Posts Tagged ‘Asobi Seksu’

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

It Happened Today

R.E.M. return (to form, to past, with new record, whatever)

Photo By Anton CorbijnAnton CorbijnR.E.M.’s new album Collapse Into Now is finally out today, and the talking points around it say that it’s their best record since Bill Berry left the band, their best in a decade and a half, their best in five efforts (not counting live records), whatever. All of which, incidentally, was said about their last record Accelerate, and all of which was true in that case and is true in this case.

But while Accelerate probably tried a bit too hard to reestablish the band’s rock credentials, Collapse feels much more natural and relaxed and has a real vintage R.E.M. air about it. Sporting a good balance of rockers, ballads and more experimental compositions, it feels like they’re pushing out creatively because they’re curious and want to, and not because they feel like they should, and it just so happens that the results sound pretty familiar. While song for song, there probably aren’t any future classics in here, it’s as lively, melodic and interesting a record as they’ve made in ages and confirms that not only are they still creatively vital, but they’re legitimately into a new fertile period. And that, I will happily take.

Matthew Fluxblog ranked R.E.M.’s entire catalog from best to worst for Nerve. The Guardian and Dazed have interviews with Michael Stipe, while The Wall Street Journal talks to Mike Mills and Beatweek to Peter Buck. The New York Times also talks to Stipe about the Collapse Into Now Film Project, wherein a different director will create a video for each of the twelve tracks from the album. Three of them are already out:

Video: R.E.M. – “Mine Smell Like Honey”
Video: R.E.M. – “Überin”
Video: R.E.M. – “It Happened Today”

Pitchfork has the latest edition of “What Kind Of Whacked Out Shit Are The Flaming Lips Up To Now” – and in this month’s edition, edible life-sized gummy heads with three new songs embedded inside.

Magnet has a Q&A with Buffalo Tom, which can only mean that the Bostonians are taking over the editorial chair for the next week. The Boston Herald and Writers On Process also have interviews with the band, whose new record Skins is out today.

Crawdaddy offers a beginner’s guide to The Mountain Goats. Their new record All Eternals Deck is out March 29, they play The Opera House on April 3.

Dismemberment Plan frontman Travis Morrison discusses reissues and reunions with Glide while guitarist Eric Axelson chats with This Is Fake DIY.

Spinner interviews Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes. They play The Sound Academy this coming Sunday, March 13.

The Quietus talks to Doug Martsch of Built To Spill.

Spinner talks to John Vanderslice, who will be at the Drake Underground on May 10.

The National Post, Georgia Straight and American Songwriter have feature pieces on DeVotchKa, who play The Mod Club on March 30.

Pitchfork interviews The Strokes. Their new record Angles is out March 22.

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with Iron & Wine.

Spinner has an interview with Asobi Seksu’s James Hanna.

The first MP3 from Alela Diane’s new record Alela Diane & Wild Divine is now available to download. The record comes out April 5.

MP3: Alela Diane – “To Begin”

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s Kip Berman talks to Spinner about their new record Belong, due out March 29.

The Head & The Heart have released a video from their self-titled debut, coming out in physical form on April 16.

Video: The Head & The Heart – “Lost In My Mind”

Los Angeles’ Foster The People have made a date at Lee’s Palace on April 3, accompanied by Grouplove. Spinner interviews the band, whose album Torches will be released May 24.

MP3: Foster The People – “Pumped Up Kicks”
Video: Grouplove – “Colors”

And if you missed the morning updates to yesterday’s Brit-centric post, there were a couple of major show announcements to start the day. First, Arctic Monkeys will be at the Kool Haus on May 21 and secondly, Beady Eye will make their Canadian debut at the Sound Academy on June 20. Exclaim and Billboard also just posted interviews with the latter’s Liam Gallagher and The AV Club one with Gallagher and Gem Archer.

