Posts Tagged ‘Blonde Redhead’

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Here Here

Islands, island festivals, theatre festivals, etc, etc.

Photo By Todd WeaverTodd WeaverHere are some things I didn’t know about Islands. That though their history is pretty firmly tied to the early aughts Montreal scene that spawned The Unicorns and from whose ashes the first of many incarnations of the band were based, Wikipedia now says they’re based in Los Angeles. Of course, this is probably based on the fact that where Nick Thorburn, the only constant in the band since its inception, lays his hat is where they’re based, and circa their last record – last year’s A Sleep & A Forgetting – Thorburn was indeed working out of the city of angels. I also didn’t know that Evan and Geordie Gordon, principals of Guelph’s disco-tastic The Magic, had been members since 2009. Who knew?

But what I do know is that the stylistically eclectic pop outfit already have a new record ready to go, that they’ve called it Ski Mask, that it’s about being angry – the next logical step from Forgetting‘s prevailing themes of heartbreak, I guess – and that it will be out on September 17, and the first sample from it is available to stream below. Also confirmed is a North American tour that brings them to The Garrison in Toronto on October 10 for a ticket price of $12.50. And if you don’t believe me, consult Pitchfork – surely they’re a reliable source?

Stream: Islands – “Wave Forms”

While there’s no local Two Hours Traffic show per se, the band will be in the area to play Hillside over in Guelph and so are throwing their local fans a bone by playing a free in-store at Sonic Boom’s Annex location on July 27 at 5PM.

MP3: Two Hours Traffic – “Territory”

Summerworks added a musical component to their established theatre festival starting back in 2008, and while the showcase they provided to many of the area’s local on-the-verge talents was a great one – The Rural Alberta Advantage, Diamond Rings, Evening Hymns, the aforementioned Magic, Miracle Fortress, Hooded Fang, and Hidden Cameras to name but a few – they’ve only in the last couple years begun realizing the potential of really connecting the musical acts with their theatre roots. With this year’s programme, it seems they’ve finally figured out a way to make the music series really distinct and have enlisted The Wooden Sky, Snowblink, The Bicycles, and Maylee Todd to participate in some unique collaborations with other multi-disciplinary artists, and really, it’s just easier if you go and read about them than me try to explain. Oh, and there’s also more conventional live music performances at the Performance Bar. Summerworks runs August 8 to 18 in and around the Lower Ossington Theatre and Great Hall; tickets for the musical series shows will be $15 a piece.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”
MP3: Snowblink – “Unsurfed Waves”
Video: Maylee Todd – “Baby’s Got It”
Video: The Bicycles – “Nap Trap”

It’s unfortunate that Summerworks overlaps the fifth and final ALL CAPS! festival taking place at Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Islands the weekend of August 10 and 11 because they’re really catering to the same audience. In fact, Summerworks alumnis Hooded Fang were just added to the lineup, along with Magneta Lane. Torontoist talked festival organizers at Wavelength about why they’re calling it after five years and what will come next.

Video: Hooded Fang – “Bye Bye Land”
Video: Magneta Lane – “Lady Bones”

You may recall at the end of last Summer, I decamped to the wilds of northern Quebec for Festival de music émergent, a fun and fascinating little festival in the town of Rouyn-Noranda. They’ve just announced this year’s lineup, and while it’s not the Feist-Godspeed! one-two punch they got for their tenth anniversary, it’s a solidly trippy bill headlined by Montreal space-cadets The Besnard Lakes, New York art-rockers Blonde Redhead, and Quebec prog-metal legends Voivod, amongst many others of both Francophone and Anglophone persuasion. It’s off the beaten path, to be sure, but it’s a unique experience if you’re looking for something along those lines for the Labour Day long weekend. And if the music isn’t enough to persuade you, the words 24-hour poutinerie might. Exclaim has more details on this year’s FME, as the locals call it.

MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Missile++”
MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “People Of The Sticks”

Somewhat closer to home, local emergent synth-pop heroes Diana have scheduled a hometown record release show for their debut album Perpetual Surrender; the record is out August 20, they’re at The Great Hall on September 26, and there’s a brand-new video from said record to win your hearts and minds and eyeballs.

