Posts Tagged ‘Crystal Stilts’

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Concert Pitch

Empire Of The Sun are bringing their intimate, stripped down live show to a stage near you

Photo via empireofthesun.comempireofthesun.comConsidering how much trouble it took epic Australian synth-pop duo Empire Of The Sun to make it to Toronto the first time – an August 2010 appearance at Echo Beach around their Lollapalooza set was nixed because of logistics and when the make-up show finally happened in September 2011, it was at the significantly smaller Sound Academy and still not especially well-attended – I didn’t really expect a return engagement if indeed a North American tour behind their second album Ice On The Dune even happened. After all, as big stars as they are back home, their profile in the northern hemisphere isn’t really on the same scale. But returning to North America they are, and the itinerary does indeed include a return to Toronto on September 9 at the probably much more appropriately-sized Danforth Music Hall, tickets running $30 to $35.

Given the almost five years since their debut Walking On A Dream came out and the fact that in The Sleepy Jackson, Luke Steele demonstrated an almost pathological stylistic restlessness, it’s somewhat surprising that Ice On The Dune treads much of the same ground as its predecessor. On a surface level, that’s all well and good as if you’re an Empire Of The Sun fan, you’re all about grandiose, danceable tunes with soaring choruses mated to astonishing visuals. But the similarities will naturally elicit direct comparison and you can’t help but feel that the formula is returning fewer dividends this time out. If they don’t mix it up a bit for album number three, it could become and issue but for now, it’s still enough to get the swordfish dancers out on the road and that’s all that really matters.

The Age has an interview with Luke Steele, while Wired reports that the collaboration with JJ Abrams’ Bad Robot studios that produced the extravagant, three-minute Ice On The Dune trailer, is just a prelude to a larger feature. And oh yeah, don’t forget they’re scoring Dumb & Dumber 2.

Video: Empire Of The Sun – “Alive”
Trailer: Empire Of The Sun / Ice On The Dune

Northampton, Massachusetts pop-punk – in the sense that they’re both poppy and punky, not that they belong on the Warped tour – quartet Potty Mouth will be at The Shop Under Parts & Labour on August 5, topping an $8, six-band bill that may well entice you underground to close out the August long weekend. Their debut Hell Bent is out September 17 and there’s features on them at Noisey and CMJ.

Video: Potty Mouth – “Damage”

Her duties supporting second album The Midnight Mass will bring Louise Burns to The Drake Underground on September 10 where she’ll also be supporting Lightning Dust. Tickets for that are still $12.50.

Video: Louise Burns – “Emeralds Shatter”

English newcomer and BBC Sound of 2013 longlister King Krule will be at The Drake on September 11 in support of his debut Six Feet Beneath The Moon, out August 24. Tickets for that are $15 in advance.

Video: King Krule – “Octopus”

Anyone who thinks that the garage-friendly triple bill of Wavves, Jacuzzi Boys, and King Tuff won’t be extra loud and unruly when it hits the Opera House on September 29 is probably wrong. But that’s kind of the point. Tickets are $19 and the full touring itinerary can be had over at Pitchfork.

MP3: Wavves – “Hippies Is Punks”
MP3: Jacuzzi Boys – “Automatic Jail”
MP3: King Tuff – “Anthem”

New York gloomy gusses Crystal Stilts have a new album in Nature Noir coming out September 17 – stream a new song below – and will be at The Horseshoe on October 8 to play you songs from it. Tickets for that are $12.50.

Stream: Crystal Stilts – “Star Crawl”

With his once and maybe future Sonic Youth bandmate Thurston Moore there a little less than a month earlier with Chelsea Light Moving, Lee Ranaldo and his new band The Dust will be at The Horseshoe on October 11, tickets $16.50. Matablog says that the tour is in support of his new solo record, the follow up to 2011’s Between The Times & The Tides, but isn’t saying any more about that for the moment.

MP3: Lee Ranaldo – “Off The Wall”

English electronic duo Fuck Buttons celebrated yesterday’s release of their new album Slow Focus with the announcement of a North American tour that brings them to Wrongbar on October 16, tickets $12. Interview, The Guardian, Clash, The Fly, and The Quietus have feature pieces on the band.

Video: Fuck Buttons – “The Red Wing”

With a new album in On Oni Pond ready for a September 10 release, Philadelphia weirdos – meant in the most complimentary sense – Man Man have slated a Fall tour that brings them to The Horseshoe on October 18, tickets $18.50.

MP3: Man Man – “Knuckle Down”

English folk-poppers Noah & The Whale have announced the dates for their Fall tour in support of album number four, Heart Of Nowhere. They’re at The Phoenix in Toronto on October 19, tickets $25.

