Posts Tagged ‘By Divine Right’

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Heavy Head

Gentleman Reg takes up residence at the Drake Underground

Photo By Norman WongNorman WongAfter being out of sight for what seemed like the longest time following the 2004 release of Darby & Joan, Toronto’s Reg Vermue, aka Gentleman Reg, has been nigh-inescapable since the release of fourth album Jet Black just under a year ago. He’s played many shows big and small, toured North America with The Hidden Cameras and late last year, released a new digital EP in Heavy Head. And now, following his set opening up for Tegan & Sara at the Kool Haus next Wednesday, he will set up shop at the Drake Underground for every Wednesday in February, warming Torontonians with his winsome guitar pop and inviting a different pair of choice openers to accompany him each week.

The residency starts on February 3 with the twee power of Hooded Fang and the orchestral goodness of Kite Hill, the 10th will feature local veterans of the scene By Divine Right and rising stars The Balconies, the following week welcomes the self-explanatory stylings of Dance Yourself To Death and all-girl Weezer cover band Sheezer and the final show on the 24th will be with Evening Hymns and another “very special” act to be announced – whether that means they’ve got someone exceptional lined up and are keeping the news back or they’re still looking but are confident they’ll be great is not clear, but whoever they end up being, they’re in good company.

Tickets for each show are $10.00 at Rotate This and Soundscapes or $12.50 online, though online purchases come with a free download of Heavy Head. Win-win, either way.

Reg gave The Toronto Star a list of his favourite albums of 2009.

MP3: Gentleman Reg – “We’re In A Thunderstorm”
MP3: Gentleman Reg – “How We Exit”
MP3: Gentleman Reg – “Plan On Including Me”
Video: Gentleman Reg – “How We Exit”
Video: Gentleman Reg – “Rewind”
Video: Gentleman Reg – “We’re In A Thunderstorm”
MySpace: Gentleman Reg

One-quarter of the aforementioned Sheezer, Laura Barrett, revealed some impressive news via her Twitter yesterday, and that was that she would be opening up for The Magnetic Fields on their upcoming North American tour, presumably including their February 8 date at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in support of Realism, out January 26, assuming it doesn’t constitute a conflict with her February 12 appearance at Wavelength 500. This is tremendously exciting and I can’t help but think back seven or eight years ago when Laura and I were in a band together, briefly, and recorded a Magnetic Fields cover, linked below. That’s me on guitar, her on backing vox and keys. Ah, memories. Back in the now, Laura’s also got a new video from her full-length debut Victory Garden.

MP3: Laura Barrett – “Decepticon Island Optimists Club”
MP3: Lake Holiday – “Born On A Train”
Video: Laura Barrett – “The Wood Between Worlds”

Dead Sexy has a feature piece on The Balconies.

Jason Collett, Zeus and Bahamas are teaming up for what they’re calling the Bonfire Ball Tour and trekking across Canada starting on March 10 at Lee’s Palace as part of Canadian Musicfest. Collett releases his new one Rat A Tat Tat on March 9 and Zeus’ debut Say Us is out February 23.

Exclaim and altsounds talk to Woodhands, whose second album Remorsecapade is out January 26 and who will also be appearing at Canadian Musicfest with a show at the Opera House on March 11.

MP3: Woodhands – “Pockets”
Video: Woodhands – “CP24”

LAist talks to The Rural Alberta Advantage’s Nils Edenloff. Their new 7″ for “Drain The Blood” b-sided by their cover of “Eye of The Tiger” is out now, and they’re also listed as playing Canadian Musicfest.

Montreal’s Plants & Animals are readying their second album La La Land for an April 20 release and they’re going to be at Lee’s Palace on March 11 for – wait for it – Canadian Musicfest. Man, that’s turning out to be like some kind of festival chock full of Canadian music or something.

MP3: Plants & Animals – “Tom Cruz”

Not playing Canadian Musicfest but arguably the hottest thing in Canadian music right now is Owen Pallett, who this week released the “Best New Music”-ed Heartland and played a sold-out show at the Mod Club to rapturous reviews – expect more of the same when he plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 8. There were feature pieces on Pallett in Metro, Interview, The National Post, Paste, The Toronto Star, San Francisco Chronicle, two pieces at Spinner, a three-parter at Radio Free Canuckistan and a video piece at Yeah, Pallett is everywhere – it doesn’t seem losing the “Final Fantasy” moniker has hurt his profile any. And for the curious, the whole of Heartland is streaming on his MySpace right now.

