Posts Tagged ‘Adam Franklin’

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Some Written

A Metronomy giveaway and some other stuff of a random nature

Photo by Phil SharpPhil SharpIt took me a while to warm to England’s Metronomy – perhaps not unusual considering how deliberately chilly their particular vein of electro-pop tends to be. But warm to it I did, or at least to their 2011 Mercury-shortlisted album The English Riviera; just not quite in time to catch them on their last pass through town last October. I was still recovering from Iceland Airwaves and had something like four or five other shows that week – something had to give, and it was Metronomy.

Well, thank goodness for Coldplay and remixes. Yeah, that’s not something I ever thought I’d write, but thanks to being tapped to open up for some of Coldplay’s western North American dates and also the release this week of The English Riviera: Unreleased Remixes in the US, the band has enough cause to cross the Atlantic again. Okay, getting asked to play Coachella and having sold out at least some of the dates on that Fall tour were probably also some incentive. In any case, they’re back in town at The Hoxton on April 2, and I won’t miss them this time around.

Thanks to Embrace, you don’t have to either. I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show and to win them, just email me at contests AT with “I want to see Metronomy” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, March 25.

And while you’re waiting to find out if you won, maybe put their just-posted Daytrotter session on repeat while reading this interview with bandleader Joe Mounts in The Independent.

MP3: Metronomy – “The Look”
Video: Metronomy – “Everything Goes My Way”
Video: Metronomy – “The Look”
Video: Metronomy – “The Bay”
Video: Metronomy – “She Wants”

I’ve never prayed for autotune to be utilized on anything, let alone a live record, but there’s a not insignificant part of me that hopes the Florence & The Machine MTV Unplugged album just announced gets a little pitch polishing before it’s released on April 9. If you’ve heard her live – and you can do so on August 4 at The Molson Amphitheatre – then you know what I’m talking about. And oh yeah, there’s another new video out from Ceremonials.

Video: Florence & The Machine – “Never Let Me Go”

The Quietus chats with Elizabeth Morris of Allo Darlin’, whose new album Europe is due out in May. And as disappointed as I was that their Spring tour is just American and not North American, I’m very excited that they’re going to be part of this year’s NYC Popfest and that I’ll be in New York on the day – May 20 – that they’re playing. Huzzah!

Breakthru Radio has got a video session and The San Francisco Examiner an interview with Slow Club.

Veronica Falls compiles and annotates a mixtape for The Fly.

It escaped my notice until now that Elvis Costello – and presumably “The Spectacular Spinning Songbook” – was going to be back in the general geographic region this Spring. If you missed he and The Imposters last Summer, consider a trek up to Casino Rama on April 19; it’s a fantastic show.

MP3: Elvis Costello & The Attractions – “Radio Radio” (live at The El Mocambo)

Billy Bragg talks to Billboard about the forthcoming Mermaid Avenue: The Complete Sessions set coming out on April 21.

DIY, The Irish Times, and Clash have features on Lianne La Havas, whose debut album Is Your Love Big Enough will be out on July 19 in the UK.

The Twilight Sad are featured in a video session at Beatcast.

Mystery Jets are streaming a first taste of their new album Radlands ahead of its release date of April 30.

Stream: Mystery Jets – “Someone Purer”

The Cribs, on the other hand, are onto their second preview track from new record In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull. It’s out on May 8 and they’ll be showing off other new songs from it at Lee’s Palace on April 11.

Stream: The Cribs – “Come On, Be A No One”

London’s Dry The River are featured in pieces at The Fly and Spin and perform in a DIY video session. Shallow Bed gets a North American release on April 17 and they’re at The Garrison on March 27 opening for Bowerbirds.

This is an interesting little release – Swervedriver main man Adam Franklin has released a new 7″ consisting of a Wolf Parade cover on the a-side and his interpretation of a rare Clientele track on the reverse. You can stream both sides at Soundcloud.

Stream: Adam Franklin – “Shine A Light”/”Elm Grove Window”

The Guardian examines the thriving Scottish music scene.

DIY has a video session with Loney Dear.