Video: Noah & The Whale – “Lifetime”

Two good things about the announcement of a Shad show at The Opera House on October 19. One, it means that his next album Flying Colours will be out sooner rather than later, and two, it means that anyone who wants to see him perform no longer needs to go see him open up for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at Echo Beach on August 2. CBC has a check-in with the rapper.

Video: Shad – “It Ain’t Over”

Seattle folkies The Head & The Heart have completed their second album, entitled Let’s Be Still and set for an October 15 release, and have put together a pretty extensive tour covering the eastern half of the continent. They’re celebrating Hallowe’en in Toronto with an October 31 date at The Danforth Music Hall – tickets $20 to $25.50 – and the very worthy Thao & The Get Down Stay Down will support.

MP3: The Head & The Heart – “Down In The Valley”
MP3: Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – “Holy Roller”

New York synth-pop duo Holy Ghost! will release their second album Dynamics on September 10, and to get people stoked – as the kids say – they’ve put out a video for a track already made available to download and will be hitting the road later this Fall, rolling into The Hoxton on November 6, tickets $16.

MP3: Holy Ghost! – “Teenagers In Heat”
Video: Holy Ghost! – “Teenagers In Heat”

Monday, October 3rd, 2011


Wild Beasts at The Mod Club in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s right here, in these very pages, the fact that I didn’t dig on Wild Beasts’ last record Two Dancers and only after some persistence was able to reach a point of understanding it if not appreciating it. But mayhap that exercise softened me up enough that even though it wasn’t as acclaimed as its predecessor, I took to this year’s Smother almost immediately and also put Two Dancers back into rotation. All of which is to say that while I had no problem skipping the band’s visit to the Mod Club last Summer, I was not going to be missing this year’s go-around last Thursday.

The quartet intended to make a dramatic entrance onto the stage but a technical hiccup a few bars into “Lion’s Share” sabotaged that, forcing them to sheepishly say, “hello” rather than just get into it but the net effect was endearing rather than embarrassing and it would basically be the only misstep the entire evening. Why did no one tell me how good of a live band they were? And while we’re at it, why did no one tell me that the swooping and swooning vocals on their recordings were not just courtesy of Hayden Thorpe, but also of Tom Fleming? Here I was thinking that it was Thorpe alone with the inhumanly multi-octave range, when in fact it’s both of them. Which is ridiculous. That they should both be equally adept at playing guitar, bass and keyboards whilst utilizing those voices is even more ridiculous. And that Katie Harkness of Sky Larkin was on board as touring keyboardist was just a nice surprise.

Trying to describe Wild Beasts live requires a lot of adjectives that are typically more suited to blue movies than live music, but that’s just how it is – it’s the sound of sex, however you like it, and quite the contrast from the sentiments of love that Elbow brought to town the night before.. Seductive and dangerous, romantic and rough, primal and sophisticated, they build off a deep, swaying groove heavy on toms and accented with exotic percussion and alternately powered by keys or guitars, their songs are lifted by the intertwined vocals of Thorpe and Fleming in a way that just induces shivers. They split the set about evenly between Two Dancers and Smother and threw long-time fans a bone with “The Devli’s Crayon” from their debut Limbo, Panto and apologizing for never touring their that album. So rhythmically hypnotic was their hour-long main set that when it ended with “Hooting & Howling”, you didn’t even notice the finale coming until it was done – you might say the “End Come Too Soon” but the band saved that one to wrap the encoure, which thankfully ran a good three songs and allowed you the time to mentally prepare to extricate yourself from the music’s embrace and ready yourself to go back out into the cold world.

Prefix, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal and The Daily Texan have interviews with members of Wild Beasts.

Photos: Wild Beasts @ The Mod Club – September 29, 2011
MP3: Wild Beasts – “Thankless Thing”
MP3: Wild Beasts – “Albatross”
MP3: Wild Beasts – “Loop The Loop”
MP3: Wild Beasts – “All The King’s Men”
Video: Wild Beasts – “Bed Of Nails”
Video: Wild Beasts – “Albatross”
Video: Wild Beasts – “We Still Got The Taste Dancin’ On Our Tongues”
Video: Wild Beasts – “Hooting & Howling”
Video: Wild Beasts – “All The King’s Men”
Video: Wild Beasts – “The Devil’s Crayon”
Video: Wild Beasts – “Treacle Tin”
Video: Wild Beasts – “Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants”

Billboard has posted their upcoming cover story on Florence & The Machine, whose much-anticipated Ceremonials is out on November 1.

Wears The Trousers points to a video session by EMA in Vienna wherein they reinvent “Butterfly Knife”; worth watching.