Stream: Owen Pallett / Heartland

Slightly less with the media saturation but still the object of much talk is Basia Bulat, who plays Trinity-St. Paul’s tomorrow night in advance of the January 26 release of Heart Of My Own. Read interviews with her at eye, JAM, dose, NOW, Chart and The Toronto Star. And congratulations to Diana for winning the passes to tomorrow’s show.

Another notable release this week was Woodpigeon’s latest effort Die Stadt Muzikanten – singer/songwriter Mark Hamilton talked about the record with The Georgia Straight and Chart, and in addition to their February 11 show at the Drake Underground, they will also be doing an in-store at Soundscapes on February 14 at 5PM. Make Woodpigeon YOUR Valentine. Yeah, I went there.

Forest City Lovers have released a video for the b-side from their recent “Phodilus and Tyto” 7″. They’re currently in the studio working on album number three and will be playing the Out Of This Spark 3rd anniversary show at The Garrison on January 22.

Video: Forest City Lovers – “If I Were A Tree”

And finally official is the Thursh Hermit reunion tour, which to the dismay of half the country, will only travel as far westwards as southern Ontario. The Toronto dates are, as previously reported, March 26 and 27 at Lee’s Palace with tickets on sale for $17.50 at the usual outlets or online at Maple Music for $44.50 but including an official reunion t-shirt. Is that worth it? Completely up to you.

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

I Gotta Tell Ya Fellas, This Is Pretty Terrific

Oh No Forest Fires, Make Your Exit, Clothes Make The Man and The Balconies at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangPeople traditionally go to great lengths to avoid getting a lump of coal for Christmas but there’s something to be said for getting a big pile of rock for the holidays. And it was rock – and lots of it – on offer Saturday night at the Horseshoe for Jingle Bell Rock, an evening presented by promotions company Audio Blood Media and media partners and Exclaim. The lineup featured four bands from the Audio Blood roster – Oh No Forest Fires, Make Your Exit, Clothes Make The Man and The Balconies. The opener and closer were personal live favourites so even though I didn’t know the middle acts at all, odds were pretty good that it’d be a great show.

I’d seen The Balconies a couple times since they moved to Toronto from Ottawa and began gigging their asses off, and they’ve yet to deliver anything but a cracking good set. As always, the power pop of their self-titled debut was lean and lethal and the trio had energy and charisma to spare, rewarding those who’d had the foresight to show up early with a terrific set. I was recently asked in a sort-of poll for a UK website what my Canuck tip for 2010 was – I went with The Balconies, calling them “an inevitability” (do I need quotes to quote myself?). This show was a reminder of why. Their next local gig is January 6 at Supermarket.

From there it was into the, “…and you are?” portion of the night. Clothes Make The Man were certainly keeping in the rock theme of the night, perhaps moreso than any of the others. You had to feel for frontman Ryan McLennan’s vocal cords, so throat-shredding and raw was his delivery but even so, was still able to carry a melody and even convey some gentleness when called for. Which, honestly, wasn’t that often – the quartet was here to be loud and heavy and just tuneful enough. Mission accomplished.

Make Your Exit had a decidedly different mandate, playing the role of sensitive, jam-friendly collective for the evening. Their set was all grand arrangements, emotive melodies and layered harmonies – enough to put most of those around me into a collective swoon but leaving me largely umoved. Certainly I was able to appreciate the musical ability on display, objectively, but any grab for the heartstrings missed the target. Hey, win some, lose some.

Oh No Forest Fires were, as the kids say, made of win and provided just the jolt of energy I needed to make it through the remainder of the night. Led by frontman and human superball Rajiv Thavanathan, their gleeful, ADD-addled prog-punk had the band bouncing around the stage as the blew through material from their debut mini-album The War On Geometry which, in the spirit of the season, they were offering for free to anyone who asked for a copy. Also festive was their set’s finale, which saw the Horseshoe stage being swarmed by most/all the other bands and those who put on the show for a madcap Christmas medley of “Silent Night” and “Feliz Navidad” that would have made Jose Feliciano proud… assuming he’s secretly a musical anarchist. A fitting cap to a holiday celebration the way they all ought to be – sweaty and ear-bleeding.

