Posts Tagged ‘Do’

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

In The Dirt

Review of S. Carey’s All We Grow and giveaway

Photo By Cameron WittingCameron WittingIt doesn’t seem like much of a selling point to be the drummer in the band that’s generally held to be a pseudonym for the songwriter and frontman. But for Sean Carey, who works under the name of S. Carey, the Bon Iver connection is much more than a marketing angle.

While Carey’s debut solo effort All We Grow wasn’t recorded in solitude, ensconced in a rural Wisconsin cabin – it was assembled piecemeal over time between tours – it taps into a similar emotional wellspring as For Emma, Forever Ago. Built on layers of Carey’s gentle vocals and wrapped in gently insistent piano motifs, stark yet complex percussion and raw guitar work, All We Grow is hypnotic, meditative and suffused with a serene sort of longing. It’s the sort of record that could simultaneously lull you to sleep while reminding you of an unshakeable ache in your heart.

Many found For Emma an unbearably beautiful record – I wasn’t one of them. I liked it and certainly understood what people found so emotionally resonant about it, but it didn’t strike that chord in me like it did others. All We Grow, on the other hand, hits much closer to the mark. If Justin Vernon makes the next Bon Iver record into more of a band-crafted affair and Carey can contribute some of the depth that he’s infused his own work with, the results could be devastating.

The Daily Iowan talks to Sean Carey, who is currently on tour and will be at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto this Sunday, December 19. Tickets for the show are $11.50 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to see S Carey” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes at midnight, December 16.

MP3: S. Carey – “In The Dirt”
MP3: S. Carey – “In The Stream”
Myspace: S.Carey

Mark Kozelek finally returns to Toronto – he cancelled his last scheduled visit in June of 2008. This time, he’s scheduled to play Lee’s Palace on March 22 as part of a solo tour supporting Sun Kil Moon’s latest Admiral Fell Promises.

Le Tigre spinoff MEN have assembled a North American tour in support of their next record Talk About Body, due out February 1. Look for them at Wrongbar in Toronto on March 21.

The Los Angeles Times finds out just how close Warpaint came to calling it quits before breaking out with their debut The Fool.

The Daily Yomiuri chats with Owen Pallett and eye gets some insight into the scoring of the New York Times’ “14 Actors Acting” videos that made the rounds last week.

Prefix talks to drummer Arlen Thompson of Wolf Parade.

OMG Blog has an interview with Liz Phair.

Stereogum gets a status report on the next Death Cab For Cutie record, which will carry the name Codes And Keys and be due out in the Spring of next year.

Not content to be known for records, rock operas and possibly plays, Colin Meloy of The Decemberists talks to Spinner about his literary ambitions – his novel Wildwood is currently in the editing stage. The new Decemberists record The King Is Dead is out on January 18 and they’ll be at The Sound Academy on February 1.

Pitchfork talks to Belle & Sebastian leader Stuart Murdoch about his upcoming book/memoir The Celestial Cafe, due out in early 2011.

James Allan of Glasvegas talks to NME about their old drummer’s departure, their new drummer’s arrival and their second album, which is targeted for a late 2011 release.

There was some disappointment when it was revealed that The Radio Dept.’s forthcoming Passive Aggressive compilation wouldn’t be a total rarity treasure trove as originally hoped, but a mix of singles and b-sides that would be of limited value to people who’d collected the band’s one-offs over the years. That disappointment has been allayed some with the announcement that the collection will be released on double vinyl in an edition limited to 2000 pieces and available for pre-order exclusively from Insound. I will leave you all to claim the other 1999 yourselves. The set is out January 25 and they play Lee’s Palace on February 7. And they have a new video.

Video: The Radio Dept. – “Never Follow Suit”

The Dø have put out a video from their new EP Dust It Off.

Video: The Dø – “Slippery Slope”

Spin hangs out with Grinderman during their North American tour.

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Love More

Review of Sharon Van Etten’s Epic

Photo By Allison KayeAllison KayeIt’s hard to reconcile Sharon Van Etten with the exquisitely sad character who crafted her gorgeous debut album Because I Was In Love. On stage and in person, she’s a friendly and outgoing young woman who seems worlds removed from the bruised soul who inhabits her songs, but there’s no questioning the honesty behind the record – built around Van Etten’s skeletal guitarwork, raw lyrics and stunningly emotive voice, it was impossible to imagine that something that came across so intimately and personal could have any guile around it.

