Posts Tagged ‘Final Fantasy’

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

"Peach, Plum, Pear"

Final Fantasy covers Joanna Newsom

Image via WikipediaWikipediaFlashback: 2006. Tiny Toronto label Escape Goat Records releases Young Canadian Mothers, a 10″ 7″ EP for local violin wunderkind Owen Pallett, who had released his debut album Has A Good Home under the Final Fantasy moniker the year before. It includes a cover of a song The Milk-Eyed Mender, the debut from California harpist Joanna Newsom, which had come out two year prior to decidedly polarizing response. The song in question – “Peach, Plum, Pear” – was a perfect pairing of two decidedly idiosyncratic artists who seemed destined to ply their craft on the fringes of the pop music world.

Fast forward to 2010 and the two former outsiders are now very much on the inside. In addition to being a highly in-demand string arranger for high profile acts like Arcade Fire, Pet Shop Boys and The Last Shadow Puppets, Pallett – now operating under his own name – won the inaugural Polaris Music Prize in 2006 and threatens to be the first repeat winner with this year’s Heartland. Newsom’s epic Ys was similarly one of the most acclaimed albums of 2006 and her new triple-album Have One On Me is, if possible, even more acclaimed. And Pallett’s recording of “Peach, Plum, Pear”? Still perfect.

Pallett plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre this Thursday evening, April 8. Having just wrapped a North American tour, Newsom may be hitting the road again this Fall.

MP3: Final Fantasy – “Peach, Plum, Pear”
Video: Joanna Newsom – “Peach, Plum, Pear” (live)

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

"Paris 1919"

Final Fantasy covers John Cale

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangLate last month, Owen Pallett announced that he was shedding the “Final Fantasy” moniker with which he’d won the inaugural Polaris Prize-winning He Poos Clouds and would be releasing its long-awaited follow-up, Heartland, under his own somewhat less exciting but infinitely less copyright-infringing name.

And so I hope I’m not getting anyone in trouble by posting this recording under his old stage name, but it does date back to 2007, when “Final Fantasy” still shone from marquees around the city (well the Tranzac and Harbourfront Centre, at least) and this John Cale cover was a fixture of his live sets though this version comes, I believe, from his CBC Fuse session with Cadence Weapon. It was also just last month that I got a copy of Cale’s Paris 1919 on LP, so the selection of Pallett’s cover of the title track seems a logical choice to start off this new year/decade. Though really, both original and reinterpretation are beautiful works that don’t need any excuse to show off and share.

Heartland is out next Tuesday and Pallett has a show at the Mod Club that evening – The Guardian talks to him about his new record and the name change decision. Cale continues to produce and record and in March of this year, will perform Paris 1919 in its entirety with The Heritage Orchestra at the Southbank Centre in London. Oh, that would be a thing to see.

MP3: Final Fantasy – “Paris 1919”
Video: John Cale – “Paris 1919” (live)

Friday, December 18th, 2009

(I Can't Seem To) Make You Mine

The Clientele plots most inconvenient North American tour ever

Photo By Andy WillsherAndy WillsherOkay, most inconvenient tour ever is probably a bit of an overstatement. From a logistical/routing point of view, The Clientele’s upcoming jaunt across the pond in support of Bonfires On The Heath makes perfect sense – fly into New York, head south, west through Texas to California, up the west coast and back east along the 49th, cross the border for a couple Canadian dates, back down to New York and then home. But for me – and really, isn’t that what it’s all about? – it sucks. Because the Toronto date at the Horseshoe Tavern falls on March 19 (not the 18th, as listed in itinerary), when I will be half a continent away in Austin at SxSW.

And yeah, I’m sure some/most/all of you will have some difficulty mustering up any sympathy for me, basking as I will be in the warm Texas sun surrounded by tunes and BBQ, but missing out on their distinctively English atmosphere, particularly if they make good on the promise/threat to call it a day after this album, is definite cause for sadface. I’ve seen them before – once in Summer 2005 when I wasn’t a fan at all and last at V Fest 2007, when I was a moderate fan. Too miss them now, when I’m a full-on devotee, is all kinds of disappointing. And possibly cause for a road trip sometime down the road… though it’d probably have to be an air trip.

