Posts Tagged ‘Bonjay’

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Count The Clock In 2012

Wavelength announces lineup for 12th anniversary festivities

Photo via FacebookFacebookNestled amidst some concert announcements in a post last week were a couple of odd one-offs for No Joy and PS I Love You which were not part of any announced tour or timely promotional cycle. It didn’t occur to me to ask why, but just a little bit of thought would have made the answer obvious – Wavelength. The dates of their shows corresponded to the four-day weekend of the Toronto music series’ twelfth anniversary festival, and though neither of those acts is properly local – they hail from Montreal and Kingston, respectively – it makes perfect sense that they’d be invited to perform.

The rest of the lineup was announced earlier this week and as with every year it’s a doozie, occupying a different venue around the city each night and boasting a loaded and eclectic bill of bands. Tickets are available for each show or you can get a festival pass for $36, which is a bargain any way you look at it. They go on sale January 17 and the schedule shakes out as follows – for the “who they are / where they’re from / what they do”, head over to the Wavelength website.

Thursday, February 16 @ Parts & Labour: Metz, Odonis Odonis, Slim Twig, Man Made Hill, Eucalyptus ($10 advance)
Friday, February 17 @ Steam Whistle Brewing: Fucked Up, Bonjay, Catl, Silver Dapple, Hut ($17 advance)
Saturday, February 18 @ The Great Hall: No Joy , Sandro Perri, Nat Baldwin, Off The International Radar, The Weather Station ($12 advance)
Sunday, February 19 @ The Garrison: PS I Love You, Burning Love, Army Girls, Mötem, Most People ($10 advance)

MP3: Nat Baldwin – “Weights”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”
MP3: No Joy – “Hawaii”
MP3: Sandro Perri – “Love And Light”
MP3: PS I Love You – “Get Over”
MP3: The Weather Station – “Everything I Saw”
Video: Bonjay – “Stumble”
Video: Odonis Odonis – “Blood Feast”
Video: Off The International Radar – “Sans Olo”
Video: Silver Dapple – “(Pauses)”

Islands are going small for their tour in support of A Sleep & A Forgetting, due out February 14 – the Toronto date is February 28 at the tiny Music Gallery, tickets for that are $22.50 in advance.

MP3: Islands – “This Is Not A Song”

Hot on the heels of the release of their self-titled debut, The Darcys have announced the release of their next album, a redo of Steely Dan’s Aja. The record will be available on January 24 and Rolling Stone has got the first MP3 from it available to download, while NOW asks drummer Wes Marskell, “why Aja?”. They play The Phoenix on March 1 in support of Bombay Bicycle Club and are also on the bill for Edgefest at Downsview Park on July 12.

MP3: The Darcys – “Josie”

The video surfaced at the end of last year, but the title track from Woodpigeon’s new For Paolo EP is now available to download.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “For Paolo”

Spinner spends some quality time chatting with The Wilderness Of Manitoba.

NPR is streaming the whole of Kathleen Edwards’ new record Voyageur ahead of its release date next Tuesday. She plays The Phoenix on February 11.

Stream: Kathleen Edwards / Voyageur

Austra has released a new video from the breakout Feel It Break, and if that’s not enough there’s also an interview and session at The Alternate Side to read and watch.

Video: Austra – “Spellwork”

Yours Truly has a video session with Grimes to share. Visions is out February 21 and she plays The Horseshoe on March 19.

NPR welcomes Kathryn Calder for a World Cafe session while The Province has posted an interview.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of a recent Suuns show in New York.

The second single from Leonard Cohen’s new album Old Ideas is available to stream. It’s out January 31.

Stream: Leonard Cohen – “Darkness”

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

One Chord To Another

Sloan, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Ohbijou and Bonjay at The Great Hall in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt may have sounded like Tuesday night’s grand Fucked Up throwdown at The Great Hall was going to be an untoppable finale to the 2011 concert season in Toronto, but remember – that was just the first of a two-night event and if you were going to try and top a recital of one of 2011’s best albums (that’s David Comes To Life, for the record) then a front-to-back performance of one of the best Canadian albums of the past 15 years is a pretty good place to start. That would be Sloan, by the way, and 1996’s One Chord To Another.

