Posts Tagged ‘Dodos’

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Canadian Musicfest Day Three

Janelle Monáe, Shad, Bombay Bicycle Club and more at Canadian Musicfest

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangFor as many years as I’ve been attending and covering Canadian Music Week and/or Canadian Musicfest, which is now quite a few, I’ve never hit up what is ostensibly it’s big gala show, the Independent Music Awards or, more unfortunately, the INDIES. Usually this was because the lineup of performers wasn’t as interesting as hitting up the clubs and because the awards themselves, being fan-voted, seemed odd and arbitrary. But this year, the combination of a weaker-than-normal Saturday night schedule and a very appealing one-two finale of Janelle Monáe and Shad convinced me that the ballroom at the Royal York hotel was the place to finish the festival off.

Due to some logistics and the fact that their sets were maybe ten minutes long, I missed the first couple performers but arrived in time to see London’s Bombay Bicycle Club, who despite being only moderately successful back home were treated as nigh on royalty over here across their several festival appearances. And it’s not that they’re unlikeable – they ply a sort of scrappy but earnest Brit-rock that’s thankfully not of the snotty post-Libertines/Arctic Monkeys variety, but isn’t especially memorable, either. Though from the cheers that met them and the stories that I’ve heard from the rabid fans at their other shows, I’m in the minority with that opinion, and that’s fine. The Brit-kids need their fix and this week, Bombay Bicycle Club was it.

The National Post and Spinner have chats with the band.

Photos: Bombay Bicycle Club @ The Fairmont Royal York – March 12, 2011
Video: Bombay Bicycle Club – “My God”
Video: Bombay Bicycle Club – “Always Like This”
Video: Bombay Bicycle Club – “Evening/Morning”
Video: Bombay Bicycle Club – “Dust On The Ground”
Video: Bombay Bicycle Club – “Magnet”

Similar can be said for the next act, Ottawa-area natives Hollerado. There’s no doubt the band has earned all the success they’ve achieved so far, what with touring constantly, giving away their album Record In A Bag for free (grab it off their website), making creative videos and generally working their asses off – but while I find their collegiate riff-rock material decent enough from a melodic/catchiness perspective, it just doesn’t come off as all that interesting to me. But even so, they do put on an entertaining show and elicit a tremendous response from their fanbase who were out on this evening in force and by way of saying hello and thanks for their support, frontman Menno Versteeg lept into the crowd for their set’s finale.

The National Post has a Q&A with Versteeg.

Photos: Hollerado @ The Fairmont Royal York – March 12, 2011
MP3: Hollerado – “Juliette”
MP3: Hollerado – “Fake Drugs”
MP3: Hollerado – “Americanarama”
Video: Hollerado – “Juliette”
Video: Hollerado – “Americanarama”

At this point, I’ll talk a bit about the awards themselves which were kind of fascinating to behold. First, there was a disconnect between the performers and the nominees in that half of the former had nothing to do with the awards being given out, they were just there to play a show and accordingly, much of the audience seemed indifferent to the ceremonies being held on the side stage. And since the Indies don’t really rate as a major award, many/most of the winners didn’t show up or send a representative, resulting in a stretch where a bunch of ostensibly big winners were announced in rapid fire succession with the audience cheering a name and an image on the video screen for a second or two. Just odd.

But back to the show. Even though Shad was himself an Indie winner (for Favourite Urban Artist), his set seemed less a part of the awards show and more the start of a separate event altogether, where he was the warm up, Janelle Monáe the headliner and that was it. Now I have never seen Shad in the context of his own headlining show – festivals, in-stores and awards ceremonies yes, and now as support, but his own show? Not yet. But considering that none of the above are what you’d call ideal circumstances for a performer, that he’s been fantastic in every one makes me think that there’s no way Shad ever puts on a bad show. Goodness knows he didn’t on this evening, with a compact but totally entertaining set drawing from his two Polaris shortlisted records TSOL and The Old Prince while backed by a DJ and bassist/keyboardist while he delivered smart, snappy rhymes overtop. He might be a perpetual Polaris bridesmaid, at least so far, but there’s no denying he’s one of if not the top hip-hop artist in the country right now.

eye and The National Post have feature pieces on Shad.

