Posts Tagged ‘Do Make Say Think’

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Nice, Nice, Very Nice

Dan Mangan, Will Currie & The Country French and The Sure Things at The Rivoli in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAs with pretty much every night last week, Friday came with a list of entertainment options a mile long, and while some more intrepid types tried to take in as much of it as possible via club and in-store hopping, I was content to settle in at the Rivoli for what promised to be an exceedingly solid night of music headlined by Vancouver’s Dan Mangan.

A bit of set time miscommunication meant missing much of The Sure Things’ set but I did manage to catch their last few numbers of energetic, straight-ahead, good-time country. In the short span I was there, I caught a spoon solo and covers of AC/DC and Talking Heads, done hoe-down style. They’re fixtures of a sort around town, with residencies at both Salvador Darling and The Cameron House and a CD release show for their new record Two Dollar Bottles at the Dakota on October 30.

Waterloo’s Will Currie & The Country French may have “country” in their names but that’s not an accurate descriptor – if we were doing things up literally, they’d be called “Will Currie & The ’70s AM Radio Piano Pop Anglos” but alas, we live in a world that accepts that sometimes one’s name can be deceptive. That aside, there’s little to dislike about Will Currie and his crew – upbeat piano-led tunes were the order of the day, accented nicely with saxophone and foot-on-monitor, classic rock-style lead guitar. There were hummable melodies a-plenty, but few of the big hooks that would make his tunes really memorable. The one exception was “Push Pins”, their collaboration with fellow pop purveyors (and label bosses) Sloan, whose Jay Ferguson made a special appearance to contribute vocals and tambourine to the tune, still in toque and coat and looking like he’d been literally pulled off the street 30 seconds earlier. That one sounded like a hit (in a world where great pop songs were still capable of becoming hits), and if Currie could string together a few more like that, he’d be onto something really special.

Dan Mangan could tell his tourmate a thing or two about being onto something special, as his latest Nice, Nice, Very Nice is precisely that. Even since writing a glowing review, the record has grown on me even more and I was plenty anxious to hear it done live. Somewhat surprising was that while Mangan was touring as a four-piece (I think the fifth player on stage was a Toronto-only guest), they were performing drummer-less, instead building their sound with strings, keys and horns and while I’m sure it’d have sounded just as great with a conventional timekeeper in back, this setup seemed perfect for conveying and emphasizing the warm, easy, laid back feel of the material. And it’s that warmth that came across most strongly in the show – Mangan has a sharp, observational eye and if he chose to, could probably deliver it with just as sharp a tongue but there’s no mistaking the genuine affection for the characters that inhabit his songs, rich with both humour and sadness. It’s the same sort of gift that John K Samson possesses and while Mangan prefers a more rootsy vehicle for his tunes, Weakerthans comparisons are not out of line and should be taken as compliments.

The show covered much/most of Very Nice and the main set was capped off with a rousing, “Robots” where they pulled out a large toy robot rescued from a Sarnia thrift store and sent it on an entertaining crowd surf for the duration of the song, and this it was able to do easily, because the Rivoli was well and properly packed for the show. It was obvious that Mangan has already built himself a sizable fanbase, but there was also a sense that this show was catching him on the cusp of bigger things – at least if Very Nice gets the attention it deserves. So even if I’m a latecomer to the man and his work, it was nice to be able to catch him at this moment. Very nice indeed.

Singing Lamb and Metro have interviews with Dan Mangan.

Photos: Dan Mangan, Will Currie & The Country French, The Sure Things @ The Rivoli – October 16, 2009
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”
MP3: Dan Mangan – “Robots”
MP3: Will Currie & The Country French + Sloan – “Push Pins”
Video: Dan Mangan – “The Indie Queens Are Waiting”
Stream: Dan Mangan / Roboteering
Stream: Dan Mangan / Nice, Nice, Very Nice
MySpace: Dan Mangan
MySpace: Will Currie & The Country French

Coeur de Pirate has released a new video from her self-titled debut.

Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Pour un infidele”

Also check out the new vid from Reverie Sound Revue, taken from their self-titled debut.