Photos: Oh No Forest Fires, Make Your Exit, Clothes Make The Man, The Balconies @ The Horseshoe – December 12, 2009
MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “Robin The Boy Wonders”
MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “It’s Not Fun And Games Until Someone Loses An Eye”
MP3: Make Your Exit – “Through The Winter”
MP3: Clothes Make The Man – “Telescopes”
MP3: The Balconies – “Serious Bedtime”
MP3: The Balconies – “300 Pages”
MP3: The Balconies – “Smells Like Secrets”
Video: Clothes Make The Man – “Privy”
Video: Clothes Make The Man – “Singles Only”
MySpace: Clothes Make The Man

Since this has started out as a sort of holiday post, now’s as good a time as any to round up some of the many, many, many seasonal musical giveaways that seems to be popular right now. Lucky Soul have gathered all the artists on their own Ruffa Lane label to give away a Christmas tune. They’ve themselves done a cover of Mud’s “Lonely This Christmas”, Montt Mardié has discoed up Wham!’s “Last Christmas” while Swedish glammers Napoleon and London folkies Grantura offer original compositions. Lucky Soul’s second album A Coming Of Age is currently on target for a March 2010 release.

MP3: Lucky Soul – “Lonely This Christmas”
MP3: Montt Mardié featuring Le Sport & Mr Suitcase – “Last Christmas”
MP3: Napoleon featuring Ali Howard – “Midnight Train to Arhus”
MP3: Grantura – “Holly”

Dean & Britta are giving away both sides of their 2008 Christmas single, a cover of Roger Miller’s “Old Toy Trains” and “(S)He’s Coming Home” by The Wailers. And as an early Christmas gift to longtime fans, The Line Of Best Fit reports that all three Galaxie 500 albums will be reissued on March 22 of next year by Domino Records in deluxe CD format, each album featuring a bonus disc previously released by Rykodisc on its own, and on heavy 180-gram vinyl. More immediately gratifying these interviews with Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips at Ladygunn.

Anni Rossi is offering a special gift to those who sign up to her mailing list; Future Sounds reports said gift is an EP of Christmas tunes, one of which is “Silver Bells”.

MP3: Anni Rossi – “Silver Bells”

Jason Lytle is celebrating the holidays by giving away a free EP at his Bandcamp site.

Ear Farm has curated a terrific album of holiday tunes featuring artists such as Asobi Seksu, Sharon Van Etten and Julie Doiron, and is selling it for a paltry $5 with all proceeds going to benefit the Association to Benefit Children.

Looking past Christmas – as in the day after – the Drake Hotel has released the lineup for their annual “What’s In The Box?” Boxing Week concert series. As always, cover is $5 and some of the performers helping make sure those of us still working through the last week of December are bleary-eyed and unproductive are The D’Urbervilles, By Divine Right, Pick A Piper and many more.

Also hosting a series of shows that week with a food drive angle is The Garrison – specifics are still forthcoming but a list of some of the bands participating has gone up over at Stille Post.

Toronto label Out Of This Spark will make the end of the holidays and return to the humdrum of the working week a little more bearable on January 22 when they hold their third anniversary bash at the Garrison. The bill will feature The D’Urbervilles, Forest City Lovers, Evening Hymns and Jenny Omnichord – a lot like this year’s lineup.

Looking a little further ahead, New York synth-pop duo Phantogram will be at the Drake on February 20, tickets $10. Their debut full-length Eyelid Movies will be out on February 9 of next year.

MP3: Phantogram – “When I’m Small”

The Morning Benders will return to the Drake Underground, where they played in February, on April 14 as part of a North American tour in support of their new album Big Echo, out March 9. Tickets for the show are $11.50.

MP3: The Morning Benders – “Waiting For A War”

Yeasayer, who are directing all their website traffic to the one specially set up for their new single “Ambling Alp”, will be at Lee’s Palace on May 1 in support of their new album Odd Blood, out February 9. Tickets $18. There’s an interview with singer Chris Keating at BBC Radio 1.

MP3: Yeasayer – “Ambling Alp”
Video: Yeasayer – “Ambling Alp”