Posts Tagged ‘Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Lovers In The Parking Lot

Solange is coming; it’s True.

Photo By Elias TahanElias TahanThere are many routes to Solange. Some may know her because of the surname she shares with her superstar sister. Others for her thespian endeavours which so far, have peaked with the starring role in the third chapter of the competitive cheerleading saga Bring It On. And her music career – two albums since 2003 – have sold hundreds of thousands of copies, so she’s got fans there, too. But it’s her recent turns covering Dirty Projectors and collaborating with Of Montreal that have garnered her scores of new followers in the indie realm.

She only came to my attention, however, when word got out that she was working with Dev Hynes as producer and co-writer. I had originally been a bit wary of his shift from the folk/orchestral indie-rock stylings of Lightspeed Champion to the ’80s-vintage disco-soul of of Lightspeed Champion and Blood Orange, but Coastal Grooves, his debut in that guise, was so irresistibly slick and funky – and at minimal cost to his guitar heroics – that the prospect of pairing those skills with an up-and-coming soul diva such as Knowles had so much potential.

The full-length fruits of their labours is still forthcoming, but the mini-album True, released digitally last November and out physically as of yesterday, certainly shows that promise is being fulfilled. It sounds like a companion piece to Coastal Grooves in style, but the use of an actual studio rather than Hynes’ home environs and Knowles’ vocals makes it a different creature entirely – smooth and expressive while eschewing the diva excesses so typical of her peers. It’s a bit of a subtle release, but that’s also what makes it refreshing and it doesn’t take but a few listens for the hooks to sink in and once they’re in, that’s it.

With the record’s release, Solange has announced a Winter tour that brings her – and presumably Hynes, who has been in her band for past live appearances – to The Hoxton on February 22. Tickets for that – which will go fast, you best believe – are $23 and go on sale this Friday at 10AM.

The Guardian has a feature piece on how Knowles came to work with Hynes, and if you’re curious about how their styles compare, know that the closing track on True is a Blood Orange cover of a 7-inch single; you can stream the original below. Solange’s performance of “Losing You” on Jimmy Fallon last year – with Hynes at her side – is also worth watching.

Video: Solange -“Losing You”
Video: Solange – “Losing You” (live on Jimmy Fallon)
Stream: Blood Orange – “Bad Girls”

Elsewhere, Brooklyn’s lo-fi surfers Beach Fossils have made a date at The Garrison for February 27 in support of their new album Clash The Truth, out February 19. Tickets are $14.50 in advance.

MP3: Beach Fossils – “Careless”
MP3: Beach Fossils – “Shallow”

With his/their third album Dormarion due out April 2, power-pop maestro Benjamin Michael Lerner – aka Telekinesis – has slated a Spring tour that stops in at the Horseshoe on May 12; tickets $11.50. A new song is also available to stream.

Stream: Telekinesis – “Ghosts And Creatures”

Pitchfork has debuted their new advance album stream feature with Yo La Tengo’s new one Fade, out next Tuesday. They’re at The Phoenix on February 9.

Stream: Yo La Tengo / Fade

The Stool Pigeon, New York Times, Red Eye, and The 405 interview Christopher Owens, whose solo debut Lysandre is out next Tuesday and who plays The Mod Club on January 18. The Line Of Best Fit has got a stream of the album right now.

Stream: Christopher Owens / Lysandre

Ra Ra Riot are streaming another new song from Beta Love, out January 22. They play Lee’s Palace on March 6.

Stream: Ra Ra Riot – “Dance With Me”

Two weeks out from the release of Almanac, Widowspeak have made another new song available to stream. It’s out January 22.

Stream: Widowspeak – “Thick As Thieves”

Local Natives have made another track from their forthcoming Hummingbird, out January 29. They’ve got a sold-out show at The Opera House on March 28.

MP3: Local Natives – “Heavy Feet”

Rolling Stone has some words with Jim James as well as a new stream from his forthcoming solo record Regions Of Sound & Light Of God, out February 5.

Stream: Jim James – “A New Life”

Spin talks to Caitlin Rose about expanding her country horizons on her second album The Stand-In, due out February 25, and the Arctic Monkeys cover that’s part of that. Watch the video for that one below, and see her at The Garrison on April 5.

Video: Caitlin Rose – “Piledriver Waltz”

The 405 has details on the new album from Brooklyn’s The Men, as well as a stream of a new song. Yes, its’ face-ripping. The album is called New Moon and is due out March 5.