Exclaim and The Chicago Tribune have interviews and NPR a World Cafe session with St. Vincent.

Spinner, The Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News and Paste talk to Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls. They’re at Lee’s Palace on October 16.

Asobi Seksu recorded a session for Daytrotter, gave interviews to OC Music Magazine and The Vindicator and also posted up a Walkmen cover, well, just because. They’re at Lee’s Palace on October 23 opening for Boris.

The Von Pop Musical Express interviews Juanita Stein of Howling Bells.

NPR welcomes Ryan Adams for a World Cafe session. Toronto’s Winter Garden Theatre welcomes him for a show on December 10.

Gary Louris and Karen Grotberg take The Boston Globe down the long and winding road to the Jayhawks reunion.

The Illinois Entertainer talks to Craig Finn of The Hold Steady.

Men’s Health and The Sydney Morning Herald< talk with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco while The National Post gets some of Pat Sansone and John Stirratt’s time.

The Decemberists are still promising to take an extended break after they’re done working The King Is Dead, but that won’t be until after they’ve released the Long Live The King EP on November 1 – Exclaim has specifics.

Crystal Stilts are in town for a show at the Horseshoe on December 1.

MP3: Crystal Stilts – “Through The Floor”
Video: Crystal Stilts – “Through The Floor”

Okkervil River have released a new video from I Am Very Far, starring a very young Will Sheff.

Video: Okkervil River – “Your Past Life As A Blast”

Pitchfork takes Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks onto a New York City rooftop to play some songs. Or else.

The Quietus talks to Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields.

NPR has a KCRW session with Fleet Foxes.

Salon investigates why, in a time when record labels are supposed to be dying, Merge Records are thriving.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Doors Unlocked And Open

We interrupt our SxSW reportage to bring you Death Cab For Cutie tour dates

Photo By Danny ClinchDanny ClinchNot that Death Cab For Cutie tour dates are “stop the presses” type news in any universe, but the fact that the fan presale for said shows begins tomorrow, I figured I should put my Austin reminiscences on hold for a day to post the info and maybe clear out some other tour dates and whatnot.

The tour is noteworthy, however, in that it’s kicking off a few weeks ahead of the release of their new record Codes & Keys, out May 31, and will be happening in rooms much smaller than they normally play. The first date of the tour, for example, will be May 18 at The Phoenix in Toronto which is a fraction of the size (1/3) of the Sound Academy, where they were back in Spring 2009 and many times smaller than the Toronto Islands show in Summer 2008, though that one was bolstered by Stars. All of which is to say that ticket demand will greatly outstrip supply for this show, so this presale – which opens at noon on Thursday to fan club members – could be your best friend if you want to see them in relatively cozy environs. And really, isn’t getting cozy with Ben Gibbard what it’s all about? No? Really? Okay.

And while logic dictates that this is a precursor to a much larger tour later in the Summer, this interview with Spin implies that their interest in living on the road is waning as the band enters middle age. So yeah, this presale. And if you miss the presale, regular on-sale goes Saturday at 10AM. Tickets are $39.50 plus fees will be the new-fangled paperless dealies and be limited to two per order. Man, I think the last time Death Cab played a club show on this scale was the Opera House in 2003, and I remember I had an extra ticket that I couldn’t give away. Eventually sold it to a scalper for $10. MEMORIES. Rolling Stone also has an interview with guitarist Chris Walla about the new record.

MP3: Death Cab For Cutie – “Soul Meets Body”

After easily selling out The Garrison back in February, Biffy Clyro return for a show at the more appropriately-sized Mod Club on April 23, tickets $20 in advance.

Video: Biffy Clyro – “God And Satan”

Portland instrumentalists Grails are in town at Sneaky Dee’s on April 28 in support of their new record Deep Politics.

MP3: Grails – “I Led Three Lives”

I didn’t realize that Here We Go Magic’s previously announced April 2 show at the El Mocambo disappeared like magic, but a new date for May 11 at The Horseshoe has just been announced, tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Casual”
MP3: Here We Go Magic – “Collector”

The Vaccines have been announced as support for the Arctic Monkeys’ North American tour which stops in at the Kool Haus on May 21. Their debut What Did You Expect From The Vaccines will have a May 31 North American release date. The Spectator has an interview with the band.

MP3: The Vaccines – “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)”

Brooklyn droners Crystal Stilts have put together a North American tour in support of their new record In Love With Oblivion, out April 12. The final date of the tour will be at Sneaky Dee’s on May 22. Full details on the record and tour at Exclaim.

