Archive for April, 2009

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Rockers East Vancouver

Japandroids have ulcer, cancel tour, make up tour

Photo By Leigh RightonLeigh RightonVancouver fuzz-merchant duo Japandroids chose an interesting way to celebrate the release of their new album Post-Nothing and the attendant “Best New Music” laurels bestowed upon it by Pitchfork – they cancelled nearly their entire scheduled Spring tour.

Okay “chose” is probably the wrong word, as singer-guitarist Brian King probably didn’t decide this was the perfect time to suffer a perforated ulcer and go in for emergency surgery. But that’s what happened, and so nearly a month’s worth of dates were scrapped but almost immediately rescheduled – Pitchfork has the new dates, including a July 16 date at the El Mocambo in Toronto to make up for the nixed May 9 date.

In the meantime, they can try and keep up with the increased media interest that this record is sure to generate – witness them already on the cover of the latest Exclaim. There’s also interviews with them at JAM and View, while Metro talks to them in the context of what it identifies as a new trend of “lo-fi” bands.

MP3: Japandroids – “Young Hearts Spark Fire”
Video: Japandroids – “Heart Sweats”
MySpace: Japandroids

Exclaim! and Chart talk to Dog Day about new album Concentration. They’re at Lee’s on May 28.

Metric week continues at Drowned In Sound as the band plays tour guide – bassist Josh Winstead relates his favourite things about New York City and guitarist Jimmy Shaw does the same for Toronto.

NOW features The Dears, kicking of their North American tour at the Mod Club tonight.

Fucked Up will be hosting a night of what’s sure to be musical mayhem at the Phoenix on July 16 with a bill that will include Women and Vivian Girls amongst others still to be announced. There’s features on the band at Vue and Uptown.

MP3: Fucked Up – “No Epiphany” (No Age remix)
MP3: Fucked Up – “No Epiphany”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Twice Born”

The Los Angeles Record gets the boys from No Age to interview Bob Mould. No Age will be in town in June for NxNE – specifics still forthcoming.

Aquarium Drunkard interviews James McNew of Condo Fucks.

NPR has a World Cafe session with School Of Seven Bells.

The Guardian profiles St Vincent’s Annie Clark. Her new record Actor is out next week.

John Vanderslice has let loose another MP3 from Romanian Names, out May 19.

MP3: John Vanderslice – “Too Much Time”

M Ward stops by MPR for a session. Metro also offers up an interview.

Magnet offers an over/under analysis of The Hold Steady’s five most over- and underrated songs. Some of those songs make an appearance in the band’s session recorded for Daytrotter during SxSW, which is now available to download (or will be later today – will link when it’s up). Update: There we go.

Paste goes Bob Dylan-crazy on the occasion of his new album’s release. Together Through Life came out earlier this week and is streaming at Spinner.

Stream: Bob Dylan / Together Through Life

Metromix talks to Stephin Merritt about his score for the stage version of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.

I like how much I’ve been able to swear in today’s post, and none if it was me being profane.

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

CONTEST – The Decemberists' The Hazards Of Love giveaway

Illustration By Kathryn RathkeKathryn RathkeMuch as I’d like to be able to comment on The Decemberists’ latest album The Hazards Of Love, I can’t. ‘Cause I haven’t heard it. Don’t get me wrong, I quite enjoyed their last record The Crane Wife – it even made my 2006 year-end list – but for whatever reason I haven’t gotten around to the new one. It could be because I fear that this album, with its grand narrative thread and musical theatre origins, may be the one that upsets the delicate balance of pop smarts and prog excess that has kept the Decemberists with “most favoured band” status in my musical firmament. Those of you who have the record – what say you?

But while I dither, I know there’s those of you out there would follow Colin Meloy and his merry musical troupe wherever they might go and this is for you. Courtesy of Sneak Attack Media, I’ve got two super-sweet prize packs to give away, each consisting of a copy of The Hazards Of Love on 180-gram, gatefold double-LP and a poster by Kathryn Rathke, winner of the Imeem poster contest, commemorating their SxSW showcase from last month wherin they performed the album in its entirety. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to experience the Hazards Of Love” in the subject line and your full mailing address in the body. And hooray, this contest is open to residents of North America. It’ll run for a week, closing at midnight, May 6.

And while you’re waiting to find out if you’ve won, you can go shopping for more swag at the Decemberists online store, sign up for their newsletter. Also read this Paste interview with Decemberists visual artist Carson Ellis.