Stream: The Men – “Electric”

Apparently that first taste in December of Low’s forthcoming The Invisible Way was unofficial because this new stream is being called the first official release from their new record, out March 19. They also just announced a live date at The Great Hall on March 16.

Stream: Low – “Just Make It Stop”

Rolling Stone talks to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club frontman Robert Been about writing and recording their new album, still untitled but due out this March, in the wake of his father’s sudden death in 2010. Update: Turns out it does have a name, as well as release date: Specter At The Feast is out March 18.

Spinner talks to John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

NYC Taper has a recording of Titus Andronicus’ set opening up for one of the Yo La Tengo Hannukah shows last December.

Friday, June 4th, 2010

My Gap Feels Weird

Superchunk set date for return

Photo via @superchunkband@superchunkbandThough they’d insisted since touring for 2001’s Here’s To Shutting Up wrapped up that Superchunk weren’t finished but just taking a break, for most of this century the evidence was rather to the contrary. There was the attic-clearing compilation, video retrospective and series of live documents – not typically signs of an active band. Mac McCaughan became exceedingly prolific with Portastatic, Jon Wurster became full-time sticksman for The Mountain Goats and comedian and the label that McCaughan and Laura Ballance started back in 1989 started putting out some records that proved to be rather successful in certain circles.

Sporadic one-off live shows kept the flame alive but it wasn’t until last Spring when the Leaves In The Gutter EP arrived that the notion of Superchunk as an ongoing proposition begane to feel very real. And while it wasn’t an immediate precursor to a new full-length, Superchunk have finally put a date to the release of their ninth album and first in nine years – Majesty Shredding will be released on September 14 and the world will be a better place for it. Pitchfork has the salient details such as track listing and album art and a handful of Fall tour dates which do not, at present include anything north of the border. This is slightly less of an imperative for me as I finally got to see Superchunk live back at SxSW – a short set but one that completely affirmed that the ‘Chunk could still rock and pogo with the best of them – but I would still love to see them in a proper setting with a full set.

To be fair though, the band have put in more than their share of time on the road over the years and it’s not their fault i missed them all – if a visit to Toronto isn’t in the works then I will happily make do with playing the new album to death. And until that comes out, there’s this teaser video previewing some of the songs and showing scenes from the making of the record. And since you can only loop a one-minute video so many times before going batty, there’s last year’s comeback EP to enjoy. And oh yeah, a decade plus’ worth of albums and singles before that. Ohhhh Superchunk, welcome back.

MP3: Superchunk – “Misfits & Mistakes”
Stream: Superchunk / Leaves In The Gutter

The Toronto Star, eye and NOW prepare to welcome The National to town for their two shows at Massey Hall next week, June 8 and 9.

The Antlers, opening up both of those National shows, turn in a Black Cab Session. CMU also has an interview.

Spinner talks to Joe Pernice about the new Goodbye, Killer, due out June 15.

Clash talks to Robert Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

The new Christina Hendricks-powered video from Broken Bells is now available to watch. There’s an interview with James Mercer at The Boston Globe.

Video: Broken Bells – “The Ghost Inside”

Both The Dodos and Pixies are giving away live (digital) records on their websites in exchange for your email. The Dodos are at the Sound Academy on June 15 opening up for The New Pornographers; Pixies are not.

The Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post talk to Ben Bridwell and Liverpool Echo to Tyler Ramsey of Band Of Horses, who’ve just released a new video from Infinite Arms. They’re playing the Toronto Island Concert on June 19.

Video: Band Of Horses – “For Annabelle”

Carissa’s Weird, the Seattle band from whose ashes rose Band Of Horses, Grand Archives, Sera Cahoone amongst others, is releasing a retrospective collection entitled They Only Miss You When You Leave: Songs 1996-2003 on July 13.

MP3: Carissa’s Weird – “Die”

Phantogram return to town for a show at Wrongbar on July 8, tickets $14.50 in advance. You may wonder how good a two-piece electro-rock band could be live, and the answer is very good. Donewaiting is hosting a video session with the band, if you need more convincing.

MP3: Phantogram – “When I’m Small”
Video: Phantogram – “Mouthful Of Diamonds”

NYC Taper is sharing a live recording of The Depreciation Guild.

Four Tet will hit the road this Fall in support of new record There Is Love In You and stop in at the Mod Club on October 20.

The Music Slut asks eight questions of Mogwai’s Barry Burns. Their Burning/Special Moves live DVD and CD will be out on August 24.

