Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'

Review of Joel Plaskett's Three and giveaway

Photo By Ingram BarssIngram BarssWhen it comes to rock music, there’s few things that can be said to be asking to fail more than the double album and the concept album. To the former, most artists have trouble coming up with enough quality material to pad out a conventional 10-song set and to the latter… well, I don’t think there’s any explanation needed there. And let’s not even get started on the double- concept album. So the fact that Joel Plaskett’s latest is a triple-album with a running theme should be a recipe for glorious catastrophe… and yet it’s not. Far from it, actually.

But let’s be clear – Three may be ambitious, but it doesn’t overreach. The only real “concept” at work is the number three, which applies to the number of CDs in the set, manifests itself in a number of song titles (“Pine, Pine, Pine”, “Run, Run, Run” for example) and crops up in the lyrics from time to time – hardly a rock opera. And all 27 songs could have easily fit on two compact discs, but that would have spoiled the fun. And besides the numeral three, fun is the prevailing theme of this set – proceedings are dominated by an easy, laid-back vibe that finds Plaskett knocking off the sort of genial, unpretentious roots-pop/rock that has earned him the mantle of one of this country’s most reliable songsmiths.

And that reliability applies across the entire set. By sticking to what he does best and keeping the delivery simple and straightforward, Plaskett manages the remarkable feat of not including a single standout clunker. They’re certainly not all classics – many drift by with just an amiable nod – but anything that does catch jump out and grab the ear does so because it’s exceptional, and there’s no shortage of those, particularly on disc two. Generally, these are the quieter, more thoughtful compositions – a fact that may mark Plaskett’s transition from rocker to balladeer complete, but one that should be celebrated. Unless you still light a candle nightly in hopes of a Thrush Hermit reunion, in which case I cannot help you.

Plaskett has just begun a cross-Canada tour that will place him at Massey Hall on May 23, and courtesy of Maple Music I have a pair of tickets to give away to the show, along with an autographed copy of Three. To get in on this, email me at contests AT with “I want to see Joel Plaskett” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body, and get that to me by midnight, May 19.

There’s interviews with Plaskett about his reasonings behind crafting a triple-album at The Edmonton Journal, The Gateway, Vue, FFWD and The Vancouver Courier.

MySpace: Joel Plaskett

PopMatters and The Sun talk to Steve Earle about his new album Townes, which you can stream in its entirety right now at Spinner.

Stream: Steve Earle – “Townes”

The Arkansas Times checks in with Richard Buckner. He’s beginning work on his next album which will be out next year.

There’s a new MP3 available from Iron & Wine’s forthcoming rarities collection Around The Well, out next week. You can also stream the whole double-disc collection at their MySpace.

MP3: Iron and Wine – “Belated Promise Ring”
Stream: Iron & Wine / Around The Well

Blurt talks to Andrew Kenny of The Wooden Birds, whose debut Magnolia is out now. Imagine American Analog Set unplugged, sans vibraphone and Farfisa and you’re pretty much there. Check out a track from the album and also their WOXY Lounge Act session from SxSW in March. Muzzle Of Bees and Black Book have interviews.

MP3: The Wooden Birds – “False Alarm”
MP3: The Wooden Birds – “Sugar” (live at WOXY)
MP3: The Wooden Birds – “The Other One” (live at WOXY)
MP3: The Wooden Birds – “Believe In Love” (live at WOXY)

Bowerbirds have released the first MP3 from their new album Upper Air. It’s out July 7 and they’re at Sneaky Dee’s on July 14.

MP3: Bowerbirds – “Northern Lights”

NPR has a session with Vetiver, who will be at the Horseshoe on May 15.

Bob Dylan has a new video.

Video: Bob Dylan – “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'”

Beatroute and Canadian Press interview Grizzly Bear. Veckatimest is out May 26, they’re at the Phoenix June 5.

Wayne Coyne tells Billboard that the next Flaming Lips album, due out later this year and still untitled but possibly to be called Embryonic, is looking like it’ll be a double-album.

Metromix interviews Thao, whom I won’t be seeing in New York tomorrow night because I will instead be hoofing it to Connecticut to see Leonard Cohen. I’d like to think Thao would understand.

Drowned In Sound, Express Night Out and Charleston City Paper interview The Thermals’ Kathy Foster.

KEXP has a session with Telekinesis, in town at the Horseshoe on June 10.

