rumble over great plains.

Am I being overly effusive? Maybe. Probably. But The Uglysuit – a misnomer if ever there was one – is so welcoming and enveloping that it’s hard not to get swept up in it. This would be an astonishing record from anyone – the fact that it comes from a band this young makes it even more of an achievement. If you haven’t made its acquaintance yet, you now have no excuse. Beyond the first single and video, available to grab/watch below, Daytrotter posted up a session with the band last week. They were supposed to come through town last month opening for The New Year but that didn’t happen for whatever reason – here’s hoping that 2009 keeps them on the road and with a Toronto stop on the agenda. Rolling Stone also has a short profile.

MP3: The Uglysuit – “Chicago”
Video: The Uglysuit – “Chicago”

Matt Pond PA are celebrating (American) Thanksgiving by giving away a free EP lovingly entitled Freep. Sample the lead track or just grab the whole thing.

MP3: Matt Pond PA – “Hearts & Minds”
ZIP: Matt Pond PA / Freep

eye looks at the sudden and well-deserved boost given to the Rural Alberta Advantage by being selected by eMusic as their Featured Artists for the month of November. They’re playing tonight at Lee’s Palace with The Acorn and Ohbijou and are on at 9. If you’re going, go early! And note that in that eMusic link is an extensive interview where it’s clarified once and for all that only singer/songwriter Nils Edenloff has Albertan roots – the other 2/3 of the band do not. Mystery solved! Of course, I could have just asked them but where’s the fun in that?

Muzzle Of Bees reports that Jason Isbell will return with his second solo album on February 19 of next year, though it’s not technically a solo album anymore since it’ll be named for he and his band – Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit. Catchy.

Muzzle Of Bees also has an interview with Calexico’s Joey Burns, while Minnesota Public Radio is offering up a studio session with the band.

A man with a lot of names and a lot of positive press is making his Toronto debut early next year – Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson will be at the El Mocambo on January 14 in support of his self-titled debut, tickets $8.

MP3: Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – “Buriedfed”
Video: Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – “Buriedfed”

Pitchfork talks to AC Newman (Carl to his friends) about his forthcoming album Get Guilty!, out January 20. Did I link the first MP3? Can’t remember, too lazy to check. So here you go.

MP3: AC Newman – “There Are Maybe Ten Or Twelve”

The Hold Steady have finally released the first video from Stay Positive, for the title track. The Los Angeles Times has an interview with Craig Finn.

Video: The Hold Steady – “Stay Positive”

The first single from A Camp’s Colonia is currently available to stream. The album is out February 2.

Stream: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus”

Clash quizzes My Morning Jacket’s Patrick Hallahan about some of his favourite things.

NPR is currently streaming the whole of Neil Young’s forthcoming Sugar Mountain – Live At Canterbury House 1968 live set, which is going to be released next Tuesday. The first set of Archives is set for a January 27 release and Neil is at the Air Canada Centre on December 4 and 5.

Stream: Neil Young / Sugar Mountain – Live At Canterbury House 1968

By : Frank Yang at 8:08 am
Category: General

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  1. Jen says:

    The Uglysuit! Frank, thanks for this. I missed this band in Berlin (of all places) earlier this month, where they opened for Shearwater and Okkervil River (a one-off show for them, one of them told me). If I’d known there was a third band… ack! (I did get a sticker, though.) They haven’t been to Toronto yet, but I told them to come, if that’s any help, haha.

  2. Spike says:

    Good call on the Uglysuit. I found them thanks to the greatness that was XMU; I heard “Chicago” occasionally back before Sirius came along and destroyed it (I miss you Tobi!).