Bandstand Busking invites The Twilight Sad to play one of their bandstand sessions. The Twilight Sad agree. The Washington Examiner and Nashville Scene also have interviews.

The Scenestar talks to Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison.

To all who asked – presale tickets for Belle & Sebastian’s October 12 show at Massey Hall will go on sale at 10AM next Wednesday, June 9 – password/instructions will be posted at Prices range from $57.50 for premium floors/balcony to $47.50 for rear floors and centre gallery to $39.50 for side gallery, plus fees.

For Folk’s Sake and Gigwise interview Johnny Flynn about his new record Been Listening, out June 7.

Interview gets to know Peggy Sue. Their debut full-length Fossils & Other Phantoms came out this week and they’re at Sneaky Dee’s on June 13 to support.

Kate Nash has released a new video from My Best Friend Is You.

Video: Kate Nash – “Kiss That Grrrl”

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Richard Hawley, whose False Lights From The Land EP is out next week.

Kele talks to BBC about going solo with The Boxer, out June 21. He’s at the Mod Club on July 29.

The Phoenix has an extensive feature on Robyn Hitchcock, who has two intimate shows at the Drake Underground next week on June 11 and 12.

Paul McCartney – yeah, THAT guy – will be at the Air Canada Centre on August 8. Tickets will cost far too much yet still be easily rationalized.

And while pretty much obvious what with the radio silence all the way into June, it’s been made official that Virgin Festival Canada is taking 2010 off to regroup and hopefully come back next year.

Friday, April 9th, 2010

The Big To-Do

Drive-By Truckers and Langhorne Slim at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThe word around The Big To-Do – the latest album from Drive-By Truckers – is that it’s the band’s best since their generally-acknowledged high-water mark, Southern Rock Opera. I have trouble subscribing to this because in my mind, that double-album opus is head, shoulders and torso above anything else the band has done not just because it kicks ass, but because of the ambition, concept and scope behind it, and the Truckers have had the good sense to not even try to top it on its terms. It simply stands alone.

But it is true that The Big To-Do deserves to be celebrated as the Truckers’ most solid effort in a while. It achieves that distinction largely by being the most up and consistently rocking of their records in recent memory, but particularly when compared to 2008’s Brighter Than Creation’s Dark. That record was the sound of the band finding its feet after the departure of one third of their songwriters in Jason Isbell, and having found steady footing (and another guitarist in John Neff and a capable singer/songwriter in bassist Shonna Tucker), The Big To-Do has them again moving forward, pedal to the metal.

That trajectory brought the band to Toronto for the better part of this week for two nights at Lee’s Palace (as well as an in-store performance). My general philosophy towards multi-night stands is that given the choices, the closing show is the one to hit and so it was that I piled into the hot and sweaty room with hundreds of other rowdy Truckers fans – is there any other kind? – this past Wednesday night. Pennsylvania’s Langhorne Slim was tapped to open both nights and was exceptional in the warm-up role, leading his band through a set of energetic country-blues that offered both solid tunes and exceptional showmanship and striking the right balance between acting out and staying cool.

Just to get it out of the way, there is no such thing as a bad Drive-By Trucker show. Road warriors and rock monsters both, I think it’s physically impossible for them to not give their all every time they set foot on a stage. That said, not all evenings are equal and as good as this show was, it didn’t quite measure up to the last couple times I’d seen them – their Rock’N’Roll Means Well tour with The Hold Steady in November 2008 made for a uniquely epic double bill, but it was their October 2006 show at the Phoenix that set the standard for what a Truckers show should be, clocking in at two and a half hours of reckless abandon and with Isbell still in the band.

This time out they leaned even heavier on the new material than I’d expected with 11 of The Big To-Do‘s 14 tracks showcased and the Isbell era – which includes most of my favourite Truckers tunes – completely ignored save for two numbers from Decoration Day. I’d also go so far as to say that they didn’t quite get up to the same musical velocity that I’d seen them achieve before, instead settling into a slightly lower cruising altitude than expected for the two-plus hours.

