Posts Tagged ‘Fleet Foxes’

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

White Are The Waves

Review of Papercuts’ Fading Parade

Photo By Chloe AftelChloe AftelWhilst at the closing sale for the now dearly departed Criminal Records this past weekend, I found amongst the remaining stock a copy of Papercuts’ latest LP Fading Parade. Already having the CD, I suggested a friend pick it up and when asked, not unreasonably, what it sounded like, I was at a loss and don’t think I came up with anything more articulate than, “it’s good” – hey, I don’t always think fast on my feet. Unsurprisingly, the sales pitch failed but happily, the album found a good home not long afterwards with another acquaintance. Having had a little more time to think on it though, I’d like to take another shot at the “what’s it sound like?” inquiry.

Papercuts were an unknown to me before Fading Parade, which is their fourth album but their Sub Pop debut so score one for the benefits of bigger labels. But all you really need to know about them is that a) they’re from San Francisco and b) they is essentially a he – one Jason Robert Quever – and his lovely and gentle pillow of a voice. Actually that’s too reductive. As central as Quevers’ breathy vocals are to the Papercuts sound, also crucial are the wistfully longing melodies he delivers with it and the sonic aesthetic that he surrounds it all with – an aesthetic built on reverbs precisely set so as to cushion all of the intricate instrumental arrangements but not obscure the detail and delicacy of it all.

Clearly atmosphere matters, but I still don’t quite get all the shoegaze namedrops that pop up in their press – if you were looking for English DNA in their sound, it’d look more Sarah Records than anything else. But if forced to come up with a single reference point, I’d probably go with The Shins, albeit less folksy and more elegantly baroque. Which now that I think about it, isn’t very Shins-y at all. Okay, how about this – Papercuts’ Fading Parade? It’s good.

The Line Of Best Fit welcomed Quever to their studio for an acoustic video session.

MP3: Papercuts – “Do You Really Wanna Know”
MP3: Papercuts – “Do What You Will”
Video: Papercuts – “Do You Really Wanna Know”
Video: Papercuts – “Do What You Will”

Dazed has an interview with Antlers while Wears The Trousers points to a studio video of the band performing “Hounds” with Nicole Atkins guesting on vocals.

Epitonic and Spectrum Culture talk to Erika Anderson of EMA.

Check out a track from Wild Flag’s forthcoming self-titled debut, due out September 13. They play Lee’s Palace on October 11.

MP3: Wild Flag – “Romance”

A new track from tUnE-yArDs’ WHOKILL is up for grabs and there’s also a KCRW session over at NPR. They play Lee’s Palace on September 24.

MP3: tUnE-yArDs – “Powa”

Head over to Soundcloud to hear a three-track sampler of the new Ivy record All Hours, due out September 20.

The Mountain Goats have released a new video from All Eternals Deck.

Video: The Mountain Goats – “Real Estate Sign”

MPR has an interview with Fleet Foxes.

Exclaim talks to Eric Bachmann about the Archers Of Loaf reunion.

Bob Mould talks memoirs with eMusic.

Stereogum has marked the 10th anniversary of The Strokes’ debut album Is This It by compiling Stroked, a tribute album to said record with contributions from the likes of Peter Bjorn & John, Owen Pallett and The Morning Benders, amongst others.

Their fire sale over and done with, Bruce Peninsula have finally come clean with details on their second album – Open Flames will be out on October 4, and will follow it with a Fall tour that includes a hometown show at Lee’s Palace on October 27. And if you don’t want to wait that long to see them and hear the new stuff – and why would you – remember they’re playing the Lower Ossington Theatre on August 11 as part of Summerworks.

MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Light Flight”

Playing that same stage and festival on August 6 are Hooded Fang, who’ve marked the release of their second album Tosta Mista this week by talking to and Exclaim and streaming the whole album online.

Stream: Hooded Fang / Tosta Mista

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Being There

Wilco love you, baby, and wants to give you some tickets

Photo By Austin NelsonAustin NelsonSo y’all know Wilco, right? Chicago-based outfit that rose from the ashes of Uncle Tupelo and survived numerous lineup changes and label drama to release some of the best pop/rock/roots records of the past almost two decades and establish themselves as one of America’s best bands. Yeah, that Wilco.