MP3: Beady Eye – “The Roller”
Video: Arctic Monkeys – “Brick By Brick”

NPR is streaming the whole of The Joy Formidable’s debut The Big Roar in advance of next week’s release. They play The Horseshoe on April 2.

Stream: The Joy Formidable / The Big Roar

Spinner has an interview with Yuck. They are at The Phoenix on May 1.

Drowned In Sound talks to Reuben Wu of Ladytron. Their Best of Ladytron: 00-10 is out March 29.

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Where You'll Find Me Now

Jeff Mangum to transform Toronto church into unbiased dairy hostel

Photo via american songwriterAmerican SongwriterWhen Jeff Mangum, prodigal godhead of that which is largely called indie, gave a rare performance in a Brooklyn loft last December, people freaked out. And reasonably so – the Neutral Milk Hotel-ier had been basically been retired and out of sight for nigh on twelve years, his band having dissolved post-In The Aeroplane Over The Sea and in the intervening years, his legend only grew. So the idea of him suddenly surfacing to play a show probably seemed like a once in a lifetime occurrence.

Except that it wasn’t. My theory at the time was that this was far from a one-off but the start of a return to music for Mangum, who was probably tired of the mythology that had grown around him and wanted to begin the process of deconstructing it, of saying “hey – I’m a guy with a guitar who wrote some songs” and maybe pave the way to being able to write, release and perform some more. And so it really wasn’t a surprise that 2011 started with a trickle of additional live show announcements – first as a special guest at the Portishead-curated I’ll Be Your Mirror at Asbury Park, New Jersey in September, then as curator of the All Tomorrow’s Parties in Somerset, UK in December, and now additional non-festival dates have begun trickling out, and at the moment they begin in Toronto.

Though The Horseshoe played host to a legendary, almost-never-was Neutral Milk Hotel in 1998, Mangum’s return will be in the suitably reverent environs of Trinity-St. Paul’s on August 12 and 13. Tickets are $32.50 and will go on sale as follows: a limited pre-sale of paperless tickets will begin at 10AM on Friday, February 25 with the presale password being made public at the Collective Concerts website on Wednesday, February 23 at 3PM. Presale customers will be allowed to purchase four tickets per order, per customer, per show. Public on sale begins on Saturday, February 26 at noon via usual outlets – Ticketmaster, The Horseshoe, Rotate this and Soundscapes – and purchases will be limited to two per customer.

Exciting news, to be sure, though one wonders what this does to the chances of Mangum showing up with the upcoming Elephant 6 Holiday Surprise Tour which hits The Horseshoe on March 18 – it had been a pretty safe bet that Mangum would show up on at least some of those dates, and he might still. But if you’re not the gambling sort and the guarantee of a night of great tunes from his Elephant 6 compatriots isn’t enough to convince you, then these Trinity shows should be just the ticket. Not that you had much choice since the Holiday Surprise show is sold out anyways.

The Wall Street Journal welcomes Jeff Mangum back from the wilderness with a timeline of his “lost years”.

MP3: Neutral Milk Hotel – “Holland 1945”

From lost legends to exciting newcomers, Australia’s Tame Impala and London’s Yuck are teaming up for a North American tour that includes a stop at The Phoenix in Toronto on May 1, tickets $20. I’m not that familiar with Tame Impala but Yuck, whose wonderfully grungy ’90s power-pop-laden self-titled debut just came out this week and has been on heavy rotation in my ears. Spin thinks Tame Impala will be the next big thing while Spinner has an interview with Yuck.

MP3: Yuck – “Rubber”
MP3: Tame Impala – “Runaway, Houses, City, Clouds”

John Vanderslice will take his orchestrally-powered latest White Wilderness on the road this Spring, though it’s unlikely he’ll have an actual orchestra with him – you couldn’t fit one in the Drake Underground, where he’ll be on May 10. You will, however, be able to fit his tourmate Damien Jurado, and Jurado isn’t a small guy.