But that’s not why I was there, if we’re being honest. Though 2011 has been a fantastic year for remembering why Sloan were/are great, thanks in large part to their excellent The Double Cross and the attendant 20th band anniversary reminiscences, I figured my Sloan needs had been met by the marathon-length, career-spanning set at Echo Beach in August and anticipating that the Fucked Up show would verily kick my ass (which it did), a night off to recover would be well-advised. But then it was announced that The Rural Alberta Advantage would be added to the bill that already included Ohbijou and Bonjay, and it occurred to me that though The RAA and Ohbijou are acts I’ve loved and followed since their humble local beginnings, I hadn’t seen either live in over two years – a consequence, I guess, of having seen them so much in their salad days that now that they were filling much larger rooms, the experience would just feel odd. But to catch both of them, plus Bonjay, plus Sloan, for just $20 in support of worthy causes and in a cozy setting the likes of which they’ll rarely if ever play again? Duh. Tickets were purchased, and THEN came the One Chord announcement and any remaining tickets vanished lickety-split. And I may have high-fived myself just a little.

I can’t be sure I’ve ever seen Bonjay live. Certainly I’d seen singer Alana Stuart’s other band (or one of them) – the electro-poppy Everything All The Time, but what’s presumably her main gig and I had yet to cross paths. I had heard them before, though, so had a sense of what to expect even though their set opening up the night would essentially be a first impression. Though formally a singer-DJ duo, they had a live drummer with them for most of this performance helping make their electro-reggae/soul concoction even funkier and heavier than I expected, and an ideal backdrop for Stuart’s dynamic stage presence; something that her EATT performances didn’t do justice. Amidst their own compositions they dropped a couple of covers – Feist’s “Honey Honey” and Caribou’s “Jamelia” that they managed to deconstruct completely and make their own in impressive fashion. They’ve currently only got the Broughtupsy EP to their name as far as releases go, but are putting the finishing touches on their full-length debut for next year. Expect to hear much more of them in 2012.

Much of the narrative around Ohbijou’s Metal Meets revolved around how working with producer Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes helped them grow their orch-pop roots into something bigger and more electric for their third album. I don’t know if that was it, or if it was just a result of the endless touring and simply getting better as a live act but in the time since I last saw Ohbijou in June 2009, they’ve become a much more impressive live act. This isn’t to suggest they weren’t before, but in the past much of their appeal came from the delicacy of their sound, even though they were usually plugged in on stage even then. But there was undeniably something more to them this time out, and it primarily came from frontwoman Casey Mecija. She was exceptionally charismatic on stage, singing and playing with heretofore unseen fervor – the intensity of the set-closing guitar solo and attendant noise squalls quite suited her – and perhaps taking her lead, the band played with more weight and conviction than I’d could recall. It was grand to hear the new material and old favourites rendered in a way that reminded that expressing emotion and demonstrating strength are hardly cross-purposes; after all, the heart is a muscle.

What I said earlier about not having seen The RAA since November 2009 isn’t technically true – they played the Tranzac New Year’s Eve thingie I went to last year, but since that was a personal and non-blog event and thus wasn’t covered, it didn’t actually happen. In any case, contrary to the Ohbijou experience, The Rural Alberta Advantage show was still largely and comfortingly the same as I remembered. Not entirely surprising considering how distinct and deliberately bare-bones their aesthetic is, but the combination of Nils Edenloff and Amy Cole’s sandpaper-and-sugar vocals is as potent as ever over top acoustic guitar and keys – I think the Moog pedals were new, though – and of course Paul Banwatt’s madman virtuoso drumming. Months on the road had made them tighter, certainly, but more polished? Not so much, and that was a good thing – it’s their rough edges that endear. This was my first time hearing much of the Departing material live – plus their seasonal cover of “Little Drummer Boy” – and yeah, I loved that record. And I love this band.

The full album recital thing isn’t a new phenomenon, but not a lot of Canadian bands have taken up the trend because, I imagine, not a lot have the combination of longevity and catalog of classics that could make such an effort feel like a genuine occasion. So that Sloan were able to do this for not one but two of their albums – Twice Removed got a few performances last year – is a real testament to how impressive their career has been. Someday, after they’ve finally called it a day, the country and the world will probably come to appreciate just what a musical treasure they’ve been but until then? We get to savour shows like this one.