Anyways. Anyone local who’s reading and is planning on attending – which I would think is at least some of you (should be all but whatever…) – I may be asking you to get me a shirt, yo. In return I will bring you some BBQ sauce.

MP3: The Clientele – “Harvest Time”
MP3: The Clientele – “I Wonder Who We Are”
Stream: The Clientele / Bonfires On The Heath
MySpace: The Clientele

Pitchfork has the new video from Field Music’s comeback album (Measure), out February 16. They will be playing with The Clientele at the Horseshoe show mentioned above – the one I won’t be at.

Video: Field Music – “Them That Do Nothing”

A trailer has been released for Falling Down A Mountain, the new album from Tindersticks, out on February 16 in North America.

MP3: Tindersticks – “Black Smoke”
Trailer: Tindersticks / Falling Down A Mountain

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Fanfarlo’s CMJ show in Brooklyn from October.

NPR is streaming a radio session with Florence & The Machine and BBC6 an interview about their next record.

BBC6 talks to Futurehead Barry Hyde about their new album, still untitled but due out in the early part of 2010.

Final Fantasy is no more! After a half-decade of paying tribute to the venerable video game franchise with his stage name, Owen Pallett has opted to retire it (possibly/probably with the assistance of legal advice) and continue on as simply “Owen Pallett”. Less memorable, but more easily Googleable and probably less costly. Heartland will still be released on January 12, but under the Owen Pallett brand and past releases will be reissued in the near future. So does that make my promo copy of Heartland, very much credited to Final Fantasy on the spine, a collector’s item? Now soliciting bids! The Music Magazine has reprinted the full official statement on the name change.

Stereogum and Under The Radar talk to Matt Berninger of The National – the former about how one of their songs came to soundtrack a Google ad and the latter about the progress of their next album.

Yours Truly has a video of Holly Miranda covering Jeff Buckley’s “Lover, You Should Have Come Over” in a living room while Paste has an interview. Her solo debut The Magician’s Private Library is out February 23.

Paul Banks of Interpol hints at an “orchestral” direction for their next album, due out next year, in conversation with BBC6. I can see them in the studio with a philharmonic now… “No, no! Only downstrokes! Pointier! Stabbier!”

Black Book and Paste talk to Peter Silberman of The Antlers, who are at the Phoenix on February 16 supporting Editors. NYC Taper is also sharing a recording of a recent Antlers show in New York.

NPR is streaming a radio session with Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard.

Elliott Smith’s Roman Candle and From A Basement On A Hill are getting the LP reissue treatment on April 6 courtesy of Kill Rock Stars, and they’ve made available a previously-unreleased song, circa 1997, to mark the occasion.

MP3: Elliott Smith – “Cecelia/Amanda”

American Songwriter has drinks with Jason Isbell.

Grant Hart tells Blurt why a Husker Du reunion is not likely to happen, ever.

Fuzzy-fi practitioners Real Estate and Woods are teaming up for a North American tour that includes a stop at the Horseshoe on March 14. I know there’s a joke to be made about, um, property values or topography or something, but damned if I can think of it right now.

MP3: Real Estate – “Black Lake”
MP3: Real Estate – “Beach Comber”
MP3: Woods – “To Clean”

A first track from Retribution Gospel Choir’s new album 2, out January 26, is now up for grabs. They play the Drake Undeground on January 25.

MP3: Retribution Gospel Choir – “Hide It Away”

Also subscribing to the philosophy of naming ones albums sequentially, Serena-Maneesh have released details on their new album S-M 2: Abyss In B Minor, now set for a March 23 release. A suitably epic first MP3 is available to download and keep in mind, it’s just an edit. The album version is almost sure to be even more… more.

