Archive for December, 2009

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

Hug The Harbour

Emma Pollock prepares second solo release

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickI’m not quite at the point where I can refer to Emma Pollock without adding “former Delgados frontwoman”, but it’s getting there and with the release of her second solo album The Law Of Large Numbers, we’re getting there. Her 2007 debut Watch The Fireworks was a wholly enjoyable balance of intimate folkishness and scrappy rock, a recipe familiar to Delgados fans, but more immediate and accessible than her more idiosyncratic former band. If the first taste of the new record is any indication, it’s still quite direct but perhaps more ambitious, sonically speaking.

Either way, the new record is due out March 1 and one thing that’s certain is it’s certainly good to hear her voice again.

MP3: Emma Pollock – “Hug the Harbour”

And I was going to add a little bit asking what happened to Pollock’s co-lead in The Delgados, Alun Woodward, but it turns out he didn’t disappear so much as I just didn’t look. Some cursory digging reveals he released his self-titled solo debut under the name of Lord Cut-Glass this past Summer, so that’s both Delgados voices accounted for, and the drums as well, as Paul Savage appears on Woodward’s effort as well as on Pollock’s first record – though not, apparently, the second. Which only leaves bassist Stewart Henderson as MIA, but considering his wanting to retire is what caused the band to dissolve in the first place, that’s not surprising.

MP3: Lord Cut-Glass – “Even Jesus Couldn’t Love You”
Video: Lord Cut-Glass – “Look After Your Wife”

Decoding Static interviews Polly Scattergood.

Muse drummer Dominic Howard tells Spinner that touring as support for U2 earlier this year was an educational experience. Look for some of those lessons to be put on display when they play the Air Canada Centre on March 8.

The Quietus interviews Hope Sandoval.

Wears The Trousers has a conversation with Sharon Van Etten, who is in town on February 6 opening up for Great Lake Swimmers at Trinity-St. Paul’s.

Daytrotter is closing out the year with a session with The Daredevil Christopher Wright.

Interview does their thing with Kurt Wagner of Lambchop.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel talks to Spoon frontman Britt Daniel. Their new album Transference is out January 19.

Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips names off some of this favourite records of the decade to Spinner. He also gives an interview to BBC6.

Their 20th anniversary year might officially end tonight, but Merge has at least one more goodie for the faithful – a new Portastatic digital EP featuring covers of other Merge artists, with proceeds going to charity.

And that’s it for this year. Have a safe New Years, everyone and – once more with feeling – fuck you 2009.

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Record In Hand

Novels give away debut EP for free

Photo By Marshall AngusMarshall AngusChristmas may be a distant memory now – it was a whole WEEK ago – but the giving continues thanks to Can-indie supergroup Novels. The outfit, comprised of Tokyo Police Club keyboardist Graham Wright, Born Ruffians guitarist/singer Luke Lalonde, Will Currie of The Country French, Ex-Po’s Dean Marino and Jay Sad, have completed their self-titled debut – though at five songs and not even 12 minutes in length, perhaps novella (or short story, or paragraph) would be a better name – and are looking to get the word out by not only giving it away as a free download off their website, but encouraging people to burn CDs, hand them out, leave them in conspicuous places…

And if you’re the sort who takes anonymous discs you find in a phone booth or jammed under your front door and were to pop it into your CD player, you’d hear a short and snappy collection of tunes, made familiar and distinctive by Lalonde’s yodel, Currie’s fancy piano work and everyone involved’s cumulative pop savvy. It doesn’t manage to be more than the sum of its parts but it’s friendly and fun – that all involved are having a blast is clear – and should tide fans over as they await the new, as-yet untitled TPC record and Born Ruffians’ Say It, both due out in the early part of next year.

The Toronto Star talks to Wright about the one-day recording session which yielded Novels, videos of which you can watch here.

MP3: Novels – “Mr. Foster’s Teenage Daughter”
MP3: Novels – “This Wouldn’t Be The Last Time”
ZIP: Novels / Novels

Woodpigeon have posted up a live and demo versions of Bjork’s “Aurora”. Their new album Die Stadt Muzikanten is out January 12 and they play the Drake Underground on February 11. New Canadian Modern has an interview with Woodpigeon violinist Foon Yap.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Aurora” (live)
MP3: Woodpigeon – “Aurora” (demo)

JAM interviews Malajube bassist Mathieu Cournoyer.