Video: Reverie Sound Revue – “You Don’t Exist If I Don’t See You”

Do Make Say Think have scheduled two nights at the Enwave Theatre at Harbourfront on December 12 and 13 in support of their new record Other Truths. Tickets are $16 and are on sale now.

Great Lake Swimmmers have set a date for Trinity-St Paul’s on February 6 of next year. There’s interviews with Tony Dekker at The Daily Times and Express Night Out.

Chad Van Gaalen gives The Georgia Straight an idea of where his head is at right now and where it might go for his next record.

Metric’s Emily Haines talks to The Montreal Gazette and recounts her top five Toronto gigs for The National Post. They close out a two-night stand at Massey Hall tonight.

Woodpigeon are sending the equivalent of aural postcards from their recent visit to Ottawa and their ongoing residency at the Banff Centre (an experience which Mark Hamilton described as, “holy shit”), posting new songs to their website almost daily. Something to keep your ears warm until their next record Die Stadt Muzikanten arrives on January 12.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Mastering The Art Of French Cooking”
MP3: Woodpigeon – “In The Mountains”
MP3: Woodpigeon – “You’re My Only Home” (Magnetic Fields cover)
MP3: Woodpigeon – “Asleep & Dreaming” (Magnetic Fields cover)
MP3: Woodpigeon – “85”

Joel Gibb of The HIdden Cameras tells Chartattack their next album might take some dub directions. In the meantime, they will tour Origin: Orphan around North America, ending with a December 5 show at the Opera House.

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

There's A Window

Hope Sandoval, Monotonix, Avett Brothers and The Rakes coming to town, though not together – that would be crazy

Photo via hopesandoval.comhopesandoval.comIt’s been over a month since word came that the reclusive Hope Sandoval was returning to active duty – she had not only completed a new Warm Intentions album with My Bloody Valentine’s Colm O CĂ­osoig, but was also putting finishing touches on a new record from Mazzy Star. Now there’s been no further word on what would be her and David Roback’s first album since 1996, but the new Warm Inventions album Through The Devil Softly is definitely happening, albeit with a September 29 release date instead of the originally announced September 15.

Also promised at the time was a tour to support the new record, and Under The Radar has a goodly number of the North American dates, though the gaps in the schedule imply there might be some more to come. Locals will be pleased to see she’s got a Toronto date at the Mod Club on October 7, her first appearance in these parts since an August 2002 date at Lee’s Palace which got some mixed reviews but of which a recording exists.

And speaking of recordings, Entertainment Weekly is streaming a new song from Through The Devil Softly to go along with the MP3 which was previously released. Update: Actually that EW track is also now available to download.

MP3: Hope Sandoval & The Warm Intentions – “Trouble”
MP3: Hope Sandoval & The Warm Intentions – “Blanchard”

Also with a new album out on September 29 are The Avett Brothers, who will be releasing their latest I And Love And You. They’ll be in town at the Horseshoe the next night, September 30, to support – tickets $17.50 – but what has me doing a double-take is their tour routing thereabouts. They’re in Dallas on September 27, Toronto on September 30, and then New Orleans on October 1? Those two cities are 20 hours apart. If this schedule is correct, I have no idea how they’re going to pull that off, nor why you’d even try. Anyways, The Boston Globe has a feature and Rolling Stone declares the trio, who’ve been putting out records since 2000, an “artist to watch”.

MP3: The Avett Brothers – “I And Love And You”

And also in town on October 7 – referencing back to the Hope Sandoval bit here – are Israeli nutjobs Monotonix, famous for their absurd and insane live shows. Their Fall North American tour includes an October 7 date at the Velvet Underground, tickets $10. Their debut full-length Where Were You When It Happened is out August 31 – details at Strange Glue.

MP3: Monotonix – “Ride”
MP3: Monotonix – “Body Language”

Presumably part of a larger North American tour and presumably implying their latest album Klang, out since March in the UK, is getting a release over here, The Rakes will be at the Mod Club on November 9.

Video: The Rakes – “1989”

The Sadies have made a date at the Horseshoe for September 12, tickets $15. It’s not part of any particular tour but the Sadies need as much excuse to play the ‘Shoe as you need to breathe.

