Posts Tagged ‘Abe Vigoda’

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

CONTEST – Wild Nothing & Abe Vigoda @ Wrongbar – February 17, 2011

Photo via MyspaceMyspaceWho: Wild Nothing and Abe Vigoda
What: It’s a double-bill of shimmery ’80s-inflected pop, with the former covering the dreamy side of things and the latter the dancey. Not that you can’t dance to both. You can. And probably should.
Why: Wild Nothing’s debut Gemini made all kinds of waves in 2010 and Abe Vigoda’s Crush also came out last year – so why not hit the road together and split gas money?
When: Thursday, February 17, 2011
Where: Wrongbar in Toronto
How: Tickets for the show are $12 in advance but courtesy of Embrace, I have two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want Wild Nothing with Abe Vigoda” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, February 14.
What else: Austinist and The Phoenix New Times talk to Jack Tatum of Wild Nothing.

MP3: Wild Nothing – “Golden Haze”
MP3: Wild Nothing – “Summer Holiday”
MP3: Abe Vigoda – “Throwing Shade”

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Yesterday's World

Elephant 6 collective to tour North America yelling, “surprise!”

Photo via Ground ControlGround ControlSo maybe some of you heard that Jeff Mangum, that guy who used to be in that one band, played a surprise show of Neutral Milk Hotel tunes to a Brooklyn crowd of about 75 this past weekend (MP3s or it didn’t happen). And while that’s a pretty cool thing in and of itself, not to mention giving those in attendance bragging rights in certain circles for the rest of their lives, that it happened just before word that the Elephant 6 collective of which the Neutral Milk was a founding member was planning a big Spring touring to-do was… interesting. Not implying anything untoward, simply observing that if it was a coincidence, it was a well-timed one.

Said to-do is the Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour, which was first rolled out at about this time of the year in 2008 by former Neutral Milk Hotelier, current Music Tapes leader and all-around Christmas fan Julian Koster. It consisted of a massive and random group of Elephant 6 alumni past and present, including members of Apples In Stereo, Elf Power, Circulatory System, Olivia Tremor Control amongst others – which is to say about 1/10 the population of Athens, Georgia – who trekked about performing holiday songs and each others’ compositions and generally celebrating the spirit of pop, psychedelia and community that informed the movement back in their heyday of the mid-’90s. And apparently they had such a good time of it, they’re doing it again.

The details on the who and the what are unclear as of yet – Koster will certainly be driving it again, covering much of the same terrain as his ongoing Lullabye Tour – but the itinerary is up, showing dates across North America running from late February through the end of March. You know, exactly when there aren’t any real holidays. Unlike the original Holiday Tour, this one includes a Toronto stop on March 18 at the Horseshoe, which is great for those of us who will be hundreds of miles away at SxSW at the time (that’s not a plea for sympathy, just statement of fact), particularly since none of Elf Power, Circulatory System or the reunited Olivia Tremor Control have come up this way in forever. But it is what it is and what it should be is an excitingly unpredictable treat for fans and you can bet no one is forgetting that Mangum made appearances at some of those shows in 2008… Will he be along this time out? Maybe he just needs to get re-accustomed to playing live OH WAIT.

The AV Club talked to Koster about the tour back in the Fall of 2008 while NPR has audio from the Chicago stop of that tour – all two and a half hours of it.

MP3: Music Tapes – “Majesty”
MP3: Neutral Milk Hotel – “Holland 1945”
MP3: The Apples In Stereo – “Benefits Of Lying With Your Friend”
MP3: Elf Power – “Stranger In The Window”
MP3: Circulatory System – “Yesterday’s World”
MP3: Circulatory System – “Now”

It’s understandable if you thought that The Wooden Sky’s show at Lee’s back at the start of November was their last local hurrah for the year, but they’ve got one more engagement on the calendar – an intimate December 19 show at the Music Gallery with Philadelphia’s Strand Of Oaks. It’s an all-ages gig, tickets $25 and all proceeds going to the Daily Bread Food Bank.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Something Hiding For Us In The Night”
MP3: Strand Of Oaks – “Bonfire”

The double-bill of one-man act Wild Nothing and many-man band Abe Vigoda have made a date at Wrongbar on February 17, full dates of the tour available at Pitchfork.

MP3: Wild Nothing – “Golden Haze”
MP3: Abe Vigoda – “Throwing Shade”

Akron/Family will follow up the February 8 release of S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT with a date at The Horseshoe on February 20. And if you haven’t read the background on the record, Consequence Of Sound has details… which sound mental.