They’re following up 2009’s Wilco (The Album) with their eight studio album The Whole Love on September 27 – the first to be released on their own label dBpm Records. And, being the road warriors that they are, they’re a-gonna tour it with the first leg of North American dates starting up a good two weeks before the record is even out.

Toronto’s two dates – we’re a bona fide overnight destination for the band now – go early on in the tour, September 16 and 17 at Massey Hall with New wave pop legend (and songwriting royalty beneficiary thanks to the first single from The Whole Love) Nick Lowe supporting. Massey has been their Toronto home away from home starting back in 2004 and since then, the Old Lady Of Shuter Street has hosted many memorable shows (as well as a famous dressing down by Jeff Tweedy for being too courteous – 10MB video clip under the link there); no reason to think these ones will be any less so.

So considering both the fan and Friends of Massey Hall presales went yesterday morning and unsurprisingly sold out in minutes, this Friday’s public onsale at 10AM is almost your last chance to score tickets for the show. Note that I said almost. Courtesy of the band and LiveNation, I’ve got a pair of tickets to give away for the Saturday night show. To enter, I want you to leave a comment on this post with your favourite Wilco in Toronto memory, and that can include Wilco-related anecdotes involving any of but not limited to Uncle Tupelo, Golden Smog, The Autumn Defense, Jeff solo, whatever. And if you’re new to the band and don’t have one, something related to their music and not the shows is fine too. Make sure your email is in there, and don’t worry – it will remain hidden from nasty spambots. The contest will run until midnight, August 26 so if you want to try your hand at the public on-sale and enter if you miss out, do that. But if you score some ducats, don’t water down the odds for those less fortunate – unless you just want to share some reminiscences, then just note that you’re not entering the contest proper. And to get things rolling, mine remains their last-minute post-cancelled-Lollapalooza-tour club show at The Mod Club in August 2004 with their rotating-substitute-drummer set opening for Neil Young at the Air Canada Centre in December 2008 not far behind.

I’m sure there’s someone out there for whom their favourite Hogtown Wilco memory took place the evening of November 20, 1996 circa Being There when Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett performed a super-intimate acoustic set in the back room of C’est What. I wasn’t there, no sir, but someone with a cassette recorder was, and they tapped said recorder into the soundboard and made a fine-sounding recording of the show. I was given a copy of said show on cassette a few years ago but not having anything resembling a working cassette deck, it just sat there like a special prize hidden away behind technological lock and key. I actually borrowed my brother’s cassette deck with the intention of ripping it and sharing it with the world and last night while messing with cables and laptop audio settings that refused to cooperate, it occurred to me to see if maybe – just maybe – someone had already gone to the trouble. And they had. The full recording of the show is available over at Ohmpark and probably sounds a good deal better than I’d have been able to manage. Enjoy a couple samples below, head over there for the rest and share some stories below.

MP3: Jeff Tweedy & Jay Bennett – “I Got You (At The End Of The Century)” (live at C’est What – 11/20/96)
MP3: Jeff Tweedy & Jay Bennett – “Dreamer In My Dreams” (live at C’est What – 11/20/96)
MP3: Jeff Tweedy & Jay Bennett – “Pick Up The Change” (live at C’est What – 11/20/96)

The Toronto Star interviews Fleet Foxes, who are playing Massey Hall tonight.

Interpol have released the animated collaboration with David Lynch originally put together for Coachella as the latest video from Interpol. PhillyBurbs talks to guitarist Daniel Kessler.

Video: Interpol – “Lights”

A second track from Stephen Malkmus’ forthcoming Mirror Traffic is now available to download ahead of the record’s August 23 release. Malkmus and his Jicks play The Phoenix on September 21.

MP3: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Tigers”

The Line Of Best Fit has posted the first part of an interview with Death Cab For Cutie, playing the Molson Amphitheatre on July 29.