MP3: Diana – “Born Again”
Video: Diana – “Perpetual Surrender”

Remember when The Weeknd was all shy and would play shows or give interviews and stuff? Well no more. With his first proper – as in you pay for it – album due out this fall in Kiss Land, Abel Tesfaye has booked not one, not two, but three nights at Massey Hall to sing you some songs. He’s there on October 17, 19, and 20 and tickets run from $45 to $75 in advance. A video for the title track of the new record was released earlier this Summer.

MP3: The Weeknd – “Wicked Games”
Video: The Weeknd – “Kiss Land”

Kat Burns of Kashka – and formerly of Forest City Lovers – talks to NOW about her new identity and direction. She plays Harbourfront’s Soundclash festival this Saturday afternoon, July 13, at 1:30PM; that’s free.

Exclaim has premiered the new video from Louise Burns’ just-released new record The Midnight Mass; she talked a bit to Ion Magazine about making the clip.

Video: Louise Burns – “Emeralds Shatter”

The Effects Bay gets a look at Jimmy Shaw’s pedalboard with Metric, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Monday, July 8th, 2013

CONTEST – Blonde Redhead @ The Adelaide Music Hall – July 15, 2013

Photo By Pier Nicola D'AmicoPier Nicola D’AmicoWho: Blonde Redhead
What: New York-based, Italo-Japanese art rock trio who’ve evolved from dissonant noise to ethereal beauty over eight albums and 18 years.
Why: Last here in Fall 2010 behind Penny Sparkle, the band won’t have a new full-length out until next Spring but that’s no reason they can’t get out of the studio and stretch their legs a bit.
When: Monday, July 15, 2013
Where: The Adelaide Music Hall in Toronto (19+)
Who else: Toronto’s Darcys have been named as support.
How: Tickets for the show are $22.50 in advance but courtesy of Young Lions Music Club and MRG Concerts, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. There’s two ways to enter – if you’re an Rdio user, you can add your favourite BR tune to the YLMC-assembled playlist to enter, and if you’re not, you can email me at contests AT with “I want to see Blonde Redhead” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Enter both, if you like; the contest closes at midnight, July 13.

MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Here Sometimes”
MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Misery Is A Butterfly”

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Give Up

The Postal Service and Mates Of State at The Air Canada Centre in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThough generally referred to as a reunion, the return this year of The Postal Service to active duty is unlike most others in that it’s to mark a very specific occasion – the 10th anniversary and reissue of their only album Give Up – and comes with absolutely no promise or expectation of carrying on after the occasion is past. And as much as people might think they want a second Postal Service record, I suspect that the truth is they don’t.

Much of the magic of Give Up is that it exists as a single specific point in space and time, and not just as the album where indie, emo, and electronica converged and created a template for countless artists to follow. It’s also special because it was the soundtrack for so many lives in 2003, and by not releasing a follow-up or even having The Postal Service really exist outside of the recordings, remained a snapshot of a moment trapped in amber. No one grew up with this band, or risked being disappointed by a subsequent effort that didn’t make them feel the way Give Up did. And by that same token, it’s a safe bet that no one who piled into the Air Canada Centre a decade later to finally hear these songs played live were remotely the same person they were when they fell in love with the band. And yet they came – not in nearly enough number to fill the theatre-configured arena, but enough to create a time-warped sense of community fuelled by excitement and nostalgia.

It would have been pretty funny and entertaining had Toronto drawn the Big Freedia card in the opening band rotation – the looks on passers by’s faces as they were introduced to the Sissy Bounce when she played Yonge-Dundas at NXNE 2010 is a fond memory – but I was more than happy to get Mates Of State’s first date of the tour. I hadn’t seen them since they kicked off Virgin Fest 2009, and while it’s unfortunate that there were about as many people on hand to see them this time as then – which is to say not a lot – they still put on a wholly enjoyable set, at least after getting over the shock of them playing as a four-piece, though there’s no denying that the extra dimension added by the supporting keys and guitar sounded nice, particularly the trumpet on “Rearrange Us” and “My Only Offer”. But the heart of Mates Of State remain Kori Gardner and Jason Hammell’s keys-and-drums-and-harmonies-and-adorableness, and though their recent work isn’t quite as sugar-giddy as the early stuff, it’s still got plenty of sweetness and remains delightful. I mean, how can you not love banter like, “That’s Kori, isn’t she hot?”. You can’t.