MP3: John Vanderslice – “The Piano Lesson”
MP3: Damien Jurado – “Gillian Was A Horse”

The Independent talks to Dean Wareham.

Pixies drummer Dave Lovering tells Billboard that the band are contemplating what to do after their run of Doolittle shows – including April 18 and 19 at Massey Hall – are done. Either do the full-album show treatment for another of the records or – horror of horrors – write and record new material.

Buffalo Tom is streaming the whole of their just-released new record Skins, out March 8.

Stream: Buffalo Tom / Skins

I haven’t been keeping track of whether The Flaming Lips have made good on their song-a-month promise, but they have uploaded a 12-part simul-song to YouTube, so that sort of counts I guess.

NPR has got a World Cafe session with Liz Phair.

Also stopping in at NPR’s World Cafe for a coffee and session are Superchunk.

Spinner talks to The Strokes’ Albert Hammond Jr about their new record Angles, out March 22.

The Montreal Gazette and Toronto Star have feature pieces on Interpol.

Pitchfork reports that the new Death Cab For Cutie album Codes & Keys will be released on May 31.

NPR has a World Cafe session and Pitchfork and Crave interview features with The Decemberists.

The Independent Weekly, Paste, Blurt, Prefix, The Wall Street Journal, NBC and Spinner profile Drive-By Truckers, whose new record Go-Go Boots is out next week but streaming now in whole at Spinner.

Stream: Drive-By Truckers – “Go Go Boots”

The Alternate Side has a video session and interview with Iron & Wine.

Will Sheff of Okkervil River blogs about his experience at the Grammy Awards (he was nominated for best liner notes) for Billboard. Their new record I Am Very Far is out May 10. A video of one of the new songs, recorded last month when they played Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, has just been posted online – check it out at Prefix.

Bright Eyes have released a new video from their new record The People’s Key. The Quietus also has an interview with Conor Oberst, who plays The Sound Academy (with his band) on March 13.

Video: Bright Eyes – “Shell Games”

The new DeVotchKa record 100 Lovers is up to stream at NPR in advance of its March 1 release.

Stream: DeVotchKa / 100 Lovers

The San Francisco Examiner and Spinner have interviews with and NYC Taper a live recording from last week of Nicole Atkins; she’s at The Horseshoe on February 26.

Asobi Seksu released their lastest Fluorescence this week and released a new video from it. They also have a chat with Spinner and will be at The Horseshoe on February 27.

Video: Asobi Seksu – “Trails”

NYC Taper has a live recording and Spinner an interview with Wye Oak, whose Civilian is out March 8 and who play The El Mocambo on April 9.

Paste and So Much Silence chat with Michael Benjamin Lerner of Telekinesis. They play The Horseshoe on March 6 and have an in-store at Sonic Boom earlier that afternoon.

Stereogum checks in with Fleet Foxes on the status of their new record Helplessness Blues, out May 3.

Rolling Stone is holding a competition to choose who will grace an upcoming cover – vote Ume.

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Arise, Watch

Buffalo Tom arise again

Photo via MyspaceMyspaceI don’t really participate in Twitter memes, but if I were to ride the one currently trending for #why90srocked, one of my contributions might be Boston’s Buffalo Tom. One of my favourite bands of that decade, their Let Me Come Over and Big Red Letter Day were two of the gateways that led me to the world of college rock (what the kids now mostly call indie) – jangly guitars, raspy vocals, big hooks all around, what’s not to like? Unfortunately they, like many of the acts of that era, didn’t find the underground to be especially profitable and eventually called it a day at the end of the 20th century when the responsibilities of real life came calling (frontman Bill Janovitz became and continues to be a realtor).

But like many of their peers, Buffalo Tom found a second act years later when they discovered their fans from back in the day were still there and so was their appetite for their music. I for one was thrilled to finally see them live not once but twice in 2007, both terrifically high energy performances with just the right amount of slop, and their comeback album Three Easy Pieces also stood tall alongside their past works. There were no disappointments here.