If we had a national archive of audio clips, then I would submit the “Will you please… welcome to the stage… SLOAN!” intro from “Good In Everyone” for inclusion. Indelibly familiar to an entire generation of music fans, it’d have been unthinkable that it wouldn’t also kick of this night’s performance and while it was unlikely that they’d have dug up one-time CFNY DJ Brother Bill (I believe it was him on the album) to do the honours, surely someone would. And of course that someone was the MC of the past two nights, Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham. He did a fine job of recreating the cadence of the original and as for the screaming crowd noises – the audience had that covered.

With the obvious exceptions, I don’t think I’d ever heard a lot of these songs live before thanks to more than a decade-long gap in Sloan experiences, dating from a Twice Removed-era show in first year university (I found the set list!) to one in early 2007 for Never Hear The End Of It. And I suspect that it had been some time since the band had played most of the as well; in this piece about prepping for the show at The Grid, Patrick Pentland confirmed that “Junior Panthers” had never been played live and it had been at least ages for many other songs. So yeah, expecting perfection wasn’t realistically on the table, but then this was a Sloan show so technical perfection wouldn’t ever have been on the table anyways. For example, Pentland’s guitar crapping out during his solo for “Can’t Face Up”. It was just gonna happen.

But like for Fucked Up’s show, what we got was arguably better than a perfect performance. Sloan, rocking out like young(er) men again and seemingly having a blast of it, once again making a case that they truly were Canada’s Beatles. Melodies and hooks for miles, equal facility with doing it hard or soft and always more creative and all-around weird than you’d expect from initial listens. Interestingly, much of the audience – particularly those up front – looked like they hadn’t been out of grade school when One Chord originally came out a decade and a half ago, but they sang along with every song just as well as those of us who’d lived with it since the day it was released. Also interesting was being reminded that once upon a time, it was Pentland who was the band’s sharpest popsmith; this was before he decided he wanted to be the hard rock guy and handed that title over to Jay Ferguson, but hearing him step up on the likes of “Good” and “Everything You’ve Done Wrong” – complete with horn section, of course – in the context of the album as a whole, you had to tip your hat. Going through the main set seems pointless – they played One Chord To Another, people, and somehow needed a set list to do it – sufficed to say that it was everything that we could have wanted, and if that had been the end of the evening, there’d have been nary a disappointed face in the house. But it wasn’t.

The encore started with Twice Removed‘s “Snowsuit Sound”, which besides being just a great song also gave Ferguson another opportunity to step up to the mic, but it took a few chords for my brain to register that the second song was, in fact, what I thought I was hearing. “500 Up”. Quite possibly my favourite song from Smeared, I’d never heard it live before, assuming that there was some logistical issue with the rotating vocals that made it too much trouble to play. Which there may well have been but they did it anyways and again – not perfect, but arguably better for the sloppiness in it. “500 Up”. Man. And then – THEN – Damian Abraham retook the stage and duetted – if that’s the right word – on a cover of Black Flag’s “Nervous Breakdown” that featured, among other things, plenty of horseplay, hip-hop posing, and Abraham picking Murphy right up off the stage and just… I don’t even know. Let’s just say it was bananas. And if that wasn’t quite enough, one Can-rock star tagged in another with Feist coming out onstage and getting back in touch with her inner rocker by playing guitar on a gloriously pounding “She Means What She Says”. Amazing.

I mentioned as much in the writeup of night one, but it’s worth noting again: those who know me have probably heard me complain about the state of all kinds of things in Toronto, be it political or personal or all points in between – come on, who doesn’t have a complicated relationship with their hometown? – but nights like these ones, where the people, the community, the art, the everything that makes it special, comes together so perfectly? Yeah, I love this town.

Mechanical Forest Sound was on hand with audio recorder in hand and has “Everything You’ve Done Wrong” available to download. NOW, BlogTO, Exclaim and Panic Manual have also got reviews of the show.

