Posts Tagged ‘Catl’

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Having An Average Weekend

Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, catl., and Daniel Romano at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSaturday night was pretty flush with options for Toronto music fans – Edgefest for the kids up at Downsview, the Sarah Harmer-led free War Of 1812 celebrations at Fort York for the CBC Radio 3 crowd – but for those of a certain generation, there was nowhere else to be but Lee’s Palace. Because for one night only, Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet were back.

Thanks to being the house band for the Kids In The Hall comedy troupe in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Shadowy Men were arguably the most widely-heard independent Toronto band of that era; remember, this was a time when being an independent Canadian artist didn’t have the same cachet that it does today – it basically meant that you toiled away in obscurity or something close to it. The sort of reach that their distinctive surf-a-billy instrumentals got was rare and impressive, and their accomplishments over the course of three albums and many singles frequently overlooked (though a small panel I was on tried to mitigate that somewhat by electing them to the Zunior Independent Music Hall Of Fame in 2010).

The trio disbanded to pursue other projects in 1996 and when bassist Reid Diamond passed away in 2001, it looked as though that would be it for the Shadowy Men legacy; thankfully it wasn’t. Whether the start of a reissue series for their shamefully out of print catalog precipitated the decision to play some live shows with Dallas Good of The Sadies standing in for Diamond or vice-versa, what matters is that Shadowy Men were again an active concern in 2012, first with a show at Calgary’s Sled Island festival in late June and then this sold-out and sweaty hometown show on Saturday.

The last time I’d seen Daniel Romano was right here at Lee’s Palace, but that was five years ago and he was fronting Welland rock act Attack In Black and opening up for Built To Spill. I knew that he’d gone solo in a different direction since then, but it was still something to see him take the stage in full cowboy regalia – okay, no spurs or chaps – with the songs to match. Johnny Cash and Gram Parsons were obvious reference points and while formidable ones, Romano’s slow, hurting songs didn’t pale for the comparison. He wasn’t quite able to win the full attention of the audience at first, but as their performance went on, the floor steadily filled up and by the time a couple began slow dancing at the foot of the stage, their set could be marked in the ‘win’ column.

catl.’s Twitter bio doesn’t even need 140 characters to accurately describe them – “dirty. sweaty. fun.”. Though something of a Toronto fixture, I’d never actually gotten to see the trio live before and indeed their set was loud, dirty, sweaty, and fun. Their greasy blues-rock shuffles were a combination of John Lee Hooker and Tom Waits – thanks to the guitar and voice of Jamie Fleming – happy to grind along in their groove and then periodically detonating with gloriously grimy energy, often in the form of Sarah Kirkpatrick’s maraca shake (mostly not a metaphor). I generally don’t care for the blues or things directly derived from them, but this was more than alright; disinterest was not an option.

Though I counted myself a fan in their initial run – dubbed cassettes of all their albums and their songs were the perfect length for filling in the ends of sides on mix tapes – I never saw them live. I didn’t go to shows because, well, I was still underage and concert-going wasn’t part of my lifestyle – something I’ve spent the past 15 years making up for, I suppose. All of which is to say that it was pretty exciting to get a chance to see something that I’d never thought about having missed, and for it to be as great as I’d never imagined. Obviously Reid Diamond is irreplaceable, but if you had to get a stand-in, you couldn’t do much better than Dallas Good and equipping him with the man’s original Gibson Thunderbird bass – the perfect instrumental counterpoint to guitarist Brian Connelly’s Gretsch White Falcon if ever there was one.