MP3: Serena-Maneesh – “Ayisha Abyss”

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Empty-Hall Sing-Along

Woodpigeon prepare third fourth fifth album, tour

Photo By Leigh RightonLeigh RightonFor a band that’s so good at doing things quietly, Calgary’s Woodpigeon certainly has a thing for volume. Their debut Songbook was originally released in 2006 in Canada and Japan, then reissued in Europe in 2008 to great critical acclaim. Their next release Treasury Library Canada wasn’t even intended to be a proper follow-up – just a collection of outtakes and leftovers from Songbook intended for sale as a limited run direct from the band. Thankfully, it became clear very quickly that it was too good a collection to not be made available to all – an opinion backed up by its eventual Polaris Prize longlisting – and it was reissued in early 2009, itself with another complete album appended as a bonus in Houndstooth Europa.

Which brings us to the impending release of their next album Die Stadt Muzikanten. Weighing in at 16 tracks and filled with orchestral pop finery, it’s no slight musical statement but again, Woodpigeon are all about value and North American and Japanese editions will come with Balladeer / To All The Guys I’ve Loved Before, described as an EP but at a dozen tracks and over 47 minutes, is pretty much another proper album recorded with Howard Bilerman, Steve Albini and Husky Hoskulds. And this round-up doesn’t even include all the one-offs, covers and whatnot that are regularly given away on their website. Sufficed to say, if you’re a Woodpigeon fan, you are never short of material to listen to.

Hearing said material live, however, is less easy – at least if you live in Ontario. Though the band has staged extensive tours throughout Europe, where they remain a much bigger draw than their home and native land, they rarely seem to make it out this way. Since 2007 they’ve only visited Toronto twice, opening for Calexico in July 2007 and an appearance at this Summer NxNE 2009. They’re looking to rectify that somewhat this Winter and have booked a fairly extensive tour through southern Ontario and Quebec, locally stopping at the Drake Underground on February 11.

Die Stadt Muzikanten is out on January 12 in Canada and Japan, March 1 in Europe and March 9 in the US, with Treasury Library Canada being made available domestically in the US for the first time as of that date as well. A sample track from Die Stadt is available below along with a holiday tune for the, well, holidays. Woodpigeon’s Mark Hamilton gave Ragged Words a list of his albums of the decade.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Empty-Hall Sing-Along”
MP3: Woodpigeon – “xoxmas”

NYCTaper is sharing a recording of Final Fantasy’s recent show in New York, chock full of material from Heartland. Said album is out January 12 and the show that night at the Mod Club is sold right out. Way to dither.

Southern Souls has a video session with Olenka & The Autumn Lovers.

Spinner gets a rundown from Diamond Rings’ John O’Regan about how the Sony takedown kerfuffle last week shook out.

Stereogum talks to Born Ruffians about how the drummer situation that resulted in founding member Steve Hamelin giving up the throne for a spell this year was resolved, just in time to record sophomore album Say It, out early next year.

Joel Plaskett discusses the Thrush Hermit reunion with Spinner. That hits Lee’s Palace for two nights in March, the 26 and 27. recorded a video interview with The Rural Alberta Advantage at their instore last month at Soundscapes; The Portland Mercury also has a chat.

Toro y Moi and The Ruby Suns have a date at the Drake Underground on March 30. The former’s Causers Of This and the latter have a new one entitled Fight Softly and due out March 10.

MP3: Toro y Moi – “Blessa”
MP3: The Ruby Suns – “Tane Mahuta”

Swedes ahoy! Pitchfork reports that Taken By Trees will join Anna Ternheim as support for El Perro Del Mar on their upcoming North American tour, which stops in at the Mod Club on February 21. The Skinny talks to Victoria Bergsman.

MP3: Taken By Trees – “My Boys”
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Watch The Waves”
Video: Taken By Trees – “My Boys”

Denmark’s Efterklang have a date at the El Mocambo on March 6 as part of a North American tour in support of Magic Chairs, out February 22.

