Posts Tagged ‘DeVotchKa’

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011


Mates Of State proclaim cuteness from Mountaintops

Photo via FacebookFacebookSometimes I wonder if Mates Of State get tired of being described with various synonyms for “adorable”, but if so they’ve no one to blame but themselves. Rather than release the black metal opus we all know they have in them, the husband-and-wife duo of Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel continue releasing records of irresistibly sweet and catchy drum-and-organ power pop, a trend that seems set to continue with the September 13 release of Mountaintops, their first album of original material since 2008’s Re-Arrange Us; last year’s Crushes was a more than satisfying stopgap of cover versions.

The band have just released a video for the first single from Mountaintops and surprise surprise, both the tune and the clip are totes adorbs, and they’ve also announced a North American tour that rather ably covers the eastern half of the continent. The Toronto date, their first visit since kicking off the final V Fest in 2009, comes September 28 at The Phoenix with Suckers and Yawn as support – tickets $15 in advance.

Video: Mates Of State – “Maracas”

Ra Ra Riot will make their pretty much annual Fall visit to Toronto on October 6 with a show at Lee’s Palace, tickets $17.50 in advance. They’re also featured in a Bandstand Busking session doing their thing on London’s South Bank.

MP3: Ra Ra Riot – “Boy”

The Wooden Birds have released a new video for the title track of their second album Two Matchsticks. Revue and College Times talk to frontman Andrew Kenny, who leads the band into the Drake Underground on July 10.

Video: The Wooden Birds – “Two Matchsticks”

Also with a new video is Justin Townes Earle, taken from Harlem River Blues. Interview, The Calgary Herald and Reno Gazette-Journal have interviews with Earle, who will be at The Horseshoe on August 26.

Video: Justin Townes Earle – “Slippin’ & Slidin'”

The Kills have a new clip from Blood Pressures.

Video: The Kills – “Future Starts Slow”

NPR has premiered the new video taken from DeVotchKa’s latest 100 Lovers.

Video: DeVotchKa – “The Man From San Sebastian”

Explosions In The Sky have released their first-ever video, taken from this year’s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care. They play the Sound Academy on October 7.

Video: Explosions In The Sky – “Last Known Surroundings”

Wye Oak, who are opening up that EITS show, are featured in an acoustic video session at The Fly. There’s also interviews over at Glasswerk and Spoonfed.

The Santa Barbara Independent talks to John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.

NPR, Exclaim and JAM have feature pieces on Bon Iver, in town at The Sound Academy on August 8.

In the wake of their second Solid Sound Festival, Wilco have given their next album a name – The Whole Love – and both sides of their new 7″ comprising a new tune and a Nick Lowe cover are streaming around the internet, like at Exclaim. No release date more specific than this Fall has been announced yet. Update: And now it has – album out September 27, North American tour starts a couple weeks earlier with two nights at Massey Hall September 16 and 17. Details and album art at Exclaim.

Amy Klein of Titus Andronicus interviews tourmate Lauren Gurgiolo of Okkervil River for her own blog. The Georgia Straight and San Jose Mercury News chat with Okkervil frontman Will Sheff. catches up with Lauren Larseon of Ume, who release their new album Phantoms, due out August 30.

Blurt and NPR have interviews with Will Johnson of Centro-Matic about their new record Candidate Waltz. You can hear one of the new songs below and head over to IFC for an interview and the premiere of their new video.

MP3: Centro-Matic – “Only In My Double Mind”
Video: Centro-Matic – “Iso-Residue”

The Quietus has a stream and track-by-track annotation of Memory Tapes’ new record Player Piano, due out July 5. They play Wrongbar on August 13.

Writers On Process gets into the songwriting head of Interpol frontman Paul Banks.

Wayne Coyne discusses the many ongoing projects in Flaming Lips-land with The Quietus.

The Phoenix and Spinner talk Bug with J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. PhillyBurbs gets a word with Lou Barlow.