Clash puts Los Campesinos! guitarist Tom Campesinos! and Broken Social Scene leader Kevin Drew on the phone with one another. The new Los Campesinos! record Romance Is Boring is out February 1.

The Scotsman talks to Adam Thompson, frontman of We Were Promised Jetpacks.

The Guest Apartment has a video session and interview with Peggy Sue, whose debut album Fossils And Other Phantoms is set for an April 2010 release.

The AV Club goes digging through Clientele frontman Alisdair Maclean’s music collection. The Clientele have a date at the Horseshoe on March 19.

The Line Of Best Fit polled a variety of Canadian artists and at least one blogger (ahem) for their thoughts on the year that was and the one that might be in Canadian music.

Monday, December 28th, 2009

New Asian Cinema

Things to sit and watch, featuring The Mountain Goats

Photo via Grand CrewGrand CrewSo everybody’s holidays going well? Been catching up with friends and family, perhaps indulging in a little post-holiday retail therapy? That’s largely been my last few days, and in between all that, watching lots and Lost and lots of television. So in the spirit of that sloth, here’s some stuff for y’all to watch – particularly if you, like me, are stuck at work this week.

Grand Crew is a site based out of France that I hadn’t heard of until last week, when they began spreading the word that they had a beautifully-shot, wonderfully recorded and intelligently-presented – check out the timeline/song-selector at the bottom – multi-camera concert of a solo Mountain Goats show in Paris from October of this year. John Darnielle and company have yet to tour The Life Of The World To Come up this way – hopefully in the new year – so until then, this recording will have to suffice. And wholly impressed by this show, some digging through the archives revealed similarly high-quality performances from The Big Pink, The xx and Micachu, amongst others. Worth taking some time out to enjoy, and that club looks beautiful to shot in – tasteful smoke machine, front-lighting… my shutter button-finger is getting twitchy.

The Big Pink are at the Mod Club on March 24. The xx are at the Kool Haus on April 20.

Video: The Mountain Goats @ Point Ephémère, Paris – October 13, 2009
Video: The xx @ Point Ephémère, Paris – April 29, 2009
Video: The Big Pink @ Point Ephémère, Paris – April 29, 2009
Video: Micachu & The Shapes @ Point Ephémère, Paris – April 21, 2009

Also coming out of Paris are a couple more noteworthy performance courtesy of La Blogotheque – a Take-Away Show from The Antlers and a Soiree de poche (pocket evening?) from The Dodos.

A bit closer to home, Southern Souls have posted a new performance from Diamond Rings, who you have no shortage of opportunities to see live over the next while – he’s performing at the big Tranzac New Year’s Eve throwdown happening, um, New Year’s Eve at the Tranzac, then opening up for Owen Pallett at the Mod Club on January 12 then at the Roundhouse on February 11 as part of Wavelength 500. And now’s as good a time as any to remind you that The D’Urbervilles, aka Diamond Rings’ rock’n’roll outfit, are playing The Drake Underground tonight as part of What’s In The Box. Spinner talks to John O’Regan about how things are coming with The D’Urbs’ next record.

And finally, Ohbijou stopped in at Toro Magazine’s studios for a video performance of “Jailbird Blues”.

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Bill Janovitz covers all kinds of stuff

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo I’ve been posting a cover a week for about seven years now, and that’s kind of neat and all, but I bow down before Mr. Bill Janovitz, erstwhile frontman of Buffalo Tom, who’s been engaged in a much more impressive weekly cover series at his blog “Part Time Man Of Rock” over the past year, where he’s been recording and posting a reinterpretation every week since last November.

Over the course of the past year and a bit, Janovitz has tackled The Replacements, Neil Young, The Clash, Radiohead and so many more, including the latest installment – a tribute recorded Christmas Day to Vic Chesnutt, who passed away earlier that day. All have been accompanied by thoughtful writeups, interpretive explanations, social commentary, biographical bits – the couple of weeks around the start of November wherein he dealt with the sudden death of a relative are particularly affecting – and oh yeah, great tunes.

There’s so much worthy stuff available on his site, both to read and to hear, that I think I could spend all of next year just reposting whatever he puts up and feel perfectly comfortable that the quality of what’s being shared hasn’t gone down a bit (and probably even up). I won’t, but here to close out 2009 is a (large) selection of stuff I’ve loved from Bill’s blog and note that you can quickly check out all the others. Share and enjoy.