MP3: Akron/Family – “River”

The Low Anthem, who are readying their Smart Flesh for a February 22 release, have made a date at The Great Hall for March 2 – tickets $17.50 in advance. You can grab the first MP3 from said record in exchange for your email at their website.

Clash talks to LCD Soundsystem main man James Murphy.

Drowned In Sound interviews Britt Daniel and Eric Harvey of Spoon.

Exclaim has details on the long-awaited second Rural Alberta Advantage record. Departing will be out on March 1 and you can expect to hear at least some of it at their sold-out Lee’s Palace show next Thursday, December 16.

Daytrotter’s recent sojourn to Pop Montreal has yielded sessions with Karkwa and also with Diamond Rings. Karkwa are at Lee’s Palace on March 5.

Monday has a feature on Dan Mangan.

The Guardian, Winnipeg Free Press and Pitchfork talk to Feist about her Look At What The Light Did Now documentary, out today on DVD.

Monday, May 18th, 2009

First, We Take Manhattan

Leonard Cohen at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, Connecticut

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIf only it were as Muppet-simple as “taking Manhattan”. In fact, it shook out more like first, I take a subway, then a shuttle bus, then a ferry, then a plane, then monorail, train and subway again just to get into Manhattan. And just as soon as I’ve arrived in the Big Apple, it’s back on the subway, another subway, then a train, another train and then an unlicensed taxi (“hey you need a ride?”) – all to get into Waterbury, Connecticut. A city which was once apparently a brass manufacturing powerhouse but which now seems to have little to recommend it as a destination, save for a gorgeous theater downtown – the Palace – and on Thursday night, one Leonard Cohen.

Seeing Cohen wasn’t on the agenda as recently as last weekend, as I’d hoped to be able to finagle a way to the Hamilton show at Copp’s tomorrow, but an extra ticket from Without A Yard, serendipitous scheduling and a willingness to undertake a rather ridiculous set of logistics to trek out to the show made it happen. Mostly. Weather delays and other issues fixed it so that we didn’t actually reach the theater until almost mid-way into Cohen’s set – so it’s just as well that he needs no introduction, because I wouldn’t have been able to provide one.

Thankfully, the show was extra-long and with an intermission, for that’s when we arrived and thus managed to avoid being those people who get there late and try to find their seats in the dark. Sure, it meant that instead of a marathon three-hour show, we only got a 90-minute, regular-length show, but even a that much Leonard is like a gift – especially in a venue as stunning as the Palace. There may not be much else to say about a one-cab town like Waterbury, but this was easily the second-nicest place I’d ever seen a show, after only the Royal Albert Hall in London.

And what a show. I don’t know what Cohen played in the front half of the performance, but it almost seemed like he knew to hold back my favourite songs for the finale, as it was stunner after stunner as soon as the lights went down and Cohen, surprisingly nimble, sprinted/danced/shimmied onto the stage. “Tower Of Song”, “Suzanne”, “Take This Waltz”, “Democracy”, “Halleleujah”, “Famous Blue Raincoat”, hell yes. And okay, I just had a look at the set list for the show and am a little pained to have missed “Anthem”, “Everybody Knows” and “Chelsea Hotel” but still, no regrets.

Just as remarkable as hearing the songs performed live – not something I ever thought I’d get to experience – was how good Cohen sounded. He’s obviously not a young man – he may have been spry but was still a slightish figure and a bit stooped – but age seems to have served his delivery very well, somehow making his voice even deeper, richer and more sonorous. He also played more guitar than I’d expected, and I’d have been happy – possibly even happier – to have heard him play solo. It’s no secret my favourite Cohen aesthetic is that of the stark, dark folksinger of his earlier works even if, as far as songs go, I prefer his later works circa The Future or I’m Your Man (and I’m far from unique in this, I know) but the production values on those records – the big bands, the backing singers, the rather dubious synths – have just aged so badly that it can be hard to listen to.

In the live setting, he splits the difference somewhat with a nine-piece backing band including three backing singers – it’s all live, analog instrumentation, toy keyboard on “Tower Of Song” excepted, and masterfully played but I don’t feel the high degree of polish – even if suited for the setting – suits the songs best. They need those dark, dusty corners and the gleam of Cohen’s band doesn’t let those shadows fall where they should. Additionally, Cohen as bandleader was generous to a fault, allowing extended excursions to the musicians – do anyone really need to hear more than one bouzouki solo in a lifetime? – and even ceding lead vocals to Sharon Robinson on their collaboration “Boogie Street”. Perhaps if I’d made the entire show, I’d have been less anxious about it but any moment that Cohen wasn’t singing felt like a lost one.