I’m not even going to try and cite many specific songs performed over the course of their 90-minute, two-encore set, which they dove right into without much fanfare – no dimming of lights or chilling of ham. One of the perks of being an instrumental band is you get to come up with ridiculous names for your compositions – which Shadowy Men surely did – so being able to identify 1- to 2-minute songs after having not even heard any of their albums in many years was nigh on impossible. That said, I was surprised how many of their tunes were so immediately familiar – “You Spin Me Round”, “Theme From TV”, “Run Chicken Run”, “Shadowy Countdown”; in trying to describe their sound, any of surf, spaghetti western, spy themes, mariachi, and rockabilly would be appropriate but one musn’t forget pop – as complex as their stylistic melting pot got, memorable and immediate melodies were almost always the first ingredient, which is a large part of why they remain so beloved so many years on.

Though this should have been a record release show for the repressing of their first album Savvy Show Stoppers, drummer Don Pyle apologized for the lack of merch saying that the records were held up at the border… of Saskatchewan. Nonetheless, they’ll make it out eventually and when they do, hopefully a new generation of fans will be able to bask in the greatness that was Shadowy Men. Me, I’m just happy that I finally got to see Brian Connelly play, “Having An Average Weekend”, and be able to confirm after 20 years of wondering that I was indeed playing it right when my high school band covered it in high school – I just sucked at it.

BlogTO has an interview with Don Pyle about the makings of the Shadowy Men reunion and one fan in attendance managed to record their entire set on video in quite good quality and post it to YouTube, so if you weren’t there on Saturday and wished you were, make with the watching. And if you’re up for a road trip, they’ve announced another show on September 14 in Waterloo at the Starlight.

Photos: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, catl., Daniel Romano @ Lee’s Palace – July 14, 2012
MP3: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – “13”
Video: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – “They Don’t Call Them Chihuahuas Anymore”
Video: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – “Rover And Rusty”
Video: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – “Memories Of Gay Paree”
Video: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – “Musical Interlude”
Video: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – “Shadowy Countdown”
Video: catl. – “Gold Tooth Shine”
Video: catl. – “A Sun’s Grave”
Video: Daniel Romano – “Time Forgot (To Change My Heart)”

Toronto vibraphone ensemble The Hylozoists come out of hiding next week to play The Piston on July 18th.

Video: The Hylozoists – “Bras D’Or Lakes”

Purity Ring’s debut album Shrines is getting the NPR First Listen treatment, being available to stream a week before its July 24 official release.

MP3: Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”
MP3: Purity Ring – “Obedear”
Stream: Purity Ring / Shrines

I probably shouldn’t need a British newspaper to tip me off to new bands in my own backyard, but The Guardian deserves credit for alerting me to the existence of Diana, a new electro-pop band from the brain of Joseph Shabason – aka Destroyer’s go-to saxophonist – that features Carmen Elle of Army Girls on vocals. Seriously, is there any musician in Toronto without an electro-pop side-project/persona?

Stream: Diana – “Born Again”
Stream: Diana – “Perpetual Surrender”

Ion talks to Joel Plaskett.

Loud & Quiet has an interview with Japandroids.

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Hear It Is

Oh my gawd!!! …The Flaming Lips are free for NXNE!

Photo By J. Michelle Martin-CoyneJ. Michelle Martin-CoyneSo what are you doing June 16? Are you one of those so conditioned by years of Toronto Radiohead shows selling out in a heartbeat that you tripped over yourself getting tickets for their Downsview gig as soon as they went on sale, even though the new venue was over twice the size of the Amphitheatre and general admission? Or are you one of those conscious of the fact that this is a King Of Limbs tour and realistically speaking, they probably won’t be playing the stuff you like most and anyways that’s the day the reunited Archers Of Loaf are finally coming to town and there’s no place you’d rather be that night than The Phoenix? Or were you waiting to hear what NXNE had up their sleeves since that’s when the Yonge-Dundas Square mainstage traditionally hosts the biggest name of the fest playing for free? If you chose option c), then congratulations on wanting to make an informed decision. And I’m sorry to say that Radiohead is now sold out so all your strategizing was for naught.

