Posts Tagged ‘Duffy’

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Four Letter Word

My laptop died last night so as karmic retribution, you get Beady Eye

Photo By Steve GullickSteve GullickSo good times, my laptop died last night after 3.5 years of service due to a failed hard drive. I had planned on replacing it this year anyways, but hoped to squeeze a little more out of it – like a week. Fittingly, it died just as I was looking at the new upgraded Macbook Pros on the Apple site so… yeah. Anyways. Just some stuff from the old world to clear out before the weekend, so…

Beady Eye. Their debut Different Gear, Still Speeding is out over here on March 1 and kind of surprisingly, advance word seems to be that it’s not terrible. Not any kind of groundbreaking, being mostly bog-standard retro-styled Brit rock, but pretty alright for what it is. I haven’t heard it, this is just what I’m hearing. Anyways, I do hope it does okay if just for Andy Bell’s sake, and I get the sense that they’ll be doing a proper North American promotional push and that should include touring, perhaps come Fall. Anyways. The Guardian, BBC, Spinner and Exclaim all have features on the band.

MP3: Beady Eye – “The Roller”

Under The Radar talks to Andy Bell’s former compatriot Mark Gardener on the occasion of Ride’s 20th anniversary and yes, the reunion question comes up and no, there are not plans for it but as the Bieb says – never say never.

Captain’s Dead has rounded up a bunch of Lush’s Black Sessions MP3s for your shoegazing nostalgia purposes. Another band highly unlikely to ever get back together.

Drowned In Sound talks to Yan of British Sea Power. They’re at Lee’s Palace on March 24.

Spinner talks to Norman Blake of Jonny, whose self-titled debut is due out in North America on April 12.

Spinner has an interview with Ellie Goulding, whose debut Lights gets a US release on March 8 and who is at The Phoenix on March 27.

The Mirror reports that Duffy, disappointed in the disappointment surrounding her disappointing second record Endlessly, is considering ending her music career.

Exclaim has made PJ Harvey their cover story for the month.

The Independent and Tour Dates chat with Patrick Wolf, whose new record Lupercalia is out May 23.

The Quietus, Irish Independent and Irish Times interview Guy Garvey of Elbow, whose build a rocket boys! is out March 8 in the UK but not until April 12 in North America.

Glasvegas have released a new video from their second album Euphoric Heartbreak, due out April 4. Guitarist Rab Allan talks to The Scotsman while James Allan offers a track-by-track overview of the record to The Daily Record.

Video: Glasvegas – “Euphoria, Take My Hand”

Also with a new clip are White Lies, taken from Ritual. Dose has an interview with the band.

Video: White Lies – “Strangers”

The Quietus reports that Wild Beasts have given their new record a title of Smother and release date of May 10.

Secret Sessions has a solo acoustic video session and interview with Tim Compton of The High Wire.

PitchforkTV has a Tunnelvision session with Yuck, who also have their self-title up to stream at Soundcloud. They play The Phoenix on May 1 and Gigwise has an interview.

Stream: Yuck / Yuck

Lykke Li talks to Spinner and Billboard and names off her dream band to The Independent. Her new record Wounded Rhymes is out on Tuesday and she plays The Phoenix on May 22.

Shockhound, Consequence Of Sound and Spinner chat with The Radio Dept, who just picked up their second Best New Whatevs in less than a year from Pitchfork. They’re at The Horseshoe on May 29.

Peter Bjorn & John have a new vid from Gimme Some, out March 29. They play Lee’s Palace on May 6.

Video: Peter Bjorn & John – “Second Chance”

The Megaphonic Thrift have rolled out a new vid from Decay Decoy, out March 8.

Video: The Megaphonic Thrift – “Talks Like A Weed King”

Keren Ann’s new record 101 is now streamable in advance of its March 22 release. She plays The Drake Underground on June 28.

Stream: Keren Ann / 101

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

In The Dark Places

PJ Harvey Shakes out preview of new record

Photo By Seamus MurphySeamus MurphyThroughout her career, Polly Jean Harvey has managed the difficult feat of being artistically chameleon-like from one to the next, each often stylistically miles removed from that which came before it, while remaining consistently interesting and by and large excellent throughout. Her last effort, 2007’s fragile piano-led White Chalk, certainly didn’t hint at what Let England Shake – out next week – has to offer.

