Posts Tagged ‘Dead Weather’

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

No Ghost

New records from The Acorn, Wolf Parade and Stars promise paranormal activity

Photo via Stage FrightStage FrightThere seems to be a fixation with the supernatural running through Canadian indie circles right now – or at least through their naming processes – if a few upcoming, high-profile releases are any indication. First off, you’ve got Ottawa’s Acorn, whose long-awaited follow-up to 2007’s Glory Hope Mountain will be out on June 1 and carry the title of No Ghost. Their interest in the spirit world isn’t new, however, as their 2004 debut – albeit by a decidedly different Acorn than exists today – was called The Pink Ghosts, so perhaps the new record is some response to that? Yeah, probably not. The MP3 for the title track of the new record is available now to share and enjoy and they play Lee’s Palace on June 11.

MP3: The Acorn – “No Ghost”

Montreal’s Stars are five-upping The Acorn – or maybe infinite-upping them, considering their album title implies null ghosts – by calling their new record The Five Ghosts. Even though the album isn’t out until June 22 and, as Amy Millan admits to Chart, touring a record so far ahead of its release is probably insane, they’re setting out on an extensive North American tour where they’ll play the whole thing in its entirety starting at the Mod Club in Toronto – congratulations go out to Tony, Jacob and Mike for winning my contest for passes.

The title of Wolf Parade’s new record Expo 86 doesn’t have anything to do with ghosts – except maybe those of Worlds Fairs past – but in addition to an interview, Spencer Krug gives Pitchfork a sneak preview of the new album with a pair of downloads, one of which is called – wait for it – “Ghost Pressure”. Would five ghosts exert more pressure than no ghosts, considering they’re inherently intangible and thus incapable of exerting any pressure at all? HMM. Expo 86 is out June 29 and is notable as the first Wolf Parade album to not have terrible album art. Spinner also talks to drummer Arlen Thompson.

MP3: Wolf Parade – “Ghost Pressure”
MP3: Wolf Parade – “What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had To Go This Way)

Forest City Lovers have set a June 29 release for their third album Carriage – check out the first MP3 below.

MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Light You Up”

The Wilderness Of Manitoba have announced details and a first sample from their debut full-length When You Left The Fire, due out on June 22. Expect a proper record release show, but for now their hometown dates are of the support variety – May 12 at the Mod Club with Matthew Barber and June 4 at The Phoenix with Basia Bulat and Julie Doiron.

MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Hermit”

TwentyFourBit reports that Daniel Lanois is producing the next Neil Young record – this could well be fantastic. Or not. But the potential for greatness is definitely there.

Le Blogotheque has a Take-Away Show from the streets of Montreal featuring Jason Collett and Zeus, the latter of whom’s Mike O’Brien is the subject of an interview at Bring Back The Boom Box.

Cornershop Studios talks to Dan Mangan.

The Vancouver Sun and The Globe & Mail talk to Carl Newman of The New Pornographers, whose Together is out today. They’re at the Sound Academy on June 15.

Resonancity, The Montreal Mirror and Montreal Gazette interview Dan Snaith of Caribou.

More show announcements – a bill made up of bands whose names I see a lot in my RSS reader are coming to town – Austin’s This Will Destroy You, Chicago’s Light Pollution and Brooklyn’s Slow Six sound like they’ll make up a pretty psych/post-rocking good time at the Rivoli on June 5.

MP3: This Will Destroy You – “The World Is”
MP3: Light Pollution – “Good Feelings”
MP3: Slow Six – “The Night You Left New York”

English folkers Peggy Sue – who visited last Fall – will be back for a show at Sneaky Dee’s on June 13. Their full-length debut Fossils & Other Phantoms is due out June 1 – check out their Daytrotter session from last year for a preview of the new material.

Video: Peggy Sue – “Watchman”

Angsty Scots We Were Promised Jetpacks will be setting down at the Horseshoe on July 3, tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: We Were Promised Jetpacks – “Quiet Little Voices”

With their new record Sea Of Cowards due out next Tuesday, The Dead Weather have slated a North American tour that stops in at the Sound Academy on July 15, tickets $35 for general admission and $45 for VIP balcony. Spinner talks to Alison Mosshart about the new record, which is streaming over at NPR and the band also streamed a live performance of the album performed in its entirety last night at their MySpace and it’s still available to watch.