And I don’t expect any on their second post-reunion album, Skins. The Buffalo Tom formula isn’t necessarily a broad one, but it is deep enough to expect the veteran songwriters to be able to pull a dozen or so good tunes out of it every few years. Stereogum has the first MP3 from the album available to download, and though it starts out favouring the band’s more pensive side it builds quickly to a big rock breakdown, and Janovitz’s voice is unmistakeable. Consider the appetite whetted. Skins is out on February 15 of next year and The Alternate Side has an interview with Janovitz.

Grab the title track from their last record for a taste of their more pop-oriented side. Update: The new track is now available for anyone to disseminate. Yay!

MP3: Buffalo Tom – “Arise, Watch”
MP3: Buffalo Tom – “Three Easy Pieces”

Chunklet interviews Andy Earles, biographer of Husker Du and author of Husker Du: The Story of the Noise-Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock.

Creative Loafing talks to Jon Wurster and City Pages to Mac McCaughan of Superchunk. They’re playing an in-store at Sonic Boom on December 9 at 3PM before hitting up the Sound Academy that evening opening up for Broken Social Scene.

The Vine interviews Doug Martsch of Built To Spill.

Rolling Stone reports that in addition to the reissues of Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow The Green Grass on January 18, the same day that a short tour kicks off at The Phoenix in Toronto, The Jayhawks will be releasing a new album under their proper name – previously a stumbling point – in the Spring of next year.

Magnet has gone archive-digging and come up with their 2002 feature piece on Wilco circa Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, arguably the most interesting period of their career.

Old 97’s frontman Rhett Miller talks to Spinner about his love of hockey while bassist Murry Hammond chats with Metromix.

Conor Oberst will return to Bright Eyes for the first time since 2007 for The People’s Key, due February 15. Details at American Songwriter.

Interpol heads to Europe and does the press circuit with Metro, The Guardian and Drowned In Sound.

Spoon has collected the demos and alternate takes of songs that were posted to their website over the past couple years and are offering it for sale as the digital compilation Bonus Songs 2008-2009.

Yours Truly has a video session with S. Carey, in town at The Horseshoe on December 19.

The Fly has an acoustic session with Local Natives.

Spinner talks to Warpaint bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg while the band talks about and performs the song “Warpaint” in session for The Guardian.

The Besnard Lakes have set a date at Lee’s Palace for January 29, tickets $15 in advance.

MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “Albatross”

Scots Biffy Clyro will bring their Mercury-shortlisted Only Revolutions to The Garrison on February 16, tickets $15 in advance.

Video: Biffy Clyro – “God and Satan”

Asobi Seksu will hit the road following the the February 11 release of their new record Fluorescence and stop in at The Horseshoe on February 27.

MP3: Asobi Seksu – “Trails”

Cold War Kids will be at Lee’s Palace on March 18 in support of their new record Mine Is Yours, out January 25. Tickets $20 in advance. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Spinner and The Hook have features on the band.

The Whig and Edmonton Journal interview Dan Mangan, who just recorded a World Cafe session for NPR.

San Francisco Weekly and Exclaim chat with The Sadies, who will be holding their annual New Year’s Eve throwdown at The Horseshoe on December 31.

Wolf Parade discuss their decision to take an indefinite hiatus with

Exclaim declares Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs as their pop/rock album of the year and talk to Win Butler about it.

The Dears are giving away a track from their forthcoming Degeneration Street over at Dangerbird. The record is out February 15.

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Waiting For The Sun

The Jayhawks reunite, reissue, return (to Toronto)

Photo By Steven CohenSteven CohenIt didn’t take a lot of digging to find this San Francisco Chronicle interview circa 2006 wherein Gary Louris definitively closed the book on Minneapolis heroes The Jayhawks, the band he’d fronted for over 20 years, the first decade with Mark Olson and after his departure, on his own. Of course, by the time he declared The Jayhawks done, he and Olson were again performing together not as The Jayhawks but as those guys from The Jayhawks. So even though the band’s principal creative forces were playing together again for the first time in nearly 10 years, the band itself was being put on the shelf.