The Decemberists are touring through the Summer and that includes an August 3 date at the Kool Haus here in Toronto.

MySpace: The Decemberists

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Queen Of The World

Review of Ida Maria's Fortress 'Round My Heart

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceIf I were a more paranoid person, I’d say that Norway’s Ida Maria was deliberately avoiding me. Back in March, she was a no-show for both her official SxSW showcases showcases and at almost the same time, she cut her stint as opener for Glasvegas to just a handful of dates, dropping off the tour just a couple shows before she’d have played Toronto. Maddening, right?

Getting a handle on her debut album Fortress ‘Round My Heart really isn’t any simpler. It was originally released in the UK in the Summer of 2008 on Sony and though a goodly amount of buzz was generated, the relationship between artist and label didn’t work out and she was cut loose. The record was re-released in February of this year independently with rejigged track listing and artwork and it was expected this indie version would be the one to trickle over to North America but it was instead picked up by Mercury Records and pushed back until April, when it came out over here with yet another track listing and different cover art.

It’s ironic that things should be so complicated around Ms Borli Sivertsen, because what she does is about as simple as it gets. Raw, irresistible guitar-rock with whiffs of garage and bubblegum, simultaneously anchored and buoyed by Sivertsen’s rough and giddy vocals. “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” might seem like a gimmicky tune with limited shelf life, but has hooks that go far beyond the titillating title. The rest of the album barrels along with tales of booze and bawdiness, all recounted with reckless glee only pausing for breath a couple of times. It has remarkably high re-play value, helped along by the fact that the whole thing clocks in at barely 32 minutes and offering a super sugar buzz without being saccharine-sweet.

Having already made some late-night TV appearances, garnering all kinds of attention of the right kind and now set to play Lollapalooza in August, more North American touring seems like a given. Perhaps late Summer is a reasonable assumption for her first Toronto date? After all, she can’t evade me forever.

There’s features on Ida Maria at Interview, Black Book, Elle and Canadian Press.

Video: Ida Maria – “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”
Video: Ida Maria – “Oh My God”
Video: Ida Maria – “Stella”
MySpace: Ida Maria

This week also marks the North American release of A Camp’s second album, the strangely polarizing Colonia. Some really like it, some really dislike it. I opted for “sorta like” when I reviewed it back in February. There’s interviews with head Camp counselor Nina Persson at The Glaswegian, State, Prefix and Birmingham Mail while Black Book asks her about her favourite NYC hangouts. A Camp are at the Mod Club on June 1 and the album is streaming this week at Spinner.

MP3: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus” (Harlem session)
Video: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus”
Stream: A Camp / Colonia

Uncensored Interview has a chat on video with Emil Svanangen of Loney Dear. They’re at the Rivoli next Friday night, May 8.

Daytrotter offers up a session with Cut Off Your Hands.

There’s a couple new videos from little blonde English girls with debut albums coming out soon. Little Boots’ Hands is out June 9, Polly Scattergood’s debut self-title gets a North American release on May 19.

Video: Little Boots – “New In Town”
Video: Polly Scattergood – “Please Don’t Touch”

The Globe & Mail talks to Adele, who plays Massey Hall tonight. It was also announced that she’ll be the first artists to perform on the new incarnation of MTV Unplugged – wow, it’ll be such a relief to be able to finally hear her sing without the wall of electric guitars drowning her out.

The Sun quotes Graham Coxon as saying that the Blur reunion should cover all the band’s material – even the stuff he wasn’t a part of.

Interview talks to Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie.

Clash talks to Super Furry Animals drummer Dafydd Ieuan, Wales Online to frontman Gruff Rhys.

The Daily Growl gets Mumford & Sons to pick seven songs.

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

CONTEST – Mogwai @ The Phoenix – May 4, 2009

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickThe last time I gave away passes to see Mogwai at The Phoenix, they ended up cancelling the entire Fall tour in support of last year’s The Hawk Is Howling on account of drummer Martin Bulloch’s pacemaker nearly bursting out of his chest. That would have been bad.

But medical issues have been tended to and everything is where it should be, and they’re back on the road, breaking hearts and destroying eardrums as they do best. And with their May 4 date at the Phoenix nearly upon us, it’s time to again give away some passes and hope that calamity doesn’t follow.

Courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got a couple pairs of passes to give away to the show so if you’d like to see them and fellow noisy Scots The Twilight Sad next Monday night, email me at contests AT with “I want to see Mogwai” in the subject line and your full name in the body and get that in to me by midnight, April 30.