Photos: Sloan, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Ohbijou, Bonjay @ The Great Hall – December 21, 2011
MP3: Sloan – “Follow The Leader”
MP3: Sloan – “The Answer Was You”
MP3: Sloan – “Unkind”
MP3: Sloan – “I’m Not A Kid Anymore”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “North Star”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Frank, AB”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Don’t Haunt This Place”
MP3: Ohbijou – “Anser”
MP3: Ohbijou – “Niagara”
MP3: Ohbijou – “Black Ice”
Video: Sloan – “Unkind”
Video: Sloan – “Witch’s Wand”
Video: Sloan – “Emergency 911”
Video: Sloan – “All Used Up”
Video: Sloan – “The Rest Of My Life”
Video: Sloan – “The Other Man”
Video: Sloan – “Friendship”
Video: Sloan – “Losing California”
Video: Sloan – “She Says What She Means”
Video: Sloan – “Money City Maniacs”
Video: Sloan – “The Lines You Amend”
Video: Sloan – “Everything You’ve Done Wrong”
Video: Sloan – “The Good In Everyone”
Video: Sloan – “People Of The Sky”
Video: Sloan – “Coax Me”
Video: Sloan – “500 Up”
Video: Sloan – “Underwhelmed”
Video: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Tornado 87”
Video: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Muscle Relaxants”
Video: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”
Video: Ohbijou – “Niagara”
Video: Ohbijou – “New Years”
Video: Ohbijou – “The Woods”
Video: Bonjay – “Stumble”

And to wrap up with some stuff that’s a bit time-sensitive for the season…

As previously mentioned, Cat Power will mark Christmas Eve with the release of a new charity single/video – details on the what are now up on her website.

Summer Camp love them some holiday tunes – they’ve made a new, grammatically questionable Christmas song available to stream.

Stream: Summer Camp – “All I Wonderful Christmas Is You”

Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler tell The Guardian how they wrote “Home For The Holidays” from their This Is Christmas album and also offer a video performance of said tune. Clash also interviews Emmy about the project.

The AV Club has wrapped up this year’s edition of Holiday Undercover, wherein acts like The Mountain Goats, Wye Oak and Little Scream record their takes on holiday tunes.

And on that note, happy holidays, y’all. I’ll be in and out through next week, but posting will be light. This year, more than most, I need some time to defrag the brain. Enjoy whatever time off you have.

Friday, November 18th, 2011

Turn The Season

Fucked Up feeling festive, give the gift of David

Photo By Daniel BoudDaniel BoudIf the ubiquity of decorations, lights and carols wasn’t enough of a hint, let me be the one to break it to you – like it or not, the Christmas season is upon us. And with the holiday season comes Christmas concerts and performances, but if Handel’s Messiah or The Nutcracker Suite aren’t your speed, local hardcore heroes Fucked Up would like to offer you an alternative – a complete album recital of David Comes To Life.

As touring commitments for David kept them from offering as much hometown love as they usually do – this was the first year without a Hallowe’en show in some time, was it not? – the band are making up for it in spades with a pair of charity benefit shows to take place at The Great Hall on December 20 and 21. Some details are still to come, but the salient points are these: On the 20th, PS I Love You will open things up and then Fucked Up will perform their rock opera David Comes To Life in its entirety, as they did in New York last week. The 21st won’t feature an encore performance, but it will feature a stacked bill of Sloan, Ohbijou and Bonjay with more to be announced for both nights. Maybe Sloan can be persuaded to play Twice Removed start to finish as they did at Halifax Pop Explosion last year?

Details like ticket pricing and availability is still to come, but keep in mind that the Great Hall only holds about 500 – and that’s with the balcony open – so whenever they go on sale, they’ll be gone fast. Proceeds from the first evening will go to support Barriere Lake Solidarity and the second to COUNTERfit; both worthy causes.

The band have posted everything that’s available to know about the shows at their blog and Rolling Stone talked to the band right before the NYC recital of David. The Georgia Straight has an interview with Ohbijou as their cross-Canada tour swings out west and Daytrotter has posted a session with PS I Love You to download and keep for your very own.

MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”
MP3: Sloan – “The Answer Was You”
MP3: Ohbijou – “Niagara”
MP3: PS I Love You (featuring Diamond Rings) – “Leftovers”

In other concert announcement news, Thee Silver Mt. Zion are kicking off a North American tour at Lee’s Palace on January 27, ticket $12 in advance.

MP3: Thee Silver Mt. Zion – “Kollapz Tradixional (Thee Dirty Olde Flag)”

Kathleen Edwards will team up with Hannah Georgas for a North American tour that wraps up at The Phoenix on February 11. The Independent talks briefly to Edwards about her new record Voyageur, out on January 17; Georgas has just begun work on album number two.

MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “Asking For Flowers”
MP3: Hannah Georgas – “Chit Chat”

Montreal avant-pop artist Grimes will be at The Horseshoe on March 19; tickets $8 in advance.