Post-Jayhawks, Olson worked with with wife Victoria Williams in The Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers and began releasing solo works in 2007 while Louris finally put out a record under his own name in 2008 with Vagabonds. They kept playing together, though, and in 2008 gathered the 1995-era Jayhawks lineup for a show in Spain, followed by a couple more last year and left the door wide open for more. At the same time, they began digging through the vaults and put out a career-spanning best-of in 2009 and this year, reissued their long out-of-print self-titled debut as The Bunkhouse Album. But when Olson and Louris inevitably went back into the studio together, the fruits of those sessions – Ready For The Flood – came out under the name Mark Olson & Gary Louris, because as it stands – or at least as it did in 2008 – the name “The Jayhawks” was still under contract to American Recordings.

So while lawyers will keep any new recordings from coming out under The Jayhawks moniker for the time being – and you know that the urge to bring the whole band back into the studio has to be there – they’re still able to perform as The Jayhawks. And surely as a precursor to more consistent touring in 2011, eye reports that it’s as The Jayhawks that Olson, Louris and company will be returning to Toronto for the first time with any lineup since January 2004. We got the Louris and Olson sit-down acoustic show at the Mod Club last year, but The Jayhawks are country-rockers and you really do need the rock in there to go along with those unmistakable harmonies. This will be happening on January 18 at The Phoenix and the occasion is the release of deluxe edition reissues of their most seminal records, Hollywood Town Hall and Tomorrow The Green Grass, that same day and I’ll tell you, I’ve spent the evening revisiting both of those albums on disc, and its been grand. I can’t imagine doing the same live could be anything less.

PopMatters has reviews of the reissues and tallies up some of the bonus material included therein.

Video: The Jayhawks – “Blue”

Almost a year to the day since they were there this year, Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven will roll into Lee’s Palace on January 15 of next year, tickets $24.50.

Video: Cracker – “Low”
Video: Camper Van Beethoven – “Pictures Of Matchstick Men”

Frankie Rose & The Outs, whose namesake served time behind the kit in Crystal Stilts, Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls before going solo, have set a date at Parts & Labour on January 21 behind their self-titled debut.

MP3: Frankie Rose & The Outs – “Candy”

Rolling Stone has a brief chat with Colin Meloy of The Decemberists about their new record The King Is Dead, out January 18 and according to the aforementioned eye piece, will be followed almost immediately by a tour which includes a February 1 date in Toronto at a venue to be announced. You’d think they’d be ready to graduate to Massey Hall with this record, but a little digging reveals that Wynton Marsalis is booked into the hallowed hall that night. Maybe back to the less-hallowed Kool Haus one more time?

MP3: The Decemberists – “Down By The Water”

Iron & Wine have assigned a release date to their new record Kiss Each Other Clean and further confirmed January 25 as the first big new album day of 2011.

January 25 has also been set as the release date for The Radio Dept.’s 2-CD Passive Aggressive compilation while the Never Follow Suit EP is out now. They’re at Lee’s Palace on February 7, tickets just $12.50, on sale tomorrow.

MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Never Follow Suit”

Exclaim has details on Asobi Seksu’s new record Fluorescence, which sees them over their acoustic phase and back into the glorious noise. A first MP3 from the album, due February 15, is available at Polyvinyl.

Pitchfork reports that J Mascis will be stepping away from Dinosaur Jr for a bit to release a solo acoustic record entitled Several Shades Of Why on March 15.

The 4AD Sessions with Blonde Redhead are now up.

While I commend MTV for helping create interesting videos as they did for LCD Soundsystem, geoblocking them so as to only be viewable in the US is a pure bullshit move – took me a while but I finally found a ripped version that those of us outside Fortress America can enjoy. MusicOMH has an interview with James Murphy and Pitchfork has details on their live-in-studio album The London Sessions which was made available on iTunes as of today and hopefully through other outlets eventually.