The Guardian declares Amanda Mair their new artist of the day. Her self-titled debut gets a North American release on June 5.

State talks to The Jezabels, who just won The Australian Music Prize for Prisoner and are in town at The Mod Club on April 18.

It’s funny that not too long ago, I was toying with the idea of building another website for the sole purpose of listing local shows with as much useful, accurate information as possible. Clearly I didn’t get around to it, and it’s just as well because in addition to, which popped up a few months back and gets kudos for being clean, timely and accurate, we now have Show Gopher, which distinguishes itself with a handy grid layout and streaming audio for as many of the artists as possible. Which just goes to show – if you want something done, just procrastinate long enough and someone else will do it for you.

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

CONTEST – Adam Franklin @ The Drake Underground – January 31, 2010

Photo By Johnny MotoJohnny MotoAdam Franklin’s resume is a long and impressive one – guitarist in Shake Appeal, leader of Swervedriver, principal of Toshack Highway, half of Magnetic Morning and title role in Adam Franklin & The Bolts Of Melody, with duties throughout all of them remaining consistent – craft guitar rock that ranges from the roaring to hypnotic and make it look effortless. And while technically Swervedriver’s reunion continues and anytime Sam Fogarino has a spare moment Magnetic Morning can be back in action, it’s as the last of these projects that currently has Franklin’s full attention.

Though his last solo album Spent Bullets came out just last March, he’s already completed a follow-up entitled I Could Sleep For A Thousand Years and set a May 18 release date for it. And while that’s a ways off yet, Franklin isn’t being idle – clearly that’s not in his nature. He’s currently on a North American tour that’ll surely feature material new and old and which stops in at the Drake Underground in Toronto on January 31. Tickets for the show are $10 in advance, $12 at the door, but courtesy of Collective Concerts (formerly the good folks at ATG and RMS, if you were wondering), I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away to the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to be a Bolt Of Melody” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, January 29.

There’s feature articles on Franklin at The Georgia Straight, The San Francisco Examiner and The AV Club.

MySpace: Adam Franklin

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Ex(x) Lover

Friendly Fires and The XX at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhen I caught Friendly Fires at Lee’s Palace back at the end of March, they were here as support for White Lies and their high-energy disco party easily stole the show from the angst-ridden headliners. And while their profile has since grown to the point that they were able to play their fourth local show in just over a year on Wednesday night at the Phoenix, buzz-wise the shoe was on the other foot – the gig was sold out, but that was largely because the show also marked the Toronto debut of the astonishingly-hyped (including in these parts, yes) London outfit, The xx.

The band’s narrative had taken a turn over the past month, gone from focusing on their slinky and skeletal blend of R&B and indie rock to the departure of guitarist Baria Qureshi and their subsequent reconfiguration as a trio, not that any of the off-stage drama had dampened anyone’s enthusiasm for the performance. Very few were playing the “show up late, nuts to the opener” game this evening and when The xx strode onstage, you’d be forgiven if you thought, from the response that they were the main attraction. Coming in, I’d heard that the band were both extremely dull and amazing live – and I can see how both points of view could be reached. To the former, they don’t really do much. Jamie Smith perches behind a DJ booth emblazoned with glowing band logos working the sampler and drum machine while Romy Croft and Oliver Sim stand on either side with guitar and bass, respectively, and do their sleepy, seductive thing. The thing is, what should they be doing? Their music isn’t the sort that requires a lot of visual accompaniment, and if either of them were to act out, it would be completely at odds with their aesthetic. No, gentle swaying and the occasional sideways glance was pretty much what was demanded of them and their performance matches the atmosphere of the music perfectly.

Musically, they struck a perfect balance between reproducing the spaces and textures of XX and stretching out a bit – when you’re working with structures as minimalist as they, moving something around a little makes a big difference. Obviously I’ve no point of comparison, but it was hard to imagine where Qureshi’s contributions would have gone – Croft seemed able to cover all the necessary guitar parts with no problem, and intertwined seamlessly with Sim’s basslines and Smith’s real-time drum machining (is there a word for that?). Playing the triggers live rather than relying on loops or samples kept things from feeling overly mechanical, for as much as technology underpins their sound, the net result is wholly organic. Their set ran just over half an hour – short and efficient, but not unreasonable considering the amount of material they had to draw on – but most importantly, it established that they could weave the same magic live as they do on record. Definitely looking forward to their April 20 return engagement at the Kool Haus in support of Hot Chip.