MP3: Grimes – “Vanessa”
MP3: Grimes – “Oblivion”

Filed under more immediate concerns than shows happening next year – how do you know that tonight’s Darcys record release show at The Horseshoe will be a big deal? Feature pieces in all of The Grid, The National Post, Queen’s Journal, The Vancouver Sun, Plaid, The AV Club, and NOW are pretty good signs. As is the fact that advance tickets are just about sold out, meaning if you don’t have one then your best recourse is to get there early and get one at the door.

The Vancouver Sun talks to Kathryn Calder. She’s at The Horseshoe on November 26 for a free show.

Timber Timbre have released a new video from Creep On, Creepin’ On. See them at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on November 26.

Video: Timber Timbre – “Swamp Magic”

JAM talks to Katie Stelmanis of Austra, who’ve begun posting a series of stripped-down performance videos. They’re at The Phoenix on December 1.

Video: Austra – “Lose It” (Paper Bag Sessions)

The Irish Times and Georgia Straight profile Feist. She’s at Massey Hall on December 1 and has released the first official video from Metals.

Video: Feist – “How Come You Never Go There”

The A-side of the new Chains Of Love 7″ “In Between”/”Breaking My Heart” has been made available for download courtesy of Yours Truly; the b-side went up a few weeks ago at Pitchfork.

MP3: Chains Of Love – “In Between”
MP3: Chains Of Love – “Breaking My Heart”

Also with a new 7″ are Suuns, who’ve made a video for the b-side of their “Bambi” single.

Video: Suuns – “Red Song”

CBC Radio 3, The Canmore Leader and The Argus Q&A Snowblink.

The Vinyl District interviews The Wilderness Of Manitoba talks to Radio Free Canuckistan’s Michael Barclay about the Have Not Been The Same ’90s Can-rock tribute compilation.

And finally, while it doesn’t fit with the rest of this post’s Canadiana theme, this bit is timely – Laura Marling will be in town for two shows at Camera on December 7, one early at 7PM and one late at 9PM. Tickets for either show are $20 and go on sale today at 10AM at TicketWeb. It’s funny how when I wrote up her visit in September, I held out hope that the next time she came to town, she’d play a room appropriately sized to her not-inconsiderable fanbase. Instead, she’s playing a room that holds maybe 100 people – even smaller than the Rivoli where she made her local debut in October 2008. We get it; you like it cozy.

Video: Laura Marling – “Sophia”

Monday, August 1st, 2011

CONTEST – Summerworks Music Series 2011 – August 5 to 13, 2011

Image via SummerworksSummerworks
What: Summerworks
Why: Celebrated long-running theatre festival that added a musical component four years ago.
Who: In its short run, Summerworks already counts some of the cream of the current Canadian musical crop as its alumnus – this year’s class seems certain to add to that list. For specifics, keep reading.
When: There will be six nights of live music double-headers running over the course of the festival’s week-and-a-bit duration, with the night-by-night breaking down as follows – there’s also opening and closing parties on the 4th and the 14th.

Friday, August 5 – Hooded Fang, Steven McKay
Saturday August 6 – Bonjay, Lioness
Wednesday August 10 – Great Bloomers, House League (featuring members of Forest City Lovers, Matters, Evening Hymns and more)
Thursday August 11 – Bruce Peninsula, Jennifer Castle
Friday August 12 – Miracle Fortress, Ruby Coast
Saturday August 13 – Green Go, Powers
Where: The Lower Ossington Theatre in Toronto (19+)
How: Tickets for each show are $10 in advance but courtesy of the festival, I’ve got three pairs of passes to a show of your choice to give away. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want the Summerworks” in the subject line and your full name and the show you’d like to attend in the body. Contest closes at midnight, August 4.
What else: BlogTO has previewed some of the acts performing at this year’s festival.

MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Light Flight”
MP3: Hooded Fang – “ESP”
MP3: Miracle Fortress – “Miscalculations”
MP3: Jennifer Castle – “Neverride”

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

NXNE 2011 Day Two

Fucked Up, Crocodiles, Chains Of Love and more at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangHands down, the best thing to happen to NXNE in recent years is the designation of Yonge-Dundas Square as the festival’s main stage and making the shows staged there – usually featuring the lineup’s biggest names – free for everyone. And what’s better is that despite being located in pretty much the most central and public place in the city, there’s been no signs that they festival has been concerned about diluting the quality of the performances to be a little more family-friendly; witness last year’s near-carnage of Iggy & The Stooges or the mid-day ass-shaking sissy bounce clinic put on by Big Freedia. Passers-by were offended by the latter – and to be honest I don’t blame them – but that it happened was great.

