Posts Tagged ‘Esmerine’

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

One For The Road

Arctic Monkeys announce new album of Arctic Monkey songs, tour of Arctic Monkey shows

Photo By Zackery MichaelZackery MichaelWhen Arctic Monkeys went off and unveiled the video for a new single last week, it was just a matter of time until the specifics around the follow-up to their 2011 album Suck It And See would come to light. And now they have. The Line Of Best Fit has details about the new record, which will be simply titled AM – whether it’s in reference to the band or the half of the day is anyone’s guess – and will be out in North America on September 10.

And to further get their legions of Monkeys fans on this side of the Atlantic excited, following the European festival season -which includes a headlining slot at Glastonbury this weekend – they’ll be commencing a North American tour which kicks off in Toronto on September 15 at The Kool Haus. Tickets for the all-ages gig are $33.50 and go on sale this Friday.

The London Evening Standard has some words from frontman Alex Turner about the new record.

Video: Arctic Monkeys – “Do I Wanna Know?”

Though original frontman Stuart Adamson passed away back in 2001, ’80s Scottish guitars-that-sound-like-bagpipes maestros Big Country have been reunited since 2010 with period-correct new frontman Mike Peters of The Alarm, and with the release of The Journey, their first new album in 14 years, are doing some North American tour dates – they’re in Toronto at Lee’s Palace on August 4, tickets $22.50.

Video: Big Country – “In A Big Country”

Despite being an avowed classic shoegazing fan – or maybe because I am – I don’t cotton to a lot of the current crop of purveyors of the style. Oakland’s Whirr, however, seem to do it right from the onomatopoeic monosyllabic handle through their sometimes hazy, sometimes pummelling, but always melodic sound. They’re heading out on tour in support of their latest album Pipe Dreams, and will be at the Silver Dollar on August 17, tickets just $8.50. I daresay you won’t find anything better to do that evening at that price.

Stream: Whirr – “Swoon”
Stream: Whirr / Pipe Dreams

Toronto-based Mumford & Sons fans who bought tickets to their Gentlemen Of The Road mini-fest in Simcoe, Ontario on August 23 and 24 expecting it would be their only local show might be a bit miffed to learn that the band have announced an August 26 show at The Molson Amphitheatre. Mind you, only The Vaccines and Bear’s Den are also joining them at this show, so if you were just as keen on seeing any of the other bands playing or just camping out in south-central Ontario, you’re still good. Or look at it as an opportunity to see them twice in a week. Or don’t, I dunno, I’ve lost interest. The band are doing some invite/presale thing to manage demand.

And for Vaccines fans, NME is streaming a new song from the band so have at it.

MP3: The Vaccines – “Norgaard”
Video: Mumford & Sons – “I Will Wait”
Stream: The Vaccines – “Melody Calling”

You won’t find a better legend-to-intimacy ratio than this – as he did back in 2010, Robyn Hitchcock will be camped out at the Drake Underground on the evenings of September 3 and 4, telling tales and playing songs from his latest album Love From London and probably a few more. Tickets for each show are $21.50.

Video: Robyn Hitchcock – “Be Still” (rehearsal video)

It’s not being billed as anything as reductive as a Constellation Records roadshow, but fans of the Montreal label would be ill-advised to be anywhere but The Great Hall on September 5; that’s when Esmerine, Colin Stetson, Sandro Perri and Craig Dunsmuir, who despite working together before as Glissandro 70 are billing themselves as Dudasa 80, and Jerusalem In My Heart. Tickets for that are $15.

MP3: Colin Stetson – “High Above A Grey Green Sea”
MP3: Esmerine – “A Dog River”
MP3: Jerusalem In My Heart – “Yudaghdegh Al-Ra3ey Aala Al-Ghanam”

I may have been wrong about Charleston roots-rock duo Shovels & Rope being added to the TURF lineup – they’re touring with Dawes, after all – but they are still coming to town. They’ll be at The Horseshoe on September 7 for their first-ever headlining show in support of O’ Be Joyful, tickets $16.50. Relix has a feature on the band.

Video: Shovels & Rope – “Birmingham”

New York synth-pop duo MS MR have to be pretty happy with their career trajectory, as represented by their touring history in Toronto – from supporting Jessie Ware at The Opera House in early April through a small club show of their own at Wrongbar in late May, and now a headlining date at The Phoenix on September 16, all behind their debut album Secondhand Rapture; tickets are $16.50, Danish singer opens. Full tour routing can be found at Exclaim and an interview with the duo at Glamour.