Photos: Shad @ The Fairmont Royal York – March 12, 2011
MP3: Shad – “Rose Garden”
MP3: Shad – “Yaa I Get It”
Video: Shad – “Keep Shining”
Video: Shad – “We Myself & I”
Video: Shad – “Rose Garden”
Video: Shad – “Yaa I Get It”
Video: Shad – “The Old Prince Still Lives At Home”
Video: Shad – “I Don’t Really Like To”
Video: Shad – “Brother (Watching)”

Ultimately, though, the night was about Janelle Monáe. If you were able to exact spot where the best of R&B, soul, funk, rock, pop, singer, songwriter, dancer and out-and-out visionary artistry intersected, it would be in the shape of a tiny pompadoured woman in a tuxedo. Though only on the scene for a few years, her live shows are already legendary spectacles, and not in the all flash no substance way of many pop stars, but in the jaw-dropping musicianship and entertainer sense. Toronto got their first taste of Monáe last Summer when she opened up for Arcade Fire on the Islands, and while for many she nearly stole the show, it was still very much not her audience.

This evening, however, it was and though some might have wished that she’d played a normal show unattached to any awards or festivals, she still delivered a full-length set that bore out her reputation as one of the most electrifying performers going today. Using the futuristic concepts laid out in her ArchAndroid album as a framing device, she and her ridiculously tight band put on a dazzling hour-long show replete with costume changes, extraordinary dancing and just great songs that refuse to be pigeonholed into any specific genre. And unlike the Island show, which curiously put show-stoppers “Cold War” and “Tightrope” mid-set, this time they saved them for a perfect one-two punch finale, and yet still managed to top it with an extended “Come Alive (War of the Roses)” where the stage was first invaded by dancers cast as androids and then the audience was invaded by Monáe, who went for a venue-spanning crowd surf. Awards? What awards? All I know is that Janelle Monáe won. At everything.

Spinner has a wrap up of the entire night, start to finish.

Photos: Janelle Monáe @ The Fairmont Royal York – March 12, 2011
Video: Janelle Monáe – “Cold War”
Video: Janelle Monáe – “Tightrope”
Video: Janelle Monáe – “Many Moons”

Spinner talks to TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone about their new record Nine Types Of Light, due out April 12. They’ll be at the Sound Academy on April 18 but Pitchfork reports that bassist/keyboardist Gerard Smith won’t be joining them on the road as he’s being treated for lung cancer – best wishes to Smith for a speedy recovery.

Spin and Interview have feature pieces on The Kills, who’ve made a track from their new record Blood Pressures available to download. It’s out April 5 and they play The Sound Academy on May 1.

MP3: The Kills – “DNA”

A week before its release, The Strokes have posted their new record Angles on their website for all to stream, and you can follow along with the song-by-song commentary Julian Casablancas has give to NME.

Stream: The Strokes / Angles

Drive-By Truckers will bring their new record Go Go Boots to The Phoenix on June 15, tickets $29.50 in advance. The Georgia Straight chats with guitarist Mike Cooley.

MP3: Drive-By Truckers – “Used To Be A Cop”

A couple of ladies for whom one name is enough – Thao & Mirah – have teamed up for an album they’ve called Thao & Mirah and will be in town for a show at Lee’s Palace on June 5. That’s just short of a year after their last visit was cancelled on account of a little incident we locals like to call the G20 clusterfuck.

MP3: Thao & Mirah – “Eleven [featuring tUnE-yaRds]”

NXNE is still a ways off but some of the performers at this year’s fest are getting out – the Thursday night, June 16, will find Deerhoof and The Dodos at The Phoenix. Both acts have new records out, Deerhoof Vs Evil and No Color, respectively. Paste talks to The Dodos about their new record.