Just posted to stream in its entirety at NPR, it’s a strange yet immediately compelling collection built around themes of nationalism and war. While has echoes of her past works – the urgency of her early records, the melody of her middle-period works and the stark beauty of recent recordings – it sounds completely fresh, with Harvey favouring the higher registers of her voice in a way that I, at least, haven’t heard before. I’m only a few listens in and already I’m finding myself connecting with it in way that I haven’t with her stuff before. This is an exciting development.

She’s only got three North American tour dates scheduled right now (Los Angeles, Coachella and New York) but considering she’s not toured over here properly in forever – her last Toronto date was in 2004 – I have to think or at least hope that more will be coming.

MP3: PJ Harvey – “Written On The Forehead”
Stream: PJ Harvey / Let England Shake

The Guardian and State interview Anna Calvi, whose self-titled debut is due out on March 1 and who will be at Wrongbar on March 11 as part of Canadian Musicfest.

The Quietus goes over their debut Violet Cries track by track with Esben & The Witch while Drowned In Sound gave them the keys to their whole website last week. Paste just interviews them. They’re also at Wrongbar on March 11 for Canadian Musicfest.

Billboard has a cover story on Adele in advance of the February 22 release of 21. NPR is streaming the album in its entirety as well as a half-hour live performance from the singer, who’s just announced a North American tour in suport of album number two, including a May 18 date at The Kool Haus in Toronto.

Stream: Adele / 21

NPR has a World Cafe session with Duffy.

PopMatters interviews Kate Nash.

Spinner talks to Mira Aroyo of Ladytron about their forthcoming Best of Ladytron: 00-10 compilation, due out March 29.

Micachu & The Shapes are still working on the follow-up to 2009’s left-field gem Jewellery, but in the interim will be releasing Chopped & Screwed, a collaboration with The London Sinfonetta that will be coming out on March 22. What’s it sound like? Click below and read this piece on the collaboration at Clash.

MP3: Micachu – “Everything”

Pitchfork talks to Jamie Smith of The xx about stuff both xx and not xx.

The Fly checks in with Friendly Fires, who are finishing up their second record Pala, due out in the Spring – certainly before their May 30 date at The Phoenix.

The Fly and The Scotsman profile The Joy Formidable, who follow up the North American release of The Big Roar with a date at The Horseshoe on April 2.

Magnet handed over the editorial chair of their website to White Lies last week. The Mirror has an interview.

The Boxer Rebellion have made a date at The Horseshoe for April 18 in support of their new record The Cold Still; tickets $13.50.

Video: The Boxer Rebellion – “Step Out Of The Car”

State, Exclaim and Clash interview The Go! Team, who bring their new record Rolling Blackouts to The Opera House on April 10. They’ve released a couple new videos and an MP3 from said record.

MP3: The Go! Team – “T.O.R.N.A.D.O.”
Video: The Go! Team – “Super Triangle”
Video: The Go! Team – “Secretary Song”

Guy Garvey discusses Elbow’s forthcoming new record build a rocket boys!, out March 8, with The Quietus.

Toronto fans disappointed there’s no official stop here for the upcoming Trash Can Sinatras tour would do well to look at their itinerary, email the address noted on the right and ask themselves just how much seeing them play an intimate house show is worth to them.

Liam Gallagher of Beady Eye discusses his new band’s debut Different Gear, Still Speeding with Spin. The record is out March 1.

Spinner reports that Manic Street Preachers bassist Nicky Wire is disappointed that their last single didn’t chart in the UK; perhaps they overestimated the appeal of an Ian McCulloch duet? Time to dig up Nina Persson’s phone number again, methinks.

The Quietus contemplates the legacy of Teenage Fanclub while The Line Of Best Fit has an acoustic session with Fanny side-project Jonny. Their self-titled debut is out April 12.

Billboard profiles Mumford & Sons.