Chad VanGaalen has put together a cross-Canada tour in support of his latest record Diaper Island; it brings him to The Mod Club on October 28.

MP3: Chad VanGaalen – “Sara”

Rebekah Higg’s second full-length Odd Fellowship will finally see the light of day on August 23. Exclaim has album details and a bunch of eastern Canadian dates – nothing in Toronto yet, but there’s a week between London and Wakefield, I can’t imagine those won’t get filled out before long.

MP3: Rebekah Higgs – “Gosh, Darn, Damn”

Room 205 has a video session with Austra; just one song for now but these tend to get padded out over time – expect more to be added. The Times-Colonist and BrookylynVegan talk to Katie Stelmanis, who also shows/tells The Guardian how she wrote “Lose It”.

Beatroute, The Star-Phoenix and Uptown interview Handsome Furs, in town at The Horseshoe on August 1 and 2.

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

"Two-Headed Boy"

Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold covers Neutral Milk Hotel

Photo By Frank YangFrank Yang2009 was a pretty good year for Seattle’s Fleet Foxes, with their self-titled debut, released the previous Summer, having topped numerous year-end lists worldwide and made the Portland-based folk-rock band one of the hottest things going, touring constantly to adoring crowds in sold-out theatres and concert halls.

Amidst it all, almost two years ago today, frontman Robin Pecknold found the time to step out on his own for a solo club show at Neumo’s in Seattle as part of a benefit for The VERA Project. One of many covers that he included in his set was a rousing rendition of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “Two-Headed Boy”, accompanied on drums by Fleet Foxes drummer J Tillman for some extra oomph and done well enough that you’ll forgive his forgetting the words in the middle there.

Fleet Foxes will be at Massey Hall this Thursday, July 14, in support of their new album Helplessness Blues. Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum has finally returned to active duty and will play two sold-out shows at Trinity-St. Paul’s on August 12 and 13 as the kick-off to a Summer/Fall tour.

The Guardian has a feature piece on Fleet Foxes.

MP3: Robin Pecknold – “Two-Headed Boy” (live at Neumo’s, Seattle – July 11, 2011)
Video: Robin Pecknold – “Two-Headed Boy” (live at Neumo’s, Seattle – July 11, 2011)
Video: Neutral Milk Hotel – “Two-Headed Boy” (live at The Knitting Factory, New York – March 7, 1996)

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Primavera Sound 2011 Day Four

PJ Harvey, John Cale, Fleet Foxes and more at Primavera Sound

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAt the entrance to Parc del Forum is a typically strange-looking piece of Barcelonan architecture, wedge-shaped and indigo-coloured, and within it is a series of stark white hallways leading to a huge auditorium. This is the L’Auditori and on the Saturday afternoon of Primavera Sound, it hosted the performance that I had been looking forward to only a little bit less than Pulp the night before: John Cale leading the BCN216 orchestra in a performance of his Paris 1919 album – a recipe for greatness if ever there was one.

The ingredients for said recipe were the kilt-clad Cale handling vocals and keyboards whilst leading the 19-piece orchestra and a three-piece rock band through a sumptuous reading of his 1973 album, with Cale’s huge voice carrying its musical riches, both joyous and melancholic, to the furthest corners of the packed concert hall. Also, I’m used to hearing the album with the clicks and crackles of the LP and its seventies-era studio fidelity – to behold it in such bold, rich and three-dimensional tones was really a revelation. Truly, this is an album that deserves to be ranked as one of the all-time greats, and anyone who disagrees simply hasn’t heard it.

It’d be nice if the same could be said about the material that Cale used to pad out the set; after the orchestra decamped, Cale strapped on a guitar to kick off a set that was both traditional and experimental rock. I won’t claim to be anything resembling an expert on Cale’s solo repertoire, but while some of it was interesting and there were indisputable moments of beauty contained therein, the strongest impression was that it was musically overcooked thanks to some excessive solos. It got better when the orchestra returned to fill things out, but the remainder of the set certainly didn’t measure up to the album recital that preceded it – that was just magical.