It was also a record that as great as it was, for the artist’s sake, you hoped she wouldn’t be able to create a similarly inspired follow-up; navigating the emotional terrain that informed the debut wasn’t the sort of thing you’d wish on anyone twice, and yet there was no denying the want or need to hear more from her, of her voice. Where do you go from there? To Epic. Though clocking in at just seven tracks and barely 32 minutes, it doesn’t quantitatively measure up to its name, the emotional breadth of the music contained therein actually makes the title something of an understatement. Whereas Love‘s voice and primarily acoustic guitar aesthetic suited the material perfectly, Epic takes the necessary step of filling out the arrangements with a full band. It’s a sound that we got a taste of when she last played Toronto in April and tourmates Megafaun backed her up for one song and the greatness of the configuration is borne out by the richer sounds of Epic, and allows her to more fully delve into particular styles, like the rock drive of “Peace Sign” and steel-enhanced country of “Save Yourself”.

But more important than the sonic growth on Epic is the lyrical and emotional growth; whereas Love focused on the titular subject and its aftermath, the follow-up gets up, dusts itself off and fights back. There is a distinct snarl about Epic that’s surprising but also quite welcome, fitting nicely with the more dynamic arrangements and reinforcing the sense of strength that permeates the album without losing any of Van Etten’s trademark vulnerability. Though they only number seven, each song on Epic has a distinct vibe that sets it apart from its peers and together, they make for a complete musical and emotional journey that ends, fittingly, on the gorgeous and hopeful “Love More”; a song which, like the rest of the album, makes any working heart simultaneously break and soar.

Rollo & Grady and Kevchino interview Sharon, who will be opening up for Junip on their Fall tour including the November 5 show at Lee’s Palace in Toronto.

MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Love More”
MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Don’t Do It”
MySpace: Sharon Van Etten

Two weeks before it’s due to be released on October 12, Sufjan Stevens’ new album The Age Of Adz is up to stream at NPR. Stevens and company play Massey Hall on October 13.

Stream: Sufjan Stevens / The Age Of Adz

DCist talks to Amy Klein and The Washington Post to Patrick Stickles, both of Titus Andronicus.

Drowned In Sound meets Josh Ritter, who’ll be at the Phoenix on October 26.

The Flaming Lips have released another nudity-replete, NSFW video from Embryonic. Know what would be really groundbreaking from these guys? A clip where everyone keeps their clothes on. Mind. Blown.

Video: The Flaming Lips – “See The Leaves”

Spin checks in with Chris Walla on how the new Death Cab For Cutie album is coming. Don’t expect anything before 2011, obviously.

Incendiary talks to Warpaint, who will be at Massey Hall opening up for The xx on Wednesday night and will release their debut album The Fool on October 26.

NYC Taper was on-hand for at least two of Pavement’s many New York City shows this week – check out recordings from two of the Central Park shows and NPR’s interview with Matthew of Fluxblog about attending all five of the band’s recent New York shows. Update: All five shows are up on NYC Taper’s site.

The Courier-Journal talks inspiration and influence with The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn, who has just written an anthem for the Minnesota Twins – details and a stream at Spin.

eMusic chats with Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai.

Southern Souls have posted a video session with The Dø, recorded on their recent visit to Toronto.

Drowned In Sound spends some time with the non-Nick Cave members of Grinderman. They are at the Phoenix on November 11. With Cave. Don’t Worry.

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Playground Hustle

The Dø at Wrongbar in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s not quite a French invasion, but the success of acts like Phoenix and Daft Punk in North America – and to a lesser degree M83 – certainly made the idea of bands hailing from France making inroads over here a plausible idea, not something you could have said a few years ago. Seeking to be part of this wave are Franco-Finnish duo The Dø, whose debut album A Mouthful was a hit in France when it was released in 2008. And while it’s not nearly as accessible a record for the masses as a Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, it has plenty to offer the more adventurous listener and singer Olivia Merilahti is the sort of woman who could sell anything to anyone. And so it was that the album was released in North American back in May, when the band would otherwise have been hard at work at album number two, and a Fall tour that brought them to Toronto’s Wrongbar on Saturday night.