The AV Club and New York Magazine interview Bob Mould. Which makes this as good a time to mention that Sugar’s Copper Blue was just reissued on 180g vinyl. This record is essential, people.

NYC Taper is getting their old-school indie rock on, offering recordings of recent New York shows from Guided By Voices and Archers Of Loaf.

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Fire Sale

Bruce Peninsula blaze out trail for return

Photo via BPBruce PeninsulaBy rights, we should have seen a new record from Toronto’s Bruce Peninsula ages ago. Their 2009 debut A Mountain Is A Mouth seemed a long time in coming from when the choral gospel-blues-folk collective began dropping jaws with their live shows, but after its release the band was everywhere and it seemed there was no slowing the momentum behind them.

But life, as it is wont to do, threw a curveball and in late 2010, after their second album had been recorded and they should have been planning how next to spread their word, frontman Neil Haverty was diagnosed with leukemia and the healing power of music would have to take a back seat to the healing power of medicine. Happily, some months later, Haverty is in remission and the Bruce Peninsula is getting back into gear.

While the album doesn’t yet have a firm release date, the band are laying down a trail from here to there and calling it the Bruce Peninsula Fire Sale – a series of releases and goodies intended to renew acquaintances and remind folks of why this band was one of the city’s most interesting new acts not so long ago. The first installment is a cover of Loudon Wainwright III’s “Swimming Song” – complete with video – and though it’s someone else’s song, the sound and arrangement is quite unlike anything we heard on Mountain – more refined, less primal and kind of revelatory. If this is just the start, then I can’t wait to hear what’s to come. Welcome back.

MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “The Swimming Song”
Video: Bruce Peninsula – “The Swimming Song”

On a less celebratory note, Vancouver’s You Say Party are going on an indefinite hiatus following a harder year than any group of people should have to endure. They’re being clear not to call it an ending, but taking some much-needed time off. And by way of going away gift, a pretty terrific new video from last year’s XXXX though I gotta say, a touch disappointed by the dearth of dancing midgets.

Video: You Say Party – “Laura Palmer’s Prom”

Pitchfork has details on the new Handsome Furs record Sound Kapital, which will be out on June 28. Grab the first MP3 in exchange for your email at their website.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of a PS I Love You show in New York at the end of March.

The Leader-Post talks to Mark Hamilton of Woodpigeon about flying solo on his current cross-Canada tour along with Jon Janes of The Mountains & The Trees and Magali Meagher of The Phonemes. The tour is winding down now and will wrap on April 21 at The Tranzac in Toronto. He’s posted a quick summary of the jaunt so far and posted a radio session MP3.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “An Entanglement Of Weeds” (live on CHUO)

The Boston Herald introduces its readers to Shad. He plays a free show as part of the Jazz Festival at Metro Square on July 1.

The Colorado Springs Independent talks to Nate Query of The Decemberists, who’ve just released a new video from The King Is Dead.

Video: The Decemberists – “This Is Why We Fight”

NPR has a World Cafe session with DeVotchKa.

CBC has got a live in-studio performance video of Jeff Tweedy playing what will surely be one of Wilco’s new songs.

The Head & The Heart are gearing up for the release of their self-titled debut this Saturday by putting out a new video and streaming the whole thing.

Video: The Head & The Heart – “Rivers & Roads”
Stream: The Head & The Heart / The Head & The Heart

Laura Ballance’s shiv-wielding, hard-drinking, fight-picking cat takes centre stage in the new Superchunk video from Majesty Shredding. Their vinyl reissue of Here’s Where The Strings Come In is at the top of my Record Store Day shopping list, and beyond the incentive of it being remastered and not being scratched to shit like my CD copy, it will come with a bunch of bonuses including acoustic demos and a download of The Clambakes Vol. 5: Cup of Clams live set circa 2003.

Video: Superchunk – “Crossed Wires”

Parts & Labor have released a new video from Constant Future; they play Parts & Labour tonight.