MP3: Efterklang – “Modern Drift”

The National Post talks to Bo Madsen of Mew.

Bettie Serveert will return with a new album in Pharmacy Of Love on March 23. There’s already a video for the first single.

Video: Bettie Serveert – “Deny All”

Filter solicits a list of Lightspeed Champion’s ten favourite things of 2009. Life Is Sweet! Nice To Meet You – which has good odds of being one of my favourite things of 2010 – is out February 16.

Fanfarlo plays a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR.

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Christmas Time Is Here

Charitable Canadians cover Christmas classics

Illustration By Trevor WaurechenTrevor WaurechenI love it when the alliteration takes care of itself.

Last month went into the history books as being the first time on record that Toronto received no snow in November. No such luck for December, as the first major storm of the year is bearing down on us today… so I guess it’s time to bust out the winter coat and boots, start thinking about buying gifts for people and accept that for the next three weeks or so, it’s going to be Christmas music anywhere and everywhere I go.

Generally this is taken as a thing of awfulness, but one set of holiday tunes that most people can abide, if not actually enjoy, is the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas, with its jazzy take on some holiday standards as well as a few original compositions which have become classics in their own right. It’s kind of the Christmas album that even people who hate Christmas albums can appreciate.

And it’s the basis for a new charitable compilation assembled by the folks at Canadian digital retailers Zunior. A Peanuts Christmas: The 2009 Zunior Holiday Album is a tribute album that features a wide cross-section of Canadian artists re-interpreting the Guaraldi record, including The Awkward Stage, Jill Barber and The Violet Archers. More important than the names involved, however, is the fact that the album is a fresh yet familiar take on the original record, preserving its intrinsic coolness without copying its moves. And more important than that is the fact that all proceeds from this digital collection will go to the Daily Bread Food Bank.

The album is selling for a very reasonable $8.88 Canadian, exclusively at Zunior.

MP3: The Awkward Stage – “Christmas Time Is Here”
MP3: Jill Barber – “The Christmas Song”

Also getting in the spirit of the season with another charitable musical effort is Toronto hardcore act Fucked Up. Even before they officially won the Polaris Prize in September, they were committed to putting the funds to charitable use and they’ve made good on that promise. Matablog reports that their take on Band-Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” is about to be released with all proceeds from the single going to three organizations committed to the cause of missing or murdered Aboriginal women in Canada – Montreal’s Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Vancouver’s DTES Power of Women Group and Ottawa’s Sisters in Spirit. But don’t think that their cover is all just Damian Abraham bellowing out the song – they’ve enlisted a pretty impressive and eclectic lineup of guests to lend their voices to a worthy cause. The track also features the vocal talents of Yo La Tengo, GZA, Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig, Bob Mould, Tegan & Sara, Andrew W.K., TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone, Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew and everyone’s favourite analrapist, David Cross. The single became available on iTunes last night and will come out as a 7″ single in February of next year.

Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy gives Filter a list of his top ten records of 2009. He releases Heartland on January 12 and plays a show at the Mod Club that same evening.

3VOOR12 has a video session with Basia Bulat recorded atop an Utrecht rooftop in the Netherlands. Her new album Heart Of My Own is out January 26 and she plays Trinity-St. Paul’s on January 16.

The Line Of Best Fit interviews Beatrice Martin of Coeur de Pirate.

The Rural Alberta Advantage has released a new video from Hometowns, which features the trio playing McNulty and getting up on the wire. Or something.

Video: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Drain The Blood”

Sweaty synth-rockers Woodhands, with whom The RAA share drummer Paul Banwatt, have set a January 26 release date for their second album Remorsecapade. Details at Chart, MP3 below.

MP3: Woodhands – “Pockets”

Lightning Dust plays a Tiny Desk Concert for NPR.

Michael Cera talks to MTV about the Scott Pilgrim film, of which a complete cut now exists. I spent this past weekend re-reading all five volumes and am just a little bit tingly with anticipation for this film. And volume six. I want it. I want it now now now nownownownownowNOW.