Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Found Out

Review of Caribou’s Swim

Photo via City SlangCity SlangOkay, I get it – Andorra was a gateway drug, a bit of bait and switch. After failing to really connect with either his Manitoba output or The Milk Of Human Kindness, his first record as Caribou, Dan Snaith managed to draw me in with his 2008 foray into classic pop structures and songcraft and then, once I was hooked, he turned right around and dove back into parts unknown and pulled me right along with him.

The world of Swim, at least initially, feels wholly alien compared to the more familiar touchstones of the Polaris-winning Andorra or the more overtly electronic aesthetic of his other works. Though plenty of real instrumentation weaves in and out of the mix, there’s a decidedly synthetic texture across the record that combined with it’s dense, intimate sonic architecture makes it simultaneously disorienting and entrancing – you can’t help but want to touch it, and don’t really have a choice in the matter. Also insistent is the rhythmic backbone of the record – a throbbing, undulating, liquidous thing that you’re tempted to call disco or dance, but while you can, should and probably must move to it, Swim doesn’t sound like it was intended just for dancing or good times; It feels darker and more desperate than that, as though the publicly romantic sentiments of Andorra have led behind closed doors and now given way to something slinkier, sexier and seedier.

With further listens, Swim becomes more familiar as a Caribou record and for someone more familiar with the full breadth of Snaith’s career, perhaps it’s a much more logical next step than Andorra was a previous one, but what does seem clear to me now is that even when Caribou sounds little like what you think or thought Caribou sounded like, it still sounds like Caribou. And though blending electronic sensibilities with pop ones isn’t especially unusual or groundbreaking in this day and age, the way Snaith goes about it – and the results he gets – are wholly unique, thanks to the slightly warped lens that his musical vision is projected out of.

Caribou set out on a North American tour starting on April 3 at the Phoenix in Toronto, with a full-band Toro Y Moi opening up most dates. Clash, The Times, Spoonfed, The National Post, Exclaim and Spinner have features on Snaith and his newest work.

MP3: Caribou – “Odessa”
MP3: Caribou – “Odessa” (David Wrench’s Drumapella remix)
Video: Caribou – “Odessa”
MySpace: Caribou

Shad will follow-up to his own Polaris nominated album The Old Prince with TSOL, out May 25. The first video and MP3 are out now and do they make a good first impression? Yes they do. Shad plays the Opera House on June 12.

MP3: Shad – “Yaa I Get It”
Video: Shad – “Yaa I Get It”

Bostonist interviews Owen Pallett.

JAM, The Vancouver Sun and Ottawa Citizen profile Plants & Animals, whose La La Land was released yesterday.

So you love Metric’s? How much? Can you put a price on it? How about $60? Yeah? Great – because that’s how much floors for their just-announced July 9 show at the Molson Amphitheatre will run you. Too much? Luckily, 200-level seats are only $52, and lawns a bargain at $44 before fees. That Passion Pit and Holy Fuck are support for the show helps the overall value marginally, but those are still jaw-droppingly high prices. It makes the “we’re independent!” angle of this Chart piece on the band’s two Juno award wins kind of ironic, considering they’re now charging their fans many times over what many major label bands do for tickets – it’s almost Bieber/Buble-expensive. Yeah, congratulations. Oh yeah, Metric has a new video too.

Video: Metric – “Gold Gun Girls”

Pitchfork reports that Broken Social Scene’s new album Forgiveness Rock Record will be released with a 10-track bonus EP entitled Lo-Fi For The Dividing Nights, available with all pre-orders and at selected retail outlets (HMV and indies) in Canada and indies only in the US.

Crystal Castles had intended to release their second album on June 8, but online leakage have prompted them to move that timetable up a bit – or a lot. NME reports that the self-titled effort will now be made available digitally starting this Friday, April 23, with the physical release to follow on May 24. The play the Kool Haus on August 14.

Jonsi talks to Interview and tells Spinner that reports of Sigur Ros’ hiatus have been exagerrated; they’ll be working on new material in between his solo tours. He has two dates at the Sound Academy on April 30 and May 1.

PopMatters interview Shout Out Louds; they play the Mod Club on May 8.

Spinner talks to Mac McCaughan about the past and future of Merge Records, and no – he doesn’t know when the new Arcade Fire record will be done, or more accurately, he’s not telling. But with their addition to this year’s edition of Ottawa Bluesfest, they’ll now be back in live action by July 13 – surely they’ll have something out for the kids to shout along with by then? And what might the lineup of talent who’ll be up the 401 the weekend of July 10 and 11 imply about the perplexing Imagine Concert at Downsview – an event which, despite fake tweets to the contrary, is apparently still all systems go.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

RSS Feed for this post7 Responses.
  1. lustandfury says:

    The new Caribou album really impressed the hell out of me when I first heard it. ‘Fearless’ gets thrown around a lot when talking about new music but in this case I think it’s really true.

  2. giselle says:

    in vancouver, metric are playing two nights at malkin bowl which is a lovely outdoor venue in stanley park – not sure what the logic on the pricing is because for $30 i’d buy a ticket but for $50 + ticketmaster extras i’ll be sitting outside

  3. bike says:

    The review of Swim seems all over the map….and yet….I need to hear it.

  4. Frank Yang says:

    yeah, that’s fair. I have a hard time articulating Caribou… and yet I try.

  5. Chalky says:

    I think you articulated Caribou very well, best review I’ve read so far. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to ‘Swim’ and I just cant get enough of it. Was lucky to see them play twice last Saturday, after the first show I just HAD to see them a second time, They’ve completely re-energized my love of live music. Awesome stuff! Go see them if you get the chance,

  6. Josh says:

    Frank – you need to check Caribou’s “Up In Flames” out, stat. It’s a masterpiece.


  7. Crystal says:

    This is a great review of Swim – I bought the vinyl and it is fantastic! The Polaris prize winner does not disappoint!!