Video: Mogwai – “Batcat”
MySpace: Mogwai

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Country Club

Review of John Doe & The Sadies' Country Club and giveaway

Photo By Amanda SchenkAmanda SchenkThe Sadies have no shortage of experience in the role of backing band, having worked with the likes of Neko Case, Robyn Hitchcock and Jon Langford in addition to carving out their niche with their unique blend of country, rock, punk and psychedelic influences. John Doe has no shortage of experience fronting bands, most famously with Los Angeles punk legends X but also with country outfit The Knitters, to say nothing of his impressive solo career. So that the two parties would opt to work together on a record initiated, as Doe recalls, by “a drunken promise or threat” seems like a match made in country heaven.

Though Country Club, the resultant album, may have been conceived in a rather off the cuff manner, the execution is far from haphazard – quite the contrary, it’s a decidedly smooth and polished effort. The Sadies are as absurdly tight as ever – I think they’re genetically incapable of being sloppy – but stay largely in the background across the collection comprised mainly of old country covers, allowing Doe’s richly weathered voice to take centre stage. Doe and The Sadies favour a casual, back porch vibe on this record, focusing more on croony, country weepers featuring Doe and a variety of lady duet partners, including Kathleen Edwards. Foreknowledge of the tunes isn’t necessary – besides the Sadies original “Before I Wake”, I only recognized Johnny Cash’s “I Still Miss Someone” and the Hag’s “Are The Good Times Really Over For Good” – just an appreciation for the hurtin’ side of country. Anyone looking for raucous, boozed-up jams should keep on walking; everyone else, grab a peer, pull up a stool and sit a spell.

And if you feel so inclined to do just that, Doe and The Sadies will be entertaining guests at the Horseshoe this Thursday night, April 30, and courtesy of Against The Grain and Outside Music, I’ve got a couple prize packs consisting of a pair of passes to the show and a copy of Country Club to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to join The Country Club” in the subject line and your full name and address in the body and get that in to me by 7AM, April 29 (morning deadline what?). And, if you either don’t win, can’t make it or just need more Doe and Sadies in your musical diet, they’ll be doing an in-store at Sonic Boom Thursday evening at 7PM. Anyone who was at their in-store there back in November 2007 knows that the wood-paneled setting is perfect for the Good brothers and that unplugging them makes them no less fearsome a band.

Stream: John Doe & The Sadies / Country Club
MySpace: John Doe & The Sadies

Reuters talks to Steve Earle about his forthcoming Townes Van Zandt tribute record Townes, due out May 12.

Clash interviews Jason Lytle, whose new solo record Yours Truly, The Commuter is out May 19.

Billboard verifies that Wilco will release their new album on June 30. Unconfirmed is that the record, the band’s seventh, will be self-titled. How meta would that be – Wilco the band releases Wilco the album which contains “Wilco The Song”. Update: Rolling Stone confirms: Wilco (The Album) out June 30. Huzzah!

Chairlift has an Interface session with Spinner.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have released a new video, just in time for their show at Lee’s Palace tonight. There’s interviews with the band at The Ithaca Journal, The Cornell Daily Sun, New Haven Advocate and Hartford Courant.

Video: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Young Adult Friction”

Interview interviews Beach House, who will be part of the Olympic Island concert taking place at the Toronto Islands on July 11.

British Sea Power will release their new album, a soundtrack for the 1933 documentary film Man From Aran, on May 18 and there’s now an MP3 from the soundtrack and a trailer for the film. The band are already at work on their fourth proper studio album – Noble gives NME a progress report.

MP3: British Sea Power – “Come Wander With Me”
Trailer: Man From Aran

Another Dears b-side is up for grabs. They’re at the Mod Club on Thursday evening.

MP3: The Dears – “Crisis 1 and 2”

It’s Metric week at Drowned In Sound, and they lead off their coverage with a track-by-track annotation of Fantasies by Emily Haines and a five-part serialization of the The Rawside Of… docu-feature. One part a day, the first one is here.

Dog Day have rolled out new video to go along with the release of their new album Concentration. They’ve got a date at Lee’s Palace on May 28.

MP3: Dog Day – “Rome”
Video: Dog Day – “Happiness”

Malajube have announced some Canadian dates including a June 12 show at Lee’s Palace.

MP3: Malajube – “Porte Disparu”