NPR puts folk-rock legend Richard Thompson behind a Tiny Desk and makes him play a concert. The indignity.

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

We Talk Like Machines

Review of Savoir Adore’s In The Wooded Forest

Photo By Shervin LainezShervin LainezThough I’ve no corroborative quantitative evidence, I will posit that this past June 19, 2010 was one of the busiest nights, as far as music entertainment options go, in recent history. You had Iggy & The Stooges inciting mayhem at Yonge-Dundas Square, Pavement and Broken Social Scene holding court out on the Toronto Islands, Queen West was being transformed into Bieber Central for the MMVA’s at MuchMusic the next night and American Idol‘s Adam Lambert was doing whatever the hell he does at the Molson Amphitheatre. Not to mention that NXNE was still raging at most clubs throughout the city. And while I’ve no regrets about bearing witness to the Iggy-powered punk uprising at YDS, I remain sad that it meant missing seeing Brooklyn duo Savoir Adore at Sneaky Dee’s that same evening as part of NXNE, even moreso now that I’ve been spending quality time with their debut album In The Wooded Forest.

Unlike some other he-and-she duos currently on the indie rock circuit, Deirdre Muro and Paul Hammer don’t allow their band configuration define their sound – Forest is as full-sounding a record as anything a more conventionally structured band might make; it definitely boasts a certain home studio fidelity but isn’t lacking in musical depth in any way and the simpler aesthetic suits their earnest brand of pop to a tee. You can hear them experimenting with different musical styles – ’80s New Wave, Americana and disco all get thrown into the mix in varying quantities – but it’s the duo’s songwriting and intuitive hookiness that carries the record. Muro and Hammer’s voices are strong individually and divine in unison, their melodies carrying just the right amount of verve and sugariness, like aural cotton candy that somehow manages to deliver the full nutritional value of a balanced meal. A wholly addictive record.

I don’t know if there’s much chance of Savoir Adore coming back to town anytime soon – Forest is already well over a year old (I never said I discovered them in anything resembling a timely manner) and they’re more likely headed back into the studio than back on the road, but if and when they do return, I can only hope that they’ve got a little less competition on the live music front than last time.

They’ve just made a new non-album single available for download in “Loveliest Creature” and reaching back a bit, there’s also this Daytrotter session which was posted back in the Spring.

MP3: Savoir Adore – “Loveliest Creature”
MP3: Savoir Adore – “Bodies”
MP3: Savoir Adore – “We Talk Like Machines”
MP3: Savoir Adore – “The Garden”
Video: Savoir Adore – “The Scientific Findings of Dr. Rousseau”
Video: Savoir Adore – “Bodies”
Myspace: Savoir Adore

R.E.M. has given a March 8 release date to their new record Collapse Into Now and are giving the first track “Discoverer” away from their website. And while the whole “return to form” thing gets tossed around with every new record, “Discoverer” does have a certain old-school-ness about it… I approve.

Drowned In Sound gets some time with Robert Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

The Quietus talks to Brett Anderson and Neil Codling of Suede, who if they’re going to not break up again may as well just hop on a plane and come over here to play Lee’s. Yes, they can bring Fat Richard.

Interview, BBC, Sydney Morning Herald and Scotland On Sunday chat with Duffy.

PitchforkTV has a Tunnel Vision session with Isobel Campbell.

QRO has an interview with Stornoway.

Win Butler of Arcade Fire tells The Scotsman he is now and ever shall be a fan of the album.

It’s a music video! It’s a PSA! It’s both! The New Pornographers have teamed with Oxfam to create a clip for “Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk” from Together that draws attention to the plight of those affected by the Gulf Coast oil spill earlier this year. There’s more info on the collaboration at Oxfam.

