Posts Tagged ‘Annuals’

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

One Of Two

Sky Larkin and Emmy The Great annotate debut albums

Photo By Liam HenryLiam HenryIt’s really of no surprise whatsoever that I misread the offer tied to pre-orders of Sky Larkin’s debut album The Golden Spike, which I reported on a couple weeks back. I had thought that by committing to the purchase, you’d immediately get MP3 downloads of both the album proper and the live recordings of the same songs. As it turns out, you just get the live set.

But that’s okay, because February 9 isn’t that far off and the live version of the record is really pretty good. It’s obviously a bit rawer than I expect the album to be – though not that much, I expect it to be raw – but the je ne sais quoi that I really like about this band is very much in evidence. I think it’s how they disguise a surprising melodic sophistication behind a youthful energy and directness. At first it sounds like scrappy, jagged pop – which it is – but it’s also much more than that. The already-released singles have been consistently terrific and the rest of the album isn’t far off. Can’t wait to hear the proper thing, and they’re definitely on my “to-see” list for SxSW this year.

They recently gave Drowned In Sound a song-by-song commentary on the record and there’s also interviews at This Is Fake DIY and The Yorkshire Evening Post.

MP3: Sky Larkin – “Molten”
Video: Sky Larkin – “Beeline”
Video: Sky Larkin – “Fossil, I”
Video: Sky Larkin – “Molten”
Video: Sky Larkin – “One Of Two”
MySpace: Sky Larkin

In curiously parallel fashion, The Reading Evening Post has album annotations for the other British debut record I’ve got coming to me in the mail hopefully not long after February 9 – Emmy the Great’s First Love, so in the interest of consistency I’ll link up all the videos released so far for songs appearing on the record (though I suspect “Easter Parade” and “M.I.A.” have been re-recorded for the album). And if you thought I was overly effusive about her, check out Drowned In Sound’s review of the album – they make me look positively measured in comparison. There’s also an interview over at Oxford University’s Cherwell.

Video: Emmy The Great – “First Love”
Video: Emmy The Great – “We Almost Had A Baby”
Video: Emmy The Great – “Easter Parade”
Video: Emmy The Great – “M.I.A.”

Camera Obscura haven’t let slip many details about album number four, now complete and set for a release sooner rather than later in 2009, but they did post a MySpace blog yesterday announcing that it when it was released, it would be by the venerable 4AD label.

Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison tells The Chicago Tribune how a failed relationship inspired The Midnight Organ Fight. You know, in case it wasn’t abundantly clear from the lyrics.

eye, The Telegraph and The List talk to Franz Ferdinand on the occasion of the release of Tonight, in stores on Tuesday.

Glasvegas have released a new video from Glasvegas. Their April 3 show at the Mod Club is totally sold out.

Video: Glasvegas – “Flowers & Football Tops”

Incidentally, support for the Glasvegas tour has been announced as Ida Maria, who is herself getting no small amount of attention. Her album Fortress Round My Heart got a major label release last year, but now that she’s gone indie again, she’s re-releasing a different version on February 9.

Video: Ida Maria – “Oh My God”
Video: Ida Maria – “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked”
Video: Ida Maria – “Stella”

I was dismayed to have missed Asobi Seksu’s visit to the Horseshoe back in October – way too much going on to go, if I recall – but will get the chance to make that up on March 3 when their tour in support of Hush, out February 17, brings them to the El Mocambo.

The Von Pip Musical Express has an interview with Juanita Stein of Howling Bells. The moving target of a release date for Radio Wars seems to have settled on March 2, but I need to confirm that. Update: NME is also saying March 2. We’ll go with that.

Minipop stopped in for a Daytrotter session last week.

Decider interviews Anthony Gonzalez of M83, in town at the Air Canada Centre in support of The Killers tomorrow night.

It’s an odd bit of contesting, but Annuals are giving away tickets to their show at the El Mocambo on Saturday night as well as a pair of passes to the Art Gallery Of Ontario. Yeah, I dunno. Enter here.

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Baby, I Grew You A Beard

CONTEST – Neil Halstead @ The Drake Underground – November 8, 2008

MySpaceMySpaceThe arc of Neil Halstead’s long and storied musical career taken him many places. He was both an architect of sonic cathedrals at the dawn of Slowdive’s career and a pioneer of electronic ambiance at its end, then with Mojave 3 he played the roles of country-rock and power-pop songsmith with equal facility. With his first solo album Sleeping On Roads in 2002, he took the soft-spoken folk balladeer that’s lain at the heart of his songwriting throughout it all and brought it to the fore, a place he revisits once again with the long-awaited and long-delayed follow-up, Oh! Mighty Engine.