I’d heard that at other stops on the tour, much of the crowd cleared out after the opener and left no doubt who they were there to see. I was pleased to see that that wasn’t the case here, because really – even if you wanted to see The xx, you paid for the ticket, were already here and unless you were truly committed to the art of the mope, you couldn’t not enjoy Friendly Fires live. As they did in March, they delivered a set that was absurdly tight, pure discofied fun though this time they brought along a little extra in the form of a horn section to go with their manic percussion, synth and guitar maelstrom. In addition to extra players, another benefit of the larger tour was the real estate – frontman Ed Macfarlane took full advantage of the larger Phoenix stage in busting out his uniquely undulating dance moves, all shake and shimmy and equally awesome and ridiculous to behold.

Like the openers, their set was brief by conventional rock show standards – 50 minutes including encore – but in that span they put more sweat and kinetic energy they put into their performance than most bands do in twice the time. And anyways, they played the entirety of their Mercury-nominated self-titled debut plus latest single “Kiss Of Life” – pretty much their whole repertoire. I’d challenge anyone complaining about the length of the show to tell me what else they’d have expected to hear, but really, I don’t think I’d have been able to find anyone complaining. Come for The xx, stay for the Friendly Fires, leave completely satisfied.

Panic Manual, Exclaim and eye were both in attendance and have reviews. has an interview with Friendly Fires while AUX.TV has a video interview, eye, Metro, Time Out and Rolling Stone print features and MPR a streamable session.

Photos: Friendly Fires, The XX @ The Phoenix – December 2, 2009
MP3: Friendly Fires – “Jump In The Pool”
MP3: Friendly Fires – “Paris” (Aeroplane Remix)
MP3: The xx – “Basic Space”
Video: Friendly Fires – “Kiss Of Life”
Video: Friendly Fires – “Skeleton Boy”
Video: Friendly Fires – “Paris”
Video: Friendly Fires – “Jump In The Pool”
Video: Friendly Fires – “On Board”
Video: The xx – “Basic Space”
Video: The xx – “Crystalised”
MySpace: Friendly Fires
MySpace: The xx

The Village Voice talks to The Big Pink’s Robbie Furze.

AUX.TV has a video interview with Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine, The Irish Independent a profile.

Lots of new videos coming out of the UK – Richard Hawley has one from the second single off of Truelove’s Gutter

Video: Richard Hawley – “Open Up Your Door”

The Twilight Sad have released a new clip from Forget The Night Ahead.

Video: The Twilight Sad – “Seven Days Of Letters”

Have a first look and listen at Lightspeed Champion’s next album Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You, out February 16.

Video: Lightspeed Champion – “Marlene”

Good news – Fanfarlo has released a new video from Reservoir. Bad news – both Canadian dates have disappeared from their tour itinerary. Actually, make that “terrible news”. The only upside is that I can now go see Blue Roses at the Drake that night, but it’s small comfort. Boo. The Houston Chronicle interviews bassist Justin Finch.

Video: Fanfarlo – “Harold T. Wilkins”

Liam Gallagher tells This Is London that he may well continue on with Noel as Oasis. An album’s worth of Liam compositions. That can’t possibly go wrong.

The Age talks to Patrick Wolf.

They Shoot Music has a video session with Camera Obscura. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Jackson Free Press and St. Louis Today have interviews with various band members.

Despite having their Fall US tour scuppered by the IRS, Echo & The Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch tells Spinner that they intend to return to this continent in the Spring and following the success of the Ocean Rain shows, perhaps play both Crocodiles and Heaven Up Here in their entirety. If you’re a fan of Porcupine, however, you are SOL. Sorry.