MP3: Deerhoof – “The Merry Barracks”
MP3: The Dodos – “Don’t Stop”

Friday, March 4th, 2011

You Turn Clear In The Sun

Review of Telekinesis’ 12 Desperate Straight Lines and giveaway

Photo by Kyle JohnsonKyle JohnsonWith his 2009 self-titled debut album as Telekinesis, Seattle’s Michael Benjamin Lerner established several bona fides. First, playing every instrument on the record without ending up over- or under-produced was no mean feat, although having Death Cab’s Chris Walla on hand in the producer’s chair certainly helped. Secondly, he could write the hell out of a power-pop tune, what with the record being packed top to bottom with instantly likeable and memorable numbers. Third… well who needs a third point when you’ve got those first two down?

For the follow-up, Lerner sent the band he toured the first record with home and again holed up with just himself, Walla and another brace of songs. The result? 12 Desperate Straight Lines, which doesn’t offer any sort of dramatic reinvention of what Telekinesis is or does, but does take it to enough different terrain to set it apart. And by different, I mean darker, or at least as dark as a record laden with “ba ba ba” singalong choruses can get.

The hooks may remain, but the innocence of the debut is considerably muted; that there was a failed relationship between records one and two is no surprise to who takes an even cursory listen to the lyrics. And even if the words go in one ear and out the other, the more propulsive tempos and chunkier, riffier guitars and cribs from The Cure – albeit the poppiest aspects of The Cure – certainly speak to there being both some catharsis and moping going on behind the scenes of this record’s creation. You could still rightly describe it as sunshine-y, but you can’t ignore the shadows that are cast throughout and all in all, that makes for a more interesting picture.

Telekinesis are playing The Horseshoe this Sunday evening, March 6. Tickets are $11 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got five pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to witness Telekinesis” in the subject line and your full name in the body and have that in to me before 5PM, March 5 – that’s Saturday evening, as in tomorrow. And if you can’t make the show, there’s also an acoustic in-store performance at Sonic Boom earlier that evening at 7PM.

Rolling Stone has an interview with Benjamin Michael Lerner.

MP3: Telekinesis – “Car Crash”

The Guardian interviews The Strokes about the making of their new record Angles, which is out March 22 and from which they’ve released a first video and made available a second song to stream at NME.

Video: The Strokes – “Under Cover Of Darkness”

The Creator’s Project has a short documentary feature video on Interpol.

Crawdaddy talks to Travis Morrison of The Dismemberment Plan about his songwriting method. Back when he was writing songs. The Chicago Sun-Times also ran a feature piece last month.

New York’s Beach Fossils will be in town on April 20 for a show at Parts & Labour. They followed up last year’s self-titled debut with the What A Pleasure EP last month.

MP3: Beach Fossils – “Calyer”

Battles will be at The Horseshoe on April 29, previewing material from their new record Gloss Drop which is out June 7.

Beatroute talks to The Dodos about their new record No Color, which is out March 14 but available to stream at Hype Machine right now.

Stream: The Dodos / No Color

Speakers In Code has an interview with Nicole Atkins, who has been keeping a tour diary of her current jaunt over at Spinner. Explore Music has a video session and interview while MPR is streaming a radio session.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Lissie available to stream.

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of a Drive-By Truckers show at the Bowery Ballroom from last month. Deleware Online and the San Jose Mercury News have features on the band.

Rolling Stone talks to My Morning Jacket about their new record Circuital, which will be out sometime this Spring.

Spin has got a stream of Thurston Moore’s contribution to Sing For Your Meat, the forthcoming Guided By Voices tribute album, due out on Record Store Day (April 16).

Spinner solicits Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips’ thoughts on Charlie Sheen. Just because.

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Wake And Be Fine

New Okkervil River is Very Far but almost here

Photo By Alexandra ValentiAlexandra ValentiLast year, for my 35th birthday, I got a special gift in the form of The National releasing what would be probably my favourite record of last year in High Violet. Now Okkervil River, who have a habit of running neck and neck with The National in competition for the title of “my favourite band” – it’s a real thing – look like they’re trying to win my affections the same way by announcing a May 10 release date for their new record I Am Very Far.