MP3: The Sadies – “Anna Leigh”

Both They Shoot Music and have posted up video sessions with Malajube, who are this week’s featured Polaris Prize nominee, which basically means you can download an MP3 for free via the Polaris website. And speaking of free, you can also enter this contest to win a trip to Toronto for the September 21 Polaris Prize awards gala – all ten nominees will be performing this year!

Exclaim has details on the new Do Make Say Think record Other Truths, out October 20, while Stereogum is steaming a first preview track from it. Do Make Say Think are at the Polish Combatants Hall tonight for the Bicycle Film Festival launch party – congrats to Evan for winning my contest for passes.

Time Out and The Sydney Morning Herald talk to Aimee Mann.

The first MP3 from Headlights’ new album Wildlife, out October 6, is now available over at RCRDLBL.

Elvis Perkins In Dearland will release a new EP on October 20 entitled Doomsday, featuring five new tracks in addition to the title track taken from their self-titled album.

MP3: Elvis Perkins In Dearland – “Slow Doomsday”

Yet another video from Yo La Tengo’s new album Popular Songs has emerged. The record is out September 8 and they play The Opera House on October 3.

Video: Yo La Tengo – “Nothing To Hide”

Pitchfork has details on the new R.E.M. live album Live At The Olympia, which will feature 39 songs across two CDs recorded in Dublin in 2007. Look for it October 26.

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

CONTEST – Do Make Say Think @ The Bicycle Film Festival – August 19, 2009

Photo via cstrecords.comConstellationI can name, off the top of my head, two films that I’ve seen in which the humble bicycle plays a key role. Breaking Away, which featured a fresh-faced Dennis Quaid, and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure which featured a pre-disgraced Paul Reubens. I’m not saying these are the only bike films, or even the most important ones – just the only ones I can think of.

But apparently there’s more – many more. Enough to fill a festival, apparently – hence the existence of the Bicycle Film Festival, which kicks off next Wednesday night and runs through Saturday night. Over those four nights, there’ll be concerts, parties and of course movies, all in celebration of everyone’s favourite noble, carbon-neutral form of transportation.

And it all begins on Wednesday night, August 19, with Do Make Say Think, Evening Hymns and a special guest at the Polish Combatants Hall and courtesy of the festival, I’ve got a prize pack consisting of a pair of passes to this show as well as passes to all other festival happenings including the closing party on the 22nd which will feature another musical special guest (I know who both guests are and they’re both excellent). To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to Do Make Say Think on a bike” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest will close at midnight, August 17.

Video: Do Make Say Think – “In Mind”

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

So Slowly

Early Day Miners head inland for Treatment

Photo By Rebecca DrolenRebecca DrolenIt was a small bright spot and pleasant surprise last week when mail call brought a copy of the new Early Day Miners album, The Treatment. Pleasant because their last album, 2006’s Offshore, was an unexpected epic that turned out to be one of my favourites of the year and surprise because though the band had announced that The Treatment would be coming out this year back in late 2008, more specific information wasn’t forthcoming and I was beginning to assume that it would be pushed back indefinitely. But as it turned out, snail mail actually outpaced electronic mail and the CD got to me a day before the official press release.

Also to file under “surprise” what the CD held. Offshore won my heart and mind with its sprawling and often desolate sonic topology, all slow and brooding and beautiful. It’s a record where the vocals don’t enter until nearly 10 minutes into its running time, so imagine my surprise when I pressed “play” on The Treatment and was met with singing barely one second in. And the reinvention continues throughout the record, with the Bloomington, Indiana outfit having scaled their lineup down to a four-piece and focused on more compact, pop-structured songs. And though it takes some getting used to, initial listens reveal that they can indeed handle the tighter melodies – first MP3 “So Slowly” is a gem – and for those who preferred them for their mopier sentiments, don’t worry – even when you hear them smiling, it’s evident they’re still frowns turned upside down.

Early Day Miners gave a taste of their new direction via a Daytrotter session back in January of 2008, but that was over a year and a half ago. I’d forgotten what they were up to. The new album is due out September 22 and there will be some touring to follow, though mainly in the midwest and nothing up this way.