Video: Crystal Stilts – “Through The Floor”

My Morning Jacket haven’t given their new record Circuital a proper release date yet, but that doesn’t mean they’re not doing a lot of releasing – the band are giving away live recordings from their New York residency last Fall each week, leading up to the unveil of a song from the new record on April 12. Sign up to their mailing list to access them all. They’ve also released a Summer tour itinerary which includes a July 11 date at the Kool Haus, tickets $40.50 in advance.

MP3: My Morning Jacket – “One Big Holiday”

Back to Texas tomorrow, which reminds me: what the hell is with this snow? Damnation.

Monday, December 15th, 2008

A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night

Love Is All, Crystal Stilts, Tropics at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangBrevity is the watchword of the day. ‘Tis been a long weekend.

Heading into Thurday night’s show at the Horseshoe, I was interested to see the headliner, curious about the much-buzzed about support act and completely unfamiliar with the local opener. We’ll start there.

I’d not heard of Tropics but half of the duo was Slim Twig, whom I was also mostly unfamiliar but at least I’d heard his name before. But it was his bandmate, drummer Simone TB, whom I found much more interesting – together, they were turning out some seriously loud garage-a-billy but while Twig’s guitar and vocal approach reminded me of a more abrasive but less interesting Jon Spencer, TB’s drumming was always deft and inventive and pushed their sound into more unpredictable places.

The drummer also stole the show for the Brooklyn outfit Crystal Stilts, but that wasn’t necessarily much of a feat. That’s not meant to take away from what Frankie Rose contributed behind the kit, as she and guitarist JB Townsend did a fine job of giving the band’s Spector-worshipping pop some punch, but more a comment on the sucking charisma vacuum that was frontman Brad Hargett. His droning Ian Curtis-ish vocals, already swathed in metallic reverb on record, seemed to be buried even further in the live mix and when he occasionally stepped on the reverb pedal his mic was run through, he may as well have not been there – an impression augmented by his complete lack of physical presence. Though not turning my world upside down, I do find some of Crystal Stilts’ output interesting, if overly one-dimensional. Live, however, they were wholly unengaging.

This left it up to headliners Love Is All to make the night worthwhile and while their set barely clocked in at forty minutes, they more than delivered. I’ve only recently gotten into the band, mainly on the strength of their latest release A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night, and was pleasantly surprised that they were even more enjoyable live. The scrappy production and clangy reverb of the recorded product gave way to a much fuller and polished live sound and a greater emphasis on their dancier attributes, thanks to a much more prominently feature Markus Gorsch – yes, the drummer once again ruled the day. But he didn’t steal the show – with a frontwoman as manic and energetic as Josephine Olausson, that’s next to impossible. Either banging away on her keyboard or caterwauling gleefully to the audience, and I mean that in the best possible sense, she led her bandmates through a delicate balance of sweet pop and sonic skronk.

The Chicago Tribune has a feature on Love Is All while The New Gay has a short interview with Olausson. The local media was apparently all excited about Crystal Stilts’ visit – there were pieces on the band in eye, NOW and Chart. Pity about their performance. To hear for yourself, check out a show available to download at NYC Taper – I haven’t listened to the particular show they’re offering, but I don’t think that the Toronto show was any kind of aberration from the norm. Call it a hunch. eye also has a review of the show.

Photos: Love Is All, Crystal Stilts, Tropics @ The Horseshoe – December 11, 2008
MP3: Love Is All – “Wishing Well”
MP3: Crystal Stilts – “Crystal Stilts”
MP3: Crystal Stilts – “Shattered Shine”
Video: Love Is All – “Wishing Well”
MySpace: Love Is All

If there was some way of knowing which Primal Scream was coming to North America next year, I might be more interested in their just-announced March 24 show at the Opera House Phoenix (tickets $35). If we’re talking XTRMNTR or Vanishing Point Primal Scream, I’m in. If we’re talking Give Out But Don’t Give Up or Screamadelica, I’m out (heresy on the second one, I know but whatever). And I have no idea who they are circa their last few records. If they’re going to play “Shoot Speed/Kill Light”, that might be persuasion enough but something tells me the name of the first single off latest release Beautiful Future might prove to be prescient… This Is Nottingham interviews guitarist Barry Cadogan. Update: Venue appears to be different from what I thought – now the Phoenix, not Opera House.

Video: Primal Scream – “Can’t Go Back”

Also just announced – Eagles Of Death Metal at the Phoenix on February 20, tickets $27.50.

Filter interviews Of Montreal.

Pitchfork has details on the new Arcade Fire DVD Miroir Noir, which will be available digitally starting today and in physical form next year.

The AV Club talks to Mates Of State.

The Times talks to Elbow’s Guy Garvey, Adele and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon about their breakthrough 2008s.