Posts Tagged ‘Apostle Of Hustle’

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

The Sun Smells Too Loud

Mogwai and The Twilight Sad at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThere’s a scene in the Danny Boyle film Sunshine (a fantastic movie, by the way) wherein the spaceship’s psych officer is in the observation deck and asks the ship’s computer to open up the shades blocking out most of the Sun’s intensity, even though he knows that doing so would be almost instantly fatal (the computer refuses and he settles for the minimum safe amount, don’t worry, no spoiler – it’s the opening scene). The point being that same urge, the one that compels you to do what is obviously unsafe in order to experience something huge and awesome and terrible in a direct, unfiltered form, is what overtook me a couple times on Monday night at the Phoenix when I slipped one of my earplugs out, just for a moment, during sets by both Mogwai and The Twilight Sad.

I hadn’t originally intended to attend this show. I certainly wasn’t going to go to the one it was making up for, a September 2008 cancelled on account of Mogwai drummer’s Martin Bulloch’s pacemaker malfunctioning – not for lack of interest, really, but because I’d seen them when they’d swung through town back in July. And there’s not a lot of bands that I want/need to see twice in the span of three months. But when this tour was announced, it had been long enough since last time that I was considering it and when The Twilight Sad were slated as support, that sealed it – there was no way I was going to miss out.

It’s been a couple years since they released their debut Fourteen Autumns, Fifteen Winters and as long since their one and only visit and even though you could never say that the band had a surplus of conventional stage presence, they still made a hell of an impression with the sheer aural intensity of their performance, and I’ve been waiting a long while for them to return. Though still formally a four-piece, they had with them an extra touring player covering keyboard duties and also second guitar for those moments where a zillion decibels apparently wasn’t quite enough.

With a new album almost done and set for an Autumn release, the set featured no shortage of new material and while I loved Autumns for its ability to essentially take one trick – huge, sustained guitar-driven crescendo and bellowed Scottish angst – and extend it out over an entire record without getting samey, but rehashing that on a second album simply wouldn’t have done. And to their credit, the new material doesn’t follow the formula but as such existed so far outside of my Twilight Sad frame of reference that offering an opinion with further listens wouldn’t be of any value – but I can say that they’re still decidedly dark and morose in tone, so any fears that they’ve lightened up can be put to rest. But it was still the old material that delivered the goods, huge and epic and like a sonic body massage. No, they still don’t do much on stage visually though singer James Graham does wander around a bit more than he did before, but looking is beside the point – it’s about the hearing. And the destruction of your ability to do so.

Going over my review of Mogwai’s show from last year, I find that I’ve already said much of what I’m inclined to say about this one – which is fitting because the general gist of it was that even though one Mogwai show isn’t too different from the next, they’re still always memorable experiences. It’s funny that most discussion of Mogwai focuses on the LOUD part of their dynamic – and make no mistake, when they get loud, it’s loud – but they spend so much more of their time exploring the quiet. And with the night’s set list leaning heavily on the last three records and their slower, more expansive and cinematic qualities, it was the perfect opportunity to listen – really listen – to how marvelously they do the little things. The intricate guitar picking, the gentle taps on the high-hat, the whirring textures of the keyboards – it’s simply gorgeous.

But of course there was the loud. Volume spiked throughout the show but it was the closing triumvirate that reminded, as if it was necessary, that Mogwai remained one of the absolute loudest bands around. First there was the extended apocalypse of “Mogwai Fear Satan”, still as unrelentingly potent as it was when it was released a decade ago and then just as the audience was picking itself off the floor, the thundering main set closer of “Glasgow Mega Snake” featuring one of the nastiest guitar riffs from anywhere, by anyone. And for the encore, a scorched earth “My Father, My King” that left nothing standing. I ducked out as things descended into feedback and even outside the venue, I could still hear it throb. Epic.

Chart also has a review of the show and there’s interviews with Mogwai at The Enterprise News, Metro and Pulse Niagara.