The show was originally scheduled for the fancier digs of The Mod Club but was relocated to cozier digs late last week to provide a more compressed concert-going experience. And if anyone thought that having to downsize venues at the last minute was a bad luck, then having the club’s power go out entirely as the band were soundchecking would have been a veritable bad omen. The darkness only lasted a few minutes, though, and would be as bad as things would get – from there, everything got considerably better.

Though A Mouthful is almost dizzyingly eclectic in the sounds and styles it encompasses, The Dø live were a much more focused entity, operating in a conventional four-piece band configuration and locked into “rock” mode. This didn’t mean that they were all about extended solos or feet up on monitors (though both of those things did happen), but many of the jazz and folk idiosyncrasies of the album were checked in favour of focusing on their more immediate pop material – and a few smouldering ballads – and putting on a more direct, impactful performance. With co-conspirator Dan Levy handling bass duties, Merilahti – occasionally armed with a guitar but always with her fascinatingly plaintive voice and considerable charisma – led the band through a set including much Mouthful material, a good crop of new material and an extended and deconstructed rendering of Janelle Monáe’s “Tightrope”. When they left the stage after an hour, they seemed to think they were done – as did the house DJ and roadie, who was shutting off amps – but the audience demanded more and they returned for one final song. Encores that are unplanned are great; so are shows that are over by nine. Yeah.

Photos: The Dø @ Wrongbar – September 11, 2010
MP3: The Dø – “At Last”
MP3: The Dø – “Tammie”
Video: The Dø – “At Last”
Video: The Dø – “On My Shoulders”
Video: The Dø – “The Bridge Is Broken”
Video: The Dø – “Stay (Just A Little Bit More)”
MySpace: The Dø

Spinner and The Line Of Best Fit interview Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, who are in town at Lee’s Palace on Friday night. Still not cancelled!

A non-geoblocked version of the new Manic Street Preachers video startting Anna Friel (I hear you Kristen Chenoweth) and Michael Sheen is now up on the internets, though the official making-of video is available to all to see. The Guardian’s stream of Postcards From A Young Man, out September 28, is still for residents of the UK only though.

Video: Manic Street Preachers – “(It’s Not War) Just The End Of Love”

I’m not sure what the context for this just-released Clientele live video is – the song is from 2007’s God Save The Clientele and not the new Minotaur EP – but it’s pretty so it’s worth watching regardless.

Video: The Clientele – “Somebody Changed”

Build-A-Beard talks to Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit about his beard.

Gigwise chats with Blood Red Shoes, in town at the Horseshoe on October 27 with Sky Larkin as support.

Drowned In Sound talks to Owen Brinley of the just-disbanded Grammatics about why the Leeds outfit called it a day.

MP3: Grammatics – “Double Negative”

Brazil’s Os Mutantes will be at the Opera House on November 17 with Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti.

MP3: Os Mutantes – “Anagrama”
MP3: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “Round And Round”

Australian electronic-rock artist formerly known as Pivot – and now going by PVT – will be on tour in support of his new album Church With No Magic and be at Wrongbar on October 26.

MP3: PVT – “Quick Mile”

When tours collide! The just-announced tour teaming Small Black and Class Actress will be hitting Toronto on the same day as Delorean and Lemonade, so naturally they’ll be teaming up for one uber-show at the Mod Club on November 18.

MP3: Delorean – “Real Love”
MP3: Small Black – “Photojournalist”
MP3: Lemonade – “Lifted”
MP3: Class Actress – “All The Saints”

Marathonpacks’ Eric Harvey has a great piece at Pitchfork on the parallels and intersection of the aesthetics of photography and independent music.