Even so, as I said earlier, there’s no such thing as a bad Truckers show and this wasn’t anything like a bad Truckers show. I’d never expected to see them in such cozy quarters again, and that extra degree of intimacy ensured that regardless of anything else, it would be a memorable show. The two-night engagement allowed the band to make themselves at home a little bit more than they normally would, with the stage decked out in their signature Wes Freed artwork including a giant marching band bass drum with “Drive-By Truckers” emblazoned across it behind Brad Morgan’s drum kit. There was plenty of sweat and guitar solos, and both Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley were in fine voice throughout, though only half of Tucker’s leads sounded great; “Home Field Advantage” didn’t work out too well thanks to either forgotten lyrics, a poor mix or some combination thereof. They capped things off with a raging cover of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World”, being maybe the only band today who can still play that song and elicit fist pumps rather than eye rolls. No, it wasn’t the longest or most intense Truckers show I’d ever seen, but it was still a hell of a thing. Let there be rock.

Photos: Drive-By Truckers, Langhorne Slim @ Lee’s Palace – April 7, 2010
MP3: Drive-By Truckers – “This Fucking Job”
MP3: Drive-By Truckers – “Birthday Boy”
MP3: Drive-By Truckers – “Zip City”
MP3: Langhorne Slim – “I Love You But Goodbye”
Video: Drive-By Truckers – “Never Gonna Change”
Video: Langhorne Slim – “Be Set Free”
Video: Langhorne Slim – “Restless”
Video: Langhorne Slim – “In The Midnight”
Video: Langhorne Slim – “Rebel Side Of Heaven”
MySpace: Drive-By Truckers
MySpace: Langhorne Slim

Seattle Weekly talks to Britt Daniel of Spoon.

Aversion and eye have interviews and MPR a session with Titus Andronicus, in town to do some damage to Sneaky Dee’s tonight.

Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan talks to Spinner about the band’s first new album in almost a decade, due out sometime this year.

Philadelphia Weekly interviews Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, in town on Sunday for a 4PM 3PM in-store at Sunrise records and a show at the Phoenix later that evening. Note that there are no openers so BRMC go on at 8PM sharp.

PopMatters has a feature on The Antlers, in town opening up for The National at Massey Hall on June 8 and 9.

MPR is streaming a session with Beach House, while The San Jose Mercury News has an interview; they play the Toronto Island Concert on June 19.

Pitchfork has details on the forthcoming Mates Of State covers record Crushes (The Covers Mixtape), due out this Summer – head over to their website to download their version of Girls’ “Laura”.

Spinner gets a look at Phantogram’s secret subterranean headquarters.

Aquarium Drunkard is sharing the audio of a session with Miles Kurosky.

Under The Radar gets to know John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

MOG chats with Broken Bells’ James Mercer. They’ll be at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on June 2.

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

CONTEST – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club @ The Phoenix – April 11, 2010

Photo By Tessa AngusTessa AngusWhen Black Rebel Motorcycle Club first surfaced nigh on a decade ago (egads), they were both hailed as garage/psych-rock revivalists clad in scowls and black leather jackets and dismissed as, well, garage-psych-rock revivalists clad in scowls and black leather jackets. They’ve since managed to forge a respectable career that’s taken them from the the aforementioned drone rock to stripped down, acoustic blues-country and back again while losing members, regaining members and losing them again (all of the above referring to founding and now departed drummer Nick Jago).

Their latest album Beat The Devil’s Tattoo – their first with new permanent drummer Leah Shapiro – is perhaps their most realized effort in fusing their amplified and acoustic sides, featuring plenty of volume and riffage but some bluesy swagger injected into their big rock sound, more dynamics across the breadth of the album and improved songwriting of the sort that only comes when you realize you can’t hide always behind a distortion pedal or ten.

Through all the changes the band’s gone through, their fans have remained steadfast – so much so that when their show at the Phoenix this past Thursday sold out, they had to add a second date a week and a half later at the same venue – they’re back next Sunday, April 11 – and that one’s almost sold out as well. Tickets are $25 in advance, but courtesy of LiveNation, I’ve got three pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to join the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, April 7.

And if that’s two shows in a fortnight isn’t enough Black Rebel for you, the band have announced they’re playing an in-store – presumably acoustic – at the Sunrise Records at Yonge and Dundas the afternoon of April 11 at 4PM. Obviously getting there early is advisable.

The Aquarian and News Of The World have interviews with BRMC.

MP3: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Beat The Devil’s Tattoo”
Video: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – “Beat The Devil’s Tattoo”

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Dream About Me

The Depreciation Guild announces second album

Photo By Josh EustisJosh EustisHaving quite successfully reaped the benefits of the “give it all away for free” ethos with their debut album In Her Gentle Jaws, given away as a free download from their website starting in late 2007 before making available for sale on CD and vinyl late last year, Brooklyn synth-rockers The Depreciation Guild have announced plans to release their sophomore effort Spirit Youth on May 18, presumably in “yeah you have to pay for that” physical form from the get go.