Video: MS MR – “Hurricane”

Portland instrumentalists Grails have set a date at The Drake Underground for September 18, tickets $12.50. Their last release was 2012’s vinyl-only Black Tar Prophecies Volume 5 split-12″ with Pharaoh Overlord.

MP3: Grails – “Almost Grew My Hair”

London-based Bastille, who topped the UK charts back in March with the release of their debut Bad Blood, will be looking to repeat some of that success stateside as they hit North America this Fall, including The Opera House in Toronto on September, tickets $16. Tone Deaf has an interview with frontman Dan Smith.

Video: Bastille – “Pompeii”

Australians Atlas Genius have already announced a return date for the Danforth Music Hall on October 4, tickets $22.50, even though their local debut at the Opera House just wrapped the other night. I guess their debut When It Was Now is doing pretty well. Support for that show will be Detroit duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

MP3: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – “Skeletons”
Video: Atlas Genius – “Trojans”

Speaking of return engagements, British soulstress Jessie Ware has finally announced her follow-up to her local debut at The Opera House in April, and of course it’s at the much bigger and more reviled Sound Academy. She’s there November 6, tickets $25.

Video: Jessie Ware – “Wildest Moments”

Given that his star was already on the rise when I saw him at SXSW 2012, I’m surprised it’s taken Austin’s Gary Clark, Jr. this long to make it up here in support of his debut Blak And Blu, but when you’re as bona fide a singer-guitarist-songwriter as this guy – those “next Hendrix” compliments aren’t hot air – you’re in demand. In any case, he’s at The Danforth Music Hall on November 18, tickets $29.50.

Video: Gary Clark, Jr. – “Numb”

And from the upstart to the legend, Mavis Staples will be in town at Koerner Hall on February 7 behind her new album One True Vine, out this week and streamable in whole below, which sees the gospel singer tackle songs by Low, Funkadelic, Nick Lowe, and three Jeff Tweedy originals. Tickets for the show range from $40 to $95.

Video: Mavis Staples – “I Like The Things About Me”
Stream: Mavis Staples / One True Vine

And while my beat is mainly Toronto, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Hamilton’s Supercrawl has announced its musical lineup for the weekend of September 13 and 14, and it will bring the likes of Yo La Tengo, Chelsea Light Moving, Fucked Up, Joel Plaskett, METZ, and many more to the streets of Steeltown. And oh, it’s free.

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Iceland Airwaves 2011 Day Three

Austra, Olufar Arnalds, Veronica Falls and more at Iceland Airwaves

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt seems a bit counter-intuitive to travel all the way to Iceland to see a bunch of Canadian bands, but then there’s also something to be said about the sense of camaraderie one gets from hanging out with one’s countrymen in such a foreign setting. So after finally getting to sample some of Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur’s famous wares – those are hot dogs, by the by – and a bit of souvenir shopping, Saturday afternoon was largely spent at the Hressingarskálinn cafe where Canadian Blast had pitched a tent to showcase some Canuck talent to the Iceland Airwaves audience.

What was interesting was that either by coincidence or design, most all of the Canadian acts at the Blast off-venue and Airwaves as a whole fit quite nicely into the Scandinavian setting. For example, Karkwa – who opened up the Blast showcase – had the mysterious, incomprehensible language thing down pat. I think they called it, “French”. I kid, I kid. Playing with less gear than I’m used to seeing them with – keyboardist François Lafontaine was particularly light on his toys – they led their set with leaner, more rock-oriented material before allowing things to sprawl into more atmospheric realms, dazzling all the while with their musicianship. It’s funny that for the number of times I’ve seen them live and heard their Polaris-winning album Les chemins de verre, I still don’t really recognize the material when I hear it live and I think that’s why it’s my preferred Karkwa listening environment; it makes each experience unpredictable and unique.

Photos: Karkwa @ Hressingarskálinn – October 15, 2011
MP3: Karkwa – “Dors Dans Mon Sang”
Video: Karkwa – “Le pyromane”
Video: Karkwa – “Echapper au sort”
Video: Karkwa – “Marie tu pleures”
Video: Karkwa – “Oublie pas”
Video: Karkwa – “Échapper au sor”
Video: Karkwa – “À la chaîne”
Video: Karkwa – “Combien”
Video: Karkwa – “La facade”
Video: Karkwa – “La fuite”
Video: Karkwa – “Vrai”
Video: Karkwa – “Le coup d’etat”
Video: Karkwa – “Poisson cru”

Random Recipe couldn’t have represented a more dramatic shift in tone from Karkwa’s grand prog-pop if they tried, being a four-piece acoustic hip-hop funk band who proudly declared they formed one night when principals Fab and Frannie started busking to earn pizza money. And now they were in Reykjavik. Now musically, they weren’t really my thing but both frontwomen performed with such energy and enthusiasm that it was hard not to get caught up in it. Their debut Fold It! Mold It! came out last year.