The Bygone Bureau talks to John Vanderslice about Romanian Names, out next week. He plays the Horseshoe July 10.

Ohbijou, who are currently gallivanting around Europe, have set a CD release show for Beacons when it comes out on June 2. The party will be on June 25 at the Opera House, tickets $13.

MP3: Ohbijou – “Black Ice”

The Veils and Foreign Born will be at the Horseshoe on July 27, both with new albums to promote – Sun Gang for the former and Person To Person, out June 23, for the latter. Tickets for that are $13.50.

MP3: The Veils – “The Letter”
MP3: The Veils – “Killed By The Boom”
MP3: Foreign Born – “Vacationing People”

Lykke Li is coming back to town yet again on August 9, and this time she’s playing the Sound Academy. Tickets are $26.50.

Caribou are returning to live action this year and have something special planned for their September 10 show at the Opera House. They’ll be performing as The Caribou Vibration Ensemble and according to Exclaim, that means “Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden, Koushik, John Schmersal, Kathryn Bint and Ahmed Gallab, along with a choir, a horn section and a quartet of drummers”. Um, okay. Bring it.

MP3: Caribou – “Melody Day”

By : Frank Yang at 8:25 am
Category: Contests

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RSS Feed for this post12 Responses.
  1. David says:

    Any comments on the Virgin Festival Nova Scotia lineup?

  2. Frank Yang says:

    I think it’s alright – certainly better than Montreal, that goes without saying. For a one-day event, if that was happening in my downtown I’d be happy to go. That said, I never like seeing the Hip on festival lineups not because I dislike them or anything, but because their fans are awful. Guaranteed that if this show is sold out, the park will still be half-empty most of the day because the Hip fans will be sitting out in the parking lot drinking until half an hour before their show time.

  3. Paul says:

    Frank WTF is going on with the Rogers Picnic? I had heard that it was happening on July 19th, but we’re only 2 months away from that date and still nothing. Have you heard anything? They had a great line-up last year (other than the headliner), so I’ve been hoping that it would be back this year.

    Also, I heard that Blur is definitely NOT playing VFest Ontario. I was really hoping that they would be one of the headliners.

  4. Frank Yang says:

    hey Paul

    I have no info on Rogers Picnic other than that it’s supposed to be happening. but I haven’t asked, either. Just checked and it was announced late April last year, so they are running behind, but really so is everyone. July 19 makes sense as they get to piggyback on the Pitchfork Fest lineup but… when I know, you’ll know.

    And I knew Blur was a pipe dream for V. Besides the fact that they don’t seem to figure into the festival’s new target demographic, at no point have they mentioned anything about North America and in the US, they’re not really big enough to justify coming over here – they’re mostly still the woo-hoo band.

  5. Bruce says:

    “That said, I never like seeing the Hip on festival lineups not because I dislike them or anything, but because their fans are awful.”

    An update of the immortal Sloan lyric: “It’s not the band I hate, it’s their fans.”

  6. Alan says:

    Rough day Frank? Taking it out on Hip fans and then saying Blur aren’t big/good enough to cross the ocean? I’m hoping I’m misreading the context of your Blur-slur. Cheers

  7. Paul says:

    Alan, Frank actually mentioned a while back that Blur would be a great choice as a headliner. He is right – Blur is not really the type of band that could headline a major festival in the U.S. Here, I think they could work, but alas, I bet we’ll have Tragically Hip as one headliner instead. And I agree, “Hip fans” are to be avoided.

  8. Frank Yang says:

    Blur would get me to Orillia in a heartbeat. What I was saying is that the financial incentive of V alone wouldn’t be enough to get blur to North America, and I doubt they’d be able to assemble a tour that would make it worthwhile for them. I would love to be wrong, but doubt I am. If they were coming, they’d have been attached to at least another fest or two over here.

  9. Daily Dose - Wednesday Linkage | Radio Exile says:

    […] Review of Joel Plaskett’s Three and giveaway [Chromewaves] […]

  10. Alan says:

    Gotcha – that makes sense.

  11. Noah says:

    I know for a fact that Rogers Picnic will not be taking place this year. Rogers have dropped out as the sponsor.

  12. Frank Yang says:

    re: Rogers – yeah, I was kind of getting that impression. A shame, the lineups for that were always unexpected at the very least. And it looks like I’m not getting much festival-ing in this year. boo.