Video: LCD Soundsystem – “Pow Pow”

PitchforkTV has video of the acoustic performance Mac McCaughan and Jim Wilbur of Superchunk did at the Toronto screening of Passenger Side at The Royal back in April. Mac and Jim will be back with Laura and Jon on December 9 at Sound Academy with Broken Social Scene – rest assured, it will be plugged in, loud and awesome.

San Diego City Beat and The San Francisco Chronicle talk to Dean Wareham.

Interview interviews Local Natives.

Aquarium Drunkard sessions up with Lissie. She’s at The Opera House on January 24.

Spinner has an Interface session with Deerhunter.

Warpaint serves up a World Cafe session for NPR.

Filter has a two-part Q&A Liz Phair.

Pitchfork is posting up video footage – performance and otherwise – from Matador at 21 in Vegas last month. Ah, memories.

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Oh My Gawd!!!

The Flaming Lips, Spoon, Tokyo Police Club and Fang Island at The Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’ve previously bemoaned the dearth of festivals in the 416 this Summer, but on Thursday night at the Molson Amphitheatre, if you squinted just right, it certainly looked like a festival. Sure, it was only four bands deep but it certainly had many of the necessary bases covered – buzzy young up-and-coming act? Check. Hometown representation? Check. Critically acclaimed, indie cred-toting vets? Check. Mind-bending, world-class headliner? Check and check.

Providence by way of Brooklyn’s Fang Island represented the rookies, and their 6:30 start time got them a good idea of what it was like at the last major festival to go down at this same venue, which is to say V Fest 2009 and the swathes of empty seats which many of the bands played to that weekend. But if the fact that people hadn’t made it down from work was bumming the five-piece out, it didn’t show; at several points in their set, they commented on how excited they were to be playing such a large stage and touring with The Flaming Lips. Of course, that was in between their unloading the massive, triple-guitar tapping, four-part harmony epics from their self-titled debut. Like prog rock edited down to just the crescendos, Fang Island’s set was a torrent of melodies and harmonies unleashed heavenwards. Yes, there is hype. Believe it.

I went digging for this post and was surprised to find it’s from only four years ago. That’s how long I’ve been acquainted with Tokyo Police Club, and it’s remarkable to see how far they’ve come in that time. Certainly, from day one they evidenced a knack for writing a good pop song but the sort of antics I mentioned in that first review were part of why I’d always dismissed them as being you know, for kids! Which was fine, since they weren’t especially aged themselves. But with their second full-length, the recently-released Champ, I was surprised at how much more mature-sounding they had become, trading more on melody and sophistication than shouts and handclaps and without sacrificing much at all in the way of energy or hooks. It’s got some weariness around the edges, which suits them – they’re still young, but have now been at this a while; the lines are well-earned. On stage for their first hometown show in support of the new record, however, they still bounced around with fresh-faced enthusiasm and while it’s hard to say if this was necessarily their crowd – not sure how much the Flaming Lips and Tokyo Police Club fan base venn diagrams intersect – they were appreciated.

Spoon may have just come through town in March as the big-name/big-venue headliners on an impressive bill of their own, the culmination of years of hard work and building their fan base, here they were again playing a supporting role and seemed perfectly fine with it. In fact, they seemed to be enjoying the opportunity to step out of the spotlight that’s been on them for most of this year – minor details, but seeing Britt Daniel take the stage in an immaculate white ensemble (but with black shoes – shame!), a proper upright piano to go along with Eric Harvey’s usual fortress of keyboards and a full, locally-recruited horn section to add a shiny exclamation mark to some numbers. But for all the polish, this Spoon is inherently rough and spiky; more like a dirty spork. And even with a set loaded with “hits” – though no “Everything Hits At Once” – their lean, clipped rock still felt dark and clubby, even in a big amphitheatre. And despite the size of the venue, I actually enjoyed this set somewhat more than the Sound Academy show as I was a) able to see and b) got to hear some of the songs I missed in that show’s encore on account of having to catch a cab – like “The Underdog”. This time with horns. Yes.