Stream: The Dead Weather / Sea Of Cowards
Stream: The Dead Weather / Sea Of Cowards (live)

Those Black Mountain dates announced a little while ago that ended in London, Ontario before cutting over to Europe for a week have been extended and a second North American leg kicks off July 23 at the Horseshoe in Toronto before cutting west across the US. Expect to hear lots of material from their next record at these shows – it’s tentatively called Wilderness Heart and targeted for a late Summer release.

MP3: Black Mountain – “Tyrants”

(Former?) Bloc Party frontman Kele (Okereke) will bring his solo debut The Boxer, to The Mod Club on July 29, tickets $20 in advance. And if you were wondering – as I was – it’s not as terrible as some have said, but certainly not something I’d take over Bloc Party, given the choice.

Perhaps by way of apology for canceling their April show, The Specials have added a second show at the Sound Academy following the August 27 make-up date – they’ll also be there on August 28.

And if you needed a final reminder to head out to the Horseshoe tonight for the free Joy Formidable show, here’s a recording of the band’s set at the Truck America festival in upstate New York this past weekend, courtesy of NYC Taper – he’s also got a recording of their set in New York from January to share, and you can also stream their debut mini-album A Balloon Called Moaning, released in North America today, at Spinner. The Joy Formidable are on at 11 – be there.

Stream: The Joy Formidable / A Balloon Called Moaning

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009


An introduction to The Wilderness Of Manitoba

TWOMPhoto via MySpaceMySpaceOpening up with the sound of bird noises might be a bit of an over-sell, but forgiveness comes easily when the multi-layered harmonies of Toronto’s The Wilderness Of Manitoba arrive and usher in their debut EP, Hymns Of Love And Spirits. Sharing members with Provincial Parks and Key Witness, The Wilderness of Manitoba come with a very clear and direct mandate – to craft gentle, intricate folk songs of the sort that no one seems to make anymore. Of course, that’s a mandate that many have taken on in recent years and so, ironically, there’s a good number of artists presently making those sorts of songs.

The Wilderness Of Manitoba still manage to stand tall amongst their peers, however, and stand out. Obviously drawing inspiration from both the English and American folk revivals of the 1960s, they place an emphasis on choral vocals that give the mini-album a certain dreamy quality that splits the difference between spiritual and ghostly. The musical arrangements are similarly kept ethereal, all gentle acoustic guitar, spare percussion with an occasional guest appearance from a banjo, cello or keys and carried aloft on a plush cloud of reverb. It’s a record that drifts by prettily, seemingly untethered from earthly concerns yet tangible enough to still carry a very real emotional heft. It haunts, like a fond but faded memory.

The Wilderness Of Manitoba are playing The Garrison tomorrow night with Olenka & The Autumn Lovers and Slow Down Molasses. BlogTO interviewed the band at the end of the Summer while The Line Of Best Fit had a more recent conversation.

MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Bluebirds”

Timber Timbre has made his self-titled debut available as a free download through the end of Saturday, October 31. He plays a free show at the North York Central Library on November 7. It’s all about the free.

MP3: Timber Timbre – “Demon Host”
Video: Timber Timbre – “Demon Host”
Video: Timber Timbre – “We’ll Find Out”
ZIP: Timber Timbre / Timber Timbre talks to Liz Powell of Land Of Talk.

Blurt reports that Midlake will finally release their new record The Courage of Others on February 2.

Fazer has got an interview with Logan Kroeber of The Dodos.

Tiny Mix Tapes talks to Thao. Aaah, that’s some good alliteration right there. Thao plays the El Mocambo on November 1.

The Quietus asks Alison Mosshart what’s up with each of her bands, The Kills and The Dead Weather – new records from both in 2010. There you go.

PitchforkTV has added a video interview segment with Yo La Tengo to go with their Don’t Look Down session performances. The Skinny, San Diego News Network, The San Francisco Examiner and Vail Daily also have interviews.

Magnet picks their five most overrated and underrated Galaxie 500 songs. Is it really possible for a band that’s chronically underrated to have overrated songs?

Sweden’s Shout Out Louds have completed their new album and named it Work – look for it February 23 of next year.

Mid to late December is usually a real dead zone for tours coming through town, so what are the odds that two shows I’d want to see would arrive on the same night? Apparently pretty good. There’s no way I’m not going to be seeing Fanfarlo at the El Mocambo that night, but am sad that it means missing seeing Blue Roses – aka English singer-songwriter Laura Groves who released a lovely self-titled debut back in the Spring – at the Drake Underground, opening up for Marcus Foster, whom I don’t know at all. There’s no reason I can think of not to be at Fanfarlo, but if you can come up with one it better be because you’re at this show instead.