It’s a shame I didn’t sneak out of the theatre earlier because it would have meant catching more than a couple songs of Warpaint’s set over on the Llevant stage. I was surprised they were playing the second largest stage at the festival, but perhaps I underestimated the benefits of all their European touring. Our time together wasn’t long but a little bit of their intensely chilled-out space rock is better than none, and few bands look like they have as good a time on stage together as Warpaint does. Bonus points to Jenny Lee Lindberg for rocking the Rosie The Riveter livery up there.

It’s kind of a shame there’s so little grass at Parc del Forum, as lying on a patch of green watching the sun set behind the stage would have been the ideal setting for Fleet Foxes’ Spanish debut (according to them). After all of the big productions that the San Miguel stage had hosted thus far, their stripped down yet soaring folk-rock was a nice change of pace. Robin Pecknold’s voice not always able to soar past the dense instrumentation in the mix, but when needed, like on “White Winter Hymnal”, the extra lift from the band’s harmonies and audience singalong saved the day. It was also interesting to note that “Helplessness Blues”, the title track from their not-even a month-old new album, has already been elevated to set closer. Bold.

The original game plan had been to pop back to L’Auditori to see at least some of Mercury Rev’s live recreation of Deserters Songs, but an excessively long turnover between the audience for the last show and this one prompted me to bail and instead indulge my German industrial rock joneses with Einstürzende Neubauten back at the Ray-Ban stage. Except it turns out I don’t actually have and German industrial joneses and so after a couple times it was time to head back to the San Miguel stage and grab some pavement in anticipation of PJ Harvey.

As keen as I was to finally get to see Polly Jean Harvey live and as much as I liked her latest album Let England Shake, I was well aware that this latest release might not be the best album to see her perform live, particularly in a festival setting. And any hopes that she might revert to rocker form for just one evening were shelved when she took the stage, resplendent in white Victorian gown and armed with an autoharp, under intense spotlights at far stage right while her bandmates were set up at far stage left and opened up with the title track of the new record.

The stark, restrained performance was as theatrical in its own way as the Flaming Lips’ set a few nights earlier, with Harvey’s movements and positioning onstage extremely calculated and deliberate and interaction with the audience kept to an absolute minimum. The set comprised almost all of Let England Shake, with its meditations on war and history setting an odd tone against the Primavera backdrop – particularly for those in the crowd trying to dance to descriptions of the horrors of World War I battlefields, but also a fascinating one.

Even when Harvey delved into her varied back catalog, with the oppositely-themed To Bring You My Love the most visited, the songs were recast in Let England Shake dress, some even rearragned to be led on the autoharp. Trying to reconcile the chasteness of what I was seeing with the sensuality of Harvey’s persona circa 1995, from whence I remembered those songs, was an interesting exercise. Some of the old Harvey raucousness began to creep in later on with Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea‘s “Big Exit” and To Bring You My Love‘s “Meet Ze Monsta” proving that for all the white she could and would still get dirty, but rather than mark the mark the start of a fresher, rawer and more crowd-pleasing portion of the show, it was the end. There was no encore.

And there, at a little past midnight on Saturday evening, did my first Primavera Sound experience end – while there was still plenty to see, an early morning flight out dictated that getting out then to be the prudent thing to do. I won’t say it’ll be my last Primavera, though – besides the perks of getting to visit Barcelona, it was an impressively-run festival (I can say this because I didn’t partake in the cash-card fiasco that marred day one for beer-drinkers) with a ridiculous lineup.
Big but not too big, if they assemble another perfect storm of acts I want/need to see (Ride/Slowdive/Lush reunions in 2012 holla) then I can certainly see myself returning. And if you’re never been but have considered it, I heartily encourage you to do so. For the curious, all my set and atmosphere shots (from the crowd) are up on Flickr, as are all my pics from Barcelona and London over the last couple weeks. If you’re a holiday snaps kind of person.

And the wrap out the week…

The Quietus talks to Mercury Rev’s Jonathan Donahue about Deserter’s Songs and also their new album plans.

Exclaim reports that New York Euro-poppers Ivy have completed a new album, their first in seven years since In The Clear. No title or release date as of yet but the first single will arrive next week.