Photos: Random Recipe @ Hressingarskálinn – October 15, 2011
Video: Random Recipe – “Bad Luck”
Video: Random Recipe – “Shipwreck”

Esmerine made the front half of the Canadian Blast lineup a Montreal-based hat trick, but again their sound was very different from that of their neighbours. Comprised of members of both Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mt. Zion and built around the cello and marimba, the instrumental quartet had to pillage the country’s harp and marimba supply to equip themselves and still needed to substitute a xylophone for the latter instrument. Even so, they still managed to present themselves as a beguiling miniature orchestra and had a special guest in the form of collaborator and producer Patrick Watson – it’s not entirely clear what he was doing in Iceland but he was there – who offered vocals on a gorgeous and touching tribute to the late Lhasa de Sela, to whom the band’s latest album La Lechuza is dedicated.

Photos: Esmerine @ Hressingarskálinn – October 15, 2011
MP3: Esmerine – “A Dog River”
Video: Esmerine – “Snow Day For Lhasa”
Video: Esmerine – “Walking Through Mist I”
Video: Esmerine – “Walking Through Mist II”
Stream: Esmerine / La Lechuza

While the Canadians kept blasting away, at this point I withdrew to grab some food and just generally enjoy the last bit of daylight in Reykjavik I’d have on this trip. Such a sad thing. But before it was time to return to the real world, there was one more night of Airwaves to experience and it began in the ridiculously beautiful Norðurljós hall of the Harpa opera house – a world away, both literally and figuratively, from the basement of Parts & Labour in Toronto where I’d seen London’s Veronica Falls play just a couple weeks earlier. And in the poshest of settings just as in the grimiest, Veronica Falls were all business and their retro/C86 guitar pop great throughout, though there’s no denying that the vastly superior acoustics, sound reinforcement and lighting made this a better experience. Their set contained a number of new songs, surprising considering their self-titled debut was still a couple days from European release, but all sounded as good as you’d expect. The Line Of Best Fit has an interview with the band.

Photos: Veronica Falls @ Harpa Norðurljós – October 15, 2011
MP3: Veronica Falls – “Come On Over”
MP3: Veronica Falls – “Found Love In A Graveyard”
Video: Veronica Falls – “Bad Feeling”
Video: Veronica Falls – “Come On Over”
Video: Veronica Falls – “Beachy Head”
Video: Veronica Falls – “Found Love In A Graveyard”

I didn’t think I was particularly zoned out between sets, but I certainly didn’t notice how quickly the stage crew moved out Veronica Falls’ standard rock band backline and replaced it with Ólufar Arnalds’ elaborate setup, consisting of a grand piano, string quartet and huge projection screen. And just as you didn’t need to hear anything to know this wasn’t going to be a rock show, once they started you didn’t need to be told to know that Arnalds was Icelandic. The feeling of his homeland was there in every gentle piano note, every wavering bowed string, every stuttering electronic beat – even in the projected animated bird mobiles and flickering strobe lights. Pure, slow-motion beauty. Check out his Living Room Songs project for videos and downloads of songs recorded, one a day, in his apartment.

Photos: Ólufar Arnalds @ Harpa Norðurljós – October 15, 2011
MP3: Ólufar Arnalds – “Þú Ert Sólin”
Video: Ólufar Arnalds – “Hægt, kemur ljósið”
Video: Ólufar Arnalds – “3055”
Video: Ólufar Arnalds – “Ljósið”

