Archive for December, 2010

Friday, December 31st, 2010

All We Have Is Now

The Flaming Lips wish you a freaky New Year

Photo via VimeoVimeoIf your answer when people ask you what you’re doing tonight for New Year’s Eve is presently, “sitting at home in the dark playing Boggle with the cat”, take heart – The Flaming Lips are offering you a better excuse. Their hometown throwdown in Oklahoma City will be streamed live for the broadband-enabled world to enjoy via Rolling Stone starting at 10 PM EST tonight.

There’s no doubt a band whose typical shows are exercises in ridiculous excess will raise their game for a New Year’s Eve party, and in the trailer/commercial for the event, Coyne promises “the world’s biggest balloon drop” and “the world’s biggest mirror ball” and after midnight, a complete performance of their masterpiece album The Soft Bulletin. He also tells The Hollywood Reporter that it will be “out of control”. That it will also be “off the hook” is implied.

Note that OKC is in the Central time zone, so that’d be 9PM local time and so the Soft Bulletin recital won’t start till after 1AM. Which is to say that will be a marathon and half of Flaming Lips goodness. And if you actually have plans tonight that don’t involve sitting in front of a computer (not that there’s anything wrong with that), the show will be re-broadcast on Sunday night at 9PM EST.

Trailer: The Flaming Lips 2011 New Year’s Eve Freakout

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Jeff Tweedy’s solo set opening up for one of Yo La Tengo’s Hannukah shows at the start of the month and also Yo La Tengo’s headlining set from later in the week. Fun fact: Wilco and The Flaming Lips teamed up for a New Year’s Eve show at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 2004.

Spinner talks to Mac McCaughan about the fantastic 2010s for both Superchunk and Merge.

Nowness interviews Warpaint bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg and her sister, actress and the band’s former drummer, Shannyn Sossamon.

Fucked Up have blogged about how they go about creating artwork for their album covers. Interesting reading.

The March release of Bruce Peninsula’s completed second album has been pushed back indefinitely as bandleader Neil Haverty is treated for leukemia. Details on his condition, which is very treatable, are available over at NOW. Best wishes to Haverty for a speedy recovery.

Spinner talks sexuality with Diamond Rings. He is at the Sound Academy on January 26.

And that’s 2010 in the books. Have a safe one, everybody. See you in ’11.

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

All Farewells

The Coast wash away

Photo By Carl HeindlCarl HeindlA half-decade ago, almost to the day, I broke my usual holiday concert moratorium and headed out to Rancho Relaxo to see a former bandmate play a solo set and in the process, discovered a new Toronto outfit called The Coast. I had actually met some of them at a New Year’s Eve party the year prior, when they were still called The July 26th Movement, but this little show was my first time seeing them play and yeah, their emotive blend of New Order jangle and U2 earnestness struck a chord, and I was a fan.

And now, five years, two albums, one EP and countless tours to all points on the globe and citing the usual personal, financial and creative reasons, the band are calling it a day. They’re playing one final show at The Garrison tonight and will then move on to whatever is next, so if you’ve got the evening open, you could do far far worse than to bid farewell to one of the city’s most consistently good yet underappreciated bands. Tickets are $10 or $7 with the donation of two non-perishable food items. and eye conduct a couple of exit interviews with the band, and I dug up an IM interview I did with the band back in the Summer of 2006… a fine reminder of why I don’t do interviews.

MP3: The Coast – “Heartbreak City”
MP3: The Coast – “Killing Off Our Friends”
MP3: The Coast – “No Secret Why”
MP3: The Coast – “Tightrope”
MP3: The Coast – “The Lines Are Cut”

The National Post has some words with John O’Regan of Diamond Rings. He’s at the Sound Academy on January 26 opening up for Robyn.

Spin finds out where the reunited-for-now Dismemberment Plan got their name.

A compilation’s worth of Smiths demos and instrumentals has surfaced. And by “surfaced” I mean been ripped from a vinyl bootleg and released onto the internet. Have at it.

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Prove Yourself

Radiohead offer belated Christmas gift to those on “nice” list.

Photo By Kevin WesterbergKevin WesterbergOkay, “offer” might not be the right word, but Radiohead have officially sanctioned the release of a live video of their Haiti benefit concert at The Music Box in Los Angeles in January of this year – a show attended by just 1400 and certainly one of the most intimate performances they’ve given this century.

Fans crowdsourced footage from attendees – 14 video and four audio – and assembled a DVD-length document of the show, which is available for download at Inez4bear’s Music Diary or to stream at YouTube. The audio and video quality isn’t professional/soundboard quality, but as bootlegs go it sounds pretty great and the production values are impressive and this remains the last Radiohead show to date, though it seems fairly certain that they’re going to do something in 2011.

All they ask in exchange for enjoying the recording, and this is strictly honour system, is that you make a donation to Oxfam to support ongoing relief efforts in Haiti – the earthquake may have happened almost a year ago, but the situation on the ground remains desperate. Give what you can.

Video: Radiohead For Haiti – January 24, 2010
Video: Radiohead – “Fake Plastic Trees” (live at The Music Box, Los Angeles, January 24, 2010)
Video: Radiohead – “A Wolf At The Door” (live at The Music Box, Los Angeles, January 24, 2010)

Having just given their new record a title and release date – Build A Rocket Boys! and March 7, 2011 respectively – Elbow have unveiled a website for the album and christened it with a live video of the band performing one of the songs from the new record.