If it’s anything like In Her Gentle Jaws, though, it’ll be worth the price of admission – the debut was a splendid bit of dreampop whose Nintendo/Famicom-powered 8-bit aesthetic was so much more than a gimmick. It’s not clear if “Dream About Me”, the single released last Fall, will appear on the album but assuming it’s a reasonable barometer of where the band are now, they seem to be favouring a more organic, guitar-based approach – perhaps not surprising since a goodly amount of time and touring has elapsed since the debut was recorded. The blissful pop sensibilities remain, however, even if the wonderful Mario-gaze textures are dialed down, so I remain keen to hear the new record, regardless of what toys or technology went into its creation.

In advance of the record’s release, The Depreciation Guild are hitting the road supporting Serena-Maneesh, including their April 2 date at The Great Hall in Toronto. Spinner has an interview with the band.

MP3: The Depreciation Guild – “Dream About Me”
Video: The Depreciation Guild – “Dream About Me”

Hey Interpol fans – how badly do you want to see them live again? Enough to shell out to see them open up for U2 on their Summer tour, including the July 3 Toronto date at the Rogers Centre? Really? Wow.

And people must really be missing themselves some Strokes – demand for the April 2 Julian Casablancas show has been such that it has been moved from the Phoenix to the Kool Haus.

The Hold Steady have announced that they’ll release their fifth studio album entitled Heaven Is Whenever on May 4. Recorded without recently-departed Franz Nicolay, it promises to be more guitar-heavy than their last few albums. Check out the official press release for some quotes from Craig Finn and Tad Kubler about what to expect from the new record.

Stuff New Zealand talks to kiwi emigre Dean Wareham.

Exclaim checks in with Ted Leo, who will release The Brutalist Bricks come March 9.

Sonic Scoop interviews producer Phil Palazzolo about how work is progressing on Nicole Atkins’ new album.

Nada Surf have released the first MP3 from their forthcoming covers album, if i had a hi-fi, which will go on regular sale June 8, after being available during their on Spring tour which begins March 25 and hits Lee’s Palace on March 29.

MP3: Nada Surf – “Electrocution”

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Holly Miranda.

NPR is currently streaming the whole of Joanna Newsom’s new triple album Have One On Me – all two hours of it. I picked up the triple vinyl yesterday, but don’t know if/how I’ll absorb it in time for the March 13 show at The Phoenix. Hell, I don’t think I’ve fully processed her first two records. And if you were wondering, Vetiver guitarist Kevin Barker will be opening that show up.

Stream: Joanna Newsom / Have One On Me

NPR has a World Cafe session with Fruit Bats, slated to play the Horseshoe on March 24. A Daytrotter session with the band just went up a couple days ago as well.

RCRDLBL has got an MP3 from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s forthcoming Beat The Devil’s Tattoo, out March 9, available to download. Colorado Springs Independent also has a quick interview. They’ve got two local shows coming up – April 1 and April 11, both at The Phoenix.

There’s also a track available from The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s new album Who Killed Sgt. Pepper?, for which they’ll be appearing at the Phoenix on June 2.

MP3: The Brian Jonestown Massacre – “Let’s Go Fucking Mental”

Girls are giving away a b-side to their new single “Morning Light”, a cover of Skeeter Davis’ “End Of The World”. They’re at The Phoenix on April 9.

MP3: Girls – “End Of The World”

Wayne Coyne talks to Spin about the origins of The Flaming Lips’ name. As Summer tour dates in support of Embryonic trickle out without anything up here in the 416, I wonder if they think Toronto has forgotten they’ve yet to make good on their promise to make up their aborted V Fest 2006 appearance. Because, y’know, we haven’t.

eMusic talks to Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater, who recorded an Interface session for Spinner. They are in town for a show at Lee’s Palace on April 1. Update: The Interface session seems to be an old one, circa Rook… but still great.

Blurt talks to Midlake leader Tim Smith. They’re at the Mod Club on May 21.

AZCentral talks about the album format, Spoon, the vinyl resurgence and Record Store Day (April 17 write it down) in no particular order. Or in that specific order.

The Daily Herald profiles Justin Townes Earle, in town at the Horseshoe on March 1. The giveaway for passes to the show ends tonight!