Photos: Mogwai, The Twilight Sad @ The Phoenix – May 4, 2009
MP3: Mogwai – “Yes! I Am A Long Way From Home”
MP3: Mogwai – “Tracy”
MP3: Mogwai – “Dial: Revenge”
MP3: Mogwai – “Hunted By A Freak”
MP3: Mogwai – “7:25”
MP3: The Twilight Sad – “Cold Days From The Birdhouse”
MP3: The Twilight Sad – “That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy”
Video: Mogwai – “Travel Is Dangerous”
Video: Mogwai – “Friend Of The Night”
Video: Mogwai – “Hunted By A Freak”
Video: Mogwai – “Dial: Revenge”
MySpace: Mogwai
MySpace: The Twilight Sad

Drowned In Sound and Clash interview The Vaselines, whose Enter The Vaselines compilation is out now and who play Lee’s Palace next Friday night, May 15.

Patrick Wolf’s new album The Bachelor is still set for a June 1 release in the UK, but in North America, we’ll only be privvy to the digital release on that date (well, the 2nd). Those of us who still like physical media will have to wait for August 11 when his new label NYLON – as in the people behind NYLON – will make it available, details at Pitchfork. But they’re also sponsoring a tour in June – headlined by Wolf and also featuring Living Things and France’s Plasticines – so the delayed release is forgiven. I’d worried that with Wolf now without major label backing, he and his audacious live shows would have some difficulty coming back to North America. Only one date has been made public so far – June 14 in Minneapolis – but based on that we can (hopefully) expect to see Wolf hereabouts in mid-June. There’s interviews with Wolf at Arjan Writes, MusicOhm and NYLON.

The September 18 date at Lee’s Palace was already revealed, but Pitchfork has full Fall tour dates for Maximo Park in support of Quicken The Heart, out next week. They’re also offering up an MP3 from the album.

MP3: Maximo Park – “Let’s Get Clinical”

Drowned In Sound talks to The Horrors. They’re at the Phoenix tomorrow night opening up for The Kills.

Decider talks to Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner. Their new album The Knot is out July 21.

A third Dears b-side MP3 is now available.

MP3: The Dears – “Meltdown In A Major” (OG Demo Version)

Wolfe Island Musicfest taking place August 8 on Wolfe Island in the Thousand Islands at Kingston. This year, the Marysville baseball diamond will be rocked by the sounds of Holy Fuck, Busdriver (this one? Dunno), Apostle Of Hustle, Attack In Black, Woodhands, The D’Urbervilles, Ohbijou, The Rural Alberta Advantage and Julie Fader. Solid? Definitely. Worth the drive to Kingston? Probably.

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Stickin' It To The Man

Festival announcements big and small from Over The Top, Olympic Island and Pitter Patter

Photo By Autumn de WildeAutumn de WildeThere might be question marks around whether or not we’ll see 2009 editions of big Toronto events like V Fest, but for the eighth year running, the city will host Over The Top Fest in May and showcase an eclectic range of acts in clubs around the city for a weekend in May, this year the 21st through the 24th. The official website is still having the finishing touches put on it but the lineup was announced last week at Stille Post and, as expected, there’s a whole lot of acts I’ve never heard of. But considering the festival has, in years past, welcomed the likes of Of Montreal, Grizzly Bear and Matt & Kim amongst many, many others – all before they became the international superstars they are today – you ignore the unfamiliar names at your indie cred peril.

This year’s edition is somewhat smaller than past years – there’s a recession going on, dontcha know – but still pretty packed. I’ll leave you to peruse the artists yourself, but names that jump out – even if not up my particular alley – include Japanese noise experimentalist Merzbow at the Polish Combatants Hall on May 21, Arcade Fire/Unicorns alumnus Clues, whose self-titled debut is out May 19, at Sneaky Dees on May 21 and Montreal dance-punk maniacs Think About Life at the Polish Combatants Hall on the 22nd. The most interesting one to me – and probably the only show I’ll make it out to – is New York pre-teen sibling duo Tiny Masters Of Today. You might expect an act with a set up like that playing punk rock music might be pure novelty, but their sophomore album Skeletons, out June 16, is surprisingly sophisticated and really sounds good, whatever their age. They’re playing the Whippersnapper Gallery on May 23.

And in addition, there’s film and theatre components to the festival and promises of a “concert on a transit bus, BBQ and Acoustic Concert” for closing festivities on the Sunday, May 24. Tickets for many of the shows are already available on Ticketweb (see Stille Post link for links), will be available in stores this week and a limited number of festival passes will also be made available.

