Posts Tagged ‘El May’

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

"Sleep All Summer"

The National and St. Vincent cover Crooked Fingers

Image via The NationalThe NationalI am tempted to set up some kind of automated script that, every couple weeks, posts “Crooked FingersDignity & Shame is one of my favourite albums ever” to my Twitter, because a) it’s true and b) every time I listen to it I feel like I need people to know this and understand it. Eric Bachmann has sang with many female foils over the run of Crooked Fingers but none was more perfect that Lara Meyerratken and nowhere is that better demonstrated than their gorgeously intertwined duet “Sleep All Summer”, arguably the album’s centrepiece and a song capable of breaking my heart pretty much every time I hear it.

So when no less than The National opted to cover it with Annie Clark of St. Vincent playing the role of Meyerratken to Matt Berninger’s Bachmann for the Merge Records 20th anniversary tribute album Score!, it was both exciting and worrisome. Exciting because here were two of my favourite artists covering one of my favourite songs and worrisome because, well, there’s no such thing as loving two different things equally – one version was going to come in second. And it’s sort of a photo finish, but as much as I like the Berninger-Clark reinterpretation, the original is still tops. But damn it was good listening and re-listening to each to decide.

Crooked Fingers – who are now the two-piece of Bachmann and Liz Durrett – will release a new album in Breaks In The Armour on October 11 and play The Drake Underground on November 8. St. Vincent’s new album Strange Mercy comes out on Tuesday. The National are awesome. Summer is just about over. Update: Now with extra relevance – just announced, The National are going to be at The Air Canada Centre on December 8 with Neko Case and Wye Oak.

MP3: The National and St. Vincent – “Sleep All Summer”
Video: Crooked Fingers – “Sleep All Summer” (live, 2010)
Stream: Crooked Fingers – “Sleep All Summer”

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Keep Quiet

A random collection of links featuring Hot Chip

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceWhy lead with Hot Chip? Well nothing else especially newsworthy came down the pipe yesterday and their new one One Life Stand came out this week. I’ve been spinning it moderately the last little while, though not enough to try and assemble a proper review. Sufficed to say that while I’ve never been a massive Hot Chip fan in the past and this effort doesn’t sound/feel too different from what I recall of their earlier records, I’m enjoying this one alright. Maybe I should revisit their earlier records – mayhap my ears are more attuned to their chilled-out electro-pop than before.

There’s feature pieces on the band at Dose, Spin, Spinner, The National Post and The Irish Times and there’s also an album making-of video streaming this week at PitchforkTV. They are scheduled to be at the Kool Haus in Toronto on April 20, but the date is not appearing on their website itinerary – not sure if that’s something to be concerned about or not…

Video: Hot Chip – “One Life Stand”
Stream: Hot Chip / One Life Stand

NPR has a World Cafe session with The xx, who are also playing that Kool Haus show with Hot Chip as well as their own headlining gig at the Phoenix on April 4.

Spinner talks to Victoria Hesketh, aka Little Boots, about the long delay between the UK release of her debut album Hands and the impending North American release on March 2. She plays the Phoenix on April 30.

JAM and The AV Club have interviews with Elly Jackson of La Roux.

Drowned In Sound has details on the new album from The FutureheadsThe Chaos is being released independently by the band and will be out in the UK on April 26.

Check out the first video from Jonsi’s Go. It’s out March 23 and he plays two nights at the Sound Academy on April 30 and May 1.

Video: Jonsi – “Go Do”

Stereogum has the MP3 and video for the title track from Under Byen’s new record Alt Er Tabt, out April 6.

Video: Under Byen – “Alt Er Tabt”

Swede Kristian Matsson, who plies his musical trade as The Tallest Man On Earth, is staging a North American tour in support of his new record The Wild Hunt, out April 13, and will be at the El Mocambo in Toronto on April 17. Check out a track from the album and another song he recorded as a theme song for the Yellow Bird Project charity out of Montreal – details here.

MP3: The Tallest Man On Earth – “King Of Spain”
MP3: The Tallest Man On Earth – “A Field Of Birds”

Check out a couple tracks from Bettie Serveert’s new record Pharmacy Of Love, due out March 23.

MP3: Bettie Serveert – “Semaphore”
MP3: Bettie Serveert – “The Pharmacy”

Paste reports that Josh Ritter will release a new record entitled So Runs The World Away on May 4 – they’re giving away an MP3 from his website in exchange for your email.