Video: Parts & Labor – “Echo Chamber”

Drowned In Sound sits down with Alan Sparhawk of Low for an interview, a song-by-song annotation of the just-released C’Mon and a video performance of one of the songs from the record. eMusic also has an interview with Sparhawk and Square with Mimi Parker. They are at The Mod Club on May 2 and have just released an Uncle Jesse-powered video from the album.

Video: Low – “Try To Sleep”

Beatroute and The Ottawa Citizen talk to Pixies. They’re at Massey Hall on April 18 and 19.

And the Soundgarden reunion which rather surprisingly didn’t saturate the festival circuit last year, is coming to town – they’ve a date at the Molson Amphitheatre for July 2, with fan club presale starting next Monday.

Video: Soundgarden – “Spoonman”

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

SxSW 2011 Day Two A/V

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangCheck out the day’s recap over here.

Emmylou Harris
– legendary country trailblazer who releases her latest album Hard Bargain on April 26.
Photos: Emmylou Harris @ The ACC Radio Day Stage – March 17, 2011
Video: Emmylou Harris – “Not Enough”

Still Corners
– London dreampop band newly signed to Sub Pop will have their debut full-length out before the end of the year.
Photos: Still Corners @ The ACC Dot Com Day Stage – March 17, 2011
MP3: Still Corners – “Cremora”
MP3: Still Corners – “History Of Love”
Video: Still Corners – “Wish”
Video: Still Corners – “Don’t Fall In Love”

– Swoony Denver-based Balkan-Mariachi quartet released their new record 100 Lovers earlier this month. Spinner and MSN have interviews with the band, who are at The Mod Club in Toronto on March 30.
Photos: DeVotchKa @ The ACC Radio Day Stage – March 17, 2011
MP3: DeVotchKa – “100 Other Lovers”
MP3: DeVotchKa – “Transliterator”
MP3: DeVotchKa – “Venus In Furs”
MP3: DeVotchKa – “You Love Me”
Video: DeVotchKa – “100 Other Lovers”
Video: DeVotchKa – “All The Sand In All The Sea”
Video: DeVotchKa – “Till The End Of Time”
Video: DeVotchKa – “How It Ends”

The Naked & Famous
– New Wave-ing New Zealanders whose debut Passive Me, Aggressive You, now available domestically, is making waves in North America. Music Snobbery has an interview with the band, who will be at The Phoenix on April 30 in support of Foals.
Photos: The Naked & Famous @ Lustre Pearl – March 17, 2011
Video: The Naked & Famous – “Young Blood”
Video: The Naked & Famous – “Punching In A Dream”
Video: The Naked & Famous – “Girls Like You”
Video: The Naked & Famous – “All Of This”

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

CONTEST – DeVotchKa @ The Mod Club – March 30, 2011

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWho: DeVotchKa
What: Just another desperately romantic, cinematically-inclined Balkan-Mariachi folk-rock outfit from Denver. You know, swing a stick.
Why: With their new record 100 Lovers just released, the quartet are hittint the road and playing their first headlining show in Toronto in almost half a decade.
When: Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Where: The Mod Club in Toronto
Who else: Support will be New York hardcore act The Bronx in their Mariachi guise, Mariachi El Bronx
How: Tickets for the show are $20 in advance, 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 see DeVotchKa” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, March 28.
What else: The New York Daily News has an interview with frontman Nick Urata.

MP3: DeVotchKa – “100 Other Lovers”
Video: DeVotchKa – “100 Other Lovers”

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

SxSW 2011 Day Two

DeVotchKa, Still Corners, The Naked & Famous and more at SxSW

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThough this was the seventh time I’d hit up SxSW, it was only the second wherein I was rocking a badge and besides the obvious benefits of being able to get in the express admission line at showcases and wear a picture of myself around my neck for four days, it allowed me to pass the gauntlet of gatekeeping volunteers at the Austin Convention Center and up the escalator to where the conference part of the festival was happening.