But you’ve hardly lost out as NXNE finally announced their first batch of acts playing the festival this year, and the Saturday night mainstage headliners will be none other than The Flaming Lips. The Oklahoman psychedelic-rockers, last here in July 2010, will endeavour to transform Yonge-Dundas Square into a garish, technicolor assault on the senses… so pretty much what it is every day, but with a bubble walk. Kidding aside, it will be pretty exciting to see a lot of people who’ve presumably never seen the Lips perform (or even know who they are) witness one of the most ridiculous and entertaining live shows going. Laser hands! And hey – since Yonge-Dundas isn’t far from The Phoenix, you can technically do both The Lips and Archers Of Loaf. I will, anyways.

As for the other confirmed acts, there’s a pretty impressive collection of both buzz bands and veterans coming to Toronto the weekend of June 14 to 17 – certainly more than a few that I’ve either been waiting to see come to town or are quite curious about. And because I’m a big dork, as I’ve done the past couple years, I’ve tried to discern the when and where of as many showcases as possible based on tour routing, previous announcements, what have you. There’s not quite as much info floating around right now as in past years, but if you wanted to get a jump start on trying to resolve inevitable scheduling conflicts, it’s something. Of course, all of this is unconfirmed until the official schedule is unveiled and certainly subject to change – I’ll probably keep updating it until that happens, if just for my own reference – but my sources are credible.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Hayes Carll, July Talk @ The Horseshoe
Eternal Summers @ The Drake Underground

Thursday, June 14, 2012
Bad Religion, No Use For A Name, Good Riddance @ Yonge-Dundas Square
White Rabbits, Vacationer, Nash @ The Mod Club
Bran Van 3000, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Violens, Hooded Fang @ The Horseshoe
The Men, Grass Widow, The Black Belles, Mac DeMarco, Gap Dream @ The Garrison
Young Magic, Purity Ring, Moon King, Exitmusic, The Hundreds in The Hands @ Wrongbar
The Danks, Vinyl Williams @ The Drake Underground
Bleached @ The Silver Dollar
Mean Jeans @ The Shop Under Parts & Labour
The Seedy Seeds @ The Painted Lady
Larry & His Flask, The Schomberg Fair @ Sneaky Dee’s

Friday, June 15, 2012
Matthew Good, Plants & Animals, Eight And A Half @ Yonge-Dundas Square
2:54, Friends, Oberhofer @ Lee’s Palace
The Smoking Popes @ The Great Hall
The Sadies & Andre Williams, Reigning Sound, The Black Belles, The Coppertone @ The Horseshoe
Widowspeak, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan, Art Vs. Science @ The Garrison
The Men, Bass Drum Of Death, DZ Deathrays, The Death Set, Metz @ Wrongbar
Bleached, Parlovr, Hooded Fang, Goose Hut @ The Silver Dollar
Rah Rah @ The Dakota Tavern
Phèdre, Odonis Odonis, Beta Frontiers, Cartoons, Hellaluya, Hussy, Times Neue Roman @ Sneaky Dee’s
Brasstronaut, Útidúr @ TBA

Saturday, June 16, 2012
The Flaming Lips, Of Montreal, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, Ceremony, Art Vs. Science, Oberhofer, Parlovr, Hollerado @ Yonge-Dundas Square
Archers Of Loaf, Metz @ The Phoenix
Catl, Young Empires @ The Horseshoe
Killer Mike, Death Grips, Ceremony, Doldrums, Trae Tha Truth @ Wrongbar
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan @ Sneaky Dee’s
Holly McNarland, The Deer Tracks @ The Rivoli
Limblifter, Shellshag, Our Brother The Native, Neon Windbreaker, International Zombies OF Love @ El Mocambo
Kontravoid, Automelodi, Bleached, Prince Innocence, Ell V Gore, Mac DeMarco, Cellphone, Dutch Toko @ The Silver Dollar
Sean Rowe @ The Dakota Tavern
WAZU @ The Painted Lady
Carnival Moon @ Czehoski
DJ Jonathan Toubin @ TBA

Sunday, June 17, 2012
Raekwon & Ghostface Killah @ Yonge-Dundas Square

The full list of announced acts – including those without a venue or exact date that I can pin down – can be grokked over here but definitely catching my eye are Rival Schools and Porcelain Raft (June 14 or 15). Not a bad start at all, lots more to come.

