Archive for January, 2012

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012


Review of The Twilight Sad’s No One Can Ever Know

Photo By Nic ShonfeldNic ShonfeldFrom the outset, The Twilight Sad weren’t shy about proudly pronouncing their influences. The publicity photos for their 2007 debut Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters may as well have featured the band staring intently at their footwear, so obviously indebted were the Glaswegians to the walls of guitar construction techniques laid down by their shoegazing forebears. But what set them apart was the songwriting blueprints they applied those lessons to, choosing to build giant monuments to miserablism from giant slabs of distortion, mortared together by James Graham’s thickly-accented bellow. Where they were coming from was familiar but what they did with it was unexpected, fresh and intense.

Their 2009 follow-up Forget The Night Ahead used the same tools but took their writing in more conventional directions with a greater emphasis on dynamics and feeling more traditionally pop, at least relatively speaking. It represented important artistic growth for a band whom one could have reasonably feared had but one impressive trick in their bag, but wasn’t likely to dramatically broaden their fanbase.

While their third album No One Can Ever Know may likewise not represent a broadening of who The Twilight Sad may appeal to, it’s definitely a wholesale retargeting. Guitars remain in the mix, but rather than the crucial load-bearing roles they’d played in the past, they’re now consigned to decoration and detail. Structural duties are now handled by cold, gleaming synths drawn from the electronic and industrial eras of the late ’70s and ’80s. Whereas their earlier works were studies in emotional catharsis, No One feels rather more sinister in its avoidance of feeling. This isn’t to say that Graham’s vocals are any less expressive, it’s just that the way they’re mated with driving rhythms and icy textures, they feel more like threat than release. It’s an unexpected turn from the Scots, but a rewarding one – and that’s coming from someone who loved their guitar-centric approach.

No One Can Ever Know is out next Tuesday, February 7, and is currently available to stream in whole at , while DIY has a track-by-track annotation of the album by James Graham and The List a short interview. They’re at Lee’s Palace on February 29.

MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Another Bed”
MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Kill It In The Morning”
Video: The Twilight Sad – “Another Bed”
Video: The Twilight Sad – “Sick”
Stream: The Twilight Sad / No One Can Ever Know

Mogwai have been rather snakebit as far as North American touring goes in the past few years, seemingly having to cancel as many shows/legs as they manage to play, but they’re looking to make up for it all with a Summer tour that includes a June 18 date at The Phoenix, tickets $29.50. And if you’re thinking of taking them for granted and catching them the next time around – as I have their last couple visits – note that the press release says, “it will likely be the last extensive touring we do for some time” so sit at home and watch reruns of How I Met Your Mother at your peril.

MP3: Mogwai – “San Pedro”
MP3: Mogwai – “Rano Pano”

Spin reports that Spiritualized’s forthcoming Sweet Heart Sweet Light has been pushed back a couple weeks from its intended March 18 release date. While a new release date hasn’t been confirmed, it’ll almost certainly be before May because that’s when the band begins an enormous North American tour that hits Toronto early on, with a show at The Phoenix on May 5. Tickets for that are $27 in advance.

Video: Spiritualized – “Do It All Over Again”

Spin has a stream of the first taste of the forthcoming Wedding Present album Valentina, due out March 20. They’re at The Horseshoe on March 25.

Stream: The Wedding Present – “You’re Dead”

The Vaccines update NME on their plans for recording album number two.

NPR tried to contain the greatness of Anna Calvi behind a Tiny Desk.

The Stool Pigeon and The Evening Chronicle interview Beth Jeans Houghton, whose debut Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose will be released on February 28.

Oh hey M.I.A. has a new single to stream, a precursor to her fourth album which is targeted for release this Summer. And she’ll be performing at the Super Bowl this weekend with Madonna? Oh, OK.

Stream: M.I.A. – “Bad Girls”

Another week, another episode of Austin City Limits to stream – this one featuring Florence & The Machine and Lykke Li.

Paste chats with the sisters of First Aid Kit, in town at The Great Hall on April 4.

Acid House Kings have opted to give away a track from their 2002 EP Say Yes If You Love Me, just because.

MP3: Acid House Kings – “Save It For The Weekend”

Iceland’s Of Monsters & Men are celebrating the April 3 international release of their debut My Head Is An Animal with a North American tour that includes an April 12 date at The Mod Club, tickets $16 in advance.

MP3: Of Monsters & Men – “Little Talks”

Monday, January 30th, 2012

CONTEST – Leonard Cohen / Old Ideas

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangJust so as we’re clear, I don’t imagine that in the realm of Leonard Cohen giveaways, I’ll ever be able to top the one I held in February 2009 wherein I got to send a few people to the Hamilton date of his comeback tour. That said, having a copy of the master’s new album Old Ideas to give away on CD isn’t shabby at all, either.

It comes courtesy of With A Bullet and if you’d like a shot at having it for your own, leave a comment below with a bit of Cohen-inspired poetry; a simple stanza or haiku is more than sufficient. Make sure to include your email address for contacting – it will be hidden from prying eyes and spambots – and have that in before midnight, February 2. And contest open to residents of Canada only.

There’s an interview with Cohen about the 2009 tour, “Hallelujah” and the new record at Rolling Stone, wherein he reveals that there will indeed be a tour for this new record.