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Hang With Me

Robyn returns again

Photo via FacebookFacebookGood news for everyone who wanted to see Swedish electro-pop diva Robyn when she was in town at the end of July but didn’t want to shell out to see an odd, patchwork-ish lineup headlined by Keane – she’s coming back to town on November 12 as part of a North American Fall tour. Bad news for those who hate going to shows at the Sound Academy – it’s at the Sound Academy. Good news for those who don’t like shelling out a crapload of money for concert tickets – ducats for this show are a very reasonable $23.50. Bad news for those who forget about ancillary costs – that’s before service charges and definitely doesn’t include the cost of a cab to or parking at the Sound Academy. And the price probably wasn’t that big a deterrent for the July Amphitheatre show since I think by the end, they were basically giving tickets away… but I digress.

Robyn was easily the highlight of day one of Pitchfork Fest this past Summer and one of the best performers of the festival, so anyone who gets past their issues with the venue and heads out – and thousands will though they’ll still grumble about it – the show in support of this year’s Body Talk albums – part one released back in June, part two just this week and part three before the year is out – will have a great time of it.

Video: Robyn – “Hang With Me”
Video: Robyn – “Dancing On My Own”

In other Toronto concert-goer news, Saturday night’s The Dø show has been moved from The Mod Club to Wrongbar; still an early show though – expect the opener on around 7:30 and for it all to be over by 10. NOW interviews the Franco-Finnish duo.

Jamie Lidell’s September 14 show at the Opera House has also been moved – it’s now happening at Lee’s Palace and Zeus have been added as support. NOW has a conversation with Lidell.

South Africa’s Die Antwoord are back on October 24 for a show at The Phoenix.

Video: Die Antwoord – “Enter The Ninja”

Mt. Desolation, the new countrified project from two guys in Keane, will release their self-titled debut on October 19 and play the Drake Underground on October 28; tickets $18.50 in advance.

With their date opening up for Vampire Weekend over and done, it has been made official that Dum Dum Girls will be opening up for The Vaselines at The Horseshoe on October 30.

MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “D.A.L.”
MP3: Dum Dum Girls – “Jail La La”

Electro-pop artist Mikhaela Yvonne Maricich, AKA The Blow, has a date at The Horseshoe on November 17, tickets $13.50.

MP3: The Blow – “Pile Of Gold”
MP3: The Blow – “What Tom Said About The Girls”

German experimentalists and bearers of one of the funnest band names to say, Einstürzende Neubauten have made a date at The Phoenix on December 11 and another at Lee’s Palace for December 12. Tickets for the first show are $30, the second are $25 and if you buy tickets to both, it’s $45 total.

Video: Einstürzende Neubauten – “Stella Maris”

Belle & Sebastian have released details on some of the various formats that their new album Write About Love will be available in, and the first MP3 from said record is now available – get on that, kids. They’re at Massey Hall on October 12, the same day the album is released.

MP3: Belle & Sebastian – “Write About Love”

PopMatters talks to Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub. They’ll be at the Horseshoe on September 22 and 23.

The Vaselines’ new record Sex With An X is now up to stream at The Guardian in advance of its release next week. They’re at the Horseshoe on October 30.

Stream: The Vaeslines / Sex With An X

eye has an interview with Mogwai guitarist Stuart Braithwaite about their Special Moves/Burning live document, which screens at the Drake Underground on September 14.

4AD is offering up a video session with Stornoway.

Aced chats with Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin. You know, I only now realized that those rhyme. Update: Sky Larkin are opening up for Blood Red Shoes on their North American tour, including October 27 at the Horseshoe! Awesome!

In what should have been a surprise to no one, The xx won the Mercury Prize earlier this week. While certainly not a guarantee of superstardom, it does make their being booked into theatres the size of Massey Hall, where they’ll be on September 29, more prescient than bewildering. Out of curiousity, I checked what the best seat available on Ticketmaster was – halfway back on the balcony. So they’re doing alright.

Manic Street Preachers express their discontent with the state of British politics to Wales Online. Politely, of course. Their new record Postcards From A Young Man is out September 28.

The Tallest Man On Earth will release a new EP entitled Sometimes the Blues Is Just A Passing Bird on November 9, though it’s available to download now via iTunes. He’ll be at Lee’s Palace on September 24.

MP3: The Tallest Man On Earth – “Like The Wheel”

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Mad Tiger!