Video: Elbow – “Lippy Kids” (live)

Though most will call Beady Eye Liam Gallagher’s new band, I prefer to think of it as Andy Bell’s latest project. None of which makes the new single, for which a video has just been released, much better. Like the first taste, it’s got jump but somehow manages to just sit there in its ’60s retro garb. Their debut Different Gear, Still Speeding is out February 28 in the UK, North American release info still forthcoming. Gallagher recently talked shit about his brother and Oasis to NME.

Video: Beady Eye – “Four Letter Word”
Video: Beady Eye – “Bring The Light”

Two Door Cinema Club talk to Spinner about the making of their video for “Something Good Can Work”, from their debut Tourist History. They’re at the Kool Haus with Tokyo Police Club on January 15.

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with Mumford & Sons.

NME talks to director Danny O’Connor about Upside Down, the Creation Records documentary that will be premiering worldwide in the new year. Nothing in North America yet, but maybe some Hot Docs or TIFF action could happen…?

Monday, December 27th, 2010

The World Won't Last The Night

Review of Miles Kurosky’s The Desert Of Shallow Effects

Photo By Brandon ShowersBrandon ShowersThe final week of the year – a time for reminiscences, reflections and regrets. And leading the pack in the regrets department, at least as far as the blog goes, is not giving more attention to Miles Kurosky’s solo debut The Desert Of Shallow Effects, even though Kurosky’s set was a highlight at SxSW. It’s an album that should have gotten a lot more facetime hereabouts, considering I’d been waiting for it for nigh on seven years, ever since Kurosky’s band Beulah called it a day.

Since Kurosky hasn’t really made an effort to distance himself from Beulah’s legacy with his solo work, I probably shouldn’t have to. After all, if Desert had come out under the Beulah marque, no one would have batted an eye. Indeed, no less than four of his former bandmates appear on this record, amongst the 30-plus players who are credited in the liner notes contributing horns, woodwinds and all manner of unconventional percussion instruments in addition to the mandatory guitars, keys and whatnot. Clearly, anyone thinking that a Kurosky solo record would just be him and a guitar has got another thing coming. Even after all the time away, his artistic ambitions remain as loft as ever and Desert is a pretty terrific record of lyrically sharp and sonically dense, yet wholly immediate pop tunes, the likes of which the world hasn’t been graced with since, well, Yoko. It’s a void in the cosmic musical continuum you didn’t know was there until something steps in to fill it; it had best not be another seven years before the next record.

Daytrotter just posted a session with Kurosky.

MP3: Miles Kurosky – “Apple For An Apple”
Video: Miles Kurosky – “The World Won’t Last The Night”
Video: Miles Kurosky – “Dog In The Burning Building”

Robert Pollard talks to Spinner about potential future Guided By Voices projects beyond the final handful of scheduled dates running through next February.

Spin quizzes Conor Oberst about the new Bright Eyes record The People’s Key, due out February 15. They play the Sound Academy on March 13.

The Dumbing Of America interviews Sharon Van Etten.

The New York Daily News checks in with Daniel Roesen of Grizzly Bear.

Woodpigeon, en route to Europe for an extensive tour, have scheduled a stopover in Toronto to play The Tranzac with Sandro Perri on January 12.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Winter Song”

This year’s Hillside Inside festival in Guelph will bring Sarah Harmer and The Rural Alberta Advantage together at the River Run Centre on February 4 – tickets $39.50, on sale now and I’d say this is worth the drive to Guelph. And if you’re already in Guelph, well duh.

MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”
Video: Sarah Harmer – “Captive”

Daytrotter’s session with Stars is now up for the grabbing.

BBC talks to Will Butler of Arcade Fire.

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

"It Was A Very Good Year"

The Flaming Lips cover Frank Sinatra

Image via GVSBGVSBAnother year of covers done, and it was – for me, at least – a pretty good year. Which I think rates lower than “very good”, but I’ll take it. And it was a pretty good year for The Flaming Lips, as well. After returning to active duty as a band who makes records, rather than a band who makes films and commercials and whatnot, with last year’s Embryonic, they spent 2010 doing what they arguably do best – put on amazing and outrageous live shows. And they’ll cap it off this New Year’s Eve with a complete album performance of their masterpiece The Soft Bulletin in their hometown of Oklahoma City.

Furthermore, according to Rolling Stone, they’re aiming to make 2011 pretty special as well. Wayne Coyne says they’re going to record and release a new song every month next year and document the process on video. The intention is that the songs be collected in an album form, when all is said and done, and the video footage edited down to an accompanying film. And then of course they will tour some more.

And so we close out 2010 with a track that dates back many years, good and bad, to 1993. It’s a contribution the Lips, along with a bevy of acts who’d never make it out of the college rock underground, made to Chairman of the Board: Interpretations of Songs Made Famous by Frank Sinatra, a tribute album to Ol’ Blue Eyes and the songs he made famous, if not wrote or originally recorded – this one was originally recorded by Bob Shane of The Kingston Trio.

Happy New Year, all.

MP3: The Flaming Lips – “It Was A Very Good Year”
Stream: Frank Sinatra – “It Was A Very Good Year”