And it was just as great that Thursday evening’s programme featured an early evening slot from a band whose credentials were impeccable; a Polaris Prize-winning local act with mounds of international critical acclaim and fronted by a national television personality. Who just happened to be called Fucked Up. And the best part? No one cared. Actually, check that – it didn’t even matter that no one cared because it implies that there were concerns about people being offended. The best part was that the show was fantastic. I don’t think I’d have believed you if you told me a couple years ago that I’d become a Fucked Up fan – I figured that respect was as far as I’d get, but fact is I think their latest David Comes To Life is terrific and I can’t think of anyone I like more as Toronto’s musical and cultural ambassadors right now than them.

After being introduced by the festival emcee – a role that Damian Abraham played last year – the band tore into “Queen Of Hearts” from the new album and Abraham tore into the crowd, body surfing into the masses and largely disappearing into the circle pit and general tumult while somehow continuing to sing. The punk rock revelling continued through the first portion of the set as Abraham’s bandmates dutifully cranked out arena-sized rock from the safe confines of the stage, with Abraham eventually climbing out to bellow out the rest of the set from the edge of the barricade while the fans carried on moshing, surfing and generally carrying on. And through it all, the spirit was amazing and celebratory, quite a far cry from the dark vibe of last year’s Stooges show, though to the casual onlooker the mayhem might have appeared similar. For Fucked Up, it was a sort of warm-up to their more familiar club-sized show at Wrongbar later that night, but for everyone else, it was a pretty high bar set for the rest of the night.

Time Out New York has an interview with Damian Abraham and the brand-new video for “Queen Of Hearts” is linked below.

Photos: Fucked Up @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 16, 2011
MP3: Fucked Up – “The Other Shoe”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Ship Of Fools”
MP3: Fucked Up – “A Little Death”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”
MP3: Fucked Up – “Neat Parts”
Video: Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”
Video: Fucked Up – “Black Albino Bones”
Video: Fucked Up – “Crooked Head”

I was pretty proud of myself for getting from Yonge to Ossington on bike in less than 8 minutes, even if it meant being a sweaty mess for the Modern Superstitions set at The Garrison. I’ve liked to check in on the local quartet from time to time, happily seeing the potential obscured by awkwardness at V Fest 2009 be more fully-realized in a much more confident Halifax Pop Explosion set last Fall. And the upward trend continued on Thursday as the band sounded louder and punchier than ever before, with new material that sounded less immediate but more impressive in its ambitions. While they could have done pretty well simply being “The Strokes fronted by a cute girl”, they’re obviously looking to do something more and that they’re arriving at these conclusions before their debut full-length is released can only be taken as a good thing. The next time I see them, I expect they’ll be ready to take on the world.

Photos: Modern Superstitions @ The Garrison – June 16, 2011
MP3: Modern Superstitions – “Visions Of You”
Video: Modern Superstitions – “Mercy Line”
Video: Modern Superstitions – “Visions Of You”

Leaving The Garrison, my tour of the worst venues in the city to take photographs in continued at The Velvet Underground where The Two Koreas were set to perform. I’d seen them way back in 2007 and was impressed enough at the time, but not enough to keep up with what the quartet in the years since. A recommendation to give their latest Science Island a spin confirmed that they were still at it and their facility for combining big guitar riffs with shouty yet melodic vocals was even sharper than before. And live, with frontman Stuart Berman’s dance moves thrown in, it was a good way to spend a half hour or so. And then it was back out into the night.

Spinner gets Berman to write about the duality of being in a band and writing about bands for a living.

Photos: The Two Koreas @ The Velvet Underground – June 16, 2011
MP3: The Two Koreas – “Midnight Brown”
Video: The Two Koreas – “Midnight Brown”

Getting to The Silver Dollar for 11 was strictly a logistical move to make sure I got in but it turned out to be one of the most fortuitous of the weekend, as it allowed me to see Chains of Love. The Vancouver outfit don’t do anything new whatsoever, but that’s rather the point. They take the spirit of ’50s and ’60s girl-group pop and writing new – GOOD – songs in that style and deliver them with genuine rock energy and plenty of sass and style, thanks to the charisma of frontwoman Nathalia Pizarro. A couple of gear issues threatened to stall their momentum early on but when they got going, there was no stopping them. An unknown quantity with only a 7″ and handful of MP3s entering the fest, they left as one of the bands everyone was talking about.