Understand, however, that these complaints aren’t even really complaints, more just observations, and should in no way imply that I was less than enraptured by the show. No matter how you dress them up, the heart of it is Cohen, his words and his voice, and those were flawless. Obviously I hope that Cohen continues to tour and that I might get to see him again – start to finish – but that’s a huge and probably unrealistic presumption. I feel fortunate to have seen as much as I did, and to anyone who will be seeing him on any of his remaining dates, you are in for such a treat. But of course you already knew that.

The Hartford Courant also has a review of the Waterbury show.

Photos: Leonard Cohen @ The Palace Theater – May 14, 2009
Video: Leonard Cohen – “Democracy”
Video: Leonard Cohen – “Closing Time”
Video: Leonard Cohen – “Dance Me To The End Of Love”
Video: Leonard Cohen – “In My Secret Life”
Video: Leonard Cohen – “First We Take Manhattan”
MySpace: Leonard Cohen

PitchforkTV’s “Don’t Look Down” series welcomes Jose Gonzalez for a session. He plays the Harbourfront Centre on June 26 as part of the Toronto Jazz Festival.

Anyone disappointed that Loney Dear had to cancel last week’s show in Toronto on account of their van breaking down between here and Montreal – I’m looking at you, me – can take a little solace in this performance they recorded for Baeble Music’s new “Guest Apartment” video session series. Seattlest has an interview with Emil Svanangen.

WOXY has posted the MP3s from their recent Lounge Act session with The Dears to share and enjoy.

Pitchfork talks to Peter Buck and Paste has some photos of R.E.M. hunkered down in the studio, hard at work on the follow-up to Accelerate.

Vanity Fair and Prefix talk to Stephin Merritt about his new musical based on Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.

Spinnerette has a date at the Mod Club on June 19. Their debut, which is either self-titled or called A Prescription For Mankind, is out June 23.

Video: Spinnerette – “Ghetto Love”

Abe Vigoda – band, not actor – are at the El Mocambo on July 22 in support of their new album Reviver. Advance tickets are $10.

MP3: Abe Vigoda – “Don’t Lie”

The Rural Alberta Advantage, who will properly release Hometowns on July 7 and tour North America all Summer to support, will play a homecoming pit stop/record release show at the Horseshoe on July 30.

So some details have emerged on why the Olympic Island concert was canceled last week. Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew blogs that the July 11 date was unfortunately scheduled opposite the Molson Indy – both temporally and physically, what with Olympic Island being just across the lake from Exhibition Place, where the very loud cars would have been tearing around the track all day. They’d likely have been done by the time BSS and Explosions In The Sky took the stage but for the rest of the bands, it’d have been near-unbearable. Beach House wouldn’t have stood a chance. So the festival was canned, the free make-up show that same night from BSS at Harbourfront Centre announced and the lineups for it are probably already stretching all along the waterfront. Also covered in the post is the fact that the band are now recording their fourth album – a proper Broken release, not a “Presents” faux-solo record – with Tortoise’s John McIntire at the helm. Considering his aesthetic is very, very different from usual BSS producer Dave Newfeld, it should be very interesting to see what comes of this – one hopes he can curb some/much of the Scene’s meandering sprawl without costing them their spontaneous magic. And Pitchfork currently has excerpts from the new Broken biography, This Book Is Broken available to read.

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

CONTEST – Mad Decent/Diplo @ Circa – October 21, 2008

Illustration by ImeemThat Diplo would headline the tour that bears his label’s name is a bit of a no-brainer. That he’d fill out the lineup with Los Angeles dance-punks Abe Vigoda, the Brooklyn-based embodiment of the “if you can’t say anything nice…” adage Telepathe and UK electro act Boy 8-Bit is rather more surprising (okay, not so much that last one) but genre shmengre, right?

The tour is now underway and hits Circa in Toronto next Tuesday night, and courtesy of tour sponsors Incase, I’ve got a prize pack to give away consisting of a pair of passes to said show – that’s October 21 for the calendar-challenged – and a 15″ hardshell Macbook Pro case featuring custom tour artwork by artist Jacob Chabot. Don’t have a Macbook Pro? Planning on getting one of the new ones? Not my problem.

To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to see Diplo” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body. Since this is coming right up, it’ll just run this weekend – get entries in to me by midnight, October 19.

NOW is all over this tour with features on Diplo as well as Abe Vigoda. JAM also has an interview with the former and eye with the latter.