Posts Tagged ‘Black Kids’

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

CONTEST – Mates Of State & Black Kids @ The Phoenix – April 10, 2009

Photo via Mates Of StateMates Of StateIt’s a billing that sounds more like a sit-com than an evening of music – the most adorable parents in indie-rock, Mates Of State, teaming up with the precocious dance-floor wundkinds of Black Kids – but it’s a co-headline tour and it’s on right now, and it’s coming to Toronto on Friday evening with Mates Of State closing and Sunbears opening. If this were the sit-com, I guess they’d be the wacky neighbours.

And courtesy of rootmeansquare, I’ve got a pair of passes to Friday’s show to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT with I want to see Mates Of State” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Get that in to me by midnight, April 7.

NPR is webcasting tonight’s MoS/BK show at the 9:30 Club in DC starting at 10PM ET. Mates Of State will also be releasing Re-Arranged Remixes: Volume 1 on April 14, a limited edition 12″ featuring four remixes of tracks from their latest album, Re-Arrange Us. They give an interview to The Boston Globe while Black Book talks to Black Kid Reggie Youngblood.

MP3: Mates Of State – “My Only Offer”
Video: Mates Of State – “Get Better”
Video: Mates Of State – “My Only Offer”
Video: Black Kids – “Hurricane Jane”
Video: Black Kids – “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You”
Video: Black Kids – “Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo)”

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

This Love Is Fucking Right

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and the Depreciation Guild at Lee's Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhen last week’s The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart show was announced way back in December, I figured it would be a nice little underground thing (literally and figuratively) with myself and the small but loyal posse of Toronto shoegaze devotees in the subterranean environs of Neutral. Sure, their unabashedly retro but still nearly perfect fuzz-pop in theory had mass appeal, but the same could be said for most stuff I like but never manages to catch on – it’s pop music. It’s not difficult.

But as the early February release date of their self-titled debut drew near, a buzz that couldn’t be credited just to the shoegaze loyalists was quickly growing around the band, culminating in a “Best New Music” review from the old Pitchfork and just like that, you knew it wasn’t just going to be a handful of people staring at each others’ sneakers. The fact that the show had already been moved from Neutral to the much larger Lee’s Palace was just a coincidence due to work permit issues rather than demand, but it proved to be a most necessary move – by the time the much-feted band took the stage, Lee’s was nearly packed.

Leading up to that point were a couple of support acts, one local and one tourmate. The former, an outfit called Don Mills, were hopelessly miscast for the audience with their decidedly anonymous-sounding rock. The only remarkable thing about them was their singer’s utter commitment to his performance, with stage moves that seemed laughably ironic until you realized they were totally genuine – and then they were oddly commendable.

The Depreciation Guild were a far more compelling warm-up. I commented favourably on their free-to-download debut In Her Gentle Jaws, with its M83-gone-8-bit charms, but wasn’t fully prepared for the transformation their sound would take in a live setting. Their secret weapon – an old Japanese Famicom game console – was very much on display beside frontman Kurt Feldman and set the table, musically speaking, for their songs but its bleeps and bloops were soon drowned out by the live band’s dual guitars and thundering drums, the synthetic wall of sound ever-present on the record replaced by a decidedly organic one. On one hand, it’s sort of unfortunate that their most distinctive element was lost in the din but the intensity of the attack – while somehow maintaining the dreampop delicacy of the songs – more than made up for it.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, on the other hand, delivered exactly what was expected – twee-pop confections dressed up in big outfits of noise – but they fared less well in the live setting. The band’s inherent feyness wasn’t quite able to overcome their own sonic attack and as a result, some of the little touches that give the album enough variety to transcend its admittedly limited aesthetic, in particular the boy-girl harmonies of Kip Berman and Peggy Wang, were simply buried and the net result was a cheerful but rather monochromatic show. Though they’re not an overly charismatic bunch, it was fun watching them obviously have a blast and in particular Berman’s incredulousness at the sheer number of people in attendance – at one point he said that it was the biggest show they’d ever played. With a barely 45-minute set including encore, it’s impossible to say that they overstayed their welcome but what would have seemed like a too-short show from most bands felt just right for the Pains. I don’t want to use the word “disappointment” as that simply wasn’t the case, but they didn’t manage to make me feel any greater love for the band or the record. But I still love the record a fair bit so that’s okay.

eye also has a review of the show and Express Night Out, Tripwire and The New Gay have interviews with the band.

Photos: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, The Depreciation Guild, Don Mills @ Lee’s Palace – February 12, 2009
MP3: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Everything With You”
MP3: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Come Saturday”
MP3: The Depreciation Guild – “Darklooming”
MP3: The Depreciation Guild – “Butterfly Kisses”
Video: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “Everything With You”
Video: The Depreciation Guild – “Nautilus”
MySpace: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
MySpace: The Depreciation Guild

Clash interviews Asobi Seksu. Hush is out today and they play the El Mocambo on March 3.