MP3: Archers Of Loaf – “Harnessed In Slums”
MP3: Ceremony – “Hysteria”
MP3: Death Grips – “Spread Eagle Cross The Block”
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Dark Passenger”
MP3: Mac DeMarco – “Baby’s Wearin’ Blue Jeans”
MP3: Doldrums – “I’m Homesick Sittin’ Up Here In My Satellite”
MP3: Hollerado – “Americanarama”
MP3: The Men – “Ex-Dreams”
MP3: Oberhofer – “Away Frm U”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Coquet Coquette”
MP3: The Soundtrack Of Our Lives – “Karmageddon”
MP3: Widowspeak – “Harsh Realm”
MP3: Andrew Williams – “Dirt”
Video: Bad Religion – “21st Century Digital Boy”
Video: The Black Belles – “What Can I Do”
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Fight Test”
Video: Friends – “Friend Crush”
Video: Ghostface Killah – “2getha Baby”
Video: Matthew Good – “Everything Is Automatic”
Video: Raekwon – “House Of Flying Daggers”
Video: 2:54 – “You’re Early”

And speaking of The Flaming Lips, their Flaming Lips & Heady Fwends album is out this Saturday for Record Store Day – if you can get your hands on one – and Wayne Coyne talks about it to The Huffington Post. They’ve also released a video from it – NSFW, of course. Lips don’t do clothes.

Video: The Flaming Lips and New Fumes – “Girl, You’re So Weird”

Electronic Anthology Project is the brainchild of Built To Spill’s Brett Netson wherein he takes songs from artists who aren’t especially electronic – like, say, Dinosaur Jr – and recreates them in synth-y, new wave style and actually makes it work. Of course it helps when you can get the likes of J Mascis to re-record some vocals for the project… The Electronic Anthology Project of Dinosaur Jr will be released on CD for Record Store Day but you can stream the whole thing right now at Stereogum.

Stream: Electronic Anthology Project – “Tarpit”
Stream: Electronic Anthology Project of Dinosaur Jr

Stereogum checks in with Jana Hunter of Lower Dens to see how things are coming on their next album Nootropics, out May 1.

Beach House are streaming another new song from Bloom, out May 15. It’ll be available on 7″ for Record Store Day this Saturday.

Stream: Beach House – “Lazuli”

Spin interviews Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, whose new record The Only Place is out on May 15. They play The Phoenix on July 21.

Though Mark Kozelek has a habit of booking and then cancelling shows, he’s planning to be in Toronto at The Great Hall on October 3 to promote the new Sun Kil Moon record Among The Leaves, out May 29. Tickets are $20 in advance and refunds will be available at the point of purchase.

MP3: Sun Kil Moon – “UK Blues”
MP3: Sun Kil Moon – “Carry Me Ohio”
MP3: Sun Kil Moon – “Sunshine In Chicago”

Exclaim reports that the second Guided By Voices album of 2012 – Class Clown Spots a UFO – will be out on June 21 and a third GBV album entitled Bears For Lunch should be out in November. Most prolific reunion ever?

That Nintendo-premiered new video from The Shins is finally available to watch online. They’re at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 4 supporting The Black Keys.

Video: The Shins – “The Rifle’s Spiral”

Craig Finn tells Rolling Stone that The Hold Steady will begin work on a new record this Summer, but he’s not quite done with the solo thing yet – Paste has premiered a new video as part of a fundraising campaign for Big Brother/Big Sisters of America.

Video: Craig Finn – “Respective Coasts”

Spin chats with M. Ward.

Chart talks to Nada Surf frontman Matthew Caws.

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”