They’d already announced the release of lead single “Mermaid” on 12″ come February 8, but the band took to the stage on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on Monday night to perform a different new song, “Wake And Be Fine”. And if not for Will Sheff’s distinctive vocals and presence, you might be forgiven for not recognizing them – besides the fact that New Pornographer Carl Newman and The Roots’ Questlove joined them for the occasion on vocals and drums respectively, Okkervil 2011 is a considerably different band from that which made The Stage Names and The Stand-Ins – Sheff remains, of course, as does multi-instrumentalist Scott Brackett and bassist Patrick Pestorius, but mainstays Jonathan Meiburg (keys), Brian Cassidy (guitar) and Travis Nelsen (drums) have all left the band in the past couple of years, replaced by Justin Sherburn, Lauren Gurgiolo and Cully Symington respectively. By no means is Okkervil a lesser band for the changes, but it is a different one and it will take a little adjusting to see them thusly, especially without the always-entertaining Nelson behind the kit.

But either way, the news of the imminent arrival of more Okkervil River was enough to make my day yesterday. Happy early birthday!

MP3: Okkervil River – “Wake And Be Fine” (live on Jimmy Fallon)
Video: Okkervil River – “Wake And Be Fine” (live on Jimmy Fallon)

Okkervil labelmates The Cave Singers and Lia Ices both have new records coming out – No Witch on February 22 and Grown Unknown on January 25 respectively – and have plotted a Spring tour that stops in at the Drake Underground on April 5. Tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: Cave Singers – “Swim Club”
MP3: Lia Ices – “Grown Unknown”
MP3: Lia Ices – “Daphne”

Of Montreal may already be plotting the follow-up to last year’s False Priest – or so Kevin Barnes tells Spin – but they’re not done touring said record. They’ll be coming back to Toronto for the first time in two and a half years – yes it’s been that long – for a show at The Phoenix on May 3, tickets $28 on sale now.

MP3: Of Montreal – “Sex Karma”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Coquet Coquette”

Pitchfork reports that The Dodos have recruited one Neko Case to help them out on their new record No Color, due out March 14. Her vocals will grace about half of the album, which will be great, but I think it’d have been more great if they got her to play all kinds of instruments but not sing a note. Because that’s how my sense of humour works.

The rumour mill has it that The Strokes’ fourth album will be out on March 22. Which jives with what’s already known, but until there’s an official announcement, it’s just hearsay. Hearsay I’m willing to blog, clearly.

Much more official is the word on the new record from The Kills – it will be called Blood Pressures, it will be out on April 5 and Pitchfork has specifics.

Blurt and I Like Music talk to Lissie, in town at the Opera House on January 24.

Colin Meloy tells Exclaim that The King Is Dead, the new Decemberists record due next week, could be their last for a while as they attend to other projects. So see them at The Sound Academy on February 1 while you can. There’s also and interview at The Sydney Morning Herald.

Beatroute talks to Sam Fogarino of Interpol, who have two Toronto visits on the books this year – a headlining date at the Sound Academy for February 15 and a support slot for U2 at the ACC on July 12.

Sam Beam talks to Billboard about the new Iron & Wine record Kiss Each Other Clean, out January 25, and to Spin about the origins of his band’s name.

The AV Club has words with The Dismemberment Plan’s Travis Morrison.

Beatroute has an interview with The Thermals.

MTV UK has a complete video session with Warpaint and it’s not geoblocked like the US site is.

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

One For You, One For Me

Bright Eyes bring The People’s Key to the people

Photo via FacebookFacebookThat sound you hear is the sound of legions of Bright Eyes fans, whom having just recovered from the news that Conor Oberst was returning to that project for one more record in The People’s Key on February 15, are swooning and weeping (with joy) even more at the announcement of the first leg of tour dates to support said record.

Oberst last played Toronto as Bright Eyes back in May of 2007 with a show at Massey Hall, but didn’t return with his own Mystic Valley Band solo thing. He did make an appearance last Fall with his Monsters Of Folk compatriots, again at Massey, but TO Conor-ites will finally get a proper fix next March when he leads whomever is in Bright Eyes this time out for a show at the Sound Academy on March 13. Not the classy digs he’s gotten used to over the last couple visits, no, but venue complaints aside you can bet that the date is being circled on a lot of calendars right now, especially if the rumours that this is Oberst’s final kick at the Bright Eyes can are accurate.

