Posts Tagged ‘Dirty On Purpose’

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

Names Not Forgotten

An introduction to Montt Mardié

Photo By David MagnussonDavid MagnussonIt seems rather fitting that the first post of this new year should be devoted to an artist who seems to have great difficulty in choosing a favourite year, musically speaking, so he’s opted to go with them all. Montt Mardié is the stage name of David Olof Peter Pagmar, a Swedish pop savant whose two albums – the 2005 debut Drama and the 2007 double-set Pretender/Clocks – were cherry-picked last year for the UK release Introducing… The Best Of.

While it may seem odd to have a “best of” for someone barely 25 years old and with just two albums under his belt, Introducing really does feel like a compilation of top singles from an artist who’s been at it far longer than he has. His compositions tend to be rooted in throwback ’60s pop style, grand and orchestrally-minded and full of wit and humour, but Pagmar doesn’t discriminate when it comes to digging through his record or movie collections for inspiration. Musical cribs from The Cure nestle alongside classic Brill Building song structures and quotes from Meatloaf. Lyrics reference Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Star WarsIntroducing is a glorious open house pop culture party, where everything is fair game and welcomed with love.

Though I’ve no hesitation to recommend Mardié to fans of fellow Swedish troubadour Jens Lekman, who makes an appearance on duet “Castle In The Sky”, there’s more that distinguishes the two than make them similar once you get into the “male singer-songwriter pop auteur” category. If Lekman is the droll, detached sophisticate, then Pagmar is his earnest and wide-eyed younger brother, too enthused about everything to worry about looking cool. Whether backed by a full band and/or orchestra or just his own home recordings, Pagmar delivers everything with breathless enthusiasm and frequently slips into a soulful falsetto that’s just imperfect enough to be endearing. And on the tracks where he’s accompanied by female backing vocals, it’s simply sublime. There’s no trace of irony here, just giddy devotion to the joys of pop music and it’s difficult to resist. In fact, why would you want to? If Peter Bjorn & John were the new face of Swedish pop for 2007 and Lykke Li was last year’s model, then I nominate Montt Mardié – who is currently at work on album number three – for 2009.

Peculiarly, the Swedish albums appear easier to find than the comp. In addition to appearing to have stock (see links above), both are available at eMusic. But if you’re keen to try the single-disc version, inquire with the good folks at Ruffa Lane, who put it out.

The Guardian declared Mardié their band of the day last June and basically described him as the second coming of Prefab Sprout – a title I can’t comment on because I know nothing of the first coming of Prefab Sprout.

MP3: Montt Mardié – “1969”
MP3: Montt Mardié – “Metropolis”
MP3: Montt Mardié – “New York”
MP3: Montt Mardié – “High School Drama”
MP3: Montt Mardié – “Come On Eileen”
Video: Montt Mardié – “High School Drama”
Video: Montt Mardié – “Metropolis”
Myspace: Montt Mardié

Daytrotter closed out last year with a studio session from Bon Iver. Their new EP Blood Bank is out on January 20.

Bradley’s Almanac bids farewell to Dirty On Purpose, who played their final gig on New Year’s Eve, with a recording of their last show in Boston last October.

Filter talks to Mercury Rev’s Jeff Mercel.

20 Album Covers recreated in Lego – all I can say is that Lego men come with much more interesting accessory pieces than when I was a kid.

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Click, Click, Click, Click

Review of Bishop Allen's The Broken String

Photo By Aubrey EdwardsAubrey EdwardsNever have I claimed to be the fastest to get turned on to something, to be the one who discovers the next big thing. I’m far more tortoise than hare in these sorts of matters, but even then there’s not really any excuse for taking, oh, seventeen months to get around to writing up Bishop Allen’s last album The Broken String – or even longer if you think back to the year-long “one EP a month” series in 2006 from which much of the album is taken.

And it’s a pity I’ve waited so long, because I am very much in this record’s target market – namely fans of sprightly indie rock of the wordy variety. As such, stylistically and sonically, it’s very familiar stuff built on earnest boy lead vocals with sweet girl backing vocals and just enough interesting instrumental flourishes to disguise the fact that it’s pretty straight guitar-driven folk-pop. Where Bishop Allen stands out is in the songwriting, which is never less than solid but on a few occasions, is outstanding. Leadoff track “The Monitor” is a stirring and evocative piece about a Civil War naval battle, but that sort of lyrical grandeur is the exception rather than the rule – the standouts tend to be those the simple, slice of live observationals that are rendered in exquisite detail, as in “Flight 180” or “The Chinatown Bus”. They also handle the peppier stuff with vigor and aplomb, but it’s the slower, more thoughtful stuff such as above that really sticks.

Because of my neglect, I missed the band when they came through last Summer but I shan’t be skipping out on their just-announced January 17 date at the El Mocambo. Similarly, when their next album Grr… is released on March 10, you can be sure I won’t be taking a year and a half to give it the attention it deserves. The Justice has an interview with band principal Justin Rice.

MP3: Bishop Allen – “Click, Click, Click, Click”
MP3: Bishop Allen – “Middle Management”
MP3: Bishop Allen – “Rain”
Video: Bishop Allen – “Click, Click, Click, Click”
Video: Bishop Allen – “Middle Management”
MySpace: Bishop Allen

Ben Kweller and The Watson Twins are at the Mod Club on February 22, tickets $25. Spinner, The Smith College Sophian and The Irish Independent talk to Kweller, who will release a new album in Changing Horses on February 3. Stereogum are sharing the first single.

The Airborne Toxic Event, last spotted hereabouts for V Fest, have a date at the El Mocambo on March 4. Tickets for that are $12.50.