MP3: Blue Roses – “Doubtful Comforts”
MP3: Blue Roses – “I Am Leaving”

It’s not new album news, per se, but NME’s reporting that Lightspeed Champion will have a new single out entitled “Marlene” on January 25 is certainly a good omen that record number two is coming.

Exclaim talks to The xx. They’re at the Phoenix on December 2.

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Hang You From The Heavens

The Dead Weather and Hollerado at the Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt wasn’t technically a secret show – when the announcement was made, it was very clear as to what was going on – but considering the announcement came less than 36 hours before gig time, it was most definitely a surprise. The occasion was a show by The Dead Weather, a band whose existence was only revealed three months ago, but who by virtue of their pedigree were already one of the most talked-about new acts of the Summer. And it’s not hard to see why – their lineup features Jack White of White Stripes and Raconteurs fame, Alison Mosshart of The Kills, Dean Fertita of Queens Of The Stone Age and Jack Lawrence, also of The Raconteurs.

Though their album Horehound wasn’t set for release until July 14, coinciding with a large North American tour, they were opting to play a couple of hugely undersized club shows to warm up and build excitement – last Friday night at the Magic Stick in White’s hometown of Detroit and on this night, at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, a room with a generously-rated capacity of 400 heads that’s hosted more than its share of massive bills, both surprise and secret.

A strict wristband policy targeted at both foiling scalpers and getting genuine fans into the gig ensured that there were lineups of people along Queen West for goodly portions of Saturday afternoon and early evening, but while it meant long waits, it seemed to be effective – once inside, everyone seemed genuinely excited to be there and in great anticipation for the show. And they’d have probably happily waited the three hours from doors till show time, but there was also an opening band on the bill, hand-picked by Jack White from a list of local-ish suggestions via MySpace auditions.

The winners of this lottery were Ottawa’s Hollerado, who were in town for a show the previous night at Lee’s Palace, and while opening up for The Dead Weather would be a highlight for any young band’s resume, it could have been a mixed blessing – after all, it was a chance to play in front of a packed house, sure, but also a crowd that had no idea who they were nor potentially any interest in hearing them. Fortunately for everyone, Hollerado put on a winning set that combined collegiate smart-alecky lyrics with barroom-approved rock and served them up with an entertaining stage show – you have to give points to a band that’s willing to drink beer soaked into and wrung out of the drummer’s sock. No wait, you don’t. But they put on a great set, almost certainly won themselves some new fans and most importantly, helped pass the time.

By this point, The Horseshoe was absolutely packed and disgustingly sweaty as roadies set up for the show, and even then Jack White’s attention to visuals was very much evident. All crew members were nattily dressed in dark suits with blue ties and fedoras and the guitars were all stunning white Gretsches with gold hardware. You didn’t have to be a guitar geek to be impressed – that was some seriously nice gear. And then at 11:30 sharp, the lights went out.

In White and Mosshart, The Dead Weather have in their ranks two of the most charismatic frontpersons in rock, and put together on a stage as small as the Horseshoe’s in front of an audience as pent up with excitement as this one, the result was combustible. White’s role as drummer (and sometime vocalist) keeps him at the back and though his presence was most definitely felt – there were noticably no cymbal stands or any sort of hardware to obstruct the view of the biggest star onstage – it was hard to keep your eyes of Mosshart. Not just because she’s got that gloriously strung out sex appeal, but with her whipping hair, leopardskin coat and sheer rock goddess presence, it was impossible to look away. As good as she is with The Kills, hearing her equally sultry and sinister rasp front a massive-sounding, blues-soaked rock band staying to just the right side of sludgy is even better. It may not be as engagingly creative and catchy as her other gig with its punk and electro hybridism, but it sure as hell feels right.

To appreciate The Dead Weather, I had to get out of my pop-ist mindset because they are not about hooks or melodies or the other markers I usually look for in my music. This isn’t to say they’re not there, but they’re secondary to the mighty riff, be it on organ or guitar, the deep, muscular groove and the sheer attitude. And the volume. The Dead Weather may have been playing a small club but they blasted it like it was an arena. And while their songs certainly excelled in those departments, I didn’t find them individually to be especially memorable or exceptional – they were more just vehicles for the massive talents, musicianship and personalities of those delivering them and in that sense, they were triumphs.