MP3: Early Day Miners – “So Slowly”
MySpace: Early Day Miners

Funnily, even when the world seems to stop, it doesn’t actually and so all last week local concert announcements kept piling up in my inbox and RSS. And here they are in chronological order.

Do Make Say Think will play the Polish Combatants Hall on August 19 as part of the kick off for the Bicycle Film Festival, which is indeed a clever name for a film festival celebrating bicycles. Tickets for that are $22.

After always playing the billing bridesmaid, New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus are setting out on their first headlining tour this September in support of their debut The Airing Of Grievances and will stop in at the Horseshoe on September 5, tickets $10.50.

MP3: Titus Andronicus – “Titus Andronicus”
Video: Titus Andronicus – “Titus Andronicus”

A Hawk & A Hacksaw have a date at the Drake Underground on September 16, tickets $12.50. Damon & Naomi starting the very next night in Montreal.

That Wavves guy is probably disobeying some doctor’s orders in touring this Fall so catch him/them on September 22 at the El Mocambo and make it worth his/their while. Tickets $13.50.

MP3: Wavves – “So Bored”

And a week later, fellow garage-dwelling San Diegan buzz band The Soft Pack will be across the street for a show at The Silver Dollar on September 29 as part of a Fall tour that will not be in support of their debut full-length, since they’re only starting to record it this month.

MP3: The Soft Pack – “Nightlife”

Long unofficial, the two Built To Spill dates at Lee’s Palace have been confirmed – October 6 and 7, tickets $26.50 – as part of a massive Fall tour. One assumes that their next album There Is No Enemy will be out by then but there’s no release date yet. Doug Martsch talks to Spinner about what you might expect from the new record, though those attending the show may not want to expect to hear the new record.

Sea Wolf’s second album White Water, White Bloom is due out September 22 and, of course, touring will follow with the band accompanied by Port O’Brien and Sara Lov. The Toronto date is October 9 at Sneaky Dee’s. Grab bonus track from White Water, White Bloom at Dangerbird Records.

Mike Doughty is coming to town for three shows over two nights at the Drake Underground. One the eve of October 10 and two on the 11th, one early one late. $25 for each.

Video: Mike Doughty – “27 Jennifers”

The Gossip are hitting the road in support of their new album Music For Men, including an October 14 date at the Opera House in Toronto. Beth Ditto tells Spinner she’s a big nerd.

Video: The Gossip – “Heavy Cross”
Video: The Gossip – “Love Long Distance”

And if that’s not your speed, that same evening finds Alaska’s Portugal. The Man at the Horseshoe promoting their latest, The Satanic Satanist. Aquarium Drunkard talks to John Gourley about growing up in Alaska while The Minnesota Daily and Time Out New York also have interviews.

MP3: Portugal. The Man – “People Say”

Lucero were just here back in April – with Titus Andronicus, actually – but will be putting out their major-label debut 1372 Overton Park on October 6 and hitting the road to support, of course, including an October 20 date at Lee’s Palace. Tickets for that are $16.50.

MP3: Lucero – “What Else Would You Have Me Be”

El Perro Del Mar will release her new album Love Is Not Pop on October 20 and tour as support for Peter Bjorn & John, presumably including their November 11 date at the Phoenix. NME has album details.

Broadcast and Atlas Sound have opted to split gas money this Fall as co-headliners and will be at Lee’s Palace on October 24. The former will be putting out a split EP with The Focus Group on October 13 while the latter’s new album Logos is out October 20.

Julie Doiron has an October 27 date at Lee’s Palace and has invited Herman Dune along for the show. Tickets are $13.50.

MP3: Julie Doiron – “When Brakes Get Wet”
MP3: Julie Doiron – “Consolation Prize”

And finally, the Fran Healy and Andy Dunlop half of Travis are doing an acoustic tour this Fall, which includes an October 30 date at the Mod Club, tickets $29.50.

I think that’s enough for today – it’s a holiday after all. And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who offered condolences and kind words last week in the wake of my father’s passing. I was more than a little floored by the support, and on behalf of myself and my family, say thanks for the well wishes. It was a tough, tough week but we’re doing alright.