Tickets for the Toronto show are $34.50 for general admission (aka those who need to be as close to Conor as possible) and $49.50 for VIP (aka those who need to be as far from those who need to be as close to Conor as possible) and go on sale this Friday, December 17.

MP3: Bright Eyes – “Four Winds”
MP3: Bright Eyes – “Lua”
MP3: Bright Eyes – “Lover I Don’t Have To Love”

Connoisseurs of French pop will be pleased to know that Parisians Revolver have made a date at the Drake Underground for March 3, tickets $10.50 in advance. Their debut Music For A While was released domestically back in August.

MP3: Revolver – “Get Around Town”
Video: Revolver – “Leave Me Alone”
Video: Revolver – “Balulalow”

Those who missed Chicagoan glam-punk moppets The Smith Westerns last month when they opened for Florence & The Machine and played a tiny after show the same evening will be pleased to know they’ve slated a proper tour and will be back in town at the Horseshoe on February 28. And they’ve put out a new video, too. Their second album Dye It Blonde is out January 18.

MP3: Smith Westerns – “Imagine, Pt 3”
Video: The Smith Westerns – “Weekend”

The first sample of The Rural Alberta Advantage’s new record Departing is now up for grabs. The record is out March 1 and they play a sold-out show at Lee’s Palace tomorrow night.

MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”

Dodos frontman Meric Long talks to Pitchfork about their plans for album number three.

The Mountain Goats are giving away a new MP3 for a song that won’t be appearing on their next album All Eternals Deck when it’s released on March 29. But hey – new Mountain Goats.

MP3: The Mountain Goats – “Tyler Lambert’s Grave”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Johnny Flynn.

The Quietus interviews Titus Andronicus. The band, not the fictional character.

The first video from Nicole Atkins’ forthcoming Mondo Amore is now available for all to see. The record is out January 25 and she plays the Horseshoe on February 26.

Video: Nicole Atkins – “Vultures”

Colin Meloy previews some of The Decemberists’ new record The King Is Dead in session for NPR. The album is out January 18 and they play The Sound Academy on February 1.

The AV Club’s AV Undercover series from this Summer is over and done, they’re busting out the covers series for the holiday season with Holiday Undercover, which includes Shearwater covering Randy Newman’s bummer seasonal tune “God’s Song (That’s Why I Love Mankind)” and Kate Nash taking on Slade’s “Merry X-Mas Everybody”.

And speaking of Randy Newman, he’s coming to town for a date at the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall on March 26 of next year.

Video: Randy Newman – “I Love LA”

American Songwriter contemplates the career of Jay Farrar and chooses their 20 favourite songs.

Friday, June 4th, 2010

My Gap Feels Weird

Superchunk set date for return

Photo via @superchunkband@superchunkbandThough they’d insisted since touring for 2001’s Here’s To Shutting Up wrapped up that Superchunk weren’t finished but just taking a break, for most of this century the evidence was rather to the contrary. There was the attic-clearing compilation, video retrospective and series of live documents – not typically signs of an active band. Mac McCaughan became exceedingly prolific with Portastatic, Jon Wurster became full-time sticksman for The Mountain Goats and comedian and the label that McCaughan and Laura Ballance started back in 1989 started putting out some records that proved to be rather successful in certain circles.

Sporadic one-off live shows kept the flame alive but it wasn’t until last Spring when the Leaves In The Gutter EP arrived that the notion of Superchunk as an ongoing proposition begane to feel very real. And while it wasn’t an immediate precursor to a new full-length, Superchunk have finally put a date to the release of their ninth album and first in nine years – Majesty Shredding will be released on September 14 and the world will be a better place for it. Pitchfork has the salient details such as track listing and album art and a handful of Fall tour dates which do not, at present include anything north of the border. This is slightly less of an imperative for me as I finally got to see Superchunk live back at SxSW – a short set but one that completely affirmed that the ‘Chunk could still rock and pogo with the best of them – but I would still love to see them in a proper setting with a full set.