Given that The Postal Service didn’t even record Give Up as a proper band – their name refers to how Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello traded musical ideas via physical DAT – getting a guy on a laptop and another on guitar to translate live in as large a venue as an arena was surely no small task. So to fill things out, they promoted Jenny Lewis from backing vocalist to almost co-frontperson with guitar and keyboard duties, and enlisted Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds on glock and vox – certainly a fine ensemble, augmented by an acoustic drum kit on the stage for those moments when canned beats just wouldn’t do. And as to the problem of having only two sides of material to draw from, they naturally played the whole of Give Up, opening with “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”, as well as the four new/unreleased tracks from the anniversary edition, a Beat Happening cover, and the proto-Postal Dntel track “(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan” – making for a respectable-length set, all things considered.

So that was the what it was; what about the how it was? In all, pretty good. They certainly did all they could to make it a visually engaging show, with Gibbard dipping into his Death Cab dance moves, Lewis strutting around like she owned the stage – and really, she did, in front of some slickly-lit stage sets and glowing backdrops. And even though he was restricted to his podium at the back of the stage dropping beats, Tamborello got to contribute vocals to “Sleeping In” – not great vocals, but whatever – and again Daft Punk vocoder-styled at the end of “Recycled Air”. The showiness of the performance worked on the upbeat numbers, but for my personal Give Up high point – the Ben Gibbard-Jen Wood duet “Nothing Better” – it felt to its detriment and out of character. On record, the singalong melody belies the dark sentiments of the lyrics, and the whole feels like a incredibly personal conversation you can’t help be eavesdrop in. Live though, with Lewis’ big sassy vocals in place of Wood’s weary originals, it felt more like a work of broad theatre rather than the intimate moment it should have been. This may be my complaint alone, but there it is.

Still, one down point amongst many high points isn’t bad at all. High points like Lewis’ big rock guitar solo to close out “This Place Is A Prison”, the nearly-deafening shoegaze treatment of “Natural Anthem” to close out the main set, the being reminded that the simple guitar line in “Such Great Heights” may well be one of the riffs of the century so far. By the time the show’s hour and fifteen running time was up, it was clear that this wasn’t a reunion meant to help you recapture your youth, or wherever you were in 2003 the first time you first heard “District” or “Heights”; it was intended to celebrate where you’ve gone in the ten years that have followed. Not for nothing, I think, was “Brand New Colony” the show closer and the final lyrics uttered, “Everything will change”. Because you can’t go back, but you can remember.

The Toronto Star, Huffington Post, and Exclaim also have reviews of the show, and The Toronto Star also has a show previewing interview.

Photos: The Postal Service, Mates Of State @ The Air Canada Centre – June 11, 2013
MP3: The Postal Service – “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”
MP3: The Postal Service – “Such Great Heights”
MP3: Dntel – “(This Is) The Dream Of Evan And Chan”
MP3: Mates Of State – “Palomino”
MP3: Mates Of State – “Maracas”
MP3: Mates Of State – “My Only Offer”
MP3: Mates Of State – “Think Long”
MP3: Mates Of State – “Hoarding It For Home”
Video: The Postal Service – “Against All Odds”
Video: The Postal Service – “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”
Video: The Postal Service – “Such Great Heights”
Video: The Postal Service – “We Will Become Silhouettes”
Video: Mates Of State – “Unless I’m Led”
Video: Mates Of State – “Palomino”
Video: Mates Of State – “Sway”
Video: Mates Of State – “Maracas”
Video: Mates Of State – “True Love Will Find You In The End”
Video: Mates Of State – “I Am A Scientist”
Video: Mates Of State – “My Only Offer”
Video: Mates Of State – “Get Better”
Video: Mates Of State – “Like U Crazy”
Video: Mates Of State – “Fraud In The 80s”
Video: Mates Of State – “Goods (All In Your Head)”
Video: Mates Of State – “Fluke”
Video: Mates Of State – “Gotta Get A Problem”

NPR has an interview and a Tiny Desk Concert with The National, who are at Yonge-Dundas Square for a free show tomorrow night, June 14. The Globe & Mail also has an interview with Matt Berninger.