And in addition to the panels in conference rooms, there’s also a couple of stages for performances throughout the day. I had assumed, having never actually been to one, that these were basic setups for stripped-down shows but in fact, the ACC Radio Day Stage was a massive ballroom-type deal with seats for sitting, giant cushions for lounging, bars for imbibing and a giant, fully-appointed stage for performing. In short, the proper environs for a legendary artist such as Emmylou Harris.

At the festival in support of her forthcoming record Hard Bargain, out April 26, she started the day with a radio session and interview for WFUV. The musical part of the session was far too brief at only two songs, but the opportunity to hear that amazing voice live for however long was a gift. And the interview, wherein she talked about her formative years with Gram Parsons and her new record, was also great to witness. Short but special.

The Dot Com Day Stage next door was decidedly less fancifully set up than its neighbour, or at least I assumed so from what I could see. Which wasn’t much, as though I’d finally caught up with Still Corners, the target of my wild goose chase the day before, they had opted to play completely in the dark. To be fair, their usual setup had video projections shone overtop of them but the setup of the room didn’t allow this so while the films ran on the wall beside the stage, the band played with only whatever light from the hallway outside found its way in. And while this would normally be enough to get on my bad side, the London five-piece sounded so good that it was impossible to stay mad. Imagine a ’60s film score collaboration between Slowdive and Stereolab and you’re in the ballpark – it was a formula you’d think would sound more familiar but in their hands, at least, felt exceedingly fresh. Just-signed to SubPop, their debut full-length should be out in the Summer. I cannot wait to hear it.

At this point I left the safety of the Convention Center to forage for some food but soon returned to its air-conditioned, free-wified embrace, again to the Radio Day Stage, to see DeVotchKa. It had been three and a half years since I last saw the Denver quartet – here in Austin in September 2007 during ACL – but that’s only because they hadn’t returned to Toronto for a headlining show since Summer 2006. In any case, it was far too long. Their set had a goodly number of old favourites but leaned heavily on their new album 100 Lovers and rightly so – DeVotchKa have always had a unique formula of rock seasoned with mariachi and balkan sounds but on their last record A Mad And Faithful Telling it felt as though either it or they were getting tired. Lovers, happily, finds them sounding rejuvenated by recommitting to their aesthetic and taking it tighter and deeper while simultaneously expanding what DeVotchKa is, particularly rhythmically. In any sense, they reaffirmed their status as an excellent live band, the superb audio setup doing the intricacies of their sound many favours. The one point where the room didn’t work in their favour was near the end of the set when someone accidentally (?) hit the light switches and the many many many fluorescent panels in the ceiling began firing up… not especially rock’n’roll. They did get them switched off just in time for their finale, though, eliciting a smirk from frontman Nick Urata – maybe that’s what counted as a light show?

Hitting up New Zealand’s most hotly-tipped outfit at the fest, The Naked & Famous, it required a trek to the dustiest corner of downtown they call Lustre Pearl, and by and large they were worth it. Not the most original sounding outfit but a good representative of bands for whom using synths doesn’t necessarily mean they have to forgo the more traditional implements of rock. Their high-energy sound had keyboards underpinning everything, but you could have replaced the synthetic textures with organic instruments or even done away with them entirely and they’d have still sounded right. For The Naked & Famous, the danceability was not the ends but just the means to having a good time, and good times were had.

Finally, to wrap the daytime portion of the Thursday, it was back to the Convention Center for a panel on “How To Build A Festival”, featuring the people who started Bonnaroo, Burning Man and the Northside Festival. Not that I have any intention on starting my own fest, but because I was genuinely curious about how things of that nature worked. And while there wasn’t any sort of insider information offered that you wouldn’t have been able to guess, it was interesting hearing some of the anecdotes the panelists had on their experiences in getting their ventures started and did give me a sense of why Toronto has been incapable of starting and maintaining a large-scale festival (besides CMW/NXNE) – the amount of energy and dedication required is more than any entity in the 416 has been able or willing to offer, and not unreasonably. But maybe someday?