Peelander-Z at The Silver Dollar in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangPeelander-Z means many things to many people – Japanese Power Ranger-suited comic punks to some, incomprehensibly entertaining novelty act to others, and plain incomprehensible to the rest. To me, they mean the Hot Freaks! shows at The Mohawk in Austin, Texas, which were the highlights of SxSWs past. Those days are probably over and gone, however, so it was very obliging of them to come up to Toronto for two shows last week and help craft some new memories.

This was their first time back in town in a decade – a fact I found remarkable because it meant they’d been DOING what they do for 10 years plus – and while I’m a double-dose of Peelander would have been doubly entertaining, I opted to go to the second of the shows at The Silver Dollar simply because it was closer to home and seemed like a more climbable venue than The Velvet Underground and with better human bowling lanes. Besides making up for an extended absence from Canada, they were previewing their new record P-TV-Z, due out September 28, and really – do you need an excuse to dress up and engage in the sort of bedlam that Peelander do? No, I don’t think you do.

As far as the performance went, it was pretty much everything you could hope for. For the hour that they were on stage (and off the stage), there was the giant squid costume, nose picking, human bowling, replacing the band with audience members, singalongs, limbo, jump rope, conga lines, so many Mikes, and while the Silver Dollar isn’t nearly as conducive to scaling and surfing as The Mohawk, Peelander Red still managed to crowd surf upright onto the bar and back to the stage. Very impressive. And while there’s a temptation to assume the music comes secondary to the antics, just a little attention reveals that they’re capable and versatile musicians. I mean, YOU try playing bass while dressed as a giant squid guitar. Not that easy, is it. But most importantly, Peelander-Z are fun beyond words and utterly unique. And this show was better than the last one at the Mohawk in that Peelander Green didn’t feel compelled to chuck a drumstick at me this time.

Photos: Peelander-Z @ The Silver Dollar – September 2, 2010
MP3: Peelander-Z – “E-I-E-I-O”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “S.T.E.A.K.”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Rocket Gold Star”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Champion”
MP3: Peelander-Z – “Panda Punk”
Video: Peelander-Z – “E-I-E-I-O”
Video: Peelander-Z – “Ninja High Schooool”
Video: Peelander-Z – “S.T.E.A.K.”
Video: Peelander-Z – “Mad Tiger”
MySpace: Peelander-Z

Belle & Sebastian are previewing two songs from their new record Write About Love via a 30-minute talk show webisode; sounds like it’s going to be a winner, folks. The album is out October 12 and they play Massey Hall the same evening. The first MP3 from the album is supposed to be made available today as well. Update: The track is now available email-widget-swapsies-style.

The Telegraph and The Guardian talked to Laura Marling about being nominated a second time for the Mercury Prize, which is being awarded tonight.

Clash interviews Richard Thompson about his new album Dream Attic.

Billy Bragg talks to Billboard about teaming up with Roseanne Cash and Joe Henry for a new album due out in late 2011.

Unbelievably, The Charlatans’ North American tour in support of Who We Touch, out next Tuesday, is due to begin tonight in Atlanta and they still haven’t cancelled it. They might even already be on this side of the Atlantic! Perhaps flush with confidence that the apocalypse isn’t imminent, they’ve scheduled an in-store at Sunrise Records on Yonge St at 7PM next Friday, September 17, before their show at Lee’s Palace later that evening. And they’ve just released a new video from said record, which is apparently quite decent.

Video: The Charlatans – “My Foolish Pride”

Beatroute interviews The Dø, in town at the Mod Club this coming Sunday night, September 11.

The Guardian interviews Nick Cave of Grinderman. Grinderman 2 is out next Tuesday and they’re at The Phoenix on November 11.

I didn’t pay much attention to Pitchfork’s Top 200 Tracks of The ’90s series last week, save for skipping to the end on Friday and going, “huh”, but their just-posted ’90s In Lists piece was equal parts hilarious, nostalgic, depressing and terrifying – the last one mostly because that, right there, is my high school and university years and it was so so so so long away. The only thing that’s going to be more depressing today – god willing – is biking to work past the hordes of 17-year old frosh starting at the University Of Toronto who have no clue about 90% of the stuff in those lists. Hello, kids! I’m twice your age! Get off my lawn!