Adam Franklin & The Bolts Of Melody have scheduled a North American tour, including a January 31 date at the Drake Underground, that’ll probably cover their 2009 release Spent Bullets and their just-completed new record I Could Sleep For A Thousand Years, out sometime in 2010.

Friday, June 19th, 2009

The Messenger

Patrick Wolf, Living Things, Plastiscines and Jaguar Love at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSure, it was billed as the Nylon Summer Music Tour, implying a traveling roadshow with all performers on some sort of equal footing, but everyone knew that this was the Patrick Wolf tour and the other three acts were just the openers. Or at least that’s what I’d thought going into Wednesday night’s stop at the Mod Club in Toronto – and even if the audience was on board with that train of thought, it was obvious from the get-go that the bands didn’t necessarily agree and were set to make the most of their time on stage to win over the Wolf disciples.

Lead-off hitters Jaguar Love seemed to me the most curious additions to the bill, at least considering their pedigree. Formed from former members of The Blood Brothers and Pretty Girls Make Graves, I thought they might be too loud or aggro for the crowd, not that I really had a notion of what the very much all-ages crowd were expecting. But my preconceived notions went right out the window when the duo, backed by beats off a laptop, tore into their set of super-energized, adrenaline-infused party rock. Singer Johnny Whitney and guitarist Cody Votolato were in constant motion, the former belting it out with his remarkable classic rock wail while the latter never stopped riffing the hell out of his Rickenbacker, whipping the crowd into a frenzy that you never see at a show at 8PM. Not once but twice did the duo leap into the audience, never missing a beat, and quite literally got this party started right. Absurdly fun, it was evident that anyone hoping to be able to stand back and have a nice, passive night out was at completely the wrong show.

Any momentum built up from the opening set, however, ground to a halt before France’s Plastiscines took the stage. Though you think that the tour would have had the routine for switching between sets down to an art by this point, it seemed that each band member was having some sort of mic or equipment problem that turned into a 30-plus minute wait to get sorted out. By the time they were ready to go, the natives were a bit restless and the quartet probably had more than their share of work cut out for the to win the house over. The Plastiscine recipe is pretty straightforward – four attractive French girls playing what would be considered garage rock if it weren’t so immaculate-sounding. Think The Donnas with less rock attitude and slightly more poppy gleefulness. Perhaps the snarliness will develop as they become more seasoned – though not awkward, per se, they were still a bit reticent in performance. Perhaps counting on our alleged bilingualism, they addressed the crowd in French and whether they were actually understood or not, it got a positive response, as did their charming if predictable cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made For Walking”. Despite the rough start, they were able to shake off the delay and turn in a good set that steadily improved and finished on a high note.

If the Plastiscines were lacking in genuine rock grit, the quota was more than made up for by St Louis’ Living Things. With a singer that looked like some genetic crossing of Ian Astbury, Iggy Pop and Richard Ashcroft, they served up good, old-fashioned rock laden with attitude and a healthy dose of photo-friendly posing. Musically it wasn’t the most distinctive stuff you’d hear, but the delivery was just right and the performance engaging – literally. The band pulled audience members onstage to dance and gyrate with them and also leapt into the crowd, not the first act of the night to do so nor would they be the last, but they definitely ratcheted the already-high energy level up another notch, and set the table nicely for the headliner.

Oh, Patrick Wolf. Seen him twice before, and even when you think you know what to expect, you never know what to expect. Given the darker tone of his latest excellent album The Bachelor, a heavier approach was likely – and this was borne out when he stepped out in an giant black… I don’t even know what the hell he was wearing, but rather than pick up his viola or ukulele, he strapped on a decidedly rock-correct Flying V electric guitar before tearing into “Oblivion”. He didn’t do much with it besides play one-finger barred power chords – no shredding solos, thanks – but symbolically, it set the tone for the show.