To be fair though, the band have put in more than their share of time on the road over the years and it’s not their fault i missed them all – if a visit to Toronto isn’t in the works then I will happily make do with playing the new album to death. And until that comes out, there’s this teaser video previewing some of the songs and showing scenes from the making of the record. And since you can only loop a one-minute video so many times before going batty, there’s last year’s comeback EP to enjoy. And oh yeah, a decade plus’ worth of albums and singles before that. Ohhhh Superchunk, welcome back.

MP3: Superchunk – “Misfits & Mistakes”
Stream: Superchunk / Leaves In The Gutter

The Toronto Star, eye and NOW prepare to welcome The National to town for their two shows at Massey Hall next week, June 8 and 9.

The Antlers, opening up both of those National shows, turn in a Black Cab Session. CMU also has an interview.

Spinner talks to Joe Pernice about the new Goodbye, Killer, due out June 15.

Clash talks to Robert Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

The new Christina Hendricks-powered video from Broken Bells is now available to watch. There’s an interview with James Mercer at The Boston Globe.

Video: Broken Bells – “The Ghost Inside”

Both The Dodos and Pixies are giving away live (digital) records on their websites in exchange for your email. The Dodos are at the Sound Academy on June 15 opening up for The New Pornographers; Pixies are not.

The Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post talk to Ben Bridwell and Liverpool Echo to Tyler Ramsey of Band Of Horses, who’ve just released a new video from Infinite Arms. They’re playing the Toronto Island Concert on June 19.

Video: Band Of Horses – “For Annabelle”

Carissa’s Weird, the Seattle band from whose ashes rose Band Of Horses, Grand Archives, Sera Cahoone amongst others, is releasing a retrospective collection entitled They Only Miss You When You Leave: Songs 1996-2003 on July 13.

MP3: Carissa’s Weird – “Die”

Phantogram return to town for a show at Wrongbar on July 8, tickets $14.50 in advance. You may wonder how good a two-piece electro-rock band could be live, and the answer is very good. Donewaiting is hosting a video session with the band, if you need more convincing.

MP3: Phantogram – “When I’m Small”
Video: Phantogram – “Mouthful Of Diamonds”

NYC Taper is sharing a live recording of The Depreciation Guild.

Four Tet will hit the road this Fall in support of new record There Is Love In You and stop in at the Mod Club on October 20.

The Music Slut asks eight questions of Mogwai’s Barry Burns. Their Burning/Special Moves live DVD and CD will be out on August 24.

Bandstand Busking invites The Twilight Sad to play one of their bandstand sessions. The Twilight Sad agree. The Washington Examiner and Nashville Scene also have interviews.

The Scenestar talks to Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison.

To all who asked – presale tickets for Belle & Sebastian’s October 12 show at Massey Hall will go on sale at 10AM next Wednesday, June 9 – password/instructions will be posted at Prices range from $57.50 for premium floors/balcony to $47.50 for rear floors and centre gallery to $39.50 for side gallery, plus fees.

For Folk’s Sake and Gigwise interview Johnny Flynn about his new record Been Listening, out June 7.

Interview gets to know Peggy Sue. Their debut full-length Fossils & Other Phantoms came out this week and they’re at Sneaky Dee’s on June 13 to support.

Kate Nash has released a new video from My Best Friend Is You.

Video: Kate Nash – “Kiss That Grrrl”

The Line Of Best Fit talks to Richard Hawley, whose False Lights From The Land EP is out next week.

Kele talks to BBC about going solo with The Boxer, out June 21. He’s at the Mod Club on July 29.

The Phoenix has an extensive feature on Robyn Hitchcock, who has two intimate shows at the Drake Underground next week on June 11 and 12.

Paul McCartney – yeah, THAT guy – will be at the Air Canada Centre on August 8. Tickets will cost far too much yet still be easily rationalized.

And while pretty much obvious what with the radio silence all the way into June, it’s been made official that Virgin Festival Canada is taking 2010 off to regroup and hopefully come back next year.