MP3: Bill Janovitz – “Little Mascara” (Replacements cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “The Campaigner” (Neil Young cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “Straight To Hell” (The Clash cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “No Surprises” (Radiohead cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “Rocket Man” (Elton John cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “Man Out Of Time” (Elvis Costello cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “Wendell Gee” (R.E.M. cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “American Girl” (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “Florida” (Vic Chesnutt cover)

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Santa Left A Booger In My Stocking

Aqua Teen Hunger Force (and me) wish Daytrotter (and you) a merry Christmas

Illustration By Johnnie CluneyJohnnie CluneyLast post before the holidays! And it comes courtesy of the ever-lovin’ Daytrotter, who’ve managed to wrangle a studio session of soon-to-be holiday classics from the animated miscreants of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. If the idea of Shake, Meatwad and Carl celebrating the season in song doesn’t do it for you, well I’m sorry, I don’t want to know you. And no, I don’t know where Frylock is – maybe he doesn’t celebrate Christmas. Or sing. Or both. And for context, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force isn’t singing just for the joy of it – they’ve got themselves a holiday album out in Have Yourself A Meaty Little Christmas. Do with that information what you will.

Also with a Christmas tune and a new album – but not a Christmas album – is The Magnetic Fields. Realism is out on January 26 and NME has posted up the one Yule-themed tune as a first taste of the record to download while Spinner talks to Stephin Merritt about the album’s influences. The Magnetic Fields will be at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto on February 8.

MP3: The Magnetic Fields – “Everything Is One Big Christmas”

A Good Day For Airplay has an exclusive download of “Let It Snow” by Jon Auer of The Posies and Big Star.

BrooklynVegan has an end-of-year interview with The Pains Of Being Pure Of Heart and another one with Antlers.

Spinner talks to Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips about their decision to cover Dark Side Of The Moon.

Some shows – big and small – coming up in the new year that you may want to take note of. Hamilton’s Dark Mean, whose free-to-download Frankencottage EP makes them worthy of note – are playing a free show at the Horseshoe on January 4. Hero Hill named their debut one of their top EPs of the year and has an interview and new song to download.

Video: Dark Mean – “Frankencottage”

The Balconies, who need no introduction in these pages, have a gig at Supermarket on January 6.

Amos The Transparent will make the trek down from Ottawa for a gig at the Horseshoe on January 9. Not sure why, but my years seem to end or start with Amos. A tradition I’m quite alright with.

MP3: Amos The Transparent – “Title Track”

$100 will be at the Horseshoe on January 22. Oh No Forest Fires are there the following night.

A little bit of Brooklyn pays Toronto a visit when Pattern Is Movement and Via Audio stop in at the Drake Underground on March 1. Via Audio’s new record Animalore is out March 9, tickets to the show are $10.

MP3: Pattern Is Movement – “Blanched & Threshed”
MP3: Pattern Is Movement – “In Tape Grass”
MP3: Via Audio – “Babies…”

I’d call Swedish electro-pop duo jj un-Googleable, but that implies that there’s something out there in the wilds of the internet to find. And really, there isn’t, except for this glowing Pitchfork review for this year’s No. 2. Their next record – the imaginatively-titled No. 3 – will be out on March 9 via Secretly Canadian and their Spring North American tour will bring them to Lee’s Palace on April 3. It’s certainly implied that The xx, who are accompanying their lower-case compatriots on most other dates, will be along for this one as well but considering they’re confirmed to be at the Kool Haus barely two weeks later supporting Hot Chip, I wouldn’t take that for granted. I’ll confirm that one way or the other when I can.

MP3: jj – “Ecstasy”

Trans Am have a date at the Horseshoe on Horseshoe April 21.

MP3: Trans Am – “Remote Control”

Canadian Musicfest has rolled out the first batch of performers for the 2010 edition of the festival, running March 10 through 14 all throughout Toronto. Noteworthy names include Constantines, reigning Mercury Prize winner Speech Debelle, The Acorn, Rural Alberta Advantage and Great Lake Swimmers.

And no noteworthy names of yet for 2010’s Olympic Island festival, but it is happening and all will be revealed on January 11 at 7:30 PM. Any guesses?

K, that’s it for a bit. Happy holidays all.