Aquarium Drunkard interviews The Radio Dept. guitarist Martin Larsson.

The Line Of Best Fit meets I Break Horses, whose debut Hearts is out August 15.

DIY interviews Emmy The Great, whose second album Virtue is released on June 13. Any postal service strike had better be over before my copy arrives or there may be some… unpleasantness.

Video: Emmy The Great – “Iris”

Drowned In Sound talks Lupercalia with Patrick Wolf. The new record is out June 20 in the UK.

NPR is streaming a KCRW session with Hot Chip.

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Primavera Sound 2011 Day One

Echo & The Bunnymen and Caribou at Primavera Sound

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangOkay, so that’s the touristy stuff out of the way. Let’s get down to business, which is to say the music. As in festival. Music festival.

While Primavera Sound’s main, three-day event would be cramming Barcelona’s Parc del Forum waterfront park to the gills with music until the wee hours of Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, the festival was also bookended by shows at a hillside venue on the other side of the city. El Poble Espanyol is a traditionally-styled Spanish village/museum that also happens to make a fantastic live music venue, offering great sightlines and a picturesque setting.

Getting through registration made me miss most of Englanders Comet Gain’s set, not that I knew their stuff at all, but their classically-appointed indie pop offered an enjoyable aural backdrop to exploring the environs and as a general kick-off to the festival and warm-up for Echo & The Bunnymen’s headlining set.

This show was one of their Crocodiles/Heaven Up Here recitals, following up the Ocean Rain recreation which they brought through Toronto in October 2009. While that show made perfect sense, boasting both some of the band’s most famous songs and lending itself to orchestral enhancements, offering the first two records the same treatment – sans strings – was a less obvious move. Both were considerably less populist and accessible affairs, very much attached to the band’s post-punk roots and existing in a darker sort of atmosphere. The “fans only”-ness of the set list didn’t keep them from packing the courtyard, though, nor from putting on a show that reinforced past impressions that the band rises – or falls – to the occasion when playing live. This was mostly the former, with Ian McCulloch much more animated onstage than in the past. A relative statement, certainly, but it may have explained him making more effort to hit those high notes which are audibly a strain for him these days. After the main set, they returned with a short set of “hits” as an encore – yes to “Bring On The Dancing Horses”, no to “Killing Moon” – and were done.

Not surprisingly, the crowd thinned somewhat before Caribou took the stage – after all, the demographics for ’80s British New Wave/post-punk and ’00s Canadian cosmic disco don’t entirely overlap – but the audience maintained the crucial density necessary to achieve dance party critical mass. Okay, dance party may have been an overstatement for the start of the set as it was only the handful of die-hards up front who began flailing when the music started, but as the set went on and the grooves got deeper, the dancing seemed to spread virally throughout the audience. I’d not seen the four-piece Caribou live show before – only the baker’s dozen-strong Vibration Ensemble – and their tightness and intensity totally impressed. There were no hat tips as to where they might be going on the in-progress follow-up to Swim, but wherever they go with it I can pretty much guarantee you that it will groove. Hard.

Note that since I didn’t have a photo pass, there’ll be no regular galleries from the fest but live and atmosphere shots that I got from the crowd can be seen at Flickr.

And in other animal-related band news:

Drowned In Sound gets Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison to annotate their debut album Sings The Greys. The Selkirk Weekend Advertiser also has an interview. They play The Molson Amphitheatre on July 27.

Black Book talks to Alex Turner and Matt Helders of Arctic Monkeys and The Guardian to Turner alone. Their new album Suck It And See is streaming over at Soundcloud; it’s out next week.

Stream: Arctic Monkeys / Suck It And See

Under The Radar profiles Wild Beasts.

Today, in Antlers links: NYCTaper is sharing a couple of live recordings, The Alternate Side has an interview and session, The Line Of Best Fit and Drowned In Sound have interviews and a new MP3 from Burst Apart is available to download. They’re at The Mod Club on June 14.

MP3: The Antlers – “I Don’t Want Love”

The AV Club talks to Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes.