Posts Tagged ‘Cage The Elephant’

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

CONTEST – Cage The Elephant @ The Phoenix – March 10, 2010

Photo By Danny ClinchDanny ClinchSnotty Southern-fried garage-punk isn’t normally the sort of thing that I’d be into, but when it’s done as well and as energetically as youthful Kentucky outfit Cage The Elephant do it, it’s hard not to appreciate. I caught them a few years ago during NxNE 2007 and while they were honestly the band on the bill I wanted to see the least, they definitely impressed.

At that time, they were blowing up huge over in Europe but weren’t making much noise on their home continent – well now I guess their self-titled debut has caught on over here, because they’re back in Toronto for one of our festivals but rather than being sandwiched in a club-level showcase bill, they’re headlining one of the city’s big rooms. Their March 10 headlining show at The Phoenix is one of the kick-off shows for Canadian Musicfest, and will also feature As Tall As Lions and Morning Teleportation.

Admission for the all-ages show is $16.50 in advance or via CMF wristband, 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 Cage The Elephant” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, March 5.

OurStage has an interview with Cage The Elephant frontman Matt Shultz and Spinner and Daytrotter have sessions with the band from last year for you to watch and download, respectively.

Video: Cage The Elephant – “Back Against The Wall”
Video: Cage The Elephant – “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked”
MySpace: Cage The Elephant

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone

The Wooden Sky at Sonic Boom in Toronto

Photo by Frank YangFrank YangIt’s funny that though I offered readers an introduction to The Wooden Sky just last month, watching them play an in-store at Sonic Boom on Monday night, the eve of release for their new album If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone, it felt like I was the one being introduced to them for the first time.

Previously, I’d regarded them as very good with moments of great roots-rock band – terrific at what they did but unlikely to turn anyone’s world upside down. And initial listens to the new record backed that up – it was a definite step forward for the band in terms of concept and execution, but not a giant leap. But this understated show in the sweaty basement of a local record store was a real eye- and ear-opener. Just coming off a cross-country tour that saw them playing unusual and intimate venues – not for nothing was it called the “Bedrooms and Backtstreets Tour” – The Wooden Sky were perfectly comfortable in the cozy setting and their performance mesmerizing.

Drawing heavily on the new record with a couple selections from When Lost At Sea and a Townes Van Zandt cover thrown in for good measure, The Wooden Sky focused on their quieter side to stunning effect. In stripping things down and trading some of the crescendos on the record for a slow burn, they were able to emphasize their more emotionally resonant side. And while Gavin Gardiner’s raw twang has always been front and centre, I was particularly impressed with how effective and musically sympathetic his bandmates were – guitarist/keyboardist Simon Walker, in particular, was nothing short of astonishing with his high harmonies and the tones and textures he coaxed out of his instruments. It was like he was able to take the ghosts and bittersweet memories that inhabit Gardiner’s lyrics and give them sound and form.

In talking about the Wooden Sky in the past, I inevitable mention that I’ve been following them for over half a decade, as though that gave me some particular insight into the band that newcomers might not have. Now I think that it might have actually clouded my perceptions, convincing me I knew what to expect and what they were capable of when I quite obviously didn’t. Either way, with If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone and the way they’re translating it to the stage, The Wooden Sky are set to take their place as one of the finest bands this city has to offer – or maybe they already were, and we’re only now noticing. has a rooftop video performance with the band from late last year and the same director – Scott Cudmore – accompanied the band on their recent tour, filming all the while – that footage will be coming out in the coming weeks. There’s also an interview with the band at Sky. Aside from an appearance at the Friends In Bellwoods launch party at the Tranzac on Saturday, The Wooden Sky have no upcoming hometown dates. Americans can get a taste in October, however, as they’re heading south as support for Elliott Brood.

Photos: The Wooden Sky @ Sonic Boom – August 24, 2009
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Something Hiding For Us In The Night”
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “North Dakota”
MP3: The Wooden Sky – “The Wooden Sky”
Video: The Wooden Sky – “Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot To Me)”
Video: The Wooden Sky – “When Lost At Sea”

That Elliott Brood tour covers more than the US – they’re also going to be traversing most of Canada this Fall including an October 30 date at the Opera House.

MP3: Elliott Brood – “Write It All Down For You”

Final Fantasy recently taped a Black Cab Session while in the UK for the Field Day Festival. Final Fantasy plays an unrevealed location in Toronto September 5 and his new album Heartland is out in early 2010. Ambiguous much?

Thick Specs and Exclaim have interviews with Amy Millan, whose Masters Of The Burial is out September 22 and who will be at the Mod Club on October 14.

Cover boys for this month’s Exclaim are Two Hours Traffic. Their new one Territory is out September 8 and they play Lee’s Palace on October 16.

Spinner is streaming all ten nominees for the Polaris Music Prize this week – though I suspect they’re only available in Canada. The prize will be awarded on September 21.

Blurt talks to Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal.

Bradley’s Almanac is sharing live MP3s from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, recorded in Vermont way back in February on Valentine’s Day. Awwwww. They’ll be at the Horseshoe on September 7.

Laundromatinee is sharing a video session with The Avett Brothers. Look for them at the Horseshoe on September 30 and their new album I And Love And You in stores the day before.

Magnet plays over/under with The National. Interestingly, four of their five most overrated picks are some of my least favourite National tunes – I stand by “Green Gloves” – and their five most underrated are some of my most favourite. Make of that what you will.

The Wooden Birds have released a new MP3 and video from Magnolia. They’ve also announced Fall tour dates with Great Lake Swimmers but nothing in this neck of the woods.

MP3: The Wooden Birds – “Hometown Fantasy”
Video: The Wooden Birds – “Hometown Fantasy”

Uber-producer John Leckie reflects on the making of The Stone Roses’ debut album for The Quietus.

Grand Crew has an acoustic session with Camera Obscura. They’re at the Phoenix on November 26.

The Quietus talks to The xx. Their debut XX is out domestically on October 20 and they play the Phoenix on December 2.

The Mars Volta have a date at The Kool Haus on October 4 in support of their latest album Octahedron.

Video: The Mars Volta – “Since We’ve Been Wrong”

Silversun Pickups’ new record Swoon bring them to the Sound Academy on October 15 with Cage The Elephant and An Horse as support, tickets $29.50. There’s interviews with the band at, The Examiner and The Georgia Straight.

MP3: Silversun Pickups – “Panic Switch” (Bobby Evans remix)
Video: Silversun Pickups – “Panic Switch”

Rain Machine, the new project from TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone, will release their self-titled debut on September 8 and play Lee’s Palace on October 19 as part of a North American tour. Pitchfork premiered the first track from the album.

MP3: Rain Machine – “Give Blood”

La Roux returns to Toronto for her third show in seven months with a gig at the Guvernment on October 23, tickets $20.

MP3: La Roux – “Bulletproof” (Joe & Will Ask remix)
Video: La Roux – “Bulletproof”

The King Khan & BBQ Show will release Invisible Girl on November 3 and tour to support, including a December 4 date at Lee’s Palace.

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009


Ladytron and The Faint at The Phoenix in Toronto

Photo ByFrank YangI’m all for the egalitarian spirit of alternating closing slots when it comes to co-headline tours, but even as someone who’s a fan of Ladytron and who hadn’t heard a note from The Faint before Monday’s show at the Phoenix, I’d have to say that the evening would have been better served if the Nebraskans had been last up.

Which isn’t a slight on the Liverpool outfit in the least – as their appearance at Harbourfront last July proved, they can put on a terrific show even without being especially animated but following a set as hyper-kinetic and anarchic as The Faint’s? That’s tough. As mentioned, they were an unknown quantity but made a hell of an impression, and quickly – their laser-guided light show and frontman Todd Fink’s manic antics made for a level of spectacle and showmanship that I’m not really used to seeing, and soundtracked by the band’s deep and thundering synth-dug grooves, it wasn’t a little gleefully apocalyptic. And helping that impression along were the audience – all I can say is that if you’re going to be standing in the all-ages portion of a Faint show, you’d best be prepared. Starting from a sway and quickly building to a near-riot, it became very clear that the front half of the Phoenix was no place for the faint of heart or aged of back. I can’t say that I’ll remember a single song The Faint played during that hour on Monday night, but I’ll certainly remember the effect it had on their fans. That shit was crazy.

And crazy is not what Ladytron are about – sleek, stylish and Euro-cool synth-pop is – so it seemed a bit unfair that they’d have to follow that up even if, by most measures, they’re the bigger band. The kids had some time to cool off as the roadies filled the stage with keyboards and it almost seemed as if they’d be sedate for the second half of the show. Almost. I’d gone into the show last year only knowing Ladytron’s latest record, Velocifero, and was inspired to pick up their equally if not more excellent previous release Witching Hour shortly thereafter and this would be about all the background I’d need to be familiar with their set. Like last time, frontwomen Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo remained mainly stationary behind their banks of keyboards, alternately stepping out to handle vocals, and bathed in dim, red backlighting. Except for the occasional flash of blinding stage light or strobe, these were the visuals for the evening – about as far removed from The Faint’s setup as you could get.

But all this proved was that it wasn’t the stage show that got the kids amped up. It didn’t take long before they got rowdy again, each fat square wave out of the PA seemingly resonating with the reptilian parts of their brains. Though I’d managed to mostly hold my ground during The Faint, self-preservation instincts sent me to the sidelines for most of Ladytron’s set, not that that proved effective – about midway through the show, someone came hurtling across the room and slammed into myself, a barrier fence and a very large, heavy and presumably expensive cabinet of PA/stage equipment, knocking all of the above over. Amazingly, nothing was hurt or broken (either myself or the gear) and the show went on.

But even without the incidents of sorta violence, there was a darker vibe to this show than the one on the waterfront last Summer. The mix in the house wasn’t as balanced, frequently overloud and muddy, and it didn’t seem to be much better onstage if the occasional looks on the band’s faces and even a few missed cues were any indication. Throw in the hepped up audience in an enclosed space and my own personal exhaustion and it all just felt kind of tense. And as much as I enjoy Ladytron’s stuff and mostly enjoyed the show, as soon as the final note of “Destroy Everything You Touch” in the encore rang out, I was out of there.

Photos: Ladytron, The Faint @ The Phoenix – April 6, 2009
MP3: Ladytron – “Black Cat”
MP3: Ladytron – “Tomorrow” (Vector Lovers Lucky Remix)
MP3: The Faint – “I Disappear”
MP3: The Faint – “Birth”
MP3: The Faint – “Agenda Sucide”
MP3: The Faint – “Call Call”
MP3: The Faint – “Worked Up So Sexual”
MP3: The Faint – “Some Incriminating Photographs”
Video: Ladytron – “Runaway”
Video: Ladytron – “Ghosts”
Video: Ladytron – “Destroy Everything You Touch”
Video: Ladytron – “Sugar”
Video: Ladytron – “Evil”
Video: Ladytron – “Blue Jeans”
Video: Ladytron – “Seventeen”
Video: Ladytron – “Play Girl”
Video: The Faint – “The Geeks Were Right”
Video: The Faint – “I Disappear”
Video: The Faint – “Agenda Suicide”
MySpace: Ladytron
MySpace: The Faint

If you were one of the people disappointed that Telepathe dropped off the Ladytron/Faint bill at the last minute, well, you’ve obviously never heard/seen them live. But if you actually like them and want to see them, they’ll be here on June 4 for their own show at the El Mocambo in support of their new record Dance Mother, out next week. Full tour dates at altsounds.

MP3: Telepathe – “So Fine” (Lauren Flax remix)
Video: Telepathe – “So Fine”

Southern rock-punks Cage The Elephant, who were a very pleasant surprise at NxNE 2007, have a date at the El Mocambo on April 26, tickets $8. Their self-titled debut did quite well when it was released in Europe last year, and is getting a domestic release on April 21.

Video: Cage The Elephant – “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked”

Chart reports that Canada Day this year will be celebrated at Harbourfront by Constantines and Chad Van Gaalen. As with every year, this show will be a) free and b) awesome.

Coming just a day too late to be considered timely (by me), the self-titled debut album from La Roux has been given a release date of June 29.

The Music Slut asks eight questions of White Lies.

Maximo Park’s Paul Smith gives Drowned In Sound a track-by-track tour of their new album Quicken The Heart, out May 12.

Singing Lamb interviews Cut Off Your Hands.

Stereogum interviews Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. Their new album The Eternal is out June 9.

Pitchfork tracks the musical development of Thermals frontman Hutch Harris and also premieres their new video. They’re at the Horseshoe on May 3.

Video: The Thermals – “Now We Can See”

MTV and Spinner talk to Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan. Her new record Two Suns came out yesterday and is streaming this week at Spinner. She’s at the Mod Club on April 25.

Stream: Bat For Lashes / Two Suns

Clash and Manchester Confidential interview Doves. Kingdom Of Rust is out now, streaming below, and they’re at the Kool Haus on June 1.

Stream: Doves / Kingdom of Rust

Paste plays catch up with Bob Mould. Life And Times came out yesterday – stream it below.

Stream: Bob Mould / Life and Times

Also out now and streaming for your consideration is The Hold Steady’s new live document A Positive Rage.

Stream: The Hold Steady / A Positive Rage