My history with The Flaming Lips is kind of long and twisty, and best summarized as they’re being the weirdest boundary of my listening in the late ’90s to a near-obsession at the turn of the century (I paid a guy in Kalamazoo, MI far too much for CD-Rs of the then-deleted Zaireeka because, well, I had to have it) to being kind of a prodigal, peripheral interest over the last couple records. Neither the overcooked At War With The Mystics nor last year’s sprawlingly messy Embryonic hit the spot with me, and it was somewhat alarming to me as a fan that their artistic energies seemed to be going more into the live show than writing songs.

But at least there were those live shows. I’d gotten a concentrated dose of the live Lips madness in 2006, seeing them twice in a month at Lollapalooza in Chicago and then again just over a month later at Toronto’s inaugural Virgin Festival, though that wasn’t a proper dose as their headlining slot famously went over curfew and the show was cut at barely half an hour. And despite promises to make it up to us soon, it took them almost four years to find their way back. Far too long, certainly, but you know? It’s hard to hold a grudge against a man in a giant plastic bubble firing confetti cannons at you.

It’s funny, but for all the reservations and criticisms I have for The Flaming Lips circa 2010, they all fade to nothingness as soon as the show begins. You know what it’s going to be – the bubble walk, the costumed dancers, the plumes of confetti (okay, the band entrance via LED-generated female bits was new) – but it just doesn’t get old. Though the general admission area allowed for personal space for most of the night, it was pretty well packed in up front by the time Wayne Coyne strode out onto them in his well-worn space bubble as the band led off with the instrumental, “The Fear”. When that bit of ceremony was done, it was time to fill the amphitheatre with confetti and get to proving my theory about their being less a musical entity than a theatrical one mostly false. Most of the set drew from either Embryonic or Mystics and while many of the visual aspects of their show were familiar from 2006, they clearly weren’t just delivering the same show. It had morphed and evolved along with the material, and as such what had been technicolour and cartoony circa Mystics was now accordingly weirder and trippier, in keeping with the darker, experimental vibe of Embryonic (though thankfully no agitated monkeys or Coyne’s nakedness made an appearance).

It was a little ways into the show that I realized that though I had seen the Lips live twice before, I had never actually seen them do a full performance (the truncated V has been covered and at Lolla, there were like a million other bands on at the same time so I’m sure I scurried after a bit) and as such, my impressions of the show were probably skewed by the sheer sensory overload of their grand entrance. But watching them once they’d gotten down to business – relatively speaking – it was pleasantly surprising just how much of a proper rock band they still were. When Coyne wasn’t working the crowd, which was a lot of the time sure, he never neglected his duties as lead singer and both Steve Drozd and Michael Ivins were all business with their myriad musical duties and Kliph Scurlock – whose “officialness” as a Flaming Lip is still unclear to me despite having manned the kit for over a decade – did a great job of making you forget that Drozd was an amazing drummer before moving to the guitarist/multi-instrumentalist role. It was a shame that with so much emphasis put on the recent material, that the truly classic Soft Bulletin – the record that will define the Flaming Lips in history – was ignored completely, but it was nice that they reached back to 1993 for Transmissions From The Satellite Heart for “She Don’t Use Jelly” and the acoustic “Yoshimi” was pure loveliness. And of course they encored with “Do You Realize?”. Of course.

The real magic of a Flaming Lips show, however, is how it manages to transcend its context as either rock concert or circus sideshow and become something truly unique and magical. Coyne comes across as just as much a prophet up there as he does a carnival barker or rock singer – though I’ve never heard any other prophet call his congregation “motherfuckers” quite so much – bringing a message of peace and love that never felt naive, but seemed to acknowledge through the madness of its presentation that asking to simply love one another is one of the most complex and incomprehensible requests anyone could ever make. The Lips get that, they do. But they’re asking anyways. And they’re doing it with laserhands.