Nylon is streaming Beach Day’s debut album Trip Trap Attack ahead of its release next Tuesday. As mentioned earlier this week, Beach Day are all over NXNE, playing Urban Outfitters Friday afternoon at 2, Handlebar Saturday night at 11, and a Kops instore Sunday at 6:30.

Stream: Beach Day / Trip Trap Attack

Kurt Vile has released a new video from Wakin’ On A Pretty Daze. He and his Violators play the final day of TURF at Garrison Common on July 4.

Video: Kurt Vile – “KV Crimes”

Neko Case has confirmed details of her new new album The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, due out September 3. The first M Ward-powered taste is available to stream, there’s a sweet trailer to watch, and further details can be had at Pitchfork. She also plays the Toronto Urban Roots Fest at Garrison Common on July 4.

Stream: Neko Case – “Man”
Trailer: Neko Case / The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You

The Village Voice talks to Yo La Tengo about the imminent closing of their Hoboken home away from home, Maxwell’s; The Province and Denver Post also have features. They’re here for TURF on July 4 as well.

PopMatters and NPR talk to Jason Isbell, in town at Lee’s Palace on August 2.

Beatroute has a quick word with Superchunk, whose new record I Hate Music is out August 20.

Stereogum has a video session with Wild Nothing. They open up for Local Natives at The Kool Haus on September 21.

Billboard gets some more info from Janelle Monáe about her new album The Electric Lady, coming in September.

Tiny Mix Tapes has an interview with Charles Bradley.

Dungeonesse have a new video from Dungeonesse; it is not called “Dungeonesse”.

Video: Dungeonesse – “Nightlight”

Sharon Van Etten has released a stream of a new old song, originally released as part of a compilation CD for Esopus magazine in 2010.

Stream: Sharon Van Etten – “Esao Andrews”

Tiny Mix Tapes gets to know Caitlin Rose.

The National Post talks NXNE with Calexico; they were here last night.

And a couple noteworthy show announcements that missed yesterday’s cutoff – first, Blonde Redhead may not have the follow-up to 2010’s Penny Sparkle ready for release until early 2014, but they’re still doing some touring this year. They’ll be at The Adelaide Music Hall on July 15, tickets $22.50 in advance.

MP3: Blonde Redhead – “Here Sometimes”

And also, Riot Fest announced their 2013 lineup last night, and it’s a doozy. We’ll ignore the August 24 acts for the moment because I have no idea who any of them are, but Sunday, August 25 will be headlined by the first Replacements show in 22 years. That’s right – Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson back together again as The Mats. And if that wasn’t worth your $50 ticket, the lineup ALSO includes Iggy & The Stooges, The Weakerthans, Rocket From The Crypt, Dinosaur Jr, Best Coast, and more. That goes down at, of course, Garrison Common. The Replacements, people. The Replacements.

MP3: The Weakerthans – “Night Windows”
MP3: Dinosaur Jr – “Freak Scene”
Video: The Replacements – “Bastards Of Young”
Video: Iggy & The Stooges – “Search & Destroy”
Video: Rocket From The Crypt – “On A Rope”
Video: Best Coast – “When I’m With You”

Monday, June 20th, 2011

NXNE 2011 Day One

The Postelles, Suuns, Lower Dens and more at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWhy yes, it was NXNE this past weekend in our fair city of Toronto. And yes, I was out partaking in the festivities, even going so far as to participate in some Wednesday night programming in camping out at The Garrison, which was hosting a nicely random bill of acts.