Stream: Leonard Cohen / Old Ideas

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Turn Up The Radio

Review of Camp Radio’s Campista Socialista

Photo via KillbeatKillbeatIf we were to spool up the Wayback Machine to November 2006, you’d find a post where I confessed that sending me a lovely slab of vinyl was a pretty good way to get to the top of my “to listen to” pile… something that apparently still holds true over a half decade later. But as I pointed out even way back then, a listen is not the same as a writeup so I find it comforting to know that Camp Radio still has the goods to impress in whatever format they’re auditioned on.

The three-piece comprised of Ottawa scene veterans released Campista Socialista last Fall but the five-year gap between it and their 2006 self-titled debut shouldn’t be attributed to overthinking or obsessive tweaking – Campista sounds like it was tossed off in an afternoon, and that’s meant in the very best way. It’s a short and spirited collection of guitar-driven power pop that’s high on energy and melody and low on frills, more than a little reminiscent of the sounds of American college rock circa the mid-’90s that are back in vogue. Sure, some of the harmonies might be imperfect but they’re well-intentioned and endearing in their wobbles and most importantly, they sound great while you, they, everyone, is pogoing around.

Camp Radio play The Horseshoe tomorrow night as part of Nu Music Nite. As always, it’s free and worth your while – they’re on at 9PM sharp.

MP3: Camp Radio – “The Girl Who Stole My Motorbike”
MP3: Camp Radio – “Turn Up The Radio”

Exclaim, Beatroute and CBC Radio 3 talk to The Darcys, performing at The Phoenix on March 1 in support of Bombay Bicycle Club and July 12 at Downsview Park for Edgefest.

The AV Club, Yahoo, and JAM talk to John K. Samson. He’s premiered the first video from Provincial over at IFC and will be at The Great Hall on March 22.

Video: John K. Samson – “Longitudinal Centre”

Le Blogotheque stages a Take-Away Show with Woodpigeon.

Exclaim reports that Patrick Watson will be releasing their new album Adventures In Your Own Backyard on April 30, and the first MP3 from it is already available to download.

MP3: Patrick Watson – “Into Giants”

Under The Radar talks to Graham Van Pelt about what 2011 meant for Miracle Fortress.

A second and much more in-character taste of Memoryhouse’s debut The Slideshow Effect is now up for grabs. The album is out February 28.

MP3: Memoryhouse – “Walk With Me”

Hooded Fang have released a new video from Tosta Mista, just in time – well almost – for their show at The Great Hall on February 24.

Video: Hooded Fang – “Vacationation”

DIY has a video session with Kathleen Edwards, while and The Courier-Journal have interviews. She plays The Phoenix on February 11.

The New Zealand Herald has an interview with Feist. And oh, new video.

Video: Feist – “The Bad In Each Other”

The L has a video session with Little Scream, who’s just announced a date at The Great Hall on March 1 opening up for The Barr Brothers.

MP3: Little Scream – “Cannons”

Jenn Grant has rolled out a sweet, split-screened new video from last year’s Honeymoon Punch.

Video: Jenn Grant – “Baby’s Been Away”

NOW talks to Rae Spoon.

And if you’ve ever wondered what it sounds like when Neil Young and Crazy Horse get together – that is, outside of the countless albums they’ve recorded together – head to Neil’s website to hear a 37-minute jam that’s presumably taken from their ongoing recording sessions.

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

"Tower Of Song"

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds cover Leonard Cohen

Image via WikipediaWikipediaI was having a little trouble coming up with something to say about this week’s selection by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and taken from the 1991 Leonard Cohen tribute album I’m Your Fan, but happily a little plumbing around the tubes of the internet turned up this little piece at chromehorse (chrome solidarity!) that corroborates the bit at Wikipedia on the song. Which is basically that Cave and company got wrecked before recording a marathon-length jam on “Tower Of Song” that was left to the engineers to splice it all together into something usable. The raucous end result/pastiche is a far, far cry from Cohen’s meditative original, but I kind of love it and the backstory just adds to it.

Nick Cave has put Grinderman to bed and reconvened with The Bad Seeds to work on their fifteenth album, the follow-up to 2008’s Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!. Cohen releases his twelfth studio album Old Ideas on Tuesday. NPR has a feature piece on Cohen. And while on the topic of Cohen covers, Old Ideas With New Friends is a series of web videos of artists doing reinterpretations of the old master’s tunes – head over to Rolling Stone for Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs doing “Paper Thin Hotel” and Consequence Of Sound for Cold War Kids doing “There Is A War”. More is still to come.

MP3: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Tower Of Song”
Video: Leonard Cohen – “Tower Of Song” (live on Night Music)
Video: Leonard Cohen – “Tower Of Song” (live in London 2009)

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

CONTEST – The Kills @ The Kool Haus – February 7, 2012

Photo via thekills.tvthekills.tvWho: The Kills
What: Anglo-American electro-blues duo who’re sexier than you and probably most people you know.
Why: They’ve already toured through once in support of last year’s Blood Pressures but they’re back for another visit, ostensibly because they’re releasing a 12″ EP for “The Last Goodbye” on February 14 and also because it’s the 10th anniversary of their first gig.
When: Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Where: The Kool Haus in Toronto (all-ages)
Who else: JEFF The Brotherhood and Hunters will open things up.
How: Tickets for the show are $26.50 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to Kills” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, February 2.
What else: The Broward-Palm Beach New Times and Chicago Tribune interview Alison Mosshart and a video featurette on the making of the video for “Last Goodbye”, directed by actress Samantha Morton, is also available to watch.

MP3: The Kills – “DNA”
Video: The Kills – “Last Goodbye”
Video: The Kills – “Baby Says”
Video: The Kills – “Future Starts Slow”
Video: The making of The Kills’ “Last Goodbye”