Clash talks to Ben Curtis of School Of Seven Bells.

eye, Metro and JAM talk to Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons, who are playing the Queen Elizabeth Theatre tonight.

Details have finally emerged about the new record from Grizzly Bear. It’s called Veckatimest and it’s out May 26 – for more, head over to Pitchfork.

Spinner is featuring Black Kids in an Interface session. They’re at the Phoenix on April 10.

The New York Times, Hartford Courant and The Los Angeles Times talk to M Ward about his new record Hold Time, out today.

San Diego one-man act Wavves – who’s apparently all the buzz with blogs which are not this one – is coming to town for a show at Sneaky Dee’s on March 31.

MP3: Wavves – “So Bored”

TV On The Radio have a date at the Sound Academy on June 2.

Virgin Music interviews Aaron Dessner of The National about his role as curator for the Dark Was The Night AIDS benefit compilation, out today.

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Out Of This Spark

Forest City Lovers, The D'Urbervilles, Jenny Omnichord at The Tranzac in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAny sort of preamble for Saturday night’s Out Of This Spark second anniversary party at the Tranzac was covered in Friday’s post, so let’s just dive right into the post-mortem.

Leading off was Jenny Omnichord (neé Mitchell), accurately named for her weapon of choice. And while it may seem a bit novelty at first, the Omnichord is actually a very versatile instrument, ably providing accompaniment for Mitchell’s quirky songs. It’s no stretch that her latest album Charlotte or Otis : Duets for Children, Their Parents and Other People Too is a children’s record – the aesthetic isn’t too different from her work for grown-ups. A cute and compact set highlighted by entertaining road stories and a duet with her dad.

I’d expected The D’Urbervilles to be closing things out, both because of their profile relative to their labelmates, and their general rock action-ness, but they were instead on second. Every time I see them perform I’m reminded of how potent a live act they can be, all danceable, tightly-wound new wave/anthem-rock energy, but I also find my initial opinion of their full-length debut We Are The Hunters reinforced. They’re one thing, one intangible thing, away from being amazing. One song – hell, one moment in a song – that makes everything fall into place, and considering their excellent closing cover of Edwyn Collins’ “A Girl Like You”, maybe what they need is the right British producer. But whatever it is, I hope they find it soon. Because when they do, it will be epic.

I had to double-check to verify that the last time I’d seen Forest City Lovers live was fully a year and a half ago at Hillside – it certainly hadn’t seemed that long! But it was, and that meant that I’d not seen them since the release of their lovely album Haunting Moon Sinking last year, and that’s just not right. But it is, sadly, kind of appropriate for as much as they’re one of the finer bands Toronto has to offer, they’re also probably one of the most overlooked. A consequence, perhaps, of the characteristics that are also their greatest strengths – their subtlety and understatedness. Their folk-pop sound is definitely spare, almost skeletal at times, but every part that is there implies a richness that probably wouldn’t sound quite as wonderful if it were actually fleshed out – their sketches say more than some peoples’ oil paintings.

This show, however, sadly wasn’t a masterpiece. Now no one’s ever going to mistake The Tranzac’s acoustics for those of Massey Hall, but the sound for the Forest City Lovers’ set was exceptionally poor, with vocals being buried and the guitar and violin far too loud. While I realize that standing right up front isn’t exactly standing in the sonic sweet spot, I’ve done it enough to know how things can and should sound from that vantage point, and this wasn’t it. And it seemed it wasn’t just the house sound that was amiss – it was evident the band was having trouble hearing themselves on stage as at points tempos drifted, glances were exchanged and things simply didn’t sound as tight as they should have. It’s really to the band’s credit that they were able to mitigate these problems and still deliver an enjoyable show, even if I couldn’t really hear the words to “Orphans” (though that’s okay because I know them anyways). Perhaps things will be better when they again play the Tranzac on February 6 opening for Geoff Berner. Perhaps.

I did not stick around for final act Timber Timbre. You’d have thought that an act with a brand new album would feel like playing something – anything- from it, but instead Timber Timbre chose to play with old hi-fit equipment and guitar pedals in conducting a sonic experiment in white noise in pitch blackness. Maybe the whole thing busted out in a technicolour rock opera the minute I left, but I suspect not. I would hope they don’t pull the same thing at their Soundscapes in-store tomorrow evening Thursday. It’s not going to sell many records.

Photos: Forest City Lovers, The D’Urbervilles, Jenny Omnichord @ The Tranzac – January 10, 2009
MP3: The D’Urbervilles – “Hot Tips”
Videos: Forest City Lovers – “Pirates”
Videos: Forest City Lovers – “Please, Don’t Go”
MySpace: Forest City Lovers

Speaking of Soundscapes in-stores, Bruce Peninsula will be following up the February 3 release of A Mountain Is A Mouth with just one of those on February 4 at 6PM. So add that to their January 31 at the Horseshoe and February 22 album release party at the Polish Combatants Hall. And if you don’t want to take my word that this outfit is worthy of your attention, how about the BBC? Yeah, people will listen to anything delivered in a posh English accent.