And even though six years have elapsed between records, Halstead picks up largely where he left off. The spectre of a failed relationship that hung overhead during the making of Roads isn’t present here, which perhaps explains why the new record is brighter in tone than its predecessor. Even so, Engine is still spare and homespun, built in rich melody on a sturdy framework built of voice and acoustic guitar with gentle percussion, piano and electric or steel guitar accouterments where appropriate. It’s a format that suits Halstead well, as for all the soundscapes that he’s surrounded himself with over the years, he’s always been at his best when conveying a quiet, thoughtful intimacy. And for showcasing his strengths as a singer-songwriter, Engine is Halstead at his best.

As solid and enjoyable as Halstead’s solo output is, it’s not a substitute for the chemistry and magic that is Mojave 3. So it’s good to know that even with drummer Ian McCutcheon busy with his solo project The Loose Salute and Rachel Goswell continuing to recover from the ear-related illness that kept her from playing a larger role on Puzzles Like You, in this interview with AgitReader Halstead says that he hopes to begin work on a new Mojave 3 record before the year is out.

Halstead is currently on tour across North America – finally Jack Johnson-free – and will be at the Drake Underground on Saturday night, November 8, for an early show (9:30 start). Anyone who saw him play at the Rivoli back in 2002 in support of Roads surely remembers how utterly magical that performance was and if this show even comes close to measuring up to that one, it’s going to be a special one indeed. Courtesy of Against The Grain, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away to the show – to enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to see Neil Halstead” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, November 6.

Apparently as part of this tour, Halstead has an agenda to visit NPR as many times as possible. Currently there’s two sessions available to stream – one at the World Cafe and one at KEXP.

MP3: Neil Halstead – “Paint A Face”
Video: Neil Halstead – “Paint A Face”
Video: Neil Halstead – “Queen Bee”

Drowned In Sound reconsiders the musical oeuvre of Swervedriver, still isn’t overly impressed. The three albums in question will be re-released in North America on January 6.

Pitchfork has details on the debut album from head Swervie Adam Franklin’s current project, Magnetic Morning. A.M. will be out January 27.

Simon Jones of The Verve talks to Chart about why guitarist Simon Tong wasn’t invited to the reunion party.

Another Tong – Matt, of Bloc Party, gives an interview to Virgin Music. Bandmate Kele Okereke talks to Metro and The Edmonton Journal.

I wouldn’t normally bother noting anything that Norman Cook of Fatboy Slim gets up to, but when the second single from his new project The Brighton Port Authority features Emmy The Great front and centre, you have my attention. You can stream it at their MySpace or better yet, watch the video. Via Stereogum.

Video: The Brighton Port Authority featuring Emmy The Great – “Seattle”
MySpace: The Brighton Port Authority

EDP24 interviews Matt Urby of Noah & The Whale and Erockstar has a video interview with the band. They’re at the El Mocambo on December 9.

Scottish quartet Glasvegas, first considered in these pages last December, will begin their attempt to conquer North America the way they have the UK with the release of their self-titled debut on January 6. I picked up a copy on import a little while back, thoughts forthcoming. They’ll also be doing some touring over here in the new year, but no Toronto date as yet. They’ve also recorded a Christmas EP, which they talk to The Daily Record about.

Anyone see Wilco on The Colbert Report last week? I didn’t. Thankfully it’s viewable online in Canada on CTV and in the US at Comedy Central. Or you can just watch the clip of the new song they played.

Video: Wilco – “Wilco, The Song” (live on The Colbert Report)

Fleet Foxes are the subject of features at Rolling Stone and Filter.

Gotham Acme talks to Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste about the US election… which is today. How about that.

Speaking of election day, Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers has made available for free a new song written just after Bush II was re-elected. Hood has never been one to shy away from political statements, wearing his opinions on his sleeve… or his guitar.

JAM finds out why The Hold Steady always seem so dang happy. The Hold Steady and the Drive-By Truckers are at the Phoenix next Tuesday night.

Couple shows announced for the new year… on the same day. First you’ve got Annuals at the El Mocambo on January 24, tickets $10.

MP3: Annuals – “Confessor”
Video: Annuals – “Confessor”

And down Spadina at the Horseshoe, you’ve got buzzy band du jour, Passion Pit – tickets for that one are also $10.

MP3: Passion Pit – “Sleeyphead”
Video: Passion Pit – “Sleeyphead”