With just an album’s worth of material, their show ran just over an hour long with the main set coming to its obvious but no less potent climax when White climbed out from behind the kit, strapped on a guitar and performed, “Will There Be Enough Water?” as a slow-burning duet with Mosshart punctuated by a searing solo the likes of which he’s more known for in his other bands. It was a finale that was tough to top, but that didn’t stop them from coming out with a two-song encore that wrapped with their current single, the snarling “Hang You From The Heavens”, and after gathering in front to acknowledge the rapturous applause, the four were gone, leaving their exhausted but utterly satisfied fans to recover at their own pace. They’ll be back for a full-sized gig at the Kool Haus on July 22 and while the vast majority of those there for that show will probably think it’ll be a great, wholly memorable performance, anyone amongst the few hundred who were able to catch one of the band’s very first gigs – I think this was their fourth or fifth-ever liver show – will know that however good that Kool Haus show is, it won’t have compared to this one.

Both The Globe & Mail and The Toronto Sun were in attendance on Saturday and have reviews. Black Book and The Times have interviews with the band, The Los Angeles Times, The Globe & Mail and Canadian Press talk to Jack White and The Courier-Journal chats with Jack Lawrence. The band are offering a download of album track “Treat Me Like Your Mother” in exchange for your email address.

Photos: The Dead Weather, Hollerado @ The Horseshoe – June 13, 2009
Video: The Dead Weather – “Hang You From The Heavens”
ZIP: Hollerado / Record In A Bag
MySpace: Hollerado

That’s it for today. I used up all my random linkage on Saturday.

Friday, June 12th, 2009

The Dead Weather play the Horseshoe tomorrow night

Photo via PrefixPrefixThat kind of says it all, doesn’t it? Jack White and Allison Mosshart’s new gig The Dead Weather are doing a super-intimate show at the Horseshoe tomorrow night. Tickets $25 at the door, but you have to get a wristband at the Horseshoe starting at 1PM Saturday afternoon. Details at Against The Grain.

That this is going to be crazy kind of goes without saying.

Their debut Horehound is out July 14 and they play a regular-sized gig at the Kool Haus on July 22.

Video: The Dead Weather – “Hang You From The Heavens”

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

(North By North) East Of Hercules

NxNE announces 2009 lineup

Photo By Aubrey EdwardsAubrey EdwardsI believe it’s traditional that on one’s birthday, one should be fed and watered profusely on someone else’s dime. So that’s exactly what I did last night, for my 34th, and it was all courtesy of NxNE. It wasn’t a party just for me, of course. The festival was having their kick-off press conference wherein they promised to announce “all” the bands playing this year’s to-do, taking place June 17 to 21 around Toronto, a feat which would have been impressive to see since the reading off of hundreds of band names could have been one of the more stultifyingly dull things I’d ever be able to witness.

But as it happens that wasn’t the game plan. Instead, they announced the bigger names who’d be performing the festival, which would have been great… if they weren’t the same names they’d already announced on the website last month. Don’t get me wrong, having the likes of Black Lips, Matt & Kim and No Age and Woodpigeon playing is nothing to shake a stick at, and one name that hadn’t been previously announced and raised an eyebrow was Seattle garage rock legends The Sonics, who will close out the outdoor stage at Yonge-Dundas Square on the Saturday night, June 20. But it’s just that I thought with a big media event they’d have held onto a few surprises to get people excited.

And while it was a bit of an anticlimax in that regard, it doesn’t change the fact that there’s a pretty solid lineup descending on the city come mid-June including a lot of great domestic acts – many of them the usual suspects, sure, but that doesn’t make them less great. And I suppose I got my big pleasant surprise of the festival a couple days ago when I got an email from Austin trio Ume informing me they’d be coming to town for NxNE. Ume, you may or may not recall, were one of the best things I saw at SxSW back in March – a trio led by the guitar heroics of Lauren Larson who balanced pop hooks and sweet female vocals with crazy heavy riffing. I had thought I was going to have to wait until next Spring to see them again, the odds of them touring all the way up here seemed beyond remote but hey, here they come. They’ll be playing Neutral on Thursday the 18th at 10PM – not sure what else is going on that night at that time, the festival schedule is still forthcoming, but I can tell you right now that this will be one of the best bets for that night, if not the whole weekend. They’ve got a couple releases – a 2005 album in Urgent Sea which is decidedly rougher and heavier than their new most excellent Sunshower EP – also check out their SxSW WOXY session. And it’s pronounced “ooo-may”, which you’ll need to know for when people ask you what was the best new thing you saw at NxNE was.