After saying goodbye to the stunning elegance of Harpa, it was time for one more go with the hangar-like Listasafn art museum. There wasn’t nearly the degree of audience madness – or lineups, thankfully – that I’d witnessed there on Thursday, though; it seems that Austra still has a little ways to go before they elicit Beach House-scale adulation from the locals. But even hailing from Toronto as they do (hometown represent!), it’s hard to imagine a place where Katie Stelmanis and her goth-y electro-pop would feel more at home than the land of fire and ice, fairies and elves. Though I’d seen Stelmanis in her past incarnations a few times, this was just the second time I’d seen Austra live and while I appreciated them at the Polaris gala, I now appreciated that I was seeing them outside of their element – this performance, with its huge sound, overwhelming light show and hundreds of fans dancing to the beats and pulses really made things impressive. And it was so hard to reconcile the dancing priestess persona that Stelmanis now inhabits – all platinum blonde locks, mystical conjuring gestures and charisma – with the bowl-cut and glasses wallflower look she favoured in past projects. The contributions of Tasseomancy’s Lightman twins also can’t be overstated; beyond the note-perfect backing vocals, their dancing on Stelmanis’ flanks offered an extra visual element and added a real sense of ritual to the show. It may have sounded like the ’80s but it felt much more ancient. Austra plays The Phoenix on December 1.

Photos: Austra @ Listasafn – October 15, 2011
MP3: Austra – “Lose It”
MP3: Austra – “Beat & The Pulse”
Video: Austra – “Lose It”
Video: Austra – “Beat & The Pulse”

That would have been a perfect way to cap off the festival, but at some point I’d picked up a second wind and the sooner I called it a night, the sooner I’d have to be going home. And so it was to the handsome little Iðnó restaurant/hall just across the lake Tjörnin from our apartment. There, the UK’s Mazes were just getting started and funnily, their meat-and-potatoes Brit rock almost sounded exotic after the week’s eclectically arty programming. And for a little while their workmanlike delivery of sufficiently melodic tunes was like a bit of a palette cleanse, but before too long it just started getting dull and that aforementioned second wind evaporated. And that was Iceland Airwaves 2011.

Photos: Mazes @ Iðnó – October 15, 2011
MP3: Mazes – “Vampire Jive”
MP3: Mazes – “Bowie Knives”
Video: Mazes – “Summer Hits”
Video: Mazes – “Most Days”

Everything about this trip – the festival, the city, the countryside, the company – was fantastic and as cliche as it sounds, there’s really nowhere on earth like Iceland. Icelandic music fans are some of the most rabid I’ve ever seen, as a people they’re incredibly friendly and welcoming, urban or rural the country is a feast for the eyes (in a desolate sort of way) and the food isn’t that expensive. Okay, it is. But at least it’s delicious. I will be returning – I still have a full slate of things that I didn’t get around to doing – but will aim for a slightly warmer season next time. There’s only so much gale-force wind and horizontal rain a guy can take. All photos, save a few frames of film still to be developed, are up at Flickr.

Patrick Watson, mentioned just a few paragraphs back, will be in Toronto on November 10 for a show at the Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall, tickets $40 in advance.

Video: Patrick Watson – “Fireweed”

NOW and BlogTO talk to Tasseomancy, who have released a new video from Ulalame and will be playing a release show for the record tonight at The Great Hall and open up for Austra at The Phoenix on December 1.

Video: Tasseomancy – “Diana”

Also on that December 1 Phoenix bill are Young Galaxy, with whom Impose has an interview.

Kathryn Calder’s new album Bright & Vivid is streaming at NPR in advance of its release next Tuesday, and Exclaim has an extended tour itinerary in support of it which now includes a November 29 date at The Horseshoe in Toronto – that’s a Tuesday, which means Nu Music Nite, which means free, which means there is no excuse not to go. At all.

MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Who Are You?”
Stream: Kathryn Calder / Bright & Vivid

Spin, The Globe & Mail, The New Zealand Herald and Vogue both have feature pieces on Feist while Black Cab Sessions have just posted a session with the singer. She’s at Massey Hall on December 1.

Though The Five Ghosts is over a year old, Stars have squeezed another video out of it. And here it is.

Video: Stars – “Dead Hearts”

Miracle Fortress also has a new clip, this one from this Spring’s Was I The Wave?. Death & Taxes has an interview with Graham Van Pelt.

Video: Miracle Fortress – “Possession”

Exclaim has a stream of The Wooden Sky’s new tour-only EP, which they think sounds best on cassette tape, and courtesy of Webster Media Consulting I’ve got two copies to give away – to enter, email me at contests AT with “I want The Wooden Sky cassette” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body; the fact that you’ve actually read this far and own a working cassette deck or walkman are the only other barriers to entry. Contest closes at midnight, October 25.

MP3: The Wooden Sky – “Angelina”
Stream: The Wooden Sky / City Of Light

The National Post and Ottawa Xpress have interviews with Dan Mangan, who plays The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 28.