Blurt, Glide, ArtistDirect and The Toronto Sun make time with Rachael Yamgata, who will be at the Mod Club on Friday for an early show. She’s got not one but two new vids from Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart.

Video: Rachael Yamagata – “Faster”
Video: Rachael Yamagata – “Sunday Afternoon”

Brooklyn noiseniks Dirty On Purpose have formally called it a day. A moment of silence for a great band who created my favourite trebuchet-themed video of all time.

Video: Dirty On Purpose – “Car No Driver”

The Independent, The Oxford Mail and This Is Nottingham interview Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn.

Ra Ra Riot are in session overload – Laundromatinee has a video session, NPR an audio one. They also find time to squeeze in an interview with The Courier-Journal.

Austin360 talks to Johnathan Martin of The Uglysuit.

Lots of session action lately for School Of Seven Bells with audio and video sets for for Radio K, KCRW and Spinner’s Interface and video only at Lime.

Paste reports that Hazards Of Love, the new record from The Decemberists, will be coming out on March 24 of next year.

The Long Winters have released a live DVD entitled Live At The Showbox and are giving away a few live tracks taken from it. Check it out.

MP3: The Long Winters – “Scared Straight” (live)
MP3: The Long Winters – “Clouds” (live)
MP3: The Long Winters – “Cinnamon” (live)

John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats salutes heavy metal for the The New Zealand Herald.

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Don't Take Me Home Until I'm Drunk

Photo by Frank Yang

There is an upside to having never been especially fashionable, and that’s you never go out of fashion. Case in point, The Wedding Present, whom over the course of their twenty-plus year career (including the Cinerama years), have never really enjoyed the heights of critical or popular acclaim but have never suffered the sting of backlash, either. Instead, they’ve simply plugged along, touring relentlessly and ne’er releasing a dud of an album and thereby accumulating a large and loyal following – bands could do far worse than to emulate their career path. A path that brought them to Toronto on Friday night in support of their new record El Rey, their first visit in two and a half years.

Playing the final date of their support stint, openers Dirty On Purpose joked about this being their annual visit to Lee’s Palace, though I suspect they really meant their annual visit to a near-empty Lee’s Palace. Though their profile has grown considerably since their first visit in March 2006, this time they were victims of an early start time that I suspect not a lot of people knew about. It’s been a couple years since the release of their debut album Hallelujah Sirens but the Brooklyn quartet has not been idle, releasing the Like Bees EP at the start of this year and following that closely with the Dead Volcanoes EP, available for free download at RCRD LBL. Both recordings implied a creative shift towards giving their pop sides a more equal footing with their noisier inclinations, and that was also evidenced in their live show which was a touch more polite-sounding than I’ve heard them before. At least until the set-closing instrumental “Monument”, which culminated in a minor stage trashing but considering that only consisted of one tossed guitar and a knocked over cymbal stand, even that was kind of polite.

You want to talk about consistency with The Wedding Present? On this night, Dave Gedge was wearing pretty much the same outfit he was in March 2006 and in April 2005. And with the exception of the addition of a healthy dose of El Rey material and considerably less from 2005’s Take Fountain, the set list could also have been from that show if not in exact song, then in song selection methodology. An even-handed sampling of the entire back catalog with an emphasis on masterpiece Seamonsters and a single nod to the Cinerama years. Truly it’s a testament to the solidity and reliability of Gedge’s muse that the new material stands up so well alongside the old, though when one’s creative well is built on the foibles of faithless men and women, there’s always plenty to draw on.

And, just like every gig, there were shout outs for requests which, as he’s done their entire career Gedge deflected (this time by claiming he’d love to oblige but said bassist Terry De Castro worked very hard on the set list and would be upset if they deviated). But for every favourite not aired, another gem was played instead and it’s hard to imagine anyone being disappointed overall by the song selection. And, of course, the performance was again excellent. After seeing just Gedge and De Castro play a set during SxSW, I appreciate how much second guitarist Chris McConville and drummer Graeme Ramsay, who joined post-Take Fountain and recorded and helped write El Rey, bring to the band. Though it’s still Gedge’s words and delivery that seal the deal, they come across so much better with the massive-sounding rhythm section driving home the point.

And, of course, there was no encore.

Redwood City Daily News has an interview with the Gedge.

Photos: The Wedding Present, Dirty On Purpose @ Lee’s Palace – October 3, 2008
MP3: The Wedding Present – “The Thing I Like Best About Him Is His Girl Friend”
MP3: Dirty On Purpose – “Mind Blindness”
MP3: Dirty On Purpose – “No Radio”
Video: Dirty On Purpose – “Audience In The Room”
Video: Dirty On Purpose – “Car No Driver”
MySpace: The Wedding Present
MySpace: Dirty On Purpose

JAM has an interview with Noel Gallagher of Oasis, conducted last month in happier times when all his ribs were still intact. Dig Out Your Soul is out tomorrow.

Filter talks to Jason Pierce of Spiritualized.

Metro asks British Sea Power five questions.

The Quietus and Drowned In Sound discuss Snowflake Midnight with Mercury Rev. The companion album Strange Attractor is also now available for free download by signing up to their mailing list from their website. The Rev are at the Opera House on December 9 with Dean & Britta.

Billboard examines the success of My Bloody Valentine’s just-completed North American tour. And now, with no more live dates on the horizon, it’s time to get back in the studio.

Wired discusses the influence of the shoegazing movement on a young Oliver Ackerman, who would go on to form A Place To Bury Strangers. Tuscon Weekly also has a feature.

The Black Cab Sessions welcome Joey Burns of Calexico while Prefix has an interview.. They’re at the Phoenix on November 18, though probably arriving by bus rather than cab.

Chart talks pottery with Matthew Sweet. Exclaim asks him about his music.