Video: The New Pornographers – “Sweet Talk, Sweet Talk” solicits some holiday memories from The Rural Alberta Advantage. They’re at Lee’s Palace tonight and their new record Departing arrives on March 1. Departing? Arrives? See what I did there?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Which Is Why

Lightspeed Champion is dead – long live Blood Orange

Photo By Devonté HynesDevonté HynesWhen it comes to his art, Dev Hynes is no stranger to abruptly shifting gears. His first band, the sophomoric dance-punk band Test Icicles called it quits in early 2006 just when they were starting to achieve some success, and Hynes would resurface a year later as a solo act operating as Lightspeed Champion. It’s that project that brought Hynes to the attention of most, thanks to the wonderful country-tinged debut, Falling Off The Lavender Bridge. This year’s follow-up Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You didn’t quite measure up, feeling overburdened by its more orchestral aspirations, but was hardly a failure. And surely album number three would be better?

Except there apparently won’t be an album three. Even before Life Is Sweet came out, Hynes began writing, recording and gigging under the guise of Blood Orange – it didn’t sound worlds removed from Lightspeed, but the one-man home recordings certainly pointed at it being an outlet for his funkier, more groove-oriented side. And according to this new interview at Interview, Hynes is putting Lightspeed Champion out to pasture and making Blood Orange his main creative outlet – a debut single will be out in January and a full-length will follow in the early part of next year, and that means the Van Dyke Parks-enhanced Bye Bye EP coming out on December 13 will be prophetically-titled.

I will miss Lightspeed – Lavender Bridge remains a favourite from the past few years – and am especially sorry I wasn’t able to see him at the Horseshoe this past Summer, but if Blood Orange is what it – and he – is going to be, then I’ll be there.

MP3: Blood Orange – “S’Cooled” (demo)
Video: Blood Orange – “S’Cooled”
Video: Blood Orange – “I’m Sorry We Lied”
Myspace: Blood Orange

Oxford Student talk to Stornoway, who will be a the El Mocambo tonight and have just released another MP3 from their lovely Beachcomber’s Windowsill by way of enticement.

MP3: Stornoway – “Fuel Up”

BBC reports that Portishead are making plans for album number four and there are also rumours swirling that they’re intending to stage their first North American tour in forever next Fall. Fingers crossed.

The Yorkshire Post talks to David Gedge of The Wedding Present, who apparently lost bassist Terry de Castro as a member sometime in the Summer.

British Sea Power have released the first video from their forthcoming Valhalla Dancehall – out January 11 – and I can’t figure out if it’s playful, creepy, romantic or just plain weird. I am going to go with weird.

Video: British Sea Power – “Living Is So Easy”

NME reports that Editors think three studio albums are enough to justify releasing a box set, and will do just that in February of next year – Editors: The Complete Collection will consist of seven 12″ records (album-length or single is unclear) and seven CDs of b-sides, rarities and other Editors ephemera.

Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch’s diaries circa The Life Pursuit and Dear Catastrophe Waitress have been collected in book formThe Celestial Cafe will be released in early 2011.

MusicOmh talks to Duffy. Her new record Endlessly arrives December 7.

The Vaccines, who are apparently set to be the next big thing out of the UK, will be riding the buzz through a free show at the Horseshoe on January 18. The Guardian and Von Pip Musical Express have profiles of the band, which should give you all the background you need to make like you’ve been a fan, like, forever when you’re jammed into the ‘Shoe with all the other Anglophiles in the city.

MP3: The Vaccines – “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)”

Spinner chats with Kate Nash.

Monday, November 8th, 2010

To The Grain

Junip and Sharon Van Etten at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangWith a wealth of options on the Toronto social calendar last Friday night, I rather feared that posting up Lee’s Palace might draw the short end of the stick. I didn’t know how much draw Junip would have, but I needn’t have worried. With their main attraction – frontman José Gonzalez – having not released a new record under his own name in some three years, there was apparently a good amount of pent-up appetite to see and hear him in any configuration.

Happily, this resulted in a good-sized crowd already in place for opener Sharon Van Etten, whom I will freely admit was the main draw for me just as she was when I saw her open for Megafaun at The Horseshoe back in April. Unlike that show, however, this time Van Etten was operating in a three-piece band format rather than solo, a change necessary to recreate the broader sonic palette of her gorgeous second album Epic. And though the full band format sounded glorious when Megafaun backed her for one song at the Horseshoe show, that she was only a few shows into the tour with these players was evident at times – mainly in the bassist and drummer playing too loudly and at the expense of the delicacy and nuance that’s essential to Van Etten’s songs. It’s a sensitivity that will no doubt come with time, but on this night at least the comfort level wasn’t where one would have liked. That said, the beauty of the songs still came through, particularly on the harmonium-led “Love More”, and by choosing to close her set solo and with a couple of audience requests from Because I Was In Love, her set ended on a beautiful note.

