Monday, April 13th, 2009

Goodnight Oslo

Review of Robyn Hitchcock's Goodnight Oslo and giveaway

Photo By George WrightGeorge WrightWith most of his recent releases being of the archival sort – two box sets in the last two years in the form of I Wanna Go Backwards and Luminous Groove and with more to come – you might be forgiven for thinking that Robyn Hitchcock had his hands full reflecting on an enormous and impressive career. You would also, of course, be wrong. Even while supervising the extensive retrospective project, Hitchcock found the time to regroup with the Venus 3 – the 3/5 of R.E.M., Peter Buck, Bill Rieflin and Scott McCaughey, with whom he recorded 2006’s wonderful Ole Tarantula – and recorded yet another new album, the just-released Goodnight Oslo.

Unlike the bright and sprightly Tarantula, Oslo feels darker in mood and more expansive in tone, favouring more meditative, droning song structures and incorporating the likes of strings, horns and backing singers into the brew. But more importantly, like its predecessor, Oslo is full of classic-sounding, jangly pop songs turned on their heads by Hitchcock’s clever and curious wordplay and distinctive delivery. Having been at it for thirty-odd years, the man has a signature. And more importantly, he’s still working at an impressively high level. While he may have spent the last little while looking backwards, there’s no question he’s still moving ever-forwards.

Hitchcock and his crew are touring North America and will be at the Mod Club in Toronto this Thursday night, April 16. I saw them there in 2006 and even for someone only casually familiar with Hitchcock’s oeuvre, it was a tremendously enjoyable show. This should be no different. Courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for this show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I wanna go backwards” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and get that in to me by midnight tomorrow evening – April 14.

There’s interviews with Hitchcock at Wired, JamBase, Philadelphia Daily News and Nashville Scene. And while there’s no album MP3 from Goodnight Oslo available, Hitchcock’s live shows are freely available at and that includes shows from the current tour, like this one from Carrboro, North Carolina where he naturally played some of the new material.

MP3: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – “What You Is” (live)
MP3: Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – “Goodnight Oslo” (live)
MySpace: Robyn Hitchcock

Thanks go to Anika In London for pointing the way to this video session with Emmy The Great at Channel M. There’s also an interview with Emmy at The Is Nottingham.

And digging through those Channel M archives unearthed this session with Fanfarlo. Have I mentioned how great their Reservoir album is? I have? Good. Because it is.

Gomez have a date at the Phoenix on May 29 in support of their new album A New Tide.

Beatroute, The Georgia Straight and Decider have interviews with Friendly Fires.

Incendiary and The Skinny interview Micachu & The Shapes.

St Vincent has a new video from her new album Actor, due out on May 5.

Video: St Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”

At long last, Los Angeles-based music mag Under The Radar has a proper website with actual content. Like this interview with Bob Mould. Under The Radar remains one of the best (and last) indie-centric music magazines out there in the physical world, I look forward to seeing the same high level of quality from them online.

By : Frank Yang at 8:20 am
Category: Contests

Tags: , , , , , , ,

RSS Feed for this post6 Responses.
  1. Paul says:

    Hey Frank, Broken Social Scene’s show at Olympic Island has been announced for July 11th.

  2. Melody says:

    Under the Radar is my favourite magazine, and the only one I consistently buy. But yes, their website is in need of an overhaul.

  3. J.P. says:

    Hey, Frank.
    Regarding “And while there‚Äôs no album MP3 from Goodnight Oslo available”
    Amazon has a free download of Robyn Hitchcock’s “I’m Falling” from the new album. Dunno if it’s limited only to Amazon users in the USA or not. Link below:

  4. Frank Yang says:

    cool, thanks for that. Yeah, I was talking about label-sanctioned free-for-all MP3s for promo purposes. the Amazon one is only for US, I assume, since there is no Amazon MP3 shop in Canada yet

  5. DrSamPHD says:

    Thanks for linking up that Fanfarlo session. Great video.

  6. Johnny says:

    You clearly have great taste, and I thought you might like my cover of St Vincent’s “Marry Me”

    My CD will be done this summer.

    Thanks. Johnny Herbert