Photos: Chains Of Love @ The Silver Dollar – June 16, 2011
MP3: Chains Of Love – “You Got It”
MP3: Chains Of Love – “All The Time”

San Diego’s Crocodiles, on the other hand, came into NXNE with all the hype and lots to prove – not many bands get a three-night residency at a major festival for their Canadian debut. If they thought for a minute that they didn’t deserve the attention, however, you couldn’t tell from behind frontman Brandon Welchez’s Ray-Bans. Drenched in nothing but red light, they came off as cool as you could imagine and and as loud as you’d expect. On last year’s Sleep Forever, they found a good balance between the lo-fi psychedelic garage aesthetic of their scene and their fondness for big pop hooks but live, it was all about the drone and the volume. As such, guitarist Charles Rowell became the real star of the show as the amount of racket he was able to conjure out of his axe was most impressive, layering noise upon fuzz upon more noise, all delivered in riff form. Welchez gets points for simply being audible overtop of all that, but you couldn’t really hear anything more specific than that. Still, even so, a pretty bracing – and deafening – debut.

Spinner has an interview with Rowell, who post-gig also told them why they’ve never played in Canada before (hint: it’s what you think).

Photos: Crocodiles @ The Silver Dollar – June 16, 2011
MP3: Crocodiles – “Sleep Forever”
Video: Crocodiles – “Hearts Of Love”
Video: Crocodiles – “Sleep Forever”

I would have been happy to call it a night at that point but the fact that I was there, and Vancouver’s Dirty Beaches – whose debut Badlands was long-listed for this year’s Polaris Prize earlier that day – was up next was a pretty good argument for sticking around. And with regards to what Alex Zhang Hungtai – he who is Dirty Beaches – is about, all I can say is I don’t get it. I mean, I kind of do; his one-man, no-fi bedroom Elvis act certainly has a unique style to it and works on record in creating an atmosphere. But live, with Hungtai either shrieking or muttering into a plastic condensor mic or coaxing squalls of noise out of his guitar over simple looped beats, it was just kind of perplexing. The people around me went nuts, I went home. Dirty Beaches return on September 24 at the Phoenix as support for Peter Hook.

Photos: Dirty Beaches @ The Silver Dollar – June 16, 2011
MP3: Dirty Beaches – “Lord Knows Best”
Video: Dirty Beaches – “Shangri-La”

On a day where I would be seeing an Andy Bell and was writing up a band called Chains Of Love, how weird is it that an Erasure tour – including a September 11 date at the Sound Academy – be announced? Pretty weird. The show is in support of their new record Tomorrow’s World, due out this Fall, and tickets are $40.

Video: Erasure – “Chains Of Love”

As one festival ends, another begins. Or at least is announced. I speak of Summerworks, the annual convergence of theatre and music, and their 2011 music programme which was announced yesterday. Things kick off on August 4 with an all-day opening party and wrap on the 14th with same – details on performers for each are still forthcoming – but the evenings in between will shake out as follows, with all shows being held at the Lower Ossington Theatre with advance tickets $10 a night.

Friday, August 5 – Hooded Fang, Steven McKay
Saturday August 6 – Bonjay, Lioness
Wednesday August 10 – Great Bloomers, House League (featuring members of Forest City Lovers, Matters, Evening Hymns and more)
Thursday August 11 – Bruce Peninsula, Jennifer Castle
Friday August 12 – Miracle Fortress, Ruby Coast
Saturday August 13 – Green Go, Powers

The National Post talks to Shad, who will be playing a free show at Metro Square on July 1.

The Boston Globe has a visit with Chad VanGaalen.

The new Handsome Furs record Sound Kapital is streaming in whole over at Exclaim in advance of its release next week; Spin has an interview and a stream as well. They play The Horseshoe on August 1.

Stream: Handsome Furs / Sound Kapital

DIY has a pre-Glasto chat with Dan Mangan. His new record Oh, Fortune should be out in September.

Southern Souls has posted a video session with Little Scream.