I don’t think it’s untoward to use Jose Gonzalez’s solo output as a reference point for Junip; the differences lie not in him or his songwriting but in what he surrounds himself with. Solo, it’s just that – Gonzalez, classical guitar, space and silence. With Junip and their debut Fields, those elements remain the centre but the addition of drums and keys, courtesy of Elias Araya and Tobias Winterkorn respectively, do allow the band to be its own distinctive thing. Live, the sound was expanded even further with the addition of a percussionist and bassist and if you were to compare Junip to an acoustic Zero 7, the English electronic outfit that introduced Gonzalez to much of his fanbase, you wouldn’t be wrong. Their set lasted only an hour but it felt much longer – in a good way – as they held the audience with their rhythmic, droning take on folk music. Understated but hypnotic, it sounded like Gonzalez being remixed live, his distinctive meditative vocals being utilized like another instrument in the mix. While I expect that many/most came to the show as José Gonzalez fans, they left as Junip fans. And hopefully Sharon Van Etten fans.

City Pages talks to Junip drummer Elias Araya while The Georgia Straight has an interview with Sharon Van Etten.

Photos: Junip, Sharon Van Etten @ Lee’s Palace – November 5, 2010
MP3: Junip – “Rope & Summit
MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Love More”
MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Don’t Do It”
MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “I Couldn’t Save You”
MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “For You”
MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Consolation Prize”
Video: Junip – “Always”
Video: Junip – “Black Refuge”
Video: Sharon Van Etten – “For You”
MySpace: Junip
MySpace: Sharon Van Etten

Sorry to everyone excited about that Rhett Miller & Murry Hammond acoustic show at the El Mocambo announced a few weeks ago – its been cancelled.

Husband-and-wife retro pop duo Tennis have made a date at the Drake Underground for December 8 to build up anticipation for their debut Cape Dory, due out on January 18. Check out their Daytrotter session from earlier this Fall.

Phantogram return to town for their fourth and probably final Toronto show of the year, stopping in at Wrongbar on December 11 – tickets $15.50 in advance.

MP3: Phantogram – “When I’m Small”

The Music Tapes are putting together a North American “Lullabies and Bedsides” tour that is eschewing conventional venues in favour of house shows and sleepover parties – check out Merge for details on how it’ll work, but the itinerary calls for a Toronto date on January 2 of the new year.

MP3: The Music Tapes – “Majesty”

Call it some coincidence, call it prescience, but barely a day after posting about goings-on in The Radio Dept. camp, the full dates for their 2011 North American tour were revealed. There will be much rejoicing when the reclusive Swedes make their Toronto debut at Lee’s Palace on February 7, 2011. Update: Pitchfork has the tracklisting of the Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 compilation coming out early next year.

MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Heaven’s On Fire”

The Tallest Man On Earth has released a video from his new Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird EP, out tomorrow.

Video: The Tallest Man On Earth “Love Is All”

Jonsi will release a live document of his 2010 solo tours on November 29; Go Live will include a CD and DVD and be available exclusively through his website. He talks to the Detroit News about creating his live show.

Trailer: Jonsi / Go Live

The Dumbing Of America and News Times chat with Bettie Serveert.

The Scotsman talks to Scotsman James Graham of The Twilight Sad.

Clash has an interview with White Lies, whose sophomore effort Ritual comes out January 18. They will be at the Mod Club on January 29 to promote – tickets $25.

Duffy discusses the dancier direction of her second album with Billboard. Endlessly arrives December 7.

Pulp are back. London or Barcelona. London or Barcelona. This must happen. Dates for both Wireless and Primavera are convenient as far as timing and holidays go, both are bloody expensive to get to, never mind accommodations, and either one might snooker my Japan plans for Autumn 2011… but, um, PULP. WWJCD?