The Flaming Lips. There’s nothing else like it.

There’s reviews of the show at The Toronto Sun, eye, Exclaim, Radio Free Canuckistan, Chart, Panic Manual and BlogTO. Spinner talks to Fang Island about hitting the road with The Lips, Blare has an interview with Tokyo Police Club and Spinner, eye and The Montreal Gazette have Lips features.

Photos: The Flaming Lips, Spoon, Tokyo Police Club, Fang Island @ The Molson Canadian Amphitheatre – July 8, 2010
MP3: Spoon – “The Underdog”
MP3: Spoon – “I Turn My Camera On”
MP3: Spoon – “The Way We Get By”
MP3: Spoon – “This Book Is A Movie”
MP3: Spoon – “Mountain To Sound”
MP3: Spoon – “Chips & Dip”
MP3: Spoon – “Idiot Driver”
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “In A Cave”
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “Juno”
MP3: Fang Island – “Daisy”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “The Sparrow Looks Up At The Machine”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Powerless”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “I Can Be A Frog”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Watching The Planets”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “The W.A.N.D.”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Mr. Ambulance Driver”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Do You Realize?”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (Part 1)”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Fight Test”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Are You A Hypnotist?”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Race For The Prize”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Waitin’ For A Superman”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “This Here Giraffe”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Bad Days”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Christmas At the Zoo”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “When You Smile”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Be My Head”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “She Don’t Use Jelly”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Turn It On”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Talkin’ ‘Bout the Smiling Deathporn Immortality Blues (Everyone Wants to Live Forever)”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Redneck School Of Technology”
Video: Spoon – “Written In Reverse”
Video: Spoon – “The Underdog”
Video: Spoon – “Don’t You Evah”
Video: Spoon – “The Two Sides Of Monsieur Valentine”
Video: Spoon – “I Turn My Camera On”
Video: Spoon – “Sister Jack”
Video: Spoon – “Jonathan Fisk”
Video: Spoon – “Small Stakes”
Video: Spoon – “Everything Hits At Once”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Wait Up (Boots Of Danger)”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Graves”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “In A Cave”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Tessellate”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Your English Is Good”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Citizens Of Tomorrow”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Cheer It On”
Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Nature Of The Experiment”
Video: Fang Island – “Careful Crossers”
Video: Fang Island – “Life Coach”
Video: Fang Island – “Daisy”
MySpace: The Flaming Lips
MySpace: Spoon
MySpace: Tokyo Police Club
MySpace: Fang Island

In advance of releasing their first new record in forever with Majesty Shredding on September 14, Superchunk are reissuing their second and third records – No Pocky For Kitty and On The Mouth – in remastered digital and analog for on August 17.

MP3: Superchunk – “Skip Steps 1 & 3”

Pitchfork brings news of a new Deerhunter record to be named Halcyon Digest and released on September 28.

The Fly talks to Warpaint, whom they’ve declared “a band to watch”. You can do just that when they play Wrongbar on August 11 and Massey Hall supporting The xx on September 29. Their debut album is due out around that time as well.

Filter chats with James Hanna of Asobi Seksu.

Pitchfork and Billboard interview Sleigh Bells, in town at the Phoenix on July 20.

Exclaim interviews James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem.

Pernice Brothers have turned the “Pernice To Me” book of tweets into a puppet show. Of course they have.

Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers talks to Destroy Before Reading and says there’s no real reason an Archers Of Loaf reunion couldn’t happen. Crooked Fingers just released the Reservoir Songs 2 covers EP and are working on a record of new material.

Beatroute talks to Annie Clark of St. Vincent.

The Louisville Courier-Journal solicits influences from M Ward, whose current ongoing concern She & Him have just released a new video.

Video: She & Him – “Thieves”

Blurt contemplates the story of Love.