Opening things up was Pat Jordache, previously known for his associations with tUnE-yArDs and Sister Suvi but now looking to establish his own (pseudo)name with his debut album Future Songs. Those coming to them from the aforementioned connections weren’t lost, however, as there were echoes of Merril Garbus’ breakout project in some of their Afro-beat rhythms and Pat Gregoire’s affected baritone vocals but to my ears, Jordache and company sounded more comfortable in a more conventional, New Wave rock mode. And while it’s getting a bit common, it’s hard to argue with the impact that double drummers have on a live performance – when they’re as lockstep as Jordache’s were, it’s immensely powerful.

Photos: Pat Jordache @ The Garrison – June 15, 2011
MP3: Pat Jordache – “Phantom Limb”
Video: Pat Jordache – “Phantom Limb”

The fact that Baltimore’s Lower Dens was going to be playing was one of the main motivating factors in getting out of the house; I’d seen them at SXSW but that was a particularly short set and my affection for their debut Twin Hand Movement had only grown in the interim. So that they were disappointing was, well, disappointing. It was partly their fault and partly not, the latter because the mix was so loud and bass-heavy that the mind-bending, fuzz-laden intricacies of their on-record arrangements, which represented so much of their appeal, were frustratingly obscured and the former because, well, the PA didn’t force them to just meander through their material and look disinterested in the process. There were moments of clarity where they either pulled it together or the sonic murk cleared up or both and then, the results were impressive, but when someone asked later if they should see Lower Dens’ show at Lee’s the next night, all I could honestly answer was, “no, but do pick up the record”.

Photos: Lower Dens @ The Garrison – June 15, 2011
MP3: Lower Dens – “Tea Lights”
MP3: Lower Dens – “Hospice Gates”

If you’d seen my face upon learning that The Postelles’ just-released self-titled debut was produced by Albert Hammond Jr of The Strokes, you may well have been impressed by the complete lack of surprise in my expression. Because if you were to describe The Postelles’ sound in one word, it’d be “Strokes”. If you were allowed a whole sentence, it’d be along the lines of “The Strokes in the ’50s”. Reductive, sure, but also true. The New York quartet has that same dry, too cool aesthetic but rather than poach the ’70s punk scene for their influences, they seek to invoke the era of Elvis and Buddy, though made louder and slicker for modern audiences. And by and large it worked, as their set was fun and high energy but by bringing little new to the table, they also felt disposable even after hearing their material just once. Spinner has an interview with the band.

Photos: The Postelles @ The Garrison – June 15, 2011
MP3: The Postelles – “123 Stop”
MP3: The Postelles – “Hold On”
Video: The Postelles – “Sleep On The Dance Floor”
Video: The Postelles – “White Night”

Montreal’s Suuns weren’t the last band on the bill but they were the final act of my evening’s programme, and a wholly satisfying one at that. I’ve been keeping tabs on the outfit since they went by Zeroes and checked in last Fall, just before the release of their debut Zeroes QC and if possible, they’ve increased the amount of tension and intensity quotient of their distinctive electro-post-punk sound. Frontman Ben Shemi still looks like he’s in some kind of intestinal distress whenever he steps up to the mic and his tightly-wound vocals back that diagnosis up, but overtop his band’s throbbing, insistent analog pulse it’s a brooding yet heady stew of sounds.

Photos: Suuns @ The Garrison – June 15, 2011
MP3: Suuns – “Up Past The Nursery”
MP3: Suuns – “Arena”
Video: Suuns – “Pie IX”
Video: Suuns – “Up Past The Nursery”

Finally some good news on the Wild Flag front; two bits, actually. In addition to announcing a September 13 release date for their self-titled debut, a Merge release announced a Fall tour that included an October 11 date at Lee’s Palace. I had the pleasure of catching them at SXSW and you better believe that the rock will be brought.

MP3: Wild Flag – “Glass Tambourine”

Uptown profiles Blonde Redhead.

The Antlers have released a new video from Burst Apart.

Video: The Antlers – “Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out”

Aquarium Drunkard talks to The Rosebuds, in town at the Sound Academy on August 9 opening up for Bon Iver. They’ve also got a new video from Loud Planes Fly Low.