Bell Orchestre will release their second album As Seen Through Windows on March 10 via Arts & Crafts.

PitchforkTV has a session with AC Newman, whose Get Guilty is out next week and who plays Lee’s Palace on March 11.

Pitchfork is offering a download of the title track from Bon Iver’s new EP Blood Bank, out next Tuesday. And you can stream the whole thing at their MySpace.

MP3: Bon Iver – “Blood Bank”

Mates Of State and Black Kids. What are two of the most unlikely bands to hit the road together, and yet are? The indie-pop veterans with kids and the indie-pop upstarts who are kids will hit the road together this April and stop in at the Phoenix – a decidedly bigger room than either would play on their own – on April 10. The Mates are still promoting last year’s Re-Arrange Us and Black Kids are continuing to try and prove their debut Partie Traumatic is worth more than a pug.

MP3: Mates Of State – “My Only Offer”
Video: Mates Of State – “Get Better”
Video: Mates Of State – “My Only Offer”
Video: Black Kids – “Hurricane Jane”
Video: Black Kids – “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You”
Video: Black Kids – “Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo)”

Those looking forward to standing in crossed-arm, stony-faced judgment of “2009 next big thing” candidates Passion Pit will have to wait just a little bit longer. For reasons unknown, their January 24 show at the Horseshoe has been postponed until April 3. Refunds available at point of purchase or if the new date works for you, just hang onto your ticket. And work on your scowl. They’re currently band of the week over at Paste. Update: Gig is now at Lee’s Palace.

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Alphabetical Order

The Spinto Band / Moonwink review

So most everyone I know is referring to next Tuesday night’s show at Lee’s Palace as “the Frightened Rabbit” gig, and quite reasonably so – they released one of the year’s best records in The Midnight Organ Fight back in April and have toured North America a few times since then, but have yet to visit Toronto and also, we do love those thick Scottish accents. But as much of an attraction as they are, there’s another touring band on the bill, the one that goes on after them. What’s the word… oh yeah – the headliner.

And the lucky band that gets to follow Frightened Rabbit (and possibly see the crowd thin considerably?) is the hottest thing out of Deleware right now – Joe Biden. Okay, second-hottest – The Spinto Band, who just released a new album in Moonwink. As was established when the tour was first announced, it’s an odd pairing of acts. Frightened Rabbit trade in deadly earnest folk-rock with a particular interest in bodily fluids and listening to The Spinto Band is like mainlining pure refined sugar through your eyeballs (or eardrums), but apparently they’re quite big in Europe so there you go.

Moonwink is unrelentingly cheerful and bursting with tight harmonies, runaway off-kilter melodies and quirky instrumentation. Imagine Clap Your Hands Say Yeah overdosed on cotton candy or Of Montreal without the general batshit crazy. Moonkwink‘s unrelenting glee gets a bit exhausting, even over the record’s brief 35-minute running time, but its masterfully executed and all evidence is that the sextet put on a terrific show so if your blood sugar is within safe levels, they may offer the perfect pick-me-up to follow Frightened Rabbit.

Metro and ArtistDirect have interviews with The Spinto Band.

MP3: Spinto Band – “Summer Grof”
MySpace: The Spinto Band

The Quietus has an interview with one of Of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes’ alter-egos. As I said: batshit crazy. Skeletal Lamping is out next week, they play the Queen Elizabeth Centre on October 28, and if that show is even a fraction as insane as the New York one – though I think the venue IS next door/part of to the equestrian building at the CNE – it’s going to be ridiculous. Update: New video!

Video: Of Montreal – “Id Engager”

Spinner and LiveDaily talk to Rachael Yamagata about her new record Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart.

Pitchfork has an interview with Sigur Ros bassist Georg Holm about the making of Med sud I eyrum vid spilum endalaust, which NME points out will be re-released on November 24 with a fancy 200-page hardcover book and DVD video content and costing a pretty penny (approx $85). Gotta combat that collapsing Icelandic economy somehow, I guess.

The Globe & Mail and Canadian Press talk to Feist about the charitable aspect of her upcoming cross-Canada tour which has two dates in Toronto – November 1 at Massey Hall and November 3 at the Air Canada Centre.

JAM, The Portland Mercury and have features on Chad Van Gaalen.

Minnesota Public Radio welcomes The Magnetic Fields to their studios for a session.

Daytrotter has a downloadable session with Black Kids.

NPR is streaming Ra Ra Riot’s show in DC this past weekend in its entirety.