MP3: Ume – “The Conductor”
MP3: Ume – “Wake”
Video: Ume – “The Conductor”
MySpace: Ume

Harbourfront Centre has also released their World Routes 2009 schedule, and the highlights (some previously announced) would appear to be the Constantines show on Canada Day (though Chad Vangaalen isn’t listed, all indications are he’s still playing as well), Holy Fuck with Winter Gloves for Beats, Breaks & Culture on July 10, and Jenn Grant, Gentleman Reg and Amy Millan as part of Canadian Voices the weekend of July 24 and 25. And as always, these shows are free free free.

Amos The Transparent will be at the Horseshoe on May 22 in addition to their June 18 NxNE show at the Drake Underground. They have a new EP out called My, What Big Teeth You Have… and are encouraging the existence of Amos The Transparent cover bands by putting lyrics and chord sheets for their songs on their website.

And if NxNE proper wasn’t going to keep me busy enough that week, there’s also the big-deal shows on the preceding days. Music Snobbery has an interview with Phoenix, whose Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is out May 29 and who play the Phoenix on the Monday, June 15.

And then you’ve got Patrick Wolf at the Mod Club a couple days later on Wednesday, June 17. The Sunday Mail talks to Wolf, whose The Bachelor is out June 1 in the UK and August 11 over here. I do believe I’ll be taking some time off from work that week. Yes I do.

As mentioned in last month’s writeup of Neko Case’s sublime Trinity-St Paul’s show, she’s coming back this Summer and details of said performance have been announced. Case will play Massey Hall on July 14 with tickets going for $29.50, $35.50 and $40.50. Presale goes tomorrow morning at 10AM with the password available at while the public on-sale begins May 15 at noon.

MP3: Neko Case – “Middle Cyclone”
MP3: Neko Case – “People Got A Lotta Nerve”

And if you’re looking for something damn near the opposite of Neko Case that night, you may want to consider seeing Micachu & The Shapes at the El Mocambo the eve of July 14. I (and the MBV posse) reviewed their debut album Jewellery back in March and as confounding as I found it, I can’t say that I won’t be at this show rather than see Case again. Can’t say that I will, but it’s not a no-brainer. Tickets $12.

MP3: Micachu & The Shapes – “Lips”

At long last, Frightened Rabbit are no longer frightened of Toronto and will play their own headlining show on July 22 at the Horseshoe, tickets $13.50 – book it.

MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “The Modern Leper”
MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Head Rolls Off”
MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Old Old Fashioned” (live)

Jack White’s new band – the Alison Mosshart-fronted Dead Weather – will be taking their debut album Horehound, out June 16, on the road and stop in at the Kool Haus on July 22.

Video: The Dead Weather – “Hang You From The Heavens”

The Walkmen have a date at Lee’s Palace on July 24, Cass McCombs supports.

Video: The Walkmen – “In The New Year”

NPR is streaming the whole of John Vanderslice’s new record Romanian Names, which is due out next week. He plays the Horseshoe on July 10.

Stream: John Vanderslice / Romanian Names

Good Radio Dept news for me – they’re playing a second show, albeit a short one, this weekend at NYC Popfest on Friday night at Don Hill’s in Greenwich to go along with their main gig on Saturday night at Bell House. Double the Radio Dept! Good Radio Dept news for everyone – they’re releasing a new EP on June 23 entitled David, hopefully a sign that Clinging To A Scheme will be out soon thereafter. Of course, I thought the same thing for last year’s Freddie & The Trojan Horse EP… but think positive!

Stuart Murdoch talks to Pitchfork about his God Help The Girl project, the album for which will be released on June 23. They are also soliciting subscriptions to the project, which will get you a steady stream of physical and digital goodies sent to your mailbox and inbox over the next few months.

Hooves On Turf recorded a video session with Fanfarlo back during SxSW, which is now online. The band are going to be giving their brilliant Reservoir album a more-proper retail release in the UK soon, but for everyone else, ordering it direct from the band is still the best way to get it, which you really really should.

MP3: Fanfarlo – “Pilot”

Avenue 61 interviews 6 Day Riot, last year’s top find of NxNE. Their new album 6 Day Riot Have A Plan will be out on July 6 in the UK.

The Los Angeles Times and Reuters talk to James Mercer of The Shins.