As dramatic as his recordings are, they pale compared to Wolf the live performer. Every move, every sound, is rich with theatricality and imbued with his intense and mercurial personality – it might come across as ridiculous if he wasn’t so utterly committed to it, and his fans are no less devoted to him. They hung on every syllable, every note and shrieked with every piece of clothing shed. Personal highlights were an intense “Count Of Casualty” (disrupted a bit by some idiot screaming, “Afghanistan!” behind be through the extended outro) and the string-laden “Damaris” – I realize that the the sound was far too lush for just the violin and viola being played live, implying some pre-recorded enhancement, but who cares – it sounded amazing. As the show progressed, he got progressively more undressed until around 50 minutes into the show, when down to just suspenders and his lederhosen, he started into “Tristan” from Wind In The Wires and just a minute or so in, abruptly declared the stage monitors to be the worst he’s had all tour and stormed off stage. After a few awkward bars, his band stopped and followed him off.

It was unclear whether this was it, a most disappointing end to what had been a terrific night, or if he might return to at least give one last song and say goodbye. Hopes were raised when the crew came out and began re-soundchecking the stage setup and after about 10 minutes, the tour manager apologized and said that Wolf would be back in a moment. And it seemed that Wolf had taken the unscheduled intermission to raid the costume closet, because when he did return to the roar of the house, it was clad in an undone shirt and a leather thong. Appropriately, the band kicked off the unusual encore with “Hard Times”, Wolf taking full advantage of the Flying V’s phallic imagery, and then he went to the keyboard for the crowd-pleasing “Magic Position”. Considering that that had been the show-closer for the rest of the tour, most were probably expecting that it was the finale, the show salvaged with a proper finish, but Wolf wasn’t done – not by a long shot. He then tore into a gloriously aggressive “Accident & Emergency”, then shed the shirt – just the thong now – and put on a bizarre knit headdress and collar for a stirring, “Who Will”. Any one of these could have been a fitting finale, but Wolf was apparently dead set on making up for his earlier outburst – say what you will about his diva-ish tendencies, but the man will not let his fans down and for that he deserves respect.

After a lengthy monologue to the crowd about how much Toronto means to him – not just lip service, the city and its residents were a great influence around the era of The Magic Position – and also announcing he was going to get married soon and Patrick “Wolf” would be no more as he would take his husband’s surname, he nearly stripped off the thong while mocking his body and demanded that the pictures go on the internet (happy to oblige). And then donning a giant feathered vest, he tore into a ferocious reading of “Vulture” which saw him leap off the stage and onto the bar running down the length of the room, singing all the while, and then into the audience basically inciting a riot. Though breathless at the end of it, he had enough left for one more mosh – the even more chaotic “Battle” – before climbing back on stage to serenade a bit of “My Heart Will Go On” as a farewell.

And then that was the end of the show. After looking like he was going to cut the show short, Wolf extended it to a near-marathon. Bizarre and unforgettable, it was easily one of the most manically wonderful and bewildering performances I’d ever seen. Overheard as we staggered out of the club was, “what the hell was THAT?” That, anonymous concert compatriot, was Patrick Wolf.

Wolf gave Black Book a listing of his favourite spots in London. NYLON blogged the Toronto show and Chart was there, but left when Wolf did (the first time around). Panic Manual wisely stuck around.

Wolf promised to return later this year, and it’s a shame that he probably won’t choose to play the Mod Club again, given his disdain for their sound system because Wolf’s stage show plus the gorgeous lighting at the club makes for some great photos. Slightly NSFW depending on your work’s tolerance for sweaty, pasty white British asses.

Photos: Patrick Wolf, Living Things, Plastiscines, Jaguar Love @ The Mod Club – June 17, 2009
MP3: Patrick Wolf – “Who Will?” (Buffet Libre mix)
MP3: Patrick Wolf – “A Boy Like Me”
MP3: Living Things – “Oxygen”
MP3: Jaguar Love – “Bats Over The Pacific Ocean”
MP3: Jaguar Love – “Highways Of Gold”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Hard Times”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Vulture”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Accident And Emergency”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “The Magic Position”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Bluebells”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “The Libertine”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Wind In The Wires”
Video: Patrick Wolf – “To The Lighthouse”
Video: Living Things – “I Owe”
Video: Living Things – “Let It Rain”
Video: Living Things – “Bombs Below”
Video: Living Things – “Bom Bom Bom”
Video: Plastiscines – “Barcelona”
Video: Plastiscines – “Loser”
Video: Jaguar Love – “Highways Of Gold”
MySpace: Patrick Wolf
MySpace: Living Things
MySpace: Plastiscines
MySpace: Jaguar Love

The Daily Growl solicits a seven songs list from Fanfarlo.