Falls Church News-Press and SF Station interview The Antlers. They’re at the Phoenix on February 16.

Muzzle Of Bees has a video performance from Sharon Van Etten, who will be at the Horseshoe on April 5.

Paste talks to Phantogram as part of their “best of what’s next” series. They have a show at the Drake Underground on February 20.

Daytrotter has your first preview of new material from Nicole Atkins & The Black Sea, recorded in a session last Fall. Her new record is currently in production and will be out later this year.

Lara Meyerratken of El May talks to Spinner about nearly getting fired from Luna and her new self-titled solo record.

Dan Mangan has released a new video from Nice, Nice, Very Nice. He’s got two shows as part of Canadian Musicfest, March 11 at The Great Hall and March 12 at The Courthouse.

Video: Dan Mangan – “Road Regrets”

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Memory Loss

The Radio Dept. promise new record for March. Seriously. They mean it.

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceIt’s not the firm, 100% release date that you’d want to see before getting excited, but this update from The Radio Dept. declaring that their third record Clinging To A Scheme – constantly rescheduled and delayed since September 2008 – will be available on CD and LP via Labrador in March is the most official thing we’ve seen yet.

Past target dates have come from their label and they’ve had to backpedal on each one, but this one comes from the band, and they’ve sealed it with a stream of a new song, album art and even a tracklisting! It seems the 2008 single “Freddie & The Trojan Horse” didn’t end up making the cut but their entire 2009 output – “David” – did. Either way, I’m allowing myself to hope this time the record will finally become reality and it somehow is worth the almost four-year wait since Pet Grief and year and a half delay from its originally-promised date. And I won’t hold my breath for live dates.

Update: Aaaaand they manage to push it back yet again. But the official new release date is April 20 in North America, April 21 in Europe. EXCITED.

MP3: The Radio Dept. – “David”

And keeping on the theme of reclusive Swedes finally getting into sharing, jj have let slip not only some images of themselves, but a couple new songs via a free digital single – one of which will also appear on their forthcoming album No. 3, out March 9. They’ll be at the Phoenix on April 4, on stage for all to see. Unless they turn off the lights. Which they probably will.

MP3: jj – “Let Go”
MP3: jj – “My Way”

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Philip Ekstrom of The Mary Onettes.

The Raveonettes have made a video for the cryptically-titled new single from In And Out Of Control, “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)”. I think there might be a message here; I’m not sure.

Video: The Raveonettes – “Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)”

The Varsity chats with Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth.

NOW has words with J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. They’ve got an in-store at Sonic Boom tonight at 6:30 – be there early with an item of canned food for admission – and a sold-out show at the Phoenix afterward. eye also has an interview with Lou Barlow in the context of solo artist and opener for himself tonight.

Paste talks to Ted Leo, who is preparing his next record with The Pharmacists in The Brutalist Bricks, due out March 9.

Scout Niblett has set a March 17 date at the Horseshoe as part of a Spring tour in support of her new record The Calcination of Scout Niblett, out next week. Tickets for the show are $11.50 in advance.

MP3: Scout Niblett – “The Calcination Of Scout Niblett”

Last week I mentioned the release next week of El May, the debut album from Lara Meyerratken – well an MP3 from the album is now available to grab.

MP3: El May – “Don’t You”

Matablog has announced the next New Pornographers record will be entitled Together and be out May 4. And yes, both Dan and Neko are on board again.

Canadian Press gets some information from Amy Millan about the new Broken Social Scene record, including the fact that all of she, Emily Haines and Leslie Feist are appearing on the album and one track will feature all three singing together. It was reported that the album would be out in May, in time for their big Spinner Canada is streaming Basia Bulat’s new album Heart Of My Own – it’s in stores next Tuesday.

Stream: Basia Bulat / Heart Of My Own

The Hidden Cameras have rolled out a new video from Origin: Orphan.

Video: The Hidden Cameras – “Underage”

Via MySpace blog, Oh No Forest Fires have offered more explanation for their decision to disband, revealed that their doubling their recorded legacy with a second (mini) album that will be made available for free when it’s ready, offered a first track from said album to download (below), and announced that this Saturday’s final show at the Horseshoe will also be a benefit fundraiser for Haiti, with all proceeds from the $7 cover going to Partners In Health to assist the disaster-ridden country.

MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “Spontaneous Changes In Isolated Systems (Song For Bobby)”

SubPop is giving away a big-ass MP3 mix of their Winter 2010 releases. Go get.

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

We Are The Men You’ll Grow To Love Soon

Let’s Wrestle seek to suplex America

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceWhen I was planning my trip to London back in the Spring of 2008, I was determined to NOT make it a concert-going vacation, Richard Hawley at the Royal Albert aside. But I did pencil in what looked like an interesting little gig at a Notting Hill matinee show presented by Drowned In Sound that I figured would be an opportunity to see some little British acts who’d probably never make it over to this side of the Atlantic. As it turns out, Sky Larkin made it to America sooner than expected, canceling their appearance at the show in order to record their debut The Golden Spike and they’ve returned to tour a times and the second-billed band on the bill, Let’s Wrestle, has just signed with Merge Records to release their debut album In the Court of the Wrestling Let’s over here come March 23.

I grabbed a digital copy of the record when it was released in the UK last Summer as well as its preceding EP In Loving Memory Of… and to say it’s a bit rough around the edges is an understatement, but it’s also deliberate. Musically and lyrically, the trio seek to cultivate an image of youthful insolence and indolence, favouring off-kilter and somewhat soused vocals with buzzsaw guitars to get their clever and sardonic pop culture-referencing points about matters of cosmic import like girls and wrestling across. The snotty punk delivery can’t hide their wicked pop sensibilities, though, nor their musical chops – they may not make a show of it, but they can play – the instrumental title track of the album is proof positive of that.

I’m glad to see that the band is making a stab at North America and that they’ve got good folks like Merge behind them – hopefully there’ll be some touring and I can feel better about ultimately skipping that Notting Hill show completely.

MP3: Let’s Wrestle – “We Are The Men You’ll Grow To Love Soon”
Video: Let’s Wrestle – “I Won’t Lie To You”
Video: Let’s Wrestle – “We Are The Men You’ll Grow To Love Soon”
Video: Let’s Wrestle – “I’m In Fighting Mode”

Paste checks in with Kate Nash, whose second album will be out in Spring of this year.

Little Boots’ Hands will finally get a domestic North American release on March 2.

NME interviews Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine.

BBC6 gets some details on the direction La Roux’s second album.

Cribs bassist and singer Ryan Jarman tells Spinner he’s of the opinion it’s too easy to make music these days. He longs for the old days when you had to go to the trouble of recruiting your siblings and a musical legend to get things done. The Cribs are at the Phoenix this Friday night, January 15.

Tom Smith of Editors talks to Spinner about the surplus of material that came out of the In This Light And On This Evening sessions, five of which will be added to the North American edition of the record when it’s released next Tuesday. They play the Phoenix on February 16.

Pitchfork solicits a list of current obsessions from The xx, who are at the Phoenix on April 4 and the Kool Haus on April 20.

NME reports that Noah And The Whale have recovered all the gear that was stolen from them way back in September.

Lightspeed Champion paid tribute to Elvis Presley’s 75th birthday last week with a cover video – check it out. His next album Life is Sweet! Nice To Meet You is out February 16.

Video: Lightspeed Champion – “Devil In Disguise”

Thanks to A Good Day For Airplay for pointing me to this online issue of Nightshift, music magazine from Oxford, England, which features an interview with all four members of Ride on the occasion of their debut, self-titled EP’s 20th anniversary. And yes, the reunion question is asked and no, it’s not happening. But it’s not dismissed either. So… there. Oh, and that link’s a PDF so forewarned.

The Guardian talks to Danny O’Connor, director of Upside Down – a documentary about the Creation Records story. No release date has been given but a vague Spring target has been mentioned.

Trailer: Upside Down

Pitchfork has premiered the first track from The Ruby Suns’ forthcoming album Fight Softly, due out March 10. They play the Drake Underground on March 30.

MP3: Ruby Suns – “Cranberry”

Ms Lara Meyerratken, aka El May, aka Australian ex-pat in America, aka touring keyboardist for Dean & Britta and Luna and vocal foil for Eric Bachmann on Crooked Fingers’ masterful Dignity & Shame, has completed her first solo record – also entitled El May – and will release it next Tuesday. Physical copies are limited to 500 so if you like the tangible media, pre-order one now.