Video: The Rosebuds – “Woods”

Clash talks to Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, whose new jam Bon Iver, Bon Iver is officially out tomorrow.

NPR and Daytrotter have sessions with The Head & The Heart.

MTV reports that Janelle Monae is ready to get to work on her second full-length album.

The Guardian profiles Brassland Records, co-founded by the Dessner twins of The National, on the occasion of its 10th anniversary.

John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats walks The Atlantic through an early draft of the song, “Dance Music”.

Friday, November 19th, 2010


Memoryhouse finally done seeing the world, schedule dates at home

Photo via MyspaceMyspaceFor the better part of the year, I’ve been hearing about this Guelph duo Memoryhouse – another entrant in the increasingly fashionable he-she duo band configuration sweepstakes – and while I liked what I heard in passing of their hazy, languorous dream-pop, I figured I’d pay more attention around the next time they scheduled a local show. After all, they’re from Guelph. That’s like right over there.

And yet any time I saw tour dates posted throughout the year, they’d be touring and gathering accolades in far-flung places in Europe or around the US, never close to home. The closest they seemed to get was the Wolfe Island Music Festival in Kingston in August, and that wasn’t in the cards so I’ve waited. And waited. Not impatiently, mind you – I’m still in the curious stage more than anything else – but I’m still pleased to see that they’ve finally set a couple of live dates in and around Toronto before the year is out. There’s a December 2 engagement at E-Bar in Guelph, and more importantly a December 16 show at the Twist Gallery in Toronto.

Of course, that’s the same night that The Rural Alberta Advantage make their own long-awaited live homecoming at Lee’s Palace, so there’s no guarantee I’ll be availing myself of Memoryhouse’s show anyways. But their announcement did give me the incentive to go download their The Years EP – it’s free – and do up a little post. That’s really all anyone can ask for.

MP3: Memoryhouse – “Lately (Deuxieme)”
MP3: Memoryhouse – “Lately (Troisieme)”
MP3: Memoryhouse – “Gian Lorenzo Bernini”
Video: Memoryhouse – “Bonfire”
Video: Memoryhouse – “Lately (Deuxieme)”
ZIP: Memoryhouse / The Years

Also originally hailing from Guelph are disco-pop ensemble The Magic, who will be playing a free show along with Maylee Todd at the North York Central Library tomorrow night, November 20, at 8PM. Get details on this and other goings-on at the Toronto Public Library’s Make Some Noise blog.

Director Spike Jonze has the director’s credit on Arcade Fire’s new video/short film for the title track from The Suburbs. Win Butler talks to Exclaim about potential retirement plans.

Video: Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”

Soundproof talks to The Thermals.

Rhett Miller of Old 97’s talks to Spinner about getting permission from Bob Dylan to crib the melody from “Desolation Row” for one of his own songs.

Even though Retribution Gospel Choir’s latest 2 came out way back in January, SubPop has opted to release a second MP3 from it for giving away. Why ask why? The Minnesota Daily chats with bandleader Alan Sparhawk.

MP3: Retribution Gospel Choir – “Workin’ Hard”

The Georgia Straight, Vancouver Sun and Oregon Music News talk to Blonde Redhead about their current tour and forays into electronica.

Spin declares Two Door Cinema Club to be breaking out. They’re at the Kool Haus on January 15 alongside Tokyo Police Club.

NPR is streaming a radio session performance from Elvis Costello while AOL Music has a video session with ol’ Declan.

Spin has got the video for the new collaborative single between Hot Chip and Bernard Sumner.

Video: Hot Chip & Bernard Sumner – “I Didn’t Know What Love Was”

A second MP3 from Blood Red Shoes’ second album Fire Like This is now up for grabs. The Prague Post has an interview.

MP3: Blood Red Shoes – “Heartsink”

White Lies have released a video for the first single from their second album Ritual, which is out January 18. They’ll be at The Mod Club on January 29.

Video: White Lies – “Bigger Than Us”

Sloucher interviews The Twilight Sad.

Creative Loafing checks in with Warren Ellis and The Wall Street Journal with Nick Cave of Grinderman.