MP3: Tiny Masters Of Today – “K.I.D.S.”
MP3: Tiny Masters Of Today – “La La Land”
MP3: Clues – “Perfect Fit”
MP3: Clues – “Remember Severed Head”
MP3: Think About Life – “Paul Cries”
Video: Tiny Masters Of Today – “Skeletons”

Also announced yesterday was the 2009 edition of the Olympic Island show, which is an almost-annual tradition but you can never be absolutely sure when it’s going to be, who’s going to play or if it’s even going to happen. The answers to all those questions, however, are July 11, Broken Social Scene, who are playing for the fifth time out of the six the party has been held, Explosions In The Sky, Thunderheist, Beach House, Apostle Of Hustle and Rattlesnake Choir, and yes it is (obviously). With V still being a big old question mark, this could be the city’s one opportunity to rock out and piss off the islanders, and having had almost three years elapse since I last saw the Scene, I think I’m getting eager to catch them live again. Tickets are $57.50 including ferry to and from the islands, though CFNY (that’s “Edge 102” to those of you under the age of 30) has a limited number available for $39.50 – 1021 tickets, according to Chart.

The Book Is Broken, a book documenting the story of Broken Social scene, will be out May 16. Thunderheist are the cover feature on this month’s Exclaim and their self-titled debut came out at the end of March and they play The Phoenix on April 30. Apostle Of Hustle’s new album Eats Darkness is out May 19 and he plays the Music Gallery on May 29.

MP3: Broken Social Scene presents Brendan Canning – “Hit The Wall”
MP3: Broken Social Scene presents Kevin Drew – “TBTF”
MP3: Explosions In The Sky – “Welcome, Ghosts”
MP3: Thunderheist – “Jerk It”
MP3: Beach House – “Gila”

And also recently announced was this year’s edition of Pitter Patter Fest which, if not as big in profile or stature as either of the aforementioned events, is certainly the largest in geographical terms. Though centered in Toronto, Pitter Patter events will be happening all over southern Ontario, from London to Guelph to Peterborough to Belleville – 150 bands, 10 cities and four nights from May 28 to 31 – and feature the likes of Dog Day, The Craft Economy, The Diableros, Great Bloomers, Fjord Rowboat, Megan Hamilton and Spiral Beach to name but a very few who’ve been covered on this site in the past. All shows are pay-what-you-can and the schedule, which will probably see many of the bands playing numerous dates and cities, is still forthcoming.

Sonic Boom Records up in the Annex will celebrate Record Store Day this Saturday, April 18, with a in-store mini-fest featuring Little Girls, Steamboat, Green Go, Gentleman Reg, Sunparlour Players, Lullabye Arkestra and Slim Twig. No idea of specific set times but it starts at 4PM and the store closes at midnight. You do the math. Admission is free but donations of non-perishable food items is strongly encouraged.

As for Gentleman Reg, he’s spending his Spring on tour in support of Jet Black, first with The Stills and then A Camp, including their June 1 date at the Mod Club.

MP3: Gentleman Reg – “We’re In A Thunderstorm”
Video: Gentleman Reg – “We’re In A Thunderstorm”

Immaculate Machine will release their new record High On Jackson Hill on April 28, right in the midst of an Ontario tour that includes a stop at the Drake Underground on April 30.

MP3: Immaculate Machine – “Sound The Alarm”

Pink Mountaintops have a date at the Horseshoe on June 14 in support of their new album Outside Love, out May 5. Tickets for that are $11.50.

MP3: Pink Mountaintops – “Vampire”

Full details are still forthcoming, but Holy Fuck are one of the acts playing this year’s Beats, Breaks and Culture fest at Harbourfront Centre – they’re playing July 10, and as always, this show is free to all.

MP3: Holy Fuck – “Lovely Allen”

The Decemberists have announced the second leg of their North American tour in support of Hazards Of Love, and it includes an August 3 date at the Kool Haus with The Heartless Bastards as support. Tickets are $30.50 and go on sale Thursday.

MP3: Heartless Bastards – “Searching For the Ghost” (acoustic)
MP3: Heartless Bastards – “The Mountain”