6 Day Riot have completed the first video from their forthcoming album 6 Day Riot Have A Plan, due out July 6.

Video: 6 Day Riot – “Run For Your Life”

Decider talks to Adam Franklin, who is playing the El Mocambo on July 6.

The Quietus has an interview with Elly Jackson of La Roux. Her self-titled album is out June 29 and she has a gig at the El Mocambo on July 31.

Spinner’s Interface welcomes Sigur Ros to their studios.

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco chats with The Las Vegas Sun. Wilco (The Album) is out on June 30.

The Star-Tribune talks to Colin Meloy of The Decemberists. They’re at the Kool Haus on August 3.

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

In Spades

Review of Key Witness' Seven Across The Sea

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceIt takes a lot to get me past my aversion to slap bass. I have no fondness for the technique, in fact it’s pretty much anathema to me – so it’s no small thing when I say that on Seven Across the Sea, the second album from Toronto’s Key Witness, it works. The lead track, “Brother John”, kicks off with a pretty intense slap attack before segueing into a barnstorming country rock number, and that approach – the melding of seemingly incongruous styles onto a raw, roots-rock core – is what makes Key Witness unique.

In theory, what makes roots-inflected music such is a no frills approach, but Key Witness’ creative restlessness never compromises the underlying simplicity of it all. Even when shifting from genre to genre within each song – at various points throughout the record, atmospheric, prog, funk, post and chamber are all appropriate descriptors – things remain impressively focused, anchored by J.M. McNabb’s authentically hoary rasp, the band’s taut musical prowess and their rollicking yet hook-laden songwriting.

There’s never the sense of experimentation for experimentation’s sake – Sea may take an unexpected route to get where they’re going, but considering the intense and frequently exhilarating record that results, there’s no doubt that they’ve got the map and know exactly where they’re going.

Seven Across The Sea was released back in March, but doesn’t seem to have made its way into any online outlets I can find, but I’m sure the band would be happy to hook you up with a CD copy and it’s lovely, wax-sealed (!) packaging. Or, pick one up when Key Witness play the Drake Underground tomorrow evening, May 28, as part of the Pitter Patter Festival.

MP3: Key Witness – “First Wave”
MP3: Key Witness – “Overnight”
MP3: Key Witness – “Pinebox”
MP3: Key Witness – “Seeing Things”
MySpace: Key Witness

Drowned In Sound interviews Jason Lytle, who will be opening up for Neko Case at Massey Hall on July 14.

Explosions In The sky talk to Spinner about the state of their new album and confess that they still haven’t seen Friday Night Lights, the show that’s no doubt bankrolling at least some of the new record.

Perhaps Mark Kolzelek can fill them in on what they’ve been missing – he tells Pitchfork that Friday Night Lights is his favourite TV show.

State interviews Friendly Fires, in town at Lee’s Palace on August 10.

Words that do not belong together: “Patrick Wolf“, “video” and “boring”. Wolf has released the second video from The Bachelor, out June 1 or August 11 depending what side of the Atlantic you reside on, and while it’s not as NSFW as the first one for “Vulture”, it’s still pretty trippy. Can’t wait to see what sort of visuals Wolf has in store for his North American tour – he’s at the Mod Club on June 15. Maybe he’ll drop some hints on Twitter.

Video: Patrick Wolf – “Hard Times”

Spinner Canada talks to Metric.

Adam Franklin has a solo date at the El Mocambo on July 6.

Exclaim has a feature piece on Grizzly Bear. They have a sold-out show at the Phoenix on June 5.

Check out the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs video.

Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Heads Will Roll”

The Independent talks to Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon. The Eternal is out June 9 and they play Massey Hall on June 30.

Quiet day, yes.